After the day he'd had, John didn't think it was a physically possibility to trudge up the extra flight towards his bedroom before he fell asleep and had instead opted for collapsing into his seat for a respite, only to find his eyelids instantaneously began to be absurdly affected by gravity. He did normally try to avoid sleeping downstairs – and if he had a nice normal flatmate it might be because he didn't want to wake up with a moustache drawn on in sharpie, or something – but given it was Sherlock it was more a case of waking up again to whatever Sherlock was doing was guaranteed to be unpleasant. Especially as Sherlock seemed inclined to challenge how unconscious unconscious-John actually was, assuming of course he even noticed John was there and wasn't awake which wasn't always a given… but today Sherlock was in a 'silent' mood after the case hadn't gone exactly how he thought it should have done, with missing the crazed old-lady-murderer until she'd gotten in a second and had nearly gotten in a third.
John had often thought, in the weeks after moving in with one Sherlock Holmes, that he'd made up the business about being silent for days on end… but it did, as it turned out, happen. And it wasn't as pleasant as John had expected when Sherlock had talked at him continually for an hour about something or other (he'd stopped listening after the first five, and although those had been about recognising different line of 'Poison' – the perfume – that probably wasn't where the monologue had ended up).
Either Sherlock would snap out of it soon or John would spent the next few days nagging him continually to drink and eat and talking at an unresponsive zombie until something was interesting enough for Sherlock to start rattling on again. Git.
John was still just about conscious behind his closed eyes as he decided that he was quite proud of Sherlock, really, for actually been affected by that second murder even if it was only to the extent of irritation at being wrong… but the jumpstart of Silent-Sherlock-mode the second they'd given a brief statement had rather taken Anderson by surprise. Not as surprised as the Yarders had been when they'd arrived at the crime scene to find John had taken out an old lady with a cricket bat, but after John had repeatedly explained that the lady was the murderer and was about to shoot Sherlock with one of those poisoned darts and he'd had no choice they'd turned their attention back to Sherlock so he could resume his gloating or have a go at all of them for not immediately suspecting that the kind old lady who they'd interviewed a week ago had been hell bent on getting revenge for her late husband. And he'd had that expression he'd had after John had said 'colleagues' in front of Sebastian Tosser-face that always struck John as a reminder that Sherlock was so human but…
God, he was tired.
Sherlock had jerked him awake at about half five in the morning, having a go at him for not answering his texts and dragging him into a taxi whilst he was still trying to pull on his jumper. His trousers were on top of his pyjamas and he most definitely hadn't had a chance to shave, or piss, but Sherlock was ranting in panic mode about the old lady wearing her husband's aftershave wasn't as sentimental or nostalgic as John had deemed it to be earlier on in the week, or at least not in a sense that was innocent or invoked pity. There were also a lot of accusations sent in John's direction –about how trying to get Sherlock to feel sorry for the old lady, by comparing her with Miss Hudson and bringing sentiment into a purely factual issue had made him miss it.
And then they'd rushed into her house and found the dead body. And six AM was far too early for a body, in John's mind, especially when Sherlock seemed to be implying that the son-in-law had been shot in the back of the neck with a poisoned dart because John had tried to pull out Sherlock's human side… and because he'd given the lady a hand putting up a set of shelves the day before, and because he'd gone to the pub with Bill Murray the night before – despite Sherlock flouncing around the flat declaring he needed John not to go out and get plastered – and because he'd been up all night worrying and then…. Then there'd been the chase…and Sherlock hadn't told Lestrade anything and for a minute there he'd really thought he'd killed the frail old murderer-lady and, despite it all, he didn't want to add that onto his resume.
John peeled his eyes open in surprise, half expecting the question to be part of the beginning of a dream, but no – Sherlock was looking at him, slightly manically, standing in front of his chair and his very posture demanding an answer.
He'd thought that it would take at least twenty four hours for Sherlock to start talking again – and had almost been factoring that in in terms of getting a good night's sleep – and he was definitely too tired to start discussing why.
Especially without the specifics as to what why they were talking about.
"You're going to have to backtrack," John said, pressing his fingers into his temples and trying to wake himself up a bit, "I found it a bit difficult to follow your internal thought process."
"Obviously." Sherlock said.
"Can this wait?"
"Why does it bother you?" Sherlock asked. Although the elaboration did a little to help with his cause of being understood, John thought that it didn't quite narrow down the specifics enough for him to be able to give an answer – a lot of things bothered him. Especially when living with Sherlock he spent most of his time bothered.
"If you're talking about the milk going off," John said, "I'd set myself up for a cup of tea. The dissected foot in one of the freezer bags… well, I might be a doctor and not squeamish but some things I don't want to see when I'm trying to find the diced pork, you borrowing my laptop is a privacy thing… and if you mean this conversation, it's because you don't exactly seem to be aiming for clarity or aiming to let me get to sleep, which are my current success criteria for conversation."
"The old lady," Sherlock began, pacing up and down the tiny stretch in front of John's chair (well, John often liked to think of it as strutting and imagined Sherlock as a gigantic peacock, but he didn't mention it), "she called you my boyfriend and then you hit her with the cricket bat."
"They weren't exactly connected issues."
He'd thought about writing this one onto the blog. It'd be a simple matter of adding in that sentence of dialogue – "your boyfriend did a great job at erecting my shelves" – whilst she held her odd weapon aloft and, second later, the cricket bat connecting with old lady, Sherlock texting Lestrade as John glanced down at the woman feeling oddly shocked. .. he didn't think he could face it, though. There was no way to write up the case without mentioning the fact that he'd taken the woman down, and he didn't quite want to get accusing of going into battle with the elderly widows of London.
He didn't even want Mrs Hudson to know about that one.
"You always correct everyone," Sherlock said, "we're not a couple, of course we'll be needing two rooms, I'm not his date…"
"Definitely going to need a cup of tea," John said, staring up at his mad tosser of a flatmate without really seeing him, pulling himself up off his chair and heading towards the kitchen.
"Why does it bother you?"
"You tell me."
"You don't care about what people think, John," Sherlock said, still talking from the other room as John flicked on the kettle and began trying to back track about whether or not he'd actually brought milk… he really thought he'd had, but that wasn't an actual full on given and he really didn't want to face the disappointment of no tea again. Particularly as Sherlock was happening and his head was surely about to explode within the next twenty seconds, "lack of prejudice, your blog posts, army, your sister is gay, John, common assumptions shouldn't matter to you and yet you continually waste your breath correcting other people's stupidity."
"Isn't that what you do for a living?"
"Last three girlfriends have broken up with you for related causes, but not due to the original assumption but do to actions after the beginning of the relationship –"
"– your actions, Sherlock." John interjected, which was really only fair. And of course Sherlock was right, because it wasn't like any of his girlfriend's actually thought he was gay, just overly devoted to his mad prat of a flatmate to the point where he was a pretty crap boyfriend. It wasn't easy to ignore Sherlock when he came calling but it wasn't impossible either, he could have paid a bit more attention but it was just…
Christ, he was too tired for this. There was definitely milk, though, so it wasn't all bad.
"Lestrade does not think you are gay, John, and yet every time he makes a joke you feel the irritating need to correct him. Why are you so paranoid? Why, John? Why does it bother you?"
"It's not about that, Sherlock." John said as the kettle boiled. "Tea?"
Sherlock sent him a look.
In his mind, John really did think of them as sharing a bizarre sense of coupledom: not in the traditional sense, obviously, but their slightly unusual state of domesticity, and them working together and living together, and looking after each other. They were a couple, in a sense, and he'd accepted that the most important relationship in his life at the moment, and conceivable for quite some time, was with his genius consulting detective flatmate and he'd put that in the 'it's all fine' box and happily moved on from the issue.
There was really no use getting upset about it and he was sure Sherlock had deduced John's internal use of linguistics and that was, in part, whey Sherlock had been apparently put so much thought into John's continual denials of anything more than friendship. Because they were more than friends in the sense that friendship didn't really explain everything that was Sherlock-and-John, but that didn't – as people so often assumed – mean that they were fucking.
"You've opted out or you just aren't interested and that's all fine, Sherlock," John said, slumping back in his chair and glancing up at his mental flatmate feeling the exhaustion in his very bones, "but given you're a 'high functioning sociopath' who likes to come across all clever and look like you don't eat or drink or whatever it is you think people believe, I just…"
"I just didn't think you'd like people think that we're back here shagging, when you clearly have a lot of distaste for something so bloody human. You think that people will think less of you if they can humanise you and sex is part of that, Sherlock so…"
"You humanise me."
"Well that's sort of the idea, yeah," John shrugged, taking another sip of his tea and closing his eyes, "I know you, Sherlock. And you're not…" John yawned, "you're not a sociopath who can ignore what your body wants at will, but if you like that image I'm not about to ruin it for you." John knew it was a very bad idea to fall asleep with a cup of tea in his hand whilst have a conversation about this of all things, but he was just so very, very tired.
"So," Sherlock said, "you deny it because you think it bothers me."
"And because it's not exactly true," John said, sleepily, "I think I'd remember if we'd had weird kinky sex in the shower, or something and…" John wasn't entirely sure what the end of that sentence was and was suddenly struck by the fact that, despite living with Sherlock for a frankly insane amount of time (by anyone's standards, living with Sherlock for more than a week was madness), he didn't think they'd ever talked about sex.
Then again, it was Sherlock, who – if you were to believe Mycroft –wasn't exactly experienced or bothered by matters. And John had come away from their conversation with the private conclusion of 'gay' (not that it mattered), and then there'd been that recent business with Irene Adler and that had blown all conceptions out of the water and John really didn't know what he thought about Sherlock ambiguous sexuality, or whether he wanted to think about it, or whether it really mattered to anything really.
He had tried to broach the matter to Sherlock. He'd gone with 'so, a dominatrix, huh?' and then Sherlock had given him a look and the next time he'd planned to ask… well, she'd gone and gotten herself killed (or, fake killed, as it turned out), had accused him and Sherlock of being a couple – which of course they were – whilst, according to Mycroft, falling in love with the bloke she'd been trying to trick. That, John decided, had been a complicated relationship, and had been more than a little glad when the whole thing was over and done with.
Plus, he'd been a little jealous. Not in that sense, it's just he was used to being the most interesting person in the room in Sherlock's eyes, and then suddenly he was showing off extra-hard and there was odd sexual tension (and John thought he'd never think of that in relation to his flatmate) and it wasn't anything to do with John and Sherlock was blocking him out.
"You humanise me on your blog." Sherlock said.
"Bit different," John said, "I say you make mistakes and occasionally think about other's feelings, I don't imply that we're having it off."
"Why is that different?"
"Because it's true, Sherlock! You do make mistakes and you do occasionally think about other people's feelings and you do eat and drink and sleep. You don't, as far as I'm aware, do that. More to the point, why does it bother you?"
John had long since accepted that they were a couple. Non in the conventional sense, although John suspected that there was very little conventional about Sherlock bloody Holmes; they weren't, as others believed, unable to keep their hands off each other the second the door to 221B was shut behind them (mostly, the straining with keeping his hands under control was entirely channelled into not punching Sherlock in the face), not were their frequent ventures into a surprisingly variety of really quite nice restaurants actual 'dates.'
As far as John was concerned – although this apparently didn't match up with some of Sherlock's deductions – Lestrade did think that John was pining after his flatmate… and the Yarders had set up an extensive betting pool about whether they were shagging (John had often wondered how the hell Donovan thought she'd find out if they were). Either they thought they were already in a relationship and had just neglected to update the Facebook status, or they were debating how long it would be till the lust took over.
"No, Sherlock, I really don't think you could," John said, not feeling half as sleepy anymore as he yet against pressed his hands into weary temple, and wondered why the hell this was happening today, "it's not like the earth goes round the sun nonsense, if you've deleted your sex drive you can't exactly relearn it. And before you argue that's not what happened please bear in mind that I do live with you and know enough about this area to have some authority on it."
"You think you're capable of a sexual relationship?"
"Most people manage it," Sherlock said curtly, "can't be that hard."
John was going to make a joke at that point, but he thought by the fact that his lips were twisting upwards slightly and Sherlock was scowling at him that Sherlock had gotten the joke (and not appreciated it) without him having to speak.
"Sorry," John said, because with Sherlock you never knew the relevance of these things. Whilst, right now, John was sure Sherlock was just suffering some odd kind of post-case-failure (ish) trauma, his best mate could currently be going through a sex life crisis. He really shouldn't have gone out last night. Sherlock was right when he'd said he needed the sleep. "Why is this bothering you?"
"You're going to leave," Sherlock said imploringly, turning around and facing John with his eyes that special shade of manic.
"Yes, John, you're going to meet some woman and you're going to end up unhappy because there won't be this anymore, or danger but you'll marry her anyway because –"
"Sex?" John prompted, now feeling more awake than he had done in years, because this – from Sherlock – was probably going to be the emotional talk of the century. And he'd only drank half of his tea. And the rest was cold. "And you think that you can flick some internal switch in your brain and you'll suddenly be interested in sex and we'll have a lifelong gay partnership solving crimes together? Jesus, Sherlock."
"You're not entirely straight."
John wasn't even going to get into a debate about that when this whole conversation was so bleeding ridiculous anyway. Especially given it was Sherlock he was bound to have produce some actual evidence to back up his point and then John would have to face his own life crisis (and, really, it would be a bit embarrassing coming our as not entirely straight at his age), when John was sure that… well. Jesus. He knew that thinking of him and Sherlock as an odd sort of asexual couple wasn't ruler-straight, but it wasn't…
"You're not entirely interested, at all."
"Is this a come on?" Sherlock sent him a withering look. "Sherlock, I'm not going to leave."
"You're always leaving for Jeanette or Jane or Sarah."
"Yes, well, we're not all above having a sexuality."
"Could we maybe have a conversation about this when I'm not dead tired from having chased an elderly woman across London, whilst hung-over, before knocking her out with a cricket bat?" John asked impatiently.
"You've just said you're not going to leave and marry one of them, yet continue to produce your irritating girlfriends, then the only reason that you're dating them is because –"
"- yes, thanks Sherlock," John muttered. "That's made me feel much better about myself, cheers. You're a right tosser, you know that?"
"I thought the whole point of this conversation was that I wasn't."
"Really don't think I can deal with this right now," John muttered, pinching the skin on his forehead and trying to make sense of what was happening, "is this all in some complicated way that a simpleton like me can't understand about not preventing the second murder?"
"In that case, I'm going to bed. If your sex drive regrows in the middle of the night, do feel free to come let me know."
"Oh, for God's sake. Look, I'm going to the loo. We'll continue this, whatever this is, in a minute."
John was almost entirely sure that this conversation was going to kill him, and even more sure that if he lived it was going to be one of those things that he'd never be able to relay to anyone because it was just too weird. So, if he was going to die anyway, he might as well get one last loo-stop in before it all ended.
Haven't written anything Sherlockian for ages and suddenly fancied it. This is going to be two parts and probably the closest thing to slash Johnlock that will ever come from my keyboard (maybe a bit more in the second part, who knows?), because I'm just really bad at writing such a pairing. Baahh. Reviews would be lovely.