Sherlock found that holding a lengthy conversation with the man across from him wasn't as terribly sickening as he'd imagined it would be.

In fact, although he'd never admit it, and didn't even really realize it himself, he had found a new appreciation for the average mind.

The detective also finally realized how much John admired him. He'd never really registered that fact before. How the man had managed to live in a flat with him for this long and not have committed homicide yet puzzled him as much as his lack of taste for sugared tea. Not many people were able to deal with his constant observations, his constant prattling on about every little minuscule detail. And the first day they'd met, John wasn't even intimidated by him. In fact, he was the first person he'd met that was actually amazed rather than extremely put off by the instinctive deductions Sherlock spewed forth. Of course, his intention was to impress people, and although he was sure they all were, very few actually explicitly told him how fascinating it was.

Except for John. This strange, shockingly intriguing, average-minded little man had managed to capture him completely, in a way no other human being had ever even been able to come close to doing.

Both men were done eating. There was a lull in the conversation as they studied each other in the comfortable silence. John had absently reached for Sherlock's hand on the table about halfway through dinner, and their fingers were still interlocking. It was the first open show of affection he'd made.

Sherlock absently bit his bottom lip, breaking eye contact with John as he asked for the bill. When the waitress brought it, however, John grabbed it before Sherlock could. "I don't think so, you're not going to be the only man in this relationship—or whatever it is. Especially not just because you're taller. Got it?"

"Mmm, I like that tone of voice. Army experience coming through. How...yummy," Sherlock teased, sending him a seductive smile that sent chills through his nerve endings.

"Oh, you're awful," John shook his head, trying to hide his smile. Once John had paid the bill, they reluctantly stood, thanked the staff, and exited the quaint little restaurant.

Sherlock turned his collar up against the cold wind. He heard John sigh.

"Not with the collar thing again, acting like you're all mysterious and cool or something," he scoffed. "You and your cheekbones look absolutely ridiculous."

"Shut up and follow me," Sherlock turned left and started walking. It took John a moment to register what was going on. With their difference in leg lengths it wasn't all that easy for him to catch up.

"What...what are we doing? Don't we need to catch a taxi?" His face was flushed, but for once, it was from the coolness of the temperature.

"Just trust me, it worked out earlier, yes?" Sherlock pointed out, not stopping. He had his hands in his pockets, and felt John loop one of his arms through his.

" At least slow down. I'm still suffering from a brain injury, remember?" he emphasized in a grumpy tone. "My head's starting to hurt again. The painkillers I took before we left are starting to wear off."

Sherlock sighed, but slowed his pace all the same as he pulled his hand out of his pocket and threaded his long fingers through John's again.

Sherlock was searching for the specific place he was thinking of. The park he'd been looking for was right across the street, the autumn leaves reflecting the light of the lampposts in a warm array of color, contrasting with the biting chill of the air around them. Finally, he spotted a bench.

Sherlock pulled John over and sat down, the other man following. They just sat for a few moments, appreciating the glow of the lamppost beside the bench and the pool of light that it bathed the colorful trees in. John was leaning into the taller man's chest, and Sherlock put his arm around him, slowly rubbing his hand up and down his arm.

The detective had a sudden urge to tell John everything he had been thinking while they were sitting across from each other in that restaurant However, with the whole jumble of thoughts running through his unusually overworked brain, he had trouble articulating what he wanted to say for the first time in a very, very long time. "'re amazing. No—er. Not just that, actually. You're...brilliant. Completely brilliant. More brilliant that I ever thought an average-minded person could be. But, now that I think about it...You really aren't an average-minded person. No, not really..."

John had lifted his head from Sherlock's chest as he started talking. This sudden tumble of words had rendered John speechless So, John reacted in the only way he thought he could in his current, wordless state.

Before Sherlock knew what was happening, John had lifted his chin up, leaned forward, and pressed his lips against the pair in front of him. Before he had a chance to break it, Sherlock turned into him and wrapped his arms around his back, pulling him as close as he possibly could. The sluggish chill that had been creeping into their bodies had suddenly turned into a hot, fevered frenzy as the kiss deepened. Sherlock pulled himself away and started trailing smaller kisses down what was exposed of John's neck and back up to his mouth, which warmed the other up even further.

When the hesitation finally completely evaporated and they allowed each other to explore their joined mouths, Sherlock felt a moan rise up in his chest as John let a satisfied sound of victory bubble up in response. He felt John's hands get tangled in his hair as it became even more intense.

Finally, the kiss slowed and they finally broke apart. But when they did, neither felt like it had lasted long enough.

John smiled sheepishly. "Well—that was nice."

For once, Sherlock was the breathless once. "To say the least. Who knew you could take charge like that?"

"You forget I'm an ex-Army doctor, Mr. Holmes," he chided, with a laugh.

"Mmm, indeed you are," Sherlock purred as he pulled John, blushing once again, up off the bench, wrapping him in his arms and placing his chin gently on the top of his head. "Oh, indeed you are."

When they got back to 221B, John struggled to comprehend how he had ever managed to trick himself into believing that phrase, the sentence that he had been internally chanting just a few hours ago as they left this building. He and Sherlock were holding hands again. He liked how Sherlock's long fingers could completely envelope his own.

As the entered the building, Mrs. Hudson came rushing out of her flat. She glanced at their linked hands and smiled, an excited look of victory in her eyes. "Absolutely nothing, huh? Are you two quite sure about that?"

Before they could respond, she began speaking again. "Oh, you two are ridiculous. I knew it! First day, I knew it. I mean, it takes something special to get a person to hand someone a mobile that is bloody well already attached to them. And John. Really. The fact that you can even stand living with this one. That is love darlings."

She laughed and went back into her flat without allowing them to speak a word, softly closing the door behind her.

Both he and Sherlock were blushing at that point, so he took the initiative and led them upstairs to escape the slightly awkward air that was lingering in the atmosphere.

John was thoughtful as he unlocked the door in front of him and stepped into the flat he had not too long ago agreed to share with a completely mad, but absolutely brilliant stranger.

Absolutely nothing.

No, that wasn't right. Not at all.

John took off his jacket, and he felt Sherlock nuzzle into his neck, pulling him into a hug from behind.

No, he corrected himself. Absolutely everything.