Wow. I cannot believe that this story gained over 300 followers. That's a record for any of my stories and I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each and every one of you for reading, reviewing, favoriting, following and anything else you may have done with my story. I'm just so overwhelmed by the response this fic has gained and I just...I'm so thankful to you all. :)
Here it is: the last chapter. This entire story has been an intense labor of love and I hope you have enjoyed the ride. After such overwhelming support, I'm in the process of writing a sequel to this story: What Might We Deduce About His Heart? It's already up so feel free to drop over there and read and review, if you feel so inclined.
Mrs. Hudson looked over at the seemingly nonchalant consulting detective who had burst through her downstairs kitchen door over an hour ago, unannounced, cheeks red from the cold and wrapped in his coat and scarf. He had proceeded to say not a word but had hovered in whatever room she was cleaning, a silent presence. He simply trailed after her, looking about her flat and poking his nose into places it had not right to be, until Mrs. Hudson had finally taken pity on him. It was obvious what he was wanting but was unable to bring himself to simply ask for her advice.
"How are things with John?"
Sherlock turned from his examination of her various knickknacks on the mantelpiece, and raised his eyebrows arrogantly. "Hm?"
Mrs. Hudson gave him a Look and Sherlock dropped his eyes like a scolded little boy.
"How much time does someone need?" he asked in a petulant, quite voice, clasping his hands behind his back and walking about the sitting room.
"It's only been a few days-"
"It's been eleven."
"Sherlock, John is hurt-"
"That doesn't automatically wipe the hurt away, dear. Sometimes it takes more than that. Sometimes you have to make it up to the person you hurt."
Sherlock looked puzzled, then his face cleared. "I could clean the kitchen." He remembered how John had gotten angry after he had wrecked it last time and the doctor always seemed to be complaining about his experiments and how unhygienic some of them were. Surely that would make John happy. John seemed to like cleaning the flat. He did it often enough.
Mrs. Hudson seemed to be hiding a smile and Sherlock's eyes narrowed, wondering what was so funny. "That would be a nice start, though perhaps you could do something a bit more…personal."
Sherlock made a disgusted noise and glared up at the ceiling, the very picture of a put-upon individual. "I suppose that means romance and all that word entails."
"It's up to you, dear. If you don't think John is worth it…" Mrs. Hudson trailed off significantly and Sherlock's head whipped around to stare at her.
"Of course he is." He huffed, and bit his lips, indecision written across his face. "What would I have to do?"
Sherlock felt nauseous as he glanced up from his microscope and over to John who was sitting in his armchair, calmly reading the newspaper. After he had spoken to Mrs. Hudson and that remarkably bright woman had given him a plan, Sherlock had ran upstairs to research and finalize in the privacy of his room. Once he had planned everything, he had anxiously waited for John to return home, running through various scenarios in his head of what could go wrong and how he could salvage his plan. This exercise had worked in calming him down, however, when the door had banged downstairs, signaling John's arrival, Sherlock had again felt he would throw up from nerves. He had pressed the back of his hand against his mouth, only managing a weak nod at John who, taking in Sherlock's waxy pallor and clammy skin, had worriedly asked if Sherlock were coming down with something again.
It had now been four hours since John had returned and Sherlock was- unbelievably- still trying to work up his nerve.
This was absurd.
Growling angrily, Sherlock pushed away from the table and strode into the sitting room. He stood in front of John and cleared his throat.
John did not lower his paper.
Sherlock nervously straightened his jacket and cleared his throat again.
Still no response.
He opened his mouth but the words stuck in his throat and felt as if they were choking him. He breathed in and out, wiped his disgustingly sweaty palms on his trousers, squinched his eyes closed, and blurted it out.
John dropped the top of his newspaper and frowned up at him in shock. "What?"
He watched in disbelief as Sherlock shifted from foot to foot, trying to straighten his face into indifferent lines and failing miserably. John could see his uncertainty and nervousness peeking out from behind his usually cold mask. Despite himself, he was enchanted.
"A date, John. I am asking you on a date."
"You're asking me on a date?"
"Yes. That's what I just…Ahem. A date is where two people go out together and have fun."
"I know what a date is. You're asking me on a date?"
"Romantically." Sherlock clarified, just in case John had missed that important aspect. The whole evening would be pointless if he did.
John looked up at him, giving Sherlock his best "I'm- trying-to-figure-out-what-you're-doing-because-I-know-you're-up-to-something-more-than-what-you're-telling-me" face. Sherlock tamped down his impatience and indignation at John's assumption and schooled his face into looking politely inquiring with just a touch of hope. He had seen men adopt a similar expression on those stupid comedic romances John had made him watch. At the time, he hadn't thought the movies were useful, seemingly full of drivel and poor acting skills, but now he wished he had paid more attention. There might have been something useful…
"Right." John paused, then, "No case?"
Sherlock made a valiant effort to resist rolling his eyes. This was important. "No case." He replied and saw John open his mouth again. He rushed to cut him off. "No experiment either."
John was still staring up at him and Sherlock tried to read his face to deduce what he would say. He had thought that John would say yes because he had given him adequate space and time. John seemed to enjoy rejecting him the first time he asked for something, though, so-
"What did you have in mind?"
Sherlock let out a shaky breath as relief seeped through his veins and he managed a confident smile. "I have done extensive research about first dates."
John did not look reassured.
As it turned out, there were no body parts, no adrenaline rush, no death threats, and no dangerous chases after armed criminals. John had been half-expecting their "first date" to be alarming and leave one or the other injured and in the hospital. As it was, the date started out to be…normal. Surprisingly normal. It was obvious to John that Sherlock had indeed done research about dates because he seemed to be following rote instructions, no matter how doubtful he obviously found the advice.
He started trying to hold doors open for John right off. First the door to the flat (John had thought it odd but dismissed it), then the downstairs door (John began to suspect…), and finally the door to the cab. John had gotten fed up.
"Sherlock. Stop. We're both men, I don't need you holding my doors open for me."
Sherlock had frowned and looked from John to the cab. "It said on the internet that-"
"I don't blood care what it said. I don't want you holding doors open for me. You never did before and it doesn't need to change just because it's a date."
"How will we know who opens the doors?" Sherlock pointed out, getting a bit irritated that he had done something wrong.
John valiantly managed not to laugh. "I guess whoever gets there first."
They took the cab to one of their favorite restaurants- John made a point of rushing forward to grab the door and haul it open for Sherlock, who knew he was being teased and glared- and promptly had a fight over Sherlock's decision not to eat.
"When was the last time you ate?" John demanded, frowning.
"You would know, John." Sherlock said in a breathily angry voice, picking up his menu again and scanning the options. He finally ordered something just to keep John from continuing to glare at him. He did not think this was supposed to happen during a successful date.
They made it through the rest of dinner normally enough, chatting and laughing together as usual. Sherlock was beginning to suspect that there was not much difference from this "date" and all the other times that he and John went out together. He wondered if he were doing something wrong because surely there was supposed to be some sort of difference but John was seeming to enjoy the evening, which had been Sherlock's goal, so at least he was doing something right.
When they finished dinner, Sherlock hailed another cab, refusing to tell John where they were going next and enjoying his look of surprise when they pulled up at the movie theater.
John grinned up at the marquee as they joined the queue for tickets. Dinner and a movie, oddly, astoundingly normal.
Sherlock nodded, obviously proud of himself. "I knew you liked James Bond."
"You do too, you git." John said, grinning madly up at Sherlock, excited to see the film. "As I remember, you-"
"I was forced against my will to watch those movies, John." Sherlock said paying for their tickets and thrusting John's at him while John smirked knowingly.
"Only at first. You were engrossed after the first one-"
"I was merely interested in deducing if they had made as many mistakes in the second film as the first." Sherlock said coolly, steering them into the correct theater and scanning for available seats. Good lord, this movie was obviously popular. Sherlock grimaced at the crowd but successfully managed to find two seats that were not directly near other moviegoers.
"You were merely interested in deducing how great a movie it was. Be honest." John said, plopping down in his seat and grinning as Sherlock sank down beside him just as the lights dimmed and the previews began playing.
Sherlock opened his mouth-
"Or were you looking at Daniel Craig? Got a thing for blondes?"
Sherlock actually blushed- John felt himself fall a little more in love with him- and Sherlock had again opened his mouth to reply, no doubt scathingly, when his mobile rang.
He glanced at the screen and rolled his eyes before answering. "Lestrade. What?"
John glanced out of the corner of his eye as Sherlock listened to Lestrade speak at length.
A case then. John started pulling his coat back on, preparing to leave-
"I can't come. I'm on a date."
John glanced over his shoulder at the indignant shusher and then back at Sherlock who was frowning angrily.
"With John, of course."
Sherlock listened to whatever Lestrade said and his spine straightened in outrage. "It's not for a case!" he almost shouted at his mobile. A few more people joined in shushing them and this time Sherlock turned around to glare at everyone in general.
"This is not important, Lestrade, compared to my date with John." Sherlock hissed into his mobile as John watched with a half-smile. "If you feel so inclined you may want to try and be competent for once in your life so I can continue my date and get off with John."
He stabbed at his phone to end the call and then stared straight ahead, his jaw clenched, while John reeled from shock and tried not to laugh.
He chewed his lip and debated with himself. If he were honest, this whole "date" had been bizarre and he really sort of hope he never had to do it again. This was not them- not that there was a "them"…at least not yet, and it just felt forced. If John had to assume anything about their relationship, he would have thought that he and Sherlock were the sort of couple that would bond over a crime scene and a solved case instead of hearts and roses, dinner and a movie. And to be honest, John was really fine with that. Not that a movie or dinner would be amiss every once in a while but…it really wasn't needed.
He looked over at Sherlock who was staring vacantly at the screen. He was holding up stoically, but John could tell he was bored and on edge and, to be honest, knowing there was a case waiting for them, he felt the same.
Well, that simplified matters.
He leaned over, pressing himself against Sherlock's side, and breathed in his ear. "Sherlock. Let's go to the crime scene." John wondered if it were his words or the action that caused Sherlock to shiver and his eyes to go half-lidded but it didn't matter. He was fascinated anyway.
Sherlock turned to look at him in the dark. "Our date-"
"To be honest, Sherlock, this is all really sweet and everything but…we're more the couple to bond over starlight and crime scenes, not dinner and a movie."
There was another insistent "ssssh!" from behind them that they both ignored. Sherlock looked at him, his eyes drifting down to John's lips then back up to meet his eyes, obviously deducing the truth to John's words. Then he smiled, his entire face lighting up and John grinned back at him.
It was well past midnight before they stumbled out of the cab at Baker Street. John's suit was in tatters and holes and when he had complained about this to Sherlock, Sherlock's only response had been "At least it was cheap."
John was currently not speaking to Sherlock.
They were both exhausted, ready to go to bed, and John's eyes kept closing and were slow to open again. The adrenaline rush had worn off almost an hour ago as they were having a celebratory dinner. Now all John was thinking of, as he swayed on his feet, was why Sherlock was taking so long to open the bloody door.
Sherlock had felt his heart rate kick up as soon as the cab had pulled up to the curb and his palms had started to sweat. This was the part of the date he had been most looking forward to, and had decided to keep even though the rest of the "date" had involved decapitated heads, angry dogs, and barbed wire fences.
John was looking away down the street, his eyes unfocused and heavy, but his head snapped around at the sound of his name and he smiled up at Sherlock. The sight made Sherlock's heart start beating faster. He wondered if this would be a way to murder someone-
This was stupid. He had kissed John before, they had had sex together- but nothing Sherlock could say made his nerves stop fluttering as he stepped closer to John and saw realization flash through the shorter man's eyes. He feared John would step away, stop him, explain why this was a bad idea-but then John tilted his head and closed his eyes and Sherlock almost cried in relief.
He cupped John's cheek in his palm and gently pressed their lips together. His heart was pounding, his hands shaking, and he heard John's breathing catch. They moved together, keeping the kiss unhurried and sweet, their shared passion lying between them but not clamoring to the surface. They kissed, letting the world fall away and affirming something they shared that was still new and fragile, something that had already taken a hard knock, but was still there, and was soothed with the sweet promise of recovery and eventual healing.
When Sherlock pulled away, John's eyes opened slowly and he blinked a few times as he stared up at him.
"I love you." Sherlock murmured and watched in fascination as John's pupils dilated from just his words.
John swallowed and Sherlock thought for one dizzying minute he would say it back but nothing came out. Instead, John leaned up on his toes to press his lips to Sherlock's.
For once, it was entirely silent in the flat. John paused on the landing and glanced into the darkened sitting room where there was no sign of a mad amateur scientist attempting to blow things up or torturing his violin. He had been expecting the usually nocturnal consulting detective to be slumped on the sofa, even if he were taking a rarely deserved sleep and John checked to make sure that Sherlock's coat, scarf, and gloves were still hung up where he had left them. They were, so Sherlock was still in the flat.
John looked towards Sherlock's closed bedroom door with raised eyebrows, noting that no sliver of light shown between the door and the floor. It was the only other place Sherlock could be but he so rarely used his bedroom for sleep. He seemed inclined to eat, sleep, and think on the sofa (though not in that order) and John thought he could count the number of times Sherlock had actually slept in his bed on one hand.
Nevertheless, half expecting Sherlock to sneak up behind him in the dark and politely enquire why John was skulking around the flat at night, he tiptoed down the hall and paused in front of the wooden door. He steadied his breathing before easing the door open and slipping inside, almost jolting in surprise when he saw Sherlock's body lying underneath his sheet. Sherlock's back was to the door and, despite the lack of response from the figure on the bed at his arrival, John didn't delude himself into thinking he was sneaking into the room unnoticed. Sherlock had probably heard him come down the stairs but was pretending to sleep, waiting to see what John would do next.
John paused beside the bed, glancing around almost as if he were unable to believe he was in Sherlock's room, before lifting the covers and sliding between them. He scooted over until he could curve his body around Sherlock's, wrapping his arm around his slender middle and nuzzling his nose into the soft curls at the nape of Sherlock's neck. Sherlock sighed and relaxed against him, wiggling back until John was firmly spooned around him, their bodies pressed tightly together, one of Sherlock's hands holding on to the arm John had wrapped around him. John sighed contentedly. They had never done this before. They had sucked and fucked and done everything in between, but they had never done this- just a simple hold, relaxing with each other . It was good. It was more.
As John relaxed further and felt Sherlock's body growing lax against his own, he let his mind flick back to a few days ago when Mrs. Hudson had marched into the flat while Sherlock was out and had given John her unsolicited advice. John grinned as he remembered her words.
"You know Sherlock's special, I don't have to tell you that. I won't tell you whether or not you should forgive him, John, or stay with him. I will say, if you can honestly imagine your life without Sherlock, and imagine it happy and not missing anything at all, and you really feel that you cannot forgive him and move past this…then leave him. It would be kinder for the both of you. If you can't imagine that though…you have your answer."
Life without Sherlock? To quote a certain genius John knew: Dull. He grinned and squeezed Sherlock's body to his own.
"I love you too." He whispered and felt Sherlock stiffen in his arms before he was twisting around and pressing John back against the mattress, lips frantically pressing against John's and long fingers roaming everywhere. John clutched Sherlock's thin body to him before scrabbling at his shirt, rucking it up and finally pulling it over Sherlock's head. He skimmed his hands down his back and Sherlock melted against him, humming in his chest.
They continued to kiss, their movements frantic and hurried. It was the work of mere moments for Sherlock to divest John of his pajamas and John was determinedly working on Sherlock's bottoms when Sherlock paused and rested his forehead against John's, stilling his movements and breathing deeply.
"I do love you, John." He whispered and John smirked beneath him.
"You better, you daft git."
"I do, John. I love everything about you. It's so troublesome and unexpected and it makes me crazy." Sherlock buried his face in John's neck and began kissing, sucking, and John arched into the sensation. He knew this wouldn't last long, soon Sherlock would be pulling back and demanding penetration (which John was only too happy to participate in), but he allowed himself to enjoy this for a few seconds, a lazy moan coming out of his mouth as Sherlock bit at his collarbone.
"I've been doing research." Sherlock said and John's mind was already slightly fuzzy from lust because he only smiled and hummed, closing his eyes.
His eyes popped open and his attention sharpened when Sherlock licked a line from his navel to his neck, causing John to arch involuntarily.
"Wh-what about?" John asked, watching as Sherlock hovered above him on hands and knees, suddenly feeling very exposed and loving it.
Sherlock smirked and leaned closer to John. "Foreplay." He whispered, his tongue flicking against John's ear, causing him to gasp and grip Sherlock to him.
"Really?" John had to clear his throat before he could get anymore words out because suddenly his mind was assaulted with all the many, wonderful things Sherlock could have read on the internet about foreplay. "And what did you learn?"
"John Watson, are you chatting me up?"
John should have known that he wouldn't have to teach Sherlock Holmes any fucking thing. The man had done research- and John was keen to learn what exactly that research had entailed- but Sherlock had not been lying when he said it was extensive. John liked to think that he knew a lot about human anatomy, he was a doctor, after all, and he also liked to think he was a skilled lover, because he had experience. Apparently, all that paled in comparison to the research of Sherlock Holmes.
John didn't think there was an inch of his body that Sherlock hadn't tasted at some point with his tongue. He was not complaining (though he had blushed quite a few times when Sherlock showed just how extensive his research had been). John tried to give as good as he got but Sherlock seemed to be making it his mission to make John lose control and prove, apparently, that Sherlock Holmes knew how to do fucking foreplay.
He succeeded because by the time Sherlock sank down on John's length, gripping his hands to steady himself, John was a blathering, lust-crazed idiot. He had to keep reminding himself to remain still and let Sherlock have time to relax. He bit his lip and watched as Sherlock breathed slowly in and out, taking more of his length as he sank further down.
"Oh, god, John," Sherlock rumbled and rolled his hips, adjusting to the sensation, throwing his head back and groaning. John closed his eyes and let him, rubbing Sherlock's thighs, forcing his own hips to be still, until Sherlock shakily rose up and then slowly sank back down.
John opened his eyes and looked up at Sherlock who gave him a very shaky smile as he began to rise up and down more quickly. His mouth fell open in a silent scream and John's hips jerked, wanting to start thrusting but waiting until Sherlock was ready, waiting to be told-
"Are you going to lay there the entire time and let me do all the work?"
John laughed hoarsely and thrust up, causing Sherlock's eyes to slam closed but he quickly jerked them open again.
"You're so bloody bossy." John said in mock anger, pulling Sherlock down and kissing him between words. "How is it…even with my…cock up your arse…you're telling me what to do?"
Sherlock's hands were to either side of John's head, and their noses bumped as they laughed. John squirmed when this did odd and pleasurable things where they were connected and Sherlock moaned deep in his chest between laughs.
"This….feels weird." He gasped, moving his hips restlessly and John grinned.
"You've never…laughed during…sex…before?"
"Why would I?"
That made John's heart hurt. He pulled Sherlock in for another kiss and vowed to make sure Sherlock laughed during sex every time. Even if he were laughing at John, just so long as he laughed. John continued to thrust lazily and Sherlock moaned into his mouth before breaking their kiss and steadying himself on John's chest so he could raise himself up and down in tandem with John's thrusts.
Their eyes locked and John sped up his thrusts, seeing desperation and lust in Sherlock's eyes. The extended and amazing foreplay had taken them both to the edge and John knew they were both close again. He reached down and took Sherlock's cock in his hand, pumping it in time with his thrusts. Sherlock arched above him, maintaining eye contact the entire time and John wanted to close his own eyes. It was too intense, watching the play of emotions across Sherlock's face, looking into those deep blue eyes, as Sherlock got closer and closer to orgasm. His eyes darkened, boring into John's, and went half-lidded as he came, shuddering and gripping John's arms tightly.
"Oh, fuck," John whispered desperately, closing his eyes, feeling himself teetering on the edge of his own orgasm.
"Look at me." Sherlock moaned and John tried, he really did, as he gave a few more rough thrusts and then exploded in a blissful orgasm. It was impossible to keep his eyes open the entire time, though, and they slammed shut without his will. Sherlock swooped down and kissed him, maintaining their connection and John clutched him desperately, in that instant not wanting to ever let him go.
When John's hips finally stilled, Sherlock collapsed gracelessly atop him, forcing the air from John's lungs in a gruff whuff. John stroked his sweaty back and breathed deeply, as his heart rate slowly returned to normal and his body floated dreamily in post-orgasmic haze.
"That…gave a whole new definition…to the term…eye fucking." John panted. Sherlock raised his head and the moment their eyes connected again, Sherlock laughed, a low, delighted rumble, and John joined in, laughter bubbling up from pure happiness. He rolled Sherlock to the side when he was unable to breathe from laughing and being crushed by the crazy genius.
John expected him to leave. Sherlock didn't seem like the cuddling sort and it seemed like something John would probably have to badger him about, as he had done with the foreplay. He was pleasantly surprised, then, when Sherlock sprawled his upper half across John, laying his head on his chest, and sighed before closing his eyes and relaxing against him. John trailed his hand down Sherlock's back, enjoying the sensation, allowing himself to relax and tentatively think: Mine, this is mine. This irrational, crazy, fantastic man loves me, and he's mine. It was still uncertain, hesitant, almost disbelieving and John knew he would feel this way for a while. It just seemed too unrealistic that Sherlock loved him. With just as much certainty, though, he also knew that Sherlock would prove that he loved him in hundreds of little different ways until one day, John would never doubt it.
John drifted off to sleep with a stupid grin on his face, his arms wrapped around Sherlock, and Sherlock feigned sleep so he could remain next to John and begin planning their future together. He was sure John would approve…once he convinced him.
And convincing him would be half the fun.