So remember when I said, last year, (before I got crazy busy and then sick) that I had some Christmas fic gifts for people? Well this was supposed to be Ennui Enigma's. Like the rest it was supposed to be a simple 221B. Yet, like the others, it grew. It grew to be 2,072 words more than I intended. I've told MLC that I think 221Bs have passed into myth for me now. She told me I should say that I'm writing 2,221Bs from now on. I'm not sure about that. lol

Anyway, I hope you like this dear Ennui and much thanks to MapleLeafCameo for looking this over for me!

I do not own nor do I profit.

When John came home and saw the kissing ball hanging in the doorway between their kitchen and living room he was convinced Mrs. Hudson was matchmaking once more. A quick visit dispelled that assumption and John was left to make his way through his remaining list of suspects, crossing them off one after another until one was left. But it couldn't be? Could it? Yet, as Sherlock loved to declare, "Once you've ruled out the impossible, whatever remains – however improbable – must be true."

John noticed the decoration was a great deal more complicated than the ones he had seen for sale throughout the city. Those had been made up of a bit of greenery and some red bows but this one was far more ornate and beautiful. John could see pine, lavender, rosemary, two different colours of roses and was that mistletoe? The doctor moved to sit in front of his laptop and think for a few minutes.

All right, let's say Sherlock brought it in. The next question to ask would be why. For decoration? No, I had to bargain just to get the tree and fairy lights up for a week. Because he found it aesthetically pleasing? It is possible. On the other hand, besides the pinks his Grandmother used to have, Sherlock once voiced a dislike of flowers because they lacked purpose. So...

Glancing back at the arrangement, John found himself without a reasonable answer for its presence. He decided to simply wait and ask Sherlock when he returned from the lab. John started to search online for information on the festive decorations. He discarded two sites very quickly before finding a third page that had a link which lead to a history of Victorian Christmas traditions.

Some of the balls, or bells as they were also known, seemed to be elaborate like the one hanging in their doorway. After reading that a potato or apple had been used as the base, John hoped that was not the case with theirs. He paused when he read that a lot of consideration was given to the plants and flowers chosen and that Victorians placed great meaning in the language of flowers.

Three weeks earlier their shared table in the living room had been flooded with books on flowers. A florist had been murdering certain clients and leaving specific flowers at each crime scene. Sherlock's research on the meaning attached to each flower had caught the criminal before a fifth victim had been chosen. Was it possible Sherlock was trying to tell him something?

The two had always been able to communicate without speaking aloud. As if they were in sync. Of course John might be as lost as everyone else when Sherlock went on at a crime scene but, after living with the man for a short while, he had easily known what the mad genius needed and when. Despite what everyone else thought, Sherlock did the same for John, simply and in private.

Deciding to take note of the importance of meanings attached to flowers, John walked over, took note of the plants and flowers used once more, and went back to his computer. After finding one of the sites they had used before, he started looking through the flower names. The first he found was lavender. Love and devotion the website claimed. John shook his head but wrote the meaning down on a piece of nearby paper and continued on. Mistletoe was next and it was supposed to stand for affection or 'kiss me.' John doggedly continued on with pine and found the conflicting possibilities of hope or pity.

Once John got to the roses he rushed over to the kissing ball, counted eleven red roses and one yellow one, and then hurried back to his chair. Taking in the words once more he smiled. Writing down, one yellow rose with 11 red ones means love & passion, John felt his heart give a flutter.

For the past few months he had been thinking back on the plans he had once had for his life. A well known surgeon, a wife, children were all at the top of the list. And yet here he was at forty-six years of age and he had none of those things. He was still a damn good doctor but no surgeon. An insane life chasing after criminals, kidnapped on a regular basis by 'the British government' and living his life with a madman who was the most intelligent man John had ever met and who had, for three years, given up his life for those he cared about.

Love, devotion, affection, a command for kisses, hope (he ignored pity), love a second time, and, finally, passion. John read the words yet again and knew without a doubt he was being sent a message. Years earlier Sherlock had declared himself married to his work and John had said he wasn't gay and stubbornly corrected everyone's belief that the two men were in a relationship. Well, it was time to admit a few things. John was an essential part of Sherlock's work ("I'd be lost without my blogger."), the two lived together, bickered like an old married couple and knew each other better than most couples. The only thing they didn't have was a physical relationship.

John's dates had become practically nonexistent in the last six months and it hadn't bothered him at bit. In fact, upon reflection, John had realised he was quite content spending all of his time outside of work with Sherlock. Well not all of his time. There were still arguments that ended with John having to take a walk but that had been happening since they'd moved in with one another. And if he was quite honest with himself, John really couldn't see his life years in the future without Sherlock in it.

All right, John thought, I am happy living with Sherlock and don't miss the girlfriends I used to have sex with. While I may not miss the girls I do miss the sex and the intimacy that comes with it.

John tried to imagine another other men he knew in a sexually way and felt revolted. Okay, still not gay then. However, when he closed his eyes and saw Sherlock there was no revulsion. Those long fingers, the tousled black curls and the all seeing eyes were only a few features he found attractive on his friend. John tried to imagine running his fingers down the long neck continuing south until he fingers caught the short chest hairs he had seen many times.

Feeling his trousers become a tight, and knowing his face was flush, let John know sex with Sherlock would not be a problem.

Focusing his mind away from sex, for his own comfort, John once more thought of the possible future he and Sherlock might have. Things wouldn't change in the flat really. Nor would their interactions while working on cases alter. As far as John could tell, a shift in their relationship would allow them to draw closer to one another emotionally as well as adding a sexual component. The doctor smiled at the happiness the thought gave him.

After a few minutes of grinning widely, the smile began to slide off John's face. Of course this was only if his assumptions were correct. If the decoration had been forced upon Sherlock or left there by someone else entirely after Sherlock had left that morning, then John would look quite the fool if he approached his flatmate romantically when the thought had never entered the detective's mind.

Looking at the clock John made a fast decision. With Sherlock due home within the hour the best thing to do was not say anything. He would start on supper so he was busy when Sherlock arrived. However, he would also leave his laptop open, the web pages pulled up and the paper he had written on nearby. There was rarely an instance when Sherlock didn't need to look something up when he arrived home and John's laptop was always the computer he went for.

Moving into the kitchen, John turned on their oven and started to ready the small chicken he had bought on the way home from work. Knowing it would be around two hours before their meal was ready gave John time to thoroughly clean the area. Sherlock had put everything away from his last experiment but John wanted them to eat at the kitchen table so needed to make sure everything was properly sterilised. Also, working in the kitchen let him see Sherlock's reaction to John's findings more discretely.

Forty-five minutes later the front door banged open and footsteps could be heard on the stair. John caught the sound of a scarf and coat being thrown onto the sofa before Sherlock crossed the floor. Quickly grabbing the dishes and cutlery he'd had resting nearby, John turned just in time to see Sherlock sit down in front of his laptop. His view became very interesting when his flatmate froze. John could hear the wheels turning in Sherlock's mind as he took in the information and then the paper lying nearby.

The lack of questioning the newly hung decoration and the abrupt halt in motion let John know his guesses must have been correct. If Sherlock had not placed the kissing ball in their doorway he would have asked, at least scoffed, about it. Therefore, he must have placed it there and, honestly, John didn't believe anyone could force Sherlock to hang the ornament if he truly didn't want to.

If they had not had the case dealing with the florist, John would not have been surprised at Sherlock's ignorance about flower meanings. He still remembered the knowledge gap the man had with the solar system. But they'd had the case and Sherlock did know. That, coupled with the difficult time Sherlock had with emotions, it would make sense for him to try and converse with John silently. And, despite his belief that John was more intelligent than the regular masses, there were still times when his doctor surprised him. This appeared to be one of those times.

Taking a deep breath, John started to arrange what they would need for dinner. As he had expected, the sound of the silverware bumping the plates broke Sherlock out of his trance. As his head turned to the kitchen John was able to see an unguarded expression. Before Sherlock's face could fall back into its normal shut off look John was able to see vulnerability, hope and shock. Feeling bolstered by the emotions he'd caught, John grinned.

"Did you have a good day?" he questioned as he set the dishes so they would be sitting next to one another instead of their normal practice of across.

Sherlock's mouth opened and closed silently.

John forged ahead. "Did you find anything interesting in your research? My day was rather boring," he continued on, "but then I came home and found something intriguing. It seems there was an important message waiting for me when I got back."

Swallowing, Sherlock quietly queried, "Really? What message was that?"

Secure in the knowledge Sherlock had indeed meant to send John a message, the doctor decided it was only fair he bare his soul as well.

"Just a 'note' letting me know someone is in love with me." Table setting forgotten, John walked over until he was directly in front of his flatmate.

"A note?"

Taking Sherlock's hands in his own John leaned up to whisper, "Yes, not a regular kind of note per se but I got its meaning. Which is lucky for me since I happen to love the stubborn git who left it for me back."

Sherlock leaned down until their foreheads touched. "You do?"

"Yes, seems I have been for a while now, just had to actually think it all through."

"What about..." Sherlock paused.

John waited. When Sherlock didn't continue he asked, "What about sex?"

Sherlock cleared his throat nervously, "Yes."

"Well the thought of touching any other man still gives me the chills. But I'd be lying if I said the idea of running my fingers over every inch of you didn't make me shudder for a very different reason." John moved so their noses slightly rubbed against one another. "What about you?"

"I would also be agreeable to such a situation as long as it was with you."

"Good," John said as he finally gave the man he loved a kiss.

It might not have been the kiss books are written about but both men felt the connection to one another as if an electrical shock had run through them. A timer went off in the kitchen and John pulled back. Before stepping away he gave Sherlock's cheek a caress. The detective followed his partner.

John moved to take the boiling potatoes off the stove. "Dinner will be ready in about half an hour. Finish setting the table, would you?"

"I suppose," Sherlock answered. "But afterwards I have to find out when the reception for the mayor is to be held at the aquarium. I think our jewel thief is going to strike there next since all the high society wives will be in attendance."

Draining the water out of the pot John looked back over his shoulder to ask, "Really? Why would he wait?"

Sherlock eagerly explained how he had come to that conclusion as they worked together and then ate their dinner.

At one point John thought of all the times ahead he would take advantage of the kissing ball hanging above their door. If he had his way, the thing would stay there until it fell apart. Unless he ordered another one after...