I woke up to see Sherlock lying next to me in my bed...so it hadn't been a dream after all. He had one arm around me. He had a book in the other and he was reading. He turned when I shifted. "Morning, John."
"Morning." I said as I snuggled a bit closer. I didn't realise what I was doing until I found myself nuzzling his neck. I froze. Bloody hell! What am I doing? But then it struck me that Sherlock had thought nothing of getting into my bed last night and going to sleep with his arms around me. He was still holding me, in fact. So a little matter of snuggling couldn't be out of order now could it?
So I relaxed and let myself enjoy the feeling of having him close. "Slept well?" He said after a couple of minutes. He seemed remarkably unfazed by any of this. So I decided to follow his lead. That is pretty much what I do all the time anyway.
"Very well, thanks to you."
"Good. You'd better get up, though. We have less than an hour before we have to leave. And I, for one, don't relish the idea of Anthea banging the door down." He said. I made to get out of bed but he pulled me back and kissed me lightly on my cheek. Then he got out of bed and walked out my room like he had done nothing at all unusual.
It was a couple of minutes before I realised that I was still sitting on the bed with a big smile on my face. I couldn't help it. I was stupidly happy. I went down to the kitchen about half an hour later to find a freshly brewed cup of tea waiting for me. Sherlock however, was absent. I went looking for him and I found him in his bedroom. He was standing in front of the closet. He was shirtless, a fact that made me catch my breath and brought a flush to my face. I realised that shouldn't have walked in like that despite the fact that the door had been open.
I had seen Sherlock shirtless before...many times, in fact. But that was always in a situation in which he was injured and I was cleaning/bandaging/fixing him up. I was a doctor faced with a patient. This was entirely different. I had caught him while he was getting dressed. Sherlock hadn't acknowledged me, but he had to have known that I was standing at the door, trying not to gape. He was looking through his closet. He seemed to be trying to pick a shirt. I was having a great deal of difficulty keeping my eyes from wandering. Seriously, how can those trousers possibly fit so well?
Sensing the potential for embarrassment in that situation, I turned to go, but Sherlock called out to stop me. He held out a couple of shirts and asked me to help him choose. Now that is a first. Since when does he care about my opinion of his clothes? I was trying to keep the flush off my face, but I failed signally.He seemed oblivious to my discomfort. But that is how he is. He will only notice and acknowledge those things that matter to him. So clearly my discomfort was not important.
"Well?" He said.
I walked into the room and looked at the shirts that he held out. Now Sherlock looks gorgeous in everything, but there is one shirt, a purple silk one that in my opinion makes him look edible, almost. It has long been my favourite shirt. The way he was holding it out just then suggested that he knew it. Right. What is going on? Is Sherlock flirting with me? "The purple one." I said as calmly as I could. He smiled a slow smile. "You really like this one, don't you?" He said, clearly trying to wind me up.
"Yes I do."
"Okay." He said and then he started to put it on. He got his hands through the sleeves when I decided that I wasn't going to be the only one feeling flushed and breathless. So I put my hand on his as he started to button up. "Let me." I said. I moved to stand right in front of him and started buttoning his shirt for him. I let my fingers flutter over his skin as often as I could. I heard his breath hitch and I saw a hint of a flush on those beautiful, pale cheeks of his. I was no better, but I had thrown him off balance and that felt good.
It was a couple of hours later. We were at the press conference. It was going very well. Sherlock was a revelation. He was at his charming best and within five minutes of his entrance he had the entire room hanging on his every word as he spoke, laughed and bantered his way through all the questions. Which isn't to say that the press was going easy or not asking difficult questions. They were. Some of their questions made me quite angry, in fact. But Sherlock was totally unfazed. He didn't let anyone get to him. He answered all the questions, made a lot of jokes and generally carried on as if it was friendly social gathering.
I'd seen Sherlock do this sort of thing before, while questioning witnesses and trying to get information. He knew exactly how to employ his looks and his considerable charm. It was obvious that a lot of the journalists there were thrown off balance. They kept baiting him and he stayed very calm, smiled cheerfully and refused to react. After a while, they gave up and turned to me. I must have tensed a little. Sherlock reached for my hand under the table. The spontaneity of that gesture made me want to smile. It also made me wonder. A year ago he would never have attempted it and I would not have appreciated it. How we change...
"Dr Watson, were you aware that your partner had faked his death?"
"No I wasn't."
"When did you find out?"
"About ten days ago."
"How did that make you feel?"
"I believe that is personal and we're not here to answer personal questions. This is about Sherlock's professional reputation as a consulting detective. So let's keep the questions to that, shall we?"
"Did you feel betrayed?"
"I refuse to answer that question for the reasons that I have already stated."
"So you were upset."
"It had to have hurt right. I mean he's your partner and he lied to you. He abandoned you. You can't tell me that you weren't angry."
"Whether I was hurt or angry or not is between him and me and I'm not about to tell you so you might as well move on to something else." I said.
"You stopped writing in your blog when Mr Holmes faked his death. Are you going to start writing again?"
"Once we get back to solving cases, yes."
"And when is that going to happen, Mr Holmes?"
"Soon. I believe Detective Inspector Lestrade has a few cases lined up."
"There are a lot of people who read your blog who believe that the two of you are in a relationship. Is that true Dr Watson?"
I was about to throw another no comment at them but Sherlock decided to answer that question instead. "Of course it's true. Last I checked friendship was a relationship. And that is what we are. Friends."
"Friends don't risk their lives for each other and they certainly don't fake their own deaths."
"Well, we do." Sherlock said and stood up and strode out of the room without a second glance. I followed him out the way I always do. I couldn't wait to get home...
A/N: I had a lot of difficulty writing this chapter. So I need to know what you think...