A/N – Happy Valentine's Day!
John stared across the table at the meal he'd prepared and sighed. He was disappointed that it wasn't going to be enjoyed, but not surprised. He should have known better. Nothing about their relationship was traditional, and to hope that Sherlock would agree to take part in something as mundane as a Valentine's Day dinner really was unrealistic. John had tried though, and at least the leftovers would be good for lunch the rest of the week.
He glanced at his watch before reaching for the first dish and stopped at the sound of the front door, which was followed immediately by Sherlock's footsteps thundering up the stairs. John sat back down, plastering a neutral look across his face. He wasn't really angry, but he wanted Sherlock to know that he'd broken a promise.
"John!" Sherlock called as he threw the door open. The doctor didn't move from the table, and focused on Sherlock as he walked through the door.
"I solved the case," Sherlock said breathlessly. "I'm late," he added, and John resisted the urge to point out the detective was stating the obvious. "I have a present for you."
Sherlock tossed a red gift bag across the table. John looked up to see a Boots bag half hidden in the detective's coat pocket. He wondered who had reminded Sherlock that it was Valentine's Day, Lestrade maybe, or perhaps Anderson. Obviously a lot of thought had gone into this gift, probably thirty whole seconds while standing in line at the counter.
John didn't speak, instead reaching for the bag, noting that his gift had been just tossed inside. He pulled out a bright pink booklet with "Love Coupons" written across the outside. John glanced at Sherlock as the detective settled into a chair and held it up.
"Did you even look at this?" Sherlock nodded enthusiastically, guaranteeing that he'd simply picked up the first thing he saw with a heart on it. .
John shook his head, opened to a random page in the booklet, and smiled.
"At your asking," he began, "I will do the shopping." John looked up and watched a confused expression spread across the detective's face. The doctor resisted the urge to laugh and flipped to another page.
"Ah, appropriate," he said, and handed the coupon to Sherlock. The detective took it reluctantly with a deep frown.
"I don't do the washing up," he said, tossing the coupon on to the table and glaring at the dishes.
"Not usually, no." John stood and pushed his chair back under the table. "Perhaps if you'd put some more thought into your gift you wouldn't be doing it tonight either." He tucked the booklet into his back pocket, out of reach of Sherlock's hands.
"Where are you going?" Sherlock demanded.
"To bed," John said, stopping beside Sherlock and leaning down. The detective pulled back, avoiding the kiss, and John smiled again. He brought a hand up, cupped the detective's face and planted a kiss on a reluctant Sherlock's cheek. "Good-night."
He headed towards the stairs, feeling Sherlock's eyes boring into his back. John knew Sherlock realized that he was going to his own room and not to Sherlock's, which had become their default bedroom. He also knew Sherlock would listen for the sound of the door closing or the lock being thrown, neither of which would come. Sherlock was welcome to join him in bed - John wouldn't even say no to a shag - but he wanted the detective to come to him.
Thirty minutes later Sherlock did just that.
John rolled his eyes at the string of curses that erupted from the kitchen. Obviously the experiment wasn't going well, which probably meant that the detective was no closer to identifying how the thief had got into the house. John's vote was still on the chimney, and the fact that he continually referred to it as the 'Father Christmas Burglaries' annoyed the detective, which secretly pleased John to no end.
"What?" John asked, not expecting a response, and he didn't get one. He wasn't worthy of attention right now. The doctor settled back into the couch cushions and returned his attention to his book. Sherlock would let him know when he was needed.
"Blast!" came from the detective a moment later and John sighed, closing his book and glancing towards the kitchen.
"What?" he asked again, and when he didn't get an answer he asked again. "Sherlock, what's going on?"
"It's impossible, John, absolutely impossible!" There was a slam, and John sighed pushing himself to his feet and heading towards the desk. Sherlock needed to step away, needed to eat something and be distracted, but he wouldn't do it voluntarily.
John grabbed the small booklet and pulled out the first coupon. He wasn't certain that it would work, but it was the only thing he could try. And hopefully, if nothing else, he'd be able to make Sherlock feel guilty about it.
He let his eyes trace up Sherlock's back as he bent over the microscope. He had a sudden urge to rub his hands over those lean muscles, to feel Sherlock's familiar weight on top of him while he did so. He swallowed and pushed the idea of the massage coupon out of his head. There was a case, and John really had no desire to interfere with Sherlock's work. He loved watching Sherlock work, but he hated to see the detective consumed by it. The work was important and John was important, but making Sherlock choose would probably end in disappointment.
Sherlock sat back and crossed his arms, glaring at the collection of test tubes and flasks in front of him. There was a sight acidic aroma in the room, but John ignored it as he made his way to Sherlock's side.
"I'm hungry," John said, which wasn't true. He'd eaten a late lunch three hours previous, but Sherlock would have deleted that.
The detective snapped his head up, a look of disgust on his features. John had provided information that was irrelevant. The doctor held up the coupon, and Sherlock frowned again before shaking his head.
"Food will only slow me down," he replied, turning his attention back to the table.
"I know," John said, even though he also knew the detective's body must be desperate for calories. "But I don't want to go to Angelo's alone. Just walk there with me and buy me something, because it says you'll treat," he waved the coupon, "and we'll come back here and you can go back to work. It's cool out and that always helps you think."
Sherlock met John's eyes, and shook his head again before letting out a put upon sigh. "You're aware that I just purchased that book because Lestrade informed me it was traditional to exchange gifts on that dreadful holiday."
John simply smiled, not succumbing to Sherlock's desire to fight. He'd long ago learned to ignore the majority of Sherlock's frustrated jabs. "Of course I know that, but that won't stop me from enjoying the gift you gave me. And if you'd bothered to look at it you'd have realized that several of the items in there are beneficial to both of us."
An inquisitive eyebrow rose, but John knew he wouldn't ask, not yet. Sherlock didn't want the doctor to know that he might be interested in something other than the case.
"Just walk there and back with me. While I eat you can go over it with the skull and I and we can make suggestions, and you can tell us how stupid we are."
"I have no evidence that the skull is stupid," Sherlock replied. "I suppose simply supplying you with my debit card will not meet the requirements of this coupon." He snatched it from John's fingers and examined the wording.
"Nope," John said. "You have to go with me."
Sherlock sighed again, dropped the coupon onto the table and moved towards the door. John smiled, as the detective reached for his coat. John would wait until they got to Angelo's before trying to convince Sherlock to eat.
John's pulled his coat tighter and looked over the scene. He wished, not for the first time that he'd brought his umbrella, not that it really mattered anymore. The rain had let up as the sun had gone down, and John expected the evening mist would turn to snow soon. Hopefully they'd be home by then, warm and in bed with the post-case lie in looming wonderfully in front of them.
All he had to do was convince Sherlock it was time to leave. The detective was still peacocking in front of Anderson and the rest about how brilliant he'd been - again. John smiled at the view of Sherlock on the other side of the scene, past the handful of police cars. The spotlights surrounding Sherlock made his skin glow an almost unnatural alabaster and as John watched a pink tongue darted out to wet his lips. Those beautiful red lips.
The answer suddenly came to John as he remembered the piece of paper he'd folded up in his wallet two weeks ago. Perfect, he thought pulling his wallet out and sliding the paper into his coat pocket. He started across the brightly lit street towards the detective.
"It was obvious really," Sherlock was saying, flashing that wonderfully arrogant smile at Anderson.
"Of course it was," Donovan muttered under her breath as John slipped into place next to Sherlock.
"Can I speak to you?" John asked, interrupting the conversation. Sherlock frowned, meeting John's eyes. He hated to have his boasting cut short. "Please," John added, gesturing towards the alley just outside the collection of lights.
Sherlock's frown deepened, but he nodded. John felt Donovan and Anderson's eyes on them as they walked away, but it didn't matter. John knew what he wanted now, and he intended to get it.
"What?" Sherlock said, turning around as soon as they were out of sight. John stopped in front of him and pulled the small paper out and held it up.
Sherlock snatched it, groaning when he realized it was one of the coupons.
"Really, John, I've just solved the case. You've interrupted me while showing Anderson just how much of an idiot he is, and Donovan was actually considering punching me. Now is not the time for you to ask me to do the hoovering or your laundry."
John chuckled and reached a hand out to settle it on Sherlock's hip. As expected, the detective immediately pulled back. And John watched his partner's grey eyes glance over his shoulder. It wasn't exactly true that their relationship was a secret, but the detective didn't openly proclaim it either, especially in front of the Yarders.
John reached out again and closed his fingers over the damp wool of Sherlock's lapel. This contact would be blocked by his body, but he doubted they were visible to anyone within the glow of lights.
"Read it," John said, taking a step closer to Sherlock.
"John-" the detective started.
"Read. It." John said again, letting his thumb brush the silk of Sherlock's shirt. The tiniest shift in the detective's body let John know the touch was welcome.
Sherlock shifted the piece of paper until he could read the words, and John smiled feeling the smile in Sherlock's voice.
"At your request, I will give you a kiss."
John took another step closer to Sherlock, now able to feel the heat radiating off the long, lean frame.
"Yes," John said, "And I'd like my kiss. Now."
"At a crime scene," Sherlock said, tucking the paper into his own pocket.
"Yes," John said again as grey eyes looked behind them again. "Are they watching?" he asked, not caring, but he knew Sherlock would.
"No," the detective answered, his breath misting between them as he leaned down.
"Thank God," John whispered just as Sherlock's lips met his.
John opened his eyes and groaned at the bright light and the ache in his head. The ache in his whole body really.
"John," came the whispered voice, followed by the quiet sounds of tentative footsteps.
"Yeah," John said, pushing the blanket off and sitting up. The room spun, and John closed his eyes again. A second later a cool hand pressed into his forehead.
"You still have a fever," Sherlock said, removing his hand. "Perhaps we should try a different kind of medication." There was a shuffling of cardboard and plastic and John opened his eyes. The collection of medication boxes had grown, some of them obviously prescription and having been acquired from some less than legal avenue.
"It's just the flu," John said, watching Sherlock pick a box at random and read over the directions meticulously. "I just need to sleep and stay hydrated." There was a pause and the box hit the table again. Sherlock darted into the kitchen and cabinets started opening and closing. The detective was looking for one of the 'safe for drinking' glasses, even though there were already two bottles of water and the sports drink already on the table.
Sherlock never did anything halfway. John sighed and pushed himself up. His joints throbbed in pain as his legs took his weight, feeling for a second like they might give out. He took a deep breath, his lungs quivering with the effort. He liked knowing that Sherlock was taking the time to care for him, but watching the concern eat at him wasn't what John wanted. John needed to sleep, and get well, not be worried about Sherlock in return.
"Sherlock," John said, pulling the coupon book from the desk. He found the one he was looking for and closed the drawer.
"What-," Sherlock started, "Why are you up?" John looked up to see another glass of water in one of the detective's hands and an orange in the other. Sherlock must have gone to Tesco while John had been asleep because John certainly hadn't bought oranges.
"Here," John held out the coupon. Sherlock frowned at it then glanced at the items in his hands. "You want to help me feel better I need this," John said, closing the distance between them and trying not to wince with each step. He took the glass, exchanging it for the coupon.
Sherlock frowned, and John took a dutiful sip before setting the glass on the table with the rest of the hodgepodge that had accumulated.
"But–" Sherlock said as John reached for the orange and set it amid the mess.
"I've taken medicine, and I have enough to drink. This will make me feel better. I promise."
He took Sherlock's hand and pulled him back towards the couch. "I will cuddle on the couch with you," John said, reciting the words on the coupon. "I'm freezing and you radiate heat," he continued. "And I hurt all over and I want you to wrap those long arms around me and make me feel better."
John felt some of the tension leave Sherlock's body and smiled to himself as he lay back down. The doctor pressed his back into the cushions and Sherlock settled in front of him. As he requested, long arms wrapped around him, pulling him close as fingers wrapped around his sore neck. John tucked his face into the Sherlock's chest and let his eyes drift closed. The smell of familiarity and home filled his nostrils and instantly sleep eased in again.
Will be home late. –SH
John eyed the message and shook his head. At least there had been no prearranged dinners this Valentine's Day. And after a long week with dozens of cold and flu patients John was looking forward to a quiet evening at home, with or without Sherlock.
He walked through the front door and remembered that Mrs. Hudson was spending the weekend in Paris with her new Hungarian boyfriend. John had agreed to water her plants, but that could wait until morning. Bed was really the only thing that appealed to him now.
He climbed the stairs, frowning when the scent of Thai food met him at the door.
"Sherlock?" he called out, wondering if the detective had perhaps finished at the Yard earlier than expected. But he got no response. He hung his coat on the hook and walked into the kitchen. There was a small collection of food containers spread over the table, at first glance it appeared to be a collection of John's favorite dishes.
There was a small clear vase on the table, with a single red rose and a small envelope with a pink bow leaning against it. Sherlock had obviously done some research into the holiday on his own this year, and John smiled. He hadn't purchased anything for Sherlock, assuming that if he didn't bring it up the holiday would go unnoticed. It appeared he'd been wrong.
He reached for the envelope, pulled the bow off and opened it up. He laughed, pulling out a small collection of crinkled coupons. Sherlock had obviously saved the ones John had used. Most of them, John amended, noting that none of the coupons that involved chores hadn't been given back to him.
He pulled out one of the coupons and sat it on the plate and took a picture with his phone, attaching it to a text message for Sherlock.
Hopefully you can get away early.
John tucked the coupon, "one free sexual favor of your choosing," away and started on his dinner.