Sherlock and John are being watched. Someone is paying particularly close attention now that they're in a shiny new relationship. That someone might look a little like Moriarty. And if it's not Moriarty, then who is it?
A bomb, an illness (of course), the ups and downs of love, and a case.
This story follows on from my Getting Better fic, and will be in that style and with that tone. I hope you enjoy it. Pip xxx
It was the merest murmur, but John woke up anyway. He smiled and waited, and as he expected, Sherlock rolled and flopped one arm over John's body. He sighed once, and then his breathing settled back down to its low, steady rhythm.
John had been woken in a similar way every morning for three days. He didn't mind. In fact, he was overjoyed by it.
For the four days prior to that, Sherlock had been working on a case and hadn't come to bed at all. John had continued to sleep in Sherlock's bed, but he was feeling more and more disconcerted as he did so.
The problem was; the experiment - the experiment of them - was now ten weeks old. There had been no lengthy discussions of terms or expectations beyond the initial; 'as long as you (John) are ill, and need taking care of, and as long as I (Sherlock) feel the oppressive need to check on your wellness at every turn, we shall sleep together'. It's true that this had developed quite quickly into sleeping together with additional kissing, hugging, closeness, and where appropriate, sex, but none of the specific terms were spoken of out loud again.
Until the case a week ago, both of them had happily continued in this pattern without choosing to discuss or clarify with each other.
Things had cooled a little from those first early, intense weeks, and John had noticed that though cuddles, kissing and sex were still readily available at night, Sherlock had retreated a little during the day. John, being not only a gentleman, but also a gentleman who was very much in love with Sherlock Holmes, had not pushed or pressed the issue. He was aware that Sherlock's mind was ticking over all the possibilities that their relationship held, and that any move Sherlock wanted to make at any time needed to go through rigorous examinations in his mind before he'd commit to it. That was Sherlock's comfort zone, and John wasn't about to do anything that forced him out of it.
It was true that John might dress a little more interestingly, or move a little more suggestively, or talk a little more intriguingly than he had before, but that was all. On these occasions he might note Sherlock Holmes staring at him, frozen, uncertain, mildly confused and with a look of faint desperation on his face, but John wouldn't take advantage of that moment. He'd just wait. Generally, Sherlock would quietly abolish any specific emotion and return to his daily activities until bedtime, whereupon he'd pretty much pounce on John to tear his clothes from him before pushing him into the bed.
John was more or less happy with this. It was true that their relationship had become slightly routine, and he fretted that this might turn into a rut of the less good kind, but he wasn't concerned enough to push Sherlock anywhere that he might not want to go.
The problem was, during the four days of no bedtime there was therefore no relationship at all.
On top of this, the case had really highlighted to him that he was physically better from his long illness. He wasn't quite up to full weight and strength, but he was certainly getting there. Most dietary problems had been resolved now, and he could eat pretty much whatever he wanted without getting into difficulties. Unless you counted Christmas Dinner, when John had stuffed himself silly with each of the twenty different dishes and sides that had been cooked up between him and Mrs Hudson. It might be true that if you counted that event, there had been one period of 'digestive discomfort' according to John, and 'eruptions that measured on the Richter scale' according to Sherlock.
But Christmas dinner didn't count. It never counts. Christmas dinner is officially off the chart of any diet, budget, shopping projection or whatever.
Plus John had felt better immediately after he'd removed the excess. So much better that he started on Christmas supper less than two hours later, much to a certain detective's horror.
And Christmas aside, John was basically well again. He'd even started running in the mornings (also to a certain detective's horror) in order to build up his muscle mass and general fitness.
So, from John's point of view, according to the terms set out in their embarkation of the sleeping together experiment, there really was no need for him to be in Sherlock's bed any more.
And Sherlock… well, John wasn't sure if Sherlock had noticed, though he recognised it was a high probability, but he hadn't asked John how he was for at least two weeks.
The clingy concern he had developed during John's illness had dropped away, and Sherlock no longer needed verbal confirmation from John that he was feeling OK. He just knew that he was, and John was once again trusted to get around by himself, and help on the case, and chase down a forger with a gun without Sherlock being thrust into overwhelming panic mode.
So arguably, from Sherlock's point of view, there really was no need for John to be in his bed at all.
So over the four days, John had carried his weary body to Sherlock's room to have whatever amount of sleep he could squeeze in before being woken and propelled to the next location of mystery, and each time he had felt an increasing sense of; this might not be the appropriate bed for me to be in anymore. He was always able to shake it off. Sherlock clearly didn't care. In John's mind, he heard Sherlock's voice clearly telling him that if he felt the (stupid) need to go to sleep, then why should he care where he chose to (stupidly) do it. As long as it wasn't directly in Sherlock's way, he could sleep wherever he damn well pleased. So John had gone to Sherlock's bed, each time hoping that he might wake up next to a lanky, curly-headed genius. He was disappointed each time.
When the case was over, John felt the need to tentatively, very tentatively raise the issue with Sherlock. So very tentatively that Sherlock might miss it perhaps.
Late in the evening, even while Lestrade was still interrogating his newly received forger, and while Sherlock was sitting, legs stretched towards the dying fire, chin on fingertips, mentally filing all of the recent events, John had cleared his throat.
'Do you want me to sleep in my old room?' he asked quietly. Very quietly.
Sherlock's head had bounced up; 'nodon… whyshould… bidiculous.' He caught up with his mouth and flushed slightly. He didn't repeat himself or clarify further.
''K then,' John had replied, and he'd gone to bed with a wide smile on his face, safe in the certain and happy knowledge that someone was watching his arse as it retreated along the hallway.
Sherlock had finished the mental filing before John had removed his trousers, which was a happy situation for all concerned.
It remained a confusing relationship for John. The initial premise was long over, and clearly both of them were clearly avoiding the subject for fear that the other would say something they didn't want to hear. Expectations were still unclear; Sherlock's expectations of John, John's expectations of Sherlock and Sherlock's expectations of himself. The way they were with each other wasn't always completely natural and easy.
It was early days, John would tell himself as he faced yet another effective dismissal from Sherlock. But at ten weeks, this was already among the three longest relationships John had ever managed to maintain. On the other hand, it was embryonic days when you considered Sherlock's move into relationships at all. So John would just have to wait until things settled. Still.
But, and this was a sanity saving 'but' as far as John was concerned, on the days that Sherlock did sleep with John, every morning, he would mumble a sleepy 'John' and would move and settle close to or on top of the good doctor, and then he'd continue sleeping.
John was relatively certain that Sherlock wasn't awake, and he had made the delightful discovery that in that time, in the half hour or so between the first short murmur and him stretching and waking, Sherlock would quite happily answer any question John might pose to him. He was also relatively certain that Sherlock had no memory of the discussions they might have when he woke up. It was like John had discovered a doorway that led directly into Sherlock's subconscious and all logic, posturing, manipulation and deceptions were stripped away. It was half an hour or thereabouts, where John could actually find out first-hand what Sherlock was feeling.
He was fairly careful with his questions. Particularly as one; 'what do you think you might be prepared to eat today?' had got John into a spot of trouble. He'd served Sherlock a fishfinger and mayonnaise sandwich on white bread, and Sherlock had looked at him shrewdly, clearly wondering how John could possibly have known.
John had taken his innocent look up a notch or two, and Sherlock had let it pass.
Since then, he'd asked more general questions.
'What's your favourite season?' 'Winter.'
'When was your first kiss?' 'Ten weeks ago.'
'Who was your first crush?' 'John.'
'Which bits of my body do you find most attractive?' 'Backside. Back. Neck. Chin. Eyes. That face you pull. Fingers. Backside. Arse. Bum.'
'Did you like that thing I did? The other night, when you were just out the bath?' Oh God, yessss.'
'Do you want me to be with you now, in your bed?' 'Yes. Always. Always yes.'
'Do you know for sure that I love you? For sure?' 'Yes John. Yes.'
John didn't ask more than one or two question at a time for fear of waking Sherlock and being rumbled, but he used the answers to soothe his nerves when Sherlock became a touch dismissive during the day.
He knew it probably wasn't the healthiest way to hold a relationship, but he wasn't yet prepared to rock any boats.
It wasn't every day. Only the days when John was feeling slightly nervous or a little playful. On other days, he'd just let Sherlock snuggle and watch him sleep while thinking of the nature of his life and the rest of the world, because some days that was enough.
Today, that was enough. John looked at where Sherlock had pressed his face against the side of his, John's, arm. Sherlock's arm was extended over John's chest, and John took the opportunity to stroke the fine hairs on it.
He tensed as there was a sudden sound. The downstairs door was unlocked and flung open, and someone, a male someone, John guessed, clattered upstairs at full pelt. The footsteps carried on down the hall and suddenly Sherlock's bedroom door was flung open. Lestrade appeared holding onto it, panting for breath.
'Oh! God!' he said. He looked mildly surprised, but didn't back out of the room.
'Er, Sherlock,' John said. He shifted and nudged Sherlock slightly.
Sherlock's breathing stopped, and his hand tightened around a handful of John's t-shirt as if to prevent him from moving. The eye that was visible past John's arm opened and glared a dagger into Lestrade's soul.
'What are you doing in my room?' he asked steadily.
John just looked at him.
'We have news,' Lestrade said. 'It's urgent. Mycroft's in the hall.'
A throat was cleared pointedly from the hallway. Sherlock's eyes closed tight. He didn't release John's t-shirt.
'Let's be grateful for small mercies,' John said quietly to him. 'At least Mycroft isn't in the bedroom.' He gave Lestrade a look, and Lestrade coloured.
'Two minutes,' Sherlock said. 'Living room.'
Lestrade nodded and backed out, closing the door behind him.
Sherlock didn't move, so John shuffled down the bed so that their faces were level. He risked kissing Sherlock softly. 'They wouldn't have come if it wasn't urgent.'
Sherlock didn't answer or move. He didn't seem to mind the kiss though, so John planted another one. 'Come on. If we're going to get up, let's get up.'
'No. Sod them,' Sherlock whispered. 'Let's stay here.'
John grinned. 'No. Come on. Up.'
Despite Sherlock's hold on him, John managed to extract himself from the bed. Sherlock groaned slightly but did get out the other side, letting the sheets fall away to reveal his nakedness. He stood and stretched, and John thought a couple of very improper thoughts before grabbing his dressing gown and going through to the bathroom.
By the time he got through to the kitchen, Sherlock had thankfully found both pajamas and dressing gown, and he was pacing in front up and down the living room. He hadn't started ranting yet, but John could recognise the signs that he was building up a nice head of steam. He stopped to turn the kettle on, thinking that some mornings weren't possible without a cup of tea.
As soon as John set foot in the living room, Sherlock started.
'We've been over this and over it, Mycroft! Anything that happens between John and I is absolutely none of your business! As for you, Lestrade, moving past the astounding position where you think it's acceptable to walk into our bedroom, know this; if anyone at Scotland Yard utters anything to John which causes him the slightest level of discomfort about… about whomever he chooses to share a bed with, then I'll hold you personally responsible and I'll…' Sherlock paced, furiously, apparently not able to think of a punishment worthy of the situation.
'Understood,' Lestrade muttered, looking slightly confused.
'Wait a sec,' John said. Sherlock stopped pacing to look at him. 'Are you under the impression that Lestrade didn't know about, well, the me and you thing until he walked into the bedroom just now?'
Sherlock looked between them both.
'Greg knew, Sherlock. He's known for weeks. Sorry. I didn't think you'd mind.'
'I just forgot, so was a bit taken aback just now. That's all. Sorry.'
Sherlock frowned at John. 'You told him?'
'Yeah, at Christmas drinks at the Yard.'
'And Molly had told me beforehand.'
'You told Molly?' Sherlock asked.
John smiled. 'No, you told Molly, remember?'
Sherlock looked positively baffled.
'Look,' Lestrade said, 'all of that aside, my force know that I truck no nonsense with homophobia at all, under any circumstances. They know there's no excuse. If there are any comments, suggestions, sniggers, anything, then let me know and the person involved will be dealt with. End of.'
'Gentlemen, if we might perhaps get on,' Mycroft said.
'Yeah, what do you want?' John asked. He went to finish making the tea.
'Moriarty,' Lestrade said.
'Moriarty?' Sherlock asked.
'He died last June, didn't he?' John called.
'Well yeah,' Lestrade said. 'That's the thing.'