Just a little bit of G-rated Johnlock fluff for a little bit of fun.
Timeline: Undefined, perhaps season two, pre-Reichenbach
"What does it matter whether or not I wear one? It's never bothered anyone before."
Sherlock stood impatiently by the door, coat and scarf already on, staring down John who was fashioning his tie in the mirror situated over the fireplace of 221B. John met Sherlock's reflected stare in the mirror.
"It's one dinner, Sherlock. I think you can manage a couple hours wearing a tie."
Sherlock made a low sound of disapproval and fidgeted about, as if the very thought of wearing a tie made him uncomfortable. John finished folding his own tie and straightened it, giving a subtle nod of satisfaction to his reflection before turning to his friend.
"More than that, the restaurant requires it." John continued over Sherlock's petulant retort. "And remember it's for Mrs. Hudson's birthday. It would make her happy to see you wear it. Think of it as your gift to her."
"The bloody thing was her Valentine's Day gift to me. Valentine's Day, John. A so-called holiday not worth noting, much less any gift given or received in its name. That was three years ago, she likely won't even remember giving it to me."
John noted that despite its apparent insignificance, Sherlock had in-fact kept the tie, making it the only one he actually owned, but he kept it to himself.
"She remembers. Trust me on that."
"I don't. wear. ties," Sherlock said pointedly.
"Well tonight you do," John insisted as he went to retrieve the tie in question where it lay draped across the back of one of the chairs situated at the paper-strewn table. It was a tasteful black tie with dark grey horizontal ribbing on it: a nice compliment to Sherlock's white collared dress shirt and jet black suit.
John held up the item and planted his feet where he stood. It took a few moments, but Sherlock finally stalked across the room, aggressively shrugging out of his coat and sliding off his scarf as he went. After depositing both items on the table, he snatched the tie from John and strode over to the fireplace. Sherlock made a show of turning up his collar and tossing the tie around his neck, all the while his sharp eyes regarded John defiantly through the mirror. John smiled cheekily in return and began to flip through an open newspaper on the table while he waited.
Half a minute or so passed, filled only with the sound of paper being leafed through, fabric brushing against fabric, and the occasional sigh from over by the fireplace.
"Ridiculous," Sherlock mumbled. "Requiring patrons to dress a certain way in order to dine at your pretentious establishment."
John closed the newspaper with a strong hand.
"Yes, alright. Just be quick about it, we'll need to be going soon." Upon turning, he found Sherlock aggressively trying to fold the tie into submission. The fabric was creased as evidence of multiple attempts to fashion it, but the best Sherlock had managed was a lopsided twist of wrinkled silk.
"You can do up a tie, can't you?"
Sherlock's long, usually nimble fingers stilled from their fussing at the garment and he rolled his eyes.
"I'd never found the need to try." Sherlock's tone was biting, but John could see the frustration on his face; and perhaps just a tad of embarrassment. John was already moving across the room.
"Here, let me." A light touch to the shoulder prompted Sherlock to spin on his heel and face him. John undid the loose knot and adjusted the tie around Sherlock's neck before flipping his collar down over it.
"It's quite easy," he narrated absently as he worked. "Cross the one side over the other, bring it up and over...and around and over again..." John trailed off as he pulled the fat end of the tie through the loop made by the fabric. He glanced up after a moment, and startled to find Sherlock looking down at him with those cool, disarming eyes. It was characteristic of Sherlock to stare at and observe objects and people alike, John knew this perfectly well, but even so the habit suddenly sent his heart into his throat. He had become more aware of his hands where they brushed lightly against the front of Sherlock's shirt, the sound and rhythm of Sherlock's breathing, and how close the two of them were standing.
With a blink, John turned his focus back down to the task of tying. He adjusted the fabric one more time before sliding the knot of the tie up to nestle at Sherlock's throat.
"Yes, that..." He cleared his throat quietly and backed up a few paces. "That's all there is to it."
Sherlock's fingers brushed over the knot of the tie and he turned to examine himself in the mirror. John meant to take the moment to compose himself, but already Sherlock was looking at him again.
"Why isn't it like yours?" Sherlock inquired. John's brow furrowed and his hand went instinctively up to his own tie. He quickly recalled that for himself he had tied a double windsor knot, while for Sherlock he'd done a half windsor; of course the consulting detective would notice the difference.
Sherlock looked between his own reflection and John once more.
"Yours is better," he determined and turned expectantly to John. "If you wouldn't mind. And since you're the one insisting that I wear this noose."
John's hands clenched and unclenched compulsively where they hung at his sides and for a moment he didn't move.
"Fine," he said coolly, managing a small smile before walking back to Sherlock. He began to loosen the tie again, his fingers clumsy but unshaking, his eyes focused determinedly on undoing the knot and nothing else.
"John?" John could feel the rumble of Sherlock's voice against his hands.
"What?" he answered evenly.
"John..." Sherlock's voice was insistent, yet gentle. Inquisitive. Knowing.
John stilled. His eyes closed for a moment, defeated. No one could have overlooked his sudden awkwardness or change in demeanor, least of all Sherlock Holmes.
"Sod it." John wrapped his fingers around the tie and pulled, bringing Sherlock's mouth down to his own. He breathed in a slow steady breath, taking in the smell of Sherlock's skin, savoring the taste of his lips and the warmth of his mouth. Their lips parted momentarily and joined once more before John slowly pulled away, his heels lowering back down to the ground.
The tie remained grasped loosely in John's fingers as the two friends stood regarding each other. Surprise, shock, intrigue, confusion: Sherlock's expression was hard to read, but John waited and remained silent. Enough had been said on his own part for the moment, even if he didn't in-fact say anything.
"John, you..." Sherlock began, but paused, his eyes lingering on John's mouth as he pulled in a deep breath. "You said-"
"I know," John interjected, his hands dropping to his sides. "I am-" He gave his head a shake and quickly reiterated. "I mean I always have been. Sherlock. All my life. This is..." John's hands gestured vaguely between them, scrabbling for words. He stilled finally, and let out a loaded breath. "This is...something new."
A mingled expression of relief, hope, and apprehension overtook John's face, his eyebrows arching a little in anticipation. Sherlock simply continued to regard him, saying nothing but seeming to be studying and taking in every aspect of his face. After a few moments, he shifted his weight forward, bowing his body in a little closer toward his companion's. When Sherlock's eyes finally swept back up and held on John's, a small smile turned up the corners of his mouth. Something stirred in the keen blue irises: a certain light and warmth that Sherlock seemed to reserve especially for when looking at John.
"Something new," Sherlock affirmed softly. An answering smile spread across John's face and he couldn't help the light chuckle that tumbled from his lips.
A knock sounded at the door across the room, accompanied immediately by Mrs. Hudson's customary sound of announcing her arrival.
"Boys? It's nearly seven, the taxi will be here soon-" She stopped just inside the flat when she found John and Sherlock standing by the fireplace.
"Don't you two look lovely." A wide, affectionate smile lit up her kindly face. "And Sherlock, you're wearing the tie I got you. I knew you'd warm to it," she said with a wink. "Come on now. I'll just get my coat. And you two had best be downstairs by the time I'm wearing it." She closed the door behind her as she left, her heels echoing through the stairwell as she descended to the floor below.
Sherlock turned to the mirror and slid the knot in his tie back up.
"Guess you're stuck wearing it like that," John said with a smirk. Sherlock responded with a low Mmmmm and fastened the button on his jacket. Turning from the mirror, he fixed John with a lingering look before moving across the room to retrieve his coat and scarf.
"You treating at dinner?" John inquired as he removed his own coat from the rack beside the door.
Sherlock's mouth quirked up at one corner as he pulled his long trench coat up over his shoulders.
"Ten quid in addition to the cost of dinner says I can accurately predict what you'll order."
John nodded thoughtfully as he buttoned up his coat. "And if I'm able to guess what you order?"
Sherlock fastened his scarf around his neck with a flourish. "I'm not actually hungry."
John grinned. "Looks like dinner's on you then."
Sherlock said nothing, but he looked pleased as he walked over to the door and threw it open. He paused, allowing John to go out first before following and closing the door behind them both.