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Dates of Vast Importance (1/1)


Title: Dates of Vast Importance (1/1)
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Summary: John made everything comfortable.
Disclaimer: I don’t own it.
Notes: Spoilers for The Great Game.

February 4th, 2010. 6:45 a.m. – John H. Watson sneezed

Human beings wasted over one third of their lives on sleep. Just thinking about it made Sherlock pace with agitation. How could he belong to such a ludicrous species? It had taken diligent practice, but Sherlock had managed to cut down his sleep to three hours for every forty-eight hours of consciousness.

John Watson slept just like the every other person in London. He’d start yawning at ten-thirty, and at eleven he’d retire to his bedroom. He’d sleep for seven hours, and at six-ten Sherlock could count on hearing John shuffling around in the kitchen as he made tea and toast. Sherlock stretched out on the couch, curling his toes as he listened to the displacement of John’s weight on the tiles.

The soft whisper of worn fabric told Sherlock that John was wearing the green t-shirt--- possible gift or treasured pajama top judging by the holes on the side and the frequency that John insisted on wearing it. Closing his eyes, the sound of skin against skin brought to light that John was wearing boxers, his knees and upper legs sometimes brushing against each other. Two options of shorts presented themselves in Sherlock’s mind. Red, crimson flannel undergarments, approximately three to four years old with a stretched elastic waist. Or black, newer underwear, probably a gift from a former girlfriend because of the Playboy bunny logo on the waistband. She’d most likely thought she was being clever, and when she’d given them to John there was no doubt in Sherlock’s mind that the doctor’s ears had turned a bit pink.

Sighing, Sherlock sat up and stared into the kitchen. Green t-shirt and dark red shorts. Some people (idiots) would probably question John wearing so little during the colder season. But Sherlock saw the goose bumps that speckled over John’s skin and how he’d blink sleep away rather quickly. Being cold made John more alert and more awake in a small, more efficient amount of time.

Without looking up from the toast and jam, John cleared his throat.

“Good morning.”

Sherlock unfolded himself, getting off the couch and walking into the kitchen.

“Is it?” John didn’t sigh or roll his eyes like Mummy or Mycroft would. He smiled, crooked and imperfect, sparing Sherlock a look. Sherlock eyed the kettle on the stove. “Pick the ginger tea, it will make your stomach feel better.”

A half-laugh, half-exhale fell from John’s lips, which was strange because Sherlock didn’t remember telling a joke. John looked up at the cabinets, but Sherlock was already opening them, reaching over the shorter man to bring down the proper box. John took it.

“Thanks.”

Sherlock just grunted. He moved to the refrigerator, wondering what experiment he should review that day when his phone chirped.

How is Dr. Watson settling in?

Mycroft Holmes

John hid his disgust at some of the mold experiments, but he found the eyeballs in the microwave amusing because each time he looked at them his lips would twitch upwards before he turned away. He’d have nightmares, some worse than others, and he’d only wake up from his tossing and turning every three days or so. His psychosomatic limp was gone and he’d write in his blog, but mostly he’d write about Sherlock, which was slowly irritating his therapist. In two weeks she’d make a (what she’d consider subtle) suggestion that living with Sherlock was unhealthy. John, who’d been going to his appointments less and less, would cease going after that.

Sherlock typed out “Fine” and was putting his phone away when John made a spectacular noise. It was a high-pitched squeak, like a hiccupping mouse. Everything went still, and the tips of John’s ears were pink as his shoulders were rising up centimeter by centimeter. Sherlock ran his tongue over his teeth, staring at John’s tense back.

“John?” The doctor’s ears were red. “What was that?”

“Nothing.” John turned, a bit of pink dotting his cheeks. “I just, uh, sneezed.”

Sherlock listened to the clock tick on the wall. Each time the second hand clicked closer to the twelve, John’s hand started shaking less and less. Sherlock raised his eyebrows.

“Fascinating. Do it again.”

“What?” John blinked, getting a little wrinkle between his eyebrows. “No.”

“Yes!” Sherlock rubbed his hands together. “That is the most amusing sound. It’s a wonder that your vocal chords were able to produce it. Do it again.”

John laughed, and Sherlock briefly considered chasing him around the kitchen with handfuls of ground pepper. Still, he’d recorded the date and time that day so he’d always remember John and his remarkable sneeze.

(And later, with some strategically placed pepper, John sneezed again. He’d laughed, and Sherlock felt himself smile.)

::::

March 1st, 2010. 2:35 a.m. – John H. Watson sews (more specifically, John sews my clothes)

This event was preceded by several smaller incidents that led Sherlock to wake up at two fifteen in the morning with a sudden revelation.

It started at the beginning of the week when Lestrade made a passing comment about Sherlock’s scarf. While Sherlock had been studying the body of a man (late forties, having a homosexual affair, married for fifteen years or more) Lestrade had tilted his head a bit like when his mind was stumbling to a usually incorrect conclusion.

“Your scarf looks better.”

Sherlock narrowed his eyes, still staring at the body.

“What?”

“Your scarf.” Lestrade rocked back on his heels as Sherlock peered at the man’s manicured nails. “It’s not as much of a mess.”

At the time, Sherlock filed the information away to his “Lestrade is an idiot” folder.

It happened again, however. Donovan said something about going from “Rags to riches.” Sherlock rarely paid attention to her snide, unbecoming comments. Yet, as Sherlock and John made their way out of the crime scene, Anderson snickered.

“Has John been dressing you or are you finally taking some pride in your appearance?”

Donovan stepped up behind her colleague.

“Freak.”

Just the same old drivel spilling from cretins’ mouths. However, John’s reaction varied, which got Sherlock’s attention. John usually clenched his jaw, obviously controlling his anger, and his fingers twitched when he found their remarks particularly scathing. That night, John’s ears were pink. He was embarrassed even though they were not remarking about his state of dress, so why was he embarrassed? Unless, of course, John was somehow responsible for the state of Sherlock’s clothing.

Sherlock bought his own clothes when his current forms of apparel were riddled with enough tears and holes to make Mrs. Hudson refuse to let him leave the house. John never bought clothes for Sherlock, and he certainly didn’t do anything so ridiculous like dress Sherlock.

But somehow John associated himself with Sherlock’s clothes, and it didn’t strike Sherlock until two in the morning. He leapt out of bed, moving to his closet. He shoved aside the rags of blood (a field test of the consistency and appearance of dried blood) and pulled out his shirts.

They were impeccable, in quite a good state. No. No, that was wrong. Sherlock stopped at a light, off-blue shirt. While chasing after the cabbie from the serial suicide case (or, as John put it, "A Study in Pink") he’d cut the cuff of it. He remembered the scrape of brick against skin and cloth, hard enough to tear both.

Sherlock narrowed his eyes. The sleeve was undamaged. Fixed, as if the wound had never occurred. Letting out a long exhale, Sherlock ran his fingers over the material, and he found it. Soft, almost invisible stitches made by a thin, white thread. Someone had sewn his shirt.

Interesting.

Tea. He needed tea. Sherlock tossed the shirt onto the ground and moved to open his door when a chair scraping against the outside floor stopped him. Sherlock paused, and he counted to thirty before slowly cracking the door open.

Soft lighting spilled into the darkness of Sherlock’s room. Sherlock peered though the thin window into the main room. He blinked, and sure enough, Sherlock was right.

John sat on the floor, his back to Sherlock. Sherlock’s indigo scarf and his black slacks were draped over one of the kitchen chairs. On the floor next to John were spools of thread in a variety of colors. Sherlock watched his flatmate’s shoulders rise and fall with each stitch for a few minutes as Sherlock wondered why.

Then, as John reached up for the scarf, the facts settled into Sherlock’s mind like stones in a pond. For the past few weeks, John had been sighing and groaning about bills. Pointless, endless bills. Money. He was trying to save money by making Sherlock’s clothes last longer.

Sherlock watched for a few more minutes before he went back to his laptop and recorded the new set of data.

::::

March 13th, 2010. 7:35 a.m. – John takes off my shoes when I sleep. Also, he may or may not be responsible for additional blankets on the couch.

It had been one of those long, awful strings of boring days when London seemed to be free of interesting criminals. John may be content to sit in a hospital all day (but, let’s be honest, John hated that too) but Sherlock couldn’t bear it. He needed to do something, and during those unavoidable and unpredictable series of dry spells, he did everything.

Of course, Sherlock could only do everything for so long, and it usually ended up with him drowning in unconsciousness on the couch. Sherlock wasn’t sure what time his traitorous body insisted on resting, but he had been thankful that he’d make it to the couch. Last time a tired and exasperated John Watson had shaken him awake on the kitchen floor.

During these bouts of forced sleep, Sherlock never dreamed. He seemed to hover, like he was underwater or suspended in space where gravity no longer applied to his body. He’d drift in the seas of his subconscious until something tugged him back to the shore. In this case it was fingers on his shoelaces. Sherlock let his mind he pulled from sleep’s lapping waters and back into consciousness. He cracked his eyes open just in time to see John reach for Sherlock’s other shoe.

John untied Sherlock’s shoes the same way he’d treat Sherlock’s minor injuries, with great care and precision. Sherlock closed his eyes, focusing on the gentle tug and touch of John’s fingers and then the gentle pull on his other shoe.

If Sherlock dreamed, he imagined that it would feel something like that moment; soft lighting, muted sounds, and soothing caresses. Sherlock kept his eyes closed, and he listened to John’s breath hitch when he got off of his knees. He left, but he quickly returned. Sherlock made sure his face was slack and that his breathing was the dull steady rhythm that a typical sleeping man has.

John paused, and Sherlock didn’t have to have his eyes open to know that the good (great, fantastic even) doctor was staring at him. Most people stared at Sherlock. Mycroft tried to analyze him, Lestrade tried to keep up with him, and Donovan tried to find new revolting things to harp on about. Anderson stared, but his stare was that of a lifeless corpse. Lifeless. Dull.

But John wasn’t most people. When he stared, he usually breathed out words like “brilliant,” and, “fantastic.” He’d stare like Sherlock was a genius (which he was) and not a monster (that was debatable). John didn’t praise him, he didn’t move, and Sherlock was tempted to open his eyes to see what kind of stare John was fixing him with this time. Before Sherlock could put his plan into action, John took a few steps forward and draped a blanket over Sherlock’s body.

Of course, John was thorough even in tucking Sherlock in. Sherlock tried to concentrate, but John’s fingers were terribly distracting. They smoothed out the blanket, pressing the edges along Sherlock’s side but not too tight so that Sherlock didn’t feel like a sardine. John made it comfortable.

John made everything comfortable.

It took Sherlock a few hours, but he eventually recorded the event.

::::
 
April 5th, 2010. 12:11 a.m. – John took a bullet for me.

Sherlock would be lying if he said that Moriaty’s game wasn’t the most exhilarating whirlwind of fun Sherlock had ever experienced. Puzzles, challenges all put together by a brilliant mind. A mind like Sherlock’s. He wasn’t alone in this boring world; he finally had someone to play with.

John was tired. It was tugging at his eyes, at the base of his spine, and at his shoulders. He wasn’t having fun, and Sherlock wished he could explain it to the doctor, but they simply didn’t have the time. They were too busy running and riding every pulse of adrenalin they could get their hands on. It was a spectacle, a fantastic journey. Sherlock was elated, euphoric even, and when he stepped out into the pool area he felt as though he were a god.

Then John stepped out wearing a Semtex bomb with a laser-pointed guide trained right on John’s heart… and suddenly the world wasn’t beautiful at all. Everything turned disgustingly ugly in the blink of an eye. John, tired, beautiful, loyal John was in danger. Because of Sherlock… because he was Sherlock’s first and only friend.

Moriaty wasn’t a playmate or an equal. He made Sherlock’s vision become sharpened, more focused than ever, and yet all of Sherlock’s knowledge--- it was all useless in those progression of agonizing moments. It wasn’t until Moriaty left that Sherlock let his body shake and ache as he ripped the vest off of John’s body and threw it away. He watched John, only leaving to check the exit. When he came back, John was sitting on the tiled, damp floor. The gun was a heavy weight in Sherlock’s hand, and he tried to say thank you, but he wasn’t sure what tumbled out of his mouth.

John made a funny quip, and Sherlock let out a shuddering breath. He remembered that he was going to offer John his hand to pull him up, that they would go back home, have some tea, and fall asleep in front of the telly. Only the red laser-guided points returned, and Moriaty came back--- and Sherlock shot John a quick glance, and just like that he knew.

The bomb. He was going to shoot the bomb. There was a seventy percent chance that they’d all die. There was a twenty-five perfect chance that they would acquire severe injuries that would lead to a slow but finite death. Sherlock knew that there was no other choice.

He pulled the trigger, and John’s body hit him like a wall of bricks. The fire consumed everything, and bullets went off right before they both hit the water. John, ever so loyal, had defeated the odds. Under the water everything was pleasantly silent even as the ceiling crumbled and the walls burned. It was a nice break until John’s body jerked, and Sherlock opened his eyes only to see red.

Blood. John’s blood.

John let out a bubbly scream, and they surfaced. Back into the heat. Sherlock could stand in the water, but John was having trouble. Sherlock lugged them to the shallow end. He remembered that he’d put his hand on John’s good (formerly good) shoulder that now blossomed with savage red bursts.

“Bloody hell, John--- how--- what happened?”

The building groaned, and later Sherlock would be glad that John had the good sense to push Sherlock away.

“Let’s go!” The fire and dying building didn’t enter Sherlock’s mind. All he could see was the blood from the bullet that would have hit Sherlock. If John hadn’t been there it would have gone right through Sherlock’s heart. John grabbed Sherlock’s hand and yanked him until they were both running. “Go, go go!”

::::

April 6th, 2010. 1:03 a.m. – John held my hand.

Mycroft proved he could pull his weight when it counted. Sherlock barely had time to breathe before the lights of the ambulance flickered in the dark. Sherlock ripped off his gloves and pressed his hand against the hole in John’s shoulder. John hissed but made sure to make eye contact with Sherlock.

“Thanks.” They were both soaked to the bone, and John was shivering a bit. He licked his lips, and his teeth chattered. “Are you all right, Sherlock?”

Sherlock blinked, his fingers twitching. He used his other hand to cup John’s face, peering into John’s eyes.

“You must have a concussion because no one’s that daft. For God’s sake, John, you’ve been shot.”

John let out a small laugh that was a bit too loud. Sherlock kept pressing his hand against the wound, and John’s breathing was harsh but very real. The red and blue lights swam in toward them in the distance, and John was quiet, the deep lines of his face becoming more defined. He put his hand over Sherlock’s, tangling their fingers together.

Sherlock watched his friend sway on his feet, his face a bit grey. John let out a laugh, one that was too hollow for Sherlock’s liking.

“I don’t even know where I’m going to begin with all of this on the blog.”

Sherlock felt himself returning the small smile and fought down the urge to shake some sense back into John.

“I’m sure you’ll think of something.” The ambulance came to a stop, but neither man paid it any attention. Sherlock felt his lips quirk upwards. “Do try to ease off of your romantic-adventure tendencies.”

They both laughed again, no doubt confusing the paramedics. John and Sherlock were whisked away into the back of the ambulance. John’s shirt was cut off and Sherlock got another orange blanket draped over his shoulders. The whole ride there, Sherlock’s fingers remained entwined with John’s.

::::

May 10th, 2010. 12:05 a.m. – John slept with me.

John’s stress had been building slowly. It was like watching a body decompose. Natural, time-consuming, but inevitable.

The doctor had been spending more time at the hospital and was eating less. Not that Sherlock was worried (he wasn’t) but John’s body wasn’t programmed like Sherlock’s. John needed the constant care that average human bodies required, and at the rate John was going he would crash either tonight or tomorrow. Sherlock just hoped that John made it home first; he’d hate it if the doctor caused a scene somewhere where Sherlock wasn’t there to help him. Not that Sherlock was worried (he wasn’t).

Sherlock drank fifteen cups of tea and read John’s blog, all the entries and comments, three times. Sherlock heard the door open and the stairs creak. Sherlock went to the door and swore under his breath when it was just Mrs. Hudson. Sherlock scowled and flopped down onto the couch, resting his elbows on his knees. Sherlock wasn’t… adept in the matters of emotion. Emotion was messy, unpredictable, and subjective to each individual. It was easy imitate and manipulate… but to understand, to empathize, Sherlock was out of his depth.

Closing his eyes, Sherlock thought of John. The doctor was a patient man especially when it came to Sherlock. He put up with the violin and Sherlock’s days of silence… and while John may not advertise it, he did consider Sherlock to be a friend. Friend. The world conveyed a wide variety of meanings from companion to a life partner. Friends travel, live, and laugh together, but they also could count on each other for emotional support.

That was the problem. Sherlock could make himself cry on demand, he could flirt and he could make himself even more imposing than he already was. But that was just a part of the game. It wasn’t real. John would know if Sherlock was faking it… and the mere idea of treating John like every other sod was nauseating. What was there to do?

A floorboard creaked, and Sherlock opened his eyes.

John was leaning against the door, his shirt wrinkled and half-tucked into his shacks. Sherlock stared at John, and John stared right on back. In his mind, Sherlock was running down endless possibilities and pathways. Should he try to fake empathy? Should he say something--- or nothing at all? It was strange; Sherlock didn’t know what to do. John shifted his weight forward, and soon sat next to Sherlock, collapsing like he ran out of energy to keep his body standing. John’s eyes were closed and his head was tilted back when he spoke.

“Anything good on the telly?”

Sherlock grunted.

“Trivial things, the usual programming.”

John let out a tired huff and opened his eyes.

“Sounds boring.”

“Unbelievably so.” Soft sounds from the street drifted through the walls, London’s own symphony. They sat in the dark, and Sherlock watched John adjust his posture. “How’s your shoulder?”

John knew better than to lie to him. He lied to all those who asked him, all of them except Sherlock.

“Aches a bit, but it’s getting better.” Now that Sherlock was close to John, he couldn’t smell Sarah’s perfume, and there wasn’t the subtle shadow of lipstick where she’d kiss John on the cheek. Stress and shame weighed heavily at the corners of John’s eyes. Ah… John and Sarah had broken up, and if they hadn’t they would soon. “Have you found a new case?”

“No.” John made a confused noise, and Sherlock turned, his arm resting on the back of the couch. “Why did you think I did?”

“You’ve just go that look about you--- like you’re trying to work everything out at once.” John nudged Sherlock, his crooked smile soft in the moonlight. “I’m fine, Sherlock, you don’t have to worry.”

Sherlock wrinkled his nose.

“I’m not worried.”

“Of course not,” John’s smile seeped into his voice. “Silly me.”

Most people used idle (useless) chatter to make themselves feel comfortable. Sherlock never understood what was so frightening about serene silence. But, as Sherlock could tell on the day he met John, John was not most people. John didn’t strive to fill the silence if there was nothing to be said. They sat there, and Sherlock hadn’t realized he’d fallen asleep until he was waking up hours later.

The first thing he noticed was that he could smell John’s shampoo. Sherlock blinked, and it didn’t take him long to deduce what had happened. Somewhere along the line, probably around midnight, they had fallen asleep. The body will subconsciously seek out heat and/or tactile comfort depending on the individual. John’s chin ended up on Sherlock’s shoulder, and Sherlock’s arm held him close. It all ended with Sherlock’s nose buried in John’s hair in the morning.

Instead of pulling away and waking up John, Sherlock stayed still and closed his eyes again, making a mental note to record about it later.

::::
 
June 17th, 2010. 8:47 p.m.—John got me a gift (possible souvenir)

When John said he was going to visit Harry for a few days, Sherlock had just grunted and continued to play the violin. It didn’t really occur to Sherlock what that meant until it was seven o’clock at night and Sherlock’s stomach grumbled. Sherlock put down his violin and frowned. He quickly pulled out his phone and typed out a quick text.

How long will you be gone?

SH

Sherlock had to wait five grueling minutes for John to reply.

Two days, maybe three. Why?

Biting his lip, Sherlock replied, “No reason” before getting off of the couch. If John were to ask Sherlock what he did for those fifty-seven hours, Sherlock would not be able to give his friend a coherent answer.

The first day, Sherlock went for the exhaustion factor. He found an experiment in all objects that crossed his path and stayed awake until his vision started to blur. Sherlock passed out in a haze of exhaustion, and all he knew was that he happened to land on something soft that smelled familiar.

On the second day, (in the afternoon) Sherlock came to only to realize that he was lying on top of John’s bed. Sherlock’s mind fuzzily catalogued the distinct smell of John that filled the entire room. John’s sheets were nondescript and his mattress was firm, solid, and reliable. Sherlock closed his eyes, his head throbbing. With each inhale the pain in Sherlock’s head subsided until his migraine was a distant memory.

When Sherlock opened his eyes again, he spotted a dark blue t-shirt. He grabbed it and slipped it on, telling himself that it was because the smell would keep the headaches away and that it had nothing to do with being lonely because Sherlock Holmes was never lonely. It took a few hours, but Sherlock managed to leave John’s bed, but he kept the shirt on.

The second day had been spent making pot after pot of tea while carting around his violin but never actually playing it. Sherlock was bored, a state he often found himself in, but this boredom was somehow malicious. He would make tasks for himself but would be too restless to see it through to the end.

His mind was consumed with a loud buzzing sound, and Sherlock couldn’t get it to stop. Lestrade might have texted him, but Sherlock couldn’t be bothered to answer.

Sherlock believed (just for a moment) that he was going mad.

John found Sherlock sitting in a chair, violin bow in one hand and his phone in the other. Sherlock remembered looking up to see John dripping rain onto the floor, his clothes absolutely soaked. John had two bags, the one for his clothes, and the other from--- Sherlock couldn’t be sure but he was leaning toward a bookstore.

“Bloody hell, Mrs. Hudson said it was bad but I didn’t think anything of it.”

Sherlock shrugged, getting up and shrugging.

“I’ve been excruciatingly bored, but nothing out of the ordinary.” John had that smile on his face, the one that made it impossible for Sherlock not to smile back. “How was Harry?”

“Fine.” The tightness around John’s eyes told Sherlock that she was still drinking, but not as much as before. A small improvement. John held the mysterious paper bag out to Sherlock. “I saw this and thought of you.” Sherlock took the bag out of John’s wet fingers and reached inside. Sure enough it was a book. John didn’t even take off his jacket, he just watched Sherlock’s eyes scan the cover before turning it over, reading the blurbs on the back. John cleared his throat, his shoulders rising a bit. “Paul Ekman is some bloke who can tell when people are lying through posture and little tells. I, uh, thought you might enjoy it--- maybe, I don’t know.”

No one got gifts for Sherlock. He looked up from the book and smiled before rushing off to read it. He was so engrossed in his new book that when John asked if Sherlock was wearing his shirt, Sherlock didn’t hear him.

::::

June 24th, 2010. 11:21 p.m.--- I took a bullet for John

Sherlock honestly didn’t see what all the fuss was about. John had taken a hit to his right shoulder for Sherlock, and if Sherlock wanted to simplify the situation he could point out that (in a sense) he was returning the favor. However, John had been in such a state that Sherlock had actually held his tongue on that thought.

It had been like any other case, adrenalin fueled bursts of inspiration coupled with a few of John’s quips… it was better than Christmas. Sherlock knew where the murderer would be, and he’d been confident because it was a local case in London. Sherlock knew London like the back of his hand, and with John at his side he felt like they could do anything. It was odd, to feel so euphoric because of one ordinary (though not completely ordinary) man.

The witching hours cast everything into dark shadows. John had texted Lestrade and told them where to meet them, that by the time the police got there Sherlock would have caught the murderer. Sherlock remembered that John had slipped the phone into his pocket, letting out a soft huff of breath.

“Ready?”

Sherlock snorted.

“’Course.”

Only, they hadn’t been ready. Sherlock caught a glimpse of a moving shadow behind John. He heard the click of a gun, and Sherlock reached instinctively. He shoved John down just as the crack of the gunshot echoed throughout the streets of London. John, the solider, had his pistol out and fired off two shots, bringing their murderer down. Sherlock blinked and as going to praise John for his excellent marksmanship and reflexes… only white-hot pain consumed his shoulder. He hissed, and John looked up from the gritty pavement.

John’s face turned an alarming shade of grey. He was up on his feet, pressing his hands on the wound. The pressure sent sparks of pain up and down Sherlock’s spine in a way that was almost unbearable. John’s voice shook when he had enough of his wits to speak.

“You--- you moron, why would you do that?”

Sherlock bit his lip so that he didn’t swear.

“John---”

“No.” John glared at him. “That was a stupid move, Sherlock.”

“He was going to shoot you, John.”

That got the doctor to stop talking. He just stared at Sherlock, his hands still pressed against the bullet wound. Despite the immense pain, Sherlock managed a small smile just to reassure John that it would be okay. As Sherlock’s blood dripped onto John’s fingers, Sherlock leaned down so that his forehead rested against John’s.

John made a soft, pained noise, but he leaned into Sherlock anyway.

::::

June 24th, 2010. 11:39 p.m.--- The first time I’ve seen John cry

This time it was John who got the alarmingly orange blanket draped over his shoulder. Lestrade was helpful in letting John ride with Sherlock in the ambulance.

Every bump in the road made Sherlock’s breath catch, but soon one of the paramedics gave him morphine. He blinked, and he felt… odd. He stared at his bullet wound, he could feel his hot, agitated skin around it, but he felt no pain. Sherlock raised his eyebrows, tracing the hole with his index finger.

John knocked his hand away.

“For God’s sake, Sherlock---”

He cut himself off, and Sherlock looked up because his curiosity (and genius) should not surprise John at this point. However, all words of sarcastic wit shriveled up on his tongue once he got a good look at his friend. John wasn’t looking at him, his eyes on the floor. He was gripping his knees tightly, his knuckles white and boney.

Sherlock might have been on painkillers, but that didn’t stop him from seeing the tremble in John’s shoulders and the modest, wet trails that ventured down his cheeks. Sherlock had seen plenty of people cry… but this was the first time anyone cried on his behalf. Sherlock had always brushed emotions off as ugly and annoying… but he was thinking of revising his earlier diagnosis.

There was nothing ugly or annoying about John that night. Sherlock licked his lips and reached out to put his hand over John’s knuckles. John looked up, a few more tears escaping. The ambulance went over another bump, and by the time they came back down John’s hand had settled over Sherlock’s.

::::

June 27th, 2010. 9:58 p.m.--- John kissed me (this is the first time he’s done so)

“Don’t scratch.”

John didn’t glance up from his laptop, no doubt updating his blog about their latest adventure. Sherlock drummed his fingers on his knees.

“You’re getting much better at reading body language, John.”

The bandages on Sherlock’s shoulder were dry, itchy, and positively stifling. The dull ache only served as a distraction for so long. That, and it hindered Sherlock’s movements. Stupid stitches… stupid mortality. The only positive spin on Sherlock’s injury was that he didn’t need to go back to the hospital because he had his own doctor as a flatmate.

It only took a few minutes of nonstop staring to make John sigh and put down his laptop.

“Fine.”

John dusted off his knees as Sherlock began unbuttoning his shirt, letting it fall off of him. John swiped his med-kit off of the cluttered kitchen table and handed it to Sherlock. He popped it open, taking out the usual gels and gauze as he gently began the slow and delicate process of unwrapping Sherlock’s shoulder. Sherlock watched John’s dark blue eyes narrow slightly as he got closer and closer to Sherlock’s raw skin.

“In a few years you’ll need glasses.”

John’s lips twitched, and those eyes flickered up to meet Sherlock’s.

“Do you think they’ll make me look dashing?”

Sherlock laughed despite himself.

“There is a chance.” Fresh air washed over Sherlock’s skin, and he could feel goose bumps rise on his skin. “How does it look?”

“Better.” John flushed the wound out with alcohol, an unspoken apology in his eyes when Sherlock’s jaw tightened. “You’ve got to stop scratching at it, Sherlock.”

Sherlock made a dismissive sound, his fingers tapping out random rhythms on his knee. John applied the gel with gentle fingers before replacing the bandages with fresher ones. The doctor’s cheeks were a bit pink, and his eyes rarely strayed from Sherlock’s shoulder. Keyword: rarely. It didn’t take a genius like Sherlock to read John’s eyes, breathing, and smiles. Sherlock had been noticing them sprinkled in their day-to-day interactions, but they’d only increased after Sherlock got shot.

During their first case ("A Study in Pink") when Sherlock had believed John to be asking for a sexual relationship, Sherlock had… panicked in a sense. As much as he’d liked the doctor from their first meeting, he was not interested in sex as a whole. People were so dull, predictable, and depressingly dependent on sex. But a nagging voice in Sherlock’s head reminded him that John was different. John put up with all the kitchen experiments; John would (sometimes) giggle with Sherlock while they were at a crime scene.

John wrapped Sherlock back up, lightly tapping the new bandages.

“You’re all set.”

And it wasn’t just lust. Sure, John’s pupils would dilate each time Sherlock had to take off his shirt, but that was just animalistic desire. John’s soft smiles and quiet concern had nothing to do with sexual urges. Sherlock watched John shuffle to the kitchen to make tea (ginger, John’s stomach was acting up) and Sherlock cleared his throat.

“I know you’re not homophobic, and because your sister is a lesbian you shouldn’t feel any disgust or shame about being attracted to members of the same sex.”

John turned away from the stove, surprise and faint anxiety clouding his face.

“What are you goin’ on about?”

“Your attraction to me.” John’s face went black as Sherlock answered him, and since the doctor didn’t seem to have the ability to speak, Sherlock continued. “You’re aware that things, emotional and physical, can rarely be hidden from me. I’m confused as to why you’re hesitant to acknowledge it.” Sherlock tilted his head to the side. “Are you ashamed or merely in denial?”

The flames warmed up the kettle as John’s stance straightened and evened out into a defensive pose.

“You made your position on relationships clear, Sherlock. I’m not going to---” He paused, frowning as he searched for the proper word. “I’m not going to bother you with something so… trivial.”

Sherlock smiled as John’ stumbled over his analytical words.

“People tend to be dull and monotonous, John, but you are one of the few exceptions.”

John’s eyes widened marginally, the tips of his ears turning pink.

“Uh--- I’m sorry, are you trying to say… wait a minute, what are you saying?”

Sherlock rolled his eyes.

“I’m saying you’re far from boring, John, and you shouldn’t have to feel the need to,” Sherlock waved his hand in the air, “hide yourself.”

John was quiet for a long time, his eyes drifting over Sherlock’s lips, to his shoulder, his chest, and then they finally came to rest on Sherlock’s eyes again. It was a fascinating sight to behold, all of John’s emotions battling each other. They finally settled on cautious hope.

“So… if I were to kiss you---”

“I wouldn’t be adverse to it.”

Finally, John smiled and shook his head the same way he did when Sherlock said something particularly funny. With a slight chuckle, John crossed back over to Sherlock’s chair, his eyes absolutely sparkling with delight.

“You’re unbelievable.”

Before Sherlock had time to ask if John intended that to be a compliment or an insult, John kissed him, and it was just as gentle as Sherlock had imagined it to be. He didn’t open his mouth and neither did John, it was just a quick, shy application of pressure that had John smiling wide by the time he pulled back.

Sherlock made sure that his answering smile was pressed against John’s lips as the kettle came to a boil.

::::

November 15th, 2010. 1:20 a.m.—John said he loves me

A nice night of the aquarium sounded nice in theory, but trouble always had a way of finding John and Sherlock. Not that Sherlock complained about trouble because it was wondrously entertaining, but every once and a while John would voice his complaints. That might have been one of John’s complaining nights. Things like, “Sherlock, we can’t break into an aquarium,” which was ludicrous because Sherlock was hardly deterred when it came to security systems. Or, John would try a different tactic, for example, “Sherlock, it’s probably nothing.”

Only, they both knew it was never nothing.

During the day, the main tour guide was exhibiting signs of hesitation and anxiety once she got to the shark tank. John didn’t notice (he rarely did) but the coloration of the pieces of meat was a bit off from the usual butcher shop slabs. Sherlock wanted to know what these people were feeding their animals, and that was why he broke into the aquarium in the middle of the night, John diligently following him.

The only light came from the tanks and their flashlights. They went into the large glass tube, and a manta ray drifted overhead. John looked up, his face aglow with a befuddled wonder that Sherlock hadn’t believed to be possible. John smiled, looking at all the variations of aquatic life without having to deal with bothersome patterns.

“You know… this is almost romantic.”

John’s voice echoed, and Sherlock smirked.

“Breaking and entering for a possible uncovering of a murder… people will say I’m a bad influence.”

With a soft laugh, John shrugged as they made their way into the “Employees Only” section.

“Like you care what people think.”

The most beautiful trait about John Watson was that he didn’t care either. When people stared at them when Sherlock went off on one of his tangents, John didn’t bat an eye. He just listened. After, in privacy of their home, Sherlock would show John just how much he valued that part of him, that kindness that most of humanity seemed to have lost over the years.

Sherlock slipped his flashlight into his mouth once they arrived at the door that held the shark’s food. The water was deceptively calming even though the animals it held were far from passive. Sherlock dug through his coat pockets for his lock picking equipment and turned when John cleared his throat, holding out the thin instruments.

The next series of events happened very quickly.

A soft click told them that the lock was opened. Sherlock opened the door, and a body nearly fell on top of them. The flashlight fell from Sherlock’s mouth, rolling on the ground, and John let out a strangled noise of horror and astonishment. His arms shout out, wheeling around, and the doctor slipped.

Sherlock remembered that time seemed to slow to a trickle as his mind projected images of John falling into the shark tank. The dead body landed on the ground, and Sherlock reached out and tangled his fingers in John’s knit sweater. He could feel the strain of the threads against his fingers, but Sherlock latched his other hand on John’s shoulder and pulled him into Sherlock’s arms.

Time began, and John exhaled loudly as his flashlight rolled into the water, sinking into the dark depths. John clung to Sherlock, burrowing his face into Sherlock’s shoulder, his heart pounding loudly against Sherlock’s chest. John was shaking as he drew in a deep gulp of air.

“Dear God, I love you.”

In those awful daytime shows that Sherlock watched from time to time, the word “love” was thrown around carelessly until it held no meaning. Sherlock himself had heard of the word, he just rarely used it unless he was referring to a case. And John had no doubt loved others in many ways. John loved his mother, father, sister, and former girlfriends loyally as he did with all aspects in his life. John knew the importance of the word. John wouldn’t merely toss it away like yesterday’s rubbish.

Sherlock closed his eyes and held onto John until the doctor stopped shaking. Sherlock listened to John’s steady heartbeat, each beat saying, “I’m alive, I’m here, and I’m not going away.” And now, with each beat, Sherlock could hear the little whisper of, “I love you.”

Pulling back, Sherlock kissed John lightly, his fingers tickling the little hairs on the back of John’s neck.

“I’ll call Lestrade.”

John snorted, smiling against Sherlock’s lips.

“Another long night.”

::::

January 27th, 2011. 11:59 p.m.--- I told John that I love him.

“Hello, freak.”

Donovan had on her usual lipstick covered sneer, and Sherlock held the police tape up for John.

“Good evening, Sally.”

The night hadn’t been anything more spectacular than normal. Anderson was still insufferable and Lestrade was hesitantly compliant. And then there was John. He’d come so far since “A Study in Pink,” and somehow hadn’t changed at all. The idea itself was a paradox, but Sherlock could find no other way of wording it. John moved around the crime scene with more purpose, and he knew most of the officers’ names.

Lestrade let Sherlock into the back room, and waiting for him was the body of a middle-aged man with a gun in his hand and a bullet wound in his temple. Sherlock turned to see John deflecting a snide remark from Anderson while pulling on latex gloves. John walked in, dropping to his knees beside the body.

“Dead for I’d say about two days.” John was much more sympathetic when he touched the bodies while Sherlock was purely analytical. “It wasn’t suicide, though.” Sherlock knew this already, but he felt himself smile as Lestrade rocked on his heels. John got up, brushing dust off his knees. “There are no burn marks from the gun at his temple, which would be there if he’d shot himself.”

Their breath puffed out in front of them, and Lestrade gave Sherlock a little nod and left them alone to begin their unique process. Sherlock’s brain had already been noting all the little things (laugh lines, chipped tooth, broken middle knuckle on the left hand) and John just watched Sherlock as if it were that first night. Fascinated. Riveted. Inspired.

It never ceased to amaze Sherlock that John never got tired of Sherlock’s mind. Sherlock brushed his gloved fingers against John’s.

“You know that I love you, John.”

It wasn’t a question, not really. Later, John would mention that next time Sherlock might want to hold off on romantic declarations until they weren’t in a room with a dead body on the floor. At the time, however, John smiled (a bit bashful) and nodded.

“I might have guessed.”

Sherlock could hear John’s heart, and Lestrade came back in, rubbing his faint beard.

“All right, Sherlock, what have you got?”

John pulled away, and for a moment their breaths mixed together. The tip of Sherlock’s nose was cold and he was a bit thirsty. Lestrade crossed his arms and John bit his lip like he was trying not to smile, but his rosy cheeks gave him away. It was imperfectly perfect as only life could be, and Sherlock took a breath and got ready to solve another case.

The End

Comments

( 95 comments — Leave a comment )
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tartancravat
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:04 am (UTC)
Fabulous fic. I love the image of John mending Sherlock's clothes. And of course Sherlock knows dates and times.
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I kind of fell in love with Sherlock... *sigh* Thanks for reading this, I'm so glad you liked it :)
morganstuart
Feb. 22nd, 2011 12:03 pm (UTC)
This is so beautiful. You had me at John mending Sherlock's clothing. :)
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that idea came to me early on. Thanks for reading, I'm so glad you liked it :)
jbs_teeth
Feb. 22nd, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
Consensus: John mending Sherlock's clothes is the sweetest idea ever. Their kiss as the kettle boils, also quite lovely.

I love the quiet, steady progression of the story; beautiful pacing, and beautiful writing. Wonderful work.
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
*blushes* aw, thanks so much. I just had the picture of John bent over, sewing Sherlock's clothes in the middle of the night, so I ran with it. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, thanks for reading :)
(no subject) - onepartofyou - Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:56 am (UTC) - Expand
burnt_hamster
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
Oh this was absolutely gorgeous!

You had my heart pounding over the shark tank! Absolutely my favorite moment. Well done!
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
I was a bit iffy about the shark tank, but I'm glad it worked for you :) Thanks for reading, I'm so glad you liked it :)
(Deleted comment)
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. :)
donutsweeper
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
This is all kinds of wonderful, I love how tender and sweet yet ordinary each moment is.

btw, I spotted a typo in the last section "He’d come so far sine" I think you mean since. I only point it out because those sorts of things always bug me when I miss them in my fics.
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks so much for reading :) I'm glad it worked for you. And thanks for pointing out the typo... that bugs me too :)
red_chapel
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
Wonderfully paced, a delightful build in intensity. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work!
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC)
:) Thanks so much, I'm so glad you liked it :)
mrs_sweetpeach
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
This was captivating. There's no other word for it, the story captured me and didn't let go until I got to The End. I'm saving a copy as I know I'm going to want to reread it when I'm in the mood for letter perfect Sherlock and John Watson.
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much, that's so kind of you to say. It's the first time I've written for Sherlock, I've just recently watched it, so I'm glad you enjoyed this :) Thanks for reading!
casey_bee
Feb. 22nd, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
That was lovely, so cute! :-)
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
lbmisscharlie
Feb. 22nd, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
This is so sweet! I like the way the things Sherlock records grow slowly from tiny details to major events, but all are important and interesting to him. This exchange at the end is so, so perfect for the two of them:

“You know that I love you, John.”

It wasn’t a question, not really. Later, John would mention that next time Sherlock might want to hold off on romantic declarations until they weren’t in a room with a dead body on the floor. At the time, however, John smiled (a bit bashful) and nodded.

“I might have guessed.”
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
It was really hard for me to think of a realistic way for Sherlock to actually say the words "I love you," and then it just hit me that he'd figure that John already knew. So yeah. I'm so glad this worked, thanks for reading :) I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)
chainsaw_poet97
Feb. 22nd, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. I read it when I was supposed to be working and it completely brightened up my afternoon. I think the idea of Sherlock cataloguing the dates and times is just perfect - and John's ears turning pink was the cutest thing. I saw in the comments that this is your first Sherlock fic; I can only hope they'll be more.
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
*blushes* yeah, I believe there will be a lot more. It's my newest obsession. :) I'm so glad that this worked... I was so nervous about writing it, but I'm glad it's not complete rubbish. Thanks for reading, I'm so glad you liked it :D
captainpellew
Feb. 22nd, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
Yaaaaay! Ekmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!
I love Emotions Revealed. Hate the stupid pseudoscience series Fox made from his very meticulous scientific work.

There is no part of this fic that I didn't like. Especially the squeaky sneezes. I used to have a friend who would sneeze like that. I teased her mercilessly about them. :)
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC)
Hahah, yeah, all adaptations can't be perfect. But the BBC series is just... awesome. Yay for squeaky sneezes :) Thanks for reading, I"m so glad you liked it :)
7magpies
Feb. 22nd, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
Fabulous fic! Loved the matter of fact tone throughout and, as others have commented previously, lovely image of John secretly mending Sherlock's clothes.

I'm rather intrigued by the aquarium! Were they feeding dead people to the sharks? That would be a brilliant case ... :-)

Perfect ending, too. Loved the mirror to Study in Pink!
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Endings are a mystery... so I'm glad this worked. And yeah, I was insinuating that they were feeding people to sharks... but I'm not a brilliant mystery writer so... yeah. Thanks for reading, I'm so glad you liked it :)
ourdramaqueen
Feb. 22nd, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
Awww lovely! It seems so natural how their relationship progresses. And Sherlock noting the times and dates of these moments... perfect.
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks so much, this is the first time I've written them, so I'm glad it's enjoyable. Thanks for reading!
random_nexus
Feb. 22nd, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC)
This was wonderful. I enjoyed the characterizations, the situations, and the whole fic, overall. Just delightful and smile-making.

mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much, I'm so glad you liked it :) Thanks for reading!
fragileobject
Feb. 22nd, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
It's the sweetest thing I've ever read. Sherlock is so logical and so innocent, and John is so wonderful. Thanks!
mia6363
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, I love Sherlock. He's just... amazing. Thanks so much for reading, I'm glad you liked it :)
d_kota
Feb. 22nd, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
Aw, man this is just adorable.
mia6363
Feb. 23rd, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks :) I'm glad you liked it :)
shotgunbette
Feb. 23rd, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this, great job!
mia6363
Feb. 23rd, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading, I'm glad you liked it :)
jerel
Feb. 23rd, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
I loved this so much!! I think I liked them sleeping against each other the most. Such a sweet picture.
mia6363
Feb. 23rd, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
I am such a sucker for people sleeping against each other it's not even funny. Thanks for reading, I'm so glad you liked it :D
amedia
Feb. 23rd, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
I won't lie - I was poking around looking for something quick and fun to read. Something short.

After a few paragraphs, I decided I wouldn't mind if it wasn't all that short.

After a few more paragraphs, I found myself hoping it was going to keep going.

Then I caught myself looking at the scroll bar every time there was a break in the text, trying to gauge how much more story there was and hoping there was lots ... and then I stopped looking at the scroll bar because I didn't want to stop reading.

Finally I was sad when I got to the end because there wasn't any more, and I *still* didn't want to stop reading! But I also felt happy because of the way the story built to a very satisfying conclusion.

I enjoyed this so very, very much! You have a wonderful gift for the telling detail and the small actions and reactions that add up to so very much more than the sum of their parts. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this, and I hope you write more!

mia6363
Feb. 23rd, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you so much, I'm so glad you enjoyed this so much. I'll admit, I was a bit nervous because I've never written for Sherlock before... and I'm so glad that its seemed to have worked out. I'm so glad that you liked it, and I'm sure that I'll be writing more soon :) :) Thanks again!
phoenixgfawkes
Feb. 23rd, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
This is so sweet while remaining in character.
mia6363
Feb. 23rd, 2011 03:18 am (UTC)
Keeping characters in character is a huge deal for me, so I'm glad I was successful. Thanks for reading, I'm so glad you liked it :)
tattoo_kink
Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:42 am (UTC)
Beautiful.

I loved the slow building of this fic. Their voices were spot on and I really enjoyed every single word.

Nicely done.

*mems*
mia6363
Feb. 23rd, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much :) Thanks for reading, I'm glad you liked it :)
ningen_demonai
Feb. 23rd, 2011 09:27 am (UTC)
Simply amazing. ♥
mia6363
Feb. 23rd, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
cloudtrader
Feb. 23rd, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
This was stunningly gorgeous. This is exactly how I think Sherlock should be written. Simply lovely!
mia6363
Feb. 24th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much, I'm so glad that you liked it :) Thanks for reading!
darthhellokitty
Feb. 23rd, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
This is lovely, adorable, and romantic!
mia6363
Feb. 24th, 2011 01:48 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks so much, I'm so glad you liked it :)
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