[identity profile] zoicite.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] z_fic
Title: The Reluctant Relationship
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Pairing: John Watson/Sherlock Holmes
Word Count: 11,600 words
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Takes place before 2x03
Summary: It happened so often that most of the time John didn’t even bother to protest anymore. So the entire world thought that he and Sherlock were - well, whatever. It was fine. It was really fine.


The Reluctant Relationship

Are you jealous?” Irene Adler asked him, her eyebrows raised as she typed into her mobile.
“We’re not a couple,” John said, stumbled, really, his brow furrowed.
“Yes, you are,” Irene countered. She wasn’t even looking at him. Finally, she finished her typing.
“There,” she said, and held up the phone. “’I’m not dead. Let’s have dinner.’” John looked away as she hit send.
“Who - who the hell knows about Sherlock Holmes, but for the record, if anyone out there still cares, I’m not actually gay.”
“Well, I am,” Irene returned. “Look at us both.”


**

It wasn't the first time. It wasn't even the tenth time. It happened so often that most of the time John didn’t even bother to protest anymore. So the entire world thought that he and Sherlock were - well, whatever. It was fine. It was really fine.

It was fine right up until it started messing up his actual attempts at relationships anyway. And then it was just irritating. Exasperating and wrong.

After Jeanette broke up with him, John actively denied it for a time, made a point to say that no, it wasn’t that. Sherlock was his friend. His best friend. His flat mate, but no more.

Most of the time he felt like he was speaking in a vacuum.

Sherlock was no help. Maybe if Sherlock wasn’t so - so, well, Sherlock. Maybe then things would be different. But John couldn’t figure Sherlock out. Not when it came to relationships. Not when it came to sexuality. And if John couldn’t figure Sherlock out, if he’d given up a year ago, he had no idea how anyone else was supposed to get a handle on the whole thing.

He’d started online dating shortly after things fell apart with Sarah. Sherlock had made fun of his profile, which was uncalled for, but expected. Despite what Sherlock might think, John was intelligent. Not brilliant, certainly, but smart. At least by the majority’s standards. It just wasn’t worth the fight. Then when John wasn’t home, Sherlock made some debatable edits regarding John’s character, but regardless, it was going well. It was how John had met Jeannette. It was how he met Beth.

Beth was a pediatrician. She was bright and funny and kind. There was only one problem. And unfortunately it turned out to be a big one.

Beth felt particularly uncomfortable around Sherlock Holmes. She said she couldn’t read him. He’s so strange, she said again and again. There’s something ‘Off‘. She always said it as though the word was capitalized. Off.

“Don’t you think there’s something just a bit Off about him?” Beth asked.

“Yes,” John had agreed. “But you get used to it. You get used to him.”

The questions continued. Have you been friends long? Are you sure you know him well? Will he always be around? When are you thinking you might move out on your own?

And then toward the end it was, “Is he secretly in love with you?”

John’s mobile sounded. He pulled it from his pocket. Sherlock: “Come home quickly. Important.”

John sighed.

“That’s him, isn’t it,” Beth guessed. She pushed her dark hair from her face and tucked it behind her ear. She was frowning.

“Yes,” John said. “Yes, it’s him.”

Beth looked down. “I suppose you have to go?”

“No,” John said and shook his head. There wasn‘t a case. Sherlock had nothing important going on. It wasn‘t actually important no matter what Sherlock would have him believe. “No, I don‘t have to go.”

Beth smiled. “Yes, you do,” she said. “He‘ll keep texting. He always does.”

John received another text. He didn’t read it, held the phone tightly in his hand. Beth laughed though it was clear that she didn’t find it all that funny. She turned away.

“Is that what’s going on here then? He‘s secretly in love with you?”

“Well, if I knew the answer to that then it wouldn’t be much of a secret, would it?” John replied, weary.

It was a mistake. The wrong response. He should have known the questions that would come next. “What does that mean?“ and “Are you in love with him too?“ And then shortly after that came the threat of an ultimatum. And when John said the wrong thing again, this time she pushed him out of her flat and slammed the door in his face.

So much for bright and funny and kind. Sherlock did that to people. Sometimes John wondered if Sherlock had done that to him.

Anyway, that was that. Girlfriend number five.

**

John took his time walking back to Baker Street. Beth’s flat wasn’t close. Normally, John would take a cab, but he needed the air. He was feeling stubborn. He needed to think.

Beth or Sherlock. That had been the choice. The pediatrician who cooked him dinner, who smiled at him, whose kisses warmed his heart. A kind and caring woman, or…Sherlock Holmes.

Sometimes John wondered why he put up with it at all, why he stayed. He thought of the girlfriends he’d ruined things with since he moved in with Sherlock, he thought of the life threatening situations, and he wondered what he was doing with his life. What did he plan to do with his life? Sidekick to Sherlock Holmes? Sometimes guinea pig? The assumed lover?

He trudged up the stairs, ignored Mrs. Hudson’s call of greeting. The lights were off in the sitting room, but the fire was going and the flat wasn’t empty. Sherlock was hunched over at the desk, typing, his face lit by the glow of the computer screen. He’d probably been sitting there for hours, since before the sun went down. He didn’t acknowledge John’s return.

John removed his coat. He threw it over the back of his chair, leaned on it, waited. When Sherlock continued what he was doing, John said, “Well?”

“I need your hands,” Sherlock said.

“My -” John started and then turned away. Of course. His hands. Sherlock had done nothing but go on about hands for weeks.

“Yes,” Sherlock repeated. “Your hands.”

“You know what my hands look like,” John said.

“I need to see them again,” Sherlock said. He waved John closer.

John sighed and stepped forward, held out his hand for Sherlock. Sherlock took John‘s hand in his, the pressure of his fingers firm on John’s palm. He looked at it for less than a full second, and then released John.

“The other,” Sherlock said.

John held up his other hand. Sherlock glanced at it and then turned back to the computer.

John sighed. “This has to stop.”

Sherlock made a face, but didn‘t turn away from his work again. He waved a hand in dismissal. “I’m going to purchase a new one, I just haven‘t - “

“No,“ John said. He shook his head. “Not that.“

Sherlock had broken his laptop. He’d thrown it across the flat and it was currently sitting in dissected pieces on the kitchen table. Of course, Sherlock was lost without a computer, so he was using John’s. Without asking. Again.

Sherlock looked up now, turned to look at John. After a moment, Sherlock said, “Oh. Well, that was inevitable, wasn‘t it?”

“Inevitable,” John repeated. He was starting to fume a bit. He’d liked Beth. Except for the bits where she’d clashed with Sherlock, John had really thought Beth might be good for him. If she had just given Sherlock a chance. If he’d just given her a chance.

John grabbed his coat from the chair and started pulling it back on.

“Where are you going?” Sherlock asked.

“Nowhere particular,” John said, his words clipped. “Out. I don’t know. Just a stroll perhaps.”

Sherlock was eyeing him, trying to work out if it was a lie. Sometimes 221B felt like it was closing in around John, suffocating him and he just needed to get out, to get away from it all and clear his head.

“I’ll come with you,” Sherlock said and stood from his seat.

“Oh.”

Sherlock, of course, caught the tone and sat back down immediately. “Actually, I have a lot to do here,” Sherlock said.

He didn’t. That was part of the problem. That was why he was occupying himself with hands of all things.

“Come with me,” John offered with a sigh. After all, if he left now, Sherlock would surely follow anyway, suspicions raised. And if Sherlock was offering to come, that must mean that John looked pretty terrible, terrible enough that Sherlock was concerned. It was rare, that Sherlock was concerned about him. About anyone, really. Of course, Sherlock knew that John had just walked home. Stupid to suggest he was going for a stroll having just walked across half of London. Who did John think he was fooling?

“We’ll go down to the pub for a drink,” John suggested.

“I’m not thirsty,” Sherlock said. He gestured toward the computer.

“I didn’t - I’m not inviting you to the pub for a drink because I’m thirsty.”

Sherlock shut John’s laptop and stood. “I know that,” he said. He reached for his coat. Invitation accepted.

**

They didn’t talk as they walked the short distance to Harvey’s Pub. John was still upset. He blamed Sherlock, just a bit, and he thought he could really use an evening alone, but then, it wasn’t often that they did this. Went out for a drink together. It wasn’t often at all. And when they did, for just a few moments, this friendship with Sherlock felt so ordinary, so normal, that John couldn’t turn down that reassurance. He needed this.

He needed it to show that Sherlock Holmes actually was his best friend. He needed to prove to himself that this life they’d created actually was worth the sacrifices. Fuming around the streets of London on his own wasn’t going to solve anything. A drink with Sherlock - well, it might go terribly wrong, but it might also be exactly the reassurance that John so desperately needed.

An attractive young woman was working the bar tonight and John smiled at her as they ordered their pints and then retreated to a table in a corner of the pub. It was a week night and it wasn’t crowded. John wasn’t sure if Harvey’s Pub was ever crowded, to be honest. It seemed a bit past its prime.

“You’re upset,” Sherlock said after a moment. It was a surprising observation from Sherlock. Usually he didn’t bother with things like feelings.

“Yes,” John said. “Yes, I’m upset. My girlfriend just broke up with me.”

Sherlock looked down into his ale. “Jeanette -”

“Beth,” John interrupted, shortly. “Jeanette broke up with me months ago. This time it was Beth.”

Sherlock frowned. “Beth. Right.”

“This has to stop,” John said again.

“The online dating,” Sherlock nodded, knowingly.

“No,” John hissed. He leaned across the table and pointed a finger toward Sherlock. “You. You’re ruining my relationships.”

“I’m ruining your relationships,” Sherlock scoffed. “How?”

“You’re polarizing.”

“Ah. Beth didn’t like me,” Sherlock guessed.

“I don’t know why,” John said. “She spends all of her time around children and you’re just an adult sized one.”

Sherlock sniffed and didn’t respond.

“I’m sorry,” John sighed. He sat back against the bench. “I didn’t invite you here to abuse you. I‘m just upset.” He sipped his ale and then said, “What did you mean back at the flat? It was inevitable, you said.”

“Nothing,” Sherlock said. “I meant - I was talking about my blog.”

“No, you weren’t,” John pressed.

“I’ve been working on a new one,” Sherlock continued. “I was compiling it when you arrived.”

“About?” It was a stupid question. One to which he already knew the answer, but Sherlock planned to tell him regardless, so John might as well ask.

“It details my experience in determining a person’s trade based on the form of their hands. It’s unfinished, but you’re welcome to read it if you‘re interested.”

“What was inevitable about it?” John asked again. He wasn’t an idiot. He knew that Sherlock was lying to him. Oh, not about the blog. Sherlock had been building to this, having Molly Hooper show him the hands of every body brought into the morgue at St. Bart’s, testing himself, guessing their occupation and then having Molly confirm for him from her records. The blog wasn’t a lie. But it wasn’t what Sherlock had meant. Sherlock had meant that John and Beth breaking up had been inevitable.

“It is inevitable,” Sherlock said. “That my blog on determining a person’s trade based on the form of their hands - most useful when solving cases involving unclaimed bodies - will receive far fewer hits than your inane blog detailing our adventures and distorting them into some fantastical entertainment.”

John couldn’t help it. He smiled. The fact that Sherlock had just insulted his own work in an attempt to spare John’s feeling was exactly the sort of reassurance John was looking for in inviting Sherlock to the pub. It didn’t change the fact that Sherlock did think that Beth breaking up with John was inevitable, but it was something. It was a sacrifice, a small one, but for once it hadn’t come from John.

“Yes,” John agreed. “That is indeed inevitable.”

**

Back at the flat, John stretched out on the sofa. Sherlock was talking about hands again and John couldn‘t bring himself to keep listening. He grunted in the appropriate places and knew that down the road Sherlock would mention some of this again and then look at John in disbelief when John didn‘t remember every detail, but John didn‘t care. The events of the night, the exertion of the walk and the dullness of the ale had tired him out, and as Sherlock pulled out his violin, John closed his eyes.

John expected Sherlock to play something harsh, something loud and raucous in retaliation for John falling asleep as Sherlock spoke. He was surprised when the sounds that emitted from the violin were mellow, sad. Something Sherlock had composed himself. John had heard the music before, but not often, and not in some time.

A requiem for Beth, John thought. A good bye. He closed his eyes and tried to picture her smiling at him, but he soon found that he had a hard time forming the features of her face. He’d made his choice, again, and all he could see was Sherlock Holmes.

**

“There’s another bedroom upstairs,” the landlady, Mrs. Hudson, explained during that first meeting. “If you’d be needing two bedrooms.”
John frowned, confused. “Of course we’ll be needing two.”
Mrs. Hudson shook her head. “oh, don’t worry dear, there’s all sorts round here. Mrs. Turner next door’s got -” and this part she whispered - “married ones.”
John turned to Sherlock, suddenly began to wonder if -
“Sherlock,” Mrs. Hudson tsked, interrupting John’s thoughts once she’d had a glimpse at the state of the kitchen. “The mess you’ve made.”


**

Walking into The Cross Keys with Sherlock, asking for the room, it felt strangely like a couples holiday already, so when the innkeeper assumed that - well, it was to be expected, but it was also the last straw. He ordered a drink, got the information and the keys, called Henry Knight, and then met Sherlock outside just in time to be pulled into an acting gig to con the local tour guide. Information obtained, Sherlock stood, and John rushed to gulp down the rest of his stout before following.

They retrieved their luggage from the car and John led Sherlock to their room.

“They only had doubles,” John said. “Apologies from the owner.”

“Yes,” Sherlock said. “I heard.”

“You did,” John said. “So you know - they thought we were together.”

Sherlock dropped his bag in a corner of the room and then pushed aside the curtains, peered out.

“Well?” John asked from beside the other bed.

Sherlock turned back to John. “Well, are they wrong?” he asked. “We live together. We arrived here together. We booked a room together.”

“No,” John said, slowly. “They thought we were together. He called you mine.”

Sherlock shrugged and turned back toward the window.

“You don’t care?” John asked. “It doesn’t bother you? Not even a little?”

“Does it matter?”

John sighed. “I don’t know.”

But the truth was that yes, yes, it did matter. It mattered when you wanted to date women. It mattered when three of the women you’d met via your online dating profile had dumped you after determining that you were more in love with your male flat mate - or he was more in love with you - than you were with them. Depending on what he was trying to achieve, it did matter to John how he was perceived.

No, it didn’t matter that the innkeepers thought that John and Sherlock were together. But it mattered that Jeannette thought that John was a better boyfriend to Sherlock than he was to her. It mattered that Beth asked if Sherlock was in love with him and then forced John to choose. Those things mattered.

“Do people assume - do people talk to you of me as though we’re - “

“Rarely,” Sherlock said, butting in. He crossed the room, flipped through the contents of the tea and coffee tray, peered into the bathroom, and then paced back again. He hadn‘t removed his coat. John took that as a cue to keep his on as well.

“Why do you think that is?” John asked.

“Obvious,” Sherlock said. “I don‘t invite personal questions.”

“I don‘t invite personal questions,” John countered. He sat down on the edge of one of the beds.

Sherlock screwed up his face at the apparent ridiculousness of John’s statement. He gestured to John and John looked down at himself, confused.

“You’re warm,” Sherlock said. “You’re human. It’s the haircut, the height. Your nose. You’re welcoming. People will talk to you differently than they would another stranger on the street. It’s human nature.”

“So they’re afraid to ask you if you’re gay because you’re tall and you frown a lot,” John concluded.

“You asked me if I was gay,” Sherlock pointed out.

He hadn’t. Not in those words, but close enough.

“Yes,” John agreed. “Well. You didn‘t answer me.”

John raised his eyebrows and waited, but Sherlock had already moved on.

“Guess you’re not answering me now either,“ John muttered.

Sherlock picked up the car keys from the bed and then moved toward the door. John stood instinctively, started to follow, and they were outside again before he asked.

“Where are we going?”

“Baskerville,” was Sherlock’s response.

**

“Didn’t you know? Don’t you read the blog? Sherlock Holmes.” Franklin was leaning in close as he spoke.
“It’s -” John started, ready to explain.
“Sherlock who?” Dr. Mortimer asked. She looked to John for an explanation, but it was Franklin who jumped in to provide one.
“Private detective. This is his PA.” Franklin slapped John’s back jovially.
“PA?” John blinked and looked up at Franklin.
“Well. Live-in PA.”
John looked down at the table, nodded. He should expect it by now, shouldn‘t he? “Perfect.”
“Live-in,” Dr. Mortimer said. She said it slowly as she started to put together the picture that Franklin had just painted for her. Live-in PA. Just Marvelous.


**

“Live-in PA,” John said, coming down the stairs to find Sherlock set up at the table in the kitchen. “Live-in PA.”

“Mm,” Sherlock said. He was hunched over the microscope he’d borrowed from St. Bart’s. “Hand me that syringe.”

John stopped pacing and looked around at the mess that covered the counter and the table. Bottles, books, the pieces of Sherlock’s computer, and John’s laptop, in tact and open beside Sherlock.

“Syringe,“ John repeated as he scanned the table until he found the syringe in question. He reached for it and then realized what he was doing and looked up. “Are you trying to be funny?”

“Who called you my PA?” Sherlock asked. His hand was out for the syringe, his eyes still glued to the microscope.

“Bob Franklin,” John said. “The - from Baskerville. The Hound and - not just PA, Sherlock. Live-in PA. You know what that means.”

“That you live here and you’re my PA, I suppose,” Sherlock said.

He was just playing with John now. Mocking.

“Right,” John said. He picked up the bloody syringe and thrust it across the table toward Sherlock. Sherlock pulled back at the sudden movement, then raised his eyebrows at John before taking the syringe.

“It’s been two weeks since we returned from Dartmoor and Bob Franklin is dead.”

“No,” John said and shook his head. “I’m not. All right, yes, I’m dwelling, but is that how it seems? Like I’m a live-in PA, emphasis on live-in?”

“You live here and you assist me,” Sherlock pointed out. He was thoroughly bored with this conversation, busy with whatever he had in front of his microscope. John sighed. He took his laptop from the table and then retreated to the sitting room before Sherlock became frustrated and accused John of not allowing him to think. He sat down in his chair.

“It’s your blog,“ Sherlock said.

“What?” John asked. He glanced at the laptop and saw that Sherlock had a page open to his blog. John hadn’t written up Baskerville yet. He hadn’t had a chance.

“Bob Franklin wouldn’t have thought anything of you if he hadn’t read your blog,” Sherlock explained.

Ah, John thought. So it was John’s fault that everyone thought he and Sherlock were a couple. It was John’s blog that was to blame. Never mind that it had started before John had written a word about Sherlock in the blog. It had started right away, that very first night. It was Sherlock, John thought. No one had assumed anything about John until he began spending time with Sherlock Holmes. And anyway -

“Henry Knight wouldn’t have come to you with his brilliant case if he hadn’t read my blog,” John countered.

John couldn’t see Sherlock, but he could almost hear the smile.

“Touché,” Sherlock said after a moment.

**

Sherlock was still hunched over his microscope when John pulled on his jacket and left the flat. He informed Sherlock that he was leaving, but Sherlock hadn’t responded, though John repeated himself twice.

“Well,” John mumbled. “Have fun having conversations with the empty room once I‘ve gone.”

Sherlock still didn’t respond and so John left him to his work. He was intending to pick up some groceries, the refrigerator was nearly empty of all things edible, and after stopping downstairs to inquire if Mrs. Hudson needed anything, John was on his way.

The evening was damp, but the temperature was comfortable and John walked slowly, took his time. As he passed Harvey’s Pub he glanced in the window and caught the eye of the pretty barmaid, the same one who’d been working that night weeks earlier when John had stopped in for a drink with Sherlock.

The barmaid smiled at him through the window, smiled as though she remembered him from those brief moments a month ago. John had barely interacted with her that night. Beth had just broken up with him. He’d been upset with Sherlock. He hadn’t had the time. But she smiled at John as though she remembered and John thought well, why not? He pushed into the pub.

“Welcome back,” she said as he approached the bar.

“You have a good memory,” John noted.

“Oh, I never forget a pretty face,” she laughed. It was a joke, confirmed by the accompanying wink, but it didn’t matter. John was charmed.

“Listen,” he said. “I’m just going to go - “ he gestured toward the washroom in the back. “I’ll be - I’ll be right back.”

She nodded and grinned at him again. John left his coat on a stool, a promise that he planned to return. He used the toilet and then washed his face, checked his hair in the mirror. The barmaid was too young for him, probably about ten years too young, but she was friendly and the way she’d smiled, well, it was certainly worth a shot

When John emerged back into the pub, Sherlock was standing at the bar, his coat pulled tight, collar up. John cursed under his breath.

“Do you want to order a drink while you wait for your partner to return from the loo?” the barmaid was asking as John approached. “Oh, here he is. Nevermind then, what’ll it be?”

John smiled at her, then turned to Sherlock. “You followed me,” he said.

Sherlock opened his mouth as though to answer John, to defend himself, but then turned to the barmaid and ordered two lagers instead. Drink in hand, John grabbed his coat from the stool, smiled apologetically, and then followed Sherlock to the same corner booth he’d chosen a month ago.

“You have to stop following me,” John said when they were sitting down.

“You left without saying goodbye,” Sherlock said. He was sitting against the wall and he scanned the bar, didn’t even look John in the eye as he continued. “I was worried.”

“I - “ John started, his eyebrows raised in disbelief. Sometimes Sherlock sounded disturbingly like his brother. “Are you - you know what, never mind.”

He glanced over at the barmaid again. She was busy now, mixing drinks for a couple at the end of the bar. John waited a moment for Sherlock to say something else and when he didn’t, John said, “You said no one brought it up around you.”

“Yes?”

“So, she just brought it up,” John said. “’Do you want to order a drink or wait until your partner returns from the loo.’”

“Partner can mean any number of things,” Sherlock said. “Professionally you are my partner.”

John rolled his eyes and when the bartender passed to wipe off a table that had just cleared, John waved her over.

“What would you say that my relationship is with this man?” John asked and gestured to Sherlock. Sherlock signed heavily across from him.

The bartender looked surprised, then confused, then wary.

“It’s okay,” John said. “You can say it.”

“I thought you were his boyfriend,” she admitted.

“Thank you,” John said and then turned to Sherlock. “Do you see?”

“She’s a writer,” Sherlock said once she‘d gone.

“What?”

“The calluses on her fingers,” Sherlock said. “She writes. But not like most people would these days, not on a computer. She still uses paper. Most likely she finds it romantic.”

“Thrilling,” John said.

“Why is this upsetting to you?” Sherlock asked, circling back to acknowledge that John had spoken. He was looking at John now, finally, studying him. “Why does it matter what the bartender at Harvey’s Pub thinks of us?”

“Because it isn’t just the barmaid at Harvey’s Pub,” John said, pressing his fingers to the table to emphasize his point. “It’s everyone. It‘s people who don‘t know us. It‘s people who do know us. Do you know what Lestrade asked me last week?”

“Yes,” Sherlock said. “I heard.“

“Of course, you did,” John mumbled. “The point is - it’s my girlfriends, Sherlock. It’s everyone.”

“That’s because they aren’t living with your denial. They see us as a couple because, whether we want to admit it or not, we are a couple.”

“Don’t you think that in this - what?”

“Everyone sees it except for you because you are the only one who is trying not to see it,” Sherlock said in an agitated rush. “We are together. We are a couple. For once they are using their minds to observe something and they are not wrong.”

Sherlock would go on, John knew. If John said anything, Sherlock would go on. The evidence would be laid out. The conversation would become loud. The turn of John’s shirt collar would become obvious and conclusive evidence that John and Sherlock were undeniably ‘an item.‘ People would stare. And so John did the only appropriate thing that he could do in the moment. He took a sip from his pint.

“Okay,” he said. He stared down at the table. “Okay.”

They fell into silence after that, sitting across from each other, nursing their drinks.

Several times Sherlock looked like he wanted to say something and then changed his mind and shut his mouth once more. John didn’t know what to say, so finally he said, “I promised Mrs. Hudson I’d bring her bread and eggs when I returned.”

**

Out on the pavement John found his voice again and he turned to Sherlock and said, “Did you down a couple of shots while I was in the loo? Is that what that was?”

“No,” Sherlock said, his response measured and confused, unable to imagine why John might even think such a thing. “I’m sorry if I’ve upset -”

“You’re apologizing now,” John cut in, surprised. “How many was it then?”

“I’m not intoxicated,” Sherlock said. “I think if you stopped for one minute and actually paid attention, you would see that - “

“That we’re dating,” John supplied. “That you are my boyfriend.”

Sherlock was quiet beside him.

“Listen,” John said. “I think - you’re confused. You’re not -”

“John,” Sherlock sighed. “Why haven’t any of your other relationships been working?”

“Because I haven’t found the right woman yet,” John stumbled. “Because -”

“Because you repeatedly choose me over your girlfriends. Because you would rather spend your time with me than with the relationships that you only have to prove to yourself that you’re trying. To prove that everyone is wrong about you, that you really aren’t the last one to put together the pieces of your own life.”

“This is ridiculous. You didn’t - you said you were flattered but - “

“A year ago I said I wasn’t looking for a relationship,” Sherlock said. “That was true. I ended up with one anyway. And you said that you weren’t gay.”

“I’m not,” John agreed. He frowned.

“And yet, you’re still here.”

They were at the shop. Sherlock pushed in and John followed him.

“Because you’re my friend,” John sputtered. Sherlock was standing there now as though he had no idea where to go or what do. Sometimes John felt sure that Sherlock would starve if John didn‘t bring home some food once in a while.

John began collecting the items that they needed, handing Sherlock bread and milk when his hands became full.

“Most people have friends, you know,“ John said. “For most people, this is normal.”

“Is it?” Sherlock said, tucking the eggs beneath his arm.

“Yes,” John said. “It is.”

“I guess I wouldn’t know, would I?” Sherlock asked.

The conversation dropped off until they were nearly back to the flat. That was when Sherlock, dutifully holding the bag that John had shoved into his hand, said, “Perhaps you can enlighten me, John. If this is what most people have, then why do most people assume that we’re a couple?”

Part 2

Date: 2012-02-27 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drinkingcocoa.livejournal.com
OH MY GOD THIS IS EXQUISITE.

You have found the living vibrating pulse of the entire show and kept your story on it the entire time.

And I especially love the deduction about the barmaid.

And the hint of Lestrade. Always good.

I cannot even tell you how thrilled I was to find the words "Part 2" at the bottom of this. I thought it was ending.

Date: 2012-02-27 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladymac111.livejournal.com
Image (http://s833.photobucket.com/albums/zz255/ladymac111/?action=view&current=roryslipperythis.jpg)

Date: 2012-02-27 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gypsyandthecat.livejournal.com
This is brilliant. I loved the lines:

“So they’re afraid to ask you if you’re gay because you’re tall and you frown a lot,” John concluded. It made me smirk.

And

“A year ago I said I wasn’t looking for a relationship,” Sherlock said. “That was true. I ended up with one anyway. And you said that you weren’t gay.”

“I’m not,” John agreed. He frowned.

“And yet, you’re still here.”


You really captured the essence of their characters. I'm too happy that there is a part two.

Date: 2012-02-27 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] livia-bj.livejournal.com
Wonderful. Just need to say that.
I'm gonna read part 2 right now.

Date: 2012-02-27 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] opaljade.livejournal.com
Very well written and in character. I also enjoyed the subtle humour and John's insights. So well done! :D

September 2013

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