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John jerked awake when the cabin address came on. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are now beginning our final approach into Sochi International Airport. For the Olympic athletes on board ...”

“Had a nice kip?” Greg asked.

John groaned and tried to stretch out the crick in his neck. “No,” he said. “I feel like shit. Haven't slept properly in a week.”

“You'll get over it soon enough,” Greg said. “Or you'll just crash. Either way, you'll sleep.”

“Does everyone get so nervous?”

“Everyone human. So that excludes our skips.” They both looked across the aisle and ahead three rows, where two dark heads were leaned together, talking quietly over something on a tablet.

“Are they … you know. A thing?”

Greg laughed. “Not in the way you're thinking. Come on, you know Sherlock. He doesn't do relationships. And neither does Eve, what I've heard.”

“But come on, nobody sits like that unless they're doing the horizontal tango.” As if to punctuate his statement, Eve laughed, then folded up her tray table. John sighed. “I guess we'll be landing soon. Anything happening today I need to know about?”

Greg shook his head. “There's dinner after you've got settled into your room.”

“Dinner time already?”

“It'll take some time to get there. Plus we're four hours ahead now. Try not to stay up late or the jet lag will kick in on the first day of competition.”

“Cheers, I'll do my best. Who's my rommate, anyway?”

Greg cringed a little. “It's Sherlock.”

John dropped his head against the back of his seat. “Is it because I'm the new guy? Dave and Mike made the team in August, so last-minute Watson has to room with the skip?”

“It's not that, come on. You may be the new guy, but you made the team fair and square, on your own merits. And besides, Sherlock requested you.”

“He what?”

“He did. Don't ask me why. But also Dave and Mike requested to room together.”

“And Tom?”

“Alternate has to bunk with the assistant coach,” Greg said, gesturing to himself.

“Great.”

“Hey, I'm not so bad.” Greg nudged the man on his other side. “Soren, wake up. We're landing.”

 

 Please don't repost my art.  You can reblog it from my Tumblr.

Chapter Text

Sochi was, John reflected, rather lovely, and it turned out that Sherlock wasn't that bad as a roommate. He was tidy enough, and although he had brought a violin along, he never played it while John was in. Sherlock talked in his sleep a little, but it was quiet and by the second night – after the opening ceremony, which Sherlock had carefully avoided – John was exhausted enough to sleep right through it.

The first awkwardness came while they were getting ready for bed on the third night, when John thought it prudent to set some ground rules. “So. Um. Sex?”

Sherlock looked up from his training bag, an expression of horror on his face. “I beg your pardon.”

“Oh, shit, no. Not like that.” John scooted back on his bed, trying to get as far away as possible without making any more of a twat of himself. “I meant, if one of us brings someone back here. We should have a system, so the other one doesn't walk in on it.”

Sherlock crossed his arms and made a disdainful expression. “You're expecting to hook up with someone?”

John shrugged. “You never know. There is a reason for all the condoms. People like to have casual sex at the Olympics.”

Sherlock looked at him for a long minute, then went back to rearranging his bag. “I have heard that.”

“So should we have a code? Is a sock on the doorknob too pedestrian?”

“I have a better idea.” He zipped the bag and stood up straight. “Don't bring anyone back here. I don't want to be kept from my own room.”

John held up his hands. “All right, fine. I guess this means you won't be bringing anyone back either?”

Sherlock picked up his toothbrush and walked out the door as if that was the stupidest thing he'd ever heard, leaving John sitting on his bed looking at the air. “Okay, guess that's a yes.”

 

John woke up feeling fresh on the first day of the round robin, and Team Holmes were in excellent form during their match against the Russian men. They worked together smoothly and won in only nine ends, then went for lunch while the women played. Sherlock came with them, which apparently surprised Dave. “Is he really going to eat with us?” he whispered to John while Sherlock was on the other side of the cafeteria, trying to obtain tea.

“Why wouldn't he?”

“He's not exactly social, usually keeps to himself. Greg said it's something about his memory castle or some crap like that, something to do with his game.”

“I guess he's making an exception?”

Sherlock turned around with five cups of tea on his tray, and Dave raised his eyebrows. “Guess so.”

The conversation slowed when Sherlock got back to the table, but John pushed it, even though he felt a bit awkward. After a bit the guys seemed to relax a little, and by the end of their meal it was almost as if they didn't feel awkward having their skip actually socialising with them. Well, present for socialisation. He had kept fairly quiet, though it was clear he was listening intently.

After lunch they went back to their apartment to rest, and John tried to read a book but dozed off. The quiet was interrupted by Team Muirhead returning from their afternoon match, and Sherlock went out to the lounge to talk to Eve.

“How did it go?”

“Not great. We conceded after the ninth.”

“What was the score?”

“Six-four.”

“They had the hammer?”

“We did. And I know what you're thinking, mister smartypants. It wasn't worth it to play so hard in our very first match. There's a long way to go yet.”

“Sweden?”

“Yeah. You're facing their men tonight, aren't you? They're good. Keep an eye on your team and save your strength; you've had a big day already and you have at least eight days of competition in a row.”

“I know how the competition works.” John almost laughed at the indignation in Sherlock's voice.

“Just remember that your guys are human, same as my girls. They can't go forever and they won't play well when it counts if you wear them out now.”

“Hm,” Sherlock said, in a tone of voice that John recognized now, after four months of playing with Sherlock as his skip. The tone that meant there's nothing I hate more than being wrong, except admitting it.

John had drifted off again by the time Sherlock came back into the room a few minutes later. “Wake up, John.”

He blinked groggily and slowly picked the book up off his chest. “Was that Eve and the girls?”

“It was, which means it's time for us to go get ready for our evening match.”

“Right.” He yawned and managed to sit up, but when he got his eyes to focus properly it was on Sherlock's arse as he shimmied into his curling trousers. He looked away sharply.

“Don't forget your anti-slider,” Sherlock said casually, pulling on his uniform shirt. “It fell out of your bag earlier.”

John saw it on the floor and groaned. How had he missed that? “Yeah, right. Thanks.”

 

Though they had last stone advantage in the first end, the match was not up to par with the one earlier in the day. Their play was much less sharp, and although they successfully blanked the third and sixth ends, Sweden scored a whopping four points in the eighth. They faded fast in the ninth, and when they finished the end still down eight to four, Sherlock only needed a nod from Dave to approach the Swedish skip and offer him a handshake.

“Took Eve's advice, eh?” John said as they headed back to their equipment.

Sherlock scowled. “We have seven round robin games left, and you lot were tired. No sense in overworking you.”

“Glad you care so much for our well-being,” Mike said. “At least we got out of that before it got really embarrassing.”

Sherlock gave the laces on his trainers a too-strong tug and stood up. “Hurry up, let's face the press and go eat.”

The post-match interview wasn't as painful as they'd feared, and at dinner they all crowded around the same table where they'd had lunch, though the conversation was much quieter. John felt the day's exertions in his legs and back, and tried to ignore the dull ache that threatened to form in the scar tissue that went through his left shoulder.

The younger members of the team didn't seem to be so affected. “So who's up for a drink?” Mike asked.

Dave's expression brightened. “That is exactly what I need.”

John nodded. “Long day on the ice calls for whisky.”

Sherlock crossed his arms. “We lost this evening. That hardly calls for a celebration.”

“But we won this morning,” John pointed out. “And it doesn't have to be a celebration, it can be a good old-fashioned sorrow-drowning.”

“Come on, skip,” Dave said. “It's hardly curling without alcohol, and we don't play until the afternoon tomorrow. Be a part of the team.”

Sherlock considered for a moment, and with a glance at John, nodded. “All right. But I'm not going to stay out all night partying.”

“Wouldn't dream of it, mate,” Mike said, clapping him on the shoulder.

The women were watching telly at the apartment when the men got back, and barely needed any invitation before they were ready to go. Both teams found their way to a packed club and staked out a table in a slightly less loud area. Dave and Eve provided shots all around, though Sherlock primly sipped his.

The evening wore on in a pleasant haze. A wave of Team GB arrivals from some other event left Sherlock and John rather squished together in the corner, Sherlock nursing a beer and John on his second whisky on the rocks. John felt warm and comfortable and more happy than he'd been in a very long time. And if he was honest with himself – which tended to happen when he had whisky – part of it was the lanky man pressed beside him. If he didn't know better, he might have thought that Sherlock was flirting with him, just a little. The body language, the shy glances, the gentle laughter, the way the quality of the light made his wild hair shine and look so very inviting to the touch. He didn't touch it, of course, because that would have been monumentally stupid, and whisky didn't make him stupid. It did make Sherlock gorgeous, though, and that was going to be hard to ignore even in the cold light of morning.

There was a little part of the back of his mind that was somewhat surprised at his attraction to his skip. He'd had a few secret little crushes on men in the past, but they were just that: secret and little. This was definitely not little. In fact, he would have been hard pressed to remember ever feeling like this before towards anyone. Even the girls he'd dated as a younger man had never inspired obsession like this, or left him tongue-tied when they looked at him like that, or made him want to nothing more than to simply be with them. With girls, he'd wanted to kiss them and have sex with them and chat and hear them laugh. With Sherlock, he wanted to know him inside out, to learn every detail about his life, to find out what his middle name was and what his dreams were and why he was a curler and what he did on lazy Sunday mornings when he didn't have training. The desire for physical intimacy was the cherry on top of all the deeper desire, and the whole thing left John's heart aching in a way that would be hard to conceal from his teammates.

He hadn't felt this way about Sherlock until he'd started getting to know him outside of their sport, which really wasn't so surprising. On the ice, Sherlock was incredibly focussed. With his new crush, John was noticing that he was also incredibly attractive. Middle age hadn't begun to affect him yet, and he was lean and strong and had the most amazing arse. It wasn't distracting, exactly. John was good enough at controlling what took his attention. It was tempting, to be distracted by Sherlock's physique. But the real problem came on those rare occasions when Sherlock acknowledged John's performance, giving him a nod after he swept well or even paying a brief compliment after a particularly excellent throw. Being on the receiving end of Sherlock's appreciation practically turned him into a teenager again, which, ironically, meant that it was much harder to play well.

John was jostled out of his introspection when Sherlock glanced at his watch, then finished the last of the beer in his glass. “It's getting late,” he announced, standing up. “I'm going to bed. Don't be hung over tomorrow.”

What, so early?” Eve said.

Sherlock blinked at her. “It's eleven-thirty.”

Jesus, really?” John checked his own watch; sure enough. “I need to get to bed too.”

Eve looked between them in a way that definitely seemed like she was piecing things together, and John hoped he was imagining it. “All right, old men, get some rest. See you at breakfast?”

Sherlock was already weaving his way through the crowd, so John nodded to her. “Yeah. Good night, everybody.”

 

Chapter Text

The round robin continued, and for John, the days began to blur together. They played a match every day, attended a number of the women's matches, ate their meals, watched other events when they could get the telly in the apartment to work, and did a fairly large amount of drinking. Sherlock didn't need any persuading after the first evening, and John was pleasantly surprised when they ended up sitting next to one another in the club again, and again, and … was this happening every time? It occurred to him that he could make an effort to not sit next to Sherlock and see if it was just him, but he also realized that he really didn't care why it was happening, so long as it kept up. He did his best to not let on regarding his crush, and it seemed to be working – Sherlock wasn't acting awkwardly around him, which John was sure he would if he had any idea that John was completely smitten with him. And it wasn't affecting his game – if anything, he was playing even better, focussing harder in an effort to make his skip proud.

 

John woke late one night, and it took him a long, groggy minute to work out why. Sherlock was talking in his sleep again, but it had a different quality to it. Although the words were indistinct, it soon became apparent to John that Sherlock was not just having a pleasant dream, but was in the throes of passion.

John rolled away and curled into a ball, trying very hard to ignore his roommate's breathy mumbles and the gentle creaking of the bed frame. It went on for a few endless minutes until Sherlock gasped, and then went oddly still.

John froze, listening as Sherlock kicked the blankets back and sat up. There was silence for a moment, then footsteps, a rustle of cloth, and the door opened and closed.

John took a deep breath and rolled onto his back, desperately trying to convince himself that that wasn't the hottest thing he'd been witness to in quite some time. He palmed his erection through his pants, stifled a groan, and rolled over. There was no way he could do anything about that, not without revealing his completely inappropriate crush. Luckily his army experience meant he had plenty of experience with not doing anything about it, and he focussed on steadying his breathing until he drifted off again.

Sherlock cleaned himself up, then hid in the bathroom for as long as he could without admitting that he was hiding. Sex dreams were nothing to be ashamed of. They were probably something of a given, for people who weren't him. And John was sure to understand, right? These things just … happened. Maybe John wouldn't even remember it in the morning, if he fell back asleep fast enough.

And if he was very lucky, he hadn't actually said John's name out loud when he came.

 

The final day of the round robin arrived when even Sherlock had begun to lose track of what day it was, between the long matches, the nightly celebration, and the close quarters they kept with the rest of the world's athletes. Team Holmes had an afternoon match against China, and they played well but lost by a single point, scored in the tenth end with a well-placed final stone from the Chinese skip. Sherlock was exhausted enough that he didn't find himself tremendously disappointed; they had played well, if not perfectly, and their record was good enough that they had one more chance to make it into the semifinal.

Their tie-break would be the next morning, against Norway. They'd lost to Team Ulsrud in the tenth round, again by only one point. Sherlock had already dissected that match with Greg and Soren, and they knew the Norwegian team's strengths and weaknesses, so all that remained was to implement the strategy, win the match, and find their way onto the podium. Easy, as far as these things went.

The difficult part, Sherlock knew, would be keeping his mind from tearing itself apart in anticipation of the match. He wasn't sure that he could face spending the evening with John. As much as he loved – really truly loved – spending every evening being vaguely flirted at by his very attractive second, he had a nagging sense that his little crush was about to bloom into something much bigger, and he was very eager to avoid that. He was annoyed that he'd allowed himself to believe, even a little, that John had any interest in him. The most likely explanation for the pervasive mood was that John was a natural flirt, and Sherlock was being hit with it simply by being present while John was socialising with so many attractive young women. Never mind that they were all far too young for him; things like that never seemed to be a real barrier. Eve stayed fairly aloof but the other girls definitely encouraged all the attention they were getting.

After they talked to the press Sherlock followed his team to the cafeteria, but took a sandwich to go and returned to the Ice Cube in time for Team Muirhead's final round robin match against Denmark. It was engrossing enough to distract him from his own tournament, and thankfully fairly low stress. Their record was good enough that they were guaranteed a spot in the semis, so the results of the evening's matches would determine their placement. Other teams might have relaxed a little, knowing that they were through, but not Eve and her girls. Sherlock liked that about them, and it made the match more interesting for the spectators.

Although Denmark stole the first end, Team Muirhead came back strongly and played very well until the tenth, when something seemed to fall apart. Sherlock watched, enthralled, while Denmark finished with three stones in the house to tie the match at seven each and take them into the eleventh. Eve had the hammer but was clearly shaken by the comeback, and a couple of costly errors allowed Denmark to steal a single point and win the match.

Sherlock collected his things slowly, watching while the teams wrapped up and spoke to the reporters. Eve noticed him while her girls were talking to the camera, and her displeased expression deepened into a bitter glare. He held her gaze until the interviewer addressed her, and she looked away.

She followed him back to the house, and cornered him at the bottom of the stairs. “You saw,” she growled.

“Of course I saw,” he said coolly. “Would you like an itemised list?”

She shoved him against the wall, and he sucked in a surprised breath. She pressed against him and breathed in his ear. “This is what's going to happen, Sherlock. You are going to come to my room, and you are going to fuck me through the mattress, and while you do it you are going to tell me every thing I did wrong in that match.”

Sherlock closed his eyes, biting down on both his arousal and a niggling sense of guilt. “Your first mistake was having granola for breakfast.”

She kissed him then, hard and fast, and he let himself get lost in the sensation for half a second before he seized her by the wrist and they hurried up to the apartment. Eve ushered him into her bedroom, and started stripping without even closing the door. Sherlock stared until she looked up at him. “Well? What was wrong with my breakfast?”

He blinked, leaving behind the other things that threatened to command his attention. “The granola here is full of sugar, and you didn't put any nuts on it like you normally do. That meant that your blood sugar dropped during your morning match.”

She pulled her shirt off. “We won the morning match. And you weren't there.”

“Eve, please. I don't need to have been there. I can read it in your behaviour later in the day.”

She unhooked her bra, hung it on the doorknob, and pushed the door shut. “Okay, so I was a little off in the morning. How did that affect the evening match?”

He looked at her breasts, and felt a sense of discomfort. When they'd done this in the past, he had always managed to perform, thanks to the fact that his arousal reflex worked even if he wasn't really attracted to his partner. It also helped that Eve knew how to cater to his love of analysis. But tonight he was uneasy, and he knew it was because he finally knew whose body he did want, and there was no way to mistake it for Eve's.

He gave himself a little shake and focussed. “Everything is connected. Morning performance is an indicator for evening performance.”

She stepped up to him and unbuttoned his jacket, then pushed it off his shoulders while she pressed herself against his front. “So my first mistake was granola. What was my second mistake?”

 

John went with the other guys to the club after dinner, but without Sherlock and the girls, and with the looming spectre of their important match the next morning, none of them found they were really enjoying themselves. He checked his phone with greater and greater frequency, until it told him that the women's match had finished. They finished their drinks and went back to the apartment, arriving apparently just after the women returned.

Claire and Vicki were in chatting in their room, but Anna had dropped her bag in front of a closed door that was adorned with a bra, then kicked her trainers off and got comfortable on a couch. She turned to greet John when he came in, and laughed at his confused expression.

“I've been sexiled,” she explained. “Eve was pissed that we lost, so she's having an angry shag with your skip.”

As if on cue, there was a dull thump from the room, and John could make out Sherlock's baritone. His heart stopped. He hadn't dared to hope that he could ever actually be with Sherlock, but he had got used to him at least being single. Hearing real evidence that Eve had what he so desperately wanted was horrifying and totally unexpected.

He stood with his mouth open for a long moment before he could make his voice work. “So Eve and Sherlock are … together?”

Anna chuckled a little. “No, not really. They have a ... thing.”

“What's the difference between being together and having a thing?”

“As I understand it, there's no romance. They're friends who fuck sometimes.”

“I don't think they don't even really fancy each other,” Vicki added, coming back into the lounge with Claire. “Eve's type is much more burly. She complains sometimes about how skinny Sherlock is.”

“And Sherlock? Does he fancy her?” John tried to keep his tone casual.

Vicki laughed at that. “I'm not sure he's ever actually fancied anyone. Certainly not a girl, anyway.”

John's eyes widened, and he tried not to hope. “He's gay?”

“He only cares about curling,” Claire said. “The world has to be practically ending for him to do anything else. Like, last August he missed a practice, and Eve said when she asked him about it, he told her he was in London assisting a murder investigation.”

“The weirdest thing about that is I think I believe him,” Vicki said. “He never lies about anything, and he would never miss training unless it was for something really important.”

That was enough of a surprise for John to temporarily forget his heartbreak. “How would he assist a murder investigation? Was he a suspect? Or a witness?”

Vicki shrugged. “I really can't see him being either. We may never know, I guess.”

“Maybe he's a detective,” Anna suggested. “He's so analytical, I could see him piecing together a crime like he does a curling match.”

Claire scoffed. “Like he'd ever be so public-spirited.”

John bristled at that. “He's not a psychopath.”

“No, he's just self-centred.”

“He's really not that bad.”

She shrugged. “If you say so.”

They turned the telly on, and after a brief battle with it they managed to find some Olympic coverage. John thought about arguing with them about Sherlock's character, but eventually realized that pursuing the subject would mean showing his hand much more than he was prepared to.

About fifteen minutes later, Eve's door opened. She was wearing pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt, and gave a nod and a coy smile to her teammates before she disappeared into the bathroom. After a moment, Sherlock appeared too, wearing his normal shirt and jacket with jeans and looking rather rumpled. John hid his face to try to assuage the ache in his chest, and he heard Sherlock quickly cross the apartment and disappear into his bedroom.

“See?” Claire said to Vicki. “Definitely not the behaviour of a man who's into her.”

“So why does he do it?”

“Fuck if I know.”

The violin started, playing a quiet discordant melody. John felt himself turning red, and sank deeper into the couch, focussing as hard as he could on the television and silently praying that none of his other teammates noticed that he was taking this very strangely.

John stayed up much longer than he wanted to, long after everyone else had gone to bed. He had drifted off on the couch several times and his back was starting to seize, so he knew he had to get into his own bed. He switched off all the lights, and then slowly opened the door to his room. In the low light he could make out Sherlock, asleep in his own bed and breathing gently. With a sigh of tentative relief, he stepped into the room, got changed, and was out nearly as soon as he hit the pillow.