Lestrade walked up the stairs of 221b, looking for Sherlock and John. He'd found them at the pub last night, when the bouncer had called the police on two unruly drunks. Using his connections, he was able to get them home, rather than having them sleep it off in the drunk tank.
"Good morning, you two light-weights!" he hollered. Two distinct groans came from the piles of blankets in Sherlock's room. Lestrade chuckled, and went to the kitchen to start a pot of strong black coffee. "Time to haul your sorry arses out of bed!"
John opened his eyes slowly, groaning at the clamour Greg was making in the kitchen. He sat up, his head protesting stridently, and realized with a start that he was in Sherlock's bed. With Sherlock. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to remember the exact sequence of events from last night.
Sherlock had a planned a stag-night pub crawl, visiting pubs near their favorite crime scenes. He was being annoyingly precise about their drinking - those ridiculous glass cylinders he's nicked from Molly's lab, the obsession with trips to the loo. Things didn't start getting interesting until John had started sneaking those shots of whiskey into the beer when Sherlock wasn't looking.
John grabbed his jeans and jumper, pulling them on as he stumbled out into the living room. The living room was littered with a couple of empty scotch bottles and empty take-away boxes. Their jackets were draped haphazardly across the couch. Sherlock's cigarette papers were scattered on the floor between their chairs, too.
Suddenly, Greg appeared in front of him with a steaming cup of coffee. "Drink this," he commanded, ignoring John's blank stare and shoving the cup into his hands. John thanked him by grunting incoherently, and flopped into his chair.
A disheveled Sherlock appeared in the bedroom doorway, draped in a blanket. "Good morning, Princess," Lestrade said much too loudly. Both John and Sherlock winced.
"Could you, maybe, not yell so much, Greg?" John asked quietly.
"Yelling is the best way to communicate with a couple of hung-over gits like you," Lestrade laughed, the tone of his voice piercing. He shoved a cup of black coffee at Sherlock, who wandered to his own chair in the living room to contemplate the thick black drink.
"You're doing this just to torture us, aren't you?" Sherlock glared.
"Of course I am. That's the best part," Lestrade said with a big grin.
Mrs. Hudson appeared in the doorway, carrying a tray with scrambled eggs and lots of toast. "Good morning, Detective Inspector," she said to Lestrade. "Thank you for getting the boys home last night. I don't know what I would have done if they'd managed to get themselves locked up for the night." She set the tray on the kitchen table. "There should be enough for all of you."
"Thanks, Mrs. Hudson. Hopefully, they didn't wake you when they stumbled in last night," Lestrade said, snagging a plate of eggs for himself.
"Heavens, no. They were home so early I hadn't even had my soother yet. A young lady stopped by the flat after they managed to get upstairs, but I sent her away - they were obviously in no shape to take a case last night. They were making a racket until the wee hours, though."
Lestrade raised an eyebrow. "Really now? What kind of racket?"
"I wouldn't be surprised if they start finding bruises tomorrow - I am certain they had several unfortunate meetings with the furniture and the floor," Mrs. Hudson chuckled. "I bet they don't remember the half of the night, though."
"I'm guessing not," Lestrade laughed sharply. Both Sherlock and John winced at the sound and tried to disappear into their chairs.
"I may be able to help with that," came Mycroft's voice from the top of the stairs. Mycroft stepped into the room with a wicked grin, holding a DVD case.
If it were possible, John would have gotten even paler. "Oh, shite... you still have surveillance in the flat?"
"Of course, Dr. Watson. I have to keep tabs on my wayward brother."
John set down his coffee cup, and got up, walking unsteadily toward Mycroft. He reached out his hand, "I'll take that, Mycroft."
Mycroft chuckled softly. "Oh, no, Dr. Watson... I don't think so." He slid the DVD into his jacket pocket, patting it securely.
John leaned on the desk and held his head in his hands. "Are we ever going to live this down?"
Mycroft just smiled. John groaned.
"Well, I need to get ready for my book club meeting - the girls should be here soon. Just bring the dishes by my flat on your way out, Detective Inspector," Mrs. Hudson said, patting Lestrade's shoulder kindly. She looked at John and Sherlock, and scolded, "Two grown men like you, acting like such drunken fools. You two should thank the Detective Inspector." They groaned unintelligibly in response. Mrs. Hudson rolled her eyes, turned on her heels and left the flat.
Mycroft walked into the kitchen, taking a seat at the small table. "Greg, would you be so kind as to pour me a cup of coffee?"
"Sure thing, Mycroft. Cream and sugar?"
"Help yourself to some of Mrs. Hudson's fantastic cooking, if you're hungry."
"Don't mind if I do, Greg," he replied, buttering a couple pieces of toast and putting them on his plate. Nodding toward the two in the living room, he said, "Perhaps we should prepare plates for those two as well?"
"Probably a good plan." Mycroft set about preparing a plate for Sherlock, while Lestrade set up a plate for John. Lestrade brought both plates into the living room, setting them in front of their recipients. "Eat," he ordered, earning a glare from John and a snarl from Sherlock.
John and Sherlock dutifully grabbed forks, and picked at the food they'd been served.
"Meanwhile shall we watch a little movie, Greg?" Mycroft smiled.
Lestrade grinned back. "Should I make popcorn?"
The two men walked into the small kitchen, and set up Mycroft's laptop.
Mycroft pressed Play, and the video began.
John and Sherlock are sitting in their chairs in the living room. Each had a cigarette paper on their forehead, with some writing on it.
"So, Sherlock," John begins. "This game is called 'Who Am I?' You can ask yes or no questions, and you have to figure out the name I wrote on the cigarette paper on your head."
"Why can't I just look at the paper?"
"That would be cheating. You can keep asking questions until you get a 'no' answer. And when you get a 'no' answer, you drink," John pointed at the whiskey in Sherlock's hand.
"OK. You start."
"Am I a vegetable?"
"You, or the thing?" Sherlock giggles, pointing at the paper on John's forehead.
"Funny. Come on."
"No, you’re not a vegetable."
John took a sip of his drink. "OK, now it’s your go."
"Errr ... am I human?"
"You said the answers had to be 'yes' or 'no' - can’t have ‘sometimes.’"
"OK, ok. Yes, you’re human."
"And am I a man?"
John thinks for a moment. "Not as tall as people think."
"You certainly think you are."
"Mmm, am I important?"
"To some people."
"Do these people like me?"
"Not usually. You tend to rub ’em up the wrong way."
Sherlock takes a drink.
John sits up. "My turn. Am I a woman?"
Sherlock sniggers. John tried to look serious, but ends up giggling right along with Sherlock. "The name you wrote on my cigarette paper - is it a woman?"
"Oh! Yes, you're a woman." More chuckling.
"A pretty woman?"
"I really have no idea. I just picked the name at random from the paper."
John rolled his eyes. "You really don't understand this game Sherlock..."
Sherlock drained his glass. "I guess I lost, then."
"I'm hungry." John jumped out of his chair and swayed into the kitchen. "You want something to eat? I think we have leftover spring rolls from yesterday."
"Bring 'em here!" Sherlock slurred. John reappeared in the doorway, precariously balancing the two take-away boxes in one hand and a fresh glass of whiskey in the other, all while managing to keep himself upright. He flopped into his chair, and Sherlock snatched the spring rolls.
John opened the box of cold noodles, and dug into them with a fork. "What, no chopsticks?" Sherlock grinned, between mouthfuls.
"You're kidding, right? Whiskey and chopsticks don't mix."
"I can do it."
Sherlock stumbled to the kitchen and grabbed a set of chopsticks from last night's take-away bag. He unwrapped them, and went back to the living room. With great concentration - which John found infinitely funny - he set up the chopsticks in his right hand, and reached for John's noodles with them.
John held the take-away box as still as he could manage - given how much he was swaying and giggling, a daunting task - as Sherlock tried to pinch some noodles between the chopsticks. After several tries, he managed to grab several, and slowly lifted them up, only to drop them onto his white dress shirt before they reached his mouth.
John couldn't stifle his giggles any longer and burst into hysterical laughter. "And that, Sherlock, is why I'm using a fork!"
Sherlock frowned at the noodles, and tossed the chopsticks at the fireplace. "At least spring rolls are finger food."
"If you're drunk enough, everything is finger food," John giggled, picking the noodles off Sherlock's shirt with his fingers and slurping them into his mouth.
"So I am drunk enough, and you're not?" Sherlock stared at John. "You're as drunk as I am."
John looked thoughtful. "Nooo... not really. I think I added a few more shots to your beers than mine."
Sherlock glared at him. "No wonder Molly's calculations didn't work! Just how much did you add?"
"After the first round, we were drinking boilermakers, not beers. At the last pub, you got doubles." John grinned. "My old Army buddy Bill was tending bar there."
"What, exactly, is a boilermaker?"
"A beer with a shot of whiskey thrown in."
Sherlock's brow furrowed in concentration. "So... four pubs... " His train of thought vanished. "And how much did you have?"
"I don't know. Not as many as you!"
Sherlock pouted. "But tonight was supposed to be about you having a good time... one last fling before Mary fully domesticates you."
John set down his half-eaten noodles. "Believe me, Sherlock, I'm having a fantastic time," he giggled.
Sherlock sat silent, staring blankly at his glass as John poured another two fingers of whiskey into it.
Suddenly, he jumped up and tried to walk to his desk, only to trip over his own two feet and end up sprawled across the floor. John straightened up, trying to look serious, but stifling a giggle. "You OK?"
"Yep." came the reply, the ending 'p' overly enunciated. "I wonder if Hudders is awake."
"If she wasn't before, she is now. Why do you want to know?"
Sherlock rolled onto his side, propping his head up with his elbow. "I seem to have a stain on this shirt," he pointed at the noodle sauce on his chest.
"Not your housekeeper," John replied, in a bad drunken imitation of Mrs. Hudson's frequent refrain. They both giggled. "Just throw it in laundry."
Sherlock sat up unsteadily, and started undoing his buttons. Next thing John knew, a white dress shirt was flying through the air toward him. "Hey! I'm not the laundry!"
Sherlock laid back on the floor. "But you can find it. In my current state, I'm not sure I can," he laughed.
"Fair enough." John tossed the shirt toward Sherlock's bedroom door.
"Did you know the floor is cold?"
"You're not wearing a shirt."
"Ah, yes. That explains it." Sherlock lay on the floor quietly, staring at the ceiling.
John sat watching his obviously drunken friend. "How about some music, Sherlock?"
"I am in no condition to put on a concert right now, John."
"No, no, not your violin. The radio." John stumbled across the room to the radio and turned it on. He flipped through stations until he found a song he remembered.
"Sherlock! Get up! I love this song!" He reached out to Sherlock to offer him a hand up. Sherlock grabbed the offered hand and pulled, bringing the doctor down on top of him with a thud.
John looked up at Sherlock, his chin resting on the detective's bare chest. His heart was pounding in his ears. "Sorry..." he mumbled, and started to push himself up and off Sherlock's prone form.
Sherlock put a hand on John's shoulder. "Stay."
John looked into the detective's icy blue eyes. Sherlock started to smile.
"You're drunk, John."
"So are you, Sherlock."
"That gives you the perfect explanation."
John considered. "What... explanation for what?"
Sherlock's smile got broader. "For this." He reached up and crushed his lips to John's.
Sherlock pulled back, and looked into John's eyes.
"Now I know I'm drunk." John blinked. "Did you just kiss me?"
"Yes. Did you like it?"
John cupped Sherlock's face, running his thumb lightly over his cheek, and gently kissed him, long and slow. He ran his fingers through the younger man's curls, causing him to hum in delight.
John sat up, leaving them both gasping for breath. "What do you think?"
Slowly, John got up, and again reached down to offer Sherlock a hand. This time, Sherlock stood up. He took John into his arms, and held him close. John buried his face in Sherlock's neck, running his hands lovingly across Sherlock's bare back.
John reached up and kissed Sherlock lightly on the jaw, and pulled away from him. Sherlock looked at him questioningly. John grabbed his hand, and started stumbling toward Sherlock's bedroom door.
The bedroom door closed behind them.
Mycroft and Lestrade looked at each other in silent shock. Behind them, a coffee mug fell to the floor and shattered loudly. Mycroft and Lestrade both turned to see a wide-eyed John and a bored Sherlock standing behind them, John's coffee mug in pieces on the floor.
"I AM NOT GAY!" John shouted, wincing at the volume of his own voice.
Lestrade spoke up. "John, calm down. You were both very drunk last night and -"
John turned on Sherlock. "THIS WAS YOUR FAULT!"
"I didn't make you do anything you didn't already want to do, on some level," Sherlock replied calmly.
"I AM NOT GAY! CAN'T YOU HEAR ME?"
Mycroft walked over to Sherlock, and took him by the arm. "Let's talk, brother mine." He led him out of the kitchen and into his bedroom.
Lestrade sat John down at the table. "Look, John. You didn't do anything wrong."
John held his head in his hands. "Greg, I -"
"You didn't even know Sherlock was gay, did you?"
"I didn't know... but I've long suspected. I've known him a lot longer than you have, after all."
"But I like women, dammit!"
"You were drunk. You decided to take a little 'walk on the wild side.' Believe me, you're not the first bloke to do it. It doesn't mean you're giving up the fairer sex, mate."
John stared at Lestrade, who nodded at the unasked question. "Yes, I've been known to take that same walk on occasion. Doesn't make me gay. Makes me... an opportunist," he winked. "Sometimes, you just want to do what feels good, and it doesn't matter who the other party is."
John rested his forehead on the table and groaned. "Mary is going to kill me."
Lestrade put his hand on John's shoulder. "Mary isn't going to find out about this unless you decide to tell her. And based on how you're reacting now, if Mycroft hadn't had this video, you wouldn't have told her, because you didn't remember it."
Sherlock sat down sullenly on his bed, and Mycroft stood in front of him. "That was unnecessarily cruel, brother mine."
"Why? John is about to get what he wants - a lifetime of domesticated, wedded bliss," Sherlock spat the last words out like they were poison. "I wanted to get what I want, if only for a moment."
"You know how John feels about his betrothed. Encouraging infidelity is never justified."
"Is it infidelity before the wedding?"
"In John's eyes, yes."
"If it weren't for your damned meddling, dear, we wouldn't be having this issue. He was so drunk last night I doubt he would have remembered anything at all."
"And if he had?"
Sherlock pouted. "Then maybe he would change his mind and stay with me," he answered in a small voice.
Mycroft shook his head and sighed. "Oh, Sherlock... that's not the way to handle this. John has to make his own decisions, without you pushing him."
Sherlock flung himself backward on the bed with a huff.
"Do I need to check surveillance video for any other rooms in the flat?" Mycroft looked around the bedroom innocently.
Sherlock looked horrified. "You do NOT have a camera in here, do you?"
Mycroft raised an eyebrow, but did not answer.
Sherlock closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Must... not... punch... Mycroft... "No, you do not. We came in here, and when I was in the loo, he passed out on the bed. I followed suit."
"Good. Get dressed. I will see if Greg needs my help smoothing ruffled feathers."
Mycroft turned and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
Mycroft walked quietly into the kitchen. John looked up at him, anger still apparent on his face. Mycroft pulled the DVD out of the laptop, and silently handed it to the doctor.
"Sherlock tells me that nothing else happened after what we saw on this video. You both passed out."
John let out a sigh of relief.
Mycroft pulled out his phone and sent a quick text to Anthea. "All surveillance video from this flat from last night is to be destroyed. That will be the only existing copy. Do with it as you will."
John looked at the DVD, then at Mycroft and Lestrade. "But we have all seen it. And it did happen."
"I can see no advantage in either of us encroaching on your personal affairs, Dr. Watson," Mycroft replied cooly.
"Agreed," Lestrade chimed in.
Some of the tension left John's posture. "So now I need to talk to Sherlock."
"I believe he will be waiting for you in the living room momentarily."
John walked into the living room to find Sherlock sulking in his chair.
"I'm gay, John..."
"I've figured that much out..."
"... and I'm in love with you."
John stopped in his tracks. "You're... in love... with me? You picked a fine time to say something."
"But you're not gay - you make that point very clear. So it doesn't matter."
"It does matter, Sherlock. You are my best friend... the weird, annoying brother I never had. I can't imagine my life without you in it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I love you, too, in my own way - I'm just not romantically interested in you."
John sat in his chair, and looked at the detective. "You like Mary, don't you? I know she likes you - she told me so the first night she met you."
"I guess so. If she's going to be part of your life, and I am part of your life, then I guess she will be part of my life, too, right?"
"Yes, Sherlock. She's not taking me away from you. The only thing that will change is where I sleep."
"Yes, I promise. Now about last night... your brother has kindly had all the video destroyed except for this copy" - John held up the DVD - "and the copy I know you have in that bloody Mind Palace of yours."
Sherlock nodded slowly.
"This NEVER happened. Mary must NEVER find out about this."
"All right, then," Sherlock replied, looking defeated.
"Thank you, Sherlock." John stood up and patted the detective on the shoulder comfortingly. He walked into the kitchen, and snapped the DVD in half, dropping the pieces into the trash bin.
In his Mind Palace, Sherlock walked down a long hallway, which led to a library he had dedicated to John. He took down the volume containing all the information from last night - the silly drinking game, the friendly laughter, the feel of John's warm body pressed up against his cool bare skin, John's tongue caressing his lips...
He quietly put the volume back in its place.
I can keep a secret.