“Oh, goody! The circus has rolled in. And just when I thought this day couldn’t get any more exciting!” Anderson drawled as he glanced up from the body on the ground at the two approaching figures.
“Interesting,” said Sherlock once he was near enough, “coming from the bearded lady. Oh!” He feigned a startled expression. “Anderson, I do apologize. It’s just that from over there it was remarkably easy to mistake you for a travelling circus atrocity. Sorry, attraction. That’s the word.” John, who was standing beside Sherlock, bowed his head and chuckled softly. Anderson scowled.
“Growing in a beard then, Anderson?” Sherlock rubbed his chin dramatically. “I must say I would’ve expected you to think better of that. Unless of course this was the request of your wife? On second thought—Sgt. Donovan?” he called loudly to the woman speaking with DI Lestrade across the road from the body. “Donovan, do you enjoy facial hair?” Anderson was fuming, and Donovan was beat read as she and Lestrade hurried over.
“Sherlock, I think that’s enough,” said John steadily, facing Sherlock. “We’re here to work.” Sherlock looked at him curiously.
“That’s right,” said Lestrade as he and Donovan closed in, “so I’d appreciate if you could not harass my team.”
Sherlock muttered something inaudible in response.
“What was that?” asked John.
“I said,” he enunciated, “I was not the one who provoked an argument.”
“Oh my god—” laughed Donovan. “Did he really just—Did you really just say ‘He started it?’ A child! That’s what he is! A child. What’s he doing here anyway?”
“I,” intercepted Sherlock, “am here at the behest of Inspector Lestrade.”
“What?” exclaimed Anderson. “Lestrade, we don’t need him here. We don’t even know what we’re dealing with, you couldn’t possibly need him—”
Lestrade interrupted, raising a hand. “This case is an awful lot like the Thompson murder from last week, which I’d like to remind you still isn’t closed, so if we’re dealing with a serial killer, I want to now right off. So, yes, I called Sherlock.”
John glanced up at Sherlock who seemed to be beaming with pride.
“So if you’d be so kind as to get out of my way while I work, Anderson. Perhaps there’s a nearby circus that could occupy you, since you seem so fond of them.”
“Sherlock,” John said quietly, saving them all from whatever Anderson was about to unleash, “maybe you should let the circus comment go? It is Anderson, and we’re here to work.”
Unfortunately, Anderson overheard him. “Yeah, Sherlock. He’s right,” said Anderson rubbing his hands together. “You know you really ought to listen more often to your little pet—”
WHAM. Everyone was caught off guard by the sudden frenzy in their small crowd. Without warning, Sherlock had streaked across and in one motion punched Anderson squarely in the jaw. Anderson fell to the ground as Sherlock stepped back shaking out his fist. John stared at him, dumbfounded.
Lestrade recovered from the unexpected first. “That’s it. Sorry, but no, Sherlock if you’re going to be like this, I need you out.”
“What?” he said, drawing his attention off of Anderson.
“OUT! Get out, now! You too, Dr. Watson.”
John expected Sherlock to protest, to say something. But instead, he just met Lestrade’s gaze for a moment before turning and sweeping back up the street, leaving John standing in the middle of the frazzled officers before jogging up the street after him.
“What was that?” huffed John when he caught up.
“That. Clocking Anderson! Where did that come from?”
“There don’t seem to be any cabs on this street…” said Sherlock distractedly, glancing up and down the road.
“What, John?” He didn’t look at him. “Ah, here’s one.”
They climbed into the cab, Sherlock still avoiding John’s eyes. John decided to say nothing until they got home. He didn’t expect Sherlock to be any more cooperative until then. Sure enough, he said nothing to John the entire ride.
John slammed the door to 221B Baker Street behind them as they threw off their coats and settled down. Sherlock sat down heavily on the sofa, but John remained standing, his arms folded across his chest.
“Sherlock. Are you going to talk to me now?”
Sherlock looked down.
“My god, Donovan’s right. You are a child.”
“John…” said Sherlock quietly. There was a pause.
“Why’d you punch him, Sherlock? Honestly. I mean, Anderson’s always been a right bastard. That was probably the politest he’s ever been when you’ve hijacked his crime scene. Now you’ve gone and lost a case over him! Since when is Anderson worth a case to you? What changed?”
Sherlock still didn’t look up. “You,” he said after a moment, quite softly.
John frowned. “What?”
“You,” said Sherlock with a sigh. “He…insulted you. Called you…well, pet, and,” he swallowed hard, “it reminded me too much of…” Sherlock didn’t finish the sentence. He didn’t need to.
“Moriarty,” said John, slightly paler. “That night.”
Sherlock nodded. The silence hung in air of the room like a hot day, neither sure how to break through it.
Eventually, Sherlock stood and walked over to John. He stood an arm’s length from him, forehead bent over to meet John’s eyes.
“Anderson’s insulted me before. That’s nothing new.” He spoke slowly, tasting the strange phrases in his mouth. John listened attentively. “But remembering…that night. Almost losing you, John I—”
John reached out a comforting hand but backed out at the last second, his arm falling limply down between their bodies.
“Anderson’s not worth a case, no,” said Sherlock deeply, closing his eyes, “but you are. John, I’d happily give up a case for your sake. You will always be worth that to me. Far more than that.”
John blinked and looked up at Sherlock, his eyes still closed. John only had a moment to turn the words over in his mind. “Sherlock, you—”
But he was interrupted by Sherlock taking the final step toward him and bending down to press his lips firmly against John’s. John squirmed for a moment before wrapping his arms around Sherlock. Sherlock reached around a hand to the back of John’s head, pulling him deeper into the kiss, and for a moment, they were both lost in the sweet oblivion of lips and tongues and feeling and the slipping away of months of unspoken words. Finally, they pulled apart, gasping slightly.
John cleared his throat. “Well…” he said, searching for words, “that was…”
“Good,” finished Sherlock definitively.
“Yes,” smiled John. “Good.” He brought a hand up to meet Sherlock’s upper arm. Sherlock smiled broadly.
“What?” asked John.
“It’s just,” he grinned more widely, “at the crime scene. You said ‘we’re here to work.’ The both of us. Not just me.”
“Oh,” said John, “did I?”
“Yes,” said Sherlock, “and do you know what else?”
“What’s that?” asked John.
“I liked it.” And with that, he pulled John in for another kiss.