John returned home from work to find Sherlock experimenting on a fabric that reminded him of the Watson family tartan. The consulting detective was subjecting dozens of 3x3 inch squares to a litany of chemical combinations which from the smell probably included bleach and ammonia.
"You know," John said standing in the kitchen doorway, "I have a kilt in the closet upstairs that looks a lot like that fabric. I don’t think you’ve ever seen me in the Watson family tartan."
Sherlock stopped what he was doing but didn’t respond to John’s comment because he didn’t know how to. How do you tell your lover that you accidentally cut his kilt into sixty pieces for an experiment because the woman in the fabric store was denser than Anderson?
“Sherlock, are you alright? You look pale. Well, paler than you usually look.” John asked walking around the island so he could more easily feel Sherlock’s forehead. As John lifted his hand to Sherlock’s head he saw it, draped across the back of his chair was the remains of his kilt. Sherlock had used the entire front of his kilt for one of his experiments and apparently when that hadn’t provided him with enough material he had taken an iron to the pleats to give him the rest. The pleated half of John’s kilt now had a 12x12 inch hole in it. If John were to put what was left of the kilt on the hole in the back would expose his ass.
When John’s hand stopped in mid air just inches from his forehead Sherlock knew he had seen what was left of his kilt. Before Sherlock could apologize John’s hand became a fist and dropped away.
"You chopped up my kilt for one of your experiments! What were you thinking?" John shouted at him heading towards his chair and grabbing what was left of his kilt. "Never mind, you weren’t thinking were you, you never think when it comes to science! You just do! You needed wool for whatever this sodding experiment is for and rather than go to the store like a normal person and buy what you needed you just searched around the flat until you found something that would work before cannibalizing it," John said shaking his fist full of ruined kilt in Sherlock’s direction. "I bet you thought it was one of your disguises didn’t you? It probably didn’t cross your mind that it might be mine, did it? And for the record, yes there are things in the upstairs closet that are mine! I’m so mad right now I could punch you," John finished before tossing the kilt on the floor and storming out of 221b.
"I’m sorry," Sherlock said to the empty room once the door slammed downstairs. He looked down at John’s ruined kilt on the floor and then at the experiment he was conducting before getting up and dumping all his samples into a nearby trash can. His experiment didn’t matter; he could endure the incipit fabric store girl long enough to get the wool he needed to restart it later, the only thing that mattered right now was that John was mad at him and he needed to apologize when he came home.
Knowing he needed to apologize was one thing, figuring out how to get John to forgive him was another. Sherlock wasn’t sure he’d ever seen John so angry with him before and so he convinced himself that an apology alone wasn’t going to be enough. He thought of all the ways John had apologized to him in the past; bringing him home his favorite takeaway, flowers, buying supplies for experiments, he’d even sweet talked Molly into giving him a couple spare body parts and asking Mycroft for cases, and aside from the food and flowers Sherlock didn’t think the other options were the right fit for his blogger.
When an hour had passed and John still hadn’t returned Sherlock left the flat to buy flowers in an attempt to make amends. At the florist Sherlock looked around and didn’t see anything that said “Forgive me for being a terrible boyfriend and using your things without asking for my stupid experiments.”
"Can I help you find something?” the sales girl asked, she was quiet and had a kind face which reminded Sherlock a bit of Molly.
"My partner is mad at me,” Sherlock told her.
”Scale of one to ten, just how mad are we talking about here?” She asked him seriously, this girl was definitely a Molly.
“At least a nine,” Sherlock admitted.
”I’ve never had a nine before but I’ve always liked a challenge,” the girl told him with an excited grin, “do you have a budget I need to stick to?”
“No, this is too important. Whatever it costs it costs,” Sherlock decreed.
"Alright, but I think you’re going to need two bouquets, one to say I’m sorry and one to say I love you” the girl said before walking over to select the flowers. She picked out three different containers of flowers and then brought over several containers of long stemmed red roses.
“These are white chrysanthemums, they express truthfulness,” she told him taking four from the container and placing them on the work table in front of her, “I’m sure you recognize the daffodils, they’re to show respect for your partner,” she continued selecting eight of them to add to the pile “and the purple hyacinths are to express your sorrow filled apology and to ask for forgiveness.” The girl added a dozen purple hyacinths to the stack and assembled the flowers into a large bouquet before turning to the roses. “Fifty well trimmed red roses means unconditional love, I think that should” the girl began but Sherlock cut her off.
"That’s perfect, I’ll take it! Thank you so much for your help,” Sherlock said with a relieved smile. When she had finished arranging his roses Sherlock gave her a generous tip and headed back to Baker Street convinced that John would have to forgive him once he was presented with these two beautiful bouquets.
When Sherlock got back from the florist two things were very clear to him John was home and he was still angry. Sherlock found his pillow, a blanket and a pair of his pajamas neatly folded in his chair, apparently this was John’s way of telling him he should sleep on the couch tonight. Completely undeterred Sherlock set about putting both bouquets in vases and writing out his apology.
Dear John, I’m sorry for using your kilt for an experiment. I know my things are not the only contents of the upstairs closet and I should have realized that the kilt was yours and not used it without your express permission. I did in fact attempt to purchase what I needed from a fabric store but the woman who was assisting me was more incompetent than Anderson and I got frustrated and left without purchasing what I needed before I insulted her.” Sherlock wrote before scratching out the last sentence, balling the paper up and starting again.
"Dear John, I know the contents of the upstairs closet do not only include items which belong to me. I tried to buy the fabric I needed but the woman was completely insufferable and you don’t like it when I insult people, so I left." Sherlock began for a second time and immediately balled up that piece of paper to start over once more.
Attempt number three simply read “Dear John, I’m an idiot. Forgive me? Sherlock” and found its way into the rapidly growing discard pile. Attempt number four and five were both similar to attempt number three “Dear John, I’m sorry for cutting up your kilt. I’m an idiot. Forgive me.” & “Dear John, I’m an idiot. Sorry for ruining your kilt. Forgive me.” Sherlock made a half dozen more unsuccessful efforts at expressing his profound regret for cannibalizing John’s kilt before coming up with something he didn’t hate.
"Dear John, you’re right, I wasn’t thinking when I used your kilt for one of my experiments. I found it in the closet after a frustratingly unsuccessful trip to the fabric store and took it because it suited my purposes. I gave no thought to the fact that it might have been yours and I can understand why you’re so upset with me about it. I know the flowers I bought you won’t replace the kilt I ruined but the young woman at the flower shop assured me that they would go a long way towards making amends. Did you know that every flower has a meaning behind it? The daffodil means respect for my partner, something I clearly didn’t have when I cut up your kilt without thinking but I hope you know just how much I do respect you John. The purple hyacinth is meant to ask for forgiveness and to express my sorrow filled apology. Lastly, the white chrysanthemum means truthfulness. I truly am sorry John. I intend to arrange for you to get a new kilt made at your earliest convenience, according to the internet all of the best vendors are in Scotland, perhaps we could go together and make it a long weekend. I don’t blame you for wanting me to sleep on the couch tonight either. If you’d cut up my coat or my scarf I would have been equally angry with you. I’m sorry John. Please forgive me.” Sherlock left space in case he decided to add more to the body of his apology but signed his name at the bottom and added “PS - the roses are to say I love you. I should really tell you that more often. I’m sorry about that too.”
As Sherlock reread his apology something about it still didn’t sit right with him and so he pulled out a second piece of paper and started making notes about what he wanted to change. “1) Take out the part where you went to fabric store, it doesn’t matter you still cut up John’s kilt for an experiment. 2) Just say you bought flowers in attempt to make amends. 3) Attribute knowledge of flower meanings to woman from flower shop (if flowers work, remember to send her a thank you and use shop more often, Mrs. Hudson and Molly like flowers). 4) Move intent to replace kilt and long weekend in Scotland to end. 5) Consider taking out offer of long weekend in Scotland only priority is john’s forgiveness could be misinterpreted as a bribe given the circumstances.
Sherlock made himself some tea while he considered his proposed changes, when the kettle boiled he poured a cup for himself and stopped himself before pouring one for John. His blogger hadn’t stepped foot out of their bedroom since he’d gotten home which meant that Sherlock wasn’t going to be able to apologize until morning. He took his tea and sat back down to look over his proposed changes but hadn’t made any decisions by the time he’d finished his drink. Sherlock took his cup back into the kitchen, rinsing it in the sink before heading for the bathroom.
When he was finished the door to their bedroom was open and John was at the desk reading through his failed attempts at a decent apology.
”I’m sorry John,” Sherlock said from the kitchen.
John got up from the desk and walked over to where Sherlock was standing before wrapping his arms around the tense consulting detective. “Was the fabric store woman really that awful?” John asked him.
”Yes,” Sherlock replied, “does this mean I’m forgiven?”
"Of course and I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have blown up at you like that and I shouldn’t have stormed out either," John admitted without letting Sherlock go.
Do I still have to sleep on the couch?” Sherlock asked regretfully when John finally let him go.
"Yes,” the army doctor replied with a teasing smile as he took Sherlock’s hand and led him towards their bedroom.