Actions

Work Header

The happiness you deserve

Chapter Text

It had been a cold and uneventful morning at 221b when John Watson came back home. The climax with Moriarty and the woman they knew as Mary Morstan left scars in their wake, simultaneously bringing Sherlock and John closer together and leaving a palpable tension between them.

John had been sitting on the floor in the hallway of the morgue waiting to identify the body of his wife when he turned to Sherlock and said, quietly ‘‘Is it okay if I move back to Baker Street?’’, his face so open and vulnerable that Sherlock had to take a deep breath before nodding and holding John’s hand.

Now, eleven days before Christmas, Sherlock’s army doctor stood under the threshold at Baker Street with a suitcase in his hand and a question written on his face. Sherlock offered him a soft smile and a quiet ‘‘Welcome home’’, which John responded to by biting his lip and looking away.

‘‘Good to be back’’ He said, his voice thick with an emotion Sherlock was too afraid to decipher. ‘‘I’ll put this upstairs, then, shall I?’’ He said, raising his suitcase before turning around and doing just that.

Sherlock tried to swallow down the lump that formed in his throat, running his hands through his curls before picking up his violin and playing the Christmas carols which he knew Mrs. Hudson and John liked best. He watched the movement of pre-Christmas London through the living room window, distracting himself from thinking about what having John back at Baker Street could mean for him, for them, before he noticed something being put at the table beside him.

‘‘Oh, I didn’t… mean to interrupt you’’ John said placing his hand on the back of his head. His hair was messy from running his hands through it several times. Second-guessing his decision to move back? No, he changed from the blue flannel and brown jacket he was wearing to a soft jumper, making himself comfortable. Nervous, then. He wants to ask me something. No, tell me. He has don-

‘‘Stop’’ John said, placing an index finger on Sherlock’s forehead. He had a private smile on his lips, laugher lines around his eyes, and Sherlock’s mind really did stop. ‘‘I just came to bring you some water. And, hum, well… ask you what you wanna have for lunch?’’

Sherlock looked at the kitchen, well, the toxic waste they used to call a kitchen, and frowned. The sound of John chuckling brought Sherlock’s eyes back to him.

‘‘Yeah’’ John said, mirth dancing on his face ‘‘let’s eat out today. We can buy safety clothes and a couple of acids to clean the kitchen while we’re at it’’

‘‘Really, John, the experiment was hardly that drastic’’ Sherlock said, even though he kind off feared for his health every time he crossed the hallway from his room to the living room.

‘‘A-ham’’ John shook his head, smiling, and Sherlock suddenly found it hard to breathe. ‘‘Go change and get ready. And drink your water’’ John said before he covered his nose and mouth with his hand and ran to the bathroom.

Sherlock laughed at John’s improvised mask and yelled ‘‘It’s not that toxic’’

‘‘Oh, how comforting, it’s not THAT toxic’’ John yelled back from the bathroom, and Sherlock fell back on his chair, giggling. With his cheeks hurting from smiling too hard, he did as he was told.

They walked around aimlessly for a bit, enjoying the comfortable silence between, only stopping to get something to snack as they continued. It had been so long since they’ve had this, the intimacy of each other’s space even if they were not quite touching. Their fingers brushed occasionally, their eyes met and their smiles matched, and Sherlock felt all the words that he wanted to say form a lump in his throat.

Regent’s Park was empty safe from a few children playing together. John grabbed Sherlock’s sleeve and indicated a bench with his chin, mentioning them to sit there. Sherlock watched the sky slowly becoming orange and pink from the twilight before John asked for his attention by clearing his throat.

‘‘I wanted to t-’’

‘‘Hello misters’’ A child, no more than five years old approached them with a smile on her face, papers and pens in her hands ‘‘We are all writing our letters to Santa. Do you wanna write too?’’

Sherlock and John’s eyes met, and John’s face softened in a grin ‘‘Well thank you for giving us this opportunity. You will make sure he gets it?’’ He took the paper and pen while the little girl nodded vigorously. Sherlock took them to, looking down at the white parchment before swallowing.

There really was something that he wanted for Christmas. It wasn’t something ambitious as managing to disinfect the kitchen. He looked at John, who appeared to be writing a testament, then he looked at the little girl in front of them. He wondered if John grieved for the child that never existed.

Taking a deep breath, he removed his glove and wrote, right in the middle ‘Please, dear Santa, the man I love has been through hell because of me. I just want…I want John Watson to be happy’’

Chapter Text

‘‘I think we need to divide this in steps’’ John said, his voice muffled by the mask he was wearing, his eyes examining the kitchen. They had both geared up in yellow overalls; the same kind doctors use to treat patients in quarantine. ‘‘Let’s just throw away all of the objects today’’

‘‘And tomorrow we burn this kitchen down and build a new one from scratch’’ Sherlock mumbled. His throat hurt from a difficult night of breathing the strong smell of sulfur, so much so that he considered crashing on Mrs. Hudson coach. John laughed, which was followed by a cough. God, we are both gonna die, Sherlock thought, strangely resigned.

‘‘All right. You got the bags. Let’s just throw everything in’’ John handed him one and they got to work. They did their chore in silence – mostly because they didn’t want to breathe more than necessary – and were able to properly dispose of almost all of the contents before Mrs. Hudson yelled from her flat, asking them if they wanted to have lunch with her.

Sherlock and John looked at the bathroom door, then at each other, then back at the door. It took three full seconds before both of them ran, bumping against each other to try ad claim the shower first. Sherlock won, and he was breathless from laughter as well when he formed a barrier under the threshold.

John tasked, pretending to be annoyed ‘‘Fine. Just hurry’’ and crossed his arms over his chest, leaning against the wall.

‘‘Gotta be quick around here, Captain’’ Sherlock flashed him a grin and laughed when John bit his lip to keep from smiling. He showered quickly, focusing on his hair more than usual, breathing in the humidity that eased the pain in his throat. Soon he was done, wrapping a towel around his hips and using the adjoining door with his bedroom. John must have heard Sherlock leaving, because he promptly entered the bathroom without a word.

Sherlock watched John removing the yellow overall though the storm glass in his door, and when he noticed that John’s head was facing his way, he turned around and went for his wardrobe. John is taking an unusually long time to remove his clothes, Sherlock thought as a thrill went through him. He turned to his side, watching John’s blurred movements with his peripheral vision, and was just about to drop his towel when a yell from the living room startled him.

‘‘Oh my GOD, did someone die in here?’’ Mrs. Hudson screeched with her impeccable timing. John seemed to have been stung into motion, quickly entering the shower box and effectively ending whatever it was that happened between them. Sherlock grumbled as he put on his clothes, cursing Hudders.

He tried to explain to her that everything was being taken care of – and no one died – but only John was able to properly calm her down. Lunch was delicious, of course, and John raised his head in between bites and asked, completely serious ‘‘Oh, by the way guys, I can’t remember which holiday we’re having in a few days… What’s the name again?’’

Sherlock looked around Mrs. Hudson kitchen, excessively decorated with fairy lights, ornaments and miniature Santas, and started laughing quite loudly. Their landlady slapped John’s arm in amusement and their conversation quickly turned into something else.

‘‘But you see, Mrs. Turner and I are going to Rome together this Christmas’’ Mrs. Hudson said with a slight blush and a smile. John’s toes brushed against Sherlock’s, and the detective thought it was an accident, until John started to slowly and rhythmically do it again and again. Sherlock’s breath caught in his throat and he only half heard the rest of the conversation.

‘‘Sounds romantic’’ John smiled, and Mrs. Hudson shook her head in a weak denial, nervously talking about what they planned to do there. She was only interrupted by the phone and Mrs. Turner on the line, which made her leave for the other room.

John hadn’t stopped his ministrations and Sherlock started to shyly respond to them. ‘‘You’ve eaten even less than usual’’ John said, disapproval in his voice.

‘‘My throat hurts a bit’’ Or a lot, Sherlock thought, and John’s frown deepened into concern.

‘‘The smell?’’ Sherlock nodded and he continued ‘‘Why didn’t you tell me? You could have slept in my room’’

Sherlock blushed a bit and murmured ‘‘Where would you have slept?’’

‘‘In my room as well’’ John said just as quietly, breathing in deeply. And there it was, the tension, something strong forcing all of the air out of Sherlock’s lungs. He nervously ran his tongue on his lower lip, and John’s eyes followed the movement.

‘‘Sherlock there is… something that I’ve wanted to say… to you’’ He was whispering, as if afraid of his own words. Sherlock was afraid too, but he seemed to be unable to make any sort of deduction. Just like John Watson was the variable that Moriarty could never predict or control, he was also a conductor of light immune to Sherlock’s reasoning. ‘‘Well, there are two things’’ He cleared his throat and said a bit more confidently ‘‘Do you wanna go away, with me?’’

Does he want to elope? I want to elope, Sherlock’s mind supplied as an answer, his voice seemed to have disappeared. But John continued.

‘‘Harry is throwing a party with her girlfriend in Edinburgh’’ John said ‘‘I know it’s going to be cold as-’’

‘‘Sure’’ Sherlock interrupted, a bit nervous ‘‘Let’s do it. I’ve always wanted to meet Harry, anyway’’ To which John smiled. His toe made a path up Sherlock’s ankle which was… incredibly sexual. At least Sherlock’s body responded to it in a sexual way.

‘‘Great! I thought that would take a bit more convincing’’ John laughed, his hand on his nape.

I’ve made you go through so much when I just wanted to make you happy, Sherlock thought, I’ll do anything you want. John took a deep breath, and Sherlock remembered that there were two things that John wanted to say.

‘‘Well… um… and the other is. Well’’ He looked down to organize his thoughts, his voice quiet as a whisper again ‘‘You know how I-’’

‘‘Oh! Boys, I nearly forgot’’ Mrs. Hudson startled both of them by her screech and by placing a rather large bowl of sweets in front of them. ‘‘Mrs. Turner’s tenants make these every year and they always offer me some. Aren’t they adorable?’’

John and Sherlock regarded at the bowl for a couple of seconds in silence, before John cleared his throat.

‘‘We can also… make sweets’’ John frowned, strangely offended by a couple of candy canes. Sherlock looked at the army doctor, incredulous, before he was taken over by a laugh fit.

‘‘Are you… are you trying to compete against Mrs. Turner’s married ones?’’ Sherlock wheezed out though his laughter.

‘‘We’ll show them who is married’’ He said seriously, unaffected by Sherlock’s impending death by lack of air. ‘‘Let’s make our kitchen cookable’’ He got up and marched upstairs, a Captain with a mission, and Sherlock breathed out a ‘thank you for lunch’ to Mrs. Hudson, drying away his laughter tears, before following.

Chapter Text

‘‘How was the trip, Johnny?’’ the woman Sherlock deduced to be Harry Watson said as she greeted them at the airport. She was resting her elbows on an unnecessary metal fence (just there to make her look good, apparently), with her indigo eyes, short brown hair and just a general rock star attitude.

‘‘Yeah, fine’’ John looked at Sherlock with a grin ‘‘Entertaining’’

Sherlock smiled back. John had asked him to deduce everyone on the plane, unintentionally turning it into a challenge when his hand came in contact with Sherlock’s thigh and when he praised him after every deduction.

‘‘Oh yeah, you must be Sherlock’’ Harry said with a faint Scottish accent. She offered her hand to Sherlock after she was done hugging John, and Sherlock found himself being accessed by her observing eyes. She seemed to have liked whatever conclusion she had reached, a smile tugging on her cheeks, before she led them to her car.

The Watson siblings didn’t exchange many words, comfortably asking each other yes or no questions to fill the time. A reflection on their childhood, perhaps, Sherlock reasoned, under the abuse of a military-

‘‘How’s father?’’ John asked with an edge to his voice that Sherlock didn’t like hearing.

‘‘You’ll see him yourself in three days’’ Harry answered, her tone and face grim ‘‘He insisted on spending Christmas with us’’

John sighed, exasperated, but just looked out his window. Since Sherlock was sitting directly behind him, he touched his shoulder, trying to communicate some sort of support. John pulled Sherlock’s fingers to his lips, kissing the ring finger of his left hand, and successfully shutting down Sherlock’s cardiac system.

The rest of the day went by in a blur after that. Sherlock tried to save away in his mind palace all that related to John’s past: the stories that Harry told to upset her brother, the way he behaved around her and all of the family photos that Sherlock insisted on seeing. John seemed relaxed and happy, and when Harry’s girlfriend (school teacher, 38, divorced) asked for help to buy Christmas ornaments, he volunteered.

‘‘Don’t be scared of Harry’’ He whispered directly into Sherlock’s ear, making him shiver. Then he straightened and said louder ‘‘And don’t believe a thing she says’’

Harry pretended to be offended, and John left casting a smile at Sherlock. When he and Harry were alone, they stared at each other for a few seconds, trying to determine who would speak first. It was Sherlock who caved.

‘‘If you are worried about the work that we do hurting him, I-’’

‘‘I’m not’’ She said, hunching to rest her elbows over her knees.

Sherlock waited a beat before saying, quietly ‘‘If you are worried about me hurting him…’’ he stopped. Harry raised an eyebrow, the ghost of a smirk on her lips ‘‘I am trying… not to do that’’

She openly smiled at that, reaching beside her to get a cigarette. She blew out the smoke as she said ‘‘I met Marry once, you know. Two years ago. When you were still dead’’

Sherlock tried to breathe out the discomfort, the smell of Tabaco the least of his concerns ‘‘Did you… like her?’’

Harry laughed at that ‘‘Christ, no. I recognize an abusive relationship when I see one’’ Sherlock drank a sip of his water, never taking his eyes of her as she continued ‘‘Honestly, they say you marry replicas of your parents. It was scary seeing that kind of manipulation and not being able to do anything about it. It was our childhood all over again’’

Sherlock looked down, guilt rising up his throat like acid. He took another sip, working up some courage ‘‘Do you… see that kind of dynamic… with us?’’ he whispered.

Harry stared at him for a few seconds before saying ‘‘The fact that you are so afraid of that being true tells you everything you need to know’’.

Sherlock took a shuddering breath, biting his lip to keep his emotions from showing. He remembered John being kidnapped by Shawn, by Moriarty. He remembered purposely scaring him at Baskerville’s and actually dying in front of him. ‘You let me grieve. How could you do that?’ the love of his life had asked. The answer, of course, is that while it doesn’t excuse his actions, Sherlock is fundamentally a bad person. He has always believed that, and yet John showered him in praises he didn’t deserve, an affection he’s always desperately craved, but shouldn’t receive.

He only realized he was crying when Harry came to sit beside him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders. He willed himself to calm down, finished the glass of water before standing up and walking towards the bathroom.

‘‘I know exactly how you feel, you know. But if someone like John loves you, you must be worth it’’ Harry said.

‘‘He loved Mary’’

Harry snorted ‘‘No, he didn’t’’

Sherlock bit his lip and resumed his course to the bathroom, where he stayed until he heard John returning. Making sure he was presentable, he came back to the living room with what he hoped was a welcoming smile, but he must have missed it by a mile by the way John frowned. ‘Okay?’ he mouthed from where he was trying to hang mistletoe. Sherlock nodded and turned to Alice ‘‘How can I help?’’

The evening went by quickly, and soon they were retiring to their bedroom, which was composed of two beds separated by a small nightstand.

‘‘What did Harry do?’’ John asked as soon as they were alone. Sherlock sighed.

‘‘She didn’t do anything. It was fine’’

‘‘William, I know when you are hiding something’’ John said keeping a straight face. Sherlock was unable to stop himself from giggling, falling backwards on his bed, and John followed right after. He sat cross-legged on Sherlock’s bed, looking at him with so much affection that Sherlock had to take a deep breath.

‘‘Don’t do that’’ He whispered. John turned his head to the side with a soft smile.

‘‘Do what?’’

Sherlock hid his face beneath his hands ‘‘Don’t look at me like that’’. The sound was muffled by John seemed to understand nonetheless. He chuckled a bit before resting his palm on Sherlock’s chest.

‘‘Like I love you?’’

Sherlock was too afraid to say anything or to remove his hands, so he just nodded. The weight of the bed shifted, and Sherlock thought that John was leaving before a hand came to rest on his hair.

‘‘But I do love you’’

Sherlock gasped, his breathing and heartbeat erratic, and it was only the light pressure of fingernails massaging his scalp that kept him from locking himself in his mind palace.

‘‘Shhh, love, shhh’’ John’s mouth was so close now. His nose was touching Sherlock’s knuckles, his lips kissing any part of Sherlock’s face where they could reach. ‘‘Let me see you… please’’

Sherlock took his time to lower his hands, unsure how to keep John from seeing his tears, but eventually he did, and John’s face had tear marks too.

‘‘Oh, love’’ He kissed Sherlock’s cheekbones, drying them with his thumbs ‘‘I love you’’ he whispered in wonder, as if he never thought he would be able to say it, and that gave Sherlock some strength to sit up. John straightened up as well.

‘‘John, you don’t understand what you’re saying, okay? You… you… are going to remember the things that I’ve done to you and-’’

‘‘Sherlock, don’t move’’ John said with wide eyes aimed at Sherlock’s hair. The detective was suddenly on edge.

‘‘What? Is there a bug?’’ Not that he minded (there are more pressing things at the moment to worry about), but John shook his head, raising his hand slowly to retrieve a small white berry.

‘‘Must have fallen from a mistletoe when we were putting them up’’ John said, mischief all over his face when he looked at Sherlock again ‘‘I wonder if the rule applies to this as well’’

Sherlock felt his heart skip a beat. All of the air left his lung as John got up and walked to stand in front of him, looking down at his lips.

When their mouths touched, it felt like forgiveness.

Chapter Text

He’d always fantasized that his first kiss with John was going to be hot, demanding, even if undeniably loving. That Sherlock would memorize every inch of John’s body with urgency, and John would respond in kind. Instead, John Watson held his face like he was something precious, kissed his lips like they were a gift bestowed to him. He exorcised Sherlock’s demons like it was nothing, like loving Sherlock was the only certainty he had in his life. Reality was so much sweeter than his dreams.

‘‘Can I kiss you again tomorrow?’’ John whispered. Sherlock opened his eyes to the adoration in John’s. ‘‘And the day after that… and the day after that…’’ he continued, punctuating every sentence with a kiss to Sherlock’s lips.

Sherlock nodded, unconsciously raising his chin asking for another one, and John seemed happy to oblige. He straightened up again to run his fingers through Sherlock’s hair.

‘‘I know how hard it is to forgive yourself sometimes. Especially when you feel like you’ve hurt someone you care about. But believe me, Sherlock, you have made me feel so happy. You’ve made my life worth living even on the dark days’’ He kissed Sherlock again and just stared at him for a while. When he became satisfied with what he saw, he went to bathroom to get ready for bed, and Sherlock just slumped backwards, thinking that he would get a sleepless night of overanalyzing and stressing about everything.

He was surprised the next morning at how fast he had fallen asleep and how blissfully quiet his mind was for the first time in over three years. Covers had been put over him, the thin curtains beside him barely keeping the sunlight (which Sherlock deduced were from nearly noon) from entering the room. He stretched, looking at the other bed for a sign of John and finding it neatly made (John had slept there, though). Something on the nightstand caught his eye: the white berry that John found in his hair yesterday and beneath it a note:

‘Good morning, sleepy head. Harry wanted to buy food for lunch and I couldn’t bear to wake you. We’ll be back soon. Until then, there’s tea in the kitchen.
PS: I love you’

Sherlock’s cheeks hurt from smiling, his heart was beating fast and his eyes were watering. Is this how being loved feels like? He thought, getting up for a quick shower and to make the wild curls in his head look presentable. He suspected that John loved him after their encounter with Irene Adler, after he offered to sacrifice himself so that Sherlock could live. ‘Sherlock, run’, he had said, immobilizing Moriarty with the bomb between them. But he could never be sure, and after his fake suicide he felt like he’d lost his chance forever. But John seemed… he seemed to care for him still, and Sherlock was determined to deserve that affection.

John had already arrived when Sherlock went downstairs. He was leaning against the counter, arms crossed over his favorite Christmas jumper, and his face erupted in a smile when their eyes met.

‘‘Hello’’ He said as Sherlock approached. The detective licked his lips and looked at John’s, trying to determine if he could kiss him, but John made that decision for him. His smile widened before he pressed both hands on Sherlock’s face, bringing it down for a quick and chaste kiss.

‘‘Hello’’ Sherlock murmured and blushed when he heard Alice whistle from behind him.

‘‘Well, hello to both of you’’ She said, then she turned to Harry, who didn’t seem very surprised ‘‘Has this been going on all this time?’’

Harry eyed Sherlock for a while, then she raised her eyebrow at John and said ‘‘Yes, for seven years… give or take’’

John laughed, placing his hands on Sherlock’s hips and giving him a last kiss on his neck before turning him around and leading him to the kitchen table.

‘‘Don’t eat much, lunch will be ready in an hour at most’’ He said, sitting down beside him and keeping a hand on Sherlock’s thigh, running his thumb back and forth ‘‘Did you sleep well?’’ he asked, leaning into Sherlock’s space.

‘‘Never better’’ Sherlock said, truthfully.

‘‘Ugh, we get it, you two had sex’’ Alice said and Sherlock felt himself blush. John just laughed.

‘‘Mind your own business, lady’’ He threw a toast at her, which she deflected by using a pan as a shield. The food war continued for longer than what is expected for adults, and at some point Harry had to intervene.

‘‘Children, my phone is ringing. Stop this’’ She yelled, then to the phone her tone took an approachable edge ‘‘Hello, Harry Watson speaking’’ but her posture changed to a tired one, and she said with impatience ‘‘Hello, father’’ She looked at John ‘‘You want me to pick you up tomorrow at… yeah, fine. See you later then’’ She hung up and took a deep breath.

‘‘You don’t have to pick him up. He doesn’t even need to know your number. He doesn’t know mine’’ John said and Sherlock took his hand, intertwining their fingers. John looked at him with a small smile.

‘‘It’s fine. And he is only gonna have dinner here. What I’m worried about is Christmas day’’ She sighed ‘‘Don’t let him ruin our mood’’

John took a sip of Sherlock’s tea, clenched jaw and a frown on his features. Sherlock pondered what to do for a second, deciding to kiss the tip of his nose quickly, trying to convey something akin to support. John was startled for a moment, but he soon let out a chuckle, pressing his lips to Sherlock’s.

John had never talked much about Robert Watson. Truthfully, Sherlock knew more (even if very little) about John’s mother, who died when John was only 11, and now Harry. But he had deduced long ago that John had a masculine figure that did all it could to repress his attraction to men, raising him in a toxic masculinity, which he struggled with his whole life. Sherlock wondered if John would be comfortable with Sherlock’s affection next to his father.

Soon the afternoon turned into evening, which they filled by playing games and singing Christmas carols. Sherlock discovered that John made a very good impression of Frank Sinatra, which absolutely did not make him breathless and… smitten, no matter how much Alice teased him for it.

Eventually Harry and Alice went to their room, and only Sherlock and John remained at the living room. They sat cross-legged, facing each other, in front of the fire place, holding hands and kissing. John had playfully wrapped them in fairy lights and placed a Santa hat on Sherlock’s head. The doctor, as it turned out, was very skilled with his tongue, and Sherlock had to move away to catch his breath before he passed out. John, not at all deterred, just moved his lips to Sherlock’s neck.

‘‘John’’ Sherlock moaned, and the sound made John freeze. He kissed Sherlock’s pulse point one last time before moving backwards, eyes closed and a frown between his eyebrows.

‘‘Yeah, we need to calm down’’ He breathed out, smiling.

‘‘We don’t need to calm down’’ Sherlock said leaning forward to steal a kiss. John indulged him for a few seconds, only stopping when Sherlock let out a quiet moan. Sherlock frowned and whispered ‘‘Sorry, I’ll be quiet’’

‘‘No, love. It’s just… your voice is… fuck, it makes me…’’ John murmured, and Sherlock suddenly understood.

‘‘Oh, so… in fact’’ He dropped down a few octaves ‘‘You like my voice, do you?’’

John groaned, pressing his hands on Sherlock’s shoulders to push him away.

‘‘We need to talk about this, before we do anything’’

‘‘John’’

‘‘No’’

‘‘But, John’’

‘‘We kissed for the first time 24 hours ago’’

‘‘Jooohn’’

‘‘Let’s go get some sleep’’

Chapter Text

John Watson can easily map out in his head how his feelings for Sherlock Holmes progressed over the years they’ve known each other. First came admiration and attraction, which he felt on the course of the first 48 hours of their partnership. Sherlock was beautiful and mysterious, alluring in a way John was helpless to resist.

‘I know you’re an army doctor recently invalidated home from Afghanistan’, he had said, and John was hooked. Life with him was exciting in ways the battlefield hadn’t been, and John discovered he had something meaningful to live for. Consciously or not, he bestowed upon himself the mission of protecting the world’s only consulting detective (in a platonic way, since said detective was married to his work).

Love, if he was being honest with himself, came with all the bursts of affection that he got on the course of the next couple of weeks. When Sherlock left his bedroom in pajamas with sleepy eyes and messy hair; when he was finally able to deduced something from John’s inputs and help; or when he sang Lady Gaga in the shower. Sherlock Holmes, John reasoned, was a former addict that was trying to make a living out of helping people and, to do so, he set up a modest blog where clients could find him. He truly and deeply cared, in the most endearing way possible.

That Sunday morning, on the 18th of December, John woke up before the love of his life. They had slept on the same small bed, Sherlock’s face pressed against John’s neck, John’s arms around Sherlock’s body. He carefully pulled back to look at him, his clever detective with his pale white skin, dark curls and rosy lips, angelic in a way that took John’s breath away. He still couldn’t believe that he could do this: be so close to Sherlock, be able to touch him, kiss him and tell him how much he loved him.

John had fought in wars, both in Afghanistan and in London, but saying ‘But I do love you’ took all the courage he could muster. He ran a fingertip on Sherlock’s jaw, making a path from it to his lips and nose, keeping it light to not disturb him. Not that he was very effective.

‘‘You’re staring’’ Sherlock grumbled, cracking open just a slit of one eye to look at John.

‘‘I can’t help it’’ John whispered, burying his nose on Sherlock’s curls, before something out the window caught his eye ‘‘Sherlock?’’

‘‘Mm?’’ Was his grumpy reply.

‘‘Do you wanna build a snowman?’’ John sang, quite awkwardly, and Sherlock just took a deep breath before saying.

‘‘Is this a reference to some popular culture that I’m not aware of?’’ which just made John laugh.

‘‘Yes’’ a beat of silence ‘‘But do you?’’

Sherlock sighed, making a show out of complaining about it even though John knew he secretly enjoyed playing with snow. John brought his hands to Sherlock’s stomach and the last thing he saw were Sherlock’s frightened eyes before he began to tickle him.

‘‘Stop’’ Sherlock wheezed, giggling loudly, and John eventually had mercy on him. ‘‘Evil’’ Sherlock breathed out, even though he was smiling. Mischief took over Sherlock’s face and John though he was going to be tickled too before Sherlock yelled ‘‘I’m showering first’’ and sprinted to the bathroom.

They had breakfast quickly before going out, walking around Edinburgh and trying to find a park to play in, which they eventually did. The snow wasn’t fluffy enough to build a snowman with, but they did make sure the other one was properly wet and dangerously close to hypothermia before they decided to call it a day, lights of twilight already filling the sky.

‘‘John?’’ Sherlock said, an edge of apprehension in his voice. They were walking home hand in hand, and John tugged Sherlock’s a bit harder for reassurance.

‘‘Yeah?’’

‘‘It’s okay if you don’t want to… kiss me and things like that in front of your dad’’ He said in a quiet voice, his face cast down.

‘‘I love kissing you, and I don’t want to stop just because my father will be there’’ John realized his voice had taken its captain tone, and he stopped to take Sherlock’s face between his hands and press their mouths together, almost proving a point.

‘‘Okay’’ Sherlock smiled, running his nose up and down John’s.

As it turned out, though, that evening was destined to go as horribly as evenings could possibly go.

Robert was already there when they arrived, fully equipped with a glass of scotch in one hand and the TV remote in the other.

‘‘It ain’t daddy if he doesn’t reek of scotch’’ Harry grumbled only to John’s ears as she welcomed them into the house, then said louder ‘‘Why are you two so wet? Jesus’’ which brought Robert’s attention to them

‘‘Well, if it ain’t Johnny’’ Robert said, getting up from the couch with the help of a cane ‘‘It’s been seven years since I saw you. You had one of these as well’’ He raised his cane. John hugged him and gave him a few slaps on the back, but Robert’s attention was soon directed at Sherlock. ‘‘And you brought your… flatmate with you’’ he said with contemp.

Sherlock, bless his heart, smiled cordially and extended his hand ‘‘Sherlock Holmes. It’s nice to meet you’’

Robert hesitated for a rude amount of seconds before shaking it, his eyes accessing Sherlock in a way John did not like. ‘‘Well, Sherlock and I are going to get ready and then we will come down to help with dinner’’ John said, taking Sherlock by the hand to their bedroom, and Sherlock showered first.

John decided, as he shampooed his hair, that nothing would ruin the nice mood that he and Sherlock were in. The apprehension to be in the same room as his father was still there, but it was only a small part of how he felt. Sherlock was there, he was his, and it had taken them a pretty long time to get there. John put on his beige jumper, the one he knew Sherlock liked best, and went downstairs with a smile on his face. It was only when he reached the kitchen that he realized that something was wrong.

‘‘Where’s Sherlock?’’ He asked Harry, who was making dinner with Alice.

‘‘I don’t know’’ She said distractedly.

‘‘Last time I saw him he was talking to Robert’’ Alice said, and the Watson siblings froze. They looked at each other for a moment before marching to the living room.

‘‘Where is he?’’ John asked, his voice rough with a mixture of anger and fear.

‘‘Christ, it’s not like I killed him’’ Robert said, a slight smirk on his lips, raising both his hands in a mocked surrender ‘‘We were talking and then he took off. Didn’t say where he was going and didn’t even say goodbye. A bit rude of him, if you ask me’’

John closed his eyes, running his palms against his face and counting to ten before he put on his coat and boots. He took out his phone and tried to call Sherlock, but the detective’s mobile had been turned off. ‘‘If he comes back, tell him to call me’’ John said to Harry.

Looking at the coat hanger, John realized that Sherlock had left without his. He took the Belstaff and was assaulted by the freezing air of nighttime Edinburgh.

‘‘Sherlock!’’ He yelled as he made a path towards the city center. He tried to call his phone again, feeling his eyes watering. He should have known that no one is immune to that monster’s manipulation. Their mother wasn’t, Clara hadn’t been and now Sherlock…

‘‘Fuck!’’ He cursed, drying his cheeks ‘‘Sherlock!’’

Chapter Text

John looked down at his watch: ’01:15’. He had gone to all local pubs close Harry’s house, all the establishments open this late at night, but he’d seen no sign of Sherlock. He soon had to stop, lean against a wall and take a few deep breaths to calm himself. He remembered his childhood, being powerless to their father’s abuse towards his mother and his sister, always on edge when Robert came back from work.

‘‘Hi John’’ Harry’s voice was already distorted by the crappy telephone line that linked Afghanistan and England, but more so because she sounded like she had been crying. This happened only a couple of months before John was shot, yet he remembered like it was yesterday.

‘‘Harry? What’s wrong?’’ He said, walking out of the tent to the cold breezy wind.

‘‘Robert, he… fuck, I left them alone for five fucking minutes and…’’ She sobbed, and John waited patiently for her. She cried for a few minutes, and continued ‘‘He said awful things to Clara. I found her in tears in our room’’

‘‘What did he say?’’ John said, his voice rough.

Harry snorted, humorless ‘‘It’s not worth repeating. Let’s just say it was nothing new to the lesbian experience with straight disgusting men’’

John should have expected this. He should have never exposed Sherlock to that darkness. His feet took him through the suburbs, half aware of where he was going, half aware of the numbers he was typing on his phone. He must have called Sherlock over 60 times by now. John started to wonder if it was time to call the police (or Mycroft and his omnipotent cameras) when he suddenly saw Sherlock, his pale skin contrasting with the lights around him.

He was at the park where they had played earlier that day, sitting on a bench next to some fairy lights, hugging his knees for warmth and (thankfully) wearing John’s jumper, scarf and hat. Too sore-throated too yell, John ran to him. Sherlock, seemingly lost in his world, only noticed John when he was helping him into his Belstaff.

‘‘Thank god you’re okay’’ John whispered, only partially aware of what he was saying ‘‘I was so worried, love. So worried’’ He sniffled, bringing Sherlock’s face to his chest in a desperate hug.

‘‘John?’’ Sherlock’s voice was small, as if woken out of a reverie. John just pressed both palms against his face, running his thumbs on those ridiculous cheekbones, smashing their lips together over and over again.

‘‘Fuck, I was…’’ a kiss ‘‘so worried’’ another kiss.

‘‘For how long have I been gone?’’ Sherlock asked, sounding confused a bit frightened. He looked at John’s watch with wide eyes ‘‘Seven hours?’’ his tone with disbelief ‘‘I didn’t mean to stay out for so long, I’m sorry. I was just… my mind palace was…’’

‘‘It’s fine, love. It’s okay’’ He kissed Sherlock again and leaned back to look at him more carefully. His lips, purple before John’s ministrations, had stopped trembling from the cold, but Sherlock was still shivering ‘‘Let’s get you home, into a hot bath then under the covers, yeah?’’

Sherlock just nodded, using John’s help to get up. John wrapped a hand around Sherlock’s waist to keep him close, looking at him every few seconds to make sure he was okay, which he didn’t seem to be.

‘‘What did he say to you?’’ John asked in his captain voice, or something as close as he could come to a captain voice with his sore throat.

Sherlock winced, looking away, effectively hiding his face from John. ‘‘Nothing’’ he said, his tone neutral.

‘‘Sherlock, look at me’’

‘‘I’m fine’’

‘‘Sherlo-’’

Sherlock pulled himself from John’s embrace, stopping in front of him ‘‘I said I’m fine’’ he yelled, and John took a step back. Sherlock seemed to realize what he’d done, eyes widening and mouth hanging open as he wrapped his arms around John’s neck ‘‘I’m sorry’’ he whispered ‘‘I didn’t mean to snap like that, it’s just…’’

‘‘It’s alright. It’s the Robert effect. Let’s just focus on going home and getting some sleep for now, yeah? I shouldn’t have pressured you’’ John murmured against Sherlock’s hair, to which Sherlock nodded.

When they arrived, Harry was in the living room with Alice, smoking a cigarette. She put it out as soon as she saw them, rising from the couch to meet them. ‘‘Are you okay?’’ she asked, her gazing shifting from John to Sherlock, not really sure who she was most worried about. God, I must have made a scene, John thought.

‘‘I’m fine’’ Sherlock said, placing a hand on her shoulder ‘‘I’m sorry for causing all this trouble’’. Alice and Harry shook their heads, trying to communicate that it was okay, and John just pulled Sherlock to their bedroom.

‘‘Goodnight’’ He said, looking at Harry specifically and trying to say ‘Well talk later today’ with a look. She understood, of course, and offered him one short nod.

Once they were alone, Sherlock turned to look at John with uncertainty, and John placed one hand on Sherlock’s waist and one on his cheek. Sherlock put the tip of his index finger on John’s nose. ‘‘Don’t look at me like that’’ he whispered, but his eyes were soft and his lips were forming a shy smile.

‘‘But I love you so much’’ John whispered back, raising his chin to press his mouth against Sherlock’s. He pulled back with a frown, ‘‘But! You look very silly in my clothes, William. We’re gonna have to break up’’ he said, which made Sherlock giggle and hide his face on John’s neck, who involved him in a tight hug, rocking him from side to side.

‘‘John, I think I just wanna go to sleep’’ Sherlock murmured, and John started to walk both of them backwards to the bed, not willing to let Sherlock go, and the detective just laughed harder. He slumped down, effectively stopping the hug, and John went to his knee to remove Sherlock’s shoes, socks and eventually trousers.

Sherlock blushed furiously, a pink hue coloring his cheeks and neck, which he could see since Sherlock had taken out all of his layers to be wearing only his pants. He supported himself on his elbows to watch John remove his own clothes, and John had to take a deep calming breath as he turned around to turn out the lights. They got under the covers looking at each other’s silhouette and laid down on their sides, facing each other without touching. John made the first move by bringing Sherlock closer, the warmth of his bare skin making a shiver go down John’s spine.

Sherlock let out a shuddering breath, placing one hand over John’s heart and burying his nose in John’s neck. They stayed like that for a while, just relishing on the intimacy of their position, before Sherlock pressed a kiss to John’s pulse point. ‘‘I’m sorry I made you worry’’ he whispered ‘‘Sometimes I lose track of time when I’m in my mind palace… as you know’’

John just hummed, giving him time. It took a full minute for Sherlock to speak again ‘‘Looking back, my reaction feels kind of silly-’’

‘‘Hey’’ John interrupted, raising Sherlock’s chin to kiss him ‘‘Your feelings are valid. You have the right to be upset, to need some time away…’’

‘‘But I shouldn’t put my feelings over yours!’’ He untangled himself from John’s embrace to support himself on his elbow ‘‘I scared you so much, and for what? Just because a homophobe said homophobic things’’

John turned on the lamb on their nightstand and sat cross-legged on the bed with a frown ‘‘Sherlock Holmes, you listen to me. My stress tonight was caused mostly because I put you in his path in the first place. I know what he’s capable of and I didn’t protect you. You are in no way responsible for anything. Anything’’ He took Sherlock’s hand in his, bringing it to his lips ‘‘You have every right to take some time away for yourself. To rationalize the things that are said and done to you in your own way. I could never be upset for that’’

He leant down and kissed Sherlock’s open lips, trying to make him believe that he was loved, that he was cherished for who he was, including all of the trades that Sherlock considered to be his flaws.

‘‘No, don’t cry, baby’’ John kissed his tears, laying down and bringing Sherlock on top of him.

‘‘I love you’’ Sherlock sobbed, pressing his lips to every part of John’s face he could reach. Eventually they both calmed down. Sherlock caressed the scar on John’s shoulder while John caressed the scars on Sherlock’s back.

The next morning found John Watson sweating under the furnace that was Sherlock Holmes and with a bladder desperately full. There was no way to push his boyfriend away without ether waking him, or offending him, and John pondered over this dilemma for fifteen full minutes before he realized that Sherlock was softly chuckling on top of him.

‘‘Oh, you cock’’ John said as he pushed Sherlock to the side and ran to the bathroom, leaving the detective openly and loudly laughing at his demise.

They had slept so much that they skipped breakfast and went straight into lunch, with Harry casting looks at them every other minute. John raised an eyebrow at her, and she sighed ‘‘As you know I had a little party planned for today. However I can cancel it and-’’

‘‘Please, don’t. I’m… I’m fine’’ Sherlock said, looking at John with a smile ‘‘John… made me feel better’’

‘‘Ugh, guys. We get it, you had sex’’ Alice said and Sherlock blushed adorably again.

‘‘Alright then’’ Harry said, getting up to put her plate in the sink. ‘‘This non-alcoholic party is gonna rock’’ she continued without any emotion.

‘‘All of our friends will be having so much fun, talking about the weather all night long’’ Alice said in the same dead tone.

‘‘Woo-hoo’’ Harry sighed ‘‘Alright. Sherlock and Alice are gonna clean up the place while John and I make the food’’

Sherlock left with a last kiss to John’s lips, which tuned into a second, longer kiss. Which turned into a third even longer kiss, which-

‘‘Enough’’ Alice said, pulling a giggling Sherlock by his arm.

Once Harry and John were alone, both occupied with cutting different vegetables, Harry bumped her arm against John’s ‘‘So? What happened?’’ She said.

‘‘Sherlock didn’t tell me exactly what father said, but you can imagine’’ to which Harry nodded. There was a beat of silence before John continued ‘‘I still haven’t talked about this with Sherlock, but I think we should go back to London. Spend Christmas there’’. The ‘and away from dad’ was implied.

Harry nodded again ‘‘I understand’’ she said, and they continued their chores in silence. Two hours went by before his phone vibrated in his pocket with two messages from Sherlock.

Alice wanted to go buy some things. We’ll be back soon. SH

Love you. SH

But by the time that the first guests arrived, John was beginning to worry. John read over Harry’s shoulder Alice’s messages that they were coming back, but his anxiety only disappeared when he heard the front door opening.

‘‘We come bearing gifts!’’ Alice yelled from the door, her tone slurred like she had been-

‘‘Oh, fuck’’ Harry sighed, but she looked like she was trying to keep from smiling.

‘‘But you can’t tell Harry or John! They’ll be sad’’ Alice continued just as loudly, passing on a bottle of something to their baffled and amused guests. Sherlock was right behind her, leaning against the door. John went to him, and Sherlock’s face lit up when he saw him.

‘‘Hi’’ He said, fluttering his eyelashes and blushing.

‘‘Hello to you’’ John said, amused, and pressed his lips to Sherlock’s ‘‘Have you been drinking?’’

Sherlock’s eyes widened, like a dear caught in the lights, and he shook his head.

‘‘No?’’ John laughed, shaking his head as well ‘‘Why don’t we get some food into you?’’

‘‘I know something else that you can – hic- get into me’’ Sherlock murmured to John’s ear and another hiccup erupted. It was John’s time to widen his eyes, and he bit his lip to keep from laughing at the innuendo.

Drunk-Alice, on the other side of the room, was trying to spike the eggnog without anyone noticing so, naturally, everyone noticed. Harry appeared to have been taken over by a laugh fit. There was a group of people singing ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ very loudly and very badly. All and all, it seemed like the party was going great.

‘‘Why don’t you sit here and wait for me to get you something, yeah?’’ John said to Sherlock, directing him to the couch. He kissed his forehead before he went to the kitchen, bringing back a plate of small appetizers, which Sherlock ate distractedly.

John sat beside him, stroking Sherlock’s hair and watching the room. The last time that Sherlock got this drunk was at John’s stag night, when they were suffering from the words unsaid. It seemed like so long ago, the time of their life when different people were pulling the strings of their fate: Mycroft on one hand, Moriarty and Mary on the other. He remembered bringing Sherlock back to Baker Street, both drunk out of their minds, and carefully flirting with him, trying to see where he stood with his feeling for John.

‘‘What are you thinking about?’’ Sherlock slurred in John’s ear, and John smiled.

‘‘Us’’

‘‘You mean me’’ Sherlock said, smiling too, and laughed when John didn’t deny it. He pulled John’s face for a kiss that was more tongue than lips, and John indulged him for a moment before he realized that Sherlock was straddling his hips.

‘‘Wow, love, what are you doing?’’ John said, looking at the other people in the room, his hands unconsciously moving to Sherlock’s thighs.

‘‘I’ve been told that I’m very good with my hips’’ He murmured, rolling said hips to illustrate that argument.

Jealousy, at the moment, was bigger than the embracement of having your drunk boyfriend straddle you in a room full of people ‘‘Who told you that?’’

Sherlock removed his jacket, hips still rolling against John ‘‘My pole dance instructor’’

‘‘Your pole dance instructor?!’’ John repeated, feeling his brain faculties slowly cease to work because Sherlock was, in fact, a very good dancer.

People had started to notice that John was getting a lap dance (and a strip-tease, with Sherlock slowly unbuttoning his shirt) and began to scream their approval. John just placed both hands on Sherlock’s arse and lifted them up, which made people scream even louder. John was planning on putting Sherlock on the ground and walking with him to their room, but the detective (or professional dancer, John’s brain supplied) wrapped his legs around John’s waist.

‘‘He’s drunk, Ha Ha’’ John said awkwardly to everyone in the room as he walked out just like that, with his boyfriend in his arms. Harry had fallen on the ground, hugging her belly from laughing so much, and Alice had tears in her eyes, her bottom lip shaking from crying.

‘‘You sex him up, Sherlock! You sex him up’’ She yelled and John ran before Sherlock could respond in any way.

John thought that, once in their room, he was going to have to negotiate with Drunk-Sherlock a different time for him to strip-tease to John, but as soon as Sherlock’s head touched the pillow, he started snoring.

Chapter Text

Sherlock woke up the next morning feeling too well to be hangover. He looked at John – sleeping peacefully on his side, facing Sherlock – with his beautiful eyelashes and laugh lines, and the memories of all that had happened the night before hit him like a truck.

Alice asked me if I wanted to go out and get ‘warmed up’ for the party and I said yes. She never drunk in front of Harry, not that Harry asked that of her, but last night she wanted to ‘get crazy’, to put it in her own words. Alice: Math teacher, cat person, ex-husband still loves her, doesn’t want to have children, is very serious about Harry… Focus, Sherlock! What happened next? Tequila. Three shots and I already told her that John and I had never had sex. We came up with a plan together to seduce him, so I danced for him in front of all those people. He didn’t look uncomfortable. He looked… turned on. I felt him against the inside of my thigh. He was-

John sighed beside him, breaking Sherlock’s reverie. He could feel it, his love for John, crashing against him like a wave, making him curl his toes and bite his lip. Sherlock stared at him for a few seconds before he touched John’s hand with a tip of his finger, focusing on the velvety texture around his knuckles. When he realized that that wasn’t enough, he tried to, as carefully as he could, place himself between John’s arms, feeling his heart beat even faster as John started to wake up.

John (beautiful, marvelous, amazing John) brought him closer to run his fingers gently through that mop of curls.

‘‘John?’’ Sherlock whispered against John’s neck, nuzzling him.

‘‘Yeah?’’ John murmured, still a bit groggy.

Sherlock took some time to answer, not knowing which of the billion requests on the tip of his tongue to use, but eventually went with a simple ‘‘My head hurts’’

John chuckled, sleepy and still caressing Sherlock’s head ‘‘Want me to kiss it better?’’

Sherlock was silent for a few seconds, unable to think clearly, before whispering, softly ‘‘Okay’’ and moving his head backwards for John’ lips, his eyes shut tight. His doctor thoroughly kissed all the tension in his features, unaware that every press of his lips felt like fire.

‘‘Everything alright?’’ John asked after a couple of minutes. Sherlock nodded, licking his lips and presenting them in a pout for John to kiss, which John did, chuckling ‘‘Sherlock, look at me’’

Sherlock took a deep breath and opened his eyes. John’s face was so close, so beautifully painted with happiness and affection that Sherlock just had to raise his lips again for John to kiss. But John must have seen something troubling behind Sherlock’s façade, because he backed away to sit on the bed.

‘‘What’s wrong?’’ He said, crossing his legs and taking one of Sherlock’s hands in his.

‘‘Nothing’’ Sherlock whispered, releasing his hand to place it against John’s thigh, running it back and forth, feeling his pajamas trousers. ‘‘Touch me’’ he continued, and John looked at him for a while longer before nodding and laying back down to hold him. Sherlock took advantage of his proximity to kiss him everywhere he could.

‘‘You are very… affectionate this morning’’ John chuckled as Sherlock placed a peck over each of his eyelids.

‘‘I love you’’ Sherlock said, simply, as if that could possibly translate everything that he was feeling.

‘‘Sherlock?’’ John murmured ‘‘I’ve been thinking’’

‘‘Oh! Well done. You need to practice’’ Sherlock joked, backing away to look at John with a smug expression.

‘‘Oy!’’ John exclaimed, slapping Sherlock’s arse playfully, which made Sherlock’s eyes widen and his brain functions stop momentarily.

He bit his bottom lip and hid his face on John’s neck just as he began to feel himself blush. ‘‘What have you been thinking about?’’ He said, his voice shy.

John cleared his throat before he said ‘‘Well, I think I want to spend Christmas at Baker Street’’ he said caressing Sherlock’s curls again. The detective placed a hand over John’s heart, forcing himself to pay attention to what John was saying despite all of his desires.

‘‘Why?’’

‘‘Well, it is our home’’

‘‘Or maybe it’s because your father will be here on Christmas day’’ Sherlock backed away to look at John’s face, his analytical eyes sweeping over his every feature trying to deduce his feelings, but all Sherlock could see was how beautiful John was (which is infuriating and not the time for this).

‘‘We shouldn’t have to endure an evening that is doomed to fail. Why can’t we be at home, enjoying ourselves… kissing…’’ John kissed him to illustrate that point, and Sherlock was momentarily sidetracked before he worked up the courage to say what he’d been feeling the entire morning.

‘‘Or making love?’’

John’s eyes widened and he stared at Sherlock for a few seconds before his face broke in a smile ‘‘Yes’’ he said.

‘‘Can we go after lunch?’’ Sherlock said, quickly.

John raised his eyebrows and said ‘‘Eager, are we?’’

Sherlock’s blush deepened ‘‘Yes’’ and John’s mouth hang open, bemused, as Sherlock pushed him into lying on his back so he could straddle his hips. He placed both his hands on John’s chest, effectively keeping him in place as he rolled his hips against him. His whole body shook as he felt it again, the thrill that ran through him the night before at being the object of John’s desire.

John closed his eyes for a second too long, looked at Sherlock’s body on top of him like he couldn’t believe he was John’s, and Sherlock rolled his hips again. ‘‘Fuck, love…’’ John said, his words dripping with desire, love and affection.

Sherlock looked down at both of them, their pants and trousers still forming a barrier, but even so he’d never felt so raw and exposed. He bent over to kiss John and inevitably pressed his hips harder against him, making them moan. They began to grind against each other, harder and faster, their breaths becoming shorter and their moans louder, until there came a knock on the door.

‘‘Wake up both of you and help me clean this mess’’ Harry Watson, a person Sherlock used to consider a friend, yelled from the hallway, making both of them freeze.

They stared at each other for a few seconds, stunned, before Harry knocked louder. ‘‘We’re going!’’ John said, his voice a bit affected by what he’d been doing.

‘‘Fine. Hurry up’’ were Harry’s parting words.

Sherlock looked at the door, trying to determine if she was out of ear shot, before directing his eyes at John and rolling his hips again. John gave a long exhale and placed his hands on Sherlock’s arse, bringing him closer, and they were just starting to pick up the pace again when-

‘‘JOHN WATSON COME HELP ME’’ Harry yelled, which startled Sherlock.

‘‘I HATE YOU, HARRY’’ John yelled back, which startled Sherlock even more. He fell to his side of the bed, giggling. He turned and saw John’s murderous expression, which just made him laugh even harder.

‘‘We’ll continue this later’’ Captain Watson said before he stood up and angrily changed from his pajamas to a pair of jeans.

Sherlock laid at the bed for as long as he could, but when he heard the Watson siblings fighting and yelling at each other, he decided it was time to go down and help. Sherlock made his way to the kitchen; where everyone was, and sat down to have his breakfast. Alice was staring at her mug with contempt.

‘‘Alright?’’ He asked her.

‘‘I don’t like any of you’’ she growled in response.

‘‘Do you remember last night at all?’’ John asked Alice, sitting down beside Sherlock and placing a hand on his thigh. Sherlock dragged it upwards a bit, too close and too far away at the same time, making John gasp.

‘‘I remember drinking and throwing up’’ Alice said, unaware of the inappropriate touching going on in front of her.

‘‘Weren’t some people screaming in pain? I’m sure I remember that’’ Sherlock said, not even caring that his voice was too breathy to be acceptable.

John laughed, also sounding affected ‘‘They were singing’’

‘‘It sounded awful’’ Sherlock frowned, biting his lip and locking his eyes with John before the doctor removed his hand and stood up, occupying himself with the dishes.

The trip back to London was just as excruciating. They tried just kissing, but it was awful. They tried not touching each other at all, but that was even worse. Eventually they just decided to hold hands, and the 8 hours of train journey seemed longer than they should be. John barely had time to shut the door at 221b before Sherlock was pushing him against a wall, kissing him with all his frustration. John placed both hands on Sherlock’s arse and wiggled his eyebrows, trying to look seductive, and Sherlock laughed, lightheaded and in love.

He took advantage of John’s hold on him to wrap his legs around John’s waist, wordlessly asking to be taken.

Chapter Text

Sherlock had fantasized about having sex with John more often than he was willing to admit. He’d wondered how John’s hands would feel against his thighs and how his lips would feel between them. He’d wondered how John’s body would taste like, what it would feel like beneath his fingers. He’d wondered what John would say, what he would sound like.

John carried him to his room like he weighted nothing, nibbling at his neck and whispering praises. ‘‘Beautiful’’, he said ‘‘my beautiful, perfect man’’. He placed Sherlock in his bed and started to remove his clothes, and Sherlock would have helped or even started to take off his own if he weren’t so transfixed by the scene before him.

John was beautiful. There was no other word that Sherlock could use. The hard lines that drew his shoulders and arms were contrasted by the soft ones, as those on his tummy. He was rough edges and soft middles, entirely perfect. John had a smile on his face, like he could read Sherlock’s mind, as he came closer. He placed his hands on Sherlock’s cheeks, running his thumbs over Sherlock’s cheekbones.

‘‘Okay?’’ He asked, his voice soft and gentle.

Sherlock could only nod, raising his chin to press his lips against John’s. They stayed like that for a while until Sherlock worked up the courage to touch John’s bare arse, which made John chuckle.

‘‘There you go’’ He said, kissing along Sherlock’s jawline and moving his fingers to run though Sherlock’s hair.

Sherlock shivered. He took John’s wrists to push him away, inverting their positions, with John sitting on the bed and Sherlock standing up. He removed his clothes slowly, mostly because his fingers were shaking, and he closed his eyes while removing his pants. John made no sound for a few seconds and eventually Sherlock’s curiosity got the better of him.

John was looking at him with so much love and desire that he ran over to him, crushing their bodies together and wrapping his arms around John’s neck. ‘I love you and I want you but I’m also afraid of my inexperience, that I won’t know what to do, that it won’t be good for you’, Sherlock thought. And even though he was unable to say those words out loud, John seemed to have understood.

He laid Sherlock down on his back and started to run his lips and tongue where Sherlock needed the most. ‘‘Christ, you’re beautiful. Did you know that? These hips… these thighs…’’ John murmured.

Sherlock thought he might pass out, his mind in a blissful chaotic state trying to make sense of everything he was feeling. John’s dexterous fingers were pressing against him, inside of him, as slowly and carefully as he needed them. Sherlock’s hips moved on their own accord, begging for more.

‘‘God, love. Look at you’’ John moaned, and Sherlock wanted to hear more. He pulled John up and laid him down, straddling him like the day before and rolling his hips against and all around him.

I love you, he tried to say, I love you, I love you, I love you. Sherlock’s heartbeat was loud against his ears as his hips came down harder and faster in desperate need of John, and John did nothing but provide, his own affection transparent in the way he moved. Sherlock only had time to think how this was even better than the first 7% solution he’d taken before everything erupted in hot bright pleasure.

‘‘That was… amazing’’ John said, as he cuddled Sherlock in his arms and kissed his face. Sherlock smiled as he remembered the first time John had said that, in response to Sherlock’s deductions about him, so long ago.

‘‘Do you really think so?’’ He whispered, but he wasn’t expecting a response, already feeling sleep taking over him.

The next morning, Sherlock woke up alone to the sound of the shower running. He smiled, stretching himself on the bed before running to the bathroom to join the love of his life.

They decided to have breakfast with Mrs. Hudson, as they didn’t buy anything to eat and their landlady was making something that smelled delicious.

‘‘I do wish you’d tell me when you decide to eat my food’’ She said, pretending to be upset, and John was the one responsible for the small talk (as he always was).

Sherlock allowed himself to be in his mind palace for a while, only paying attention to the food he was eating, before Mrs. Hudson said something that made him lose his focus.

‘‘John, dear, what would you like for Christmas? I’m going out today to buy some things and-’’

‘‘Mrs. Hudson, really, you shouldn’t worry. You letting us eat here is more than enough’’ John said taking Sherlock’s hand in his below the table.

‘‘Nonsense, there must be something you want. A novel, maybe?’’

‘‘Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock and I haven’t paid rent since March 2010. It’s okay’’ John said, making their landlady giggle and hit him in the arm, and after that Sherlock stopped paying attention again.

You idiot, how could you forget about this? What are you going to give John for Christmas? How would he find the perfect gift, the thing that repays John for being the perfect human being that he is? Book: like crime novels and historic books. No, it can’t be a book. An object then. A mug? Too simplistic and cheap. A new computer, maybe? He loved to write. Fuck, fuck, fuck… if there was only a way to delve into John’s deepest-

‘‘Oh!’’ Sherlock exclaimed clapping his hands, interrupting the conversation John and Mrs. Hudson were having, before running up to their flat to change his clothes.

John was standing by the door as Sherlock put on his coat and scarf, arms crossed over his chest and a smile on his face. ‘‘Where do you think you’re running to?’’

‘‘I need to get you the perfect gift’’ Sherlock said, only half paying attention to John, who had began to frown.

‘‘The perfect gift? Sherlock-’’ and Sherlock interrupted him with a kiss.

‘‘I’ll be back shortly’’ He said as a goodbye, walking out of Baker Street with a plan.

The walk to St. Mary’s school wasn’t that long, so Sherlock bypassed the tourists and was able to be there in less than 15 minutes. His coat swished behind him in an unintentionally dramatic entrance to the premise, and the two women at the reception raised their eyebrows.

‘‘I need your help’’ Sherlock said as a hello, and continued before any of them could say anything ‘‘On the 14th of December my boyfriend and I were at Regent’s Park. There were some children playing there, and one of your students asked us if we wanted to write ‘Letters to Santa’’’ Sherlock made the air quotes with his hands ‘‘We did, but I don’t know what my boyfriend wrote and I need to know’’

‘‘Why don’t you just ask him’’ one of the women said, chewing a gum with her mouth open and not able to hide the disgust in her features. Sherlock, however, was done being nice to homophobes.

‘‘You wouldn’t understand, Debra’’ Sherlock didn’t even look at her.

‘‘My name isn’t Debra’’

‘‘You look like a Debra’’

‘‘Enough’’ The older woman said, and she looked like she was trying not to laugh. Sherlock knew that she would help him before she even got up from her chair, so he smiled at her in gratitude. ‘‘I’ll get you the letters’’ she said ‘‘But you’ll have to look through them in front of us’’.

‘‘Yeah, sure’’ Sherlock said, nodding.

It didn’t take very long the find John’s handwriting in that bowl of white papers. He’d actually taken an effort to make it look good. Sherlock took a deep breath before opening the paper and reading it:

‘Dear Santa,

My family has never held this tradition, as it wasn’t a very happy family to begin with, but as I’m sitting here, with Sherlock, I feel like I might just have started to believe in a miracle such as yourself. I don’t have an actual request, since I have beside me everything I could have wished for. Sherlock and I, Mr. Claus, have been kept apart for what feels like 130 years.

But now we’ve finally won, and I very much intend to grow old with him, even if he wants me just as a friend.

I just ask you to fulfill whatever it is he is writing over there, because if Sherlock Holmes is asking you for something, he must be desperate (no offense).

Yours truly,

John Watson’

Sherlock felt his eyes watering as he read it, and he just folded the paper and put it inside his coat pocket, offering the nice lady one last smile before going back home, all the roads leading him back to Baker Street.

Chapter Text

The morning of the 22nd was spent with lazy kisses and love making. Sherlock could become addicted to this, having John on top of him, breathing hard against him as John slowly lost control of his rhythm. Sherlock loved how John said his name at those moments, how he bit Sherlock’s lower lip, how his teeth grazed gently where Sherlock’s neck met his shoulder.

‘‘Mark me’’ Sherlock whispered, and it must have been the right thing to say because John groaned loudly and did just that, biting and sucking on the skin offered to him.

When they were done, Sherlock laid his head on John’s chest, ear against heart, and was just beginning to drift off when he heard his phone vibrating on the nightstand. The groaned, resigned to see who it was at another time.

‘‘No, answer it. This person has been calling you all morning’’ John said, and Sherlock lifted his head to look at him.

‘‘Really?’’ he said ‘‘I didn’t even notice’’ which made John smirk, way too proud of himself. Sherlock chuckled at him before picking up his phone and seeing the name of the caller ‘‘Someone better have died in the most interesting way possible, Graham’’

‘‘Greg’’ John mouthed, smiling at Sherlock fondly. Sherlock lazily traced patterns on John’s chest as Lestrade told him the specifics of the case.

‘‘Okay, first of all, it’s Greg. Second of all, I think you are gonna find this interesting. The victim worked for that ‘Monsters’ club, and was doing bartender duty when he just flopped on the floor, flat lined right in front of everyone’’

Sherlock sighed ‘‘Poison, dull’’ and was about to hand up.

‘‘I thought so too, but there was no poison in the blood sample and not to mention there were several eyewitnesses that said that no coworkers were near him at the time of the death. His fiancé said that Mathew, our victim, was loved by everyone and…’’

Sherlock pulled the phone from his ear and covered it with his palm before turning to John ‘‘Do you want take on a case today? I reckon we can solve this in less than 30 minutes’’

John smiled and caressed Sherlock’s arm ‘‘Yeah, sure’’

‘‘… but obviously he wouldn’t be able to do that unless-’’

‘‘We’ll do it. I’ll have it worked out before midnight. Where is the corpse?’’

Lestrade recovered from being interrupted by clearing his throat ‘‘Bart’s. I’ll tell Molly you’re going there now. And thank you, Sherlock’’

As it turned out, it took Sherlock and John an hour to get out of bed and another hour to get out of the shower. Molly was a bit impatient when they got there.

‘‘I should have done the autopsy an hour ago’’ she grumbled, lowering the sheet that covered the body ‘‘Mathew Rodrigues. Age 27. He was studying to be a-’’

‘‘Nurse’’ Sherlock completed, pulling out his magnifying glass to exam the body more carefully. Sherlock, however, didn’t conclude anything from Mathew’s bare body. There were no injuries that could have caused his death, which led Sherlock to deduce that it was something that he ingested. He stepped away and looked at John, silently asking him to examined the body.

John pressed against his joints, trying to notice any unusual swelling. ‘‘My money is on poison’’ He murmured, half paying attention to Sherlock, who just nodded.

‘‘Blood test was clean’’ Molly said, just as John opened the victim’s mouth and eyes.

‘‘Did you test for heavy metal poisoning?’’ He asked, his voice excited like he’d just discovered something crucial, and Sherlock moved closer to see what he’d missed. ‘‘Do you see? Just around his pupil’’

‘‘Ocular chrysalis’’ Sherlock murmured.

‘‘Given the fact that that’s the only thing physically wrong with him, I think he was poisoned with heavy metal, probably gold’’ John said as he rummaged through one of the drawers to get a syringe and a tourniquet.

‘‘Gold?’’ Molly said with disbelief.

‘‘Elegant’’ Sherlock murmured, finally excited for the case ‘‘Molly, test and see if John’s theory is right. John, you go talk to the fiancée and then you meet me at the club’’

Once there, though, Sherlock deduced in less than 3 minutes that it had been, in fact, the owner who had killed Matthew, and for no apparent reason other than to prove he could. He welcomed Sherlock with a smile, offering to help him in any way he could.

‘‘The famous Mr. Holmes’’ He said, running his hand down Sherlock’s arm, a flirtatious smile on his face. Sherlock felt bile going up his throat, remembering the last time that a psychopath had been interested in him, and took a step back.

‘‘It’s Mr. Watson, now’’ He said, a cordial smile on his lips. The owner, Mr. Fletcher, raised his eyebrows.

‘‘I didn’t know you’d married Dr. Watson’’

‘‘We are very private’’ he said, looking behind at who had just arrived threw the door ‘‘And there he is right now’’

John smiled from ear to ear, wrapping an arm around Sherlock and kissing his cheek, casting a wary eye at the man beside them. ‘‘Hello, love’’ John whispered, and Sherlock, at that moment, thanked all the gods for having such a jealous boyfriend who saw everyone as a threat.

‘‘This is Mr. Fletcher’’ Sherlock said, pointing at him, feeling more at ease with John at his side ‘‘We were just coming up with a plan to determine who poisoned Mathew’’

‘‘Alright’’ He nodded ‘‘What’s the plan?’’

Sherlock explained his idea, a trap that only the killer would fall for, while Mr. Fletcher listened with a smile on his face. ‘‘It would be so much easier if we knew what the poison is’’ Said the owner. Sherlock pinched John, right beside his abdomen.

‘‘Yes, well. Tests were inconclusive. We’ll know once we have the killer’’ Sherlock said and John nodded, catching on immediately.

Eventually Mr. Fletcher left to do other things (probably plan his next murder) and John took that opportunity to kiss Sherlock lazily.

‘‘I like this plan’’ He said, right against Sherlock’s lips ‘‘I really do, but I think I have a better one’’

‘‘Oh’’ Sherlock frowned, trusting John implicitly ‘‘Do say’’

‘‘Okay, hear me out’’ John stepped back and pointed at one of the three stages ‘‘You could go up there and dance on that pole for about 30 minutes. Then, when you’re done, we’ll carry on with your plan’’

There was a beat of silence, before Sherlock threw his head back, laughing.

‘‘I don’t see why that’s funny’’ John frowned, looking genuinely hurt ‘‘That way everyone wins’’ and Sherlock just laughed harder.

The plan was carried out perfectly (without John’s suggestion) as the club slowly filled with people. They set a trap for the bouncer, while Mr. Fletcher slowly incriminated himself. He was so excited for having surpassed the great Sherlock Holmes that he neglected the team from Scotland Yard going into his office and finding his supply of gold. Sherlock and John stayed at the bar with him while that happened. John slowly leaned forward to steel a kiss, which turned into a very heated snog very quickly.

‘‘Honestly. That pole is just… standing there. Waiting to be danced on’’ John said against his ear, and Sherlock wrapped his arms around John’s neck, laughing.

‘‘Do you really want me to dance like that in front of all these people?’’

John backed away to look at Sherlock with hurt eyes. ‘‘Okay, you’re right’’ he pouted, and Sherlock’s lips twitched in a smile.

Mr. Fletcher was arrested by the DI at around 6 am, when there were only a couple of people cleaning the place, but John and Sherlock stayed away from all the commotion, dancing to an absolute classic. ‘‘I want your love and I want your revenge, you and me could write a bad romance’’ Sherlock sang, and John seemed awestruck looking at his boyfriend’s hips.

‘‘I love to watch you dance’’ He murmured, pulling Sherlock closer to pinch his arse.

‘‘I love to dance for you’’ Sherlock responded, smiling ‘‘We could make this our Christmas tradition’’

‘‘What, going clubbing?’’ John frowned ‘‘Love, I want to take you dancing at least once a week’’

Sherlock removed himself from John’s arms, walking backwards slowly ‘‘Well yeah, but…’’ He placed a chair right in front of the stage ‘‘We can give it a slight twist on Christmas’’

John widened his eyes, and when Sherlock climbed the stage John scrambled to sit on his chair murmuring ‘‘Oh sweet baby Jesus’’ as a mantra.

It wasn’t very sexy, because Sherlock kept having to stop when he was taken over by fits of laughter, but John and the cleaning staff were really supportive, often offering their applause and yelling their approval. When they were going back to Baker Street, John held his hand and couldn’t seem to stop smiling. He looked at ease, completely and irrevocably happy, and Sherlock decided that this was a very good Christmas tradition.

Chapter Text

While Scotland Yard wasn’t known for its general competence in its duty with justice, it was known for its Christmas parties. It was the event of the year for everyone who was involved with crime work – open bar, invitation only, middle aged men and women dancing like there was no tomorrow. For Sherlock, this has always meant 30 minutes of people ether ignoring him or calling him a freak before he decided to leave and spare himself the trouble.

This year, though, John was with him. He wasn’t the weirdo who didn’t have friends or has never been in a date. John Watson, the most handsome, sexiest, bravest, kindest man in the world had chosen him, and Sherlock very much intended to rub in all of their faces.

‘‘You are really excited for this party’’ John said as he put on his tie ‘‘Makes me think that they have strip dancers and… caged tigers or something’’

‘‘You think that’s the kind of thing I would find exciting?’’ Sherlock asked, turning John around to comb and slick his hair back. John let him, amused.

‘‘Yeah, you’re right. Do they have a Lady Gaga trivia for you to obliterate everyone at?’’ John said, which made Sherlock laugh and place his head on John’s shoulder. He kissed it once, just because it was right there. Then he kissed it a second time. Then- ‘‘Sherlock, we should have left 30 minutes ago’’

Sherlock pushed him against the sink, unbuttoning his shirt ‘‘People always arrive late at a party’’ he murmured, moving on to open John’s flies.

‘‘Not 2 hours and 30 minutes late’’ John protested weakly, biting his lip when Sherlock went to his knees. Sherlock’s next argument, however, was way too compelling for John to dispute.

When they finally arrived there, everyone already seemed to be drunk and out of their minds, which didn’t go along with Sherlock’s plan at all – he wanted people to remember that John was his. Undeterred, Sherlock still introduced John to everyone in the premise.

‘‘Yes, Sherlock, I have met John’’ Lestrade said, pinching the bridge of his nose while John laughed.

Sherlock looked at both of them before continuing ‘‘Well, yes, but he is my boyfriend now’’ and John just laughed harder.

Eventually, they made their way to the middle of the dance floor, slow dancing to an Elvis Presley song. John smiled up at him and kissed along his jawline while Sherlock closed his eyes, letting John’s affection and the song wash over him. John moved his lips to Sherlock’s ear ‘‘But I can’t help falling in love with you’’ he sang, his voice perfectly low and husky, and Sherlock went weak in the knees.

They kissed for a while, enjoying the intimacy of each other’s touch, before Anderson interrupted them with news from the fan club. John watched the interaction between an enthusiastic Anderson and a polite Sherlock before he asked him if he wanted anything to drink. ‘‘Just some water, I guess’’ Sherlock whispered to John while Anderson, undeterred, continued talking. 15 minutes had passed and there was still something to be said about the group of people who idolized Sherlock.

‘‘We’ve been thinking about moving the headquarters to a new location, you know? Somewhere a bit more reserved, more difficult to find. We’ve also been thinking about doing a harder initiation process because it makes sense that the community has only smart members, you know? And…’’ Anderson said, completely unaware that Sherlock’s attention was not directed at him.

John is taking a long time to come back, Sherlock thought, stretching his neck to look at the bar and search for him. Then he suddenly saw him, his John Watson talking to a very flirtatious Margaret Nile. She’d always had a thing for John, going out of her way to smile at him and talk to him at crime scenes and when they were at the Yard. John had never commented on it, always politely smiling back at her, and Sherlock had always hated her in secret.

Sherlock started to make his way towards them when he saw Nile running her hand up and down John’s arm, and John’s answering and charming smile. Sherlock felt a lump form in his throat, jealousy running hot in his veins as he changed directions and went for the bathroom instead. He looked at himself in the mirror, taking deep breaths to calm himself down.

‘‘You need to accept that sometimes things won’t go your way’’ Sherlock whispered to himself, splashing some water in his face ‘‘You have no right to be mad and John has given you no reason to be jealous’’

But it was so much easier to believe that he wasn’t enough. So easy to let all his insecurities take over and hide away in his mind palace… to believe that John would be better off with someone like Nile, or anyone else who hasn’t hurt him the way Sherlock has. Images of his ‘suicide’ pop in his mind, how John reacted to it. Fuck, he shouldn’t have to endure this, Sherlock thought, as he splashed water in his face again and again until the door of the bathroom shutting broke him out of it.

He wiped away the water in his face to see John’s reflection standing by one of the stalls. Sherlock tried to smile ‘‘I was… well, a bit hot in there. I just came to…hum’’

John moved closer, standing just behind him and wrapping his arms around Sherlock’s abdomen. Sherlock looked at their reflection, felt John’s forehead against his shoulder blades, and wasn’t able to do anything about the tears escaping his eyes. ‘‘Can you make something like a safety image or message in your mind palace? Something that plays when you have these thoughts?’’ John said, and Sherlock ran his fingertips on John’s arm.

‘‘I’ve never deliberately done it, but I’m sure I can try’’ Sherlock whispered, and John placed his hands on Sherlock’s waist to turn him around.

‘‘Sherlock Holmes, listen to me’’ He said, looking at Sherlock’s eyes with intent ‘‘I have forgiven you, and I will have forgiven you even when you can’t forgive yourself. I have loved you and I will love you, even when you can’t love yourself’’

Sherlock’s bottom lip trembled and John pulled him in a hug as he cried. They went back to Baker Street hand in hand, with John occasionally kissing his knuckles. When they were in bed, and John was already asleep, Sherlock replayed that memory over and over again, trying to make his mind believe… trying to make himself believe that he was loved.

Chapter Text

Christmas eve felt surreal in a way that Sherlock couldn’t quite explain. Birds were chipping and the sunlight was too strong for his taste, but Sherlock wasn’t irritated. John was sleeping peacefully by his side, and Sherlock couldn’t help running a finger gently down his nose, his lips and his jawline. He did that for quite a while before John’s lips twitched in a smile, his eyes still closed, and his hand came to rest on Sherlock’s waist.

‘‘Hello, love’’ He said, finally opening his eyes and leaning forward to press his lips against Sherlock’s. He took Sherlock’s left hand, the one that had been caressing his face, and looked at his ring finger quite intently before bringing it to his mouth and kissing it. ‘‘What do you want to do today? Go out for a walk? Stay in bed…’’

Sherlock smiled, caressing John’s bare chest with his other hand. ‘‘Let’s stay here’’ he whispered, feeling something, which he couldn’t name, flutter in his chest. There was a deduction waiting to happen, so he looked at John with narrowed eyes, which made John frown.

‘‘Stop’’ he said, placing is index finger on Sherlock’s forehead, as if it were his off switch. How does he do that? Sherlock thought as his impeding deduction slipped away. ‘‘Can I ask you things? About your childhood, teenage years…’’ John murmured, still holding Sherlock’s hand, whose owner nodded. ‘‘What were your Christmases like, when you still lived with your parents?’’

‘‘They’ve always tried to stick to the traditional event: fairy lights, presents under the tree, Santa is coming, that sort of thing. I believed he was real until I was five, and stopped when Mycroft called me stupid’’

John frowned, kissing Sherlock’s ring finger again ‘‘I hate Microsoft’’ he said, which made Sherlock laugh.

‘‘Please call him that to his face. Please’’ Sherlock chuckled, and John laughed with him. The was a beat of silence and uncertainty before Sherlock said ‘‘What about yours?’’

John took a deep breath ‘‘We only properly celebrated when dad got a promotion and invited some friends over for a party. I was… seven, I think. Before and after that, neither of my parents ever felt the Christmas spirit’’ John paused, looking thoughtful ‘‘Except when I was 10 and Harry 15. We decided to surprise mom, so we made the food, put up fairy lights, the whole deal. It took us our year savings to do that, since we didn’t ask father for help. Mom couldn’t leave the hospital, but the doctor allowed it for only that day and… I think she was genuinely happy’’ John smiled ‘‘She smiled throughout the evening, which is more than I’ve ever seen her smile’’

‘‘What was her… well, how did she…’’ Sherlock didn’t know how to finish that sentence, but John seemed to understand.

‘‘She battled with depression her whole life, and she didn’t have a very supportive husband’’ John frowned ‘‘But it’s Christmas eve and we’re together, so let’s talk about hap-’’

‘‘She killed herself’’ Sherlock said, wishing for John to deny it. But Sherlock saw that he was right in John’s features. He took a deep breath as his eyes watered ‘‘I’m sorry’’ he whispered, and John pulled him in a hug.

‘‘What did I tell you yesterday?’’ He said, and Sherlock remembered ‘I will have forgiven you even when you can’t forgive yourself’. He took a few calming breaths as John held him. ‘‘I wish I could tell you something that will make it all better. That will make you see that everything is okay…’’ he whispered, kissing Sherlock’s forehead.

‘‘This is perfect’’ Sherlock said just as quietly, raising his chin to kiss John’s lips, which they did for a while before it turned into a snog that left Sherlock panting for more ‘‘Make love to me?’’ Sherlock asked, and John smiled before kissing him down his neck, chest and pelvis, and Sherlock felt like he was being worshiped.

They stayed in bed after that for a while, kissing until they drifted off and waking up to kiss more, until Mrs. Hudson yelled, asking for their help to make the supper.

‘‘You’ll never guess who is coming to dine with us’’ She said as they proceeded with their chores (Sherlock was peeling potatoes and John was cutting onions). They looked at her with questioning eyes, and she smiled ‘‘Eric, Nathan and Maggie’’. They both frowned, looking at each other, and Mrs. Hudson sighed ‘‘Mrs. Turner and her married ones’’

‘‘That’s good!’’ John said, eyebrows raised and an overly nice smile in his face ‘‘That’s very good. This was going to be a good Christmas before, but it’s going to be a fucking perfect Christmas now’’ he turned to Sherlock ‘‘We need matching jumpers, and we need to be drinking from a single glass of wine the entire night’’ he said, which made Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson laugh. ‘‘I don’t see how this is funny’’

Despite the captain’s command, they wore different clothes that night, but they did try to look and smell even better than they normally do. However, Eric and Nathan seemed to be, to John’s horror, perfect. Eric was black, green-eyed and tall whereas Nathan was blond and short, both undeniably handsome. They were wearing formal clothes and matching ties, looking like they were hosting the Christmas party, and John was foaming at the mouth.

‘‘It’s nice to meet both of you’’ Sherlock said, smiling and shaking their hands ‘‘I’m Sherlock and this is my boyfriend, Doctor John Watson’’. It was John’s turn to shake their hands, a fake smile plastered in his face. They sat down around the table, Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Turner smiling at each other, while the two couples made small talk.

‘‘I worked for Médecins Sans Frontières for about two years after I graduated’’ Nathan said to John, smiling ‘‘It was a wonderful experience, very humbling’’

John stayed quiet for way too long, so Sherlock intervened ‘‘John was an army doctor. He saved the lives of countless young men who couldn’t chose not to go to war, and he continues to save lives in the work we do nowadays’’

John smiled at him before kissing his cheek just as Eric hummed into his whine glass ‘‘To which war were you assigned?’’

‘‘The afghan’’ John said stiffly.

‘‘Oh yes’’ Eric’s smile was fake ‘‘I was one of the silly kids who protested the wars’’ he laughed, and Sherlock felt John’s hand tugging on his knee.

‘‘Thank God you were privileged enough not to go’’ John laughed as well, the fakest laugh in history, and Eric’s smile disappeared.

‘‘Aren’t you a little old to be called upon?’’

‘‘I volunteered’’

Eric’s eyebrows raised and he was about to say something when Sherlock intervened ‘‘John knew that the war was inevitable, so he went to use his abilities to save lives, in an environment where many were lost’’ He kissed John’s lips ‘‘He is the bravest man I have ever known’’

John smiled, kissing Sherlock again, and thankfully the conversation changed into less dangerous topics. Dinner ended as it normally does, with everyone groaning and wondering why they ate so much. Sherlock was still struggling with desert when their guests parted and John came down the stairs with their gifts to Mrs. Hudson – a perfume and a couple of jewelry. She gave them jumpers, which they put on before going to their own living room.

They stood in front of the fireplace facing each other in silence. ‘‘I’ll go first them’’ Sherlock said, a bit nervous. He took John’s hand and led him to their room, opening the closet when they got there to show him all the clothes he had bought him.

John took out one by one with a smile on his face. ‘‘So fancy’’ he said wiggling his eyebrows and kissed Sherlock’s lips ‘‘Thank you, love’’

‘‘Its symbolic and literal at the same time. Literal because if we’re going to solve crimes, might as well do it looking very good’’ Sherlock said and John laughed ‘‘And symbolic because… we share the closet… the room, you know? And we-’’

John interrupted him with a kiss ‘‘I love it. The literal and the symbolic side of this present’’. John finished looking through the clothes and shut the closet, looking at Sherlock a bit nervously before pulling him to sit on their bed. He took a deep breath and cleared his throat. ‘‘My gift for you… well. It can be as literal or as symbolic as you want, really. Whatever makes you happy will… make me happy’’ he cleared his throat again ‘‘I’ve been… wanting to ask you this ever since I came back. Ever since that day…’’

Sherlock frowned, waiting for John to continue before everything clicked, before the deduction that he’d been expecting for the past 12 days finally came. Sherlock remembered John’s nervousness, his apprehension. ‘I very much intend to grow old with him’ he had written on his letter. He’d been kissing Sherlock’s ring finger for days…

‘‘John, I…’’ Sherlock whispered, watching in awe as John took his left hand.

‘‘Sherlock, will you-’’ But John was interrupted by the bell, which kept ringing quite excessively. They frowned at each other before going to the living room to answer it. Sherlock went to the window, pulling at the curtains.

‘‘John’’ he said, closing his eyes momentarily before continuing ‘‘It’s your father’’

Chapter Text

The bell kept ringing in an endless loop, and Sherlock placed both hands against his ears to make it stop, and eventually it did. He opened his eyes, confused, before John’s muffled voice made him look outside again.

‘‘Are you psychic somehow and know exactly when to show up to ruin everything?’’ John asked, sounding angry. Robert shifted from one foot to another, a smile on his face.

‘‘Aren’t you gonna invite me in?’’

‘‘No’’

There was a pause, and even through the glass Sherlock could see Robert’s smile vanishing. ‘‘You’re gonna let your father freeze to death at Christmas?’’

‘‘Dad, if there is one thing that life has taught me, is that you’ll probably never die’’

A beat of silence and then Robert erupted in laughter ‘‘You get this dry humor from your father’’ He started to go around John to get inside, but John blocked his way.

‘‘You either go away or I’ll make you go away’’ John said, and Sherlock had never heard so much hatred and contempt in his voice. His legs led him downstairs before he realized it himself, and he quickly stood behind John, running his fingers over John’s clenched fists.

‘‘I’m sure we have leftovers’’ Sherlock said, calmly. John turned to look at him with raised eyebrows.

‘‘You want to let him in?’’ John asked, bemused. Sherlock took one of his hands in his, enlacing their fingers, and kissed him quickly on the mouth before directing his attention at Robert.

‘‘Come in’’ He said, smiling slightly. Robert’s mouth was a flat line and his brow was furred when he came in, stomping his way to the stairs.

‘‘Get the leftovers from Mrs. Hudson’s kitchen’’ Sherlock told John ‘‘I’ll stay with him upstairs’’

‘‘There is no way in hell that I’m gonna leave you alone with him’’ John said, which made Sherlock smile and hiss him again.

‘‘I’ll be fine’’ He said with confidence ‘‘Besides, it will only be a minute’’

John studied his face for a while before nodding and making his way towards Mrs. Hudson’s kitchen. Sherlock took a deep breath when he looked at Robert, who was smirking, and raised his hand, indicating the stairs.

‘‘It’s up there’’ He smiled cordially, and Robert raised his eyebrows, leading the way.

Sherlock sat in front of him at the table, but they weren’t alone for long before John ran up the stairs, bringing the food, a plate and some cutlery.

‘‘Don’t you too have plates here’’ Robert asked, looking amused.

‘‘We had to throw it all away’’ John answered stiffly. Robert hummed as he made his plate, pushing it to Sherlock and silently asking him to heat it, which he did. John came to sit beside Sherlock, tugging on his knee gently.

Robert looked at the scene in front of him and sighed ‘‘You know, I never thought you would be as ungrateful as your sister’’. Sherlock placed his hand over John’s to calm him, but John payed him no mind.

‘‘Is that all you got? That’s what the master of manipulation came up with? You’re losing your edge, Robert’’ John sounded tired.

‘‘One day, when you have a child, you will understand what it’s like’’ Robert said with a condescending tone. Sherlock sighed as the microwave pinged, and he placed the plate in front of Robert, silently urging him to eat and stop talking. Robert seemed to notice, because he smiled ‘‘Make no mistake, Mr. Holmes, my son is normal, even if he is pretending not to be for whatever reason. I stand by what I said that night’’

John frowned, looking at Sherlock for clarification. ‘‘One of the things he told me that day is that you would never find me desirable’’ Sherlock said quietly.

‘‘And you believed him?’’ John whispered, trying to exclude Robert from their moment. Sherlock stared at him for a while before sighing.

‘‘At the time, yes’’

John nodded, running his thumb over Sherlock’s cheekbone bone directing his attention back to his father ‘‘You think that you want what’s best for me or that you love me… but it’s not true. You love an idea of a family that never existed. You loved the healthy and happy wife, your two heterosexual and intelligent children. And in your love for this idea you despised your family’’ John frowned, taking in a deep breath before continuing ‘‘You can’t accept my happiness now, because you’ve never cared for it’’

John got up, looking down at Robert as his features relaxed, as his frown disappeared. Sherlock watched as the strongest man he knew finally reached closure from the darkness of his childhood.

‘‘I’d like you to leave’’ John said, his voice quiet but undeniably dominant. Robert was looking at him with a curious expression before he got up.

‘‘You and your sister had never had any regard for your father’s well-being’’

‘‘Your hatred cannot change the fact that Sherlock and I were meant for each other, that we will spend the rest of our lives together’’ John said, which made Robert raise his eyebrows, with an arrogant expression. He smirked and silently left, taking his time to go down the stairs and finally closing the door behind him. ‘‘That was easier than I thought’’ John said, turning to look at Sherlock with an amused expression, which made Sherlock giggle.

John sat down again, caressing Sherlock’s thigh gently as he raised his chin to press their lips together, easing the tension in Sherlock’s chest until he forgot Robert had even been there. John erased all the negativity from their lives with a simple touch of lips, loving Sherlock despite what felt like all the forces that had always kept them apart. It was at that moment, at their post-apocalyptic kitchen, that Sherlock truly believed that he was going to spent the rest of his life with the man he loved. He’d resigned himself to the fact that it could never happen for so long, that there would always be something between them, that even as he deduced that John was about to ask him to marry him he didn’t truly believe it. But now…

‘‘That was a bit forward of you. I haven’t even said yes yet’’ Sherlock said against his lips, and John laughed.

‘‘I love you’’ he said in response, more to exorcise any bad energy still there than anything else. But he kissed Sherlock again, and whispered ‘‘I love you, I love you, I love you’’ repeatedly as they slowly got up and made their way to their bedroom.

‘‘John’’ Sherlock groaned as he kissed down Sherlock’s neck and pulled the hem of Sherlock’s jumper up to be removed. He closed his lips around Sherlock’s nipple, making him moan ‘‘John’’ again and again, a shiver running through him every time his fiancé… my fiancé? Sherlock thought. ‘‘John, ask me so I can say yes’’

John looked up at him, smiling, and nibbled at his ear ‘‘Sherlock Holmes’’ he whispered, placing both hands on his face to look straight into his eyes ‘‘I have loved you for the past seven years wholeheartedly, irrevocably, selflessly. It’s the most beautiful I’ve ever felt, and for the most beautiful person I’ve ever met. If you’d do me this honor, I would be the happiest man aliv-’’

‘‘Yes’’ Sherlock said, crushing their lips together, and John chuckled though the kiss.

‘‘I haven’t asked you yet’’ He protested, and Sherlock backed away slightly so that he could.

John took a deep breath ‘‘Will you-’’

‘‘Yes’’ Sherlock smiled, kissing him again, and John giggled. He looked at him, waiting to see if Sherlock was going to interrupt him. Eventually he seemed satisfied enough.

‘‘Will you m-’’

‘‘Yes’’

And John chuckled, reaching inside his pocket to get the ring – which was thick, rose gold and perfect. He raised Sherlock’s left hand, pausing before sliding it in ‘‘Will you marry me?’’

Sherlock smiled, feeling his eyes watering, and took a deep breath. ‘‘Yes’’ he said simply, watching in awe as the ring made his finger its home. He raised his hand, and they looked at it for a while before meeting half way in a hug, which eventually turned into a kiss, which eventually turned into more, into the rest of their lives.