Word count: 3076
Pairing/s: John Watson / Sherlock Holmes
Summary: It was embarrassing, having to go to Mycroft of all people for advice in this matter. Set somewhere in series 1/2.
Sherlock lay back on the sofa, his feet dangling over the armrest, glaring at the television. Stupid film. It was depressing him, but he couldn’t be bothered to reach over for the remote to turn it off. Instead, he found himself watching a badly-written romantic comedy and musing over the state of his own love life, or lack thereof.
He wanted what those characters had- preferably without the awful dialogue and predictable tragedy they always managed to experience before realising that they belonged together.
It wasn’t that he actively avoided romantic attachments- he was human, after all, and like all humans he craved companionship, love, and even sex, from time to time -but that he forgot to pursue them in the first place. The initial thought was there when he saw other couples, thinking that maybe it would be nice to have someone like that in his life, but then something interesting came along and thoughts of dating were pushed to the darkest recesses of his mind. It was only when he stopped to think about it that he realised how long had gone by since he had last contemplated it. When he cast his mind back, he was surprised to realise that it had been nearly six years since he’d actually been on a date, and even then it had lasted the whole of five minutes before he’d managed to piss his date off by pointing out the stupidity in something she’d said.
Oh sure, there had been other opportunities- he had been asked out for a drink or dinner and the implication of more –but as his distraction was interpreted as apparent lack of interest, those interested parties had stopped asking. On the rare occasion that he had accepted an invitation, more often than not an interesting case had come up and he’d been late or forgotten to arrive at all and that had successfully crushed another potential end to his loneliness.
Now he had finally found someone who he thought he might like to become romantically involved with, someone who wasn’t likely to be put off by his habits and lack of attention when he was busy. Unfortunately, it had been so long since he’d actually been on a date, or had any romantic involvement at all, that he hadn’t the faintest idea how to go about it.
Sherlock sighed loudly but there was no one around to ask him what was the matter or offer any helpful advice. There were some things that his intellect was not equipped to puzzle out, and that annoyed him. Mentally running through the very short list of people who he could actually stand to talk to and, more importantly, would offer him advice with the minimal amount of mockery, he sighed again. As the person who he would have placed first on the list was to be the object of the discussion, he moved onto the second. Then, he drew a mental line through that one too.
That left one name.
“Sherlock, coming to visit me of your own free will? Will wonders never cease.”
Sherlock glared at his brother, not bothering with his usual sarcastic comeback as he dropped into a chair in Mycroft’s office.
“And a lack of insults… What do you want?”
When Sherlock mumbled something, refusing to meet his eyes, Mycroft frowned. “If you’re going to behave like a petulant child, I have better things to do with my time.”
“I said, I need your assistance,” Sherlock repeated through gritted teeth, annoyed at having to admit it. “As useless as I expect your advice to be in this matter given your own track-record, I have no one else to ask.”
Mycroft gave a barely-there eye roll. “If I may make a suggestion, dear brother, if you require assistance then informing the person you intend to ask that they are the last resort is not a particularly good opening to the conversation.”
“Well you seemed disappointed at the lack of insults earlier,” Sherlock pointed out.
“What do you want?” Mycroft repeated.
Sherlock took a deep breath, wondering if he would have been better off trying to figure this out on his own. Eventually, he realised it came down to one choice; did he want John enough to put up with Mycroft’s mockery?
“I want to ask John on a date.”
Mycroft frowned. “And?” he prompted. “I fail to see why this requires my assistance; I’m not asking him for you, if that’s what you intended.”
“Oh, forget it. I knew that this was a pointless exercise,” Sherlock said, standing, but Mycroft told him to stop.
“Stop being so dramatic, Sherlock, and sit back down. So, Doctor Watson? Mummy will be pleased that you’ve found someone; she does worry.”
“I haven’t even asked him yet! He may decline my invitation.”
Mycroft smiled. “I doubt that he will, provided that you don’t mess it up. He’s rather taken with you.”
“For heaven’s sake, Sherlock. A fool could see that he is.”
Sherlock glared at his brother but refused to rise to the bait.
“So what do you want from me?” Mycroft continued. He studied his younger sibling for a moment, then smiled again. “Ah, I see. Well, might I suggest dinner, preferably not at Angelo’s- somewhere different to where you normally eat and a little more upmarket though not too much. Somewhere that John would feel comfortable.”
“He likes Chinese food,” Sherlock mused.
“Very well. I can recommend some appropriate restaurants for you,” Mycroft told him.
By the time he left Mycroft’s office, Sherlock had made a decision. It was the same one he’d come to before speaking to his brother, but now he was certain he wasn’t going to make a fool of himself in the process.
Now all he had to do was find the appropriate time.
John was waiting at the police station for Lestrade to finish an interview, when Sherlock moved to sit on the desk next to him.
“Will you have dinner with me tonight? I booked a table at the Red Dragon.” When John didn’t answer straight away, Sherlock felt his optimism about this venture dim a little and added, “You don’t have to if you don’t want.”
Unfortunately, Donovan chose that exact moment to walk by, pausing in front of John, looking amused and horrified in equal measures.
“Did I just hear that right? The Freak just asked you on a date? Oh my God; run for your life, John.”
Sherlock opened his mouth, ready to offer a scathing retort, but John got there first. Standing up so that he was nose to nose with Donovan, he glared.
“Three things: One- he’s standing right there. I realise that you two don’t get along, but I am sick and tired of your constant jibes at him. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all? He’s here to help you so the least you could do is be polite. Two,” he continued, ignoring her attempts to defend herself. “If I ever hear you call him Freak again, I will report you for harassment, got it?”
Donovan nodded. “And what was the third thing?” she demanded in what John assumed was an attempt to try and gain a bit of control back in this conversation.
“Number three has nothing at all to do with you,” John informed her, turning to Sherlock. “Yes, I would love to have dinner with you.”
He saw the expression on Donovan’s face darken but she didn’t say a word this time.
“Come on, Sherlock, let’s get out of here. When Lestrade is finished, have him come and find us,” he told Donovan. “If he asks why, just tell him we were tired of listening to your bitching.”
He walked out, leaving a stunned Donovan staring after him. Sherlock sauntered past, a smug grin on his face as he followed John toward the canteen.
When he finally caught up, John was sitting at a table in the corner.
“She calls me that all the time,” Sherlock informed him, sitting opposite. “I could have ignored her as I usually do.”
John looked up at him. “Doesn’t it bother you? It pisses me off and it’s not even me she’s insulting!”
“She’s insignificant: I rarely pay much attention to her,” Sherlock told him dismissively. “Did you mean it, or were you just trying to get a rise out of Donovan?”
John didn’t need ask what he was talking about as only one subject gave Sherlock that slightly nervous expression, like he was waiting to be shot down in flames.
“I meant it.”
Both men looked over as Lestrade pulled another chair up to the table to join them.
“Nothing,” Sherlock replied quickly, at the same time as John informed Lestrade, “That I’d go on a date with Sherlock.”
Lestrade just smiled. “It’s about time. By the way, John, what did you say to Donovan? She’s stomping around, growling at everyone and with a face like thunder.”
“She was being her usual charming self,” Sherlock said, “and John put her in her place.”
“I should probably apologise,” John began, but Sherlock cut him off.
“You will do nothing of the sort!”
Lestrade just cast Sherlock a confused look before going back to the reason they were here in the first place. Within five minutes, Sherlock had not only solved the case they were originally working on, but given Lestrade enough reason to obtain a warrant on the brother of the victim for something entirely unrelated.
“This is nice,” John said, smiling at Sherlock across the table as they sat down in the restaurant. Sherlock had even got dressed up for the occasion, his charcoal grey suit just a bit fancier than the ones he usually wore, and he’d even made an effort to tame his hair.
A hostess had met them at the door, greeting them warmly and showing them to a table set toward the back of the restaurant, away from the others. As soon as they were seated, a waitress appeared, introducing herself and handing them menus. She fussed around, lighting the candle in the centre of the table and casting them adoring glances.
John could see that Sherlock was starting to look a bit embarrassed by the attention. It was entertaining, really; he was a man who thrived on being the centre of attention, who actively made himself into just that, yet put him in a personal situation and he didn’t know what to do.
The young woman nodded, taking the hint at last and leaving them alone, promising to return to take their order in a little while.
John had to admit that Sherlock was really making an effort tonight. He hadn’t insulted anyone, intentionally or unintentionally, and he hadn’t talked about the cases they were working on at present. He hadn’t even deduced any of the other customers in the restaurant even though John could tell that he was itching to do so. In some ways, it was slightly unsettling.
They finished their meal and caught a taxi back to the flat again- Sherlock even paid the fare!- and walked up to 221b. He then paused, looking at John.
“What’s the matter? Have you forgotten your keys again?”
“No. Well, yes, but you always have yours,” Sherlock admitted. “I believe it’s customary when walking your date to the door to kiss them goodnight.”
John smiled. “And what makes you think I’m the kind of man who’ll kiss on the first date?”
Sherlock looked slightly baffled, as though that outcome hadn’t occurred to him. He sighed.
“Forget that I mentioned it,” he said, turning away.
If he was to put a name to the expression on Sherlock’s face, John would have said he looked disappointed. Well, that just wouldn’t do, would it? Catching Sherlock by the arm, he turned the other man back to face him again, moving up a step so that they were level.
“I didn’t say no…” he pointed out, leaning forward to press his lips to Sherlock’s.
Sherlock didn’t react for a moment, and John took a small amount of pleasure in the fact that he’d managed to surprise him. It didn’t last long, however, before Sherlock’s arms went around his waist and he kissed John back in earnest.
A movement caught John’s eye and he broke away just in time to catch Mrs Hudson peeking out from behind her curtains, a huge smile on her face.
“Maybe we should go inside before the neighbours start talking,” he suggested. Then, knowing Sherlock as he did and realising that the man would probably make a scene just to spite anyone watching, he let them both in, making sure that Sherlock followed him back to the flat.
The spell outside had been broken and John noticed Sherlock pause in middle of the living room. He was watching John speculatively, as though trying to work out his next move from John’s reactions.
“Thank you, Sherlock. I’ve had a lovely time tonight,” he said, smiling at how pleased with himself Sherlock looked. “So, what now? You seemed to have the rest of the evening planned out.”
Now Sherlock blushed slightly. “I, um, well I don’t want to presume…”
John laughed, moving decisively toward Sherlock. He knew that this was Sherlock's show, that he was in charge of tonight, but Sherlock was good with ideas. When it came to putting them into practice, if John didn’t step in they’d never happen.
“Did it go something like this?” he asked, sliding his arms around Sherlock and kissing him again.
Sherlock made a ‘mm-hmm’ noise which John took for a yes, wrapping his arms around John’s waist as he kissed him back. For someone who claimed to be too busy to bother with things such as relationships, who once told John that he wasn’t interested in ‘things like that’, he was doing a good job of contradicting himself, John thought. Either that or he was a really fast learner. John began to suspect the second option a short time later when he pulled back suggested that maybe it was time for bed.
“Oh. Well, good night, John.”
John saw the disappointment on Sherlock’s face again and rolled his eyes. He’d waited too long for the man to make a move to let this end here and now. He grabbed Sherlock’s hand. “I meant both of us.” He paused, asking, “Unless I’m the one making assumptions now. I just meant to sleep- I’m not pushing you into anything. I just wanted...”
Averting his gaze, John admitted, “I know you don’t like physical contact, but I was hoping you wouldn’t mind. I mean, you were the one who asked me out and you seem to have been expecting everything else.”
Now Sherlock smiled. “You’re a cuddler. Of course you are. John? Do you think we could continue the kissing as well?”
John returned his smile, nodding, and led Sherlock toward his bedroom.
John awoke to find a warm, if rather skinny, body draped over him, Sherlock’s face tucked into the crook of his neck, with dark curls of hair tickling his nose. He smiled; after Sherlock’s little digs about him being a cuddler, who exactly was wrapped around whom at present?
“What is so amusing?” Sherlock asked, his voice muffled against John’s neck before he raised his head.
John kissed the tip of his nose. “You’re cuddling.”
“I am not! I’m just… comfortable here.”
“Well I hate to tell you this, but I’ve got to get up. I have to be at the clinic by nine.”
Sherlock frowned. “Unacceptable,” he said, rolling over so that he had John pinned beneath him on the bed. “Call in and tell them you’re sick.”
“I can’t just keep calling in sick; I miss enough shifts as it is, helping you out at crime scenes.”
John could see the determined look in Sherlock’s eyes as he dipped his head, taking John in a heated kiss, his body shifting against John’s in a way that John could only describe as a very deliberate attempt to distract him from his intention to get up. And it was working. Oh boy, was it working, especially when Sherlock’s wandering hands began moving lower, just under the waistband of John’s pyjama bottoms.
Sherlock’s hands stilled and he moved far enough away from John to look him in the eyes.
“Yes?” he asked innocently.
John was trying his best to drag his thoughts away from the warmth of Sherlock’s hands on his skin, of wishing he’d move them a few inches lower, and into some kind of coherence.
“Have you- I mean, you never seem interested in, well, this.” He could see the amused look on Sherlock’s face. Taking a deep breath, he started again. “Do you want this? I mean, really want it, because I don’t want you to think that I’m expecting it.”
Sherlock wriggled his hips against John’s, leaving him in no doubt that Sherlock was enjoying this as much as he was.
“I know,” Sherlock told him, leaning down to kiss him again, his hands resuming their tactile exploration of John’s body.
John was late for work but he couldn’t bring himself to care, even when he hurried through the doors to the glares from the patients who were sitting in the waiting room. He gave them all a cheery smile as he passed them by.
Rosie, the young receptionist, handed him a stack of patient files a few moments later.
“You’re looking very chipper this morning, John,” she commented, looking amused. “Good night, was it?”
“It was, thank you.”
She stared at him for a moment before her smile widened. “You had a date, didn’t you? Well, what was she like?”
John knew she wouldn’t go away until he told her something, and so he decided on the truth.
“Yes, I had a date,” he said. “With Sherlock.”
“The tall bloke with the dark hair who came in last week? I knew it!” she said.
As he walked away, he heard her whispering to the other girl on reception. The other girl shook her head but Rosie nodded firmly and he heard her relay the conversation they’d just had. The last thing he saw before going into his examination room was a five pound note exchanging hands.