Word count: 2205
Pairing/s: John Watson / Sherlock Holmes
Summary: Sherlock takes John to his school reunion. Set somewhere in series 1/2.
Notes: For those not familiar with the English school system, in secondary school (high school), once you complete years 7 (age 9) to 11 (age 16), you then opt to either leave school or enter the sixth form (which is age 17/lower sixth and age 18/upper sixth).
“I still don’t see why you needed me to come along,” John complained as he followed Sherlock in through the heavy wooden doors, currently propped open with a huge ‘Welcome, sixth-formers!’ sign stuck above them.
Sherlock sighed and rolled his eyes. “Anyone would think you didn’t want to.”
“Some of us have lives, you know. Lives that don’t involve being at your beck and call.”
He’d come in from the supermarket and no sooner had he taken his coat off than Sherlock had announced that they were going out and left without even waiting for him to lock the door. Had he said that they were going to a reunion, for a school John had never even attended, he would have… Well, he probably would have still ended up here. Sherlock was a difficult man to refuse.
“Did you have plans?” Sherlock asked.
John sighed. “Well, no.”
Sherlock shot him another eye roll. “So what is the problem? Besides, this is much more interesting than sitting around the flat and watching repeats of American sitcoms whilst eating Kung-Po chicken from the Chinese take away.”
For a moment, John wondered how in the hell Sherlock had even known what he was going to order before remembering who he was talking to.
“Okay, so why are we here? I don’t see any police so I assume there isn’t a crime scene.”
The question was met with silence as Sherlock wandered off as usual without bothering to answer. He paused as an older woman stopped him, leading him over to a table set out at the side of the hallway with small white laminated badges on it. John watched with interest as Sherlock tried to get away but the woman was persistent and so he went over to them just to watch Sherlock squirm. Or to stop him saying something insulting.
“Of course I remember you! You were my best student,” she was saying. “When you actually paid attention! I swear, you spent more time in your own world than in my classroom.”
Suddenly, she noticed John. “Sherlock, aren’t you going to introduce me?”
“John Watson meet Amelia Lockwood. She was my English Literature teacher whilst I was here.”
Amelia smiled and shook his hand. “So, you’re Sherlock’s plus one. How long have you been together?”
John sighed. Why did everyone think they were a couple? He opened his mouth to protest but Sherlock beat him to it.
“One year, eight months and six days,” Sherlock replied. “An old acquaintance introduced us when I required a flatmate.”
John frowned at him as he edged closer, only a step away from putting an arm around him. What the hell was Sherlock playing at? He smiled to himself; he really should know better than to try and figure out the inner workings of Sherlock’s mind. It was easier just to go with it.
“I help him out on cases too.”
Amelia frowned. “Cases? Are you with the police?”
“Sort of. Sherlock is a Consulting Detective.”
She smiled. “I’m glad you put that mind of yours toward something worthwhile, Sherlock. I remember when he was here,” she told John. “He used to make people- staff and other students- very nervous. He could tell them everything about their lives just from a look!”
John nodded. “He still does that when he feels like showing off.”
“So, are you with the police too?”
Sherlock, tired of being talked over, butted back into the conversation. “John is a doctor, formerly Army.”
Amelia looked impressed, about to say something else before her attention was sought by another former student. All around the room, people were milling about. There were the excited greetings of old friends meeting up again, introducing their spouses and catching up about old times.
Well, John thought, if he had to be here, then he was going to enjoy himself. On one wall was an enlarged year-group photograph: Now this, he had to see. He didn’t need to look around to know that Sherlock was following him, nor did he need to look too hard for the man in question in the photograph. He hadn’t changed much: he was still tall and pale, with the same dark curls and slightly bored expression on his face.
“Aww, don’t you look cute in your school uniform,” John teased, earning himself a glare from Sherlock as he took a picture on his camera phone. He might send it to Lestrade later. “Is there anyone here that you’re looking forward to seeing?”
“Not especially,” Sherlock told him, looking around, his hands in his pockets.
“There must be someone.”
Sherlock frowned. “These people were boring when they were teenagers. I doubt that they will have become more interesting just because they’re adults.”
Before John could reply, he saw two men heading their way, both in designer suits and Rolexes and wearing the smug look of bullies everywhere who had just spotted their favourite target.
“Well, well, look who it is,” the taller of the two said. “It’s Shirley.”
Sherlock just sighed. “Really, Andrew? You’ve had all these years and that’s still the best you can come up with? Calling me a girl’s name. You see, John, I told you: Boring.”
“Sherlock, be nice.”
“Why? He hasn’t changed; he was a pathetic little boy who held delusions of grandeur, manifesting as inept attempts at intimidation-”
The second man scowled, his gaze flicking to John as he pinched Sherlock’s arm to shut him up. “That your boyfriend, geek?” he asked with a smirk.
John bit back a laugh at the expression on the man’s face as Sherlock slipped his arm around John and replied,
“Yes. I’m sorry to disappoint you, Stephen, but I’m already taken.”
Stephen’s face reddened. “What do you mean by that, geek?” he demanded. “I’m not queer!”
Sherlock cast a sympathetic look at Andrew, reaching out to pat him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry; he’ll find the courage to come out of the closet one day and recognise your feelings for him.”
He walked away with John leaving the two men staring after him, open mouthed.
“So, this is why we’re here, is it?” John asked. “To annoy the hell out of anyone who picked on you at school.”
The look on Sherlock’s face told him it was, even though the man himself never admitted it. Only then did John realise that Sherlock still had his arm around him.
“It feels comfortable,” Sherlock told him. Then he sighed, “Sorry.”
He started to remove it but John reached back and stilled his hand, stopping him, keeping it resting on his hip. It was probably just an experiment, John thought. Maybe Sherlock wanted to see how the others would react, since the two bullies had been quick to pick up on it. John shifted his hand, seeing the flash of disappointment in Sherlock’s eyes, only to be rewarded with a smile when settled his other arm around Sherlock, his thumb hooked into Sherlock’s belt under his jacket.
As they circulated, Sherlock casually pointed out people to John, deducing them as he had John when they’d first met. Occasionally, he would stop when someone spoke to them, the tone of his voice letting John know whether they had been friend or foe at school. By the time they had been there for an hour, John knew who had alcohol addiction, who was stuck in dead-end jobs and who had made it big, one man who had been in prison, as well as being told of their various irritating habits whilst at school.
When Sherlock and John found themselves back at the buffet table, near to a man with a blonde woman barely out of her teens clinging to his arm, Sherlock looked them both over once before whispering to John,
John couldn’t help but look, if only to see what had led Sherlock to that conclusion. The man overheard and glowered at Sherlock.
“I beg your pardon!?”
Sherlock shot him an innocent look. “You can beg my pardon all you wish, not that it will change the facts.”
“I didn’t expect you to show up here tonight- thought we were all too trivial for you to waste your precious time on,” he snapped.
Sounded as though Sherlock hadn’t changed much since school, John thought with a smile.
“I was feeling nostalgic,” Sherlock informed him, straight faced. “Couldn’t your wife make it tonight, Jacob?”
“I’m not married, thank you very much, and I think you owe the lady an apology.”
John saw the look on Sherlock’s face and instinctively checked the route to the nearest exit, just in case he pissed the bloke off that much.
“The tan line around your finger indicates otherwise, as does the fact that you’re wearing a tie that had obviously been picked out by a female, not a mother or sister, but a partner,” Sherlock was telling him. “As for the lady, she’s a professional in everything, from the way she’s mimicking your stance to make you feel at ease, the way her outfit is designed to be alluring, yet not to make her look cheap. Her facial expression is affectionate but it doesn’t reach her eyes, meaning that this is nothing more than a job for her- how am I doing so far?”
Jacob looked ready to punch Sherlock and so John led him away quickly. “Is there anyone here that you don’t intend to insult?”
“I was only telling him the facts,” Sherlock grumbled defensively.
“Yes, well some people don’t particularly want to hear them,” John argued. “Now will you please at least try and be nice?”
It turned out that the only people that Sherlock had remotely liked whilst he was at school were a couple of his teachers. Amelia Lockwood brought an older man over to meet them, introducing him to John as Benjamin Welsh.
“I was lucky enough to have Sherlock in my Chemistry class,” Benjamin told John. “He was a most enthusiastic student.”
John smiled. “So you’re the reason he blew up the microwave last week,” he mused. “For the second time.”
“I bought a new one,” Sherlock said. “And it was for a case.”
Benjamin frowned. “Really?”
John nodded. “Blowing things up still beats keeping body parts in the refrigerator, I suppose.”
Talking for a while longer about his work with the police before drifting into a chemistry discussion, Sherlock seemed to be enjoying himself. When he was with his teachers, someone closer to his intellectual equal, he became animated, looking almost reluctant to leave when it was time.
“So, do you mind telling me what that was all about?” John asked as he put the kettle on for a cup of tea once they were back at home.
Sherlock frowned. “What?”
“With your English teacher, when she asked if we were a couple and you implied that we were.”
“I said nothing of the sort. I merely answered her question of how long we had known each other.”
John sighed. It was going to be one of those conversations. “Okay, you never explicitly said it then, but what about with the bully-boys? You told them. You led me to believe it was part of a case in order to get me there, but you took me there as your date, didn’t you?”
Sherlock pretended not to hear him, asking if his tea was ready yet. He smiled; he didn’t really need Sherlock to answer but it was fun to annoy him for a while.
“You know, Sherlock, all you had to do was ask,” he said, putting a mug down in front of Sherlock. “There’s your tea. I’m going to bed; I’ve got an early start tomorrow.”
He didn’t need to look back to see that Sherlock was sitting on the sofa, staring after him. The man may be a genius but when it came to human emotions he had the comprehension of a small child.
It took two hours before Sherlock barged into John’s room without bothering to knock first.
John opened his eyes and glanced at the clock, blinking to get his vision back into focus, before turning to Sherlock.
“Sherlock, do you remember what we discussed about waiting until people are present or awake before holding conversations with them?”
Sherlock frowned. “But you are awake.”
John sighed. He’d meant what he said about having an early morning tomorrow, but sleep was looking more and more unlikely.
“Never mind, just start again.”
“I said- if you’d been listening- that I did not at any point tell you that we were on a case. You assumed as much and I merely neglected to correct your assumptions,” Sherlock told him.
Sitting up in his bed, John eyed Sherlock. Did he actually look nervous? “So why didn’t you just ask me to go with you?”
“Because you might have said no.”
“Well now you’ll never know, will you?” John told him, laying back down and closing his eyes. “Next time, just ask.”
He knew that Sherlock was still standing there, watching him, for a few more minutes but he didn’t open his eyes. Eventually he heard a soft ‘hmm’ before the door closed.
John smiled as he let himself fall asleep.