“You guys, we’re in London!” Karamo says.
The camera frames the large black cab. Karamo’s in the front, the rest of the Fab Five are cheering behind him.
“YASS QUEEN,” Jonathan yells, arm hanging out the side window, “ELIZABETH II!”
“Are y’all ready for the first episode of Queer Eye: Around the World Edition?” Karamo asks.
“Just tell it to us straight,” Bobby says, adjusting his sunglasses. “Are we fixing Charles and Camilla? ‘Cause I’m going to need a raise and a larger gap between seasons.”
“Our client this week is named John Watson,” Karamo reads off a tiny cue card. “John was nominated by his friend Molly. He’s 41 years old and has an 18 month old baby daughter Rosie. He currently lives in a tiny London apartment with his 37 year old friend Sherlock.”
“He’s 41 and living with a male roommate?” Tan asks, incredulous. “I’m getting some serious confirmed bachelor vibes, there.”
“Molly is convinced that John is actually madly in love with Sherlock and wants us to give them both a little nudge in the right direction,” Karamo says. “Now, they already hang out a lot. John is a doctor and he works two days a week at a hospital. But apparently this Sherlock guy is a private detective and they spend most of their time solving cases together.”
“ Closet cases?” Tan asks, while the taxi stops in front of 221B.
The five men laugh and exit excitedly to ring the doorbell. Before they have a chance, the door swings open, revealing a broadly smiling Mrs Hudson.
“Come in, dears,” she says, “I’m a big fan. I’ve seen all the episodes on the Netflix channel, Sherlock helped me set it up. I’m Mrs Hudson, John and Sherlock’s landlady.”
“Yesss, you’re working that purple dress, miss landlady,” Jonathan says, kissing her two times on the cheek as he enters the doorway.
“Oh, this old thing?”, Mrs Hudson blushes. “I thought about color blocking but I didn’t want to steal the spotlight.”
Antoni smiles tenderly, hugging her. “Show us where John’s apartment is, please, Mrs Hudson.”
It takes Mrs Hudson a little more effort to get herself to stop hugging Antoni, but eventually she leads them up the staircase.
“I’m sorry, Sherlock,” is all John manages to say before all gay hell breaks loose.
Sherlock looks up from the desk where he’s been staring into his microscope. He’s wearing his blue dressing gown - over a suit, at least. John has been urging him all day to put on some proper clothes, and this is their compromise.
Sherlock’s jaw drops and his eyes grow wide as five men and two cameramen flood inside the apartment like a herd of wildebeasts ready to trample Simba’s dad.
Maybe John should have warned Sherlock earlier - a few days ago, or perhaps when he first agreed to doing this. But he was afraid Sherlock would leave before they started filming, and the thought of going through this alone was even worse.
He’s doing this for Sherlock, anyway. Molly threatened to never allow Sherlock into her lab again, unless John agreed to let her sign him up for ‘Queer Eye’.
Who’d have thought they’d actually select him?
He doesn’t really need a makeover, really.
“John Watson, I’m already in love with you,” Karamo says, leading the front of the mob.
Sherlock throws off his dressing gown, gets up and stands straight as a rod. “John?”
Karamo pulls John into his arms. Into his really, really muscled arms. “What a cool place you guys have.”
“John, what is happening?” Sherlock sounds lost.
Behind him, Antoni has gone straight for the kitchen. He pulls open the fridge door and screams.
“Oh god, I just found a bowl of eyeballs,” Antoni says, fear clouding the poor man’s eyes.
“What?” Jonathan says, following right behind. He immediately returns to the living room, gagging. “You cannot do that to a bunch of unsuspecting gay guys!”
“There are already enough queer eyes in this house, we don’t need loose ones,” Tan scolds.
“They’re my roommate Sherlock’s,” John says.
Karamo releases John from his hold. “I had roommates in college, and they refused to do dishes, hung a dirty trafic sign on the wall and ate my yoghurt. They did not keep body parts in the fridge, man.”
“Yes, don’t you have a child in this house?” Tan asks, scandalised.
Antoni shakily emerges from the kitchen. “W- what’s a dish your momma used to make?” He stammers, looking traumatised.
“Errrr….” John says, but gets distracted by Karamo flexing his muscles.
“Yes, I hear you have a baby girl, John? Where is she?” Karamo asks.
“Rosie is at Molly’s, I didn’t want to overwhelm her,” John says.
“I hear you,” Karamo says, “We’ll handle one baby at a time.”
Meanwhile, Bobby grabs the pillow on Sherlock’s chair. “Let’s just all agree this British flag pillow needs to go, though.”
Sherlock glares at him. “Never.”
John rolls his eyes.
“I’m a patriot,” Sherlock says.
“Who’s the current prime minister?” John asks.
“Trick question,” Sherlock says, indignantly. “We have a Queen.”
Jonathan starts massaging Sherlock’s shoulders. “You do have a queen, John,” he winks.
Sherlock rips himself loose, angrily.
Jonathan points to a picture of Eurus on the mantle. “This pic has to go, too. It’s jamming your style.”
“How can you not like her, she literally has your hair,” Sherlock says, fuming.
“Hell to the N.O., I use conditioner,” Jonathan says. “But we could frame a The Ring movie poster if you really insist.”
“Mind your own business, Conchita,” Sherlock grinds through his teeth.
“Now, show us your bedroom,” Tan tells John, gently nudging his arm. Sherlock glares at the gorgeous man.
“It’s upstairs,” John says, and he treads behind Tan, Jonathan and Bobby as they excitedly mount the staircase. Better to rip off the band-aid quickly.
It’s a tiny room, but neat. A double bed, an old brown wardrobe, and a cot up against the wall. John oversees it proudly. It’s simple, but efficient. Like John.
“This is the most depressing kid’s room I’ve ever seen,” Bobby says. “And I’ve seen Trump’s detention camp pictures.”
“Oh no, no, too soon Bobby, too soon,” Tan says, covering his mouth with his hand.
“It’s simple,” John says, frowning. “And Rosie won’t remember this anyway.”
“Let’s not take that chance, shall we?” Bobby says.
Meanwhile, Jonathan opens John’s closet. “It’s full of sweaters!"
John groans. Not the jumpers, please.
Tan reaches inside. “And checkered shirts.” He turns around, holding a dark green one. “John! Are you secretly a depressed lesbian?”
Jonathan is already trying on John’s favorite Christmas jumper, crunches it up to his navel, then dashes out the room.
“Fashion show!” Bobby yells, puts on John’s white cable-knit jumper, and follows Jonathan downstairs.
Before John can react, Tan puts a hand on his shoulder. “I like your style, but I just want you to have more fun with it.”
“Get. Out. Of. That. Jumper!” John hears Sherlock yelling downstairs.
“Gotta go keep an eye on him,” John says apologetically to Tan as he exits the room, to go make sure Sherlock doesn’t actually start throwing eyeballs at the Fab Five.
“I just want you to feel sexy!” Tan manages to add.
In the living room, it’s pure chaos. Jonathan and Bobby are jumping on the sofa, while Antoni is staring at the bison skull with headphones.
“This is… interesting,” Antoni says.
“We’re lucky it survived the explosion,” Sherlock says.
“Explosion?” Antoni asks, paling even more.
Bobby has stopped jumping up and down. “Are these... bullet holes in the wall?” he asks, bewildered. He has turned John’s jumper into a crop top.
“I was bored,” Sherlock says.
“Nevermind the holes, does that smiley have any special meaning to you?” Bobby asks.
“The smiley stays,” Sherlock says, near boiling point.
Meanwhile, Karamo is studying the knife on the mantle, next to Billy the skull. He turns around to Sherlock, smiling broadly. “You ain’t fooling anybody, you’re into some freaky shit!”
Before Sherlock can reply, Jonathan comes running into the room, wearing the deerstalker. “Look what I found!”, he says, bursting with joy.
“Jesus,” Sherlock mumbles.
“The name’s Jonathan,” He winks.
“Christ, can I please go back to being dead,” Sherlock mumbles.
“What?” Jonathan says, frowning.
“Look, we know this can be all a bit overwhelming, but we’re here to take good care of John,” Tan says, putting his arm around John. “John, you’re a gorgeous man. But why do you dress like you’re Sherlock’s dad instead of Rosie’s dad?”
John shrugs, a bit taken aback.
“We wanna go from dad to daddy,” Jonathan adds.
“Right, that’s it, everybody leave, now,” Sherlock says, and starts pushing the cameramen out the door. “Too much guyliner in the room.”
Sherlock practically rips John’s jumper from Bobby’s chest. Bobby tries to linger, and grabs John’s shoulders: “My first job was at Bed Bath and Beyond,” he whispers.
“Beyond what?”John asks.
“Beyond your wildest imagination,” Bobby winks.
Sherlock pushes him out the door. Then he looks back at John, glares, and disappears into his room, still holding John’s jumper.
John’s first private session is the next day, with Antoni. They’re standing inside the 221B kitchen, while Rosie is sleeping upstairs.
“So… What were some dishes you had when you were growing up?” Antoni asks, massaging an avocado with his - John just notices - frankly beautiful hands.
“Errr…” John says. Not guacamole, certainly. But he doesn’t want to hurt Antoni’s feelings.
Behind Antoni, Sherlock pops up, and angrily whispers in his ear. “You think you can come here with your cheekbones and make salad? John doesn’t want your avocado.”
“Christ, Sherlock, I told you to stay in your room while they were filming,” John says.
Sherlock scowls. “This is my house, too.”
“It’s okay,” Antoni smiles. John can’t help but smile back. “I’m here to help you guys live your best life.”
“My best life includes dead bodies,” Sherlock mumbles, inserting himself between Antoni and John at the kitchen table.
“What?” Antoni frowns.
“Pancakes“, John quickly says. “When I was young, my mother used to make them. When my dad had… bad days. She’d make us all feel better with pancakes."
John clenches his teeth. It’s a disturbing memory, really. His father used to come home drunk, and he’d take the beatings so Harry and his mom would be spared. The next day, his mother would tentatively make pancakes, as an unspoken apology.
He regrets saying it, here. The mood has shifted. It must be written all over his face.
Sherlock stares at John, lip twitching.
“Thank you, John,” Antoni says. “Let me show you how to make fluffy pancakes with blueberries.”
His dark eyes wander to Sherlock, who just swallows and looks down.
“Right,” Sherlock says, turning to the fridge, and surprising John to his core. “The milk is over here.”
John hesitates on the sidewalk before entering the store fashion expert Tan has invited him to. It looks a bit too posh for his taste. Too… well. Well-dressed, he supposes. And way above his pay grade.
“Welcome to Mark Powell bespoke suits,” Tan greets him inside. “Oh, don’t look so scared, love.”
John has seen the battlefield. War, blood, death. Sherlock without three days’ sleep. But this does look scarier than anything to him: stylish suits hanging everywhere, in daring colors, with actual patterns . He shivers.
“I prefer to keep it simple,” John says, unsure.
“Look, John, I hear you. And I don’t want to force you into anything you’re not comfortable with. I want to collaborate. I’m not throwing away all your jumpers, I promise. Maybe half. But I brought you here because every man needs a suit.”
John nods. He can see the logic there. He could make more of an effort sometimes, he supposes. Especially if he’s going out in public with Sherlock, who’s always impeccably dressed.
Tan looks him in the eye. “Now, John. Who’s your style icon?”
“ I am, of course,” a low voice grumbles suddenly from behind him. It’s Sherlock, positioning himself next to John. He’s wearing a tight suit, perfectly tailored. John doubts it’s a Mark Powell suit though.
“Hello, Sherlock. Welcome, although I don’t remember inviting you.” Tan raises his eyebrows.
“And he’s not my style icon,” John says.
“Yes, I know, that would be Ellen Degeneres, probably,” Sherlock mumbles. “But Tan means, who do you aspire to look like?”
John exhales slowly, and scratches the back of his head. “I suppose… David Beckham is quite stylish.”
Next to him, Sherlock raises an eyebrow.
“David Beckham, great, I can work with that,” Tan says excitedly, and starts walking around the store, grabbing suit jackets here and there.
“I want you to feel handsome, John,” he says, looking over his shoulder. “I want to give you the confidence to walk the street like you own it. You’re a beautiful man, and your clothes can accentuate that.”
“He’s fine,” Sherlock says, stepping slightly in front of John. “As he is.”
“You’re right,” Tan says, putting a bunch of suits in John’s arms. Sherlock’s mouth snaps shut.
“I am?” Sherlock says.
“Yes, he’s great. Look at those arms! Oh my god, he is so ripped,” Tan continues. “But I hear you like to make deductions about people. Wouldn’t you agree that the way you dress, the way you present yourself in the world, is important, then?”
Sherlock just blinks.
John is stunned. He’s starting to really like this Tan. He has excellent hair, too.
Tan pushes John to the dressing room door. “John, you’ve got the body, I just want you to show it off. We’ll of course take your measurements later, but this will give you an idea of what you could look like.”
When John walks out a little later, in a tight, dark blue suit with a white shirt and white tie underneath, Sherlock and Tan both gasp.
“You honestly look so good,” Tan says.
Sherlock says nothing.
“Your fly is undone, though,” Tan adds.
John looks down, feeling heat rush to his cheeks. But before he can fix it, Sherlock takes a few steps towards him, standing suddenly uncomfortably close, and, while maintaining eye contact with Tan, Sherlock zips up John slowly.
John scrapes his throat. Christ, what’s going on here?
He takes off his suit jacket, it feels suddenly quite hot in here.
“Hey John,” Tan says, beaming. “Have you ever heard about… the French tuck?”
Culture coach Karamo has arranged an activity with Molly and Rosie. John checks his surroundings - Sherlock is nowhere in sight for this one. He lets his shoulders relax.
“So, the zoo?” John asks the man. A bit of an odd choice, perhaps. Molly told him Karamo took other candidates on ziplines and nightmare scenarios like yoga class. This seems strangely… normal.
“John, I know you already have a lot of excitement in your life. First in the army, and now with Sherlock solving cases,” Karamo says. “I want to show you ways to relax, without letting the comfort of domesticity feel like a threat.”
Molly pushes Rosie’s pram toward them.
“Most parents wouldn’t call a day at the zoo relaxed , I imagine,” John says.
“Look, I unexpectedly became a dad too, so I know what it’s like to make room for children in a busy life, and I can help you,” Karamo says, before turning to Molly. “Ready?”
“Yes, thank you for inviting me,” she smiles.
“Thank you for putting us on the case of Sherlock and John,” Karamo says.
John frowns. Sherlock and John? Sherlock’s not getting a makeover, is he? But before he can comment, they’re already moving inside the large London zoo. Rosie cackles as Molly leads her straight to Butterfly Paradise.
“You know your way around these parts,” John says, surprised.
“What do you think I do with her when I babysit her, John?” Molly asks. “Show her body parts in the lab?”
“No, you’re not Sherlock,” John says. Half-joking. He hopes.
Karamo throws them a puzzled look.
“Sherlock actually comes here often with her, too,” Molly says. “While you’re working.”
“He does?” John asks.
She smiles knowingly.
“Let me show you their favorite part,” Molly says, turning around the stroller.
When they finally reach the penguins’ compound, Karamo nudges John a little further along, until they’re not in Molly’s hearing distance anymore. They both watch as she lovingly points out the penguins’ peculiar behavior to Rosie.
“Do you like the way Molly takes care of Rosie?” Karamo asks.
John swallows. It’s weird to watch them standing there, actually. To any outsider, they’d look like mother and child. Like a normal family.
“Yes, Molly’s lovely. She has helped out a lot.”
Suddenly, John feels alarm bells going off. They’re not trying to fix him up with Molly, are they? She did sign him up for this show, after all. Not to… Not to craft him into the perfect husband, he hopes?
He feels a tinge of regret thinking of Molly like that. He likes her, she’s great, she’d make a great girlfriend for anyone. But he’s fine with his life. It is what it is.
“Does she do it any differently than Sherlock?” Karamo asks. “Is he stepping up as an adult in Rosie’s life?”
John startles. Why does Karamo bring Sherlock up? He feels a sudden need to defend him. Just because he didn’t join them at the zoo today, and keeps a few eyeballs in the fridge sometimes, doesn’t mean John should cut him out of Rosie’s life.
“Yes, Sherlock’s fine. For example, he bought rounded furniture after our flat exploded. And when I cut him out of my life because my retired secret agent wife got killed protecting him, he still came by and asked after her. I know he loves Rosie.”
“Ehh… right,” Karamo says.
“And he let me have my old room back, without question. He doesn’t play the violin at night anymore, so she can sleep. He’s helped feeding her, and bathing her. He’s… been amazing. I mean. He’s always been amazing. But I didn’t think he’d be this good with a child.”
Karamo nods. “This is exactly the reason why I invited you over for this zoo activity.”
John frowns, and Karamo locks an arm around him. He can feel Karamo’s muscles clench against him, as he continues to speak. “I wanted to show you that you don’t necessarily need a classic family picture of wife, husband and daughter to live your best life. I want you to let go of the idea that you need a mother for Rosie, and perhaps entertain the idea of two dads.”
“Right,” John nods, temporarily distracted by the tightness of Karamo’s shirt. “Wait… What?”
Karamo lets go of him, and looks him in the eyes.
“I’m not gay,” John says.
“You’re telling me you’ve been living with this beautiful man for seven years and nothing ever happened?” Karamo says. “Boy, no. You need to start living your truth.”
What’s he on about?
“And Sherlock doesn’t feel things that way,” John adds.
“John, he’s a gorgeously ageing twink.”
“Look, five gay guys came in and the first thing he did was lose his dressing gown like a fierce Beyoncé rising from the ashes. No way that boy’s straight.”
John licks his lips. He glances at Molly. Is that why she wanted him to do this show? He starts to panic. Maybe there have been times when he wondered if it could ever be something more between him and Sherlock. And lately, it has very much felt like having a family. Sometimes he’s wondered… what it would feel like to kiss Sherlock? Or go even further? But Sherlock is simply not interested, so it doesn’t matter, anyway.
The Fab Five could ruin not just his jumper collection, but everything that’s been good between Sherlock and John.
Karamo nudges him to walk back to Molly and Rosie.
“Just believe in yourself,” he says.
John’s throat feels completely dry.
“Unrelated, but how do you feel about wearing bomber jackets?”
“I want to give you the confidence to get the F out of the closet,” Jonathan wastes no time beating around the bush, scissors in hand. They’re in a barber shop, and John is gripping the sides of his chair tightly, whitening his knuckles.
Is this a thing now? Has he agreed to come out of his closet? He doesn’t remember telling Karamo this. Let alone the frighteningly perfect wall of hair that is Jonathan.
Though he has been thinking about it, of course. Since the zoo date with Molly and Karamo, he’s been thinking of little else, actually. If he’s honest with himself, he hasn’t even considered dating, because he’s perfectly happy with Sherlock. And the thought of being with anyone else - or Sherlock being with anyone else - makes his heart hurt.
But Sherlock is beautiful. And he’s a tired old veteran that people now only want to enlist for makeovers.
“You’re already cute as a gay button,” Jonathan continues, unperturbed by the terror in John’s eyes. “You’re giving me serious daddy vibes. I like your swoop. So here’s what I want for you: trim the sides, curve the top, and make it a bit more military. Do you think Sherlock will like that?”
John coughs. Something is stuck in his throat.
“Just… Not too short, please,” John says.
Jonathan holds John’s chin. “How much time do you spend on yourself in the morning, on an average day? I know you have a baby to take care of, but just give yourself five minutes to take care of this beautiful skin, darling. Some simple creams will do. And also, it’s important to give yourself a nice shave. Put that finger on that Adam’s apple.”
John wants to nod, but he can’t.
As Jonathan starts snipping, he keeps building John’s confidence. “You’re giving me major Mark Ruffalo vibes right now. Oh my god, you look gorge. You know you’re already gorgeous, right? You’re going to look a-ma-zing.”
By the time Jonathan turns around John’s chair so he can check himself in the mirror, he’s so hyped that, for a moment, he finds his reflection attractive.
Is this some sort of gay awakening? Finding yourself good-looking?
“Yassss queen,” Jonathan yells.
Sherlock bursts through the door. “Am I too late?”
“Took me longer to deduce where filming was, this time,” Sherlock says.
“Stop calling ‘stealing production notes’ deducing ,” John says.
John turns his chair toward him. Sherlock stops breathing all at once, and stands straight. Like a soldier, saluting.
“Your man is giving me so much sexy face, I can’t even handle it,” Jonathan tells Sherlock. “He’s thirst trapping harder than Antoni, I swear to god. Isn’t John to die for?”
“I already did,” Sherlock stammers, then he blinks down at his hands, turns around and flees out the door.
For a few seconds, they’re both silent, staring at the swinging doors.
“Okay then,” Jonathan says, airily. “Sherlock better not go to 221B because he’s not allowed back in yet. But the great thing is, we are! So let’s go home and check out the changes Bobby made to you guys’s flat, okay?”
“It’s fine,” John says, frowning. Did Sherlock like his haircut? Christ. He feels like a teenage girl ready to whip out her diary.
He supposes his blog is kind of his Sherlock-obsessed diary, perhaps.
“Do you think Bobby gave you open shelves? Wait, don’t speculate. Let him surprise you!”
When John enters 221B, Bobby stands proudly in a decor that feels different yet still very much… them. John and Sherlock.
“I adored your Victorian boho style,” Bobby explains. “So I just polished it into something that’s still you but also very family friendly. I’ve replaced that old smelly sofa with a soft, large corner piece. I’ve redone the entire kitchen to make it a safe place for kids to hang out. And the fridge has no more body parts in it.”
John walks a little closer. Behind him, the rest of the Fab Five follow, smiling.
“Also, eh, sadly, the skull painting and the skull on the mantle had to go,” Bobby says.
“Oh, so that’s why you need me to fill in Sherlock about this particular restyling?”
“... But I’ve replaced them with pictures of you, Sherlock, and Rosie, so you can hold onto those amazing memories you’ve already created.”
John steps a little closer to the wall. In a large frame, Bobby has grouped photos John didn’t even know he had: Sherlock hugging Rosie closely, Rosie having fallen asleep on John’s chest, and even Sherlock and John talking to each other in the lab. Suddenly it dawns on John: Molly must have provided all these pictures. He swallows, something stuck in his throat.
“Thank you,” he whispers. “You’ve given me so much this week. I didn’t even know how much I needed this. I’m not even talking about the furniture and the clothes and the hair, though they are all fabulous. And the food, I mean, that too, Antoni. Pancakes! No. I mean… This is hard for me.”
John gathers himself for a second. He puts his hands on his hips and looks up.
“But you’ve helped me realise what I already have, here. And that I do want more. With Sherlock. Thank you, all.”
Behind him, the rest of the Five wipe away tears. Soon, they hug him, one by one.
“Let me show you upstairs, you handsome man,” Bobby says, exchanging a meaningful look with the others. “Before you hug me.”
Before you hug me? John shrugs it off, and follows Bobby to his room.
When he arrives, John startles. It’s so beautiful. Bobby’s really outdone himself and created an amazing room for Rosie. The wallpaper is light blue with pink, blooming flowers, there are open shelves with toys on them, there’s a little desk she can use as she grows older. Her white, neat bed is adaptable as she grows, the sheets are colorful and happy. A perfect girls’ room.
John turns to Bobby, tears blinking in his eyes.
Bobby looks a bit scared.
Then it dawns on John.
“Wait… Where do I sleep?”
“Downstairs,” Bobby says. “With Sherlock.”
The Fab Five have relocated to their loft to watch on a big screen how John fares, showing Sherlock his apartment.
“O.M.G. So exciting,” Jonathan says, plunging on the sofa with a drink. “Will they or won’t they?”
“Do you think Sherlock’s actually into John?” Bobby asks, a bit unsure. “There’s now… only one bed.”
“Sherlock was basically touching John’s dick in the clothing store with me, so I’m pretty confident,” Tan says.
“He liked and quickly unliked an old shirtless selfie of mine on Instagram,” Karamo says.
“He insulted my salad,” Antoni says.
They clink glasses.
As Sherlock approaches the door, coat flapping dramatically - Netflix insisted - John rubs his hands on his thighs. Nerves hit him in the gut, all at once.
Shit. How is he actually supposed to do this? I’ve got a queer eye on you, Sherlock?
He should have thought this through, really.
“They better not have messed with my room,” Sherlock says when he arrives.
“No, they only made the rest pretty,” John replies. But something tugs at his chest. Because something is different, of course: the Fab Five want him to move into Sherlock’s double bed.
It seems sheer madness, now.
“I see,” Sherlock says, looking John up and down. “That suit… suits you.”
Sherlock bites his bottom lip. John searches his face. Is he being sarcastic? John’s heart flutters in his chest like a trapped butterfly.
“Shall we, then?” Sherlock asks, motioning inside.
John nods and turns. Better bite the bullet. Together, they mount the stairs to their apartment, both old and new. As Sherlock enters, he whirls quickly around the place, making deductions rapidly.
“Right, no more knife on the mantle, even though Rosie’s too young to reach up there anyway. Tedious! And they better have stored Billy away safely or I’ll hunt them down. I’ve already deduced where they live. Those sofa cushions are horrendous. Was Bobby trying to gender-bend again? And a kitchen island? For crying out loud. Why do we need one?”
Quickly, he whirls back into the living room, where John waits, tense.
“It’s not horrible, I suppose,” Sherlock says, softly.
John smiles. “Thank you. They worked hard on it. Well. Bobby.”
“At least he didn’t throw away our chairs,” Sherlock says.
“None of the goodwill places would take them,” John says.
Sherlock’s lip curls slightly. John mirrors his smile. It’s a relief. They’re still them.
Then, the atmosphere shifts.
“Right… Sherlock,” he says, looking down. “I need to show you my room.”
Sherlock frowns. “If you insist.”
John’s feet feel like lead, trying to drag him back down into the living room. But he soldiers on, up to his old room, which is now Rosie’s. Maybe Sherlock will deduce his feelings on his face and he won’t even have to say it. His heart is punching up against his chest. Why did he sign up for this cursed show? He can’t rewind this.
He switches on the light, and all the bright, cheerful colors hit John at once. He turns around to Sherlock, right behind him.
Sherlock stands frozen, pale as a sheet.
John tries to catch his gaze. “Sherlock…”
But before John can finish his sentence, Sherlock turns around and dashes down the stairs, past the Netflix camera team, who chase him immediately. John takes two steps at once, panicking.
He hates it, he hates it, Sherlock doesn’t want this.
He follows the cameramen into Sherlock’s room, pushes them to the side. He feels like he’s walking into a soap opera scene: Sherlock has put an open suitcase on his bed and is moving his neatly folded shirts into it. He doesn’t look up at John, face calm, resigned. His fingers only slightly shaking.
“Sherlock, what are you doing?”
Sherlock puts a stack of folded trousers in the suitcase. “I’m sure even you can make adequate deductions, John.”
His heart twinges. “Please... don’t.”
“Don’t make me the villain here, John,” Sherlock suddenly raises his voice, looking up.
John stops breathing. The look on Sherlock’s face is pure ice.
Sherlock zips up the suitcase - forgetting about all essentials, including the facial cream Jonathan would want him to pack - and moves past John, out the door.
John is stunned. It takes him a few seconds and all his courage to chase after him.
Outside, on the street in front of 221B, John grabs Sherlock’s arm, stopping him in his tracks.
Sherlock swirls around, furious. “I knew this would happen eventually,” he says bitterly. “I just didn’t think you’d do it on international television.”
John feels his eyes prickling. “But I thought you might want this.”
“ Want this?” Sherlock says. “I’ve done everything for you. But no. Apparently it wasn’t good enough because you needed strangers to provide you with better furniture, better kitchen material, a better…” His voice breaks, then he recovers. “A better home for Rosie.”
“Sherlock, you are Rosie’s home, damnit. You are!”
“You’ve been the best godfather to her I could wish for. Please don’t move out of your own home. Molly thought… I thought. Look, it doesn’t matter. Things don’t have to change between us. I’d rather have you around as we were, just as friends, than not at all.”
Sherlock drops his suitcase, expression completely puzzled. “You don’t want me to move out?”
“Why would I want you to move out?”
“There’s only one bedroom left!” Sherlock yells.
“I’ll sleep on the sofa then!” John yells, exasperated. “Just come back upstairs, you utter madman.”
Sherlock’s mouth twitches. “I wasn’t supposed to move out.”
“But you were supposed to sleep in my bedroom?”
John hangs his head. Of course. Of course that’s what Sherlock would think - that this was John’s not so subtle way of telling him to find a new apartment. Not a love declaration. Why would he expect one? He’s been screaming at him that he’s not gay, for years.
“Sherlock,” he says, softly. “That was the whole point of this. And I realise now that I’ve… put you on the spot, with this. I’ve been letting myself get carried away with this silly reality show. So, please, know that if I have to, I’ll sleep on the couch or ask Mrs Hudson if I can rent 221C, so we can add an extra staircase and an extra bedroom. But… ”
“But?” Sherlock says, quietly.
John feels his chest constricting. “But if you’ll have me, I’d like to sleep in your room.”
Sherlock blinks. “Did Karamo make you gay?”
John huffs out a laugh. “No, you silly man.”
He looks up, and takes a step closer to Sherlock. He needs to start living his truth. Whatever Sherlock’s answer may be. No more games.
“I’m in love with you, Sherlock Holmes.”
Sherlock glances at the camera behind John, and it breaks John’s heart. He looks stunned. Like he’s still expecting it to be a cruel joke.
Sherlock swallows. “Why didn’t you tell me… before?”
“I didn’t know. Well… I knew, but I didn’t know . If that makes sense.”
“You’re not gay.”
Sherlock stares at him.
John licks his lips. It’s as he suspected, as he dreaded. Sherlock doesn’t really feel things this way, or at least not about him , and now John has put him in an awkward position, on television. He should make this turning down thing a little easier on him.
“It’s okay, Sherlock. I know you’re not -”
Suddenly, Sherlock presses his mouth against John’s, taking the words right out of him and turning them around. John is startled, and freezes, but then allows Sherlock to press his soft lips harder into him, he allows Sherlock’s hand to wander to his cheek and his thumb to rub across his jaw. A small whimper comes from the back of John’s throat, from his core, as Sherlock licks his way inside his mouth, scratching with his nails against the back of John’s neck. It’s better than John could have ever imagined. Never mind the new furniture, the new clothes. They’re a perfect fit.
Sherlock pulls back, eyes still closed.
“John, if you wanted to redecorate, you could have told me, because obviously I’m gayer than the Fab Five mixed in a blender with an avocado, and actually, John, if you wanted me, you could have told me seven years ago. I’ve always, always been yours,” he breathes against John’s lips. “Always.”
“Yasss, queen!” Mrs Hudson shouts from the window.
John giggles. “So errr, Sherlock…,” he whispers in his ear. “I know you like this suit. Do you want to go inside and take it off?”
Sherlock freezes, then brings his gorgeous lips close to John’s ear. “I’m excellent with zippers.”