It’s no secret that John loves Sherlock.
It’s unknown to most, that’s why it’s called it a secret relationship, but Sherlock can see the adoration piled high in John’s eyes, sense affection in his touches and words.
Feel it in his bones as John fucks him up the wall.
That’s why, on a cold December night, when John laughs at something a young Marton Hotel concierge says while confirming their reservation, Sherlock says absolutely nothing.
He simply stands behind John, one hand tightly gripping his suitcase and the other holding his mobile as he pretends to text someone.
He isn’t watching his partners hand land on the strangers shoulder, listening to him say something that probably isn’t remotely interesting.
That would make Sherlock look jealous, which he is not.
But the receptionist is now leaning over the desk to wipe something off John’s blue cardigan, and his careful indifference has accidentally morphed into a pointed glare. He coughs into his coat sleeve, loudly, and John turns like a whip at the sound.
Sherlock watches him take the key from the concierge and wave goodbye to her, turning around slowly and clearing his throat.
“She seemed nice,” Sherlock deadpanned after a moment, scooping up his suitcase and heading towards the hotel elevator.
John sighed, trailing behind him “Sherlock-”
“I don’t care. It’s fine.”
And he supposed he couldn’t care too much, because he was used to John’s flirtatious personality. (He has never tried it on Sherlock; god forbid he even attempted something so idiotic on him), he flirted with women who wear too much make up and waddle around London in spiky heels. Stared at them in bookstores and cafes, smiled at the female Scotland Yard detectives that have long eyelashes and bright smiles.
John will go to the grave flaunting his attraction towards women. When someone gives Sherlock and him a knowing look, or an ignorant joke is made about them being in love, he will spend the rest of that day talking to any young females who will give him even the slightest attention.
Sherlock still thinks about the horror on Johns face after they had first kissed, remembers the words that came from his throat, the sounds filled with denial and hate.
He recalls thinking, after John had repeatedly yelled at Sherlock for being male, and how it didn’t make sense, that John’s fear of being gay had managed to dwindle his feelings for Sherlock down to nothing shame and defensiveness.
The elevators tocsin sounded and the doors slid open for them. “Erm, yeah. We’re number 491,” John said, pulling their blue key card from his pocket.
Sherlock walked out of the cramped lift without his things, leaving John to grab his small suitcase. “I know.”
They quietly made their way down the beige, patterned rug that hugged the hotels narrow floors, to their room.
Sherlock swung open the door and looked around the room, he took in the dark blue walls and large TV, the small bathroom and three chairs in the corner by the looming window.
He said nothing when saw that there were two beds, taking a seat on one of the chairs and kicking off his shoes, watching John pull a laptop from his bag and take a seat on a bed.
“I’m taking a shower,” he announced once he was confident John wasn’t looking to make conversation. The doctor looked up and gave him a small smile.
So he stood under the warm water for twenty minutes, watching small droplets plummet from strands of wet, dark hair that stuck to his forehead.
The basic premise of two people enjoying intimacy together made sense to him, but he never realized how many problems could arise within a relationship. He regretted not having tried dating in his high school and college years; but even the idea alone sounded mind-numbingly dull.
Right now the man he was in love with was enamored with the entire female species, and Sherlock had made sure that the bathroom door was shut and locked before he began to undress. He knew enough about chemistry to know that this wasn’t what a healthy relationship looked like.
He pulled on his pajamas and opened up the bathroom door, being welcomed back to the room by John's voice. “I was beginning to think you had drowned in there,” the man laughed from the bed.
“It isn’t possible to drown in a shower.”
John looked slightly puzzled at the acidic reply, tilting his head to stare at Sherlock. “It was a joke.”
“I know,” he shot back, climbing into the unoccupied bed and turning off the light.
He could hear John sighing in the dark, so he closed his eyes in retort.
He didn’t move as he felt John getting in under Sherlock’s covers, fully clothed, to wrap his arms around the detective’s torso.
“John,” he said when the room went quiet again.
The doctor didn’t respond for several long minutes, long enough for Sherlock to almost fade out into sleep.
“Your hair’s wet.” John announced suddenly.
“Maybe we could try something different.” Sherlock blurted out, wincing at his words.
The room went silent for a moment, and John shifted uncomfortably. “With your hair?” He joked, running fingers through it.
“Don’t act stupid, John.”
“Well, it’s just that I’m not following.”
Sherlock let the conversation die for a moment as he prepared his next words, gazing at the lights that shone from out the window. He felt nerves tingle along his neck as Johns warm fingers played with the cold, wet strands of hair on top of his head.
“I think you should resume dating women.” He let out, trying to make his voice sound calm and efficient.
The fingers left his hair with a concerning speed, and Sherlock winced as the lights came back on with a sharp click.
He shielded his eyes from the light and rolled over to face an John, the mans body looming above Sherlock’s, and his eyes hard.
“I’m not suggesting we stop dating,” he felt a rush of blood fill his head and his cheeks redden as he said the words, wishing that there was a better word than dating that he could utilize.
“What brought this on, Sherlock?” The doctor spat out, his words clipped and loud.
Sherlock tried to sit up, but Johns hands shot out at the movement, pinning him back to the bed. “Are you accusing me of wanting to cheat on you?”
He looked at the doctor doubtfully. Any outrage or surprise John was relaying couldn’t have been completely genuine; he couldn’t be so ignorant about his obvious interest in women.
“Yes!” Sherlock yelled simply, his breathing coming hard and fast.
John’s grip on his shoulders went lax, and the detective rolled off of the bed.
He pulled at his shirt and straightened out his spine, clearing his throat. “I can always see the longing in your face, even know I can see it. You’re so proud that you changed your sexuality with a snap of your fingers, but when will you notice that you never actually gave women up!”
John was kneeling on the bed, staring at Sherlock with a horribly defeated look across his features. He knew he never changed, of course he knew.
Sherlock continued. “I try not to care John, I really do, but I feel like a 60’s housewife that you come home to at night, after you get bored of the females that you fuck during the day.”
John flinched at Sherlock’s last sentence. His face crumbled, his hurt caressed by the soft light from the lamp behind him. He then turned around, reached across the bed, and flicked off the light. “I know, I know. I am a horrible person,” he admitted to the dark.
Sherlock kept his demeanor. He thought about all those months ago, after John had yelled at him for being a man, for having the same sex organs, like it was Sherlock’s fault he was born with a penis.
He remembers John coming back to the flat after fleeing for two days because of the kiss, sitting next to Sherlock on the couch and quietly apologizing, admitting he did want to try being with him, making it sound like he supposed he could make an effort to love Sherlock.
Sherlock was not a patient, empathetic man, but he has tried to soothe John’s nervousness, attempted to ease him through his sexual identity crisis. An onlooker would have assumed that John was the one who had never had sex.
It had been four months. And John was obviously not making an effort to improve. So instead of mollifying the doctors self-admonishment in the darkened hotel room, he said, “So now you have options. You can see women again on the side, meaning I won’t interfere if you decide you need to fuck someone you met at a bar. Just don’t bring them home with you, and don’t try to include me.”
“Do you think-”
“Or, if you could finally admit you don’t have the ability to involve yourself with me, we can revert back to our old arrangement as flatmates.”
It was the most frank conversation they have had in months, the least awkward since they began to share a bed. It was fantastic. Sherlock felt like he was in the same room as John for the first time in half a year.
He could hear the doctors exhales; loud and stiff. He could see the outline of his head shaking back and forward angrily, his arms crossed against his chest and pulled tightly in. “That isn’t what a relationship is supposed to be like, and you know it.” John announced quietly. “Do you really think that I would want to do that to you, Sherlock? Want to push you to the side like that?” He stood up and walked over to the detective, touching his arm. “I’ve been a sex-crazed idiot since I was 15, and it’s been hard to let go of that mindset. I don’t want to hurt you, I don’t want you to feel like you're a last resort. I’ll try harder, I really will.”
Sherlock backed away at his touch.
John smashed a mug when Lestrade once almost walked in on them kissing on the couch. He didn’t talk to Sherlock for a day after they had sex for the first time.
His reluctance of being with a man was utterly ridiculous in Sherlock’s opinion, but the detective was consumed by John, the real John.
He looked forward to the good times when the doctor wasn’t afraid of being judged. The days when he remembered Sherlock had only ever had sex with him, and they could hop into bed and take things slowly. When he kept in mind that the detective was just as reluctant to tell people they were dating, and that they could keep the secret together, even have fun doing it.
“I’ve solved over two thousand murder cases in my life, correctly deduced more than ten thousand people, killed ten men, have had 6 near death experiences, was enrolled at university at sixteen years old, and I can classify 348 different brands of carpet just by looking at them. Don’t treat me like I’m an idiot, John. You want to be with women, and I highly doubt that will suddenly change. Accept my offer.” Sherlock deadpanned.
“No.” John said, crossing his arms. He advanced towards Sherlock again, dropping to his knees and wrapping his small hands around the detective’s thighs. “Look, I know I’ve been an asshole, but I didn’t start a relationship with you because I thought it would be fun, or a good way to pass the time.” He rested his forehead against his hands and continued, “I am so in love with you, the idea of being with someone else… hurts, Sherlock. It hurts. I’m such an idiot.”
He knew what John’s words meant. He would be forgiven, albeit Sherlock knew that the words from the doctors mouth were meaningless, and then he would continue to struggle with with his sexuality by the next day.
“Accept my offer,” Sherlock whispered again, falling to his knees, too. “It feels like you’re not here half the time.”
“I’ll be better,” John spoke when Sherlock was all the way down on the floor, “I’ll stop.”
They woke up the next morning on the floor, the table lamp still off, the city outside the window waking up slowly, like it usually does.
And when they packed their bags and left the hotel room, the small room with its two beds and three chairs, John put his hand on the small of the detective’s back, and they rode down the elevator to the checkout desk just in that way.
He didn’t flirt with the brunette with too many buttons undone on her blouse when Sherlock handed over their key card, and chose not to greet the Scotland Yard detective who always smiled at John, when he walked into Lestrades office the next day.
Sherlock was surprised at how quickly John dropped his flirtatious persona after the night in the hotel room. Sherlock was never surprised.
“You never scolded me for flirting before that night,” John explained, “I kept telling myself you didn’t care that I talked to women like that.” He smiled into his Chinese food and looked over at Sherlock, who was sitting on the other side of the couch. “Obviously, in the end, I guess I just needed a good yelling at.” He laughed. “I can’t believe you offered me an open relationship.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes at John’s last sentence. “It seemed logical at the time.”
“To let me sleep around London?”
“It’s a shame I didn’t accept your proposition, all of my flirting techniques have been going to waste,” John said mischievously, holding eye contact.
Sherlock scowled and moved off the couch, knowing what was to come. “Don’t even try it on me!”
The doctor gave him an innocent look, letting his eyes widen and his face soften, “I wasn’t going to try anything on you, gorgeous.”
“I hate you.”
He followed Sherlock off the couch. “You’ve got a great smile, you know that?”
“What’s the harm? You’re just a beautiful person to look at.”
“This is painful, really.”
John meet him in the kitchen and cornered him against the fridge. “I’d like to take you on a date,” He murmured, running his hands down Sherlock’s arms. “And do you know what I’d like to do after that date?”
“Good God, leave me alone.”
He smiled, tilting his face upwards at the taller man. “The ladies love it,” he said happily.
“I can’t imagine why.”
John crossed his arms and took a step back, “To think I ended up with someone who hates me so much,” he said, and leaned in for a kiss.