A/N – I posting this completely unbeta'd and unedited and un-deAmercianized because it'll never see the light of day otherwise. I don't know what wrong with me but I'm feeling like a sentimental emotional fool today and this is the result of that. It's bucket full o' fluff and happy feelings, which generally turns my stomach a little. If my natural and true cynical self returns before I publish this it will be making a trip to the recycle bin. I am not a romantic by nature. However, here it is. The idea for this came from reading a pamphlet in the allergy doctor's office this morning. Enjoy or don't enjoy as you see fit, but considered yourself warned about the grammar and spelling, I am a master of neither.
Warnings – Other than the gag inducing sappiness and minor sexual innuendo I don't think there are any.
Disclaimer – Yeah, nope, not mine.
"John, we should try this?" The detective's voice carries from the couch, where he is lying and watching crap telly, to his husband in the kitchen finishing up the washing from dinner.
"Try what?" The doctor replies, putting the last plate onto the rack to dry.
"This thing, on the show."
That clears it up, thinks John as he takes the towel from over his shoulder and places it on the handle of the oven. He walks to the doorway of the kitchen and leans against the wall, letting out a put upon sigh. Sherlock glances up at him before turning his attention back to the show.
The detective is lying on his back, one arm thrown up over his head so that it's resting on the arm of the sofa. His other hand is busy pulling on his lower lip as he becomes more engrossed in whatever it is that he is watching on the telly. His knees are bent up, forcing his tall frame into taking up just over half of the couch. John knows that he's leaving the other end open so that the doctor will join him. If and when he does, Sherlock can then put his feet in the doctor's lap and with enough persistence get a foot massage.
Sherlock loves to have his feet rubbed, nobody had been more surprised to learn this than John. However, he'd been delighted to. The promise of John's thumbs digging into his arch and pulling on his toes is one of the few things that can and will stop Sherlock Holmes dead in his tracks. He'll stop working, stop complaining, stop shooting the wall, stop sulking, and even stop experimenting. It's one of the most useful tools in John's arsenal.
"What should we try?"
Sherlock looks back to the doctor annoyed that he has to explain further. Obviously, John should have been able to follow the TV from the other room, where he hadn't been listening.
Sherlock sighs before dropping the hand that was playing with his lip and wiggling his toes into the leather of the couch. John represses the smile at his husband's not subtle movements. The detective gestures vaguely to the television, "On this show, they are talking about little things to make your marriage better."
John is astonished by the topic, things like that, emotions and feelings and family, are almost always guaranteed to make Sherlock change the channel. Unless of course he's waiting to find out "Who da baby daddy is" as the detective has become prone to saying after hearing it on one of his daytime programs. John just groans internally every time he hears it, hoping that it will go away. But real feelings and serious topics are hardly his area of enjoyment. John had been expecting something along the lines of, "The new martial art technique recently imported from Laos."
"Is there something wrong with our marriage?" he asks finding himself genuinely curious about his husband's answer. Two minutes ago he'd have easily answered no to that question, but perhaps Sherlock is aware of something that he is not.
"Of course not," the detective declares as if that was somehow the stupidest question that he's ever heard. John feels a few muscles relax that he hadn't really known had tensed. "It just sounds like it could be interesting. For example, what are 5 things that you love about me? Say the top 5."
Sherlock looks up at his husband for a minute and John immediately catches the glint in his eye. He wants to make it a game. Typical. But before he can reply, Sherlock speaks again and he holds up a finger, beginning to count off the items.
"Certainly my penis is probably very highly rated and probably my fingers." John watches as the glint becomes a sultry smile. "Of course my tongue." Sherlock's brow furrows as he thinks and John feels the emotions collide inside of him. Listening to his husband list off the body parts he finds enjoyable during their sexual encounters is enticing, it probably always will be. However, listening to his husband list them off as items that John loves most about him is annoying and horribly incorrect.
The detective's face lights up as he adds a fourth and fifth finger to the list. "The back of my knees and my ass." He smiles his smug know-it-all-arrogant-bastard-I-solved-the-case smile. John crosses his arms and stares at him.
Sherlock frowns, confused that John isn't enjoying this. The detective extends his legs out slightly, picking his feet up off the couch and wiggling his toes again. It's another less than subtle request for John to take his usual place and do his usual task.
It won't be happening tonight.
"Do you really think that your cock is what I love best about you?" Sherlock's frown grows. He clearly has no idea where this less than intellectual conversation went wrong. He straightens his legs, realizing that the massage won't be coming and hoping now just to stave off argument. He doesn't like to argue with John.
"It isn't?" He asks genuinely curious. "You love to have sex."
The doctor lets out a frustrated sigh and doesn't lower his gaze from his husband's. "Sherlock, I can honestly say that I can't put a definitive list together of the top 5 things that I love about you. There are so many interchanging parts and factors that I can't. I could easily name 5 things that I love about you but, wait, no that isn't entirely true. I know what I absolutely love the most about you, but after that it's all different times, different days, different moments. The top 1,000 things that I love about you are almost completely interchangeable and each equally important to me. And your individual body parts aren't even in the top 10,000 things that I love about you."
Sherlock continues to frown, "I don't understand." John isn't surprised by this. What had started out as a game to Sherlock has turned into a less than pleasant conversation.
"I love your hair, Sherlock. I love to rub my fingers through it, and tug on it, and smell it. I love it, but if you shaved it off tomorrow I wouldn't leave you. It isn't fundamental to my affection for you or a moment or memory that I sacredly treasure."
"What are they?" Sherlock's brow is still furrowed, he's thinking now, trying to figure it out, trying to deduce. John just shakes his head, slightly disappointed by not really surprised.
"Why don't you list the things that you love most about me?" He counters, lifting his eyebrow and waiting to see Sherlock's response. "Or any 5, list any 5 things that you love about me?"
The detective stiffens on the couch, choosing to turn his frown into an all-out sulk instead of answering the question. He's trying to turn this around, trying to make it John's fault that this conversation has degraded so far.
"Is it really, my cock, my fingers, my tongue, and my ass and whatever other appendage or organ I use to make you have an orgasm? I doubt that Sherlock, I really do. At least I hope that isn't true."
They stare at each other for a long moment before, "All right then," John says. He pushes himself off the wall and uncrosses his arms. He brushes his hands together, "I'm going to head to bed then."
Sherlock sits up, not liking that John is upset. "Don't…" he starts but stops short. John looks at him for another moment before crossing the room. The doctor leans over and places a kiss on his husband's lip, it's simple, quick, and carries none of the usual warmth. It's a necessary part of the nightly ritual though and is rarely skipped.
"Good-night," John says. "Don't stay up to late."
"John?" Sherlock questions as the doctor turns and heads towards the stairs. He doesn't stop or turn back. Sherlock listens to the sounds as his husband retreats, completely at a loss as to what happened. He does love having sex with John, why is that bad? And not only is he not going to have his feet rubbed, there will be no shagging after that either.
He lets out an exasperated sigh and flattens himself back on the couch. What a waste of a night.
Two hours later Sherlock makes his way upstairs. He'd been unable to get comfortable or settle down. His least favorite thing about being married, about John, about loving John, is when they are out of sync with each other. He hates when John is upset with him, he hates to do things wrong. Especially if he doesn't know what he's done wrong.
He used to think that relationships were pedestrian and for the simple-minded. He is certain that it is his most incorrect assumption ever. His marriage is an intricate balancing act and sometimes he almost wishes it was boring. He doesn't think that it ever will be.
He pulls on a pair of boxers and a t-shirt and stares at his husbands sleeping form. The doctor is curled on his side, facing the spot Sherlock is about to climb into. His left hand is absently reaching out into Sherlock's space, reaching out to touch his husband. Even when annoyed, even when asleep John is reaching out for him, the thought of that sends a wave of warmth through his body. It settles in his chest and the detective lets out a slow breath, savoring the feeling a moment before it goes. He sighs then, before making his way to bed and climbing in.
He settles on his back and isn't surprised when a moment later John rolls into him, tossing an arm onto his chest and burying his face into Sherlock's side. The detective runs his fingers through his husband's hair listening to quiet satisfied moan that it brings. He rests his hand there and settles back to sleep.
Sherlock wakes up, surprised that John isn't in bed with him. He listens for a minute, and hears nothing. None of the noises that John makes as he moves around in the morning. Sherlock climbs out of bed and heads downstairs. John isn't there either.
He's left early, a clear indication that he's still angry. That doesn't sit well with Sherlock at all. The detective begins to stomp around the flat, looking for his mobile. He needs to call his husband. The disappointed anger that John had gone to bed with is always so much worse than the yelling, heated anger. He hates to disappoint John.
He spots his phone on the counter in the kitchen and grabs it, barely noticing the plain white envelope underneath it. He's taken a step back towards the living room when he turns back to look at it. He sees his name written in John's familiar print. His chest seizes tight for a moment, but he talks himself out of it.
They've been married almost 4 years, 4 years in 2 weeks. He smiles at that, realizing it's closer and closer. After 4 years he's learned, finally, to trust that John just isn't going to leave him and he certainly wouldn't do so leaving just a note. Sherlock knows better and mentally chastises himself for doubting. He knows not to doubt. It's John.
He grabs the envelope and carries it into the living room. He considers calling John first, but John might ask him if he read the note. He runs his finger under the sealed flap and removes a sheet of paper. He recognizes it as coming from the pad of paper that is in the top right drawer of John's desk. Other than the fact that it's John there is nothing special about it.
He unfolds the page and sees the same familiar print. He runs his fingers over the blue inked Dear Sherlock written at the top of the page. He brings his knees up and sits back to read it.
I was unable to get the conversation we had last night out of my head. I truly hope that you know that my love for you is more complicated than a list of your physical attributes that I find appealing. But just in case I decided I'd give you the 5 that you ask for. As I said these aren't the top 5 by any means, other than the first one. Number 1 is what endears you to me the most, but as you'll see it isn't a simple one word thing. The entire list is fluctuating and too complicated for thousands of pages of writing.
These are just 5 that came to my head as I sat down to do this; they are by no means the only.
5. This one was easy to come up with as I navigated my way out of bed. I love waking up with you in the morning. I love that you are always touching me, usually lying across me. I love my Sherlock blanket. I love that you want me close even when you are asleep.
4. I love your intelligence. I love how you think, and learn, and experiment. I love how you work things out, deducing information about everything and everyone. But most importantly, I love that when your mind is all over the place, like during a case or a complex experiment, I'm what you use to ground yourself. I love when you are pacing and frantic and then suddenly come into the bedroom to make sure that I'm still home, that I'm still here. I love that on crime scenes as you analyze and compartmentalize you continually look at me or look for me if I'm in different room. I love that when you sulk, or get frustrated, or when your brain just wears you out and the adrenaline catches up with you that I'm the one you seek out to collapse against.
3. I love the sound of quiet violin notes. The instrument is so important to who you are and how you work, but you limit it because of me. I love waking up to a staggering of notes that the bow barely touching the strings couldn't contain. I love coming down the stairs and seeing you standing at the window wanting so badly to set the bow free and let the music pour out of you, but holding it in because of me and your desire not to disturb me. I love walking up behind you and wrapping my arms around your waist and placing a kiss against the spot where your back becomes your neck. I love that you wait until I turn my head and place my cheek between your shoulder blades before you start to play. I love that you know that I love to feel it as well as hear it. I love feeling the muscles in your back move as the bow moves across the strings. I love that in those moments you don't play your beloved Mozart or Vivaldi, but my favorites Beethoven or Puccini. I love hearing the aching notes of Nessun Dorma as they pulsate through your body and to my ear.
2. I love that you saved my life. I know you probably don't realize that, but you did. I don't mean literally. But after Afghanistan and before I met you I was lost. I felt alone and indifferent to everything. Then one day I met this dark-haired stranger who was equal parts charm and weird. You showed me how much life there is in everyday living, how horrible boring can be. And at the same time you've taught me to cherish the rare boring moments in between the chaos. You showed me, once again, that I had value, that I was important. You continue to do so, even when I'm being insufferably idiotic.
1. The thing I love most about you, that I appreciate almost every day is how hard you work at this. I know that a relationship, much less a marriage, is something that you never particularly wanted. It isn't something that comes easily to you and even when it's frustrating you continue to work at it. You, in your sometimes misguided sometimes awkward way, always try to be a good husband. You do things you don't want; you go to movies and pubs and will sit through obnoxious dinners with my army mates. You do it because it is important to me. I am the only birthday you remember, you'd forget yours if I didn't remind you. You remember the anniversary of every single thing in our relationship, without fail. I love that I and this relationship are the most important things you. I love that a scarred and worn out old army doctor is the center of the mad genius detective's world. Basically, I love that you love me. Thank you for that.
So there you go, 5 of the things I love about you. As much as I love our sex life, it isn't even close to being what I love best about you. I hope this helps you to understand why, and perhaps make you realize what it is that you really love most about me. I truly doubt that it's because of my skills in the bedroom.
I'm off to work, obviously, early because this didn't take as long as I thought it would. I'll see you tonight.
Sherlock sits in the chair and reads the note over and over. He stops counting after the fifth time. It is causing a series of complex emotional responses and he doesn't fully understand. He feels the warmth and happiness that he associates solely with John. He feels an ache for his husband, wanting to see him right now hold him. It's so strong that he's tempted to go to the clinic this very second. He won't though. That doesn't feel like the right thing.
He reads it again, being careful with the page, not wanting to crease it any more than it is. When he's done he looks around the room, spotting John's printer/scanner/copier in the corner. Until this moment he hated the cumbersome machine, but he stood and walked over to it. He lifted the lid and carefully set the letter inside. He hits the copy button and listens to the collection of noises as the machine comes to life, feeling a hot pulse of air hit his hand as it hangs next to one of the vents. After a minute and 28 seconds he is holding a copy of the letter. He removes the original and meticulously folds it along the creases that John had created. He returns it to his envelope and places it one of the plastic bags John packs his sandwiches in for lunch. He seals it, pressing out as much air as possible. He is well aware how easy paper can deteriorate. He is going to prevent that.
He climbs the stairs with his plastic bag in one hand and the copy of the letter in the other. He goes into their bedroom and sets the copy and the plastic bag gently on the bed. He pulls the small lock box they keep on the closet shelf down and opens it. It is a durable box, made to withstand fire. It has a false bottom where they kept their guns and passports. The rest of the important papers, insurance, wills, and things like that John keeps in a plastic bag in here. Sherlock adds the plastic bag containing the letter to the pile and replaces the box. He takes the copy of the letter and quickly reads it again. He smiles as he begins to fold it. When it's small enough, he goes to the dresser and opens his wallet. He tucks the copy into the back pocket, the same one where he keeps the picture of him and John.
He puts the wallet down and heads to the bathroom. He needs to shower before doing anything else. He thinks about his husband, and decides that he'll make him dinner. John shouldn't have to work all day and then make dinner. John likes beans on toast and Sherlock is positive he can figure out how to make that.