Well. There's a first time for everything. Even writing slash. I welcome your thoughts. The usual copyright disclaimers apply.


He was in the middle of running through the results of a batch of urine tests – one of the more tedious and predictable things about his current status at St. Barts – when his phone chimed.

He didn't get many texts these days. Other than Stamford and Molly, who both checked up on him from time to time, he'd managed to drive his other friends away, and dating … well, it no longer appealed.

In the vacuum of the past six months, in a Baker Street flat now eerily quiet (even Mrs. Hudson now just left bags of groceries at the door with a gentle knock, and left him to brood in peace), John Watson had had a lot of time to think. And one of the things he thought about was all the times he had protested too much.

"I'm not his date."

"We're not a couple."

"Not. Actually. Gay."

Funny how Sherlock had never felt compelled to correct anyone – and anyone was pretty much everyone, to be fair – on the assumption that he and his blogger were an item. He preferred to just smirk enigmatically and leave them guessing. So who was the insecure one?

Stupid thing was, John had never really questioned his sexuality. He'd been solidly, confidently, comfortably straight from the moment his brain started to register the presence of perky little breasts emerging all around him at school. Boys … men … he'd never felt the slightest inclination, the tiniest attraction to. Not even in Afghanistan. There he had forged a couple of very deep friendships – best mates to whom he trusted his life. And it's not like there were a lot of women on his base, so his social (okay, sex) life had been pretty much non-existent. But he couldn't say that he had ever, ever felt drawn to anyone of his own gender, that way, even there, even drunk or frightened or lonely, each of which he was on a pretty regular basis.

But then there was Sherlock.

With his damn cheekbones, and his ridiculously long toes, and his childish tantrums, and those fucking eyes …

Oh Christ. This was not a productive line of thought.

What had settled mostly in John's soul was a deep sense of regret. For his cowardice. For not being able to redefine himself enough to allow him to reach out.

You could understand, intellectually, that human sexuality was a sliding scale, a spectrum from hereto to homo, and that no-one was strictly one or the other, just had leanings this way or that way. And you could accept and be comfortable with other people doing whatever was consensual and loving.

That didn't make you necessarily able to overcome your inhibitions and your conditioning and your terror.

And then of course, how could one ever be sure of Sherlock, who seemed to define himself as asexual? The closest the man had ever come to flirting, in John's presence at least, was with a female dominatrix.

There had been so many times. In the flat. In the lab at St. Bart's. In restaurants. Sitting next to each other in cabs – oh, gawd, the endless cabs - the tension so thick John would have needed a bone saw to cut it, his skin practically sparking at the presence of his flatmate shoulder to shoulder with him. Christ, if those weren't smouldering glances he was getting from Sherlock, then what the fuck were they?

But the thing is, he could never be sure. What if he was misinterpreting? Manufacturing something out of Sherlock's intense stare that just wasn't there?

He did know that if he guessed wrong, he might just repel his best friend permanently.

Or worse, risk his unending ridicule.

And now, of course, the point was moot. Sherlock had taken a swandive off a building, his coat fluttering in the breeze like a shredded parachute, and John was alone.

The phone chirped again.

He fished it out of his pocket. A blocked number.

Baker Street.

Come at once if convenient. – SH

John Watson's heart stuttered.

The next second, his brain had supplied the answer and was well on its way to rage.

With thumbs punching the touchscreen viciously, he typed, Who is this? Is this some kind of cruel joke? – JW

There was no response.

Slowly, John exhaled through his teeth. He still had two hours left on his work shift, and the urine testing was meticulous work. He couldn't do it properly if he was seeing red and his hands were shaking.

Which they were.

Every time he thought the pain had faded to a dull roar, there'd be some idiotic trigger which made it all fresh again. This was just the latest in a long string of inexplicable pokes at the wound.

Fuck, people were assholes.

He jammed the phone back in the pocket of his lab coat and picked up his pipette. A flash of Sherlock in his immaculate suit, perched at a similar lab table (two floors down) and waving a similar pipette while inquiring, "Afghanistan or Iraq?" slipped into his mind, and he squeezed his eyes shut in frustration. Breathe, Watson. Breathe.

It was ten minutes before the phone chirped again.

That's it, I'm shutting it off, thought John. He grabbed the offending instrument and was about to silence it when he saw the text that had just come in.

If inconvenient, come anyway.

The plastic pipette hit the ground with a clatter.

John was halfway down the third flight of stairs before the precariously balanced cups of urine also toppled off the countertop.

Couldn't be.

He's dead, I saw him die, I had his blood on my hands. Can't be.

But maybe.

He didn't remember getting to 221B, but he remembered his hands shaking – again? still? - as he tried to get the key in the lock. Because even from the other side of the door, he could hear Sherlock's violin.

The sound propelled him up the stairs two at a time.

The practical part of his brain warned it might still be a cruel trick of some sort, and that was going to be met at the top by one of Moriarty's henchmen pointing a Glock at his face. But the rest of him was pretty much at the point where if that was to be his end, then so be it.

Swallowing thickly, he reached the doorway. The music stopped.

And Sherlock – with his hair dyed ginger and his frame looking fragile and too thin, wearing jeans (jeans!) and a scruffy Marilyn Manson t-shirt, but still, unmistakably his Sherlock – turned gracefully and put down his instrument.

"John," he intoned with gravity and the smallest of smiles just twitching the corner of his lips.

"Shut up," replied John. "You're late." And like it was the most natural thing in the world, he stepped forward and seized Sherlock in a mouth-bruising kiss.

And really, it was. Apart from the bit where John had to tilt his head up, which felt strange.

He didn't want to let go. Threading his hands through the ginger hair, he pressed for more, his tongue sweeping Sherlock's lips until he gained entrance. Dimly registering that Sherlock was, in fact, responding in kind, and with just as much fervour.

Something warm and tingling spread through John's veins at the knowledge.

It was long minutes later when they finally surrendered to the need for oxygen, both men trembling as they stared in wonder at each other. John blinked. Sherlock's hands were on his ass.


Neither spoke for a minute. Then Sherlock cleared his throat and said, softly but in his teasing voice, "What happened to Not. Actually. Gay?"

John could feel the colour rising in his cheeks, but he shook his head resolutely.

"If there's one thing the last six months have taught me, it's that there's an exception for every rule."