Original Story Title: Valentine's Day at 221B Baker Street
Original Story Link: http://tartanfics.livejournal.com/13399.html
Original Story Pairings: Sherlock/John
Original Story Rating: PG
Original Story Warnings: None
Remix Story Title: 14 February, 221B Baker Street
Remix Author: carenejeans
Remix Beta: unovis, tehomet
Remix Britpicker: tehomet
Remix Story Pairings: Sherlock/John
Remix Story Rating: PG
Remix Story Warnings: None
"14 February, 221B Baker Street"
John grimaced at the phone in his hand, thinking there should be an app to send painful bursts of 80s heavy metal guitar solos straight into the earphones of exasperating siblings. He banged the phone against his forehead and sighed.
The phone squawked at him and he lowered it to his ear. "Sorry, I think you're fading, all I heard was 'Sherlock' and 'pink teddy bear.'"
"It was a joke," Harry said, somewhat petulantly.
"Was it? If it was a joke, I'd be laughing, surely."
Harry made a rude noise. "Seriously, are you two doing anything special today -- or tonight?" John could almost see her eyebrows wagging.
"We don't do Valentine's Day, Harry," he said patiently. "It's not our thing."
"Maybe he'll bring you a nice heart," she said brightly. "Or a kidney."
"I can only imagine the pillow talk between you two," she said, warming to the subject. "Darling, did you put the eyes in the freezer? Don't tell me it was the butler! Here, let me just fix up that bandage. No, don't use that tube, that's the taxidermy glue. Goodnight, love, we've got to get to the morgue bright and early."
"Do I fantasise about your love life?" John said, trying to keep his voice light. Her quips hit a little too close for comfort. "Wait, actually, I have, because what red-blooded male doesn't have fantasies about his sister and her girlfriends?" He smiled at Harry's scandalized whoop.
"But I didn't ask for Agony Aunt advice on what to get my -- to get Sherlock for bloody Valentine's day, so please keep your imaginary fluffy pink teddy bears to yourself."
Harry was still laughing when John hung up on her.
"Dinner tonight?" Lestrade said to John as they stood just inside the police tape. "Anderson thinks it was accidental," he called out to Sherlock.
John frowned. "I'm sorry?"
"You and --" Lestrade gestured at Sherlock, who was on his hands and knees, studying the body of a middle-aged man. Hit and run, a man cut down in his prime, lying face down on the pavement on a bright London morning. A tragedy for someone. A puzzle for Sherlock.
"Saint Valentine's Day and all that."
"Well…" John's frown deepened. He thought back to that morning, waking up to a sleepy Sherlock sprawled over him. He'd looked into John's eyes and he said, in a voice that made John's spine melt, Did I forget to put away the toes last night? Hardly the stuff of romance. Another day, a different set of human body parts in the fridge at 221B Baker Street. "I don't think so."
He hoped not, actually. He'd put in his time doing the Valentine's Day thing, the flowers, the dinners in overcrowded restaurants, the chocolates in heart-shaped boxes. Not that he hadn't enjoyed it, then. But his life had changed in ways he couldn't have imagined.
Just now he couldn't imagine playing Valentines with Sherlock.
"Anderson's an idiot," Sherlock said, suddenly in front of them. "It was deliberate. You'll be looking for a younger woman, possibly a student of his." He turned on his heel in a half circle, eyeing the gawkers at the police line. He nodded at a group of stricken girls.
"Start with them. Hungry?" He leaned slightly towards John, making John's breath catch. Lestrade coughed, gesturing Donovan towards the young women. Sherlock put his hand on John's shoulder, guiding him away from the crime scene.
"I've got to go to the clinic for a bit," John said as they walked away. "Why a woman?"
"Marks on his arm. A child of six could spot it -- but not Anderson, naturally. Pointed fingernails, probably false, classic pattern."
"And you're familiar with this pattern because--"
"Because women clutch at me constantly." Sherlock said dryly. He cut his pale eyes at John. "Forensic study, John. Perhaps you've heard of it."
John grinned. "Right." He hesitated. "Um. About dinner--"
John's shoulders relaxed; he hadn't known he'd tensed up. "Chinese, yes. Chinese will be just fine." He grinned suddenly at Sherlock, who raised an eyebrow. John shook his head and Sherlock whirled away. John went in the opposite direction, smiling.
"John! Wait a moment, would you, dear?"
John tried not to wince at Mrs Hudson's cheerful trilling. He'd only been at the clinic a few hours, but it had been a long few hours. His last patients were a pair of giggling teenagers who, when he asked how they'd managed to get such an impressive and matching collection of cuts, bruises, scratches, and abrasions, had looked at each other, smirked, and very seriously said, "we fell off a roof." They'd left, still giggling, holding bandaged hands. Young love.
Mrs Hudson clutched a shiny red bag. "Sherlock loves chocolates," she said, lowering her voice and looking upwards, as if Sherlock might hear her giving away his secrets.
"Thank you, Mrs Hudson," John said, smiling, though he felt a slight tightness in his jaw.
"I know how busy you two are, running all over the city, solving murders." The tightness grew as she thrust the bag into his arms. "So I picked up a little something." Mrs Hudson gave him a knowing smile.
"Er, thank you, Mrs Hudson. You shouldn't have gone to the trouble--"
"Oh, no trouble dear," she patted his arm. "I was out anyway, and you know how those shop window displays are hard to resist this time of year."
"Right. Yes. Well. Thank you," John backed away hastily, holding the bag away from his body as if it contained a bomb. "I'm sure Sherlock will appreciate it." He escaped up the stairs and into their flat.
"Mrs Hudson sends chocolates." John dropped the bag down next to Sherlock where he sat on the couch, typing furiously at his laptop. "From me. To you. Valentine's Day gift." John stood a bit uncertainly.
Sherlock didn't raise his eyes from the screen, but made a sweeping gesture to point at John's chair. On the seat was a bag identical to the one John had brought for Sherlock.
John snorted, then giggled, then put his hand over his eyes and laughed. Sherlock looked up and smiled briefly, then went back to typing.
But when John passed by, Sherlock held out his hand for the bag.
Sherlock snapped his laptop shut. "I'm going to Barts. Want to come along?"
John started. He'd been almost asleep, half-dreaming of giant pink bunnies with chocolate hearts, living in the sewers of London because children flushed them down--
"No, that was alligators," Sherlock said.
"What?" John blinked.
Sherlock loomed over him. "I said, if not, I'll see you later."
"No, no. I'm," John rubbed his eyes. "I'm awake." He stood and grimaced. "Fluffy bunnies," he muttered.
"What?" Sherlock frowned.
"Nothing. Nightmare. Too much chocolate." He followed Sherlock out the door, stepping over the empty chocolate boxes.
John left Sherlock and Molly at the morgue, their heads close together, amiably and awkwardly discussing the surface tension of eyeballs after death. John was neither needed nor interested, so he met Mike at a nearby pub.
"So. Are you planning--?"
"Don’t start!" John menaced Mike with his fork.
"I was just going to ask, are you going to eat that? Because I didn't have breakfast and I'm famished."
John pushed his untouched sandwich towards Mike. "Sorry, I'm a little touchy right now."
"Valentine's Day getting to you?" Mike said sympathetically.
"What makes you think that?"
"That smear on your plate that began as an innocent heart-shaped chocolate."
John scowled at the plate. "I didn't ask for a heart-shaped chocolate," he said. "You'd think a man could go to a bloody pub and get a bloody sandwich without getting a bloody chocolate heart on his plate!"
"Mm hm," Mike said. "Does this have to do with Sherlock?"
John slumped. "Yeah. Well, not Sherlock himself…"
"I didn't think it was Sherlock himself." Mike said. "Knowing Sherlock."
"Nobody else seems to," John grumbled. "Everyone else seems to think Sherlock has turned into a girl and I should give him pink teddy bears and chocolates and take him out to dinner."
"Sherlock does like chocolate," Mike said, grinning.
John put his face in his hands. Sherlock did indeed like chocolates. He'd gone through the box Mrs Hudson had given John to give to Sherlock, then started in on the box Mrs Hudson had given Sherlock to give to John, and he unerringly nabbed all the ones with the soft centres.
"What's wrong with everyone?" John threw up his hands. "Why are they acting like… like…" he sputtered.
"Bad actors in a crap telly romance?" Mike offered.
"Exactly. That's exactly what they're doing. Romantic? Whatever it is -- whatever Sherlock and I have, you know. Together," he felt his face grow hot, as Mike eyed him with frank curiosity. "It's not romantic."
"It'll all be over tomorrow," Mike assured him. "Nobody cares what you do on February 15th."
John pursed his lips and frowned. He picked up his fork and mashed at what was left of the chocolate heart.
John was settled comfortably in his armchair, reading Medicine and Modern Warfare. Sherlock was stretched out on the couch staring at the ceiling, his fingertips pressed together under his chin. The remains of Chinese takeaway congealed on the table.
Sherlock's phone made a small irritating warble. "Could you answer that?" he said to John.
John frowned, sighed, and struggled out of his chair to bend over Sherlock. Rummaging through the pockets of Sherlock's dressing gown, he produced the phone.
"It's Mycroft," John said. He looked at the string of unread text messages. "Again, apparently."
But John was scrolling back through the messages. "We have… we have reservations at -- " John's eyes widened at the name of the restaurant.
"Do we?" Sherlock sounded bored.
"For two. For an… intimate, what?"
"Delete it," Sherlock said again.
"Right, deleting," John said, pressing at the tiny screen.
John sighed and snuggled into his pillow. Sherlock casually shifted in bed so he was spooned against John's back. John felt him yawning and smiled.
"The toes are in the fridge," John said.
"Mm." John felt Sherlock's lips press briefly against his neck.
"The ears are in the freezer."
"Mm hm. Good night, John."
"Goodnight, Sherlock." John closed his eyes. For the first time in hours he relaxed.
Valentine's Day was over.
John woke the next morning to a strange, rhythmic thumping sound. He opened one eye. Thump. He opened his other eye. Thump. He rolled over, half slid over the side of the bed and tried to find the floor with his feet. Thumpthumpthump--bang--crash.
"For the love of--" John stumbled across the room and flung open the door.
"What are you doing?" John leaned against the door jamb, blinking. Sherlock, completely dressed, down to his coat, was throwing a cricket ball against the wall. He caught it, bounced it off the floor, giving it a bit of spin. It ricocheted off the wall and flew towards the bedroom doorway. John caught it.
"Waiting? For what?"
"For the shops to open."
That woke John up. "The shops? You're going to the shops? At this hour? On your own?"
Sherlock gave him a long-suffering look, then glanced at his watch. "It's time!" He buttoned up his coat and flung his scarf around his neck.
"What?" He pulled on his gloves and dashed towards the door.
"Why are you going to the shops?"
Sherlock turned at the door, exasperated. "Valentine's Day!"
"Sherlock, Valentine's Day was yesterday."
"Precisely!" Sherlock said, and was gone.
John sat down heavily in his chair, staring at the ball in his hand. Sherlock couldn't have been totally oblivious to all of the romantic gush flying about yesterday. Could he? The chocolates from Mrs Hudson should have been a tip-off -- if Sherlock had been paying attention, of course. John wouldn't want to bet on it. Maybe, John thought with some sympathy, he'd blocked it out of his mind. Until, what? Until he woke up in the middle of the night with the ghastly feeling he'd forgotten something important and must get up at the crack of dawn, or at least the crack of business hours, to hare out to the shops to… to…?
No. That wasn't like Sherlock at all. If he woke up in the middle of the night with anything on his mind, it would be victims, not Valentines. He wasn't given to remorse, and he wasn't, surely he wasn't the sort of man to bring Valentines to his flatmate-with-benefits.
Was he? John sighed, feeling oddly disappointed in Sherlock's belated interest in Valentine's Day. He supposed he could take it as… charming or something. Hang on, reverse a bit. A charming Sherlock was a Sherlock with an ulterior motive, an agenda, a scheme to get whatever you had that he wanted, whether it was information or all your soft centres.
John frowned and threw the ball at the wall. It made a satisfying thump, which was answered by a thump from below -- Mrs Hudson signaling him to keep the noise down. Mrs Hudson, that was the crux of the matter, wasn't it? John was no Sherlock, not by a long shot, he but could read people fairly well, he thought, and he'd been certain that he and Sherlock saw eye to eye on this. If he was wrong, and Harry and Lestrade and Mrs Hudson were right, then perhaps he was the one who didn't know Sherlock.
He flung the ball again with rather more force than was necessary, and it bounced off the wall, hit the door jamb and rolled somewhere under the furniture. Fine. Mrs Hudson banged on her ceiling, and John got up and headed for the kitchen. Tea, that's what he needed. Tea, the newspaper, and a few peaceful moments of not thinking about Sherlock.
John's tea was cold, his newspaper unread, and Sherlock was definitely on his mind when the door banged and there he was, his arms full of bright pink- and red- and heart-covered bags. Grinning with obvious and shameless glee, he kicked the door shut and sailed across the room to deposit his haul on the coffee table. He stood gloating over it, a pirate and his pirate booty.
John came to stand beside him. "Sherlock, what on earth?"
Sherlock busily pulled bright boxes from the bags -- and shiny packets and frilly baskets and pink tins -- and scattered them in unwieldy piles. "Lovely, isn't it?"
"It looks like you looted a sweet shop. You didn't, did you?"
"In a manner of speaking. I charged it to Mycroft." He pulled a knife from his pocket and pried open a tin.
"Sherlock, who is all this for?"
"Me, of course," Sherlock said around a mouth full of caramel.
"For you?" He looked at the glittering pile of boxes. He looked at Sherlock, who looked exactly like a kid in a sweet shop. "Of course it's for you," he said, musing out loud. "You wouldn't think of going out and buying Valentine chocolates for anyone but yourself."
"Was that sarcasm?" Sherlock reached into a bag like a demented conjurer and produced a lavender box covered with ruffles.
"No, not at all," John said, not the least bit sarcastically. "I was just -- never mind. But why did you -- Oh. Right." John didn't know whether to laugh or to slowly beat out his brains against the wall. Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Today was -- "The day that Valentine stuff goes on sale."
"Half price," Sherlock said smugly. "Or less." He put his hands on his hips and surveyed his marked-down spoils with satisfaction. "It's brilliant, John. This is the same confectionary it was yesterday. All that's out of date is the packaging. It's illogical." He bared his teeth like a shark out for treacle. "But it's half the price."
"The packaging does mean something to a lot of people," John said mildly.
"Tedious," Sherlock said. He picked up a box of truffles. "Unthrifty."
John snorted. Thrift wasn't one of Sherlock's outstanding traits. "You're going to eat all of this by yourself, then?"
"You may have some," Sherlock said magnanimously, handing him a box. "If you insist."
"I insist," John said. "You owe me some soft centres."
Settled comfortably side-by-side on the couch, John and Sherlock traded leftover marzipan hearts, day-old chocolate truffles and belated cherry kisses. Was this romantic? John wasn't sure. But one thing John did know. He was right; Harry and everyone else were wrong. He and Sherlock didn't do Valentine's Day.
The day after was another story.
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