Title: Tea and Conversation, Part 1
Characters: Sherlock, John, Lestrade
Spoilers: Series 1 and 2
Genre: Friendship, pre-slash, humour, angst
Disclaimer: I don’t own, no money is being made from this
Summary: Sherlock is out of town on a case. John is snowed in and can't find the tea. Text messaging ensues. Can be read as a sequel to It's for an Experiment although can also be read on its own.
This fic is in the process of being translated into Spanish by one of my Chilean readers, Catalina. The first chapter is done, and can be found here:
A/N: A kind reader of my first texting story said she'd read more in this style, so I decided to write a second one. The first story was strictly gen; this one veers into pre-slash, although nothing remotely explicit. Let me know if this works; I intended for the emphasis to be more on friendship than on actual romance. I've never attempted pre-slash or slash before.
Totally unbeta'd, all mistakes are mine.
Sherlock, where did you put the tea?
Dammit it, there’s the storm of the century blowing outside, I’m trapped inside this flat, and I can’t find the bloody tea. Where did you put it?
Why would the fact that you can’t find the tea be my problem?
Because I always put it back in its proper place. Since it’s not there, the only conclusion would be that you’re the one who last used it, and didn’t put it back. I’m stuck in the flat due to the snow storm, so I can’t go out and buy more. You better have put it somewhere that I can access within the next five minutes. So help me, if you used all of it in an experiment, I’m going to throttle you.
How were you planning to go about ‘throttling’ me? I am currently 300 miles away. And I still fail to see how your situation is in any way my problem.
So, you did use all of it in an experiment.
I didn’t say that.
If you hadn’t, why would you respond to my threat by asking how I planned on doing it? There would be no need for me to do it if you were innocent, would there? Ergo, you used the last of the tea in an experiment.
Very good, John. I’m happy to see that my influence has not entirely been wasted on you.
I didn’t get to be a doctor by being stupid, Sherlock.
Of course not. I never meant to imply otherwise.
So that means that, for however long this storm lasts, I’m not even going to be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a hot mug of tea. Lovely. Thanks for that, Sherlock. Funny how even when you’re not here, you still manage to ruin my day.
Really, John, isn’t that a bit harsh? How often is it that I actually manage to ‘ruin your day’?
Stop using quotes to ridicule my words, Sherlock. I’m not using hyperbole, I’m stating the simple fact.
Give me one example of when I truly ruined your day.
You really want to do this, Sherlock?
Why not? I’m comfortably ensconced in my hotel room; I have nowhere to be for the next few hours. Go on, then; how many examples can you come up with? What I think you’ll find is that I’ve saved the day more often than I’ve ruined it.
It never ceases to amaze me how truly massive your ego is.
It’s only the truth.
Jesus. Alright, fine. You ready?
Of course. To quote one of your horrid idioms, ‘hit me with your best shot’.
During the Blind Banker case ALONE, I can name two days that were ruined because of you. One, the day I got an ASBO. Two, the day where you not only ruined my date, but got me and her kidnapped and nearly killed.
One: As you already know, I got Mycroft to get rid of that ASBO for you. Two: Sarah was dull, and she ended up dumping you in the end anyway. Three: I’m the one who found you and rescued you.
All true, but the point is that the fact that I found myself in those situations to begin with was because of you. You saved the day only in the sense that you fixed what you yourself had broken.
John, just the very fact that we are associates, that we work together, puts you in the position where things like that are bound to happen. It’s the nature of our profession. It’s not like I set out to intentionally ruin your day.
How is the fact that I got an ASBO the result of the nature of YOUR profession? You abandoned me and let me take the fall!
OUR profession, John. You are my partner, my colleague. And if you had run like Raz and I did, you would have been fine. You should have followed my lead, like you always do.
Alright, then. I’ve got a non-case related one. Remember the Christmas when Irene Adler supposedly died? I had to cancel my date with Jeanette… which, by the way, resulted in my being dumped… in order to babysit you and make sure you didn’t relapse. My holidays were a total wash that year. All because of you.
Can’t come up with an “I saved the day” for that one, can you?
The great Sherlock Holmes can’t admit that I came up with a legitimate example. Mature, Sherlock, very mature.
Alright, since you’re giving me the silent treatment, I’ll just leave you be until you get back. And once you do, you’re going to buy me a month’s supply of tea which I will keep in my room under lock and key. Not that that will stop you, of course.
It’s been two days. Are you okay?
Are you still upset that I won our little argument?
This is childish. If you don’t respond within the next five minutes, I’m calling Mycroft and telling him that you’re missing.
I thought you had done those things because you were my friend.
Staying with me over Christmas and New Year’s. I didn’t realise that you felt obligated and resentful about doing so.
Oh Christ… is this why you’ve been avoiding me for two days?
I’m actually up here working, I don’t have time to sit around and make small talk with you over texts. And I certainly don’t have the time to sulk over something that happened years ago.
Right, that’s why it was the first thing you brought up after two days of silence.
Now that you know I’m alive, I’ll thank you to not contact me again while I’m away. I’m very busy trying to solve a case, and I don’t need the distraction.
Really, Sherlock, for a genius, you really are clueless. Trying to deflect is not going to work, especially with me.
You are insufferable.
Alright, fine. I won’t text or call anymore for the remainder of your trip. I hope you enjoy being a git in Scotland as much as you enjoy being one here.
Sherlock? Are you still in Edinburgh?
Waiting for train. ETA in London, five hours.
I’m sorry, Sherlock. I realised why you were so upset over what I said.
When I said that looking after you ruined my holidays.
It didn’t, not really. I was cross because Mycroft practically ordered me to cancel my plans and make sure you weren’t left alone. But I wouldn’t have agreed to do it if I hadn’t been concerned. You’re my friend, Sherlock. It could never ruin my day by taking the time to make sure you’re alright. I’m sorry.
Is that what I am, your friend?
Of course. You’re my best friend. I thought I was yours as well.
Is that all I am?
What do you mean?
Not important. It’s alright, John, I understand. I concede, I am a difficult person to live with. I have no doubt that I have, at times, ruined your day. It is never intentional.
Well, except for the time you thought you had drugged my coffee.
That was for an experiment.
Yes, we’ve been over that before, no need to rehash it. Anyway, you said you’d be home in, what, five hours? Fancy Angelo’s when you get back? My treat.
Certainly. I take it the snowstorm has abated, and you’re able to leave the flat?
Yes, it ended days ago.
Were you ever able to procure some tea?
Yes, actually, Mrs. Hudson had some. You’re still buying me a month’s supply, by the way. Don’t think you’re going to get out of that one.
I’m really glad we both have unlimited text plans, by the way. This would cost a bloody fortune otherwise.
We could just stop.
No, that’s fine. I don’t want to stop.
Good. That’s good.
What did you mean, by the way?
When you asked if that’s all you were, my best friend. How could you be anything more than that?
I think what we have goes beyond mere friendship, don’t you think, John?
Sorry, I don’t follow.
We had an almost instant connection. You killed a man for me the day after we met. You offered to give up your life for me at the pool. I was willing to sacrifice my reputation and my life in order to save yours. What do you call that, John? Friendship seems too small a word.
I don’t know, then. What would you call it?
I have a word for it, if I didn’t know myself better. However, I am not capable of such a thing.
What word are you talking about?
Doesn’t matter. Like I said, I am incapable.
Are you still going on about being a sociopath? Because I have evidence to the contrary.
That was my official diagnosis, John, from three different professionals. I was seventeen at the time. Personalities are ingrained by that age, they don’t change.
No greater love, Sherlock.
Oh right. You deleted it. Of course you did.
What are you going on about?
“No greater love has a man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.” That’s what you did, Sherlock, or as good as. You didn’t die, but you gave up your life as you knew it. You were alone; no work, no friends, no home, for a solid year. Don’t you dare feed me that sociopath bullshit.
So you agree that friendship does not adequately describe our relationship?
I agree with that, yes.
How would you describe it?
You’re putting me on the spot here, you know.
Irene said that we were a couple.
Well, we’re obviously not.
Of course not! We’re not romantically involved.
Does that matter?
Of course it does! That’s the definition of a couple.
We could be.
We could be what?
“Involved”, as you say.
I’m not gay, Sherlock.
And Irene was. What’s your point?
What’s YOUR point?
Don’t be obtuse.
You want me to describe our relationship.
We’re like brothers, Sherlock. Closer than brothers, if your relationship with Mycroft is anything to go by. But there’s no physical attraction.
Perhaps not. But that’s not the most important part of a relationship, is it? Sex is just so dull. What we have is not dull.
How would you know it’s dull?
Not you too? I’m not a virgin, John. Neither am I celibate.
You’re not? I’ve known you for three years, and I’ve never known you to be with anyone.
I was gone for an entire year when I was beyond your observation.
Oh god… I don’t even want to know.
Men or women?
I thought you didn’t want to know.
You and I are cut from the same cloth. I’m not gay either.
Then why did you say we could be involved?
Because, as Irene so kindly pointed out to both of us, our friendship goes beyond labels.
And I’ve heard it said that physical desire often follows emotional intimacy. Lack of initial attraction doesn’t preclude the development of such.
I’ve never been attracted to another man.
I haven’t before, either.
Are you saying what I think you’re saying?
What do you think I’m saying?
I think you’re saying that you’re attracted to me. Physically.
I’m certainly attracted to you intellectually and emotionally. Sometimes a physical connection takes more time to manifest.
Obviously, the word couple scares you. Brothers, then. Brothers is an apt description.
John, please don’t do this.
Three hours later:
Brothers is a horribly inadequate word.
How many beers have you had?
Not beer. Whisky.
There’s whisky at the flat?
Not at flat. At pub with Greg.
Greg Lestrad, you idiot.
Lestrade, you mean?
Is what I said. Typed. Whatever.
If brothers is an inadequate word (which I’m surprised you spelled correctly, given your obviously inebriated state), what would be an adequate one?
I actually laughed out loud at that one. Seriously, are you a fourteen year old girl?
Is the only adeguate word. Nothing else fits.
That’s almost as bad as the word ‘lovers’.
Not lovers. Soul mates.
Why did you take three hours to respond? I thought you were angry with me.
Not angry. Thinking. And drinking. Ha! I’m a poet, Sheirlock.
Our relationship doesn’t have to change in any way, John. I’m perfectly content with the way things are. More than content, actually.
I want things to change.
In what way ?
Greg says I should talk to you in person, not over text.
Tell Lestrade to mind his own business. This is between you and me.
Yes. I’m between a rok and a hard place.
You’re not making any sense, John.
If I tell you, I’m screwed. If I don’t, I’m screwed.
Tell me what?
That I’m in
That I love you.
Have ever since you came back. From the ded.
Not in a sexual way. Plutonic. Purely plutonic. I thought. Not so sure now.
I imagined it. Kissing you. Was not unplesent. What does thyat MEAN?
Dammit, if you don’t answer him, Sherlock, I will personally come down to the train station when you arrive and haul you into a cell for the night. –GL
Lestrade. To what do I owe this dubious pleasure?
Your childish actions. Have you been leading him on or what, you total arsehole? –GL
What. Are. You. Talking. About.
He’s in love with you, Sherlock! How could you have missed it? –GL
Impossible. He told me himself that he’s never been attracted to a man.
I didn’t say he was attracted to you… I said he was in love with you! And now, apparently you’ve said something that’s making him reconsider the former. –GL
We were discussing the nature of our relationship. He stopped talking to me, went and got himself plastered, and now he thinks we can have a coherent conversation about the nature of his feelings for me? Please, Lestrade. The man just needs to sleep it off. Take him home, put him to bed. I’ll talk to him in the morning.
Damn right, you will. This is too much like how it was while you were gone. Evenings spent babysitting John Watson while he got pissed and cried in his beer over you. Fix this, Sherlock. –GL
I have every intention of doing so.
And thank you, Greg.
For what? --GL
For watching over him. Both then and now.
It was never a burden, Sherlock. –GL
I know. I just wanted to make sure you were thanked. If you can, hold off on any cases for a day or so. I think John and I need some time to chat.
Will do. And good luck. I have a feeling you’re going to need it. –GLPart 2