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SNAFU (6/6)

BBC Sherlock

Rating for whole fic 15 (swearing, sex, angst, hints of BDSM)

Summary:  Clara may think John's an idiot for falling for Sherlock, but at least he's now an idiot with an action plan.

Notes: With special thanks to my betas Fengirl88 and Blooms84 for their exceptional efforts in trying to sort this fic out.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5



"You will be pleased to hear, John, that Juanita Brown is now in police custody, and is about to be charged with extortion," Sherlock announced, as he burst into the flat a few evenings later, and started taking off his coat and scarf. A broad smile ran across his face, as did a mass of peculiarly reddened, puckered skin.

"What have you done to your face?" I demanded, with sudden alarm, "it looks-"

"Scarred? John Watson, Juanita's John Watson, had some serious facial burns, as you remember.  A very helpful student at Central St Martin's did this, though she was a bit disappointed she couldn't turn me into a zombie."

"And you can get it off again?"

"Relatively easily. And I've now got a lot of data about public reaction to facial deformity. You were lucky just having your shoulder damaged, you realise that?"

"I know," I said. I wasn't sure whether I should be worried or not that I was still turned on by Sherlock, even with him looking like that. The voice, the eyes, the way he held himself, it was still him, underneath that plastic mask. I tried to concentrate, show the right kind of friendly interest: 'So, Juanita Brown, the con artist, blackmailer. She'll be behind bars for a while, will she?"

"Now they've got one charge they know will stand up, the police have got an excuse to search her files. They'll probably be able to get her on tax evasion, if nothing else."

"Good, that's good. Sorry, I haven't been much help on the case. Got distracted, wasn't myself." I was babbling already. Not a good start.

"That's all right," said Sherlock. "You did the initial contact, which was the most important part. I need to go and remove this stuff."

From the cursing coming from the bathroom soon afterwards, I gathered it wasn't that simple a process, and Sherlock's face was slightly flushed and reddened when he re-emerged. He stalked across the room, and abruptly swooped on the leather bag he'd been carrying earlier.

"Thanks for the loan of your laptop, by the way," he said, pulling it out of the bag.

I sat back on the sofa, suddenly calm. So the bait had been taken, had it?

"I don't remember lending it to you," I said, with a smile.

"I don't remember you saying I couldn't borrow it. You had mine to use, if you needed one."

I'd been steering clear of the internet since my return. "Haven't touched your laptop," I said, cheerily, "You can dust it for fingerprints if you want to check."

"It has other forms of protection," said Sherlock. "Unlike your computer, which has entirely inadequate security. Honestly, John, you could at least try and be imaginative in your passwords. Especially given some of the material you have on the machine."

Here goes, I thought. Death or glory.

"What material are you talking about?" I said, mock-innocent.

Sherlock sat down at the other end of the sofa from me and thumbed my laptop open angrily. "The photos, John, I thought you didn't like having that kind of stuff on your laptop, in case you accidentally sent it to someone. And it's not exactly subtle is it? Explicit pictures of you, big red lettering in a hideous font, giving a number to call if you're 'interested'. I take it the number's one of the Vice Squad's private lines?"

"Yeah, I thought if the pictures did get out, they could cope with a few dodgy phone calls. But I didn't intend them to go anywhere. They've just been sitting quietly on my laptop, behind several layers of password. It would take someone looking quite hard to find them, someone who wanted to find them."

"So they're for me, are they?" I looked across at him. Shark Sherlock back again, but I wasn't going to be fish food this time.

"If you're interested. You could run them as a slideshow, see which ones you prefer."

"Good idea," Sherlock said, and made a few additional clicks. His face, looking at the screen, was still sardonic, but his left arm had come round his body, as if trying to shield himself from my view. Part of himself.

"Image quality's not very good," he said.

"It's hard to take good photos when you've only got one hand free. And I did get distracted at times."

"By thoughts of me?"

"Of course. But I think you should look at me now, Sherlock, not my photos." I said, reaching out and closing the lid firmly. Sherlock snatched his hand away just in time, and then, placing the laptop on the floor, he slewed around to face me, crossing his legs, stretching out his arms behind his head. Trying to dispel the tension in his body, pretend it was all still a game.

"But I prefer you naked," he said, as easily if he was talking about a choice between honey and jam on his toast. And then, as if a switch had flicked off, the ease was gone; not even he could maintain that force field of controlled indifference any longer. He was silent for a few moments, and then growled out: "So I suggest you get naked right now, because if your trousers are getting as tight as mine, you'd really be more comfortable without them."

"In a minute," I said, and was surprisingly grateful I'd had several weeks resisting my own lust. "First we need to talk."

"Talking's overrated," Sherlock said, standing up and starting to unbutton his shirt.

"This time, we're going to talk first," I said firmly. "Because you're obviously no good at talking afterwards, and you're bloody incoherent during sex."

"Well you didn't want to listen then, did you?" Sherlock retorted. I was surprised to see that he had actually stopped taking his shirt off. "I wasn't sure last time if what you really wanted was sex or a fist fight. Anyhow, what is there to say? I want this. I presume you want this."

"It might be a help to check," I said.

There was a long silence, and then Sherlock's voice burst out: "I'm sorry!" I was stunned. Sherlock never apologises, at least sincerely. "It was really seriously not good."

"How do you mean?" I said, and waited.

Sherlock's speech centres had obviously seized up yet again at the prospect of genuine emotion. At last, he stammered out:

"I, I thought it was the easiest way...to make you realise. Like with the psychosomatic limp, get your body to react before your mind said: No, I can't, I won't. You wouldn't have listened if I'd told you what you wanted."

"And you couldn't tell me what you wanted?"

He shook his head.

"It's not the same as the chase after the taxi," I went on.

"But if I'd been wrong about your leg," he said, his brows creasing, "you could have hurt yourself, maybe even fallen off a rooftop, killed yourself." I nodded. "I know I take risks with you, you let me. But even I can see that having sex with you when I'd got you so wound up was manipulative."

"You didn't make me do anything," I pointed out.

"No, but I was pushing you, trying to get you to react. Not...friendly."

"And you didn't like the reaction?"

"As I said, the sex was good...very good. Better than I've had for a long time. But I hadn't realised what it would be like afterwards. Like hydrofluoric acid."


"You spill it on you, it doesn't hurt much at first, barely leaves a mark. And then it eats you up from the inside. I'd never felt like that before."

"So you told me you weren't interested the next day?" I said, staring up at him. I knew I ought to be furious, but it was a bit like getting annoyed with a cat for killing small birds.

"I didn't say I wasn't interested," Sherlock protested. "I said let's do it another time."

"You sounded pretty damn uninterested."

Suddenly the words started flooding out of Sherlock:

"I realised I'd done it wrong , messed things up, and I didn't know how to fix it. And I know what you're like, John. If you're attracted to someone you make a move, you don't hang around. Except you didn't do anything when I said another time, so I presumed you didn't want more. And I'd obviously upset you, and I couldn't work out what to say..."

"You were trying not to manipulate me and just leaving me to make the next move?" I said. "No wonder I couldn't figure it out."

"But why didn't you look at my laptop again?" Sherlock demanded, as if this was some grievous offence. "Then I'd have known what you felt."

"I don't need pictures of you, Sherlock. You're in my mind already, I can't stop seeing you. Why should I want to remind myself of you all the time if I can't have you?" Sherlock stared silently at me, his eyes assessing me, logging me.

"Oh, my God," I said, as it hit me. "What else is there on your laptop? And are there more of me than of you, or don't I ask?"

"I couldn't find many pictures of anywhere," Sherlock replied. "And most of them are fairly boring, apart from this last lot. Can I take some more? Better ones?"

"Is it me you want or the photos?"

"Both. Everything, all of it. I can't think straight, John, how are you doing this to me?" He was running his hands through his hair, as if that would somehow unscramble his brain. "And have we got to keep talking? I can't say the things I should, I don't have the right words for what I feel."

"OK," I said, "but you are at least going to ask first this time, aren't you?"

"Right," he said, and his pale eyes fixed onto mine. "Would you, John Hilary Watson, like to come and have sex with me? And while we're at it, can I get advance approval for the whole of this week, and next, and..well, till further notice, which might be a rather long time. It would be more efficient, and...it's what I want, need." He almost spat the last words out, as if it physically hurt him to talk. And then he added, as if it was a foreign word he barely knew how to pronounce: "Please."

There were going to be no familiar landmarks if I did do this, I thought. And I still wasn't sure exactly what I was doing, or even quite who I was anymore. But I did know who Sherlock was, and what I felt about him, and maybe that was enough to start with.

"I would like to be with you for as long as you want," I said, and stood up and moved, almost calmly, towards Sherlock. "I suppose it's not the stupidest thing I've ever done."


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was excellent! What a brilliant read. Thank you.
Jul. 26th, 2011 05:40 am (UTC)
start to finish its been a treat and closing with images of john at his best and a happy ending? couldn't ask for more! :)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 30th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
I'm pleased you enjoyed it - it's been a while since I wrote Sherlock/John, so it was interesting to try and play with the dynamic between them in a slightly different way from my previous stories.
Jul. 26th, 2011 07:52 am (UTC)
Thoroughly enjoyable. I enjoyed Clara a lot, and even Ella.
Jul. 26th, 2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
Wonderful! I love your John voice. Everything from him trying to keep a lid on his inner weirdness, to his Big Gay Freakout, to his calm efficiency once he got over it and realized what he really wanted, was absolutely spot-on. And Sherlock, in the background, quietly having his own nervous breakdown. <3

Wonderfully well done. I loved it!
Jul. 30th, 2011 05:16 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed the John voice. I've done a lot of fics from his viewpoint, but I don't often write him in the first person, and I wasn't quite sure if this would work. But he's one of my favourite characters to write, with his combination of bravery and haplessness.
Jul. 30th, 2011 09:12 am (UTC)
Mine too! :D
Jul. 26th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this, particularly John's taste in women and his upset that he still wants to beat Sherlock.
Jul. 27th, 2011 08:21 am (UTC)
Bravo! Loved this - Sherlocks whirling confusion, John's befuddlement, _Clara_!

Great stuff!

Jul. 27th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
The most convoluted and amusing first time I have ever read! LOL

Painful too, but that just stops it being crack and makes it into a really nice character piece. I think this is a marvelous take on Watson. And I loved your Clara too!
Jul. 30th, 2011 05:13 am (UTC)
I've written John/Sherlock first times quite often, but never one before where John finds it so difficult. But my fics do rather specialise in comic angst, and I like writing about the female characters as well.
Jul. 29th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
*applauds and waves streamers*

John's solution to the problem of Sherlock is very satisfying - at the end of this you feel they really are well matched.

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Aug. 29th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
Just finished all this on one go, and it was brilliant!
Thank you for sharing!
Aug. 29th, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed this - it took a lot of rewrites and help from betas to get this one completed satisfactorily.
Nov. 21st, 2011 09:49 am (UTC)
This was just great! I loved the bit with the door and the lion, and then the ending was spot on! And I love how you wrote John's voice through the fic! Brilliant!
Nov. 22nd, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it - this was probably the fic of mine that took the most rewrites (and two very patient betas) to get working properly. But the lion bit somehow came easily - I imagine being with Sherlock regularly involving such slightly surreal conversations.
Feb. 5th, 2012 05:26 pm (UTC)
Completely heart this!

As everyone else has said, the lion metaphor was just fantastic.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )