Chapter Fifteen - Vanilla Saturday

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John

Saturdays were bloody awful.

John woke up at five because Pickard was screaming - again. And when it was six, and he was beginning to feel tired again... Harry came home, bleeding. So he had to stitch her, because if she bloody went to the hospital, they'd know she was high. Friday nights were horrible. For Harry.

And Clara... her girlfriend tried. She really did, but Harry was drowning in debt, and Clara couldn't even begin to pay it all, despite her frequent payments to John's family. John never thanked her for fear of losing the offerings as quickly as they'd come. John begged Harry to stop it, stop... this.

But she refused. She said it was fun. John said it was dangerous. She repeated that he knew nothing about her personal affairs, "'n if ya wanna be a bloody git about it," he could go shove it somewhere else.

Usually, he shoved it in his room (shared with his sister, of all things) and then at about noon he'd slink back out and beg her forgiveness and she'd show him how to do party tricks even though he knew them all.

And then she'd usually begin to cry, and John would pull her out the door and they'd walk into the field behind their house that was only for them, and John would hold her as she cried. And he'd say, "He didn't do anything, yet?" and Harry would say, "No," and John would hug her harder and say, "I won't let him," and she'd cry harder.

Then Harry would redo her bold black makeup, tie up her strawberry blonde hair, and go to work.

And John would spend his time running in the autumn air until dusk came and his mum said, "I was worried sick!" with a new bruise on her wrist and a red splotch where smooth skin was supposed to be.

Which was normal. It was fine.

But today was special... today, he had his tapes and he had Sherlock's song... and it played like a fragile melody in the midst of chaos. John lay down on his bed and put it on replay, and at the end - Sherlock cut it off before the end the time before - he heard Sherlock scoff, and say, "Why the hell did I do this?" And then there was a deep, booming voice that sounded like an older version of him; "Are you fucking reading that pornography again? I found this shit in your roo-"

And it was cut off before John could hear the signature build-up before an explosion. John frowned. So that's where volume four of Watchmen went. And he rewinded, and then he cut off the part where Sherlock's dad walked in. But not Sherlock's quip about "doing this."

And then John pressed replay, and put it on his iPod, with headphones, and played it again, and again. And again. God, it sounded like heaven on earth.

And that made John miss him. Everytime John played it, it made him feel Sherlock's absence proportionally more and more. Like an algebra equation:

If John plays Sherlock's song seven times after having an emotional stability of negative eight, and every time John plays it he gains three happy feelings, how much yearning will John feel for Sherlock at the end?

Then John felt like graphing would be a good idea. So he graphed out his feelings, although he hated math, while listening to the music, and then he made a list of all the bones he wanted to touch in Sherlock's anatomy. It was good for studying.

John wrote down that he wanted Sherlock to trail his fingers across his clavicle, and his scapula, then his vertebral column, and his sternum, then his costa... all the way down to his coccyx, and he wanted to feel every metacarpal bone come alive underneath his touch.

That was so bloody creepy. John laughed to himself.

And then John listened to Sherlock playing the piano as he thought about Sherlock's hand imbedded in his skin - fingers gentle and firm against his tan ones. He never went any farther than that (hand holding, of course), even in his daydreams, I mean, Sherlock was Sherlock and yeah, John totally didn't care if that was all they ever did. John would be content without shagging... without kissing, goddammit, it didn't matter.

And John was momentarily surprised: he wanted to kiss Sherlock?

"Yes," John sighed into the music that Sherlock played, "I do."

Could he...?

And John thought back to the day before, when Sherlock'd deduced that the bus driver was a handcuff fetishist, which made John laugh hysterically, and then he found himself saying the words before he knew he did.

"You a virgin?"

"...Yes."

"No handcuffs? Or like, jacking off? Ever wanked?"

Sherlock blushed, and John blushed too. Like, literally. So creepy.

"No," Sherlock said with a smile, "I don't expend my intellect on sex. As if. I'm curious, are-"

"Yes."

"-you implying you want to-"

"No! Nonononooooo. Ha. I mean. You're fine," John stuttered, "I just... I just met-"

"Yes?"

"I was saying that I'm not a virgin."

"Oh," Sherlock said, and looked out the window. Almost... disappointed. "What happened?"

John grimaced. "Girl named Mary. She was... nice. I liked her. Oh, and Sarah. And-"

"Okay, John." Sherlock's smile had died, and John hadn't been entirely sure what he was supposed to say. Like, oops, I shagged a few people. No big deal. It was just sex.

It was just sex, after all.

"Girlfriend?" John asked.

"No."

"Boyfriend?"

Sherlock squinted his eyes at John and scoffed. "Asexual," he said. "I don't get attracted to either - any genders, actually. I'm like a magical being unaffected by teenagehood and the hormones that accompany it."

John remembered thinking that Sherlock'd taken his teenagehood into stride just fine. Muscular shoulders... strong calves, and a deep, dark voice. Sherlock wasn't lacking hormones. Nor anything else, for that matter.

The bus driver cussed, and then yelled, "Detour!"

"Why?" A kid yelled.

"Burst sewer pipe!"

Sherlock smirked. "I can burst sewers with my mind."

"That's extensively useful," John replied, "What do they call you?"

Sherlock huffed, "You mean... my pseudonym?"

"Yeah, like I'm... I'm-"

"You wear a leather jacket, so I'd assume that you were... a badass."

Hearing Sherlock curse was a first. "You can just call me... Badass," John said dramatically, pretending to slide sunglasses off his face.

"No," Sherlock said with a coy smile.

"Fine, then. Your name?"

"I'm not sure, um... um..." Sherlock had then closed his eyes to think, and his hands reached up to steeple at his chin. John'd reached out and pulled at one of his curls, watching it bounce back, and then he'd said, "The Curly Headed Menace. Or The Knight in White."

Sherlock opened his eyes. "You touched my hair," he'd said, and John froze, frightened that he'd fucked it up.

"Yeah, um, sorry-"

"I don't mind."

"You don't?"

"Any time." And Sherlock grasped John's fingers in his, opening both their palms. "You're so frail," he'd said, and John had laughed at that, feeling a bruise from Pickard itch under his skin.

"I'm not frail-"

"The discomfort that you feel when my fingertips find your wrist sparks my curiosity, as I can identify with the feeling of violation... and I'm almost positive-" his hands found John's sleeve, and John trembled; he'd see the bruises. "-that if I move your sweater sleeve a tad..."

Sherlock revealed a bruise with a careful hand, and John flinched when his thumb touched it. "I'm sorry," Sherlock said inaudibly, and his eyebrows furrowed as he looked at the purple-yellow blossoming under his skin.

John pulled back up his sleeve, cheeks red, and he had whispered, "Nothing to be sorry about," but Sherlock kept on holding his hand, and John watched him look at the soft fingers in his grasp.

"You're trembling," Sherlock said, "Like the last leaf clinging onto an oak during late autumn."

"Pipemaster," John whispered.

"Mm?"

"Your superhero name - or the Piper! Like, 'Time to pay the Piper!'"

Sherlock had laughed and intertwined his fingers with John's.

That was usually how their conversations went. John had tried to write a letter, but then he couldn't, like, what would he even bloody say?

"Hi, Sherlock, I like-like you and I think your hair is fucking gorgeous."

His hair was totally gorgeous, though. It was in long, curled bangs that shadowed his eyebrows, and his locks were almost black in the darkness - but they were chocolate brown too. And now, John could poke at it and tap it and prod it. His clothes were even better.

He wore a dress shirt every day with a matching Paisley tie, and he sometimes brought a suit jacket. He was crisp, and his hair was always perfectly cut... how? John just let Harry cut his hair. Sherlock must have a hairdresser, or at least a mother who knew how to work with scissors.

Whenever John wore suits, Emma - his mum - told him that he looked like he was going to a funeral... in a coffin. He'd rather look dead than look like a mistake, though. He just couldn't afford to look good.

Whereas Sherlock... his suits brought out the bold, thick lashes John had grown accustomed to, and his arched eyebrows and his high cheekbones.

"Hi, Sherlock. I like you so much and I think your suits bring out your cheekbones."

The only think John didn't think about, about Sherlock, was what he could have thought he'd seen in John.

Sherlock

Saturdays were bloody awful.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Siger was trying to teach Sherlock how to drive a stick. Which was stupid, because Sherlock could do basically anything - except this.

"Listen for it. Then shift. It isn't that fucking hard." His lips were taut. He didn't look anything like Sherlock, except for those eyes of his. His hair was black and gelled, put back into a perfectly slicked hairstyle. Siger was a businessman, if Sherlock had ever seen one. And he could drive a stick-shift.

"Clutch. Shift. Gas," Sherlock muttered.

"Don't talk to yourself. It makes you sound like a freak," Siger said.

"I'm... just trying to get the pick-up going. Okay, dad?"

"What did you just say?" Siger slammed the dash. Sherlock jumped.

"I meant to say, 'Okay, sir.' I apologize." His voice was slathered with contemptuous fear that choked him. Sherlock had managed to evade Siger's hands for about a month, which was basically an all time record, and hadn't popped a pill in god knows how long. He'd eaten more than an apple on Friday, and God, it felt great. His mum had bought him a bag of chips to celebrate, without Siger being aware, of course, and he'd eaten most of it without going back into the bathroom and retching it. He wanted it to stay in his stomach, so it did. And he was proud. But now... Saturday. He was fucked.

"Are you trying to be smart?"

"No, I-"

"You piece of... I'm trying to show you something, and you're giving me shit. You're giving me an attitude. What the hell do you think I put food on your table for? I don't do it to have you disrespect me, and-"

"I... wasn't... disrespectful," Sherlock whispered, dangerously cold.

"You..."

"I'm trying my best, dad-"

"Your best isn't good enough," Siger shouted, "I taught Myc to drive when he was eleven-"

"No, you're both just overachieving bastards-"

Sherlock felt the fist crack against his face before he saw it, and he doubled over with pain; "Ihateyou," Sherlock coughed, "I hate you so much I swear to god I'll murder you one day I swear it-"

"Get out of the car."

Sherlock cradled his face in his hands, wiping a streak of dark red from his nose to his ear. He wanted to run... far far away. He wanted to stop feeling. He wanted to cut the ropes. "Why," Sherlock said, and then an enormous sob wracked through him.

"Shut up!"

"I-I'm sorry," he cried, "Please stop, I promise I'll drive it-"

"Shut up!" Siger bellowed, and furthered the abuse with a slap to the face, "If you can't drive it, you can walk it! Get out!"

"That's forty miles," Sherlock stuttered, "I won't reach our house until t-tomorrow, Father, please-"

"I don't care, Sherlock. Get out."

Sherlock slid out, cradling his nose, which felt as if Siger had lit it on fire.

And he walked. If Siger drove past him on the way home, Sherlock didn't notice; he wasn't going to his house anyway. He couldn't fucking take it. Plus, John's house was closer. He didn't care if John saw his cheeks striped with tears or if he saw the blood cascading from his nose; he just couldn't take it, and John was his friend. His only friend. Possibly more. Maybe.

When he got to John's house, at about eleven, he saw that John was in his room, next to the small window. His knees were drawn up tight to his chest as he grasped a comic. And Sherlock ran into his yard, jumping over broken bottles and cigarette filters, up to his window, and he knocked.

Once. Twice.

John looked up, to see his big, blue eyes, and smiled. He opened the window.

"Sherlock?"

"Hi, John," Sherlock panted, "my father kicked me out of our car about twenty-nine miles away from here, and I was wondering-"

"Oh my God. Sherlock. Your... your eye." He was referring to the swelling black eye forming.

"I was mugged. Just get me ice and I'll be fine-"

"There is no ice, Sherlock. I could... I mean..." his voice was unsure, wavering. Expressively disturbed.

"What?" Sherlock was frightened - what if John rejected him and sent him home to be with... that demon? What if Siger killed him? And then Mycroft? What if the children at school made fun of him when they found out his dad beat him monthly? What if-

"You could... stay here the night?" John said it like a question.

Sherlock smiled brokenly, his eye throbbing at the movement. That wasn't what he was thinking at all. He just wanted a sweater; God, it was cold.

"Come in through the window - don't make any noise. None." John sidled over so Sherlock could collapse onto his bed when he slipped through the space.

He did so as gracefully as was possible, with a low, "unf," and in that moment, Sherlock was on John's bed. He stood up quickly (he felt so thankful that the light was dim because he didn't want John to see him blushing), and whispered, "Where do I sleep?"

"Top bunk. Harry isn't here tonight. And kick off your shoes. Harry doesn't like dirt in her bed."

"I'm bleeding, John."

"She bleeds during her lady week. I don't mind."

"Her menses?"

"Why, yes, you smart ass," John scoffed.

Sherlock climbed up onto the bunk, kicked off his dress shoes and wrapped lavender all around him. He buried his face into the pillows, breathing in the scent, coating himself with this homely feeling; no one would tell him he smelled of mint and Siger tomorrow.

"Hey, Sherlock. I'll get you a bandage, and I'll fill a plastic bag with water, yeah? And I'll bring you some bread to eat. We don't have anything else, sorry - and if Pickard or Mum comes in, just..."

"I'll stay quiet," Sherlock whispered.

"My iPod is on my bunk. Listen to some music, if you'd like."

John left quietly, shutting the door behind him and turning off the light.

Sherlock slipped out of bed, and then went down to the bottom bunk, where the window was. He curled up in it, not bothering to pull the covers around him. Instead, he slipped John's headphones in his ears. Sherlock smiled when he heard the familiar notes - he was listening to the composition he'd written for John. He had yet to name it; maybe Vanilla Saturday. That sounded nice. It was cathartic.

It soon lulled him into a gentle sleep, and his lips opened as he drew in quiet breaths. He had a dream - and it was full of soft vanilla bed sheets and even softer vanilla kisses.

John

"Sherlock," John called, and searched the room with an ice (water) pack in hand and some tea, warm in a cracked saucer, with a slice of stale bread besides. John hated tea with sugar, but, y'know... Sherlock.

"Hello?" He peered inside to see Sherlock curled into a ball in his bunk bed, completely asleep. John smiled. He looked so at peace, his lips parted, his hair in soft curls upon his forehead. John put the tea down, along with the ice pack, and made his way to Sherlock.

Quietly, he took his blankets and draped them around Sherlock's still body, making sure to cover his naked toes all the way up to his shivering chest, rising and falling so soothingly, and John gently brushed Sherlock's curls away from his cheek.

Was this what infatuation felt like?

A/N: I know I know, people have to 'wait' for stuff and shit but im a really nice person so i stayed up till two writing this for you guys gimme some luvvv and may i just add that johnlock is my OTP and writing this makes me so happy like ASDFGHJKLLLL okay i love you all bAAI

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