Chapter 2

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Of course, once she's brought it up, he can't forget it. Over the next few days, Sherlock solves three cases in rapid succession -- the first without even leaving the apartment. John is useless throughout. Worse than useless.

"... as is obvious from the state of his glasses," observes Sherlock, gesturing at a photo Lestrade sent to his phone when Sherlock rated the case "only a 5."

"Mmm," John responds. Am I staring at his lips? Well, I am now. But was I before? Is it just like trying not to think of an elephant -- I'm only doing it because I'm trying not to? Sherlock's mouth has a very nice shape to it, he supposes. If one were into that sort of thing.

Do I stand too close? I am standing close. Did I do that, or did he? Does he notice? His lips are right at eye level... maybe that's why I stare. His fault for being so tall, really.

"... given the absence of crustaceans..." John nods absently.

I don't stare because I want to kiss him. That's absurd. He imagines leaning forward and pressing his lips against Sherlock's. His stomach tightens unexpectedly.

What was that? I don't want to -- I'm not -- I have to stop staring. Oh god, did I just lick my lips?

"...now, John?"

He jerks alert. "Hmn? What? Oh, yes, right."

"Good." Sherlock grabs John's coat off the door and shoves it onto John while John tries to figure out what he's just agreed to. As Sherlock pushes him out the door -- his hand feels oddly hot against the small of John's back -- John resists and turns back toward the apartment.

"Sherlock, where am I going?"

Sherlock looks at him sharply. "To tell Lestrade to arrest the brother, and to pick up the dirt sample from the other case. Are you all right?"

"What? Yes, of course." John feels slightly touched that Sherlock has asked -- it's the kind of personal question he generally doesn't bother with -- while also wishing desperately that Sherlock were not staring at him as a blush creeps upward from his collar. Has he been watching John watching him?

"You normally say 'fantastic,' or brilliant', or utter some other overenthusiastic compliment when I'm presenting my reasoning. But you didn't comment once this time." Ah, just Sherlock being self-centered again. John shakes his head. He needn't have worried. People and emotions really aren't Sherlock's areas.

(He wonders if he should be insulted that his sister thinks he makes a perfect pair with someone for whom that's the case.)

"Sorry, I'll try to be a more devoted fanboy, shall I?" John drips sarcasm, covering up for his momentary uncertainty and embarrassment.

Sherlock responds with an unexpected quirk of his lip. "And how exactly will you do that? Start dotting the i's on your blog with hearts?"

John giggles -- it's so unexpected that it completely breaks him out of his nervous distraction. Sherlock joins in with a rich laugh. "Probably not the best idea," John chuckles. "People might talk."

Eventually, John heads out the door again, a smile still lingering on his face. Sherlock has turned away, dressing gown swirling, fingers pressed together beneath his chin. He's contemplating the next case already, John knows.

John resolves to tell Harry she's being ridiculous and be done with the whole thing. After all, it isn't like John has ever thought about kissing Sherlock before she brought it up. And he doesn't want to kiss him now.

What about that little maneuver your stomach pulled when you were thinking about it? Imaginary Harry asks.

That was nothing. Anyone would feel unsettled imagining kissing their best mate.

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