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Title: This Isn't Because It's Valentine's Day
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: mature
Genre: fluff, domestic

Summary:  A Valentine's Day ficlet. Sherlock and John don't celebrate. Of course they don't, that would be ridiculous.


They had agreed not to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It was a foolish holiday created by card companies and pushed by candy stores and it was all about consumerism and guilt and spending. And besides, they knew that they loved each other; they didn’t have to make grand demonstrations at an arbitrarily-appointed day every year.

So. It was decided.

And that is why, at 10:00 on the morning of 14th February, when John walked into the bedroom with a tray piled high with breakfast foods, Sherlock sat up blearily, stretched his arms, narrowed his eyes, and asked,

“This isn’t because it’s Valentine’s Day?”

And John slipped back into bed, settled the tray over his lap, handed Sherlock a mug of tea, and said “No. Of course not.”

After breakfast, their kisses tasted like maple syrup and cinnamon. And if they accidentally swapped a little bit of chewed-up eggy bread between their mouths...well, they just ignored it.

---

The rest of the morning was quiet and domestic, both Sherlock and John going about their business without interacting much other than John occasionally touching Sherlock’s arm and Sherlock asking John to brainstorm alternative uses for antique bone saws.

In the early afternoon, when John wandered into the kitchen with the intention of making lunch, Sherlock looked up at him sharply.

“You shouldn’t cook,” he said.

John’s eyes narrowed, and he looked down at the pan he was holding, inspecting the bottom for signs of contamination. “Why shouldn’t I cook?” he asked. Just to be safe, he put the pan in the sink.

Sherlock took a moment to respond. “I...know what you were going to make. I don’t want it. We’ll get something else.”

“And what was I going to make?”

“Honestly, John. If I’ve deduced it before you even consciously made the decision, then you don’t deserve to be told.”

John thought for a moment about arguing over the complete ridiculousness of this accusation, but decided against it.

---

They wound up at a very small, out-of-the-way restaurant that specialized in hearty vegetarian soups. It was warm and cosy, with fogged windows and only three other customers inside. Sherlock ordered two bowls of soup and carried them to the back of the room, where John waited at a table so small that their knees knocked underneath when they sat down. They slurped loudly to avoid burning their tongues.

Sherlock looked up and caught John’s eyes, then quickly looked back down. John looked up and caught Sherlock’s eyes, then quickly looked back down. When they both looked up at the same time, John smiled, and Sherlock didn’t look away.

When they finished their soup, Sherlock brought their empty bowls to the counter and came back to the table with a slice of chocolate cake and two forks. John raised an eyebrow.

“Dessert?” he asked. “This isn’t because it’s—”

“No,” said Sherlock, taking the first bite.

“No, of course not,” John said. His gaze flickered between the plate in front of them and the smudge of chocolate frosting at the edge of Sherlock’s lips.

---

They made the decision to take the long way home without needing to discuss it. They were halfway there when John paused at the corner of an unusual side-street, then turned onto it, motioning for Sherlock to follow. He led them to a secluded park, where there was a small ice rink busy with skating couples. They stood at the edge of the grass, leaning against the wooden wall that enclosed the ice.

“Remember that time they found three bodies on the rink at the Natural History Museum?” John asked. He looked up in time to see the flicker of a smile on Sherlock’s face.

“Of course,” Sherlock said. “If it hadn’t been for you miraculously finding a cat hair on the ice, I wouldn’t have solved it.”

“You would have.” John nudged Sherlock with his elbow. “You were brilliant.” Sherlock didn’t say anything, but John noticed the colour rise in his cheeks.

They chatted about nothing in particular while they watched the skaters from behind the wall. Occasionally, Sherlock ducked down close and spoke quietly in John’s ear, pointing out when someone was going to slip and fall. John felt bad for laughing.

“How can you tell?” he asked.

Sherlock suppressed a smirk. “Posture, mostly,” he said. “The quivering of their ankles, the bowing of their knees.”

John shook his head and linked their elbows together. His eyes wandered towards a small stand at the edge of the rink, where one could rent a pair of skates for £2. Sherlock looked at John with narrowed eyes.

“You don’t want to...We didn’t come here because it’s—”

“No.” John spoke firmly. “No, we don’t celebrate it, remember?”

Sherlock nodded solemnly. “Pointless. Juvenile.”

John made a noise of agreement, then turned to Sherlock. “I wanted to go to Tesco to pick up a few things—and I need to stop by the chemist. But after that, we’re going out to dinner.”

“Dinner?”

“Yes. You treated me to lunch, so it’s only fair that I treat you to dinner. And I know a place that’s having a special on dinners for two.”

Sherlock looked apprehensive. “Surely this ‘special’ is offered with the holiday in mind.”

“Well....yes.” John shrugged. “But just because we’re ignoring the holiday doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of it.”

Sherlock couldn’t disagree with John’s logic, so he nodded his head. John didn’t admit that he had already made reservations a week in advance.

---

The lights in the restaurant were dimmed, and there were three candles on the table when they arrived. A violinist stood in the corner of the room, playing Mozart. Sherlock’s attention was drawn to her more than John would have liked, but John didn’t mention it.

When their food arrived, they ate in relative quiet. John met Sherlock’s eyes and shifted one leg forward under the table so that it pressed against Sherlock’s. Sherlock returned the pressure.

---

When they arrived back home, John stopped Sherlock just inside the front door. He took both of Sherlock’s hands and walked backwards towards the stairs, stepping up on the bottom stair so that they were eye-level. He pressed a feather-light kiss to Sherlock’s mouth, then breathed two slow breaths over his lips before kissing him again. His hands slid beneath Sherlock’s unbuttoned coat and stroked down his back. Sherlock took off his gloves and pulled John closer, slipping his own hands under John’s jacket to warm them against his stomach.

They stood still for a few long minutes, hands caressing and fingers tickling and mouths kissing down necks and over cheeks. They were just re-familiarizing their tongues when they heard a key in the lock, and Mrs. Hudson came in with a box of chocolates.

“Oh!” she said as she entered. “I didn’t mean to startle you...”

Sherlock turned to her and shook his head. John smiled. They didn’t let go of each other, but they stood at a polite distance.

Mrs. Hudson opened the door to her flat and stepped inside, setting the chocolates down on a side table. She poked her head back out into the hallway. “I noticed you two went out this afternoon,” she said. “Did you have plans for the holiday?”

“We don’t celebrate it,” said John.

Mrs. Hudson looked to where Sherlock’s hands were stroking John’s stomach underneath his jacket. “Of course you don’t,” she said. John was just beginning to feel indignant when she closed the door.

---

When they reached the top of the stairs, Sherlock squeezed John’s hand and expressed a desire to finish dissecting a lamb brain that he had been working with the day before. John smiled at the thought of the extra refrigerator space and pushed Sherlock in the direction of the kitchen. He sat down in his armchair, made himself comfortable, and picked up the novel that he was halfway through reading.

Every now and then, John looked up and watched Sherlock twirl a curl around his finger while deep in thought. When he found he was paying more attention to Sherlock than to his novel, he put the book aside and turned off the lamp before wandering into the kitchen. He put a hand on the back of Sherlock’s neck and massaged gently until Sherlock realized he was there, and looked up.

“Can that wait ‘til tomorrow?” John asked. He scratched at Sherlock’s nape, then trailed his fingers down, letting them linger just under Sherlock’s collar. “Will you come to bed?”

Sherlock nodded, silently. Together, they cleaned up the mess on the table, and washed their hands thoroughly. They retired to what was once Sherlock’s bedroom.

They moved towards the bed while kissing. John took off Sherlock’s shirt and tossed it on the floor, then traced Sherlock’s collarbone with his fingertips. Sherlock fell backwards when his knees hit the mattress. He began unbuttoning John’s shirt as John crawled over him. When one button came loose, hanging by a tiny thread, he plucked it off and leaned over to place it on the nightstand table as John let the shirt slide off his arms. John leaned back down, resting his forearms on the mattress and tangling his hands into Sherlock’s hair. He kissed Sherlock more thoroughly than before. Sherlock’s fingers had started twitching at the waistband of John’s jeans, but they stopped when John nibbled at his lower lip.

They were both suddenly very still. John pulled away with a dazed expression, then leaned close and whispered something into Sherlock’s ear. Sherlock flushed pink.

The bed sheet lay half-heartedly sprawled near their knees. When they unfastened each others’ trousers and kicked them to the bottom of the bed, the sheet came off entirely. They lay in a mess of bare limbs. Sherlock absently rubbed at John’s ankle with his foot. John kissed a fading bruise on Sherlock’s neck, then moved down, kissing over his chest and stomach. He chuckled against Sherlock’s belly when he heard a soft digestion noise. He pulled off Sherlock’s pants and moved to kiss the inside of Sherlock’s thigh. Sherlock shivered.

“What do you want?” John asked, breathing the words right over Sherlock’s skin. Sherlock stared down at him, thinking for a moment that he had forgotten how to form sentences. He studied the way John’s eyes had darkened, how his hair needed to be cut, and how there was a shadow over his face because he hadn’t shaved in a day and a half. Sherlock bit his lip.

“Come back up here,” he rumbled, at last.

John crawled up and kissed Sherlock’s throat. Sherlock tilted his head back and tightened his grip on John’s shoulders. He slid his hand down John’s side and over his hip. He tugged off John’s pants with some difficulty, but when his hand wandered inward, John batted him away. He pressed a kiss to Sherlock’s palm.

“What about you?” Sherlock asked in a murmur.

John smiled at him, but didn’t answer. He slipped his hands beneath Sherlock’s arse and lifted him until their hips were flush together. Sherlock’s legs wrapped around John’s thighs, and they both caught their breath. Sherlock tried again to get John to speak.

“Is this because it’s—”

John put one finger to Sherlock’s lips, silencing his question. “Shh,” he whispered. “Breakfast? Maybe. The skating rink? Sort of. Dinner...alright, yes. But this...this is for any day. This is just because.” He kissed Sherlock very slowly, smoothing one hand down Sherlock’s chest.

John rocked forward and Sherlock’s breath hitched. He swung one hand out to the side and grasped blindly at the nightstand until he found a tube of lubricant. John took it from him and squirted some into his palm. He slicked it over their cocks, then ground forward with purpose. Sherlock groaned out loud. He wrapped his hands over the back of John’s neck to keep him close.

They slid against each other and knocked hands between their bodies, then rocked and pulled and gasped and kissed and made a bit of noise until finally, one after the other, they inhaled and shuddered and breathed out again.

John fell heavily against Sherlock, and Sherlock wriggled from the discomfort of drying sweat on his skin. John had his fingers in Sherlock’s hair again, pulling the curls straight only to let them go and watch them fall back against Sherlock’s head. Sherlock forgave this indignity in return for the feeling of John’s nails scratching lightly over his scalp.

Before long, Sherlock’s wriggling started to become an irritation, and John sighed more fondly than he meant to. He got up to retrieve a wet flannel from the bathroom, coming back to the bed to find Sherlock with his eyes closed. He sat astride Sherlock’s hips, smoothing the flannel over his stomach. Sherlock’s eyes fluttered, and he tilted his chin up. John leaned down and kissed him. Sherlock’s eyes were closed again when he pulled away. John cleaned himself off, then tossed the flannel on the floor. He reached to the bottom of the bed to retrieve the sheets, pulling them back up as he laid down close to Sherlock. They curled into each other.

“Thank you,” Sherlock murmured.

John ran two fingers along Sherlock’s hairline, playing with stray strands.

“I hope you had a good day,” he said. Sherlock opened his eyes. “I mean, even though we didn’t...celebrate.”

“Of course we didn’t,” Sherlock said, only a hint of sarcasm in his voice. He lifted a heavy hand and traced over the edges of the scar on John’s shoulder. He met John’s eyes with a question. John smiled.

“Yeah, me too,” he said. Sherlock’s eyes closed again. “So we should keep up this tradition. Of...not celebrating.”

Sherlock opened one eye. “Go to sleep, John.”

“Right.”

Sherlock moved closer, and John wrapped an arm around his waist. They fell asleep facing each other, Sherlock’s breath ghosting over John’s throat, and John’s hand smoothing over Sherlock’s back. On the nightstand table, the clock struck midnight, and the fourteenth of February came to an end.

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September 2013

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