Lady Paperclip (paperclipbitch) wrote,
Lady Paperclip

"The Trick Is To Make It Look Easy", Sherlock, Sherlock/John

Title: The Trick Is To Make It Look Easy
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC 2010 drama)
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 4220
Genre: Slash
Summary: “Your blog only has one sentence on it,” Sherlock tells him.
Author’s Notes: Because this BBC drama is basically the best ever modern AU ever, shot and filmed and there on the screen for me to squee over. So of course the first thing I had to do was write something vaguely slashy for it. It might not be the best thing I’ve ever written (I was up til 4 a.m because I’m stupid) but hey, it exists. If you haven’t seen this adaptation GO AND FIND IT ON IPLAYER OR ONLINE SOMEWHERE BECAUSE IT IS AMAZING, but even if you haven’t you can probably read this with a knowledge of the Holmesverse and not be too horrendously confused. Anyway, basically, watch Sherlock. I lovelovelovelove it.

Also, this probably needs re-writing to be a bit less shit sometime in the future when I'm less tired but hey, it exists :D

“Your blog only has one sentence on it,” Sherlock tells him.

John doesn’t bother saying anything like how do you know I have a blog? because he already knows that that would be a waste of time and also it’s far too early for Sherlock’s oh, how tiresome you lesser intellects are look.

“Right,” he says, and takes refuge in a sip of tea.

“‘I’m sitting here in this room with nothing but a wastepaper bin and a false smile’,” Sherlock quotes. “Little bit florid, perhaps, but there is certainly potential there.” John scowls at him and, after a moment, Sherlock’s expression becomes almost defensive and he adds: “you went on my website.”

John smiles, just a little, and tugs the cuffs of his jumper over his palms. “Should I be worried that you’re going to kill me in here someday?” he asks, because that’s what passes for polite breakfast conversation these days.

Sherlock’s attention has already dropped back to the newspaper. “Don’t be silly, Mrs Hudson wouldn’t like it if I made a mess of the carpet,” he responds distractedly.

John doesn’t know whether to feel relieved or insulted, but he smiles anyway.


John stares at the blinking cursor on the screen for a long moment. I have moved in with a guy who knows his shit, he types. And I mean, really knows his shit. He knows more shit than anyone has ever known before, possibly.

That sounds a little bit ineloquent and fifteen-year-old fanboy, he decides, and erases it.

So I’m now living in a flat with a definite sociopath and possible psychopath who I have known for approximately a week, who likes serial killers and toast. His brother kidnapped me once and people keep warning me away from him but somehow I’m now his crime scene associate and I’ve eaten exactly one meal alone since I met him.

It’s not at all gay.

John bites his lower lip and then, after a moment, he backspaces the last sentence and corrects it to: All right, so it’s incredibly gay.

John reads back through his blog entry and pictures what Sherlock will say to him about it, presumably at a very awkward and inappropriate time, possibly when there are corpses or surly police officers in the room.

He deletes all of it and just writes have found a flat.


John is idly surfing the BBC news website while Sherlock does something in the kitchen that involves lots of clattering and the occasional sound of stuff splatting against the sides of the microwave. At least it’s not the eyeballs again; John put his foot down about that and after looking confused and harassed for a while, Sherlock muttered something about compromises and seemed to cheer up again.

“I see Madonna has got herself another stupidly young boyfriend,” John murmurs. His hand is idly shaking on the mouse, but he ignores it.

“Is she a friend of yours?” Sherlock asks brightly, poking his head around the kitchen door.

“No,” John says, “I mean, Madonna, you know?”

Sherlock frowns.

“Oh come on,” John says, “you have to know who Madonna is. She’s Madonna.”

Sherlock sighs. “I assume she’s some kind of celebrity from your seeming over-familiarity.” He sniffs disdainfully. “The world’s fixation with celebrity is very disturbing.”

“You’re doing something involving animal entrails and our microwave,” John points out.

“Yes?” Sherlock seems to be waiting for something.

You could write the textbook on ‘disturbing’, John thinks. “Go back in the kitchen,” is all he says aloud.


Sherlock has been visiting the morgue and John has been pretending very hard that his limp has not become worse just because he was left behind. Harry has lots of things to say about the psychosomatic limp. John has lots of things to say about his sister’s drinking problem, but he at least has the good sense to keep them to himself. It’s a psychosomatic limp, that’s all.

“One of the coroners seems quite taken with me,” Sherlock says absently, adding hot water to an earl grey teabag.

“Is she pretty?” John asks.

Sherlock looks confused. “What does that have to do with anything?”

John shrugs. “Generally quite a lot, actually. You know, to most people.”

“I am not most people,” Sherlock huffs, apparently insulted.

“Well, no,” John says as diplomatically as he can. It’s a good sentence; he means one thing, and Sherlock will take another thing from it. Everyone wins.

Sherlock nods decisively. “I was merely making an observation of some unusual behaviour. That is all.”

“Do people not hit on you a lot, then?” John asks. His own lack of a love life is starting to bother him but he can hardly bring them back here; Mrs Hudson refuses to believe that he and Sherlock aren’t actually dating and so will keep shooting him reproachful looks, and Sherlock usually has things that look incriminating out of context lying around the flat so any potential girlfriend will immediately assume that one or both of them are serial killers.

Sherlock gets a look on his face that John hasn’t seen before; after a moment he tentatively labels it as ‘uncomfortable’. “I’m... not always sure,” he says at last.

Sherlock looks normal provided you see him at a moment when he’s not moving or speaking or doing anything creepy, which is admittedly not very often. John’s pretty certain that people who don’t know him very well probably proposition him quite a lot.

“All right,” John says, because there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot else that he can offer.

Sherlock picks the teabag straight out of the mug with his fingers; he seems to be thinking about something. John waits patiently, saying nothing.

“What exactly does it mean if someone puts on lipstick and brings you coffee directly after they have watched you flogging a corpse with a riding crop?” Sherlock asks eventually.

The question seems to be utterly serious so John swallows the surprised laugh that threatens to escape. “Maybe she’s into that sort of thing?”

Sherlock glares at him. “I would know if she were,” he snaps, and this is fair enough. He probably would. It’s the finer details that elude him.

“Look,” he says, as kindly as he can manage, “just be very, very confused and dismissive every time she comes near you and she’ll soon latch onto somebody else.”

“Oh.” Sherlock contemplates this for a moment. “Thank you.”

John shrugs, because he’s used to giving advice on how to get girlfriends, not avoid the possibility of getting one at all costs, but then everything is back to front and weird with Sherlock.

“You’re welcome,” he says. And then decides that this conversation has to stop now because Sherlock is still looking really awkward and any second now John is going to burst out laughing. “So, what did you get up to at the morgue?”


This is the third fake drugs bust in a week; Lestrade looks harassed and like he hasn’t slept in a very long time. Sherlock is being unforthcoming and crazier than ever; John is not getting involved in any of it apart from the bit where he’s right in the middle of it all, whatever ‘it’ is, and women are dying all over the news.

While the police ransack their flat and Lestrade and Sherlock snipe at each other, John channel hops and keeps half an ear open for the moment he has to leap in and tell everyone to calm down before the skull gets thrown again. Mrs Hudson has provided Hobnobs for this particular home invasion and is flittering around offering to make everyone cups of tea, because this is apparently what normality entails nowadays.

(“I’m better than I’ve been in a while,” he told his therapist at their last meeting.

“Your recent blog entry is one sentence saying I spent the afternoon picking bits of sheep’s heart off the inside of the microwave,” she replied, looking somewhat anxious.

“Maybe I should take up tweeting,” John mused, while she carefully tilted her pad up so he couldn’t see what she was writing.)

“Anything good on?” Sherlock asks, dropping onto the sofa beside him. “Sorry, ridiculous question, of course there isn’t.”

John looks at his manically cheerful expression – antagonising Lestrade is one of Sherlock’s favourite hobbies, it’s right up there with risking his life in stupid situations just to prove a point – and, for the hundredth time since he moved in, wonders.

“Are you sure they aren’t going to find any real actual drugs?”

Sherlock scoffs. “Are you questioning my ability to hide drugs from the police?” He seems mildly affronted. “In any case, the only drugs in this building are whatever pills Mrs Hudson is experimenting with this week and the painkillers you pretend you don’t take for your shoulder, neither of which are any good for my thought processes.”

John at no point mentioned that he occasionally took prescription painkillers to Sherlock, he knows he didn’t, though he isn’t really surprised that Sherlock knows.

“Did you try them?” he asks.

“Well, of course,” Sherlock replies. “But they did not enhance the clarity of my mind so I won’t bother again, don’t worry.”

It occurs to John that this probably means that Sherlock went through his stuff at one point, but it doesn’t really surprise him; of course Sherlock went through his stuff. At least he hasn’t mentioned what conclusions he drew from it yet; John is pretty sure he doesn’t want to know what image Sherlock has built up of him. It’ll probably be far too accurate, in any case.

“I feel so reassured,” he murmurs, and watches Anderson going critically through his CD collection.


“You never mention me in your blog,” Sherlock says.

They’re in the Chinese at the end of the road; case closed. It’s becoming a tradition between them and John likes that, likes the sense of routine in this weirdly unfamiliar world.

“No,” John agrees calmly, selecting a dumpling.

“Why not?” Sherlock asks. “I’m very interesting.”

John laughs before he can stop himself. “Yes,” he agrees, “yeah, you really are.”

“So why don’t you write about me?” If John didn’t know better, he’d say that Sherlock seemed hurt. But Sherlock doesn’t seem to feel or acknowledge real human emotions, at least, not many of them, so John dismisses it.

“You have a large number of genuine actual enemies,” John points out, aware as he’s saying it that it’s a lie and Sherlock must know that it’s a lie. “Giving them information on my blogspot is not really very sensible.”

It sounds good. It sounds much better than I have no idea why I don’t write about you, or the horribly crazy-sounding hypothesis that John doesn’t write about Sherlock because he seems so unlikely and so implausible that John is afraid he’ll discover that Sherlock and his accompanying world are just some sort of psychosis that being bored at home has generated. John can’t say I think I made you up to Sherlock, he can’t.

“Sensible of you,” Sherlock agrees, and John tries to work out if there’s an extra layer of coldness in his voice or not.


Harry’s latest phonecall leaves John angry and breathless, frustrated with his helplessness. There’s a brightness in her voice, a slide in her words that tells him all he needs to know about just how much she’s drunk this evening, and a mixture of desperation and apathy in her tone that he doesn’t want to listen to, though he does because she’s his sister, because he can’t do anything else. She’s concerned yet dismissive, seems to think he needs vast amounts of medication and to move in with her.

“I’m happy with Sherlock,” he says, and is startled when he realises that it’s true.

“He’s a fucking psycho,” Harry responds, “I looked him up online. You know fuck all about him, John, and he can’t help you.”

“Maybe I don’t need helping,” John snaps, deciding not to correct psycho to sociopath because it’s really not that much better.

“You are in bits, John,” Harry snarls, too drunk for tact and John closes his eyes and hates her for a moment, “and the longer you stay in denial about it the more you’ll screw up any chance of recovery you have.”

“You’d know all about denial,” John snaps back, and hangs up on her.

He goes downstairs, restless and tired, unsure what he wants right now. He needs to not be near his mobile so that he can’t pick up if Harry tries again.

“Your therapist says you have trust issues,” Sherlock observes cheerfully, not turning around.

John stares at the back of his head and counts to five so that he won’t spit out a mouthful of invectives in Sherlock’s direction.

He sighs. “All right.”

“It’s not something that I’ve observed,” Sherlock continues, sounding thoughtful, “I suppose I might be somewhat biased since it is frequently very difficult to lie to me, but I’ve always felt some kind of mutual trust.”

Something to do with the argument with Harry flares up, warm and bright, inside John, and before he can stop himself words are falling from his mouth: “You’re wrong.”

Sherlock turns around, eyebrow arched, apparently convinced that he’s right and John wants him to be normal right now, to be able to actually read people properly. “Am I?”

“I don’t trust you,” John snaps, “of course I don’t. How could I? You’re crazy and dangerous and you’ll probably wind up killing me in my sleep at some point because it seems like a good idea at the time.” Sherlock is just watching him, saying nothing at all, eyes wide. “Right now you’re flicking through my psychiatrist’s private notes on me. There is nothing about you that I can trust at all.”

And before he knows what he’s doing, John is walking out and slamming the door behind him. Sherlock doesn’t make a sound.


John ends up sleeping in a Holiday Inn, paying a ridiculous price for a room that is about the size of a cupboard, and feeling a lot like he’s burning every last bridge he has.

The flat is empty when he returns and he makes himself a mug of sweet tea before venturing back to his room. His mobile – Harry’s cast-off – is lying there innocuously on his desk, and John reminds himself that he’s done much scarier stuff than this before he picks it up.

He has three missed calls from Harry and a wonderfully abusive voicemail recorded just after midnight. That’s fine; he’s used to it, and she’ll call back sorry this evening. John smiles, almost rueful, but that’s what always happens.

He has seven text messages from Sherlock, variations of where are you? and I won’t look up your medical records if you come home now. More unsettling and significant is the one missed call from Sherlock, at three o’clock in the morning. Sherlock doesn’t call anyone, Sherlock doesn’t like talking to people.

John bites his lower lip until it hurts, hand trembling so hard he nearly drops his phone.


“I upset you,” Sherlock says. He looks uncomfortable, eyes on anything but John, turning the skull over and over in one hand. He looks a little bit like some kind of overblown villain in a cheap sci-fi movie, actually, and John realises that that comparison is surprisingly apt. And also, he still doesn’t know whose skull that is; maybe he should ask sometime.

“Harry upset me,” John corrects, “and I took it out on you.”

Sherlock looks down at the skull. It’s all very alas, poor Yorick. “Displacement,” he mumbles, mostly to himself, and something in his shoulders seems to ease.

“This doesn’t mean you can regularly go around reading my psychiatrist’s notes,” John adds. “That’s not ok, that’s creepy and stalkerish.”

Despite the fact there’s no expression on Sherlock’s face, there’s something really kicked puppy about him anyway. “All right,” he says. After a long, awkward moment, Sherlock adds: “are you going to move out?”

John sighs. “I didn’t move out over the human eyes in the microwave even though you still haven’t told me where you got them, I didn’t move out when Lestrade started ransacking the place every other week, I’m not going to leave now.”

A smile quirks Sherlock’s mouth. “Good,” he says. He glances at John and then at the skull and then adds, quickly: “I couldn’t afford the rent without you, being a tortured genius really isn’t very lucrative.”

“Maybe you should start charging for your services,” John offers, wandering over to slump down on the sofa. “And can you stop fondling that skull now, it’s kind of unsettling.”

Sherlock laughs, but does as he asks.


It’s mostly an apology when John types: I flatshare with a man called Sherlock Holmes.

He considers his next words carefully. He thinks about he’s a genius and he has no concept of privacy and he’s kind of an all round disaster really but doesn’t write down any of it. He contemplates he can tell more about you from your little finger than I could tell in an hour of talking to you and he solves crimes and I help him mostly through being incompetent and curious or possibly there was this time I shot a man for him and then we went for takeaway. Well, maybe not that last one.

John starts typing without even thinking about it. He doesn’t see the world like other people do, he sees some whole other world entirely, and when his eyes and his mind are alight it’s incredible to watch, it’s like he’s an actual superhero and I’ve never met anyone like him before. I’m not even sure that there are other people like him. He should be infuriating and sometimes he is but mostly he’s fascinating.

Strains of the violin come from downstairs, alternating between tuneful and incompetent, and John stops writing, breathing hard.

His jeans are too tight and he covers his face with one hand, sighing heavily because he’d thought all that awkwardness and the many hours he’s spent yelling I am not his boyfriend! at people over the last month might have killed any possibility of this off but no, apparently not, apparently life is not helpful like that.

“I need to get laid,” John murmurs earnestly, and reaches for his flies.

Later, crumpled Kleenex in hand, he gets rid of everything but the first sentence and replaces it with: he plays the violin.

Sharing Mrs Hudson’s re-heated macaroni cheese later, Sherlock offers him a smile and John knows that he’s read it, that’s he’s got something out of those two sentences and is happy about it. And that’s good, because John isn’t sure what the hell to do now.


“Do you know all the restaurant owners in London?” John asks.

Sherlock shrugs. “Most of them,” he replies, like this is completely normal.

They’re not on stakeout for once and this is classier than the places they usually go, sticky plastic tablecloths and owners who’ve all done something shifty at some point in their lives that Sherlock fixed for them. John is beginning to suspect that Sherlock fixes petty crimes just so he can get free food all over the place, but when he points this out Sherlock starts talking vehemently about the importance of justice until John pretends to agree just to get him to shut up and not get the Powerpoint out again.

The owner is an extremely pretty and still quite young woman who laughs a lot and gives them what she calls her best table. And she lights two candles for them; not one, but two. John would find the way the restaurant owners of London all seem deeply invested in Sherlock’s love life unsettling, except he made the decision to stop finding anything related to Sherlock unsettling anymore. It’s a waste of time and this is his life now, he might as well deal with it. He doesn’t even bother saying I’m not his boyfriend because, well, no one seems to believe it and until he gets himself a valid lovelife – which he will do sometime, he really will – not being Sherlock Holmes’ boyfriend is basically all the action he’s going to get.

They discuss cases for a while until John realises that this is really morbid dinner conversation (“is it?” Sherlock asks, looking bemused, and seems to file that way for future reference) and they end up watching their fellow diners, Sherlock cheerfully informing him of every last detail of their lives with calm certainty until John is marvelling so much he can feel himself blushing.

Silence falls as they’re eating dessert, and John can feel Sherlock darting looks at him, expression entirely unreadable.

“Are you all right?” he asks, because if Sherlock’s about to have his inevitable mental breakdown he’d quite like as much advance warning as possible.

Sherlock’s laugh is startled. “Oh, yes.” He looks down at his plate, something awkward in the twist of his mouth.

John doesn’t know a lot about deducting things yet, but he’s working on it. Sherlock is awkward, and they’re in a considerably nicer restaurant than usual, and most of their dinner conversation wasn’t about dead people, and neither of them have said he isn’t my boyfriend like they usually do. They’re little things, it’s true, but John is quickly learning the importance of the tiniest of details.

“Sherlock...” he begins carefully and nearly chickens out when Sherlock turns his gaze on him. He swallows and forces himself to ask: “is this a date?”

He gets his answer when, instead of scoffing and explaining how romance is a mass hallucination and love an ultimately masochistic and superfluous emotion, Sherlock ducks his head and his mouth twists uncomfortably.

John honestly cannot think of anything at all to say, and Sherlock’s phone bleeps. He pulls it out and John can see the screen; an urgent message from Lestrade with an address. Sherlock stands, pushing his phone back into his pocket and pulling on his coat. John thinks he mumbles oh thank God as they walk out, but he’s not sure.


The case is closed in a couple of days and John leaves the whole date thing alone for the duration of it. Sherlock is his usual manic and slightly creepy self, no less than three police officers accuse him of being the killer, and their bin becomes full of nicotine patches.

My life is frequently very strange, John tells his blog, but doesn’t bother to elaborate.

Anyway, when the case is closed and they’ve had midnight Chinese and then returned to their flat, John thinks he should address what is or isn’t happening, because he has whatever the opposite of PTSD is and a part-time psychosomatic limp and an alcoholic sister and it’s about time to deal with whatever the hell this is because his life already has enough shit in it and it would be nice to have one thing in it that wasn’t horribly screwed up and complicated.

They end up slumped together on the sofa watching BBC News 24 together, though, because saying things is vastly overrated and John also suspects that Sherlock would work out what he was going to say before he even said it and then would twist it around into something else entirely to avoid embarrassment.

His only chance is to surprise him, John muses, which is why he startles both of them by turning his head and pressing his lips to Sherlock’s.

Sherlock freezes and that’s all that happens for a few very disconcerting seconds. John pulls away.

“Um,” Sherlock says, and he seems genuinely surprised for the first time since John’s met him, “um, you caught me off guard.”

“Caught myself off guard too,” John admits with a sheepish smile; after a moment, Sherlock mirrors it.

“I’m married to my work,” he says.

“I know,” John replies.

“I suppose I could cheat from time to time,” Sherlock muses thoughtfully, as though giving this serious consideration.

John sits very still and watches the wheels turning in Sherlock’s head until Sherlock leans back in again, kissing him clumsily but with intent.

John goes with it.


Moving in with total strangers can pay off, who knew? John informs blogspot the next morning.

“You’re still not writing about me,” Sherlock murmurs, mouth full of toast.

John smirks at the computer screen where Sherlock can’t see, though he probably knows anyway. “Get your own blog,” he responds.

“I have my own website,” Sherlock responds, sounding disdainful.

“Then write about yourself on there,” John suggests.

Sherlock tuts. “It’s not the same.”

“You are so narcissistic,” John murmurs.

“Textbook,” Sherlock agrees, sounding sort of proud, and disappears into the kitchen at the sound of the toaster popping.

John stares at the mostly empty box of his entry and wonders when he started allowing social networking sites to be his therapist instead of the one he’s actually paying. He smiles before he can stop himself, broad and real, and Sherlock shouts something about them being out of milk. His hand is shaking but on the whole it’s a good morning.

My life is kind of a mess, John writes, but I think it’s going to be ok anyway.


Tags: character: john watson, character: sherlock holmes, pairing: sherlock holmes/john watson, tv show: sherlock, type: slash

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  • Sherlock Holmes Fandoms Masterlist

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