Date Night was a fairly new concept to 221B. John wasn’t convinced it was quite the thing, but Sherlock had consulted with Molly and she had assured him that they needed to work hard to “keep the romance alive,” and apparently, a biweekly Date Night was the way to do it.
That night, it was Angelo’s, which wasn’t unusual, and a travelling carnival that happened to be stopping through London that month, which rather was. John had been not just a little surprised when Sherlock suggested it, but Sherlock with an idea was an unstoppable sort of thing, and John had learned long ago to reserve his energies for calling Sherlock off of his more dangerous whims, like shooting at walls or challenging psychotic serial killers to dramatic rooftop showdowns, so he was happy enough to appease.
They had just finished their entrees when John felt it: Sherlock’s foot, shoe removed, climbing slowly up the inside of his trouser leg.
John cleared his throat. “Sherlock,” he said.
Sherlock lifted an innocent eyebrow and slid his foot out, but then higher, so his leg was stretched between them underneath the table, and he began to rub against John’s thigh.
“Sherlock,” John warned again.
Sherlock began inching his way toward John’s flies. “You’re wearing them, aren’t you?”
“How could you possibly—stop it! What are you doing?” John gripped Sherlock’s foot, which was slowly massaging John’s groin with single-minded purpose.
“It’s Monday, John. Obvious.”
John closed his eyes and tried very hard not to allow himself to be distracted. He breathed out hard through his nose. Of course Sherlock would be able to do that with his foot. “Sherlock.”
“Wonderful, John. It’s really quite reassuring how well you remember my name whilst acquiring an erection.”
John exhaled audibly again.
“Do you know what I love about Angelo’s?” Sherlock asked idly, continuing his ministrations in John’s lap.
Looking down, John shook his head.
Sherlock leaned forward with a predatory glint in his eye. “They’ve got a lovely back office that no one ever uses. Angelo’s given me the key; sometimes I need it if I’m on a case.” He pulled a key ring from his pocket and twirled it around one elegant finger. “A back office with a sofa.”
Sherlock removed his foot abruptly, slid his shoe back on, and stood. “It’s just past the men’s room. Shall we?”
John carefully placed his coat in front of him before shooting up from his chair. “oh god, yes.”
A little rumpled and a lot grinning, John and Sherlock exited Angelo’s twenty minutes later, just as a taxi pulled up to the door. John spared a moment to marvel at Sherlock’s apparent magical ability to divine cabs into existence at his convenience before allowing himself to be ushered inside. He still felt a bit happily groggy, and he tucked himself along Sherlock’s side and nuzzled his neck.
“Don’t fall asleep,” Sherlock instructed, as he gave the cabbie the address of the carnival. “You’ve got work to do.”
“Mmm,” John agreed.
John pulled away and looked at Sherlock, puzzled. “Is this for a case?”
Sherlock looked affronted. “Of course not; it’s Date Night.”
“And Date Night means no distractions, Molly was very clear about that. No cases, no interruptions, no mobiles—your mobile is switched off, isn’t it?” Sherlock had given John a list of strict Date Night instructions prior to the first occurrence of the event. Despite the rather frequent use of an impatiently demanding imperative voice, John had found it mostly adorable.
John smiled. “I didn’t even bring it.”
Sherlock looked relieved. “Good. Ah, here we are!”
John probably shouldn’t have found it so thrilling that Sherlock paid for the taxi this time, but he did, and in a hazy mixture of amazement and post-sex bliss, allowed himself to be dragged through the carnival to a small booth that boasted a row of squirt guns set several metres away from smiley-face targets. A man in a striped shirt and hat was calling out to passersby.
“STEP RIGHT UP HERE, STEP RIGHT UP! TRY YOUR LUCK! KNOCK OVER THE TARGET AND WIN A PRIZE!”
“There.” Sherlock pointed at a row of stuffed animals behind the shouting carnie.
“That one. I want it. Win him for me.”
John’s eyebrows shot up. “You’ve brought me to a carnival… to win you a stuffed hedgehog?”
Sherlock crossed his arms in front of his chest. “It’s meant to be romantic.”
“Right,” John said slowly. “This wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with Molly’s rules for Date Night as well?”
Sherlock visibly deflated. “I told her those insipid films would be useless, but no, she insisted—”
“No, no,” John suppressed a laugh, taking Sherlock’s forearms in his hands. “It’s very romantic. It’s lovely. I’d be honoured to win you a stuffed hedgehog.” He kissed Sherlock on the tip of his nose.
John didn’t think Sherlock could possibly look more pleased with himself, but when John handed him the stuffed toy in exchange for a happy little peck on the cheek, he discovered he was wrong.
Later that evening, as John tended to his black eye in the bathroom mirror, he couldn’t help but grin at his reflection and quip to himself, “if you think this looks bad, you should see the other guy.”
“Talking to yourself, John? Are you quite sure you’re not concussed?” Sherlock came up behind him, wrapped his long arms around John’s torso, and kissed John’s neck.
“Please,” John scoffed. “He barely touched me.”
“Mmm. Knocking him unconscious may have been a bit… excessive.”
“He got mud all over your hedgehog.”
“To be fair, I think recovering the old woman’s bag was a touch more important.”
John sighed. “I suppose I broke the rules of Date Night. Though in my defense, it was hardly a proper case.”
Sherlock’s eyes widened, and he leaned down and around to kiss John soundly on the mouth, carefully avoiding the bruised portion of John’s face. He pulled back and asked, “are you joking? That was brilliant. Quite possibly the most successful experiment yet.” Sherlock patted John’s rear and wandered out of the bathroom, muttering things about stuffed toys, and recording data, and Molly Hooper’s DVD collection.
And a few hours later, after John had reimbursed Sherlock for debts incurred earlier in the evening in Angelo’s back office, and Sherlock had promptly turned over and begun to snore, John looked down at his flatmate fondly and thought that yes, Date Night was rather a bit brilliant.
Recently, Kelley has rather wonderfully drawn absolutely stunning pictures (both intentionally and coincidentally) to go along with a couple of my fics, and I just wanted to give one good turn another. So Kelley, I hope you like this little ficlet I’ve written for your gorgeous sketches!