“How did you know about Afghanistan?” demands John, narrowing his eyes as Sherlock comes near. Sherlock supposes the suspicion is the closest he’ll get to intrigue, so leaves it at that. After all, he wants John to have as many questions as possible when they part ways. It may just increase the chances of John taking him up on his offer.
“I’ve got my eye on a nice little place in Central London. Together we should he able to afford it. We meet there tomorrow evening, seven o’clock.” He smiles, forgetting, in his nervous chatter, to give John an address which is, ultimately, how he ends up having to reveal everything in front of Mike Stamford. “Sorry, gotta dash, I think I left my riding crop in the mortuary.”
“So that’s it?” John says as he’s heading out the door.
“Is that what?” He lets go of the door, backtracks, hands in pockets. Stares at John and raises an eyebrow.
“We’ve just met and we’re going to go look at a flat?”
“Problem?” He’s confused. He’s given John all the information he needs, sans a name, which he would really prefer to reveal when they’re alone.
John gives a derisive snort and gives a put-upon little shake of his head. “We don’t know a thing about each other. I don’t know where we’re meeting, I don’t even know your name.”
For a moment, Sherlock just stares at him. He wonders why John won’t let it go and just take his oddities at face value like anyone else would. It’s interesting, though, more than anyone else has ever done. Suddenly, he feels compelled to give John a demonstration.
“I know you’re an army doctor invalided home from Afghanistan. I know you’ve got a brother who’s worried about you but you won’t go to him for help because you don’t approve of him. Possibly because he’s an alcoholic, more likely because he recently walked out on his wife. And I know that your therapist thinks your limp is psychosomatic, quite correctly I’m afraid.” Rolls his eyes around, looking for anything he may have forgotten to mention. But no, that’s all he got from the phone and John’s overall appearance and the few minutes he’s spent in his company. “That’s…enough to be going on, don’t you think?”
John looks completely dumbfounded. He expects a ‘Piss off’ or ‘How dare’ or possibly even a ‘What a freak.’ But none of them come. John just continues standing there, looking stupefied and vaguely impressed.
It’s then that Sherlock realizes John isn’t going to let him go without a name. He steps towards the door, hoping to escape before John processes all of what he’s about to say, and adds, “The name’s Sherlock Holmes and the address is Two-Two-One-Bee Baker Street.”
“Sherlock?” John asks, before he has a chance to move a muscle. He blurts it right over the last syllable of ‘Baker Street’, and Sherlock lets the door go. No time like the present.
“Yes.” Don’t get your hopes up. Sherlock is a strange name, there were plenty of Johns in Afghanistan. He could just be questioning the oddity of the whole thing.
Oh, who’s he kidding? His hopes are already somewhere in the stratosphere, no point in trying to ground them now.
“Ess-Atch-Eee-Are-Elle-Oh-See-Kay?” John spells out.
“That’s how you spell it, yes.” Sherlock’s eyes widen and he lets out a slightly breathless, “Why?”
“What’s your SBI?”
“John,” Sherlock says, oh-so-quietly. “My SBI is John. And yours?”
“I’ll show you mine,” he all but whispers, the words he’d never thought he’d utter but which he’s seen on so many romantic comedies and movies and even in real life, in coffee shops and on the streets. People meet their Soul Mates every day and it always starts with these nine words. “If you show me yours.” Stamford is inching out of the room, realizing that this is private and his presence is no longer needed or appreciated. Sherlock barely notices, however, because he’s watching as John is removing his ring, while at the same time removing his own. He doesn’t have to look up to know that John’s eyes are just as trained on his fingers as his are on John’s.
And there it is. Sherlock, his name, spelled out in orange lettering. His face must do something funny, because John reaches out his other hand and lays it on his shoulder. “Are you okay? Do you need to sit down?” Meeting one’s Soul Mate can be a shocking experience, for some. It’s more than common for a person to pass out.
“I, uhm, I don’t think—“
“Yes. Yes, I think you do. Come on, down you go.” John eases him onto the floor. Sherlock wonders if he realizes his cane is leaning against a table four feet away. Evidently not, because he seems perfectly steady as he crouches down and checks Sherlock’s pulse, then takes a good look at his eyes.
“This isn’t like me,” Sherlock quickly cautions, shaking his head. “I’m not usually this…weak.”
“It’s okay,” John assures, smiling. “Believe me, it’s okay…” As if to prove his point, he holds out his hand, which is shaking. “This is normal.”
Sherlock nods and stares ahead for a second, before chancing another glance at John. He’s not what Sherlock ever expected, but he’s good. He’s very, very good.
John holds up a hand. “May I?”
Sherlock has no idea what he intends to do with that hand, but he doesn’t care at this point. He nods. John’s hand presses against his cheek, very gently, and then moves up slightly to touch his hair. He’s observing, cataloguing, memorizing. It’s beautiful.
“So,” John murmurs. “I think you’re my Soul Mate.”
Sherlock chuckles. “And I think you’re mine.”
“It’s…really good to meet you, Sherlock,” John says.
“You, too. John.”
John, John, John.