Characters: John, Sherlock, Gladstone
Warnings/Triggers: one brief, to the point comment about sex from Sherlock
Word Count 1, 086
Summary: After Sherlock's return, John attempts to balance his relationships, while Sherlock takes a more literal approach to balancing things.
Author's notes: Set in the Abby 'verse, after 'Homecoming'. Short and silly, loosely inspired by this article, specifically this picture. Because I could see a bored Sherlock deciding this was a good way to entertain himself.
“Going out with Sarah again?” Sherlock asked.
He was lying on his back on the living room floor with a newspaper over his face. John deduced by this that there were still no cases to be found. It had been five days. Sherlock was starting to go a little stir crazy.
“How did you know? You can't even see me,” John said.
“You always have a little spring in your step on your way to see her,” Sherlock said. His hands came up to made little hopping gestures. “It's adorable.”
John smiled to himself, both at Sherlock's sarcasm and the idea that he had a 'Sarah step'. He wasn't about to deny it, however. He knew he was in love, and in a different sort of love than he'd been in in the past. Which was why he was fighting so hard to hang on to it. It wasn't easy, with Sherlock back. It was all a bit of a powder keg. If he was with Sarah, he felt like he should be with Sherlock, if he was with Sherlock, he felt like he should be with Sarah. This was why he didn't date seriously during his previous tenure as detective. Back then, he'd needed Sherlock more. Now, he didn't really need Sherlock, so much as enjoyed working with him. It was something that made his life better, but he could probably live without it. He had, after all. Losing Sarah was a much bleaker concept, and if he to choose, he would probably choose her.
Sherlock wasn't all that pleased about that. It was a balancing act.
“You gonna be okay, here?” John asked.
“No,” Sherlock said. He plucked the newspaper from his face and kicked his legs up and down, restlessly. “But it won't be any better if you're here, so you might as well go.”
“Why don't you do something with Gladstone?” John suggested. “Go to the park and stare at people, you have fun doing that.”
Gladstone lifted up his head hopefully at his name. He, at least, was fitting in to things nicely, after a rough start. He even seemed to like Sherlock, now. He was an odd sort of dog, a real mix of personalities, so that if Sherlock was excited and moving about, Gladstone was up and bounding at his feet, but if Sherlock was lying on the floor in a strop, Gladstone was lain nearby, with his head thoughtfully and sympathetically on his paws. Albeit, with his ball placed near his nose, just in case Sherlock should decide that the best way to handle the boredom was to play fetch. John wondered if it was part of being a mixed breed, or if Gladstone was just sensitive to moods. He'd always been like that with John, too; choosing the right temperament for how John was feeling that day.
Sherlock rolled onto his side to look at Gladstone, and Gladstone very politely nudged his ball closer, and gave a few wags of his tail.
“You must have a very sad existence to be excited by the prospects of chasing a ball,” Sherlock said, glumly.
He rolled back onto his back, and Gladstone decided to take a more obvious approach, picking up his ball and dropping it on Sherlock's stomach. Sherlock huffed half a laugh, and pushed him away.
“I probably won't be back tonight,” John said.
“Enjoy your intercourse,” Sherlock replied.
“Thanks,” John said.
That was almost positive.
John's night with Sarah went very well. He felt like he was starting to find his footing. There had been a lot of fighting at the beginning; awful fighting that hadn't gone on at all while Sherlock was dead. A lot of yelling on both their parts, every time John left for a case, or even if he didn't because Sarah accused him of preferring to be on the case, and John couldn't really deny that he found it hard not to be a part of it. They had stayed together, though, which gave John hope that they could find a way to make it work. It was just a matter of finding the right balance. And it was getting better.
“Please, please tell me you got up from the floor at some point since I left,” John begged, as he arrived home late in the morning the next day to find Sherlock stretched out in front of the coffee table.
“If you were observant, you might have noticed I'm now dressed,” Sherlock said. “I am extremely dexterous, but getting myself clothed while remaining supine is not a skill I possess. Now, shush, we've just hit a breakthrough.”
John frowned. 'We' had to mean Gladstone was involved. “Sherlock, what did you do to my dog?” John asked, concerned.
“I have improved it,” Sherlock said. “I've upgraded his skills.”
“Oh, God,” John said. “Gladstone?”
“No!” Sherlock said, sharply. “Stay. You're doing well. Staaaay. Good dog.”
John moved so he could see Gladstone, who was sat by the fireplace, still as a statue, with a book balanced on his head.
“...why?” John asked.
“I had a book, he has a head,” Sherlock said, as though that should explain everything.
“Well, it's better than shooting the wall, I guess,” John said. “Gladstone, buddy, you can move. Come here, don't let Sherlock do things to you. You don't have to put up with that.”
Gladstone didn't move. If John didn't know he was a dog, he might have thought he was pleased with himself. Of course, this was a dog Sherlock had taught to break into houses. There might be more going on up there than they thought. Or maybe, he was just pleased that Sherlock was pleased.
“How was your date?” Sherlock asked.
“Brilliant,” John said.
“You've never seen anyone for this long before,” Sherlock said.
“No,” John agreed.
“She's not a bad choice,” Sherlock said, reluctantly. “She's better than some of the others you could have taken up with again in my absence.”
“Thanks,” John said, because that was nice.
Sherlock stood up and removed the book from Gladstone's head, dropping a treat into his mouth. Gladstone turned in a joyous circle, and wagged his tail. Sherlock looked thoughtfully at the old lucky cat on the mantle, and picked it up. John could see him contemplating putting it on Gladstone's head.
Thankfully, the doorbell rang. Gladstone went baying down the stairs to protect them.
“That's Lestrade's ring!” Sherlock said. He flung the lucky cat on to his chair and went running after Gladstone.
John shook his head, and smiled. He picked up the discarded lucky cat and put it back on the mantle, then followed after Sherlock.
Life was a balancing act at the moment. But John thought they were almost centred.