suspension of disbelief
@khorazir prompted: The boys watch some episodes of The X-Files
Sherlock looked up from the microscope, blinked. John looked back at him, his face expectant.
Clearly, he’d been speaking. Clearly, a response of some kind was required.
"Of course,“ he tried.
John raised his brows, looked both pleased and surprised. This—this did not bode well. Perhaps he should have asked John to repeat himself, but he did so loathe repetition.
"Go on, then,” John said. He stepped over towards the fridge, perused the menus with a little frown of concentration.
Sherlock hesitated. Go on?
Judging by John’s preoccupation with the menus, he thought perhaps he may have agreed to dinner plans. Except, if that was all, then what was he meant to go on with?
He stood up from the table, took a cautious step towards the sitting room. John had left the telly on. It was cycling through a DVD menu of some kind, eerie whistling music backed by piano. He frowned, looked back.
John glanced up from the menus, made a shooing motion with his hand. Ah. It appeared that he’d committed to watching a film or—he paused, looked at the screen—a television series.
He sighed, aimed a longing glance in the direction of his abandoned microscope, and settled himself on the sofa. He took up a bit more space than entirely necessary.
The menu looped, started again. Piano. Whistling.
John paced around the kitchen, phone to his ear, ordering the takeaway. Sherlock glanced at the menus, now rearranged on the front of the fridge. Chinese.
He looked back at the television. Opened his mouth to speak.
"I’m betting you missed this entirely, yeah?“ John said, sitting down on the sofa next to him. The cushions dipped, and Sherlock found himself wanting to lean closer, to blame the motion on his shifted balance—but no, best not.
"The X-Files.“ John said with a nod at the screen. "FBI agents, government conspiracies, aliens…? Kind of a big deal in the 90s. Ringing any bells at all?”
Sherlock scoffed, looked away. “I had other things on my mind in the 90s.”
John cleared his throat, looked down.
The menu continued to loop.
"Right,“ John said, after a long moment. He reached for the remote. "Food will be here in about twenty minutes.”
He pressed play.
"Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?“ asked the man on the screen. He was being altogether too dramatic about the whole thing, in Sherlock’s opinion.
"Logically, I would have to say no,” his recently-assigned partner countered.
"Actually—" Sherlock said.
John picked up the remote, pressed pause. Stared at him.
"Never mind,“ Sherlock said.
"Time can’t just disappear,” said the woman on the screen. “It’s a universal invariant.”
"No it isn’t,“ Sherlock said.
"Shush,” John said.
"But she read physics at university, she would know that—"
"Sherlock,“ John said.
For some reason, the woman had decided to bathe by candlelight. She had only just begun to disrobe when something frightened her and sent her rushing through the rain into the arms of her male coworker.
Sherlock sighed, rolled his eyes. Looked back towards the kitchen, where his microscope beckoned.
"Just watch,” John said, through a mouthful of lo mein.
The scene did not play out the way he’d expected.
"Another,“ he said when it was over.
"What, really?” John’s voice was incredulous.
He wrestled the remote out of John’s hand.
"It’s really not that easy to break into a secret government base.“
"Er,” John said. “Yes, actually, it is. We’ve done it.”
"We had the proper credentials.“
"Still. It wasn’t as simple as ducking under a chain link fence for God’s sake.“
John chuckled, leaned back against the sofa cushions. At some point he had migrated closer, his arm warm where it brushed against Sherlock’s.
"Now he’s gone and gotten himself drugged,” Sherlock protested, looking away. “That didn’t happen to me.”
"No, it happened to me,“ John said, and swatted at him. "Arsehole.”
"Another,“ he said, when it was over.
"I’m expected to believe that this man sleeps in a nest of newspapers and bile and emerges precisely every thirty years to consume five human livers?”
"It’s not really so much believing as it is suspension of disbelief, yeah?“
"No,” Sherlock said. “The dichotomy between the two main characters—”
"Wasn’t talking about them,“ John said. His voice had grown sleepy. "Was talking about us.”
"What, precisely, are we meant to be suspending disbelief over?“
"The livers,” John said, gesturing vaguely towards the screen. “The bile.”
"The lack of a romantic entanglement in spite of the clear attraction and the fact that both main characters clearly have no one else in their lives of similar importance?“
"That too,” John said. A faint smile flickered on his face.
"Sherlock, I need to go to sleep.”
"Mm,“ Sherlock said, distracted. He slid over on the couch to give John more room. The loss of John’s warm comfortable weight against his side was jarring.
He reached over, snatched up the throw pillow from the coffee table. Held it up for a moment, weighing his options. He thought about the warmth of John’s arm, pressed against his own, the way his chest rose and fell with each measured breath.
He set the pillow in his lap. Waited.
John hesitated for a long moment, studying him, his face difficult to read in the blueish light from the television screen. Then he carefully, slowly arranged himself so that his head was on the pillow, resting on Sherlock’s lap. He held himself quite stiffly, his shoulders tense, his movements unsure.
"Suspension of disbelief,” Sherlock said. He spoke in a low, quiet voice, dipping his head down. John’s face was very close, in the dark.
"What, exactly, are you trying to say?“ John asked. His voice was little more than a whisper. He shifted, the leather squeaking under his frame.
"Lack of romantic entanglement in spite of clear attraction. And—” he stopped, swallowed. Could no longer bear to look at John’s profile in the dark. Turned his head towards the window. “No one else in my life of similar importance.”
"Clear attraction?“ John asked, his voice sleepy, fond.
"Well,” Sherlock said, his throat suddenly dry. “Yes?”
John chuckled, shifted again, rolling over onto his side. He reached up a hand, cupped Sherlock’s cheek.
He could not say with any certainty who moved in first. But his lips were pressed against John’s, warm and soft and utterly thrilling, sending electric shocks of sensation down his spine. His eyes slipped shut and he sighed, breath puffing against John’s face.
"All right?“ John asked, quiet, pulling back. He no longer looked drowsy.
Sherlock stared at him, at his eyes, gleaming bright in the television glow. At his face, expressive and endearing and so very dear to him. How? he wondered, and not for the first time. How had this happened?
"Sherlock?” John asked again, his voice low, careful. He left his hand cradled against Sherlock’s face.
Sherlock smiled. “Another,” he said, and leaned in.