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The Game Is Afoot - a short story

Title: The Game Is Afoot
Author: Naturegirlrocks
Fandom: Sherlock BBC
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: G
Note: s3ws3
Summary: John wants to play a game to get to know Sherlock again.

"Games?" asked Sherlock.

"Yes, games," John gave his friend a patient smile. "I'm certain you were a child once in our life. Children play games."

"And now you want me to play one with you?" Sherlock frowned. "We are hardly children, John."

"I'm very aware of my age, Sherlock."

John gave his friend an amused smile and took a sip of tea from the large novelty mug Sherlock had given him for his birthday a week ago. It was dark blue with red letters saying 'I'm 40 but I'm still keeping it up'. John doubted that Sherlock fully understood the double meaning of the words, but he liked the cup anyway. Even if he was only thirty-nine.

It had been a special birthday in many ways, not only because John had woken up to find his not at all dead best friend sleeping on the sofa with the mug, very badly wrapped up in a two-week-old newspaper, balancing on his chest, but also because Sherlock had actually remembered the date.

"What was your favourite game as a child?" John tried again, he was determined to reacquaint himself the man who had painfully been missing from his life the last two years. "Except from playing pirates."

Sherlock looked a bit embarrassed, but the movement of his eyes told John that the detective had remembered something.

"There was one..." Sherlock interrupted himself. "I'm not sure if it counts as a game though..."

"Tell me about it."

"Daddy came up with it," Sherlock bit his lower lip hesitantly. "I was..." he took a breath and something vulnerable showed in his face for a short moment. "I was seven, and I was sad because Mycroft would never spend any time with me. Daddy invented a kind of bonding-exercise for us."

John could defiantly imagine Sherlock as a lively small dark-haired boy, whose uncontrolled thoughts scattered everywhere, and who was desperately trying to get the attention of his ordered and focus-minded older brother.

"He would blindfold me, and then we would go for walks," continued Sherlock in a tone that indicated fond memories. "He would make me listen to birds, engines, voices, and other things, making me identify them. He would go in circles, and make me guess where we were. Sometimes he gave me food or things to smell, and I would guess what it was."

"Things are starting to make sense to me now," mused John.

"But then Mycroft went away to uni..." Sherlock looked thoughtful. "Yes," he said after a while, meeting John's eye. "I would actually like to play that game again. Purely as a experiment, of course."

"Of course," grinned John.

"You will need to take notes," said Sherlock, standing up, going to his room to get dressed.

Half an hour later they had manufactured a blindfold out of a old black necktie, and were ready to leave. John had agreed to take notes, since it was an 'experiment' after all.

Mrs Hudson had also graciously given them a assortment of biscuits and foodstuff from her kitchen for later testing. She wished them a nice day out.

Outside they hailed a cab, and John handed a written note of their destination to the driver.

"Bachelor party," he said to the cabbie's questioning look.

They had agreed that it was the best, and shortest, explanation to keep any nosy people away.

"Hampstead Heath," murmured Sherlock after a few minutes and turns of the car.

John smirked, he should have known that it was impossible to fool Sherlock, at least within the London area. He didn't confirm anything, but it was clear by the smirk on his face that Sherlock knew John was impressed with him.

He made a note of Sherlock's deduction on his phone, knowing that the sound of a pen scratching against a paper would make Sherlock react. The mobile made a click as John turned it off, Sherlock's smile widened slightly.

To entertain themselves for the rest of the ride John gave Sherlock different things from his pockets to feel and identify. Several coins, a button, different keys, a cap for a syringe, a pack of tissues, and a empty 8mm cartridge from a crime scene where he had used his gun without permission. Sherlock got them all right.

Sherlock could even tell the difference between banknotes. John checked the blindfold after that, it was on good, and Sherlock had his eyes closed.

"They make notes slightly different on purpose," explained Sherlock. "To aid the blind and sight-impaired. Blind people mostly fold their notes in different ways to save time, though."

When they arrived at Hampstead Heath, John immediately led Sherlock to the children's petting zoo. It was still quite early, about half passed ten, so there wasn't too many children around.

The keepers just smiled at them, the bachelor party story was working. Though what kind of party two grown men in a petting zoo could have was beyond John's imagination.

John lifted a small lamb off the ground and placed it in Sherlock's arms. The detective looked stumped for a moment, John took a picture with his phone. Then the lamb started sucking on Sherlock's fingers.

"Domestic sheep, Ovis Aries, male, Cheviot breed, quite common. Judging by the teeth approximately five weeks old."

"That's amazing," said John. "I would have given you a point if you had just said 'lamb' though."

"Are we playing for points?" asked Sherlock, gently putting down the small animal on the ground. "What do I get if I win?"

John watched as the lamb scampered away to its mother.

"I will get you a appropriate reward," chuckled John and placed a kid goat in Sherlock's arms.

"Ah," Sherlock patted the kid as it bleated. "Capra Aegagrus Hircus"

"Now you are just showing off," John took another picture with his phone.

"You are not sending any of those to Lestrade or Mycroft, are you?" Sherlock put the kid down, it affectionally nuzzled his leg.

"Private collection," said John, taking Sherlock's hand. "Let's touch some other animals."

"Homo Sapiens," said Sherlock squeezing his hand. "Fine specimen, though a little callused."

"I think that is the nicest thing you ever said to me," John laughed.

He took Sherlock around the small zoo, letting him pet the different farmyard animals living there. Once John thought he had Sherlock stumped when the man was about to call a duckling a gosling, but Sherlock had changed his statement at the last moment.

"It was the smell," explained Sherlock with an indignant huff. "They swim in the same pond."

"Let's go and sit down on the grass," smiled John . "I'll buy us something to drink in the shop and we can go through the things Mrs. Hudson gave us."

He helped Sherlock to sit down on a good spot on the grass, placing the bag of food next to him, and hurried over to the shop.

"How's the groom doing?" asked the lady at the checker. "You keeping him good and busy?"

"Yes," John payed for the four different cartons of fruit juice. "A best man's job is never done."

How true that sentence seed to sound with John. Sherlock had many times in the past called John his 'best man'. The thought of it made John smile.

"Are they having the wedding here?" She continued asking. "Many do, you know."

"Maybe next time," John gave her a polite smile and gathered his juice packages.

When John returned to Sherlock the man had removed his blindfold. He was sitting still, letting the sun shine in his face.

"Careful," John sat down next to him on the grass. "Too much sun will hurt that delicate skin of yours."

"I'm not a vampire, John."

"You could have fooled me," he lined up the juices next to him. "Do you still want to do a blind test on the food?"

"Yes," Sherlock held up the blindfold to John, asking him to help. "We must test each one twice. Once with me holding my nose, and once without. Make good notes. We can so a spreadsheet together later."

"How fun."

John got to his knees so he could reach around Sherlock better. Sherlock leaned forward, inhaling deeply as John moved closer.

"What was that?" John felt a little flushed as he tied the knot behind Sherlock's head..

"Reference," Sherlock inhaled next to John's neck again. "If you try to contaminate the samples.

"I'm hardly going to rub the food on my neck."

John's mind gallantly sufficed with an image of this. He had to shake away the surprisingly arousing thought of Sherlock licking smeared food of his skin. By the smile Sherlock was making, a similar thought was taking place in Sherlock's mind. John was glad their eyes couldn't meet.

He cleared his throat and turned quickly to their bag to take out the food. Mrs Hudson had packed everything in separate Tupperware, knowing Sherlock's dislike of contamination. John choose a cheese-cube.

"An easy one first," he said. "Open up."

Sherlock held his nose and opened his mouth. John placed the piece of cheddar on his tongue.

He was immediately regretting this game when Sherlock's lips circled his forefinger.

"Sherlock!" John said not sounding like a flushed maiden.

"Too slow, John" chewed Sherlock. "Consistence is cheese, without smell I can't say which one. But based on Mrs Hudson's preferences and the sandwich she forced upon me yesterday, it's cheddar, 28 percent."

His voice sounded funny.

"No fair," laughed John. "If you tasted it yesterday, it doesn't count."

"Did you just make up new rules?" Sherlock let go of his nose, swallowed, and smirked.

They tried some more food, including a piece of pancake, a chocolate biscuit, a meatball, and sips of the different juices.

Sherlock mixed up the strawberry and the apple juice, he wasn't happy about that.

"If it helps," said John reading the list of ingredients. "The strawberry juice is just apple juice with strawberry taste."

"It doesn't," pouted Sherlock taking off his blindfold. "It's all the sugar and preservatives they put in those things. It isn't healthy."

"I know," smiled John.

"We should start eating healthier."

"I tried to order from that vegan place three days ago," John shook his head while absently arranging the small juice cartons by colour. "You refused."

"I don't like beans," Sherlock looked away.

"I know you don't," smirked John. "Do you want to taste more?"

"Let's take a break and just eat what we got. Like a picnic."

"I thought we where eating healthier."

"I have to make research and a chart over it first."

"Of course you do," John popped a meatball in his mouth and chewed. "It's a nice day for a picnic. We should get out more."

"We go out all the time."

"Name one time the last month you have been outside the door that didn't have to do with a dead body."

Sherlock drank the strawberry juice contemplatingly. John didn't look at the small white plastic straw and the curved lips surrounding it.

"That kidnapped broker survived," said Sherlock proudly.

"Yes," sighed John, he had set himself up for that one. "But you still have his cut off pinky toe in the freezer. You should give that back to Scotland Yard."

"Can't," Sherlock tasted the apple juice and then the strawberry again. "Melted it."

"You melted a toe?"

"Quite a satisfying experiment."

John shook his head and giggled. He then sighed and looked out over the field to some schoolchildren playing in the grass.

"Do you want the blindfold back on when we go home?"

"Are we leaving?" Sherlock looked a but disappointed.

"Not unless you want to," John smiled. "There are still a few things you can taste."

"Why don't we do it the other way around?" Sherlock suggested. "You wear the blindfold."

"I won't be any good."

"I don't care. I just want to play. You don't need to hold your nose."

"Fine," sighed John and leaned forward.

Sherlock took up the tie and tied it around John's eyes. John felt a bit nervous, and exposed.

"Open your mouth," said Sherlock's smooth voice.

John carefully held his mouth open as Sherlock placed something on his tongue. A fingertip touched John's lower lip briefly.

"Soft," said John am chewed. "Sweet. Is it the bun?"

"Good," Sherlock put a straw to John's mouth. "Next."

"Grape."

"You got that fast."

"I like grape," John shrugged.

Sherlock let John taste a few more things, never not touching his lips. John felt slightly embarrassed and strangely happy at the same time. He got most of the tastes on the first try, but that was just because he knew what they brought with them. Sherlock pointed this out. John chuckled.

"Open up," said Sherlock. "One last thing."

John opened his mouth and reached out his tongue slightly to receive what ever tidbit Sherlock had in store for him. He suspected that it would be the cheese or the apple drink since those were the only things he haven't tasted yet.

He was slightly surprised that it was neither.

First it felt like a finger, but is was too soft and moist. It tasted sweet, a bit fruity like one of the juices. Then, before he had time to register the chock of it all, it slid tentatively over his tongue inside his mouth and was followed by a hesitant soft pressure on his lips.

It was over in a second. John licked his lips and smacked his tongue. He took a breath and removed the blindfold.

Sherlock was looking at him. There was a mixture of worry and anticipation on the detective's face as their eyes met. John blinked a few times, mostly because of the light that stung his eyes. Sherlock looked down at his hands.

"I-" John licked his lips again. "I don't know that one. Would you mind letting me try it one more time?"

Sherlock looked up in surprise.

"Are you sure?"

"You must let me have a second try," John had trouble hiding his smile.

Sherlock hesitated only for a moment before leaning forward to place a kiss on John's mouth. John reciprocated it with enthusiasm. They were slightly out of breath as they parted a few moments later.

John laughed.

"'Labium oris' I believe is the medical term for lips. See, you're not the only one that knows fancy Latin names."

"Actually that translates to 'lips of the mouth'."

"Know-it-all."

"John?" Sherlock bit his lower lip.

"Yes?"

John boldly reached out at took Sherlock's hand in his. Sherlock gave half a smile.

"Was that good?"

"It was great," John laughed again. "I like this game. We should do it more often."

They kissed again, this time softly, both smiling.

They broke apart as a group of giggling children ran passed them, their teacher giving them a slightly disapproving smile.

"Do you want to go home?" asked John. "We can continue playing there if you want?""

"No," Sherlock stretched his arms, letting one seemingly casually fall over John's shoulders in a smooth gesture. "Let's stay here in the sun for a while."

"Who are you and what have you done with Sherlock?" John leaned effortlessly against the other man. "Don't you want to do a little research? Make some spreadsheets?"

"I can do some of that here," Sherlock took out his mobile. "And we need to clean out those containers so we can take some samples of animal droppings with us home."

John laughed and shook his head. He settled in to enjoy the moment and look at the erotic pictures that Sherlock conjured up on his phone.

This was turning out to be a very good day.

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