Beta: I want to thank my two wonderful betas: swissmarg and yalublyutebya. Your help was invaluable; I truly appreciate it.
Pairing: Sherlock/John as kids.
Word count: 1305
Summary: Five year old Sherlock and his best friend, John Watson, discover that when kissing is involved, experimenting is the best way to learn.
Thanks to eosecho, there is now a Chinese translation. You can read it here (username is 'anonymous' and password is 'sherlocked'.
Sherlock and John were sprawled out on the ground. Beside them lay the small branches that, a few minutes ago, had still been gleaming swords in the small boys’ minds. Their eyes still shone with the mirth caused by a full afternoon pretending to be cowboys, policemen, or pirates. From their hiding spot in Sherlock’s huge backyard, they could see the sun slowly descending; soon, Mrs Holmes would come looking for them, and John would return home. It was Sherlock’s least favourite moment of the day.
Sherlock rolled onto his side, his unruly curls falling onto his forehead as he did so. He looked at his friend with wide, curious eyes and a timid smile. There was something he wanted to ask before John left, something he had wanted to ask all afternoon, but he hadn’t managed to gather up the courage. However, if he didn’t do it now, he would have to wait two whole days to see John again, and that was way too long.
“Did you ask Harry?” he asked, and John stopped gazing at the sky to look at him.
“Yeah,” he answered, his face turning bright red under his light blonde hair. “Did you ask Mycroft?”
“Yes,” Sherlock answered, scrunching his nose in disgust as he did so.
John’s eyes widened slightly, and he shuffled closer to Sherlock. When he spoke again, his voice had adopted the soft, breathless tone reserved for secrets.
“What did he say?” he whispered.
“He said that kissing is stupid and disgusting. That it’s just for animals,” Sherlock answered, and John let out a small giggle.
“Yes, he says that kissing is like an animal chewing up food and regurgitating it into its baby’s mouth.”
“Eeeew,” John exclaimed.
The day before, they had re-enacted fairy tales at John’s request. John was terribly fond of stories in which good triumphed over evil, and sometimes, when John seemed a little sad or when Harry had been mean to him, Sherlock indulged him and agreed to be the damsel in distress to his valorous, fearless knight. Sherlock had been not quite motionless for fifteen minutes when John had rescued him, and in an attempt to reverse an evil witch’s spell, he had bent down and kissed the empty space beside Sherlock’s cheek.
Sherlock had sat upright, his forehead almost colliding with John’s, and he had asked if kisses really had magical, curative properties. John had frowned, his face scrunched up in concentration, and after several moments, he had finally admitted that he had no idea. A long discussion on kissing had followed, in hushed voices of course; the subject warranted it. Feeling bold, Sherlock had dared John to kiss him, but John had refused, claiming that kisses were for adults only. An epic battle of ‘Are not! Are too!’ had followed, and the two boys had agreed to ask their older siblings about kissing; they were old enough to have gathered some knowledge on the subject, but too young to ground them.
“What did Harry say?” Sherlock asked.
He would never have admitted it aloud, but he was nervous. All this talk about kissing had made his heart beat just a little bit faster, and he had been slightly disheartened when John had refused to kiss him the day before. He wasn’t sure if he wanted John to actually kiss him, he didn’t know if he wanted to kiss John, but he didn’t want John to not want to kiss him. If that even made sense.
“She said that people kiss when they love each other very much. She didn’t say anything about chewed up food,” John answered.
Sherlock frowned, annoyed by the disparity between the two answers they had received. On the one hand, Mycroft was much smarter than Harriet Watson, but on the other hand, Sherlock liked her answer better. There was only one sensible thing to do in a situation like this.
“What do you think?” he asked John.
John was a year older, and although he couldn’t solve mathematical equations as fast as Sherlock could, he still knew a lot of things, and from the moment they had met, Sherlock had valued John’s opinion.
“My parents kiss sometimes. They’re not eating when they do it, so I’m sure they’re not sharing food.”
“Maybe they keep food in their cheeks, like hamsters,” Sherlock said.
John’s clear laugh echoed around them, and Sherlock joined him a few seconds later. For a while, nothing mattered but their shared laughter, and it took a while before they could finally settle down. When they did, they were facing each other, their foreheads almost touching.
“Will you kiss me now?” Sherlock asked in a small voice.
“I don’t think it’s allowed,” John whispered.
“Harry said that boys can only kiss girls.”
“Why?” Sherlock asked, genuinely curious.
“I don’t know.”
“Then it’s stupid. Do you love me very much?” Sherlock asked.
John nodded enthusiastically, and the apprehension that had started swelling up inside Sherlock’s chest disappeared.
“Well, if you love me very much, and if I love you very much, I think we should kiss. We won’t tell anyone; it will be a secret, just like our other secrets.”
When John smiled, Sherlock smiled back, and their hands found each other between their bodies.
“Okay,” John said after a while, “I want to know what it feels like. But you can’t tell anyone, all right? If I’m grounded, my mum won’t let me come over.”
“I promise,” Sherlock solemnly said.
“Okay,” John repeated, betraying his nervousness. “How do we do it?”
“Our lips have to touch.”
John, always the bravest one, leaned forward until he could press his lips to Sherlock’s. It was brief, too brief for Sherlock to catalogue anything other than the suddenness of John’s move.
“I don’t think that counts,” he said, the hint of a pout on his small lips.
John nodded in agreement, and he leaned forward again, but slowly this time, slowly enough for Sherlock to observe everything. He saw John’s eyes, as blue as ever until he shut them, his eyelashes fluttering slightly against his smooth cheeks. He saw John pause as his tongue darted out very briefly to wet the small space between his lips, and then he couldn’t see anymore as his own eyes closed, even though he hadn’t meant to close them. Soon, John’s lips were on his again, immobile but still exerting pressure. They remained in that position for several seconds, fingers tightly entwined and eyes closed. For Sherlock, time seemed to slow down as he registered John’s soft hair tickling his forehead, the warmth and softness of John’s lips, the air against his cheek as John exhaled through his nose, John’s firm grip on his hands, and the violent beating of his own heart.
Too soon, he heard his mother calling out for them.
They jerked away from each other at once, but their eyes met and they shared a knowing smile. Although they weren’t touching anymore, Sherlock could still feel a tingle in his lips, and from the way John had brought two fingers up to his own lips, Sherlock suspected he could feel it too. In the background, Mrs Holmes called their names again. They both got up reluctantly, their fake swords long forgotten on the ground beside them.
“You won’t tell anyone, right?” John asked.
To emphasise his promise, Sherlock took John’s hand in his, and together they started walking toward the house. The kissing experiment had been an interesting one, definitely not as disgusting as Mycroft had made it out to be. If the opportunity ever arose, he would be willing to try again. Perhaps while playing princess and lying down, that way it would be just like a real fairy tale. But never to share food, that was just gross.
I love AUs in which Sherlock and John grew up together, and I would love to revisit that universe one day. If you have ideas or prompts, feel free to throw them my way. I can't promise anything, but I'm always looking for inspiration.