|So hold on tight
Author: renrenren3 PM
John is afraid of heights.Rated: Fiction K - English - Angst - John W. & Sherlock H. - Words: 975 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 2 - Published: 01-21-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7762549
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The case seems simple enough, at least for Sherlock. They arrived at the hotel scarcely fifteen minutes ago and he's already pissed off the manager, two maids, one grieving widow and everyone in the local police force. He seems in a great mood today, going through the rooms like a whirlwind, tossing piles of freshly-laundered towels in the air and getting on his knees to examine the carpet in the corridor. As for John, he has no idea how the body could have disappeared from the scene of the crime and wishes Sherlock would just give him a hint instead of making cryptic remarks and asking inane questions about the wallpaper.
Suddenly, Sherlock spins around. "It's obvious!" he exclaims. "John, the terrace." Then, because he's Sherlock Holmes and explaining himself is beneath him, he rushes off without bothering to clarify.
The hapless hotel manager looks at John, but John can only shrug. "I'm sorry, he's always like this," he says, apologetically, even though today Sherlock is being quite nice and hasn't outright insulted anyone yet.
Sherlock goes up the stairs to the terrace, and John follows Sherlock, and the policemen follow John, and the manager follows the policemen, and the widow follows the manager, until Sherlock turns around and says, "For God's sake, don't you have anything better to do? Go away, all your chattering is distracting." That (and the dismissive shooing motions) gets rid of the crowd.
John shakes his head. "I'd forgotten that you have a way with people," he says, following Sherlock through the glass door and on the terrace. It's quite nice, the whole roof is tiled with terracotta and there are plants and patio chairs, giving the place a Mediterranean look.
"I don't care about what other people think," Sherlock says in an undertone. He frowns and walks to the iron railing that surrounds the terrace, kneeling down to examine it. "Interesting," he says, tapping one of the bars with his fingers.
"What are you looking for?" John calls out to him. It's a very large roof, spacious and airy, if the weather wasn't so cold it would have been nice to sit in one of those chairs with a book.
"Come here and look at this," Sherlock replies without taking his eyes off the railing.
John sits down. "No, it's fine," he says. "You can pretend I couldn't see anything interesting and patronize me while you explain how this terrace is tied with our murder victim."
Sherlock turns around and John recognizes his trademark Everyone Is Stupid But Me face. "It wasn't a murder," he starts to say, and then frowns. "Are you all right?"
"Me? Yeah," John lies. "I'm all right. Why wouldn't I be?"
"Then why are you gripping the edges of your chair so hard?" Sherlock says.
It's true, John's knuckles are white and he didn't even notice that he was doing it. "It's nothing," he insists, but Sherlock is already getting back on his feet and looking at him critically. "It's only... I'm afraid of heights," he admits, looking down at the terracotta tiles. Really nice tiles too, think about the tiles, don't think about the empty space surrounding them, don't think about that.
"Heights?" Sherlock repeats. "Nonsense, you were never afraid of heights..." His voice trails off mid sentence. "Oh," he says, in a much lower tone.
John doesn't look at him. "Yes, I wasn't afraid of heights," he says. "Before."
There's a very long pause before Sherlock says, "I'm sorry."
"It's fine," John says, quickly, before Sherlock can say something even more stupid, like that he forgot, as if he could forget that he put John and everyone else through hell for the past year. "It's fine, you go investigate, I'll wait here. Don't fall off the roof," he adds. He was trying to make light of the situation, but it comes out as a bit desperate instead.
"John," Sherlock sighs. John doesn't move, so Sherlock takes his arm and drags him on his feet.
"What are you doing?" John exclaims. He's too surprised to oppose much resistance when Sherlock drags him across the terracotta tiles. However, when they get within a few feet of the railing, John jerks away with a shudder.
"Look down," Sherlock says. He's standing so close to the railing, so close to the edge of the roof, John can't bear to look at him.
"I can't," John says, looking up at the sky. It's going to rain soon.
"You can," Sherlock says. "John, it's just a roof." John sees movement on the corner of his eye and turns around abruptly, but Sherlock is just holding out one hand towards him. "I promise you," he says, "I'm not going to fall."
John hesitates for another moment, then takes a deep breath and takes Sherlock's hand. Funny that he always thought of Sherlock as ice cold, but his skin is warm. He'd almost forgotten. Sherlock gives him a small smile and John steps closer, clinging to the iron railing with the other hand. He can't quite bring himself to look down at the pavement yet.
"Still afraid of heights?" Sherlock asks.
"I'm working on it," John replies. 'It' is a lot bigger than just fear of heights, 'it' is months of therapy and grief counseling and trust issues and mourning your best friend who was only pretending to be dead all along. It's going to take more than one day 'it' go away, maybe 'it' can never go away completely, but holding on to Sherlock makes it feel better for a while.