They look… happy.
I lean against the doorframe on the far side of the room, breathing silently.
John and Mary lay on the bed, limbs tangled in a reflection of post-coital bliss. John's jacket and trousers are strewn haphazardly about the floor. Mary's dress, by contrast, is hung over the back of the closet door, meticulously free of wrinkles.
Another wave of emotion hits me, and I try to force it back down. What is this? Jealousy?
No. I dismiss the thought. I can't possibly be jealous.
John is happy. That's all I ever really wanted.
I take another swig of brandy – where did that bottle come from? – and run a hand through my disheveled hair. A quick glance at the clock on the bedside table tells me it is nearly six. John will be waking soon. Still, I cannot summon the energy to leave.
This was supposed to be mine.
The thought comes to my mind entirely unbidden, and I am awed by its sheer force.
This. This night. This bed. This happiness.
It was all meant for me.
And I lost it.
I quickly put a hand to my mouth to stifle a sob. Christ in heaven, I am a mess. I should leave, I know. My body disobeys my minds' commands, however. Part of me is too drunk to care.
Part of me, it seems, actually encourages this detrimental behavior. I gulp down another mouthful of brandy before staggering closer to the bed, my body moving almost of its own accord.
John shifts in his sleep. Mary, an impressively heavy sleeper, does not stir. As gently as I can, I place a hand on John's shoulder.
"John," I slur. "My John."
This is a mistake.
In less than a second, John has woken, registered the presence of an intruder, and trapped me in an arm lock. It hurts. I make no move to resist.
"John," I murmur once more.
"Sherlock?" he asks after a moment or two, coming to full wakefulness. Gradually, he releases his hold on me. I sink to the floor, aiming to retrieve the brandy bottle, which has fallen from my hand.
John watches my actions with some small confusion.
"Jesus, Sherlock, are- are you drunk?"
After a try or two, I give up on grabbing the bottle. Most of it is spilt anyhow.
"Yes," I respond simply.
"How did you- no, I don't want to know how you got in." He stares at me, then glances at his wife, and comes to a decision. "Come on. Let's talk outside."
John carefully pushes himself out of bed. "So we don't wake Mary, you idiot."
John is naked. I take this fact in, more slowly than I would generally. Of course he is naked. John and Mary had consummated their vows. Of course he would be naked. Why wouldn't John be naked?
Still, I cannot seem to divert my attention from his genitals.
John rolls his eyes, too tired to fight for privacy.
"Give me a minute." He rummages around the floor, eventually finding his suit trousers. He pulls them on unceremoniously before turning back to me. "Up you get, Holmes," he says gently.
I realize that I am, in fact, on the floor. When did I descend to the floor?
Before I can correct my position, John is behind me. His hands are warm under my armpits as he lifts me to standing. He guides me back through the doorway.
"Joh… nh," I state with a hiccup.
I am hideously, hatefully drunk.
The small part of my brain that still seems to be functioning notes this fact, and begins to pray. I hope against hope that John will forgive me.
He leans me against the wall, where I find purchase enough to remain upright.
"Now," he says, a bit louder now that we are in the relative safety of the hallway. "What are you doing in our honeymoon suite?"
That's an easy one. "Watching you," I answer.
His eyes grow wide in something akin to terror.
"You've been… watching?"
"Even the bit with the handcuffs?"
My brow furrows in confusion. "What? No. Wait. You were having sex," I whisper conspiratorially.
John gives me a look.
"No shit, Sherlock."
I giggle, then choke back a sob. We can't giggle at a crime scene. Who said that?
"Sherlock, answer me. Did you watch Mary and I have sex?"
"No." I hear myself draw out the single syllable.
"Are you sure?"
I'm fairly sure that I answer in the affirmative.
John rolls his eyes at me, relaxing somewhat. "So… what? You snuck in, after we had sex?"
"Yes. Ex… excellent deduction, John. You're… learning."
I look up at him. The hallway is swimming around his face. His eyes anchor me where I stand.
"Wanted… to watch you sleep."
"You wanted to watch me sleep."
"Yes… sentimen', I'm sorry, John." I'm trying to apologize. Yes. Very good. Normal people apologize when they break into their best friend's honeymoon suite.
John's gaze softens.
And there are those feelings again. I chase them lazily around my mind palace, trying to identify them. They aren't good feelings. I look into John's eyes for some time. Maybe if I look at him long enough, he'll forget he asked me a question.
My mouth opens, and I want to tell him it's for an experiment I am conducting on the connection between sexual satisfaction and the national divorce rate. I want to tell him it's because there's another criminal out there, waiting to harm him and his new family.
Neither of those things come out of my mouth.
What comes out of my mouth is a single word.
Even to my ears, it sounds pathetic.
"Sorry?" he offers after a pause.
"No," I tell him resolutely. "You're happy. That… makes me happy."
His eyes scrutinize my face. "Does it really?"
I hold firm for half a second.
Yes, I tell my voice to say.
Damn it all. I make a vow to never let myself drink again.
"What's wrong? And no beating around the bush."
I open my mouth once more, this time to tell him everything. I'm ready. I'm going to tell him I love him, that he means the world to me. That I'm not sure I'll survive the week without him by my side.
This is not what comes out of my mouth.
What comes out of my mouth is, "Mycroft?"
For indeed, my older brother had appeared from the shadows.
"Sherlock," Mycroft said with a shade of disapproval. "John."
John spins around faster than I had thought possible.
"Mycroft?" he asks. "When did you get here? Is the entirety of the British law enforcement system out to interrupt my wedding night?" he asks. I cannot tell if it is meant to be sarcastic.
"Not me," I mumble. Without John's hand on my shoulder, I begin to slowly slide down the wall.
"I do apologize, Doctor Watson," Mycroft says. He sounds sincere. "I am merely here to escort my inebriated younger brother home."
"No," I complain, sliding down another few centimeters. My left hand grazes the carpet.
"Do try to hold yourself with some dignity, Sherlock," Mycroft says in a low voice, striding toward me. In one fluid move, he has lifted me up once more. His arm remains locked tightly about my shoulders. I try to bite him, and miss.
"You should return to your wife, Doctor Watson," Mycroft says, still apologetic. "Sherlock will not bother you again."
"John," I say.
"Hush," Mycroft admonishes me. I put my tongue out at him.
"Thank you, Mycroft," John says quietly. He looks at me worriedly. "Just… watch out for him, will you?"
"I always do," Mycroft says lightly.
"Good," John nods. "Good." He gives my shoulder a gentle squeeze. "I'm sorry, Sherlock."
I close my eyes, not saying anything.
"Try to get some rest, yeah?"
And without another word, John is gone, and the only thing keeping me from taking a chunk out of the carpet with my face is Mycroft's grip on me.
"No," I whine, pathetic even to my own ears.
"It's time to go," my brother says gently. Patiently.
"John will be fine."
"But I didn't. I didn't tell him."
Mycroft's face morphs into one of pity. "Sentiment, brother dear."
Mycroft sighs, and takes his handkerchief from his jacket pocket. He wipes my face delicately. I frown and touch a hand to my own cheek, astonished when my fingertips come away wet.
"'M crying," I say, hardly able to believe it.
"Yes, you are."
"Why'm I crying?"
"Because you flew too close to the sun, Bird. Your wings have melted."
"Oh. That's sad."
Mycroft begins guiding me toward the door at the far end of the hall, his hands warm against the sharp curves of my shoulder blades.
"Yes. Yes, it is." He goes slowly, patient as I stumble along beside him. "Come along. We'll get you home."