I always loved the friendship between Marcus and Joan, and in the past few seasons, I really wanted it to develop into something more. So I wrote a sort of pre-relationship story, based after 6x01. Hope you guys enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, and the title comes from I Got You by Leona Lewis.
After finding out what had been messing with Sherlock Holmes' head for the past few weeks, Joan Watson hadn't been able to sleep. It had been a relief to find out that there was actually a reason behind his more-than-usual erratic behavior, and that he wasn't just becoming more of an asshole as time went by, but the actual reason itself wasn't a relief. She knew that he was seeking the best help possible and she knew that this was something that would heal with time, it was something that Sherlock had such high expectations of himself and especially of his brain, and he wouldn't accept these setbacks easily.
She had praised him for taking it so well, but she knew that it wasn't going to be long before he snapped and something bad was going to happen. She was going to look into this independently—not that she didn't trust his doctor, but she knew Sherlock better than this doctor, and she knew that he was going to push himself to point of breaking, over and over again, so she needed to know what she could do to help him.
Right now, though, it was nearly two thirty in the morning, and she had been lying in bed for over an hour and sleep wasn't coming. She had been twisting and turning and now, she had decided that she needed to get out of the brownstone. She picked up her phone from where it was charging next to her bed, and scrolled through her contacts. She scrolled right through her contacts the first time, and then the second time through, she paused over the name Marcus Bell.
Things were good between her and Marcus.
They had a steady partnership through work and they also had a good friendship. They trusted each other and she enjoyed spending time with him, both when they were on the clock and also in their free time.
She had to admit to herself that there were some more feelings that had been building over the years that they had known each other. She had never done anything about them, because she was a firm believer that personal relationships should be separate from working ones. But then even she could admit that the relationship she had with Marcus and with the Captain was far more than just a working one, because they had been through so much together.
And the way she felt about Marcus was that...She liked him.
It sounded like such a teenage thing to say, but it was true.
She didn't love him—not in that way—and so saying that she liked him was the closest thing that she could say. She knew, though, that she had the potential to love him, if anything happened between them.
Maybe that was why she made sure to keep her distance, make sure she didn't let her feelings show—support him and his other relationships, such as with Chantal Milner, whole-heartedly.
But right now, that was who she wanted to be with.
Joan pressed down on his contact name and lifted her phone slowly to her ear. She heard it ringing, and it kept on ringing, and she immediately felt bad, because if Marcus wasn't answering, then that meant he was asleep, and she knew that their hours were crazy and if he was actually managing to sleep through a night, then she should let him be. Just as she was about to end the call, he picked up.
"Joan?" His voice sounded a little rough from sleep and Joan winced.
"God, did I wake you up?" She asked, and then rolled her eyes, because that was a stupid question. "Sorry, I just—"
"Joan," Marcus repeated, a bit firmer this time. "Don't apologize. What's wrong?" Joan swallowed hard, feeling that lump in her throat. When he sounded like this; concerned, worried—it just made her feel even more for him. She rolled her neck and shoulders before answering.
"It's Sherlock," she told him honestly.
"What's going on? Is he okay? Is something wrong? Do you need me to call the Captain?" Marcus sounded like he was moving now, probably getting out of bed, already in cop mode.
"No, no," Joan quickly continued. "Not like that." She really wasn't being very clear about all this. But she wasn't going to tell him what was actually going on with Sherlock, she wouldn't betray him like that, but that didn't mean she couldn't look for comfort. "He's...I just need to get out of the brownstone for a bit, okay? I was hoping you could meet me? We could go get really early breakfast...Or a really late dinner?" Food was usually the way to a mans heart, especially when it came to Marcus, so she was hoping that would be enough to persuade him.
"Yeah, of course," Marcus replied without missing a beat. "I'll be by to pick you up in about fifteen minutes, okay?"
"Thank you," Joan said before they disconnected the call. She turned on the beside lamp and glanced around her bedroom. Usually when she was getting up at this time of the night, it was because of a case, and she would be getting up for the day, so she would dress accordingly. But this was just a late night meet up with a friend. She got up and went to her set of drawers, pulling on a simple pair of blue-wash jeans and then took a dark button down shirt out of her wardrobe. She slipped into a long a jacket and a pair of shoes and then headed downstairs. She made sure she was quiet, so that if Sherlock was asleep, she didn't wake him up, although if he was awake, then she would get a few questions about where she was disappearing in the middle of the night.
Marcus pulled up exactly on the fifteen minute mark and Joan got into his car. She expected him to pull away from the curb straight away, but he didn't. He turned in his seat and looked across at her, bracing his arm against the side of her seats headrest.
"Are you okay?" He asked softly, and Joan felt the lump in her throat again. She tried to clear it subtly, although with Marcus' sharp gaze on her, nothing was getting past him. Marcus' eyes flickered over her, and then his hand shifted, fingers delicately touching a few strands of her hair, the ones that had escaped the messy plait that she had tamed her hair into when she was coming down the stairs. "I know you and Sherlock...I know you two are close. I know that there are some things that you can't and won't tell me, and I respect that. But just..." he swallowed again and let out a breath through her nose as his hand moved again, this time brushing the back of his fingers against the smooth curve of her jawline. The intense way that he was looking at her made her chest feel tight. "Just know that I'm here for you, okay? I've got you. Whatever you need—even if it's a midnight run for some day-old food, disgusting instant coffee and some bad conversation." Joan couldn't help but let out a short laugh at that and Marcus' mouth twitched in a smile.
"Thank you," she murmured and Marcus nodded. The warmth of his skin against her face made her shiver and after another moment, he moved his hand back to the steering wheel.
"So...You want to try that diner just around the corner from the precinct? I've been there for a midnight dinner with the Captain before, and it wasn't completely horrific," he suggested and Joan nodded. He gave her a small, comforting smile before looking back through the front window of the car and pulling back onto the road. Joan felt content to lean back in the seat and let them drive in silence.
She wasn't going to make any move tonight or tell him anything, because this was all she needed right here. Their friendship and knowing that he was there for her.
Let me know what you thought x