Totally forgot to upload my last two stories here. ^^"
This was an answer to Watson's Woes Challenge001 which was to finish one of two prompts. I used the AU-Prompt, which I used as the beginning of this story (until "find my fear ridiculous..." after that, that's me XD).
Hope you all like it! :)
I did not dare look at him or even move, and could only hope that he would not notice my reaction. If my secret were discovered, undoubtedly his face would sport the mocking half-smile he bestowed upon a cowardly client. And he would be right; a man such as he would find my fear ridiculous...
But as the men holding me bound my hands together I couldn't suppress the shiver running through my body.
I had to swallow hard as not to be sick right away.
"This will teach you a lesson, Mr. Holmes," Julius Dawnson said with a smug grin on his face standing in the doorway. "As soon as the paintings are on the carriages we will come back for you."
The men left the room, closed the door and I could hear the key in the hole.
Silence surrounded us.
It was not the first time that we were caught by criminals. But it was the first time that we couldn't overwhelm them. And that we were bound.
I repressed a new shudder.
"Are you hurt, Watson?" Holmes asked in the silence somewhere at my side.
For fear of exposing my anxiety I only shook my head and could hear him starting to move.
"The ropes aren't too tight, I should be able to loosen them."
Not tight? How could this not be tight?
My hands were going numb and I feared that they would fall off. Just the thought turned my stomach and I shut my eyes tightly.
Still I could feel how the rope stroked over my skin like a coiling reptile and in my imagination the rope moved and grew tighter.
My mouth went dry and my breath faltered.
I heard a voice but I could not recognize it. The whole room swam and I felt like being my own shadow as the room grew darker.
My heart thundered in my chest and I tried speaking, but no sound escaped me. Sweat poured down my forehead over my closed eyes and it rolled down my face like tears.
And I could still feel the rope around my hands…
Suddenly something bumped into my side and my eyes flew open.
I didn't notice that I had stopped breathing.
Surprised I turned my head and looked into Holmes' eyes, who was sitting beside me leaning on my shoulder and looking into my face.
"Watson?" He asked silently, but the anxiety returned and I wasn't able to answer.
I started to shake and I could see in his eyes that he was worried. Then a light flashed in his eyes and I knew that he knew.
He knew my secret, he knew how cowardly I was. How ridiculous I was. I lowered my eyes before I could see the smirk on his face.
The rope fondled my skin and I felt sick.
I could feel Holmes moving beside me and then I heard one of the most beautiful sounds in my life – the tearing of rope.
The next moment Holmes turned me around and loosed the rope.
My hands were free and finally I could breathe again. It felt like a stone was lifted from my chest.
Trying to control my breathing and shivering, rubbing my wrists I did not feel Holmes putting his arm around my shoulders.
"Easy now, Watson, the rope is gone."
He really did know. I closed my eyes, apprehension rising in my chest and again stealing my breath.
"We need to get going, my friend." Holmes said, rising and pulling me with him.
My legs were shaking, but he didn't say anything. He steered me to the door and looked for his hidden pin to unlock the door.
My whole body felt numb with the aftershock of being tied and the apprehension of him knowing my secret.
I did not care that I looked like a lost child. I felt like one.
I do not remember much after the ropes were loosened. Holmes led me the whole way and brought me back home.
When I was sitting in front of our fire in Baker Street he sent Mrs. Hudson out to inform the police. If they hurried they could still get Dawnson and the stolen paintings.
I didn't look up when the door opened again and I could hear Holmes' footsteps in the room.
I continued looking into the fire and relished in the feeling of my free hands.
A glass of brandy appeared in my line of vision.
Never to defy his orders I took the glass and drank. I noticed the glass trembled. My hands still trembled.
I looked to Holmes who sat in his chair beside me looking into the fire.
"Why what?" I asked confused and he drank his own drink.
"Why are you afraid of ropes and of being tied?"
Time stood still and my breath stuck in my throat.
He looked to me, but there was no mocking half-smile on his face or any scorn in his eyes.
Just compassion, understanding and deep down – love.
I could breathe again and the tenseness left my shoulders.
"When I was a lad I went with my brother and some of his friends into the woods where we were not allowed to play. We scampered around and for whatever reasons one had a rope with him. As I was the youngest it was me who was bound to the tree. They had no foully intentions, but they left trying to spite me. I had no fear knowing it was just a game.
But they did not return. They did not return and it grew dark. It was cold and I was alone. I could hear the animals in the distance and the wind rustled in the treetops over my head.
I could not loosen the rope. I grew desperate, tugged on it and it only tightened. For hours I sat bound to the tree with my hands going numb and only darkness surrounding me.
Eventually my father and my brother came for me in the night. The boys were caught by the adults as they wandered through the woods and when the boys said I was still inside and they had to get me the adults thought they were lying.
Only when I did not return my parents grew worried and let my brother lead them to me. I was cold, shaken, numb and hungry, but not injured.
But since then I am afraid of being tied. I know it's irrational and unnecessary and stupid, but I can't do anything against it. As soon as ropes are being tied around my wrists I panic."
I sighed not daring to look Holmes in the face.
"I am sorry. I was just a hindrance tonight. I am a coward and was no help for you. I am sorry." I said quietly.
The fire crackled and I heard Holmes setting down his glass.
"You are not a coward. And you will never be a hindrance, Doctor. Every human being has a weakness, everyone fears something in the world. Your anxiety is well-founded and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Humans can only feel courage if they are able to feel fear.
It is something I have the greatest respect for."
Astonished I watched him as he gave me an amused half-smile.
He jumped from his chair and ran to his room where I could hear him search through his drawers. After some minutes he returned with a small red ribbon and a triumphant smile on his face.
He kneeled in front of me and took one of my hands. As soon as I felt the ribbon on my skin I stiffened.
He looked up into my eyes and they were full of warmth and love.
"Trust me, my dear friend."
Swallowing I forced myself to relax and gently he bound the ribbon around my wrist.
And then he bound it around his own so our hands touched and he gave me a shy smile.
"Now you are bound to me."
The fear I used is called "merinthophobia" and is the phobia of being tied up, if any of you is interested to know. ;)