A/N: Hi everyone! THANK YOU for waiting for patiently for this last chapter to arrive - I have struggled with this chapter like I would an over-amorous octopus, so forgive me if its not up to the usual standard (er, if I have one that is :p). I hope you enjoy it nonetheless and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR REVIEWING SO FAR. I LOVE YOU ALL AND WANT YOUR BABIES.
And so, without further ado…
And One Time Watson Visited Holmes…
Bang bang bang.
Noise. There was noise.
Bang bang bang.
Noise close to him.
Bang bang bang.
Holmes opened his eyes.
His cheek was pressed stickily to the cluttered, wooden floor of Baker Street, plastered to the spot where he had finally collapsed after four days without sleep. The faint scents of his room - chemicals, rotting debris - filled his nose, awakened the rest of his senses. It was dark, so that meant it was still night time - the fire was out, so perhaps early morning instead - and there…there was something was thumping very close to his ear…
With some difficulty, he twisted and rolled his head around on the floor to the source of the noise. The jerking movement of Watson's cane tapping hard on the floor just by his ear met his rather bleary sight. He followed this convenient line of sight up to Watson's face, which was peering at him over the top of the cane. Behind him the clock struck a cheery three o'clock in the morning.
"Hello Holmes," he said, and smirked.
Holmes opened his mouth, but it was as dry and arid as sandpaper (and tasted disgusting - what had he been drinking?) and he had to swallow hard several times before he could muster words onto his tongue.
"Wa'son? What're you doing here?"
"Getting revenge on you," answered Watson, and stretched a hand down for Holmes to take. Holmes did so, struggling to his feet with some awkwardness, his legs feeling numb and alien, pricking him all over with pins and needles. He tried to beat some feeling in them, while Watson moved over to the hat stand and removed his coat, as casually as if he had never left.
"Imagine my surprise," he said conversationally, "When I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night, quite unable to understand why." He glanced back sardonically at Holmes. "What do you think caused that, now?"
Holmes was suddenly very involved in waking his legs up, and avoided Watson's gaze.
"I did mean to stay away tonight…" he protested eventually.
"Mmmhmm. Unfortunately, your previous visitations have successfully managed to disturb my sleep pattern to such an extent that I knew I wouldn't be able to rest until - "
Watson cut himself off quickly, and busied himself with putting his coat and hat on the rack. Holmes hesitated, thinking about saying something, then decided against it and instead collapsed with his usual natural grace onto the sofa, still rubbing his slowly awakening legs.
A not-quite companionable silence fell between the two men, broken only by the ticking of the clock. Holmes yawned and stretched himself out on the sofa, drowsy but determined not to sleep now that Watson was finally here to entertain him. He wriggled into the sofa, to give Watson a space to sit down, but Watson seemed unable to take the hint; he was wandering around the room, inspecting random objects he must have seen thousands of times before with a sudden devote dedication.
Strange, Holmes thought, observing Watson's actions under his hair. He was touching each item as if it were a long lost friend whom he had not seen for many years, not the few months that it had, in actuality, been. His fingers touched on foreign objects, boxes, pens, brushed along the spines of well worn books, caressed papers and files. He spent a long time inspecting Holmes's Persian slipper full of tobacco. He spent longer on Holmes's violin, running his fingers up and down the strings and the wood, plucking and stroking each note carefully, his face in a sad twist of a smile.
And then quite suddenly he stopped, and turned on his heel, and sat heavily down beside Holmes on the sofa, with none of Holmes's grace. After another moment, he flopped himself down properly, and they both stared up at the high (and rather unnervingly stained) ceiling, both for once quite lost for words, beyond even the usual bickering.
And then Watson spoke, in a careless, offhand and ultimately tragic way.
"What have you done to me, Holmes?"
Holmes frowned at the ceiling.
"Me? All I did was visit you once or twice - "
" - or five times - "
"Or - well, yes, all right, but - "
"You have driven me quite insane."
"It was only an hour each time!"
"Not the visits." Watson turned his head to look at Holmes, who returned his gaze blankly.
"I - I'm not - "
"Holmes. You have driven me insane. Even without your little night time visits. It seems I…it seems that you…" Watson coughed and looked away, suddenly inspecting his hands with intense curiosity. Holmes waited, content with watching Watson's hands, careful and steady, as every doctor's should be, turn and twist in the dark amber light of the room.
"It seems that I am no longer able to live a normal life," Watson said finally, gruffly. "I find myself perusing the newspaper every morning for crimes. I spend my days in my practice with one ear open, listening for explosions or shouts and yells to come from next door. When I do have the night to myself, I find myself waking up, straining my ears for the sound of your damned violin. I examine all the neighbours when they come round, trying to deduce what they have been doing, and not listening to a word they say. I have dreams, Holmes, dreams of apprehending criminals. I have been driven insane. And it is all your fault."
Holmes paused, staring at Watson's hands and at the ceiling beyond, half of his mind counting each stain and trying to remember exactly just how each had occurred. He was not a man who apologised. For anything. Ever. And saying 'I told you so' would be…ungentlemanly.
After a long enough hesitation, Watson dropped his hands onto his chest and let out a deep sigh.
"I should go home."
He was off the sofa and picking his hat off the stand when Holmes heard himself say, "Wait."
Watson paused, then hated himself for doing so. He turned on his heel, to where Holmes was now half sitting, propped up on his elbows, his eyes fixed on Watson.
"I shouldn't have done it," Watson said.
Holmes frowned, a dark crease between his eyebrows.
"Married - ?"
"No, no, I mean…I mean married is fine. Great," Watson said quickly. "Perfect. I mean - I just meant - perhaps I didn't need to stop helping you on cases as well."
He looked quickly down at his cane, clearing his throat. Holmes stared at him.
"Are you saying - ?"
"Would you consider - ?"
"You would really - ?"
"Yes…if you wanted me to." Watson stared up nervously at Holmes, who was still looking at him as if he had just dropped through the roof. "W - would you want me to?"
Holmes's mouth twitched into a small, smug smile, and his eyes suddenly took on a mischievous nature.
Watson pointed his cane at him, suddenly furious.
"Don't," he said. "I won't beg and I won't ask again. I won't." The dark glare in his eyes told Holmes he was deadly serious, and Holmes dropped it.
"It hasn't been quite the same without you, dear boy," he said quietly instead.
Watson thought about the night time visits, and about the drugged Holmes protesting that Watson would never leave him. He was half convinced that Holmes had done it all to drive him just as insane as he had become. Perhaps it had been Holmes's rather unsubtle way of reminding him what he was missing. Or perhaps it had merely been Holmes missing him.
He glanced over to where Holmes was now back to lying on the sofa and staring up at the ceiling. And then looked back down at his hat and sighed.
Holmes had his eyes closed when he felt Watson settle back down beside him on the sofa, but opened them immediately and flashed him a triumphant grin.
"I thought you were going home."
Watson closed his eyes, rolled onto his side and squirmed closer to Holmes, resting his forehead very lightly against Holmes's shoulder.
"I am home," he whispered.
After a moment, he opened his eyes again and snapped,
"Holmes. Stop smiling."
"Sorry," Holmes replied instantly, sounding a little muffled, but when Watson raised his head a little to look at him, he was met with only an impassive expression.
He lowered his head back onto Holmes's ridiculously comfortable shoulder, safe in the knowledge that Holmes had probably started grinning again when he did so.
Four o'clock chimed. Neither men cared. Time didn't matter anymore.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and this fic overall, if you did enjoy it, don't hesitate to read some of my other stuff (shameless plug, I know :p). Thank you for reading! :)