The Case of the Unfaithful Governess
(A/N: Hello, everyone! This is a little story requested by the brilliant Lia Walker with a few additions of my own…X3 Anyway, I hope it's at least sort of what you wanted, dear!)
It had been quite a successful night for Sherlock Holmes, having apprehended the criminal and taken his congratulatory cigar from Lestrade which he was currently smoking as he made his way home. Home…It hadn't seemed much like home as of late; not since his dear, dear Boswell moved out a month ago to live with his new fiancée at Cavendish Place. He took a long drag before dropping the cigar to the ground and giving it an unnecessarily rough stomp.
He shoved his hands deep in his pockets as he turned the corner, feeling utterly sorry for himself and keenly looking forward to a drink or perhaps his 7 percent. That is until he heard a familiar voice; that of a Miss Mary Morstan. He looked up, hopeful that he might see Watson as well when he stopped short, staring wide eyed at the woman and a man that was definitely not Watson. This…Not Watson was walking her to a hansom from the door of his stately townhouse in the dead of the night where not a soul bore witness, save for Holmes; and with a cursory and inefficient glance around, Miss Morstan allowed Not Watson to kiss her on the lips.
Holmes stifled his startled gasp and Mary climbed into the cab with a self-satisfied grin plastered on her usually prudish face. Through his haze of shock and anger, Holmes remembered to get a good look at the address of Not Watson's house, having already committed the scoundrel's countenance to memory. He was tall, maybe a bit taller than Watson with exaggerated sideburns and dark brown hair which was slicked back against his head. The blackguard retreated back inside, closing the door behind him with a boastful smirk.
The detective remained there, standing stock still, his mind racing to fully comprehend what he had just witnessed. Mary Morstan, who had managed to snag such a man as Watson; such a charming, attractive and all around good man- was cheating…betraying him. And it made Holmes furious. For one crazed second, he thought of following the jezebel home and confronting her himself, letting her know that he knew and that he would let Watson know as well…but he couldn't. He didn't want to cause an uproar. He would simply and calmly tell Watson himself. After all, the doctor had arranged to meet him for drinks in their old rooms the following evening.
Watson and he had had such a nice time, sharing drinks and cigarettes and chatting just like old times. Holmes had missed that magic, that warmth that they shared; he wouldn't confess it aloud but it was truly the most wondrous feeling he had ever felt. That is why it hurt him so much to be the bearer of bad news. Yet at the same time, despite how hurt he knew Watson would be, Holmes couldn't entirely suppress the selfish feeling of happiness that he would have his Watson back.
Although, it did not stop his stomach from squirming uncomfortably when Watson rose to leave and he knew it was time to tell him. He followed his friend out of their sitting room and Watson was just about to descend the stairs when Holmes said, "Wait!"
Watson turned back around, one eyebrow raised in his usual fashion of mild surprise, "Yes?"
Holmes fidgeted on the spot, vaguely aware of his nervously flexing hands. "Watson…I…There's something you should know."
He waited, leaning on his cane, a look of expectation on his face. Holmes swallowed, uncharacteristically wary and he could see a line of concern crease Watson's brow.
"It's about Mary…"
The concern faded from Watson's features, replaced with dull annoyance of a subject long trod upon, "Holmes..." he said, a one word warning that the detective knew so well.
"Just listen, promise you'll hear me out," Holmes pleaded as he stealthily maneuvered himself between Watson and the stairs. Watson sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose tiredly.
'Now or never,' Holmes thought. "I saw her Watson…I saw her with…someone else. A man."
Watson's eyes widened briefly before they narrowed in suspicion, "What?"
"I didn't believe it myself at first," Holmes continued, talking much too fast now, "I thought she was at least respectable before this but now I see she is just as conniving and untrustworthy as the lot of them. She didn't see me standing there though. Oh! And I have Not…I mean, the other man's address if you care to- or I could…"
"Never in my life," Watson interrupted him, his face suddenly grave, "did I think you would stoop this low, Holmes."
"Wh-what?" He thought he was lying? "Watson, if you'd just…"
"I know you never liked Mary and as much as I wish it were different, I respect that. But never did I think you would be so childish and selfish as to say such things about a proper, upstanding woman as Mary. I know you don't put much stock in the loyalties of women but this time, you have gone too far. Goodnight, Holmes."
He tried to go around Holmes but he quickly blocked his path again, his hands on Watson's chest, his back to the stairs. "Watson, you can't honestly believe I would lie to you! I am telling you the truth, the honest and unmolested truth…which is more than I can say for your hussy of a fiancée!"
Then, in a fit of rage that Watson did not anticipate, he reached forward and violently shoved Holmes, quite forgetting he was standing on a precipice. Holmes had not anticipated it either for he was now tumbling rapidly and painfully towards the foot of the stairs. When Watson's anger cleared and he realized what he had just done, his stomach dropped and he called out Holmes's name and raced after him. The detective had already come to stop in a miserable heap at the bottom landing, unmoving.
Watson's heart was in his throat as he carefully turned his friend over so as not to cause any more damage. "Holmes! Oh God… Can you hear me? Holmes?" The other man, to Watson's unbelievable relief, was still breathing and he soon opened his eyes groggily.
"Mmf…Watson?" He muttered and gave a ragged cough as he tried to sit up. Watson urged him to be careful but Holmes had soon wriggled out of his grasp, dizzily supporting himself on the banister. Watson rose to his feet, eyeing his friend nervously.
"Are you alright? Is anything hurt? …God, I'm sorry. I didn't mean…"
Holmes held up a hand to silence him, "I'm fine," he said, "Nothing to beat yourself up over old boy. I shouldn't have said that."
"No, no, that was uncalled for," Watson apologized, his hand gripping Holmes's shoulder, "You're absolutely sure that you'll be alright? What about your head?" he asked gesturing towards the red mark on Holmes's forehead that was already beginning to swell.
"I'll call Mrs. Hudson for some ice and lie down for a bit. I don't feel concussed and the swelling is a good sign, right Doctor?"
Watson nodded; noting that Holmes's voice sounded a bit strained but wrote it off to the pain in his head. "I can stay if you…"
"No, don't be silly," he said, nudging Watson towards the door, "I'm fine."
"I would gladly do a full examination if you…"
"I don't think that's necessary but thank you. It's a nice sentiment. I would just like to know…and be honest with me…do you believe me? About Mary?"
Watson had momentarily forgotten Holmes's accusation, "I…I don't know what to believe. I'll have to talk to Mary."
"She'll deny it. I can take you directly to the man's house if you want to…"
"That's quite enough, Holmes," Watson replied, "Get some rest."
With that, he left through the front door and was gone.
Watson's stomach was in knots the whole ride back to Cavendish Place as he pondered over all that Holmes had said. He wanted to believe that it was just Holmes being childish or paranoid or all of the above…but some small piece of him full-heartedly believed it was true.
It took him nearly half an hour to arrive at his new home; the light in the sitting room on. He walked through the front door with apprehension, not knowing what to expect as he took off his had and slid out of his overcoat, hanging them both on the rack. He looked down to straighten his jacket when he noticed the stain on the lapel…blood. Fresh, red blood. He pressed his fingers to it, drawing them back and finding color on them… very fresh. He hadn't bled; he had seen no patients, so it had to be Holmes. He thought back to the incident…the only injury Watson had noticed was the bump on his head. He definitely would have noticed blood.
…Unless… "The wound wasn't visible..." his mind immediately raced back to the image of Holmes awakening and coughing into Watson's shirt. "SHIT!"
He grabbed his emergency bag by the door and left, barely hearing Mary calling after him. He stumbled into the street, spotting the hansom he had just exited at the far end and charged after it, screaming for it to stop. The driver whipped around in surprise, nearly losing his hat as he tugged his horses to a halt. Watson shouted directions as he hopped inside. The cab lurched forward and into a quick gait which wasn't quick enough. Watson felt, insanely, that if he could just get out that he could run faster than the horses.
Before he knew it, he was pounding on the door of 221b, startling Mrs. Hudson half to death.
"What happened earlier?" she demanded, "Did someone get hurt? Mr. Holmes won't tell me a thing."
"Where is he now?" Watson asked, pushing past her and into the house, "How has he been acting?"
"I heard some groaning coming from his room but he won't answer any of my questions! Oh Doctor, what has happened?"
"Later, if you please, Mrs. Hudson. Time is of the upmost importance," Watson threw over his shoulder as he ascended the stairs.
He pushed open the door that Holmes had forgotten to lock, finding his friend trying to hold himself up with the arm of his chair.
"Back so soon?" he asked, trying to smirk but his features quivered into a grimace, his skin pale and covered with a thin sheen of sweat.
"Dear Lord, Holmes," Watson muttered as he raced forward to catch him before he collapsed.
"Really, Watson, I'm…"
"SHUT IT!" Watson yelled as he half carried Holmes over to the bed, laying him down carefully, "Stay still," he ordered and proceeded to shove pillows under his feet.
He put a hand to Holmes's forehead which was unnaturally cold and clammy to the touch and then put his fingers to his neck. His pulse was fast, frantic like someone running for their life, which really wasn't far from the mark. Watson ripped Holmes's shirt open, gasping unprofessionally at the sight before him: The whole left side of his torso was a bruise, dark and swollen. All signs pointed to internal bleeding.
Carefully, he palpated the wound, causing Holmes to hiss and writhe in pain. It was his ribs, several bruised and cracked but one broken. That broken rib was stabbing into something, something which Watson prayed was not a vital organ. Watson ran to the stairs and called to Mrs. Hudson to ring for another doctor and bring more blankets immediately. He carefully covered Holmes with all the blankets he had and readied his surgical equipment.
"You're an idiot Holmes. A damn fool. Why didn't you tell me you…"
Watson's eyes darted back to him in a panic and noticed that his whole body had begun to convulse and shiver, his eyes wild and unfocused. He was going into shock. Holmes coughed blood onto his blankets, crying out in anguish at the pain it caused his abdomen.
"MRS. HUDSON!" Watson yelled until the flustered woman appeared with a stack of blankets that nearly concealed her face. He took them off of her and wrapped Holmes in them, determined to keep him warm and calm.
"There," Watson spoke softly, "Everything's going to be alright, Holmes. Do you believe me?"
"Watson…" he coughed again, "I believe you." Watson hastily wiped away the line of blood that had escaped the corner of his mouth.
"Good. I believe you too."
Holmes turned his dilated eyes upon Watson, trying to force a shaky smile before his body was taken over by another convulsion. He was unreachable after that. Watson continued to talk to him and soothe him. He smoothed his hand back through Holmes's hair but never got a response besides a frightened cry of "Watson!"
Finally, the other doctor, Doctor Garvey; arrived and took a survey of the situation, asking Watson for the facts. After a moment of deliberation, they both came to the conclusion that surgery was the only option. It was with a heavy and nervous heart that Watson rendered his beloved detective unconscious.
"Holmes? …Holmes, can you hear me?" Watson's concerned face came blearily into focus.
"What…where…?" he began to shift, causing Watson to reach out and press his shoulders back down into the bed.
"You've just been operated upon but it turned out to be, blessedly, relatively minor," Watson explained, "I'm about to give you some more morphine for the pain," he drew the liquid into the needle, and pulled out his tourniquet.
He administered the medication, adding yet another tiny blemish to the inside of Holmes's heavily marked elbow. At the moment, though, he could not bring himself to feel anything other than incredible guilt for his own actions, gratitude that Holmes survived, and a renewed and fervent love after almost losing the most important person in his life.
"Holmes, I can only hope you'll forgive me someday," he said with a sad smile and once again found his fingers in the detective's unruly locks.
Holmes stared up at him with nothing but affection in his hazy, dark eyes, "And here I was thinking you'd never forgive me for telling you about Mary."
Watson stiffened at the mention of her name like Holmes used to do and said, "I'm calling off the engagement."
"Good Lord, are you really?"
"Yes. I see things a little…differently…now," Watson replied with a soft smile, "I just hope you won't mind me coming back to stay?"
"Mind? I'll throw a welcome home party."
Watson laughed, shaking his head in disbelief, "Even on your near-deathbed, you're making jokes."
"What can I say, Watson? You bring out the best in me."
Before Watson could do anything to stop it, he found himself pressing his lips tenderly into Holmes's, causing the other man to gasp in surprise. Watson took this as a bad sign and was about to pull away when he felt Holmes's hand gripping onto his shirt, holding him there as he moved his lips eagerly against Watson's. The doctor suppressed a delighted shudder and chuckled, pulling back as he pressed his hand down gently on Holmes's chest.
"Now, now, we don't want you to overexcite yourself so soon after surgery."
Holmes pouted up at him, his face adorably flushed. "But believe me, there will be plenty of time later."
Holmes cast him a very wry, Holmsie grin, "Well, if the doctor insists…"
(A/N: Aaand…done. XD Comments are loved and cuddled so please don't be shy but please don't flame! Thank you :D)