Thank you to all who have commented and offered suggestions on my other angsty piece.
Ok, like I said, this is a mess. I knew the beginning scene and the end scene but the middle is a muddle-too much telling, not enough showing-but I need to get this off of my desk and get back to my real life and my real job before I lose them both. If you comment, you will help me with a real world story I'm trying to write about infidelity from both sides. What conversations do the boys need to have? What stages of grief do they go through? What are other people's reactions and suggestions?
This stems out of thinking about Jeremy Brett and how he was in 'My Fair Lady' and how Henry Higgins is a Sherlock type only with language. There are several of the original lines or slightly modified lines and the final scene is a complete rip-off, even though Shaw hated the thought that Eliza would come back.
"I hope you used protection," said Sherlock from the table where he was bent over his laptop.
John stopped on his way up to his room.
"You know perfectly well what I mean, although you tried to hide it, taking a shower as soon as you came in, stuffing your clothes to the bottom of your laundry bag. I don't know whether to be more upset that you did it, or that you thought you could hide it from me in such clumsy ways."
John came into the room and sat in his chair. He leant forward and put his head in his hands. "I'm sorry, Sherlock. It just happened. I don't know how. I certainly don't know why."
"People always say that. 'I don't know how I killed him, it just happened.' 'I don't know how I raped her, it just happened.' Perhaps if you are mentally ill, mentally deficient, or in the throes of some blinding emotion, but I know you are neither of the first two, and I would venture to guess that you were not the later.
"Clothes do not fall off by themselves. Things must be adjusted, bodies move. All of those take conscious thought, and if you don't want them to happen, they don't happen. Ergo, it didn't just happen. You made a decision and you acted on it, whether you think you realized it or not."
"It just happened with you and me," John said in a small voice.
"No, we both thought about it and acted on it. I didn't know that one of us thought he was resisting." Sherlock's voice rose on the last sentence, but his eyes remained on his laptop.
"Sherlock," John said wearily, "I didn't go out with that intention, if that's any consolation."
Sherlock's eyes flicked to him momentarily, then back to the screen.
"No, I know it's not. It's just that she and I sat and talked about normal things that normal, boring people talk about. Our thoughts, our dreams. She's a teacher. We talked about the children that she teaches, and I thought about children and the future…
"She was very comforting and very comfortable. And you…you are not that, not really."
"So no protection then?"
"What? No, I mean, yes, there was protection. I don't mean I thought about having a child right then and there."
"No, it generally takes nine months, I am reliably informed."
"Sherlock, please, turn to me, talk to me. I'm confused about how I feel about this already. I know that even you must be hurt—you're snarkier than usual when you're hurt. And please believe I never meant to hurt you. It's just, it's just that you and I have never spoken about the future in the two and a half years we've been together. As a couple, I mean. I don't want to live in this pokey flat for the rest of my life. I found, talking to her, that I do still long for the ordinary life, of a family and a house or nicer, bigger flat. I don't know what you want or expect for the future."
"Well, John, you're a doctor. I'm sure you realized that I was never going to become pregnant with your child."
"Gay couples adopt all the time! Or they hire a surrogate. Your child would be beautiful and so brilliant! I'm sure of it."
"There is no guarantee of either. And I feel no desire to pass on my genes—Mycroft's weight problem, my sociopathy, lots more skeletons in the closet that you don't even know about.
"You don't know that it wouldn't be wonderful either. And I know that even if it weren't…perfect…it would come from you and I would love it dearly and so would you.
Sherlock slammed the laptop shut. "All I know, John, is that I have thrown away the treasure of my regard and intimacy on a really very ordinary person. If you can't appreciate what you have, then get what you can appreciate!" Sherlock stormed out of the flat, down the stairs and out of the building.
The next few weeks were an agony. Sherlock barely came home and when he did he simply swept into his room if John were in. They were in separate rooms again. John wasn't sure how or if Sherlock was sleeping in there. After Sherlock had moved to John's room, his own had become the dumping ground for excess and discarded things.
On the rare occasions when John did find Sherlock in the sitting room he would try to speak only to have Sherlock storm away, no matter what he was working on.
After weeks of silence and shed tears John became angry. Angry at Sherlock for this impasse that meant that neither could they move on as they had been or part. He took to sniping at Sherlock as he walked past him.
"I know you won't talk to me because you're afraid. Afraid that the great Sherlock Holmes will break down. Will admit that he needs something."
"Cheating means that the person who strays was missing something in his stable relationship," he would holler after the retreating form. Knowing that it was possibly the stupidest thing he could do but unable to stop.
Of course, John knew it was his own fault. That nothing could undo what he had done. He wondered if it were even possible to be forgiven for something so unforgivable. And it seemed so unreal in some ways. His father had cheated on his mother, more than once and he remembered the way she just seemed hollowed out after. Did Sherlock feel like that? Was it in him to feel like that? He wondered how he could have done it. As Sherlock said, nothing 'just happens.' He had sat and talked with her for hours. Texted home that he was going to be out late, and as he stood to leave she had reached in to hug him. Her hair smelled so clean, so feminine. Her small roundish form felt so right in his arms. It was so different from the masculine smell he had grown used to in two and a half years, the tall gangly form that always seemed to be leading, even when it wasn't.
Then she had tilted her face up to him. And even as he kissed her. Even as they walked down the hall to her bedroom he had known he could stop, that he should stop. In some ways he loathed himself and wanted Sherlock to rant at him, even to strike him, just to do something, for Sherlock to say what John was already saying to himself.
He thought about his relationship with Sherlock. How it had begun in that strange absolute friendship that they had formed within hours. In six months it had moved on to something else. Something he still didn't quite understand. He had found that he just enjoyed being with Sherlock, either out on a case, or on the couch watching the telly, or even in their separate chairs reading books. That if he saw something in the street, or in the paper that he thought would amuse or intrigue, he would rush home to share it with Sherlock. Even something that he knew Sherlock would initially dismiss as unimportant but that John would slowly explain.
Sherlock had always touched him in small ways. A hand on the back, or the shoulder, but slowly John had realized that he had come to enjoy it. That a day without some small form of contact seemed empty somehow. He began to touch Sherlock back. A hand on the shoulder as Sherlock showed him something on the computer. A finger touch when passing a mug of tea. As the thoughts that he had come home with from Afghanistan—could he find someone nice to settle down with—faded, he began to realize that he couldn't imagine a life without Sherlock in it.
He had always thought Sherlock beautiful. It was hard not to as other people practically fell over themselves for Sherlock even when he wasn't acting charming. Well, people who didn't know him very well. But beautiful in that sort of abstract way that one might think, 'Oh, that Jude Law, he was quite beautiful in Wilde, wasn't he?' But he had found himself noticing the way that Sherlock smelled or the way his posture changed from when he was contemplating a problem to when he thought he had solved it. John realized he could read when the boredom was coming on, or worse the black sulk. And he could try to deflect them and often succeeded. Where once it had given him a small thrill of pride at earning praise or even a small real smile from Sherlock it now gave him a warm delight in his chest. He recognized that warmth, but thought it couldn't be the same. And even if bizarrely he, John Watson had fallen for a man, it couldn't possibly be reciprocated.
Until one day when Sherlock had reached out for a pen from his chair and their palms had touched. John looked up alarmed and found Sherlock staring at him with that amazing stare. For once Sherlock had looked at a loss for words. In the same slightly choked voice he had used when thanking John for trying to save him, he had said, "John...I know you weren't coming on to me that night in Angelo's, but…since then I've observed…in your behavior…and in my own…"
That was all that John needed. He had stepped closer to Sherlock and grabbed him by the shoulders, looking down in his face and then they were both leaning together. The kiss was terribly awkward. A brief pressing of lips. Sherlock genuinely seemed to not quite know what to do and John found the bit of stubble and that slight smell of maleness disconcerting.
They pulled back and stared at each other.
"I don't know what this means," John said.
Sherlock flicked his eyes away for a moment and then back, "Neither do I."
The next few weeks had been strange. They didn't kiss again on the lips, but instead of being two men on a couch watching a movie from their respective sides, they became two men snuggled together at one end. Sherlock would rest his head on John's shoulder and John would gently stroke his side or touch his hair and sometimes he would kiss the top of Sherlock's head. At night they would part awkwardly, John to his bedroom and Sherlock to whatever thing was keeping him up. They would lean in for a hug and a slight peck on the cheek. They touched each other as they passed in the kitchen a slight caress across the back or coming up the stairs Sherlock might reach briefly for John's hand.
It began with a giggle. They were reading in their chairs next to the fire. Sherlock weirdly slumped down with his legs out, feet bare and John had reached out with his own foot to rub it against Sherlock's. Sherlock had looked up and giggled.
"Oh, are you ticklish? Are you ticklish?" John had lunged at him, tickling him, trying to pull him out of the chair only to fall backwards to the floor pulling Sherlock with him, and then they were wrestling. John trying to reach Sherlock's sides and Sherlock fighting him, and suddenly Sherlock was on his back with John on top of him, pinning his arms to his sides. They stared into each other's faces for a moment and then John kissed him. The smell seemed intoxicating suddenly. The freshly shaved cheeks were nearly smooth. John found he couldn't let go, couldn't stop kissing and Sherlock was gasping, still not quite getting the grasp of a kiss on the mouth. John released Sherlock's arms to cup his face, plunge his fingers into that glorious, soft hair. Released, Sherlock slipped his arms around John and grabbed at his head as well. Clutching each other's head, shoulders and backs they spent the morning simply kissing not even with tongues although John did kiss his way down Sherlock's neck at one point, running his tongue across the slight smattering of moles into the hollow of the collar bone until Sherlock pulled his head back up for a kiss again.
They finally pulled apart when John felt his stomach growling. The fire had nearly died. John knew he was hard, it was difficult to roll around with that much kissing without being hard, but everything concerned with that seemed too difficult to contemplate so he pushed it away for another day.
And they both laughed. Sherlock louder and richer than John had ever heard him laugh, clutching his stomach and gasping with laughter.
After that they held each other whenever possible and kissed, sometimes slowly and sometimes intensely. John gradually introduced the concept of French kissing and they would spend hours on the couch caressing each other above the belt and just kissing. John would have to bring himself off after these times, as though he were in high school with a girl who might let you get to second base, but no further. He had no idea if Sherlock was doing the same.
Until the night when they stood up for their long good-night kiss at the foot of the stairs. And Sherlock whispered, "Can I come to bed with you? Isn't that what lovers do?"
John nodded. He still didn't know what he was doing, but he loved touching Sherlock. It was a long time since he'd shared a bed with someone, and the thought of a warm body pressed against his was very pleasant. He had no idea what hurdle would come next.
It did not come that night. Sherlock curled up and John curled around him spooning enjoying the feeling of the long body on the soft bed instead of the uncomfortable couch. When they woke in the morning they had rolled together and resumed kissing, only this time John had no idea where to go with his erection. He sat up with a small groan of frustration.
"John…I know you're aroused. So am I. I think…perhaps touching each other would be the next…the best course of action."
After that, the barriers had fallen, one by one.
Looking back, John realized that Sherlock was right. It hadn't just happened. At any point John rationally knew that he could step back, back out and he hadn't. He had made the choices one by one.
And now it was all gone.
He missed Sherlock's body, not even the sex so much, although it had become quite good after two and a half years, but Sherlock's body slipping in next to him in the night. Wrapping long limbs about him, snuggling against him.
But what he really missed was the friendship. The laughing together at the shared references and jokes, the teasing, even the disagreements and occasional fighting. Screaming at Sherlock because he'd gone and done something stupid and dangerous.
This was pointless he realized. Sherlock could be stubborn enough not to speak to him for the rest of their lives. He had to move out. Reluctantly he borrowed some from Harry to pay first and last on a one room studio fairly far out on the tube lines. He'd have to buy a multi-zone card.
"Sherlock, I've come to tell you that I'm moving out. I'll pay my half of this month's rent and utilities, but I'm going at the end of the week. Some friends from the surgery are going to come round and help me move.
"I…I know that what I did was unforgivable and that you have every right to be deeply hurt and to take as long as you need to grieve and to heal.
Staring out the window Sherlock said, "I will endeavor to be out when you go."
"Sherlock, I still love you. I've always loved you, please believe that. It's just, it's just, I don't know who I am with you."
"Will you marry?"
"I don't know. I haven't thought that far ahead. Certainly not the, the woman. I haven't called her since."
Sherlock's mouth twitched slightly at that.
"I love you, Sherlock. You are—were—the best friend I ever had, before any of this happened. I hope that someday we can have that again."
"I don't have friends, you know that." Sherlock laughed mirthlessly, but somehow it came out sounding more like a sob and John flinched and went up to pack.
Sherlock leant his head against John's door—his palms pressed to the wood as if he could somehow send his thoughts to John through it. He wanted to rush in, to grab John in his arms and sob that he would do anything that John wanted, have a child, move to the Hebrides, anything only to be with him.
He thought of children with John. One from each of them, blonde, probably tow-headed as a child, "Sher-lock," from John. One dark from him. John would teach them to be kind, and about the stars and other practical things and he would teach them, what, exactly? How to identify several types of poisons in a dead body? There's where it fell apart, didn't it?
Him with children. He didn't like them, and they didn't like him. Little hands found things. He looked at a scar along the back of one knuckle. He and Mycroft had broken every lock their parents put up. And had the scars to prove it. If the child were clever…
And all his bad habits would be impossible because children need care and violin playing at four in the morning or plates of barely heated beans on toast or rotting body parts in trays really wasn't anyone's idea of care.
And children were so very, very fragile…
"I was serenely independent and content before we met. Surely I can be that way again," he thought defiantly. "And yet…"
But he couldn't take John back. It HURT. Still hurt so much he wanted to lay down on the floor and wail. When he'd seen John slink in that night, late, practically running upstairs for a shower and made the deduction, he honestly thought he might die. That he might simply stop breathing. Was that a panic attack? Sherlock Holmes didn't have panic attacks. But he didn't have friends or lovers either before John Watson.
How could John do it? Hurt him like that and then say that he still loved him? Had it all been a lie, a delusion? John mistaking adrenaline for emotion? Had he somehow driven John away as John had thrown at him those times? By being too cold, too selfish, too closed off. What had he said, comfortable and comforting? No, he was neither of those things.
But what would he do now, with John gone.
"Oh, John, what am I fit for? What have you left me fit for."
"Most men are the marrying sort, poor devils," Mycroft was saying. "I don't suppose you could be content with god-children? Friend's children? No?"
"Well, I suppose if you could convince him, we could make his transition to fatherhood easier. The family would help with a house with a shed where Sherlock could do his experiments out of the reach of small hands. A nanny, of course, possibly a housekeeper, daily, not live-in…" Mycroft looked as if he might be ready to order those things up on his phone.
"I really don't want the family's help and I doubt he would either. I just don't think it's possible. Running all over London with him I don't make enough for a family, but without that, I might get a better job at Bart's or somewhere else. With a wife earning and helping care, because we both know Sherlock wouldn't know which end to feed and which to diaper, I might be able to have that dream, but I doubt that I can have any of that if I stay with Sherlock. Sherlock just doesn't like children. I don't see any way we could make it work."
Mycroft paused and looked at John carefully. Even more carefully than he usually did.
"John, has Sherlock ever told you about our younger brother Belmor?"
John started laughing slightly hysterically "You have a brother named BELMOOR? You have a lock, a croft and a moor? Any other family names—fell, fen, cairn, crag?
"No, he never told me. Let me guess, he solves complex equations in a bunker deep underground! When do I get to meet him?"
"You won't be meeting him. He's dead."
John sobered up in an instant, "Oh, God, Mycroft, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. God, I'm an ass."
"Not at all. How could you know if we didn't tell you? It's not like you could have deduced it. At some point you might have guessed the cause, if not the details. Although I'm not quite sure why you find our given names quite so entertaining.
"At any rate, he was four years younger than Sherlock. He died when Sherlock was seven." Mycroft looked off in the distance for a moment. "Such a pity. He was so much brighter than Sherlock and I were at his age."
"Did Sherlock have something to do with his death?" whispered John, eyes wide.
"What, no, of course not. What a morbidly lurid imagination you have developed living with my brother. No, he died of meningitis.
"But Sherlock was seven, John. It is hard at that age to grasp that everything in the world does not stem from your actions, so even though he has never said it to me in so many words, I believe he does feel guilt for Belmor's death.
"I suppose our parents had told him that small children were fragile and shouldn't be handled too roughly or some such thing. I know they told me that when they brought Sherlock home, so he came to believe that children were too fragile to survive without constant care.
"You know, of course, that we went to Harrow?"
"I had guessed. It seemed pretty obvious."
"Not at all, John. We might have gone to Eton. I doubt that your ear is sensitive enough to discern the differences in cadence.
"While Harrow was the making of me, it simply made him more intractable. I don't know if you can quite imagine what public school is like, that first year, John. Miserable 13 year-old boys, many of whom have never been away from home. Some who have been sent away to school for so long that they don't even know what a family life might be like. Sherlock had been fairly coddled at home, particularly after our brother's death, which, I imagine may have made him even more guilty—getting the love that Belmor never would. And he already had that disdain for the stupid and that sharp eye and tongue that shouldn't really go together. At any rate he was the target of much cruelty at school both from students and masters. I was already at Uni by then and our holidays didn't always coincide so I couldn't really help him.
"So, guilt and fear, John. That's what Sherlock feels when he thinks of children. I would consider that when you try to convince him."
"How do you know I…"
"Really, John, how long have you known me?"
And John knew at that moment that nothing was more important than being with Sherlock, protecting Sherlock from other people who didn't understand him (and protecting other people from Sherlock). Listening to Sherlock—being the skull—and the friend. That everything else could be worked out somehow.
He practically ran all the way to 221b.
When he ran up the stairs he was surprised to hear his own voice.
"I looked you up on the internet last night." Sherlock lay on the couch, eyes shut, listening. An old reel-to-reel was set up playing on the table. Mycroft—bugs—even then, damn him! John realized he should be angry, but that was for a later time.
"Found your website, The Science of Deduction."
John walked into the room and turned off the reel-to-reel
"You said you could identify a software designer by his tie…" he continued, quietly.
Sherlock's moist eyes snapped open. "John…can I borrow your phone?"