Hello All. What follows is truly ridiculous. I wrote half of it a long time ago, after watching an episode of Miranda where she goes to see a therapist with her mother (it was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen on television!)
I know quite a bit about therapy. Some of this is based on good practice, and the rest is incredibly bad practice. But it's not real, so hey ho!
A warning that, although it's a comedy, it does mention suicide. It's written as bromance but could be read as pre-slash. It's also set just before my Christmas fic, and some of you who have read it might recognise some references.
This story is dedicated to LittlePippin76, just because. Get well soon Pip xxx
The silence had fallen approximately five minutes ago, and filled the large office. John sat on the low, soft sofa, his arms firmly crossed over his chest. Sherlock stood across the far side of the room, fiddling with an ornament on the large, wooden bookcase. He gave a glance in John's direction and inhaled in preparation to speak.
"Don't," John spoke through gritted teeth, his eyes firmly fixed on the empty desk in front of him. "Don't you speak to me. Don't you even look at me. And put that back," he added, turning to Sherlock for the first time. Sherlock feigned confusion until John's glare made him falter. Slowly, he retrieved the ornament from his jacket pocket and positioned it back where it belonged. He gave a scowl at John who had turned back around to face the vacant desk.
"May I sit next to you?" Sherlock spoke up dryly. John didn't respond so Sherlock dropped himself down heavily beside him on the sofa and let out a loud sigh.
"Just...be normal. Can you do that? One hour of normal and then we can go home."
"Tell me, John, how does a normal person sit?"
John considered this for a brief moment.
"Like this." He indicated his own position and Sherlock studied it for a moment before mirroring the pose.
It lasted 30 seconds.
Sherlock's knees were then raised to his chin and he put his grubby shoes on the edge of the sofa seat.
"I'm bored too."
The door handle rattled noisily, and two forced smiles greeted the woman who entered the room. She looked at them quizzically for a moment before walking to her desk.
"Hello," John replied before nudging Sherlock.
"What? Oh, hello," he replied forcedly. "You're late."
"Yes, I'm sorry about that. My name's Sophie. Is there anything in particular you'd like to bring to the session today?"
"There's nothing wrong with us," Sherlock pointed out bluntly. "We didn't choose to be here. The police recommended it – "
" – Ordered it –"
" –To avoid the court case. Otherwise we wouldn't be here."
"Court case?" Sophie asked, raising a blonde eyebrow. John cringed as Sherlock decided that the best thing to do would be to elaborate.
"Yes, we went to the supermarket. We needed milk, and then John hit a drug dealer with a frying pan – actually, no, it was a wok – and then I shot him in the leg when he ran away down the bread aisle. The drug dealer, obviously...not John."
Sherlock trailed off. Sophie was stunned to silence as Sherlock blinked at her expectantly for a response.
"I see," she said slowly, before grabbing a pen. Sherlock looked concerned. He turned to John, who had his head in his hands.
"She's writing, why is she writing? Is that bad?"
"Utterly embarrassing," John muttered into his hands.
"It was your idea to go to the supermarket. I'm the embarrassing one? A wok, John. I was mortified. This man," he addressed Sophie, who looked up from her notebook. "This man was trained in combat using tax payer's money and his weapon of choice: A bloody wok! Not very British, is it John."
"You took my gun!"
They glared at each other.
"Perhaps we could start from the beginning?" Sophie suggested. John's eyes broke from Sherlock's and he smiled at her apologetically.
"Sorry. Well, I'm John and this is Sherlock."
"Right, and you've been together how long?"
"About a year."
"Eleven months and one week...tomorrow," Sherlock corrected.
"Yes, that's about a year!" John snapped at him. Sherlock threw himself against the back of the sofa and rolled his eyes.
"We're not 'together' together," John added.
"Oh I just assumed –"
"Yes, it's rather rude of you to assume."
"So you don't sleep together?"
John turned to Sherlock quickly and glared at him.
"Unless you've violated me in my sleep –which really wouldn't surprise me – then the answer is no."
"Don't flatter yourself! We have slept in the same bed."
"She means sex, Sherlock, you know that."
"Well, why didn't she say sex?" He turned to Sophie. "Why didn't you say sex?" he asked with a smirk.
"Can you not just behave yourself for once," John grumbled.
"I'm being perfectly reasonable."
"No. You're not."
"Hmm, interesting," Sophie observed and began to scribble loudly with her biro again. John and Sherlock stopped squabbling and stared at her.
"You...lady, stop writing," Sherlock demanded.
"It's not nice to be scrutinised, is it!"
"Oh, shut up John!"
The silence fell awkwardly again. John stared at his knees. Sherlock stared at Sophie, who flicked through her note pad as she chewed on her pen. She looked up at Sherlock and smiled slightly, before straightening a pencil in alignment with the edge of the desk. A strand of blonde hair was tucked anxiously behind one ear.
"Father issues," Sherlock mumbled.
"I'm sorry?" Sophie asked, looking back up.
"Sherlock, don't," John warned through his teeth, glaring daggers at his flatmate.
"I...thought now might be an appropriate time to discuss my father issues...but I've just remembered that I don't have any...As you were..." He indicated to her notepad. Sophie gave an awkward smile and leant back in her chair to observe the pair of them.
"Nice recovery," John whispered sarcastically. Sherlock beamed.
"If you don't want to talk about your father, perhaps you'd like to discuss your issue with John," Sophie suggested. Sherlock's grin fell immediately into a frown.
"I don't have an issue with John. Well, apart from his constant need to remind me of how inconvenient he finds me."
John gave a scoff and went to retort but Sophie interjected.
"Let him finish, John. Sherlock, do you think you might be transferring your father issues onto John?"
"I don't have father issues," Sherlock insisted. "But John's a constant nag: 'Do the hoovering...That's a stupid idea...Why is there a stomach in the sink?'"
"I don't talk like that," John snapped before turning to Sophie. "I don't talk like that," he repeated insistently. Sophie merely smiled.
"So, Sherlock I'm curious to know if you have any siblings."
"Older or younger?"
"Older. Where is this going?"
Sophie scribbled a note on her pad and looked up with a reassuring smile.
"Tell me about your relationship with your brother."
"It's nonexistent. I see what you're doing here, and you are mistaken. John is not Mycroft."
Of course, Sherlock would not acknowledge that his irritations at John were so satisfying to hurl at him because he would just take it. Mycroft was never around to accept the abuse that Sherlock so desperately wanted to throw when he was younger. It had been so inconsiderate and frustrating. Sherlock still hated him for it.
"How does John differ to your brother?"
"John is bearable."
"Gee, thanks," John scoffed.
"I didn't mean it like that. Actually I did. My brother is hideous. Truly hideous. He is everything that I could be, if I didn't try so hard to be the exact opposite of him. Mycroft is constantly taking the moral high-ground, so I opt for the obnoxious low-ground...I find it suits be better."
Sophie nodded thoughtfully before scraping her biro loudly as she wrote.
"Besides," Sherlock continued with an indignant sniff, "if we're talking about misplaced sibling irritation you want to talk to John about his resentment towards me which rightfully belongs to his sister!"
John scowled at Sherlock but remained silent. After a moment, Sophie spoke up.
"Would you care to comment on Sherlock's observation, John?"
"No. He's only said it for a response."
"Maybe Sherlock needs the response. I'm going to encourage you to work through this sudden defensiveness, John."
John immediately changed his posture, hating how easily he could be read.
"Fine... My sister is an alcoholic. She's had mental health issues for as long as I can remember. I practically dragged her through our childhood which is a...terrible feeling, if I'm honest."
He heaved a sigh and put his head in his hands. It hurt to think about it. In fact, John resented being made to think about it. Harriet was enclosed in a tiny corner of his mind. It had taken a lot of effort to force her there, and that is where he wanted her to stay.
"It's just...You know when you spend so much energy looking after someone else, that you get ill yourself? Your whole life revolves around their life that you sometimes don't have the energy to breathe anymore. You pick up their dry-cleaning and do the shopping, you make sure they take their medication...You rush down to the hospital in the middle of the night... You spend so much time on them that you forget who you are."
"John, I'm going to stop you there," Sophie spoke up. "What you're saying is really important, but I want you to own what you're saying: 'I spend so much time...'"
"I forget who I am," John corrected quietly. "Anyway, maybe I resent Sherlock for me having to look after him all the time. Is that so bad? I wish I could say these things to my sister, but I can't. So when I snap, I snap at Sherlock–"
"Don't tell me, tell Sherlock. He's sat right next to you."
John huffed. He was finding it all rather difficult. Sherlock simply stared at John expectantly.
"When I snap at you, it's not always aimed at you. It's just easier, you know?" He turned back to Sophie. "It's easier to tell Sherlock than it is Harriet."
"I'm curious to know what makes it easier to tell Sherlock," Sophie prompted. John squeezed his eyes shut tightly.
"Because...because Sherlock isn't going to kill himself!" he replied heavily. "Sherlock won't spite me by killing himself if I piss him off."
The room fell silent with tension. Sophie nodded and gave John a look of sympathy. John wished he wasn't shaking so much.
"I might," Sherlock spoke up loudly, breaking the silence. Sophie looked surprised at Sherlock's words, but John just rolled his eyes and rubbed his forehead wearily.
"Just ignore him." It would take far too long for John to explain to Sophie that Sherlock thrived on doing the exact opposite of what people expected of him. It was John's own fault really.
"So, John," Sophie ventured in an attempt to bypass Sherlock's unhelpful comment. "I want to clarify what you've been saying. Would you find it easier if Sherlock took more responsibility for himself?"
"Not for himself, no. That will never happen. But in terms of the flat, then yeah. I wish he'd put a little bit of effort in...Buy some milk once in a while."
"But John, remember the supermarket? Remember why we're here? I attempt to buy a pint of milk and I end up shooting a man in the leg and being forced to pay £75 for an hour's 'therapy' session." He used his fingers as speech marks. Sophie pouted slightly in indignation.
"Besides, John likes all this...domestic stuff. It makes him feel useful. He has to have his uses or else he gets grumpy."
Sophie leant forward in her chair and locked gazes with John.
"What would happen, do you think, if Sherlock wasn't a part of your life anymore?"
John exhaled loudly and thought for a brief moment. He felt Sherlock's eyes staring intently at the profile of his face. He wanted to scowl but instead address Sophie, who waited patiently for a response.
"It would be a disaster. He has absolutely no social skills. He's the rudest man I have ever met, in my entire life. It's painful. It's embarrassing. To leave him unattended...I couldn't do that to the public. He can't cope with daily activities. Even left alone in the flat: the chemicals down the sink, leaving the grill unattended, sticking cutlery into the toaster –"
" –That's an urban myth!"
"It's not a myth, Sherlock! Electricity kills."
Sophie smiled politely and gave a little cough which drew the attention back to her. Sherlock crossed his arms heavily over his chest and chewed on a fingernail.
"You misinterpreted my question, John," she said in a calm voice. John frowned. "I meant what would happen to you."
Silence fell in the room as John thought long and hard about what Sophie had asked him. It hadn't occurred to him to think about himself. Perhaps he didn't want to. Perhaps he couldn't. Deep down he knew that he needed Sherlock; that meeting him had changed his life forever. There was no going back. John didn't want to be that person anymore. In Sherlock, John had found purpose, but most importantly he'd found someone who understood him; a friend who would risk his life without question. Maybe it was time he told Sherlock this...
As John inhaled in preparation, he was beaten to it.
"My bagel was stuck," Sherlock announced loudly. Sophie blinked at him in confusion. John heaved a sigh; maybe next time.
"I'm sorry?" Sophie asked.
"Bagel. Toaster. Knife. Keep up," Sherlock said bluntly.
"Sophie doesn't care about your bagel."
"We're paying her £75 for this session. She'll care about what I tell her to care about!"
"This, you see, this is exactly what I'm talking about, Sherlock. So fucking rude! Sorry...so bloody rude. I can put up with it because that's just us, it's what we do. But when you're rude to other people, I feel I need to jump in and tell you so, because otherwise I'm rude too. We're just a pair of dickheads."
A brief silence fell again, contrasting with John's loud rant. Sherlock eventually cleared his throat.
"Aren't you supposed to be speaking for yourself?" Sherlock he asked smugly. John leapt from the sofa, and he was pleased to note that it had made the others jump slightly in the process.
"I'm going home."
"John, please sit down. I feel we are getting somewhere," Sophie pleaded. John obeyed, but he sat as closely to the sofa arm as possible, and avoided Sherlock's gaze.
"Sherlock, how does it feel hearing those words from John?"
Sherlock shrugged before even given the question some thought.
"It's his opinion. I don't care if he thinks I'm rude. As you rightfully hinted earlier, he could leave me if he wanted to. But he doesn't. If he's cross with anyone, he's cross with himself."
John went to interject but Sophie raised a hand and leant forward, encouraging Sherlock to elaborate.
"Well, I think you'll find that the reason John's so irritated by my abruptness is because he secretly wishes he could be so forward with people; his sister being a prime example. He's too...nice." He wafted a hand in John's general direction as if he was discussing the wallpaper. "You should hear him at home. He's completely different, ranting about everything and everyone. But when he's out in public he's polite, proper John. It's shallow and two-faced, and quite frankly I find that rude." He heaved a sigh to signal that he'd finished speaking. Sophie nodded slowly.
"John? Anything you'd like to respond with?"
John gave a nervous laugh and then nodded.
"Yeah, actually. I agree with him."
"What?" Sherlock's jaw dropped in surprise.
"I can't help but want to be nice...even if I don't like someone. I want people to like me. When I'm with you, I'm honest about how I feel about other people because you don't like anyone so there's no point in trying with you."
"That's not true. I do like you," Sherlock said quietly. It was John's turn to look surprised.
"Yes...Yes!" Sophie hissed in excitement. She looked like she wanted to give them both a hug. Sherlock leant back in his seat, just to be on the safe side. "Now we're getting somewhere."
Both men looked embarrassed and averted their gazes.
"So what happens now? How can we move this forward?" The pair shrugged at her. "May I make a suggestion?"
"It's what we're paying you for," Sherlock said.
"He means yes, please," John corrected.
"Sherlock, perhaps if you saw John making an effort with his own assertiveness, you could tone down your own?"
"I could try," Sherlock mused. In truth, he knew he was incapable of change, but it would shut John up if he agreed to it.
"So, John...If you're going to agree to speak your mind more, what would you like Sherlock to do in return?"
John considered this for a moment. There were so many domestic things, but deep down John knew that Sherlock would never change his ways. He wouldn't want him to.
"I would like Sherlock to tell me that he likes me–"
"I like you!"
"Not right now! Idiot. I mean, when you actually feel it. It wouldn't hurt to know that you like me once in a while. You've proved today that you can admit that I might mean something to you. I just wish you weren't so useless at showing it. If you actually showed your appreciation towards me, I wouldn't feel so resentful about buying milk every time."
Sherlock then grabbed John and pulled him into a hug, tapping him twice on the back before pushing him away and grinning at him.
"Um...ok...that was weird."
"Was that not good?"
"Uh...we'll work on it."
Sophie smiled at the pair of them.
"We're reaching the end of our session, is there anything else you wish to say?" The pair shook their heads. "Alright, then. Would you like to book another session?"
"No," they insisted in unison. She smiled again.
"Very well. I wish you both the very best."
The three of them rose from their seats and Sophie walked them to the door. Once alone in the reception, Sherlock exhaled deeply.
"Well...that was a waste of an hour."
"What a load of crap," John agreed.
"Chinese?" Sherlock suggested, pulling on his coat. John groaned.
"Again? Are you serious? Can we have pizza, just once?"
Sherlock considered this before holding out his fist. John eyed it before doing the same.
"One, two, three. Oh for fuck..."
"Scissors! I win. Paper every time, John. When will you learn?"
"You're a dick," John muttered as Sherlock held the door for him.
"I know. You love that about me."
It was true. The therapy had raised some interesting points for them to consider and then quickly dismiss. In truth, John and Sherlock wouldn't have each other any other way.