a/n: After many attempts, I have finally written a Sherlock fic!
(This story has been edited from the original publishing for errors.)
after the storm
"Night has always pushed up day;
you must know life to see decay,
but I won't rot, I won't rot,
not this mind and not this heart."
John Watson has never claimed to be a man of the greatest intelligence or even one that particularly enjoyed planning, but as Sherlock raises his gun and aims it toward the bomb he's just been stripped of, he's thought of at least five possible means of saving their lives.
All John has ever truly known is war, and so for once with Sherlock he does not feel completely out of his element and useless.
They understand each other now, something John had honestly not seen coming, but they exchange a look that seems to hold a million different things.
John, perhaps, does not understand what his willingness to lay his life down for a flatmate and colleague means, but Sherlock does. Cold, unfeeling, detached, married-to-his-work Sherlock understands what sacrifice truly means.
Sherlock, for the first time in his entire untrusting life, puts all his faith in this man that he hardly even knows to save him.
The moment the gunshot rings out, John is already halfway to his feet and barely registers the pain of the graze of a bullet in his leg.
All he sees is Sherlock. His body slams into the slender man and they both are sent toppling into the pool. Clutching his friend's body to his own, his eyes squeeze shut out of both pain and fear.
In all his years in battle, John has never been more scared than in that very moment. He thinks about that little boy who died in this pool, and that he would very much not like to create a tradition with himself or the limp man in his embrace.
Sherlock is barely clutching John's arms, but at least there is some sign of life and until Lestrade can get there with the bloody calvary, that's going to have to be enough.
He knows Moriarty has gotten away; he also realizes that Sherlock will know this also.
Still, Sherlock has placed his life in danger simply to try to save John.
It seems odd for Sherlock to do such a thing, but if he really thought about it – it actually didn't seem that odd at all. From the moment he met the rather brilliant, (if not slightly eccentric), detective he knew that his life was never going to be the same.
As he clutches to Sherlock in that freezing pool, he thanks god that he agreed to meet Sherlock that day, or else the world's greatest mind would be lying with a bullet in his brain at the bottom of that pool. He shudders at the thought, only pulling his friend closer to his chest.
Sherlock, as ever is his fashion, wakes first.
Although to be truthful, John is placed under a rather large dosage of morphine for the nick from a bullet in his right leg, thus one can hardly call this a victory. Yet, Sherlock sits at his flatmate's bedside, simply staring at the man, trying to deduce him.
John Watson is the only man, indeed the only person, who Sherlock has never simply completely dismissed.
He can remember their first meeting vividly and because Sherlock has always been an excellent judge of character, he knew he wanted John in his flat.
In the beginning, it was for simple and practical reasons - John was tidy, he lived his whole life in a manner that could be placed in the two cardboard boxes in his closet; he could easily find work and pay his half; but mostly John was intelligent, far more so than could be said for many doctors.
However, as time had progressed, his reasons for wanting John around changed. John always remembered milk; John would occasionally ask what he was experimenting on and was genuinely interested in the answer; yet, it was because John actually wanted to be near him that he didn't want to let him go.
For a sociopath and someone who has never had anyone particularly like him, John Watson seems positively alien.
Despite all his mind had said, Sherlock had trusted John to save him, and as was the case with John, he did not disappoint. Most of the disappointment was left up to Sherlock, not that John would ever say that. One thing that has always captivated the detective is the doctor's emphatic ability to always see the best in things; no matter how cross he may be, he never gives up.
That is the hardest concept Sherlock Holmes has ever had to deal with. Cases and murders and hatred do not phase his genius, but common pieces of humanity don't process quite right.
It's frustrating and therefore he pushes those things away, building walls and ensuring solitude.
John Watson, it seems, has simply blundered into his lonely life and started to knock down all the walls Sherlock has placed into position with such a precise manner.
He can't decide if this terrifies or enthralls him.
They'd been home from the hospital for three days and Sherlock had been more distant than usual, but John doesn't push the subject.
Sherlock just truly faced his own mortality, and John can empathize with the intelligent creature now sitting in the chair to his left. It was like the whole world had gone topsy-turvy.
Still, as John lay in bed each night, gunshots ringing through his ears and panic in his heart, all he can hear is Moriarty:
"I will burn the heart out of you."
It seemed tragic that the only people to ever believe Sherlock felt anything at all were either a damaged, crippled doctor or a murdering psychopath.
John, though, had known what Moriarty had meant, because in their operation Sherlock has been the mind and John is always the heart.
The moment John Watson realizes he has fallen in love with Sherlock Holmes is not near as uplifting or surprising as he thinks it should have been.
Little things led to the big reveal, but he had simply been too stubborn to see it. He had willingly tried to sacrifice himself for Sherlock more than once, and yet it still took the red dot on his flatmate's forehead to propel his mind into understanding.
Sherlock was a frustrating man who liked to play violin at three a.m. and enjoyed keeping body parts in the fruit drawer; he hated most of the things that came on the telly and he probably didn't even know what sympathy was.
Still, he always plays softer if he knows John's more tired than usual, and has learned to place his experiments away from the food. He watches telly with John every night, more than likely because he doesn't want to be alone, and he has John to teach him the matters of emotion which he often pretends do not exist.
John looked over the edge of his paper to where Sherlock sat, reading something undoubtedly disgusting in premise and not for the first time thinks that the mad detective is positively the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
"Is there something on my face, John?" His baritone voice rings through the silence, though he has not looked up from the book clutched in one of his long hands.
John just smiles a little because if anyone was suited for Sherlock it would be him. It's slow and cautious, but John places his warm hand over Sherlock's own cool one. Though he doesn't look up, he puts the book down slowly, turning to the telly, acting as though nothing has happened.
He leaves his hand under John's until they part for their respective bedrooms, and John is positive that it was the most intimate physical interaction Sherlock has ever known.
Sherlock's fingers tingle under John's and continue to tingle until his mind finally stops just long enough for him to fall asleep.
Of course, Sherlock thinks sleep is mostly a waste and John sleeps as much as he can, unfortunately it is a base element in Maslow's Hierarchy, and thus the genius must succumb to it every so often.
When he does sleep, he almost always dreams of John - John being shot; John in Afghanistan; John's warm body pressed against his; John's curiously pink lips much too close to his own.
He wakes several hours later, broken into a full sweat, wondering why he is having such dreams about John of all people.
Sherlock has never felt the need to be intimate with anyone in any capacity – he's never even had a first kiss, and yet his body seems to desire intercourse, and his mind has for some reason latched on John as an intended recipient.
Naturally John is the logical choice. He is Sherlock's only confidant; he is also fairly aesthetically pleasing, being still relatively built from his army days, but with the glow of having gained a few pounds; he also happens to be the only person who has never given up on Sherlock.
It is even more curious that he would sacrifice himself just to save a sociopath with no real conscience, who most certainly didn't deserve such a level of commitment.
It's almost as if they're a couple; then again, did they not act like a couple? John always bought milk, cooked, made tea, even tidied up. Sherlock frequently took John out for dinner and, he contemplated the feel of John's hand over his own, there was a certain uncomfortable feeling within his chest when John simply looked at him.
For once, Sherlock's impeccable mind can't seem to comprehend the astounding impact of realizing that he has genuine romantic feelings for John.
He edges his way into the tiny kitchen exploding with his various experiments so quietly that John doesn't seem to have heard him in his drowsy state. Sherlock stands in the doorway hesitantly, he watches the doctor as he bustles making tea. In a warming sensation, Sherlock realizes that John is preparing two cups of tea, because John knows when Sherlock wakes and what he likes first thing in the morning.
Sherlock allows a small smile to cross his face as John rubs his own and turns to see the detective standing in the doorway before he jumps slightly.
After a moment, John's face is taken up with a smile and before either man knows what's happening they're both laughing for the sheer joy of being alive.
Their laughter subsides after a few moments and it's almost as if a blanket of silence envelopes the the kitchen. John stands shirtless in front of Sherlock, whose hands are twisting out of anxiety because he's never exactly done this before - what ever this may be.
Still, he reaches forward to take John's cheek in one of his hands. It's surreal and clumsy and a bit awkward, but John relaxes into Sherlock's hand.
"Thank you, John," Sherlock speaks after a moment, "you always seem to be throwing your life on the line for me."
It's honest and probably about time he's thanked John for anything, but suddenly his words don't seem like enough at all. The doctor has given him much more than he can ever truly thank him for. He releases John's face and takes a step backwards.
"Well, you know, addicted to danger and all that." John shrugs like his life means that little, just another body with a pulse.
"Don't play the psychology card, John, you're much better than that." He states, staring into the shorter man's eyes, thinking that their shade is that of a perfectly stormy London day.
John sighs before he leans against a countertop.
"It's just that, even if you are generally rude and unfeeling," the doctor winces slightly in apology, "You're still the most brilliant man I have ever met, and your death would be a waste. A true tragedy." He speaks with conviction, causing Sherlock to only become more curious for the man in front of him.
"I'm just a doctor, there are tons of us, but there's only one Sherlock Holmes."
This statement causes many things to stir within Sherlock – pride, anger, and shock all rise up within him.
He takes one step closer to John, his eyes searching the younger man's face, trying to understand how he could feel so strongly about someone he has only known for six months.
John chose to stick with him, though. Him: a man who is statistically probably the hardest person to get close to on the planet.
"You cannot possibly think that your death is of such trivial consequence, John," Sherlock starts after a moment. "You offer to lay your life down for strangers; you notice small but important things that I overlook; you are my conscience."
The tall man speaks honestly in a raw voice that shows how hard this must be for him.
"After all, where would I be without my blogger?" He asks softly, and before he knows it John's lips have hit his own.
At first it's clumsy and not at all overly romantic, but after a moment Sherlock adjusts his head and John's hand fist in his dark curls.
Sherlock deduces that this is probably the best first kiss he could have received as John's warm tongue darts into his mouth. John finds it odd for only a moment that Sherlock does not push him away, and thus takes what he can get.
When they part, they are both smiling slightly.
"We make sense, you and me." John says simply, "Heart and mind and all that."
"You're the only person to ever believe I truly have a heart." Sherlock states honestly,
"Some days I'm not sure I even believe it." John simply scowls at his friend. "I never doubt you, Sherlock, it's one of the many ways I have come to like you." He admits cautiously and slowly.
Sherlock's smile is enough to tell him that for once he has said the right thing, after all.