A/N: This story begins soon after the events of "Sunday with Mycroft"
Warnings: Slash. Adult Content. Not sure yet how much. I'll put warnings on individual chapters.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Elements of the plot borrowed from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. No money is made by me from this. My tax return can prove it. Title is borrowed from an old 10,000 Maniacs song. No connection to the song, just thought it fit this story.
Beta: The ever fabulous Jarri Scythe!
Tension Makes a Tangle - 1
I woke up, and once again discovered that Sherlock had never come to bed during the night.
I rolled over to my back, away from his empty side of the bed and considered what to do.
It had been several days since I had first kissed Sherlock, at his request, and since then I had barely spoken twenty words to him.
I should have realized. I chastised myself. I should have known once he began serious work on avenging his mother that I wouldn't see him again until he finished the job.
I wasn't angry, maybe a little let down, but I could hardly blame his dedication to the project. If my own mother had been murdered and I had the opportunity to take down her killers, I would probably be pursuing them with the same single-minded focus Sherlock was currently displaying.
Still, it had caused me a pang of disappointment (laced with a tiny bit of relief, if I'm being completely honest) that first night, when he never followed through on pursuing a more physical relationship. Instead, I heard him tapping away at his laptop and rustling through files, while I waited in the bedroom and finally fell asleep.
When I came out the next morning to find him exactly as when I'd last seen him, he looked up and looked momentarily guilty.
"I'm sorry John. Er, I lost track of time and - well..." he trailed off helplessly.
I hastily tried to reassure him, "No, I understand. Seriously, it's fine. Just, don't work yourself to death."
He smiled happily and returned to work. This pattern had now been repeated a number of times and I was starting to worry. Was he using the case to avoid me? Did he now regret having taken the step of having admitted non-platonic feelings? Or, was it just as simple as not wanting to divide his attention just now?
On the plus side, although he hardly spoke to me at all, he was following my coaxing to eat and drink at least. Sleeping was more of a problem. I simply couldn't convince him to come to bed at night, even when I made it clear that I was concerned for his health and had no other agenda.
All he would just shake his head and say, "Not yet, John."
And then I would find him on the couch the next morning. Sometimes he'd be dozing, but still dressed, even down to his shoes. There were a few nights that I heard Mycroft visit for a short time. I assumed they were discussing possibilities and strategies, but they resolutely kept me out of their plans, saying that they refused to see me suffer any negative consequences from any action they might take.
It was very frustrating. I felt useless as a partner - in crime or love. That morning, the frustration must have brought about a fit of temporary insanity, because I decided that it was time for Harry to meet Sherlock. I wasn't so crazy as to think it was a great idea, only one whose time had come. After all, Harry was the only family I had, and it seemed only right that she finally meet the man I was living with, and was now possibly involved with.
I came out to the sitting room to find Sherlock sprawled on the couch, deeply asleep. His laptop, which was dead, had slipped down between his legs. On his chest was a file, out of which papers were slipping, some already on the floor. Somewhere I could hear his cell phone mournfully chirping the "Help me! I'm dying!" signal.
I went and retrieved his laptop, plugging it in so it could charge. After listening carefully, I determined that his cell phone was in the pocket of his trousers, so I decided to leave it. I then went into the kitchen and made tea and toast, setting a mug and plate on the coffee table for Sherlock as well as making my own.
I then tiptoed from the flat, hoping that he would finally get some decent sleep.
I called Harry from work, and she seemed delighted to hear from me and eager for the three of us to get together. We decided on the following night. I was hoping that since she would have to work the next morning, she wouldn't want to drink excessively.
I had debated with myself on whether to say anything ahead of time to her about Sherlock's and my relationship, but finally decided against it. I felt I needed to talk to Sherlock again, as much as I felt a bit anxious about doing so.
I came home from work that day to find Sherlock pacing the sitting room and muttering to himself. He waved at me absently, then waved me off when I tried to ask him about dinner. I sighed and decided that it was going to be another takeaway night.
When I got back to the flat, Sherlock was calmer, and seemed interested in the food so I shared my Chinese with him. Fortunately, I had bought enough that it could easily feed us both. As we ate I brought up the subject of meeting with Harry the following evening.
"No big deal, just fish and chips down at the pub; give you two the chance to meet each other."
Sherlock nodded slowly, "Sounds alright. I won't want to stay long - I'm still working..."
"I know," I said, "it shouldn't be more than an hour or two at most."
Sherlock gave me an oddly sad smile.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"It just occurred to me that I've known you for almost two years and I've never met her. I feel...bad about that."
"Don't. If I had wanted you to meet her sooner I would have brought it up. But I think it's time, now."
Sherlock nodded thoughtfully, "Yes, I suppose so."
Our eyes met, and I suddenly realized that this was our first real conversation since the kissing episode. I found myself flushing, suddenly very self-conscious and awkward.
Sherlock also seemed to be ill at ease, and dropped his eyes to his plate.
After a pause, he began speaking, "I've, er, made some progress with the case. We should see our first set of results soon. There's still much more to do, of course, but we have to space it out some...to cover our tracks, you know. So I'm giving myself a little bit of a break this evening. I guess it's time since you found me asleep this morning. I'm thinking after dinner I might just take a shower and go to bed."
"Sounds like a good idea. I'm sure you need the rest."
I'll admit I'm not a particularly clever man at times. But in my defense, Sherlock could have been a bit plainer. As it was, I was halfway through the washing up before I put the pieces together.
Oh! I suppose I could do with some extra rest myself...