Chapter One

The Fight

Author's Note: Hi all. I finally watched Sherlock about two weeks ago which is shockingly late I know. I loved it and immediately saw the chemistry between Watson and Sherlock – blatantly obvious. As a die-hard slash fan, I couldn't let the chance to write a fanfiction about them pass me by. Particularly as Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the most oddly sexy guys ever (particularly as Sherlock) and I'm even warming to Martin Freeman now, something I thought previously would be impossible. So here it is. I'm sure it's been done plenty of times before, but I thought I'd have a go. I hope you enjoy it.

Doctor John Watson, former army medic and now GP and part-time detective, sits in his favourite armchair with a steaming mug of tea by his side and feels completely relaxed. It is the first time in weeks that he's managed to have more than a couple of hours away from Sherlock and his incessant distractions. Well. Perhaps distractions is a bit of a mild term. John would have had no problem with a flatmate who pottered around quietly in the background, getting on with their business in an unobtrusive manner. And although there are many, many adjectives to describe Sherlock Holmes, unobtrusive is most definitely not one of them.

Normal flatmates do not fire bullets into the wall because they are bored, they do not leave a decapitated head in the fridge as an experiment, they do not talk aloud at you all the time and they most definitely do not wake you up at three am on a weekday playing the violin at an ear-splitting volume. John is not even sure you can call what Sherlock does to that violin 'playing'. Perhaps 'abusing' would be more accurate.

John is well aware that he is not a particularly easy person to live with either, wasn't that why he'd ended up with Sherlock in the first place? Two people who recognized that they are virtually impossible to live with? But at least John is quieter and less obnoxious about his bad habits than Sherlock.

Now he is revelling in having the apartment to himself for two whole days while Sherlock is off in Morocco hunting down a serial killer who is murdering British tourists. He'd asked John to come but John had emphatically refused. Sherlock had badgered John for awhile, but he had remained steadfast. He wouldn't come. Finally Sherlock had thrown him a disapproving look and packed his skull instead. It wasn't his proper one as Mrs Hudson had removed it and now he had to cope with a plastic replacement from a joke shop.

John could now watch television whenever he liked without interruption from Sherlock either making scathing remarks about the programmes or announcing loudly at to the world in general that he was bored. Boredom. Something to be avoided at all costs in Sherlock Holmes's universe. That is fine. Even understandable, maybe. But keeping Sherlock from being bored had now become John's job and to tell the truth he resented it slightly. It was like living with a toddler who demanded all your attention all the time, and threw a tantrum if they didn't get what they wanted.

John picks up his paperback and flicks to his place. Sherlock left a day ago and isn't due back until at least the day after tomorrow.

After about half an hour he is aware that Mrs Hudson has entered and is moving around in the kitchen, quietly tidying up the residual mess in there left by Sherlock. John tunes her out and returns to his book.

The next interruption is Mrs Hudson appearing at his elbow with a plate of biscuits and a fresh mug of tea.

'I thought you could do with a snack, dear.'

'Thanks Mrs Hudson, you're a star,' John mutters absently, reaching out for a biscuit. Mrs Hudson has just turned away when the front door slams downstairs. John jolts upright in the armchair, the book dropping from his hands. No. No, it can't be...

But there is no mistaking those light bounding footsteps on the stairs. Sure enough the door to the apartment bursts open a couple of seconds later and Sherlock Holmes strides through like a tall, skinny whirlwind.

He tosses his battered suitcase into the corner of the room, where it lands with a resounding thud and throws himself onto the sofa, covering his face with his arms. Mrs Hudson glances at John and then smiles over at Sherlock.

'Hello Sherlock, dear. How was Morocco? John and I didn't expect to see you back here so soon, did we John?'

Incapable of speech, still trying to grasp the fact that his Sherlock free days had just been cruelly wrenched away from him, John settles for a slow shake of the head, which is obviously pointless as Sherlock can't see him.

'Dull,' Sherlock intones from behind his hands and John sighs. Of course.

Mrs Hudson looks quite bewildered. 'But wasn't it a serial killer? I thought you liked those the best.'

With a dramatic sigh Sherlock removes his arms from over his face and heaves himself upright on the sofa.

'It was obvious to me who the killer was about two hours after touching down. I informed the authorities and left on the next flight. Honestly, I don't credit Lestrade and his team with that much intelligence, but even I mistakenly thought they would have had enough for a case like that.'

'Oh well, it's lovely to have you back dear. The house has seemed too quiet without you, hasn't it John?'

John feels a hysterical urge to laugh but manages to hold it in. He arranges his face into a mask of blank indifference and nods. But Sherlock is looking at him now, looking at him with those almond-blue eyes of his and John has the uncomfortable feeling (not for the first time) that Sherlock can see right through him.

He gets to his feet, picks up his mug of tea and his book and goes into his room. He manages about an hour of peace before Sherlock walks in and stands by his bed, looking at him. John sighs and puts the book down on the nightstand.

'Yes? What is it Sherlock?'

Sherlock studies him intently, a few dark curls falling across his marble-white forehead but he doesn't say anything. Merely continues staring. John starts to get irritated.

'What, Sherlock?'

'You weren't happy to see me,' Sherlock states frankly, still looking down at his flatmate. 'You wished I'd stayed away.'

'And how did you work that one out?' John mutters. 'By the state of my big toes?' He knows he sounds petty and sulky but he can't help himself. All he'd wanted was a couple of days peace. Was that so much to ask? Yes, it is true that he misses the army life and he appreciates the opportunities he gets for living again when he is with Sherlock and helping solve cases. But unlike the slender detective he doesn't want to be doing it twenty-four-seven. Sometimes he just wants... no, needs to relax.

'Don't be ridiculous John,' Sherlock snaps, his blue eyes narrowing. 'It was your book.'

'My book,' John repeats, shaking his head in slight disbelief.

'Yes. It was on the floor, face down with the pages bent. Books don't look that way unless they have been dropped. You take care of your possessions, you are keen on reading, you would never leave a book like that, which means you had only just dropped it. Now why would you have dropped your book at that particular moment? It must have been just after I arrived otherwise you'd have picked it up again by the time I entered the apartment. Obviously then, you dropped the book because you were surprised, and the reason for your surprise was my early return from Morocco. Yet when I entered there was no smile on your face, no indication that you were in any way pleased to see me. You didn't audibly reply to Mrs Hudson which indicates to me that you were disappointed... perhaps even angry. And what about? My return. It's the only possible explanation.'

Despite himself, John still feels the thrill of fascination whenever Sherlock talks like that. It is wondrous to see how his mind works.

'Okay,' he snaps. 'You're right, as always. I was disappointed. And angry. Because I was looking forward to having a couple of days peace without you and then you came back early.' There's another long pause. Glancing up at Sherlock, John can see his forehead crease with concentration as his fabulous mind tries to make the connections.

'Is it because of the violin?' he finally asks.

John almost shouts with frustration. 'No, Sherlock, it is not just the violin. I mean... that's part of it. But it's everything! God knows I don't want to settle down into my approaching middle age quietly and I do enjoy coming on cases with you... but I've got to have a little bit of peace sometimes!'

Another intense silence and then Sherlock speaks. 'When I first met you I told you about my bad habits. I told you I talk aloud constantly and like to play the violin. I would have thought if you had a complaint you would have mentioned it before. Do you want me to stop playing? Is that it?'

Sherlock Holmes, John thinks wearily. So brilliant, so perceptive in almost everything apart from social interaction. Sherlock's mind had fixated on the violin as being the cause of the problem, as being the cause of John's (to Sherlock's mind at least) frankly unreasonable sudden behaviour. And it will be useless to try and explain.

'No, Sherlock. Don't worry about it. It's fine.'

Sherlock takes a step backward from the bed and frowns again. There's something he's missing, there's a certain timbre in John's voice... but the meaning eludes him.

'Are you sure?' he asks quietly, fairly certain that there is still something wrong. Something.

'Yes, I'm sure,' John responds tiredly. 'I want to read, I'll see you later.'

Three Days Later

'Sherlock.' John shuffles into the living room, his hands clamped over his ears. Sherlock does not hear him. He is sitting with his back to John, the violin in his hands, plucking violently at the strings. John knows that he has been ensconced in a particuarly troublesome mystery for the past few days. He also knows that Sherlock is having trouble solving it. Hence the late night/early morning violin concertos. Sherlock always plays the violin aggressively when he is angry or frustrated with a case.

But this is the last straw. It is the third night in a row that John has gone without much sleep. The first two nights he'd burrowed down into his pillow and tried to drown the noise out, without much success. His work is suffering. He is tired all the time, and when he gets tired he gets irritable. Unlike Sherlock he is not capable of functioning fully at all hours of the day and night. He can't survive without sleep for that long.

'SHERLOCK!' he bellows, his hands still over his ears.

Sherlock turns around in surprise, the violin still in his hands, his dark curls messy and dishevelled.

'John. I'm sorry... did I wake you?' Barely a pause before he continues. 'Ah yes, of course I did. The sleep in your eyes, ruffled hair, the bleary squint. Classic signs.'

'That's it. That's absolutely it. I'm going to have to move out Sherlock. I can't cope with... with this anymore. With you.'

'What do you mean? You can't move out. Don't be ridiculous John.'

Something inside John flares up and he moves a step closer to his flatmate. 'Ridiculous? I'm not being ridiculous. And I'm not being stupid either, before you say it. Did you ever think, Sherlock, somewhere in that genius mind of yours, that other people don't appreciate being put down all the time? Being called idiots?'

Sherlock carefully puts down his violin and runs a hand through his hair, staring at John with a perplexed and somewhat hurt expression on his face. 'But they are idiots, John... to me at least. I don't mean any harm...'

'But it is harmful, Sherlock! Just because everyone else around you is less intelligent than you does not give you the right to insult them!'

'You're tired John, and it is proven that when someone is tired they become more short-tempered. I shall chalk your remarks up to your temporary irritability.'

'Of course I'm tired Sherlock! It's three o'clock in the fucking morning, I have work tomorrow, a job to go to, which I need if I am to pay our bills so that we can carry on living here! You do sod all to help, you sit around the apartment all day doing God knows what unless you're out on a case where you refuse all paychecks anyway! And I've been woken up the past few nights by you playing that fucking violin!'

Sherlock had taken a step backwards during John's tirade and now he sits down on the edge of the armchair and rubs his fingers against his temples, showing, for the first time, a hint of genuine agitation.

'You said, John, you said it was fine about me playing my violin. Just a few days ago. I remember distinctly because it was the day I came back from Morocco.'

'Jesus Christ Sherlock! I was being polite! Normal people don't play violins in the early hours of the morning! Normal people have some consideration for others! You know perhaps Donovan is right about you.'

Sherlock's eyes narrows to slits and he steeples his fingers under his chin, a very characteristic gesture which somehow serves to anger John all the more. 'Right about what, exactly, John?'

Perhaps if John had been in a calmer state of mind, less tired, and more observant, he would have been more careful about replying. As it is, the words spew from his lips without anything resembling intereference from his brain.

'That you're a freak, Sherlock!'

Sherlock gets to his feet very slowly, moving with odd jerky movements which utterly lack his usual feline grace. He opens his mouth as if he wants to say something and then shuts it again. John, who has never seen his flatmate lost for words, ever, watches in astonishment and tries to ignore the creeping tendrils of guilt which are twining their way around his stomach.

He knows, more than anybody, that as much as Sherlock tries to hide it, he is hurt by the barbed comments from Anderson and Donovan. John is the one who sees the expression in Sherlock's eyes when they travel away from the crime scene after the detective has been in the firing line of one of Anderson or Donovan's snide put-downs.

John has learnt something very important about Sherlock Holmes in the months he has been living with him. Sherlock Holmes is not a sociopath. He does have feelings and emotions. True, they are buried very deep down and Sherlock does not allow himself to access them much, if at all. But they are there. And every insult hurled by Donovan and Anderson had left its mark. To call Sherlock 'freak' was unbelievably cruel.

John becomes aware that he has sunk his head into his hands. He raises his gaze towards where Sherlock had been just a moment before, but his flatmate is no longer there.


Sherlock lies on his bed, arms above his head, hands clasped together. He doesn't know why he is feeling surprised and hurt. He doesn't know why he'd thought John would be any different. Everybody came to the same conclusion about him sooner or later. Lestrade hadn't actually come out and said it yet, but Sherlock knows he is thinking it sometimes. It is the expression of slight guilt that crosses the Detective Inspector's face every time someone at the Yard uses the slur. Sherlock knows he is feeling guilty that he had thought exactly the same thing.

Sherlock Holmes knows himself. Inside and out. There is a file in his carefully compartmentalized brain which simply reads 'me'. He isn't sociopathic. He knows that, how can he not? He experiences emotions and he can feel. But because he has emotions and feelings does not make them any easier for him to understand. As a matter of fact they confuse him. Sherlock does not like being confused. And so he stores them away and puts up a pretence that he simply does not have them at all. It's simpler that way. And John Watson, with the exception possibly of Mycroft, is the only person who has seen through that pretence.

Now that he is alone, he is able to fully access his mind and try and work out exactly what John was so angry about. The violin. No, Sherlock. Think. It is not just the violin. John told you that himself. So then, what?

And suddenly he knows. How could he have not seen it sooner? John had told him bluntly, and he just hadn't listened. Everything. It's everything, Sherlock. Everything about him annoys John. The way he occasionally fires his gun into the wall when he is bored and there is simply nothing else to do. His experiments. He knows they irritate the doctor. The huffs and sighs and exclamations of 'Oh Jesus, Sherlock! A foot? Really? In the oven?' He had tried to explain that one. He honestly had. But John hadn't seemed to understand the importance of knowing how much residual heat from a cooking device would affect a piece of dead flesh.

Just him, in other words. Sherlock takes a slightly shaky breath and reaches out for a thick, black leather-bound notebook lying on the floor next to his bed. He scrambles around briefly for the pen which is always lying beside it, finds it, and props himself up, the book on his knees.

The pages are filled with various musings, usually involving cases Sherlock was working on at the time. Much like a writer or any type of artist will say, ideas usually strike in the middle of the night, just when you are dozing off to sleep. If you do not have a way of recording them right that minute then they are liable to elude you. Sherlock will not accept ideas eluding him.

But the notebook is more than just a sounding board for various theories and explanations. It is also his escape. Feelings slow him down, emotions confuse him. And so to deal with them, he records them. It is a way of purging. He refuses to delete them... he has an idea they may be important to who he is. Yet being distracted by them is not an option. The notebook, or part-time journal, offers him a perfect alternative. By writing his feelings down he is acknowledging them, he makes them permanent. Once that has been achieved his mind feels clearer, more able to see the tenuous links in situations that other people usually miss completely.

And so, interspersed with his various musings on a certain modus operandi or the murder weapon of choice, are short passages concerning more... personal issues. There are fairly regular entries detailing exactly how hurt he always feels when either Donovan or Anderson, or both, insult him at a crime scene. Somehow they know exactly what will cut right to the core of Sherlock Holmes. But do they? Somehow he thinks that they are cruel just for the sake of it. He has a suspicion that they don't really even regard him as properly human. Or if that is going a little too far, both of them at least are convinced that he is a sociopath, and therefore incapable of true feeling. Anderson, at one point, even accused him of being a psychopath. Now that was harsh, Sherlock muses. Although if they thought he was bad, he would love to introduce them to James Moriarty sometime. This sudden thought makes him laugh aloud and the sound startles him back into silence.

However the personal entries which have started to become more dominant are not to do with Anderson, Donovan or any member of the police force. They are to do with John. Stupid things which he recognizes as being somehow important to record, and yet he does not understand why they are important. Nevertheless he dutifully writes them down as part of his self-administered therapy.

John and I cooked dinner together today. Or rather, he cooked, and I watched and handed him ingredients. He seems to take a strange pleasure in the act of creating a meal. Personally I don't quite understand the attraction... food is only there as a means to sustaining your energy and therefore surely it would be more productive to consume food already prepared. Still, it seems to make him happy. Perhaps I should buy him one of those cookery books for his birthday. Lestrade's wife seems absurdly keen on someone called Jamie Oliver.

Chased a man through Hyde Park at midnight tonight with John. Although I am sure he isn't the man we are after for the murder of Linda Jenks, he has had dealings with decidedly suspicious characters. Added to that, it is fun. John looks so alive when he is taking action. We lost the man after about ten minutes and stopped to catch our breath. John was flushed and breathing hard, and for some reason he was endlessly fascinating to me. I felt something... a strange feeling in my stomach. I have decided to write it down so I can examine the data at a later date. It makes me think about his time in Afghanistan. He is a soldier after all, and being active suits him.

John bought a new jumper today. He usually favours bulky, knitted sweaters. I have a feeling this is something to do with him putting up an unconscious barrier to the world. However, this new jumper is something different. Thinner material. More fitted. It suits him... and I found it difficult to look away.

Sherlock reads over these last few entries and sighs, tangling his long, slender fingers in his curly hair. Why on earth does John Watson, of all people, have such a disarming effect on him? It is lucky he has this journal to write the feelings down. He can't imagine how people go about their everyday lives burdened with this sort of emotional luggage. It must be so tedious. And difficult.

Hesitantly he twirls the pen and then puts it to the page, attempting to put into logical terms what has happened in the past few nights with John.

John and I have had another fight. A bit more serious than the others I think. John is getting tired of me. I knew it had to happen at some point, and yet, foolishly, I did not prepare myself for the eventuality. Now I curse my stupidity. This hurts. The knowledge that John, like everyone else, has finally seen me. He has seen me, and he wants to leave. It is understandable, I know. I believe it is something to do with my, less than considerate social habits. This is why I tried to warn him when I met him and he was looking for an apartment and a flatmate. I tried to fool myself that John did not mind, and accepted it as part of who I am. I shall not try and fool myself again. I am too intelligent for that, I will always figure myself out. John will leave. And I will have to try and learn to be by myself again. Without him. I will try and ignore how much that hurts me. And I also know that that will be impossible. Even writing these thoughts down has not stopped the pain I still feel when I think back on what he called me this evening.

Sherlock pauses for a moment. Something is wrong. What is happening to him? He can't be... Gingerly he puts a finger up to his cheek and swipes his skin. He stares at his fingertip. Moisture. He hasn't cried since he was five-years-old and a fifteen year-old Mycroft informed him that when people get old they lose their minds.

John Watson. He is crying over John Watson. Stupid. He slams a fist against the woodwork of his bed-frame, and surprisingly the slight pain seems to help him focus.

It is of no matter. He will apologize to John and everything will continue like before. He will continue to try and ignore how important John is quickly becoming to him, and he will try and pretend that John's indifference to him doesn't hurt. Sherlock is a skilled actor.

I hope you enjoyed it. As I said this is my first time at writing Sherlock fanfiction so please leave me a review to say if you enjoyed it/what I could change etc. Also I would be very interested to know if I got the characters of John and Sherlock right, and what I could improve on. Thank you xxx