Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock. The contemporary versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's characters belong to Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, and their associates.
Diets are Made to be Cheated, as are Marriages to Work
It's six o'clock on Wednesday morning. Sherlock wakes up to the sound of John starting his shower. There are some mornings when she can sleep through the sound of the pipes groaning, but this is not such a morning. Her head hurts and her tongue feels like cotton. It's twenty degrees in her room, much too cold for her preference. She rolls over, bunching her knees underneath her chin, and tries to regulate her body temperature out of sheer force of will. It doesn't work, but the sudden pressure on her stomach makes her conscious of the pang on her bladder.
She could probably ignore it until John gets out of the shower. Probably. Doesn't want to. Annoying John is an enjoyable activity.
Instead of getting out on the side of the bed she's rolled towards—the side farthest from the en-suite door—she rolls across the full-sized mattress and gets out on the closer side. The floor is colder than it has any right to be, and not for the first time Sherlock makes a note to ask Mrs. Hudson about carpeting the bedroom. Not bothering to wait for her feet to get used to it—she would be waiting a long time—she shoves herself out of bed and sprints to the en-suit door. Cracks it open, releasing a cloud of steam.
"I need the toilet," she informs, loud enough to be heard over the din of running water. Her voice is scratchy from sleep.
"Fine," John calls back. Sherlock steps into the bathroom, into the scent of Old Spice and clean water. It's five degrees warmer in here, a welcome change, and she dawdles in the washing of her hands. Doesn't want to go back into the coolness of her room until she has to.
John can tell she hasn't left, and after about four minutes says, "I need to get out now."
Sighing, Sherlock mutters, "Fine," and exits, running across the room to her bed and diving back in. It feels even colder now, after the pleasant twenty-five degrees of the bathroom. Her skin pebbles in gooseflesh and her nipples harden under her soft cotton tee-shirt. She presses her chest against her mattress. It sends a shock down her stomach. It's pleasurable. She sighs.
She turns her head to the side. Stares at the alarm clock on her bedside table. Six-ten. It's October outside, still dark, and she can hear John ascending the stairs to his room. There is something in the back of her mind, something strange that she can't quite place. She tries to chase the feeling back into her mind, knows it has something to do with the cottony taste in her mouth and the headache in her temples, but she can't quite reach it. She knows it's going to bother her all day.
One thing is for certain: she has a hangover.
It's going to be one of those mornings.
I have a bit of a fantasy.
And why are you telling me this?
You're wondering if I've ever had sex, and if so, do I like it? The answer to both is yes. I just don't like the brand of sex Ian Adler was selling.
Surely you don't need me to answer that.
(A chuckle.) No, I suppose I don't. (A pause. A sip of beer. Slurp of noodles from a take-out container.) So this fantasy. What would that be?
Mmm. Wondering if I should tell you.
Oh, come on. You obviously don't know what blokes get up to in the army. You should have heard some of the stuff they talked about. (A pause. A raise of the eyebrows.) Come on then, tell me. Promise I won't laugh or anything.
It's about you.
Oh. I…thought you were married to your work.
A person on a diet can look at a chocolate cake and think about eating it while still knowing that it would be bad for them, and therefore abstaining.
Hm. Very true. Go on, then. Lord knows I'll be too drunk to remember this in the morning.
In that case. (Duel giggle. More beer sipped. Lean back against sofa, pensive.) I fantasize, sometimes, that I'm alone, in my room. I'm naked; sometimes I've just woken up, other times I'm masturbating. You knock on the door, and I tell you to come in. You come in and see me, naked, touching myself. And you look conflicted at first, but then I smile at you and you're coming over to the bed, kneeling between my legs. You perform cunnilingus on me.
(A glance sideways. Expecting disapproval or at least shock. Only vague amusement.) Am I good?
(Laugh.) My dear Watson, you're fantastic.
John Watson thrives on thrill but demands subtlety in his personal life. Sex is had under sheets, lights out, missionary or reverse-missionary or sometimes 'doggy style' as Wikipedia calls it. Sherlock can tell which one it is from the bangs that issue from upstairs, although her results are far from conclusive; John has only brought three girls back to the flat in the year and a half they've been living together, and none more than twice. It makes for a data pool of only about six happenings spread out over eighteen months. Hardly conclusive.
On the other hand, Sherlock Holmes does not care. In the few (Very, very few) times she has participated in any carnal act in her adulthood, it has been far from subtle. At the tale end of her Uni days, the six months or so in which she was dating Victor Trevor during the last semester of her last year ('Dating' isn't the right word, but 'fuckbuddies' just sounds vulgar and there had been a few times when she'd stayed at his flat without it being a precursor to sex) there had been copious amounts of loud, strangely-positioned coitus practically everywhere but the bed. Victor fucking her against the wall, Victor fucking her on the sofa, Victor fucking her in the shower, Victor leaning her against the counter in the kitchen and pressing two fingers inside of her, Victor boosting her up on the same counter on a different day and burying his face between her thighs.
It was with Victor that she discovered her exhibitionistic tendencies. She's a show-off and that's what show-offs do; they show off. It was never anything too bad, the locations were discrete; a rarely-traveled hallway, a park at nighttime. The worst was the time she and Victor went to Sussex at the beginning of summer and had it at a beach while up to their necks in water, about two hundred meters from a few dozen children wading closer to shore.
They broke up only three weeks later, for not entirely unrelated reasons, such as:
It's Victor, ultimately, that made her decide to start abstaining from sex. It made her vulnerable, the fact that she opened herself to someone else's will, let them into her most intimate places, both mentally and physically. Sherlock by nature does not like feeling helpless or lost, and one cannot help but feel such things when one is engaged in such a relationship with another person. Victor could come up behind her and breathe against her neck and she was undone.
The loss of control was not pleasing.
She doesn't think she could do it again, not with a stranger, not with anyone. Not until she meets John Watson and her perceptions of sex and, possibly, love are turned upside-down.
It's November, still cold outside, but it's Saturday and John is home. He has far from the most seniority at the surgery but he also has by far the most qualifications so he gets a favorable schedule, which means weekends off. On weekends, John sleeps in an extra hour and Sherlock does not. She's laying on the couch, back facing the room, when John trundles downstairs. He's soft in the mornings, rumpled and bleary and not as cranky. The crankiness comes later, when Sherlock says something to make him cranky.
"Morning," he tells her. That he can always tell the difference between her being asleep and her just laying there never fails to impress her. "Do you want tea?"
"Are you making it?"
"I believe that's why I'm asking."
"Tea would be nice."
John wanders back into the kitchen. Sherlock listens to him banging around, getting tea out of the cupboard and filling up the kettle and pulling down mugs. Her left hand, the one she's laying on, wriggles out from underneath her almost of its own accord. She presses her fingers against her nipple, playing with it like one might play with their own fingers when distracted. Absentmindedly, not at all conscious of it. She's done this all her life, at least since puberty; remembers laying on her back on her bed and running her thumb back and forth over her nipple, through her shirt and bra, as her other hand held a book over her face.
Oftentimes she rolled over and pressed her face into her pillow and snuck a hand underneath her hips.
She can still hear John in the kitchen. She thinks he might be making toast. Biting her lip, she moves that hand down—the one that had previously been occupied at her breast—and snakes it under her pajama bottoms. When it's too cold to wear just knickers to bed, she wears her pajama bottoms, and when she wears her pajama bottoms to bed she doesn't wear knickers underneath. Doesn't see the point.
John is definitely making toast. The spring in the lever makes a distinct noise when being pushed down. He's going to be in the kitchen for approximately twelve minutes. She wonders if she can come in ten. It's an experiment of sorts, she decides as she rubes her fingers against her clitoris. See if just the idea that John could walk in at any moment and see her—although possibly not realize what she is doing—will decrease the time it takes for her to orgasm, or merely make her anxious.
She flinches every time she hears John make a noise, wondering if this is the moment that he will come in and realize what she is doing, realize that she is touching herself to the sound of him making breakfast and wondering what his reaction would be. Wonders if he would shake his head, sigh and mutter bit not good, Sherlock and write it off as Sherlock's inability to tell apart what should and should not be done in common areas. Or, on the other hand, if he would stand there. If he would watch.
Imagines him standing there, just behind the archway to the kitchen, watching her and knowing exactly what she's doing and pressing himself against the wall. Waiting until she's on the precipice, then approaching, erection straining against his pajama pants, spreading her legs, freeing his impressively hard cock and pressing into her while the toast goes cold.
Anything is more likely, statistically, than this: Eleven minutes and twelve seconds after John puts on the kettle, and eight minutes after the toast pops up, he comes in the room, says, "Tea's ready," and the shock of his voice coming from so close so suddenly tips Sherlock into a less than stellar orgasm. Possibly because her pleasure center registered her full-body flinch as the first convulsion of climax but her conscious brain processed it as shock/caught/anxiety/canhetell/ohGod/whatwasIthinking.
"Sorry, did you fall back asleep? Didn't mean to startle you."
He steps closer and pats her shoulder and Sherlock wonders, just for a moment, if he can smell sex on her. Her tender flesh throbs at the suggestion.
"I'm fine," she says quickly, flipping onto her back. Folds her hands over her chin and says, "Bring me my tea."
John sighs, rolls his eyes, and walks back into the kitchen. She stares at his back, retreating, and narrows her eyes.
Because John can always tell the difference between sleeping and just laying there.
He returns four minutes later, much longer than it takes to put a tablespoon of milk and one packet of sugar in a cup of tea. Subtly as she can, Sherlock glances at the front of his pants. He's got the newspaper held in front of him, and if that isn't confirmation enough, she sees it when he turns to the side.
"There is an advantage to men," Sherlock says, "when it comes to deduction."
"Their…body language is easier to read."
John stops, turns around, and stares at her for a second. Raises his eyebrows and hums, "That's interesting."
"I thought so."
How old were you when you discovered sex?
Sixteen, I think. Yes, summer I turned sixteen. Spent the entirety of July and August in the backseat of my dad's car with a girl named Megan Jefferson.
That's nice. I meant when did you discover sex. What age were you when you realized that babies didn't come from the stork or cabbage patches or whatever lie your parents told you in their misguided plight to keep you forever virginal and chaste.
(Laugh) Why are you asking this?
Because I'm trying to determine the median age for such a developmental revelation. I've asked Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade and now I'm asking you.
You asked Lestrade? Can't imagine how that went down.
Please answer the question?
Alright. Hmm. I suppose it was around…oh, I think I must have been eight. My primary school was attached to the secondary school and one day I was waiting for my dad to pick me up. There were two kids from the secondary school—sixteen-seventeen, I don't know. Twice my age at least. They were over behind a tree and they were making a lot of noise so I got curious. I thought they were fighting, you know, because this boy had this girl up against a tree and she was making all these noises. So I kept my eye on them—I was eight, I didn't know what to do—and when my dad got there I pointed it out to him, and he turned me right around and told me to get in the car. When I asked him what they were doing he said it was something big kids did when they liked each other.
Don't tell me you did something stupid like press some girl against a wall the next day.
No, nothing like that. Actually I completely forgot about it until Christmas, because one of my cousins came over and brought her boyfriend and my mum caught them in the basement and screamed bloody murder. The same cousin was pregnant at Easter, and I made the connection.
Hmm. That's actually a bit impressive. Most kids wouldn't think to put two and two together like that.
Excuse me, I have a doctorate. I think I was quite a smart kid.
Did you know that from the time we're twenty we lose almost 9000 brain cells a day?
Fuck off. That would mean you're losing them too.
(A smirk) Not the important ones.
I repeat: Fuck off.
It's December, early December, and they've tracked a murderer to his hideout on the second floor of an abandoned flat building in Camden. Sherlock's plan involves them arriving before the murderer (Whom has been drugging women, shaving their heads, and painstakingly dying it red before strangling them with it) and lying in wait for him. Once arriving, they realized that the only place to hide was in the linen cupboard. Said linen cupboard has dimensions of about three feet by two feet, and it's barely big enough to fit two people. They are squished together, back-to-front. John in back, Sherlock in front.
"Sherlock," John mutters after about fifteen minutes of this. "I can't breathe."
"Sorry," she mutters, "But I can't do anything about that right now."
"No, really," John mutters, and now she can feel how close his mouth is to her shoulder; his nose must be buried in her coat. "I cannot breathe. Your coat is covering my face."
For a moment, she thinks they are going to have to risk detection by opening the cupboard and letting fresh air in. Then she pauses, mutters shit and says, "Put your legs together unless you want my knees on them," then, carefully and slowly, turns around to face John and sinks into a kneel. It's far from ideal, and her legs feel cramped, like she's cutting off her own circulation, but nothing can be done for it.
It's a few moments later that she says, "I'll take off my coat, but I have to stand up." The floor is hardwood and it's murder on her knees.
"Okay." John sounds strangled. He can't still be out of breath. She rises to a stand and in the dim light provided by the light sneaking around the doorframe, she can see his face is darker than it should be. There is a sheen on his forehead.
"Are you alright?" she asks.
Dubiously, Sherlock turns around, continues staring out the small hole she's found in the door. She has to hunch slightly to see out, and this involves pressing her lower back against John. Against her upper thigh, she can feel a warm pressure. She stifles a gasp. Leans her forehead against the door and mutters, "Are you aware that you have an erection?"
"Pretty aware, yeah."
"Are you aware that it's pressing against my thigh?"
"Never would have noticed, Sherlock. Thanks for the deduction."
"Apparently it's instinctual for blood to accumulate in the penis when one has a woman kneeling in front of him breathing on his crotch, and it really doesn't matter if they're in a murderer's flat and the woman is his flatmate. Did you know that? I certainly didn't."
She tries to ignore it, both John's sarcasm and the distraction of him pressing against her. Knows there's nothing to be done about it now. It's very distracting, though; it's been a long time since she was touched by a man, in any capacity, and the pressure of John's penis against her makes her want to turn around and have it in front, pressing just so between her legs. She leans her forehead against the door with a vague whimper and mutters, "God dammit."
"I'm sorry, okay? Look, it's not you."
"Oh, thank you."
"That's not what I meant."
Thankfully, she is saved from further retort by their quarry arriving. Sherlock pulls John's gun out of her pocket and bursts out of the closet, yelling for the murderer to get down. It would perhaps be less dangerous to let John have the gun, but it's general consensus that Sherlock looks more imposing with it and definitely looks more like she'll willingly use it. For some reason, John's unassuming appearance and short stature translate into less of a threat than Sherlock's dark looks and long form. John once described her as looking something akin to a femme fatale.
Sherlock told him he was misusing the term.
The murderer—Patrick Wilson, originally of Dorset, disturbed on many levels and at one time sexually abused by his redheaded sister—is hauled away by Lestrade's team and Sherlock and John spend the next four hours explaining to Lestrade exactly why he should not arrest them on breaking and entering charges. Sherlock is not exactly sure what shit she spews in Lestrade's direction, but it's apparently convincing because they are released in time for dinner.
They get Indian. John does not make eye contact with her throughout their meal. She can still feel the apparition of warmth against her thigh. Wants for nothing more than John to look up at her so he can see the smoldering behind her eyes. She wants him, John, shorter and stocky but with angles she feels would fit perfect against her curves, and vice-versa.
Realizes she is sinking back into that hole, that hole where she couldn't control herself and allowed herself to be taken advantage of. Her fingers tighten around her fork so hard that it cuts into her skin, and she grits her teeth. Refuses to look at John.
"Are you okay?"
John has finally looked up. He's still not meeting her eyes, but he's staring at her hand. She looks down as well and realizes that it's turning a rather alarming shade of purple where the edge of the silverware is digging into her palm. She loosens her grip, dropping the entire fork in her chicken tikka masala, and barks towards the waitress that she needs a carry-out box.
The cab ride home is silent. Sherlock flees into her room, changes into pajamas, and comes back out. Throws herself onto the sofa and glares at John from behind a throw pillow. He stays in the living room for a total of fifteen minutes until Sherlock's persecution forces him to leave the room, taking his laptop with him.
Sherlock flips over, buries her face in the couch, and screams.
And what about you. When did you discover sex?
Mmm. You know how my family is, John. You've seen Mycroft and I. If there was a time that I didn't know about sexual reproduction, I don't remember it. My parents didn't feel the need to sugarcoat it, and Mycroft even less. They'd given him the whole lecture the moment mummy was pregnant with me; I assume they found the prospect of silly little lies told to calm a precocious six-year-old's questions daunting. Besides, I hardly think they wanted me starting my period and thinking I was internally hemorrhaging because they failed to tell me oh, yes, that's a trick that a grown woman's body does. Fantastic, isn't it?
You have that look on your face.
That…'Sherlock is so very odd' look.
(Laugh) No, this is more like, 'Sherlock's parents are so very odd.' I mean, after all they named you Sherlock, didn't they?
Mummy swears up and down that it's a unisex name.
It's not. It really, really is not.
I tried to go by my middle name for a while. Guinevere. It caught on, but people started calling me Ginny and I wasn't having any of that.
Can't imagine you being in the papers with that name.
(Silence. Sips of beer.) So. You can't remember when you 'discovered' sex. But when did you lose your virginity?
That's undisclosed information.
Oh, come on! I told you mine, it's only fair.
You misinterpreted my question, and therefore revealed the information of your own accord. I never asked for it.
(Irritated huff. Roll of the eyes.) I was nineteen, alright? Nearly twenty. It was Christmas Eve; I would have been twenty in two weeks. I realize that it's some kind of…pathetic reverse-achievement if you haven't lost your virginity before you're eighteen but there it is.
It's not so bad. At least you were an adult and didn't have to drive to the middle of nowhere and have it in the backseat of a jalopy.
We did it in his dorm room with his roommate sleeping in the other bed—I'm still not sure, to this day, that he wasn't actually awake and listening—and he wouldn't have been able to hit my erogenous zones if I'd drawn him a road map to them.
Ouch. That's enough to wear anyone off sex. (Chuckle) Is that why you don't have it?
No. That's…that's for a different reason.
(Awkward silence.) Sorry. I didn't think.
Mmm. It's fine.
The heating in the flat has gone on the fritz, only unlike last winter when they had to suffer through a week of it being five degrees indoors and negative five out, it's thirty degrees in the flat and the furnace refuses to be turned off. John keeps calling it 'Mordor' but Sherlock does not know that that means. The windows are open in the middle of winter and for once, stepping outside is not a chore. They spend three days wandering around London, keeping cool while waiting for the repairman to return Mrs. Hudson's call.
On the fourth day, John has to go to work and Sherlock cannot bring herself to be pulled out of the flat. Instead she wanders around naked, all except for her dressing gown, confident that John will not return until six o'clock and she'll be clothed by then.
Somehow she's forgotten that John only had to work a half-day today.
She's laying on the sofa, dressing gown providing absolutely no modesty, when John unlocks the door and enters. The shopping bags in his hands clatter to the floor and he yelps, "Jesus Christ, Sherlock!" while frantically covering his eyes. Sherlock jumps, pulling the dressing gown around herself and sitting up. John is still yelling. "Why the hell are you…in that state in the living room?" He knows he's loud enough for Mrs. Hudson to hear him, and he doesn't want her knowing precisely what's going on.
"It's very nearly forty degrees in this flat, I was alone, and I thought you wouldn't be returning until six."
"That's no reason to walk around," here he lowers his voice so it's quiet but no less angry, "completely starkers."
"People walk around 'completely starkers' in their own homes every day."
"But usually those people live alone. They usually don't have a seventy-year-old landlady living downstairs who might pop up at any moment and go into cardiac arrest because of a shock like that! Not to mention, you have an open-door consulting business which means anyone could ring the bell, be let in, and come up to see you naked on the sofa!"
Sherlock releases a guttural, displeased sound and says, "It's too hot to argue, it's too hot to wear clothes, it's too hot to think, John! Drop it! If it makes you feel any better, you can strip as well." She stops for a moment, narrows her eyes, and mutters, "You didn't mention yourself."
"You didn't mention yourself in the list of people who may come in and see me. Therefore you don't consider yourself someone I should be embarrassed to reveal myself to." She pauses, then adds, "No, not embarrassed. You're…you're defensive. You're being defensive of my modesty."
John twitches agitatedly for a moment, obviously choosing his words, before he snaps, "Yes, well I don't fancy the idea of someone seeing you like that, alright? Is it a crime?"
In response, Sherlock drops the dressing gown, straight from her shoulders onto the floor. John blinks, and Sherlock can almost hear him telling himself not to stare at her breasts. They're small things with small nipples. They sag slightly because she spent a long time in her development refusing to wear a bra. But John is a man, and men are programmed to stare at breasts, no matter how unattractive. Besides—it's not as though John can tell they're unattractive right now, because he's staring at the floor.
"Sherlock," he sighs. More exasperated that outraged. Good sign. "If you're trying to prove a point, you've done it."
"No," she replies. "I really haven't. Come here, John."
He looks up. His eyes narrow—not like hers, because she knows how hers narrow from a lifetime of watching her mother and Mycroft narrow theirs—and for once having the move turned on her doesn't feel like a reprimand. It feels like a challenge, and she likes challenges.
John says, "Why?"
"I want you to touch me," she says. Adds, "In fact, I need you to touch me because maybe then I'll be able to think. You're infuriating, do you know that? I haven't been able to think for weeks because of you. Weeks! All I've been able to think about are your hands and your lips and…and your prick for God's sake! It's not acceptable, John, completely unacceptable and I won't stand for it one more minute."
For once incredibly conscious of the fact that she's gone off on a tangent, Sherlock stops, tilts her head to the side, and grumbles, "See what I mean? It's like I've lost my mind."
John is still shuffling his feet, indecisive. Says, "You're sure this…you must be absolutely certain that you want this."
"Right now, I am incredibly sure. I don't know how I'll feel later, but right now it's what I need." It's not the answer John was looking for. Sherlock sighs and says, "I'm sorry. It's the best answer I can give you."
"Why me?" John demands. Places his hands on his hips and continues, "Why does it have to be me? You're my best friend, Sherlock. This could ruin our friendship. Why couldn't you have found someone else? Why couldn't…I mean, it's not exactly hard, is it? Finding someone to scratch an itch with?"
"It's not about scratching an itch." She spits it, like the words taste bad on her tongue. They, in fact, do. "It's the fact that I've tried not thinking about it, about you, and it worked. It worked for quite a long time. Then we had that case in Camden, and I made a stupid decision and now I can't ignore it anymore." She stops, stares at him, and quietly says, "You're the only one I trust, John. I don't even trust myself right now."
That, more than anything, seems to be the deciding factor. John sighs, and it's slightly resigned, but also more than a bit accepting, and he steps towards her. He stands there for a moment, like he doesn't know what to do with his hands, and finally Sherlock lifts them to her breasts. They are cool to the touch, and feel heavenly against her feverishly warm skin. She bites her lip and meets John's eyes, and he leans in to kiss her neck.
"Thank you," she whispers.
The only response she receives is a murmur against her neck; she's not sure what he says, but it's calming and comforting and she tilts her neck to the side and almost sobs from relief. It feels like a burden the size of Atlas' has been lifted off her shoulders.
They go up to John's bedroom, John strips, and Sherlock straddles him on the bed. He isn't cold anymore, but warm. Warm between her legs and warm were his hands smooth up her thighs and warm mouth on one of her nipples. She sits on his penis, not so it enters her but so it is trapped between his stomach and her cunt. It feels heavenly.
"Watch me," she tells him, and touches herself whilst atop him, still pressed intimately against him. It does not take her long to come with his warm cock against her. Afterwards, she lays down on her side and pulls him to her. Slicks up her thighs with some lubricant he has in his bedside drawer and enjoys the feeling of him wrapped around her, of him sliding between her thighs. Mutters something about Oxford that makes him snort into the back of her neck.
He keeps his hands on her breasts, almost protective. She's never felt this comfortable about sex before. It scares her, just a bit.
John moves his hand down, down to smooth his fingers through her pubic hair. She gasps and shoves his hand away, to her hip, and says, "No," and John—wonderful, faithful, brilliant John—does not even question her.
When it's over, Sherlock falls asleep in his bed, not even caring that it's only four in the afternoon and she's laying in the wet spot. When she wakes up, John is there with tea, wrapped in his dressing gown, and the news that Mrs. Hudson got the furnace turned off—but it's going to be a week before it's in working condition. Sherlock groans and decides she isn't ready to face being awake yet, rolls over and gets as much of her body into as small of a ball as possible, under the blanket. John laughs, finds her stomach, and pulls her towards him one-armed. Finds her ear and kisses it.
She wishes he would stay that way, body over hers, pleasant weight pressing her into the mattress. It makes her feel cocooned, warm, protected. But he gets up and tells her to drink her tea and that's that.
You're a beautiful girl…Woman, that is. You're stunning.
(Laugh.) Truly, John, you missed your calling. With an ability to lie like that you could have been an actor.
I'm not lying.
Let me tell you something about me, John. I long ago accepted the fact that I was never going to be, in a word, pretty. When my mother would take me shopping with her when I was a small child, they all told her how cute of a son she had. The other girls in my class used to ask the teachers why a boy was at an all-girls boarding school. I hit puberty far later than everyone else, and when I finally did my breasts were slow to develop. They asked me if my cunt actually bled or if I was some kind of 'freaky hermaphrodite.' During gym class once they pulled back the curtain in the shower I was in to see if I was a 'real girl.' They told me my pussy was too small for a man to ever be able to fit. The words 'ugly dyke' were thrown around a lot.
I…Well, that was in boarding school. And girls are catty. They were probably all…rich snobs whose dads didn't love them enough, or something.
John, I'm a rich snob whose father didn't love her enough.
Yeah, but…you're smarter.
That's shockingly insensitive, coming from a doctor.
I am drunk. Besides, it's not as though any of them are my patients, and I'm obligated to think badly of the girls who did that sort of thing to my best friend.
If you say so.
Plus, they're dirty liars, those girls. I bet you're prettier than all of them, Sherlock Holmes, and don't think any differently.
You think that way because of your repressed bisexuality. I'm a guilt-free way to indulge in your less than complete heterosexuality.
You sound like my therapist. Such big words. Like 'repressed.' I don't like that word. Too late, too drunk. What are you even saying?
You like me because you want to have sex with men and you can't.
Oh. Well…that's a load of bollocks, that is. If I wanted to have sex with men, I could. But I don't wanna have sex with men, I wanna have sex with you.
You are so drunk.
I told you.
It's Christmas Eve and there are no interesting crimes and John has to work at the surgery. Sherlock winds around the flat in an overlong shirt and knickers and nothing else and plays angry violin music while muttering about NHS regulations and God-forsaken surgeries that are open on God-awful holidays, and how said God-awful holidays disrupt everything decent in her life.
Mycroft called three hours ago and Sherlock actually spoke to him like a person. She knows he spends most Christmases alone. They may antagonize each other very other day of the year, but there's something special about Christmas. She remembers how, between the ages of eight and eleven, she stayed up all night on Christmas Eve, waiting for Mycroft to return home from University. With the help of Mr. Talbot, the gardener, she would drag the big armchair into the foyer, turn it towards the door and sit ready for when the door would open and her brother's shoe would appear over the doorstep. She was always so happy when he showed up. He would put down his bags and scoop her out of the chair (Even at eleven, she was small enough for him to pick up easily) and hug her. Ask her how she'd been, if she had been good for Mummy and father.
Even she isn't sure what happened. At age twelve, she herself went to board and she and Mycroft lost touch and, eventually, lost each other. They no longer navigated through the world on the same wavelength. Mycroft became unrecognizable in only two years' time, became a thin, gaunt man that had none of the charm of the Mycroft of her childhood. He could fake it, of course. But she could tell it was fake. It was oily. It left a residue.
She misses him, sometimes, when she isn't busy hating him for what he's become.
They're about to hang up, when on a whim Sherlock says, "Mrs. Hudson is having a party tomorrow."
For a minute, there is no reply and she thinks Mycroft has actually hung up. Looks at her phone to make sure he hasn't. Brings it back to her ear and says, "She's inviting you." In actuality, Mrs. Hudson had not mentioned Mycroft when she mentioned the party, but the woman has a 'more the merrier' policy about all social functions, and Sherlock is not just about to admit that she's willing to inflict Mycroft's company upon herself.
"I don't think I have the time," Mycroft replies.
Grinding her teeth together, Sherlock spits, "The world will be able to hold itself together for four hours. The Prime Minister doesn't work on Christmas Eve; neither should you."
"We both know that I don't exactly have the same…task as the Prime Minister."
"That doesn't change anything."
"Yes it does. It's Christmas Eve, everyone deserves a day off, and the world won't end if you take a few hours to visit your baby sister."
He sighs—she can hear the exhale cross the receiver—and he mutters, "I can't, Sherlock."
"For God's sake! Be a human being for once!"
"How would you know anything about being a human being."
She's so infuriated that she doesn't even reply; simply slams the phone onto its receiver. Jackknifes herself into John's chair and jams the Union Jack pillow between her knees and head, and remains there for half an hour until John comes in the door, sees her in the chair, and mutters, "Something the matter?"
"My idiot brother," she tells the pillow, and leaves it at that because John might as well assume it's Mycroft's meddling rather than her failed attempt at extending an olive branch. She gets up, because John is standing there hovering like he wants to ask her to move her arse but is too polite or too wary of retribution to ask, and sits back down in his lap when he sits down. Is careful to rest most of her weight on the leg that does not still have psychosomatic pain when John thinks about it too much.
"What did he do now?" John sighs eventually. He's not going to mention it, then, which is good because Sherlock thinks she might have had to backhand him if he asked her why she was in his lap. She doesn't have patience for Johns' carefully-crafted brand of ignorance right now.
Sherlock sighs and mutters, "He's been an idiot, obviously," and sinks further into the chair, into John. He wraps an arm around her waist and squeezes. She mutters, "I hate Christmas, make it go away."
He laughs into her hair and says, "I can't, actually, because it's kind of a big thing and Mrs. Hudson already bought chip dip."
Snorting, she mutters, "Oh, God forbid a twelve-ounce tub of chip dip go to waste," and John laughs and rests a hand on her thigh. It's warm and large—his hands are not as long as hers, but his fingers are thicker and his palm is wider—and only then does he seem to realize her attire because he stares at the shirt she's wearing and says, "That's mine."
"Why are you wearing my shirt?"
"It was the first thing my hand touched when I woke up this morning." She tilts her head to the side and says, "Does it bother you? Supposedly, men like it when women wear their clothes."
John makes that unique laugh of his, the one he makes when he's slightly nervous, and murmurs, "Uh, no…it's fine." He looks down at her thigh and smiles, the nervous smile that goes with the nervous laugh, and she stares at him. Wonders why he's looking like that. Shuffles down in the chair, letting the shirt ride up above her hips, and watches his reaction. He traces the elastic along the the line between leg and torso. She shivers.
"Bad day at work?" she murmurs as he continues. He slips a finger underneath the elastic, now, and traces his nail along her skin.
"Nothing horrible. What have you been doing all day?"
"Nothing horrible." He looks up for a moment and grins at her, and she sits up. Straddles his lap and takes his wrist, the one belonging to the hand on her thigh, and moves his fingers up underneath the elastic around her thigh. He stares at her, as though not entirely sure that she's sure what she wants. It's a look that's always irritated her, some kind of instinctual reaction to her erratic impulses, and she says, "Sorry, are you too tired?" and raises a patronizing eyebrow. Men hold their stamina, especially where sex is involved, at high esteem.
He rolls his eyes—he knows what she's doing, and she's absurdly proud because he's been listening hasn't he—and says, "No, it's just the other day…"
"The other day was the other day. Now is now. And right now I want some part of you inside of me, and I am not willing to drag myself all the way upstairs to get a condom. Therefore, your fingers."
John raises and eyebrow and says, "You sure know how to talk a bloke up," but she can see his dilated pupils and his pulse jumping in his neck and she knows that he's not going to logging any more complaints. He pulls down her knickers and traces his fingers from her navel, through her pubic hair and down to slip between the lips of her labia. She hisses out a breath, because it's the first time she's felt anyone's touch aside from her own for a long time and it's John, and for some reason that makes it ten times better.
It's a bit strange this time, sitting in broad daylight in the living room. John is blushing and not meeting her eyes, but she knows it's because if he does, he'll laugh in her face, rather than because he's embarrassed about what he's doing.
He's not incredibly skilled at manual stimulation—very few men are, when it comes to women—but it gets the job done. He presses two fingers into her and rubs her clitoris with his thumb and it's just enough to tip her over the edge into oblivion. It's not a stellar orgasm, but it's what she was looking for. It feels good, it gets her mind off the ten different kinds of shit that were occupying it before he came home, and afterwards she kneels in front of the chair and fellates him and everyone is happy.
Until, that is, John starts to think too hard.
"Sherlock," he mutters after a few minutes. He's slumped in his chair, lethargic in the afterglow. She's moved to her own chair, but she has her ankles crossed and one heel propped on his knee.
"What are we doing?"
Her head rises from where she has it slumped on her shoulder and she narrows her eyes. If he's asking what she thinks he's asking, it's the question she's been dreading for a week, and the fact that it's being asked has the potential to completely wipe out all the content she's been experiencing for the better part of the past six days.
"Don't ask that question."
John's eyebrows furrow. He says, "What question?"
"The question you just asked. Don't ask it."
"What are we doing? What's wrong with that question?"
She sneers in his direction and snaps, "Nothing, except that 'what are we doing' is not what you truly mean by asking that. If it is, I apologize for snapping and the answer 'basking in post-orgasmic haze, thank you very much for that' will surely satisfy you."
"Sherlock, I just want to know what this is. I want to know…I want to know what this is to you." He runs a hand through his hair and sighs. Sits up, and in the process scoots back in his chair and drops Sherlock's foot to the floor. Her heel hits with a hollow bang on the hardwood beneath the carpet and she ignores the pain. He says, "Sherlock, I need to know: is this just sex?"
Immediately, confliction slams into her. She wants to tell him everything. That she wants to curl up underneath him and never have to leave, that she wants to feel every inch of him, wants to become part of him, that she wants to feel her body molded so closely to his that they become one person. She wants to tell him that she never wants him to leave her side; that she's afraid of what she'll actually do to herself if he does. Most of all, she wants to tell him that he's still the only person she trusts; that for ten years she never thought of doing this with anybody but him.
It stirs itself in her stomach, a deep, painful feeling of indecision and confusion. She could slap him.
Eventually, she meets his eyes and says, "What else would it be?"
He looks down at his lap, and shakes his head like it's the answer he was expecting, but it's no less disappointing for it. He mutters, "I don't know. Nothing. I wouldn't have…nothing. Just forget it."
"You've obviously made the mistake," she sneers, "Of confusing me with being an actual human being." Then she's up, up and into the bedroom to change into some trousers so she can storm out of the flat like people are wont to do after distressing and/or irritating conversations.
She never does get that far, because she trips on her way in the door, frantic as she is to reach her dresser, and lands in a heap in the hallway. She could get up, she thinks to herself, but what's the point. So she stays there, a living obstruction, and somehow falls asleep, even though it's not remotely comfortable, it's seven o'clock, and she slept yesterday.
Wakes up in her own bed, disoriented because she knows where she fell asleep, and realizes that John must have put her there. No matter, she's still determined to be mad at him. Doesn't even want to speak to him, lest he start asking questions again.
She glances at the clock on her nightstand.
It's four o'clock. It's Christmas. She hates Christmas.
So, about Ian Adler.
Oh God, here it comes. 'So, Sherlock, you really did seem to take to Ian Adler, and you said that you didn't want to have sex with him but I don't believe you because any time that a woman shows the least bit interest in a man, it must be because she wants to have sex with him and make lots of babies.'
(Snort) God, no. Babies. I can't imagine you as a mother.
That's not what I mean. I just…well, I can't see you in a position of nurturing. Anyway, that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about Ian Adler. You said you weren't interested in him, but you seemed pretty…interested, you know? You seemed to find him really interesting.
Your vocabulary is astoundingly wide, John. I'm especially impressed by your knowledge of synonyms for the word 'interest' and its various forms.
Oh come on. Stop trying to change the subject. I know you don't want to…have his babies, or whatever, but I'm your best friend and I think I have the right to know what you find so bloody interesting about the bloke, excluding the fact that he's a male dominatrix. What's the word for that? Dominator? That's not a good word, if you ask me, it sounds more threatening than sexy, although I suppose to his clientele, threatening is sexy…
I must get you drunk more often, John. You're an endless source of amusement in this state.
I've been told. Why aren't you drunk, by the way?
Well, for starters I've consumed about half as much alcohol as you. I also have paler eyes than you.
It's been scientifically proven that the paler the irises, the more drink a person can handle.
That's…no, that can't have anything to do with it. My cousin can drink me under the table and he has brown eyes. So.
(Eye roll) I also have a very high tolerance due to my recreational drug use. (Raised eyebrow) Are you regretting asking that question yet?
Mmm. Kind of. Anyway, Ian Adler.
Did you know he's gay? I deduced it.
Sherlock! Stop avoiding the question.
(Irritated sigh) He's interesting, alright? I realize that doesn't answer your question so much as state facts, but he is. He outsmarted me, for God's sake, and I'm not going to sit here and deny that it's a little bit sexy. I don't want to jump into his pants or anything, nor he into mine, but the fact that he not only deduced what my plan was, but also executed a plan to counter mine and succeeded in doing so is…mmm. Quite interesting.
So the fact that he beat you turned you on?
Not in so many words.
Isn't that a bit masochistic?
I was a drug addict, John. We're all masochists.
Ian Adler dies the next night and Sherlock's mind goes completely blank. She ends up seeing her brother anyway, on the other side of an exam table with Martin Hooper. Martin still has the gel in his hair that he showed up to the party in, but he's put on an awful Christmas jumper to cover the artfully disheveled dress shirt he'd also been wearing at the party. It's very much the Martin that Sherlock knows, rather than the man executing 'geek chic' at the party.
He's angry when Sherlock identifies Ian Adler by his measurements. Most likely because Martin assumes Sherlock is identifying him by the wrong measurements—not inseam and waist but a very specific length. Sherlock wonders how Martin would react if she told him she had no idea how long Ian Adler's prick was, but she could recount exactly the circumference of John's penis at both the base and the glans.
She walks out and stands by the window. Wants to bang her head against it, and the impulse only increases when Mycroft steps up behind her. Then he taps her on the shoulder with a cigarette and suddenly he's her favorite person in the world.
"Merry Christmas," he mutters. She lights the cigarette and takes a long drag.
"Look at them," she mutters, alluding to the family gathered in a huddle at the far end of the morgue. They've lost someone. She wonders if she should feel some kind of kinship with them, but no—there's still the large, gapping emptiness that was there when Mycroft said that her prediction was right. They'd found Ian Adler dead. "They all care so much." She pauses, then ventures, "Do you ever think there's something wrong with us?"
"All lives end," Mycroft murmurs cryptically, "All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock."
She wonders if that's the realization he made while she was away at boarding school, the year someone walked in the door at Christmastime wearing Mycroft's skin but was not Mycroft. She wonders if she should resign herself to living that way, shutting herself off, not caring. It would be less painful.
She wonders about John. How he cares so much and somehow isn't crumpled in a heap in a hole in Afghanistan. She thinks there really must be something wrong with her.
"Merry Christmas, Mycroft," she whispers, and takes her leave.
John is sitting overly casually in the living room when she gets home. As if she won't know what he's been up to, as if she doesn't realize the cigarette was a test. She could have not taken it. Could have probably fooled Mycroft, could have taken a detour only three blocks down and one over and bought a vial of something that would make the emptiness go away. And perhaps the only reason she didn't is because she wants to prove that she's not dependant on the drug; not anymore.
Then, she realizes as she sees John sitting there, that's not quite true. There's a new drug, one that she's even more dependant upon than she ever was on cocaine, and it has blue eyes and dirty blonde hair and hands that are only steady in dangerous situations, and it's sitting in her living room, readily available.
Perhaps she can prove to herself that she can function without her addictions; that she can sit in the same room as temptation and not absolutely need to give in. She stands in the living room for a long time, taking twice as long as any normal person should to remove her scarf, and finally tucks it into her coat. She stands there for a moment, staring at John. All at once, she wants to hit him, kiss him, and curl up in his lap and cry. Unfortunately, she can do only perhaps two of any of those at the same time, and partway is not good enough.
In the end, she stalks into the room. John sees her and starts to say something, probably a sympathetic greeting followed by disgusting pity. She speaks before he can, however, and says, "I hope you didn't mess up my sock index this time."
He has nothing to say to this. She walks into her bedroom and closes the door, and tosses her coat in the corner because she's certainly not going to ruin her exit by heading back out and hanging it up. She strips to her underwear and perches herself on her bed. She's not going to sleep tonight. She wouldn't be able to, even if she wanted to. She's spent almost a decade telling her body that it need only function on roughly five hours of sleep every three days, and she got that and more last night due to her stunt in the hallway.
So she sits in the dark. And thinks. And waits. She's not sure for what, but it feels like there's something coming; something dangerous. Something that will provide an answer to all of her questions.
John pokes his head in to check on her around midnight. She does nothing but raise an eyebrow at him, accusing and inquiring at the same time. He lingers in the doorway, obviously conflicted, until he says, "Have you eaten today?"
"I ate yesterday morning."
"That doesn't answer my question."
She falls back and covers her face with a pillow, then screams, "NO!" through it.
John sighs and walks out of the room. She hears him walking around in the living room—stomping, really, and she can't bring herself to care that he's pissed. She listens until he walks out the door, and when he does so, she takes her coat into the living room, hangs it up, and picks up her computer. She gets absorbed in it, and she's still sitting in the living room, in nothing but her bra and knickers, when John comes in the door carrying a plastic bag that she recognizes as coming from the Chinese down the street.
"I got you sesame chicken," he tells her, "and you're going to eat at least half of it."
He slams down the container on the coffee table and tosses a pair of chopsticks down beside it before going into the kitchen to retrieve a fork for himself. She stares at it, curled up on the sofa, until John comes back in and glares at her. It's obvious that one of them will have to budge, and John is much more patient than Sherlock. So she uncurls herself long enough to grab the food and brings her knees back up to her chest.
"You shouldn't eat like that," John mutters.
"I do it all the time, Doctor Watson."
John sighs through his nose—it's the kind of sigh that, in cartoons, is portrayed by steam from the nostrils and a red face—and grumbles, "Fine, get yourself heartburn or gas or whatever your fucked-up digestive system wants to throw at you, I don't care. I'm done caring, Sherlock."
"Does that mean I don't have to eat?"
It's meant to be mocking—something to make John throw up his hands, give up, and go stalking away so she can disappear into her own room and leave as much of the chicken uneaten as possible. She's not expecting John to whirl around, point a finger at her, and bellow, "EAT the fucking food, Sherlock!"
To her own surprise, she shuts up. Stares down at her food and shovels a large piece of chicken into her mouth. John stands there for a moment to make sure she swallows it, then goes back into the kitchen to get his own food. Comes back in and collapses into his chair.
The silence is heavy and unpleasant. Sherlock searches for something, anything to say, and eventually arrives at, "How did you find a Chinese open on Christmas?"
"They're always open on Christmas." He sounds gruff, angry, but the fact that he answered is promising. So is the fact that he pauses and continues, "Didn't you know that?"
"No." She entertains the notion of requesting John think about just who it is he's talking to, but she decides against it. He would probably misinterpret it as jest, and he's not in any mood to be teased right now.
John pours some soy sauce into his carton and says, "Well, you know, it's in that movie. The American one, about the kid?"
Sherlock stares at him blankly, and it goes without saying that she has no idea what he's talking about. He looks down in his lap and chuckles, then says, "Right, I forget who I'm talking to. It's probably on…some channel, it comes on like fifty times between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. I'll see if I can find it."
"I'd rather not." Her legs are getting cramped. She stretches them out and rests them on the coffee table. The debris of Christmas is still all over the living room, including the red wrapping paper that had held Ian Adler's phone. Sherlock stares at it and feels absolutely nothing.
"Are you okay?"
She looks up. John is staring at her. Not with pity, but concern. She can't figure out if that's better or worse. She says, "Yes. I'm fine."
"Don't lie to me. I know you're not."
"You left me alone," she says, instead of answering. Places her carton on the coffee table—she doesn't think she can stomach another bite, even though she's barely eaten five pieces of chicken—and continues, "I know Mycroft contacted you. I know he told you to stay with me. He's afraid I'll relapse tonight. Yet you left me alone."
"I only went round the corner."
"In the time it took you to go round the corner, I could have gone to my dealer and back without you knowing."
John shrugs, no defense apparent, and says, "Suppose I trust you."
"Suppose you were separating me from the real drug."
In the wake of this statement, the silence stretches again. Sherlock gets up, carton in her hand, and places it in the fridge. When she arrives back in the living room, she sits down across from John, in her chair, and folds her legs up underneath her. Folds her hands in front of her face and says, "I hate you, sometimes."
He snorts. "Alright."
"Aren't you going to ask why?"
John gives her a look that can only say Seriously? but he answers anyway, "Well it's a bit obvious, isn't it? I make you do things you don't want to do sometimes, and I'm certainly not the nicest person all the time. Then again, neither are you. But I'll bite. Why do you hate me sometimes?"
At first, the answer had seemed so simple. It had been one sentence in Sherlock's head. One, lone sentence. Easily said, and easy to shock John with before she set off for her own room, not to emerge for a few days. But as she opens her mouth, a flood of words come out, string together to form sentences almost without the permission of her brain. It goes on and on, with John staring at her with something between rapt fascination and deep disturbance.
"I hate you," she says, "Because I've known you for a year and you should be the dullest person on the planet to me—absolutely, completely dull, I should have been tired of you within ten minutes—and yet I still don't know everything about you. At the same time, I know everything about you and I can't bring myself to delete any of it. I know how exactly you take your tea and coffee, I know how you like your toast, I know when your leg is bothering you just by the sounds above my head when you wake up in the morning. I know that you sing in the shower when you've had a good dream, and I know the exact number of freckles on your left shoulder. I could draw your face from memory. I could look at a picture filled with men who looked like you all dressed in the same coat, and know which one was you. If you had an identical twin, I would always be able to tell which one was you and which the twin. I know your fucking middle name, John. I don't know anyone's middle name; I don't think I even know Mycroft's anymore.
"I hate you because you've turned everything I know about men—everything I know about human beings, for that matter—completely around. You come into the living room and see me naked and I'm literally throwing myself at you, and for some reason you wanted to make sure that it was what I wanted. You wanted to know if there were strings attached in this, and when I told you there need not be, you were actually disappointed.
"I hate you because, despite the fact that I've been put no a government-declared drug watch, you left the flat to go round the corner and get me Chinese food at midnight on Boxing Day, because you know I hadn't eaten even though you also knew I probably wouldn't eat much. I hate you because I'm sitting here in my knickers and bra and nothing else and you're making eye contact with me instead of being like every other man in the God-damned universe and staring at my tits.
"I hate you because you're a decent person, and you want me to be decent too and I don't know how and it's killing me. It is literally killing me that I can't be who you want me to be, John, and I've never felt that way about anyone. Not my mother or my brother, or anyone I've ever known. You're the first person that I actually, truly want to change for and when I want to change the most, I can't bring myself to."
She stares at him, takes a breath—she doesn't think she's breathed the entire time—and says, "I hate you sometimes, because you make me want to be a better person."
They stare at each other. John looks vaguely shell-shocked. Sherlock feels weightless, and at the same time mortally embarrassed. She feels naked in a way that has nothing to do with her state of undress. It gets to the point where she would do anything to get out from under his gaze, but finally he gets up and comes over to her, lifts her out of the chair, and begins carrying her back towards her bedroom.
"What are you doing?" she demands.
"Taking you to bed," he replies.
"I can walk there on my own, you know. Put me down."
"I will. On the bed."
"This is bad for your shoulder."
"I've done it before."
She begins to protest, and then she realizes that he has. At least once that she knows of—just last night, when she fell asleep in the hallway and woke up in her bed. She's almost certain he's done it before then. Has hazy recollections of him carrying her off to her bed after she'd been injured and he didn't trust her to walk on her own, or else carried her while she was not able to walk on her own.
John has been her guardian angel, more or less, since the day she met him. He killed a man for her the day after they met. He has shoved her away from numerous bullets, almost to the point of taking them for her. He has pulled her out of the Thames in the middle of February. He has jumped on the back of a man three times his height to keep her safe. He's also jumped onto the back of a madman for the same reason. When she was planning on sending them both up in a hale of flames, all it took was a look for him to know exactly what her plan was.
To be honest, she doesn't know how she survived without John Watson.
"You confuse me," she whispers, "and I don't even know why. You shouldn't. You really should not."
"Maybe if you stop thinking so hard," John mutters as he sets her on the bed, "you'll be able to come to the answer." Then he's over her, on top of her and between her legs. She hikes her legs up high on his waist and locks her ankles together. It's cold in the room, she can feel it in her toes and her nipples. They are hard under his thumbs, and oversensitive. She hisses as he touches them and arches her back. Her prominent hip bones dig into his stomach and she can feel his erection against her thigh.
"You drive me crazy," she snaps, flinging an arm over her eyes. "I want you so much it hurts, it physically hurts. It scares me how much I want you. Any moment of any day you could come up to me and breathe down my neck and I would be gone, John, completely gone and that terrifies me, do you know how much that terrifies me?"
John has stopped. His hands still on her back, two hooks in her bra undone, and he huffs a surprised breathe against the swell of her breast. He sits up, and even though Sherlock cannot see him she knows he's staring at her. He says, "Sherlock…you know I would never. Never."
"You don't think I've heard that before? But then it starts. It starts with little touches when you want me to do something for you, and then soon enough I'm become a glorified sex toy and I've lost all of my self-control and you could ask me to do practically anything and I would. Especially you John, God I would do anything for you." She takes her arm away from her eyes and whispers, "I would kill people for you, John. Doesn't that scare you?"
"I've killed people for you," John murmurs.
"That's different," Sherlock mutters. "You only killed him because he was threatening my life."
For a moment, John stares at her. Then he raises up, leans in, and whispers in her ear, "I'm a crack shot. You don't think that if I just wanted to wound him, I would have? I could have shot him in the leg or the arm. I could have made his death painless and shot him through the head. I shot him through the heart, Sherlock, because I knew he had hurt you and I wanted him to die, and I wanted him to feel every second of his death."
Sherlock cannot help the gasp that comes from her mouth. Coming from anyone else, someone like Jim Moriarty, it would be disturbing. It would practically be a declaration of insanity. But she knows with perfect clarity that John is sane, and perfectly capable of impulse control. Coming from John, it is practically a declaration of love.
"Kiss me," she requests, and he obliges. His lips are chapped from his obsessive lip-licking and he tastes like the Chinese food he was eating. She remembers she always made Victor brush his teeth before he kissed her if he had been eating, but it's different with John. With John, she doesn't mind. It's almost more intimate like this. She wants to know the different flavors of John Watson. What he tastes like after his morning tea or coffee, what beer tastes like from John's tongue, or wine, or whiskey. She wants to taste him when he wakes up in the morning, morning breath and all, she wants to kiss him just after he's brushed his teeth at night, and after he's eaten one of those chocolate digestives he loves so much. She wants to taste every possible flavor of John Watson.
He's much better at this than manual stimulation, that much is for sure. His tongue darts over the insides of her cheeks, over her own tongue, along the roof of her mouth. She can only assume that he is doing the same thing she is; tasting, cataloguing, applying relevant information to memory. It's not the same way she does it—Here's a place for how his mouth tastes, here's a place for the texture of that ticklish spot behind his ear, here's where I'll put the color of his eyes, gold-speckled-green-blue—but it's reminiscent of her own movements, and in that she finds kinship with him.
They break away for air, and John sucks a bruise onto her collarbone. Once this is done, he sits up just enough for her to see his face, and says, "I want to go down on you."
The noise Sherlock makes is not intelligible, but it does convey a certain level of willingness—a very high level, to be more exact—and John grins. Makes quick work of her knickers, pulling them down her legs and tossing them to the floor. Then down he goes until he's laying on his front between her thighs. He delivers an open-mouthed kiss to the inside of one thigh and lifts the other one over his good shoulder. Sherlock sets her shaking hands on her stomach and waits eagerly.
Where John had disappointed yesterday, he makes up for here. It's obvious he knows how to do this, and he enjoys doing it. Victor used to do it almost as a chore, and the one disaster of a boyfriend she'd had before him had outright refused. John, though—John is…
As always, there are no words to accurately describe John Watson in his entirety.
The first touch of his tongue comes in two long swipes along her labia majora. Sherlock bites her lip, attempting not to lose her composure so soon but it's something she's been waiting for and to be honest, she's just not sure how long she can keep herself collected for. Her mind is singing an endless litany of John John John John! and there's a pleasant throbbing sensation in her lower stomach that makes her want to arch her back and make a lewd noise.
His fingers make an appearance, spreading apart her folds so he can better trace his tongue in a hot stripe from her perineum to her clitoris, then he seals his lips over her clit and sucks.
Sherlock screams, finally giving into impulse and letting her back arch off the bed. Curls the fingers of her right hand through John's hair while her left hand compulsively grips the sheets. John has one hand splayed on her stomach, over her abdomen. He strokes his thumb up and down in an almost soothing manner. She risks a look down at him. Finds herself staring to his deep blue eyes and there are words there that neither of them can speak aloud.
It feels like all of her breath has left her, although she knows that's impossible because she's still managing to make noises that are alarmingly high-pitched considering her normal octave range. She feels like John is taking her apart, one swipe of his tongue at a time. The entire core of her being is now where he's connected to her, mouth pressed between her legs, arm looped under her thigh and hand splayed on her stomach, two fingers inside of her.
She squeezes one of her breasts, presses her eyes closed, arches up against John's face. Now she knows why the French call it La petit mort. Orgasm, she finds, may kill her. She cannot imagine an end to this venture that does not involve her being ripped apart by the ferociousness of her climax. Colors explode behind her eyelids and she is on fire between her legs, aching, throbbing. She sobs out John's name and tightens her hand in his hair and screams, "I'm coming, I'm coming!"
Though it does not tear her apart, her orgasm is explosive. She screams gutturally and arches completely off the bed, from shoulder blades to heels. She feels the contractions of orgasm all the way down to her toes, which dig into the mattress.
She shudders for long minutes afterwards. John peppers kisses along her legs and squeezes her hands. She knows he must be aching, and she will do something about it. Once her limbs are less gelatinous.
"You've killed me," Sherlock whispers, without opening her eyes.
"Have I?" he murmurs against her hip. "I have to say, I wasn't planning on you being so vocal. You're usually…really quiet."
Sherlock huffs out a laugh and turns over onto her side. She can feel how soaked she is between her legs. John slides up the bed so he's more or less equal with her. She waits until he's settled to say, "There are some things that even the most stoic cannot be silent through."
John stares at her for a moment and murmurs, "Can I ask you something?"
"You just did."
"Haha. That joke is older than both of us. Seriously, though, I have something to ask you. Don't get mad."
Warily, she lifts her head off the pillow and slowly mutters, "Why would I be mad? What's your question?"
"Well…usually, when girls…when women react that way, it's their first time. Receiving oral sex, that is. Was that…yours? Your first time?"
Relieved that it isn't a question along a similar track as yesterday's disastrous inquiry, she almost laughs, "No. You're just the first one to…go at it so enthusiastically." She smirks and kisses him. She can taste herself on his lips.
John says, "There's nothing worth doing that isn't worth doing well."
She shows how much she agrees with this sentiment by sliding down to mirror his position from earlier.
So you've had sex. I'd have expected a much; you're a grown woman, after all. I do have another question for you, though. Have you ever been in love?
Hmm. Define love.
Well…I don't think you really can, can you? Love is…well, the basic nature of it is that it defies explanation. I mean, science tells us that it's really just chemicals that we associate with certain people, but…no one really knows why it happens. Why we fall for certain people and not for others. Why we fall in love with people we shouldn't. Why it's so quick to happen sometimes and other times it takes years.
Hmm. That was deep, for you. Especially in your current state.
I'll take that as a compliment.
(Silence for a few moments. Picking at the label of an empty beer bottle.) I think I'll answer your question with another one.
How do you know that you're in love? Do you know? Have you ever been in it?
(Long sigh. Tilt of the head.) You know. That's a hard question. I mean, of course when you're young you think you're in love with everyone you so much as kiss. But then you grow up and you realize…hmm. No, I don't really think I have been. But I suppose you know you're in love with someone when you realize that you can't possibly imagine your life without them.
That's a rather general definition, don't you think? With that logic, I'm in love with…my mobile phone.
Well that may be true, when you think about it.
You're so hilarious, John, really. Your wit astounds me.
I do have my moments. (A grumble. A kick to the shin.) Ow!
That didn't hurt. Anyway, though, love has to have a…it has to be more precise.
Mmm. Maybe. But maybe only to people who know what it feels like. I mean…being in love is really similar to loving someone. The whole 'can't imagine my life without them' thing goes for my parents and my sister. Harry and I are twins; I literally have no recollection of a world in which she didn't exist, nor she me. Same for my parents.
But, somehow, romantic love is different.
Well, yeah. I mean…Well, it's not possible for us to know, is it? Neither of us have ever been in love.
I never said I had never been in love. I just said that I didn't know what it felt like.
Isn't it the same thing?
Knowing and feeling are two different things.
Hmm. Never thought of it that way.
Of course you haven't.
You're mean when you're drunk.
I'm mean when I'm not drunk.
The realization comes on slowly. Like a cold that you can tell will be ferocious, but you realize too late will be making an appearance. Now you're already made plans, promises that you can't go back on, and you're forced to execute them with a throbbing head and running nose and throat too sore to speak. Only there is no eventual relief. There is the knowledge that it's a terminal condition, one you will have to live with for the foreseeable future, one that will impede your ability to function and your judgement.
It's like cancer, she realizes one day, when she's laying facing the ceiling in a hotel room in Baskerville and it's too late, it's too late to do anything, both literally and physically because it's one o'clock in the morning and unlike London people sleep in Dartmoore and too late because it's already happened. She's already fallen in love with John Watson and there is no turning back. It's too late. It's terminal. It's chronic.
Love is like cancer. It is a chronic condition. It nestles itself in your crevices, your cavities, and spreads and wreaks havoc wherever it goes. It incapacitates everyone it touches, be them genius or imbecile, mastermind or stooge. It is the great equalizer. It brings everyone down to the same level, its level, before tearing them apart.
Some people would say that it is merciful, that it is kind, but such things are never merciful or kind.
Case in point: It manifests itself only after she has gone and made several horrible decisions. It announces its presence to her only once she is lying alone in the dark, on one side of the king-sized bed they managed to fashion by pushing the two twin beds the room sports together. She has been staring at the yellow light from the en-suite bathroom for ten minutes. Her eyes are watering. She tells herself it's because she hasn't blinked in too long.
She blinks and a bead of moisture rolls down her cheek and onto the pillow. She refuses to think of it as a tear. She swipes it away and pretends it was never there in the first place. Wipes the residue onto her skirt so she doesn't even have to look at the evidence.
Love paralyzes the heart first. Makes one weak. Susceptible. Then it spreads to the brain. It forces bad judgment, altered mental state, lightheadedness, disorientation. Then it spreads to the skin, making it feverish. You feel too hot and too cold at the same time. You crave touch. You can't get enough of it. It's all too much. There is a tingling sensation in your very pores that makes you want to crawl out of your own skin to find relief.
It spreads to the limbs, makes them tingle, makes them feel heavy. Feelings that make you long to tangle them with the limbs of another. Somehow, deep inside of you, you know that the only way to relieve the feeling is the sensation of another person's skin against yours.
Finally, it goes to the eyes. They water. They overflow. They sting and become unfocused.
Love is a disease, and it's eating her alive.
She is still fully dressed, although under the covers, when John comes in late that night. She wants to hop up immediately. Wants to sit up and turn on the light and beg his forgiveness, but she's hyperaware of how out of character that would be, how stupid it would make her look, and she is not willing to sacrifice her pride. Not even to end her own pain.
So she huddles under the blankets and pretends she is asleep. With any luck, John will not be able to tell whether or not she is asleep due to change of scenery or the fact that she's actually under a blanket for once. Whether or not he actually thinks she is asleep, or just lets her believe he thinks such remains a mystery to her because he doesn't acknowledge her at all. Merely shuffles about the room for a minute, taking his clothes off presumably, and gets under the covers. There is a long beat of silence. Then he sighs and rolls over and places a hand on her waist.
It is just his hand. He does not push up against her back like he usually does when they fall asleep together in his bed after some variety of sexual activity. It is the only time they sleep together. The reason they pushed the beds together is because apart they were too small for two grown people to sleep in, and because they were planning on having sex at some point when they showed up.
Those plans have been derailed.
But there is his hand. A warm weight on her waist. Familiar. She wants to hold it but she is still pretending to be asleep.
They fall asleep like that.
When they wake up they are pressed face-to-face, tangled together, and John has an erection pressing against her thigh. It takes all of her willpower not to react like she normally would, the way that has become habit, and instead get up and drag herself into the bathroom to shower and dress and set out.
She wasn't just moping last night. She has compiled a plan of action. She knows what she is going to do. About the case, and about John.
Later, she has solved the case and watched John steadily shoot something out of her own nightmares and watched a man literally explode, not to mention locked John in a secure facility and allowed him to expose himself to mind-altering drugs. She has apologized to someone for the first time in seven years and she has actually had to call in a favor from her brother, which is unfortunate because now she owes him something and being in a position of owing Mycroft Holmes something is in the top five of 'Positions nobody ever wants to be in' right behind 'up shit creek without a paddle.'
But most of all she and John are back on speaking terms and it's so much better than the state their relationship was in yesterday that she might even consider doing that favor that she owes Mycroft.
"So they didn't have it put down, then," she mutters, staring over at the owners of the B&B/Pub they have spent the last two nights in. John is eating breakfast. She finds herself strangely not hungry, although she hasn't eaten since they left London. She knows John will catch on soon enough to the fact that she hasn't, but until then she will dread that moment in silence and sip her coffee. "The dog, that is."
"Mmm. Obviously. Probably couldn't bring themselves to do it."
"I see…" She furrows her brows and takes another sip of coffee. It doesn't quite make sense to her, the idea that releasing a potentially dangerous animal into the wild would be any better for the community than having it put down, and then lying about it to the police. No, it doesn't quite make sense.
John must realize this. He smirks around a bite of egg and mutters, "No you don't."
Chuckling slightly, she mutters, "No…I don't. Sentiment?"
"Sentiment!" He waves his fork at her as though she is a small child and he is congratulating her on finishing a simple math equation. But behind his jesting eyes she can see everything he really wants to say. She can see him asking Would you just have me put down if I was deficient? Would you just get rid of me? And she knows at that point that she must tell him. She must tell him all she feels for him. Must recount every agonized thought to him in detail because if she does not, he will never understand the extent to which she really does love him. He will never realize that she literally cannot function or breathe without him anymore. That giving him up would be the hardest thing she's ever had to do.
Somehow, Sherlock Holmes has to tell John Watson that she loves him, and that is most definitely Not Her Area.
I think I'm afraid of falling in love, to be honest.
Most people are. It takes a lot away from you, to fall in love. At least, I think it must. You have to give so much of yourself away to someone else in order to fall in love with them. They basically have to own a part of you.
It would be easier for someone like you, I think.
Someone like me?
Mmhm. You know…you're just so…there's so much of you. You could give half of yourself to someone and still have plenty left. You could fall in love and have children and have pets and have nieces and nephews and still you wouldn't run out of love to give. You're limitless in your love, John. It would be so easy for you to love someone, and be loved in return.
I don't think it's a matter of being born with all the love you're ever going to have. I think it's more…making more along the way. It takes a long time, and you have to build your love around that person. You have to hold the parts of them that you have close to you and never let it go. Because it's fragile, isn't it? Love.
I still don't think I'm cut out for it. I'm terrified of giving myself over to someone like that. I've seen it happen…what it does to people. It's horrible. You can get taken advantage of so easily when you're in love with someone, because you're willing to do…basically anything for them. You'd kill for them. You'd be killed for them. You would jump into a river with cement bricks tied to your ankles if it meant they would be able to live. Shouldn't that be more terrifying than people seem to find it?
Well…probably. But the trick is finding someone who loves you enough not to ask those things of you.
But how can you be sure they love you? Love blinds us. We see what we want to see, not what we should.
You know someone loves you because they look at you the same way you look at them. Simple as that.
That's terribly sentimental, John.
Not my area.
(Laughter. Pause.) I believe, also, that's why I could never see myself as a mother. Contrary to popular belief, it's not because I hate children. I don't actually mind the idea of them, in the abstract. But when I think about actually being responsible for one, being a mother, I…Look at it this way: children need to be shown affection. They can't tell by looks and gestures that you love them. You have to kiss them, sing to them, devote your life to them, at least at the beginning. I think I would have to stop my work if I were to have children, and I don't trust myself to be able to give it up, even for a child.
I'm sure you'd feel differently if you ever actually had to make that decision.
Perhaps so. But I would rather not tempt fate.
You never know, Sherlock. Something might happen in six months that completely changes your view on all of that. None of us can predict the future…at least not so far as to say for certain whether or not we're going to be the exact same person in a year's time. I'm certainly a different person than I was a year ago.
A year ago you were still in Afghanistan.
Mmm…more like a year and a half ago. But the point still stands.
Yes but you can't deny that your life underwent a major change in that time. Short of being shot, I can't imagine anything that would change my own perceptions so drastically.
You never know.
They are running. Sherlock does not know where, she does not know how fast, all she can feel is John's hand linked with hers and that is enough. She knows she has hit the point of no return. She has threatened a large majority of Scotland Yard at gunpoint and 'kidnapped' her flatmate. They are now running through the streets, trying to find somewhere safe. But nowhere is safe for them, not anymore. They are hiding from criminals. They are hiding from the law. They are literally a two-man walking (running) anomaly when it comes to the line between crime and justice and that doesn't make for many safe areas.
Up, over a fence she climbs, realizing too late that it's almost impossible for John to follow. They are stuck on either side of the fence, John standing on tip-toe to as not to dislocate his wrist, which is still stuck in the handcuff. He grabs the front of her coat and says, "We're going to need to coordinate," and he's so close that she can smell his cologne (Something subtle, something almost earthy, and she has come to associate the smell with John as much has his natural musk that makes an appearance in the morning and when he sweats) and it's all she can do not to bruise her lips against his because she knows, knows with absolute certainty, that this cannot end well and it may be the last chance she has to do it.
Sherlock stares up at their hands, almost meeting over the edge of the seven-foot-tall fence, and says, "Go to your right."
"Your right, go to your right!"
They navigate to a couple of wheelie bins that John manages to climb up on, and thus over the railing. Then they're off again, down an alley until they hit a brick wall. There are two ways to go and Sherlock begins heading one way, then doubles back, all the while dragging John behind her. 'Coordinating' is not something she's incredibly good at.
Then the blue lights of a police car shine through the alley and they both lean against the wall, making themselves flat as possible. Sherlock whispers frantically to John, sounding paranoid but she knows she makes sense—Moriarty just wants to sham her name, drag it through the mud, make her out to be an elaborate hoax, an actress. "Sherlock Holmes is just an ordinary woman," she finishes bitterly, and the sad thing is that she is because ordinary women let themselves get embroiled in matters of the heart and that is what this is.
"What about Mycroft?" John asks. "He can help us."
"Big family reconciliation? Now's not really the moment." She sighs and squeezes John's hand tighter. "John…I need you to know something."
Another police car comes by, closer this time, and John covers her with his body. Lets the light shine over his back, undistinguishable from the darkness. Sherlock makes herself as small as possible, hiding herself behind John. She closes her eyes shut, like a small child hiding from the world, and only reopens them when she can no longer see blue flashing lights behind her eyelids. Right in front of her eyes are John's, deep blue and comforting. They have the power to make her forget everything, to make her feel safe when she knows she's anything but.
John's hand's come up to frame her face, and it's a little hard and very ridiculous because her right hand is still attached to John's left, so it dangles there beside her own face. She pays no mind to it, though, because she still needs to tell John. She leans her forehead against his and desperately hisses, "John…" but he's already kissing her and she can't seem to make him stop, even to tell him such important information.
His mouth goes to her neck and she holds him against her and, while he's not looking and occupied with his task, she sobs. Just slightly, quietly, trying not to draw attention to it. She sobs because she does not know what to do, and that's a situation in which she's rarely found herself in thirty-three years. She knows that she must keep John safe at any cost, any cost to herself, which she's beginning to realize could be monumental.
She realizes too late that she's been clutching onto John too hard, because he looks up and says, "Sherlock, why are you—" and then he sees her face. He looks indecisive for a moment, like he doesn't know what to do but not like he's lost, like so many others when they saw strong, independent Sherlock Holmes crumple before their eyes.
"Don't stop," she says, pulling him closer to her by the lapels on his jacket. "I need you, I can't…" It's irrational; she knows it's irrational, but she feels like she will fall apart if John leaves her now, if he pulls away and they keep running. She needs him more than she has ever needed anyone.
John stares at her for a moment, looking as though he might argue, but finally he nods and they kiss, frantic lips against frantic lips. Sherlock grips his face and presses herself as close to him as possible. She wants to be part of him. She wants to be so close that they cease to be two separate beings. She wants to nestle herself inside his chest cavity, wrap herself around that huge, beating heart of his and feel its warmth and fall asleep and not have to worry anymore.
Pressing her lips against his pulse point, she says, "I need you," and hopes he gets her meaning, because she has never once begged a man to enter her, never once actually said the words I want you inside of me and even though it's the only thing she wants right now, the only thing that might keep her sane, she will not sacrifice her dignity. Not even now.
However, she needn't worry. John always knows what she means. She can say 'right' and John knows she means left. She can say 'red' and John knows she means blue. She can say go and John knows she means stop. It's the nature of their relationship. John is part of her, and she part of John, and, in essence, it means her destruction.
Sometimes she wishes she had never met John Watson.
John pulls down her knickers and pulls up her skirt. Hiding in a dark alley whilst being hunted by the police is nowhere for foreplay. She can feel the cold wall against the swell of her arse and she jumps, cursing, flinching forward into John. Feels his erection against her hip and hisses. Strangely, she's relieved that he's already aroused. Perhaps because it means less time taken. On the other hand, perhaps because it means he has few or no qualms about this.
Somehow, she knew he wouldn't.
Sherlock undoes John's belt, undoes his button, his zipper, and pulls his trousers and pants down far enough to free his erection. She's reminded of that fantasy of hers from what feels like years ago, John stalking up to her and spreading her legs and thrusting inside of her all in one fluid movement. That fantasy, however, could not have been different from this; a dark ally, cold, scared, doing it literally just so they can reassure themselves that the other is in one piece.
She had always planned for it to happen, if it would happen, at home, both of them warm, both of them content, because they wanted to—not because there is some primal urge forcing them to, not under duress of perhaps never having the chance to do this again—at least for the foreseeable future.
It's not about sex, and for the life of her she wishes it was, because that would make everything so much simpler.
John wraps his palm around the back of Sherlock's left thigh and lifts it into his hip. It's hard to stay balance on one foot, but John supports her with an arm around her waist and she forgets how hard it is when John enters her and everything becomes blurry and at the same time so very vivid.
It is fast and dirty. John thrusts into her a dozen times and the combination of adrenaline and consciousness of the need for efficiency have him coming inside of her. She does not orgasm—the speediness of the encounter makes it almost impossible, not to mention the fact that she has never in her life had a vaginal orgasm—but fakes it, knowing that even in such a situation, John would feel responsible for bringing her pleasure and it's not something they can take time on right now.
She doesn't mind. All she knows is that she has felt John Watson inside of her, felt every part of him pressed against every part of her, felt the liquid warmth from his ejaculation spread inside of her, and that is enough.
"Thank you," she murmurs, slowly in the moment or so afterwards in which they catch their breath and straighten their clothing.
Instead of saying 'you're welcome,' John says, "Tell me we're going to get out of this, Sherlock. Both of us. In one piece."
She meets his eyes and whispers, "You know I can't. I'm a genius, John, not a psychic."
"But you know the odds, yeah? What are the odds?"
Slowly, she shakes her head. "You don't want the answer to that question."
He looks as though he wants to reply, but before he does something catches his eye. Nudges her and directs her attention towards the end of the alley, where a face can barely be seen in the shadow. Her first reaction is embarrassment—have they been watched the entire time?
Then she realizes: They have been followed. There are very few people who would be following them, and none of them are good options. They have no allies aside from each other at this point. She feels stupid, ridiculously stupid. She has led them into a trap, placed them here like sitting ducks.
He has been standing there for at least as long as they have. One possibility is that he's some particularly lucky peeping tom, happening upon the pair of them going at it in the alley. Then she narrows her eyes, looks closer. She recognizes that face.
John swears. "I knew we couldn't outrun the police!"
"That's not the police."
Then she's off, John following like he always does, and the adventure continues. Her legs feel like jelly but somehow they support her as they run and duck, throw themselves in front of a bus and have a bullet from a sniper atop a building whiz past their heads, imbed itself in their friendly neighborhood assassin's skull.
It is then that she realizes what she has to do. The extend of Moriarty's plan.
John, wonderful John, provides the catalyst to the plan. Rich Brook. He's been so smart, she's been so stupid.
It's time to stop being stupid. Somehow, she has to get rid of John Watson.
In the end, it's so easy. Almost painfully easy. It only takes twenty dollars to one of the homeless network and John's mobile phone number. A phone call from someone who can throw their voice into something that sounds halfway educated, Hello, is this John Watson? You're on Martha Hudson's emergency contacts. Well sir, she's been shot. We're transporting her to the hospital. Bart's.
What she was not expecting was John's absolute furiousness. She was next expecting you machine.
A part of her wonders if he says it to make it easy for her to let go.
It's not. It's still the hardest thing she's ever done.
When she jumps off that building, she isn't thinking about how it could go wrong—she could land wrong, she could actually break her neck, one of the snipers could be at a vantage point where they can see what she's doing and realize that she hasn't actually killed herself. All she can think about, all she can worry about, is how to live without John.
They are part of each other, as surely as her limbs are part of her. More than that—as surely as her brain is part of her. They are not Sherlock Holmes, John Watson. They are Sherlock-and-John. They are Holmes-and-Watson. They are a unit.
To live separately again, to be Holmes, sans Watson…she can't imagine it.
In the end, she changes her name. She goes by Violet Sigurson for three months, both to better hide herself from the worldwide organization that wants her dead, and so she doesn't have to think about introducing herself as "Sherlock Holmes," and not, "Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson."
Three months she lives as someone else. She dyes her hair red, the exact color it was when she was a child, and wears colored contacts—blue, dark blue—and wears a prosthetic that puts a bump in her nose and basically becomes a different person.
Until, that is, the dizzy spells start. The vomiting starts. She starts feeling tired when she shouldn't, she's hungry all the time.
It takes her a month to realize that something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong—Wrong in a way that is astounding, because of all things this was never supposed to happen to her. She was told years ago that it never would. That, more than anything, contributes to her denial until she cannot deny it anymore.
She waits until she has no other option before going back to London—she told herself there were too many people in London to recognize her, too high a concentration of people who would not be fooled by died hair and a prosthetic. She has been staying to Eastern and Northern Europe, where most of the organization is centralized. She has been treating London as the finish line.
In reality, it has all been to avoid one person.
She breaks a window, crawls into a room, and waits. It would have been too risky to come in through the front—there are people in this building who would have been able to recognize a fake passport, even a Norwegian one, right away, and you must show identification before entering this building. Her passport is the only identification Violet Sigerson has.
It only takes an hour for Mycroft to show up. He certainly had not been expecting his dead baby sister to be in his usual room at the Diogenes Club.
"I seem," Sherlock mutters, "To be sick."
Mycroft is the picture of calm. She suspects that he has known for a while now. He has eyes everywhere. He says, "How so?"
Tiling her head to the side, she says, "I need an appointment with a doctor who can keep his trap shut for a fee, and also if your assistant would be so kind, tell her to make a run down to Boot's and get me the most reliable pregnancy test she can find."
I can't, you know.
Have children. I was told when I was seventeen.
Oh…I see. I'm…I'm sorry.
Mmm. Don't be. I wasn't too terribly broken up about it. I never thought I would have children, and to be honest it was a weight off my shoulders. No worrying about unplanned pregnancy and very few periods a year—that's part of the disease. I can go six months without a period. It's part of the reason I didn't start until I was fifteen.
So…it doesn't upset you?
Well, I figure it does, in a way. Women tend to take their ability to bear children very seriously, and I'm no different. I think it would be nice if the option was there, if I did decide that I wanted to have children, try to pass on my legacy…It's not a bad idea. But my eggs are healthy; they just don't mature on a regular basis and when they do, they don't implant. So, theoretically, I could have on removed and implanted in vitro, but the idea that I would ever want to do that is…I don't think there's a large possibility.
Nothing, just 'hmmm.'
I know what just 'hm' sounds like from you, John, and that was not just 'hm.'
Well…I just…do you ever wonder if the fact that you can't have children influenced your indifference on the subject more than you realize? I mean, I completely respect that you don't want them. But I just have to wonder.
No, I don't think so, honestly. I've never thought of myself as a mother. Some little girls want children from the time they become aware of the fact that they can have them. Others, like me, just don't.
Let me pose another question to you.
If you did, somehow, find yourself pregnant. It, against all reason—don't give me that look, it's just hypothetical. If against all reason you became pregnant…would you think of it more as a curse…or a miracle?
I don't believe in miracles, John.
A curse, then?
I don't believe in curses either.
"You need to tell him."
"Don't be ridiculous, Sherlock. You can't just let him live without knowing he has a child."
"He has a fetus. There's a difference. I can take care of this right now, and no one has to be any the wiser…aside from you, of course." Sherlock raises an eyebrow, as if challenging her brother, and he just sighs and slides down into his chair. She sits across from him, spinning the pregnancy test in her hands.
Mycroft runs his hands across his face, sits back, and sighs. Crosses his legs and rests his hand against the side of his face and mutters, "Well, I'm in no position to make decisions for you."
"I'm glad you've finally realized this."
He glares at her, that reprimanding look that he learned from Mummy and perfected on Sherlock. She tries to stand against it, but inside something still shies away from that look, something buries its face and tries to hide from The Look. Mycroft says, "Think it over, Sherlock. I want you to be sure. More sure than you've ever been in your life. It's your decision, but it's not a light decision."
Looking down at her lap, where the test sits, she says, "A moment, Mycroft?"
For once, he does not argue. He gets up and leaves the room. She spends the moment she has—for she knows she literally only has a moment before Mycroft is back—she closes her eyes and thinks. Thinks harder than she ever has—which is saying something—and squeezes her hands together so tight that her nails leave little half-moon shapes in her palms.
When Mycroft, reenters, she does not look at him. She says, "Do you have any idea how many planets must have aligned, how many stars must have exploded, how many universes must have intersected for me to get pregnant after only one encounter? Do you have any idea, Mycroft? Women with my same condition try for years and get no results. And yet me? I wasn't even trying. I never even wanted children. Yet one time, one time was all it took. It's as though something is trying to send me a message."
"Perhaps they are."
Sherlock looks up and smirks mirthlessly at her brother. Says, "You believe in such things a little as I do."
"And yet, what you're saying is that this pregnancy is…what, a miracle?"
Everything in her wants to say I don't' believe in miracles, but for some reason she blurts, "I don't' know."
Mycroft tilts his head down, fixing her with a look that simultaneously manages to be reprimanding and gentle. Says, "Tell him, Sherlock."
She says, "Can I have a ride?"
221B is empty when she gets there. She still has her key—Sentiment is an ugly, inconvenient thing, she's beginning to realize—and she opens the door herself. When she enters, she's shocked by how little it's changed. Everything that belonged to her—her violin, her chemistry equipment, her skull, even the papers that has been hers, left haphazardly—is still there, in almost the exact same places that they were. As though waiting for her return. As if they knew she would be back.
Venturing back, she finds that even her bedroom is untouched. For a moment, she wonders where John has been sleeping until she remembers, of course, he had his own room. It had been gathering dust when she left but in light of her 'death,' of course he had returned to it.
Her clothing is all still in her closet, and her books are still on the shelf. The room literally has not been touched in three months. The only thing out of place, she finds, is her dressing gown, in that it's not there at all.
She doesn't have to look for it too hard. It's upstairs, shoved inside John's pillowcase. She takes it out and realizes that it smells like her perfume. She puts it on and crawls under the sheets on John's bed. It smells like him.
Although she doesn't mean to, she falls asleep.
"Jesus bloody buggering Christ—"
She shoots up off the pillows, too used to being woken up by someone trying to kill her. Blurrily, she fixes her gaze on John. He is leaning against the wall, his hand covering his face, and he looks pale. Faint. Like he might fall over any moment now.
"John," she says, but doesn't get any further than that because her suspicions are correct. John collapses sideways, out cold. She sighs and flips over, burying her face in the pillow. What now.
She chances another glance at the floor. She can't move him now. Slowly, she slides out of bed and onto the floor. Folds her knees up under her chin and stares at him. Waits for him to wake up.
When he does, it's not nearly as explosively as she had been expecting. He blinks his eyes open, groans when he sees her, and closes them again. He says, "I better not be going insane."
"You probably are."
He opens his eyes to glare. "Well I know I'm not dreaming. Usually in my dreams you say nice things."
She laughs. It's a short, hysterical thing that has no real mirth behind it, but it's insuppressible. "Why would you do that? Isn't the point of dreams to preserve someone as they once were? I'm not quite nice, am I?"
This, more than anything, seems to convince John that she is not a dream or hallucination, for he summons the willpower to push himself up off the floor and lean against the door. They stare at each other, on opposite ends of the room, for an indeterminate amount of time. John rubs his forehead. Sherlock rubs hers. They do not speak.
Finally, John says, "If you were a bloke, I'd hit you." Then he tilts his head to the size and corrects, "Well, if you weren't my girlfriend, I'd still hit you, even if you were a girl. I think I'm that angry." Yet, he doesn't look angry; he looks calm. Eerily calm. But Sherlock can see his hands curved into the carpet as though anchoring him there, forcing himself to stay stationary. She thinks perhaps this was a bad idea. Perhaps she should have let Mycroft ease the idea in, rather than showing up all at once.
Hindsight is twenty-twenty.
"I don't know," John whispers, "What I want to do more. Kiss you or slap you."
"I think we've already established that slapping me is off the table."
He gives a laugh—ironic, humorless—and mutters, "Yeah, but that doesn't keep me from wanting to do it."
"True." She looks away, staring at an nondescript portion of carpet. She doesn't dare to look at John until she hears him—and sees him, out of her peripheral vision—rise from the floor and step towards her. Kneels in front of her and slowly reaches his hand out. She stares at him and, just as slowly as he had offered his own, she places her hand in his and lets him pull her to her feet. She whispers, "I have…I have so much that I want to tell you. Need to tell you. But I don't know how to say any of it."
Then his arms are around her and she buries her face in his shoulder and she cries. She cries how she hasn't since she was a child. She cries all of her stress and her fear and her worry out, and almost doesn't notice it when John picks her up and curls up on the bed with her. She cries for what feels like hours. John cries too. They both cry, for each other and with each other and because of each other. They cry until they have no more tears to cry.
"There was a recording," she whispers because she can't speak any louder, her voice raw. Clears her throat. "A recording…that I took of Moriarty's confession. My phone, I left it on the building. Did Lestrade find it?"
She feels John nod against her temple. "I, um…they wanted me to listen to it but I…couldn't. So they told me, basically, what was on it." He takes in a deep breath and whispers, brokenly, against her cheek, "They said they killed yourself for me. Do you know…how hard that was for me?"
"I'm sorry," she says. "I had to."
"I know, and that's what makes it so hard…because I can't even blame you."
Rolling onto her back, she stares at the ceiling. Takes a deep breath. Says, "I'm pregnant."
There is silence for a long moment. Nobody moves. Nobody speaks. Finally, John says, "Jesus Christ."
He sits up, leaning on his arm, propped over her. He says, "Is that the only reason you came back?"
"Do you want the nice answer, or the truth?"
That, as Sherlock had expected, is answer enough. John sits all the way up and migrates to the edge of the mattress. Buries his face in his hands and sighs deeply. There is more silence, so much silence, and Sherlock stares at the ceiling and, even though she has no more tears left, her eyes sting.
"What have you been doing? Since you…died?"
"I won't lie to you," Sherlock murmurs. "I've been killing people. Members of Moriarty's organization. They're scattered, but they're trying to reorganize under a new leader—Sebastian Moran, Moriarty's right hand. I can't let that happen, for obvious reasons, not the least of which is that at least one of them knows where you are, perhaps even Sebastian Moran himself, and I'm not willing to let anyone with access to that information live."
"So you've been destroying Moriarty's web."
She smirks at the metaphor. "I have."
"How many of them are left?"
"More than I would like."
"Among others." She sits up and says, "John…I need to do this." Even she doesn't know which one she's talking about; the continued dismantling of Moriarty's web, or the pregnancy. "I need you stand beside me. I can't do it by myself anymore."
"Because of the baby."
"That's part of it," she says. Pauses then continues, "But it's also…I'm Sherlock Holmes, and you're John Watson, and we're not meant to be separate. Don't you understand? It's almost as though…it's as though we were meant to be. We were made for each other."
John chuckles. It's genuine this time. Somehow, he has found humor in the situation. He says, "You don't believe in miracles."
"I'm beginning to reevaluate my choices in that regard. I'm pregnant, aren't I? I've been told by several different doctors that it's not possible." She tilts her head to the side, then adds, "It'll be funny, to see their reactions when I tell them that a doctor knocked me up. It will be like their own profession is laughing in their faces."
John shakes his head and mutters, "I just…I don't know…How this happened."
"We were having sex, John. Sex leads to babies."
"Yes, thank you Sherlock, I've gotten a doctorate without learning that!" He tosses his hands up in the air and says, "What are the odds, though? What are the odds that the one time we have sex, the one time we have unprotected sex, you get pregnant? I mean, it's as if…"
"It's as if the planets aligned. I know. You have to understand, John, that I've had a while longer to absorb this information." She closes her eyes and sighs, lets her breath out of her as she leans back and lies down on the bed. Slowly, she says, "I think part of me know something like this would happen. I think I should have listened. There was part of me that knew I shouldn't have had sex with you…but you were there, and you were…you were John and there was…There was nothing stopping me, I suppose, and I just couldn't help myself."
"You're not making any sense."
"Oh, I know!" She screams it, rolls over and buries her face in her pillow and says through it, "This is what you've done to me! I don't even make sense to myself now! You don't even understand what it's like. I feel like I'm losing control of everything, even my own body! It's like…it's like everything about you fits into everything about me but I spent my entire life thinking—no, knowing—that I was a lock without a key and I was fine with that until one day I found this key just sitting there lonely and something inside of me went, try it on, and so I did and it fit but now it's stuck and I'm…!" she shrieks into the pillow and curls around herself and says, "This is what love does to people! It's awful, it's vile, why do people want it?"
The voice that comes from the other side of the room is almost unrecognizable as John's voice. It's quiet and unsure and everything she is feeling right now. Small. Afraid. Childlike.
She lets a hysterical laugh into her pillow and cries, "I know! Sherlock Holmes, woman without a heart, in love. It's pitiful, John, is what it is, and I'm thoroughly disgusted with myself…"
John has knelt beside the bed. Takes her hand and stares at her for a long moment. Tries to speak, closes his mouth, and finally reopens it. Says, "You told me, once…that I was stupid to think of what we had as anything but sex."
"Not in so many words," she mutters.
"Sherlock, tell me right now what this is."
She wants to, lord does she want to, but there is no one or two words to describe what they are. She feels she could scour the globe and search in every dictionary in every language and never find a word that accurately describes what John is to her, and she to him.
Finally, she says, "Not just sex."
To her dismay, he shakes his head. "Not good enough, Sherlock."
She sits up, stares at the wall behind his head. Stares down at John's hand. Back at the wall. Squeezes John's hand.
"I want to be part of you," she says, finally, barely above a whisper. "I want to crawl into you, feel your blood run through my veins as my own. I never want to have to be without you, even for a moment. It's unhealthy, even I realize that. So I think, sometimes, that I would settle for waking up with you every morning and sitting and eating toast with you, or watching you eat toast, and knowing that you're near and feeling some kind of increased sense of security, even though logically I'm no more safe in a room with you in it than without. I think I could be okay with you going to work, so long as you promise to come back at the end of the day, or come when I need you—and I won't lie, sometimes when I need you it will be because I've forgotten how the inside of your elbow tastes and I can't let myself forget anything about you, even that.
"I think I could be okay…Because I'll have the work and it's a distraction, it always has been, from my various…addictions. I think I could be okay because I am having this baby and it will need love and affection and someone to sing to it and that person will be me, John, and it's part if you and I couldn't deny it anything, especially life." She looks up, meets his eyes, and says, "Is that good enough?"
John looks vaguely shell-shocked, but he nods and swallows and says, "Yeah, that's…that's good. Yes."
He crawls back onto the bed and they tangle with each other. John rests his head on her stomach and closes his eyes and breathes. Sherlock does the same.
I'm glad I met you, John. So glad.
You turn into such a great softy when you're drunk.
I'm serious. I don't now where I'd be right now if not for you. Most likely relapsed. Possibly dead.
I'm glad I met you too, you know.
(Long beats of silence.)...John, I think you should fuck me.
Because neither of us will remember it in the morning.
Why is that a good thing?
It's something we need to get out of our systems.
Yeah, but what if we do remember?
Then we don't speak about it.
It's six o'clock on Wednesday morning. Sherlock wakes up to the sound of John starting his shower. There are some mornings when she can sleep through the sound of the pipes groaning, but this is not such a morning. Her head hurts and her tongue feels like cotton. It's twenty degrees in her room, much too cold for her preference. She rolls over, bunching her knees underneath her chin only to remember that she can't because she's six months pregnant and there is a large amount of stomach and baby in the way.
Pregnancy is miserable.
The barest, slightest memory of a night long ago remains from her dream. She tries to latch onto the details but they flit away too quickly.
Until, that is, she realizes the date. It's a year to the day since they met Ian Adler and Sherlock's life changed before her very eyes.
"I just remembered something," Sherlock says when John enters from the en-suite.
"We had sex," Sherlock says, "for the first time, a year ago today."
John glances at her and says, "No. You're only six months pregnant, remember?"
Sherlock tosses her pillow at him. "No! Think. Right after we went to Belgravia in search of Ian Adler's pictures. We got Chinese food that night, because I had just come off whatever he drugged me with and I hadn't eaten. We had drinks. We got drunk and we had sex and I can't believe it's taken me this long to remember." She pauses and says, "You must remember. Some part of you must remember. It's was the night I told you about my fertility disorder and I never mentioned it again, and when when I told you I was pregnant you knew it was impossible. You remember. You just don't realize it.
For a moment, John stands there looking utterly perplexed. Then, slowly, he begins to recall. He fixes wide eyes on her and says, "I think I'm starting to remember too."
Sherlock falls back against the mattress. She says, "That's the morning everything started changing. I can't…explain to you how, because nothing actually changed for a few weeks, but…they changed."
"Suppose we were giving ourselves a shove in the right direction?" John chuckles. He gets in bed with her, naked, and wraps his arms around her. He can never get enough of touching her belly. His hands go to it now, caressing it, trying to tempt the baby into kicking.
It's a boy. They're going to name him Hamish.
"I remember you telling me," he murmurs, "About a fantasy of yours." One hand goes completely under her pajama pants. He pulls them down.
"Reckon the belly wasn't part of the plan?"
"Work around the goddamned belly; you're a Doctor, you can navigate the human body, navigate it!"
John lets out a sound that's half moan, half laugh, and says, "I love you."
There is a ring on her finger. It's simple and white-gold. A small civil ceremony was held in front of a handful of witnesses last month. Her mother says that once the baby comes, they could have a bigger wedding with her in a white dress and John in his dress blues, and perhaps it doesn't sound like a horrible idea.
They are now introduced to everyone as Sherlock and Doctor Watson.
Let me tell you the story about a simple PWP that turned into a MONSTER and took me two months to write.
Oh wait. You've just read it.
If you've made it to the end, congratulations, you win my undying love and devotion. This truly was a monster. I'm a bit wary of publishing it, mostly because it is very long and a bit rambling in parts, but I'm too proud of it and too done with it to just let it sit on my computer forever more.
So here, have it! My baby!
If things get a bit strange towards the end, it's because I'm actually pretty sick and I just kind of wanted to get this done. However, I hope it didn't compromise the quality of the piece.
Thank you for reading!