It's Still Like a Secret

Disclaimer: I don't own it or make money off it.

He knows he's gone too far this time.

He realizes his mistake as soon as he sees her face. Wounded animal, eyes dark with tears, crumpled and twisted like a discarded tissue and she gasps without making a sound and he springs up, alarmed, as she runs for the door. Not her bedroom door: the front door.

He knows he's gone too far this time.

She has endured so much from him: insults, manipulation, taking up her time, trying to keep her from getting involved with anyone so she will stay convenient for him. And she has put up with it all in relative silence, resigned assent, crushed and faded hope clinging to her like the scent of cold bitter air. And he always pushed the envelope a little further, and now he's pushed it over the cliff.

He knows he's gone too far this time.

If she leaves, she won't come back. He isn't sure how he knows this, it is not deduced, not presented in any logical or reasonable manner. Yet it is there, as sure as the stricken look on her face, mirrored now by the fear on his. She is all he has now; he is dead to the world. He can't risk being active yet; can't risk telling John or anyone else he's alive. Mycroft has begun tracking down the network Moriarty left behind but it will take months. Once he didn't care about being alone. Now he can't bear the thought.

He knows he has to stop her before it's too late.

He reaches for her, catches her just before she opens the door, grabbing her and pulling her hard against him. She's crying openly, sobbing, trying to pull free, hit him, anything. He is saying her name over and over, a benediction, a confession and an apology.

He knows he has to stop her before it's too late.

She is speaking incoherently now, jagged words about cruelty and love and not caring cutting into him, piercing the skin that used to be stone, slicing down into his heart and making him bleed rivers of remorse. He keeps saying he is sorry, over and over, please, forgive me, I never wanted to hurt you, you count. Almost crying himself, he can't hold it back, Molly, Molly please don't leave me, I need you.

He knows he has to stop her before it's too late.

He catches her chin in one hand and kisses her, hard, frantic, not really knowing what to do, only that he has to show her that he's sorry, doesn't want her to go and leave him alone. She fights him at first, but he keeps kissing her, holding her so close he isn't certain if it's her heart or his that is about to burst. She stops struggling, and his kiss slows, goes from desperate to tender. She cries out against his mouth, a sound of overwhelming release, a rushing river pulling them both under, and she kisses him back.

He knows it's the only thing he has to give.

She responds to him and nothing else exists, her small hand suddenly strong in his, the other one coming up to rest in his hair. She runs her fingers through it greedily, hungrily, as though she is starving and he is sustenance. He lets her do it, lets her mouth take possession of his mouth, of him.

He knows it's the only thing he has to give.

She pulls him into her bedroom, him still not resisting. It is inevitable now, like the setting of the sun or rain falling down and not up. He kisses her eagerly, enthusiasm making up for his lack of experience. At best it is a sacrament: at worst it is a distraction borne of his fear and her love. He doesn't know which way the flame will flicker, only that it has to burn or they'll both be lost in the dark forever.

He knows it's the only thing he has to give.

Clothes melt away in their frantic heat. He shuts away all those litanies about feelings, those smug diatribes about sentiment. They become a body poem: arms and fingers and skin, and it is both pure pleasure and torment. When it is over they lie entwined and he sees the smile on her face. Radiant, she is: angelic in this new bliss and actually quite beautiful. She won't go now: he is as sure of that as he is sure of the air itself. He won't be alone now, or ever: she'll face his demons by his side.

He knows he's gone too far this time. But sometimes too far is the only place to go.