At long last, my lovlies! I got to do my research in real time this weekend and despite the ungodly heat of Washington, DC, it was a beautiful day and an even lovlier time...So, without much ado...
He stood in the "sweet spot" and listened to the never-ending white noise that completely surrounded him. John breathed deeply, closed his eyes and let all his frustration and anger sink away.
The single-drop waterfall was the loudest of the series he and Sherlock had observed as they strolled through the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Each waterfall had been magnificent in its own way, each getting less and less turbulent as the moved closer and closer to the beginning of Roosevelt's presidency.
He started lightly when Sherlock grabbed his hand, pulling him off the edge of the waterfall.
"How do you do that?" he asked John bluntly, the curiosity prevalent in his eyes.
"Do what?" John asked with a smile.
"You washed it all away, didn't you? And yet you remember it all…How do you do that?"
John frowned and tilted his head.
"I'm not sure what you mean."
"I just watched you shake off all the tension you've felt since-" Sherlock paused a moment, "All the anger you had is gone from you. I can see it in the way you are standing. You're relaxed, content even."
"I am," John said on a sigh, "I am content just being here with you."
"No," Sherlock said a little strongly, "I literally just watched your entire body relax while you stood on the edge of that waterfall. How did you do that?"
"It is easier to show you than to try to explain," he replied as he grabbed Sherlock's hand, "Come here."
He walked back up to the waterfall and found the "sweet spot", the spot on the edge of the waterfall within the containing walls that had the loudest yet most melodic sound of water falling. He stepped to the side and pulled Sherlock into it.
Sherlock looked at him, clearly confused.
"Close your eyes, love," he said, "and listen…Don't think, don't hear, just listen."
Sherlock did as he was told and closed his eyes. John watched as what he'd called Sherlock's "thinking face" eased and tensed as Sherlock tried to deduce what was happening.
"Stop, Sherlock," he said quietly beside him, "Stop thinking and just listen to the water."
Sherlock took a deep breath and John saw that he was trying to take the instruction. Suddenly, a look of awe washed over his countenance and his entire body relaxed. John wanted to reach out and grab his hand to encourage him, but he also didn't want to disturb the new discovery. As if he heard or understood, Sherlock reached out for John. Once their hands were grasped again, Sherlock sighed in contentment and looked over to John.
"Thank you," he said in awe, "That was amazing!"
John tilted his head again. Sherlock's face was relaxed. John say the young boy his love had once been.
"I know what it's like for me," he said, "But I do wonder what it did for you."
Sherlock looked at him for a moment and then smiled.
"They all went away," he said simply.
John frowned again.
"The thoughts, the ideas, the villains who are screaming in the dungeon. The sound all went away. Everything just quieted for the first time since- well, since I stopped using," he said. John could see his blush even in the quickly fading light, "But this was so much more peaceful and nearly instantaneous once I could stop trying to deduce it! Thank you!"
John smiled and leaned in to catch Sherlock's mouth up in a brief kiss.
"You are most welcome, my love," he said as he pulled Sherlock from the edge of the water.
They walked back the way they had come. Each waterfall they came to, Sherlock tried the new "silencing" technique that John had taught him. John noticed the experimental look on Sherlock's face and let him be, just enjoying watching Sherlock learn something new about himself and about the world. Sherlock didn't speak as they continued on, but he held John's hand whenever they proceeded to the next area.
Between the third major and final waterfall, they stopped at the statue of Mrs. Roosevelt and Sherlock scowled.
"Problem?" John asked in amusement.
"She doesn't belong here," Sherlock said gruffly.
"What do you mean?" John asked, feeling an argument coming on, "She was a very important lady not only to her husband, but to the world."
"I know," Sherlock said, "but no other monument or memorial I have read about or seen in this area represents the spouse of the figure being honored. Half the time, the wife isn't even mentioned."
"That's what makes her so special, Sherlock," John said with a grin, "She is mentioned and honored. She was a great representative to the United Nations. Eleanor Roosevelt as an extremely intelligent woman who helped a disabled man in a time where disability was weakness become one of the greatest presidents the United States has ever and probably will ever know. She would have given you a run for your money."
Sherlock scowled at him for a moment and John laughed.
"Don't look at me that way," John said with a smile, "I think you would have really liked her, from everything I read about Eleanor Roosevelt…but I don't know that she would have liked you all that much."
"Hey!" Sherlock said petulantly and then sobered and frowned at John again, "Why wouldn't she have liked me?"
"Because you're a pompous git who pouts when he doesn't get his way…Because you say things you shouldn't at the most inappropriate times…Because you're British, for a start."
Sherlock looked almost crestfallen and John immediately knew where his thoughts were headed.
"But despite all those things," John said as he stepped closer and wrapped his arms around the taller man, "I love you and I think she would have come to love you as well."
He leaned up and kissed Sherlock on the lips to stop his argument. Sherlock wrapped his arms around John and returned the kiss before pulling away and leading John by the hand to the next and final "room" of the display.
The enormity of the multi-layered, multi-tiered waterfall had been overwhelming when they had first come upon it as they'd walked from the Jefferson Memorial. Now, after realizing it was the culmination of the entire area, John realised its absolute beauty. He took in the representation of the chaos that ruled the end of Roosevelt's life and career and breathed in a deep breath of the cool, crisp air that surrounded the area. He watched as Sherlock pulled away and stepped tentatively onto the stepping stones that had been placed in the middle of the waterfall enclosure.
He watched as he turned to face John before he closed his eyes. One last experiment. John observed Sherlock's face as he used the technique he had been shown to silence his Mind Palace. He stood still for a long time. John began to worry that perhaps the man had fallen asleep standing up when suddenly, Sherlock's eyes popped open and found John immediately.
John started at the suddenness and the intensity in his eyes.
Sherlock never took his eyes from John as he stepped from stone to stone back to the solid ground. He continued his movement straight to John and wrapped him in an engulfing hug.
"I love you, John," he whispered softly in his ear, "I love you. I never realised until this exact moment exactly how much, but I can't ever let you go."
John wrapped his arms around Sherlock and felt the tears prickle behind his eyes. Whatever Sherlock had just experienced in that waterfall, something had solidified in him that he had never before realised. He lifted his head and offered his lips to Sherlock who took them hungrily.
It was the first honest passion Sherlock had shown since his break down and John took advantage of it. He nipped at Sherlock's lip and forced his tongue into the gap the gasp provided. When his tongue stroked Sherlock's, they both groaned. John felt Sherlock's cold hands slide under his jumper as he found the edge of the t-shirt Sherlock wore under his ugly green army jacket. Heatedly, they both clawed at each other, each trying to devour the other's mouth. The clearing of a ruff throat made them both start.
They pulled apart slightly and Sherlock rested his forehead against John's. Both of them panted heavily for a few moments before reluctantly, Sherlock looked up at the intruder. The scowl on his face would have cowed most men, but the park ranger scowled right back at him.
"You folks need to leave, sirs," he said gruffly, clearing his throat again before continuing, "I'm all for you being together, but ya can't make out like that…eh hmmm…especially since it looks like y'all were about to get down and dirty there."
John looked over at the ranger and did some deducing of his own. In his mid-thirties, dark hair, very light colored eyes and a shy smile that would have been perfect on the Mona Lisa, the United State Park Service ranger, whose name tag said he was called Chris was more than a little disappointed he had had to stop their "making out". Sherlock opened his mouth to speak and John quickly placed two fingers over his lips.
"Thank you, Officer," he said politely, "I apologize if we caused anyone any embarrassment. We've just been reunited and can barely keep our hands off each other."
The young man blushed slightly as he watched the two of them disengage slightly. Sherlock's mouth moved to smirk. John was sure that if he hadn't had his hand where it was Sherlock would have berated the man.
"We'll just go now," John said as he forcefully turned Sherlock away from the ranger and gently shoved him in the direction of the hotel.
"Congratulations," the ranger said wistfully, "He's quite the catch."
Before John could respond, Sherlock was back, his chest and legs pressed up against John's back his arms wrapped possessively around him.
"No," he said harshly, "he's the catch…I'm just the selfish, pompous git who has the absolute luck to have him love me!"
John inhaled sharply at Sherlock's harsh tone. Without thinking, he turned in Sherlock's arms and said in his best military voice, "Let's go, love. Now!"
They turned and walked away, heading to the nearest street to hopefully hail a cab. Once they were out of earshot of the ranger, John couldn't help but chuckle. Sherlock joined him and their laughter exploded as he hailed a cab back to the hotel.
Seemed longer as I wrote it, but I could have also dragged this chapter out for days...If you are EVER in the Washignton, DC area, please do yourself a favor and go see this most beautiful of memorials! It is breathtaking and awe inspiring! And the neat little trick that John taught Sherlock...it really does work! Every waterfall has a sweet spot for white noise...that point where you hear absolutely nothing but the rushing water. I found each one in all four of the major waterfalls and it was so amazing how fabulous I felt after immersing myself in that sound for even a couple minutes!
Anyway, please drop me a review, let me know what you think...let me know how you feel...