Private Pondering

Note: Once upon a time there was a wonderful Sherlock forum (bbcsherlock at boardhost, just in case you were wondering). On this forum there was a game, called the Alphabet game. It was more or less self-explanatory. You chose a topic, and then you made a list of words. Like "All the things Mycroft could manipulate": awards, bus routes, Champions League ...You surely got the point.

One topic was "Things Sherlock likes about John". Blame it on our Johnlocked minds that the letter "P" made it … er ... hard for us to remain decent. Thanks to our wonderful mod, the harmless word "Passwords (it's so much fun deducing them)" was posted, but the letter P kept spinning around inside our brains.

In the end there was a list of 53 things Sherlock likes about John, all starting with a P.

They are all part of this little one-shot now, plus a few extras I came up with while writing. I thought it would be a funny little fic, but it ended up kind of bitter sweet. Hope you enjoy it!

Sherlock Holmes is in love.

It had taken him an inexcusable amount of time to figure it out, but in his defence it must be said that (a) it is extremely hard to deduce oneself and (b) never having been in love before he is completely new to the feeling.

He is love with the only man worth it. There is no reason to love a lesser man than him, really.

Sherlock is in love with the only man in the world who manages to be his friend. The only man who giggles when you sit in Buckingham Palace wearing only a bed sheet. The only man who manages to keep his patience when you nearly burn the kitchen to ashes during an experiment. The only man who ever hesitates when you tell him to punch you in the face.

The only man who likes you the way you are.

The day Sherlock realises he is in love starts quite boringly. John refuses to shoot a pistol inside the apartment so Sherlock can analyse the powder burns on his hands. He also refuses to shoot it outside the apartment because of the pouring rain.

Sherlock sulks for an appropriate amount of time and then drags them both to the piano bar where be hopes to find members of a Polish smuggler gang. Then everything goes wrong and John nearly gets shot. Oh, he tends to be on the receiving end of threats to get shot, nothing new there. But this time it is close. There are no threats, no demands, just a scared juvenile gang member who aims at the head and shoots almost instantly.

Sherlock dives for John, pushing him out of the way. They both end up safely on the floor. John assumes that Sherlock has calculated the whole motion through, that he has known exactly how hard and when exactly he had to push him to get them both out of harm's way.

That poor deduction is wrong. Sherlock has not thought about it at all, and the second he moved in front of the gun he was sure that he was going to die. Only that it would not have mattered, because John would have lived. Realising that he nearly gave his life for John shakes him more than realising he nearly died.

From there it is only a small step really to finally understanding the butterflies in his stomach whenever John approaches him in the kitchen.

Sherlock needs two days to get used to the fact that he is in love with John Watson. He would have accepted having a crush on him. He would have accepted wanting him physically. But love? He ponders it again and again, even tries to blame it on John's pheromones, but there is no denying it. It is love.

He spends another three days to find out what exactly it is that makes him love John. He considers everything that is impressive about the doctor: his caring, his smile, his absurd patriotism, his humour, his wonderful eyes, his incomprehensible preference for Sherlock, his plainness, his loyalty, his honesty, his strange faith in Sherlock, his devotion, his energy, his courage, his optimism, his nose, his understanding, his warmth.

Sherlock spends hours and hours to figure out which of these he loves the most and fails in the end. He simply loves the whole package. What a peculiar notion!

Sherlock writes music for John. Of course he never tells him. It is a lovely tune and quite long. It is just like John: positive and playful. It is not the kind of music you play to chase your best friend's nightmares away after 4 a.m. For that you need Tchaikovsky or Mozart. It is the kind of music you play when John is busy in the kitchen or writing his blog.

It is a tune that could be played as a duet for violin and clarinet.

It is John's favourite piece at the moment. "What is it?" he asks one evening. The evening sun is shining into the room and gives John's hair the colour of a field of barley in the autumn sun. It makes John's face soft and brings peace to 221b. It makes Sherlock want to write poetry on the colour of John's hair.

But he is not a poet, so instead he introduces another theme to the song, one that speaks of all the unexpectedly soft feelings Sherlock gets when thinking of John's hair. The tempo changes from allegro to presto when Sherlock starts to wonder if John's pubic hair colour is that fascinating, too.

"What is it?" John asks again. "Vivaldi," Sherlock lies.

John falls into his soldier mode only seldom, but it is plain to see that Sherlock loves every single time it happens. He gets aroused when John pulls rank on that young soldier at the Baskerville Research Facility. Apparently he is attracted to John's power play.

Sherlock replays the scene in his head later. Then he imagines John pulling rank on him. He stares at his pre-come-erection in amazement. Never had imagination triggered such a reaction from his body. Pre-orgasmic fantasies have not been something he had conjured up until that day.

But then, orgasms have not been something he had conjured up before John. Still, here he is, lying in his bed, thinking of John even during his post-orgasmic bliss. He is panting and wondering how thinking of John could have turned a solitary hand-job into pleasure.

Sherlock divides his life into three parts. The first is pre-John. A dark and isolated time, filled with rejection and drug abuse and instability. But not with loneliness. There had been no loneliness before John because Sherlock never knew there was anything else than being alone.

The second part is inter-John. A delightful time of being understood and having a friend and playing Cluedo and refraining from deleting primary school knowledge of the solar system because John would make fun of it.

A time of politeness (Sherlock never considered giggling at crime scenes impolite before, but then he barely ever giggled pre-John at all) and a time of simplicity (how could Sherlock have known that sitting in the living room together, without talking, just reading or researching or writing their blogs or watching telly could be perfection?).

It is a time of remembering to pull the plug of the bath tub after the experiment so John will not stumble into the bathroom and find the tub filled with pigs' blood again. To Sherlock's surprise it is a time of doing things and avoiding doing things for John's sake.

It is also a rare time of having a permanent address, because it really is John who does all the apologizing to Mrs Hudson. She is fond of Sherlock, maybe even as much as Sherlock is fond of her, but she would have drawn the line after Sherlock had been forced to store all the patellae in her fridge because their own had been filled with perineum muscles.

The third time will be post-John of course.

Sometimes Sherlock thinks that post-John will start because of a bullet or a knife or a rope or a slip when jumping from one rooftop to the other or a car he will see too late. These thoughts always force Sherlock to curl up on the sofa, pretending to be sick, so John would pity him and take care of him until Sherlock feels brave enough to face his thoughts again without trembling.

Sometimes he thinks that it will start when John leaves him because he cannot stand Sherlock any longer. Never is Sherlock closer to relapse than on those days.

Most of the time he knows it will start when he will be forced to leave John.

One day they are standing at a crime scene. Inside a lift. Sherlock is highly claustrophobic, but that is nobody's business and he has never told anyone. Nobody has ever found it out, not even Mycroft.

One glance at him and John knows. His protectiveness over Sherlock seems to be endless. As if Sherlock is the rare, precious one and not John.

One glance at Sherlock, and John knows. He ushers everyone else out of the lift and stands as far away from Sherlock without mentioning it. Which is a pity, really, because John standing close to him was the only thing that made the narrowness of the lift bearable. Maybe because it made Sherlock thinking of public sex for a second.

To get his mind away from his claustrophobia Sherlock starts to wonder how petting inside an unbearably small lift would feel. Would it be a mixture of pleasure and fear?

When the next wave of unwanted panic makes the walls come closer, Sherlock busies his phobic mind with imagining the ten-best-ways-to-have-sex-with-John inside the lift. He ranks it according how easily the position would allow him to stimulate John's prostate and how soon it would make Sherlock close his eyes in lust so he could forget the closeness of the lift.

Could his phobia be treated with sex? Sherlock doubts it. But could it be treated with John? Most likely. Everything could.

There are only two people in the world that know about Sherlock's feelings for John. Neither of them is John.

John will never love Sherlock. How could he? How could a person as good and pure as the doctor love someone like Sherlock Holmes? It is impossible, and it will not happen. That is why Sherlock sees no need to tell him about his feelings.

The one person to know is Mycroft, that prick. How a phlegmatic person like him can understand such an energetic concept like love is completely beyond Sherlock. But Mycroft knows.

Knew it even before Sherlock did. Sherlock hates him for that, of course. He hates that Mycroft knows. And he hates that Mycroft will be the one who will have known once it is over and Sherlock is left alone. And he will be left alone, you can take that for granted.

Because the second person to know is Jim Moriarty. Had known it at the pool, back when Sherlock had had only a vague idea of his own feelings. Moriarty proclaimed that he would burn Sherlock's heart out one day. Which means one day he will try to kill John or to drive them apart.

He calls John Sherlock's "pet", reduces him to Sherlock's live-in P.A. verbally, but understands exactly what goes on within Sherlock's soul.

One day, Sherlock will be forced to leave John to save the life of the only person he will ever love. One way or another. He will not tell John that leaving him will be for his own good because John would never allow that. He will just leave him and lose him in doing so.

Sherlock considers taking one of John's jumpers with him once the time comes. Or a pair of his red pants.

He never considers the possibility that John will take him back afterwards. John is practical and down-to-earth. He will understand why Sherlock will have been forced to leave. But he is also proud. He will understand, but not forgive.

Sherlock knows that he will deal his domestic peace and happiness for John's life. It will be a fair bet.

One day there is the most lovely murder at a flat at Portobello Road. It is a closed room mystery, one of Sherlock's favourites. The victim could not have done it himself, but there is also no way the murderer could have left the room because the windows are locked from within and so is the door.

Sherlock always hopes for these, he longs for them because solving them always impresses John the most. But this time, Sherlock is distracted, and he does not fully comprehend why.

It cannot be due to the fact that the naked victim is tied to the bed with purple plush handcuffs. It cannot be due to the fact that John's corners of the mouth twitch upward a little at the sight of the used pink preservative lying on the ground, telling a tale of penetration and lust. Only in a very pink way.

The whole room screams homosexual-kink much too loudly to be true. Still, it takes Sherlock a whole ten minutes to figure out that there had been far too much preparation to stage the murder. The victim was not gay, neither is the murderer.

Apparently, it had been the brother-in-law, after finding out about the victim regularly frequented (female) prostitutes. He had locked the door from the outside using a crafting wire, could nobody see the scratch marks at the bottom of the door, Sherlock wondered aloud.

It is a seriously, deadly crime scene, but it is way too pink and purple to remain serious. "What a sad example of post-coital tristesse," Sherlock hisses into John's ear, and they can do only so much not to giggle loudly. "Gives the expression petit mort a whole new meaning," John hisses back.

It should not be funny, but it is. Lestrade looks like he wants to punch them, so the pair of them retreat rather quickly after solving the case. On their way out of the "gay" flat Sherlock briefly wonders if he is gay. No, he clearly is not. If he has to be anything, he is Johned.

Sometimes Sherlock does puppy-dog eyes on John without him realising it. For some reason that Sherlock cannot deduce it works better when he is wearing his purple shirt.

John never does puppy-dog eyes on Sherlock. He has another way of reaching Sherlock. There is a certain expression on his face, mixed with a certain tone of his voice, that makes Sherlock do so instantly whatever John demands. It is in the way he says "Not here, it's a crime scene!" or "Sherlock, timing!"

It is John's way of telling Sherlock how to behave, but not because Sherlock is defective, but because John cares and he wants other people to like Sherlock better because he believes Sherlock can be a good person and all that without putting any pressure on Sherlock.

When John uses that tone, Sherlock's palpitations intensify right away, and he does what John wants almost without thinking. He knows that if John would ever do it on purpose he would be in trouble, for there is no way of resisting.

But John does not know. He only sometimes wonders why Sherlock listens to him.

If only Sherlock would dare to deduce if John Watson loved him back. It would be so easy to find out. Stand close to him. Talk to him in a low voice. Accidentally touch his hand. And then: Just observe his pupils. Are they dilated? And then: Just check his pulse: Is it elevated? And then, just to make sure: Press your back against his pelvis for some reason. Check out how his private parts feel in your back. Does his penis become erect?

If only he would dare to deduce if John Watson loved him back.

But Sherlock never does that. Why would he?