A/N: This is my first attempt at Johnlock. Despite my overt Sherlolly love, I am also pretty entranced by the John/Sherlock relationship, but I never feel like I could really do it justice. I really like writing these two and I hope to do more in the future when I get more comfortable with it. This one-shot is just the result of my angsty little mind trying to work out the love between these men.
Reviews are always appreciated :)
Autotrophic: of or relating to organisms capable of self-nourishment by manufacturing complex organic nutritive compounds from simple inorganic sources such as carbon dioxide, water, and nitrates and using photosynthesis or chemosynthesis as a source of energy; self-feeding
There was a thread that had snagged long ago and slowly pulled at the careful stitching of the fabric of John Watson's life, undoing the secured hem and, once that was gone, the rest was just a matter of time. The barrier had been woven together over many years, contributed to by a military father with strict ideals of what a man was in the world and a sister who bucked every shred of the status quo. She never spared him in her liquor-heated barbs at holidays, reminding him that if one sibling was so inclined to such 'immorality,' chances were high that the other could follow. His mother would hunch over dishes and scrub so hard it was a miracle the china remained, while his father waxed viciously unpoetic about the crumbling structure of the British family home.
He'd been careful.
It had not been difficult. He liked women. They elicited every reaction from him that they were supposed to, physically and mentally, assuring his easy pursuit of relationships that kept him satisfied, occupied, and in good standing with his parents. Oh yes, he was indeed interested in women.
Except on days that he wasn't.
There were the usual moments – the shirtless man on the beach, the whiff of a particular cologne at a pub.
Yet, it was when he delved below the surface, discovered their mind and their heart, that he began to feel the tug at the lining.
That was usually when he walked away.
He needed beyond what he was able to properly recognize. Girlfriends fulfilled his need, nourished the part of him that longed for meaningful human connection.
Then came the war. The nightmares. The loneliness.
Then came Sherlock.
The thread started to pull and unravel.
He'd felt alive for the first time in years. He looked forward to getting up every morning, to the cases, the bickering, the quiet moments, even the excitement of finding suspect body bits in the fridge, though he'd never let on. He felt so much and he'd never been happier. Never happier to feel so much frustration and so much affection for one individual on a daily basis.
And then The Fall.
His depression was very nearly fatal and he knew exactly why. The dreams that haunted him in the aftermath of Sherlock's death put his war nightmares to shame. He couldn't count the number of times he woke up grasping for the friend who was always just out of reach. He wanted to touch, to smell, to see him so bad and nothing, not even moving to a new flat and shutting himself away, ebbed the desire.
Keeping these things from his therapist was easy. He had been practicing the deception his whole life.
Then there was Mary.
He lost himself in her and she'd been the only person to understand his grief without asking him, prodding, prying at every turn. He fell in love. Deeply, truly in love, and found the nights easier to sleep through, the days easier to live through.
And then Sherlock had walked into the restaurant while John was on a date with her, celebrating their bloody first anniversary of being a couple. He'd been terrified at first, thinking he had lost his mind, seeing specters he thought had left him long ago. When it became apparent Sherlock was very real and very much alive, he'd practically gone blind with anger. He wanted to punch him, beat him over the head with a dinner plate. What he had done was stand up and walk resolutely out the front door without a single word.
After dropping a worried Mary at her flat, telling her he needed some time alone, he'd gone home and promptly thrown up the little dinner he'd eaten.
They did not speak for three months.
Again, Mary was the one to rescue him. By the time they were engaged, he had easily been able to ask Sherlock to be the best man.
But the dreams returned, more realistic and more heartbreaking than ever. He went to sleep most nights praying that Mary would never hear him calling out his friend's name and think it was anything beyond a nightmare of The Fall. The guilt ate at him. He loved her so much, and yet, he dreamed of his best friend.
He needed a resolution. Had to have a resolution, one way or the other. If he didn't, he was certain he would implode.
Climbing the stairs at Baker Street, John could hear the melodious sounds of the violin and he was transported to a simpler, easier time. If living with Sherlock Holmes could ever have been described as simple.
The consulting detective stood in front of the window, the light from outside forming a halo around his curling hair, shimmering off his blue dressing gown. The sight made John's chest tighten.
"Sherlock, I need to talk to you," he forced out firmly, crossing the space in a few short strides.
"You've changed your mind about boutonnière colors?" Sherlock asked, bored already. "Good, I told you the purple was a terrible choice."
"No, it's not that."
"Not getting cold feet, are you? I'm hardly the one you'd want to confide in about that."
John felt his stomach drop at Sherlock's uncanny, if ignorant, intuition.
"You would be, actually," he said tightly. "Especially if you were the one causing it."
"What are you on about, John?"
"You know exactly what," he said insistently, reaching a hand out to rest against Sherlock's waist, fingers curled in slightly to catch his attention. The music stopped and John felt his heart thump just a little louder, just a little faster. He had never touched Sherlock in this intimate a manner before and, although the consulting detective was a brilliant actor, even he could not hide the tensing of the muscles beneath John's fingers.
"Are you going to stand there and tell me it hasn't crossed your mind even once…"
Sherlock let the violin tip down and his bow hand fell in a controlled manner to his side.
"You've always been important to me," he said evenly, eyes trained on the window. "The perfect companion and an invaluable friend… is that not enough?"
"Not to me," John replied with a touch of frustration. He paused, letting his hand drop away. "But apparently it is for you."
Sherlock looked down, swallowing visibly.
"If I could be something different to you, John, there is no doubt I would try," he muttered slowly. "As it is, I will not lie to you and tell you I desire anything more than what we have been."
John felt the back of his neck burning with an embarrassment he had not felt since the first night they had dined at Angelo's. The feeling was accompanied with a painful twisting in his stomach, the muscles in his throat straining with the effort to pull in his emotions.
"You don't feel the same way, you don't have to sugar coat it - "
"I didn't say that," Sherlock broke in firmly, words leaving his mouth in typical Sherlock fashion. "I am sustained by the science of the world around me, the workings of intellectual exertion – I do not need or crave what I consider to be distracting and unnecessary personal involvement, what others consider the event around which life revolves. Emotion is not what feeds me." As he continued, his voice softened with hesitation. "That does not mean I consider you to be any less than what I obviously mean to you."
The confession only worsened the tension in John's throat.
"This is a disappointment to you. For that, I am sorry," Sherlock went on. "You're marrying Ms. Morstan in three days. She will give you far more… far more than I ever could. I can only hope that you will consent to continue… working with me."
John nodded roughly, mind already working to secure everything back into place; pushing what would be the last attempt he ever made down and binding it in the fabric that would be forever damaged, but pulled tight around him.
"I should go," he said abruptly, turning militaristically before his tongue betrayed him any more.
A sudden hand on his wrist stopped him with a shiver. He looked down to see Sherlock's fingers firmly on the inside of his wrist. Taking his damn pulse, he'd seen the trick before.
He swallowed hard when he saw his long fingers slide down from his wrist, hesitantly resting on the very tips of his own.
"I am sorry, John," Sherlock said in a low voice.
His fingers drifted away, reaching for the bow tucked under his arm.
John blinked rapidly as the music resumed. He felt something close to white-hot rage surge inside him as he stared at the detective.
"God damn you, Sherlock," he growled.
His hands reached out and gripped at his wrists, the silk of the dressing gown cool beneath his palms, yanking the instrument down and pushing Sherlock against the wall. His heartbeat thundered in his ears as he caught the carefully controlled surprise in Sherlock's eyes before leaning in, bringing his mouth roughly to his. Sherlock's lips were warm beneath his, but John could feel the hesitation, the uncertainty. He let out a shuddering breath as he pulled away, looking up to see the set of blue-green eyes he had dreamed about for two years mere inches away. He couldn't decide if Sherlock's passive reaction was an encouragement or a horrible disappointment. John was certain that if he tried again, Sherlock would have let him.
But he was right. He didn't desire anything more.
John let go of his wrists and backed away, nodding firmly.
"I had to… just once," he said heavily.
"I understand," Sherlock replied quietly.
John could feel his throat tighten and ache with the effort to control his emotions. Dropping his eyes to the floor, he turned and left 221B, going home to Mary and hoping he would never find himself unraveling again.