Sherlock stepped over the threshold of his home and knew he’d been there. His favored mug with the binary design encircling it lay on the rack next to the sink. Tea was enough of a tradition between them that Jim thought it gauche that Sherlock kept borrowing Mrs. Hudson’s black and white set, particularly since Sherlock would always have to lie every time he borrowed it and there was no such thing as a lie good enough to convince Mrs. Hudson that Sherlock was the sort to simply appreciate fine tea sets such as hers. So they bought a pair of mugs and a squat, cast iron pot together the morning after the first time they had sex. Apparently the binary spelled out something that amused Jim to no end and he always made a point of bringing the mug to his lips whenever it was apparent he was losing a debate with him. 01110011 01110101 01100011 01101011 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01100100 01101001 01100011 01101011.
Jim cared about those kinds of amusing details. Sherlock did not and picked a featureless navy mug, his favorite color though he didn’t like to admit to something as frivolous as having a favorite color, was to match his ever present coat.
Their meetings were usually like this, one or the other dropping in on the other. They couldn’t live together considering their occupations and Mycroft’s constant surveillance (though Sherlock was certain his brother knew of his relationship with Jim, Mycroft tastefully declined to ever bring the subject up to him for which he was grateful). Occasionally Sherlock would find some clue laid for him by Jim and they’d meet in the city. Most of the time Jim would just let himself into Sherlock’s flat. Despite the lack of cleverness involved, they both had a fondness for a classic breaking and entering.
They didn’t live together but sometimes Sherlock found himself wondering what it would be like. What Jim’s daily habits were. What he did when he wasn’t preoccupied with the business of breaking laws.
The snow had finally stopped falling about an hour ago and the sky had cleared to a pure black interspersed with shining bits of light. No moon this time of the month so the stars stood out in even greater relief against that blackness. There was absolute darkness outside even though it was only half past five. Winter nights were always greedily taking hours away from the sun. The ground was still blanketed with snow and relatively unblemished. Not enough time had passed for the snow ploughs and the general traffic of city feet to compact and melt the snow. Stepping out of thick winter boots and passing his coat off his shoulders he felt his adrenaline rise with the knowledge that he hadn’t come home to an empty flat. He leapt up the stairs easily taking two at a time.
Only one person was allowed to know of their relationship, well Sherlock only consented to allowing one person to know of their relationship, he couldn’t control what Mycroft did any better than Mycroft could control him. He worked with John too often to want to be burdened with constantly having to hide this fact from him. John couldn’t understand Sherlock’s affection for someone who broke laws in the automatic, unbothered way some people went to school or work. In spite of his long suffering disposition towards Sherlock, he still winced at the familiar way Sherlock mentioned Jim’s name in conversation, despite Sherlock’s assurances that the bomb Jim had put on him hadn’t been anything personal. Every time they would take on a new case John would discreetly make a pained expression that was never particularly discreet to Sherlock. John was constantly aware that the latest crime they were working on was likely connected to Jim whether he orchestrated it himself or another in his web did. Sherlock usually just told John to stay focused on his own relationship with Mary.
Maybe that was one of the reasons why Sherlock felt the way he did about Jim. What they had owed nothing to anyone. They could just be themselves. They had no one to live up to but each other. And there were nobody’s expectations they wanted to live up to.
Nudging his slightly ajar bedroom door open he found Jim, sleeping and folded gently into puffy tufts of comforter looking warm and relaxed. He was dressed in plain white undershirt and a pair of his own shorts. Sherlock held in a groan, that meant his drawers were out of order. Jim knew how to go through his belongings without disturbing his organizational patterns, but he choose not to, much the way Sherlock still chose to hand him his mug with the handle turned towards the right.
Sherlock didn’t move for a moment. Jim was a light sleeper and he didn’t want to give up the opportunity to see Jim in this state before he woke up.
Despite it being early January when the English sky was typically a perpetual milky grey during the day, Jim’s skin had none of the sallow tones that came with losing one’s summer color. He could smell peppermint and the darkly sweet licorice notes of the anise oil that were part of the toothpaste he must have used when he bent closer to his mouth. So probably he just traveled from some place in the Mediterranean where peppermint and anise were common toothpaste flavorings. Satisfied at that, he sat on the edge of the bed. He knew Jim would sense his weight and the change in the angle of the bed and awaken.
First there was a very deep breath before Jim turned to lay on his right side. “Come here Sherlock.” Sleepy eyes, left arm draped over the empty space in front of him. It wasn’t a demand.
A request for a specific action; Jim knew Sherlock could understand a request like that better than something like ‘tell me you love me’. Sherlock knew the sentiment behind the request was the same though.
Although Jim was indicating the space in front of him, Sherlock walked to the other side of the bed to get in behind him. Making himself the big spoon partially just to annoy Jim. They both preferred being the big spoon, but Jim must have still been tired or just in an obliging mood because he allowed his back to be pressed against Sherlock’s chest as Sherlock snaked his arms around him.
Physical sensuality came easier to him than he would have initially thought. It was freeing. Not having to use words. Everyone thought his ability to go on and on about the things that interested him long after his listener grew tired of the conversation meant that he always had the right words for every situation. But the fact was, when he wasn’t talking about one of his special interests he was often left grasping for words and lingering in awkward silences. Assuming he was even putting forth the effort to talk to someone about something outside of his interests. And he usually wasn’t.
It took a certain amount of comfort with a person to realize he could explore that physical side to him. That he even had a physical side to himself. He’d casually call himself a ‘sociopath’ to others, not because he thought he really was one, but because calling himself one helped keep people at a distance from himself.
Most people made him uncomfortable on some level. Other people were a maze of moist handshakes, constantly shifting emotional states, and social rules that made little sense to him. He usually compensated by making others uncomfortable, sometimes unconsciously. He could understand what people thought in a detached and clinical way, but he could never understand why people thought the way they did and thus the general discomfort he felt amongst most people. There were few things that could bother and disturb him the way simply not understanding something could.
With Jim that seemed to be inverted. He understood why he thought the way he did, Jim’s constant need for something interesting, challenging in life mirrored his own thoughts. But Sherlock was always surprised by precisely what Jim found to occupy him. Sherlock looked at a plant and saw the quality of the soil it was grown in and how it was cared for. Jim saw that with proper preparation its roots could be made into poison.
Sherlock nosed the back of Jim’s head from his spooning position. He was always the kind of person who wasn’t afraid to investigate the world with all his senses, whether that was through the scent of linseed oil or the taste of mercury.
“Your hair is dirty.” He combed his fingers through it anyway. He was in regular contact with corpses. It took far more than unwashed hair to disgust him.
“Was in a hurry to get here. Didn’t have much time for showers.” Jim suddenly rotated in Sherlock’s arms so that they were facing each other, breaking their spooning position. I guess his obliging mood is over.
“Oh? And why were you in a hurry?”
“You don’t know?”
Sherlock’s face was impassive. Then realization struck. “Please don’t tell me you’re here to celebrate my birthday.”
“Why not? There aren’t any other births I want to celebrate.”
“Please, are you my mother? Should I call Mycroft and ask him to bring a cake?”
“How ‘bout you show me what you’re always doing with those microscopes in your living room.”
Sherlock stopped suddenly. Out of all the things he expected Jim to say that wasn’t one of them. Why but not what.
The corners of Jim’s mouth started to curve. “Did I hit on something you’d think would be fun?” The grin expanded.
“No.” But then Sherlock found he had to correct himself. “Well it wouldn’t be fun with anyone else.”
“Show me what you’re doing with all those cadaver parts you keep in your refrigerator.” Jim craned his neck till his lips were pressed against Sherlock’s cheekbone. Not really kissing, just feeling the geometry in the contours of a human face.
The humor of such a statement being said seductively by one’s lover didn’t register with Sherlock who tended to understand people quite literally. “After you take a shower.”
Now Jim brought his arms around Sherlock’s neck bringing their foreheads together. “Sure. If you shower with me.”
“I showered this morning. I don’t need one.”
“I don’t believe I said you needed one.” Dreamily, Jim moved the mere centimeters necessary to bring their lips together. They had kissed more often in the past several months than ever before. No one would say either of them were skilled kissers, but they moved with the assurance of people who had learned each other’s rhythms. Jim was usually the one to introduce tongue, Sherlock, teeth.
Letting his bottom lip slip from between Sherlock’s teeth Jim said, “come on Sherlock.” And with that he unwound himself out of Sherlock’s arms and made his way towards the bathroom leaving a breadcrumb trail of clothes in his wake.
Sherlock stayed back for a moment to compose himself. He felt desire the same way many people did, but he was so used to ignoring that aspect of himself that when he finally did tap into it he sometimes needed a minute to sort through what he was feeling. He always assumed that was for the best that he ignored the part of himself that was capable of feeling desire. He always doubted he would ever get close enough to anyone to fulfill those desires. Abruptly his ruminations were interrupted by the sudden roar of water rushing through pipes and that was all the motivation he needed to start hitching his shirt over his head and pushing his trousers down his hips as he made his way after Jim.
The shower was built for one person, but they both enjoyed the tight fit of two people in it.
As the stream of water beat down on Sherlock’s back, Jim reached over Sherlock’s shoulder to behind his head behind to the ledge that held his shampoo. They were so close that the reaching motion mimicked a hug. Sherlock took advantage of Jim’s position to cross his arms behind Jim’s waist. He started to suck a hickey into the fleshy muscle above Jim’s collar bone. Jim momentarily let out a high pitched sound, but only for a split second as he seemed to fall between finding the sensation ticklish and feeling a warm wave of blood flush his cheeks.
Sherlock was surprised when he felt the slightly chilled shampoo spreading over his own hair. Jim poured the product over his own head next and instead of reaching his hands into his own hair he started working his hands into Sherlock’s own curly mop. Sherlock reciprocated, weaving his fingers into Jim’s hair till soapy trails of bubbles started sliding down both their shoulders. Doing such a mundane task, washing one’s hair in the shower, was the sort you might assume you’d do unthinkingly for yourself till the day you died. Doing it for someone else, felt intimate in an unexpected way to Sherlock.
“You know, I’ve always wondered.”
“The brilliant mind of James Moriarty has always wondered something about me?” His face lit up with mock surprise. “What’s surprising here is that there’s something about me you don’t already know.” Jim wasn’t the only one who could be sassy when he wanted.
“You always give off the aura of not caring about your appearance; you were escorted to Buckingham Palace in your bed sheet. But you keep your curly hair relatively long. Isn’t that a rather high maintenance look for someone like you?” Jim gave him a bemused look while he started to wind sections of his hair into spirals around his fingers. “Are you actually more vain than you let on? Hmmm?” Jim liked the idea that Sherlock was actually the vainer one between the two of them despite their appearances suggesting the opposite.
“I don’t care much about my appearance. But that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the importance of not looking ridiculous. That meeting at the Palace was different. They refused to tell me why I was being escorted, I refused to make their job easy by getting dressed.”
Jim couldn’t help but laugh at that answer. Never let it be said Sherlock didn’t have a childish and vindictive side. “Whatever you say, beauty queen.” Jim said while eyeing the bottle of conditioner made especially for curly hair on the ledge. He smiled and imagined Sherlock in front of the mirror putting product in his hair and shaping each curl individually with his hands every morning.
Jim didn’t want to get dressed after their shower. He liked being naked with Sherlock. Not only for lascivious reasons, but certainly for those reasons too. Sherlock wasn’t the sort of person to interpret nakedness as anything necessarily sexual anyway. He liked not having to wear the suits, facades, he used when facing the rest of the world. Everyone who met him thought he dressed the way he did out of a sense of vanity. The reality was, he didn’t care much about appearances in their own right, but the rest of the world expected a successful criminal to be living well off his work and to broadcast that success through flashy designer clothing. He was happy to assume that role for ordinary people, but he had no desire to keep up that façade with the one person he allowed to even know that that was a façade.
Still, it was January and even with the boiler running, it couldn’t completely banish the chill from the air in the flat. Jim threw on a pair of Sherlock’s faded flannel pajama pants and one of his fresh white undershirts. Rearranging a few of Sherlock’s things in the drawer as he did so. Something to make Sherlock think of him the next time he needed to dress properly.
Sherlock tended not to notice variations in temperature very well and only wore a pair of shorts and his blue dressing gown. When John lived with him, John often wondered how Sherlock could lounge in a thin t-shirt and equally thin dressing gown while he was wearing thick, cable knitted jumpers and corduroy pants to stave off the cold. Sherlock walked downstairs letting his dressing gown ruffle open and closed with each step. Jim thought Sherlock’s simultaneous lack of sensitivity to the outside world and his ability to be hyper-observant of it a curious thing.
The pajama pants were too long for him and reminded him of how much he used to wish he was taller when he was a younger man. He supposed it was all for the best however. Being short meant he had to rely more on mental intimidation rather than physical intimidation to meet his goals. Even Sherlock wasn’t above using his imposing height to his advantage in intimidating witnesses and suspects alike into giving him the information he wanted. Jim pulled the faded pants up his waist as high as he could, pulled his shirt over the waist band and followed Sherlock to the living room.
Not wasting any time Sherlock immediately sat in front of his main microscope. “In the refrigerator there are hands laid out. I’m studying the rate of evaporation of sweat off the skin after death.”
"To determine the time of death based on the amount of remaining perspiration on the palms.”
“Yes. The data will be a bit skewed because they’re in the fridge where the humidity levels are more stable. I tried leaving them out on the table but Mrs. Hudson raised too much of a fuss about that.” Sherlock flipped open his laptop on the table next to the microscope and looked over his charts of sweat levels.
Jim mused at the opposing direction of their observations. Sherlock used his microscopes to look inside and look at things ever closer. Jim used telescopes and look farther and farther outside, he was constantly looking for the larger picture. In another life Jim used to spend his time looking out of telescopes as part of educational pursuits, he still did, it wasn’t terribly difficult to hack into various world telescopes which were already set up for remote control for various universities. But now he did his astronomical observing without the official sanction of academia and far less frequently than in his university days. ‘What if I could have been satisfied with a life as an astronomer and left crime for good’ was a ‘what if’ game he sometimes played with himself, but the resolution was always the same. Some nights, right before he’d close his eyes, he’d look up into the syrupy moonlight glowing in the window above his bed and imagine he could’ve lived a pleasant life filled with research, students and stars. But in the morning when all he had to look up at was a ruthless sun that burned his retinas, his rationality was an acid that ate away at his ability to imagine that idyllic image.
He could have never been satisfied with that life. He would have always known that the one person to ever notice anything askew with the death of Carl Powers would be out there in the world and he would have always wondered about them. It seemed like his very nature necessitated his becoming a criminal. His mind wouldn’t have allowed him to be anything else. Nothing else was as stimulating and nothing else would have brought him to Sherlock.
Sherlock looked up from his screen of charts and over at Jim. Jim had a far off, contemplative look that Sherlock had taken note of in the past. He always felt privileged whenever he got to see it. Being able to see Jim’s thoughts dance across his features was when Sherlock knew Jim was showing him something unguarded and unrehearsed. And then Jim must have thought about something sad because the animated and expressive look he normally wore drained out of him and his eyes lowered. Sherlock didn’t know what to say. He didn’t have a talent for conveying the necessary empathy for comforting people and with most people he didn’t care enough to even try.
But with Jim he did care enough to try. This wasn’t the first time Sherlock could tell Jim’s mind was submersed in dark thoughts. Conveying empathy through words was still difficult for him and usually the result of these dark moods was for Sherlock to hold Jim against him in his bed till either Jim returned to his normal baiting banter or more often, till Jim finally nodded off to sleep in his arms. Sherlock’s need for sleep was quite low so he could simply lay there all night with Jim’s cheek resting on his shoulder, waiting in case he roused. Sherlock had stiff cramps all over his body the next morning, but the pain seemed worth it when he saw the look on Jim’s face as he awoke with his head still resting in the nook of his arm. Jim seemed to understand the meaning behind his gestures, despite Jim’s own inclination towards expressing himself in other ways, and never pushed for him to express himself differently.
Dark thoughts wreaked their havoc across Jim’s face and then the moment seemed to pass. Then he looked at Sherlock and seemed to be inspired.
Jim walked over and sat himself right in Sherlock’s lap. He ground himself into his lap while feigning an attempt at getting comfortable. Suddenly all business-like focus, he pointed to a group of numbers on the screen. “So explain to me what these numbers tell you.” He ground himself against Sherlock a little harder.
“You are a prick.” He could feel his own harden. Jim’s tendency to initiate sex with these kinds of physical taunts was exasperating to Sherlock who preferred the straightforward approach. “You lured me here under false pretenses.” The accusation didn’t hold any sting.
“No, I did want to see what you were working on. No false pretense there. Hmmm what’s this?” He leaned back a bit more. “I’m pretty sure you don’t have a gun on you, no place to really hide it in that flimsy dressing gown and those threadbare shorts, so you must be quite happy to see me. Won’t the army be pleased to know one of their firearms isn’t being used illegally?” Of course he could just say he wanted to fuck. But getting Sherlock riled up like this always made the experience so much more fun for him.
Jim’s methods were transparent and they were supposed to be. Sherlock’s hands found their way under the waistband of the pants Jim was wearing. He found him hard and dripping onto the fabric. Already Jim? Jim jolted a little at the touch before leaning back so that the back of his head was resting on Sherlock’s collarbone. Sherlock tightened his grip as his fist traveled towards the tip and then slackened as he pushed his fist back to the base. The muscles in Jim’s legs had started a slight tremble and soft groans began to escape from under Jim’s breath. Sherlock knew he was more than sufficiently skilled to finish this with his hands and he knew Jim would reciprocate in kind. But why would he want to finish things with just his hands?
“I’m sorry, I thought this was my birthday? Why am I doing all the work?” Sherlock gave Jim the kind of bratty look he usually reserved for Mycroft or the dog hair covered employees of Buckingham Palace.
“Whatever gave you the impression you’d be doing all the work?” He turned his head from its position on Sherlock’s collarbone till he could give his earlobe a playful bite. “I won’t lie. I may have made things a bit easier for us a few hours earlier, just in case you were interested.”
Sherlock raised an eyebrow at Jim. “You made things easier for me?” They seemed to be eternally arguing about who should top and half the time their arguments came down to ‘you topped last time!’ He wasn’t even sure why they still argued about it anymore other than out of a sense of frivolous tradition. Their natural inclinations were to be on top, but neither had any trouble putting that inclination aside with the other.
“I even did it in your bed.” There was a crafty smile. “It is your birthday. Don’t expect this all the time.”
“Is that what you were doing before I got home? Well, it would be a shame to waste all that effort.” He licked at the corners of his mouth right before he slid a palm, warmed from its prior task, up under Jim’s shirt. The hickey he’d given him in the shower was starting to turn up, a single red-turning-purple mark on an otherwise pristine plane of skin.
Jim was rubbing the moisture out of his hair with a towel from his second shower of the evening, a far less chaste shower, and looking out Sherlock’s bedroom window at the inky sky.
“Let’s go out.” He walked and picked up his phone from the bedside table and tapped his thumb across the screen while his other arm still held the towel against his hair.
“Alright.” If anyone else asked he’d never have agreed. But he’d grown accustomed to Jim’s sudden whims and changes in plans. He’d yet to be disappointed by one of Jim’s diversions so agreement came easy.
They re-dressed in the clothes they wore earlier that day. Jim in casual slate trousers, black wool jacket, black leather gloves. Sherlock in his usual black trousers, white button up, black blazer, draping navy coat, and scarf.
Their footsteps crunched into the frozen top crust of snow as they walked out the front door, cracking through to the soft powdery under layer. Jim hailed a taxi. “Royal Observatory.” Jim said as they both got into the back seat. His face was inscrutable. Sherlock said nothing and just watched Jim, intrigued. It was half past eleven, the Royal Observatory was closed.
After cruising past tightly packed city homes, grubby industrial buildings and Greenwich Park they arrived at the observatory. Jim paid the cabbie who looked a bit nonplussed at dropping off two men at a place that was obviously closed, but he still took Jim’s money and went off in search of new customers. Jim walked self-assuredly for the front door, Sherlock took a breath and was about to interject, but then Jim walked right through the doors as though he was walking into his own home. Sherlock closed his mouth with an almost audible snap.
Jim searched for the light switch along the wall, finding it he threw on the lights. He walked through the building, which was definitely closed, as if he knew where he was going. Sherlock didn’t bother asking why their presence wasn’t setting off the place’s security systems. He figured the tapping Jim was doing to his phone earlier was probably part of the reason why.
“Don’t bother taking your coat off. We’re going back into the cold in a minute.”
“To where the refracting telescope in the open roof dome is.”
“Not a difficult deduction to make, we are at the Royal Observatory. Do you know what for?”
“Some observing I’d imagine.”
“That’s a non-answer and you know it. Of course we’d use a telescope to do observing. Of what though?”
“Is there something special to be seen tonight?”
“Oh a few things.” Jim checked his watch, it was a few minutes past midnight.
Sherlock followed Jim until they entered a room dominated by a very large refracting telescope.
England, and London especially, didn’t have the ideal conditions for astronomy with the constant overcast skies and light pollution of the city. But the sky seemed cooperative enough that night.
Again, Jim seemed to know exactly what he was looking for. He crossed the room till he found a switch, he flipped it. Sherlock was alarmed when a loud grinding noise started, he looked up and saw the dome slowly turning till a section of the dome that was open to the outside revealed itself.
Jim didn’t even need to say what he should be looking for in the sky, it was obvious.
Close to the handle of the Big Dipper there were multiple specks of light flying in arcs across the sky. Cosmic debris, all moving towards the same end, marked the sky in a line before fading away. Sherlock appreciated how they originated from the same location and all moved in the same direction in the sky.
“The Quandrantids meteor shower. It happens every year around this time.”
“Are meteor showers an interest of yours?” Sherlock inquired, he still thought there was a lot about Jim’s inner world that was unknown to him. Like what his particular interests were.
“Not particularly. Though I suppose they have their own points of interest.” Jim looked around the room. On a table there was a flashlight with a red light bulb, red because the color didn’t cause the pupils to dilate the way other colors of light did and ruin one’s night vision. He turned it on and shone the hazy scarlet glow around them. Finding a large cabinet, he carefully opened the doors and was pleased to find multiple eyepieces for the telescope. He selected an eyepiece with a long focal length.
The cold of the outdoors had fully permeated the dome via the open roof now.
He was fastening the eyepiece onto the telescope. “Jupiter’s quite visible right now, but I’ve always preferred looking at objects outside our Solar System.” Jim pointed at what appeared to be a smudge of light in the sky. “That’s the Andromeda Galaxy. You can see it even without the telescope.”
Jim was looking up. But instead of looking at the galaxy, Sherlock just looked at Jim. He had a look of subdued awe, Sherlock might say. Seeing Jim in context apart from his criminal activities and away from Baker Street was something that rarely happened. It was disorienting.
Jim peered through the eyepiece and then looked up towards the galaxy, visually aligning the telescope. When he was done he gestured for Sherlock to take a look. Sherlock looked through the eyepiece. It was a different kind of observation than what he was accustomed to. Usually when he was looking through an eyepiece he was looking at something so closely that there was no bit of information hidden from him, although he could see the galaxy in greater detail, looking through this eyepiece at this entire galaxy filled with its own stars and planets seemed to create more questions in his mind than answers. To look at something and have more questions about it than before you looked at it more closely was an uncomfortable feeling for Sherlock. It wasn’t an altogether new feeling.
“It’s going to collide with our galaxy someday.” Jim’s voice seemed far away, longing.
Sherlock turned away from the telescope to study Jim’s face. “What about astronomy appeals to you?” Sherlock found the act of designing a crime and astronomy to be a rather unharmonious set of interests. One activity was dynamic and creative, the other essentially passive and observational. How could both manage to engage a mind like Jim’s?
“Everything about astronomy appeals to me.”
“I have to keep some secrets don’t I? If I don’t you’ll deduce all there is to me and get bored.” Jim chuckled and created an obfuscating white cloud in the cold air.
Sherlock scoffed at the idea.
Jim sobered. “It’s nice knowing there’s something else out there besides this planet, these people, these problems.” Something dark stirred behind his eyes at that last statement. The second dark look of the evening. This one didn’t lift away the way the first one had.
The honesty caught Sherlock off guard.
"Well—” Jim’s voice was suddenly lilting and song-like. He looked up at Sherlock, face blazing with some emotion Sherlock couldn’t identify. Determination? Desperation? He came in closer and placed his hands around Jim’s hips. They leaned in for a kiss. Jim pulled away after a short while, ending it. He usually was the one to pull away from a kiss first. A fact that Sherlock never understood. Sherlock felt like he could have kissed forever, but Jim seemed to have a much keener sense of the impermanence of things.
“Happy birthday, Sherlock Holmes.” Jim ran his thumb along Sherlock’s bottom lip and gave his lips an appreciative look before turning away. “You should head back to Baker Street, I assume you can manage without me. I’m going to keep observing a bit longer.” Jim’s melancholia was apparent to Sherlock. Is this what he does when he isn’t working on some crime? Look at galaxies? Does it make him feel better?
Sherlock wanted to argue that there was no reason that their night together had to end so soon, but he’d spear-headed this argument before and it never had the effect of convincing Jim to spend more than a night or a few hours with him.
For a long time he understood love through chemistry, emotion through a complex relationship between the positions of someone’s eyebrows and the corners of their mouth. Jim was forthright with his emotions. He didn’t just say ‘I love you’, but his love of the demonstrative sort.
In a sense, Jim wore his emotions on his sleeve. He was incapable of not acting on his emotion. The way others might expend their energy standing around the person of their affections and stammer and hang on every word they uttered, Jim would spend his creative energies on designing something to engage their mind.
Jim couldn’t think of anything more romantic.
Neither could Sherlock.
The next day came with the news that some criminal mastermind had managed to steal the main refracting telescope from the Royal Observatory somehow, without any witnesses. Lestrade was aghast at the magnitude of the crime, that telescope was the largest in the United Kingdom! It was a telescope of national importance! How could there be no witnesses to the theft of something as large as a telescope with a 28 inch glass lens weighing over 200 pounds? The detective inspector asked him for his help on the case and Sherlock accepted, just as Jim would have wanted and expected him to.
Sherlock strode out of the Yard with John trailing close behind speaking with amazement over how any criminal could have managed a crime like this without witnesses. But Sherlock barely heard a word.
Looking at galaxies Jim?
I love you too.
How could he not love someone who understood not only that the way to his heart was through his brain, but actually possessed the intellect necessary to walk that path?