The evening before John’s weekly therapy session, he and Sherlock chase down a murderer, Sherlock grabbing him by the back of his coat and flinging him against the grimy brickwork, John jabbing his gun between his ribs, holding him there until Lestrade and company can catch up and haul him off.
The next day John is still so flushed with success he feels like he could pack it in with his therapist and call it a day.
But he knows Harry will find out somehow—she always does—and he doesn’t fancy being yelled at on the phone by a drunk sister for an hour and a half. And besides, he’s had up days before. They don’t typically last.
Sherlock is reading the morning paper when he comes down, a pile of toast sitting ignored at his elbow. “Don’t turn off your phone,” he says without looking up.
“What?” John pulls on his coat, easing his left arm into the sleeve.
“Your phone. Don’t turn it off like you usually do when you see your therapist. I might need you.”
John doesn’t bother to ask him how he knows where he’s going, just shakes his head and laughs, heading down the front steps.
“I mean it,” Sherlock calls after him.
Dr. Richards’ eyes widen when he walks into her office.
“John,” she says, the way you might talk to someone who is perched precariously on a log above a river, “Where’s your cane?”
John looks down at his feet. “Oh,” he says, trying to sound more surprised than he actually is. “I suppose I must have left it at home.”
Dr. Richards motions to the chair across from her. “Why don’t you sit down?” He can tell by her tone that she hadn’t been expecting this as even the remotest possibility. By the time he sits down she’s already scribbling on her notepad, like she’s afraid there might be a ban in the next ten seconds. He waits for her to look up. The blinds are open, letting in the grey morning light, dust motes dancing across the office.
“So, John. How have you been?” She nods toward his leg. “Did something happen in the last week?”
“I’ve moved in with someone. That is—,” he amends when he realizes how that sounds, “I’ve found a flatmate.”
“Is that right?” Dr. Richards makes another couple of notes. “What is he or she like?”
“He is—.” John tries to think of an adjective to describe Sherlock. “Well, he’s quite—.” He tries nouns and comes up fairly short there as well. “He’s a detective.”
“A detective?” More scribbling. “He’s with the police?”
“No, ah. A private detective.” Consulting detective, corrects a voice in his head that sounds a great deal like Sherlock’s. But then he’d have to explain to Dr. Richards what a consulting detective is, and how his flatmate is the only one in the world.
“Is he any good?” Dr. Richards asks.
John lets out a snort of laughter before he can help himself. Dr. Richards looks at him like she’s seriously beginning to worry for his mental state. More so than usual, of course, as she’s his therapist and paid to worry about his mental state.
“Er, yes,” John says. “He’s quite good.”
“Have you spoken to your sister about him?”
John frowns. “With Harry? Why would I do that?”
Dr. Richards taps her pen. “Well, you did say a few sessions ago that you and she recently had an argument about your sexuality.”
“Oh,” John says. “Right.” It was one of the many arguments they’d had since he’d come home, on a night when she had been even less sober than usual. Harry had gone on and on about how it runs in families and could that possibly be the reason he can’t find a girlfriend—he doesn’t want one?
John realizes what Dr. Richards means by bringing it up. “That’s—we’re not—. I didn’t move in with Sherlock like that.” He wonders if he’s going to spend the rest of his life attempting to convince people he isn’t Sherlock Holmes’s boyfriend.
And he wonders if he should worry that Sherlock has slotted so easily into thoughts of ‘the rest of his life’.
“’Sherlock’?” Dr. Richards repeats. “Unusual name. It sounds rather familiar.”
“He has a website. Not that kind of website,” John heads off, closing his eyes briefly. “It’s science—‘the science of deduction’, something like that.”
“I’ll have to look it up.” Dr. Richards scribbles it down next to her notes. “What’s Sherlock like, then?”
John rubs his chin. He remembers meeting him last week, watching him jump for joy at the thought of a serial killer. He thinks of how Sherlock had looked raising that pill to his mouth, how it had felt to shoot a man through two panes of glass to stop him killing himself. “He’s—mad. Utterly mad.”
Dr. Richards looks amused. “And you don’t mind living with a madman? Nothing about that bothers you?”
Eyeballs in the microwave. Impromptu drugs-busts, discordant violin playing at three o’clock in the morning. A man he barely knows reading absolutely everything about his life in his limp and his mobile fucking phone.
“He’s brilliant, too,” he adds lamely. He thinks of the look of sheer triumph on Sherlock’s face last he’d watched John pin the murderer down, the pure, physical rush he gets from having all of his deductions proven right. “He’s the most brilliant person I’ve ever met.”
“In what way?” Dr. Richards asks.
Before he knows it, John finds himself describing A Study in Pink (as he’s taken to calling it in his mind) and by the time he gets to the bit about tearing through the streets of London after a cab and leaping from rooftop to rooftop, he can tell what Dr. Richards is thinking.
“I’m not making this up,” he insists. “This is what Sherlock does.”
“I don’t think you’re making it up.” She’s lying, he can tell. “I never read about any of it in the papers.”
“You wouldn’t. The police don’t consult us—him,” he corrects quickly, desperately hoping there won’t be any talk of Freudian slips, “—Don’t consult him officially. He doesn’t even get paid.”
“Then why does he do it?”
“I don’t know,” John answers, before realizing it’s a lie. “I think, because he can’t not do it.”
“He doesn’t sound too well-adjusted.”
“No,” John agrees.
“Perhaps he could do with talking with someone himself.”
“What—.” John realizes that she is recommending Sherlock for therapy, and he is filled with the conflicting desires to fall out of the chair laughing and jump out of it in outrage. The thought of someone trying to psychoanalyse Sherlock, to adjust him, normalize him, makes John so unexpectedly angry he can barely speak. “I…I don’t think that would be a very good idea.”
“I’m sorry,” Dr. Richards says, “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“It’s not—it’s not you.” It really isn’t—Dr. Richards is a lovely woman and a good therapist, even if she has gotten John backwards all this time. “It’s…” He wishes he could put this in his blog instead—he’s always been better at writing than talking. “It’s just that whenever there’s someone who isn’t like the rest of the world, the first thing the world tries to do is get rid of them. And what if I don’t want to readjust to civilian life?” Somehow, he’s on his feet and his voice has gotten louder.
“John.” To her credit, Dr. Richards has remained very calm, as if ex army-doctors are always shouting at her about their brilliant flatmates.
“And—and why should I be here when running round with Sherlock has done me more good in a week than this has in months?” He knows he isn’t making sense anymore, knows he shouldn’t be so angry.
“What?” He’s breathing too fast.
She points to his leg. “You’re limping.”
John looks down. He’s favoring his left leg, and he can feel a dull pain beginning in his right. In his coat pocket, his phone chirps. He knows it’s a text from Sherlock before he even has it open
murder. come home at once, and apologize to your therapist for being horrible.
“How—?” John laughs and shoves his phone back into his pocket. “I’m sorry for being horrible,” he says. “But I have to go.”
When he gets back to the flat, there is a police car by the curb and Lestrade is declining the offer of tea from Mrs. Hudson. Sherlock is sitting on the couch, fingers steepled against his chin.
“Let me guess,” he says when John limps up the stairs. “Your therapist thinks we’re lovers and that I need professional help.” His eyes flick down to John’s feet. “And your leg’s started to hurt again.”
John can’t help his grin. “Lucky guess.”
They catch the murderer in twelve hours and then go for Chinese. They discuss the case, and the fact that Sherlock needs a new scarf, since his got set on fire when the perpetrator had attempted to ward him off with a lit cigarette.
John forgets his cane in the taxi this time.