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Alive and Almost Able

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In their bath everything is covered in tiles, and every sound gets magnified. It hurts Sherlock’s ears, so he takes a deep breath and slides his head under the water.


On the couch, looking at John. Always the same. Same stupid smile. Same ugly clothes. Sherlock wishes he’d listen to the advice of people who know more than him (infinitely more than him) and buy himself something better looking. Something not so incredibly boring.

“Bored,” Sherlock says.

John doesn’t even look up.

“Just don’t shoot the wall,” John says, but Sherlock wouldn’t have the energy to lift his arm even if he did have a gun in his hand.


Everything is muted down here. Sherlock keeps his eyes open, looking at the ceiling from a new perspective. The water makes them sting, but he doesn’t close them. He wants to watch everything.


“It’s not me, it’s you,” Sherlock says one day.

John looks up from his newspaper.

“It usually goes the other way around,” he says mildly. Sherlock snorts. “Are you breaking up with me?” John is smiling. Why is he smiling? He shouldn’t be smiling.

“Yes,” Sherlock says.

“Ok,” John replies and goes back to his paper.


The water presses in on his ears. He’s going to have muted hearing for a while after he comes up, before the water runs out of them. If he comes up.


“John, I’m moving to Madagascar.”

John sighs deeply.

“For how long?” he asks.


“Can I rent out your room then? Only, it’s going to be difficult to manage the rent on my own.”

“Do as you wish,” Sherlock says. “I won’t be here. In fact, I’m leaving tonight. Mycroft can have my things sent.”

“Send me a postcard, will you?”


If he opens his mouth he can drag the water into his lungs, force his body to drown itself. He doesn’t know how it feels to drown, but survivors’ accounts say it’s peaceful. Like floating. Sherlock isn’t sure he wants a peaceful death, but drowning in a bathtub must be different to drowning in an ocean. Warmer, at least.


“Back so soon?” John is still sitting in his chair like he has nothing better to do. He probably hasn’t, Sherlock reasons. “Madagascar not to your liking?”

“There were no planes leaving tonight,” Sherlock says. He would suspect Mycroft, except Madagascar isn’t a very popular place to go. He should have chosen New York instead. “So I’ve decided to stay, for the time being.”

“That’s nice,” John says. “Saves me the trouble of finding a new flat mate.”

Sherlock stomps to his room and slams the door.


Sherlock can hold his breath for 2 minutes and 47 seconds. Approximately. He wonders what would happen if he forced his body beyond that limit. Got someone to hold him down in the water perhaps. John wouldn’t do it, of course, but maybe someone else.


“John, I’ve decided that since the problem isn’t me, you need to move out,” Sherlock says one day.

John looks at him. And looks at him.

“No,” he says eventually.

“Yes,” Sherlock insists. “I’ve grown bored with you, and I need someone new and interesting.”

John starts to smile. This isn’t going Sherlock’s way at all. Why is John smiling?

“Did you think you’d get rid of me that easily?” he asks. “You really don’t understand some things, Sherlock.” He goes to sit down in his usual chair, and Sherlock stomps off to the bathroom.


In the end he decides not to try any experiments with drowning. Not today.