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I had a best friend.
He was rude, insensitive, a right bastard, and he drove me completely mad.
He was also brilliant, and breathtaking, and for some reason he wanted me, boring, ordinary John Watson by his side, and I loved – love – him.
But I never told him that.
I never told him because we were Sherlock and John, and it could wait.
We dashed through the streets of London after criminals, ate Chinese food at one in the morning, screamed at each other until we were blue in the face, and then laughed until our sides ached. We were together, alive, and it could wait because we were Sherlock and John and I was having the time of my life.
I thought it could wait and, as usual, I was wrong.
I should have told him everything.
I don’t regret killing that cabbie the very first night we met. From the start, I knew Sherlock was important, special, and I’d have done it again and more if it meant I could protect him. I’m not capable of amazing things, but this was something I could do for him. I would have happily grown old following him to the ends of the Earth and back if he’d have let me.
He told me once that I was his only friend. There were times when I wasn’t even sure he knew what friendship was. He may have been a genius, but he was also an idiot about certain things. In the beginning, he was always trying to manipulate me into doing things for him, but all he’d ever had to do was ask. He would experiment on me even though he knew it made me furious. Sometimes he’d get into these ‘black moods’ that were so bad that he’d work me up to a point where I’d have to walk out to calm myself down. When I would return to the flat, I could see it in his face that he was surprised I’d come back every time. He was an idiot. He was my best friend. I would have always come back.
I’m not proud to say that, though I was in love with Sherlock, I hadn’t stopped dating other people. The part of me that was ‘Three Continents Watson’ has always enjoyed the company of a woman. Those times that I had needed to step out and take a break from the madness, I usually went to see whatever girlfriend I’d had at the time. None of my relationships had ever worked out, and I was actually stupid enough to blame him for it. But it wasn’t his fault; it was mine. A time came when they had all wanted me to choose them over Sherlock, but I couldn’t. I did care about them all, of course I had, but he always came first. He had rooted himself so deeply at the center of my life that I revolved around him, and I wouldn’t have given it up for the world.
There was only one woman in Sherlock’s mind. The Woman. I was so jealous of her that it burned. She was beautiful, and clever, and she had been able to take such a hold on Sherlock’s interest so quickly. She was memorable. She was someone worthy of Sherlock’s attention, and when she had ‘died’, he had felt the world’s loss of her so deeply that he had mourned her. It almost hurt to think that maybe he wouldn’t have mourned me with the same intensity. I’m just a boring, ordinary ex army doctor, after all.
I’m nothing extraordinary, but there were times when he made me feel like I was. When I came back from Afghanistan, I was broken and had nothing. I had no one. Until Sherlock, I basically just existed. He gave me back purpose. He had once called me a ‘conductor of light’, and it was possibly the greatest compliment anyone has ever paid me. It had all at once made me feel needed, and useful, and that I really did belong. It felt like I had found a John Watson sized hole in the world at Sherlock’s side carved out just for me, and I was whole again.
Sherlock was the most important person in my life, and he knew more about me than anyone else in the world. We were together so often that I really do understand why people always thought we were more than just friends. I fought their accusations tooth and nail with things like “we’re not a couple” or “I’m not his date”, but it wasn’t for the reason that they’d thought. I’d fought it because we weren’t a couple and we weren’t actually on a date, and I was annoyed with myself for still not making the time to find out if we could be. And, Christ, did I want to be.
It’s pretty obvious that Sherlock would have known everything about me, but I like to think that I knew a bit more about Sherlock than even he knew about himself. People had often called him cold, and heartless in his methods, and even he had doubted the existence of his own heart, but I know for a fact that he had a good one. I know it because he didn’t leave me that night at the pool with Moriarty. He stayed knowing that if he did, there was a very real possibility that he could have died there with me. He didn’t abandon me, and we got out of it together. I’d offered to give up my life for him, and maybe if he’d known that I’d gladly have done it thousands of times if it meant he’d be safe, then maybe he wouldn’t have – maybe he’d still be – well, you know.
He and Moriarty weren’t as alike as he’d thought. They were both brilliant, sure, but Sherlock, at his core, was good. He used his mind to help people. Moriarty used his mind to destroy, and to hurt. Moriarty was cruel and unfeeling. Sherlock only pretended not to feel or care, but he did, and he was a hero.
Moriarty is as real as Sherlock was, and no one will ever convince me he told me a lie.
Even if no one else believes in him, I always will.
I should have told him.
But I waited too long, and now it’s too late.
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He was my best friend and I'll always believe in him.
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