“I do believe it’s time.” Mycroft smoothly spoke across the table to his mother.
“That you are.” Mummy Holmes murmured distracted into her teacup. She was not yet fully sold on this idea even if she had the previous thirteen years to think about it.
Mycroft knew she needed more convincing. “Father is sick. Now is the time to close the loops for this family to remain.” He leaned forward in his seat, “The way to do it is to honor the previous Kings wishes.”
“If you were to Marry, Mycroft, this wouldn’t be necessary.” His mother cut in quickly. “He’s too young and brash. You know your brother.”
“I will not be the face of this. We agreed, I’ll be in charge behind the scenes. Someone needs to be the face and if Sherlock doesn’t do it there is one other option.” Mycroft forced calm into his facial features.
“Precisely.” Mycroft leaned back. “Sherlock is ready. There is no point in keeping him from his duties any longer. Having something more to do might actually be better for him.”
His mother’s lips pursed before speaking. “I’ll call in for the box. Try not to antagonize your brother meanwhile.” She gave him a long and calculating look.
Mycroft inclined his head. “I’ll begin the search.” He stood to leave. “They will be informed to prepare.”
“I swear to fucking god Jim, stop pushing me into the fucking desk.” Sherlock snarled as the shorter boy pushed closer against him.
“Do keep up Sherlock. I’m not in the mood – either take your own shirt and trousers off or you’ll leave here without them.” Jim hissed while trying to work his belt off while touching Sherlock all the while.
Sherlock sniffed, irritated before pushing Jim away. Stopping to stare at each other, the glint in Jim’s eyes grew sharper while Sherlock’s grew colder as a moment later Sherlock began to undo his buttons.
“Good. You’ve learned.” Jim smiled sweetly before turning back to his belt.
“Shut up.” Sherlock replied with a bored tone while working on his own belt and trousers. Jim only grinned wider.
“We could always meet up at that posh palace you live in.” Jim added quickly.
“No.” Sherlock deadpanned. “You’re not allowed or invited.”
“You really know how to make a man feel wanted, Sherlock.”
Sherlock snorted. “You’re not a man, Jim.”
“That’s right. I’m so much more.” He murmured contemplatively before reaching his right hand to fist into Sherlock’s hair, yanking the boy down to meet his lips. His other hand dug his nails into Sherlock’s ribs.
Hissing in pain, Sherlock bit Jim’s lip in retaliation and adding a metallic flavor to their kiss. He pulled back spitting Jim’s blood from his mouth in disgust.
“You shouldn’t bite so hard then.” Jim huffed irritated as he tried to pull closer to Sherlock again.
“Shut up.” Sherlock bit out and avoided his mouth coming back into contact with Jim’s. That pulled his neck to the side where Jim quickly latched on.
John jumped in alarm before grinning weakly at his computer screen. “Sorry guys, dinner.” He grinned as farewell.
“Oh come on John!” Stephen protested, “Why did you leave this weekend?”
“Plans” John smirked as Sally snorted in amusement.
“Well come back soon. I still need help with a few questions for this Bio lesson.” Stephen sighed.
“Can’t until Sunday morning, Harry coming too” He gave as explanation as his mouth and eyes pinched at the edges while he shrugged.
“Tea” Sally blurted out. “Don’t forget your tea.” She laughed, “It’ll make you feel better after Harry”.
“Yeah, tea” John sighed. “Listen, how about we work on it some more Sunday after the game? I can manage a day without dinner.” He smiled trying to make amends.
“Mate, I’ll buy you ten bloody dinners if you help me Sunday.” Stephen muttered as his face grew smaller as he leaned back into his chair.
“I might hold you up to that.” John smiled kindly. “You keep working on it. I’ll have answers for you Sunday. Ta.” John finished as he shut his laptop down.
Sitting with his elbows resting on his old desk he sighed, he was positive he hated A Levels.
“John!” The voice called again with impatience beginning to lace his name.
“On my way” John called out as he pushed himself to his feet and out of his room. “Don’t want to miss the family dinner.” He muttered before he hitched a smile on his face.
“Johnny!” Harry cried loudly, “You haven’t grown!”
John Scowled. “Harry.” He greeted stiffly.
“Fine, hand it over.” John demanded with a long suffering sigh.
Bill grinned and handed over the plastic Ziploc containing coins and a list. “You’ll need this.” He handed over an empty gym bag larger than his own.
“Thanks.” John smirked as he turned on his heel for the Gym connected to the sports hall where the team was at and not tipping on his cleats expertly. A few calls of “You’re a life saver!” following his departure. Smiling at a few people as he made his way through the building he began running plays through his memory.
Soon he found himself emptying what was left in the vending machine, realizing that he hadn’t managed to get everything on the list. Exiting the hall and heading to the nearest building with vending machines so he made his way to the Art School further in the center of campus. He’d never actually stepped foot there if he was honest.
Bag slung over his shoulder he headed towards the stairs. Sure enough below the stairs next to the toilets was a cluster of well stocked machines.
Tossing the bag on the floor he began to pull the ziplock from his trousers.
“Just Marry me.” A voice snapped.
“That’s ridiculous.” Another male voice spoke up.
“Yes. But just do it, it wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing we did.” The first voice spoke again. The voices began stirring recognition in his memory.
John stood frozen, not knowing what to do.
“Fine, but I don’t want to hear you whine.” The first voice snapped again.
John shook himself out of his stupor and for a moment contemplated leaving without getting what he came for. Squaring his shoulders and opening the bag for the money he began to get the crisps and packaged bread from the list.
The machine began to whirr and a few seconds later the door slammed open from the bathroom. John jumped, turning to look at the cause over his shoulder.
“What are you doing?” The boy hissed angrily at him.
John glanced back to the progress of the purchase before turning to look back at the boy. “I don’t think I have to spell it out, do I?” John asked raising his eyebrows in confusion.
“What did you hear?” The boy insisted.
“What did I hear? Nothing, No one’s in playing.” John felt his cheeks warming and looked at a nearby closed music room and pointing with his chin.
“That’s not what I meant.” The boy snapped quickly.
“Nothing that means anything to me” John shrugged starting to feel bewildered. He hadn’t planned on telling anyone; in fact he had planned on forgetting that he’d heard anything. He turned back to add more money into the machine for a different set of biscuits.
“If you say anyt-“
“I won’t. It’s not my business. No one will believe me.” John cut him off before walking further from the boy to the drinks machine. Thinking it was over he let himself relax before feeding more money into the machine as he took out the drinks and tossed them in the overflowing bag. Should have probably bought drinks first, John thought carelessly.
He found his cheek and chest pressed up against the front of the machine. The plastic burning at his cheek as he was held still. His left arm was twisted in a painful hold to his back that forced him to breathe shallowly to not jostle the hold. “fuck!” he hissed.
“If you say anything,” The boy insisted, “I’ll have you thrown out and barred from every University in the country.”
John groaned unaware of whether in pain or incredulity. “You can’t do that.” He insisted before expelling air in pain, “Christ-“ He hissed weakly as the other boy didn’t let go and only pushed him harder against the surface.
“I can and I will. Don’t give me a reason, Watson.” John could hear the sneer.
“Don’t be an idiot. I already told you it’s not my business.” John snapped, the tone used on his name irritating him. “Let me go Holmes or I’ll break my own shoulder just to bruise your eye - and let me tell you - it seems like a bloody good idea at the moment. It’ll be worth it. ”
There was an irritated huff behind him, a sudden and harder shove into the surface of the machine before he was let go.
Peeling himself off the machine he turned his back to it leaning against it, his metal cleats scratching against the linoleum, automatically rubbing his shoulder to ease the pain before his hand reached to rub against his burning raw cheek. “Christ” John murmured again as he flinched from his own hand.
Turning accusing eyes up at the taller boy, he let his hands fall to the front of his bare knees making him bend slightly. “That was completely unnecessary.” John huffed before glaring. “Don’t do that again.” He ordered eyes bright and narrow and voice hard and clipped.
He turned to remove the drinks clogging up the entrance before shoving more coins angrily into the machine and pressing another button for a different selection. His heart was racing. He hadn’t spoken to Sherlock Holmes since last year’s initiation party and the boy practically avoided everyone except for his occasional mandatory lab partners. John had luckily never been his lab partner; he wouldn’t know how to act around royalty all the time.
“Don’t give me another reason.” Sherlock Holmes mused.
John turned on his heels. “Another reason? Christ, Holmes, I really feel like punching you right now.” He trailed off angrily before reaching for the ejected soda without looking and tossing it into the bag hoping to expel his irritation in the toss. He breathed in deeply in a bid to calm down before he hurt the boy in front of him.
“Why won’t you?” Holmes had the gall to ask.
“Because,” John started, feeling daring and turning to purchase the last drink on his list. “You just got rejected, and who am I to attack at your weakest?” John said casually making his gaze meet the cool burning look in Holmes’ eyes.
It had been a much better answer than admitting he didn’t want crimes against country in his file. He bent to zip up the gym bag he had filled with drinks and snacks before straightening back up. Only to turn to see the power of that glare trained on him.
Shifting uncomfortably for a moment, he slung the bag over his right shoulder, cracked the lid off of a bottle of Gatorade and began to walk off while drinking. “Not everyone is out to make your life public knowledge.” John sighed, beginning to feel guilt after swallowing. “Sorry about what I said” John apologized. “I really won’t tell anyone.” And he walked away, taking yet another drink.
John only shivered then and expelled a shaky breath when he was out of the art building and heading to meet up with his team before heading to the field.
Who rejected Holmes?, John thought before calling out to his mates when he pushed the Sports Halls door open.
“Oi. Come get your slops you lazy fucks!”
“What happened to your cheek Watson?”
“Slapped, were you?”
John huffed, rubbing at his tender cheek again with now cool and moist fingers.
Sherlock glared at the retreating back of John Bloody Watson.
“You should have knocked him out.” Jim commented casually as he walked out of the lavatory. “Or better yet, have him arrested.”
“Why would I do that?” Sherlock asked, already beginning to feel bored.
“Because, he’ll spread it around, you of all people know how they are.” Jim shrugged as he walked away. “Later Sherlock, Do tell me how it goes. Or shall I keep an eye on the news?”
“Prick” Sherlock hissed under his breath before heading back into the lavatory for his violin case.
Emerging from the bathroom he came face to face with a man in a black suit. “Mr. Holmes.”
Sherlock looked to the heavens for patience. Muttering curses under his breath, Sherlock pushed past the man’s shoulders and walked out towards Bath Rode outside the front of the Art School. The man trailed him the whole way before rushing forward and opening his door.
Today there was no one waiting for him to make an appearance, everyone here was to watch Marlborough’s XV team beat Monmouth College.
“All of them, idiots” He glared.
“Don’t be obvious, Sherlock.” A cool and controlled voice spoke to him.
Sherlock turned to look at Mycroft without saying anything else.
“I take it your plan didn’t work.” Mycroft pushed.
Sherlock looked away and out the window.
“No matter, a marriage there will be. Would you like a peek at your future fiancé?”
“Fuck off, Mycroft!” Sherlock snarled
“If it helps, he’s your age.” Mycroft baited.
“He” Sherlock asked, looking up at his older brother with a slightly bewildered look on his face.
“It’s a marriage, Sherlock. We’re not doing this to torture you. Your preference was taken into account.” Mycroft answered while rolling his eyes slightly.
“I take it there was more than one sibling in the stupid family.”
“And he just agreed?” Sherlock asked.
Mycroft smiled blandly. “Soon enough, brother mine.”
Sherlock looked out of the window once more. Refusing to give anything else away, he wondered briefly if another rejection was to come his way. He didn’t know whether he preferred a rejection or not. He really wanted to hit something.
“Call my trainer.” Sherlock murmured.
“Certainly.” Mycroft answered before sending off a quick text.
A good few hours of Fencing should tire him out.
John licked his spoon clean. “God, that was good.” He groaned.
“Don’t be obscene.” Sally laughed, her brown eyes alight.
Flushing, John set his spoon down. “Shut up. Okay. What questions do you have?”
“All of chapter seven, mate.” Stephen huffed tiredly.
“Intro to Cellular Biology” John asked for confirmation, remembering it at the top of his head.
“Yeah, I don’t know what I did last year during this chapter.” He shrugged.
“Fair enough” John murmured, pushing his sweat tacky fringe from his forehead.
Three hours later he found John saying goodbye to Sally first who had walked to their dorms together and to Stephen who had kindly dropped him off outside his dorm room. “Thanks John. Really, life saver you are.”
John grinned, waving his goodbye. Turning towards his locked door he hitched his backpack and duffle on his right shoulder to use his left to unlock the door.
Entering the dark room, his phone buzzed. He picked up and his mother was on the other side. “John, you need to come home.”
“Why? Is something wrong?” John quickly asked, running to his closet for a jacket.
“I need you home.” She repeated.
“I’m on my way mum.” John breathed as he ran to his Housemasters room on the first floor to explain.
When John arrived home, he froze in his tracks. It was a mess.
“What the hell?” He mumbled.
Shutting the door he quickly rushed inside, wondering frantically if they’d been robbed. His gaze glanced to the telly, still there.
“John!” His mom called from outside his door and John changed directions so quickly only his years of rugby and casual football playing kept him upright, His heart hammered painfully in his throat to the point where he couldn’t swallow.
“Mum! Are you okay, what’s wrong? He demanded falling to his knees quickly and reaching out for her face to look at closely at the same time.
His mum stared at him before blinking. “Of course I’m okay. I just need your help.” She said as John looked in the mess she sat in, storage boxes brought down from the attic emptied around her.
Oh. John let go, reeling back and falling back to the heel of his shoes. His arms resting outstretched on his knees. “If it’s to clean up the house, I protest.” John added quickly before his mum continued, he did have classes in the morning.
His mom stared at him again, a curious look in her eye that John had never seen trained on him before. It made John uncomfortable.
“What is it?” He pushed gently to get an answer out of her.
“You dated Sarah last year.” She stated, watching John closely as he nodded. “And in high school there was Janette” She continued. “But I want to know if there was anything between you and Mark before Marlborough?”
John froze. He could swear his heart stopped. “What?” He spluttered, much too quickly. “Mark, from the shop? We were just working together.” John insisted as his cheeks grew steadily warmer, soon it would feel like his head was ready to explode.
“John” His mother replied quietly, reaching her hand out to gently take his wrist. “You can tell me. You know I’d be fine with the truth.” She gently coaxed.
He thought he was going to hyperventilate. She wasn’t supposed to ask about that. Harry was supposed to distract them all with her own coming out. It wasn’t meant to be obvious, only an experiment of sorts.
“I don’t know what you mean.” He replied, his voice going steadier as he began to reel himself in.
“I think you do.” His father spoke up from behind him taking him by surprise.
John exploded to his feet, shooting to stand straight and putting his back to the empty room to keep his parents in front of him. This was the second time he was to be cornered in one day. He bloody well didn’t like it.
“It’s not your business.” John snapped, at a complete loss to where this was coming from. “Why does it matter? It was two years ago. It shouldn’t matter, so why are you bringing it up?” He gave himself away.
“Because we need to know if you like boys Johnny” His father replied, and somehow that sounded like a taunt to him.
John turned to his mother. “Mum” he let out weakly, in a bid for help. Why were they doing this?
“It’s just a simple question, John.” His mom told him carefully as she stood up. “And we’d like an honest answer.”
John stared at them. There were ways to go about this, and this, pushing him, was not it. “Yes.” He grimaced, feeling a sting behind his eyelids. He knew the feeling of betrayal and this was close enough to it.
“We – I didn’t do anything. No – no stuff that wasn’t just, you know… kissing.” He tried to reassure them, not knowing why he felt the need to.
“Good. That’s good.” His mom smiled at him, and John grasped mentally at that smile like a drowning man to oxygen, already willing to forget her betrayal.
“Right” John exhaled. “Am I,” He paused to swallow. “Am I in trouble or something?” He asked, his hands fisted by his sides.
“Nothing like that” She smiled again. And John visibly relaxed; he would have liked the opportunity to sit down as the relief rushed through him. He chanced a glance at his dad, and there, that gleam in his eye was similar to the one his mom had sported much earlier.
“Is that all then?” John asked, feeling uncomfortable again.
“Yes. Yes, of course. Do you know where your Grandfather’s box is?” His mom asked him, her eyes widening.
“I – er…” John stumbled, attempting to catch up with the new topic. “Yeah, I think Harry had it. You know, she wanted to be a princess and all that.” John snorted, remembering his older sister swearing she’d be a princess.
“Where is it?” His father asked, John could feel the urgency in his words.
“Dunno” John shrugged. “Her dorm? Or maybe still holding up the shelf in her closet for the shoes?” John trailed off slowly. “Why does it matter?” He asked bewildered as both of his parents rushed to Harry’s old room.
John followed them. There was a bitter smell in the room from when Harry stayed over the day before. Ah, there it was the bottle on the windowsill.
“John, come over here.” His mom grabbed his sleeve to pull him closer. “Lift that” She commanded, pointing to the shelf.
John frowned, his parents behaving weirdly. “Did Harry do something?” He asked while simultaneously lifting the heavy shelf as his dad scooped down to pick up the box that was there after all.
“Nothing at all” His dad murmured, cradling the box to his chest while his mum reached out to touch it as well.
“Is it in there?” She gasped quietly.
John set the shelf down, steadying it as it began to tilt to its side. Leaning over he looked at the box as well. “Well?” John asked, starting to feel impatience himself.
His dad pried the metal box open at the edges until it opened, and inside, was a sleek black box trimmed with silver and gold. And his father lifted it out of the metal box, turned it to its side, and pushed at what looked like a crack. The other side of the box pushed out and his father shook out what was snugly tucked inside before pushing the piece back in and flipping the box over.
A solid gold key was in his father’s palm, and John frowned as he fit the key into the box and it softly clicked open.
His parents leaned in towards each other looking inside the box. John had held the box a few times, and never had he or Harry managed to open it. It was clear now why.
“Perfect” John heard his mother breathe giddily and his parents shared a look before turning to look back at John.
John blinked, his nose wrinkling in displeasure at that look.
Sherlock lay sprawled on the sofa in his room back in Colchester Castle. His head rested on a pillow while his legs dangled over one of the armrests. His grinning skull lay staring at him on his stomach. But Sherlock didn’t notice. His eyes were shut in deep concentration, closely following his thoughts and detail. Sherlock was lost to the world and he was lost in his head from a week ago.
“If I’m to marry, should I not choose my spouse?” Sherlock snarled. He was trapped. That’s what it was, Sherlock was trapped.
“Is there someone you have in mind?” His mother asked her voice cool and usually soothing.
Sherlock stared pointedly at her. “Perhaps, but even if I do not, should I still not have the power to choose.”
“You know things are done differently in this family.” Mycroft eased in.
Sherlock bristled. “What if I don’t care about this family? I don’t see why I have to suffer a marriage while you keep your freedom!”His nails dug into his palm, the pain grounding him.
“Sherlock, we need this.” His mother said quietly. “You know your father is ill. Mycroft will do all of the work while you get the benefits.”
Sherlock howled inside. Were they insane? “Absolutely no, I will not marry.”
“Then be prepared to have to work for your title Sherlock.” Mycroft added.
“I don’t care about my title.” Sherlock scoffed, leaning back into his seat. Aware of how stiffly he had been sitting.
“Your title comes with entitlement. Should you decide to discard it, be prepared to pay your own way through University and stand on your own for the rest of your life.”Mycroft hissed.
Sherlock stared at his older brother, contemplating on taking up the challenge.
“That’s enough, Mycroft!” His mother snapped.
Sherlock turned to look at her while she met his eyes. “We will allow you to negotiate terms, Sherlock.”
Sherlock instantly perked. He could negotiate his own terms. So what if he had a husband, no one expected them to marry for affection or something so ridiculous as love.
“That sounds more manageable.” Sherlock nodded, his arms uncoiling and resting loosely on the armrest.
“Do you need time?” Mummy asked him gently.
Sherlock snapped his eyes back to her after they slid smugly to look at Mycroft. “That won’t be necessary, I suggest you take notes.” Sherlock looked pointedly at Mycroft before leaning back, shutting his eyes and bringing his palms together with his finger tip touching his nose.
“I am ready.” His brother pulled a fountain pen and leather booklet to his knee.
“I will be allowed the opportunity to ask someone of my own choosing to be my spouse. Should that prove to be ineffective, you may decide. Whoever I decide, should they agree, will be fit to be my spouse. No questions. No comments. No plotting. I will be allowed to move out of the dorms – and not here to Colchester. After all, I will be a married man and will require my own quarters. I think a flat will do. My security detail will be removed. I will no longer attend political lessons here during breaks, the college should suffice. I will not be required to attend every event you have. I may choose upon me and my spouses discretion which to attend. You will not force all the traditions that are in the book upon my spouse and I. All of my expenses will be taken care of. All of my wants will be given to me. Whatever is to happen, there will be no forced counseling on any matter should I or my spouse not mention it first. You will not ask of me anything else. This is the last I will willingly give so freely, do not force my hands again. You cannot just bring me to Colchester at any whim.
His eyes snapped open to glare straight at Mycroft before shifting over to give a hard stare at his mother.
“I’m sure we can manage – ah – most of these.” Mycroft smiled tightly.
“See that you do.” Sherlock replied, already distracted as he stood to leave.
Sherlock stretched out his legs, his left palm falling flat on his sternum fingers splaying outwards.
“I suppose it’s a good thing Jim declined.” He spoke with his low voice to his skull. “He’d be trapped, and Jim doesn’t do trapped any better than I.” Sherlock fell off to a mumble. His eyes slid shut once more, his thoughts demanding all his attention once more.
The drive from Marlborough College back to the Castle of Colchester had been filled with tension and of the purest boredom. He was also not used to Mycroft making the journey with him. He usually used this time to think undisturbed. He knew he was being read throughout the whole drive no matter how well he schooled his features.
“And he just agreed?” Sherlock asked.
“Soon enough, brother mine.” Mycroft had replied.
So did this mean his fiancé – no, his future fiancé – hadn’t made a decision yet? Ah, he doesn’t know yet.
Sherlock squirmed in his position, his head lolling to the side to rest pressed against the back of the couch. Who was his fiancé? He knew he was male; he was also Sherlock’s age. It felt almost like a mercy that he would not be marrying anyone twice his age.
That however meant that he was going to be tethered to a complete imbecile. He’s constantly surrounded by boys his own age and not one of them had made a passable impression. Jim was only interesting on occasion, but even he was so boringly obvious.
Sherlock snapped up into a sitting position, pushing his body back so his back rested against the arm rest directly behind him. He should have taken a look at his future fiancés profile. And he would be his fiancé, no one ever said no to the Holmes’. No one in their right mind would. So that also guaranteed him that his fiancé would not be crazy.
Another small mercy, Sherlock thought to himself as he went to get the file.
John sat in the dark, at the edge of his bed, as he stared ahead at nothing. His mind echoed, No, no, Over and over.
Surely this was a nightmare. He’d always been susceptible to those after seeing a boy run over at a young age. But this one made him want to claw at himself and not at a physical outsider.
There was a hesitant knock at his door.
John flinched as his eyes simultaneously focused on the door. “Piss… off!” John hissed, pushing himself onto the bed and under the covers in the span of a few seconds. He hadn’t bothered getting out of his weekend jeans and shirt, and that was the least of his worries.
He pushed his face into the pillow feigning sleep, but sleep would not be coming.
The door to his room opened and muffled footsteps came in before pausing. A soft hand touched his shoulder gently before pulling away and heading back out closing the door behind them.
“He’s asleep.” He heard his mother’s muffled voice behind his closed door.
“It won’t do him any good. There’s no use in denying a promise.” His father spoke.
“He’ll come around when he finds out who he’s meant for.” His mother replied softly.
John scoffed. He was not going into an arranged marriage so easily.
Sherlock fell back into the leather chair upon opening the file. There, the first thing he saw was bright golden hair reflected in the harsh light. He knew for a fact this hair tended to look much darker than it did in this picture. The blue eyes, they were dark and bright and open wide in obvious delight. He briefly wondered where this photo was taken from.
“John Hamish Watson” A cool clipped tone spoke from the door.
Sherlock swiveled in the chair to face his brother, not bothering to look put off at being caught. “Him, this is who you picked?” Sherlock asked.
“Do you know him?” Mycroft replied, already knowing the answer.
Sherlock glared before looking back down at the file. This was far more ridiculous than it should have been already. “Don’t bore me, Mycroft.” Sherlock answered.
He trailed the features of the face in the photo with his sharp gaze, finally focusing on the mouth. John in the photo was beaming in obvious pleasure; John smiled brightly with the tips of his top teeth showing and the tip of his tongue making the smallest of appearance out at the corner of his mouth.
Sherlock wanted to claw it off his face; he had no right to be so happy. “This is who you decided on.” He drawled out in a bored tone instead.
“He is an acceptable choice.” Mycroft answered smoothly.
“He’s a commoner.” Sherlock pushed, “Sure you want one in the family?”
“His file reads him as a quick learner.”
Sherlock snorted. “Watson, a quick learner? Please. You should see him in my chemistry class, partners with some idiot bloke named Anderson.”
“But he is in your chemistry class.” Mycroft slipped in.
“Anyone can get in.” Sherlock answered obviously unimpressed.
“With money” Mycroft finished for him. “Money the Watsons do not have and the College provides.”
Sherlock glared at his brother. “Does he know yet?”
“His parents assured us he knows the situation. He does not yet know who it involves. He will not know until he accepts.” Mycroft assured him.
“How do you expect him to accept if he does not know who he is accepting?” Sherlock snapped, irritation beginning to take over.
“There are ways to make him choose the right decision.” Mycroft answered before turning to leave. “See that you leave the file in the desk when you’re finished.”
Sherlock glared at the empty doorway before looking back down at the file.
IMPORTANT: To those who initially Subscribed, Bookmarked, Commented, and gave me Kudos, it was all greatly appreciated and I did not mean to delete the work. Forgive my ineptitude, I will make sure the issue is not repeated in the future.
This is one of the three Sherlock fanfics I'm working on and probably my favorite so far. Updates will take a while but the fic will not be abandoned. I'm putting this up now so I'll be compelled to continue as I can't leave things unfinished if I have some type of audience, static or not.
Also I understand this is pushing the AU quite a bit but I've been despairing at the small collection of Young Sherlock and John AU's and decided to write what I wanted to read. Also Castles and places and stuff I don't know a thing about so if you have a better idea of where Mummy would like to spend her time, please let me know. Marlborough College is also very real, I admit to spending a bit of time memorizing their campus map and online info.
Thank you for reading.
The promised chapter two. The road to getting this out was a difficult one to navigate with such easily accessible self destruct buttons.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The round faux-wood table was sparsely set for three. “He should have stayed home today.” Mr. Watson complains to his wife over tea.
“I would agree, but he has so much coursework to do.” His wife answered as she brought toast to her mouth.
“It’s not like he’ll need to continue his education anymore. The boy will have a home, a husband, and money. Isn’t that what everyone works for? Marrying a Holmes will secure his future.”
His wife eyed him with narrow eyes. “If John wants to go to school today, he will. If John still wants to go to University, he will. We’re not stopping him. And he'll need his friends.” She added as an afterthought.
“What if he tells his friends about his future engagement?” He asked, his mug paused halfway to his mouth.
“Oh Robert, I sometimes wonder whether you know your own son.” She sighed softly.
“Of course I know my son, Helen. I also know boys his age. They want attention and now that John has something to finally make him stick out from the crowd you don't think he'll use it.” He snapped with an over exaggerated incredulous look on his face.
His wife only glared at him. They both silently wondered when and how their son had managed to leave the house earlier without either of them noticing. It was easier to think about than what they were currently doing with their son.
John sat in the back of maths, trying to seem as small as possible. It wasn’t hard work when it came down to physically doing it, even though that was also a cause to scowl. It was everyone glancing to look at him, wondering what had made John Watson so bloody irritable this week when his team had just beat Monmouth a few days ago.
The instructor glanced at him every few minutes in concern. And worst of all, was Sherlock Holmes who had never once paid a fleeting glance to the back of the room where he sat before, until this week when he too finally looked back in interest of him.
Was he acting so mulish that both instructor and his fellow classmates and even Holmes were interested in his stupid problems because of his stupid Parents and his stupid Grandfather and the whole stupid bloody World!
That idiot wanted to get married. Why couldn’t he be the one being pressured to marry someone he didn’t love, much less know! If he could switch spots with Holmes, he’d rather be rejected by someone he loved than forced to marry someone he didn’t know. Oh god. Oh god! He had to do something. Run away. Forget about Medical School. Get out of the Country. Join the Army where he’d be forced into another obligation. Would he rather risk dying then? Is probable death a better option than a forced marriage?
“Is there a Problem Mr. Watson?”
“Yes” John wanted to answer his internal question audibly to convince himself.
Then the external question registered and John snapped his eyes to the instructor before blinking in confusion. He found himself sitting forward in his seat, knuckles white as he gripped the edges of his desk as he leaned forwards from previously glaring at the front of the room that consisted of most of his classmates and the instructor who currently brought all attention to him once more.
“No. I mean… no” He forced his hands to unclench from the sides of his desk. “Nothing” John faltered.
“Then will you tell me what your answer was for problem number nine of today’s lesson.” He asked John.
John nodded, a strange numbness beginning to blanket him and he forced himself to look down to his paper. It was blank. He felt the blood rush up to his face and let the horror wash over him. He looked back up, swallowing reflexively, “I haven’t worked it out.” He said, his shame dripping off every syllable.
“Provide the answer for number six then.”
The instructor pressed, obviously thinking he was doing John a kindness by lowering his process of working out problems.
John shook his head. “I haven’t worked any out.” He admitted, doing his best to avoid meeting anyone’s gaze but the instructors.
“Do we have a problem Mr. Watson?” The instructor repeated the question from before.
“Nothing you can do about it. I assure you.” John answered quickly, hoping it would get the attention off of him. He should have known better.
“Out” Was the answer John received.
“What?” He asked, confusion ridding him of his blush.
“Out of my lesson”
“Why?” John asked, torn between following orders and staying.
“You’re not paying attention. Obviously this lesson isn’t important. You’re being a distraction. Out” He repeated speaking in short sentences, a sure sign he was annoyed with John.
John stared, another ’Out’ thrown at him before he began to move. Mechanically putting things in his rucksack as the instructor continued the lesson with everyone else’s attention on him instead of the subject.
His face burned as he stood up to walk down the center aisle before turning left in front of the podium, where he briefly and shockingly locked eyes with Holmes when the other boy looked up to watch him leave, before finally reaching the door and stepping out. “Fuck.” John breathed.
His eyes remained locked on the closed door. It’d been only a few seconds since Watson had left the room and already his fellow idiotic students were murmuring with each other now more than before.
No one had ever seen someone dismissed in such a way go so willingly without a fight, especially someone who did sports which gave them an inflated sense of self importance, at least Sherlock hadn’t.
He quickly glanced around him to see what the others were doing. Many of them were staring at the door as if wondering if Watson was going to walk back in but more than a few were already guessing about what had been the problem.
“Got dumped do you think?” Wilkes spoke from an occupied seat away from Sherlock.
Sherlock glanced over. “No.” He answered automatically.
“Then – then what do you suppose that was about?” Molly asked directly to his left. Sherlock shifted his eyes lazily to her knowing he wouldn't answer and knowing that she knew he wouldn't answer.
“Who cares? It’s just Watson being a blubbering idiot. Pretty sure he cracked his skull in that game.” Jim laughed quietly to his right.
“Don’t bore me with this inane chatter.” Sherlock cut in before pointedly looking back to the board where the instructor valiantly tried to continue. Quickly getting bored Sherlock looked down to his own paper, presumably equally as blank as Watsons had been.
“Perhaps he was constipated.” Molly mused beside him.
Sherlock forced his choice words back to the sharp pools of his thoughts.
“Then he should cut down on his milk. D’you see how much he adds to his tea? Such poor tastes, it’s embarrassing. They shouldn’t let people like him into this institution.”
“Oh hush, Seb.” Jim whispered across him to Sebastian Wilkes. “It’s not that. Watson is terrible at Maths, why do you think he sits so far back in the room? He tries to hide, but obviously he failed the last quiz we had so Brown acted. It’s obvious.”
Sherlock tilted his head for a considering look at Jim. That could be right, if Sherlock didn’t already know the reason for Watson’s distress. Jim caught him looking and grinned sharply at him. “I’m right, aren’t I?” He casually bumped Sherlock’s arm with his elbow.
“Perhaps” Sherlock dismissed as he pulled his arms inwards and away from both Molly and Jim.
The conversation continued around him. And for the first time, Sherlock realized how little attention he had paid to John Watson in the previous year. It couldn't be helped, John Watson was unimportant until very recently.
“Yeah, and so when Sarah left for University they just stopped” Molly shrugged.
“I’m surprised they were so casual. Everyone knows the two were shagging.” Wilkes murmured closer to Molly.
Molly shook her head. “You don’t know that.” She defended her gender so quickly.
“Of course they were.” Jim hissed at the two in an attempt to be quiet and still be heard. “You could tell by how comfortable they were when together.”
“Disgusting displays of affection in Public, Sawyer should have known better. I’m sure it’ll ruin her prospects in the future. Who’d want to marry someone who shagged a scrote with –“
Wilkes suddenly snarled.
“with low wit” Jim filled in.
“And low wit, yeah. Watson is a sea of failure if you ask me.” Wilkes finished.
“And yet, nobody asked you.” Sherlock said, his low voice quiet yet carrying to the intended parties.
“Oh don’t defend him Holmes. Molly told me all about Watson pushing you down and breaking your flasks a few months ago.” Wilkes pushed. Sherlock stared, wondering how it was interpreted that he was defending Watson.
“I told you that Anderson added the wrong chemical to their flask and Watson only pushed Sherlock out of the way. The flasks flew out of his hand and shattered away from them. In fact, only John and Stephen had to get medical attention.”
Sherlock blinked. He didn’t remember this. He had deleted the event.
“But still, that was savage, shoving Holmes out of the way and onto the floor.” Wilkes nodded at Sherlock as if defending him.
Sherlock stared back unmoving. “Keep your opinions to yourself, Seb, no one likes constantly correcting mistakes. And you, Wilkes, are a mistake in itself.”
“Temper – temper” Jim murmured beside him, grinning at Sherlock. “If gossip bothers you so much, you should really tune it out.” Jim said as he turned back to the board.
Lifting up his rucksack to his high shoulder Sherlock stepped out of his desk as his Maths instructor spoke up.
“Does anyone have Watson in another class today?”
“I do. I mean, Sherlock and I have Chemistry with him.” Molly spoke up quickly.
“Here you are Mr. Holmes.” Brown handed the last sheet of paper to him, pressing it against his hand until he grasped it. “See that you hand that to him.” Sherlock stared at the quiz in his hand glancing up in annoyance at his instructor before walking out of the room without uttering a word.
“Skipping lunch, Sherlock?” Jim called out as he waited with Molly for Sebastian to finish packing up as they stood watching Sherlock’s retreating back.
Sherlock didn’t reply, at least not audibly, he simply gave a careless flicking motion with his hand without turning around before turning the corner into the hallway.
He glanced at the sheet in his possession as he walked towards the library. Watson had pulled off an A- on the latest quiz. Though he had missed today’s quiz so who knew what was to happen there. Six problems for the quiz, and Watson managed to make some of the most little and obscure mistakes. The answers were correct, but it was as if his thoughts and what he wrote didn’t always work together. Watson was un-uniformed when it came to Maths.
He glanced up in time to see a man dressed in a black suit pass beside him heading towards the nearest exit from the building without sparing him a glance. Sherlock watched him leave and considered following him to see if it had been his families doing. It didn’t matter to Sherlock, not really. It’s not like he had anything planned for the day and if something came up he could easily lose anyone tailing him. He pushed the door to enter the library.
And at that moment there was a loud outraged “WHAT?!” from the back of the library. The librarian looked up in alarm frowning before looking back at her computer. Sherlock inched forward before a body barely avoided smashing into him, the person far too consumed with finding a number in his contacts list on his mobile to apologize.
Watson was obviously having a very bad week.
Sherlock quickly made his way to the back where he was sure Watson was sitting at judging from where the noise originated and sure enough his books were strewn over a round table. It was obvious Watson had attempted to continue with the Maths lesson he had been forced out of.
But it hadn’t been a difficult problem he had been working on that had caused him to yell in a library. On top of his opened Maths textbook was an opened envelope that was blank except for John Watson’s information. A quick glance around and he spotted a previously folded up letter that lay opened upside down on the floor.
Quickly looking around to make sure he didn't have an audience, Sherlock bent and snatched up the letter.
Sherlock set the paper heavily on top of Watson’s maths book, his fingers feeling a little numb at the force.
“There are ways to make him choose the right decision” Had been Mycroft’s words only a few hours ago.
He found himself hurrying back out from the library, in full intention of following Watson. Who was he calling? What was he going to do? He paused outside the library before heading to the nearest lavatory, the closest to privacy one could get around here.
“What do you mean we can’t pay for it anymore!?” He heard Watson exclaim through the door, who was obviously not bothering to keep his voice down.
“No. No no no no. Stop right there. I worked for months to help pay for this College. You can’t take that money from me!” John Watson suddenly shouted on the other side. Sherlock stood frozen outside wishing he knew what exactly was being said.
“Dad! Dad, Please!” Watson was begging now. “You can’t. You can’t just divide it between the house and Harry.” He was speaking rapidly, his voice showing signs of breaking. Sherlock dug his hand in his pocket ready to retrieve his mobile to contact Mycroft to just get the whole bloody thing done and over with, it wasn't necessary to push it so far.
“What about Medical School?” Sherlock paused as he heard Watson gasp. “I was going to be a Doctor. I was going to pay off all your debts and Harry’s so there would be no need to care for how many loans we got.”
Sherlock glared a few students away who were in danger of getting too close to this semi private moment and hearing what was happening on the other side of the door.
“No. God, no. Tell me this isn’t about that. Dad, tell me this isn’t you trying to get me to agree. It is, isn’t it? Oh god, how did you do this so fast? Fuck this. Fuck you. Fuck it all. Fuck medical school! I’m finished!” Sherlock pressed closer to the door to continue hearing and silently scrunching up his nose because John Watson was being over dramatic.
“What do you mean I need you?” John laughed a dull and un-amused laugh. “I don’t. I really don’t.”
“I could be wrong. But I fail to see what part of my plan is of your concern now. No. No, really. You just lost that chance; no father would do this to their kid.” Sherlock was pressed flat against the door now wanting to go in and force Watson to realize that speaking in that way would get him nowhere with anyone.
“Fine. Wait! Don’t hang up! Dad! Dad? Shit!”
Sherlock could no longer hear anything. He waited a silent minute before pushing the door in and stepping inside. His eyes quickly landed on the shorter bent form of John Watson as he crouched in the corner, his brow pressed to his knees. “Watson?” Sherlock started, wondering if he should go with uncertain or disgusted.
Watson looked up at him; his mobile falling from his shaking hand through his fingers as he catapulted himself into an open stall. Sherlock could see from his position that John had landed on his knees to straddle the lower outer edges of the bowl, and then he heard heaving and splashing.
Watson was bent over, his back tense and bent in what could only be a painful position as he struggled to breathe through dry heaves now. Sherlock stayed where he stood not wanting to or even knowing how to help. He watched his fiancé struggle for air, because it was only a matter of time now before John Watson was desperate enough to agree. Everyone had their breaking point.
Sherlock watched as Watson lifted his left hand and pushed down the lever to flush the toilet. Then he fell back against the wall of the stall trembling worse than before, eyes shut tightly and the back of his right hand over his mouth to wipe and probably force back sounds as well, Sherlock wasn't too sure.
He wanted to get out. He shouldn't have come in here to find Watson to begin with, he really should have known better. And he definitely should not have gotten this involved; it would only cause more problems in the future.
But Watson was sitting on a filthy lavatory floor while his back rested heavily against a toilet stall. Exhaling, Sherlock dropped his possessions on the sink counter before leaning in towards Watson to haul him up. A sudden observation Sherlock had, John was much heavier than he looked.
“Don’t.” Watson croaked, feebly trying to push him away. Sherlock resisted the urge to gag when his hands that had been curled around a toilet bowl pressed against his chest. “Dirty. Might actually be crime against Country” He continued, sounding half out of his mind.
Sherlock snorted. “Get up Watson. You’re sitting on the floor, in the men’s lavatory.” He watched as Watson looked around him stupidly for a second before making a strangled noise and curling his fingers into his school blazer. He felt Watson tugging him down which really meant that he was hauling himself up, or trying to with shaking arms.
He stiffened his back and attempted to pull the two of them back and straight up to not overbalance. “Sorry. Sorry” Watson mumbled the whole time, letting go to rest his back and head against the stall, his knees locking the moment he was upright.
“Don’t faint.” Sherlock snapped suddenly.
Watson grimaced before him, eying him cautiously. “I’m not.” Was his reply.
“Your knees, locked.” Sherlock pointed out.
“Oh” Watson looked down before looking back up unconcerned. “I figure I have a bit before that happens.”
“I’m not taking you to the infirmary.” Sherlock continued half-heartedly, occupied with eyeing the fading bruises and abrasions he could spot from this close to him.
“Won’t be necessary” Watson assured him. It was silent for a few seconds “er... could you -?” Watson hesitated, motioning to the exit of the stall.
Sherlock blinked once before sliding out of the stall quickly, not letting Watson finish asking him to move. A moment later Watson exited as well heading straight for the sink.
He watched intently as Watson washed his hands twice before pressing water onto his face and into his mouth to wash it out as well. “You wouldn’t happen to have mint on you?” Watson asked, meeting eyes with Sherlock through the mirror. Sherlock didn’t bother to answer. “Mint, Gum?” Watson continued. “Never mind” He concluded.
He decided at that moment to push his fiancé (because really, it was only a matter of time now) and see what kind of person he was beyond what the files said. “What happened in Maths?” Sherlock asked.
Watson swallowed before meticulously wiping his hands down on a paper towel. “Oh. I’m just feeling a bit ill, as you’ve probably noticed with the sick.” He motioned towards the stall without meeting Sherlock’s gaze as his brow furrowed.
“It doesn’t look like a Virus or Bacteria caused sickness.” Sherlock pushed with an outlandish claim.
“No? How did -? Never mind, uh just exhaustion, you know.” Watson shrugged to avoid giving a direct answer.
“Classes getting too difficult then?” Sherlock smirked down at Watson hoping for an interesting reaction.
“No. I mean, yes. Yeah, they’re getting difficult.” Watson lied. He had actually tried to lie to him, Sherlock felt positively gleeful because Watson tried despite being absolutely terrible at it.
“Well, not everyone makes it right.” Sherlock continued on cruelly.
“Yeah, that’s right isn’t it.” And Sherlock knew Watson sounded resigned. He was about to ask yet another question when the mobile abandoned on the floor began to vibrate.
“Yours” Sherlock forced Watson’s attention to his mobile.
Watson nodded, swallowing thickly before walking over to snatch it up. He stared at the screen for a second before answering. “Hello.” Watson shot him a curiously furious and surprisingly desperate look in his direction. “Yes, this is John Watson.”
Sherlock suddenly knew who was on the other phone and it wasn't the same caller as before.
“Can we do this another time? I’m busy, school.” John supplied. Whatever was said on the other side caused Watson’s blood to abandon his face and he swayed a bit before sticking out a hand to brace himself against the wall nearest to him. “How do you know that?” He demanded.
Sherlock turned slightly to lift up his bag, keeping his ears open for the one sided conversation.
“No, I’m sorry. I can’t. I’m busy.” Watson insisted.
Sherlock’s mobile vibrated in his left pocket. Fishing it out he found a text from his brother informing him to exit the restroom where Watson was in. Right, he wanted to leave anyway.
Your Absence is requested. – Mycroft Holmes
“Look, Watson. I came to give you this.” Sherlock walked over and pressed the Maths quiz in his right hand. Watson stared at it in confusion before nodding solemnly in thanks. “Right, well.” And Sherlock quickly vacated the bathroom without uttering another word.
“Why do you need to know if I’m alone?” John asked suspiciously after he made sure Holmes had left. He tried hard to place a face to the voice but nothing seemed to fit.
The voice on the other end continued speaking. “Your parents decided it was for the best for you to join us. You sounded most distressed in your previous call.”
John paused with his fingers half in his hair and half holding his quiz. “How could you possibly know that, did they tell you or were you listening in?” He snapped, his hand tightening into a fist which provided a sharp pain that suddenly grounded him.
“Follow the gentlemen, Mr. Watson.”
“Gentlemen?” John murmured in confusion before the door was pushed open and another two men in black fitted suits waited for him as before.
“I’m being escorted out?” John asked disbelievingly, noticing that one of them carried his obviously packed supplies he had left in the library.
“immediately” The person on the other side confirmed.
John looked wearily at the men before nodding. He’d make his escape once out in the courtyard. He may look small, but years of casually playing football and being a Left Wing had made him quick and had also toughened him up.
He hadn’t expected to be marched towards a line of black cars in an effective pain compliant hold. He really should have anticipated more men waiting outside. Who exactly were these people who wanted to get him to marry?
It was also a good thing everyone was inside for lunch on such a grey and rainy day. He was essentially kidnapped, even if his parents had consented to him being dragged into some unknown car. Not to mention the hour long ride had only managed to make him tense further the longer he was forced to sit in the dark interior of the dark window tinted black car. Was it necessary for it to be so dark?
So when the car began slowing down and John braved leaning over one of the men to look out of the window, he felt his jaw click shut and his lips press thin. They were driving up to a fully functional castle. He’d been tense throughout the whole ride on the way to this location but it was nothing to how he was feeling now. He couldn’t appreciate the structure because the fact that someone owned this specific place was enough to send chills down his spine.
“Please follow me, Mr. Watson.” One of the dressed men said as he opened the door the moment the car stopped and stepped out waiting for him to follow.
He was lead behind the car and down a neat stone walkway surrounded by grass and through a stone archway leading into a well lit room.
A moments walk and John was led into a sitting room, the men who had brought him in leaving him alone to wait outside the door. He was alone for what he felt was only a few seconds as he attempted to take everything in.
The more he looked the more he worried. Everything was expensive. A lot of it looked ancient and very very expensive. He refused to sit down or touch anything. The lighting seemed to be half primitive and half modern that confounded John.
So when a throat lightly cleared itself, John turned slowly with his hands clasped behind his back his feet shoulder length apart and his shoulders back with his chin tilted up. He stared the newest person in the eye, ignoring the cold chill travelling his spine. He needed to hold his ground if he wanted to come out of this with things going in his favor.
“Mr. Watson, do sit down.”
John raised both eyebrows at him. “I’d rather not.” He insisted.
“Very well” The man said carefully as he took a seat in the chair across from the nearest one John stood by.
“Well?” John snapped, starting to feel foolish for staying standing and not actually sitting when asked.
“Mycroft Holmes” The man said and John’s eyes widened.
He didn’t know what to say, this could not possibly be happening. “No” He snapped.
“I can assure you, yes.” Mycroft Holmes looked up at John while simultaneously looking down at him like a proper King, or would have been future King.
John felt trapped. He couldn’t possibly say no to the royal family, but he was not about to marry this old man. Absolutely not, it was not going to happen, how could he be expected to marry someone a decade older than him?!
“Please, sit down. We have much to discuss.” Mycroft looked pointedly at the seat across from him. John sat down woodenly, not taking his eyes off of the man in front of him. He had a feeling if he looked away he'd find himself with the rug pulled out from under him.
“I’m not interested.” John braved an interruption as Mycroft opened his mouth to speak.
Mycroft shut his mouth to a thin line giving John another once over. Finally the gaze focused back to John’s eyes. “You will be, John. You have no scholarship to hold you throughout University, you’re already in debt for attending College, and your parents are in debt as well as your sister. Do you think your family will look kindly at you for giving such an obvious gift away, when you could easily help yourself? They will see it as you being childish and irresponsible.”
The feeling of ridiculous peaked and John began shaking with silent laughter. Was this supposed to work? People lived every day without finishing A-Levels, everyone had debts. Some people were even in worse debt than he was.
“They would support me.” John almost smirked at the man in front of him. “My parents, they wouldn’t hold it against me.”
“And yet they were the ones that found the previous Kings gift to your grandfather and called us back.”
The corners of his mouth dropped quickly. That small smirk no longer threatened to bloom on his face and instead a frown replaced it. Because his parents had nearly destroyed their house looking for that blasted box if his home was evidence from the last time he had been there.
“Your parents agreed to let us tap into their phone calls to you. They also suggested you needed a little more persuasion and here you are. You're a smart man, John. Why are you here? Why let you know so much when there could be a chance you could talk to the media?”
John sat frozen in his seat. His eyes wide and fear was evident in those depths now. Fear and hatred and just a spark of understanding could be seen without having to focus too much on him.
“It must seem like a lot to take in. It really isn’t, You prove to gain in this, why not take the opportunity with open arms?”
“Because I don’t need it” John managed to say. “I really don’t, whatever it is you have to offer, I can take care of myself.” He continued, forcing himself to calm down.
“But what about your parents?” Mycroft needled. “The house needs to be paid for, the car needs repair, your mother’s work is laying off its workers. Your father is getting tired, John. Will you let that happen to them?”
“Let what happen to them?” John snapped suddenly and very angrily.
“They will lose their house, their home. Your car will have to be sold for scraps. Your mother will lose her job. And your father, what happens when you’re tired John? You sleep, you rest, and your father will sleep in peace.”
And John was gripping both his hands into tight fists on his knees, his blunt nails still digging into his palms. There was no longer any pretence over this situation. John was not in control, not one tiny bit.
“And what about Harriet?” Mycroft continued in a tone as if shocked he’d almost forgotten about John’s older sister. “Will she thank you, for letting that happen to your family? How will she react when she realizes your parents will no longer be able to pay the fraction of the price they already pay for her to be in University?”
That was it, because Harry would blame him. She already blamed him for everything that happened on principle. He wished he couldn’t care less about her, but he always cared. Because she may have her problems, and they had their differences, but Harry was smart and deserved a chance.
“What do you say, John? Still no longer want what I am offering?”
And it was a taunt if he’d ever heard one. “I can’t. I’m sorry, I can’t” John begged, his head shaking back and forth as he spoke.
“I assure you, you can.”
John took a shuddering breath before pulling himself together momentarily. “If I say yes, what will you do for me and my family?” John asked seriously. Because if they were twisting his arm to marry someone the Holmes family wanted him to, there was no shame in demanding for something in return.
Mycroft smiled serenely, actually smiled at John as if he were proud. “Naturally we cannot allow someone connected to the Holmes family to not have transportation or a job or to be kicked out of University. At least not without the best work of our publicists, the public need never know if something odd happens. And we will take care of the Watsons; after all you will be family.”
“And what about me?” John demanded, not catching the last sentence as the idiot he would learn himself to be.
“What about you?” Mycroft asked.
John gave him a hard look, head tilting in attempt to see if this man was joking. “What about me? In case you forgot, somehow my college has been told I no longer need their resources. I will finish College and I will go to University, which is my priority. Not some shoddy marriage” He spoke as if he’d come to terms with what was happening.
The truth was that John could agree to this marriage plot now, could get everything he needed from the Holmes and then drop them. He couldn’t be forced to marry anyone against his will and surely only the Holmes would come out of this looking foolish if word got out.
“Naturally things will be put to right once you’ve agreed to this proposal.”
Mycroft Holmes assured him.
“I don’t get a lawyer?”
Mycroft smiled thinly at him. Not amused at John still attempting to undermine what was obviously going to happen the way he’d planned. “There’s no need John, now if you will please stand and follow the gentleman.” Mycroft spoke as he stood and waited for a well dressed man to enter.
“Where am I going?” John asked quickly; loathe to leaving the safety of his seat. Too many changes so very suddenly left him wanting to not move. Mycroft only gave him a pitying look.
He’d been walked deeper into the castle, despair shrouding him with every step he took. Then he was brought into a very comfortable looking tea room, it looked used and well taken care of. He felt guilty for liking it.
“Please wait here, sir. Tea will arrive shortly.” John nodded distracted at the man who had led him in.
John sat in another chair, looking around nervously with his hands wringing in his lap. The tea arrived quickly and the man left just as fast. He fixed his tea and sipped most of it before his body demanded he move. So he stood and walked around the room, peering closer at objects he was terrified of touching and somehow destroying. Then a soft hum of approval happened behind him making him glance over his shoulder.
And the sight made his jaw come loose. “John Watson, it is a pleasure to meet you.” Her voice was soft but held unmistakable power and authority with every note she spoke.
He stared. He stared until she gave him a smile; it jerked him back into self awareness. “Your Majesty” He breathed in surprise and he bowed and worried with what to do, how to act.
“Please sit down. I asked my son to bring you to me for tea, I see you’ve enjoyed a little of it already.” She looked steadily at him.
John flushed. How was he supposed to know not to drink any of the tea yet? “I’m sorry.” He apologized and meaning every word, not wanting to offend the Queen of England. He slowly made his way back to his chair and sat down after the Queen did.
He waited quietly and patiently as she lifted her tea cup and saucer and took a sip. After setting it back into position on the table in front of them, she folded her hands in her lap. “John, this family will be good to you.”
John had difficulty swallowing. Because this meant that The Queen agreed with his parents and that other bloke Mycroft, her son. Could he say no to the Queen?
“You are accepting, are you not?” She asked, not bothering to get into the messy detail Mycroft had pulled off to make him act agreeable at the moment. Surely she knew about it though.
He nodded stiffly. His eyes were hard and not very friendly, very unlike to how the Queen was looking at him right now.
“That is excellent news to hear. Very excellent. The King will be pleased to hear it.” She sounded excited, but her body gave no tells in losing her posture.
“I’m... glad.” John bit out hesitantly.
“Oh, I can’t wait until Sherlock gets here. You two will need to meet. Of course, you go to the same school surely you’ve met before.” She took him by complete surprise. All he could do was nod again. Maybe they’d think he was an idiot and call it off? “I’m sure Mycroft has already sent for Sherlock, lessons are almost out for the day. You two can miss a few days of schooling to get important things finished when it comes down to it. This is an important thing, wouldn’t you agree.”
John was left reeling at the knowledge that he had absolutely no say. This whole plan was out of his hands and right as he felt like having some breakdown over being given too much information much too quickly, he was forced to contain himself.
“I think you should stay for dinner, we’ll send you and Sherlock back to Marlborough afterwards.” She smiled widely at him, her bright eyes practically glowing. She suddenly looked mad.
“Sherlock, I’m glad you could make it.”
He rolls his eyes and glances around. “Well, why am I here. Am I to assume Watson said yes and this is your sad excuse of getting us to meet each other?” Sherlock asks sounding bored.
“Yes. Dinner will be shared by Mummy and I. Father is still too sick to make it. Be on your best behavior, Sherlock. And do call him John.”
Sherlock scoffs. He could be on his worst behavior and he was sure John wouldn’t be allowed to call the engagement off. “I think making an impression is a lost point by now, Mycroft.” Sherlock sneered before walking off and looking for his mother.
“You may be right, but it’s never too early to begin making things right.” Mycroft called out, walking after him. “Because you’ll have to be doing a lot of that.”
Sherlock nearly fell to the bait before forcing himself to keep walking. It was almost five. Dinner would be served in less than a quarter hour. Now to avoid John Watson and get to his mother without being caught by others willing to stop him.
“She’s four years older than I am.” John answers, feeling as if it is useless to answer. Surely these people knew about his family by now.
John is clutching his tea tightly, very unlike the postures of the other three at the table. He looks like he’s prepared to ward off a blow, and he is.
He catches himself glaring at Sherlock quite a lot and Sherlock only looks back with a detached look and John wonders if he’ll master that look one day too. Because Sherlock is also being forced into this marriage so surely he would also be unhappy with this plan.
“How wonderful. I sometimes wish I hadn’t had my boys too far apart in years, four seems like the perfect age difference.”
John can only nod, unable to correct her that he and Harry rarely ever got on well.
They sit in silence for what feels like an eternity and John is simultaneously trying to look busy drinking his tea while preserving it so he could continue to look busy drinking his tea. It was all a giant mess and was only made grander by The Queen and her eldest son standing up and leaving him alone with Sherlock.
They stare across at each other, sizing one another up. Sherlock’s face is still blank and John wonders what his own face looks like because it’s felt nothing but tight recently.
“John Watson. You’re going to University to become a doctor. You play rugby. You also don’t get on with your sister as obvious by the reaction you had when my mother complimented your age differences. You will also not get along with your parents either. Nor will you with me.” Sherlock rattles off suddenly leaving John feeling unbalanced.
“This will be a very difficult thing to pull off with you, I don’t expect to do all the work so be sure to catch on quickly. And you better catch on quickly because if you don’t it’ll only complicate things further. See that you leave me alone during lessons and your free time because we are not going public with this for as long as I can help it. Only the people who need to know will know, absolutely no one else.
“Welcome to Colchester, John.” Sherlock suddenly stands from his seat and looks down at John with undisguised dislike on his features.
“Thanks for that, you bastard.” John snarls as he heavily places his hands on the table and pushes himself to stand as well.
“I see you at least catch on quickly.” Are Sherlock’s parting words.
John is left feeling disoriented. Weren’t royalty supposed to be special or something? There was nothing special about the Holmes, except maybe the way they looked at you and how rude they seemed to be. He would feel no remorse now for ruining their plans when given the opportunity, because the Holmes’ will eventually slip and he would be prepared to act in the best manner for himself.
How is he to know yet exactly who he is playing against when everything the world knows about the English Royal family is exactly what they want the world to know?
I'm going to try to do this properly, so I hope you all aren't expecting sudden confessions of adoration. Feel free to critique and suggest improvements for this story as it has not been beta read or brit-picked.
Also the letter, I want it to look real with it also looking utterly fake so I don't get asked to take it down for smearing the school name. Let me know if it's okay this way or if you'd rather it just be in text like the rest of it. I'm thinking of using photoshop to introduce a few visual things.
Thank you all for reading. And sorry again for deleting and ruining your bookmark and subscription lists if you managed to find your way back.
So that was a ridiculously long wait. I got so distracted there really is no explanation other than that, I offer you my apologies if you are still reading.
Quick note, Jaime in this story is pronounced as Hai-Meh.
Just a reminder this is an AU. And I know very little of public school politics and acceptance percentage and requirements so a lot will just be made up.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Jaime enters the apartment in a burst of restrained movement, dropping his laptop case on the ground near the now closed door before throwing his keys into the glass bowl set up to the opposite side and leading into the open doorway of their living room beyond.
“Victor… Victor!” Jaime calls for his son, his frustration causing him to shout. He’d been waiting for so long and now he was prepared to move along with the plans. He was much too interested in his thoughts to have to find his son without shouting.
Waiting impatiently, he enters the living room; noticing once more the boy does like to take his time. He can only view it as his son channeling the mentality of true royalty by doing everything in his own speed and terms. It was an admirable trait to have.
“Father,” Victor answers with a voice steady as he walks out of his bedroom, restrained annoyance evident in his eyes and forehead and set of his mouth.
Ignoring the look, for once as he insists royalty should never show what they are truly feeling or thinking, he begins to speak. “The plans have been finalized. We’re moving back to England.”
Jaime smiles, pleased at the look of surprise on his son’s face, “Make sure to say your goodbyes to our hosts. A car will come around to take you to them for dinner. The family has been very generous these past years; let them know you appreciate it. We will need their support in a short time.” Jaime walks over and further into the living room to rest his hand on his son’s shoulders, giving it a light squeeze.
Victor smiles at him a little uncertainly but no less pleased before speaking again and containing his surprise well. “Moving back to Britain? This suddenly, that will put us right where the Holmes’ can find out about your plans.”
“They won’t discover what we’re planning because we’re not going to be careless. You will be going to the same college as Sherlock. You must find everything you can to give you an advantage. I am sure you can manage. There have been plenty of rumors for a while now concerning your cousin as you know.”
“Of course, father.” Victor nods at him. And although he still looked almost worried, he knows when something had to be done.
“See that you don’t fail. I need not tell you that discretion is mandatory. I will suggest you get close to your cousin, take from him what he will not give. You must come above it all, Victor.”
He watches as Victor frowns. “Surely it shouldn't sound that way?”
“If it will make you feel better, just find out what you can from Sherlock and I will do the rest. There’s no need for you to worry.”
Victor is silent, perhaps thinking about the efforts he is to take. “What about afterwards? What will I do if I am invited to visit my Uncle and Aunt?”
Jaime can’t help but grin triumphantly, that was another great sign that Victor was the future king, He knew he was duty bound.
“Then you join them, and you speak nothing of what we've discussed. If they ask after me, I am simply doing business.”
Victor was the true heir to the throne. The Holmes had for too long remained unpunished for their betrayal.
“I’m John Watson” John smiles kindly, but far more reserved than he usually would to the newest addition in his English lecture. Sally had been flirting relentlessly with him all morning and John couldn’t help but be amused despite everything happening recently.
There was something about seeing everything seem so normal while behind the scenes it truly wasn’t. He could escape for a moment, and that was okay.
The new student nods with a broad smile and returns with, “Victor Trevor, I’m pleased to meet you John.”
John nods in acknowledgement, pulling out his pen and notebook before elbowing Stephen to introduce himself as well. His friend had so far spent the time scowling down at his mobile with his fingers occasionally flicking on the touch screen.
“Anderson,” Stephen grunts, begrudgingly extending his hand for a politely detached shake without bothering to look up.
“Mister Anderson,” Victor Trevor smirks over at Sally before nodding sharply at Stephen and soon after taking back his hand.
John grimaces, their actions towards one other reminiscent of what he had been subjected to at Colchester.
Some people just didn’t get along.
It wasn't exactly an odd greeting to witness here however. At a college like this it was bound to be host to its dozen or so foreign dignitaries. Egos were constantly at war with others and each ego was not so secretively sensitive.
John couldn't be sure, but at least it didn't contain as many self important people as Eton did. Everyone knew that the rejects and those that could not afford Eton went to Marlborough College instead.
John fell under those categories. He’d been denied a place at Eton.
In fact, he was only here at this institution because Marlborough happened to have a larger extending outreach program, which just happened to be interested in his abilities and choices.
The binding ramifications of leaving Marlborough had been dropped much too quickly after John met with the Holmes’, he was now entertaining the idea that it hadn’t actually taken place and he was tricked into agreement.
“I’ve been in Spain for the past few years.” Trevor is holding a private conversation with Sally but his voice carries to him.
Sally hasn’t looked quite as interested in a conversation recently that wasn’t to do with studies unlike this very moment. It was strange to see her get along with someone so suddenly; it had taken them weeks to become friendly before they each realized they were alike in their positions at the school.
Sally was someone who despised the entitled students at this institution on principle, she like John was here on scholarship.
But now she looked very attentive, nodding every so often and John couldn’t help but smile a bit for his friend, not caring that Victor Trevor came from an implied prestigious background.
John turns to look back to the front of the lecture room, instantly drawn back to his own problems. A little flicker of paranoia makes him wonder if his friends have noticed his reservations, but they are currently not paying attention to him.
He cannot fault them for that.
What could they possibly do to help him anyway?
John can’t stop his eyes from rolling in annoyance. This was a new development. He knew he would grow to despise being told to meet in secluded places to have a talk with Sherlock Holmes in private.
Obviously they couldn’t do the normal private that everyone else did, because Sherlock Holmes considered himself special.
They obviously couldn’t borrow a study room in the library or meet in one of their rooms or even meet in the laundry rooms when no one was there.
No, John had to be dragged out of his way from his room in the center of campus and out past Summerfield to actually reach the School observatory, where Holmes had chosen his spot.
He had never even stepped foot in there and now hated to be told to be there.
But John wasn’t going.
Holmes couldn’t make him meet there. John hadn’t replied so he hadn’t agreed to the meeting.
In fact he had a practice to finish, they had a game against St. Edwards on Thursday and he couldn’t just get off of practice on Sherlock’s mere whim and terrible timing.
They hadn’t spoken to each other in days. Maybe even a week, he didn’t know, John tried not to think about his engagement to a bloke he didn’t bloody know or cared to know more about than from his hasty research.
And he’d done his bit of research on Sherlock Holmes.
John wouldn’t know what to make of him if he hadn’t had the singular pleasure of meeting Sherlock Holmes himself. There were websites dedicated to him. Plenty of fan sites with the few pictures that could be found, apparently there had been some agreement to let him alone while still studying.
He would have been worried if he actually cared about Holmes. There were plenty of anonymous people online singing his praises and he didn’t doubt there were a few not even from their country joining in.
There were literally hundreds of people willing to line up to have an opportunity with him and instead John was stuck, unwillingly, with the person in question.
It seemed Sherlock Holmes was loved by plenty of his subjects. That is, everyone of an age capable of accessing a computer and using the internet to get their comments across as they admired his features. They seemed to be grateful for the smallest bit of news about him, as long as it wasn’t anything of real importance.
But if one dug further, there were accounts of people who had met Sherlock and not liked him.
There was a website with a few posts calling Sherlock Holmes a psychopath, and while John didn’t really think Holmes was one, it was out there. The Holmes family had their hate groups, but a whole community existed asking for Sherlock Holmes’ abdication of the throne along with demands to get rid of the constitutional monarchy once and for all.
There wasn’t any solid reason for some anonymous stranger to have that level of hate. If anyone should hate the Holmes’ to that extent, it was him.
But he didn’t even hate Holmes that much. He hated the situation. He hated their families, the ones forcing them both into this.
Because Sherlock Holmes was obviously forced into this just as he was. And he wondered what Holmes was being given to agree.
John also wondered at how the person Holmes had initially proposed to manage to reject the family so easily without further attempts. He still couldn’t comprehend that simply because his stupid Grandfather made nice with some King at some point in the past he had to reap the so called benefits himself.
If Sherlock hadn’t been gay – oh, he was obviously gay, let his female fans weep – he’d be engaged to his sister.
And god, Harry didn’t know.
She didn’t know that John was practically being sold off by their parents. Didn’t know he was in a forced engagement. Didn’t know there was now a fragile if not legitimate tie from the Watson family to the royal Holmes family.
John honestly didn’t know how Harry would take the news when she learned the truth of it.
She wouldn’t be jealous, she wasn’t stupid. But surely she would be outraged on his behalf. She was all about free will; he didn’t know how she would react if he told her everything. And to be honest, he was a little worried on the reaction once the news got out.
But for now, he was still free. At least he had an imitation of freedom while at school.
The engagement would be kept a secret. No one but John and Sherlock had to know here at Marlborough. No one in all of Europe had to know except the seven people in the know now.
He was still free.
Still allowed to do what he pleased, and what he pleased was to have a nap after his shower because he was nearly dead on his feet after being thrown into the ground repeatedly.
He’d had a terrible practice.
There was a loud pounding on his door. John groaned unhappily before cursing into his pillow and rolling away from the wall and over to face the inside of his dark room. He waited with bated breath; maybe the knock wasn’t for him after all.
The door received a bit more of a pounding before the doorknob began to rattle.
Rolling swiftly off the bed and skipping a stretch, he lunged over to his door and pulled it open. Just outside waiting for him was a kid he didn’t know.
What the hell was a kid doing trying to knock his door down?
He gives the shorter kid a severe questioning look before he asks,” Yes?”, far too tired to control the irritation in his tone.
It doesn’t faze the kid. It only made the situation more mildly annoying.
“Check your phone.”
“What?” John demands clarification, suddenly even more confused.
“Your mobile, a phone, check it.” John frowns deeper at the kid who was still not leaving his doorway.
“Why?” John asks, feeling like a broken record, as he takes the few steps to retrieve his phone. In lighting it, he comes across thirty two text messages. That’s right, thirty two. His mouth hangs open, knowing that can’t possibly be right unless something terrible happened.
“That was all.” The kid announces before turning away and quickly heading to the stairway. John isn’t paying attention anymore; he’s too busy flying through the messages in his inbox.
Almost all of them from Sherlock Holmes.
You missed the meeting. – SH
Do you not know how to tell time? – SH
Are you truly an idiot? – SH
Watson - SH
Watson - SH
Watson - SH
Watson - SH
John - SH
He furiously deletes the influx of useless and meaningless messages containing his name cluttering his inbox. How could someone be so utterly ridiculous?
You are extremely difficult to deal with. How am I supposed to put up with this? –SH
John glares down at his phone, distantly aware he’s also being a bit ridiculous too.
He contemplates throwing the phone across his room and at his wall, maybe it would be satisfying, instead he goes through the rest of his messages. Somehow Holmes came under the impression that he could bother John whenever he pleased.
You’re sleeping. How dull. – SH
John chokes back a yell; he doesn't want to know how the bastard knew that.
I’m sending someone over to wake you. – SH
Well, that explained why he was bothered to begin with.
Meet me at the Observatory. It’s locked on Mondays. – SH
“Not bloody likely.” John mutters rebelliously as he deletes this one too.
You will meet me. – SH Last one received at 9:49PM.
You should be leaving your room now. – SH
The new message vibrates right as he deletes the last message sent by Sherlock Holmes and John restrains a shout.
It’s infuriating. He doesn't know Sherlock, they don’t know each other. Why in the world would they be meeting in a bloody observatory, which just happens to be over a mile away from where he lives? He’d have to walk that distance, in the dark.
But he’s angry. He throws on the nearest clothes he can find and shoves his mobile into his pocket before sitting on the edge of his bed to shove on his shoes as angrily as he can. Finding his wallet and keys and then slamming the door shut behind him he remembers to lock up.
He’s outside in less than a minute, fury propelling him down the stairs very quickly.
In his hurry he nearly misses the bikes before halting and finding his bike. Frustrated, he unlocks the piece of shit from its holding place. Kicking it into place he swings his leg over before pedaling in the direction of the observatory. It’s dark; he doesn't have a bike light on and hopes he’s not about to come across someone.
The Observatory is also dark in its seclusion, naturally. And now the fury has gone with the creeping exhaustion of the day and he now has a pounding headache to think about when he reaches the location of what he thinks is the entrance.
The knowledge that he should still be angry makes him shove his bike onto the ground hard before stomping to what he assumes is the entrance and not a back way.
Because he doesn't know exactly where Holmes is, just that he’s to meet him there.
Well? John sends his text.
A long minute wait and he receives a reply. Inside. – SH
This time he doesn't give any outward sign that he is bothered and that he really doesn't want to be here, doing this
want to be here, doing this
Sherlock Holmes greets him on the steps, sprawled ungracefully on the bottommost ones. John begins to wonder how long Sherlock has been here and idly hopes that he hadn’t been here since John received the first text message.
“Yes,” Sherlock cuts off his answer. John turns to look at him quickly, curious and confused. “I have been here since my first message.”
John is preparing to say something. Not apologize, but maybe call him an idiot or something along those lines. Who had all that time to waste?
“What did you want?” John asks wearily, keeping close to the door he’d come through and the only exit he knows of.
“It was suggested that talking helps,” Holmes replied disinterestedly, “About plans and goals,” he pushes on.
John stares, not bothering to hide his incredulity. Sherlock Holmes wants to talk, with him? Sherlock Holmes, who left him in Colchester for over half an hour without meeting anyone else until they finally came for them and he was instead found alone. Sherlock Holmes, who was an imbecile and probably the worst fiancé anyone could think of having. He, wanted to talk?
John laughed. It was sudden and it startled him a little too, but it helped relieve the tension that had been knotted in his shoulders and back.
Holmes was on his feet and glaring at him. And John was vividly reminded that the other boy was taller, but John was a Rugby player and he would bet anything that he was stronger than some pampered prince.
“Talk about what?” John demands as he regains control over himself but cautiously still keeps the distance between them.
Holmes does as he’s told, he beings speaking. “Well I have a plan. I don’t want to marry you. You don’t want to marry me. But it’s inevitable.” he begins, pacing and moving his hands in jittery motions that make John wonder if he suffers from some attention deficit disorder.
Remembering to focus on the words John realizes he doesn’t know exactly how that helps. How that constitutes as a plan. He’s about to speak up about it when Holmes begins once again, not looking at him or in his direction at all as he paces still. It’s irritating. God, he wants him to stop.
“We’ll get married. We have to, no choice. We’ll keep it a secret as long as we can. Our meeting and engagement story is being written for us, so don’t worry about that. Just realize, this is happening, John.” Sherlock halts as he finally stops to look back at him.
This is not a good plan.
“We might be married for a few years. I’m afraid it’ll probably last through University, so you won’t get to meet anyone in a romantic capacity for a few years unless you want to cause trouble. But I can promise you one thing, John.” Sherlock states as he looks over him carefully, boldly using his first name without being given permission to.
John wonders what he could possibly be promised that he wants. John nods once, prompting him to continue.
“I can promise you a divorce.” He finishes simply.
John freezes, letting the news wash over him. This is… this is good. This is very good.
“As soon as I take control, that is.” Sherlock begins pacing again, turning away from him once more. “I can’t well divorce you when I have my Parents and bloody Mycroft practically baking the damn wedding cake themselves.”
This is the moment where John realizes Sherlock isn’t abdicating. There’s no hint that Sherlock Holmes doesn’t want the throne and title and he can’t help but feel resentful of him about that too.
“How soon,” John asks urgently as he steps closer to Sherlock. He can maybe make it through University married to him. But what if he falls in love with someone else in that time? He can’t well hide his marriage – it’ll be common knowledge by then, probably. And that brings a sudden creep of cold against him as well.
Sherlock turns to look at him again. He can’t make out the expression on his face before it’s gone and he’s speaking. “When my father dies, the title goes to me. Mycroft abdicated when he turned sixteen so I am to inherit.”
John is reeling. He never paid much attention to the royal family. How was the King doing recently, was he sick?
“He’s ill.” Sherlock confirms, facing him properly now and no longer moving so much.
John pauses to think. He needs to think. There was a reason this was happening now. “That’s why you’re engaged now.” John comes to the conclusion.
“But, why did Mycroft abdicate? Can’t he just – I dunno – take it back?” He pushes urgently at the smallest sign that he could have an out.
“He could.” Sherlock starts contemplatively. “But then you or your sister would still have to marry him. There was a specific purpose in mind when they went looking for you,” Sherlock reprimanded, “It’s not like they plucked you off the street.”
John takes in a deep breath before letting it out slowly. Last thing he needed was to get into a fight with… his fiancé… with Sherlock. Reasoning should help.
“Look. Can’t you say no? If I say no I’ll probably be killed.” John walks closer to Sherlock. He needs to see how serious John is about this. “You can probably find someone who wants to marry you if you leave me alone. I won’t say a thing, I won’t ask for anything from you in the future. Just – just, stop it.” He ends up pleading instead.
Sherlock Holmes is studying him. It can’t be anything but.
They fall into silence and John begins to think that maybe Sherlock is taking this request seriously; he’s willing to give Sherlock quiet now to think about it.
Please, let this go in my favor.
The head shake brings him back to the present. “No. It’s not possible for me to end this engagement.” Sherlock admits softly in a tone he can’t place.
“And why not?” John snaps, feeling a bewildering pang of betrayal.
Sherlock scoffs, turning his head away before turning to look back at him. “If I am to inherit I see no reason for my right to be questioned simply because I am not married, the best way for that not to happen is to honor the previous King and his decisions. I will get more freedom by marrying you than any woman or cancelling any engagement that will infuriate my family and put more of their unnecessary focus on me. So we’ll get married, John. We’ll stay out of each other’s way – it’s the only way it’ll work. And then I’ll divorce you when I’m good and ready.”
John is left breathing quickly. More like shallow gasps because this is horrifying and he’s that close to losing his control. He’d be trembling if he didn't have an iron will not to fall to pieces in front of Sherlock Holmes again.
Their continued meetings only prove to John that he could not marry Sherlock Holmes and expect support or comfort or even happiness. “That’s it then?” John demands, searching Sherlock’s face for something – anything to hint at kindness, but Sherlock is impossible to read and that also disturbs John who stops himself from yelling.
“Yes. That’s it.” Sherlock snaps, “I have assumed I don’t need to press that the engagement is to remain a secret.” Sherlock eyes him quickly before seeming to get bored.
John nods and mutters a clipped “right” before turning on his heels and leaving the observatory, feeling no better and actually a little more worse than he had when he had arrived.
The only good thing about tonight was that they did settle on one thing – John would get his divorce if he couldn't end the engagement. But while only a few people knew about the engagement, he could do everything to sabotage it. He could make the Holmes’ drop him. He would have to.
If not through Sherlock, who by far had seemed the easiest way to go about it, then through the King and Queen.
He’s the first out of the lecture, not that he had paid any attention to begin with. Politics was something he wasn’t really interested in, especially when it was thrown at him from all directions.
This time instead of walking away without a second glance he loiters outside of the building, waiting to get another look at someone familiar. He’s not sure if he’d seen correctly, but this was the best way to get another glance without being observed himself.
He absolutely had to be the first to know and come to reveal it. And once he was certain, he would know what to do.
He doesn’t have to wait very long; the class is spilling out of the double doors leading to the open campus. Now he simply needs to pick out the familiar face and just as the thought raced through his mind once more he caught sight of it.
Sherlock breaths in sharply, what was the meaning of this?
Deciding to find out the answer on his own without sending his brother texts that he would surely only ignore, he waits for them to walk past so he’s left behind.
“I had heard that we had become host to some posh dignitary from Spain. I hadn’t been expecting you.” Sherlock mused, a light frown adorning his face before casually falling into step with Victor Trevor effortlessly.
Victor twitches in surprise, his reaction just as Sherlock had hoped and expected. Only instead of exclaiming in surprise Victor stills in the middle of walking and stares blankly before a wide grin transforms his face into something brighter.
He hadn’t expected his cousin to remember him all that well. At least not as well as Sherlock remembered him, they had been very young when they had last seen each other.
“Sherlock,” Victor ceases to be mute and finally speaks. “You’re bloody tall.”
Sherlock remembers their childhood spent playing together; getting into trouble, bothering Mycroft, raiding the kitchen. “I was not expecting to see you here.” He admits, hiding his grudge well, while ignoring Victor’s unnecessary observation.
“Neither was I. Last I heard you were at Eton.” Victor frowns contemplatively, checking over his uniform as to assure himself they were actually wearing the same Marlborough ones.
“I was let go,” Sherlock snorts, unimpressed with the memory and Victor’s shoddy acting, “I was not made aware that the prestigious institution could not appreciate a simple minor explosion.”
“A minor explosion,” Victor looks properly worried, but there is also curiosity radiating off of him, he could never really hide his thoughts. “There was nothing in the news.”
Quickly dismissing the last comment of his cousins yet again, he sets the record straight. “It was merely an accident that happened. I maintain that it was my lab partner and his terrible misunderstanding of the metric system that was the cause. Americans are so hard to teach. I had explicitly told him that we were using an alternative compound for our experiment. He simply did not heed my warning.”
Victor lets out a slow breath. “I thought, for a moment, that you had been targeted by someone. You know, with everything happening lately.” He finishes in a low murmur, leaning in closer to him to have as close a private discussion as students continued to brush past them.
Snorting at the absurd thought, Sherlock looks at Victor with unveiled amusement, this he could show. “When there is other far more interesting things to focus on? I think I’m quite safe dear cousin.”
They fall silent, walking with no real direction; it would be awkward if Sherlock cared about these things. But he was not currently with someone he had to impress.
More importantly, Sherlock is curious and more than a little suspicious of why Victor was here. It had been years since he had last spoken to his older cousin and just as long since they’d seen each other.
The last time they had set eyes on each other Victor had been dragged away from their study room by his furious father, Sherlock’s uncle.
Even now Sherlock can understand why his uncle had been so furious, why he had taken away Sherlock’s only friend and equal. Perhaps it had felt like an attack to the Trevors instead of simply what tradition and agreements demanded.
Now he was entertaining the idea that it could be Mycroft, dangling Victor in front of his face to make him cooperate. Perhaps he had somehow found out about his meeting with John the other night and was actively campaigning against the possibility of their conversational content being covered.
His brother did work rather quickly. But that was no reason for why Victor would agree in being part of something that did not concern him. Perhaps Mycroft had gotten to Victor just as he had with John Watson.
“Explain to me,” Sherlock started, forcibly reminding himself not to rush his demands, he had long since learned how to speak to get his answers in different situations. “What are you doing here now? It’s been years.”
Victor laughed softly, shaking his head. “I missed England.”
Sherlock nodded, he could understand that sentiment at least. He’d never exactly been pleased in other countries, mainly because he had fallen in love with London and he didn’t think any other city could emulate his London.
But he was still not impressed with the answer. He would have liked to press further, but he knew that he and Victor no longer had a close friendship that they once had been a part of.
He would simply have to recreate that friendship.
“Tell me, what are your plans for the rest of the day?” Sherlock asked, taking on a friendly tone.
Victor smiles once more before beginning to walk, it seems in the direction of the library.
“Catch up with work before going to find food.” Victor admitted readily enough.
At least he could mark off that Victor had snuck onto campus to spy on him and was an actual student at the same college he was in.
“Let me join you. I seem to be falling a little behind in my maths work.” That was a lie.
Victor grimaces at him, “I like maths, finished early with it. I’m taking physics if you need any particular help.”
Sherlock grins widely, "That won't really be necessary. But I'll be sure to keep it in mind should I have a question. I know the perfect table, very great position to muffle the sounds of those surrounding."
I'm looking for a bit of help for this story. Anyone who wouldn't mind hearing out what I have planned and discussing it or combing through the writing for mistakes. Yep, I'd be so grateful.
If you are interested and would prefer to message through tumblr that way if e-mails are exchanged they are kept private or LJ if you prefer, I actually know how to use it now.