Our Understanding Did Oft Negate Tainted Knowledge1
ACT I, SCENE 1
INT. 221B BAKER STREET, SITTING ROOM - EVENING
It's important to breathe.
b r e a t h e
Don't ever look.
Not even a peek --
You never look.
You're not like that.
You never look.
Except... You couldn't help it, could you?
Couldn't help thinking--
God , you'd say. Jesus, Sherlock, that feels--
You are such a blasphemer.
Didn't your mother teach you better?
You never stopped looking.
You finish bandaging his side - a knife wound, too deep to be superficial, too shallow to merit a visit to the hospital - and sigh.
"One of these days,
you're going to get
You hate his silences because when he's talking, at least some part of him is available to you.
When you two fight, you fight with silences.
You don't say, Why can't you buy the milk for once? and he doesn't reply, I've got you to do that.
He doesn't say, What do you mean you can't see it, are you a complete idiot? and you don't reply, I'm starting to think I am.
You don't know which would be worse; to hear all that he has to say, or to say everything that you want to say.
You wish you had the opportunity to find out.
The bandage moves under your hand.
Shit, shit, shit.
You never stopped touching, either.
The warmth of his skin lingers at your fingertips.
Your throat burns with embarrasment and--
("Johnny, your sister is...
going through a phase.
She'll grow out of it.")
Your mother taught you well.
In and out.
You've seen the occasional hickey, smelled a strange aftershave on him a number of times.
A small number.
To you, anything more than not once is too much.
"Would it be easier
if I made myself
scarce more often?"
It's not that he isn't into that sort of thing.
"I don't know
It's that he isn't into you.
But it doesn't matter, because you're not like that.
If there was even one sign --
"Never mind, then."
Your hope is futile, but it is the only thing you have so you cling to it like you cling to the memory of that night--
(“That thing you did, that
you offered to do...
That was good.”)
ACT I, SCENE 2
INT. 221B BAKER STREET, JOHN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
You stare at the ceiling.
In the other bedroom, Sherlock stares at the other ceiling; you can feel his eyes boring into the back of your skull.
Your thoughts drip out like water.
You try to breathe.
He is out there somewhere, covered between the shadows of his past and your present that seems to shift according to his will. There are clues that turn out to be nothing, and nothing that turns out to be clues, and Sherlock
darting after every single one only to return home empty-handed and frustrated.
You know it is a waste of energy. You know this because you understand human emotion and no matter Moriarty's origins, whether he crawled out of
with c r
the cave of
the first man,
he is still human.
He wants to play, and sooner or later, he will tire of playing alone.
Sherlock won't find him until he wants to be found, though. In the meanwhile, he spends day after day following the trail of bread crumbs that do not make sense while you periodically leave cups of tea and biscuits where they might find their way into his mouth.
You think he is beautiful when he--
Keep breathing. Do NOT think about
the warmth of his skin under your hands
the curve of his Cupid's bow
the tall frame pressed to your side underwater
how he glows when he finds the answer
how he has all the answers
how you keep missing the obvious one
("I will burn
out of you.")
Downstairs, you can hear him get up and go back to his map that is made of scraps of paper newspaper articles
red string woollen
coloured pins numerous
post-it notes covered in
It is a trail. You don't know where it leads.
the ends of the earth
the farthest planet
All the places you would follow him - but not war because you're already there, and the memory of the sun constricts your throat.
Downstairs, something shatters but you're too far away to hear it.
ACT I, SCENE 3
EXT. A BATTLE FIELD IN AFGHANISTAN - DAY
("Jesus Christ, Watson, keep
breathing! John, can you hear
me? We're almost back to the
camp, you just steady on and
Ferguson will patch you right
up. But you've got to
b r e a t h e
if you want to live!")
You're not sure if you ever do start breathing again after you are shot. Everything crumbles into the flare of pain in your shoulder until there is only one thing left in the whole world--
(“Please, God, let me live.”)
--until there is a man.
On Afghan sand, you forget how to inhale-exhale-gasp-sigh-moan, and you're not sure it will ever come back to you.
There is nothing until you wake up in the hospital, and there is nothing afterwards until you run into Stamford--
(“How's your blog going?”)
--until there is a man.
ACT II, SCENE 1
EXT. ST. BART'S HOSPITAL – DAY
Two dead men stand on a roof.
If this is a joke, you don't know the punchline.
Your eyes are trained on him,
shape like a great raven on the
edge of the roof, and
you feel how your
like a hero of ancient times
with Hephaestos weeping on the ground.
ACT II, SCENE 2
INT. AN EMPTY HOUSE IN LONDON - DAY
( In a nearby building, Sebastian Moran packs his rifle and leaves. He doesn't look back - there is nothing to look back for - damn Jim – but there are still things to be done, and with every item crossed off his list he salutes the most terrifying and exciting man he has ever known. )
ACT III, SCENE 1
EXT. NEW SCOTLAND YARD - EARLY MORNING
It doesn't matter that you never re-learnt how to breathe because it would have been a wasted effort. In a way, the silence feels like one of your fights; you rage, and beg, and plead, and he refuses to respond.
(Dead men tell no tales.)
If only you could stay angry at him.
If only someone else had believed in him.
(“It's crazy, this
Believe In Sherlock Holmes
and belief is like a spider's web
thin, invisible, unnoticed
Much like you are, these days.
You're not so sure about that last part, though. You feel like the ghost of a man who was brought alive only to die again. You were never the one who solved problems, and this is a problem that you can't solve by punching it, so you're at a loss.
“You alright, John?”
It took you almost a year to forgive Lestrade.
“Fine. Just fine.”
You don't know it yet, but it will take you much less than that to forgive him after you get your miracle. You know that you are lucky.
Though it still feels like a punch to the gut to see him in your kitchen.
(A jumpstart, if you will.)
ACT III, SCENE 2
INT. 221B BAKER STREET, SHERLOCK'S BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING
The bedsheets smell of him.
The room is his.
You've got the best of both worlds, though.
You are in the room that is his,
bundled up under the bedsheets
that smell of him
listening to his heartbeat.
Nothing to stop it now.
"Go back to sleep, John.
It's too early."
It's not. After three years, it can never be too early.
and you set out to discover what he smells like, so early in the morning even the sun isn't up yet, and whether the scent changes after you've had your mouth on every inch of him.
ACT III, SCENE 3
EXT. SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE OF LONDON - DAY
You draw a deep breath of fresh air.
Sherlock's eyes are on you, watchful.
You wonder why you didn't notice anything earlier, and say as much.
For once, he doesn't launch into an explanation of how he deduced your deepest, darkest secrets from the way you folded your shirts while he was gone, but gently takes your hand instead.
You smile, and on top of a hill, you
1The Eastern Threat, George Powell (1936)