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A Cynical Man

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(Do you believe in love at first sight?)

When he thinks back to the beginning, he’s not sure why exactly he chose to introduce himself in such a way. It’d been his intention to spook his glorified babysitter or perhaps scare her into leaving. He can’t stand being around women unless it’s for sex (not since London, not since The Woman.) It’d be easier if his babysitter was a former addict, at least he could bribe her, or a man... at least he could stand her.

But there’s something about meeting Ms. Watson, something about the way she stands, everything an open book, everything obvious (Hates her job already, former surgeon from the state of her hands, parking ticket, visiting someone at a lesser known grave, probably did something that cost a patient his life.) But it’s not obvious, there’s something there he can’t quite put his finger on yet.

Irrelevant. She’ll be gone soon anyways. (They all go, sooner or later. Everyone. “Freak,” their eyes say. “Addict,” those who once sought his help spit out.)

He drags her to a crime scene.

That should send her running.

-

It doesn’t. If anything, Ms. Watson seems more alert when she observes his work. She doesn’t say it out loud, but Sherlock can read her expressions. From the quiet and impressed blink her gaze sends to the begrudged awe that he can steal from the rise of her mouth. It’s rather flattering, which makes him more curious about her and her past.

But she’s here on his father’s orders. He doesn’t need someone to look after him, a spy from his father.

“I don’t need you.”         

-

But when she manages to get information about of that other woman (he was never good with them, people and especially the female portion of the population) so easily when he couldn’t, he feels incredibly spiteful and foolish.

(“Do you hear any of the words you speak, Holmes? It’s a wonder why anyone puts up with you!” They used to say at Scotland Yard while his father glares in the background.)

“You are so full of it.”

Well, maybe he is. And maybe she’s just like the rest of them.

-

“I’m worried about you. I think that you’re making things more complicated than they really are... and it tells me that you’re struggling—”

“I don’t struggle with anything!” How dare she, how dare she imply such a thing. Can’t she see what he can? Can’t she feel that something isn’t right with this case? How can he let it go? So he says the worst he can think of, things that will really hurt. He’s tired of watching her, having her live with him, trying to figure him out when he can see what she really is.

(But then he remembers kind smiles, silent awe, I’m worried, how she got the name of their suspect, no, stop, irrelevant now, she’ll leave soon enough—)

“It’s so incredible, how you solve people just by looking at them,” she says softly and he freezes because that isn’t what he was expecting (yells, accusations, threats, not this.) “I notice that you don’t have any mirrors around you.”

He looks at her, but for once, he can’t tell what she’s thinking. Nothing at all. There’s disappointment in her eyes and it is startling hard to look at.

“...And what does that mean?”

“It means that I think you know a lost cause when you see one.”

That’s the first time someone other than his father made him speechless.

-

He comes back to ask for her car. He could fetch a cab but he doesn’t want to. That thing about Ms. Watson, the one from the first moment he met her, is still bothering him. (But why? That insistent part of his brain asks, why bother? She’s leaving. She said so herself. She is the same as the rest of them.) He apologizes. They meet with Amy’s true killer, her husband. He crashes Ms. Watson’s car.

“Better,” He spits out at the steering wheel once he’s released his anger.

When he looks up at Doctor Watson’s shocked and disappointment, suddenly it seems worse than before.

-

When he faces her from behind the glass, he is numb of all emotion. This is it. He’s to be tossed into the streets, his father will disown him and he will be left with nothing again.

(And she will leave.)

“I want you to let me in on the rest of the plan.”

He almost drops the phone in surprise, but he will never admit it. He doesn’t know what to say exactly, only that this is one of the most remarkable women he’s ever met. And there it is again, what draws him to her, a quiet strength in her gaze.

“...I’m starting to believe that there’s some hope to you as an investigator,” he whispers.

-

Sherlock feels something tear at him when he doesn’t see her at the hearing (she’s changed her mind, she’s going, going, gone) but then she’s outside (relief) and she thrusts a paper into his hands—

Rice.

Of course, so obvious and here, this conductor of light helped him connect the pieces!

They rush over to the police station and when they successfully solve the case, they exchange grins.

-

One day, they’re in the sitting room, laughing at one thing or another (an old case, one that Holmes remembers fondly as he recites it to Ms. Watson. It involves a missing jewel, sword fights and dangling off of one of the buildings of London.) There’s takeaway (“It’s called take-out, Sherlock,” Ms. Watson rolls her eyes as she eagerly takes two pieces of greasy pizza) scattered on the table. The cardboard box is lying open, letting the scent waft over them. For once it doesn’t repel him but fills him with some form of calm.

The telly is on, to another match but Ms. Watson is hardly paying any attention. The Mets aren’t playing tonight so he has all of her attention to himself. He’s grinning like a lunatic, so much that the sides of his mouth hurt, but hasn’t that been the case for the past five weeks since she’s moved in?

The flat is still a mess with books and iconic shirts lying to and fro. Ms. Watson doesn’t bat an eyelash at them. “I’ve lived with worse clients, Holmes,” she rolls her eyes at him one day. “I’m a sober companion, not your maid. You want it clean? Do it yourself. I’ll keep my side of the room nice and tidy, thanks.” His father would throw a fit if he saw the mess that Sherlock lives in so he keeps it that way.

She’s sitting on the red sofa chair, her head thrown back in mirth, eyes crinkling up (She’s amused, relaxed, content, this is good, he notes smugly.) He is lying on the floor, hands folded, looking up at her profile, studying the way her whole body is at ease in here.

“Did you really disarm him with a broom?” Ms. Watson giggles. “I find that hard to believe!”

He sniffs, “I’ll have you know that I am quite the professional in boxing and several martial arts.”

“Hmmm,” She doesn’t appear to be as impressed as he’d hoped she’d be. Instead, there is a challenging tilt to her lips, “I bet I could beat you at wrestling.”

Sherlock raises his eyebrow, “Oh please, like you could—”

But he doesn’t have a chance to reply. Ms. Watson moves faster than any criminal he’s faced. His hands move up out of instinct to protect himself but Ms. Watson isn’t aiming for his face or his throat. Instead her fingers poke at his stomach and involuntarily an involuntary burst of laughter escapes from his lips.

“Aha!” Ms. Watson is lit up with glee. “I have found the great Sherlock Holmes’ weakness after all! You’re ticklish!”

“No I’m—” He says between laughs, “Not, just stop that!”

“Or what?” She tilts her head in a challenge, continuing the horrid tickling assault.

Sherlock grabs her wrists and flips her over, “Or I’ll be forced to retaliate.”

They end up spilling the pizza box on themselves when they roll into the table during their tickle fight. Ms. Watson just gives Sherlock the bill for their stained clothes before she joins him in another fit of laughter. He wants to capture that essence, put it in his violin strings so that he can play it again and again in the dark.

He remembers her silent vigils when he had nightmares and fits of withdrawal, how she holds his hand and doesn’t say a word in the morning. He remembers the first time he saw her fight, take down an opponent with one hand and then glancing back with a smile, “My father taught me a few moves,” before she asked for a pair of handcuffs.

“I love you,” he nearly says out loud, before he even knows what he’s doing. “I love you like certain dark things.” Once the words spill from his mouth, he clamps them in horror.

Ms. Watson (no, it’s Joan) shakes her head fondly. “Right. What show are you imitating this time, Holmes?”

“Just a late program,” He says quickly.

Joan shrugs and then settles back on the sofa. She offers him some soda but he declines, claiming that he is fatigued from the day’s work. The former doctor is skeptical about this excuse. She knows that he spends his nights up on the room with his bees or playing the violin to disturb the other tenants. But she sends him off.

His heart is pounding hard in his chest as he rushes to his bees.

He loves her. It’s something that he’s always known, since the beginning. He loves her. He loves her. He loves her.

Well, that’s a predicament.