Actions

Work Header

Inscrutable to the Last

Chapter Text

*

"John?"

Mary's voice had gone strange. The tone made something lurch in his chest.

He looked up from his newspaper, from where he sat on the sofa. She was sitting at the little desk in the corner, staring down at her laptop—except—no, no, it wasn't her laptop at all. It was his.

"What's this?" she asked, and her voice was definitely strange, high and strained.

It set his heart pounding, thudding a steady beat of no no no, each jump of his pulse flooding him with a sickening dread. He wanted to throw his newspaper down, bolt for the door, flee into the damp evening air. He wanted to stand up and snap his laptop shut, like he'd done to Sherlock all those years ago—except, no, best not think of that.

He did none of those things. Instead, he rustled his newspaper, folded it neatly and set it down on the coffee table, and met her eyes. He sat very still.

"Hm?" he said. "What's that, then?" He feigned casual, did a crap job of it, and why did he even bother, she'd always been adept at seeing right through him, right from the very start. That's why he'd—

"This," she said. The mirth that was usually present in her voice (it was always there, always! even when she was angry it was there) had fled. All of the typical teasing cheer had drained out of her. There was no anger in her voice, no anger yet, but a flat bewilderment and strain that would almost certainly lead to anger, and soon, if he didn't do something to head it off.

He made a show of squinting over at her, still trying to keep up his miserable act, and then stood up from the sofa and walked over to hover behind where she sat, looking down at the screen.

"Oh," he said. He skimmed the words on the screen as if reading them for the first time, as if he didn't know them by heart, as if they hadn't been burned into his very soul. "Oh," he said again. "That. Just a—just some of that book I'd been thinking about writing. You know. Bit of a lark, really."

"A lark." Her voice was still flat, her face slightly incredulous.

"Yeah," he said, and rubbed at the back of his neck. His skin felt overwarm, his heart skittering in his chest. "You know—hey, where'd you find that, anyway? I haven't worked on it in ages."

In fact, he had titled it Unpaid Bills and hidden it away in a folder. That tactic had often worked on Sherlock, who had despaired of dull and ordinary responsibilities and who in fact seemed to conveniently go both blind and deaf when the subject of finances came up, but, apparently, it had only attracted the attention of his wife.

"The last save date on the file is two days ago, John."

"Right," he said. And hell, he should've known by now not to try and lie to her. She was too sharp for that, too quick on her feet, too—too computer literate.

They regarded each other for a moment, her sitting, him standing, the cursor blinking accusingly from the document.

"An assassin," she said, finally.

"Mary," he sighed. "Just wait a second—"

"That—" she shook her head, swallowed, tried again. "That's how you—"

"No," he said quickly. "No. No! It's just—it's just fiction."

"Fiction. Using the full name and likeness of everyone you've ever met."

"Oh come on, Mary, surely you don't think that everyone I've ever met—"

"Hyperbole, John," she snapped, and it was clear that she did not have patience for loopholes. There would be no edging out of this one with banter. "You know exactly what I meant."

His hand trembled, minutely, barely even noticeable. He noticed. Clenched his fist to stay it.

"It's just—" he frowned, feeling sick and sad and wrong-footed. "You know that—Ella. You know that Ella had suggested writing. That writing about it—that it might help."

"Oh," Mary said, and her voice had gone falsely bright. "Playing the therapy card, then. That's a good one, yeah."

"Mary—"

She held up her hand, and there was anger on her face, real anger, not just a fleeting temper. He had not seen this kind of anger in her, yet, not in all the time he'd known her. Again he was seized with the temptation to snatch the laptop away from her, to slam it shut and pretend that none of this had ever happened.

"Pretty sure that she meant the blog, John," Mary said. "Writing about what happened. Sorting out your feelings, since God knows you don't want to talk about them. Not—not this—this bizarre, self-insert, wish-fulfilment—"

"Wish-fulfilment?" He snorted. "You can't possibly—"

"It's a fantasy!" she said, pushing back the chair and standing up in a sudden rush. Her face had gone quite red. "A fantasy where your dead best friend magically isn't dead-- and is also somehow less of a prick than he was before—and where you can just pick up where you left off as if nothing happened—"

"Oh, you're right," he snapped. "I'm a monster, truly, wanting something like that."

She shook her head at him, and he startled at the sight of tears in her eyes. He had not noticed the pity starting to creep in on the anger.

"John," she said, and she reached out, took his clenched fist between her hands. "Doing this, retreating into this—this whole other life, it's not good for you."

"People read, Mary," he said, as she gently rubbed at his hand, pried his fingers loose from their tight clench, clasped his trembling appendage between her warm palms. "People go to the movies. People write. It's a hobby. Escapism. Nothing more than that."

"It's different," she said, calmer, still looking steadily at him.

"How?"

She shook her head, rolled her eyes a little bit. "You can't figure out why writing thousands and thousands and thousands of words about a world where your wife is an ex-assassin who shoots your formerly-dead best friend in the chest, setting off a chain of events leading to him martyring himself for us might be a bit upsetting?"

"You've read a lot," he said, and he wondered how long he'd been sitting there, oblivious, while she was peering into the darkest, most secret recesses of his heart.

"Oh, it's a real page turner," she said.

"It's just—" he sighed, defeated. There was no way to defend it. He knew that, had known it since he first sat down and tentatively tapped out the opening lines. Creeping off to write had felt as illicit as meeting a secret lover, something to feel guilty over, and now Mary had found out and had been hurt by what she'd seen. She didn't deserve that.

She frowned at him, waited for him to continue. He could feel the weight of her gaze. "I know I asked you," she said delicately. "Before. If—"

"I didn't lie to you," he said, because, God, he couldn't have that conversation all over again. It had been bad enough coming from friends when Sherlock was still alive. Coming from his girlfriend, who hadn't even known Sherlock, that had been worse. He'd taken her to the gravesite, once, tried to explain how it had been between them. He thought he'd done an all right job of it. "It wasn't like that."

"Really," she snorted, and jerked her head towards the screen.

He blinked, shook his head, baffled. "What are you even talking about? That's—that's not like that either."

And then she was laughing, but it was an ugly laugh, a hurt laugh. "Oh, John," she said, and her eyes had gone all red and damp. "He was right about you all along, wasn't he?"

"Hm?"

"You're an idiot." She spoke softly, gently released his hand. Then she turned away from him, walked out of the room, out of the house. She did not slam the door.

The silence she left behind was incredibly loud.

*

It was harmless.

It didn't even bear thinking about.

Everyone daydreamed. Everyone.

So, once in a while, when it all got to be too much, he would sit down and shut his eyes and—well—things would be different. He would still have a purpose. He would still matter. And Sherlock would—God, Sherlock would still be there, still incandescent and amazing and brilliant. Still annoying and frustrating and maddening. Still alive.

Christ, it wasn't fair that someone like that, someone brimming with life, with energy, with that much presence could just be gone, just gone, leaving naught but the dull and ordinary in his wake. And the dull and dreary ordinary was that much duller, that much drearier, for the loss of him. As if all of London had been briefly splashed with the most beautiful, vivid colours, only to bleed away to grey.

John realized that his hand was trembling again, and he clenched his fist hard, fingernails biting into his palm.

He only felt guilty because it was private. Just unorganized thoughts, a harmless daydream where he found himself once more swept up in mystery and intrigue, helplessly caught up in the orbit of someone remarkable. Vaguely embarrassing for the absurdity of it all. It wasn't as if it could actually happen.

He went to the kitchen, poured himself a drink. Just one, to steady the nerves.

His skin went all cold and clammy whenever he thought about Sherlock. About the real Sherlock, the best friend he'd ever had, the friend who had stood silhouetted against a steel grey sky and had flung himself off of a building and cracked his magnificent head open on the pavement. The sound of that body hitting concrete, the sight of that blood-soaked dark hair, those pale eyes that had seen everything wide open and seeing nothing—

Even now, three years later, he shied away from the memory. He didn't want to blog about that. He didn't want to think about that. There were no feelings to be sorted out on the matter—he knew damn well how it had made him feel to see his friend die in such a way. It was easier, better, to write about Sherlock as he might have been had he lived. Had he carried off one of the genius schemes he was known for, pulled one over on everyone, gone racing off to the far reaches of the globe to continue his beloved work.

Had he come back, come looking for John because he missed him, missed the life they had shared.

John shut his eyes. There. That, right there, was why. And yes, perhaps Ella would be horrified, because what he was doing wasn't so much healing as it was avoidance, but it made him feel better. And wasn't that the point?

And Mary—he had written in the bit about her having a dark and mysterious past because—well—because they lived a perfectly lovely, perfectly charming, perfectly dull suburban life together. And he just—he just—

"John?"

He started, his untouched drink sloshing over the rim of his glass.

Mary stood in the doorway, looking oddly tentative and apologetic. "Sorry, I—I thought you heard me come in."

"I thought you'd gone round Janine's."

They each had their respective corners to retreat to in the event of a quarrel. She would take a bottle of wine over to Janine's and vent. He would take a walk and let the fresh air clear his temper. Sometimes he'd phone Greg and they'd meet up at the pub, but those meetings always left him feeling slightly sick and empty inside, and he'd started to curtail them.

"I started to," she said. "But I—I don't want to be that person who storms out, John. Not when it's something important. This isn't the kind of quarrel that fades away with a bit of fresh air. We should talk about it."

He let out a bitter, miserable little laugh. "I don't want to talk about it. It's not— look, when I was eleven years old, I found my sister's diary. Read the whole thing in one afternoon. Teased her mercilessly, after. I was a bit of a dick."

Mary let out an amused, agreeing huff of breath.

"She was so upset," he said, shaking his head, wondering at it. "More than just usual sibling stuff. I didn't get it, at the time. But it was—those were private thoughts, unformed, not ready to be shared with the world."

"John—"

"Look, I—I get it. You're right. It probably isn't healthy. But it makes me feel better, Mary. To think about him still—still being here. Still doing what he does. What he did. To think that there could be something more than that—that senseless day when he—"

She held up her hand, shook her head. "John, stop. I know. I know that it was hard for you. That it is hard for you. But I'm not really concerned with what you've written about Sherlock."

"Oh," he said. "Good. That's—that's good."

"It's what you've written about me. About our friends. The people in our lives, John." She shook her head again, looking frustrated. "The real, living people that surround us."

"You're making a big deal about nothing."

"John," she said, and her voice was pained. "How long have you been writing this? How long has all of this—what we have—not been enough for you?"

"Oh, come on," he said. "Don't do that. Don't make it sound like that."

"Because you proposed to me," she said. "And it was lovely. You were happy. You seemed happy. And then you—did you just come home and revise it?"

"No," he said, and he felt sick at the thought. Because he had, hadn't he? "Of course not."

"Surely you can understand, then, what I'm talking about. Because what it looks like, what it looks like to me, is that you took a moment in our lives, an important moment, a moment entirely for the two of us, and felt the need to improve on it by the addition of someone else."

"Surely you can't think that what I wrote down was an improvement on the way it actually happened," he said, and tried for a little smirk. "With all the punching and the shouting."

In fact, it had been sweet and romantic and uneventful, him sweating and nervous and speaking too fast as he presented her with the little box. It had been fast, God, it had been fast, they had only known each other for six months, but she was the first person to make him smile since-- since, and she was sharp and witty and fun to be around, she made him feel human again, and that—well, that was what he needed, wasn't it? They hadn't been teenagers, rushing to the altar under the heady blush of first romance, after all. They were both old enough to know what they wanted.

And Mary had joked with him a little bit, there in that stuffy posh restaurant, had teased the nervousness right out of him, and he'd gone ahead and proposed. They'd gone home together in the cab holding hands, him looking down at the way her ring caught the headlights of passing cars.

"I thought it was perfect," Mary said, and her voice broke a little bit. "The way it happened."

She looked down at the ring on her finger, joined now with a slim wedding band, and he followed her gaze, stared at the metal against her skin.

It was clean, her ring. Sparkling. Well-maintained.

"I'm sorry," he said, still looking down at her hand. "That's not—I didn't—none of this was ever intended to hurt you."

"Well," she said, squaring her shoulders. "I'm afraid that bird has flown. So what are we going to do about it?"

He smiled a little bit, couldn't help it. She was direct. Bold. Had been from the moment he first laid eyes on her in the staff room at the surgery. She'd said something and his cheeks had ached and he'd realized that it was because he was smiling, really smiling, for the first time in what felt like ages.

Dating Mary had been easy. She had a way of filling silences that felt natural, not intrusive or invasive. She was glib, sometimes rude, often funny, and—well, she wasn't Sherlock, but being around her made him happy, and so he'd endeavored to be around her as much as possible.

"Look," he said. "The proposal—what I wrote—" He shook his head. "You didn't know me, before. When he was still alive. I couldn't—I couldn't go on a single bloody date without him finding some reason to interrupt. It was a nightmare, really. He chased women away in droves."

"Droves," she said dryly. "Pity."

He laughed, suddenly a little embarrassed, scratched at the back of his neck. "Yeah, well. Um. It's just—interrupting, on a night like that. That's just, it's the kind of thing he would have done. He would have found it funny. And I guess that I just—it was an important night, you know?"

"Oh, I think I have some idea, yes," she said.

"When we got home, you called Janine to tell her the news. I—couldn't do that. And, frankly, that's not the kind of thing I would have done even if he had still been alive. So I just—I tried to share it with him. In my head. In a way that made sense."

She gave him a long, level look. Finally, she nodded.

"All right, John. I think I can understand that. But—"

"Yeah, it's done," he said. "Deleting the file. No more."

"All right," she said again. "Takeaway? I don't feel much like cooking."

He smiled, nodded. She gave his hand a little squeeze as she passed him on her way to the telephone.

*

Later, after Mary had gone to sleep, he booted up his laptop and opened the file, sat staring at the words.

The narrative ended rather abruptly, with Sherlock, his face aglow with red sniper sights, executing the heinous blackmailer Magnussen like some kind of dark avenging angel. He threw the gun aside, held up his hands in surrender, and—

"Give my love to Mary," Sherlock half-turned, offered a sad, knowing smile over his shoulder. His hair whipped in the wind from the helicopter propellers. "Tell her she's safe now."

John let out a sharp little huff of breath, closed his eyes for a moment. It was ridiculous, to think that his absolute arsehole of a friend, a man who had once locked him in a lab while he was under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs and tried to scare him half to death, would make some kind of grand, noble gesture of self-sacrifice.

It was—it was exactly the sort of romantic drivel that Sherlock himself would have mocked him for writing. Had mocked him for writing, on the blog, that terrible blog that had dragged his reclusive friend out into the public spotlight, made him a celebrity, provided all of the tools for his destruction.

His finger hovered over the delete key.

Wish-fulfillment, Mary had called it. And she was right, she was right. He had never wished for anything harder in his whole life.

He sighed, exited the document, renamed it and hid it in a new folder. Deleting it entirely was too final. He'd had enough finality, with regards to Sherlock.

He'd just—leave it, for now.

For now.

*

He lay awake well into the night, listening to Mary's steady breathing beside him.

Inhale. Exhale.

This—what he had, what they had—it was more than good. He knew that. It was worth holding onto.

They'd been married on a beautiful sunny day in August. Mary's bridesmaids were resplendent in purple lilac, and she herself had found the most lovely dress, all vintage ivory lace that suited her complexion perfectly. They drank entirely too much wine and danced and kissed and generally made a good show of being utterly gone on each other.

It had been good.

The reception hall had been done up in a cheery yellow palette. The photographs had a surreal, dreamlike quality to them, with all of that purple lilac and yellow, saturated colours and broad, beaming smiles. Their photographer was talented, no doubt about it, even if he had seemed a little shifty.

No one was murdered, or threatened, or even stabbed.

He'd hemmed and hawed and finally asked Mike Stamford to stand up as his best man. Mike had delivered a brief, heartfelt speech and had led the room in a champagne toast. John had found a moment to slip away and share a drink with Major Sholto, who had somehow accomplished the herculean task of looking more uncomfortable in a roomful of people than Sherlock ever had.

"You're happy," Sholto had said, looking at him seriously over the rim of his glass. "Good. You deserve it, John."

And he was. Happy. Happier than he'd been in over two years. Happier than he thought he'd ever be again after Sherlock had—after he'd done what he'd done. The wedding was a lovely day, a beautiful day, as nice as any wedding ought to be, and if he found it necessary to… spice up the narrative with a bit of harmless intrigue and action and humour, well, what of it? Plenty of blokes found weddings a bit boring. Even their own.

He'd brought his laptop on holiday, after the wedding. Sat on the beach while Mary took her scuba diving lessons and constructed a bit of fiction. It was—well, it was silly, really, to imagine what his wedding day might have looked like had Sherlock lived. He'd have been rubbish at the whole best man thing, he'd been the type who needed to construct elaborate lies to get out of a gathering of friends down at the pub. A sentimental speech in front of a crowd of people? Impossible.

But Sherlock was dead, and John missed him, and oh, God, he wished he could have been there at the wedding. So he wrote him in. And when Mary trudged back up the beach from the water, cheeks flushed with exertion and cheer, he—well he hadn't wanted her to see it, so he'd named the file Unpaid Bills and tucked it away in a folder.

"John?" Mary murmured, her voice heavy with sleep.

He started, heart jumping guiltily although he hadn't been doing anything, just lying there thinking for chrissakes—

"Hm?" he asked her.

"What you wrote," she said. "About the baby? What did you mean?"

"Um," he said. "Nothing—I—it was just. The plot."

"Because when we talked about children, you had agreed that it wasn't—"

"Mary," he said. "It was just a stupid little adventure story. I just—I just used our names because it was easier. You don't need to read something into everything."

"Okay," she said, sleepily burrowing her head into her pillow. "I just don't want—if we want different things, we should talk about it. So no one gets resentful."

"Sensible," he agreed. "Now go back to sleep."

He lay awake and listened as her breathing evened out again.

They had no children. They had no plans for children. He had—well, to be honest, he had written it into the book not out of some latent desire for fatherhood but because he thought their characters needed a bit of an anchor, what with all the shootings and upheavals.

Christ, what Mary must think of him now. He couldn't blame her.

Here he was, more than three years removed from a friendship that had only lasted a mere eighteen months, a veritable drop in the bucket for all that it had felt like a lifetime. He was happily married, had a steady job practicing medicine, owned a home.

And yet he still had a hard time closing his eyes at night, because sometimes Sherlock would be there, sprawled and bloody and broken, splayed out on the pavement like a rag doll. Like someone's discarded plaything. Sherlock, who had brought John back to life with a wink and a chase through crowded streets, dead on the ground.

Sherlock had—well, hell, it was as if Sherlock had been trying to kill himself from the very start, from the first day they met. And John had kept on intervening, kept on putting himself between Sherlock and the shadow of death. Until that last day, that terrible last day, when Sherlock had been sent reeling by the loss of his reputation, and John had looked straight at him and called him a machine.

He'd had one task, one simple, self-appointed job. Keep Sherlock Holmes safe. Protect that incredible, miraculous mind. Shield him from the consequences of the asinine risks he so frequently liked to take. And on that day he'd looked over at Sherlock, at his friend, his best friend, there at possibly the lowest point of his life, and he'd shouted at him. He'd said the most hurtful thing he could think to say, because as much as Sherlock liked to ramble on about his mind being a hard drive, he'd been human and John knew it, even if no one else did. He'd been angry, and he'd aimed to wound, and Sherlock had—

Well, then it was back to the blood and the cold skin and the blank empty eyes. A horrible, unending loop. One he kept trying to correct. But he wasn't Sherlock, he couldn't work miracles. All he'd ever been able to do was write about them.

And he—he apparently found writing about the life he wasn't leading more satisfying than actually living the one he was. No wonder Mary was upset with him. He was upset with himself.

He lay awake and listened to his wife breathing and willed himself to follow her into sleep. Instead, he watched the shadows play across the ceiling until dawn, tried not to think about Sherlock.

*

He and Mary danced carefully around each other for the remainder of the week, civil and pleasant and terribly uneasy. Unsettled. There was a tension between them that had never existed before, and it set his teeth on edge.

The undeleted file nagged at him, made a space in his consciousness and demanded attention. He wasn't sure whether the attention it warranted was guilt or regret or something else.

The story was unfinished. Much like things with Sherlock, the real Sherlock, the dead Sherlock, had been left unfinished. Permanently halted, mid-adventure.

Maybe that was fitting, in a way. That life, his old life, both fictional and real, forever left unresolved.

The tension eased, as the days went on. Mary began making jokes again, looking at him with the twinkle in her eye that had drawn him to her in the first place. He let himself breathe, tried to tell himself that the only thing he felt was relief, relief that he hadn't ruined everything.

Tried to tell himself that it wasn't regret, for all of those words left off the page.

It didn't matter, anyway. There was no one to read them.

*

The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson

5th October A New Beginning

So it's been a long time since I've written anything here. A year to the day, actually. Funny how that works out. I didn't intend it that way. I know I said that would be my last blog, and to be fair I stuck to that for a year, but I guess I was feeling nostalgic.

If anyone out there is still reading, the past year of my life has been great. I met someone and we got married. That's the kind of thing that never would have happened if Sherlock was still around, because he had a habit of running off all of my girlfriends before anyone could get close. I'm pretty sure he would have found a way to interrupt my proposal if he could have! He was completely mad and I don't think anyone could really handle that, not that I blame them. There were times when I could barely handle it myself. It was never boring, though.

Anyway I didn't make this post to talk about Sherlock. I made it because… well, a lot of reasons actually. My life didn't end when Sherlock's did. I'm still here. Things are going pretty good. So maybe I should write about that instead of acting like everything interesting left with him.

So, sorry if you only want to read about cases and mysteries. I don't do that stuff anymore. Even if I could, I wouldn't be any good at it. He was the genius. I just wrote it down.

Mary (that's my wife!) says that I make a good risotto. Sherlock used to like it too. At least, I think he did. He used to eat it when I made it. Unless he was hiding it away for some experiment, which honestly was just as likely. So I was thinking that I'd start posting some recipes on this blog. Maybe some funny pictures and videos I find on the internet, too. No more of this doom and gloom.

If anyone is still out there reading this, cheers. Here's to a new beginning.

 

6 Comments

Cheers, mate. Haven't heard from you in a while. Glad you're doing ok.
Mike Stamford

ugh why did i even bother reading this what is the point if there are no cases
theimprobableone

LOL John I think you forgot to post the recipe! x
Harry Watson

I said I was going to start posting recipes, not that there was going to be one in this post.
John Watson

*comment deleted*
Harry Watson

It's good that you're happy.
Molly Hooper

*

October melted into November.

John wrote blog entries, little anecdotes about work. He posted recipes. He very carefully avoided writing about Sherlock.

I am happy, he told himself. He thought he just might be starting to believe it.

So he was surprised, thrown, really, when Mary touched his arm after dinner one Thursday night and murmured, "John, what is it?"

"What?" He said, rinsing off the last plate. He turned off the tap.

"You don't smile anymore," she said. Her eyes were plaintive.

He shook his head. "I smile."

She met his eyes with that direct gaze of hers. "You laugh at something on the telly. You'll chuckle at my jokes—and really, John, they warrant more than just a chuckle, I'm actually quite funny—but you don't smile. Not really." She shook her head. "You're a million miles away."

Indignation rose up. "People don't go walking around with deranged grins plastered on their faces," he snorted. "It'd be unsettling."

It was Sherlock's fake smile he was thinking of, the alarming one that showed too many teeth.

She sighed. "It's worse, I think, that you don't see it."

"Well I don't exactly spend each day looking into the mirror, do I?"

"That's not what I meant and you know it, John." She sighed again. "You can get irritatingly literal when you want to avoid a conversation."

"Who's avoiding anything?"

"John," she said.

"Mary," he said right back.

"Is it the, um, the thing you were writing?"

"Oh, Mary, come on, this again? I thought we'd moved past it."

"You're the one who's still upset," she said. Her voice was calm. Maddeningly so.

"I'm not upset," he said. "I'm just doing the washing up."

"You didn't delete it," she said.

"You've been snooping."

"No," she said. "I don't have to." She gave him a pointed look and turned away.

There was a slump in her shoulders, and he wondered when he'd begun to suck the joy out of her, too. He wondered when he'd stopped noticing.

"Mary," he said. "Things have been good, yeah? I've been posting on the—the blog, and the thing with the recipes—"

"Good," she said, rolling the word around on her tongue as if tasting it. "I don't know, John. Is this what you'd call good?"

He had, in fact, called it good. Repeatedly. But—

"I know you miss him," she said. "I know. I've tried to help in any way that I can."

"You have helped," he said, a sinking feeling in his stomach, the utter certainty that this conversation was headed down a dark path. "Mary, God, you know you helped. You turned my life around."

"And you wrote a novel where I turned out to be a homicidal maniac." She laughed, the sound sudden and startling. She clapped a hand over her mouth, as if surprised at herself.

He groaned. "It was just a plot twist."

"Well, why me? Why me and not Molly Hooper, or bloody Mike Stamford? Or poor Tom, God knows you don't like him very much, what with the pages and pages you went on about what an idiot he is—"

"Well he's not very bright," John snapped, then shut his eyes. "That's. That's not—"

"He's perfectly ordinary," Mary said. "And, frankly, I think that's the problem. You're offended that he dares to be tall and pale and dark-haired, that he wears a long coat and a scarf and looks like Sherlock, but he's ordinary. So you had to write him as some kind of buffoon."

"That's not—" he tried again, then deflated. He thought of Tom's cheerful demeanor, all of the ways that he wasn't anything like Sherlock, and how much he'd hated himself when his heart had leapt, just a little bit, the first time he'd caught a glimpse of the man standing next to Molly. "You're probably right, actually. Yeah."

"Yeah," she nodded. "So I ask you again. Why me? Why that particular plot twist."

"It fit, didn't it?" he blurted. "You know, you've got the whole—orphan thing—"

He had just enough time to see her wide eyes fill with shocked hurt before she was whirling away, slamming out the front door. And she really slammed it, this time, no quiet exit. The picture frames rattled on the walls.

"Shit," he said out loud, to no one.

*

The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson

10th November Diamonds are Forever

But I'm a rubbish husband. I don't think I'm cut out for domesticity.

I was better when Sherlock was

I keep saying the wrong thing. I don't know what's wrong with me. Is this what it was like for him? Somehow always managing to say exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time? Though I don't think there would have been a right time to say what I said. Sorry.

 

10 Comments

youre not cut out for writing thats for sure
theimprobableone

Don't be so hard on yourself, mate. It can't be that bad.
Mike Stamford

also you already had an entry called diamonds are forever
theimprobableone

Have you been drinking?
Harry Watson

YES
John Watson

LOL You are going to regret this post tomorrow!
Harry Watson

Have to agree with Harry on this one. Bet you'll be deleting this entry as soon as the hangover clears up.
Mike Stamford

Oh John, please come round for tea one of these days.
Mrs Hudson

LOL Not cut out for domesticity? I could have told you that!
Bill Murray

Please don't publicize our quarrels, John. Delete this.
Mary Watson

*

His head was spinning when he fell into bed, sick with regret and shame. Christ, he had a good thing going. Mary was perfect for him. Why couldn't he seem to make this work? He couldn't blame Sherlock for this one, Sherlock was dead. This was his fault, and his fault alone.

He didn't dream of Sherlock. It was almost a surprise.

Instead, he dreamt of hot sun, of sand and scrub brush and clear blue skies. Afghanistan, then, a place where he'd always had a purpose, where he'd always known exactly what to do. The place where his life had last made any semblance of sense.

There was no terror, no gunfire, no explosions. Just sun and sand and a deep sense of peace. He stood with shoulders squared and just breathed.

"That was a bit not good, wasn't it?" Sholto said to his left.

John jumped and turned, a smile creasing his face at the sight of his friend. Sholto's face was unscarred, tanned, the way he remembered it. Except—

"That's not a thing that you say," John said.

Sholto tilted his head, frowned. His eyes were light blue, sun-bleached.

"Not good," John clarified.

Sholto smiled, a nice smile, his teeth very white against his tanned skin. "What I meant to say, John, is that you really cocked that one up."

"That's more like it, yeah."

They stood scanning the horizon, side by side.

"What do you want?" Sholto asked, finally.

John shrugged. "What anyone wants."

"You're not just anyone."

He looked up, surprised at the tone of voice. Sholto was looking down at him with a serious expression.

"I can't have what I want," John said finally, turning away.

"Can't you?" Sholto said quietly, his voice deeper than it had ever been, almost like—

John glanced back. Sherlock was standing next to him, pale and strange in fatigues. He was studying John with that intense, probing look, the one that left him feeling flayed open and exposed.

"No," John said, and suddenly his pack was very heavy, his limbs tired. "I don't think I can."

*

The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson

10th November Diamonds are Forever

*entry deleted*

 

0 Comments

*