Chapter 1: 26 February 2016
Please tell me Mrs. Hudson is worrying over nothing.
Can you imagine what must have gone through her head for her to call at eleven in the evening, crying because she’s certain your pupils were highly dilated earlier that day and that you’ve been strangely quiet for the past two weeks.
I thought you - we - were past that, Sherlock. I thought you understood what it all meant. After our last case, after this whole mess, I thought...
You can’t do this to yourself any longer - your body won’t allow it. Not with the life you live, not with the recent events, not with the way you take care of your bloody transport.
For God’s sake, Sherlock! You and I clearly know you don’t need drugs, you never needed them. You’re destroying this brilliant mind of yours, not to mention the damage you’re doing to the life of the people around you. Can’t you think of them before picking up that needle?!
I can’t deal with this, not now. I’m hours away from London, I can’t just drop by to make sure you’re not high. And this isn’t Mrs. Hudson’s place either. She’s been through so much already. She’s really worried about you, Sherlock, so the least you can do is prove her wrong and not touch drugs anymore. You did promise, remember?
So yes, I really, really hope she’s worrying over nothing.
Take care of yourself.
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know that there is a “we” in matters of my mental or physical health, recreational drug use included.
I assure you, my body can withstand a lot more than you think. Perhaps you’ve underestimated me, doctor.
As for “needing” drugs - this isn’t a case of need, John, but of want. My mind works better when I stimulate it in exactly the right way. I’m not destroying my mind, you see, I’m merely enhancing it. Bettering it. Don’t be so boring, John.
You mention people around me whose lives I am destroying? Care to elaborate on that? In this case you’ve clearly over estimated the amount of invested interest that anybody truly has in my life. I don’t mean this self-pityingly, just factually.
I’ve never asked you to deal with anything, John, least of all this. I’m sorry if Mrs Hudson has inconvenienced you in any way by reaching out - I certainly never asked her to do that. I will have a word with her about calling you with such trivial matters in future. She is a bit of a worry wart, it seems, and once she gets something in her head, it’s almost impossible to sway her otherwise.
So nice to hear from you after all this time just because you think I’ve gone off the rails or something.
Nobody will be bothering you anymore.
Of course there’s a bloody “we” when it comes to your mental or physical health! If I remember correctly, I took care of your cuts and wounds, case after case. I made sure you were sleeping and eating and not blowing the flat up with you inside it. I looked after you when you were out of your mind and barely making sense.
We are a team, Sherlock, always have been, and I won’t have you just delete it.
As your so-called “want” for drugs - you’re not fooling anyone, least of all me. You managed just fine without the drugs when we met and lived together. Your mind doesn’t need to be improved, and finding excuses will lead you nowhere.
I’m not going to pick up on your No one cares about me act either. We both know just how false it sounds, and the fact that there’s already two different people who have reached out to help you only proves it even more. I’m fairly certain that a simple text can involve even more people, including one you probably don’t want to see right now.
And, Sherlock, making sure you’re alright was never an inconvenience.
I worry about you, and leaving London doesn’t mean I’m suddenly not interested in your life or well-being. I’m sorry if I haven’t called; I guess I was busy with Rosie and trying to find my place in Bill’s home.
It’s not easy for me either, Sherlock, and I thought you understood why I chose to take some distance for a time. Apparently not.
It was never my intention to stop talking to you or seeing you or even being your friend. I value our friendship, Sherlock. You have to know that, right?
I’m aware that you did all that for me. May I just remind you that I never - not once - asked you to. I understand that looking after me in the manner that you did must have been a tremendous burden on you and I know that you did it because you felt you had to - some misplaced sense of duty after the army left you without purpose, I suppose, but I’m not a child. More specifically, I’m not your child. I don’t need to be minded. I’ve never asked you to take on the role of my mother or of Mycroft (since he, for some inane reason, seems to think I’m his responsibility), and I’m not asking you to do that now. I’ve managed quite alright without you in the past. I can manage quite alright without you now, too.
We used to be a team, John. That was long ago. Before... I couldn’t delete it if I tried, and believe me, I have tried.
Involving Mycroft in my occasional drug use won’t get you anywhere - when has it ever? Don’t you think I can work around that? Hasn’t past experience taught you that? Your threats really mean nothing at this point, and only serve to anger me further.
Perhaps I managed okay without drugs when we lived together because I had help. Somebody to bounce off of. A conductor of light, so to speak. Now that I don’t have that, drugs help, in the right dose and the right combination. If I can improve my mind or transport in even the slightest way possible, why shouldn’t I take that opportunity? I’m not an addict, as you well know. I am an excellent chemist, after all. I know what I’m doing. Can’t you at least trust me on this one point?
I understand perfectly well why you had to leave. Everybody leaves, John, that’s just the way that life works. As Mycroft loves to remind me, “All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.” I hate for him to be right, but there it is. And it’s very interesting that you keep insisting that we’re still friends and that you’re still interested in my life and well-being. Surely if that were the case, you wouldn’t move halfway across the country with barely any warning and less communication than that.
Give my love to Rosie. I do miss her. If you intend to write back, I’d appreciate a picture.
Making you angry was never my intention. I was merely trying to make you realise what you’re doing to yourself, but as you repeatedly explained, you’re an adult and therefore free to live your life the way you want. Just as I am free to express my opinion and concern. It never felt to me as if I was trying to be your mother or to dictate what you should or shouldn't do. I’m sorry I threatened to involve Mycroft. Desperate measure, I guess. I’m not sure he would have done something anyway; I think he understands just as clearly that there are limits to what we can do when it involves you.
But I should make it clear now: caring for you was never, and will never be, a way to give my life a purpose.
Contrary to what you’re thinking (or deducing), I never joined the army just so that I would have people to take care of. That’s one of the reasons I became a doctor, yes, but the army was about something else entirely. Yes, I loved the army, and yes it was a time in my life when I felt like I belonged, like I was useful. And yes, being invalided home almost destroyed me in a way I’m not sure I still fully understand. But meeting you, Sherlock, and being your friend was nothing like the army.
You were right that first night - I crave the danger and adrenaline (I probably always will), but the ways you provide me with both were entirely different from what it felt like to be out there in the desert. Afghanistan was like being cut off from the world, all of us trapped in our terrible and horrific reality. London, Baker Street, you… It was so much more, Sherlock.
Truth is, I apparently can’t even take care of anyone anymore. I left before ruining our friendship for good, and now that I read your letters, I realise I’m only making it worse. I wish I could still be the person you can rely on, the person who you value more than drugs. I wish I could make you understand just how brilliant you already are. I wish I could explain how reading that last paragraph of your letter made me want to…
I’m not even sure why I wrote any of this.
I don’t want you to keep trying to delete me... us. It might be selfish, but I don’t care. I want to be able to explain why I left, I really do. Maybe another letter, if you allow me to.
PS: The photo was taken five days ago. She misses you too.
Chapter 6: 22 March 2016
Chapter by johnwatso
Please heed the new tag for this chapter specifically. Sherlock briefly alludes to his suicidal ideation in this letter. Stay safe!
I wish I could make you see why I turn to the needle day in and day out. What it’s like here, all alone, the walls feeling as though they’re closing in on me because there’s nowhere else to be and being here is suffocating. Everything feels big and scary and if I can make it less so, even for a little while, I’m going to do it.
Sometimes I feel as though I’m crawling out of my skin. It feels like my insides are lined with rows and rows of some foreign creatures that just move, move, move, all around, all over, never ceasing. I need that to stop.
I dream of peace, or of emptiness, or of existing without feeling like I want to yell or scratch my own eyes out, but it never materialises. Only when bliss is delivered in the form of a needle can I find what I’m looking for. Temporarily, of course.
And it is a sort of bliss. It’s like being held and being left alone at the same time - just the right amount to make it feel like everything can stop for once.
It stops the thoughts as well. The ones that drum on day in and day out, reminding me of why you left, why they all left, why they’ll always leave. It makes them all stop, John, and I need them to stop, at all costs.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to stop, too. Not my thoughts this time, but my entire being. If I just… stopped being. I try not to dwell on it, but it manages to worm its way in from time to time.
I think that it’s often difficult to understand ourselves, or to see ourselves for what we are. I never want to be like that. When you describe yourself and your army days, I can see that you don’t want to be like that, too, and yet you are, somehow. You’re not being untruthful, you’re just too caught up in your own situation to see it for what it is. You think that being in Baker Street was somehow more - you were always a damn romantic - but it wasn’t. It was what it was. And it ended and now when I pick it up and hold it to the light and examine it, it seems kind of ugly in a way, don’t you find?
(Made you want to what? What did reading that last paragraph make you want to do?)
I’d love for you to explain. If you could explain any of it, I think it might help. It might not, though, if the explanation is unsatisfactory (which I suspect it may be).
I waited for you that day, you know. We were meant to meet up for lunch after not having seen each other in ages. You said you’d text me, but you never did, and then I found out you were moving. You told me as though you might tell a neighbour or a colleague. So formal. So brief. I guess I can’t expect much more from you. Not anymore. (Maybe I never could?)
I’d love for you to keep writing, John, as right now, it feels like your letters are all that’s really tethering me to any sort of reality, but the truth is, your letters hurt. Not the words themselves or even the paper they’re written on, but the spaces between them. I live in those spaces. Me and a needle. Me and my chemistry.
I do wonder what it would be like to stop being me.
Chapter 7: 25 March 2016
Chapter by Salambo06
We will now post two chapters per day since we've already written quite a lot!
Thank you for all the comments and love for our story :)
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
You have to believe me when I say I never intended to make you feel this way when I left. In fact, I had planned the opposite entirely.
When I chose to leave London, to leave Baker Street, to leave you, it was supposed to give you a chance, to make you understand just how toxic my presence was to you. There is no need to deny it. The past few weeks after Mary’s death, after the whole mess with Culverton, we weren’t the same anymore. There are ghosts hanging all around, Sherlock, and they were threatening to bring what was left of us to the ground. I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t watch as you tried to ignore what was right there. So yes, I fled.
The day I called Bill, it broke me, asking for his help. I listened to myself, asking if I could come because I was slowly destroying my best friend and I needed to put some distance between us before it was too late, and I realised just how pathetic I sounded. I was the shadow of a man when you pulled me back to life, Sherlock, and by the time I made that call, I had fallen even lower.
This was supposed to give you a new start, Sherlock. Not make you feel trapped. Not make you want to stop being . God, you have so much to give to others. How can you not see it? You are the only reason I was able to have a future - you gave me one. I know, you’re going to say that you don’t need anyone, that you can live on your own and manage just fine, and I’m sure you can. But don’t you think you deserve more than that?
You asked what reading your last a paragraph made me want to do, remember?
It made me want to run back to you. I want to take that bloody needle out of your hands, to put an end to this nonsense and ask if you could forget about all the harm I’ve caused you. I want to be able to look at you in the eyes and not remember the way your jaw felt against my fist as I hit you again and again. It still haunts my nights. I can’t turn off the light without seeing you there, on the floor, and realising I was the one who beat you.
How could you even want to be around me anymore after that? How could you hold me in your arms and whisper that it is what it is . I won’t accept this, Sherlock. Not before, not now. What I did is unforgivable, and I won’t try to find excuses for my own behaviour. Neither should you. I know you will try to reassure me, to tell me I snapped and wasn’t in control of myself anymore, but it does not excuse it.
Please, you have to believe me, I never thought it would make you feel this way. You said it yourself: you managed just fine before I burst into your life, and with what… with what I've done to you, I was certain that going away could only help you move on. I felt like a complete idiot, sending you that message and not even coming to meet you for lunch. But the truth is, I was a coward. I couldn’t face you because you would have read all this on my face, and you wouldn’t have let me go without getting the words out of me.
I wasn’t ready back then. I’m not sure I am now. But apparently Ella was right, writing things down does help, and I’m hoping this letter will at least make some sense out of what I did.
Please, don’t ever think about not being you again. I need you .
I don’t know what to say. I don’t know where to even begin.
I know you never intended to make me feel this way and I want you to know that your leaving London is not the only cause for the way that I feel, John. It’s long and ugly and if I begin to pick at it, even slightly, it all starts bleeding again and so I’d rather not. I’d rather leave it buried and hideous in its little grave with no flowers and no visitors. It’s… complicated.
I feel as though it has been complicated. Ever since I went away. It has been complicated between us, especially. It’s as though every turn we take seems to be a mistake. We’re dancing around each other and constantly walking on eggshells and nothing will ever be the way it was before and it’s my fault.
You say that there are ghosts all around us and I feel them, too, but I’m not sure that your moving away was the best solution. Perhaps I’m the one who should have left and given you a chance at a normal life. Perhaps if I’d never have come back to London, you could have had that. Your wife and your child and your happiness. I took it all from you. I know that and I wish there was something I could do to change it, but there’s not. I made the decision that I had to at the time to save your life but I didn’t do it in the right way. There’s always something I miss. Something that doesn’t go quite according to plan. A loose thread in the universe - this time one that doesn’t need tugging.
It’s not you that’s toxic, John, it’s me. Everything I touch seems to sour. I’ve always been this way.
As for needing anyone else - I told you a long time ago that alone is what I have. That alone protects people. I don’t think that’s necessarily true anymore - it may not protect people but it still is true that it’s what I have.
John, you’ve not caused me any harm that I didn’t deserve one way or another. Everything you did was what you had to do. Everything I did was wrong. Hateful. Stupid. I’m everything that went wrong with your life and you’re just too blinded by sentiment to see it. You’ve always been too loyal for your own good. Ever the fine soldier.
Your behaviour is entirely excusable. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose the love of your life. Actually, I can, but you had it. You had her. Mary. And then you lost her. All because of me.
I wish I could say that I could somehow change and become the person that you need me to be, but I can’t. I’m stuck being myself and isn’t that life’s cruelest punishment? To be oneself without the ability to move away from it?
It feels as though everything that could be messed up between us got messed up and there’s no resuscitating it or turning it around. And I understand, too, that you wouldn’t necessarily want to. It is easier for you to leave all this mess behind and to forget about it. Why wouldn’t you? You don’t owe me anything. You don’t belong to me. In the grand scheme of the life of Doctor John Watson, I’m nothing.
I just want more for you, John. I want you to be alright with everything that’s happened and to not feel guilty or a sense of obligation to me.
I’ll be alright.
And, in time, so will you, I believe.
I must have read your letter a dozen times now, and I still don’t know where to begin. There are so many layers to what you said, so many details and at the same time only half-said declarations. I feel like our past letters are the perfect example of the way we never really talked about anything that mattered .
I read your letter, and I want to decorticate each paragraph so I could ask a thousand questions, but at the same time, I don’t know if I’m even allowed to do so. I wish there was a way to understand the way you work, the way your brain analyses each piece of information and processes it. I wish I knew which words to choose to finally, finally , tell you all I’ve kept in for too long.
You say that what you’re feeling is ugly, that it should stay buried. I disagree, Sherlock. I read your last letter and it feels as if you’re really reaching out to me. It feels as if you’re taking a step towards us, one I’ve been too afraid to make. In a sense, I always knew you were the braver of us two. I know, I’m the soldier, but when it comes to you, everything scares me. You used to scare me, the first few weeks after I moved in. You were full of life, full of energy, a brilliant tornado that upset my entire world, and it scared me just how much I craved all of it.
You scare me now, because even after all that I did to you, I can’t seem to make you understand just how fucked up it is. Just how fucked up I am. I even dared to remind you that I was the one who took care of you after each case. How was I taking care of you when I was beating you? God. Even just writing these words down - beating you - makes me want to scream. You never deserved any of it, Sherlock. You didn’t deserve the way I hit you after you came back, you didn’t deserve the way I treated to you after I went back to Mary, you didn’t deserve the way I acted during the last few cases we worked together.
It has nothing to do with being loyal, or being over-sentimental. It’s reasonable thinking. What I did was wrong, and I will spend the rest of my life blaming myself for it.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s how you felt after coming back. You wrote that things were never the same after that, but deep down, did you really think we could go back to who we were? I for sure tried. I wanted nothing more but to have you again, to be us again. I wanted the cases, the chases, the take-aways and the nights spent in comfortable silence. I wanted the old us so much that I barely slept the days following your return. But you’re right - suddenly, everything was complicated. There was Mary, there was my own flat, there was all the things I never dared to ask and all the things I said without thinking twice about the consequences.
But you have to understand, you not coming back would have been a thousand times worse. The two years I spent thinking you were dead were the worst of my life, Sherlock. At the most random moments of the day I would think about the way you looked on that pavement, or the feeling of your wrist as I searched for a pulse. It still haunts my nightmares, but you came back, Sherlock.
You came back and you brought back so much with you. And yes, I was angry. So angry, Sherlock. I wanted to shake you, to ask you how you dared doing this to me, to ask you if I meant so little to you that you chose to left me behind. I still wonder sometimes.
You say that in the scheme of my life, you’re nothing. I, once again, have to say I disagree. One day, Sherlock, I’ll explain just how you’re the one person who’s designing this scheme.
I thought about all the things you said about Mary, but I’m keeping my answer for a future letter. There is too much to explain, and it shouldn’t be done in a hurry.
You’re probably right, I’ll be alright one day. But I want us to be alright.
One more thing, Sherlock.
There is no need for you to change, not even a single bit. I don’t need you to be the person you think I need for the simple reason that you already are.
I’ve mulled over your letter for a while now. I read it so many times that it’s starting to tear a little bit in the folds. And yet I still can’t quite seem to make sense of it. To be specific, I’m struggling to make sense of my feelings around it
I thought I knew how I felt. I thought I knew the truth about you and about me and about us, but I don’t. I’m not sure what I think or know anymore.
Almost every night, I have a dream that I’m drowning in this huge lake and it looks as though there’s nobody around to save me and it’s getting darker and my chances of being saved lower and lower when suddenly, out of nowhere, there you are, and every time I see you, my dream self thinks, There he is! There’s John! He’ll surely save me now! I don’t need to struggle anymore! But as soon as I’m done thinking it, I realise that you’re not coming for me after all; that you’re moving towards something at the other edge of the lake, something I can’t understand or see or decipher. I always wake up with a start, feeling as though I’m choking on the water of my dreams and it takes a couple of seconds to reorient myself.
You see, there are things I need to say to you, too. Things unsaid. Things I need to yell and let. out. because it’s killing me to keep it all in. The problem is, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Which loose end to tug at. Everything feels so overwhelming and twisted. I don’t know where there’s pain or where there’s celebration. Where hurt ends and yearning begins.
I am trying to take steps towards you, John, but at the same time, I want to push you away. I know, deep down, that even though I ruined the things you had, your marriage and your family, I still can’t trust you with myself and with my feelings. What you did was wrong, and yet a huge part of me still believes that I deserved it. When it comes to you, I can’t make sense of anything, really. I can’t see things as they are because I’m too busy seeing you.
Before I came back, everything was crystal clear. I was coming home. To you. To us and the life we shared before I had to go. It didn’t quite work out that way, it seems, and I blame myself every single day for expecting you to be waiting for me. As if I was worth it. As if what we had before I left could in any way compare to the life you built for yourself while I was gone.
You do need to understand, though, once and for all, that I left for you. Maybe it was wrong. Maybe I should’ve done things differently, but given the choice between what I did and losing you, I’d choose what I did any day. I’d do it all again because it meant keeping you safe, if not happy.
I, too, was tormented during those two years. I, too, thought of not much else besides your hand on my stilled pulse and the way you looked and the way I knew, right then, that I’d made some sort of error. I thought I could clear it up when I got back, but it didn’t turn out that way, did it?
You’re right - I did bring a lot back with me when I returned. There are scars that you’ll never even know about, John. That nobody can ever know about. Things that are there every single time I close my eyes and things that make me leave the lamp on when I sleep. It wasn’t easy, being gone, and it was even more difficult dealing with Moriarty’s network. Being captured. Being tortured. None of it was easy, but in exchange for your life, I’d do it again.
You say that you wonder if you meant so little to me that I’d choose to leave you behind. Can’t you understand that you meant so much that I did it? Why is it so difficult for you to imagine a scenario in which I’m not the enemy, John, but the one fighting every day to keep you safe and happy? Mycroft said something interesting to me the other day and I didn’t quite understand it until now. He said, “Actions speak louder than words, Sherlock, but your actions seem to be falling on deaf ears.”
If you could maybe see the intention behind everything I did… But I suppose intention is never truly the thing that counts in the end. It’s all about what they see on the outside, and nobody has ever liked what they saw when it came to me.
So there are many things I want to say and things I need to say, but I’m not even sure where to start. There are things I didn’t even know I wanted to say, didn’t even know I felt, like anger and hurt and betrayal. These are the ugly things. The things I wanted to keep buried. There are other things, too, but those may be better left unsaid…
I’m sure the things you aren’t saying about Mary are too difficult to say, too, but you know I’m still here for you, if you need a shoulder, so to speak.
We both are a mess, aren’t we?
I read each of the words you surely carefully chose, and it makes being here so much harder. I find myself wishing I could be in 221B, with you, whispering all of this during quiet evenings by the fire. I find myself imagining Rosie sleeping in her cot in my bedroom, you sitting at the kitchen table and me, trying to gather the nerve to tell you all the things I’m about to write down. I find myself hoping you’ll want to murmur these ugly thoughts, these things you keep buried, and that you won’t be afraid of doing so. That I won’t be afraid to hear all of it.
It gives all of this - all of the things we write to each other - so much more meaning. Who knows if we would have ever talked about any of them otherwise.
I can’t stop thinking about your nightmare. It says so much and yet so little at the same time. As I write this letter, I’m thinking it makes perfect sense. I don’t come to save you, Sherlock, and it speaks volumes about what you think of our relationship now. I understand. I truly do. How could you ever trust me after what I did? Even your subconscious knows you can’t. Maybe, like you said yourself, it’s trying to tell you what you can’t bring yourself to accept. I have to say, it was a relief to read your letter and see that you’re starting to see just how wrong what I did to you is. I don’t think either of us can move on from this point - right here - if we don’t try to fight our own struggles first.
You only need to look at my letters to understand it.
We’ve been writing to each other for more than a month now, and I’m still blind to all the things you did for me. Because, that’s the thing, right? Ever since you came, everything you did, it was all for me. Every single choice you made, every single action, dance lesson, wedding planning and silent support. You even died to keep me safe. Fuck. You came back thinking you’d have your life back, and all I gave you was an empty flat and undeserved blame. And Christ, it’s during moments like this that I hate the way we never talked. Because you’re right, I never fully understood the reasons behind your fake death. I never dared to ask, never dared to put into words all the questions I had when you came back.
And god, Sherlock, maybe I shouldn’t say so, maybe it’s not my place, but I want to know about all your scars. The ones marking your skin and the ones that still today remain invisible. I want to know about those two years, I want to know where you stayed, where you slept, where you ate, the people you met and ones you chased. I want to know what went through your head on quiet nights, but also on the days when you doubted you’d ever come back home. I want to know everything, the same way I want to be able to earn knowing all of it.
And it will probably make me angry, and I’ll probably wish I could find all those people who hurt you, but I also have to accept that what’s done is done. All I can do now is ensure that I’ll be there the next time you need me. If you ever need me again.
I want to be that person again. I want you to trust me again, and I know I need to work to earn back that trust. I don’t want you to think that me coming back to London would fix everything. I honestly think that it would only make it worse. If I come back now, Sherlock, there’s still so many things I haven’t told you. There’s still so many things I haven’t worked on, and tried to understand. And have no doubt, I want to come home. I want to be back in London and breathe it in. I want the life we used to have, the relationship we used to have. Christ, Sherlock, there so much more I want, too.
There are things I wish I could tell you too, things I’m not sure I’m ready to say. But there are other things I’m not sure you’re ready to hear. I want you to be fully aware of what you want from me, of what you’re feeling, before I say anything about Mary. Because if my behaviour hurt you after you came back, I know she did nothing to make it easier. So when we’re ready, when we’re certain about what we want from each other, I’ll find the courage to tell you all of it.
There’s also something more - and just writing this down is making my entire body ache - but I need to get it out.
If you want me to stop writing, if you want me to stop being part of your life entirely, if it can help you, you only have to say so. I’ll understand. We both need to work on our own demons. Bill invited me to anonymous meetings, he’s a mentor there and he said I could come if I wanted to. It’s mostly soldiers who’ve been struggling after being sent back home, but Bill said it could help with the anger I feel all the bloody time. I’m hoping it will allow me to find out how to be the man who deserves to be your friend again. I’m going to try, Sherlock. I’m going to try and find a way to put an end to this constant mix of emotions I feel.
Your - hopeful - friend
I’m just so tired and I’m not sure what could ever make this feeling go away.
A huge part of me wishes you could be here, back in 221B. You and Rosie. The thing is, though, that I also know it’s not the time. We both have so many demons haunting our every move. Ghosts of the past and ghosts that loom over our futures. I feel as though everywhere I turn, there’s even more to deal with.
Your letters help, though. They help keep me breathing and keep me sane when I truly don’t feel that way at all. I know that every couple of days, I have something to look forward to. To read in the sitting room. To read again in the kitchen while I wait for the kettle to boil. To re-read in bed when I can’t sleep and even when I can sleep but am too haunted to do so. They help me a lot. Please don’t stop writing, John. Is that too much to ask of you? I somehow find myself not caring and I’ll ask it anyway: don’t stop writing. At least for a while.
I do realise that there are things that I need to accept about myself and about you and about us , but it isn’t easy. Maybe you being away is a blessing, after all, because it gives us the space and time to figure it out before we come together and mess it all up again. In my dream you don’t save me, but people don’t save people in real life, do they, John? People only help people to save themselves. I think that’s more important than anything else in the world. Helping someone to be more of who they’re supposed to be. You’ve given me that for so long. And you’re still continuing to do so, by helping me to see that I can’t continue to blame myself for everything that has happened between us. I can’t blame myself for the way you treated me - not anymore. And I’m coming to a place where I think that’s okay. Before this, it felt too threatening to admit that maybe you were wrong sometimes, because I put you on a pedestal where everything you did was right and everything I did was the opposite. You were always my social and moral compass when we worked on cases, after all. Now, though, I’m starting to learn that it’s okay for me to admit that sometimes you can be wrong, too, and that maybe I can be worth more that your fists and your rage. It isn’t always easy, and the guilt inevitably seeps in, but I’m working on it. While you’re there working on you, I’m here working on me. And I think both of these things will help us work on us .
Perhaps the reason you didn’t ask the questions when I came back and the reason I didn’t encourage you to do so is because we weren’t really ready. I don’t think I’m ready, even now, to face my own scars, let alone the scars we caused between us.
Someday I might be able to speak to you about all of it but, like you say, trust needs to be established and built up again. I can barely even trust myself with these things. It’s so difficult for me to face the things that happened, because it was the first big wake up call in a series of many that screamed, “Sherlock Holmes, you’re just as human as everybody else.” I always thought I was above it all, but I was wrong. I’m not above cigarette burns and whips and starvation and isolation. I’m just like anybody else in that regard, if not more vulnerable due to my not having built up adequate support structures around me.
And as for the quiet nights, John, I thought only of you and of our home. The fireplace at 221B and the oily takeaways and even movie nights where I’d predict the endings and you’d pretend to be mad but really you were secretly very impressed. I thought about the cases we had worked on together and the ones we could work on when I returned. I thought about how Mrs Hudson and you would gang up on me for not cleaning up after my experiments but how it was always gentle and mildly amused in tone. I thought about how, in summer, we would sometimes push our chairs closer to the window at night and read our books or I’d play my violin and you’d tap away at your keyboard while the light breeze danced over our faces and it was just the right mixture of silence and calming noise.
I really did think I’d be coming home to all of that.
One day, John, we might get to that place. I just think it might take some time and a lot of effort on both our parts.
We need to be honest, too, I think. Bold. It isn’t easy to say the things we need to say, but I hope it will be worth it. Writing it down instead of saying it face to face definitely makes it easier.
The things you need to say - I think you should say them. I’ll try to find it in me to do the same.
I’ve been working with a therapist, too. I’ve only been for four sessions now but I’ve found it surprisingly valuable. She challenges me in ways that not many people dare to. When she prods too hard and I start to deduce her personal life as a defence mechanism, she patiently waits until I’m done and I hang my head slightly and murmur that I apologise. She’s helping me with some of the demons, but I know that the bulk of it relies on me and on telling the truth. She’s also been helping with my drug use, and I haven’t used at all in about three weeks. God, I’ve been itching to sometimes, though. Some nights I’m so tormented by every single hateful thing that worms its way between my ears that I long to go out and score, but I don’t. For once, I’m doing that for myself, and I think it elevates the stakes somewhat. If I can’t live for me, John, who can I live for? There needs to be something within me that makes that possible and I’m going to try my hardest to find it. For myself. For you too, and for Rosie. For when and if you both ever come back.
So what do you say, John? Should we try to say the things that are still left unsaid? Do we dare?
Do we jump?
First of all, I’m relieved to read you’ve stopped using. I’ve been too afraid to ask since that first letter, but the fear of your letters stopping suddenly kept me awake for hours every night ever since. As for your therapy, I’m glad you found someone to talk to, and you have to believe me when I say that I hope it’ll help you. I can see it already has.
You know, I almost laughed when I read your letter for the first time. I would have never thought you’d think I’m worth being put on a pedestal. When I’m next to you, I always feel like I’m the luckiest man, being able to just stand there, to be part of your world. You’re right, I really am an idiot sometimes, especially compared to you, and I always felt like you’d grow bored of my presence. I used to wonder, the weeks after I moved in, how long it would take for you to realise just how ordinary I am, but you never said anything. I understand now, and if for a second I felt proud, reading your words, it also explains a lot. I’m not sure most men would be happy being told they’re not perfect, but God knows I am. We can’t move on if we don’t accept the other as he is, and we’re both far from perfection in the end. And yes, you will always remain amazing and bloody brilliant to me, but I also know the ways you can hurt me and push all of my limits. Now you do too. That’s a good thing, Sherlock.
I should also say that I’m not planning on stopping these letters. Only you could have made me. I’m not going to stop and one day, Sherlock, we won’t have to write any of them anymore. Because it’s not a matter of if we come back but of when . Because we’re going to be alright, we’re going to move past all the obstacles still on our path and find a way back to each other. I refuse any other alternative.
Rosie misses you. I wasn’t joking when I said so before. Some days, I think she blames me. She won’t let me hold her, and not once smile at me. I catch her looking at Bill’s front door, as if she’s expecting someone to appear all of a sudden. She also plays all the time with that bee stuffed toy you bought her, and I’ve stopped counting the number of times I find it under my pillow or cover when I go to bed. There are times I think it could be her mom that she’s waiting after, but then I remember that Mary left for months and never really connected with her own daughter. How could Rosie miss her when she barely had the chance to get used to her mother.
Alright, Sherlock, you asked for us be be bold, to dare, to take a jump.
Here’s mine: Mary was never the love of my life.
I know you called her that in one of your first letters, but you got it all wrong. The love of one’s life should be someone who makes your whole world spin, who makes you want to wake up every morning to their warm body pressed to yours and the comfortable feeling of belonging to someone else. It should be someone who makes you smile and laugh and makes you feel so bloody happy all the time. It should be someone who makes you cry and fear it could end any time and wonder how you’ll survive if it does. It should be someone who’s there to remind you it’s never easy but that’s alright, because you’re in this together and learning day after day how to make it work. It should be someone you can’t stop thinking about, someone you want to grow old with, someone you want to make love to every single second of every single day. The love of your life should be someone you fought for, someone you keep fighting for every day.
She was never any of that, Sherlock. Yes, I loved her, and yes, for a time, she made me happy. But she was, and always had been, a way to stop myself from doing something stupid. I was so alone, Sherlock, and there she was. Smiling and funny and interested in me despite my constant state of mourning. She listened and she waited, and I was finally starting to realise how lucky I was to have found someone to talk to again. I imagined a future with her, of course I did. One I thought I’d never get to have, one I never really considered - or needed - before, and for a while, it was something to look forward to. But that was all. I realise now how much of a jerk I sound like, talking about her as if she never really meant anything to me, and I need you to understand that she did count.
But the lies, Sherlock. All the lies, the trust she expected from me, the one she broke without a hint of hesitation. She shot you, for God’s sake. She shot you and then threatened to finish the job if you told me. How could I still love her? How could I still want to build a future with her? I’m not ashamed to say so, but if she hadn’t been pregnant, I would have left her. But she was the mother of my child, and I couldn’t let my own daughter grow up alone with an assassin as a mother. I thought I could make her change, stop her from hurting anyone else, but the lies kept on coming. There were nights when she didn’t even come home after Rosie was born. I had no idea where she went or what she did, and I was too afraid she’d leave with Rosie that I didn’t say a word.
I know you liked her, more than any girlfriend I ever had, and I’m still not sure why your behavior didn’t change after she tried to kill you, but you must have had your reasons. To this day, I’m still uncertain on why she jumped in front of that bullet for you, but all I could feel was relief. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I knew no one would take Rosie from me. What kind of a husband feels relieved when his wife dies, Sherlock? I know now that it was the real reason for my anger. I was so angry at myself for feeling this way, for not mourning her, for wanting to move on with my life as fast as possible. I even started hallucinating her. She was constantly in my head, talking and smiling and making me want to punch the nearest wall.
She might have never been the love of my life, Sherlock, but you have to understand that it’s still worth fighting for. You… You said you knew what it felt like to lose the love of your life, and if my assumptions are right, then you haven’t. I’ve said it before, and meant it. You deserve to be loved without limits, and she’s right there, Sherlock. The Woman. She’s reaching for you and you only have to reach back. Your turn to take a jump.
I’m looking forward to silent and comfortable summer night by the window,
PS: I have a mentor now - Julian. He’s quite clever and a very good listener, and I can say without a doubt that he’s helping me in a way I didn’t expect. I wouldn’t have been able to write this letter without him, that much is certain.
I must say, I am quite taken aback by your letter - by many aspects of it.
I first have to say that even though you’re, by many estimations, “ordinary”, you’re one of the least ordinary people I know. You must see that? You’re the sun, John, and I feel like I’m the earth, ever orbiting around you (see? You teach me things, too). You say you used to wonder, when we first moved in together, how long it would take me to realise you were ordinary? Well, truth be told, I used to wonder how long it would take you to realise that I wasn’t worthy of your time and admiration. How long it would take for you to see that I really am a freak and a psychopath. I’m not sure why you didn’t run while you still had the chance.
I’m certainly very glad that you and Rosie are planning to come back. I miss her very, very much, John. Truth be told, I miss you, too. That should be quite obvious, actually.
There’s a package accompanying this letter - another little toy for Rosie. Let me know if she enjoys it. Tell her uncle Sherlock sends his love and give her a big kiss from me. I’m sorry to hear that she’s been unhappy recently and I hope she starts to settle in a bit more.
As for the bold jump you took, well, I can’t say I’m not surprised. I never suspected that you felt this way. I do worry, though, that some of your memories of your time with Mary may be a bit marred now that she’s gone. Maybe you want to move on so badly that you’re convincing yourself that she didn’t make you as happy as she did? Something to consider…
If Mary wasn’t the love of your life, who was? Or are you still waiting for that special someone? I know there was the woman from the bus, but you did say it was just texting. Did you ever speak to her again? After Mary was gone?
I understand all too well what you mean when you speak about the love of your life, though. Surprisingly. I never really thought all that stuff was for me. I never thought I’d ever feel that way, but life has a way of surprising me. Especially of late.
The love of one’s life is someone you can not live without. The thought of them not being in the world at the same time as you should make your breath stop. That’s how I feel, at least. I’d do anything for that person. Even give up my own life.
I did like Mary but, to be honest, the biggest reason for that was because I knew you loved her and chose her. I couldn’t imagine not giving her that chance and not forgiving her if it meant hurting you. Your happiness is very important to me, John. As I’ve proven in the past, I’ve even been wont to put it above my own happiness and that’s more than fine. After she shot me, though, I continued to keep her very close so that I could keep an eye on her, too. I didn’t trust her completely, of course, but I didn’t manage to find out enough about her past to ensure that she was what she claimed to be and that she truly was out of the game. So I played nice and made sure that you were safe and that Rosie was safe and that she would never take Rosie away from you. People like her are prone to running - she proved that to us when Ajay showed up on the scene. I didn’t want that to happen to your daughter. Thankfully, it seemed that Rosie was not, at the end of the day, her priority, and that if she ran, she’d most likely do it without her. We can be thankful for small mercies, I suppose.
As for your last assumption, I’m afraid you’ve severely miscalculated on this particular deduction. I might not have lost the love of my life in the strictest sense, but let’s just say that they’re not particularly within my grasp. At least not in that way.
The fact that you would think that I’m referring to The Woman, though, is almost laughable. She was a challenge and an equal - someone who was very similar to me, with an exemplary mind. She did manage to fool me, after all. What she was not, however, was a love interest. She could never be that. That place belonged to somebody else all along.
I suppose, also, that this would be a good time to tell you that it’s not just The Woman that I couldn’t be attracted to, but any woman. Men, John, are more my area. I thought I made that quite clear the first night we met. I hope this doesn’t change anything between the two of us, although I suspect you’re far above such ridiculous and frankly outdated prejudices.
So, yes, Irene texts me now and again and yes, I do sometimes text her back, but that doesn’t mean anything more than what it is on the surface. On my birthday, you said that I still had a chance at love, and that I’d better take it while I still could. I wish I could follow that advice, but I’m afraid that, in doing so, I might ruin something else. Something I hold very, very dear. And that something is certainly not an occasional text thread with Irene Adler.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have that chance at love, John, but you still can. Perhaps with the woman from the texts or with some other beautiful woman you meet or maybe even with Julian (I can tell, you know, by the way that you nonchalantly mention him in the postscript of your letter in the most flattering light you ever really offer anyone - with compliments to his intellect - that you have developed a sort of a crush. Don’t go red in the face and clench your fist, John. I’ve plainly stated my seuxality for you to read, haven’t I? Let’s not lie to each other with our silly omissions anymore.)
I’m considering starting to take on some new cases. Lestrade has been nagging me for months now and I’ve been ignoring his calls for the most part. I might be ready to reintegrate myself into the world in which I used to belong, but we’ll see. Baby steps.
I’ve also been composing again and taking up experiments. I’m starting to feel almost like a real person instead of a ghost of one.
Not only has therapy helped with that, but these letters have as well. Being able to get these things off of my chest with somebody that I feel closest to in all the world is tremendously helpful. So I’m glad that you’re not planning to stop writing anytime soon. Neither am I.
Until next time, then
I must confess, this is the third time I’m writing this letter.
I take my pen and start to write my response, but my mind is elsewhere entirely. I try to begin with asking about the cases you’re thinking of working. I try to begin with the melody you’ve written recently. I try to begin with telling you how wrong you are to think I ever thought you were a freak and a sociopath. I try and try again, but there is this ridiculous hope growing inside my head and I can’t seem to stop thinking about it.
But I can’t begin with that. I really, really can’t because there’s a lot you’ve asked to know, and therefore a lot I need to answer. So, I’m going to try and reply to each of your questions, and if my sentences or train of thoughts are off, please forgive me.
One : Rosie loves the toy, and refuses to let go of it, even to sleep. She’s still not her usual self, but I’m afraid she won’t get better while we’re here. Bill and her wife are great with her, but this house isn’t her home, and she knows it. I hope she’ll settle well when we decide to leave and come back to Baker Street, but I don’t have much doubt about that since you’ll be there.
Two : You’re probably right about Mary. It’s probably still too recent for me to have a clear mind when I think back on the years we shared. I’m hoping I will be able to adjust my judgement when Rosie is older and starts to ask questions about her mother. I kept a few photographs of Mary just for this, but I must say this is not something I look forward to.
Three : Thank you for being honest concerning your feeling towards her. I find myself not so surprised to learn you’ve been trying to keep me happy and safe, and I wish I could express just how thankful I am. There is no doubt in my mind that you would have done anything to find Rosie if Mary had taken her.
Four: I won’t try to deny it. Deep down, I always knew you were gay. From the first dinner at Angelo’s, the thought found its way into my mind and stayed there. That was also the day I concluded that you weren’t interested in romantic attachment at all, so you can’t blame me for starting to doubt it all when Irene entered our life. I had never seen you interact with anyone like that before, and she was flirting with you constantly . She wasn’t even subtle about it, and surely you must have noticed. So yes, when the texts continued, I thought that you were too afraid or, I don’t know, that you didn’t know what to do, and therefore didn’t take the step further in your relationship.
Five: I always wondered if you knew about my bisexuality. You sure never said a thing about it, but then, neither did I. It took me years to accept it, to fully accept it, and in a way, the army helped a lot. It was surprising to find such open-minded people in so manly a place. My Dad, the great Army Captain, for sure hadn’t been accepting of such behavior, and I had learned my lesson when Harry had came out. I had spent the entirety of my life denying my attraction towards men, and had even prepared myself for the sharp remarks and hurtful jokes shared between soldiers. In the end, the army turned out to be the place where I let myself touch a man for the first time, let myself experience a pleasure I had never dared to think about. Still, old habits die hard, and I’ve never made it explicitly clear without being asked directly. And in total honesty, I had been waiting for you to ask for a very long time.
Six : I don’t have to look for the love of my life. I found it years ago.
Christ, I’m sorry. This letter is a mess.
But by now you must have noticed the only subject I’ve left unanswered. It’s been driving me mad, Sherlock. I’ve turned the thoughts in my head over and over again, pondering the pros and the cons, and each bloody time, the same - brilliant, breathtaking, unreal - answer presents itself. You… You say that the love of your life is out of your grasp. You say that you’re afraid to ruin something else. You say that you’ll do anything for that person, you’ll even give up your life. You say that place was already taken when Irene Adler began her little game.
You say so much and so little at the same time, and it keeps me awake at night. So I’m going to say something too, because I’m that desperate and that hopeful, and please, please Sherlock, do not hate me for doing so.
You say that you wish you could follow my advice and declare yourself to the love of your life.
I say that it’s worth a try. I say that you might be surprised. I say do it .
With hope and anticipation,
It’s always been you, John.
It is you. It will always be you.
In my mind, there is nobody else that can ever take the place that you hold in my heart.
You advised me to be brave and to declare this. I don’t think it will do any good and I truly do worry that it may ruin our friendship, but I also know that I can’t put it off any longer because it has already been so many years coming and I can’t bear to think of living in this world for another single second without you knowing the truth.
I love you.
I really, really do.
Sometimes I think I love you so much that I can’t stand it. That it takes too much of me because you’ll never love me back, at least not in the way that I need or want from you.
At first, I never told you because I hadn’t figured it out for myself. I hadn’t yet figured out that I’ve loved you since the very moment I saw you in Bart’s that day. I truly believed that I was above all that. I thought love was for sentimental idiots, because I often saw the nasty consequences of love gone wrong in my line of work and never really saw the beauty in it, as I do now. The beauty in it even when it hurts like hell.
I believe I began to realise it somewhat around the time of The Woman - ironically enough, she is the one who made me see that we were much more than friends. That I was already taken by and with someone. That we were, for lack of a better word, a couple already.
When I had to go away, though, is when it really became quite stark. I missed you like the air that I breathed, John. I felt homesick every single moment I was gone, and I soon began to realise that it wasn’t really home in the conventional sense that I missed - it wasn’t 221B or even London that I yearned for, it was you. You had become my home. I longed, every single day, to come back to you and to resume our old life. I sometimes longed for more, but I wasn’t sure what that entailed exactly, and I’d long suppressed that side of me. I just wanted to be with you again.
Coming back from that to find you having moved on with Mary highlighted it even further. I was suddenly so aware of the fact that I needed you. That being without you felt like a certain kind of death I’d never recover from.
I helped you plan your wedding because I loved you to the extent that I’d do anything for you. I’d fly into the sun if it would help prevent you getting a sunburn, John. I’ve always been an all-or-nothing kind of man.
You must know, however, that being there when you looked at Mary fondly and said “I do” was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to endure. At your reception, I made a speech in which I finally told the absolute truth - to you and your guests and even to myself. In a way, I was coming to terms with how I felt about you at the worst possible moment. I was finally saying it out loud and it was far too late and far too little and did no good at all. I think what hurt even more than your marrying another woman, though, was the way you looked at Major Sholto that day. I had suspicions regarding your bisexuality before then, but it was never confirmed. And then I saw the way you were around him and realised that it wasn’t men that you didn’t want to be with, it was me. You denied being gay for my benefit, because you didn’t want me . Every time you fanatically insisted that you weren’t gay when people assumed that we were together flashed before me, and it left me with the realisation that you were emphatically telling them that there was no way you’d ever consider me as an option. That’s what stung the most from that entire day, I think.
And then I deduced that you were going to have a baby with her and you waltzed off with the cruelest joke on your lips about our dancing lessons and I had to leave early. I had to get out of there and come back to Baker Street and dig up my old secret supply that I’d not touched in all the time we lived together and get so high that I couldn’t even remember my own name.
I carried on in that fashion until Magnussen came along and I could use his case as an excuse for my using again - I even lied to myself on this front. Everything that happened with Mary really only served to put more nails in the already very much closed coffin. You forgave her for what she did, which I prompted you to do for your safety and your happiness and your unborn child, and I shot Magnussen to further ensure this would go as planned. I loved you so much that I threw away my entire life for you (I’d do it again).
I even tried to tell you. On that tarmac. I said “Sherlock is actually a girl’s name,” but I think deep down, we both know what I truly meant to say and it certainly wasn’t that. I knew that I definitely couldn’t bear to leave you again (even though we were no longer what we used to be, but I’d take anything over nothing when it came to you - still would) and walk right into the same sort of danger I’d endured during those two years alone and so I took another dose - one I’d hoped would be lethal. I didn’t really admit this to myself, mind, hence the fact that I’m still very much alive right now. I thought I was just sinking myself into a sweet oblivion, but I can acknowledge now that it wasn’t just about that. It was about not having to go on alone anymore. Especially in a situation where I may again be tortured and isolated. I couldn’t stand that.
And then. And then everything happened with Mary. It was a lot for both of us to deal with and I don’t imagine it was easy for you to even look at me after that. Which is why I didn’t blame you for what you did. But again, the needle seemed like the only solution to the way that it made me feel, and so that’s where I turned. Believe me when I say that I never intended for her to trade her life for mine, and if given the choice, I would never have let it happen. I meant what I said before - in saving my life she conferred a value on it - a currency I do not know how to spend. I do, however, intend to spend it as wisely as I can. And part of that starts with telling you the truth, John. With this letter.
The rest, really, is history.
And so we find ourselves here. At a kind of impasse.
So I’m being brave, John, and I’m going to send this letter even though most of me is screaming not to because I’m so afraid to lose you in any way. I only hope that this won’t cause you to stop writing or make things even more strained between us. I’m sorry if this puts you in an uncomfortable situation, but I feel like it had to be done.
PS If you don’t want to respond to this, that is, if you’d like to go on pretending I’d never sent this, I think we might be able to do that. It would be difficult, but I could do it for you.
Of course, it’s always been you too.
How could it not be?
There hasn’t been a single day since we met when I haven’t been wondering what it would feel like to kiss you. What it would feel like to hold you as we fall asleep. What it would feel like to take your hand and hold on tightly to it. What it would feel like to have your body pressed against mine, entirely, without limits. What it would feel like to have you, every inch of you, mine .
You gave me back my life, you gave me a purpose when all I could think of was giving up. You burst into my routine and upset it, day after day, case after case. You took one look at me and I was hooked, I couldn’t imagine another morning waking up without the certainty of you being here. I was so desperately in love with you already that it scared the hell out of me. Who falls in love after just one look, one day, one week? I didn’t even know what was happening to me. I can’t remember falling in love with you because it felt so natural, like I had been waiting for it for so long that I let it happen without noticing.
But there is no point in denying it, even back then, even now.
I am in love with you, and it has been making my life a constant mix of bright happiness and aching hurt.
And it breaks my heart to read that you thought I didn’t want you of all people. God, Sherlock, all those times I asserted I wasn’t gay, it was to protect myself. I couldn’t let you deduce just how much I wanted you, just how much I craved you all the bloody time. I was certain you would have told me it wasn’t reciprocated and asked me to move out. I couldn’t lose you, even if it was just your friendship I had, it was enough. Even if we remained just friends, I wanted a lifetime with you.
I still do.
I want to come back home and love you, properly. I want to make you feel loved, to make you understand with touches and kisses just how much I adore you. I want to look into your eyes and let you deduce all the things I’ve never dared to let out. I want you, God, I want you so much. But even as I write these words, it scares me. It scares me because I feel like this feeling could swallow me whole, consume me entirely. Are you scared too, Sherlock, of all the possibilities offered to us now?
I am. Because you only have to mention Irene Adler for jealousy to make my chest ache.
I want to be ready. I want to tell you just how much I missed you during those two years. I had lost the love of my life and I had no idea how to feel alive again. I tried and tried, but your absence was a hole in my chest, and I couldn’t move on. And… and you came back, Sherlock. You came back and I could breathe again. I could laugh and really mean it, I could look at you, touch you, let myself believe you were truly there. I almost told you so many times, you know. When you were back to Baker Street and I was living so far away, I wanted to tell you. Some days I wish I had, maybe it would have avoided all the hurt the months after that caused. That day on the tarmac still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth every time I think about it. I hoped, oh yes, I hoped that sentence was going to end differently. I would have kissed you there, made you stay, fought for you. I should have. I should have tried harder, should have been more courageous. I almost lost you again, Sherlock, and the thought kept me awake for weeks after that plane landed back.
So yes, I want to be ready to love you properly. I want us to be ready. There is still so much we need to talk about, so much we need to forgive ourselves for. Christ, you wrote me a long, beautiful, letter and mine seems so dull in comparison. But I can’t stop thinking about each word you put down on paper, each confession you made and how much you must have been scared writing them.
I’m going to end this letter with a promise.
I promise to tell you everything, letter after letter. Anything you want to know, every thought I had, every text I’ve never sent, every fantasy I dreamed about. I’ll tell you everything, Sherlock, because the time for hiding has passed. I want to be yours, fully.
I love you,
Yes, Sherlock, I’m here.
Did you mean it? SH
Everything you said in your last letter? SH
Yes. Yes, everything.
I wanted to tell you for so long, Sherlock.
Why didn’t you? SH
It scared me, and I couldn’t imagine any scenario where it turned out alright.
But I wanted to, you have to know just how much I wanted to.
I thought I’d never tell you but it became too much to hold in, you know? SH
God yes, I know. I still can’t believe that you…
That you love me back.
How could I not? You’re everything to me. SH
And even that, I feel, is inadequate. SH
There’s so many reasons I don’t deserve your love, Sherlock, but I want it.
I meant it. I want to be yours.
I want nothing more than that. SH
I’m just afraid. SH
I’m afraid too. Still.
But we can do this, you and me?
We can find our way through this?
I don’t know… SH
I’m not giving up on you, Sherlock Holmes.
Especially not now. So if you want me, if you’re certain, then I’m going to fight for you.
Of course I want you. More than anything. It isn’t a case of want. SH
Tell me, Sherlock. We can’t keep hiding what we think, what we want to tell the other.
I’m afraid, John. Afraid of what you’ll do when you see me in this new light. SH
I’m not perfect, but you know that already. I’m… inexperienced. SH
It’s not that I haven’t had any relationships. I have. Well, just one. SH
I just don’t know how to do this and I don’t want to make a big mess because I couldn’t stand it if we started and then we had to stop. SH
Nothing could make me stop loving you.
I’ve been in love with you for so long, I don’t even remember a time where I wasn’t.
And experiences don’t matter. We’re doing this together. We’ll learn together.
You say that now, but what if it changes. SH
What if I can’t be everything you need? SH
I doubt I could. I’m not good at this sort of thing. SH
It won’t change. You have to trust me on that.
I’ve feared for all too long that I am not what you need. You deserve so much more than me, Sherlock. But now you’re telling me you love me, and so I choose to trust you.
Please, trust me too.
You’re exactly what I need. SH
You’re all that I need. SH
This I know. SH
And I know we can be brilliant together.
Because you’re all I need too.
I hope you’re right. SH
I’m just wary of the risk. SH
But I trust you, John. I do. SH
I really want to come home. Especially, now.
But I still need time. I’m still a mess, Sherlock.
I want to be alright, for you.
I wish this were easier. SH
I need time, too. I’m still not ready. Hell, I’ve barely been clean for a month now. SH
We also have so much more to say to each other before we rush in and make mistakes. SH
I want to do this right. No matter what it takes. SH
That’s all I want too.
More letters, then?
I still have so many questions.
I’d like that. SH
I love you. SH
I love you too.
I can’t wait for your next letter.
I’ll write soon. SH
I have to go change Rosie.
It was good, texting you. Maybe we could do that, sometimes?
I miss you.
Give her a tight squeeze from me. SH
Any time, John. SH
I miss you so much I can barely stand it. SH
I will for sure.
Ok. Really got to go or she won’t stop crying.
I love you.
I love you, too. SH
I’m sat at your old bedroom window, smoking a cigarette (I know exactly which disapproving face you’re doing right now, but I’m taking it one vice at a time) and thinking about everything that has transpired between us. The room is full of dust, but it’s comforting in a way. As though time hasn’t moved since you’ve been gone. Undisturbed. Mrs Hudson must sense this too, as she’s clearly neglected this room entirely in her incessant cleaning. The light filtering in through the window illuminates the whorls of particles and they form little tornadoes where I disturb them from their waiting. They’re waiting for something, John, as am I.
I eagerly await the day your things may be back in this very room (is it presumptuous of me to assume you’d be returning to Baker Street one day? I’m sorry if it is), and yet I fear it so intensely. I’m so in love with you, John, that I feel it deep within the pit of my stomach. I can barely believe all of this is even real. Which is why I couldn’t bear it if it went away.
That’s where the fear comes in. I’m so afraid of ever losing you that a huge part of me would rather not take our relationship further in case it jeopardised what we currently have - as little as that may be. I meant what I said in my texts - I couldn’t stand it if we started and then we had to stop. That would destroy me, John. It would break me into a million pieces and I know that I’d never be able to pick them all back up again and go on with it.
I’ve been working really hard on myself and all my demons, and I couldn’t take it if this turned out to be another thing to add to that list. Please say it won’t. Please tell me that I won’t have to sit in the chair opposite my therapist and tell her about you as though you’re in the past tense. That she’ll have to help me to talk through it and grieve.
You asked me in your last letter if I was scared of the possibilities offered to us now. I’m terrified. You know I’m not prone to fear, that I walk blindly into many things - sometimes stupidly, as you’ve put it - but I’ve probably never been so afraid in my entire life. Because the stakes are so incredibly high and this is so incredibly fragile. It’s too meaningful to me to ever fail.
I know that you said that you won’t give up on me, and I know that you probably believe that. I want to trust you, but I can’t. Because, inevitably, everybody gives up. The only thing I’ve ever had that was in any way close to a relationship ended that way. And I can’t fault him for it, either. You claim that nothing I could do could make you stop loving me, but I can think of a few things. Some of them the reasons he left. Some of them fresher, deeper wounds that could cut both of us. I’m full of scars that are half-healed and still healing and some untouched as of yet.
So I have to agree with you - there is so much we need to talk through still. So much we need to work through, both alone and together. We need to know that it’s safe for us to do this without hurting each other. With words or fists or actions. You need to know that I won’t use again and I need to know that you’re going to be okay with the rage inside of you. We both need to know how much the other can love, and if it will be enough. If this thing between us is temporary or not.
We need to know all the things we never dared to say as well as the things we did say but didn’t mean. The times we expected the other to read between the lines. I want to know what scares you, John, and what makes you full of joy. I need to see your ghosts and your demons and you need to see mine, too, if only to know that we’ve put them to bed and can move on. Together.
The what-ifs and the almosts need to be explored, too - all the times we could have said yes to this thing between us but chose not to, and why. I want to know what you were thinking, John, when I shook your hand on that tarmac. I need to know what you were thinking when you raised your fists to me in the morgue. What you were thinking when you packed your bag and left.
I want all of you. Not just the surface bits or the pretty bits or the bits you proudly show the rest of the world, but the ugly scars and the shame and the sorrow. I need to see it all and love it all and cherish it all.
Because there’s nobody else for me. Of that I am certain. There’s nobody who could ever take your place and that makes me want - need - to consume you. All of you. Every. Single. Bit.
I’ve told you before, John, that I am an all-or-nothing man, and I hope you’re alright with seeing the All. With being the All.
Every part of you now seems new. Uncharted territory. Data I haven’t collected and manipulated and analysed and memorised. I need to know every freckle on your body, what it feels like under the swirls of my fingertips, what it tastes like, what you taste like. I’ve long suppressed many of these needs in myself in order to discipline my body into obeying my mind alone, but now that they’re free to be explored, I wonder what will come of it.
There’s no more hiding for me either. I want to share it all with you, too. Anything you need from me, I’ll gladly give it. All you have to do is ask.
I need all of you and in return I promise to give all of me too.
PS I love you. I’ve spent so long not telling you that I love you that now all I want to do is tell you that I love you. I love you.
You’re far from being presumptuous when you think I’ll be coming back to Baker Street. It’s what I think about first thing in the morning, and what goes through my head each night as I fall asleep. But Sherlock, when I come back, when I pack our bags and take that ride back home, I know exactly where I want to put my suitcase, and it isn’t in the upstairs bedroom. I want that to be Rosie’s room, I want her to grow old between those walls and fall in love with 221B the way I did. And above all, I want to share your room, to share your bed. I want you to be the first person I see when I open my eyes. I want to fall asleep and feel your body pressed against mine. I want to be able to wake up from a nightmare and find comfort in your arms right away. I want you to wake up from your nightmares and turn to me so I can kiss them away. I want it to be our room, the space where we can learn all there is to know about each other, the space when we can murmur in the darkness all the things still too hard to say otherwise. Our space .
And I’m afraid too, Sherlock. I’m shaking right now, as I write these words down and think about the possibility of having it all just to lose it again. You say you wouldn’t survive it, but the truth is, I wouldn’t either. You’re right, I can’t promise anything, because life has its own way, and sometimes we don’t get to choose. But I can tell you without a hint of hesitation that I will fight for you, that I will fight for us , and if something gets in our way, I won’t give up easily. And I think that’s the best solution I can offer. For us to fight for what we have. Let’s promise each other to talk, let’s promise each other to not let any words go unsaid anymore. Let’s promise each other that we’re going to make this work, that we’re going to stop thinking the other is obviously going to leave because he could find so much better out there . I want to be what’s better for you. I want you to be what’s better for me (I already know you are, anyway).
Let’s promise that we won’t ever have to write each other letters again because we’re too afraid to speak up.
It doesn’t mean that everything will be alright all the time. We’re going to fight, Sherlock. We’re going to fight because I’m going to be angry sometimes and say things I’ll regret. We’re going to fight because that’s what couples do, and it’s going to be scary. You might think I’m not going to come back. I might think you’re going to realise just how boring relationships can become with time (I don’t think we can ever be boring, you and me. But what if, Sherlock? What if? I’m afraid of that what if). But the most important thing is that we don’t become each other’s only company. We can’t let ourselves drowned into this relationship. We need to have friends, we need to have people we can complain to, people we can ask for advice and talk about the things we’re not ready to tell the other yet. We can’t just rely on each other, or it’s going to ruin us.
You said people leave, people give up, and that you know why, that someone already did. Could you tell me about him? I want to understand so that I won’t ever trigger any bad memories. You mean so much to me, Sherlock, and just the thought of hurting you without even knowing it makes my entire chest ache. I want to love you with every fiber of my being, to give you all I can and make you feel happy, loved, care for. I want to give this to you, to share this with you.
And you’re right, of course. Being this now doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got so much to sort out still. You asked what went through my head when you shook my hand on the tarmac, when my fist hit your jaw again and again, when I packed my bags and left. That’s easy, Sherlock. Each bloody time, I thought about how I had managed to ruin it all, again. I thought about stopping you from getting on that plane. I thought about taking you in my arms and begging for your forgiveness. I thought about turning around and asking if you could ever want to even hear from me again.
I realise now, thanks to Julian and the evenings we’ve spent trying to understand what’s happening inside my head, that there is nothing I can do about any of it anymore. That what belongs in the past can’t be fixed, and that I can only go forwards now. That I can learn to control this rage inside me and find ways to let it out. It’s only been a few weeks, and I already feel as if this mix of anger, guilt and self-hatred is starting to slowly melt into something more accepting. I’m not saying I’m better, because there is still so much work to do, but I’m saying that I’m getting there. That I’m taking another step towards you, towards us, each day.
When I first read your letter, and you talked about the what-ifs, my brain automatically supplied me with memories of that first chase. Do you remember how we came home breathless, leaning against the wall and laughing? I can almost still feel the goosebumps on my arms. That moment, right there , looking at you as I tried to regain my breath, that’s when I first wanted to kiss you. You were - are - so beautiful, Sherlock. I was already unable to think about anything else. I almost did, you know, and it’s only when Angelo arrived that I stopped myself. I realise that I would have been too soon, and at the same time, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like, being yours from the very start.
One day, when I gather enough courage to write it down, I’ll reply to that last paragraph you wrote. There is so much I could tell you, so many fantasies and dreams. I want to tell you about them, want to share all of them with you, but I think both my brain and body need some time to adjust to the fact that it is all within my reach now, that it can all happen .
I will finish this letter by saying that I do want All of you, every single bit. Please, never doubt just how long I’ve been craving every inch of you.
I love you, God, I love you so much.
PS: I don’t think I will ever get tired of reading it, so please, don’t stop.
Reading the first paragraph of your letter, I felt like I was at peace. As though things were finally starting to gain some much-needed order in the world - our world. I would love nothing more than for Rosie to be able to sleep in the room you used to occupy, especially if that means that my room will become our room. In truth, that’s what I’ve been hoping for since the start. I’ve never had the opportunity to permanently share a room with someone, and I’ve always found the idea intriguing. I want to fall asleep with my head on your chest, your heartbeat strong and steady in my ear, our legs entwined as you snore lightly. I want to feel cocooned in your arms - safe at last. I want to wake up when you’ve had a bad dream and kiss it away, making it a distant memory. And, more than anything, I’d like for you to be there when I wake up from one of my relatively frequent night terrors and hold me while I stop shaking and try to reorient myself.
And then, in the morning, I want to make you a cup of tea, just the way you like it - milk, no sugar - and bring it to you while you wipe the sleep from your eyes and stretch your body out, joints cracking in the dim bedroom we share. I want you to take your clothes from our cupboard and get changed as we bicker about some insignificant thing or other.
I want to raise Rosie in the walls of 221B, where I first realised that I was hopelessly in love with her father. I want her first words to be uttered in front of us, with your eyes misting up as she achieves her milestones while you pretend that they aren’t.
You see, John, I want all of it with you.
I won’t give up on us, either, and if there’s two of us promising that then the odds seem to be in our favour, don’t they? Now that I have you, I’ll do anything to make sure you don’t leave. I promise to work at it, even when I don’t feel like it. I’ll put in as much effort as it takes to make sure that this thing we have between us isn’t just a passing phase.
Many people have given up on me over the years. The only relationship I ever really had ended that way. I’d like to tell you about him, but it’s difficult. For you, though, I’ll try. His name was Victor Trevor. I knew him in my early twenties, as I was finishing up my studies. He was beautiful in all the right ways and so sweet and giving. It’s almost like I looked for everything I wasn’t able to be myself and found it in one person. He used to write me poetry, if you can believe that. We’d lay on his bed in his dorm room on Sunday afternoons smoking cigarettes and listening to the radio and he’d write me these long, insufferable poems. I think they were actually quite good, but I never told him that, of course. He was gentle where I was all angles. I felt very strongly for him, and he for me, but it all ended very quickly when I discovered morphine and cocaine and he discovered his extreme aversion to those things.
I was at a point in my life where I very much couldn’t stand being me, and everyone at uni agreed with me - everyone but Victor, that is. Morphine helped. Cocaine helped the morphine downers. Both helped me to cope with the growing realisation that I was nearing the prime of my life and had nothing and nobody to show for it. That’s what I thought, you see, but Victor saw otherwise. He was always lecturing me about my beautiful brain and how, if I wanted to, I could go to the moon with it. He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t enough - why we weren’t enough for me. Why I had to find solace in a needle when I had him and our lazy Sundays. He didn’t understand the demons inside of me and I didn’t care to explain. Not only that; I also didn’t understand them myself. Eventually, he gave me an ultimatum: him or the drugs. I laughed in his face because I truly thought he wasn’t serious and that he’d come back - he always had in the past. But I lost him. I lost him and then I lost myself even more. Eventually, Mycroft had to intervene and I was admitted to rehab for the first time. That’s when he made me promise that I’d always write a list.
So, you see, I don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to these things.
I’m very glad that you’re able to work through things with Julian and that his presence is helping you while you’re there. I do have to admit, however, that I don’t particularly enjoy the idea of you working things through with him and not with me. That you’d rather confide in a relative stranger than allow me to help you. Maybe I’m being silly. Maybe this is what you were referring to when you said that we need other people. The problem with that, John, is that I don’t want to be the second person you tell things to. I don’t want to be your incidental conversation when you’re happy or when you’re angry or when you’re sad. I want us to be open with each other, fully and completely. I want our love to be enough. I want what Victor wanted from me. I want that from you.
I, too, have been making progress with my therapy. I’ve finally managed to talk to her about the time I spent away. The things I endured when I was captured and the things that make me wake up with terror in my stomach, fear running through my very veins. It isn’t easy, and I don’t even know if it will be worth it, but I’m willing to try. For myself and for you. For us.
One day, I might even be able to talk to you about it, too. I want to be able to tell you about the scars lining my back and sides. About how they came to be and what the lasting consequences of them are. How, when a Serbian was beating me senseless one afternoon, I realised that, right then, I might die without ever having seen your face one last time, and I wept to myself.
I wonder about that first night, too. What would have happened if I’d never inadvertently turned you down by telling you that I had no interest in a relationship and that I was married to my work. I truly believed it then, you know. I was such an idiot.
Maybe it was meant to work out this way, though. Maybe this way, we suffered to the extent that the reward - us - becomes as meaningful as it was always supposed to be. We’ve had a hell of a ride, John, and while I didn’t appreciate every moment of it, I’ve loved that I was experiencing it with you .
I’d really love for you to find that courage. I’d love to hear about your fantasies and dreams, if you’ll let me. Whenever you’re ready. I’ll share mine with you, too. Even the ones that make me blush.
PS I love you.
Thank you for telling me what happened with Victor. Maybe it’s not the right way to start this letter, but I’d rather say it now than let it linger. You say you’re afraid to lose me, to lose all we’re building now, and I told you (and I meant it) that if we work together, none of us has to fear losing the other. But you need to understand that you going back to using after I come back, when we’re together, when we are finally home, I… I’m not sure I could take it. I’m not sure I could watch and try to make it better, and in the end fail. I can’t win against drugs, I can’t win against any addictions really. I tried with Harry, for years, and it lead to absolutely nothing. I almost fell into one myself, and I still have to be careful from time to time.
Believe me, I love you. I’m so desperately in love with you that I’m considering tearing this letter up and beginning a new one, but we agreed, right? No more hiding.
So yes, I love you, Sherlock Holmes, and if right now I believe this love could conquer anything, I’m also realising how fragile it can be. But you have to understand that one relationship doesn’t define what you are or how good of a partner you can be. I know you, Sherlock. I’ve lived with you, went through hell with you and wrote all these letters with you. I know what it can be like. You know what it can be like. But we love each other. We love each other so much that we just spent the last two months exchanging letters every five days. We love each other and we want this to work. So we’ll make it work. I promise to listen to every doubt you have, I promise to tell you when things are not okay . And you have to promise to tell me too. Communication is key, they say, and it truly is in the end.
On a brighter note, I want it all too. All you’ve described. Our room, the cup of tea, the nightmares and Rosie. Every bit. And as you said, the odds seem to be in our favor. Doesn’t it feel like a victory? Being finally able to see a happy ending to all this mess?
I, for sure, take it as such.
I had no idea you felt that way about Julian, and I don’t have to tell you there is no reason to be jealous. He can’t compare to you in many (many) ways, and besides, you’re the one I will tell all those things to one day. I do understand how you feel about this, and I wish I could be the one you talk to about your time away, but sometimes talking about it to a stranger helps. In the end, you’ll always be the only one I’d want to talk about my struggles to. You have to know that. I’ve probably badly explained what I meant in my previous letter, and I’m sorry I did. I want us to have other people to hang out with, to spend nights at the pubs with or to have over for dinner. I truly think we need it, and I’m ready to talk more about that with you if you feel the need to. I long for the moment we can finally talk about all this face to face. I long for nights spent whispering all the things we still haven’t said in these letters.
I want you to know everything, Sherlock.
I thought a bit more about those what ifs. I actually lay awake for hours, trying to fall asleep but finding myself thinking about all the times we could have become so much more.
I thought about the day we went to see that awful Sebastian Wilkes. I thought about the way you looked at me when I corrected you, colleague not friend . The truth is, I was already so dependent on you, wanting to be your friend and so much more, that I was desperately trying to get a hold on myself. I couldn’t let you become my whole world, not when we’d only been living together for a few months. I almost talked to you about it that day, but then the case was all you could focus on, and after that it was too late.
I thought about that night I woke up screaming. I remembered trying to catch my breath, still able to feel the Afghan sun on my face, and then your violin. The melody making its way from downstairs, soft and slow, and before I knew it I was regaining control over myself. You always had that effect on me, Sherlock. Yes, sometimes you drive me mad, but you’re the only one who ever managed to make me fall back asleep after a nightmare. Just by the sound of your violin and the irrefutable proof of your presence, so close . I could have joined you, right there, and kissed you, murmuring just how my shoulder ached and that you seemed to be the only one who could make it stop.
I thought about the countless times we came back home out of breath and laughing and unable to stop glancing at each other. Did you notice too? The tendency we had to stare at each other, to casually touch the other anytime we could? I did, here and there, and sometimes I even dared to think it could mean you were just as hungry for more than I was. I wish now I’d done something, said something, made you understand that yes, I want this too . I imagined kissing you so many times on those days, the two of us panting against each other’s lips and our hands daring to reach for more.
I thought about the nights I spent wondering what your body would feel like, naked and warm against mine. I thought about kissing the patch of skin where neck meets shoulder. I thought about the sound that would escape your lips, and the way you would move under me. I thought about my mouth discovering all of you, slowly, softly, making you feel loved and desired. I thought about our bodies thrusting against each other, moving together toward the edge of pleasure. God , Sherlock, I thought about this for so long that it become part of me, this constant state of wanting .
I should stop now, or I won’t be decent to go pick up Rosie.
I miss and love you,
Sherlock? Is everything alright?
And you? SH
I’m fine too, but it doesn’t sound like you are.
Has something happened? A case?
Cases are boring John. No case. Lester doesn’t have any cases. SH
Sherlock, love, I have to ask. Have you been taking anything?
John don’t be so boring. NO. I’m CLEAN. SH
Sherlock? You’re scaring me, love.
I checked the internet. Alcohol doesn’t count. I’m still clean. SH
Are you telling me you’re drunk? What’s the special occasion?
I might be sliightly inebriated, yes. SH
Nothing, really. Just been going over your letter. SH
Just slightly, I’m sure.
Oh. Was it okay? Did I go too far? I’m sorry if I did, I just thought I could share some of that with you.
Not too far. Not far. Far isn’t the right word. Is it? Far… SH
Sorry! No, it wasn’t too far. It’s just. I’m not. I don’t know. I don’t know about this stuff. Not like you. SH
And that’s what made you so worried that you turned to alcohol. You of all people.
Sherlock, you don’t have to overthink this. I have no doubt it’s - no, we’re going to be brilliant.
I just dont’ want to mess it up. SH
What if I’m not good enough? In that department? SH
Want you so much. Can’t really stand it sometimes. SH
I want you just as much, love, and it’s been killing me too. But I meant it, you can’t do this to yourself. We’ll get there, together. We’ll make sure it’s good, for the both of us.
Christ, okay. I meant to tell you this in a letter, but when I said I’ve explored more of my sexuality in the army, it was just… well, it wasn’t all of it.
I’m certain it’s more than me. SH
I worry about everything. SH
Do we use a condom? Do I have to be on my hands and knees? Can I face you? SH
But you and Victor… I mean, you must have- I don’t know, done something.
I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be that upfront, you don’t have to tell me now.
John John John. I’d love to ytell you. It would be my pleasure. SH
Victor and I didn’t have penetrative sex. SH
We did othewr things. SH
Fuck, Sherlock, I’m blushing like a bloody teenager just imagining you saying penetrative sex. What are you doing to me?
And I’m just as inexperience when it comes to this, so we can say we’re on the same page here.
(Don’t start me thinking about these other things).
Fuck, Sherlock. SH
Fuck Sherlock. SH
Yes please John. SH
Didn’t you penetrate Shlto? Or did he pentetrate you? Do you prefer to penetrate or be penetratded? I must admit I’d probably prefer to be penetrated by you but I suppose I’m not fussy either way. SH
The other things were barely consequential, John. Touching. Sucking. Stuff you might get up to in a dorm room with limited privacy. SH
Ok, maybe this should be a conversation we have when we’re both sober, but now I’m picturing your face when you read these texts tomorrow, and laughing.
But if alcohol was what you needed to talk about this, then okay, I’m fine with doing this now. Just, please, mention this in your next letter, ok? I just want to be sure you’re alright with what I’m about to say next.
First of all, yes. I do want this too. You beneath me, face to face, no condoms because this is us and none on else. I want to be inside you, but either way is perfectly fine by me too.
Then, no. No penetration from either side with Sholto. But stuffs, as you said, yes. A lot of stuff.
And those stuffs are important, Sherlock. I want to do them all to you until you can’t think properly anymore.
Alcohol doesn’t suit you at all, really.
I’d like that. SH
Want you. SH
Want you inside me. SH
Want you on top of me. SH
Just want you. So bad. SH
God, Sherlock, you’re making this very very hard.
No pun intended (actually, yes.)
I wish I could be with you now, love, touch you and kiss you.
I really, really do.
Maybe… No, nevermind.
Sick now. SH
Oh God why. SH
Find a wet cloth, lie down a bit.
I should be with you, taking care of you.
Love? Are you alright?
Not really. SH
Excellent r idea. SH
Room spinning. SH
You should try to sleep.
I’ll check on you, later, alright?
Goodnogth John. SH
I love you. SH
So much. SH
So much so much so much. SH
Love you too.
Sleep well, maybe even dream of me ;)
Sorry. I know you hate smiley faces.
Go to sleep, love.
Good morning, love. Feeling any better?
I can explain. SH
There’s nothing to explain. You got drunk and said what was worrying you. It happens to everyone.
I meant it, Sherlock.
It’s difficult to talk about this over text. SH
I’m sure you can appreciate that. SH
Yes, of course. I said some embarrassing things myself, but I trust you not to judge me.
And I should state now that I meant every word I sent you last night.
As did I. I just wish I didn’t say it that way. SH
Maybe it needed to happen that way.
I have no regrets. Do you?
I guess it didn’t hurt anything. Just my pride. So not really. SH
Why don’t you start writing your letter? It could help, no? Writing mine always does.
Good idea. It seems I have a lot to say. SH
I can’t wait to read it.
I love you, you know that right?
I love you too, John. SH
And I do apologise for my behaviour last night. SH
There’s nothing to apologise for. Just don’t get drunk again and do something stupid like starting an experiment involving explosive substances. I’d really liked to come back to a clean and functioning flat.
I think my days of drinking are behind me if this headache is anything to go by. SH
Makes sure you drink a lot of water today, and eat too!
Still the caretaker, I see. SH
Lestrade rang with a case. SH
I love you. SH
Alright, be careful, ok?
I love you. I really, really do.
I don’t fault you for wanting to get that uncomfortable issue out of the way. I’ve worked on it, John, and I continue to work on it and will continue to work on it for you. For us. For myself, even. I’ve been clean now for over two months, and that has taken considerable effort on my part. There are some days where I still ache for a needle to dull the overpowering thrum of invasive thoughts and unpleasant memories. But I resist, every second, because I know I need to. Because I know that there’s a reward in it for me. That there’s you.
The biggest issue I had to overcome was realising that my drug use even was a problem. If I had to do a cursory look at a case study similar to mine, I’d deduce that the user was an addict immediately, and yet I was surprised to come to that revelation when it concerned myself.
I am an addict.
It isn’t easy to say it, or to put it down on paper, but it’s necessary. I don’t want to lie to you. Some days it might be difficult for me, but I promise to keep on trying. I promise not to let this ruin us, because it could never be worth it. No fix could ever compare to what I feel for you.
You’re absolutely right when you say that communication is key. It’s so important for us to remain honest with one another, no matter what. I don’t want it to be a case of you coming home and us closing up again. We’ve come so far and I think we need to keep pushing. We need to keep the honesty flowing, no matter how difficult it is. We’re not used to speaking openly, you and I, and, truth be told, we’re quite rubbish at it, but we have to try. We have to give it everything we have because it’s the only way I can see this thing surviving.
It does feel like a huge victory, John. We’ve been through so much. We’ve endured. But the outcome is starting to make all that’s come before quite small and insignificant, don’t you find?
I don’t want you to think I’m unnecessarily jealous. I’m not sitting in 221B pouting over your relationship with Julian. I trust you. I trust you’ll be faithful to me, even though we haven’t really discussed our status. Are we a couple now? Are you my “boyfriend”? God, I sound like a tedious teenage girl. I just want to make sure that we’re exclusive. That this isn’t a short-lived affair.
All those things I said in those texts… I may have been drunk at the time, but I meant every single one. Speaking of our texts, there’s something you wanted to say before I got sick. What was it?
As embarrassed as I am by the explicit things I sent you, I’ve made some sort of peace with it because I was panicking at your letter before. I didn’t know how to respond, so I pulled down the old bottle of whiskey that you left on top of the kitchen sink and I started doing some research online, which naturally made me panic even more. Which led to the texts.
John, I, too, long for the moment when we can share all of this face-to-face, even though it scares me. I want to look at you in the eye as I tell you how much I love you. I want to take your head in my hands and caress your lips with mine. I want you to take my breath away.
Do you think we should see each other? Soon? I want us to cement this thing we have between us in some way. I want to know that it’s real and that you can look at me and tell me that it is. Not just over paper, but physically. I want - need - to hear your heartbeat. To feel how alive you are under my fingertips.
Should we give life to what we have or do you think it’s too soon?
It’s just that I’ve so long imagined the taste of you. It almost feels like a real memory now, more than a fantasy. I’ve ached for you for so long that I can’t imagine not doing it. It will take some getting used to, I suppose.
I can’t wait to hold you. Even just to hold your hand. I want… I want so much from you that it threatens to overwhelm all my senses sometimes. I’m not very experienced in this area, but I trust you to guide me - us - through it.
I trust you to take me into your arms, my naked body firmly against yours. To take me apart with your mouth and your fingers and more…
I’m getting flustered, just thinking about it.
More than anything, I just want to kiss you. I have to know what you taste like and feel like and sound like. God, just imagining the sounds you might make…
I love you so much and I want to share not just my heart but also my body with you. I want you to climb on top of me in the still of the night, when the rest of London sleeps, and explore me, inside and out. I can’t wait to put my mouth on your neck, your nipple, your hipbone, and suck until you’re marked. I want everybody who sees you to know that you belong to somebody, and I want that somebody to be me.
I want you so much it creates a physical ache within me.
PS I love you.
I will not lie, I’m relieved to read your answer. Addictions can be tricky, and I know how hard it is to even admit you are an addict, so thank you for telling me. I’m here for you, Sherlock, anytime you need me, anytime the need for a fix comes back, I’m here. We can be each other’s support in this, the both of us stronger than our demons.
As for what we are to other, I think Boyfriend is the right term for now, yes. I know it might seem silly, or at least it does to me, but I want everyone to know you’re mine. I want to be able to hold your hand while we walk in the park or work at a crime scene. I want our legs to brush under the table at restaurant. I want to be able to kiss you whenever I want, just because I can. As I’ve said before, I am yours, Sherlock, and I want to whole world to know it.
I was reading the texts we exchange a few days ago, smiling to myself and trying not to make obvious just how much I love you to all the people around me, and I kept coming back to what I told you. I truly look forward to discovering everything with you when it comes to sex. I know you worry, and I know you’re still afraid of what will happen, but I really am just as lost as you are in this. I… James made me discover some things that I really (really) enjoyed, but we were at war and there was never enough time for our relationship to properly evolve into something deeper. I would have liked that. He’s a wonderful man and a really good friend, but I guess it wasn’t meant to happen. It doesn’t mean that I’m not terrified of hurting you, trust me, I am. But I tell myself that we have time, that we can discover each other in a lot of ways and when we’re comfortable with each other, we can try - how did you put it? - penetrative sex. Does that seem okay with you? Please, don’t feel shy or embarrassed about this anymore, I want to hear all of it. I want to be able to share it all with you.
Our texts and your letter also made me realise that there’s still one thing we never talked about, not really. You mentioned it here and there, never really asking and so I never felt the urge to answer. But now that we’re this , now that we’re more , I need to tell you about the woman on the bus. You know I cheated, even if it had been just texting at the time, it was still flirting and I did it without thinking twice about my marriage. So yes, no matter what other people might think, it was cheating to me. But, Sherlock, you have to understand that at that time, I was already cheating on Mary with you for years. I loved you, even before I met her, even before you came back, it always felt as if I was cheating on her. I wasn’t honest because a part of me was still desperately in love with you. There was nothing I could do about it, and after a time, I stopped trying to fix it. I simply accepted the fact that I was always going to love you, even if you were dead, even if you never knew.
And then you were back, and I was alive again. I could breathe without feeling this weight on my shoulders, I could walk out again and know that you were there, somewhere , so very much alive. It only made me love you more. Yes, I was angry, and yes, I wanted to make you pay for what you did to me, but God, I spent hours wondering what you’d do if I were just to kiss you. The guilt came back at the same time, being with Mary but loving you more and more every day. I was cheating again, and you didn’t even know. The more our marriage began to crumble, the more I wanted out. I watched without a word as you tried to save what was left of her and me, and I was so mad at you. I was mad at every bloody person crossing my path and congratulating me on my happy family. How could they not see?
So yes, I met this beautiful woman who seemed to like me. Yes, I texted and flirted and for the briefest of seconds, I wondered what it would be like to kiss her. But in the end, you were always the one I turned out to be thinking about, yours lips, your neck, your body. I think, in a sense, it was even worse, because you were right there and I couldn’t reach you. I had just ruined everything and couldn’t see how to make it right again.
To this day, I’m not even sure what I was trying to accomplish texting her. A thrill? A challenge? Another way to fulfil myself? To forget you?
But you have to know I would never do this to you, right? I would never cheat on you, Sherlock. You’re all that I want, there’s no one else out there who could give me what you’re already giving me. We haven’t even kissed yet, but I already belong to you. You are my boyfriend, my other half, the love of life (always the romantic as you can see). I love you, to the point of not knowing what to do with all this love.
And yes, a thousand times yes, I want to see you. That’s what I was trying to ask over text. I want to make this “official”, to finally feel you pressed against me. I’ve been craving this ever since you dared to tell me how you felt. So whenever you can, whenever you want to, tell me. I’ll be there.
We could also find time to discuss our plan for what happens next .
Boyfriend. I’m your… boyfriend. It somehow feels inadequate to me, but I’ll take it. And I, too, want the whole world to know it. In fact, Mycroft, the infuriating, nosy chubster has been dropping all sorts of hints about us. He says I look different and “Is it perhaps a new love?” after which point I changed the subject and began to play him out on my violin.
It sort of sounds as though you have some regrets when it comes to your lost love James Sholto. I hope I won’t have to compete with the memory of him, John, because I couldn’t live up to him or anyone if they’re given such high standing in your mind. I know how you tend to romanticise things. People. Situations.
If I’m honest about it, truly, truly honest, the idea of penetrative sex terrifies me. And yet, at the same time, it excites me. I can’t imagine not wanting to share every single act with you, the person I love and trust most in all the world. I can’t imagine never experiencing that with you. To have and hold you inside me. For you to tease my entrance, slowly, slowly, until I beg you for it. To rock gently back and forth as we whisper everything we’ve never had the chance to say to each other, sweat slick between us, the only other sounds coming from the hushed streets below the window. I want it so much, it’s practically all I think about these days. I’m so distracted, even Lestrade is starting to notice, and it takes skywriting to make him pay attention to anything. For a detective, he’s remarkably unobservant. And even he can see through me. That my mind is elsewhere as I solve his cases (all of which have been well under sixes, I might add).
I even dream about you, almost every night, when I’m not dreaming of Serbia and torture. There’s one I have often. We’re standing in my - our - bedroom in 221B and it’s late afternoon, the sun filtering in through the window onto the floorboards and lighting your hair and your naked body in warm, golden tones. I’m facing the window, distracted, and you come and put your arms around me from behind. I stiffen up briefly, aware of myself and my nakedness and your nakedness and all the things I’ve kept hidden, but you just smile and start to kiss a path along my back, along all the scars that line my skin there, not caring about them at all, but instead opting to love me regardless. It’s a beautiful dream and I hate waking up every time I have it.
That’s how I feel with you, though, and my subconscious clearly seems to agree. Safe. Warm. Loved. Only you could make me feel that way.
I never asked about the woman on the bus, John, because I knew it wasn’t you. Not really. It was a lapse in judgement. I meant what I said before - I have this terrible feeling that from time to time we might all just be human. That includes you. And if you truly felt this way about me at the time, it’s understandable, if not ideal. You were searching for something else, John, and you just happened to find it in the wrong place. Additionally, I know it’s not what you want to hear, but it was just texting.
And, truly, I mean it when I say this: I know you would never cheat on me. I know you. I trust you. I believe in you and I’ve chosen, hard as it may be, to believe in us.
Let’s do it, then. Let’s meet. Let’s make what we have official. These letters just aren’t cutting it anymore for me, I don’t know about you. I need to see you. I miss you. I crave you.
How about I come to where you are for a weekend? We can maybe explore some of the things we’ve been speaking about in our texts and recent letters…
What do you say?
PS I love you.
Just finished your letter.
I want to see you.
I want to see you too. SH
NEED to see you, actually. SH
I know it’s soon, but can you come this weekend?
Bill and his wife are going away, and they say it’s alright if you come.
I… I understand if you can’t on such short notice.
I’ll be there. SH
I’ve missed you so much.
I can’t believe it’s been months since I last saw you.
Four months, six days. SH
Not that I’ve been counting. SH
(I have been counting). SH
And I love you for that.
I think you’d love me for anything right now. SH
At least that’s how I feel. SH
New love and all. SH
New old love, to be precise. SH
I can’t wait to finally be able to touch you and kiss you and tell you how much I love you.
You turned me into an even more romantic.
(But I don’t mind).
I’d like that, John. SH
I’m scared, Sherlock. I'm scared but at the same time I can't wait for you to be here.
Does that make any sense?
Me too. But all we can do is try, I suppose. SH
It terrifies me because, for me at least, there’s so much at stake. SH
There's a lot at stake for the both of us, love, but that's a good thing. We’re getting there, together.
What do you suppose the first thing we’ll do? SH
Well, I’d like to kiss you breathless first. And then maybe some more kissing.
After that, I’m sure we can figure something!
I can’t wait. SH
Three more days. SH
At what time do you think you can get here?
I’ll take the first train down. SH
Hopefully by 11. SH
Good, that's good.
Christ, I can't wait. How am I supposed to wait three more days?!
I feel the same. But we’ve waited all these years. What’s three more days? SH
That being said, I’m probably going to be crawling out of my skin. SH
I better ask Lestrade for a case because waiting combined with boredom is not good for my drug use. SH
Yes, that's probably the best.
I… I wish I was back home with you, preventing you from being bored.
Me too. I can think of a number of ways you could easily prevent me from being bored… SH
I’m sure you do.
This too, you know, I can't wait to discover with you.
Me neither, John. SH
I love you.
Oh, I have to go. Can you believe Rosie always starts to cry when we’re texting! I don't even want to imagine what it’ll be like when we're home!
I love you too. SH
So much. SH
And hopefully she will grow used to me when you come home. SH
I have no doubt she will. She was already used to you before we left, you know.
She’ll adore you, that much I'm sure of.
(Just like her dad)
Well, her dad is a very lucky man. SH
And she’s a very, very lucky little girl. SH
I’ll see you on Saturday, John. I love you. SH
I love you.
“You’ve reached Sherlock Holmes. Don’t be boring.” - beep -
Christ, Sherlock answer me! Where are you? You can’t just leave like this! Can’t we at least talk? I’m worried. Please, call me back.
“You’ve reached Sherlock Holmes. Don’t be boring.” - beep -
Answer you damn phone, Sherlock!
“You’ve reached Sherlock Holmes. Don’t be boring.” - beep -
I’ve looked for you everywhere, Sherlock. I even went to the train station, searched every pub and open store. Where are you? Just answer me, or text me, I don’t know. Just let me know you’re okay. We need to talk about this. You can’t just leave.
“You’ve reached Sherlock Holmes. Don’t be boring.” - beep -
Please, love. Answer me.
“You’ve reached Sherlock Holmes. Don’t be boring.” - beep -
You can’t just ignore me, Sherlock. We’re supposed to be in this together, we’re supposed to be talking. You can’t just leave and expect me to accept it. We need to talk. Call me. Please. I love you.
“You’ve reached Sherlock Holmes. Don’t be boring.” - beep -
I don’t know if you’re even listening to this, but I love you, Sherlock Holmes. I love you and you’re not going to change that. Call me, text me, talk to me, please. I can’t do this alone.
Sherlock, where are you?
I’ve been calling you, answer me.
I’m worried, love. Call me, please.
I’ve looked for you all over town. Where are you?
Are you alright?
Answer your phone, Sherlock!
Please, just let me know if you’re okay.
We need to talk about what happened. It doesn’t mean it’s over, you know that right?
I love you, God, I love you so much. Please, call me.
I know you’re getting these, don’t ignore me.
I told you it wasn’t going to be easy, Sherlock.
I told you there would be times where we’d have to fight and stay strong. I told you all of it, and yet, after one obstacle, you chose to run! Do I mean that little to you? For you to give up so easily? Don’t you want us to last, to fight for this, to fix it?
Yes, alright, that’s not what I had in mind when you said you could come for the weekend. Of course I had imagined things differently, but I thought we agreed to talk about these things now. Not to shut down entirely and flee. We deserve more than that, Sherlock. We deserve so much more than that.
Fuck. I don’t even know why I’m writing this letter. You’ve ignored all of my texts and calls, why would it be different with this?
I bloody love you, Sherlock Holmes, and right now, I hate this ache spreading throughout my entire chest just thinking about what your silence could mean.
You can’t do this to me, you can’t do this to us !
Don’t hide from me.
I’m writing this letter after coming home, having just posted the previous and finding myself regretting it. I’m not sure I should have sent it to you, not when I barely took the time to read it a second time before putting it in the envelope. I was angry, and I’m sorry if I said anything that’ll hurt you. It wasn’t my intention. But at the same time, I do hope it will make you react. Because I meant it. We can’t let one day ruin everything. We said we were going to fight for each other, and that’s what I’m doing right now.
I’m fighting for you, Sherlock Holmes, because I love you so bloody much that I can barely stand being apart from you. I love you and I want to spend to rest of my life with you. So yes, I’m not giving up. I’ll wait five days, Sherlock. Five days for a letter from you, or else I’m coming to you. Don’t try to run and hide because I’ll find a way to get to you. I’ll find you and I’ll bloody kiss you this time. I’ll kiss you until you can’t run away from this anymore, until you can’t think about anything else but me, us .
I’m not saying I can explain what happened Saturday - I’m not sure I fully understand it yet, but I think we both know what the real issue was. We were trying too hard, Sherlock. I was so scared, so very afraid of ruining everything that suddenly I didn’t know how to act around you. For God’s sake, I didn’t even kiss you. You were there, at the bloody train station and you were so damn beautiful, and I didn’t even kiss you. Oh trust me, I wanted to. That’s all I could think of while we drove to Bill’s place, but I had no idea how. Could I just reach for your hand, pull you closer and seal our lips? I knew I was allowed to, you told me in your letters you wanted it just as much, but I couldn’t move.
I realise now I didn’t tell you that I love you, not once while you were here. But you have to know I do, right? Please, tell me you do. I love you so much, Sherlock. My entire body aches from your absence, from the way we acted during those few hours together. I’m so sorry. I should have been braver, I should have take your hand, should have pressed you against me. I should have whispered against your lips just how much I crave you, just how much I’ve missed you. I should have told you again and again.
And I know that Julian coming by didn’t make it any easier. I had no idea he was coming, Sherlock. I promise. But even then, he’s only a friend. I felt it too, the easiness when I talked to him compared to when I was talking to you. But that’s it, Sherlock, right there. I don’t bloody care if I hurt Julian’s feelings, I’ve known him for two months and he’ll get over it. We’re not even that good of friends (Christ, I sound like a right bastard but I don’t care). I was afraid of doing something wrong, afraid of hurting you . Everything felt so fragile, as if our fate was hanging above our head, ready to break at the first mistake.
Neither of us were ourselves, Sherlock.
Maybe it was too soon… I don’t know. I don’t know because I want to see you again, I want to be next to you now and this time I don’t want to be scared of kissing you. I want you, Sherlock, still, always. I want you and I’m going to keep writing, and keep calling, and keep texting until you bloody answer. Even if it’s just to tell me you won’t see me anymore (but please, please, think about it first.) I love you, Sherlock Holmes. I love you, I love you, I love you.
Please, talk to me.
Still and always yours,
Let me just preface this letter by saying first that I love you. Nothing can change that. Not even if we never spoke ever again. I still love you and I’ll always love you. It’s impossible for that love to disappear or fade.
I know you want to fight for this, for us, but everything was just so wrong wrong wrong . It’s as though everything I feared would happen, happened. And then some.
If you knew how nervous I was, the entire train ride down. I was practically shaking. I couldn’t sit still. I think the other passengers thought there was something wrong with me, because I could barely stay in my seat. At one point, I was pacing frantically, waiting for the final moments of the journey to conclude, waiting to get off that train, to see your face and know .
And that’s the problem, right there. I wanted to know. I wanted to feel it. I wanted us to be sure that everything we’ve said in our letters was true and possible. Because, in those letters, everything seemed possible. All the declarations and promises and assurances. I told you my fears, you appeased them. I told you my dreams, you confirmed them. And yet…
I got off the train and we barely mumbled a hello to each other before you patted me awkwardly on the back and helped me with my luggage and I wanted, right then and there, to turn back around and come home, but I decided to give it a chance. I figured you might have been as nervous as I was, so I was patient. I’ve been described as many things over the course of my life, but never patient. The only thing I’ve ever been patient about was you and I made the decision to just wait and see.
On the drive to Bill’s house, I could smell you, your scent and your clothing and your aftershave, and I wanted to cry with the want inside of me, building up and unrealised. I thought that maybe, when we got to their house, you’d kiss me or at least hug me, but you didn’t. It felt as though you didn’t even want to. It felt as though I might as well not have been there at all. You made small talk and I made small talk back and we spoke about the weather, for God’s sake! Can’t you see how utterly and completely wrong that is?
And then Julian came over. A handsome man, isn’t he? Handsome and easygoing and very talkative and I could see how simple it was between the two of you, how little history you had to make it all murky, like it is between us. He was so good with Rosie and even made an effort to try and include me in your conversation. You smiled at his jokes and he put his hand on your shoulder and I knew that if I didn’t get out of there right then and there, I was going to do something very, very unwise.
So I left. I chose to leave instead of stay and ruin it even further. I chose to rather come home and forget the whole thing ever happened instead of sticking around and making it hurt more. I couldn’t stand that, John. I told you. I can’t stand it.
I love you so much that I can barely even think of you without getting a lump in my throat. I thought… I thought it could maybe work, but it seems like it can’t. It seems like there’s just too much that has gone wrong between us and, in our letters, we thought we could fix it all, but we’re only human, you and I. We’re flawed and vulnerable and perhaps too raw to make it.
I wanted us to make it, John, more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my entire life, and that’s why this has broken me.
I just don’t know where we could possibly go from here.
I’m here, love.
What do you mean “here”? SH
Outside. Waiting for you to come and open the door for me.
Waiting for you to let me in.
John… Is this a good idea? SH
It is a good idea because I love you and I want to be able to show it to you.
It is a good idea because I’ve hurt you again, and I’m not going without a fight.
What if this is just a repeat of last Saturday? SH
I couldn’t stand that. SH
You need to be absolutely sure this time, John. SH
I was sure last time too, love. I loved you then, and I love you now.
But… But now we’re home. Here, we can be ourselves.
I want to show you how brilliant it can be. Please, don’t shut me out.
Yes? You’re coming downstairs?
I’m coming. SH
Be ready. I’m going to kiss you as soon as you open that door.
I’m ready, John. SH
Good morning, love.
I’ve just gone out to get us something to eat. It looks like you haven’t been doing much shopping since I’ve left, and I want to cook us something nice for lunch (yes, it’ll be time for lunch once I’m back and you wake up).
I’m writing this letter in bed, our bed, and you’re sleeping next to me. You’re beautiful, Sherlock. I wish I could find the right words to describe you, to explain how the lines of your face seem so much more relaxed right now, to explain the shape of your lips and the feeling of your curls against my skin. You always say my talent as a writer is quite common, and today I wish it wasn’t. I want to be able to tell you just how lucky I feel right now, just sitting next to you, still able to feel your naked body, and the ghost of your lips still so vivid against mine.
It takes all of my inner strength not to kiss you awake. God knows you need to sleep after last night (and morning, and afternoon).
I know I shouldn't be that smug about it, but I told you we’d be brilliant together. The moment you opened that door, Sherlock, the moment I pushed you against that wall and kissed you, I just knew. I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life, that I would not live another day without your mouth against mine, without your breath against my skin and your hands on my neck. I want, no, I need this, Sherlock.
We could have stayed there for hours if Mrs Hudson hadn't popped in. I can still see her face as she understood what was happening. Her grin could have lit up the entire place. Well, yours too. Not kissing you again right there was one of the hardest things I had to do. Just like not kissing you right now.
The day we spent together, every second is engraved in my memory. I don't need any mind palace to do so. I don't want to ever forget, any of it. I want to remember the way you looked, smiling and trusting and (truly) radiating with all those feelings you kept from me during all this time. I couldn't keep my hands off you, I had to touch you, feel you so very alive against me. And I know we probably should have talked first, told each other what last Saturday was all about, but I find now that I don't regret any of it.
I don't regret that first kiss to your neck, nor any of the ones which came after that. I don't regret my hands on your hips and my body pressed against yours. We were meant to fit together, Sherlock. Our bodies melted into one another, every time we kissed, every time we took off a piece of clothing, every time you pushed yourself harder against me. You felt amazing, all sharp and soft at the same time, every inch of skin offered to me. The way you moved, the way you moaned, the way you asked for more with just a movement of your hips.
Don’t you dare tell me that first time was just us doing stuff . What we did was making love, Sherlock. Every minute of it. With your hands exploring all of me, with my mouth tasting all of you. With our bodies locked together and our movement growing more and more desperate. I was able to feel every part of you, Sherlock. We became one, for just a moment, we were truly one, and it felt like I finally belonged.
I’m not sure I could find the right words (again) to explain how it felt when much later I was pushing into you. To this moment, I still can’t believe how lucky I am, how lucky we are to be able to feel something so strong, to connect in such a way that I couldn’t tell where my body ended and where yours began. That was the first time I made love to anyone so slowly, so lovingly. I could have done it for hours, could have stayed inside you forever and still felt so amazingly good.
I only had to look down at you to take in your parted lips, your flushed cheeks and wild eyes. Every inch of your skin is beautiful, Sherlock. Your neck, all long and offered to my lips. Your nipples, so very sensitive to my touch, to my mouth. Your chest, soft and trembling. Your legs, hooked around my hips and making us rock together harder, faster. Your cock, yes , your cock, gorgeous and full.
Every inch of you is beautiful, love, and that includes your scars. All those you let me explore and kiss and try to heal.
I loved all the bits between too. I loved listening to your voice as you explained how you felt when you came to Bill’s, as you tried to find the right words, as you said how miserable you felt all the way home. I loved explaining to you, in a hushed tone and soft smile, just how wrong it felt then and just how right it is now. How we were just missing this, the trust and the familiarity of us . I loved whispering against your lips all the I love you s I wished I’d told you all those years ago. I loved hearing those words coming out of your mouth.
I can’t wait for you to wake up so that I can tell you again.
I love you, Sherlock, and right now I feel like this love could make us do anything.
I want go today, to go back to Bill’s and pick up Rosie and our stuff, and move back here. Today.
I hate that it means I’ll have to leave you, even for just a few hours.
I don’t want to fall asleep ever again without you lying next to me.
I love you,
Now and forever.
PS: Don’t you dare get dressed while I’m gone. I have a lot planned for you today, Sherlock Holmes, and it doesn't involve any clothes.
I am so happy. Incandescently, insanely happy. This morning, when I woke up and read your letter, I realised that I finally know what joy truly is. It must seem so silly, for a man of my age to make a statement like that, but any time I’ve come anywhere near it, it didn’t feel anything like this, and so I have no choice but to conclude that I’ve never felt it before. That it was never truly within my grasp, not even when there was morphine or orgasms or cases.
It’s no secret that I was extremely hesitant when you texted that you were outside. I thought about the disaster that was last weekend, and didn’t feel the need to relive it in any way. In that moment, when I was actively deciding whether or not to open the door, it was as though two paths flashed before me. The first was clear as day - it was me, choosing not to open up, choosing instead to return to my armchair. Declining into drug use again, declining into my head and losing touch with everything I’ve worked so hard to build up. Alone, miserable.
The second path was murky. It was like looking into a crystal ball and seeing only mist. And isn’t it always the unclear path that frightens us the most? The possibility of everything imploding in around us, of a continuation of last Saturday culminating in us deciding to end everything once and for all washed over me, and yet… And yet the possibility of everything you’d promised - of us potentially being brilliant together as you said - far outweighed it. So I jumped in, headfirst, eyes closed, and I opened that door and I’ve never been more glad of anything in my entire life.
I’ve fantasised about kissing you for years. My mind created scenario after scenario where our lips would meet and fireworks would go off in the background and my life would be permanently altered. Never in a million years would I have imagined that those fantasies were actually utter garbage compared to the real thing. Being kissed by you feels like a mystery and a solution all at once. Everything I’ve ever experienced before - with Victor, with any of them - pales in comparison to the way it feels with you.
And then. And then getting to make love to you. There are no words, really, to describe it, so please bear with me as I try to articulate what you’ve so eloquently written in your letter. Waking up to find it instead of you was very disappointing, until I read it (although, as beautiful as it was, it still isn’t quite the same as waking up next to you, which I very much look forward to doing every day for the rest of our lives, if you’ll allow it).
There are snapshots that keep on being replayed in my mind, ones I’ll cherish forever and file away in my mind palace for safekeeping: You, kissing me in the entryway, a smile on your lips as you do so for the first time; You, murmuring I love you as you stroke me and bite on my shoulder; You, pushing inside me, your breath little puffs of air, the pleasure coiling tight within my stomach; You, allowing me to curl my body around yours, stroking my hair, my back, my arm; You, whispering into my ear that you love me most in all the world while you think I’m asleep; You.
I feel like an absolutely overly giddy schoolgirl right now, I have to admit. I’m waiting for you to come home and find me on our disheveled bed, completely starkers (I hope you have a plan in place, Captain Watson, since I’ve not gotten dressed as per your instruction). I’m waiting for my morning kiss and to lick your neck and to taste your skin after you sleep. I’m waiting for you to feed me lunch and hopefully not mind if I’m more interested in the taste of you than your food. I’m waiting for us to shower together and get dressed only to get un dressed and dirty again.
And finally, I’m waiting for you to rush back to Bill’s to fetch your things and to bring Rosie home. Where she belongs and you belong and we belong.
You were right, John. We are brilliant together.
PS I love you
Chapter 37: Monday, 11th July - Text Thread with Sherlock Holmes
Chapter by johnwatso
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
I’m on my way, do we need anything?
I can go and buy something on my way home.
Can you buy those imported salty crackers that I like? SH
Actually, I’d rather you didn’t buy them if it means you’ll come home sooner. SH
I’ll get them, even if it means I’ll come home later.
I know how much you like them.
She’s excellent as usual. SH
Her motor skills really are impressive. SH
Also she tore up the book you were reading. SH
No! I was so close to finishing it!
We really need to be more careful about the stuff we leave within her reach.
And how are you? What did you do while I was gone?
Well, I couldn’t just take it away from her, could I? SH
Played with Rosie. Fed Rosie. Changed Rosie. Missed you. SH
I’m sorry I had to go, they didn’t even have an opening left. I’ll have to look for a job elsewhere.
Missed you too, of course.
I told you, you don’t need a job. Working is boring. Stay home with me instead. SH
You know I would love that, but we’ve talked about this. We can’t let the other become our only occupation.
Work will keep us both sane, you’re the one who said so, remember?
Don’t sulk, love.
I love you, and I want to be home with you. But I also want this to work. Don’t you?
You’re right, John, I know you are. I just crave you. Every single second of every single day. SH
I know that feeling, trust me.
I’m just leaving the shop. I might actually run back home.
I want to kiss you.
I wonder if I’ll ever be able to grow used to this. SH
Please do that. SH
How about I teach you to dance tonight? Only properly this time. SH
Part of me is hoping we’ll never grow used to any of this.
I love being in love with you like this.
And yes, a thousand times yes. I want to dance with you.
Good. I can’t wait to hold you close, sway, feel your body pressed against mine… SH
I’m in a shop, Sherlock. You can’t do this to me now.
I’ll be doing a lot more to you later… Captain Watson. SH
Isn’t it time for Rosie’s nap?
I’m leaving the shop now. Make sure she’s sleeping by the time I’m here.
Is that an order, Captain? SH
Yes, it is.
Putting my phone back in my pocket now and running.
Better get ready, Sherlock Holmes, because I intend to ravish you the moment I’m home.
I’ll be waiting, John. SH
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