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The East End of London

Chapter Text

Restless. So edgy, so tense.
For the past six years, I'm holed up in this miserable, dilapidated, seedy eastern part of London.
Monitor strapped on my ankle. Caught drug dealing. Confined to an area twelve streets square. If I make one step outside this designated region the monitor sounds a loud alarm; the police station is alerted. I'm located, thrown in prison.

Here I am. Might as well be confined in a cell.

Sitting outside at a cafe, table for two. Sargeant Greg Lestrade and I drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette. The weather is warm enough to warrant my sleeves rolled up. The Sargeant has been leading the discourse most of the time. Only grunts and nods from me.

          " You're very quiet today, Sherlock. Anything wrong?" Taking a drag, blowing the smoke out towards him, "I'm disgusted with this place. Want out."

          "Ah, but you know that's impossible. At least for four more years," his smile glossing over what I know is in his mind.

          " I know, I know," glancing at the passersby. A cross-section of all types of people out at this time of day. From moms with baby carriages tugging older ones along to old men shuffling. And then there are the winos and addicts. Easy to spot them.

Sargeant Greg Lestrade is the district police officer in charge. His promotion to Inspector will be a given if he catches me outside my perimeter. But, even with his ulterior motive, we've become good friends. Sharing a drink and smoke together, discussing politics.

          "It isn't enough that I saved you from an overdose years ago. You had to go back and begin to deal drugs," a full sigh, "what you need is someone to look after you."

          "If it weren't for my brother Mycroft, I would be in prison right now. He's the one that oversees me. But a right ass he is," taking another sip of the strong brown liquid.

          "Hey, if it weren't for him and his contacts higher up in the police department, you'd be behind bars," emphasizing by crossing his legs. His slim legs. He's still very fit for a man almost sixty.

          "For me, it might as well be four walls. I'm stifled, "rising, tamping my cigarette out in the blue ashtray and walking off without saying goodbye.

On West East End Street Mycroft procured a flat for me in an old apartment building with no elevator.

It's only three stories, and I live on the top floor. One bedroom, a bathroom, a large living room. It has a dormer window in the bedroom that leads out onto a roof. I sometimes sit out there in the evening and can see the larger buildings in the central part of London. I dream of walking there someday soon.

The only other concession Mycroft made to my living space is buying brand new kitchen appliances to fit into the eat-in kitchen. Otherwise, the furniture is from an antique store, well worn but still usable.

I receive a small allowance from my trust, Mycroft holding the rest until I show him I can remain clean.
But-I don't have my freedom.

I've met many of the residents and the people in the surrounding houses and shops. My closest friends are Molly, a woman in her forties, who tends to her sick mother and won't leave this area until mom passes.
There's George, short and pudgy, been in and out of jail for petty thievery and his violent temper. He lives across the hall from me, and most evenings we spend eating fish and chips and watching telly. And Frank, a man who comes and goes in my life. He loves telling me stories of what is happening in the rest of the city.

          "George, have to get out of here. You can help me."

          "Aw, come on Sherlock. Stop this talk, " remote in hand, flipping through the stations.

          "I can't take this place anymore. Want to walk freely around London."

          "Patience. It won't be long now," finding a station with a science fiction movie just starting. Harumphing, I sit back and watch although my mind is not really on the show.

Within these streets, dark and dirty is an anomaly.

A pub that has garnered a reputation for its uniqueness. An establishment called the Casbah. A Moroccan woman, Odessa, bought it and renovated the entire inside.

The walls are a stippled a tan color as if to mimic the desert sand. The bar inundates around the back of the pub, shifting in color from beige to a peanut brown. The dance floor and the band area weave around a series of poles carved to be cactus trees.
A separate no-nonsense room houses three felt tables, two wheels, and six one-armed bandits. Gambling is the main reason for her establishment. It has been a favorite stopping place for tourists whether from England or other countries.

          " Sherlock Holmes, your looks, your voice could lure the sirens out of their ocean beds. Man or woman," Odessa, the proprietor, will joke with me, reaching a hand up to run her fingers through my curls which always tumble around my face, unmanageable.

I'm very slim, disliking the outdoors and so I'm pale-skinned. My eyes are hazel, sometimes turning a blue, and women seem to find me attractive.

Most of the patrons are wealthy. Odessa insists on her customers wearing suits, ties, and dresses for the ladies. It's common to see jewels sparkling on wrist and necks of those around the tables.
I sing with the band, wait tables, assist in any way I can, trying to make sure the men visit the gambling room. I receive a small percentage of the take during this time.

I'm very adept at dancing, having taken lessons at an early age and can keep the ladies occupied in this way.

I haven't had a relationship since my years in secondary school, and it was he, a young man, who introduced me to the drug world and love. I've kept away from any romance since then.

Chapter Text

I've been studying and working hard to become a doctor. Finally made it! The ring of it sounds fantastic. Doctor John H. Watson!

I'm a gay man and not ashamed of it. It's hard being out in the open, and I frequently have to defend myself physically.

One evening I'm playing cards with two friends, and I hear catcalls and whistles from three men walking into the tent.

          "Hey, Watson, I've got a cock for you to suck," and other remarks to that effect.

I try to ignore them, as I usually do, but one man strolls to the table and with a swish of his hand the cards go flying.
My other two companions rise, the table and chairs flying, and we all proceed to hit and pummel the other fellows.

          "I've got them," a stranger says, entering the tent and throws a punch to one, a kick to another and both are down on their knees.

Once the men are groaning on the ground, he stands tall over them,"All of you get out, and if I ever hear you disparage any man again I'll whomp you harder. Now out!" They up and scramble away, blood dripping from all three of them.

Both of my friends acknowledge this man who voluntarily jumped in.

Throwing his head back, laughing hard, he turns his attention to us, "Jim Moriarty. Glad I was walking by. I heard them and knew there would be a fight. So," searching around at the three of us," who's the gay one?"

          "I am. Doctor James Watson," my hand out to shake his.

          "So am I. How about we share a cup of tea and get to know one another. By the way, you have a cut above your eye.," wiping it with a finger.

"Okay. Hey guys, mind if I leave?"

" Nah go ahead. We'll clean up the mess here," Jack responds by kneeling on the floor gathering cards and ashtrays. Ralph stoops down to help Jack, and I walk out with Jim.

Into the mess tent, " I'm from London", grabbing two cups and pouring the hot water for us.

" So am I, "taking a tea bag, with a visible sigh, "No tea leaves for us army men."

          " I know of you. All the guys talk very highly of you. And, you're not afraid to be out. That's something different."

          "I have a sister that's also out. My family doesn't like it and we have a strained relationship. We're middle-class people, and it's been hard for them to scrape the money together for college, so joining the army to continue my education was the next best thing."

We've grabbed some biscuits, mutually agree to a table off in the corner to sit and talk.

          " My father died when I was young and mom is now the administer of a large shipping firm along with two farms. Yea, cows, sheep, and stuff like that. I was told I had to join the army to 'make a man' of me. You see, mom has a tendency to spoil me. And I like it," he chuckles and I laugh along with him.

Jim is good-looking in a dark way. His hair is almost black with eyes that match. His hands are delicate. Those long fingers will curve around with his words as he's talking.
I'm captivated by them.

We've been together a few months, growing closer. There's a definite vibe between us but as yet we have not mentioned it.

"I have an idea. Come with me," one evening, pulling me up as we're sitting having a late night snack. Dragging me over to the small entertainment space in the mess hall building. We're one of the lucky ones to have a spinet piano. Don't know how the commanding officer managed it, but there sits. I've never heard it played. He motions for me to sit next to him on the bench, and those graceful fingers lightly graze the keys, testing out the sound.

          " Not too out of tune," running up and down the scale.

          "Ah, an unseen talent. You play."

          "A bit. Part of my, if you excuse the expression, posh upbringing. Along with polo, table manners, and singing." At which he beings to sing. His voice an alto.

Humming the song at first he finishes up with, I will feel a glow just thinking of you

And the way you look tonight.

His fingers stop playing, rest on the keys.

His body rotating to face me, hands rising to my face, holding me delicately between those fingers, a thumb brushing my lips. His lips take the place of his thumb.

Backing his head away he stares, waiting.

I'm taken aback at first, his thumbs caressing my cheeks again, and I tip my head towards him and my mouth crushes his lips. Riding the heat of our bodies, we find our tongues, our teeth clacking against one another, trying to find purchase. Pushing him away, but not that far that I can't feel the heat of him, I scan his face.

" John, John, I want you. I even think I love you."

" Jim, I want you also."

Our affair blossoms. Oh yes, I sometimes feel the jibes behind my back, the giggles, but all of that pales with my love for Jim.

Jim, on a phone call to his mom introduces me as his boyfriend. I'm thrilled with this announcement.

Chapter Text

Damn it's good to be home! After being in the hot, desert of Afghanistan, I relish the cold, dampness of London.

Jim's mom has found us a flat in the heart of the city.

What a flat! It's two bedrooms each with its bathroom, a kitchen, two dens, and a large sitting room. Completely furnished. It's mostly modern-looking and large glass windows overlooking the Thames River.

We also have a chef that brings in our lunches and dinners every day.

A Mercedes to drive, and if we want, the driver that his mom uses.

Jim has been showering me with jewelry even during our time in the army. And now that we're in London he continues by insisting I have the best. Brioni suits, silk shirts by Versace, and all that accompanies these fineries.

I must admit being overindulged is wonderful!

I can't sit and do nothing with my time, so I go hunting for a clinic that needs a doctor. I want to work in the east end of London, a shabby neighborhood but sick people are sick people. And I find just a place. Small, but clean. And the staff is overworked. Which is the usual for poorer clinics.

          "How great you found something so quickly, but why that run-down area?" Jim says, sprawled out on the couch.

          "Doesn't matter to me. I'd rather work where the folks need me. It's more satisfying to me," throwing my coat down on a chair," tea?"

          "There are sandwiches in the fridge." Peeking my head out of the kitchen," Really? Did you make the sandwiches or did Freddy bring them?"

          "Silly! Me? Make sandwiches?" his infectious giggle making me come around and give him a quick kiss before I'm back in the kitchen and rounding up the food.
Jim is used to people waiting on him. It's going to be hard to get him to do anything around this flat.

          "The area I'm working in is downtrodden but from what the nurse tells me some of the pubs are quite interesting. Might want to try them out," a plate and a cup of tea being juggled by me.

          "Slumming, huh? Yeah, would be different. Let's try one next weekend."

His tall, slender frame is accented when he sits up. So in contrast to my short, stocky build. Both of us still have some of the tan colorings from the sun, but my hair has taken on more blonde streaks than his. He says it accents my blue eyes more.

The weeks fly by, with my work in the clinic taking up a considerable chunk of my time. There's a shortage of doctors, so I take the slack up by working nights. Sometimes when I get home, tired and hungry, Jim is not there until the early hours of the morning. Many times I want to question him, but this life is too good to give up.

Part of me says that the romance is gone and I'm stuck on living the high life. I don't want to really admit to it, but every so often it lingers around in my mind.

One night, I've had a client that had to be removed to a psych ward and my patience is worn.

          "Well, good to see you home!" sarcasm with a tight-lipped smile, my coat going on the rack, entering the apartment.

          "Oh, as if you're here to keep me company!" he matches my tone, one leg draped carelessly over the arm of his favorite chair. Walking over I push his leg, and it falls into the seat," At least I'm working!" I hasten into the kitchen to get some tea, and he follows.

          "Well, mightier than thou, I also have a job. But you've been so tired or working so hard that you've never thought to ask about me," hands on hips.

Turning to face him, my shoulders slump,"Hey, I'm sorry. Let's not do this. Let me get some tea, we'll sit, and you can tell me all about it, okay?" my movements dragging.
I wanted to take the sandwich to my bed, eat there, plop down and sleep.

          "Okay, Jim," both of us sitting cross-legged on the sofa, my cup balanced on my thigh.

Head back, looking at the ceiling,"I'm working with a friend of my father's in the shipping industry. In an office. To be honest with you John, I got bored hanging around here."

          " Nights?"

          " Sometimes. When a shipment arrives at the docks, I have to handle the accounts and billings, and I find it better to be at my desk when the purser comes in." He gives a sigh, looks over at me, rises and plants a kiss on my cheek,"I tell you what. If we can arrange a night why don't we go to one of those pubs in the east end like we said we would do."

          "Deal," getting up, taking his hand, kissing the palm, and leaving the cup on the table, undressing as we go, the bed waits for us.

Chapter Text

Time for a night of slumming, as Jim puts it.

          "It's going to be fun. Wear that grey pinstripe suit I love and the pink shirt, John."

          "Do you think we should? Going into this neighborhood?"

          "Ah, come on. We haven't been out in a dog's age. Where did one get that saying anyway?" his nose scrunched up.

          "And besides John, you told me this place would not allow dress down," wearing a light blue three-piece suit, ivory shirt and dark blue tie.

The dim streetlights only punctuate the shabbiness of the street as we climb out of the car, letting our driver know we'll call an hour before we leave. I look up to see an awning with a palm tree, a camel emblazoned on it with the words 'Casbah' in what looks like Arabian-type letters.

Only three of the tables are full, and we are seated at a table, a five-piece band playing a soft Spanish sounding song. The waiter takes our drink orders.

          "Not bad at all," eyeing the inside and the crowd, Jim leans into me so I can hear him,"I wonder where the gambling tables are."
Of a sudden, Jim looks at me, nods his head to indicate someone is behind me, and I turn around.
Standing behind my chair is a tall, thin, absolutely drop-dead gorgeous man.

          "Hi, welcome to the Casbah. The gambling tables are in the room to your right," a quick nod to Jim but turning those hazel-blue eyes to stare at me.
I can sense Jim's anger. He's quick to jealousy.
I look at him, with a smile,"why don't you go to the tables? I'll join you in a little while."
He knows I don't like gambling.

The man standing beside my chair, bends down slightly towards me, "Would you like to dance? Anything goes here."
He's speaking to me only, eyes lingering, and I can't resist. I rise, Jim's hand on my sleeve, preventing me from stepping further.

          "I'm Just the local color here, harmless, Sherlock at your service," bowing slightly, his dark curls bouncing onto his forehead, "just a distraction."

Jim lowers his hand, while Sherlock grasps my arm. I glide into his arms, the band playing a gentle, slow rhythmic song.

Closeup his cheekbones are striking, sharp, for a man. His arm around my waist, he leads with ease.

          "Is he always so possessive?" eyes boring into me.

          "He's my fiancee. You just annoyed him."

          "And you? Do I annoy you?"

          "Anything for a little amusement," giving him a sly look.

          " I understand. With him, its love, pure love," his glance on my jewelry," we're both after the same thing. My methods are a bit different than yours," cynicism edging his voice."

          "You're no longer amusing," I say, pulling away.

Grabbing me back, "this isn't a circus. I'm not here to amuse you," jerking his head towards the orchestra and says, "keep playing," and we continue to dance.

I'm mesmerized by him. His curly hair which seems to tangle every which way, his embrace, yes, his embrace, wraps around me like a blanket.

The music stops, he pushes me against a pole, holding me close to his body. And, as if we had the same thought, we curve ourselves into each other, his mouth descending on mine.
I'm feeling myself melting into the floor, my legs weak.
He moves slightly away and I, with no other concern than, 'I want more,' shift into him and my lips find bliss on his again.
Sighing into the kiss, we break apart. He walks to the bar.
John Watson, you stupid idiot! What is this all about? Do you think you're playing a game? If so, it's a dangerous one. Get away from this man, now!

I find Jim at the roulette wheel and hug him, trying to ward off my guilty feelings, his smile only a brief one as the action at the table retakes his attention.

A middle-aged man, silver hair, steps up by my side.

          " Hello, you're new here. I'm Sargeant Lestrade. I see you're enjoying yourselves here. That Sherlock person is so graceful on the dance floor, isn't he?"
I know, by his tone of voice, that he was watching Sherlock and I dancing, and possibly more.

Lestrade, seemingly at home in this place, leans his elbow on the table, taking stock of Jim and I.

          " You might want to come back tomorrow night to see the big street festival. There's plenty of food and dancing and you'll see the local color on the streets."

          "Oh Jim, let's. I have no plans anyway, do you?" I put my hand on his arm, pressing my body against his side.

          "Ok, just to please you, John."

          " Good. I'll meet you at Anchor Street and escort you around. See you tomorrow?" the detective says, leisurely walking off.
I nod yes, and my thoughts turn to that slim, pale stranger, Sherlock.

Chapter Text

I wander around the streets after leaving Odessa's pub. The night air still warm enough to not wear a jacket, warm, well, for a London night. Seeing but not registering anybody or thing. The noise of the music from the clubs, or the open windows from apartments, from pop to Arabian, all straining to be the loudest.

John Watson! His face lingers, his body dancing close to mine and his lips. His lips still burn, shatter my equilibrium in my mind. His embrace. His look. Is there anything I don't delight in? Yes! His affection for his partner, Jim.

All these years I've stayed away from close human contact, not comfortable explaining why I'm here and why the ankle bracelet. There's been no human, man or woman, that's hit the emotional and sensual strings until this man. This John Watson.

Something in those blue eyes, his playfulness, even while avowing his feelings for his lover.
If it was real why would he kiss me back?
It's the financial security that has a hold on him. He's gotten used to the pretties.

Molly and George are waiting for me at the flat, and I sigh in irritation. I don't want to talk to anyone.

Tossing my suit jacket onto the sofa, loosening my tie and going for the whiskey on the coffee table.

          "I saw you with that man, saw you dancing with him. Saw you kiss him. Turned you on didn't he?" Molly mockingly throws it out at me.
Picking my jacket up, pretending to dust it off.

          "What are you jealous of? We've never had any arrangement. Besides you know-"

          "Yes, yes. Women don't attract you," waving her hand at me as if to shoo me off.

          " Besides, he won't be back here again. Do me a big favor. I'm spent. Stop fussing around here and go home, both of you" loosening the buttons on my shirt.

She humphs,"Never saw you kiss one of the patrons. Did he turn on that special something in you?" full of scorn.

Turning on her,"Molly, get out before I bodily throw you out," opening the door, banging it shut. George turns to me," Sherlock, that wasn't exactly nice." Flopping down on the bed, hands over my head, my frustration with my situation only heightens.

          "I'm sorry, but I'm tired."

          " No, Sherlock. You and I both know what it is." Going towards the door, opening it, "Don't let a quick fascination get to you. That's all it was. Good night," and he's gone. I have to leave here. Have to. Sleep overtaking me finally.

Chapter Text

After the long night over at The Casbah hotel and a restless night in bed, I'm not in the best of moods.

Especially knowing this night will be longer, what with the festival going on.
It's noisy, disorderly and with every pickpocket out on the streets, I'll have to be alert. I've got more men slated to work tonight. They all know the drill.

This morning I'm in the police station talking to my superior Detective Inspector Dimmock. He's upset today, agitated. He always gets this way when there's anything different happening. And this festival, even though only once a year, is different to him.
And when he gets upset the whole office pays for it.

But he had something happen last night and that started him off for this morning. A group of teens were in a grocery store last night and wouldn't leave at closing. The owner had called the police to complain about their rowdiness. A big to-do occurred, and now all the paperwork had to be filled out. And Dimmock hates paperwork.

I'm sitting on the edge of his desk playing with the pencils when he steps into the office,"Get your ass off my desk," he shouts, going to stand behind, seizing hold of the writing tools in my hands, throwing them on his already messy desk.

          " You're going to be on the beat tonight along with every other cop. Aren't you?" Waiting for me to say I'll be home with my feet up, drinking a beer and watching the television.

          "You know I'll be out there. Don't know why you rag on me every year about this."

He now rounds on me," So my brilliant Lestrade, are you or are you not going to get this Holmes to leave the safety of his nest. You've been spending so much time with him; you're too friendly." I don't like being on the end of Dimmock's tirades. Especially when it comes to my business with Sherlock.

          "Don't worry, I know my job. When I get Sherlock Holmes out of the East End, he'll stay out. None of his compatriots will be able to help him, including that brother Mycroft," on the edge of the desk again, knowing it will annoy Dimmock.
Dimmock chuckles in a sarcastic tone," yea, can't wait to see this. Don't wait too long. Department heads want him incarcerated no matter how his brother uses his damn magical government powers."

          "I have a feeling the man is going to be his own downfall. He's becoming unsettled, jumpy, Dimmock. Doesn't like being confined to one area and it has been six years. He's longing to move on. And one thing our man can't tolerate is- boring," deciding to get out of the office, I step to the door.

          "I hope you're right, Lestrade. Too many men are bouncing on their heels waiting to step over you."

How well I know!

Chapter Text

Jim has surprised me by booking a suite at a five-star hotel within walking distance to the festival streets.

          "Holy cow! The bridal suite no less!" opening the double doored-white satin covered entrance and gazing at the grand living room glazed in white, bone and charcoal.

          "I thought bridal suites were all frilly and fluffy! But this, this is contemporary to the hilt!" gazing around.

          "A few years ago mom bought up this property, actually three lots, and converted it. She realized it needed a place like this for just such occasions as the festival. Big money maker for her," throwing his clothes around as I pick up them up and deposit them in the drawers and closet.

          "Too bad the hotel is only five stories. We could get a great view of the city from here. We have this room for two nights by the way." Heading to Anchor Street and our meeting with Lestrade, my head swivels around constantly. Not interested in the crowds, the vendors, the colorful costumes.

Are you hoping, thinking you'll see him again? Don't be a fool, Watson!

We find Lestrade easy enough, leaning against a lamp pole on Anchor Street. The flood of crowds is making this avenue tight-fitting. Between the tables set up on the sidewalk and the swell of people, It's hard to stay together and I feel that Lestrade is walking slow on purpose.

Yes, he's pointing out interesting items but he holds onto my arm, not letting Jim near me, and so Jim finds himself walking ahead of us. Jim stops and looks back, and by his scrutiny of us, his anger is mounting.

I shrug off Lestrade's hold on me, about to step up to Jim when a violent tug on my arm pulls me away.
I'm flung carelessly behind a large door, staring into the eyes of Sherlock. Lestrade, noticing this, moves Jim into the crowd, turning him away from the two of us, winking at me.
I'm on my own now. Anxiety hits my stomach.
I see a fire in Sherlock's eyes. Boring into me, turning me into melting butter.

          "We came back for the festival," I say, trying hard to show a composure I don't feel.

          "Up on the roof, you can see all the festivities much better," Ignoring my obvious discomfort, Sherlock holds my arm, leads me to a steep metal stairway, letting me go ahead to climb the first few rungs.

          "But how will I find my way back?" I say, shifting around on the steps to see him.

          "Let me worry about that," his hand over mine on the railing. We climb the steps to the top, I hesitate, speaking out loud what I know to be true, "But you won't."

          "Now you're beginning to understand me, " the low tone of his voice suggesting his desire.

On the rooftop, I can see all the crowds, the vendors, and the lights hanging from house to house. People dressed in middle east costumes, or plain street dress. The smells of the food wafting up, spices, smoke, burning, all mixed in one.

An old man is singing a song in a language I only guess is Arabic. A tambourine and drum accompany him.

          "The melody is so beautiful," I exclaim, "do you know the words of this song? What is it saying."

          It was written in the stars, what was written in the stars shall be. That the heart and not the eyes shall see.

          " Sing it all, please, Sherlock; it sounds so exotic."
He moves closer, pressing his slim body tight against my back. Singing by my ear, along with the old man down below.

The deep baritone voice rumbles down my whole frame, sending a shiver along my spine.

Leading me by the elbow we climb more stairs to the top roof, where he finishes the song, pressing me against the slope of the roof./p>

A dormer window is beside us and is open. Sherlock steps through as if it's a door and gives me a hand to step in. Treating me like a china doll. A small bedroom, a bed, table, chair, and dresser. Is this his room? I don't know, don't care to ask questions right now.

I'm swept up by his arms enveloping me, his kisses are passionate, and I give in to him, give him all of me.

The night's magic, the night's passion, the night's urgency end when the sun rises bringing reality to the dream.

          "I have to go now, Jim will be waiting."

          "Go, go to your Jim."
I dress and move towards the door.

          "Jim will accept my apology, will take me to bed, and then buy me something expensive. And that's what I want," I'm sure he hears the anguish, the grief at leaving.

          "Yes, that's what you want. Go," kneeling on the bed. Is his voice cracking?
I turn, he stands, and I rush back to him, kneel beside him, our arms around each other.

          "Yes that's what you want isn't it?" his arms encasing me. His lips brushing my hair.

          "You can go, I'll follow you," Sherlock says into my ear, his lips taking a lick inside.

          "You wouldn't do that! The police will seize you. The hotel is out of your limit," shaken at the idea of him getting caught because of me.

          "John, my John I'll take my chance."

"You'll change your mind; I know you will," fear, desperation. He can't go.

          "No use John; I will come after you."
Looking into his hazel-blue eyes, I make a quick decision, "I'll come back. Let me get my things, and I'll come back tonight."

          "At the club at eight pm?"

          "Yes. Sherlock, eight pm."
And I turn and run out the front door and down the steps, where Detective Lestrade is waiting.

          " My, my John. I thought you were kidnapped by who knows what kind of person. I looked high and low for you."

I did get lost. Lost in the embrace of this man I now love. Sherlock.

Jim is waiting for me at the hotel, pacing the lobby.

          "Where the hell have you been? Detective Lestrade was scouring the neighboorhood, keeping me in touch. I haven't slept at all."
I can tell, his clothes are the same he wore yesterday, his hair a mess from running his hand through it.

          " I kept walking around thinking I'd find you or the detective. He spotted me first and escorted me to the hotel."

          "All night? Couldn't you ask directions?"

          "I found a bench and must have fallen asleep. It was okay. Lots of people still out in the streets."

          "Wait a minute!" his eyes growing big, "Were you with him, that guy from the other night?"

I can't answer, but make my way to the elevator with him following behind.
I push the up button, he's next to me, his fingers running through his hair.

Guilt-ridden. Well, at least part of me is. I can't turn to look at his face. In the elevator, he wraps his arm around me. I stiffen up.

Opening the door to our suite, he's trailing behind, all the while rambling," I took you out of the one room you were living in. Gave you a life of luxury and never asked for anything from you. And this--."

          "I'm sorry Jim," sitting on the bed. My hands folded in my lap. Knowing that last night was a dream. That I'll never see Sherlock again. I can't go back. Not to that life.

          "No, John. You'll never leave this," pointing to the open jewelry box sitting on the dresser, with a myriad of watches, cufflinks, and chains. Running his fingers into the glitter sitting there.

          "You love all this finery and the luxury that goes with it."

I slowly raise my head. He never said anything about love. I begin to smile, all the indecision gone. He's made it much easier now.

          "Thank you," stripping my watch off, my silver chains, taking his hand and setting them in his palm.
That's it! My carry-on bag down from the closet, opening it, going to my dresser and taking out my underwear.

I hastily throw some things into the bag and tell Jim,"I'm done. I'm going back."

Walking out the door, down to the lobby where I take a smaller room in the hotel intending to see Sherlock that night at the club.

My heart singing, humming the song he sang to me last night.

Chapter Text

Changed my attire at least four times. What would be good for tonight? I've always been particular about what I wear. But tonight I can't come to a decision. I must have the whole closet out on my bed.

Settling on the dark blue bespoke suit with a white shirt. Tie? No tie? No tie it is.

Earlier in the day, I spent time at the Casbah getting the evening meal set for us. Not having any idea what the man may like. Although I picture him as a steak and potatoes type. But since being with Jim I think his tastes border on the best.

          " Take it easy, Sherlock," Odessa, putting her hand on my shoulder.

          "Why so much Sherlock?" Odessa stares at the huge menu I have planned.

          "I don't know what he'll enjoy. Better too much than have him turn the food away."

          "You'll drive the man away; you're such a nervous wreck right now. Let's go over this menu for dinner again. And, stop changing your mind every two minutes."

There are two private rooms in the Casbah pub, and I've reserved one.

I order Ceasar salad, and a fresh salad, a cream of mushroom soup and a clear broth soup. A filet mignon, garlic roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables, parmesan broccoli, herb smashed cucumbers. That should be enough food for John to pick through.

          " I can tell this is something special. You forgot something." Focusing on the table, set with silverware, napkins, and glasses. Glasses! Forgot the wine.

          "Wines, that's what."

          "Let me bring in a selection, and you can choose," patting my arm, taking off for the bar.

Everything is ready. I fidget, sitting in one chair, moving to another. Eight goes by and no John. Nine and still no John. Coming out of the room and over to the bar, Odessa behind it, I order two shots of whiskey and down them.

          "Don't worry. Just like women, some men take lots of time to look beautiful."

I wait until ten and still no John. I'm stupidly drunk and don't care anymore.

Shuffling over to my apartment, the bed is where I collapse, lying on my back, staring at nothing.

          "Hello Molly? Why are you here so late?" my words slurring, as she sashays into my room. I had left the door unlocked. I don't know why.

          " I was at the train station, Sherlock. It's fun watching the trains come and go. I could get on one anytime I want. Go to any place in London. Not like someone I know," mockingly.
Sitting on the bed, her back to me, I get up on one elbow, not able to see her face.

          "I watched lots of people get on the trains this evening. Interesting people," taunting me.

Who cares? Why is she driveling on this way? Still, on the bed, half listening to her strange ravings.

          " I watched one man in particular. I recognized him from the night before the festival at the Casbah."
Sitting straight up, afraid of what's coming next.

          " He left, Sherlock. I watched his lover get on the train. Bags and all. And the train took off, whoosh. Just like that."

          "No, you can't mean it. You can't be right!"
Shifting her weight to stare straight at me, "Yes Sherlock. I know it was him. No mistaking that man," an uncertainty in her voice saying," So sorry," standing up and walking out the door.

Just like that.

Chapter Text

I hear a knock on my door, opening it to see a bellhop with two of my suitcases sitting on the floor.

          " For you Doctor Watson," my fingers diving into my pocket to give him a tip, taking the cases and shutting the door. Opening the first case, sitting on top is my jewelry along with clothing. There's a note.

at this moment I'm all emotion. I still love you. Not sure I'd take you back if this turns out disastrous. But---

Plopping on the bed, note in hand, I feel sorry for the man I've been with these years. Sighing, I go to take a shower and shave. I can't change my mind now.

Changing my attire at least three times, frustration with each outfit. Checking the mirror, twisting and turning. Does this sag on me? Do I look good in this color?

Settling on my grey pinstripe suit, black shirt and speckled black and white tie. Or maybe not, starting to unknot the tie. Ah, well, let's leave it, and I tie it up again.

I'm descending the steps from the second floor of the hotel, and there's Sargeant Lestrade at the bottom. He walks halfway up to meet me.

          "John, I don't think you want to go tonight."

          "I know what I'm doing, Sargeant. I'm old enough," a small smile on me, ready to take the rest of the steps down, when he places his body in front of me.

          "What if Sherlock isn't there?"

I stop in mid-step. "Why would Sherlock not be there?"
The Sargeant looks down, sighs and slowly says, "there was a row with another man, a boyfriend, and he stabbed him. He died instantly."

No, No, shaking my head, my heart stopping, my body wanting to sink to the ground. I turn to go back up the steps; my heart doesn't want to beat, my feet unsteady.

          "There is a train leaving tomorrow morning at seven a.m. It takes you back into the heart of London," Lestrade, yelling up at me, as I try to absorb what he told me.
Walking up the steps, wobbling, almost running into a couple coming down, I manage to get into my room.

I'm on my bed, and the tears won't come, the heartbreak, agony too much. Finally, I break down and sob into my pillow and fall asleep with nothing left in me.

Chapter Text

It's five in the morning. I haven't taken off my clothes, haven't slept. My world has narrowed to one man. And he's gone.
What do I do now?
A timid knock and Frank enters. He knows what's happened. As I'm sure, all the people around do by now. Sherlock got stood up.

          "Sherlock, John did not leave with his boyfriend," his face looking down at the floor.

          "Why didn't he come to the club last night?" I ask, not bothering to sit up or to look at Frank.

          "Lestrade told him you were dead. Killed by a boyfriend. He's at the hotel still, waiting to leave this morning. I found out from one of my police buddies."

I sit up; all my nerves fired up.

          " Let me get myself together, and we'll go there."

          "You can't do that Sherlock! You can't!" hands outstretched to stop me.

          "Fine. I'll go alone. Wait in the living room for me if you want to."

          "Sherlock no. It could be a trap," my shrugging my shoulders and harumphing.
Leaving me to freshen up, I'm combing my hair when George walks in.

I'm gathering my wallet and keys to leave,"George, you can have anything you want from this apartment. See that Molly gets something also."

          "Where are you going?" I tell him after relaying what Frank had just told me.

George eyes me strangely, and then with a dawning grimace, pushes against my chest to prevent me from leaving, "No don't go there, it's a trick to arrest you. The police are waiting for you at the hotel."

          "How do you know this?" suspicion growing.

          "I just came from there, and Lestrade and his men are in the lobby. Sherlock, I suspect Frank is working for the police."

I'm trying to get around George, when he holds my arm," I overheard the police talking. John is leaving on the eleven a.m train."

Standing stiff, my head whirling, my hand goes to George's grip on my sleeve, taking it off, giving him a nod, "Get rid of Frank, will you, George?"

I shoo him out of the room and take off my ankle monitor. I knew how to remove it when they first placed it on me. Never had a reason to touch it. Now I do. A perfect reason. I leave it sitting on the bed.
To the train station and the man I love, my body in full police watching mode. Cannot have the cops catch me out of the area now.

Unbeknownst to me, Frank had overheard my conversation with George and hustled quickly out before George could catch him.
Frank goes straight to the hotel to tell Lestrade that I'm going to the train station, not the hotel.
The police quickly run to the station and wait.

Chapter Text

Rushing, out of breath, the streets harbor a menace. The police. I have a baseball cap pulled down to shade my face.

Down the stairs into the underground, buying a ticket. I can see the train sitting at the platform, doors still open, and I move towards it.
There's John in the train, at a window seat, not looking out. If he did he'd surely see me.
At first, I think about shouting his name, but decided to surprise him and, begin my walk towards the open train door.

Suddenly, stepping in front of me, Sargeant Lestrade, blocking my way.

He hands me a cigarette he had just lit. More police are behind him, with Frank in tow.

          "Sherlock, I'm so sorry but they promised me my freedom. I had two more years in prison. If I got you--," his voice begging me to forgive him. I wave off any other explanation.

          "Let me watch the train leave," I ask Lestrade, and he nods yes.

I move toward the train as the doors close, it moves slowly out.
Taking a step closer towards the edge of the platform. One of the police pulls out his gun and points it at me.
I smirk at him and move closer to the train as it moves faster, my intention clear to everyone.
I vaguely hear Lestrade whisper, "Sherlock, no."

Taking two quick steps forward, I hear a shot and instantly feel it, pain driving through me.
As I fall, I cry out,"Johhnnnn!" my hand held up, imploring whatever or whoever.

Lestrade bends down, lifts my head up and says,"See Sherlock, I told you I'd get you one day."
He puts the cigarette to my lips, I take a puff and close my eyes.