It was another boring day of John at work, Rosie at school, and Sherlock without any cases. Sherlock decided to browse John's laptop. He liked reading the drafts of John's blog posts and seeing how many changes he could make before John noticed.
Today, Sherlock found something different. John had a new word document titled: "poetry."
"Poetry?" Sherlock said, and couldn't decide if he was amused, incredulous, or appalled. He opened the document and began reading.
If you were an ice cream flavor,
You would be my favorite one.
"Oh God," Sherlock said. "This is an abomination."
Well, that's if I had a favorite one.
I don't really have favorites.
Okay. Let's try that again.
Sherlock nodded. That seemed about right. But why was John writing poetry in the first place? And who was it about? Did John meet a pretty lady who he wanted to woo? Maybe Sherlock should edit John's poetry for him.
You are like the stars,
Are not like flaming balls of gas in space.
Yeah, you'd hate me if I compared you to stars, huh?
Even though we orbit a star.
Did you already delete that from your memory drive by the way?
Okay, getting off topic again.
Sherlock stared at the second stanza. So, John was writing poetry about him? There was no one else John knew who could delete things from his memory drive. Right? Sherlock sat up straighter. Why was John writing poetry about him?
I'm going to delete all this. God, what am I doing? Is this how poetry works? This is just like putting various sentences on separate lines. Well, I'm clearly not good at poetry. Why am I listening to other people's advice about this again… "Oh poetry is so romantic!" It's not like we're even a really "romantic" couple anyway.
Well, since I've started, may as well go the entire way. Let's try a classic.
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
You are crazy
But I still love you.
Okay, pretty sure calling your loved one crazy isn't nice. Or romantic. But you're pretty crazy. Very crazy.
But I'm also crazy.
You're like a painting by Van Gogh.
Like Starry Nights.
Cause you're like the stars.
Cause you're phenomenal.
And I'm like Earth, because
I just orbit around you.
Or rather, your gravitational force attracts me
To orbit around you.
But I guess it's not literally gravitational force.
You do understand metaphors, right?
Cause if you don't, then this is all rather pointless.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Yes, John, I do understand metaphors."
Your… I don't know what it is
But you attract me
Maybe it's how dangerous you are.
But you're not dangerous.
You're very good at putting yourself in dangerous situations,
But you yourself isn't (aren't?) dangerous at all.
You're actually kinda like a caterpillar
Oh God you're going to plot my murder if you ever read this.
You're like a caterpillar,
Because sometimes, you really act like a kid
And you don't seem to know some very basic things,
Like, you know, manners. Which you probably deleted from your brain, right?
Cause I'm sure your parents taught you manners.
I mean… No, Mycroft doesn't really know ordinary manners either.
Sherlock snorted. "Don't compare me to Mycroft."
Getting off topic again. Pretty sure you're not supposed to insult/scold the person in these "romantic" poems. Why is poetry considered romantic anyway? Maybe I'll write a post about this someday.
"Please don't," Sherlock said. "Spare the world from your inane opinions."
And, you're a caterpillar
Because you're cute
(Please don't murder me in my sleep, Sherlock.)
And small and squishy
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Small and squishy, my foot. You're the one who's small and squishy. I'm taller than you, remember?"
Yes, yes, roll your eyes all you want.
I know you're taller than me.
But, to me, you're
You're someone I want to protect
I don't know you're just
Very vulnerable sometimes
No, almost all the times
And most people can't see that
You don't let them see that
And I don't know if you should, but
I guess I'm glad you let me see it
Your worries, and your insecurities, and your pain
I want to see it all
And do all that I can to make them go away
Sherlock felt his heart still. Reading, hearing, John's thoughts like this, while they were still in the rawest, purest form touched him in a way he didn't think was possible. Something twinged in his chest, something pricked the edges of his eyes, and he wanted to see John and to hug him tightly, and to never let go.
Because you're important, Sherlock
To me and to others
To Rosie and Molly and Mrs. Hudson and Greg
And to your parents and Mycroft too
And to all your clients, past, present, and future
All the people you've helped, all the people you've saved
Do you know how many people might be dead if it weren't for you?
Sherlock managed a scoff, though the tightness in his chest had yet to disappear. Had John forgotten how many lives he'd saved himself? How many times John had saved Sherlock? How every life that Sherlock had saved, past, present, and future, was a life that John had helped save as well?
What I'm trying to say is
I love you
I don't know why I need so many words to say it.
Sometimes the 3 just aren't enough.
I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you in every single way.
I've loved you from the start
From when we first met
Because you were something
And a bit scary, the way you read everything about me in a few seconds
And, as you know, I like the danger
Well, I did see right away that you are quite handsome
Rather hard to not see that.
You'd have to be blind to not see that
And you still are, even though you've got some gray hairs coming in
Did you notice those yet?
I bet you secretly pluck them out.
Sherlock gaped at the screen. John had strange trains of thought, and this could be the strangest one Sherlock had ever witnessed. "I know I have gray hairs, but I don't pluck them out," he muttered and read on.
I'll edit this. Tomorrow. Still got a week anyway.
A week? Sherlock checked the calendar. What was a week away? February 14th. He frowned. Valentine's Day. John had been preparing for Valentine's Day, even though they'd never done much on that so-called holiday. Sherlock knew John and Rosie loved the day after, when they could bring home lots of on-sale chocolate.
If John was preparing something - even if it were these atrocious poems - Sherlock should prepare something to.
I love you, Sherlock.
You saved me when I was in a dark place,
In a dark time of my life
I was so alone without you
But now I'm not anymore
I can't imagine my life without you
And I don't want to
I wouldn't be complete without you,
As cheesy as that sounds.
Just, please remember
That I love you
And, it's not about your past
Or what you've done
Though it is sort of about what you've done
But what I mean is,
It doesn't matter what burdens or scars you have
I'll accept them all.
I'd like to think that I've already accepted them all
But if there are scars and such that I don't know,
I know I don't know some of them,
Like whatever happened in those 2 years that we never talk about (delete or rephrase this, cause, you know, we don't talk about it, so I don't think I should be writing about it)
Sherlock reread that line. He knew they didn't talk about the 2 years that he was gone, but he didn't talk about it because John didn't really ask. He'd told John that he'd taken down Moriarty's network but never the specifics. Never about the undercover work, the tracking, the disguises, the languages, the people. Never about the times he was captured and nearly killed.
But, to be fair, John never spoke of his time in the military, though Sherlock also never asked. Sherlock wanted to know. A bit of him did. A bit of him didn't. He didn't want to know what torment John had experienced. He didn't want to imagine the anguish. Imagining John in pain was very painful, and Sherlock preferred to avoid that if at all possible.
Maybe it was the same for John. Maybe that was why John never asked for the details, because John knew that there was pain in those 2 years but he didn't want to imagine Sherlock in pain because it would pain him.
Sherlock liked the idea of that.
I know some of your nightmares are about those 2 years.
At least, I think they are.
Oh God, okay, I'll get rid of that later.
In the end,
It's your heart that really matters
And you have a good heart.
You're a good man, Sherlock.
And you deserve good things in your life
I'm not saying I'm a good thing
I'm probably… I don't know. I think I'm good for you
It's possible I'm not.
If you ever need a hug
Or anything at all
Just let me know.
I am not helping you out in that regard.
Including criminal activities
That are justified, of course
I'll gladly help.
That was very John Watson, indeed. Sherlock ought to delete this document, in case it incriminated John.
I love you.
In case your massive intellect still hasn't understood that.
Maybe I'll add more later.
Sherlock sat back in his chair and began storing the poems, if they could be called that, into his mind palace, word by word.
When John came home from work with Rosie, Sherlock stepped in front of him and said, "Could I have a hug?"
"Sure," John said and wrapped his arms around Sherlock, patting his back. "You okay? Something happen?"
"Hm." Sherlock smiled, resting his chin on top of John's head. He liked this, tucking John in and under him, keeping John safe from the rest of the world. "I've had a terribly boring day. How about you?"
John smiled up at him. "You're asking me about my day?"
"Small talk." Sherlock shrugged.
"It was fine. Thanks for asking. If you're done with the hug, we've got dinner to make."
"One more minute," Sherlock said, pulling John closer.
John sat down with his laptop after dinner. Sherlock was in their bedroom doing who knew what, but now was a good time to look back at the "poems" he'd written last night. He realized they weren't very good. It was the roughest draft, and he'd written it while tired and half-asleep, so it was mostly a word vomit.
John nearly gagged as he was rereading what he'd written and began deleting all the random, extra lines when he noticed there was something at the bottom.
John flushed. Sherlock had read his terrible, cheesy poems, and he hadn't said a word about it. "Oh God." John buried his face in his hands and struggled with the overwhelming embarrassment until he decided to read the rest of what Sherlock had written. John prepared himself for a slew of criticisms.
I will not write it as a poem - though to call what you've written here poems would be an insult to poetry - but here is my response.
If I have a good heart, it is only because my heart is you.
If I am a good man, it is only because you have turned me into one.
If I have saved any lives, it is only because you have helped me to.
I love you. I always have. I always will.
I was lonely, before I met you. I was lonely for the longest time. I never thought I could have a friend, much less a love like you. And a love so good as you. You've changed my life for the better, though I can't say the same for what I've done for you.
If you ever wish to speak about what happened during the 2 years I took down Moriarty's network, I'll gladly tell you. If there's anything I can do to make you happy, John, I'll do it.
Just don't try writing poetry again. If I thought your blog posts were awful, this clearly proved that your writing could get even worse.
John read the "letter," or whatever it might be, twice. Then he took a screenshot of it, took a picture of his screen with his phone, and then uploaded the document to the cloud. Sherlock rarely showed his feelings; he was rarely so tender and honest. Sometimes, John doubted how much he meant to the detective, and this could serve as the perfect reminder for when Sherlock was being particularly insufferable.
John shut his laptop and entered their bedroom. Sherlock was lying on the bed, hands clasped together under his chin, eyes closed, thinking.
"Sherlock," John said, and blushed, remembering that Sherlock had read it all. Every unedited word John had tossed upon the word document last night.
"Yes?" Sherlock didn't move. John rubbed his face, remembered Sherlock's response, and regathered his courage.
Withholding a sigh, he climbed into bed beside Sherlock. He stared at the ceiling, waiting for Sherlock to move, but Sherlock remained as still as a corpse. John searched for words to say, but he felt that they'd all been said already. Sherlock knew them all already. There was nothing left to say.
So John just rested his head against Sherlock's shoulder and closed his eyes too. "I love you."
Sherlock took John's hand. "I love you."
And for once, the three words were enough.