“I took a photograph. Last night. While you were sleeping.”
John frowns; she hugs the sheet tighter around her chest.
John’s requests for leave, permission, consent.
Yes, yes, yes. The answer is always ‘yes,’ John.
The question? Immaterial. Tedious.
Gall bladder, post-spontaneous rupture, such as the one before me?
Not tedious. At. All.
Sitting room. Dark.
Sherlock hangs up her coat.
Sherlock mounts the stairs.
Quiet knock. Gentle push.
Dark. No John.
Leave, permission, consent. Yes, yes, yes. The answer is always ‘yes,’ John.
Black-and-white tableau courtesy of streetlight filtering through the half-drawn window.
John asleep on her side. Bare shoulder. Scar. White sheet draping low. Bare back. Hint of a cleft. Swell of a breast. Hair mussed. Eyes closed.
Expression, content. Like she belongs there.
Sherlock leans closer.
Sherlock counts pillows.
One underneath her.
Oh, John. You never need permission to crawl naked in my bed and pleasure yourself.
With or without me.
Capture her. Pin her like a butterfly under glass.
Just. Like. This.
“This is what you see when you look at me?”
Sherlock schools her voice to its softest register.
“It’s a photograph, John. It’s how you are.”
They speak in unison: