There were very few things that scared Sherlock Holmes in this world. One of these things was people’s reaction when they finally learned that he was transgender. However, the thing that scared him the most was his best friend John Watson’s reaction. Nobody knew yet. He had not had the courage to tell anyone. To explain. Tonight, this was going to change. He was planning to come out to his parent, ask that they start using masculine pronouns and let him begin his transition. He knew he would not be able to start testosterone or have surgeries for a year or two, but he could wear a binder and buy some new clothes(his hair was already short). He could start presenting as a boy.
If they let him of course. His parents were not religious, but they were very conservative and cared entirely too much about what other people thought. It sometimes felt like all the decisions they made were dictated by other people’s opinions of them. He expected that his parents would think having a transgender child would not be seen very well in their social circle as well as with the rest of the family. Sherlock was very anxious about telling his parents, but he was still determined to do it. He had to, if he wanted to stop being miserable. He had to if he wanted a chance of being happy now, instead of being miserable until he could leave the house in a couple of years.
If his parents didn’t react too badly, maybe he would finally have the courage to tell John. He and John had been friends for a year now. They had started talking after being paired up in chemistry. Sherlock had never been interested in talking to him before. Not that he was interested in talking to many people mind you, but rugby players were at the bottom of his list.
John Watson surprised him. He was not only handsome and good at sports, but also smart and incredibly nice. He understood Sherlock’s sense of humor and was interested in what he had to say. He listened while he talked about bees, crimes, or his last experiment with the pig kidney he had stolen from the school. Sherlock was not actively bullied or hated at school, but he certainly was not loved either. The only person who talked to him other than John was a shy, relatively smart, but boring girl named Molly. Most people ignored him or just snorted every time he talked in class.
So Sherlock was very surprised when John started to spend so much time with him. Talking to him in class was one thing, being friends outside of class was something else entirely. The blond boy would find him during the breaks and ask him if he could sit with him. Most of the time Sherlock hid under stairs or sat on the ground in corner, reading during the breaks, but John didn’t seem to mind. He would just sit on the ground with him and find a way to make Sherlock smile. Sometimes Sherlock would deduce people for John and make him laugh. Those were the best times.
At lunch Sherlock often went to the labs to do experiments. When he told John, the boy asked if he could come help him. He accepted and John began to stay with him at lunch time as well. Sometimes helping him, sometimes trying to study and failing because he could not stop watching him, sometimes stopping him from starting a fire or making something explode and always bringing food and nagging him to eat something.
As time passed they simply became inseparable. John would ask him to come see his games (which he did a couple of times because even if he hated rugby it was always nice to watch John covered in dirt, smiling at him happily) and wait for him after his practice. Sherlock invited him to his home and on the small cases he took on his website. It often ended up with them breaking and entering or running away from very angry men, but it was a lot of fun.
People started to think that they were a couple and he frequently heard John’s friends teasing John about their relationship. No matter what they thought John and Sherlock were not a couple. Sherlock more than liked John, he was deeply and annoyingly in love with him. John liked Sherlock as more than a friend too. Or he had at some point. He had even asked Sherlock if he ever thought they could be more than friends. Mutual affection was not the problem. The problem was that John liked Sherlock as a girl and he was not a girl. So he had told John he just could not when he had asked if they could be more. He had never explained more than “I can’t. I just can’t. I’m sorry John.”
Maybe it was because of how emotional he had sounded, but John had not pushed and just dropped the subject. He still looked sad sometimes when looking at Sherlock, but he never said anything about it. Sherlock just could not be with John, could not bear to have him completely, only to lose him when he learned Sherlock was a boy. No matter how hard it was to watch John date other people and not be able to tell him how much he meant to him, Sherlock feared John’s eventual rejection more.
Would John even want to stay his friend once he told him? He was a good person. He would not abandon Sherlock for something as stupid as his gender. Would he? He was so anxious he felt like he was going to throw up. He only had to tell his parents; after that, telling John would not be so hard. John was nicer than Sherlock’s parents. In comparison, telling John should be child’s play.
John noticed Sherlock looked nervous during the day and when he asked him about it Sherlock snapped that he was fine so John didn’t push the issue. He always knew when to push and when not to. It was one of the things he liked about John.
When Sherlock arrived home he could hear his heart beating loudly in his chest. He found himself wishing Mycroft was there to support him, but his brother was at University and had other things to do than help Sherlock with such a trivial thing.
He could do this.
He absolutely could do this.
He found his mother in the kitchen and his father in his office, and asked them to join him in the living room. He had something to tell them. His mother looked curious, probably expecting a boyfriend, pregnancy or something stupid like that. His father only looked annoyed at being interrupted in his work. He stuttered through the first sentences of his practiced speech and had to take several long breaths, but it came out at last. He was a transgender boy. Both his parents were frozen in place. His father became worryingly pale and his mother took the denial approach. He should have expected that really.
“It’s just a phase honey. You are too young to know something like that.”
He tried to explain to her that his age didn’t matter, that he had known for a long time, but she only replied:
“You are not a boy just because you are not very feminine. Plenty of girls have short hair and don’t like to wear dresses.”
Oh my god! The woman was such an idiot. He wondered how he could be genetically linked to her. He attempted to tell her how being feminine or masculine didn’t have anything to do with it when his father cut him off rather abruptly.
“Don’t be an idiot. You are not a boy.”
When he insisted, speaking with more conviction, his father got angrier and screamed at him:
“I won’t let my daughter be a freak!”
Sherlock had to fight not to cry. His mother didn’t have the same reluctance and started weeping. To avoid showing weakness in front of his dad he escaped in his head and focused on John giggling after they had escaped a rather scary looking man they had been trying to follow. He heard his father tell him he would never allow him to transition and if he repeated anyone what he had told them he would be placed in an all girl school away from home, but he was already mentally gone. He was with John in a dirty alley, laughing. Eventually he realised his father had finished a long, angry speech and he was expecting some sort of a response.
“Fine” Sherlock spat in a cold voice. He got up and went to his room to avoid breaking down in front of his father.
He didn’t come out of his room that night and he didn’t touch the plate of food the house keeper, Mrs Hudson, left in front of his door. He cried in a foetal position, hiding under his covers, muffling the sounds of his violent sobs in a pillow. He didn’t know when he fell asleep exactly, but it must have been very late at night judging by how tired he felt when waking up in the morning, still dressed. He changed his clothes quickly and brushed his teeth not looking in the mirror, not caring what he looked like. Not wanting to see. He left directly for school, avoiding his parents.
When John saw him that morning his eyes widened and he looked worried. He must have looked worse than he thought. He only hoped his eyes were not red from all the crying.
John asked him how he was, trying to sound casual and Sherlock replied by shrugging his shoulders and looking at the ground. He was not in the mood for talking. He was not in the mood for anything. He didn’t do any experiments at lunch, he just sat at a table, head on his folded arms, looking at the wall. If John was not concerned before, he was after lunch. Sherlock barely said a word all day, no matter how hard his friend tried to make him talk or smile.
The rest of the week went roughly the same way. Sherlock avoided his parents at home staying locked in his room doing nothing all night. He let tears to fall from his eyes, but didn’t sob anymore. He didn’t see the point. He didn’t eat at all at home and if it was not for John forcing him to eat at school he would not have eaten all week.
At school he forced himself to say a word or two to John, but he didn’t have the will to act like everything was fine. He didn’t ask to see him after school and if John suggested hanging out, Sherlock refused, saying he didn’t feel like seeing anyone. To his surprise, John didn’t leave him no matter how boring he became. He still spent all his free time with Sherlock and kept trying to make him feel better. He even proposed they try that dangerous experiment he had always refused to let Sherlock do.
Sherlock declined of course, but he was still touched John cared about him enough to try to cheer him up. John never outright asked him why he was so depressed. He knew that it was not the way to learn something with Sherlock. In any case he would have just lied if John had asked him.
Sherlock thought about talking to him about it, but explaining meant repeating him what he had told his parents, and he was not sure he was strong enough to do that again. He could not deal with another bad reaction. He could not deal with being called a freak, could not deal with what he knew to be true being dismissed or ignored.
After a week of going on like this Sherlock began to think seriously of suicide. Being a lonely sixteen years old who was stuck in a body he hated he had already thought about it in the past, of course. However, he had never wanted to do it as much as he did now. What was the point of going on, anyway? He could not be himself. He could not have the relationship he wanted with John, because of who he was. His friend would eventually tire of him acting like a zombie, and he would lose the only thing he had left worth living for. Better to end it right away.
It took him a couple of days to decide how he would do it. He ultimately settled on a heroin overdose. He had spent enough time in the dodgier parts of the city investigating crimes that he knew where to find what he needed. He used money he had stolen from his father a year ago and hidden away for emergencies. Since his father reaction was one of his main motivations to kill himself he didn’t feel guilty using it on illegal drugs.
On Friday he forced himself to smile at John as he saw him for what he knew would be the last time. John looked hopeful to see him smile again at last. If he only knew.
When he arrived home he went to his room and closed the door as usual. He found his old stuffed bee and feeling strangely sentimental hugged it for almost an hour as he prepared himself to die. After everyone in the house was asleep he got his materials ready. First, he wrote a note to his parent.
You made it clear that you are unwilling to accept me for who I am. Since you think me such a freak I will free you from the shame of having me as your child.
He carefully prepared the heroin and settled himself on his bed. He had calculated how much he would need to be sure to die, so he was confident he had the correct dosage. In two hours, maximum, he would be dead. His hand shaking slightly, he found a vein and injected the substance. He was relieved to have succeeded on his first try. A rush of euphoria more intense than everything he had ever known invaded him and he suddenly found himself thinking of John Watson.
He decided to text John while he was still conscious. What to say? A part of him wanted to say that he loved him, but he resisted and chose to thank him for everything instead. John had been the brightest light in his life. His personal sun keeping him alive and making him hope that one day things would get better. They had not, but that didn’t matter. For a while John had made him believe that they could and he could be happy.
“Thank you for everything.SH” he sent.
Breathing started to get more difficult and his mouth became very dry. Searching for a bit of comfort he took his stuffed bee in his arms and held it thinking of John. After that it all became a blur. He heard strange sound coming from his phone, but he was too gone to try to answer it.
John was about to go to bed when he heard his phone vibrate. He looked at it and his heart stopped when he saw what it said. It was not completely unusual for his friend to text him late at night, but it was usually to ask him to bring something for an experiment the following day or to come and join her somewhere. Sherlock had not texted him once in the last two weeks and as if it was not enough two worry him the sense of finality in the message was enough to terrify him.
“Thank you for everything. SH”
Had his friend not looked so depressed in the last two weeks he would probably have not worried as much, but since the circumstances were what they were a text thanking him at eleven at night was enough to make him fear the worst.
He texted her back immediately asking:
“Sherlock why are you thanking me? Are you ok?”
Five minutes later there was no response. His friend didn’t always reply to her message immediately, but when she was the one to initiate the exchange she usually did. In seconds. Worried sick he decided to call her instead. She hated to speak on the phone, but she would have to make an exception this time. If only for his peace of mind. It rang and rang and rang, but there was no answer. He tried again. Three times.
If he had known the number for Sherlock’s house, he would have called her parents at this stage, but he didn’t. He didn’t want to call emergency services yet, in case Sherlock had just gone into the shower or had fallen asleep.
Fuck it! He would go to her house. He dressed himself rapidly and ran downstairs as silently as he could. His parents were asleep at this hour and he was careful not to wake them up. He would call them if something had happened and if not he would be back in an hour.
Sherlock lived thirty minutes from his house by bus, but John was too worried to wait for a bus so he ran toward a busy street he knew always had taxis. He jumped in the first taxi he saw, almost screaming his friend’s address. He told the driver it was an emergency and sat anxiously as the car went on, looking out the window and hoping he was only over reacting. Or if he was not that he would not be too late.
Sherlock had always had moods and weeks when she looked less happy than others, but when he had seen her arrive at school with small red eyes and a dead expression two weeks ago he had immediately known it was more than that. He knew his friend. Something was not right.
In fact, something was so incredibly wrong that she had not even made an experiment at lunch time and had barely said a word to him all day. During the next two weeks he tried everything he could think of to make her smile, talk, get angry, anything. Nothing worked. She spoke little and refused to do anything. John missed his best friend. They didn’t hang out after school anymore and even when he was with her she seemed elsewhere. It was like someone or something had sucked all the life out of her and had left her empty with a living body. She looked dead inside.
In fifteen minutes the taxi was at Sherlock’s house. John threw the driver some notes and told him to keep the change. He ran to the door and didn’t even stop to breathe before ringing the bells multiple times. He only had to wait two minutes for someone to answer, but it felt like twenty. The nice housemaid, Mrs Hudson, who loved to make him cookies when he visited, opened the door in a night gown.
“John?” She asked confused. “Don’t you think it’s a bit late to visit Sherlock. You cou...”
“I’m sorry Mrs Hudson, but it’s an emergency. Sherlock sent me a worrying message and now she won’t answer her phone. I’m afraid she... I need to check she is all right.”
The old lady understood what he was not saying and opened the door, looking worried.
He ran past her toward Sherlock room. Her door was closed. He knocked, but didn’t wait for an answer to open. What he saw made him freeze in place. His best friend was lying on the bed, looking very pale. There was a syringe on the floor and all that was necessary to take heroin on the nightstand.
“Oh my god! Oh my god!” he whispered running toward the bed.
“Sherlock?” he asked touching her face, trying to see if she was awake. He felt a pulse on her neck, but it was weak. Getting out his phone he dialed 999. He heard Mrs Hudson enter the room and scream, but he didn’t pay attention. He told the woman on the phone that his friend had taken some kind of drugs and was now unconscious. He also told the operator the address and closed the phone to as soon as they said they were sending an ambulance.
“Please don’t do this to me!” he begged, almost crying, as he hid his face on Sherlock’s shoulder. Sherlock made a small sound, but she didn’t open her eyes. On the bed beside her he saw an old stuffed bee and he felt his heart break.
Sherlock’s parents finally woke up her mother arrived in the room with a scream. John was forced to leave the bed and he saw a piece of paper he had not noticed before on his friend’s desk.
You made it clear that you are unwilling to accept me for who I am. Since you think me such a freak I will free you from the shame of having me as your child.
He felt confused to see Sherlock sign “your son”, but it was not what marked him the most. From the tone of the note he could see that Sherlock was angry at her parents and they had at some point made her feel like they thought she was a freak. He really hoped they had not actually used that word.
Why or how she had ended up thinking that they would prefer her to die he didn’t know, but it made him angry. Angry at her stupid parents who were never there and only cared about her when she did something that could reflect badly on them.
The ambulance arrived. John swallowed his anger and asked Sherlock’s mother to let him ride along with her in her car to the hospital. His friend’s mother had always liked him; no matter how much John secretly hated her.
“Of course John. You saved her life.”
He called his parents on the way to the hospital, and told them were he was and why. They didn’t get angry with him, but he could sense they didn’t like that he had waited so long to call them. He didn’t care.
Sherlock’s father didn’t come with them to the hospital. He stayed home and John didn’t dare say a word about it. It was probably better. He was not sure he would have been able to keep calm with him in the waiting room.
They had to wait in a small room with uncomfortable chairs while Sherlock was given meds to fight the effect of the drugs she had taken. John had expected Sherlock’s mom to ask him if he knew why Sherlock would have done something like this, but she didn’t. John felt like a horrible friend because he had no idea why Sherlock had felt the need to take her own life, but instead of being relieved he didn’t have to admit his ignorance to her mom, her silence made him suspicious Did it mean she knew? He was pretty sure she had not seen the note on Sherlock’s desk.
John was not in the mood for more secrets. He took a deep breath, and asked Sherlock’s mom directly if she knew why Sherlock would have done something like this.
“I...She told us something two weeks ago, but I don’t think...”
Judging by her face she knew that it had everything to do with her daughter trying to kill herself and she just didn’t want to admit it.
“What did she tell you?” he inquired, his voice harsher than he had intended it to be.
“It’s not important John. She was just being silly. That’s all.”
John had to take another deep breath to calm himself. He would not scream at her. He would not scream at her, no matter how much the woman deserved it. If she got angry at him she might not let him stay or see Sherlock.
An hour passed before a nurse came to tell them that Sherlock was safe, but she would not wake up until morning. Her mother, exhausted, decided to leave and come back in the morning. She offered John a lift, but he refused. He would stay. He asked the nurse if he could stay in Sherlock’s room. The nurse looked to Sherlock’s mom, and when she didn’t say no, the nurse nodded to John.
The nurse guided John to a single occupancy room and left. John grabbed the only chair in the room, moving it closer to the bed and he sat, placing his hand on Sherlock’s pale one. Sherlock had bigger hands than him and most boys would have been put off by that, but he didn’t care. He found her hands as beautiful as the rest of her.
A nurse came during the night to check on Sherlock and asked him if Sherlock was his girlfriend.
“No, she’s my best friend, but we’re not together like that.” He replied sadly.
John thought back to the time he tried to ask Sherlock if they could be more. Sherlock had made it clear that she was not interested. He didn’t know if it was because she didn’t like boys, was simply not interested in relationships or just not interested in John, but she had not looked like she wanted to tell him so he didn’t insist. He could live with not being in a romantic relationship with Sherlock, but he could not live without his best friend. He could not make his feeling disappear, but he had hidden them the best he could.
He tried to get a girlfriend (and even a boyfriend one time) hoping it would help him move on from Sherlock. However, the girls he dated always ended up jealous of his friend, and they had every reason to be. It was not like he could blame them for that. He was desperately in love with her and she would always come first for him. The boy had not wanted a relationship, just a fuck buddy. John was ok with that for a while, but he grew tired of it, needing an emotional connection.
John woke up in the morning realizing that he had fallen asleep still holding Sherlock’s hand with his head on her mattress. He was barely awoken before he felt the girl on the bed wake up, too.
Having his name be the first thing she said waking up made him feel warm all over. He also realized he was still holding her hand and let go before she noticed it.
“Oh...” she exclaimed quietly looking around her. “I failed did I? Who found me?”
She looked disappointed and annoyed. Was she really disappointed to be alive? He knew he should not focus on his emotions right now, but he could not help the surge of anger that came over him in that moment.
“I did you idiot! You sent me a text thanking me for everything. I was worried so I came to see if you were ok. What were you thinking?”
Sherlock looked startled by his anger.
“Please don’t be angry John.” She begged looking afraid.
“I’m sorry. I’m not angry at you. I just don’t understand why you would do something like that.”
He just wanted to understand. He needed to understand. Sherlock looked everywhere, but at him and bit her lip, looking tortured.
“If I tell you why you will think I’m a freak.”
He felt like hitting whoever had made her believe that.
“I would never think that. Never! Who said you were a freak?”
“My father. When I told him...He said he would not let his daughter be a freak.”
“What did you tell him?” John asked gently.
He was smart enough to have guessed that Sherlock was talking about the same thing her mother had avoided talking about last night. The thing Sherlock had told her parents two weeks ago. Evidently her parent’s had not reacted well to it.
“I.... I told them that... I’m transgender John. I’m a boy, I know I’m a boy, and I want, I need to become one physically, too.” Sherlock finished with a bit more determination than when he had begun.
Sherlock looked away, too afraid to look at the reaction on John’s face. A part of John was surprised, but another part found Sherlock’s announcement to be almost expected. Sherlock had never really been typical in anything, and it somehow made sense that his gender would not be any simpler than any other aspect of him. Sherlock had always been very masculine and with the right clothes could easily be mistaken for a boy, if you didn’t hear his voice. He always made a face when someone mentioned that he was a girl. John suddenly felt like the fact that Sherlock had signed “Your son” on his suicide note should have been the final clue he needed, not the first one he recognized.
Sherlock’s attitude about his gender used to make John laugh, but now that he understood it was not as funny anymore.
“You can go if you want. I’m not expecting you to want to stay friends with me.”
“No, Sherlock...” he protested. He just needed a bit of time to process it. “I... I’m just a bit surprised that’s all. I am not going to stop being your friend for this and I definitely don’t think that you’re a freak. If you say you’re a boy then you’re a boy.”
Sherlock looked at him, eyes full of hope.
“You really don’t care?”
“Of course not.” He replied softly making his friend’s face light up.
Then John remembered why they were here, in this room.
“Did you try to kill yourself because of your parent’s reaction?”
The boy in the bed swallowed.
“Mostly, yes. They made it clear that they won’t let me transition or start to present as a man. I don’t want to live if I have to pretend I’m a girl. It’s too hard. I can’t do it anymore.”
His friend’s voice fluttered like he was fighting back tears and he closed his eyes. John could not help himself, he took Sherlock’s hand and squeezed it. Sherlock’s face relaxed slightly, a sign that it was helping.
“You said it was not the only reason. What else?”
“I thought you would reject me if you knew.” Sherlock explained without opening his eyes.
“Never! I don’t care if you’re a girl, a boy or even an alien. I love you, you idiot.”
Sherlock opened his eyes suddenly at hearing his last sentence.
“At least you will be happy we didn’t become a couple after all. You would be stuck with a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend.” Sherlock tried to joke, but he was really just reminding himself that John could not love him like that if he was a boy.
"Is that why you didn’t want to be with me?" John asked, hopeful.
If that was the only reason Sherlock had rejected him, it could mean that his feeling were reciprocated.
“John, you are straight. I may have the physical attributes of a girl, for now, but I don’t want you to be attracted to me as a girl.”
John grinned at the idea that his best friend had not noticed this about him when he usually saw everything.
"Sherlock, you remember that person I was seeing a couple of months ago, the one I didn’t want to talk to you about?"
"Yes." he said confused.
"It was a boy. He is in the swim team."
Sherlock’s face was a mix of confusion, surprise and joy.
"You... you mean…. you like boys too? Why did you never tell me?"
"I guess I was afraid you might reject me. So, yes, I’m bisexual. I’m not attracted to you because you’re a girl. I love you because you’re you. You could get a penis tomorrow and I would still be attracted to you.”
John’s declaration must have chased away the last of Sherlock objections to them being more than friends because he asked in a confident, but still slightly nervous tone:
"John, would you kiss me, please?"
John smiled, ecstatic, and he replied to the request without words. He leaned toward Sherlock and kissed him gently, using his tongue to trace his lips faintly. He didn’t care that Sherlock had been in the hospital since yesterday, that he himself had not brushed his teeth since the day before. He could finally taste Sherlock’s mouth and it was perfect.
“So does this make you my boyfriend?” John asked, smiling, and placing his forehead against Sherlock’s own.
“I think so, yes.” The other boy replied smiling and looking at John like he could not quite believe that John was real.
John lay down on the bed beside Sherlock and placed his head on the pillow next to him.
“You have to promise me you won’t try to... that you won’t do this again Sherlock. I don’t know what I would have done if...”
“I won’t. I promise. I don’t know what I am supposed to do about my parents though. If they won’t let me be myself I... Being something I’m not everyday... I can’t keep doing this.”
John caressed Sherlock hair’s and made him meet his eyes.
“Don’t worry. We will work something out. We will figure out some way so that you don’t have to go on like this.”
Sherlock looked at him like he was trying to determine if he was telling the truth and then nodded.
They kissed again chastely then snuggled comfortably close to each other.
“Hey, should I still call you Sherlock or are you going to change your name?”
“I’m keeping Sherlock. It’s a unisex name.”
”Ok. I would have been fine with it either way, but I have to admit I’m glad you’re keeping it. I really like it. It suits you.”
When a nurse came in and saw them on the bed together she told Sherlock that his boyfriend had stayed all night waiting for him to wake up. Sherlock smiled and looked at John, happy.
“You must be happy she’s all-right.” The nurse commented innocently looking at the young couple.
John decided for his boyfriend’s sake that it was time to start correcting people. If Sherlock didn’t appreciate it, he would apologize and not do it again, but until then:
“I’m really happy he is safe, yes.”
The woman looked confused and didn’t say anything else until she left the room, only smiling politely. John looked at Sherlock to see if he had minded his use of masculine pronoun in front of a stranger and found him grinning widely. Well, he had his answer then.
Sherlock’s mother arrived around ten in the morning. At first, John planned to leave them to speak alone, but Sherlock took his hand and asked him to stay. He agreed and stood beside the bed as mother and son had their conversation. She asked him why he had tried to die and Sherlock answered that it was because they didn’t want to let him be who he was. He even spoke of himself in masculine terms.
“That’s really why you did this?”
“Yes, I cannot continue to be someone I am not. If you cannot accept me I will run away if I have to.”
“I will talk to your father.” She said, lips pinched, looking tense.
She saw them holding hands. John had no doubts she would have been terribly happy for them a week ago, but it was obvious that she saw their physical affection in a different light. A week ago, Sherlock in a relationship with John would have meant her daughter was finally normal and finding herself a boyfriend. Now, it only added another layer of confusion; her daughter insisted she was male, but was romantically linked with another boy. She still thanked John for staying, and for what he had done for Sherlock.
When she left again to call her husband, John caressed his boyfriend’s arms.
“I’m so proud of you.”
“For what?” Sherlock asked genuinely confused.
“For standing up for yourself.”
“I just told her the truth”
“Exactly” he beamed. “and if you do have to run away, you call me before so we can do it together.”
Sherlock got out of the hospital the next day. Physically, he was fine, the overdose would have no long term effects on his health. He was very nervous about going back home and speaking with his father, but John helped him to calm down. He told him that if his father said anything too horrible or treated him badly he could always call him or just come to his house directly.
Learning John still wanted to be with him even if he was a boy had been one of the happiest moments of his life. Being with John would not solve everything, but it would at least make everything more tolerable. He would have someone he could talk to, someone to trust. Someone who would support him when he felt dysphoric or angry at being misgendered. Someone he could run to if he was treated badly for being who he was. With that in mind, he faced his father feeling a lot less scared.
His mother was also there, but it was evident that she didn’t plan on speaking. He noticed that his parents looked angry and tense, but also guilty. They had probably seen the suicide note he had left them while he was at the hospital. Good. They had every reason to feel ashamed.
“You can dress and present yourself as you like. We won’t stop you from telling people what you are if that is what you wish, but your mother and I won’t call you a boy. As long as you live in our house, you can’t transition physically. No hormones and no surgeries. We know we can’t stop you once you are on your own, but for now you will have to tolerate what you were born with. Do you accept these terms?”
His father’s speech left little place for discussion and Sherlock knew that it was as good as he was going to get. His parents were most likely hoping he would change his mind before leaving the house, hoping he would “grow out of it” before he could transition. He didn’t mind, though. At least he could start dressing as he wanted and ask people to use male pronouns. He would be gone by next year and then he would begin his physical transition.
"If you mean will I try to kill myself again the answer is no, but I will be leaving the house as soon as possible."
He could see his parents looking slightly relieved. They must have been afraid he would threaten to kill himself again.
In a controlled and tense voice his father said,
“I expect it, yes.”
And the conversation was over.
The day after he went to John’s house and they spent two hours on John’s laptop searching for the best place to order binders. Sherlock finally found a binder that he liked and they ordered two using the credit card his parents had given him. They had given it to him a year ago, and gave him a budget of £500 a month. Until the binders, Sherlock had only used the card to buy tools and supplies for his experiments.
This month Sherlock planned to use the card to its limit. After the binders he and John went to the nearest shopping centre to buy Sherlock some new clothes. Sherlock’s clothes had never been overly feminine, but they were still obviously made for girls and he was glad to buy his new shirts in the men’s section. He tried on some shirts and trousers. John told him multiple times how handsome he looked. One time he even encircled Sherlock from behind as he looked at himself in the mirror, kissing his neck and whispering “I am so lucky to have such a good looking boyfriend.” against his ear making Sherlock shiver at the touch and blush at the compliment.
Sherlock’s relationship with his parents stayed very tense and they talked even less than they did before. He still found an ally at home in the form of Mrs Hudson the housekeeper. It seemed she had learned what had happened and why Sherlock had tried to kill himself and took it upon herself to give Sherlock the acceptance his parents didn’t. She quickly started using male pronouns and referring to him as young man when she was angry or exasperated. Sherlock was sometimes tempted to annoy her just to hear her call him young man. Now and again when John would come over she would call them boys in an affectionate way that made him wonder why he had never realized how much he loved Mrs. Hudson.
He told Mycroft everything by sending him a letter. He wrote about coming out to their parents, their reaction, and his overdose two weeks later. He didn’t go into details, instead focusing on the aftermath and their parents accepting Sherlock’s identity up to a certain point. He also wrote about the new developments in his relationship with John. Mycroft had met John in two occasions, and their meetings had left his big brother respecting John more than he did most people.
Mycroft wrote back, angry at their parents, and angry at Sherlock for risking his life in such a way. He was still glad that it had all turned out for the best, and that their parents had seen reasons, at least partially. He promised to help Sherlock with his transition as soon as he was finished with school and had a good salary. It gave Sherlock even more hope that things would be all right. The best part, though, may have been the fact that Mycroft’s letter began with the salutation “Dear brother.” It was enough to make him admit to John that he did love his brother, no matter how much he complained about him.
Sherlock had gone to John’s home a couple of times before, but once they became a couple he started spending a lot more time there. The situation with Sherlock’s parent made it easier just to be out of the house, and in any case it was a lot more agreeable to be with John. John’s parents were slightly confused when John told them about Sherlock being transgender, but impressively they accepted Sherlock without making too big of a fuss or asking too many questions. John used the opportunity to come out as bisexual to his parents. They had already been through Harry coming out as a lesbian, and they took learning about John’s sexual orientation fairly well. Harry herself was more surprised by her brother coming out as bisexual than she was to learn about Sherlock’s gender.
John’s parents had always been socially progressive, and knowing about Sherlock’s situation at home they let him sleep at their house when he needed to, and not on the sofa. It was no secret that he slept in the same bed as John, but they trusted their son was old enough to act responsibly and use protection.
John and Sherlock did have a sex life, although Sherlock’s dysphoria made adjustments necessary. Sherlock enjoyed giving John pleasure, but he struggled with receiving it. Sherlock couldn’t bear being intimate without his binder on at first, either.
With time he got comfortable enough to only wear a t-shirt and accepted to let John pleasure him too. There were still things John could not do and places Sherlock refused to be touched, but he was eventually able to enjoy John using his mouth on him, and to experiment with being penetrated anally. After six months Sherlock bought a toy and a strap on; for the first time he used something bigger than his finger to make John moan. It was glorious.
Despite their successes, Sherlock still had times he felt more dysphoric when confronted with his body, or depressed about having to wait to transition, and could not bear to be sexually intimate, but John never complained. Sherlock sometimes worried his boyfriend would get frustrated with him, but John never made an issue about sex. He could have gone completely without if Sherlock had asked him. All he wanted was to be with him. The day he told him that Sherlock he hugged John fiercely for twenty long minutes whispering “I love you so much” into his shoulder three times.
At school people didn’t react too badly to him coming out. Sherlock had expected a lot worse, but his coming out was taken with indifference or light curiosity at most. Revealing that John and Sherlock’s relationship was romantic caused more of a response than Sherlock’s new gender presentation. People were confused about what that made John, frustrated they could not easily label him. John came out as bisexual to stop the questions. He had not originally planned to come out before university, but if Sherlock could tell people he was transgender, John could tell people he was attracted to more than one gender. Two or three people did try to make means comments at Sherlock, but John replied so quickly and fiercely that they didn’t dare to try again in his presence. Since John and Sherlock were almost always together the only time they could still insult Sherlock was in class. Sherlock responded by publicly deducing the bullies, and they quickly learned that making an issue of Sherlock’s gender was not worth the risk of having their fears and secrets revealed to their classmates and teachers.
When he was not at school he worked on small private cases for money with John and he was able to save up to move out on his own as soon as he had finished high school. Strangely the closer he got to leaving the more dysphoric he became. It was like knowing he would soon be able to start testosterone made him feel worse about the body he was stuck with at the present. John was always there for him. He would cuddle with him and rub his stomach when he got his period. Call him his perfect or handsome boyfriend more than usual when he got misgendered. Propose new slightly dangerous experiment when he was feeling depressed. And John was such a source of comfort that even though he had all the boy clothes he needed, Sherlock would sometimes borrow John’s shirts and wear them at home. The scent and reminders of John made him feel better when he could not be with John directly. He would bury his nose in the t-shirt that still smelled like John and immediately feel better. Thanks to John, Sherlock never felt bad enough to think of dying again
As planned, Sherlock left home two days after finishing school to go live in a small apartment he had found close to the University he and John had both decided to attend. John joined him soon after and they spent the summer in London adjusting to their new life together. John had been accepted into pre-medicine, and Sherlock had simply registered as undecided, taking classes in chemistry, biology and criminology.
For Sherlock living with John was even better than he could have imagined. They got to sleep in the same bed every night, cuddle half asleep in the morning, have lazy sex in the afternoon without worrying they would get caught, argue about the milk and eat take away together at two in the morning. He didn’t even mind John complaining about his experiments in the kitchen or pushing him to eat all the time.
Sherlock had registered with an NHS Gender Clinic, and his initial appointment for assessment was in seven months. He tried to remain positive about the wait time, but he was more than relieved when Mycroft, who had started working for the government that summer, called Sherlock to tell him he had arranged appointments with a specialized private therapist and an endocrinologist. Sherlock was able to start testosterone months sooner than he would have, and Mycroft promised him they would schedule his first surgery in less than a year
John and Sherlock started classes both getting busy and sometimes cranky. Even so, Sherlock could honestly say he had never been this happy. The hormones had not yet started to have big effects, but the simple fact that he was on them made him feel better, knowing he was moving forward
In his classes everyone knew Sherlock as that weird guy who didn’t speak to anyone (except to make cutting remarks) and in John’s classes Sherlock was known as the very smart and good looking boyfriend (John’s words). Sherlock didn’t care about being loved, hated or what kind of person his fellow students thought him to be as long as they didn’t doubt that he was a man.
When he got home at night and found John asleep on his books because he had dozed off while studying again, when he buried his face in the soft blond hair, when he woke up in John’s arms in the morning, when his teachers called him young man in an annoyed tone making him think of Mrs Hudson, when John presented him to his friends looking incredibly proud, when John arrived home to find him in the middle of an experiment the kitchen looking like hell, when Mycroft called him “his little brother”,
when John called him an idiot for keeping his binder on too long, but then proceeded to massage his back and shoulders, when he was in bed kissing his boyfriend’s warm skin...
When... all of those times he felt himself glow with happiness or contentment, he was really glad he had not died at sixteen. He was really glad he was alive.