Chapter 1: Beginning
Stamford was practically bouncing as he led me through the halls of Bart’s. It was nice to see that he had found a place where he felt needed, where he could teach others, but I couldn’t bring myself to share in his enthusiasm. Jealousy gnawed at my gut as I watched my former classmate float from room to room with a boyish grin, as I limped along behind him, lost in a place I once called home. Bart’s was no longer familiar to me, and it was hard to smile back at Stamford when we both knew the only reason I was there was because I needed his help. He had refused to say very much about this ‘potential flat mate’ he had mentioned, but I had a sneaking suspicion it wasn’t as perfect as Mike had played it up to be.
“…and this is one of our laboratories,” Stamford was saying, reaching for the door with an excited spark in his eye. “It’s completely up-to-date, has all the newest equipment! Here we are.”
He gestured me into the room and I limped in, checking for potential threats out of habit. There was another man already in the room, but he seemed rather pre-occupied with a pipette.
“Bit different than my day,” I muttered, mostly for Mike’s benefit. I ignored his response. The stranger looked up and shot me one of the fakest smiles I’d ever seen. It didn’t reach his eyes, which betrayed how annoyed he really was to be interrupted by Stamford-and-guest. I couldn’t blame him.
“Mike, can I borrow your phone? There’s no signal on mine.” His voice was deeper than I expected, but not unpleasantly so.
“And what’s wrong with the land-line?”
“I prefer to text.”
Stamford felt in his pockets, making a face as his hands came up empty. “Sorry, it’s in my coat.”
“Here, use mine.”
My declaration startled me almost as much as it startled the stranger, who shot me a slightly surprised look before staring at me as if he only just realized I was real. My face heating under his gaze, I quickly pulled my phone out of my pocket and offered it to him.
“Thank you,” he said softly as he approached. The intensity of his gaze didn’t diminish as the distance between us decreased, and I fought the urge to step back. Looking at me as though I was a riddle that needed solving, the stranger reached for my phone, a calculating look on his face. Mike introduced me, but the other man made no indication that he had heard. His eyes dropped to my extended hand and he took the mobile without a word, flipping it open and beginning to text. I could have sworn he shot me a smirk as he spoke once more.
“Afghanistan or Iraq?”
Chapter 2: Accusation
Mycroft still watches out for John, but he never meets the doctor face-to-face; he can’t stand to see the loss in John’s posture, the defeat in his limping gait, the accusation in his tear-reddened eyes.
Chapter 3: Restless
The average resting heart rate of an adult male is between 71 and 75 beats per minute. It takes only 15 psi to crush a human skull. Horses are measured in hands; one hand is approximately four inches.
The area of a circle is calculated using the equation pi*r^2. A person’s height is in direct proportion to the length of shadow they cast, which can be used to determine the size of an assailant approaching with a strong source of light behind them. John’s favorite color is green.
Having a “green thumb” means one is particularly skilled in horticulture. The Olympics will be held in London this year. John takes his tea with milk and sugar, but does not add sugar to his coffee.
Sherlock huffed and turned to glare at John as though the doctor was to blame for the criminal classes failing to do anything interesting as of late.
John ignored him.
Sherlock grumbled louder.
John turned the page of his newspaper.
Sherlock rolled over completely and sat up, still glowering at his flat mate.
John hummed softly to himself.
“John,” Sherlock snapped.
“That’s nice, Sherlock.”
Sherlock growled and stood up, marching over to the doctor and wrenching the newspaper from his grasp. He threw it triumphantly to the floor.
John raised an eyebrow.
“I’m bored, John,” Sherlock repeated, looking smug.
“What do you want me to do about it, Sherlock?” John asked, looking unimpressed.
“Entertain me! Find a case! Hell, I’ll even sit through one of your tedious television programs if it will give me something to do!”
“I already gave you something to do, Sherlock.”
The detective scowled and shook his head. “No. I need something to focus on, John. I’ll go mad if I don’t have something to think about. I’ve already sorted out new information and cleared my mental hard-drive; what more can I do?”
John picked up his paper. “I meant clean out here and you know it.”
Sherlock huffed and threw himself on the couch once more. “Drowning in my own urine would be preferable to house-work,” he snapped at John.
“Where’s the skull?”
“Mrs. Hudson took it, I think. That, or it’s buried under one of these mountains of paper.”
“Will you no longer be angry with me if I clean?”
“That depends on how well you do.”
“… can you hand me that filing box, please?”
Sherlock started shoving case-files into the box.
Chapter 4: Snowflake
December came around, but John could not find himself feeling the Christmas spirit. As the days grew colder, he was reminded again and again of Sherlock, of mad dashes through chilly nights, the detective’s ridiculous coat flapping behind them as they ran. John hadn’t been allowed to keep Sherlock’s coat, but he did have one of his scarves. On particularly cold days, he would wrap the scarf tightly around his head and pretend he could still smell his best friend in the worn wool; the air didn’t feel as frigid then.
Chapter 5: Haze
John sat up, blinking sleep from his eyes and peering through the darkness to the shape in the doorway. “Sh’lock?” he slurred, still half-asleep.
The detective hovered in the doorway, a cool expression on his face, although his jerking hand movements indicated how anxious he was. “I just…”
“What’s wrong, Sherlock?” John was awake now, looking at his flat mate with concern. “Did you burn down the kitchen?”
The face Sherlock made would have been hilarious at any other moment. “I can’t sleep, John.”
“Decided to have me join you, then?” John joked, grinning. His face fell when he realized how serious Sherlock looked. “Is there anything I can do?”
Sherlock shifted slightly, not meeting the doctor’s eyes. “In the past, nights like this were particularly dangerous,” he muttered.
“Wha-?” John’s question died as he understood what Sherlock was implying. “Is there anything I can do?” he repeated.
“No… not really,” Sherlock admitted, looking sheepish. “I thought you ought to know, being my friend.”
John patted the mattress next to him, waiting for Sherlock to sink down on the bed before continuing. “Thank you for telling me, Sherlock. I’m glad you decided to tell me,” he said softly, taking the detective’s hand gently in his own and squeezing it once. “As a doctor, I’m happy with your decision. As your friend, I’m honored that you told me instead of just going for it. Thank you.”
Sherlock nodded once, looking slightly confused. “You deserve to be informed,” he explained needlessly.
“Would you like to stay with me?” John offered, suddenly sheepish. “You don’t have to sleep; you can just watch me… Would that help you keep your mind off other things?”
“I… Yes, thank you,” Sherlock agreed, moving over so John had enough room to lie down once more.
John smiled softly. “Any time. Thank you for telling me, Sherlock.”
The detective hummed in acknowledgement and watched as John slowly drifted off.
Chapter 6: Flame
An open flame was not a surprising thing to find in the kitchen of 221B Baker Street. Sherlock had an inclination towards experimentation, and the number of things he managed to do with a Bunsen burner was truly astounding. John had walked into the kitchen to find Sherlock holding some unknown substance over the gently burning flame enough that it didn’t even faze him anymore. In fact, on several occasions John had used the burner himself when making tea while Sherlock stored some experiment or another in the electric kettle.
Small explosions were like-wise a fairly regular occurrence. Mrs. Hudson didn’t even have to tell them off anymore; she merely added the appropriate charges to their monthly rent and the boys paid up without complaint. Sherlock was the cause of most of these minor catastrophes, but John had accidentally mixed Chemical A with Chemical B enough times that he knew better than to try and chuck any of Sherlock’s experiments in the bin, lest he find himself covered in smoldering garbage.
Had they been asked, neither John nor Sherlock would have been able to identify the exact ignition point of this particular explosion, although they would agree that the open flame was to blame. John had been doing the washing up from breakfast as Sherlock examined samples on the table. They were both quiet, concentrated on the task at hand; perhaps that was why neither of them noticed the small glass John bumped as he placed a plate in the drying rack. One moment the boys were enjoying a moment of domestic bliss, the next they were scrambling up from the floor, trying to assess the damage.
“Are you alright?” John shouted, trying to compensate for the rather loud ringing in his ear. “You didn’t get hit with anything sharp, did you?”
Sherlock was already on his feet and righting his microscope. “I’m fine, John. I can’t say the same for these samples or this case, but I am unharmed. I take it you didn’t suffer any injuries..?”
John did a quick assessment of himself and was pleased to find nothing wrong, save for the sounds echoing in his ears. “I’m alright,” he assured his flat mate, “Just startled. Any idea what caused this one?”
“No idea,” Sherlock admitted, glaring at his ruined slides. “Something combustible must have hit the burner.”
“I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t turn it on unless you need it!” John scolded, collecting plates off the floor.
“But I did need it, John. I needed it to test the burn rate of these different samples!”
John sighed. “I think for our safety, we ought to put it somewhere else, Sherlock . I’m sure Mrs. Hudson would appreciate not being interrupted by small explosions every few minutes.”
Sherlock grumbled but dutifully shut the burner off.
The next explosion to rock 221B actually came from across the street, but that’s a completely different story...
Chapter 7: Formal
It came in the mail in a plain envelope made of heavy white cardstock. Upon opening it, Mrs. Hudson burst into joyful tears, Molly Hooper smiled sadly, Greg Lestrade didn’t know whether to be excited or exasperated, Harry Watson cheered and began planning a speech, and Mycroft Holmes was smugly pleased to see that they had chosen the invitations he had liked the best:
You are cordially invited to celebrate the Civil Union between
Mister Sherlock Holmes
Doctor John Hamish Watson
on Sunday, the twenty ninth of January, two thousand seventeen
at three o’clock in the afternoon
221B Baker Street
Formal wear required
Chapter 8: Companion
This drabble fits in the same universe as my previous fic, "Overrated," but can be read as a stand-alone piece.
“Sherlock, what are you doing?”
Sherlock looked up from where he was perched on the back of the couch. His large black wings were spread, keeping him balanced precariously on the very edge of the cushions, and he was holding two torn pillowcases. He was shirtless, and his silk pajama bottoms were hiked up to his knees. All around him, white feathers that had once been inside several different pillows were whirling like falling snow.
“Experiment, John,” the detective said casually, as if it were an everyday occurrence to tear apart various pieces of furniture in the pursuit of scientific knowledge.
“What on earth are you – never mind…” John sighed, turning to the kitchen; it was too early in the morning to understand Sherlock without the assistance of at least two cups of coffee. “Just clean up when you’re done, please.”
A quiet whooshing indicated that Sherlock had folded his wings, so John wasn’t exactly startled when the detective followed him into the next room.
“You would say we are close, right John?”
Confused by the question, John blinked up at Sherlock. “Uh, if you mean we live together and know how to make each other the perfect cup of tea or coffee, then yea, we’re close. Coffee?”
“Two sugars,” Sherlock agreed before pressing on. “I mean that we share a close bond, do we not? I have posited before that you are my only friend, and I know I’m the closest companion you possess. Upon meeting us, sixty-seven percent of new people suggest we are involved in some sort of sexual relationship, and the remaining thirty-three percent are merely too polite to mention anything. We have shared beds on several occasions and have saved each others’ lives more times than I can name. We are close, are we not, John?”
“Well, yea, I guess,” John admitted, slightly dumbfounded. “I never really thought of it like that before, but when you put it that way…”
Sherlock looked pleased. “Good,” he hummed, wings twitching in excitement. “Our closeness means that you should not feel awkward at all if I do this.” He surged forward into John’s space, forcing the army doctor to back up into the counter.
“Sherlock, what– ?”
The detective held up an inky black feather no longer than John’s palm. “I want you to have this, John,” he said earnestly, icy eyes fixed on his flat mate. “It is one of my own, pulled out specifically for you. I know it is common practice to give gifts of sentimental value to those you are closest to, and as this is the anniversary of the day we met, I thought it fitting.”
John stared. “Uh, right. Well, thank you, Sherlock. I… uh… I didn’t realize– ”
“This is merely a token of my appreciation, there is no need to reciprocate,” Sherlock explained idly. “As I have stated before, your companionship is more than enough, John.”
Feeling just a bit overwhelmed, John accepted the feather without further protest. “Thank you, Sherlock,” he said softly. “I’ll keep it with me always.”
“Quite right,” the detective agreed, straightening up and flexing his wings. “I’ll have to keep you with me at all times, but I don’t foresee that being a difficulty any time soon.”
Chuckling and shaking his head, John found he couldn’t argue with that.
Chapter 9: Move
John was not looking forward to this. Sherlock had gotten better about cleaning recently, but their main room was still as messy as it had been the day John had met him. 221B was filled with the detective’s clutter, and it was all John could do to not start chucking things in the bin when one of Sherlock’s piles of notes toppled over. Sherlock’s bedroom was probably the only room in the entire flat that did not have some amount of clutter, and that was only because it was hardly ever used; Sherlock spent more of his time at the microscope in the kitchen than he did sleeping. It was about time John started trying to organize the chaos...
On June 27th, John limped up the seventeen steps to 221B and started packing away parts of his life that he had once shared with the now deceased Sherlock Holmes.
Chapter 10: Silver
It was cold out. Not surprising, considering it was late November, but I didn’t have time to grab my scarf or gloves before Sherlock unceremoniously dragged me out the front door, so I wasn’t exactly prepared to face the chilly wind that danced its way through London as I strode after my flat mate. Sherlock had been acting strangely – well, more strangely than usual – for weeks, so I was hoping this mad dash through busy streets would explain at least some of his new habits. He had become extra tactile, holding my hand as we rode to crime scenes and using any excuse to brush fingers with mine throughout the day. At night, he was clingy as well, staring at our entwined fingers as we drifted off to sleep. I was enjoying the attention, but I wanted to know what had changed to make Sherlock behave like that. We had been together for almost a year, after he had returned from the dead and slid right back into my life, and while we had never exactly defined our relationship, I was beginning to wonder if Sherlock wanted to. He kept shooting me odd looks, and combined with his recent clinginess I felt like a conversation was fast approaching. If only he would stop being so stubborn and actually say something.
Sherlock stopped abruptly and I nearly ran him over. He was standing in front of Angelo’s, looking at the door as if he expected it to bite him. Tired of being left in the dark, I reached out to touch his shoulder.
“What’s going on, Sherlock? If you wanted to go to dinner you could have said so.”
He didn’t say anything, merely smiled at me mysteriously and pushed open the door. Angelo looked up as the bell chimed and beamed as he recognized us, gesturing us to our regular table at the front of the restaurant and hurrying off to find some candles. The restaurant was surprisingly empty for that time of night, but I was too preoccupied with my flat mate’s odd behavior to pay too much attention.
After sitting down, Sherlock fixed me with a hard stare, as if he was trying to see into my very soul. I frowned back at him.
“Sherlock, will you please explain what’s going on.”
“I thought it would be nice to eat out this evening. You don’t have any plans, so why don’t we just relax and enjoy a meal together?”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Sherlock, is this your way of taking me out on a date? Because most people usually inform the other person what they are doing and where they are going… They don’t just drag them out of the house with no explanation what-so-ever.”
“When have we ever been like most people, John?” Sherlock pointed out, smiling.
I had to concede that point to him, so I just laughed and shook my head. Angelo returned with five different candles which he lit carefully while taking our order. Once he was satisfied with the romanticism of our table, Angelo bustled off to the kitchen and left Sherlock and me in companionable silence. I started telling Sherlock about my patients and he deduced what they had come in complaining about based on my brief descriptions, and before I knew it we were finishing off our entrees and informing Angelo that we didn’t need dessert.
As we were standing to leave, Sherlock paused, a look of contemplation on his face. Abruptly, he reached into his coat pocket and dropped down onto one knee. Expecting an attack, I followed his motion, only to bash my head into his shoulder. Righting myself, I started to apologize, only to be stopped by the look in Sherlock’s eyes. He looked terrified and vulnerable and questioning all at once. I had only ever seen him look that scared once before, and that was when he had reappeared after being dead for three years; he looked like he was waiting for me to reject him.
“John,” he said softly, pulling his hand out of his pocket to reveal a small box resting in his palm. “John, do you remember the first conversation we had here?”
I stared at him, feeling suddenly apprehensive. “You mean the conversation where you thought I was coming on to you?” I managed to choke out.
“Yes. I informed you that while I was flattered, I was married to my work. But you’ve been a part of my work for years now, and recently you have come to mean so much more than that.” He paused to open the box, which held a simple silver band resting on deep velvet. “I cannot imagine my life without you, John. I do not want to experience separation from you ever again. Would you..?” He trailed off, looking at me pleadingly.
“Sherlock, are you asking me to marry you?” I whispered in awe.
“I… Yes. Yes I am.”
I launched myself at him and wrapped him in the tightest hug I could manage. “Of course, you mad man. Yes.”
“God yes, Sherlock. Christ, if I had known you were the marrying kind I would have asked you months ago.” I pressed a kiss to his lips and leaned back to take in his expression; the relief in his eyes making my heart ache. “I want to be with you forever, Sherlock Holmes.”
Sherlock beamed and plucked the silver band out of the jewelry box, sliding it gently onto my ring finger as though it would break with the slightest shake. “I want to have you with me forever,” he rumbled, pleased. He raised my hand to his lips and kissed the ring. “I’d be lost without my blogger.”
Chapter 11: Prepared
John stood in the doorway, dumbfounded. Sherlock was perched on his chair, which had been moved as close to the television as possible. The detective had his hands folded in his usual thinking posture, but John could not imagine him being able to think over the din the telly was making. Animated hyenas danced across the screen as a brooding lion sang about revenge and getting what he deserved.
“Are you watching ‘The Lion King’?” John shouted over the cackling emitted by the television.
Sherlock didn’t move to acknowledge his flat mate’s question but instead continued to stare intently at the telly as though expecting it to reveal the answer to a particularly confusing crime.
“Sherlock? SHERLOCK!” John bellowed, finally getting the detective’s attention. Sherlock shot him an annoyed look as he found the remote and paused his movie. “What the hell are you-?”
“It’s for a case, John,” Sherlock stated, as though that explained everything. “The kidnapper had taken every DVD in the house except this one, which he left in the middle of the child's room with a note saying something about ‘Scar’ not getting his fair shot. I assume that he identifies with this scarred lion for some reason, so I am watching to try and understand his motives.”
John blinked. “Right. I’ll, uh, just leave you to it, shall I?”
“Nonsense. Join me, John. Maybe you can provide some insight as to why these animals feel the need to express themselves in the form of surprisingly catchy songs.”
Grinning, John sank into his own arm chair. “It’s a kid’s movie, Sherlock. Everything sings in kids movies.”
“That’s absurd, why would anyone want to teach children that animals sing to express themselves?”
“Remind me to show you ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at some point,” John said with a laugh. “I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of the dancing furniture.”
The alarmed look Sherlock shot him was well worth the tedium of explaining why children needed to believe in things like magic and happy endings.
Chapter 12: Knowledge
Sherlock Holmes knows many things. He can figure out your entire life story with one look. He knows exactly what marks would be left behind if someone wearing high-heeled shoes was dragging something heavy. He knows how to tell the difference between 243 different types of tobacco ash. He even knows how to survive a fall from the top of a building, how to fake a suicide, how to pretend to be dead. Yes, Sherlock Holmes knows many things;
If only he knew how to fix John again...
Chapter 13: Denial
“No comment,” John ground out as he pushed his way through the throng of reporters. It had only been a few days since Sherlock’s fall from grace, but the press didn’t seem to care that John was in mourning; they wanted the story of the ‘fake’ detective straight from his best friend’s mouth, and they were willing to do anything – harassing John as he attempted to buy groceries included – to get it.
Shutting the door to 221B sharply, John collapsed against the dark wood and swallowed his anger. They had been particularly cruel today, wanting to know if his relationship with Sherlock had blinded him to the truth of how truly manipulating Sherlock was. “He must’ve been shagging you senseless” one reporter had barked as John passed, and John’s refusal to say anything was probably more condemning than any hasty denial would have been. The press wanted a story and they would find one, even if it meant tearing John apart in the process.
With a sigh, John heaved himself up the stairs, shedding his coat and shoes along the way. He paused at the doorway to the sitting room before stumbling in, bare feet sliding slightly on the carpet. Face in his palms, John collapsed into his armchair and fought back tears. Here, in 221B, it was impossible to deny that Sherlock had meant a lot to him. Everywhere John looked memories of conversations, arguments and experiments flooded his sub-conscious, until he felt like he was drowning in Sherlock.
“Oh Sherlock,” he whispered to the painfully empty flat, “Why did you have to leave?”
Chapter 14: Wind
Again, this drabble fits in the same universe as 'Overrated' and 'Companion' but can be read alone.
A light breeze ruffled Sherlock’s hair and feathers as he waited, finger tips pressed to his lips in his classic thinking pose. John had gone out for groceries, and Sherlock had decided the flat was too stifling in his absence to get any real thinking done, so he had relocated.
“Sherlock? Christ, what are you doing up there?!”
Sherlock turned his head to regard his flat mate, who was standing on the sidewalk with a look of mild terror on his face. “Thinking, obviously,” the detective replied, flexing his wings slightly. “I couldn’t breathe in the flat, so I came out here.”
“Sherlock, you’re on the roof!”
“Yes, John, I am. When you’ve finished stating the obvious, you are more than welcome to come out and join me.”
John looked torn between exasperation and anger, but merely shook his head and stormed into 221B. Several minutes later, he was scrambling awkwardly out of the window and onto the roof. “Sherlock…”
The detective flared his wings slightly in annoyance. “What is it, John? Have I done something wrong?”
“Ah, well, no… not exactly. It’s just… It makes me nervous to see you out here. If you fell –”
“But I won’t fall,” Sherlock interrupted, face hard, “I’ve got wings. I can catch myself before I hit the ground.”
John frowned. “We both know that isn’t true, Sherlock,” he insisted. “I know you get a kick out of chasing serial killers and dodging bullets, but falling off the roof is not the kind of danger you’re looking for, trust me. Broken bones would be the least of your worries.”
“You seek out danger too, John. You revel in it as much as I do.”
The army doctor flinched slightly. While Sherlock’s observations were true, John had a feeling his flat mate was lashing out in anger not at John, but at the world. The way he had said his wings would catch him told of a deeper history, something unpleasant. John would not be surprised if Sherlock had been taunted in the past, trapped in high places and told to fly himself to safety.
“You’re right, Sherlock, I enjoy chasing murderers with you,” John said softly. “But I can’t very well do that if you hurt yourself, now can I? Come inside; I bought some of those biscuits you like.”
With a huff, Sherlock stood, wings snapping open to help him balance as he made his way across the roof to John’s side. Once he’d followed John through the attic window, he shook out his wings once, feathers realigning before he folded them neatly against his back. John smiled at him.
“Why the roof, Sherlock? If you needed fresh air, you could have easily gone for a walk.”
“Old habit,” he explained, leading the way down to the sitting room and collapsing on the sofa as John moved to make tea. “The wind speaks much louder from higher up.”
John, opening the packet of biscuits, decided he didn’t need to know what Sherlock meant by that.
Chapter 15: Order
Making Sherlock Holmes do something he doesn’t want to do is almost impossible. John only manages to get Sherlock to clean up after himself by threatening to move out. Lestrade’s warnings of arrests and nights spent in jail are almost always ignored, unless jail time would be more inconvenient than just leaving the crime scene. Mrs. Hudson is typically offered a miniscule shrug and a bit more in the rent check for that month. Once, a junior officer had told Sherlock to stop collecting evidence from a particularly interesting murder, and wound up in therapy for emotional trauma for six months. No, Sherlock Holmes never does something he doesn’t want to… not even if the power of queen and country is ordering him to in the form of his stupid, fat, obnoxious elder brother.
Chapter 16: Thanks
‘Thank you’ was the first thing I ever said to John, and it is truly remarkable how many times I have said it since then. Without John Watson, I would not understand people as well as I do now, would not know what it means to have a friend, would not realize just how much I had been missing before. John makes suffering through the idiots I encounter on a daily basis worthwhile. He makes me eat, makes me sleep, makes me pay attention to the danger that I surround myself with. It was John who made me recognize that I was more than just a brain, that I had a heart underneath all my deductions, and it is John who I now give my heart to. Thank you, John, for taking me as I was and making me into something new. I love you.
- an excerpt from the wedding vows of Sherlock Holmes
Chapter 17: Look
John Watson stood in the doorway of 221B with his eyes screwed shut. He had been expecting this for months, but all the anticipation in the world didn’t make it any less painful, couldn’t prepare him for the actual moment. Hearing things was one thing, but for his brain to betray him this badly…
‘You see but you don’t observe.’ Sherlock had said that to him once, before the world started falling apart and John heard the detective’s voice in everything he did. Sherlock trusted his eyes, relied on his sense of sight to do his job, believed the evidence he could see over anything else. John never understood why his friend was so keen on teaching him to see everything, but know he was wishing he had paid a bit more attention.
‘You’re hallucinating, Watson,’ John thought to himself, eyes still closed. ‘You’ve finally cracked. You’re imagining that you can see something that can’t possibly exist.’ After so many months of hoping and praying, there was no way the scene in the sitting room was real.
John shook his head, trying to shake the question out of his head. ‘It’s not real. It’s impossible. You’re dreaming…’
“John, look at me. Stop fighting everything I taught you and observe. The evidence is all around you.”
Sherlock’s voice, his arrogance. ‘It’s too good to be true. He’s dead, remember? Jumped off a bloody building... Left me alone…’
“Open your eyes, John, and look at me.”
Steeling himself, John Watson took a deep breath and opened his eyes. The sitting room stared back, empty.
Chapter 18: Summer
“It’s hardly my fault Susan couldn’t handle a few frozen fingers. At least they weren’t dripping all over the table, unlike her over-zealous application of perfume… As if drenching herself in a drug-store scent would mask the stench of her halitosis. Honestly.”
“Her name is Summer, Sherlock, and for the last time, stop interrupting me when I’m out on dates! There was no need for you to show me those fingers right then.”
“What sort of parents name their daughter ‘Summer’? Does she have a sister called ‘Autumn’ or were they only drawn to the warmer months? And what sort of woman goes around admitting to such a terrible name? Where do you find these women, John?”
“What sort of parents name their kids ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Mycroft’? And what do you mean ‘where do I find them’? I meet them in the usual places, pubs, shops, the tube…”
“Ah, no wonder they’re so boring.”
“Boring?! They aren’t-! Anyways, that’s not the point, Sherlock! You have got to stop bursting in with body parts every time I’m out with someone!”
“Dull. If they can’t handle that part of your life, they clearly aren’t right for you. You know as well as I that you aren’t going to give up ‘fighting crime’ with me anytime soon.”
“Well, no… I suppose I should just give up on women and date you then.”
“Might as well; almost everyone we meet already thinks you do. Even Sumi thought so…”
Chapter 19: Transformation
This is similar to 'Thanks,' and can be considered a companion piece.
People like to tell me that Sherlock has changed since meeting me. I would agree that he is no longer as obnoxious as he was in our first meeting, but what’s really remarkable is how much he’s changed me as well. Before I met Sherlock, I was just a washed-out soldier, sent home from a life of adrenaline and terror with a hole in my shoulder and nowhere to stay. My life was dull, uneventful, and utterly depressing, full of grey and days spent limping around a city I no longer knew. In comparison to the way things were in Afghanistan, London was a cesspool, a pit of colorless boredom. Nothing ever happened to me. But then Mike Stamford introduced us and Sherlock started pouring color back into my life. Suddenly I had a place where there was adrenaline and terror around every turn, and I was alive again. Without Sherlock it is quite possible I would have just given up on the world, but thanks to him – because of him – I found life and love. I love you, Sherlock Holmes. Thank you for transforming my life into something worth living.
- an excerpt from the wedding vows of John Watson
Chapter 20: Tremble
Sherlock shivered, cold despite the sun on his face and the wool coat wrapped around him. The gradual darkening of the sky spoke of rain to come, and the detective found himself wondering if the weather was changing to match his mood or if his mood was darkening to match the weather. Glaring at the gathering clouds, he decided he didn’t care either way.
Turning his attention to the ground, Sherlock took a deep breath to center his thoughts. This most recent puzzle from Moriarty was definitely difficult, but Sherlock did not doubt his ability to best the consulting criminal once again. All he needed was to find the last clue, determine the exact timing for the final step. Timing was everything in his game with Moriarty, and as Sherlock gazed at the pavement, he searched for the signal he was sure Moriarty had planned; something seemingly meaningless that only Sherlock would truly understand…
Sherlock frowned as he recalled his last conversation with Moriarty, considering what he knew and piecing together the facts. It seemed impossible, but Sherlock knew there had to be a way to get around everything Moriarty had planned, there had to be a solution. His greatest foe would not send him a challenge he could not complete… But it seemed Moriarty had planned too well, done his best to defeat Sherlock once and for all, and as Sherlock recognized the cab pulling up, he reached into his pocket for his phone. It was time.
With a shuddering breath, Sherlock dialed the number and held his phone to his ear.
Voice trembling, Sherlock Holmes told his best friend goodbye.
Chapter 21: Sunset
This drabble fits in the same universe as 'Overrated,' 'Companion,' and 'Wind' but can be read alone.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” John murmured, gesturing at the pink and orange sky. Beside him, Sherlock huffed out a breath and shrugged, his wings flexing as his shoulders rolled.
“It is merely sunlight refracting through the various pollutants in the air, John,” the detective pointed out. “I would hardly call a reminder of our sullied atmosphere ‘beautiful.’”
Amused, John chuckled and shook his head. Only Sherlock would point out exactly why something most people found nice to look at was actually a terrible problem. Although, to be fair, Sherlock did find most things others were terrified of fascinating; John shuddered slightly as he remembered his flat mate’s most recent experiment involving liver.
“You weren’t even there when the beaker exploded,” Sherlock pointed out, proving once again his startling ability to know exactly what John was thinking about. “You were making a face,” he explained. “That particular expression is one you use when remembering experiments you wish I hadn’t done in the flat.”
“Well you can’t blame me; I was scrubbing liver out from behind the fridge for a week!”
Sherlock’s wings twitched in suppressed pride. “The results of that experiment helped catch a serial rapist, John, surely that was worth the extra cleaning you had to do.”
John found he couldn’t argue with that, so he just shook his head again and turned his attention back to the sky. The sun was sinking behind the London skyline, painting everything with gold-orange light. Everything seemed to glow softly, and when John caught a glimpse of Sherlock’s fluttering wings out of the corner of his eye, he couldn’t help but stare. Each feather caught the light differently, so the entirety of Sherlock’s wings were aglow with different shades of gold and orange, looking almost as if they were on fire. John watched as Sherlock flexed his wings before folding them tightly against his back, each feather dancing in the shifting light.
The army doctor jumped slightly, flushing as he realized how long he must have been staring at Sherlock. His flat mate was giving him an amused look, but the tension in his wings told John that Sherlock was feeling wary; he didn’t like being stared at.
“Sorry,” John murmured, face heating. “I just… Your wings are beautiful, Sherlock. Even if you can’t see it, they are.”
Sherlock turned his face away. “They are nothing more than useless extra limbs that drive people away,” he ground out, scowling. “They aren’t beautiful, nor can they ever be.”
“They are though, Sherlock. Your wings made you who you are today, even if you refuse to see it. Without your wings, you wouldn’t be the same, Sherlock, and I can’t imagine you any other way.” John was speaking earnestly, wanting his friend to understand. “It’s like the sunset. Sure, the colors may be caused by pollutants in the atmosphere, but you can appreciate and enjoy the sunset because those colors are what make the sunset truly spectacular. In the same way, you may not like your wings, but it is thanks to them that you are the amazing person you are today.”
Sherlock stared at John for a moment before relaxing slightly, wings unfolding and flexing once again. The detective watched the light dance through his feathers with a curious look on his face. “I suppose, if I look at them objectively… If I try to see them as you do, my wings are fascinating,” he admitted softly. “I… I did not realize… Thank you, John.”
John nodded and turned his gaze to the sunset once more. “You’re welcome, Sherlock. Can you see how the sunset is beautiful too?”
Wrapping one wing around John’s shoulder, Sherlock merely hummed in agreement.
Chapter 22: Mad
I told her 'I’m angry,' but it’s more than that, more than I can say to Mrs. Hudson, at any rate. You’ve driven me mad, Sherlock, mad with pain and fury and loss. I did not know one person could cause me so much grief, but damn it Sherlock, I’m lost and I need you. I need you, you mad infuriating man. I need the fights and the danger and the insanity that you are apparently made of. You had no right to take that from me, no right to take away my sanity, no right to deprive me of you. You are not a fraud, Sherlock, and I think I hate you for believing the same lie the world is eating up right now. I’m angry, Sherlock, but the part that makes me the most furious is that if you come back I will forgive you without a second thought. People are convinced I must be mad to believe in you… I think I am.
- an excerpt from the unpublished blog entries of John Watson
Chapter 23: Thousand
It takes John exactly one thousand four hundred and fourteen days to get over the death of Sherlock Holmes.
One thousand four hundred and fourteen days mourning his best friend, one thousand four hundred and fourteen nights struggling to wake up from nightmares full of falling bodies and pools of blood, one thousand four hundred and fourteen painful, grey days spent limping through the haze of a danger-free London. Mary had been so patient, so willing to put up with John’s horror, so understanding and kind and perfect that John couldn’t help but fall in love with her.
On the morning of the one thousand four hundred and fourteenth day since Sherlock had told John goodbye, the doctor wakes up in a bed next to the woman he loves, feeling finally free from his grief. He hasn’t forgotten Sherlock or all they did together, he is simply finally able to smile without feeling guilty, to laugh without fighting back tears, to walk down Baker Street without collapsing into a broken shell of a man. On that morning, John limps through London finally able to see its beauty again, finally able to appreciate it for the marvelous city that it has always been. He still misses Sherlock, but he is ready to move on with his life, ready to be his own person again, not just the blogger who got left behind.
It takes John exactly one thousand four hundred and fourteen days to get over the death of Sherlock Holmes.
On day one thousand four hundred and fifteen, Sherlock Holmes returns to 221B.
Chapter 24: Outside
“The atrocious weather really shouldn’t be a surprise to you, John.”
John sighed and turned his back to the window, where a torrential rainstorm was currently dousing the entirety of London with buckets of water. He smiled up at Sherlock, who was standing in the doorway of their living room with his arms folded across his chest. “I know,” John admitted, striding over to the detective and pressing himself into Sherlock’s side. “I had just hoped…”
Sherlock hummed and uncrossed his arms to wrap one around John. “It will be fine, John. The location of the ceremony hardly changes the significance of today.”
“I suppose you’re right… as you always are,” John relented fondly. Sherlock started running his fingers through John’s sandy hair in response. “I would hate for your suit to get ruined by all this rain.”
Sherlock snorted. “We both know you would be more miserable and wish to relocate sooner than I would, if the ceremony stayed where it was.”
“I think Harry would call it quits before I did!” John insisted, poking Sherlock firmly in the ribs to emphasize his point. “Or Mycroft would probably have a tent built on-site before anyone else managed to arrive.”
“A fair point, John. Why my brother insists on carrying around that ridiculous umbrella if he never intends to use it for its original purpose is beyond me.”
John grinned. “It’s the same as when you pick up your violin when he’s around; you never actually play it, you just pick and swing your bow around to annoy him so he’ll leave sooner.”
Sherlock’s scowl would have been much more disapproving if he had managed to hide the spark of pride in his eyes that he had every time John managed to properly deduce something about him. “I am quite skilled on my violin, something you have repeated multiple times, I’ll have you remember. Incidentally, I still don’t understand why I cannot bring it with me…”
“Because you’ll cause a scene and play poorly on purpose, or forget it somewhere and mope for the rest of the evening,” John explained. “Neither of those sounds like a good option to me.”
Sherlock chuckled softly, and the two of them stood in silence for a while, side-by-side, just watching the rain streak down the windows. Eventually, John glanced at his watch and sighed again.
“We should go, Sherlock. It won’t do if we’re late to our own party.”
“I don’t see why we can’t make them wait a few more minutes. It’s not like they can’t begin without us.”
John laughed and shook his head, removing himself from Sherlock’s side. “Believe it or not, Sherlock, they can’t actually start until we’re there… it’s our ceremony, remember? Besides, we already made them change venues at the last minute; the least we can do is have the courtesy to arrive on time.”
Sherlock huffed but accepted the coat John offered him without further protest and followed his flat mate down the stairs, stopping John before they reached the front door to fix the doctor’s bow tie.
“I’m sorry we can’t have an outdoor ceremony, John,” he muttered as he smoothed down John’s lapels. “I know how much that would have meant to you.”
“It’s alright, Sherlock. I was expecting it to rain anyways, that’s why we had plan B. It would be impossible to have a wedding in London in January without it raining on you.”
“It’s a civil partnership, not a marriage, John,” Sherlock reminded him as they stepped out into the rain.
John snorted and pressed his lips to Sherlock’s in an amused kiss. “Whatever you want to call it, Sherlock, today is not the day to be caught outside…”
Forty-five minutes later, the two of them finally arrived at Mycroft’s club soaking wet, flushed, and grinning like a pair of satisfied teenagers. None of their guests were surprised.
Chapter 25: Winter
It’s hardest when it’s cold out, I think. I don’t know why exactly, but I think my brain just associates the cold and the constant rain with roof-top chases and Dim Sum and steaming tea. Following you around in the winter always seemed like more of an adventure somehow; maybe the chill added another layer of danger to our cases, made everything seem more frightening, more close-to-home… The darkness and dampness of winter press in and make me long for the quiet nights at 221B, the moments where you were still save for the sway of your body as you played beautiful music or the minute movements of your lips as you muttered something to yourself while sorting out your mind palace. I miss those slow days of winter, when there was a fire in the grate and everything was just cozy and calm. That isn’t to say I miss the cases, because I do, I just find myself longing for the strange domesticity we shared in those winter months, longing for them now that it’s cold out again and the weather can’t decide whether it should rain or snow and my heart feels frozen in my chest with missing you. It’s been six months, Sherlock. I didn’t think the days could get colder than the day you fell, but I was wrong. Winter is a cold reminder of how much I miss you.
- an excerpt from the unpublished blog entries of John Watson
Chapter 26: Diamond
John wears a pair of diamond cuff links to Sherlock’s funeral. No one points out how ridiculous they look with John’s rumpled suit, nor do they ask him where they came from. They don’t have to; the sentiment is obvious.
Chapter 27: Letters
It started as a bit of a joke, really. John, tired of saying things that Sherlock apparently never heard, wrote his flat mate a note one morning and stuck it on the eye piece of Sherlock’s microscope:
Clean out the fridge before I get home or
I won’t tell you what Lestrade phoned about
Upon returning home, John found a flat devoid of Sherlock, a fridge full of decomposing skin samples and a note taped to the kettle:
Lestrade is easily persuaded.
Also, we need more milk.
It escalated from there; cheerful greetings stuck to various pieces of clothing, shopping lists passive-aggressively shoved into wallets, reminders written in the fog on the bathroom mirror… John even found a note from Sherlock stuffed inside his shampoo bottle one morning, much to his chagrin. The things they wrote to each other were short at first, but as time went on the notes got longer until they were more like letters than anything else:
I still can’t believe you went after that suspect
on your own last night. You’re lucky he was
unarmed; though I’m sure your ribs are still hurting
you. There are pain-killers beneath the sink if you
need them. I’ll be at the surgery until two this
afternoon. Please don’t do anything else stupid
until I get back; I can’t imagine what I’d do without
you, you mad bugger.
If you need anything, text me.
Slowly, the letters became less about reminding the other person of something and more about reminding them why they were important. John wrote a ridiculously long letter in his card to Sherlock for his birthday, and in return Sherlock scribbled out four and a half pages of his favorite things about John for the anniversary of their first awkward ‘not a date’ at Angelo’s. They never discussed what they wrote, but John never doubted the genuineness of Sherlock’s words, nor did he ever write something he didn’t believe to be true. They continued writing letters back and forth until the day Sherlock fell, and even after then John found himself writing to Sherlock occasionally, as if his best friend would be able to respond with a note of his own. Three years passed with random notes written to no one and sporadic visits to Sherlock’s grave, until one morning, John stepped out of the shower and nearly fell over. Etched into the fog on the glass was a note:
It’s never too late for a miracle, John.
Thank you for believing in me.
Chapter 28: Promise
New case. Murder. May need your assistance. – SH
I smile apologetically to Mrs. Wilkins as I shove my phone back into my pocket. “Sorry, Mrs. Wilkins, my flat mate wanted to know where I put the sugar,” I lie. Mrs. Wilkins is a seventy-seven year-old widower seeing me about complications with an ear infection due to her hearing aid. She does not need to know that Sherlock’s found another crime to solve.
“It’s fine, dear,” she replies rather loudly. She’s compensating for her hearing aid. “I know what it’s like. My husband used to lose things all the time.”
I start to correct her assumption that Sherlock is somehow more than just a friend when my phone buzzes again.
New member of forensics team today. Maybe this
one will be semi-intelligent. – SH
I shake my head and turn back to Mrs. Wilkins. “Alright, let’s have a look–” My phone cuts me off, buzzing with two more texts in quick succession.
New forensics even more of an idiot than Anderson,
if that’s possible. – SH
Need your assistance, John. – SH
I type up a reply and leave my phone on my desk, returning to my examination of Mrs. Wilkins’ ears.
working – J
I manage to finish with Mrs. Wilkins and am handing her a prescription for anti-bacterial ear drops when my phone vibrates loudly, dancing across my desk. I usher Mrs. Wilkins out before checking the new message.
Victim clearly suffocated. New Anderson more
incompetent than the original. – SH
I’m in the process of replying when my phone buzzes again. Sherlock must be extremely frustrated with the Yard if he’s texting me this much.
Need you to explain why ‘bleeding out’ is an
impossible cause of death. The Yard has clearly given
up on hiring intelligent forensics people. – SH
be nice Sherlock. Ive got one more appointment
before I can take a lunch break – J
Sherlock’s response is nearly instantaneous.
Dull. Have them see someone else. You are much
more useful here. – SH
I chuckle at how demanding Sherlock can be, sending off a quick reply before buzzing the intercom for Teresa to send my next patient back.
Ill be there soon – J
I don’t even finish greeting Mr. Lawson when my phone beeps, indicating someone sent me a picture message. Knowing Sherlock, it’s probably a picture of the crime scene, so I ignore it and start with the routine checks; blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and lungs. By the time I finish telling Mr. Lawson that he’ll need to take a few days off to adjust to his new medication, my phone has chimed twice more and buzzed at least six times. I check the damage as I pull on my coat and head out the door of the surgery.
The three pictures are a bit disturbing, although certainly not as bad as things Sherlock has sent me before. I still haven’t fully recovered from the close-up of an infected pig liver he sent a few weeks ago… Each picture is accompanied with a text describing what Sherlock wants me to notice.
No abdominal bruising. Internal bleeding impossible.
Hyoid intact. Throat clear of blockage. – SH
Blow to back would have caused pleural cavity to
collapse, leading to suffocation. – SH
The next three texts are, unsurprisingly, complaints about the police and the way they insist on doing things legally.
Victim had history of infection in lungs, which the
killer knew as well. Obvious. – SH
Cannot see victim’s medical history until cause of
death confirmed. Cannot prove cause of death
without medical history. Lestrade is being tedious
on purpose. – SH
Hacking into medical records impossible on phone.
Bring laptop with you. – SH
I get two more texts as I hail a cab, one from Sherlock and one from Lestrade.
Lestrade has threatened to arrest me if I attempt to
take samples from the victim. Apparently he wants to
drag this case out as long as possible. – SH
I know you’re working, but can you please control
Sherlock? He keeps trying to stab my cadaver with
a pen knife. – Lestrade
on my way. tell him Ill let him keep the pig liver experiment if he behaves, I text Lestrade, giving the cabbie the address of the crime scene. My reply to Sherlock is much shorter.
a pen knife? really Sherlock? – J
It’s quite useful. Or it would be if Lestrade hadn’t
confiscated it. Took his warrant card as retribution
give it back you berk or I swear Ill never speak to
you again – J
As the cab pulls up to the crime scene, my phone buzzes once more.
We both know that is impossible, John. Don’t make
promises you don’t intend to keep. – SH
Ducking under the police tape, I can’t help but smile. Sherlock is right; I’d never be able to ignore him, and I don’t ever want to try.
Chapter 29: Simple
No matter how many times John tries to deny it, people still assume he and Sherlock are lovers. It should be easy to see that they aren’t; John dates women and Sherlock is married to his work. Alright, so they share a flat, but that’s not unheard of, and sure they’re two single guys and John is apparently Sherlock’s only friend, but that doesn’t mean they’re shagging. Admittedly, John has been known to drop everything to help Sherlock, and Sherlock only ever panics when it’s John’s life on the line, but they’re mates; that’s what mates do for each other. And yea, John hasn’t been dating anyone recently, but he’s been really busy helping Sherlock with cases and doesn’t have time to prowl pubs looking for a girl to shack up with, that’s all. It’s not like he’s given up on the whole thing or anything… Sherlock just takes precedence because without Sherlock, John wouldn’t be around to prowl pubs in the first place. And maybe they’ve spent one or two nights sleeping in the same bed, but they were traveling and it’s hard to find hotel rooms sometimes and all they did was sleep anyways, so that shouldn’t matter, right? And yes, John takes care of Sherlock and makes sure he eats and sleeps, but that’s only because Sherlock is apparently incapable of taking care of himself and John’s a doctor, so he’s just keeping his friend healthy. They’re friends and they care for each other. That’s all. They are not in a relationship, and it doesn’t matter how many people say something, John knows he and Sherlock will only ever be best friends, and he’s more than happy with that. It’s quite simple, really…
Chapter 30: Future
221B is quiet. There are no experiments being done, no tea being made, no screeching violins or muffled curses. John is not poking away at his laptop and Sherlock is not hovering over his microscope. The lights are off, the curtains drawn and everything is hidden in darkness and shadows. Nights like this are rare; there isn’t much time for quiet when there are cases to solve and criminals to catch. Even Baker Street is silent, empty of cars and foot traffic.
Sherlock sits in his bed, thinking. It is not a rare thing for him to do, but it is not common for him to sit so still and so quietly for so long. The usual racing of his brain has slowed to a crawl and for once he’s enjoying the calm. He is thinking about John, and Sherlock has always found that it is easiest to ponder his flat mate in the silence between midnight and dawn; there are fewer distractions when the rest of the world is asleep.
John is asleep upstairs, not fighting off nightmares, just sleeping. He snores softly when he’s deep into his REM cycle and Sherlock can’t help but find it endearing, can’t help but find John endearing. John, who has saved his life over and over; John, who is always there, chasing down suspects and staring down Anderson; John who has become a constant in Sherlock’s life. The loyal blogger. The best friend. John is the only person Sherlock can turn to when he feels overwhelmed, the only person he’s never fully figured out, the only person he trusts with himself. John has been by Sherlock’s side through thick and thin, and Sherlock is sure he will continue to be.
Shifting to stand, Sherlock makes his way out of his bedroom, ready to face the day. He may not know yet what the future holds, but there is one thing Sherlock is absolutely sure of; no matter what, he and John will face it together.