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Everybody Says Don't

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Make just a ripple,
come on be brave.
Maybe you’re going to
fall, but it’s better than
not starting at all.
-Barbra Streisand

No one at all thought it was a good idea and absolutely no one hesitated for even a moment to tell John Watson what a dreadful mistake he was making. Although no one used as mild a word as ‘mistake’ to describe what John was doing.

His confusion over what they were saying was magnified by the simple fact that he hadn’t actually told a single person what was happening inside his head. Or his heart. So how did they even know? That puzzled him so much that he gave very little thought to the actual warnings being issued.

Rather surprisingly the first person to confront him directly was Mrs. Hudson. It was surprising because he knew that she was extremely fond of Sherlock and so why was she trying to put John off?

Because she was the first to confront him on the subject, he was caught completely off-guard when it happened.

“Now, dear,” she murmured, pouring him more tea and putting another warm scone onto his plate. “You know I am very fond of Sherlock. Very, very fond.”

“I know,” John said around a bite of scone.

“And you know how happy I was when he finally got a friend. Especially such a good friend like you. It changed his life.”

Well, two lives were changed, actually, but “Humph,” was all John could say around the scone. He wondered where this conversation was going.
Mrs. Hudson plopped into her chair and fixed him with a bright gaze. “And just so you don’t think I’m an old fuddy-duddy, I was even pleased when you started sleeping with him.”

John choked and she had to pound him rather energetically on his back. Possibly the bedroom was not quite as soundproofed as they’d hoped.
“Uh,” he said when the choking stopped and she was back in her chair.

“Really, John. Sleeping with you has improved Sherlock’s mood wonderfully. So I am good with that.”

Well, every relationship needed the landlady’s approval, right? Thus far this conversation was going well, albeit rather embarrassingly.

“So?” he said brightly, assuming that there was a point of some sort to be made.

Mrs. Hudson looked very serious. “You shouldn’t fall in love with him.”

John just stared at her, his mouth open in mid-bite.


There were no scones at the next intervention, but there was alcohol.

John sometimes thought that he was perhaps a little naïve, because he’d sincerely thought that Lestrade just wanted to get together for a drink or two after a busy week. Sherlock was at Bart’s with a fascinating corpse, so why not?

So it was something of a surprise when the police detective said, “Sherlock is a genius, we all know that. And I’m sure that life with him is never boring.”

“True,” John said equably enough, but there was a sinking feeling beginning in his gut.

Lestrade seemed overly interested in his lager, staring into his glass as if the secret of life was to be found there. “But it’s no secret that he is not so good with people. With any kind of emotion. I mean, that’s obvious, right?” He glanced at John, clearly expecting him to agree.

Instead, John just stared at him.

There was a bit of throat clearing. “Hey, John, that no emotion thing is fine in the short term; you can manage that, I mean, we’ve all just gone along for the, ah, shag sometimes, right? But after a while won’t you want more?”

“More?” If the word was clipped and icy, Lestrade did not seem to notice.

“Won’t you want him to feel something for you? I don’t really think that Sherlock is capable of that.”

John opened his mouth without really knowing what he was going to say. In the end, he said nothing.

And Lestrade, clearly relieved that he had done his duty as a friend, started talking about football.


Being kidnapped was almost becoming routine in John’s life these days. Being kidnapped by Mycroft Holmes was mostly just irritating. This time the car delivered him to a poorly lit, wood-paneled carvery that had probably served Henry VIII. Mycroft was just finishing a meal. He waved John into the other chair. “Would you care for anything?” he asked politely.

“Yes,” John said. “I would very much like to be in my flat, having tea with Sherlock.”

“Ahh, yes, Sherlock. My brother.”

John just crossed his arms and glared.

Mycroft carefully wiped his mouth with a monogramed linen napkin, as a waiter set down a coffee tray. “I sometimes think that we were unfortunate in our genes. The Holmes family has never…understood the concept of caring. As a child, Sherlock once asked me if there was something wrong with us. I think he might have been right.”

John let a brief smile flicker across his lips.

Mycroft seemed briefly bewildered by that, but then he only carefully folded the napkin and set it aside. “You might not believe this, John, but I am genuinely concerned about you. If you let too much for my brother, it can only lead you to grief. Please take my words under advisement.”

John picked up the gold-wrapped chocolate that was sitting next to Mycroft’s coffee, then unwrapped and ate it as he strolled out of the restaurant.


At least the meeting with Molly was different. Well, it would be.

He was sitting in the corridor outside the lab, while Sherlock was doing something that smelled really hideous inside. Molly appeared.
“John,” she said.


“I always thought…it was just going to take time. That’s what I told myself. But then you…”

He didn’t know what to say.

She turned around and went back into the lab.


These days John Watson seemed to walk around with his shoulders tensed, as if expecting another blow from somewhere. He decided he was a fool for not expecting the worst blow of all to come from family. Which in his case, meant Harry, of course.

She had more or less demanded that he meet her for lunch. Thankfully, when he arrived at the café, she was sober. Less happily, while Harry tended to be a cheerful drunk, sober she was something of a bitch.

“Of the billions and billions of people on the planet, you had to go and fall in love with the biggest arsehole of them all? Why, Johnny, why?”

“You don’t even know Sherlock,” he said mildly.

“I know enough. I read the papers. I read your bloody blog, for that matter. This will not end well. I’ve seen you with a broken heart several times before and it was horrid.”

Well, he could have corrected that statement, because he knew now that those past incidents were not actually broken hearts. The truth was his heart had never been broken at all, which was why it was in such pristine condition to offer to someone who really mattered. The first one who ever had.

“Don’t do this, John,” Harry said. “Don’t love him.”
John just smiled.


“Nobody thinks I should fall in love with you,” John said.

“Well, they might have offered that advice before it was too late.” Sherlock’s voice was muffled.

“ I think,” John said thoughtfully, “for that they would have needed to be standing in the lab at Barts that day and tackled me to the floor. Even then it would probably have been too late.” John pulled the blanket up and peered under. “No one thinks you can love me back.”

“Idiots.” Then Sherlock couldn’t say anymore, because his mouth was busy.

John smiled.

Idiots, indeed.