Desperate Kingdom of Love

“I like to think you’d pick me. You already did, didn’t you, when you asked me to marry you. You chose me. I won. Didn’t I?”

 Summary: Mary’s thoughts on her marriage with John.

I’m not stupid, you know.

I may not be The Only Consulting Detective in the World but some things are still fairly obvious to me.  You think I don’t notice the way you look at him. The only reason why this doesn’t bother me as much is because you don’t notice the way he looks at you.

You’re standing over there at the window. He’s just left. “It’s raining,” you say. “I know,” I say. I know you’re not watching the rain. You’re not fascinated by this outburst of nature. You stare at him, his tall dark figure vanishing in the grey of the afternoon. He had come over to tell you that the case was solved and you had made some tea for him. You didn’t even look at me, didn’t even ask me if I wanted some tea as well, do you know that?

It hurts, John

You turn around and smile at me, but it’s not as genuine, not as real as it is when you smile at Sherlock. He hugged you briefly before he left. His nose buried in your shoulder, his fingers pressing against the small of your back. I saw it all.

I don’t hate him. I don’t hate you either. It’s all bearable because neither of you seem to know how the other feels. And that makes it okay, really.

You press your hand against the window pane and I imagine that you imagine it was him you were touching. Softly caressing his bloody cheekbones, kissing those perfect cupid bow lips.

It was more difficult for me when I realized it first. I wanted to kill Sherlock, for the way his eyes lit up whenever you were in the room, for the way your smile seemed to deepen as soon as you spotted him. But you proposed to me and Sherlock came to our wedding and for a while I thought the little crush you had had on your flatmate and best friend was over.

I step beside you and you wrap your arms around me from behind. We fit perfectly like that. “I love you,” you whisper into my ear and I know that it’s true and I smile. We both stare outside now, the rain pounding against the window. Your grip around me tightens.

I’ve lost count of the number of times you would jump out of bed in the middle of the night, mumbling something about Sherlock and a case and just leaving me behind. At first I was angry at you, mad for always putting Sherlock first. I am your wife, the one you love, the one that should be your priority. Sometimes I still want to yell at you, make you pay attention to me and only me.

There is a certain kind of loneliness about you. It’s in your eyes, when you think I can’t see you, it’s in the way you straighten your shoulders before stepping outside of our flat, as if getting ready for another battle, another war.

I try not to be around when Sherlock shows up. Whenever he steps into the room, I can practically hear it click. You slightly cock your head, he raises an eyebrow or crooks a faint smile and suddenly, just like that, you’re a whole person again and I can see the loneliness in your eyes slowly fading away. You need each other in order to live, to breathe, to be.

But you also need me. You need the warmth, the comfort, the promise of a safe and happy life.  You need the ordinary, but crave the danger. You need me. And so I remain quiet. I don’t get jealous (not much anyway) and I don’t try to keep Sherlock away from you (although I wish I could).

Sherlock will never tell you how he feels.  Although you fantasize about it, probably. Him, flustered and embarrassed, uttering a confession, clumsily stumbling over his words, choking on his tongue. What would you do, John?

Would you give in, throw your arms around his neck and kiss him, tell him you feel the same? Would you take him to bed, make love to him, lace your fingers together? Or would you back away and call him an idiot, tell him that you’re married to me, that you love me, that you don’t want him?

Who would you choose?

I like to think you’d pick me. You already did, didn’t you, when you asked me to marry you. You chose me. I won. Didn’t I?

The rain has stopped and sun breaks through the clouds, the streets, wet from rain, glistening in the sunlight. Your phone buzzes, a text from Sherlock. “I’ll be back tonight,” you murmur and kiss my cheek. You hum as you put your jacket on, you seem ten years younger.

And just like that, I know that I already lost.

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2 thoughts on “Desperate Kingdom of Love

  1. I think that there is a very interesting dynamic going on here. The main thing that strikes me is that if Sherlock were a woman, this same scenario would be completely unacceptable. A wife would never put up with her husband having obvious emotions for another woman. Furthermore, if John did have feelings for another woman, he would probably either hide it or leave his wife. However, this is acceptable for a couple of reasons. For one, it isn’t a reality for the wife like it would be if Sherlock was a woman. Because the other person that John likes is a man, there is a jealousy from his wife, but less so than if he liked another woman, if that makes sense. Secondly, because John has feelings for another man, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of action that can happen. John can’t open up about his sexual feelings and Sherlock would never admit his either, therefore his wife feels that he can’t leave her. On the flip side, if John had feelings for another woman, he would go about it much differently. He would never bring the other woman around his wife or mention it or display any time of noticeable affection. He would either hide it, or he would actually leave his wife because he would feel comfortable telling the other woman how he feels and there would be some type of acknowledgement of these sexual feelings. I think after what we talked about in class, it is interesting to see how gender can really change a situation and to question what things are like from a different gendered view. Doty states, “queer reception is often a place beyond the audience’s conscious ‘real-life’ definition of their sexual identities and cultural positions” (345). I may be interpreting this statement incorrectly, but I think this can really apply to this fanfic. I think this highlights how queerness or this type of homo-eroticism is something that is unconscious and beyond ‘real-life’. By this, I think it is something that just seems very unreal in the way that a wife would find it hard to fathom how her husband could have feelings for another man. It is natural to worry about him feeling something for another woman, but much less for another man. Furthermore, a wife has a hard time including queerness as part of his sexual identity in any way. This is important for one because someone can be queer and not be completely, unarguably gay. It just isn’t something that society addresses straight on and this really gives the reader something to contemplate!

  2. I loved this piece because it picked up on the subtleties of the Sherlock/John relationship that I kept noticed yesterday. While there are some more obvious queer interactions between the two in the episode we watched, such as the waiter calling them a couple, the subtle interactions are what makes it more interesting. Throughout the episode John and Sherlock share intimate moments and glances that easily let the watcher imagine something between the two despite John’s constant remark that they “aren’t a couple”. Even the basic premis, two men who live alone together allows the mind to create an alternative story then the one offered in the film. In fact, its hard to imagine that the writer of the show did not intend for this to happen. Therefore, its interesting to note that John’s heterosexuality is consistently reinforced through his comments to Sherlock’s brothers assistent. This piece picks up on this aspect of their relationships, John’s heterosexual relationships immersed with his inability to acknowledge his feelings towards Sherlock. In his piece, Doty writes “As such, this cultural ‘queer space’ recongnizes the possibility that various and fluctuating queer positions might be occupied whenever anyone produces or responds to culture” (338) I think this fan fiction piece is a perfect example of how Sherlock creates a queer space for watchers to reninterpret their understanding of the plot.

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