The Progress of Sherlock Holmes

Summary: Sherlock is head over heels for John, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. First-person present-tense series of short scenes from Sherlock’s point of view, borrowing heavily from Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.


John’s tired feet against the floor, walking toward my bedroom with a mug of hot liquid in his hand. He walks more carefully when he’s bringing me a cup of tea, as if something dreadful will happen if he spills it. Sensation in my chest, like my heart smiles as he approaches. I know the signs and symptoms of being desperately, hopelessly in love. Sort of wish I didn’t, but you can’t wish knowledge away. Bit of cocaine wouldn’t hurt, though. John would never stand for it.

He taps on the door, like a polite flatmate. Grunt in response. A creak as the door opens. I love that he doesn’t care what I think about it; he comes in because he needs to, because he wants to. Wants to see that I’m all right, cares whether I’m all right. John: he’s like the sunshine pouring in. He feels like warmth sneaking into a cold place. His hair, dishevelled, his face full of sleep, I want to kiss him, I want to wrap myself around him and never let him go. Morning is not so grey when he’s here. He is my colours.

“Sherlock?” his voice is rough; hours of not speaking through the night. A rusty instrument. Imagine an anchorite, hidden away in a cave for decades, living a life of sleep and prayer, not speaking to a soul for years and years, then trying to form words with vocal chords that have been so disused they’ve forgotten their purpose; the human body needs to be used to fully function. Like your heart, says the third man, my knowing subconscious.Like your heart, Sherlock. Like an anchorite trying to speak. Metaphor: not really my area.

John sits down on my bed, the small of his back against my thigh. He is the very definition of warm, a walking bit of vocabulary. Sigh. Act bored, act vaguely annoyed. John puts the cup of tea down on my bedside table, his hand moving to my face.

“How are you this morning?” Always the doctor, my John. And so he is, my John. No matter what happens. Light touches against my cheekbones, testing the bandage across my nose, his fingers trace lightly at my torn lip.

“Fine. It’s fine, don’t fuss.” Deep breath; accidental (is it?) cough; wince from the pain. John’s hands against my chest, only the thin material of a t-shirt between us. Eyes flutter shut again.

“Shit,” John says under his breath. “You didn’t mention a cracked rib, Sherlock.” A note of reproach in his voice. His hands lift up the t-shirt. The pain of the rib is nothing compared to the pleasure of John’s warm hands pressing lightly against me. Like smoke rings. Like imaginary love. “I’ll get you something for the pain,” John says.

“Mmm.” No point in arguing. An opiate would soothe all of the various wounds, physical and emotional. But likely John only means to give me paracetamol. Bastard.

“I know you’ll want to go back to the crime scene,” John says, and sighs. He shifts a little on the bed, his hands still pressed against me, his warm hands. His fingers; they pull triggers and kill, they are so gentle on me. “I’ll have to tape that up first, though.”

Oh, my John. My blogger, my helpmeet. Tape me up and take me out. I love you. I love you. I love you.

Grunt, mumble out, “Fine,” turn head away. “Pass me my tea.” Not a question, a demand. An anchorite, finally, finally trying to talk. Heart beats sideways. Warm mug in my hand, warm fingers on mine. “Thank you.” Uncharacteristic: that will confuse him. He stops, I open my eyes and watch him. He smiles. He looks concerned. I must look worse even than I feel.

“That’s all right,” he says. His voice is soft, like his fingers, his touch.

I will put on my boots before going down to the river bank to show Lestrade and his minions exactly who they shall have to arrest. It will not be difficult. I will walk carefully for John’s sake and John will hold my arm, concerned. We will have dinner, and I will eat, at John’s insistence. Maybe soup. And when we come home again I will play some Tchaikovsky for John, in spite of its obvious vulgarity and his protests about my sprains and cracked rib and wounds. He will keep his eyes open to watch me. And he will love what I play for him. And that will be enough.


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