“You’re going to lose him, you know.”
I lowered the violin I had been plucking and glared up at my unwelcome and uninvited brother.
“Mycroft, could your observations possibly be any less helpful?” I demanded. “Either make your statements in some way meaningful or, preferably, remain silent. In fact, please don’t feel obliged to remain here at all – I’ll be sure to pass on your regards to John as soon as he returns, and congratulate him on his exceptionally well timed absence.”
“Are you being deliberately obtuse, or are you really this blinkered, Sherlock?”
I bristled. “Either be clear or be gone, Mycroft,” I snapped, my patience, always minimal, abruptly running out.
“Sherlock, Sherlock,” he sighed, in an inappropriately long-suffering manner, shaking his head for good measure. “Where is the good Doctor, anyway?”
“As if you didn’t know,” I retorted in disgust. “Really, your minions are woefully inadequate when it comes to subterfuge – it’s painfully obvious that you have us both under observation, although what you hope to gain from sticking your over-large nose into our business is beyond me.”
“Very well,” Mycroft replied, clearly realising I was not going to rise to his bait. “John is currently out on his third date with Jane, who he met in a queue at the Chinese takeaway down the road. This would be the fourth woman he’s been out with since moving in to your flat, and indications thus far would seem to suggest that the relationship will become intimate either tonight, or in the very near future.” He paused, regarding me caustically. I raised my eyebrows, wondering where on earth he was going with this stream of irrelevant information.
“Sherlock, don’t you see?” he demanded, leaning forward in his chair. “John is looking for something and sooner or later he’s going to find it. It wasn’t Sarah, Rachel or Alice and it may not be Jane, but eventually he will find a woman who is willing to put up with his dashing off whenever you text him, who will accept the part of himself he is offering, and give him what he needs in return – and at that point, my dear brother, he will be gone, married and settled and you will be alone again, without the one person who complements and completes you.”
Long after Mycroft had finally departed, I lay on the sofa, gazing up at the ceiling and pondering on what he had said. Much as I hated to admit that Mycroft could be right about anything at all, it was clear to me that he did have a point.
I did not want to go back to working alone – everything went so much better when John was with me; he kept the more annoying specimens of humanity at bay, he was absolutely loyal to me and completely reliable, not to mention surprisingly handy in dangerous situations. His intelligence, obviously, was not in my league, and his deductions, if you could call them that, were almost inevitably wrong. However, his wrongness often seemed to clear the way for my own insights, and he was refreshingly appreciative of my abilities. Really, he was the perfect partner for me, in every way.
Unfortunately, as my irritating brother had pointed out, John himself obviously had needs which were not being met within the bounds of our existing relationship. He was seeking to fulfil these needs elsewhere and therein lay the risk… As Mycroft had so annoyingly made clear, eventually some Joan, Ruth or Mary was going to come along and take John away from me – the strictures of traditional relationships would prevail and he would end up married and, inevitably, move out of my flat and, to an unacceptable level, out of my life.
So, having acknowledged the potential problem, I turned my tremendous brain power to determine the solution. Did John actually want to get married, settle down, have a family? On balance, I thought not… he revelled in the excitement and danger our current lifestyle provided and this was not in accordance with the traditional domestic setting. He was tolerant of children, but did not seem particularly comfortable with them and had never expressed any interest in adding to the global over-population problem.
Therefore, it was presumably a more basic drive which forced him to spend time with a stream of tedious and uninteresting women, whose company he could not possibly prefer to mine.
Deduction: John wanted sex and took a traditional approach to obtaining it.
Supplementary deduction: Possible additional need for more generalised physical affection.
Summary: To avert the potential crisis of John getting married, these additional requirements must be included in his relationship with me, thus making third party involvement unnecessary in John’s life.
Conclusion: I need to make John Watson fall in love with me.