It’s been nearly two months, now. In a way, it feels good. Sherlock feels centered with John has back at Baker Street, even if it is only for the time being, only until he can face living with his…well, who exactly is she, again? His wife? Married to him under a false name? Not exactly legal.
His partner? A woman he knows absolutely nothing about, who has absolutely nothing in common with the person he thought he married? The mother of his child? Yes. There it is. She, whoever she may be, is presumably carrying John Watson’s child.
“She lied about everything else, Sherlock! Who’s to say that’s even my baby she’s carrying? How the hell would I know without tests?” Sherlock keeps his voice as calm as possible. “Do you want tests, John? I’m sure we could arrange something, convince her if she refuses…”
“I don’t know WHAT I WANT, DAMN IT ALL!” The words hang in the air, a mental echo lingering long after the audible one. In the back of Sherlock’s mind, a soft, menacing Irish voice replies, “I think we both know that’s not quite true.”
“I have to meet with Lestrade in half an hour. You coming?” This is what you want, John. This is your old life. Just the two of us. Against the world. This is where you say oh, God, yes.
Instead, John utters a long, ragged sigh. “No. No, I’m….going to make it an early night. I need to sleep.” “Of course, John.” It’s nothing, as it turns out. Run-of-the mill blackmail. Adultery. Boring. Within an hour Sherlock is back at the flat, treading softly so as not to wake John.
Only John isn’t sleeping. The muffled sounds coming from his room aren’t snores. They’re sobs. John’s weeping, for the third time in as many weeks. Sherlock looks in on him, just for a moment, just from behind the door. Just to be sure there isn’t a bottle of pills on the bedside table, or, God forbid, the Browning. Unnecessary, of course. John would never take that path. Still…
Sherlock pauses for a moment when he sees him there, in bed, on his side, facing the open door. The sound of weeping has stopped, but the tears are still flowing steadily across John’s cheek, even over the bridge of his nose, dripping unabated onto the pillow and mattress. The steel-blue eyes are full of pain, just as they had been for the first few seconds when he’d finally recognized his “dead” friend at the restaurant. Without speaking, John stretches an open hand toward Sherlock. Sherlock’s mouth drops open.
“Come here.” Sherlock feels his legs are moving towards the bed before his brain fully registers what is happening. Soon he is sitting on the edge of the bed, then leaning down to take John’s hand, then reclining full-length next to John’s warm body, the dampness left from John’s tears wetting Sherlock’s own cheek. “I lied earlier, Sherlock,” John says after a few minutes. “I do know what I want. But I can’t have it. I’ve fucked it up. Not just me. All of us, I think. We all have. I thought you were dead; I thought I knew who Mary was. I thought I could make a life…. And now there’s a baby… I can’t turn my back on a child. I won’t, not even for the one thing I…”
John’s eyes squeeze shut and his jaw tightens. “Sherlock, why didn’t we have time? Why didn’t you give me time to figure this out BEFORE you were gone? Before I grieved and tried to make my peace with what I can’t bloody have?” Slowly, Sherlock allows himself to trace a long thumb along the wet trail on John’s cheek. He is frankly amazed that his hand isn’t batted away. How could life, these circumstances, have done this to such a strong man? Why must John continue to suffer for the sins of others? There must be a way out. A way forward. Think, dammit.
“We have time, John. Listen to me. We do have time. I can help you. I can find a way to make it all work again. We just need to plan. We need to know what we’re up against, and we need to choose our actions, and our words, quite carefully. Prepared actions. Prepared words.” John nods, and his hand moves up to Sherlock’s, pulls it down between them, and closes around it as much as it can. “D’you mind to… will you stay here for a bit? I just want to rest. Just for an hour. Will you do that?”
“Of course, John. Yes. We can rest like this if you like.” John laughs but doesn’t open his eyes. “I don’t expect you to rest, Sherlock Holmes. I’m not stupid. I just want you here with me for once.”
“I’m here John.” “And just for an hour, I don’t want to think about tomorrow or the next day or any of future.”
“I understand.” Sherlock watches some of the tension leave John’s face. He feels John’s breaths become a bit slower and less laboured. I will solve this, John. I will. I can’t change what is past, but I can find a way to fix what is to come.
I made a vow, which I intend to keep. The problems of your future, John Watson, are my privilege.