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Title: The Velveteen Doctor Author: lantean_drift Pairing:… - We solve crimes....
I blog about it and he forgets his pants, I wouldn't hold out too much hope.
lantean_drift
lantean_drift
Title: The Velveteen Doctor

Author: lantean_drift

Pairing: Sherlock/John

Rating: Adult but not graphic.

Word count: 13,000

Summary: A series of events that show John just how real he has become to Sherlock – like a bright, brilliant flash of colour in an otherwise greyscale world.

But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

Betas: The awesome bluespirit_star who not only beta’ed but was a fabulous cheerleader when I needed it. Thank you, sweetheart, this story is genuinely a hundred times better because of you.

Disclaimer: So not mine, they belong to ACD and the Beeb.

Notes: This story grew from the idea that perhaps Sherlock sees the world in flashes of colour and that the people who are ‘real’ to him – Mycroft, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson - all register against the black and white of his surroundings. Then John comes along and he’s so bright and impossible for Sherlock to ignore. John won’t let him just observe things; he makes him live them.
This story is for tianostra who sat with me in my back garden all those weeks ago, enjoying the last of the summer sunshine during an unforgettable weekend of Crew, giggles, Champagne and Sherlock. With love, as always, UnGodly.xx.



Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

John marvelled every day, sometimes every hour, at the way Sherlock’s mind worked. His ability to analyse the most complex information and extract the relevant facts in order to accurately piece together results that eluded other men was uncanny. Not to mention impressive - very impressive. He was a walking library with adjacent laboratory; so gifted - a genius - but John often wondered if he was at all able to see the people around him as real, living, breathing beings that had frailties and emotions and needs.

John was a doctor, a very good one; he knew exactly how far to detach so that he could work on one of his comrades when injured on duty. He’d stitched men back together - men he’d been laughing with only hours before the ambush. He’d put the men he’d fought alongside in body bags and gone on to tend to the next man without shedding a tear. Until later, of course, when the nightmares came. Sherlock’s ability to detach was something else again. He didn’t have to make a conscious effort to step back in order to get on with a job, with him it was as if no one was real enough to engage him in the first place. Oh, John knew there were exceptions – Mrs Hudson, Lestrade, Mycroft; they were real, they registered in Sherlock’s mind like flashes of colour in an otherwise greyscale world. Even Donovan and Anderson were real enough to earn a regular bristling of irritation from Sherlock. Jim Moriarty, now he was frighteningly real. The spark of interest in Sherlock’s eyes was as terrifying as Moriarty was in person and John genuinely feared the things that man could do to Sherlock.

Then there was John himself. He was real to Sherlock, he knew that. He hadn’t always been - he’d had to earn his colour, as it were. He’d seen the cold detachment with which Sherlock had eyed him as he’d walked into Bart’s all those months ago. He knew now that bludgeoning him with information and then swooping theatrically out of the room with a tug of his scarf and a wink of his eye had been Sherlock, in his own distinctive way, trying to warn him. Warn him that he wasn’t an easy or pleasant or normal man, it had been the Sherlock equivalent of ‘run while you still can, John Watson’. Knowing him as he did now, however, John could look back and see that their first meeting had unsettled Sherlock as few other things did. Now he understood that was because Sherlock had seen something in John, something like a flash of colour that made him real enough to reach out and touch when he’d been deprived of anything like that for so long.

He’d suspected for a while that he was unlike any other acquaintance Sherlock had, but it had been incontrovertibly confirmed to him that night at the pool. The night that he had looked at him like John had stolen all the knowledge that Sherlock retained in that impressive brain right out of his head just by being there. For a second, it had crossed Sherlock’s mind - for just a single moment he had entertained the thought that John Watson had been behind all of Moriarty’s plans and it had brought his world crashing down around him. John didn’t think he would ever forget how Sherlock looked in that moment. The man for whom humanity barely even registered had found that he could feel betrayed, could feel disappointed when his own heroes fell. John was not harbouring any illusions that Sherlock thought him worthy of a pedestal and a halo of light but Sherlock had, irrefutably, placed him in a sacred place inside himself. John had realised at that moment that serial killers and criminal masterminds may not be able to destroy Sherlock Holmes but he could do it with the turn of his head or the closing of his eyes. John knew that to Sherlock he was the most solid and colourful thing this world had to offer and he wondered if that scared Sherlock as much as it scared him.

~*~

“John. John.”

“What? Oh, thanks.” He took the cup that was being waved in front of his face and looked down into the slosh of tea within. “I was miles away.”

Sherlock just looked at him the way he always did when John took it upon himself to share obvious and useless information. John continued to do it though because he strongly believed it was good for Sherlock to experience the way normal people interacted.

“You made tea,” John said, looking back down at his mug and tipping it cautiously.

“Yes,” Sherlock agreed, rolling his eyes.

“You never make tea.”

“I just did.”

“What’s in it?” John asked.

“Boiled water, milk, sugar, the steeped flavour of the dried and oxidised leaves of two subspecies of the Camellia Sinensis plant,” Sherlock answered with a shrug.

“I bet you know which subspecies, too.” John grinned.

Sherlock answered slowly, clearly a little unsure as to whether John really wanted to know. He was almost reluctant, as if he’d been yelled at too many times before for unnecessarily flaunting his vast knowledge. “Camellia sinensis, subspecies sinensis and Camellia sinenses, subspecies assamica.”

John smiled at him. In his opinion, Sherlock had been reprimanded far too often for an intelligence he could never have controlled as a child – the way he was completely thrown when John complimented him aloud was a dead giveaway. Sherlock was used to being right and used to being resented for it; he was not used to being admired for it.

“How is it you know that but didn’t know the Earth revolved around the sun?” It was good to keep him grounded too, of course.

Sherlock made a disgusted sound but didn’t bother to hide the quick flash of a grin that pulled at the side of his mouth. “Tea is important.”

“And the planet isn’t?”

“Round and round the garden,” Sherlock sing-songed as he went and sprawled in the chair across from John, his leg flung over one arm and his back wedged securely into the corner.

“There’s another thing,” John pointed out quickly. “Why is it that knowledge of our solar system wasn’t worth the space on your hard drive but you remember nursery rhymes?”

“I once worked on a case with a serial killer whose murder-acts were inspired by popular nursery rhymes. He flung a woman into a cage full of angry birds that pecked through her eyes. Rolled a young couple down a cliff, sat another man on a wall in a seven storey roof top garden and pushed him off.”

“That’s...disturbing on a whole new level.”

“When we caught him he was sat in the corner of his room with his thumb stuck in a pie, claiming that he was a very good boy. Just as well I had retained the knowledge of those nursery rhymes otherwise we may never have caught him. Who knows what he’d have done next? London’s arachnid population were getting increasingly nervous. ”

John looked at him for a long moment. “Oh very funny. You’re hilarious.”

“I thought so.” Sherlock confirmed.

“Nursery rhyme serial killers? I genuinely wonder about the things that go on in that massive brain of yours sometimes.”

Sherlock actually smiled one of those wide, amused smiles that made him look years younger and John felt an answering grin grace his own face.

“It could happen,” Sherlock said.

“Let’s hope not,” John answered and sipped his tea, not minding that Sherlock paid more attention
to him than he did to the newspaper he was ostensibly flicking through.

~*~

“John? John?”

“No,” John murmured and buried his head under the pillow. Whatever it was could be dealt with in the morning - later in the morning.

“What? ‘No’? Don’t be ridiculous – murder, intrigue. Come on, get up, we’re needed.” Sherlock was backlit by the hall light as he practically vibrated in the doorway, an impatient silhouette gesturing at John to get a move on.

“You, not me. You investigate crimes scenes and solve cryptic messages and arrest murderers. I’m mostly just there for you to talk at when the others ignore you because you’re being insufferable. You’re needed, I’m not.”

Sherlock paused for a very long moment. Long enough for John to wipe the sleep from his eyes and look at him properly.

“I need you,” he said to John’s bedroom carpet.

Something like a hot, creeping murmur of hope made itself known in John’s chest. “Lost without your blogger?” he asked, despite himself.

Something changed in that moment. Sherlock took a breath and when he lifted his eyes from the carpet it was to look at John the same way he had the very first day they met.

“Sherlock - ”

“No, not at all. I don’t know why I entertained a thought to the contrary, let alone voiced it. Stay in bed. You’re quite correct, John, I don’t need you.” He was out of the door, a tellingly graceless clatter of angry footsteps on the stairs.

“Sherlock. Fuck it, Sherlock, wait!”

John caught up with him in the lounge where he was casting about madly for his scarf. It was bloody cold down here and his pyjamas were no defence against the chill. John shivered even as he crossed the room and grabbed the scarf that had been carelessly discarded on the back of the sofa. He held it away from Sherlock and swiftly grabbed his arm when he leaned over to try and retrieve it from John’s hand.

“Listen to me, you great - ”

Sherlock straightened up so fast that John almost lost his grip. His eyes were furious and fixed on John’s fingers where they clutched his arm and for a moment John was tempted release him.

“Let go of me.”

There was fury in his eyes and plenty of it, but John had always been able to see deeper than Sherlock gave him credit for, deeper than Sherlock liked to acknowledge. He saw the anger but he saw the rejection and the fear too and he was desperate to make it right.

“I’m not – bloody hell, Sherlock – I’m not going to hurt you.”

“Ha, you couldn’t if you tried,” he spat.

“Well, we both know that’s not true because I already have once tonight, haven’t I?” John released his grip a little, no longer keeping him there, just holding him close instead.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Sherlock said quickly.

“I’m sorry.” John said. “I was annoyed at being woken up and I said something stupid. It was careless of me. I didn’t mean to imply that your...needing me was something – it clearly took a lot for you to vocalise it and I trivialised it – and – look, I’m sorry, okay?”

Sherlock pushed his fingers across his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “This is unfair.”

“What is? What’s unfair?”

“You’re like chaos in my head that I can’t get in order. I don’t like it.”

“Well...Well, people are like that. They don’t fit into neat little subfolders only to be opened when you click on them. People are messy and a bit daft – they say stupid things they don’t mean and sometimes they hurt you when it was the last thing they intended.”

“I don’t know - ”

Sherlock was suddenly restless under his grasp. John tightened it instinctively, not wanting him to slip away. “What don’t you know?”

“Any of this. This sort of thing. It’s beneath me, it used to be completely unimportant to me but you, John, you get under my skin. You’re tempering me, I find myself not wanting to disappoint you or I’m actively seeking out your company or making tea, for god’s sake.”

John couldn’t help it, he smiled a little. “That’s what friends do,” he pointed out carefully.

“I - ” Sherlock seemed to thoroughly derail and settled for looking at John like he was completely alien. Which, he supposed, he was to Sherlock. John sighed and gave his arm a quick squeeze before letting it go.

“Just let me get dressed and we’ll go and check out this murder and intrigue that had you so excited before.”

“Yes, all right. Can I have my scarf back now or are you holding onto it for a specific reason?”

“Here.” He reached up and wrapped it carefully around Sherlock’s neck. Noting the way Sherlock froze as he did so, like he didn’t dare move. John pulled the ends through the folded loop and tightened it against Sherlock’s throat, the way he’d seen him do it himself, a hundred times. “Don’t go without me,” he said, ignoring the way his voice sounded low and rough even to his own ears.

“All right. Don’t be long though, we haven’t got all night.”

John turned away before he rolled his eyes.

“I saw that,” Sherlock said.

“No, you didn’t.”

He’d almost made it to the stairs when Sherlock appeared at the lounge doorway. “John.”

“Yeah?”

Sherlock closed the gap between them and lifted his hand letting it hang for a moment in midair. John considered giving him an encouraging smile but before he could Sherlock pushed on with a grim determination that at any other time might have been amusing. Right now it was oddly touching and just a little saddening. His hand fell on John’s shoulder, high enough that his fingers brushed his neck as Sherlock squeezed gently. He looked terrified.

“All right,” John said quietly. “We’re fine.”

“It’s all fine?” Sherlock asked, finally smiling a little.

“Yes, it’s all fine.” John reached up and returned the gesture quickly before turning away and heading upstairs to get dressed.

“Hurry up,” Sherlock called after him.

~*~

After that, it was hard not to notice all the little ways in which Sherlock touched him. It was like every press of skin was a novelty. John could easily believe that Sherlock had never had the sort of friendship that came with easy touches before. It started out tentative, a hand on his back when they passed through a door, or fingers brushing when they reached out to pass something between them or the two of them walking so closely that their shoulders pressed together. The day they were in Lestrade’s office, both sat forward with their elbows on their knees, animatedly explaining the details of the evidence they’d procured (without letting on exactly how they’d got hold of it) John didn’t think anything of it when Sherlock suddenly had a brilliant thought and reached over to cover John’s hands with one of his own. To John it was just a way to signify that Sherlock was on to something and he needed the world – and John – to shut up so that he could follow the thought through to its brilliant conclusion. He’d extracted his thumb from under Sherlock’s hand and used it to clamp down on the fingers covering his own. It was ridiculous but John felt a little like he could anchor Sherlock like this - he could hold him here until the thought was done and they could go haring off into danger together. When he looked up, Lestrade’s eyes flicked to their hands and his eyebrows rose slowly. John pulled away, embarrassed. Sherlock looked at him, clearly reading his sudden discomfort, then noticed the look on Lestrade’s face but said nothing. Sherlock didn’t touch him again for the rest of the day. John missed it so badly that the following day he waited until they were in full view of Lestrade, Anderson and Sally Bloody Donovan before catching Sherlock by the wrist and having an entire conversation while pressing his fingers against the reassuringly steady thump beneath the thin warm skin under his hand.

After that, Sherlock went back to touching as he pleased and John stared down anyone who dared look at them when he did.

~*~

“John.”

From the banging of the front door and the call from the stairway, John was able to expertly deduce that Sherlock was home. He straightened the newspaper and stared down at the story he’d been reading, resolutely ignoring the heavy tread on the stairs. They were supposed to have met up hours ago but Sherlock had left him waiting, again. So, John had eventually come home, half expecting Sherlock to be here having gotten lost in the work on their current case and completely forgotten that they were supposed to be meeting at all. He was annoyed that Sherlock hadn’t been here and hadn’t answered his phone but more annoyed at himself for sitting and worrying about the infuriating bloody man for the best part of the evening.

“John.”

“Where have you been?” he asked without looking up from his newspaper. “We were supposed to meet at six. And Lestrade’s been after you. He’s got an update on the whereabouts of Plester’s gang.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I found them.”

John winced, determined not to lose his temper. Trust Sherlock to go racing off on his own, besting the boys from the Yard to prove his obvious superiority.

“You found them?” John asked, finally looking over at him. Sherlock was standing in the doorway – actually he was leaning against the doorframe, leaning heavily. John couldn’t see his face properly, his head was hanging down and his hair was obscuring his features.

“Yep.”

John folded the newspaper and threw it onto the side table. Something was clearly wrong.

“Sherlock?”

“Well, more accurately I suppose you could say they found me.” His breath was short, the words clipped. John was across the room in seconds. Sherlock reached for him and stumbled and John caught him as he fell.

“Shit. I’ve got you. I’ve got you. Easy. What the hell happened?”

Sherlock was too busy trying to catch his breath to answer so John just kept him moving. “Come on, sofa. Careful, easy now. Let me take a look at you.”

He lowered Sherlock down onto the sofa and immediately noted the bruises on his face. Gently but quickly he unwound his scarf and found bruises on his throat and neck too. “Oh, they’ve done a number on you, all right. Did they have any weapons other than their fists? Knives? Chains?” He undid Sherlock’s coat and ran his hands under his sides and carefully around his back, feeling for any bleeding wounds. Sherlock sucked in a tight breath but there was no sign of any warm, sticky patches of blood. Thank god.

“No, just big boots. Very big boots – and an unfair advantage in numbers.”

“Which is one reason you shouldn’t have gone after them alone, you idiot.”

“I didn’t. They came after me. They must have realised we were close enough to help Lestrade get a conviction. I don’t think my ribs are broken,” he said, angling his head so he could see John’s hands as he pressed them gently against Sherlock’s ribcage. “Probably just bruised. I managed to get away fairly quickly.”

“Well, that’s a blessing at least. I can’t imagine what state you’d be in if you hadn’t.”

“I’m sure Molly would’ve let you into the morgue to look.”

John froze, his heart hammering in his chest and a hot, acidic feeling building with unwelcome rapidity in the back of his throat. His hands didn’t stray from Sherlock’s ribs but he stopped pressing down and instead twitched and straightened his fingertips into what could almost be a caress. He swallowed harshly and closed his eyes, feeling the thrum of life beneath his hands and clinging to it madly.

“Ah. That was one of those morbid and inappropriate comments you told me were upsetting to people, wasn’t it?” Sherlock asked quietly.

“Yes.” John nodded. “Yes, it was.” He lifted one hand to rub over his eyes and tried not to be surprised when Sherlock grabbed his forearm and held on tightly.

“I’m sorry, John.”

“It’s okay. Let’s get you cleaned up. No, don’t move, I’ll go and get my kit.”


“Did they hit your head?” he asked when he sat back down.

“I don’t think so – at least they didn’t focus on my head; remiss of them if they truly wanted to do some real damage.”

“Yes – well, I, for one, have never been so grateful for someone’s inattention to detail,” John said, shaking his head. He slipped his hands into Sherlock’s hair, gently probing for any bumps or blood.

“My head doesn’t feel broken.”

“Just let me check,” John said quietly.


He expected a protest when he started to undo Sherlock’s shirt but he barely moved while John started cleaning the scrapes and bruises.

“Breathe in and hold it,” John said, his hands back on Sherlock’s ribcage, pressing gently. “Breathe out slowly. Slowly. Does that hurt?”

“Not badly.”

“Would you tell me if it did?”

“Right now – yes.”

“Okay. Good.”

He didn’t complain when John made him sit up and lean forward so he could check his spine and the back of his neck. When John took Sherlock’s hands into his to wipe the scraped skin clean, Sherlock’s eyes tracked his every movement but he didn’t make a sound until John lightly gripped his jaw and angled his head so he could clean the split skin by his eye.

“That – hurts.”

“I’m not surprised. Keep still, I’m nearly done...okay, there you go. Take these.” John pressed a couple of painkillers into his hand and helped him sit up to swallow them. John kept his hand on the cup of water as Sherlock drank from it, both of them pretending it wasn’t at all necessary. He cleared up, moving Sherlock’s discarded shirt and hanging up his coat and scarf, throwing things back into his medical kit for next time.

“Stay there, I’ll go and get a blanket or two.” John jogged up the stairs to Sherlock’s room, negotiated the assault course of unidentifiable but no doubt dangerous objects and pulled a tee shirt from his closet and then the quilt and pillow from the bed. When he got back down to the lounge Sherlock was awkwardly removing his shoes.

“All right?” John asked.

“Thank you. Yes, I’m fine.”

John put the pillow on the sofa and handed the shirt to Sherlock, waiting for him to pull it on and lie back down. John spread the quilt over his feet but didn’t pull it any higher. He pushed the hem of the tee shirt back up and checked the blackening bruises underneath. His hand stopped at a patch of unmarred skin and, without allowing himself to curb the impulse, he spread his fingers and caressed Sherlock’s side. He needed to touch, he needed to reassure himself that the damage was minimal and that Sherlock was fine – that this bizarre and infuriating man, who had crept under his skin and become inexplicably important to him, was fine. Sherlock let him touch and something like understanding graced his eyes as he slid his hand over John’s and tangled their fingers together.

For a moment John very badly wanted to lean down and kiss him.

He pulled away, smoothing Sherlock’s tee shirt down and lifting the quilt up to his chest.

“Close your eyes; get some rest,” he ordered, standing up and heading for his armchair and the newspaper he’d discarded when Sherlock had returned.

Sherlock watched him; his clear, unnerving stare fixed on John as he picked up his paper and settled himself down.

“Shut your eyes, Sherlock,” he said again. He counted it as a triumph when Sherlock’s eyes fluttered closed and the frown relaxed from his face.

~*~

HARRY:
Look, i’m sorry, ok?
Sent @ 20:03

HARRY:
For gds sake John.
Said i was soryy!
Sent @ 20:16

John glared at the second text message and shuffled through his menu to delete them both before throwing the phone onto the table. It had already been a long night. He leaned back in his chair and rubbed a hand over his eyes. He’d waved Sherlock off to a crime scene that Lestrade thought had nothing to do with yesterday’s murder but Sherlock was convinced would prove fruitful; then he had gone to meet Harry for dinner. He’d been putting it off for as long as possible - he and Harry only ever got along when there was at least a city between them and they were communicating exclusively via text message. After weeks of badgering, he’d finally given in and agreed to have dinner with her. Harry was already drunk when he’d arrived at the restaurant. Hell, she’d already been drinking when he’d phoned her this afternoon to confirm their plans. Why he thought she’d be sober this evening was beyond him.

Things had gone downhill from there. John tried to be careful and patient with her but it made him so unaccountably sad to see her so wasted, clumsily functioning by rote through each day because that was how she lived her life now. It made him sick and angry and desperate, not to mention completely useless – that was the hardest part, she wouldn’t accept help because she didn’t see the problem, didn’t think she needed any help.

Harry had demanded to know how Clara was and when John had told her that he didn’t know because he hadn’t heard from her, Harry had accused him of lying and hiding Clara from her. When she’d finished telling him what a selfish and mean bastard he was and that he was going to end up alone and shouting his night terrors into an empty room, he’d asked her again to let him help her. He could get her into a rehab clinic and off the drink. She’d laughed in his face and told him that she was not the one that needed help.

John had told her she could contact him if she changed her mind, thrown some money on the table and walked out before they’d even got as far as dinner.

He’d walked back to Baker Street, his stomach churning and his head reeling as it always did after a run in with Harry. Worst thing was that as he sat here now he could feel the nightmares creeping closer. He was a soldier, he’d seen action, he had ghosts and demons that arrived uninvited and hung around for a while. The doctor in him knew it was a direct result of the evening’s emotional upheaval. The man in him felt it was his failing.

He went into the kitchen and put the kettle on - if the nightmares were going to come, they would come, the best he could hope for was that Sherlock and Mrs Hudson wouldn’t be woken by the shouting. He wondered how Sherlock was getting on with his crime scene. His phone beeped and John looked back at the table, speak of the devil.

SHERLOCK:
Don’t sit at home. Come
to Lewis Street.
SH.
Sent @ 20:22

John really was not in the mood for tearing around dark, cold London streets trying to keep up with a hyped-up, nicotine-fuelled Sherlock Holmes. He texted back a ‘No’.

SHERLOCK:
Ah.
SH.
Sent @ 20:23

John dropped the phone onto his chair and hobbled back into the kitchen to make the tea. Great, his leg was playing up tonight, as well. Perfect. He stared down at his tea as it steeped, trying to think of the two subspecies - or even the name of the species of plant that his tea leaves had come from - rather than think of Harry and the way she was effectively killing herself a little more every day. It wasn’t a very successful distraction.

He took his tea over to the armchair and sat, stretching his leg out to try and ease some of the aching stiffness. He was going to drink his tea then start the Defence Committee report he’d been meaning to read on ‘Medical Care in the Armed Forces’. It turned out Mycroft was actually useful for something other than waging war and swinging elections; he could also smilingly hand over a full government report – with the odd page missing, of course.

Twenty minutes later he’d finished his tea and admitted to himself that he wasn’t going to read the report tonight. He was still too bloody furious with Harry to be able to concentrate on it anyway. He picked up his phone and selected a blank message, staring at it angrily and waiting for inspiration to strike.

“John. John!”

He sighed; Sherlock was home. “I thought you were going to be at Lewis Street most of the evening,” he called as he heard Sherlock’s tread on the stair.

“I was,” Sherlock called back. “But that was before. Bad evening?” He came into the lounge, bringing a waft of cold air and the smell of Chinese food.

“You could say that,” John admitted, watching him as he circled through the flat like a hurricane. He dumped the bag of Chinese on the table, twirled his coat onto the back of a chair and grabbed John’s now empty mug from the coffee table before sweeping into the kitchen and flicking the kettle on with the sort of understated flourish that would have made anyone else look ridiculous. John felt the sick-feeling in his stomach ease just a little.

“Sherlock, what are you doing?”

“I’m making you a cup of tea – and I’ve brought home dinner. Look.” He nodded at the bag on the table.

“I see. Why?”

“Because that’s what friends do, yes? Isn’t that what you said before?”

“I – yes. I suppose it is,” John agreed. Sherlock was paying far too much attention to the tea bags he was placing in the cups he’d set out. John’s stomach eased a little more as he waited for Sherlock to measure out the sugar to his exacting standards and then dump it unceremoniously into John’s cup.

“Thank you.”

Sherlock spared him a quick grin and a nod. “I knew when I texted you and you were at home that you wouldn’t have eaten.”

“Yes, how did you know I was here when you sent that message?”

“When you were on the phone to Harry earlier this afternoon I could tell by your face and the tightening grip on your phone that you suspected she had already been drinking today. You’ve been melancholic and reflective for the last few days - since you first arranged the dinner, in fact; and I could tell by your incipient mood that you’d leave rather than argue with her. I took an educated guess at how long it would take her to become nasty, based on the fact that she’s been drinking since at least 2pm.”

“It certainly didn’t take her long,” John admitted with a very false smile.

“I know,” Sherlock said quietly. “What was it this time?”

“She accused me of having contact with Clara and keeping it from her.”

“I’ll put the food in the oven, keep it warm until we’re ready for it,” Sherlock said, approaching the oven like it was an experiment he’d never tackled before. John quickly reached out and turned it on before Sherlock could do anything that could potentially lead to some interesting pyrotechnics.
Apparently content to let John take care of the food, Sherlock turned and picked up the two cups of tea.

“And have you had any contact with Clara?” he asked, handing John his tea and ushering him towards the lounge.

“Very little - nothing for ages, and certainly not since I last saw Harry.”

Sherlock sat on the sofa, folding one leg up on the cushion and turning to face John. After a moment’s hesitation John followed and sat down next to him.

“She was so angry with me – and do you think I could make her believe me when I said I hadn’t heard from her? It was ridiculous. She’s getting worse, you know, but still won’t admit that she needs help. Still won’t bloody admit there’s a problem.”

“If you want to tell me what else she said, you can but don’t feel you have to if it makes you uncomfortable.”

John looked at him, he really was incredible - all that knowledge and ability to read people and yet as tactless as a child at times and completely clueless at others. Then there were times like these, when he could surprise even John. For a long moment he just looked at Sherlock; brilliant, oblivious Sherlock. Well, fuck it, why not tell him. John looked away and took a breath and then he told his tea cup what Harry had said.

“She said I’d live my life lonely and shouting my nightmares out into an empty room.”

“Really? What a bitch.”

John couldn’t help it, he laughed. “Yeah, yeah, she can be.”

“And an inaccurate one at that. She clearly is angry at you for not being able to fix a number of things that you had no control over in the first place – the breakdown of her marriage, for one example. Your father’s drinking, for another. You’re the only one still around, so you get the blame,” Sherlock summed up.

John knew he shouldn’t really be shocked but it truly never ceased to amaze him. “That was a depressingly insightful analysis, actually. And brilliant, as always.”

“People are irrational and confusing creatures.”

“No kidding.” John snorted, looking only at Sherlock.

“I’m sorry you had a wasted evening,” Sherlock said, dropping a careful hand onto John’s arm. “I know you hope for more each time you see her.”

“Yes, well, maybe one day. But thank you.”

Sherlock tipped his head.

“Shall we eat?” John asked. “I’m starving.” He was almost surprised to find he genuinely was. The sickening burn had receded leaving hunger and a little warmth in its place.

~*~
Part Two

Tags:
Current Location: 221b Baker Street
Current Mood: calm calm

33 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
bluespirit_star From: bluespirit_star Date: November 13th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
\o/
You posted!
*hugs*

I'm so looking forward to reading it all over again. I absolutely love this story. ♥
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 13th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your icon! So cute!

Yep, it's up. *wibbles* Nervous!

And running out the door for rehearsal - Xmas concert rehearsals this afternoon.

Hope you're feeling okay today, my sweet.
Much love.xx.
bluespirit_star From: bluespirit_star Date: November 13th, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Have a great rehearsal, Angel - & come back to lots of lovely comments because this fic deserves them! ♥
(Deleted comment)
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 13th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol, I'm glad you enjoyed it so much - thank you for letting me know!
.xx.
blaidd_drwg From: blaidd_drwg Date: November 13th, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
pt.1

So very lovely this story is.
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 13th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you kindly.
.xx.
marumae From: marumae Date: November 13th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Stumbled in her from 221b community :D, I absolutely love this, and you've done a brilliant job keeping everyone in character while also making them doing things convinient for the plot and making it seem like it's them really doing it you see what I mean? I babble, bah, either way good fic!
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 13th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol, thank you kindly. Glad you like it.
.xx.
durffy From: durffy Date: November 14th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Yow! This was a joy to read! I loved the way their closeness progressed slowly--it felt so realistic. The sequence in which Sherlock learned to touch John was so beautiful! Looking forward to more! ^_^
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 14th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
.xx.
From: cinderbella333 Date: November 14th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this is fantastic! I'm reading on to part two.
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 14th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, bless you.
.xx.
madrona_8 From: madrona_8 Date: November 14th, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here on ruyu's recommendation.
Beautiful fic. I don't think Sherlock would sit down and talk like that with anyone else but John. The tension was nice too. Even if you didn't go anywhere with it....perhaps it's going to happen, they just aren't ready yet.
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 15th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee, I hope the second half lived up to expectations.
*g*
.xx.
madrona_8 From: madrona_8 Date: November 15th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh...didn't see the part 2 **whacks head**
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 15th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh noes! /o\!
Well, I hope it lives up to expectations. Lol.
.xx.
cyranothe2nd From: cyranothe2nd Date: November 16th, 2010 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Omg, Sherlock *trying* is so sweet and a little terrifying and I love you for writing this slow build up...it's wonderful!
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 17th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, I'm glad it worked for you.
*g*

.xx.
lydia_petze From: lydia_petze Date: November 17th, 2010 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh my goodness, I read this a few days ago but I haven't left feedback. This is a beautiful story, it's an instant favourite of mine in the fandom. Thankyou so much for it!
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: November 17th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the kind feedback. I appreciate it.
.xx.
the_tire_swing From: the_tire_swing Date: March 21st, 2011 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
This is wonderful and dear and just...wonderful...and now I must read part 2...
hinotori From: hinotori Date: August 1st, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Why is it that knowledge of our solar system wasn’t worth the space on your hard drive but you remember nursery rhymes?”
THIS THIS THIS. :D THANK YOU for picking up on this, it's bothered me for ages!

This is great fun; I like your Sherlock and John a lot. Moving on to part two now.
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: August 1st, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol, it bugged me too.

Glad you're enjoying the fic.
Thank you.
.xx.
pyjamapants From: pyjamapants Date: January 12th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Re-reading this after someone nudged me towards it today. This is perfect and warm and lovely, and I'm quite thankful the URL stumbled its way to me today.
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: January 23rd, 2012 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it on the re-read too.
.xx.
ashnight_1214 From: ashnight_1214 Date: January 28th, 2012 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
AW!! This is so cute!! I loved it all, but especially the bit about the nursery rhymes. I wondered that myself and that was a brilliant way to explain it! :)
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: February 3rd, 2012 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL, thank you. The nursery rhyme thing always niggled me.
Glad you enjoyed the story.
.xx.
findmeneverland From: findmeneverland Date: January 29th, 2012 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I want to eat this story/your writing like candy.
lantean_drift From: lantean_drift Date: February 3rd, 2012 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol, thanks. Glad you found it so delicious. *g*
.xx.
zevbaldwin From: zevbaldwin Date: March 6th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great!
miss_snazzy From: miss_snazzy Date: August 29th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I adored this story. Great work. The comparison of John to the Velveteen Rabbit was perfect.
Jessica Titman From: Jessica Titman Date: September 2nd, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Adorable piece! Lovely read. Thank you!
33 comments or Leave a comment