colebaltblue: (sherlock)
[personal profile] colebaltblue
Title: no laws are broken if we're all committing the same crime
Author: [livejournal.com profile] colebaltblue
Characters/Pairings:Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Rating: Mature
Warnings: dub-con, drug use
Word Count: 4027
Summary: They say you have to hit rock bottom, wherever that may be, before you can begin healing. John Watson's rock bottom was their first year.
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] mme_saberage for [livejournal.com profile] holmestice summer 2012.



It is autumn now, and the two of us share our retirement in a cottage by the sea in Sussex; we are both in the twilight of our lives. There are no more cases and Holmes fills his time studying bees and, oddly enough, tending to our garden. I am the only doctor for miles and the people who visit me for their aches and pains and occasional fevers and coughs don't ask questions about us. I think they enjoy having minor celebrity eccentrics in the neighborhood and find our living arrangements no more strange than our adventures published in The Strand.

Holmes and I have made peace with ourselves and each other, through my marriages, his death and resurrection, the loss of his brother which affected him greatly, his dependence on his 7% solution, and my service in The Great War. I wrote of us, and I still do occasionally. The cases fill notebook after notebook in our study, most unpublishable. It wasn't until we had been here for years that Holmes asked me to write of us.

"Have you not read The Strand for the last decade, my good man?" I laughed. We sat before our fire, necessary now for our arthritic bones in the cool sea air. Holmes offered me a small, fond smile in response.

I was silent as I studied him. We had known each other too long for me not to grasp at what he was asking. He was asking of our first year together, a year of my life I had always wished to forget.

"Oh Holmes..." I sighed. He was asking a great deal of me. A very great deal. He was asking for something we had never spoken of, that I thought we had an agreement to never speak of. With Holmes, I should've known better.

One week later I left a leather-bound journal on his chair and went to bed. Just before dawn he crawled into bed and held me as I cried.




The war was hell. I marched into Afghanistan a fresh-faced optimistic young doctor, uniform starched and pressed and perfect. I crawled out a broken man, old before my time. I spent most of my return voyage to London in a morphine stupor and most of my small pension after I arrived back in London on remaining in that stupor.

When I first moved into 221B Baker Street with Sherlock Holmes I was not a good man. I am surprised that Stamford recognized me on the streets of London that day. I was a wasted wreck of myself, gaunt, pale, and with the shaky lethargy of an addict. I had been making my way back to my boarding house after a night spent down in the brothels by the docks. My clothes stank with the acrid smell of opium, the cheap perfume of even cheaper whores, and the depression of a man who had just simply given up. But thank God he did see me, that we weren't thrown out of the Criterion, that he still saw the bright young medical student I once was somewhere under all that, and that he had just been speaking to a man named Holmes that very morning.

Whatever possessed a man such as Sherlock Holmes to agree to share rooms with a drunk, morphine addicted, gambling, whoring, ex-Army doctor, I dare not speculate. When I met Holmes I knew that he was my last best hope for pulling myself out of the hole I had been down since I had watched every man I knew in Afghanistan die, but I didn't realize it until much later. I learned of the man's own faults fairly early on, besides the violin playing (most of the time I'd consider it scratching, although he did play beautifully when he wanted to), the odd hours, and the silent depressions, the man had a cocaine addiction that rivaled mine, a constant parade of the most interesting (for lack of a better term) people in London through our sitting room, and a nervous twitch of jiggling his leg whenever he was seated and reading. It made the breakfast table shake and the tea cups clatter.

I paid my first week's rent and promptly went down and spent the rest of my meager pension on dice at the docks. The next three days I spent in bed, in a morphine stupor and with a bottle of whiskey to warm me when I got cold. Occasionally I picked at the food Mrs. Hudson left outside my door. I rarely saw Holmes.

For two months, I had the rent money set aside before I spent the rest of it on gambling, prostitutes, morphine, and drink. Occasionally, I feigned normalcy and found my way to the breakfast table with a newspaper, slippered and robed. However, normalcy lasted only as long as it took for the shakes to start. Then, I injected the morphine, made my way down to my favorite haunts, drank while I tossed dice, and had myself a girl before I headed home with the breaking dawn. It was an occupation of a sort.

The third month, I had to win my rent money in a rather desperate game of darts. That night, I shook all the way home and settled my nerves after leaving the money crumpled on the table. Holmes said nothing when I finally saw him and I assumed he had gotten it.

The fourth month came and I once again found myself seated in a dark alleyway, smelling of human filth, desperately trying to win my rent money back. I was drunk and playing badly. I wouldn't even have money for a girl to see on the way home. Somehow I managed to win back my money and a bit more before a new player seated himself and challenged me to a game. Feeling high on my luck, I accepted. And lost everything. Including my coat.

The next day I sat nursing my hangover at the breakfast table, promising myself I'd quit drinking, quit gambling, that it wasn't worth it, that I was worthless. They were promises I made myself often and the results were always the same.

Holmes came in and I looked up at him with bloodshot eyes.

"Holmes," I said, roughly, cleared my throat and tried again, "Holmes, I'm afraid I will have to entreat upon your kindness and deliver my rent money in a day or two."

He looked at me with his piercing black eyes and nodded slowly. "It's already taken care of, Watson, you gave me the money already. Incidentally, you also left your coat on the stairs. I sent it off with Mrs. Hudson to have it laundered."

I was certain I hadn't and quite certain I had indeed lost that jacket in a game of dice, but Holmes said no more on the subject and I instead became paranoid about having blackouts and hallucinations. And then paranoid about my paranoia.

I was more careful for a few months, the incident scaring me a bit, before my usual confident stupidity took over once again. Then, one night, I was ahead on my winnings and feeling brave. Rent was due tomorrow. A newcomer sat down to play. And I lost it all. He refused to play after he had scraped my bills and coins up, secreting them into pockets all over his person.

He walked away with my rent money and my whiskey money. I'm not sure what I was more upset about.

"Here," he said, turning back to me and pushing a coin into my hand, "for your trip home." I looked up at him, confused, but he was gone already. I looked at the coin, enough for a quick grope in an alley, nothing more. Bastard.

By the time I had made it home that night, I was angry, aggression coursing through my veins, fueled by drink and an inability to find a cheap fuck. I looked around our fire-lit sitting room, unsure if I wanted to pick up the chair and toss it through the window, punch the wall until my knuckles bled, or just simply drink myself into a stupor on the floor.

I heard steps on the stairs, they were light and quick and given the hour could be no one other than Holmes. He strode through the door.

"Watson," he said with a nod. I looked him over. From the threadbare flat cap of a laborer, to the dirty open-collared shirt, to the rough pants and scuffed shoes. The outfit was familiar and it hit me as he tossed his outerwear onto the table and turned to face me. He laughed, low and dangerously, and I could tell he was no more sober than I was.

I bared my teeth at him. "Holmes."

"Well, you clearly aren't as stupid as you sometimes act," he said flippantly

I snorted. But the insult worked.

"Nor you as devious."

"Oh, I do believe I am plenty devious, John Watson," he said calmly, coldly. "You hardly recognized me while I sat across from you taking all your money; do you not think that I could have continued to conceal my identity from you had I chosen to do so?"

"You complete and total bastard."

"For ensuring the rent gets paid despite your apparent eagerness to let it end up as spoils in some addict's pocket?" He moved calmly towards the fire and lit a cigarette. I was frozen in anger.

"I hardly think so," he continued after a moment, calculating eyes on me. "Did you at least enjoy your walk home?"

I launched myself at him and slammed him into the wall, forearm against his throat. "Holmes, so help me god," I ground out, between clenched teeth.

"I will take that as a no," he said, infuriatingly calm for a man who was being assaulted by his flatmate.

I whirled away from him, clenching my fists and breathing deep, trying to control my temper, but already quite aware that it was a losing battle.

"Couldn't find a girl," he paused, "or boy to suck it?"

I whipped around, chest heaving, "What did you just say?"

"You heard me."

I sneered, "No, I was waiting for you to come home so I could shove it down your throat."

His nostrils flared and his eyes darkened. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?" he asked, eyes flicking up and down me, quickly. Holmes's veneer of control was there, but I could tell, that under his cold and calm exterior, he was just as compromised as I was.

And that's when I realized the horrible truth. Neither one of us were in our right minds that evening, both of us high on drugs and fueled by drink. I knew it wouldn't end well.

I grabbed him by the shoulders, spun both of us around and pushed down hard. He fell to his knees in front of me, his hands reaching up to grip my hips. He bared his teeth and lunged forward, scraping them across the growing bulge in my trousers. My head slammed back against the wall behind me.

I let him grope and mouth at me for just a moment before I shoved hard at his shoulders, throwing him back onto the ground. He looked up at me with a slow smile. I lunged at him, teeth scraping along his neck, hands holding his hips down, my hips grinding firmly into his. He was as hard as I was.

He hissed in pleasure as I sucked a bruise into his neck. I was beyond stopping at this point, but the way Holmes was arching into me, I doubt either of us cared.

I yanked his shirt open and bit down hard on his collarbone. He moaned out, from pain or pleasure, I didn't care. I needed more of him, of this, of whatever it was. He pushed at my hips, scrambling for my flies. I smacked his hands away, ripped his own pants open and struggled only briefly. My cock slid against his. His legs hooked around mine and he surged up, mouth open. I gasped above him, vision clouding, fingers digging into the carpet beneath us. His eyes locked on mine and I felt the anger surge through me again. He was enjoying this far too much.

I reared back and flipped him over, yanking his trousers down, his smallclothes, and baring the smooth flesh of his backside. I gripped his hip and pressed my cock into the crack of his ass. He grunted and then let out a keening cry.

I watched his fingers clench at the carpet as I spit into my hand and pressed against his hole. I had not prepared him, or me, I had no lubricant. This wasn't about missed opportunities with prostitutes, this was about my anger at him, at myself, and some sort of desperation welling up from a place inside that had been broken open in the mountains of Afghanistan - dark and painful. His eyes rolled back as I pressed against him.

I jerked once, twice, my cock more than dry, rubbing roughly, harshly through his dry crack. His body moved under mine and he bumped a small table next to his chair, upsetting a precariously balanced bottle. It fell to the floor, spilling its contents. The clinical smell of liniment assaulted me. I swiped my hand through the mess, knowing the burn of the liniment would be little comfort compared to the dry fuck I had been planning. It would be perfect. I slicked my cock and swiped my hand quickly over his asshole, not even pressing in. He choked back a cry, but didn't object further. He was breathing harshly through his nose as I pressed into him inch by inch. I could feel him forcing himself to relax, to take me.

When I was finally all the way in I paused for just a moment and looked down at him. His face was in profile, turned and pressed into the carpet below us. I could see his eyes were pinched closed, bottom lip firmly held between his teeth, knuckles white on the carpet, pain across his brow. But he didn't say anything, didn't do anything other than lay there and breathe. I reached up and wrapped my hand around his neck, holding, not squeezing and pressed my forehead into his back.

My hips jerked once, twice, then again and again as he made little grunts underneath me. Then it was over, my teeth sank into his shoulder, my fingers tightened their grip on his throat and my entire body tensed as I emptied into him. I breathed once, twice, the liniment was so strong I could taste it in the air, it made my hand slick on his throat.

And then it hit me. The sickening horror in my stomach as I realized what I had done. From losing my rent money at the docks to taking my flatmate, a man I barely knew, on the carpet of our living room, taking him violently and... I jerked away from him and looked down as semen and blood spread in the crack of his ass and glistened on my softening cock.

"Oh god," I said. "Oh god, oh god, oh god." I pressed my fist into my mouth, not caring that my hand was still covered in liniment.

Holmes opened his eyes and looked at me, somehow managing to look cool and collected. He raised an eyebrow. I nearly threw up.

"Oh god," I repeated, curling away from him, towards the fire. I heard him behind me as he rose, refastened his clothes, and then I felt his hand land on my shoulder. I shuddered as it burned into my skin. He squeezed once, briefly, and left. I heard his door close softly. It sounded like the gunshot at my execution.

I was up and scrambling towards my room, hauling myself up the stairs with my hands as fast as I could with my loose trousers. I threw myself on my bed, hands shaking as I attempted to load my syringe with as much morphine as I could. I didn't care if it was a fatal dose. I just needed to forget this, forget this night, forget this place, forget Afghanistan, forget it all.

I struggled to find a vein and signed in relief as the needle sank in finally and I pressed the plunger down. I collapsed back onto my bed. And didn't move for two days.

I awoke on the third day to quiet murmuring outside my door and the clink of crockery. I was shaking, sweating, my lips dry and chapped. I felt like I should be dead. My door opened and Holmes walked in carrying a tray with tea. I recoiled in horror, but he merely looked at me calmly, set the tray down and picked up my needle.

Without saying anything he loaded a small dose of morphine, took my hand, carefully found a vein and injected it. He then lifted a towel from the tray, wiped my brow and eased me back on the bed. I hoped he had killed me.

He hadn't.

The next week was a blur. Sometimes Holmes arrived and set a tea tray down beside my bed and injected an ever smaller dose of morphine. Sometimes Mrs. Hudson arrived with the tray. I only sipped the sugary tea occasionally, and nibbled just a handful of times at the food they left. My hands often shook too hard to do anything more. Someone must've cleaned me off because I have seen men going through morphine withdrawal and their dignity is rarely left intact.

When I finally awoke, my head clear for the first time in months I looked around my room. A cold pot of tea and a small sandwich were on a tray beside my bed. My window open to air out the room. A blanket was pulled over me. And my syringe was gone. My morphine was gone. I lay there for hours, just watching the light move, smelling London, hearing the noises of the scullery maids, boys delivering coal, and the occasional shout from the street.

I finally got up at dusk and headed downstairs to our sitting room. It was empty, but a light supper was laid out on the table along with the evening newspaper and a small stack of mail for me. I sat and ate the barely-warm soup and toast, drank the tea, appreciating its sweetness, knowing that it was there to help with the morphine cravings. A fire had been lit, but I couldn't bring myself to cross the sitting room, to walk over the spot where I had, where I had, had...

I couldn't even think it in my own mind and I sat there shaking at the table. Holmes entered sometime after dark, thankfully looking like himself and not the laborer I had last seen him as.

He offered me a small smile. I looked miserably back at him. He sighed and shook his head, deliberately crossed the space and sat in his chair. I finally looked over at him only to find him watching me. He nodded at the chair across from him.

I slowly, carefully stood up, shuffled over, and settled myself in the chair, refusing to look at him.

"That's quite enough of the morphine, I should think." He finally broke the silence that had stretched on for minutes. I twitched, startled by the noise, but nodded slowly. "Nearly killed yourself, Watson, and then what would I have done for the rent."

I could hear his attempt at humor, but I couldn't do more than grimace in response. He sighed again.

"Perhaps it is best if I keep hold of your money for now, wouldn't you say? I will take your rent and you can have the rest, on a weekly basis?"

I finally looked up at him. He was watching me with a neutral expression.

"Yes," it came out with barely a sound, I cleared my throat and tried again. "Yes," I said a little more loudly. "That would be fine."

He nodded as if we were having a normal conversation, as if a week ago I hadn't... on this very floor...

"Now, Doctor Watson. I would like to have your medical expertise on a case I have been engaged on. What do you say?"




That was our very first case together. I never wrote about that particular case, or the next few that followed it. In fact, I've never written at all of our first year together. Until Mary died, I did my best to forget it had even happened, describing our early days from scenes from our second year living together. I think Mary may have known that there was something I was withholding about us.

After Holmes returned from the dead and during that dark time where I struggled so hard to forgive him, I began to make my peace with it. I had known for a long time that he did not blame me, hate me, or fear me. We never spoke of the actual incident, but we did finally speak of a few other things that had happened that year. It was a relief to hear him speak simply about that year, and it offered me a sense of absolution I never knew I needed. I tried to apologize once, brokenly, and found myself choking on the words, tears pricking my eyes. He placed a hand on my chest, stopping me dumb, and leaned over and softly kissed me. It took us months of soft kisses and gentle touches before I could stand to touch his skin beneath his clothes, to see him naked. And even longer before I finally agreed to take him once again. This time it was in my bed, with time and preparation and his constant assurances that he was fine. For a long time, our sex was gentle, tender, soft, before I could finally find the courage to be rougher with him.

I married a second time. There had been whispers about us, looks, and a close call with a maid who had almost discovered us in bed together. He didn't understand why I left him and thought he could protect us both. We didn't speak for a long time after. That marriage fell apart and my wife left for America. We never divorced, but I wouldn't be surprised to find her married over there. We had been nothing more than a convenience to each other and I am sure she suspected the nature of my relationship with Holmes and the true reason I desired to marry.

It wasn't until war was looming on the horizon and I had been asked into medical service on the homefront that I sought Holmes out and asked him to take me back into his life once again. He had only said, "for you, Watson, anything," and welcomed me into his home. We lived apart for most of the war, him in London doing work for his brother and me traveling wherever the British Army thought my services as a doctor would be most useful. We sent letters written in our own code to each other that spoke of the depths of our affections. It made me nervous that we would be found, a fear that had long been sabotaging our relationship. After the war we had earned our retirement and I finally learned to simply not care what others thought of us. Holmes knew too much about those that would whisper against him and by proxy, me. So there we were, two eccentrics, a bachelor and a widower in our cottage in Sussex.

We're growing older and each year is just a bit harder and I am afraid that we both know what that means. But I've never seen Holmes so happy as he is out there amongst his flowers and his bees. And I've never been so happy myself. He forgives me my failings and I love him for his and that is all we are.

Date: 2013-01-08 11:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jcporter1.livejournal.com
This is very well written and I love the bitter angry Watson. Your description of the survivor and his guilt are compelling. I always hate to think of Watson in senseless massacres of WWI. Two wars of horrific waste.
I like the use of the second wife as a beard.
Thanks for sharing this.

Date: 2013-01-10 05:37 am (UTC)
ext_93592: from astronomy pic of the day (IAW Bernhardt)
From: [identity profile] tetsubinatu.livejournal.com
This is really excellent. I'd say more but hungry people are nagging me.

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