colebaltblue: (sherlock)
[personal profile] colebaltblue
Title: Conductor of Light
Author: [livejournal.com profile] colebaltblue
Characters/Pairings:Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: none
Word Count: 1425
Summary: A Victorian stiff upper lip won't prevent you from falling in love, but it might prevent you from realizing it.
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] fabelschwester for [livejournal.com profile] holmestice winter 2012.



It was quiet and still in the dark room. Sleep was elusive that night, but I was warm and comfortable under my quilts and did not mind. The stairs creaked and I smiled softly to myself. It was not wholly unusual for Holmes to slip into my room at night and sit beside me on my narrow bed. The first few times I had roused myself, attempting to talk to him, but I soon realized it was merely my companionship he sought and that could be had without disturbing my sleep.

My room wasn't cold, but December always left a chill in the air, no matter how expertly banked the fires, so I was unsurprised when he tugged my quilt up to cover his bare feet as he settled in, sitting cross-legged against my headboard next to my head.

"A case?" I queried softly, my voice betraying my wakefulness. His long fingers brushed my hair briefly in a non-answer.

"If you had gone to school like the rest of us, Holmes, you would have tired of such things by now," I said with a smile, referring to the sneaking into your friend's bed at night to discuss your dark secrets and homesickness you dare not admit you had.

I could sense his smile as his fingers brushed my hair again. He tugged gently at a strand and I smiled and rolled over, pressing my face into his thigh and letting the quiet lethargy of night overtake me.

There was no doubt I loved Holmes. Deeply. We had lived together for years in our flat in Baker Street. Friends from almost the beginning. At times he had a smile that made my heart stutter, a wave of his fingers that clenched my gut, a smirk that would catch my breath. And while I was no stranger to those moments with men, what usually followed was a smile and a nod and a hurried moment where you were both desperate to get what you needed from the encounter. That was not what my Holmes meant to me, he was a friend, but no friend before had ever made me feel like that and I didn't want an awkward fumble in the dark with him.

When I met Mary, my heart stuttered, my gut clenched, and I caught my breath. It was relief more than anything that drove me into her arms. Relief that I had found a woman, a beautiful, pure, strong, kind, gentle, intelligent, wonderful woman who made me feel that way. I couldn't wait to marry her.

When I gave Holmes my happy news a look crossed his face that I couldn't describe.

"I am happy for you Watson, truly happy for you," he said softly, eyes cast down. He licked his lips before looking up to smile at me. He was happy for me, I could see it on his face, but he was also sad and I didn't ask why.

Holmes revealed in his own ways how he loved me.

I stayed at Baker Street until my marriage. Holmes came to sit with me only one night out of those many months. His leg pressed into the back of my head and his fingers brushed my hair softly, continuously. And while occasionally he fell asleep beside me on these nights, that morning he was gone and I felt a sense of loss that I couldn't describe.

Later, as Mary pressed her soft and small form into my back, her delicate fingers brushed through my hair, I understood. Or at least, I thought I might.

Then, he died.

And returned from the dead.

I wrote that I fainted from the shock. I did. What I did not tell the masses was that upon awakening from my shock, I promptly struck him across the face with a closed fist.

"You left me!" I yelled at him, angrily. "You died and then my wife died and I had no one!"

My bitter hurt and anger shattered in an instant as, for once, Holmes lost his temper with me.

"You left me, John. You left me for her. You were what I had and then you were gone."

His hand flew to his mouth, eyes wide with shock, and then he fled.

I showed up at Baker Street a week later, a valise packed and in hand. I didn't need to ask aloud if he would have me back; he opened the door wide and clutched at my bicep as he drew me into what was once our flat. I moved back in a short while later.

It was December when I awoke to the feel of my mattress dip in the middle of the night for the first time. Holmes froze for a moment before sliding up beside my head in his customary spot. I turned over and pressed my face into his thigh, tears stinging at the back of my eyes. His fingers brushed through my hair and my throat constricted as this moment felt more right than I ever knew possible. Holmes was there the next morning, still asleep sitting up in the same position, hand heavy on my head. I smiled and nudged him awake and we went downstairs together.

Our lives settled into each other's routines again. It was full of Holmes's cases, the visits to my patients, and the occasional silent dinner with his brother his club.

Holmes tended to drag me along, willingly of course, very willingly, on his more adventurous cases. He understood how much I enjoyed them and I think he enjoyed the smile it put on my face for days afterwards. In 1902 we found ourselves on Little Ryder Street, pistols drawn. Given the nature of our adventures, it was only a matter of time before I was shot. Again. This time, instead of being convinced I was going to die immediately as I had been in Afghanistan, I was angry and swore loudly and creatively at Evans.

Holmes beat the man bloody and then turned to me white-faced and frantic. I finally realized I had been truly forgiven and that we had returned to what we once were. I couldn't help but laugh as he ripped my trousers and I spotted a flash of a wry grin from him. But despite the brief moment of levity, his lips shook and I could see what a fright I had given him.

"It's nothing," I reassured him, murmuring over and over for his ears alone. He collected himself in a moment.

"You are right," he announced with a flutter of his hands as he turned to Evans and the solution to the case in front of us. I couldn't help but lean against him.

I dressed my own wound at home in front of the fire as Holmes smoked in his chair across from me, my dressing gown the only thing preserving my modesty as I worked on my upper thigh. I felt naked in front of his watchful eyes despite this not being the first time we had seen each other in states of undress.

"Just a scratch, you see," I said with a soft smile as I tied the bandage off and rearranged the gown. "Another scar for the collection."

Holmes huffed at me and turned his head to gaze into the fire. The shaking of his hands as he lifted his pipe to his lips gave him away. I retired to leave him to his thoughts.

It was past midnight when the stairs creaked and my door softly opened. Holmes moved silently to my bed and crawled into his customary spot. Something was different tonight. Most nights he relaxed and settled into his thoughts, fingers brushing my hair softly. I would often turn and press my face to his thigh, but tonight I remained still as he sat tense next to me.

After what felt like ages he began to move, slowly and uncertainly, and slipped under my quilt. He pressed his thin frame against my back. I could feel his arms tucked under his chin, and the shaking of his body, tense and miserable. My throat tightened in something I couldn't quite explain and because I had learned a thing or two from Mary during those brief years of marriage, I carefully rolled over and gathered him into my arms. He tucked his face against my neck and I slowly stroked his back as he calmed.

Sleep was elusive that night, but I was warm and comfortable under my quilts and did not mind.
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