AUTHOR: Nikki Harrington
FANDOM: Sherlock Holmes (Bookverse)
PAIRING: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
SUB-GENRE: First Time
SUMMARY: Watson has always known that he loved Holmes. He just hadn't realised quite how deep that love went.
WORD COUNT: 3,325
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for day221b: E - Eternal
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
I had always known I loved Holmes. However, until the day he fell to his death at the falls of Reichenbach and I was left to return to England alone, I had not realised the true nature of my love for him, nor how deep that love went.
It is a love I should not feel; a love that is unacceptable; a love that is wrong, against God, considered evil by many and disgusting by others; a love that society does not, and probably will never will, accept; a love that exists but is not spoken of for fear of being shunned or even arrested. I have known men who loved other men in this way and I had never seen anything wrong in it. Certainly I do not believe they should be ostracised, condemned, imprisoned and reviled merely because of whom they loved. They were as they were and for that they should not be punished.
However, as much as I do not condemn these men, do not hate them, do not feel disgust for them and what they do, I never thought I was like them; I never believed I could be like them. However, as I sit in the rooms I once shared with Holmes, as I bring to mind his face, as my ear can hear his voice, as I can smell the tobacco he enjoyed, as the strains of the sound of him playing the violin for me fill the empty room, I know I am like those men.
I love Sherlock Holmes in a way I really should not love him and I know I will have that love for him until the day I no longer walk this earth and long beyond that. It is a damning thing to feel and an even worse one to admit because not only is it wrong in society's eyes, it is doubly wrong because I am married. I love my wife but I now know my love for her does not go as deep as my love for Holmes. The love I have for her will fade and die; the love I have for Holmes is eternal.
I know he cared for me, maybe he even loved me as far as it is possible for a man like him to love. I believe the fact he allowed me to be lured back to our hotel with what he knew was a fake message showed how much he cared about me, for he had not wished to put me into any harm. And I was, as his final letter to me showed me, the last person of whom he thought when Moriarty allowed him to pen a few words. Could his love for me have become anything else?
I do not know and now I never will know. For he is dead; he has left me to walk this earth alone. However, even if he were not dead, would I have dared to speak of my love for him? Would I have dared to have told him? Would I even have felt it were he alive? Was it his death which has turned the love of a dear, intimate friend into so much more? Do I really feel that love or it is just borne out of sorrow at his passing?
I truly do not know. I believe my love is the love I should not have, but the pain his death has caused me has overwhelmed me to such an extent that I am no longer certain of what I feel. Maybe that admission alone should tell me that my feelings are real; that I do love him as I should not love him.
I cannot sit alone in our old rooms any longer; I should go home to my wife. I should go home to the lady I married and vowed to love until death parted us. Except, I now know my home, my only home, is here in Baker Street. It is here I have been the happiest; here I have experienced my greatest highs and my worst lows. Here, with Holmes is my home. However, Holmes is not here and he never will be here again; thus it is time I left the rooms. It is time I walked away from my past life; time I let go. Yet, I never will let go; I know that; I will never truly walk away from my past life; never truly let go because to do so would be to give up so much. Whether my love for Holmes is simply as I always thought it to be or something more, I still do not know. However, the one thing I am completely clear about is that the love, in whatever form, will indeed be an eternal love.
THREE YEARS LATER
For three years I have from time to time contemplated whether the feelings I had felt upon learning of Holmes's death had been real. Or if it had only been his death which had intensified the love I had had for him as an intimate friend, thus letting me believe my love for him had become a different kind of love. And for three years I have been uncertain, or maybe I have simply been lying to myself; maybe I have been trying to convince myself I do not love him as I believe I love him.
However, as he stands in front of me now, looking almost exactly the same as he had looked when I had walked away from him at Reichenbach, not knowing that would be the last time I would see him, I know exactly what kind of love I feel for him. It is the love I should not feel for him; it is the illegal love; it is the love that must never been spoken of; it is the love I had believed it to be and my desire to tell him is almost as overwhelming as my grief over his death had been.
Part of me cannot believe he is truly here; that he has been returned to me; that he never died; that for three years he lived apart from me. Part of me wants to hate him for what he did; for how he made me feel; for how he caused me to merely exist not live for three years. Part of me feels that if he could do that to me, if he could let me suffer as surely he must have known I would suffer, then he cannot care for me even as a friend. Part of me wants to take him into my arms and hold him and -
"Is something wrong, Watson?"
His words make me start just a little and I find I cannot read his expression or understand the way he is looking at me. What can I say? How can I even begin to answer him? Yes, something is wrong; indeed several somethings are wrong. However, I simply shake my head and say, "I am just pleased and very surprised to see you. You must tell me the whole story."
He nods and smiles in the way I have never seen him smile at anyone other than I. "I shall, my dear Watson. However, for now, let us just sit together and enjoy a cigarette and the peace."
I nod. "Very well, Holmes." I move to sit in one of the arm chairs, the one I used to sit in all those years ago.
However, to my surprise he catches my arm. "Come and sit by me on the sofa."
I happily do as he bids me to do. I wish nothing more to sit by him, yet at the same time I fear I may reveal more than I should. I fear I will tell him of my true feelings for him; that I will speak of the love I have for him; a love I know he would never, could never feel for me. Indeed, I know not of his opinions on men who love other men in a way they should not, thus I dare not tell him of how I love him. He waits for me to sit down before he joins me and as he sits down he brushes his arm against me and I once again start at the heat that courses through my body at such a simple touch.
He looks at me and frowns a little. "Watson, what is wrong? For I believe something is."
Again I simply shake my head. "Nothing is wrong, Holmes. It is just - I missed you," I hear myself say and silently curse my foolishness.
He is silent for a moment as he smokes his cigarette. He then looks at me and says, "I missed you, Watson."
"At least you knew I was alive!" The words leave me lips before I can stop them.
He raises an eyebrow and puts his hand on my shoulder. "Actually, my dear Watson, I did not know. Not for certain."
"I'm sorry, Holmes, I shouldn't have said that. You had your reasons for doing what you did, reasons I respect. It is just your return has quite shaken me. I never believed I would see you again."
"Apologies are not necessary, my dear Watson. I did have my reasons and I swear to you I shall tell you of them in time."
I nod and stand up. "I should go."
"What?" He stands up as well and stares at me. In all the time I have known him I have never seen such surprise on his face or hear such astonishment in his tone. "Why, Watson? Why do you have to leave?"
I cannot tell him. I cannot tell him why I have to leave. I cannot tell him that unless I leave the rooms where I was so happy; the rooms I shared with him; the rooms I never wish to leave; the rooms I wish to spend the rest of my life in, then I shall tell him of my true feelings for him and that I cannot do. That I must not do. To do so would be wrong and may well lead to him informing me he never wishes to see me again and I could not bear that. To have him returned to me only to lose him because I dare to love him would be more than I could bear.
I do love him; I always will love him; I am his and will remain his for as long as my heart beats and beyond that. However, I will never tell him. I can live with my feelings now that I know they are real, now that I know -
"Why must you leave?" he asks again.
"A patient," I say and before he can speak, I turn on my heel and hurry from the room. I hear him call my name, but I do not stop.
SIX MONTHS LATER
Once I had made my decision and once I had got over the shock of him returning to me, it became easy to once again spend time with Holmes. I moved back into Baker Street with him and our lives returned to how they used to be before the day he had fought Moriarty. He once again turned his attention to solving puzzles in the way only he could do, and I once more turned my hand to writing of his cases and of assisting him in my own way.
The happiness, the contentment, the pleasure, the sense of well being I had felt during the years before his faked death, all came back and were intensified. I had lost him once and that loss had made me appreciate our time together all the more now that I once again had him by my side. He seemed to have settled back into Baker Street, into London, into the life he shared with me quite easily; indeed he appeared to be more content than he had been before Moriarty had entered his life.
There were times when I would catch him looking at me, studying me even in a way he had never done before. There were times when I believed he was about to say something to me or ask me something - he never did. He had told me about what had really happened on that day and why he had stayed away for so long; he even told me how he had thought about me many times and hoped I had remained well.
As for my love for him; that had not changed. It remained firm, intense, deep, staunch just as I was certain it always would. I had feared that loving him as I did, that I would not be able to spend time with him without constantly being afraid I might slip up and say something or give him some other indication, be it with a look or a touch, that my love for him was not as his love for me was; as he believed my love for him to be. However, as the months slipped by, I found it became easier not to dwell on how I felt and how I could simply accept my feelings, accept the depth of my love for him and not fear I might give myself away.
And that is how I truly believed things would remain until death parted us; I even believed they would continue beyond death - should anything beyond death exist. I would go on loving him and I would go on not speaking of it. However, sometimes fate intervenes; sometimes things do not go as one plans them to go or one believes they will go.
The trials of Oscar Wilde filled the newspapers and were talked about in hushed tones in the streets. Although he read the papers on a daily basis and as such must have seen what was written, as I did, Holmes didn't mention them and I did not wish to do so. That is he said nothing until the day when it was reported that Wilde was to be imprisoned.
We were sitting in our sitting room after breakfast drinking a final cup of coffee and smoking a cigarette when Holmes threw the paper down. It fell open on the page where Wilde's imprisonment was reported. "That is wrong," he said, standing up and moving to the window.
For a moment my throat became dry and I hesitated, telling myself not to comment. It wasn't as if his statement required me to say anything, especially as it had been ambiguous. And then I heard myself say, "What is wrong?"
He turned and looked at me and I saw surprise on his face. "Wilde being imprisoned," he said. "It is wrong to judge someone for what he is; for whom he," he hesitated, before saying, "loves." And before I could speak, he turned on his heel and left the room.
I sat for quite some time replaying his words in my mind until he returned to the room and informed me we would shortly have a visitor - he had seen him from his bedroom window. I did not, of course, ask how he had known the man was on his way to visit us; I simply accepted his word.
The case, for indeed the man had been coming to consult Holmes, led us into a part of London I had rarely visited. Holmes tried to persuade me to remain in Baker Street, telling me it was a simple matter and as the day was cold I would do better to stay and keep warm. However, whilst I had rarely visited the area in question, I knew enough about it to be quite certain I was not going to allow Holmes to go there alone. I had lost him once; I had no intention of losing him again.
Thus, although he was not particularly happy about my insistence that I would accompany him, he took my arm once we had left our rooms and we walked in silence for a street or two. I knew why he had tried to persuade me to remain in our rooms and I was rather touched by the fact he did care about my safe being.
SOME TIME LATER
I was aware I was lying in a bed and I was acutely aware of how badly my body and in particular my head hurt. Even through my closed eyelids I could feel the light would cause me pain as soon as I opened my eyes, thus I kept them closed. I was aware someone was by my side not only because the person was holding my hand, but because I could sense him. Holmes was with me; thus I was fairly certain I was safe. I further believed I must be in my own bed as I could not smell the prevailing hospital scents.
As I gave consideration to attempting to open my eyes I realised that Holmes was speaking; he was speaking to me. I lay for a second or two certain I should open my eyes, that I must open my eyes and let him know I was now conscious. However, his words stopped me from doing so.
He spoke words I would never have dreamt he would speak; he spoke of his true feelings for me; he spoke of how important I was to him; he spoke of how deeply he loved me and of the kind of love it was. I told myself I should let him know I was conscious; that it was unfair of me to simply let him say things I truly believed he would never dream of saying had he not believed me to be unconscious.
However, I could not do so. I wanted him to go on telling me such things and I feared if I opened my eyes he would never speak of them again and we would simply go on as we had always done, loving one another as we should not love one another, but both too afraid to speak of that love.
It was only when I heard him say how afraid he was that I would die and leave him that I knew I could not let him believe me still to be unconscious any longer. Slowly I partly opened my eyes, squinting in the light, and said softly, "Holmes."
For a fleeting second his face became as it usually was and I knew he believed me to have only just regained consciousness and then his look changed and I saw the words he had spoken were true. I saw quite how deeply he cared about me; quite how much he loved me.
"Watson." For a moment his fingers touched my cheek, resting there quite naturally. I don't know if I gave some indication of surprise or even displeasure because he started to take his hand away. However, despite the pain it caused me, I caught his hand and pushed it back to where it had been.
He made a soft noise and stared at me the intensity of his look made my pain lessen. "I thought I had lost you," he said quietly.
I swallowed hard and prepared to do what I had vowed I would not do. "You will never lose me, Holmes," I said quietly. "I am eternally yours."
For a moment he did not speak, nor did he move, nor did he even appear to breathe. Then slowly and with great care he moved from the chair on which he had been sitting onto the bed. For a moment or two he merely sat and looked down at me as I looked up at him. Then he bent his head over me and a moment later I felt his lips brush over mine.