Human Error (3/?)Fandom/Pairing:
BBC Sherlock, Sherlock/John (with Mary/John still ongoing; Molly/Greg as side pairing)Genre:
Explicit (later on)Warnings:
Mild (i.e. one-time) drug abuse, murder and mayhem included. Also, I'm not saying anybody's going to die, but I'm also not saying nobody is ;)Summary:
With John settling into married life and Sherlock continuing his work as a consulting detective, things seem to have finally reached a comfortable stasis. Underneath, however, emotions are running high and a drug-induced confession from Sherlock changes everything. Combined with Moriarty's apparent return, Sherlock and John realise one thing: The game is still on.Author's notes:
I'm currently writing the 8th chapter and expect the fic to have about 12-15 in total. I'll be posting a new one every week (though the three first ones in one go as I've been posting them on Ao3 already).
“Last one,” Lucy confirmed and gave John a friendly smile as she closed the door. The young nurse had taken over for Mary two weeks ago - with the pregnancy as far progressed as it was - and John was quite satisfied with the good job she had been doing so far. However, today had been stressful for both of them, with his lunch break extended to fit both meeting Mary for her last sonogram and checking on Sherlock into his schedule.
It was quarter past six and John felt utterly exhausted.
The lack of sleep (he hadn’t got more than two, three hours) alone wasn’t what made him wish he could just curl into a ball and fall asleep on the medbed in the surgery. The entire day, whenever he had waited for a patient to undress or change rooms, or performed easier tasks that allowed his mind to drift, he had gone back to last night, and he still did not know what to make of it. What to think, feel and how to just bloody stop both.
Sherlock had kissed him. His best friend. Kissed. Not an overenthusiastic and purely platonic ‘John-Watson-you’re-so-brilliant-I-could-kiss-you’ smacker to the forehead - which had never been executed but only announced, once, and only because Sherlock had been utterly desperate to solve a case. No, a full-on, passionate, romantic, kiss, lips on lips, tip of tongue--
John let out a deep groan, his hand running down the side of his face and covering his mouth. He shook his head and pressed his eyes firmly shut for a second to push back the images he had no energy to deal with. Not right now. Best not ever, because there was no use anyway.
“Right,” he mumbled to himself, took a deep breath and got up from his desk chair to get his jacket and leave the surgery for the day.
Mary had promised to prepare a chicken roast - not that he was hungry at the moment - but it was something to look forward to, to get his mind off of things. A nice evening with his wife. Maybe a bit of telly later while he’d caress her ever-growing belly and feel the tiny feet of the miracle inside kick against his hand. Just him and Mary and the little one.
How could he just blissfully and ignorantly enjoy his life, with his family, knowing that in another part of London, back in the place John had called his home for so long, was Sherlock. Probably thinking of him, regretting, longing.
But was he? John had been trying to tell himself that the kiss hadn’t meant what kisses usually mean in such a context. He had looked back at all the instances in which Sherlock had so often confirmed that he was not interested in any kinds of romantic relationships or even just sex. Married to his work, he had said on their first evening together, and even long after that, John had never been given any indication that Sherlock might have changed his mind about relationships. Or even be capable of feelings and attachments of this kind.
Then again, Sherlock was Sherlock, and with Sherlock everything was a little different. He always dismissed emotions as something tedious and useless, something he was so far above; but there had also been countless of instances in which Sherlock had proven, again and again, not through words but actions that he was capable of… well, affection. In his own odd and Holmesian kind of way. That, however, still didn’t mean that Sherlock was in love with John.
A kiss, maybe even in this context, maybe even accompanied by those words, could mean a whole lot of things, couldn’t it? Maybe Sherlock was just lonely and missed his best friend, and he projected these feelings in a way that seemed right but wasn’t? Maybe Sherlock, especially in his drugged state, couldn’t distinguish between the fine nuances of affection. Because he had never had any experience in that direction anyway.
Or had he?
As he waited for the next train that would take him home, John had to remember Irene and the whole mystery of Sherlock’s attraction - if one could call it that - to her. It had been the first time he had shown that, perhaps, there was more than met the eye underneath all that coolness and logic. The more he thought about that time, about Irene and how Sherlock had acted around her, the more an unbidden, long-forgotten feeling stirred in John, and he almost felt his heart skip a beat as he recognised it.
The train passed by him without him having got on.
John suddenly found it very hard to breathe. In fact, he had to move to the nearest wall and prop himself against it, forcing himself to take deep, even breaths against the clenching, cramping sensation in his chest. He really did not want to have an anxiety attack - something that hadn’t happened to him in a very long time - in the middle of a tube station.
He could not do this. Could not think about this any longer and wonder. Wonder what could and might have been and if it should have. If he’d wanted it to or not. There was no way, no point in even thinking up an alternate universe in which Sherlock had never left and Mary never come into John’s life.
Not even if, for a split-second just now, John had wished the latter to be the case.
“Jesus Christ.” A few more heaving breaths left him, and he balled his left hand to a fist, concentrating on nothing but an inner mantra to calm-the-fuck-down.
As he finally managed to do so, straightening himself and focusing his glance toward the oncoming train, he ignored the concerned, amused and puzzled stares from a few people standing around, and he got mad at them because nobody had even bothered to ask him whether he was all right. Not that he would have welcomed the attention, but it proved again how awful people could be (and it was also easier to project his negative feelings onto them and be angry instead of - he didn’t even have a word for it).
He browsed the Metro on his way home to keep himself distracted, but he focused on the sports and entertainment section, not wanting to read anything about Moriarty or anything related that would cause him to return to his previous train of thought. There was no point, he had to keep reminding himself, and more so, he dreaded what he may find should he allow it to be thought through to the end.
And so, as he completed his journey home, he thought about the errands that still needed to be taken care of before the little one was born, some final touches to the nursery, clothing and other equipment that needed to be bought - maybe he could go into the shop around the corner from the surgery in his lunch break, tomorrow, and find something nice to surprise Mary with, even though the prices there seemed ridiculously expensive. But only the best for his little girl.
It were these thoughts that, after the emotional strain of the past night and day, brought a smile to his face. He was happy, happy with Mary and overwhelmingly excited to finally meet his daughter. Why regret and wonder about the what-ifs when what he had, now and hopefully for the rest of his life, was good?
The smile returned to his face when he let himself into the flat. He could already smell the delicious scent of the chicken as he made his way towards the kitchen; his appetite, albeit still not strong, slowly started to be awoken by it.
“Oh, hi, there you are,” Mary greeted as she spotted her husband in the entrance of the kitchen. She pushed a hand to the small of her back and stretched against it, holding an oven glove in the other one.
“Sorry, took a bit longer to get here,” John replied and leaned in to kiss Mary gently on the lips. Automatically, his hand reached for the big, round baby bump. “Do you need any help?”
“No, it’s almost done. I’m making roast potatoes in the oven, too. You can set the table if you like, though.”
“Yeah,” he nodded and smiled before he took plates and cutlery from the kitchen cabinet and drawer and brought them to the dining table.
“So, had a good day, then?” Mary asked as she leaned against the kitchen door frame. Despite her smile and casual tone there was a hint of mild concern noticeable.
“Uh… yeah. Bit stressful but all right.”
“Good,” she replied. “And what about Sherlock? Did you go to check on him again?”
An uneasy feeling in his midst caused John to lose his smile for a moment. “I did. He seemed okay. A bit woozy.”
Mary nodded, her eyes fixed on him as he finished putting the napkins on the table and moving the salt and pepper shakers towards the middle. “So he’s not relapsed again? It was just for a case?”
“Yeah. I think so.” It was no surprise Mary tried to get a bit more of a reply from him, but for some reason - one he didn’t want to dwell on - it made him feel quite annoyed. He wanted to enjoy this evening. Not think about Sherlock.
“And you’re completely all right with that?” Finally a trace of disbelief underneath that gentle tone and open smile.
“What am I supposed to do then, hm?”
“Oh, I don’t know? Slap some sense into him like Molly did. Hell, I’d probably have strangled him if I were you.”
“Or you would have shot him.” It had happened within a split-second that his mood had shifted towards tremendously pissed off, and John wasn’t even sure how and why, with the full context of the conversation, it had occurred.
“John!” Mary’s head was tilted, her brow furrowed in mild hurt but also concern for him, and it made him feel both guilty and even more pissed off. “Don’t be like that. You know I’m concerned for him, too.”
“Are you really, though?”
“Yes, I am, and you know it. Those were completely different circumstances. You know I adore him as much as you do.”
John couldn’t stop the sarcastic chuckle leaving him, and for a moment he wondered whether she meant and believed what she said or just did it to elicit a reaction.
“Right. But only as long as he’s no threat to you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That you bloody shot him!” John exclaimed, ignoring the brief flash of feeling caught. “So no talk about strangling him or anything of the sort, because you don’t get to say that. Not even as a joke.”
Her features displayed obvious hurt now, yet she took a step closer towards him and laid a hand on his upper arm. “Are you always going to hold that against me?”
“Yes,” he replied and immediately regretted it. He didn’t want to, he wanted to fully forgive her, to forget everything that had happened, and he’d often before succeeded in believing he had.
“What happened to me and my problems being your privilege?” she said, less reproachful than suppliant.
He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. “Yes. You’re right. I did say that, and I meant it. Doesn’t mean the whole idea won’t ever make me angry.”
“All right. I get that. But I really didn’t mean I’d literally strangle him. You know that, right?” Still gentle, reasoning, although John had to admit she, too, had good reason to react with more hurt and frustration.
And that did it. Melted away the anger in him as well, leaving him feeling resigned. “No. You’re right. Sorry, love. I’m sorry.”
The frown on her face deepened in sympathy as she laid her arms around him and pulled him into a hug. “It’s been a rough day, huh? I get it. Let’s just make the best of it, okay?”
“Yes. Okay,” John agreed as he slowly broke the embrace and looked at her. Big, beautiful eyes full of concern, those lovely lips of hers, kissable and inviting. He did love her, he really, truly did. That was all that mattered, that should and would matter.
“I love you,” she said softly, and for a moment, just as her lips connected with his, he wondered if she could read him like an open book.
He hoped not.
> part 2 <