lightconductor: (is it a clue?)
[personal profile] lightconductor
So this was part one that I wrote of the theoretical if Holmes-and-Watson-returned-to-their-former-life.

And then Rachelle wrote part two, which was Holmes's point of view.

And now I've gone and written part three.

What is this it is running away with us oh my god

But it's fun. :)


Waiting


I'm sure that there was some sort of dramatic change in my manner after I received that news, although I was far too much caught up in that change to really mark what it was. I was no longer a widower, once or twice over depending on where you drew the definitions and possibly reality, a physician with an uninteresting practice, a ruined leg and shoulder to match, and a sad and perverse love for his deceased friend. No, I was a loved husband, waiting for my spouse to return to me. I was akin to the captain's wife faithfully watching the sea from the widow’s walk for the sight of her husband’s ship, the fair maiden awaiting the return of her knight errant, Penelope unravelling her weaving until Odysseus was returned to her. All the examples I could think of were wifely and female, but that bothered me not a whit, and in fact amused me.

And yet, despite my own change, my own new circumstances, very little in my outward life altered after I spoke with Mycroft Holmes and he allowed me to read that very incredible telegram. Waiting, I quickly discovered, while all very romantic, was a very dreary business. Holmes was still not home, with me, where I felt very strongly that he belonged, and while it meant that my dreams at night were less guilt-inducing and painful when I awoke, it also meant that I was still very much alone in the mornings. I continued to write, of course, and the publication of each new story was both stimulating and keenly painful, and it was, I think, only in hopes that I would some day have new stories that kept me at it.

When the weeks began to stretch out into months, however, and I still had no further word from Holmes through his brother, I began to worry.

I thought, initially, about sending a message to the elder brother, in hopes that he might be able to shed some light on the silence. Perhaps he had had news, just none he thought worthy of passing along to me, not knowing quite the intensity of my attachment to his brother. I am no fool, though. If there were men who sought Holmes's neck in a noose, and they suspected he was still alive, surely they would watch his brother, and likely myself as well. I was not confident of my ability to formulate a telegram that would not be obvious if it fell under the scrutiny of enemy eyes. This besides, I was not, as I have said, entirely comfortable with Mycroft Holmes, or entirely certain of what he knew, and I disliked to impose upon him.

So, I waited, and thought of romantic ladies, and wondered if there were any literary precedence for the faithful wife to cast down her weaving, take up a sword, and go in quest of her love. It was rather unladylike, but then, so was I, in every respect.

At long last, I received a telegram from that inscrutable gentleman, inviting me to dine with him at his club. I replied immediately that I would be pleased to go, and I was. That evening found me once more seated in the Stranger's Room of the Diogenes Club opposite the great bulk of Mycroft Holmes, picking over a dinner that was in fact very good, but seemed to stick in my throat regardless.

We seemed to circle around the topic interminably for some time before I finally managed to swallow hard enough to say, "Mr. Holmes, your brother—"

I got no further. He silenced me with a gesture of his hand. "The reason you have had no news from me, Doctor, is because I have no news, either."

I lifted my head sharply, while my innards seemed to clench in tight, icy fear. "No word at all?" I asked, unnecessarily.

"None," Mycroft confirmed. "I have various… international agents at my disposal." Why this should be so, I could not imagine. Holmes had told me his brother had a position as a governmental clerk, putting his great mental powers to the task of sums. "I have tried to track him down in Tibet, but to no effect. Either Sherlock has gone further underground, he has managed to leave Tibet without alerting my sources, or…"

"Or he has died," I finished. I felt quite unsteady, and was sure my face was waxen.

"Or he has died," Mycroft confirmed, sombrely. "Or at the least, has been rendered unable to send me word."

"You wouldn't keep it from me, if you did have word?" I asked. "You will let me know at once if any sign of him does surface?" It was a dangerous thing to say, unthinkably foolish, particularly the way it spilled from my lips thick with emotion I should not have let it have. It was the sort of question that was borne of anxiety and deep concern, and while an ordinary man would think nothing of it, Mycroft Holmes might very well see to the truth behind my desperate disquiet, which went far beyond the consideration of a man for his friend and former fellow lodger.

No man of my acquaintance with the last name of 'Holmes' is ordinary.

Mycroft Holmes gave me a very long look. I am certain I can only see the resemblance between them as well as I can because I know the features of the younger brother so well, although perhaps if Holmes were to gain five or six stone the similarity between them should become more marked. Their eyes, however, are remarkably alike, the same pale, sharp grey, and it was more than a little unnerving to suddenly have this all-too-familiar gaze turned upon me.

"I will inform you at once," he promised, at length. He shifted in his chair, reaching to refill his wine glass. "I've long been aware of the depth of my brother's affection for you, after all, and if you have decided that you return it to the same degree, I can't find it in me to do anything else but to encourage it. Do have some more merlot, Doctor."

And that was that. I hadn't any idea how to respond to that; while we had had a certain freedom while on the island, that was gone now. I cannot imagine that there are many men in London who would so casually pour me a glass of wine immediately after announcing that they knew of my illegal affair with their brother. It ought to have been a good deal more disastrous. But no, he was sitting there quite calmly, and he was smiling, God help me, he was actually smiling.

"Thank you," I said, though I wasn't sure myself whether I meant the wine or his words. I was still trying to find something else to say when Mycroft shook his head and waved his hand dismissively.

"No, no, don't say anything," he said. "We are not here to discuss that. But, I will say… frankly, Dr. Watson, I think it prudent that you prepare yourself for the worst."

Did Penelope ever doubt that Odysseus was alive? Surely she must have, if everyone had told her that her husband was dead, if it had been twenty years, for all her stubbornness in believing otherwise. Surely there must have been nights where she was lonely and despairing. How could she know? I was certainly not possessed of any such divinely inspired knowledge.

"Why do you say that?" I asked.

He looked, for a moment, extremely grim. "I know nothing for certain. I can only infer, but at present… the worst seems very likely."

I bowed my head, trying not to betray my own growing sense of grief. "With all due respect, Mr. Holmes, I hope you are wrong."

"So do I," he said, lifting his glass.


To part four...

Date: 2010-09-26 04:46 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (OOC can't read my p-p-poker face)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
WATSON IS THE WIFE

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