lightconductor: (let me tell you this)
[personal profile] lightconductor
More AU, following up on this scene here.

The purchase of Watson's old practice was done with, and it was a strange thing to be free like this again. It was one more way it was like the old days, before the island, before Switzerland, before Mary... he and Holmes and the cases and nothing else. Except, of course, this was better now. And the sale had gone surprisingly well, too. Watson had feared that it would not sell, that he would be stuck with the practice for weeks and months, had wondered whether frequent nights spent at Baker street while he was supposed to be living elsewhere would look suspicious, and what his housekeeper might think of his sudden decision to abandon his career for a return to his bachelor days.

He was at least a little sorry to say goodbye to it, actually. That he would no longer come into a room and be caught in an intense, painful sense of memory, remembering Mary and her illness in late pregnancy and how horribly empty the house and his life had been after he'd lost her... it was both a blessing and a tragedy, to no longer have that.

But the sale had, after all, gone well. Extremely so. It hadn't been long at all before a young doctor, name of Verner, had inquired. Watson had named a price, had set it as high as he dared, too high to be acceptable, and had fully expected Verner to barter him down. That was the done thing. Instead, Verner had shrugged and considered it and accepted the price without further delay.

It was lucky, it was a great windfall, and Watson knew better than to question it too much.

Some weeks after he had abandoned his practice to the care of young Dr. Verner, though, Watson had found himself in that neighbourhood running errands, and thought to check in and see if a book he had been unable to locate had merely been left behind. This had, in fact, been the case, and Verner had the book ready, commenting that he had intended to send it round to Watson at the soonest opportunity.

Watson liked Verner, thin and Gallic-featured and witty, and he'd stopped to chat for a minute or two before continuing home. At last, he said, "I fear I've taken too much of your time, Doctor. I should be getting along, at any rate. It was a pleasure speaking with you."

"Take care of yourself, Dr. Watson," Verner answered. "And do pass my regards along to Sherlock."

Watson had been almost out the door, but he stopped suddenly at this, and turned. He was well-used to people passing greeting along to Holmes through him, and not necessarily from people who even knew the famed detective. There was nothing unusual about that. But no one referred to Holmes that way, with the notable exception of Mycroft Holmes, because what else was he to call his brother?

"I beg your pardon," Watson said, frowning faintly and attempting not to, "but are you acquainted with Holmes?"

Verner had immediately realised he had uttered an indiscretion, and had gone quite pale. He had stuttered a little and stammered, but had at last, under pressure, confessed the entire story.

Roughly a half hour later, Watson was climbing the seventeen steps up to their rooms in Baker street, fighting waves of anger and failing. He burst into the sitting room, gave a small exhalation of satisfaction to see Holmes there at his desk, and he shut the door behind him before stalking over. He laid his hand heavily on Holmes's shoulder. "Holmes," he growled out. "I do believe we need to talk."

Date: 2010-10-18 05:41 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (OOC can't read my p-p-poker face)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
Well. Blast.

Holmes looks up from his desk where he has been writing, keeping his face entirely expressionless, even the slightest bit amused -- though, truthfully, even though there is more to be lost with Watson's anger now, there are still some humorous elements, or elements that Holmes finds stupidly charming. How Watson's nostrils flare, for one.

Focusing on Watson's nostrils and the fire blazing in his eyes and how animated he is helps Holmes keep his cool.

"Watson, my dear boy. Have you had a lovely stroll?"

Date: 2010-10-18 05:54 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Yeeeah I don't think so.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
Oh, he should have known, and maybe he did, that Watson would be so charitable and neighborly as to go and see to his practice, and while he was at it, his blasted cousin would go and open his mouth and let out some foolish blunder as he apparently has. Holmes sighs heavily and sets down his pen, twisting in his seat to better look at Watson.

"I didn't buy it outright. He paid for part of the sum, and I handled the rest." He says it all very matter-of-factly and plainly, as if hoping that maybe if he treats it like it's nothing, Watson will come to think the same way. "It is bought, it is paid for, and it is out of your hands and into someone who has a passion for the practice. May I ask why you are so upset at what seems to me a happy ending?"

He isn't this stupid. But if he plays this stupid, he may get Watson to exhaust his anger quickly and get to forgiveness sooner.

Date: 2010-10-18 09:25 pm (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (There you have it. Duh.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
It's difficult to tell but he may be succeeding so far. He stands and leans against his desk, resting his hands against the wood, so that he may look at Watson.

"I considered it, but it seemed unnecessary. You never stopped to ask where your interested buyer came from, and no doubt you were happy to receive the sum you set." That isn't true. He knew he was being underhanded, but he merely wanted Watson to move into Baker street without fear as quickly as possible, and he knew that Watson would have said no to Holmes helping in the way that he did. Perhaps he should have mentioned his cousin to Watson, but it seems like things went much faster the way that he orchestrated them.

"Now you are free to live with me without suspicion, and you did not have to wait a long period of time before someone surfaced to buy your practice."

Date: 2010-10-18 10:59 pm (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (That's a terrible idea.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
At this, Holmes scowls deeply and stalks away, pacing halfway across the room. He hadn't thought that it would seem like that, and the idea that he's treating Watson in that way is insulting and unsettling; he doesn't like being unsettled, so he latches onto the insulting portion.

"That idea is obscene and ridiculous," he snaps, turning to look at Watson, throwing a hand up in a dismissive gesture. "Of course you are my spouse, and as your spouse, I have attempted to facilitate an arrangement that you yourself desired. I have fabricated nothing except my ignorance of the matter! Verner did, indeed, want a practice, and I only supplied the funds for a portion of it. It was more a... a gift, an arrangement for our future."

Date: 2010-10-19 04:54 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Hmm. Okay so.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
"That was not my intention," he assures Watson swiftly, though now he's almost wondering if that had not been on his mind. It wasn't like he was playing a joke on Watson purposefully, but somewhere in the carrying out of the scheme he may have been some amusement over the situation.

"I did not tell you because it seemed the sort of gift that best remained anonymous," he says, though his conviction is beginning to dwindle. He takes a small step closer. "I am sorry you found out in this way." Or at all.

Date: 2010-10-19 05:42 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Dressing gown. Pensive.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
He frowns. He hadn't quite predicted this response, and he hesitates before he takes another step closer, folding his hands behind his back.

"I had no idea... It never occurred to me that that... might matter to you." He stops there and takes a small breath, frowning at the floor. Is Watson unhappy, regretful? What does he think of their life together? Certainly it's problematic on legal levels, but... not emotional ones, right? And shouldn't that mean more than other peoples' opinions?

"You are, still, my partner, and that is no little accomplishment," he says, very quietly. "Bohemian I may be, but you are at least the most respectable half of our little operation. And you have already written some, and in a little while you can return to that. You'll gain quite a bit more than just respectability from that. We know that for a fact." He gives a small, humorless smile.

Date: 2010-10-20 01:40 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Small smile.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
He sees his opportunity to comfort Watson and possibly also begin to raise himself in Watson's eyes again. Without needing to apologize for arranging for the sale of Watson's practice, an important point since Holmes dislikes apologizing for things he is not truly sorry for. Despite Watson's upset, he really is not sorry, not in the slightest, because the sale means that Watson can be his own again and there is nothing to separate them.

"No, you cannot," he agrees, stepping forward again. "Because, as you said once, I am a cold, calculating machine." He half-smiles, half-flinches; that detail had particularly upset him when he read it, for many reasons, but perhaps most because he knows himself how deeply he has felt for the men in his life, but at the time was convinced that he must forever hide that depth of emotion from Watson.

"My disregard for society is not entirely voluntary; I am brash and harsh and impatient much too often than I should be, and I cannot always control it. Much as you can't control being caring and considerate and so wholly engaged in the people around you to the point where not one person I have ever met has had a negative word to say about you." He smiles again, a small and self-conscious one. "I do not think it very wise to envy me, in this regard. Envy my brilliance, my perception, my skills at the violin... but I don't recommend envying this, in particular."

Date: 2010-10-20 02:08 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Dressing gown. Pensive.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
He poses as if in thought as he steps forward, taking Watson's hand and linking their fingers together as he also steps in close to Watson's side, their shoulders brushing. "Let me think." He clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "No, no, my dear boy, I cannot think of one. More along the lines of," and here he slips into an accent, for effect, "'That Dr. Watson is a hardy soul; I can't imagine how he puts up with Mr. Holmes, surely he only survives because he is so patient and caring.'"

He gives Watson a more sincere smile, his gaze falling on his lips briefly before he lifts it again; he doesn't know exactly where he stands with Watson now, if it would be okay to kiss him.

"So you see, Watson, I win you favor and sympathy to your good credit. I am more asset than detriment."

Suddenly, his expression shifts as Watson's words fully sink in. "Surely you don't think of yourself as some poor spaniel," he says with a frown.

Date: 2010-10-20 02:44 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Unbuttoned. Sexy hands. Oh Watson...)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
He can't help a small, impatient sigh, if only because he finds the whole notion so ridiculously silly. There's no way that Watson could be some hapless spaniel at his heels; Holmes may treat Watson dismissively or cruelly at times, but he sees himself as dependent upon Watson. He knows how much he needs Watson, and he knows how little Watson's lingering war souvenirs matter to Holmes. He bends his head to kiss Watson's forehead, hugging him to his side.

"Allow me to reassure you that if I had wanted a spaniel to follow me at my heels, I would have actually acquired a spaniel." This is difficult to explain, as he is not entirely capable of putting into words very easily the process by which he fell in love with Watson.

"I admit that when you came into my life, I had not expected or even entertained the idea that I would truly be gaining a companion, but I quickly realized that you were, and are, the perfect compliment to my own nature. There is romantic talk of finding your other half in another person, and I had thought it all very idyllic and untrue. Until I met you."

He smiles down at Watson, feeling suddenly, stupidly sheepish.

"I have high opinions of myself, and among those I include the belief that I could not find my other half in a companion so ineffectual or hapless that he could be considered a dog."

Date: 2010-10-20 03:40 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Grin. Hat.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
Holmes is immensely pleased with himself. He's managed to wriggle his way out of that mess, hasn't he? He snakes his arm around Watson's waist, a smile curving across his lips, and he leans down to kiss Watson again, softly.

"And thank goodness for that. What would a man be without his other half? And what would life be? Unendingly dull and uncomfortably empty," he answers, booking no argument.

Date: 2010-10-20 05:06 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Unbuttoned. Sexy hands. Oh Watson...)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
He shifts, bracing himself with one arm against the fireplace; he rests the other one alongside Watson's cheek, nestling against him. This is how he had hoped to spend the afternoon; he happily smiles against Watson's lips in a brief kiss before he ducks his head to leave soft kisses on Watson's jaw.

"I am anything but dull, to be sure. And since you rather enjoy me spurring you into action," he says with a light suggestion, drawing himself up again, "we are undoubtedly perfectly matched."

Date: 2010-10-20 06:01 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Small smile.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
He shrugs, knowing what question Watson really is trying to ask; if he had thought that would have been a problem, he wouldn't have approached Verner in the first place. There are some members of their family who have inherited his and Mycroft's feelings about a public face; Verner is among them, and Holmes has, honestly, never been more grateful.

"In all likelihood. Either he's heard it or surmised it; I really couldn't say which, if any, because it isn't something we have ever mentioned to each other. Truly I have no idea to what extent my parents may have spread the information, or if my inclinations are the subject of gossip among my family." His tone is dismissive, almost disinterested, but once this is said, his expression softens.

"I do know that Verner likely cares very little, if at all. The general trend among my family is they either cease talking to me, or they don't care, and I believe Verner belongs to the latter category. Whatever assumptions he may have made about us," he says, pausing to smile in an attempt to be comforting, "will not cause problems for us. I would not have approached him if I was not sure of that."

Date: 2010-10-20 04:59 pm (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (OOC can't read my p-p-poker face)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
Hearing that Verner sends his regards does please him; he is closer to Verner than other members of his family, but he still has not spoken to him for quite a while before this practice business became necessary. He grins lightly at Watson, stealing a kiss from his lips as he hugs Watson to him again.

"I am glad to have the invitation, as I was planning on continuing anyway. Now I may do so without concern." He kisses Watson, sliding his hand up Watson's jacket so that he can leave his hand squarely against his back. "This is fairly cozy. I don't think having you against the fireplace ever occurred to me in the past," he adds, thoughtfully.

Date: 2010-10-21 12:01 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Grin. Hat.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
"I suppose I could explore this idea further, especially since you seem so particularly eager to see its outcome," he returns, needling back a little. Reaching between them, he undoes Watson's collar, brushing his thumb against the hollow of his throat.

"I take it you would prefer this experiment happen sooner rather than later." He lets his hand wander down to work on Watson's buttons. "That seems the most prudent option in my opinion; we had better get it out of the way before Mrs. Hudson so dutifully supplies us with our next meal." His voice has progressively gotten huskier, and he leans down to dust his mouth over Watson's in a ghost of a kiss.

Date: 2010-10-21 12:20 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Quiet laughter.)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
He inhales sharply at Watson's mouth to his neck, and he pauses momentarily in his unbuttoning of Watson's shirt to clutch at him through the fabric. After allowing himself a moment to indulge in the sensation, he returns to his task; once he unbuttons Watson's shirt, he runs his fingertips over the exposed skin, lightly teasing.

"I have no interest in seeing either of us singed." He ducks his mouth, biting gently at the skin of Watson's shoulder. "I would rather see us engulfed in metaphoric flames over actual flames, so have little fear. I will keep you unharmed," he murmurs softly against Watson's ear.

He draws them both back slightly, enough so that he can remove Watson's shirt, waistcoat, and jacket without accidentally dragging them through the fire.

Date: 2010-10-21 01:31 am (UTC)
mustbethetruth: (Unbuttoned. Sexy hands. Oh Watson...)
From: [personal profile] mustbethetruth
"I am glad to hear it," he replies, his voice darker and huskier now as he runs his hands along Watson's side. "That would rather spoil the mood." He grins darkly, sliding a hand into Watson's hair and pulling him into a hungry kiss; he lightly runs his nails over Watson's back, pressing him back against the side of the fireplace.


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