Word count: ~1000
Warnings: Sadness, darkness, hurt/comfort.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: No one ever knows if a broke heart can be healed.
A/N: Written around three in the night. A bow goes to nodbear , loved beta-reader.
Dicentra spectabilis alba - white bleeding heart
Holmes collected the rare, the sweet moments during his acquaintance with Dr Watson. His secret observations of the beloved face when he thought himself unobserved. Sitting at the opera right beside him, watching his intense stare, the light of joy gleaming in his eyes, losing himself in the music. His smile and warm affection when Holmes elaborates the challenging aspects of one of his more spectacular cases in front of him. A sun beam reflected on Watson’s damp hair, like a gold bug’s wings. The way his lips twitched when he tried to keep a straight face although he must pretend to be angry with him. His gentle touches tending to his wounds… Long subtle fingers resting on his skin…
Nothing more than memories, shadows of the past, shadows of a long, lost life.
Where once his heart had been was nothing. No more a strong beating pulsing proof of life but a hollow space in his ribcage, hurting more and more each day. A dull aching pain. The day Watson married he knew he had lost his love, or the hopes he had had to regain more than mere friendship from the man who broke his heart.
Yes, he had been to the wedding, yes, he had gone to Europe fighting the last battle against Moriarty. Yes, he wanted to die that day, when he felt the water closing all around him, filling his eyesight, erasing all hearing except the thunderous noise of the waterfall in its overwhelming splendour, as deadly as it was.
He survived, he escaped, how he did it he himself neither knew nor cared. Watching his dear friend from afar made the pain in his heart even worse. And now, after three years absence, he could breathe no more.
He had left the continent and returned to England, returned to his homeland, his country, to London, his city, his life and death. He found him like a bloodhound on a trail, by instinct alone. He observed him, invisible, following his every step.
He knew Mary had died the previous winter. He knew that the doctor was a living machine now, like himself. Living for his patients, living on demand, alive only because his heart refused to stop beating. He wanted to step out of the shadows, he wanted to renew their acquaintance, their friendship; he wanted to love Watson as he once did… Hiding his face in the shadows and under a hundred different masks he couldn’t bring himself to make that first, and final step. He took a deep breath and felt like falling down the falls a second time.
The creaking of the door stopped Watson’s movement. First a shadow on the wall, then the shadow of a man appeared out of the darkness. The teapot dropped to the floor, the cup and dish in his hand followed, his blue eyes widened enormously.
“Holmes…” He whispered. It was he and yet he was not the man he had once known. Looking like some strange kind of vagabond which in a way he was and had always been, only these deep black eyes fixed upon his person deepened the pain in his heart. Holmes stepped into the light. He looked thin, fragile even. The lines around his eyes and in his face were clearly to be seen, unkempt hair, the ever present stubble on his chin framed the red lips. And then an unspoken question in his eyes… Watson felt himself drawn into their depths…
“You are not dead…” More statement than a question. “Alive…” He whispered and with one great leap he stood in front of him, in front of Sherlock Holmes, England’s only consultant detective, brilliant mind, source of never ending successful reports against the criminal’s attempt to rob, steal and murder the citizens of London, rumours of foreign affairs intermingling with the master of deduction’s capability in solving riddles, a fearless fighter, highly regarded friend of the police and adept pupil in the musical sector. Holmes. His Holmes. His man and only love…
He could feel his heart hammering against his ribs.
“Not dead… Holmes…” He didn’t even try to stop the flood of tears that filled his eyes, rolled down his face, into his collar.
“Watson…” The voice as frail as the men, tears sparkling in the dark eyes, too. Watson closed his arms around Holmes’ head, pressing his face into the dark locks, holding him tight, holding him close to his heart.
“I’m here.” He whispered, not ashamed that his tears ran freely now, his body shook as did Holmes’, he swallowed and let Holmes the time he needed to regain composure. Their eyes met. No veil hid the beautiful soul in those big eyes.
“Where have you been? And why didn’t you come back earlier? Holmes?” His voice cracked. He saw Holmes so close, too close. He wiped away the tears and heard the detective whisper:
“It hurts, Watson. It hurts so much.”
“Where, Holmes? Show me where it hurts.” A hand led his own over the patch of skin right above Holmes’ heart.
“Here…” The former detective whispered, his huge eyes two black holes in the dim lit room. It was then that Watson’s heart broke, too. Tears welled up again in his eyes and with heartbreaking tenderness he touched the beloved face. He knew one motion too fast, one false reaction and the frail spirit waiting on the brink of revealing itself would flee in an instant. He felt the too-thin body shivering under his touch, saw the long lashes lowering, pale lids covering the black orbs. The grip of the hand around his own tightening…
“I’ll make it better, I promise…” He whispered and lost all rational thoughts, extinguished all voices crying sin in his head, all knowledge of committing a crime, fanning the flames of love. He kissed the parched lips and with this first touch the ashes were scattered, his world started spinning again and two hearts stopped bleeding…