Elementary episode 5x24: Sherlock having a talk with himself.
When Sherlock’s “mother” tells him I love you, is this love of self? One must love oneself before properly loving another, right? I wasn’t distressed that the good side of Sherlock was represented by his mother instead of Joan because his mother was the first person who loved him and the first person he loved. Sherlock is aware in some instances that his “mother” is really himself, including in the bottom panel (”…it was me”). I think his most important realization is that he is lying to himself when he says that his “mother” is none of Joan’s concern (middle panel). He knows all of this is Joan’s concern.
@beanarie thank you so much for your headcanon that Joan prefers tall men, it contributed to this scene in that it made me think what Sherlock prefers
PDA was not for them. Joan had known that from the
beginning. Their private lives had always been very private, nothing leeching
into the precinct, into the brownstone on a case. They were unable to reach
each other even in the hardest of times, their private emotions guarded even
when they made themselves somewhat vulnerable around each other.
But that didn’t mean neither of them wanted to be physical
in public. A bridge had been crossed, and neither were going to pretend things
hadn’t changed. But there were levels to the physicality. Many, many levels,
For instance, the brushing of their hands. Before, they had
unconsciously avoided even accidental touches. Passing dishes to each other,
handing each other papers or books, even her rare instances of taking an item
(usually his phone) forcefully from him when he was being obtuse. All those instances, if they resulted in brief,
barely registered touches… Joan tried not to think about them too hard, for
fear they would lead to the exact thoughts that had led them to finally cross
that unspoken boundary between them.
Now that it was crossed, there was purpose in every small
touch. Joan initiated first. Sherlock would communicate his surprise later.
She had gone to get them coffee, away from the precinct.
None of them, Marcus included, enjoyed the precinct’s excuse for caffeinated
beverages. When she’d come back, Sherlock and Marcus were still going through
case files, each forehead knitted in his own brand of frustration. Joan’s mouth
twitched. Scut work, Sherlock would’ve called it. But there was too high a
volume of paperwork to go through for him to leave it to just anyone, and Kitty
wasn’t here. Since his prodigy had left, they’d gotten used to taking turns.
She handed Marcus his coffee, took up hers and Sherlock’s,
and went to hand the latter to her partner. He lifted his hand without looking
up from his reading, and as Joan’s hand moved toward his, she made a split
Her fingers touched his. Long enough to not be considered a
“brushing” so much as an acknowledgment of something. Something that couldn’t
be spoken of aloud. He barely glanced at her, but she felt it. Their eyes
locked for that one second and Joan knew he would not object to further contact
of a similar kind. They each sipped their coffee and continued with their
The next time it happened, it was a few days later. A hot
July day with no wind. Joan was wearing a loose short-sleeved blouse and a
pencil skirt, but the humidity was oppressive. She longed for the air
conditioning of home, but this particular crime scene did not put time on their
Navigating the uneven terrain of the construction site in
her usual heels, Joan was sure of her footing…until her heel broke.
Sherlock had been walking just behind her, and as she fell unexpectedly
to the side, the strong grasp of his hand on her arm made her lose her breath a
second time in surprise.
Sherlock steadied her as she righted herself, her shifting
awkwardly off of the foot wearing a now heelless shoe. They exchanged glances—his
asked an unspoken question.
“I’m fine,” she said quietly, just then realizing her hand
was clasping his arm in turn. The heat she could feel even through the material
of his button-up shirt shocked her senses in an absurdly belated way. His
proximity combined with the heat made her thoughts scatter and refuse to reform
for a few more seconds.
“Can you walk on that?” Sherlock’s voice broke her out of
her heat-induced trance and she focused on his face. Mild concern. He was being
frustratingly good at hiding his reactions. Too much practice.
“Yes,” she said, biting off the end of the word and taking a
decided, careful step away from him. And his body heat. They didn’t look at
each other for a while after that.
That night, after taking a lukewarm shower and refusing a
hair-dryer, Joan sat on the rug in the library, braiding her damp hair, files
from the current case spread on the floor in front of her. Sherlock worked
nearby in the study, looking for various online clues. Or she thought he was. His
footsteps sounded to her left, and she looked up to see him staring down at
her, a different sort of concentration on his face.
“What is it?” she said, thinking initially he had news on a
suspect. But his hands were too fidgety, his sock-clad feet bouncing on their
heels. And he looked worried. Staying seated, she turned toward him, showing
Instead of speaking, he made a decidedly unfamiliar gesture.
He held out his hand for her to take.
She stared at it for all of two seconds, her thoughts racing
to several hypotheses, finding a satisfactory conclusion in none of them. She
took his hand and he lifted her to her feet. Easily. Joan shouldn’t have been
surprised, but something in her body was very pleasantly surprised. She ignored
She expected him to immediately let go of her hand. He
didn’t. He held it loosely in his, making it easy for her if she wished to pull
away. She didn’t.
He could not meet her direct stare, his eyes dodging away
several times before he spoke.
“I would like to request a…uh…” He was looking down at the
ground now, studying the files with an unnecessary scrutiny. “A request. For a
respite. A respite, yes.”
The last words came out quickly, and Joan suppressed her
smile. She leaned toward him, urging him with a slight squeeze of his hand to
look up. After another heavy and silent few seconds, he did. She leaned back
“What kind of respite, Sherlock?” she said, finding her
heart beating faster even as nothing about their contact had changed. He still
held her hand loosely. She kept the “safe” distance between them. It wasn’t an
exact measurement—Joan had just unconsciously learned Sherlock had a “safe”
distance, and they still obeyed it. To a degree.
It was his eyes, she realized. They were full of so much she
had never seen before, her brain could not register them right away. He was
uncertain, but not about himself. About her.
“You have permitted me only briefly…” Here he had to look
down again, his lungs noticeably expanding as he pulled his thoughts together.
“…to touch you in a purposeful manner and I would like to formally request
similar contact again.”
He only looked up after he had finished speaking, and his
expression was so uncertain she felt a pang in her chest.
“Is this about earlier?” she asked, her voice unconsciously
quieting to echo his. His expression deepening in its disquiet was answer
enough. “I wasn’t upset, Sherlock. I was…surprised.”
Things had to go slow, for both of them. They had not even
kissed a second time. It wasn’t so much Joan felt they were walking on
eggshells, but that they were going into unknown territory together, and
plunging headfirst would go against both of their instincts. They had learned
to trust each other’s investigative instincts, and now it was time to form a
different kind of trust.
“I as well,” he said, his gaze now going down to their
joined hands. She kept her eyes on his face, catching the change from
uncertainty to curiosity. Fear crept behind it all, but Joan knew it would be.
It had been there for a long time, only now were they dealing with it directly.
He lifted her hand closer to his face, now holding her
fingers almost in his palm, his thumb making the lightest of movements over her
knuckles. Chills traveled down her arm, and she was suddenly conscious of her
half-done braid, her bare legs, a stronger pulse pounding against her neck.
“They haven’t changed,” she said, letting a note of
indulgence into her voice, a smile tugging at one corner. He glanced up, and
some of the tension dissipated, though not all of it.
“Untrue, Watson. Your hands have changed a great deal since
I last felt them. Or one. This one in particular,” he said, his focus shifting
back to her right hand he still held so lightly before him.
“Bees wax, no calluses. I remember,” she said, her smile
growing. He hummed, and another chill went through her at being able to feel
the vibration of his voice through their contact. She had a sudden urge to move
forward, but resisted.
Then his right hand came up to join his left in clasping her
hand. He turned her hand palm up, and the fingers of his right hand began
tracing the various lines and curves of her palm and wrist. She forced her
entire body to remain still, even as her pulse was jumping erratically only
centimeters from his touch.
“I have often thought…” He almost whispered, and the silence
between them became pregnant with something Joan couldn’t name. Even if she’d
tried, she wasn’t sure there was a word for it. Anticipation, certainly, but
He did not finish his sentence. Instead he cradled her hand
in both of his, and lifted her open palm to his lips. The lightest of kisses
struck her nerves and she instinctively closed her eyes against the onslaught.
His voice made her open them. “How your hands would feel both
soft and strong at once.”
He was not looking at her. He couldn’t. His eyes were
downcast, studying the lines of her hand with only his gaze. She felt him
withdraw before he even took his hands from her. She took a deep breath she
didn’t know she’d been holding.
Sherlock’s phone pinged from across the room. Both turned
toward it. As Sherlock walked away, Joan immediately began braiding her hair
Fanfiction is the madwoman in mainstream culture’s attic, but the attic won’t contain it forever. Writing and reading fanfiction isn’t just something you do; it’s a way of thinking critically about the media you consume, of being aware of all the implicit assumptions that a canonical work carries with it, and of considering the possibility that those assumptions might not be the only way things have to be.
Anne Jamison, Fic: Why Fan Fiction is Taking Over the World.