Chapter 6 on AO3
From the Beginning on AO3
John and Sherlock meet in the lab at Bart’s. It’s not their first first meeting, but God willing, it will be their last. They’ve lived a dozen lives already, each ending with one of them dying early and tragically. The trajectory of all these past lives has brought them together again, at St. Bart’s, in London, in 221B. John is convinced that this Sherlock has it in him to change their fate and give them peace at last.
(Chapter 6 - in which there is a resolution to unrequited love)
Things are not unfolding as Sherlock imagined they would.
John has finished his meal at Angelo’s, has taken his time returning to Baker Street. He’s been walking, wandering, thinking. He’s come to a conclusion, but it’s not the conclusion Sherlock expected.
John is standing by the door, gazing solemnly at Sherlock. He has been there for some time – quietly watching Sherlock play.
“You know – I’d never have time for a child.” John says as he moves into the kitchen and places the groceries on the counter. “You’re pretty much a full-time commitment already and I’ve only been here a few weeks. I’m not – ” He falters, then swallows, steels himself as he edges a toe over a line they never cross. “I’m not going to lose you again – not like last time.”
By unvoiced agreement, they do not speak of endings, nor of the time spent without the other once one of them has departed.
“John – don’t.” Sherlock’s voice holds a warning, but John – stubborn, decided – pushes forward, ignoring it.
“We never talk about it. Maybe that’s our problem.”
“No.” Sherlock tries to move around John and return to the sitting room, but John steps in front of him.
“Sherlock – we need to talk about Oslo.”
Sherlock is still holding his violin. He turns from John now, faces the window, lifts the instrument to his shoulder. Raises the bow, pauses a second too long.
“They said – they said you were queer.” John’s voice is unexpectedly rough.
Sherlock turns slowly. He doesn’t have to ask who they are. He knows. He holds John’s gaze, unflinching.
And here it is – just like that. The moment of truth.
Not with a bang but a whimper.
But he knows John. Knows him like the back of his own hand, the scar on his wrist, the face in the mirror.
He affects a matter-of-fact attitude.
“They were right,” he says. “John….”
John shakes his head. He is powering through this, settling this matter once and for all.
“You’ve always been. Every time. Haven’t you?”
Sherlock examines his hands. He earned the scar, at the juncture of palm and wrist, when he was nine, examining his grandfather’s antique cigar cutter. It is a reminder, in this lifetime, of a quiet gentleman who smelled of tobacco, who was never too busy to answer the young boy’s questions.
Grandfather – if you had to choose – would you rather be blind or deaf?
Grandfather, you do love me more than you love Mycroft, don’t you?
Grandfather – is everything just a coincidence or does it happen on purpose?
Sherlock flexes his fingers, stiff from playing, and looks out the window as the shadowy figure of a man long gone slips away.
You’ve always been. Every time.
“That doesn’t matter.”
It’s the only thing that matters.