Watson didn't dare to stray anywhere near Baker Street after what had happened between Holmes and him.
Although the doctor had half a mind to march in his old to try to reason with his friend, he didn't.
Instead, he dismissed any thought of returning. The hurt and angry look that Holmes shot at him never left his mind.
Another thing that never left his mind was the kiss. It was such a simple kiss and now that he thought about it, felt very inexperienced on Holmes' part.
Why had he not notice it sooner? For all Watson knew it could've been Holmes' first one.
Yet he was too baffled to realize it at the time. And to add to his amazement he had thoroughly enjoyed it! What has gotten into him? Into Holmes?
Even though he felt great pleasure from the kiss, he was certain that he was in the right by putting a stop to it.
That is, he was certain. However as days past on his assurance began to wane the more he thought about the incident.
Then after two weeks since he last saw Holmes, it hit Watson all of the sudden. Like reality had just slapped him in the face.
He had been in love with Holmes the entire time!
Through the years they had been living together, he had deluded myself into thinking his love for Holmes was strictly platonic. T
he idea that he could be...that way had been buried deep inside the unconscious part of his brain.
But now that he had forced himself to see the truth of his own character, everything immediately began to make much more sense.
The reason why he would follow Holmes blindly into dangerous situations, the reason why he took a liking to the man's chocolate brown eyes,
and (my God) the reason his own eyes would sometimes glue on Holmes' moving lips whenever the detective spoke, all linked to that one conclusion.
If Watson were in better spirits he would've laughed out loud at his own stupidity. Yes, it all made sense now.
But now what was he supposed to do? Holmes had no desire to see him ever again. The pit of the doctor's stomach sank at the thought.
Would Holmes accept him now if Watson admit his feelings? Or was he too hurt by Watson's refusal? Holmes had been right. Watson had been lying to himself.
Hope was waning as he stared out the window, looking at nothing in particular. His house seemed even more quiet and lonesome than before.
He barely registered one of the maids coming into the room.
"Sir? There is a man here to see you. He says he's in great pain."
Watson informed her to let him in. Even though he didn't like the idea of taking care of sick patients while he was in despair
(it just wasn't the right mood to be in to tend to the ill), he knew it couldn't be helped. Soon a red-faced, curly-haired man appeared, clutching onto his stomach.
For a long while the visitor said nothing. He just stared at the doctor with something akin to confusion in his eyes. After the silence dragged on for over a minute, Watson coughed awkwardly.
"Well, what seems to be the problem here?" he asked while motioning for the gentleman to sit down.
The other man complied.
"My stomach is burning terribly," he explained in a pained voice, "It feels almost like fire. If I were a lesser man I'd be in tears I tell you."
An odd growling sound came from the man's stomach and he groaned in response. It wasn't a growl from hunger. It sounded to Watson more like the man was having trouble digesting something.
"Could you tell me what you have eaten in the last twenty-four hours?" Watson asked.
The man took a minute to think. He spoke, but to Watson's surprise instead of answering he asked an unexpected question.
"Do I..know you?"
Confused, Watson inspected the man more closely, using methods of observation he had learned from Holmes. His curly hair was well kept but his fashion sense was poor.
A rather ugly gray and blue sweater with a bit of ink on the left sleeve. Perhaps the man was left-handed and wrote something down before he got here?
There was a small crack on one of the square lens of his glasses. His nose hooked like a beak and he had a boyish face.
But Watson was sure he had never seen the man before, so he told him. The gentleman still didn't seem convinced, but his stomach growled again and he hissed, so he decided to let the matter drop.
"I haven't ate much. I had some soup I made myself last night but all that was was some chopped carrots in boiling water. I had a loaf of bread with that. Let's see..." his face crinkled up in thought,
"When I woke up I had some cheese. That's when I started feeling bad. The cheese must've been old."
Watson nodded. Food poisoning does sound like it could be the cause here. But just to be sure...
"How old was this cheese?"
"I don't know. I don't remember buying it."
His answer struck Watson speechless. He considered the possibility that some people were okay with eating food they didn't remember buying.
But, probably because he was ever the cautious one (he always reminded Holmes to take a revolver) Watson couldn't see himself doing that.
If he didn't remember buying something then he would throw it out. Who knows, what if it was from an assassin and he was trying to poison you?
That could happen...
And no his experiences in war did NOT make him paranoid. Ahem- back to the matter at hand.
"Well where was this cheese?"
"In a milk bottle," the man answered swiftly.
Before it could even click inside Watson's mind what he had just heard, the man changed the topic.
"You know. I'm quite sure I've seen you somewhere before," he pressed on, "Your face looks so familiar. I can't put my finger on it..."
"I'm sure we never met," Watson insisted, his tone sounding harsher than he had intended.
Even with a sick patient in front of him, Watson couldn't stop thinking about Holmes. What was the detective doing now?
Was there really no way he would allow Watson back into his life again?
It made Watson almost sick to his stomach to consider that possibility. He really did love Holmes. And strangely he now had no problem facing the truth.
No, the only problem now was that he discovered the truth too late.
The man before him rubbed himself as though it gave him some comfort from his pain. He gazed upward in thought.
"Well, if it wasn't the cheese it could have been those eggs I had."
Watson was about to confirm that it was the 'cheese' in the milk bottle that caused the stomach ache before the gentleman in question continued.
"My friends did warn me not to eat them. But when I found them they just look so delicious. And I hadn't had eggs in-"
"Now steady on," Watson interrupted, "You found them?"
The man nodded.
"At the pond. They really weren't that delicious. I was disappointed."
Okay Watson had heard enough. He went to prescribe the medicine while the man chatted on about how he had the eggs (possibly freshly laid from geese) raw.
In fact he ate them whole, shell and all. He explained to the doctor about his belief not to waste anything. Eggshells included.
'It's a wonder why I haven't seen this man sooner,' Watson thought incredulously.
The man had taken the medicine Watson offered. It was at that moment his eyes lit up in delight which confused Watson since the doctor wasn't expecting the medicine to work that quickly.
The man pointed at him with a smile on his face.
"Now I remember where I've seen you. You look just like the doll he wanted me to make."
Realization struck Watson to the core as he gaped at the man in disbelief.
The man nodded.
"Oh I see! He told me he had a friend like you. I guess that's why he wanted the doll," his face faltered to confusion, "Kind of strange if I may say so."
Something was planted inside Watson's mind at that moment. It took him a second to realize that it was the beginning of a plan, ready to sprout when he needed it to.
Watson beamed at the man pleasantly.
"Why what a small world we have! You know Mr. Shred. I was wondering if you could do something for me..."
Whenever Holmes was alone with the doll, he didn't bother speaking for it. No, he just imagined in his mind what it might say as he sat in his armchair, holding the doll on his lap.
He imagined it nagging at him for experimenting with dangerous chemicals without proper protection.
Holmes explained in his mind that the experiment worked better without the use of gloves. Doll Watson sighed, his way of expressing how much he cared.
He ignored the hole in his heart that the cotton doll could not fill no matter how hard he tried. But still he tried.
Mrs Hudson came in.
"Dr. Watson is here to see you."
Holmes paused. He felt genuine joy for the first time in weeks but preventing Mrs. Hudson from seeing. He kept his stoic, uncaring facade.
"Tell him that his presence here is no longer welcomed."
His voice was low and almost dark. Mrs. Hudson wanted to slap some sense into the man. She wasn't stupid, she knew what was going on.
And she was surprised at how unsurprised she was. Moreover, she was surprised at herself for accepting the fact so easily.
Now it seems the long deluded Dr. Watson also accepted it but Holmes was now unwilling to let it happen.
"I think you should let him see you. He seems upset."
Holmes was not about to let her guilt him into it. He stroke the doll's fake hair.
Upset. Did Watson care how upset he was when he started dating? When he married? When he pushed him away after the detective finally kissed him?
No. So why should he care?
A huff. Holmes turned his attention back on Mrs. Hudson, who had placed her hands on her hips in a defiant manner.
"Now Mr. Holmes, I know you want to see him just as badly. After all, you do talk in your sleep a lot. I heard you call him your John.
I heard you confessing your love to him in your sleep! I know because I was there while you were sleeping in his bed!"
She didn't mean for the monologue to turn into an outburst. Holmes was silent and astonished, his cheeks had a slight pink tint to them.
The detective stood up with as much dignity as he could muster. He looked at her straight in the eyes.
"How about this, Mrs. Hudson?" he said without portraying any emotion, "I let Watson in and you discard any thought of ever telling anyone what you had just informed me. Agreed?"
Mrs. Hudson smiled in victory while Holmes cursed her mentally. In a flash she was gone and Holmes tensed when he heard the familiar sound of Watson's footsteps coming closer.
Holmes held onto the doll tightly when Watson entered. For a moment he just stood there by the doorway. Neither of them broke the silence that lasted for what may as well have been hours.
Then, Watson strode forward, apparently trying to appear composed but Holmes could see the anxiety that flickered in his eyes and pulsed through his slightly trembling legs.
Holmes refused to look at the doctor in the eye. It was Watson who spoke first.
"Holmes, may I see that doll for just a second?"
The question shocked Holmes but he recovered quickly. Suspicious, he made no movement to do what Watson had asked.
"Why? So you can burn it?"
"I want to show you something. Something I think you'll like. No, I'm sure you'll like it," Watson corrected himself.
There was excitement in Watson's voice when he said that. It made Holmes look at him curiously. Their eyes met and both felt their hearts fluttered just a little after that.
Watson had his hand outstretched and a gentle look in his eyes.
"I promise I'll give it right back. In perfect condition."
The promise coupled with the way Watson looked so sincere was enough to convince Holmes to hand him the doll. Watson smiled.
"Go ahead and sit down, Holmes."
"What's this about Watson?"
Watson went behind a desk that was in front of the chair Holmes was asked to take a seat in. The doctor said seriously-
"Trust me. It will fix everything Sherlock."
'At least, I hope it does,' Watson kept the thought to himself.
Sherlock. Hearing his first name on Watson's lips sent a good feeling running down Holmes' back. It was an intimate gesture to call someone by their first name. And all he ever wanted was to be closer to Watson.
Holmes sat down. From out of his overly large, jacket pocket Watson pulled out something. Another doll. One that looked just like Holmes. The dark-haired man was left speechless.
Watson gulped, it was now or never. With the dolls in each hand he placed them so that their feet were barely touching the desk. He had it so it looked like the Watson doll was approaching the Holmes doll.
'Okay John, suck up your pride and just do this,' Watson silently urged himself.
"Good day Holmes," Watson put up his best childish voice, "How would you like to get something to eat with me?"
The real Holmes couldn't wrap around his mind exactly what he was seeing. The real Watson had the Holmes doll shake its head.
"Sorry old boy," Watson was now talking for the Holmes doll, "I have plans."
He shook the Watson doll a bit too dramatically.
"What? Plans? Is it a case?"
"No. As a matter of fact I have a date."
"Date," Watson's Watson doll's voice sounded crushed, "But I..."
Holmes doll tilted its head.
"I..love you. I mean.. I.."
"Dear Watson!" Watson's Holmes doll's voice sounded appalled, "You should know better than to take your mind...there. Besides, I love this woman and perhaps one day I will marry her."
The real Holmes' face lit up in delight as he watched the scene in front of him.
"Holmes, what is to become of me?" Watson doll asked.
A pause to show the Holmes doll was taking a minute to think.
"Well, you'll probably stay here while I move in with her. Don't worry old boy I know you'll find the woman of your dreams too some day."
"No. Please don't leave! What would I do without you? Homes. Sherlock-"
"No Watson. I made up my mind. You are too attached old fellow, if I do say so myself. Now I must get going. She's waiting."
And then the real Watson put the Holmes doll back in his pocket, leaving the Watson doll standing on the desk by itself.
"Holmes," Watson was still speaking for it, "Please don't go. I didn't realize at first but now I love you," by now Watson was using his normal voice,
his own desperate voice, "I was a fool not to accept it sooner. Please let me love you. I would do anything, just to feel your arms around me-"
Watson couldn't finish his skit because before he realized it, he was tackled from the side(not-too-harshly) into the wall.
How did he not see Holmes approaching? Was it because he had his full attention on the dolls?
He was stunned that the real smiling Holmes now had his arms wrapped around him like he was the Watson doll.
Seeing the smile, the sparkle in Holmes' eyes, made Watson realize instantly that he was forgiven.
The doctor couldn't help but chuckle.
"Holmes I...wasn't done. There were still several more plays."
"Well I just wanted to make sure the play had a happy ending. And you seemed to be doing a poor job with that," Holmes playfully smirked.
With the Watson doll still in his hand, Watson returned the embrace. The gazed deeply into each others' eyes.
"I was afraid. I would never see you again," Watson explained suddenly serious, "I was afraid I made the worst mistake-"
He was cut off by lips meeting his own. The pleasant electric feeling filled them both once again. Watson smiled as he kissed back passionately.
Now he was sure Holmes hadn't kissed many times before. So inexperienced.
But that didn't mean that they couldn't practice.
When Holmes withdrew, he looked at his companion straight in the eye.
"I was afraid too. Afraid you would take my words to heart and never come back."
Because Holmes might have been too proud to go after Watson, Watson would be too wary to go after Holmes, and then they might have never seen each other again.
Watson stroke the man's cheek reassuringly.
"Thank you Mr. Shred."
"Thank you Mr. Shred," Holmes agreed, "Come back to me?"
Watson realized that Holmes wanted him to move back in. He smiled and nodded.
"Immediately. In fact I probably should start gathering my things."
He reluctantly pulled out of Holmes' embrace but only because he knew he would return. A hand grabbed his wrist, stopping Watson in his tracks.
He looked into Holmes' eyes that were so full of need and doubt.
"I don't want you changing your mind about this."
Slowly it occurred to Watson that Holmes was still afraid of being abandoned.
"Would you like to come with me?" he asked to reassure the man, "I don't have much to pack but I could always use some help."
When Holmes still showed signs of doubt, Watson sighed sadly. He pulled out the Holmes doll and brought it to the Watson doll that was still in his hand.
"Holmes. I promise. As long as these two dolls remain together. We'll be together. Most likely even longer. Just think of these two as our bond, won't you?"
The detective considered this as he took both dolls in his hands. He gave a short laugh.
"So you're saying that as long as these two dolls together, we'll be as well? Honestly Watson that sounds just like faith.
You know I don't subscribe to that thought. But I suppose you really are back for good right?"
"Of course Holmes. Do you want to come with me?"
Holmes was still looking at the dolls when he smiled.
"Yes. But why don't you go on ahead, my dear? I'll catch up shortly."
"Okay," Watson agreed, "I'll see you soon."
He left after that. It wasn't until Holmes was sure the man was out of hearing range when he called Mrs. Hudson.
"Yes, Mr. Holmes?" she asked questionably.
Holmes handed her the dolls.
"I need you to stitch the arms of these two dolls together. Make sure they can't disconnect."
As she was used to the odd ways of Holmes, Mrs. Hudson merely nodded.
"Of course, Mr. Holmes."