Sherlock Holmes, the world’s greatest and only consulting detective rolled her eyes and closed the lid to her laptop, slipping out of her chair.
“I’m going to bed,” she says over her shoulder to Joan, who looks up to watch Sherlock, too. The other woman stands up on her toes, stretching with a casual majesty that is particular to her. She combs her fingers through her dark curls and slinks into her bedroom, leaving the door partially ajar.
Enough for Joan to see her changing. Sherlock used to wear stock-standard poorly-cut suits, hiding her bust under a scarf and desperately trying to avoid any male gaze on a crime scene. Then came the nipped-in waists, tapered legs, open-collars and straining buttons. More came still. Silken blouses, sheer sleeves, the lace tops of hold-up stockings peeking out beneath a very carefully arranged (and very short) skirt.
And Joan noticed. She definitely noticed. And she was watching now.
The good doctor watches the other woman slowly peel away delicate layers of silk, lace and chiffon, undressing evenly and effortlessly, legs now long gasps of pale thighs.
The question now, is, what will she change into? A knee-length kimono gown, tapered trousers described as loungewear, cotton jersey long slip shirts, silk boxer shorts, cotton nightshirts that looked like a hand-me-down from Audrey Hepburn?
Ah, the kimono, then.
Sherlock disappears to the bathroom for sometime to start her lengthy pre-bedtime bathing ritual. The detective emerges and Joan stands in the doorway.
“If you’re going to bed, then I’ll come to bed, because if you’re in bed then I want to be in bed with you.”
The soldier sheds her clothes, not thinking of the ear-reddening embarrassing talk she’ll have to have with Mrs. Hudson tomorrow, and makes her way to Sherlock in a white vest and tags.
When Sherlock kisses her, she tastes like honeysuckle and black tea.
Steady hands run over pale hips, pale legs, pale flesh, unhindered by friction from fabric. The detective cants her hips, her whole body towards Joan, allowing her closer until she can’t really discern their limbs apart, and doesn’t care to.
Joan works on her, determined and worshipful all at once, keeping track of her breathing and the subtle tautness of her muscles.
In amongst the shadows of shoulders and outlines and sheets the detective senses something. Something she’s only ever achieved on her own. Something she began to say was for everyone else.
But the good doctor feels it too, and the soldier in her continues, determined not to let go and frowning into the detective’s cheekbones. Sherlock inhales, exhales through a half-bitten lip and murmurs appreciatively at the steadiness of Joan’s hands.
It takes her a while to come. She’s sure the captain’s other arm is completely asleep. But Joan doesn’t mind. Joan doesn’t care.
Sherlock shivers into the palm of her hand, lips parted and holding a pair of petite shoulders fast. She has no space to breathe between Joan’s body and her own, between flesh and bone but she doesn’t care.
“Oh. You should be chuffed,” she says, under her breath, letting her limbs fall where they may. “That’s not happened before. Ever. With anyone. At all.”
Watson grins. “I am.” Her ears burn red. “But I’m stubborn.” She’s stubborn because she wants to do it again, to feel her again.
Sherlock smiles shyly and kisses her, in wonder. She’s not entirely sure what she should say. She never thought she’d have to respond to this, to Joan, to her own heartbeat.
The two of them fall asleep, but Joan doesn’t sleep for long. She rises early like she always does. The good doctor scoops up her clothes and makes herself ready for the day.
The consulting detective, on the other hand, remains decidedly in her pyjamas. Different ones this time: cotton jersey boxers, a long, soft wrap and a shirt the colour of creamed honey. She lounges in them all day, adjusting to herself. The taller woman spends half her day in the chair first, deleting all that she can.
I’m sorry, you’re just too fussy. This usually works. Hey, I’m really good at this – you’ll come. … is it not working today or … ? You’re kind of impossible though, your expectations I mean. Is this just a girl thing … ? Do you get this often? Maybe you should see a doctor – not that there’s anything wrong with you …
The comments that take the longest to delete are her own.
But they don’t matter anymore. They’re irrelevant, and uninteresting and totally untrue now. Clearly everyone else before Joan was just utterly incompetent.
Dr. Watson returns from a long lunch with her sister utterly exhausted. She takes off her coat and makes herself a cup of tea, but she stops.
A sleeve of chocolate-dipped digestives sit on top of a note.
Thank you – SH
She looks over one shoulder, then the other.
“Did you actually go to Tesco’s to buy these?” She asks, hoping Sherlock hears her. But she settles down with a cup of tea – milk, no sugar – and two biscuits. The doctor opens up a worn addition of Grey’s anatomy to find it’s been annotated.
She’s about to protest, only she realises the annotations are written by Sherlock, about her own body. Joan pauses to take a mouthful of tea, then biscuits, before she starts to take notes, too.