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[personal profile] lesyeuxverts
*ahem* ... Okay, I wasn't going to write this pairing at all (not for this prompt table, certainly) ... but then I saw the movie, and ... well ...

*makes puppy-dog eyes* Forgive me, dearest f-list? :)

Title: To Forget a Thousand Truths
Author: lesyeuxverts
Word Count: 700
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Holmes/Watson
Prompt: wine, unrequited love
Warnings: movie spoilers
Disclaimer: Not mine.

There are, Sherlock is certain, explanations for his behaviour. One could write a psychological treatise. One could explain it all.

There are reasons for touch, and when Watson is gone, Sherlock indulges in it. He touches other men.

He fights with them – in the arena, in the boxing ring, until he is panting for breath and wet with his own blood … until he is aching, every bone in his body, and his knuckles are stained with the blood of another man.

He chases men down narrow streets and ends up facing them, fists to fists or gun to gun. He does not admit that the touch of these other men does not compare to….

But Watson has his Mary, and he will marry her as soon as he has the ring, as soon as he has put his dithering aside. As soon as his eyes do not speak volumes of sorrow whenever he looks at Holmes.

The doctor cannot tell if a man is dead or alive, and if he cannot feel a pulse, then…

Sherlock finds it easier to spend his days in drink, to observe the bottoms of the bottles that he finds. They are part of his study of human nature, his study of the world around him. The habits of the glassblower, the sediments left behind by different liquids –

He drinks wine, and measures his days by it. They are empty, otherwise.

And when the waves have washed the shore clean, and the sediments of all the years, rocks that have been worn to infinite particles by the washing of the sea, are all gone – what then? The Thames makes its way to the ocean, and the ocean is borne up into the clouds by the vapor, and the rain falls down on all men, living and dead. Sherlock can taste it, just as he has tasted–

The song of the years runs together in his head, the numbers of the moments that he and Watson have spent together, the angles that their bodies have made, pressed together in tight places, the equations that describe the movements they made, the logic that dictated their actions–

Let Sherlock drown the past in a bottle of medicine for eye surgery, let him forget a thousand truths, let him forget – but he will still remember this, the press of Watson's body against his, the quiet pleasure of sharing quarters with him, the unlocking of brain and logic to find the inevitable conclusion.

You can measure a man by the weight of his bones, but not know that he is alive, even if you have felt his pulse. You can know a man's life without knowing his heart, and Sherlock – Sherlock can know a man, from hat to sole, from occupation to habitation, and miss knowing him.

Watson is gone, his belongings cleared out of their lodgings, his books with their endless notes in cramped script – gone, all gone. Sherlock sleeps, cramped in one corner of the bed, listening for sounds that are not there, and in the end he's forced to conclude that no-one else is in the house.

He knew it all along.

There are ways to touch men, ways to force them into fighting – this Moriarty is not likely to come out of the shadows, but he has his men, and Sherlock knows how to manipulate them. He will not sleep alone – he will not spend his nights wondering if each sound is coming from a mouse in its hole or a man in the streets.

Watson thinks that he drinks when he is between cases, when his mind can no longer deal with the input of environmental stimuli – fact after fact, all of them blurring together in a mosaic, each piece meaningless until he can step back and see the greater whole – but that is not it.

That is not it, and Sherlock will not explain it to him. He will keep his hands held tight to his sides, fisted in the fabric of his trousers, and he will curse Mary and the day she was born, and he will beg Watson to come back, to solve one more case – but he will not explain.
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