Title: “Seven Year Itch”
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mary Morstan
Pairings: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Warnings: Infidelity, smut
Summary: Mary breaks a promise, so John does the same—with Sherlock’s help. For Come At Once's 24-hour Sherlockian porn challenge and the prompt “seven-year itch.”
Beneath his hand, Sherlock’s blood rushes through his veins, as it will continue to for a very long time (decades, at least, if John has anything to say about it). Sherlock is so warm. And John thinks, Well, she broke it first.
Sherlock says what he means on the runway. Then he has to deal with it. AO3.
“John, there’s something… I should say—I meant to say, always, and I never have. Since it’s unlikely we’ll ever meet again, I might as well say it now.”
John Watson waits, arms at his sides, hands balled into fists. Waits. Does not speak. It is not his turn to speak. Looks up. Right now, in this moment, Sherlock is difficult to look at dead-on, but John must.
Sherlock’s lips tighten, then open. They remain open for just a second before he even says anything, as if he’s trying to figure out whether or not he wants to. Brief inhalation. Then: “I love you.”
“Oh,” John hears himself say. He’d half-expected it—had half-expected it for a very long time, actually—but it still feels like an electric shock to his system. “Yeah, good.”
Sherlock’s forehead creases. “Good?”
“Well, I mean,” says John, who knows that the situation is not at all good, what with him being married and Sherlock departing forever and that hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach, “I’ve always considered myself lovable.”
After staring for a few torturously long seconds, Sherlock laughs. John hoped he would. He considers that the best possible parting gift. Not an admission of something they both know would be impossible to follow up on, but a smile. A little levity. The dark cloud hanging over both their heads dispelled, just for a minute. John laughs too.
Still, very quietly, after their laughter subsides too soon, John says, “Thank you, Sherlock.”
Sherlock’s nod is almost imperceptible. He removes his glove and holds out his bare hand. Formal. Vulnerable. Apologetic. Resolute. “To the very best of times, John.”
The plane turns around. It’s not supposed to turn around. Sherlock’s throat constricts with both relief and panic.
“The last thing I said,” Sherlock hisses as he brushes past John on the runway, gloved hands stuffed down into his coat pockets. “You will ignore it. Ignore all of it.”
“Oh, right, yeah,” says John, loudly enough for his wife to hear. It’s fine. John suspects Mary always knew. “How long am I meant to ignore that, exactly? Until we’re done with Moriarty?”
“Forever,” Sherlock calls, and the door to Mycroft’s car slams shut, and the car, Mycroft, and Sherlock Holmes all pull away from Mr. and Mrs. Watson, tires squealing on the concrete as if Sherlock can’t flee his own words quickly enough.
I first met Sherlock Holmes at my best friend’s wedding. I was the maid of honour, he was the best man. You’re probably thinking that’s a familiar story, but nothing happened that night. We chatted a bit, flirted, and exchanged phone numbers. You could say we hit it off, but we went home separately. I told him straight off no sex, and he was a man of his word. A gentleman. I’m not going to say I didn’t regret what I’d said by the end of the evening, but it was too late.
I wasn’t expecting to hear from him again—him being this famous detective and me a simple PA—but then just the next week my phone rang and it was him! He wanted to ask me to dinner and I thought, okay, maybe that big giant brain of his needed a little bit of time to think it over and he decided he liked me after all. Since he said I could name any restaurant I wanted (and he’d cover the cost), I chose my favorite one. I’m not going to lie, I’m a girl with expensive tastes, but he didn’t blink. We went. He paid. He asked if I’d accompany him back to his place, and how could I say no? I mean, you’ve seen him. Considering his reputation, though, I figured he wanted me to help him solve a crime.
But the only crime he was interested in was a crime of passion. He kissed me right in the cab, so eagerly that you might have thought I was the first woman he’d kissed in his life, yet the maneuvers of his tongue were so expert that he must have kissed a hundred women just in perfecting them. Couldn’t keep his hands off me, either. His left hand was on my breast, getting a feel for it through my shirt, and his right—he’s very ambidextrous—had just barely brushed the hem of my panties when we pulled up to Baker Street. He handed the cabbie bills, cool as anything. You’d think he didn’t have me on his mind at all, and for a moment I thought he’d soured on me, although the evidence in his trousers plainly said he hadn’t.
The moment we stepped through the door he gripped my arm and murmured in my ear, “I deduce that your favorite position is down on all fours, that you like having your hair pulled, and that I could make you come a dozen times before sunrise. If you aren’t interested in my proposition tell me ‘no’ and I’ll put you back in that cab and send you on your way. If you are, nod and I’ll show you the bedroom.”
But we didn’t even make it to the bedroom. We tripped up the stairs tangled in each other’s embrace and then he undid his trousers and I saw him—all of him—and I couldn’t wait any longer. He was perfectly glorious. I was ready, although momentarily worried he wouldn’t fit. But I shouldn’t have worried. It happened. A dozen times before sunrise. He proposed the very next morning.
After about a month of this it became clear that I couldn’t satisfy his voracious sexual appetite, and we broke it off. But I still think about him, and how lucky I was to have him, and how lucky the next girl will be, and the next, because there will be more, and there should be. Every woman deserves to be satisfied like that at least once in her life.
One of the main issues with Sherlock's third series overall, I think, will prove to be crisis inflation—the sense that conflicts need to be bigger and better and more conflict-y to have an impact. (This is a problem from which many drama/thrillers/mysteries suffer: see the third season of Homeland.)
For comparison purposes, let’s look at the central “mysteries” of series 1’s episodes vs. series 3’s episodes:
It’s been remarked that “His Last Vow” was the return to the traditional Sherlock format, but I’d actually argue that the mystery at the center of “The Sign of Three” is the most traditionally Sherlock-ian: murder on a small-ish scale in which our heroes get entangled for a bit on a personal level. The main difference is that Sherlock’s working with mystery from both ends—something that, we know from ASiB, he hates doing.
The other two central mysteries? I had to struggle to make them mysteries at all. I don’t think I succeeded with the third one (unless you want to argue that the third one is “who is mary morstan?” in which case that would suck, because we still have very little idea). They’re more like… mission statements. “Things are not right, heroes! Fix them!” And when things aren’t right, they’re very not right. They are some V for Vendetta shit.
Taking away the more personal case writing robs our characters of the chance to, well, breathe; they’re too busy dealing with the next Big Important Thing which is Very Big and Very Important. With Moriarty’s face on every screen in London, it doesn’t look like Gatiss and Moffat will be returning to the small case anytime soon—but let’s hope they do. Maybe that will give Sherlock Holmes and John Watson a chance to stop and think.
I think Magnussen underestimates John Watson.
Magnussen’s mind palace is enviable, sure. But he doesn’t deduce. He records. And he records John Watson as a normal man and makes the same mistake that so many other people have.
John Watson has been trying to reestablish himself as a normal man, to “grow up,” so to speak. (See how Mary was not supposed to be a “psychopath.”) A normal man would have an alcoholic sister and a pregnant wife as a pressure point. A normal man would not have an impulsive junkie detective as a pressure point—would not kill for an impulsive junkie detective, as he did when they first met. John is trying very, very hard to just be normal. To neighbors, to casual acquaintances, to the prying news magnate, it works.
John Watson fooled Magnussen, but I don’t believe he can fool himself forever—the same way he can’t be normal for even a month without snapping. Sherlock Holmes is going to be a pressure point again.
The thing that really makes me laugh is A.G.R.A. though.
I know it’s an ACD reference, but like for all we know Mary’s real name could have been Amanda Grace Rachel Abbington or something and it could be fucking canon.
SHERRINFORD HOLMES IS CANON, YOU CAN BITE ME
And the hiatus begins… now.
Does anyone at the BBC check the blog for continuity at all?
The wedding invitations in “The Sign of Three” put John and Mary’s wedding in mid-May. The blog puts the stag night case—which would take place shortly before the wedding—in late July. I’d go with the May date, which means that all of the other cases on John’s blog need to be shifted back a couple of months.
It’s sloppy that even after Mary said she wanted a May wedding, and with wedding invitations that place the wedding in May, the blog says it happened in July.
I don’t think the writers would ever let John Watson have a child—it would alter the dynamic of the show irrevocably, more so than marriage would—but I’m also not sure they would kill off a baby, born or unborn. Even if you’re (justifiably) worried about Mary’s fate, it’s difficult to imagine the writers would off her while she’s carrying a child.
But what if the baby never existed in the first place? Mary is obviously a target of Charles Augustus Magnussen’s. Perhaps she’s putting faith in the idea that he has some deeply buried human side. Perhaps she believes (erroneously, I’d bet) that Magnussen wouldn’t target a pregnant woman, and is buying herself and John a few precious months of safety so she can figure out what to do next. And who better to make the happy announcement than Sherlock Holmes, the perceptive detective?
We all know Mary is capable of tricking Sherlock—see “Beth”—so what if there will be no baby, because there never was a baby?