No Match for the Man

Chapter 8

"Sherlock, can you please try to remember that I'm neither inside your head nor a psychic? What the hell are you on about?"

Sighing in exasperation, Sherlock flapped his expressive hands in the air above his stomach, "You touched me and I didn't know what to do. You're supposed to explain it."

John's confusion was really starting to get on the detective's nerves, "Sherlock, you've lost me again. Is this one of those times where you made a decision without me and expect me to just know?"

"You were right about The Woman. Obviously, I am more susceptible to emotional manipulation than previously believed. Since you regularly suffer through it, you are supposed to explain it to me."

Rolling his eyes to the ceiling, John muttered, "Oh God." Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, the doctor settled himself more comfortably, until he could look directly down into Sherlock's eyes. "How the hell am I supposed to know what you, of all people, are feeling?"

Frowning, Sherlock asked, "Isn't it the same for everyone?"

Shoving his forehead into his hand, John massaged his temples with a groan. "No, Sherlock, it's not the same for everyone. Can we get back on the task at hand, please? Where's the part that I was right come in?"

With an indifferent shrug, Sherlock uncrossed and recrossed his ankles before supplying, "Well, she tried to seduce me, but unfortunately I wasn't as stimulated by her as she believed. However, The Woman showed all the typical physiological signs of attraction in regards to myself."

"Seriously, this sounds a lot more like you winning then her." The fingers of John's left hand tickled the line of his bicep.

Remaining quiet for a long moment, Sherlock tried to figure out of John even knew he was tracing patterns on the detective's arm. "That tickles."

Blushing, John snatched his hand away, "Sorry."

Fitting the image of John with his cheeks flushed into his Mind Palace, Sherlock brushed the moment off and continued, "Mycroft had one of his minions abduct me and took me to a hangar. I'll come back to that later so you can put it on your blog and piss off my brother."

"You're getting off track again, 'Lock," John yawned suddenly, which gave the detective a moment to wonder if his name had been shortened as a sign of affection, or just because the man had needed to yawn.

Unable to fight the sympathetic response, Sherlock yawned as well. "Bollocks," he cursed when he had finished. John chuckled fondly, a sound which prompted Sherlock to blurt out, "Both your laugh and the way you shortened my name caused my chest to feel light inside and my cardiac rhythm has increased."

John jerked back so fast, the detective worried he might have pulled a stitch. "Bloody hell, Sherlock!"

"You did tell me to inform you. Explain."

"Christ," the doctor's voice had risen at least three octaves. Clearing his throat and swallowing hard, John rallied himself back together and answered just as bluntly, "It sounds like you were pleased by what I said, and the way you made me laugh. It's a common feeling when someone you are attracted to..."

The doctor slapped his hand over his mouth and stared at the open doorway with eyes that had gone as wide as Mycroft's favorite doughnut plate. He trembled slightly, then pulled in a desperate breath of air before lowering his hand to his lap and staring down at his fingers. Sherlock's stomach clenched as the man continued to remain frozen.

"Fuck," John whispered. Placing his face in his hands once more, he groaned. "Fuck!"


"John?" Sherlock tentatively reached up and slid along the hard line of John's bicep. The doctor nearly jumped out of his skin. "You're making me nervous. My stomach hurts."

Making a noise like a strangled cat, John leaped out of the bed and disappeared down the stairs. The detective gave chase, but John was already in his jacket and zipping out the door. At the sound of the front door slamming shut, Sherlock's head snapped up as if he'd been slapped.

Shakily the detective settled himself on the sofa and returned to his thinking pose. Somewhere in their conversation, John had either lost his mind, or come to an unwelcome realization. Determined to understand, Sherlock bent his entire will to replaying every aspect of their interaction since John had woken from his dream.

Somewhere in Sussex, a phone rang loudly on an antique wooden nightstand. It's owner scrubbed a hand across her sleepy blue eyes and then flailed until the offending mobile could be brought close enough to see the caller ID. Suddenly far more awake than she has been in weeks, the woman disengaged her screenlock and simply said, "Johnny?"

"What the fuck do I do, Harry?"

"It's two o'clock in the bloody morning! What the hell are you playing at?" Harry Watson leaned back against her cushioned headboard. "I'm not going to have to bail your sorry arse out of jail, am I?"

"Oh God. Jesus. I can't even, I mean, fuck! Harry?"

There were very few things in life that made her baby brother blather like an idiot, and all of them could be filed under 'emotional upheaval'. "Johnny, what's the matter? What's happened? You're scaring me!"

"Scaring you? Harry, I'm fucking scaring me!"

Using the calming voice that Mrs Watson had passed on to both her offspring, Harry soothed, "It's alright, Johnny. I'm here. Just tell me what's wrong?"

The sound of heavy breathing drifted over the line, and Harry could tell her brother was desperately clawing for control. After a few more moments of silence, John answered, "I think I'm in trouble, Harry."

"What kind of trouble?"

There was a long pause, and then in a frightened voice John blurted, "Jackie Lisbon's slumber party trouble?"

Mentioning the event that she had told him solidified her sexual label to 'lesbian' brought Harry's free hand to her mouth. "Johnny! What happened?"

As if she had opened a floodgate, John started to rapidly reiterate the last few hours since his waking from a PTSD-fueled nightmare. In the darkness of her flat, Harry's eyes widened until they hurt. Pacing footsteps set up an underlying beat as John finished his tirade, "And then when I started to explain it to him it was like my whole brain snapped into place, and I realized I had been feeling the exact same thing ever since I met the bloody git, and I didn't know what the fuck to do!"

"Oh, Johnny!" Harry felt a few tears slip down her cheeks at her brother's distress.

"What do I do, Harry?" John's voice sounded years younger than it was. "What am I going to do?"

When her brother had returned from the war a broken man, Harry had been horrified. Seeing the war hero, the great healer, so defeated she could actually see him contemplating eating his gun, had driven her back into the waiting arms of alcohol. Then, just when she despaired of ever getting back her fun-loving, energetic little brother, Sherlock Holmes had been thrust into his life. John was better now, getting into trouble right alongside the insane detective, than he had ever been.

"You, John Hamish Watson," Harry growled, using their mother's spine-straightening trick of speaking their full name for motivation, "are going to march your ex-Army arse back to that flat, apologize for running off like a bloody coward, and give that man a kiss that blows every circuit in his genius mind."

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