CONTENTMENT IS MINE
A sequel to Believing In Miracles.
Watson acts on his feelings and tells Holmes the truth.
A first time story.
Written: November 2010. Word count: 1,700.
It is late or early, depending on how one views these things. The stars are out; the sky is dark; the moon is full. It is well after midnight, yet still I am awake and am happy to be thus. I stare out into the night sky, watching the stars as they break up the blackness. The night is still, cloudless; it seems at peace. As am I. I am at peace; I am happy; I am content. I cannot imagine this feeling will ever fade or change.
Earlier in the evening I took my courage in both hands, I took a chance, I acted, I spoke; I told Sherlock Holmes of my true feelings for him. I told him the love I have for him is not just that of intimate friend and colleague. I told him I loved him as one man should not love another. I told him I loved him in the same way as I had loved my beloved Mary. I told him and I waited for him to speak to reply to maybe tell me he felt the same.
He was silent for some time. He seemed pensive. He stood with one hand on the mantelpiece, the other holding his pipe, just looking at me. Never for one second did he take his gaze off me. There was no hint of disgust or censor, not even of surprise. He just watched me, his gaze slightly speculative and full of the fondness I know he feels for me.
Then he took his hand from the mantelpiece and put it on my shoulder. Still he remained silent for another moment or two. Then he told me he did not understand, did not know, had never known, had never expected to know the kind of love about which I spoke. He had never loved, beyond the love of friendship, man or woman. He did not know how to love; he told me that. I dared to tell him he loved me and he agreed. But it was the love of friendship; a love that went deep, that meant more to him than anything else. But it was not the love of two people.
For a moment I was unable to speak, unable to think. I had read him incorrectly. I had read more into his actions, his words, his looks, his touches than he had intended. As I was about to speak, he spoke again. This time he told me that he did not think his love for me was the same as my love for him, but given he had never experienced love beyond friendship he did not know. He asked me to explain it. I could not. How can anyone explain such a thing? It was the first time a frown touched his face, the first time he seemed almost irritated. He asked me if I could not explain it, how then could I be certain I felt it. It was yet another question to which I had no answer.
And then in the blunt way only he can adopt he asked me what I wanted from him. He asked if I wanted to kiss him, to touch him in an intimate way, to share his bed. Again, there was no hint that the implication of his questions troubled or appalled him; none at all. He asked merely out of a need to know the full facts; just as it was one of his cases.
And then to his quickly covered up surprise I told him I did not want any of those things. I told him I did not wish for things to change between us. I told him I did not want to make him uncomfortable. I told him I did not wish for him to fear being alone with me. I told him I did not wish to upset anything. And I spoke the truth. I did not want, I did not, I do not, need any of the things that go with that kind of love. I am simply content to remain in his company, to remain in the same rooms as he occupies, to continue to assist him, to share his life in the fullest way possible.
Maybe for some my logic would be unsatisfactory, after all, why speak if I had not wanted to change our relationship? But to me my logic was faultless. It was not unsatisfactory. I had to tell him, but I did not want things to change.
Then he asked in that case why I had I spoken. And so I told him I needed, I wanted, for him to know the truth. I felt that if I had remained silent, that it would come between us, that it would cut away at me until I was no longer satisfied, until I became uncomfortable, uneasy, unwilling to remain with him. I told him that I had spoken because despite his claim he knew not of the love of which I had spoken, I knew his love for me went deeper than that of mere friendship.
Again he was silent. Again he studied me. Again he seemed pensive. And yet he seemed to understand. He told me that he would take my word for it, he told me that he could provide no evidence to contradict my claim and whilst he would say he does not know how to love someone in that way, given he does not know what it is like, he cannot argue with me. Thus, his love for me is a love that goes beyond friendship.
Then he put down his pipe and put both hands on my shoulders and for several minutes we just stood in silence staring at one another. Then he made a gesture he had never made before, he moved his hands from my shoulders and for a fleeting second cupped my face between them. Then he turned on his heel and strode out of our sitting room.
I knew I would not see him again that night and it did not trouble me. I sat for a while longer, smoking a cigarette, reading the newspaper and finishing my glass of wine, before I went to bed. I undressed under the light from the moon and stars, before lighting a candle and getting into bed. I was happy. I had told him. I had spoken. We did not have the secret between us any more.
I feel free now I have spoken and happier than I have ever felt. Maybe he does not truly understand, maybe despite his words he does not really believe me, but I know the truth. I saw it in his eyes as I told him of my feelings, I heard it in his voice as he spoke to me, I felt it in his touch.
It is far too late for me to still be awake, the candle is burning down and the stars seem slightly dimmer now. It is time I tried to sleep. But a noise makes me turn. It is my Holmes, he is standing in the doorway of my bedroom, dressed in his nightshirt and dressing gown and holding his own candle.
He does not speak and everything about him tells me not to speak. He crosses to the window and pulls the curtains, shutting out the night, shutting out the stars. Then he turns to look at me. Still he does not speak. Instead he carefully puts down his candle on the bedside table and after a second or two unties the sash of his dressing gown. He looks down at me and I realise what he is indicating. I slide across the bed. For another second or two he hesitates; then he turns back the bed cloths and slips in beside me. Still he does not speak. Nor he does not look at me. He simply lies down, arranges his hands just so and closes his eyes.
Moments later I realise he is asleep. I lay there next to him, listening to his steady breathing. I do not touch him; I make sure I do not touch him. Indeed, I move a little further away so that I will be in no danger of touching him even if I move slightly. I know this will never happen again; I know he will never come to my bed again, nor will he invite me to his. And that does not trouble me; indeed I do not wish it.
I spoke the truth when I told him earlier I did not wish for things to change between us. Of course they will to a very small extent, now that we both know, have both in our own ways spoken, the truth. But the change will be miniscule, will not interfere with our relationship and will not trouble either of us.
I will remain with Holmes until one of us passes away; I pray that will be I. I do not wish to inhabit this earth without him, not now we both know. We will remain intimate friends and colleagues; I will continue to help him with his cases, I will continue to be his Watson, I will look after him and make sure he does not abuse the cocaine bottle too much. I will be by his side for the rest of my life. Nothing and no one can part us now, because we have declared our true feelings for one another.
We will never speak of them again; in some ways it will be as if this evening never happened. However, neither of us will forget this evenings; an evening when a second miracle did occur. I am glad, I am happy, I am content to know the truth; a truth no one else will ever know. I spoke and was spoken back to.
Sherlock Holmes will remain my dear, dear friend, my companion, my centre, just as I shall remain his. Life cannot get any better than this. And now, as I do not know who might walk through our door tomorrow, I believe I had better close my eyes and join my dearest Holmes in sleep.
LINKS TO ALL THE STORIES IN THIS SERIES
Time To Reflect
Believing In Miracles
Contentment Is Mine
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