I don’t notice him until he's sliding into the seat across from me.
I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. Should I ever see him again. But John Watson is sitting five feet away from me with a shy smile that’s so familiar and my mind goes completely blank. It’s the same smile that made me want to put my mouth on his skin.
He waits. As naturally, patiently, as he used to all those years ago. It’s infuriating. I glare long enough that the shyness fades away and he glances down, sucking in a nervous breath before looking up to stare back at me once more. The hope now present in his gaze has my stomach twisting itself into knots.
“Is she late?” I try my best to keep my voice as uncaring and cold as I can, but the glint in his eyes tells me that he heard the slight crack as well.
And there it is. My name in that voice. He says it so casually. As if our hearts never beat against one another, for one another, beneath our chests. My right eye twitches as I dig my nails hard enough into my palm to draw blood. “Not coming, then?”
My name. That voice. It takes every ounce of restraint I have not to get up and walk away screaming ‘Fuck you, John Watson’ the whole way out the door of this godforsaken restaurant.
“Then why are you here?” I need there to be a date, some dull woman that will bore him to death. I need John Watson to not be sitting here in front of me, for me. I need the wooden box lying under my bed to help forget that this moment I’ve been dreaming of for so long ever happened.
“Don’t have one.”
‘Will you let me finish a damn sentence for once in your bloody life, Sherlock?’ will be the next question out of his mouth if I’m doing this right.
“Your acting like a child.” Ah. Still too patient with me. Doesn’t want to hurt me more than he already has. Have to go a bit deeper.
“Not much has changed then, hm?”
“That’s not what I-”
“That’s all I ever was to you, really.”
“Will you let me finish a damn sentence for once in your bloody life?”
There it is. “Wasn’t aware you were capable of it.” Didn’t say my name, though. Interesting.
“How can you be so cruel?” He leans forward, nostrils flaring with frustration and I can feel my body instinctively moving closer before I can stop myself. “It’s been years since...Well, since.”
The sharp bark of laughter that comes out of my throat startles us both. “Oh, believe me, I know how many years it’s been since you-”
“I know what I did!” The fierceness behind his voice hits me directly in my chest and I clench my fist to stop myself from visibly reacting to it. My heart slams so hard against my sternum I swear he can see it through my layers of clothes, He glances around at the attention he's attracted by yelling before quietly saying, “I know what I did was wrong. It was for-”
“If you say your own good-”
“Your own good.”
“-I’m walking out of here.” Our tumbled words leave us glaring at one another, both breathing hard. “Well. This has been lovely. Let’s not do it again sometime. Watson.” I spit the name, seeing the reaction play out in my mind before it happens.
It’s worse than I imagined. Unfortunately, I don’t move quickly enough and am left fighting with myself to say something else, anything to stop the hurt building in his eyes. Instead, I turn away before he can see the gleam in my own.
That voice. Dangerous. Possesses the power to erase all the time and space between us. Its gentleness has been resting in my heart, shut away from the light, like a silent bomb ready to detonate at any second. Five minutes ago would have been a proper time.
His face. His goddamn beautiful face brought me right back to a time where I knew what it felt like to have his body moving in tandem with mine. Back to when he slipped away from me like hours ticking away on a clock. He looked so small tonight and though I’m trying to cast the memory away from my mind, its all I can think about. He appeared vulnerable in a way that had me wanting to wrap him in my arms and never let go. Helpless in a way that reminded me of when he saved my life. When I’d opened my eyes and seen the frantic, desperate face of a man who I was convinced would stay by my side forever. Well, that one time in particular. There were many. Maybe he wasn’t as desperate to save my life the other times.
My mind and my heart feel as though they are being pulled in two different directions and the closer I get to my flat, the faster the memories I’ve managed to keep at bay for years invade my mind. Hands start to shake: when I first laid my eyes on him and that hunger started to build inside me at a rapid pace that I could not control nor did I want to. Scratch at my arm through my coat: that night. Knees buckle, lose my balance-
‘Who the hell are you, John Watson?’