Fandom: Sherlock Holmes
Story: sketch of chapters 13-14 of Deeper in Memory novel
Pairing: Holmes/Helen Stoner, implied Holmes/Watson
Rating: PG-13, hetero, implied slash
He at last apologises to her, completely and without reserve. She soon comes to meet him in Baker Street. He proposes and she accepts (or does she hesitate and make him wait? Make him properly court her and earn it?) "Oh what the hell? The third time's the charm." (referring to her other engagements.)
In any case she notices his illness and asks him about it. "You look pale and worn, so much older than when you were that fresh 20-something I met. Why, you look as old as me." And she ought to know, being prematurely grey.
He nods, then quietly confesses about his cocaine use and assures her that he is breaking off the habit now. Expects to be clean and sober in time to be married.
She absorbs that, then calmly says that she is not surprised about his addiction, after what she read in SIGN. (Also, perhaps she saw some drug addicts as well in her charity work at a hospital for the poor.)
"You (still) read his stories?" insanely jealous
She smiles. "No matter how angry I was at you, I still liked hearing about the doctor."
She asks to see his arm, pushing back the sleeve. Refers to when he pushed back her own sleeve to show the bruise at her wrist.
So he lets her bare his arm. Notices that, unlike Watson, there is not disgust in her eyes or anger or sorrow or world-weariness. She does not lecture him, either, to his relief. She just looks at his forearm with curiosity and concern, brushing her fingertips over the needle marks. Then she looks up into his grey eyes.
A wordless tension as they touch and sit close together. Then they kiss and embrace for the first time in years. He does not mean to go so far, but there is a hunger and heat from the years spent apart, and it is overcoming her own Christian values once again. After a while, they get up and retreat to his bedroom.
After lovemaking, they lay close.
H pensively asks her if she is really all right with marrying a recovering drug addict. "I am... unfortunately not the same man I was seven years ago when you first kissed me."
"Nor am I the same woman, Holmes." [Wait, should she be calling him Sherlock now?]
He nods. "But still, you retain your excellent mind and your profound powers of influence, as demonstrated by your deft skill in handling Irene Adler's case--"
"It was your case, not mine."
He shrugs and continues, "But I am not as I was, Helen. I have crumbled and lost my talents to the point that I am little better than an ordinary Scotland Yarder now. Watson always warned me that I would pay a price for continuing to use the cocaine, and unfortunately he was right."
"Well, he is your doctor, after all. He would know. But let us not dwell on what has happened already. Only promise me that you will do your best to overcome your addiction for good. We may need Dr. Watson's help in this."
He frowns and looks reluctant. "I am not sure if he can help me."
"He--he is so busy with his practice now, and he has his own wife to think of. In fact I have seen him only rarely in the last few months [FINA says they've drifted apart again]; his interest in my cases, and me, seem to be waning permanently."
"Nonsense! Why that story he just published shows how deeply he still is concerned with your happiness. Even as he celebrated his own engagement, he hoped that you would find happiness too and--" She stops suddenly, with a strange thought. She sits up and asks, "Sherlock, are you--have you only proposed to me so that you won't be alone? Because Watson has a wife, and you miss him, so now you want a wife too?"
Holmes stares at her aghast. "Helen! How can you say that? You doubt me after all this?"
"But you do miss him. And you talk jealously of his happy marriage. You also talk about how weary you are, and how you need to retire even though you are scarcely 35. I am simply your retirement, aren't I?"
some arguments and denials like that. Helen questions whether Holmes was giving in at last out of genuine love, or mere weariness. Because his life was too difficult lately due to cocaine.
Hurt, he sighs in despair, "Not this again! The weariness is caused by the cocaine, which I am endeavouring to give up. The weariness is not the reason for my love; it is the reason why I stopped fighting the love. The reason why I professed it to you. The emotion was already there, long ago. You perceived it with your feminine intuition." He held her hand and touched the ring that he had newly placed there. "Can you not now sense what I feel? Why do you need further proof than my own words and deeds? Because I was so wrong before, am I cursed to never be trusted now in love? By anyone?" [Watson does not believe that H's love was genuine, either; thinks it was a confusion of feelings from when they were in a medical crisis. Many patients transfer romantic feelings onto their doctors.]
Helen stares at him and asks, "You--have loved someone else?"
He nods, and points out quietly, "You have loved Tibbs."
She acknowledges that. "Yes, but I was never categorically opposed to love. I never considered it an illness and an imposition." Also, H had been awkward at first in bed, seemingly inexperienced. "I-I suppose I just didn't expect you to have another love affair."
He frowns. "Nor did I. Nor did--" stops himself from saying "he." Looks pained and lets go of her hand. "It was... brief, and futile. It seems that, because I have done too good a job at pretending that I am a machine, I cannot convince a lover that I have a heart. That my love is not an illusion when given."
She holds him comfortingly. "I'm sorry."
He embraces her, needing her to believe him. To love him.
She apologises and tells him that Harry Tibbs didn't believe in her love either, and that was the reason for their broken engagement. She kisses him and says she believes Holmes.
After he departs for his case the next day, she leaves a reassuring note for him, on his bed.
I am sorry, my love. I should not have started that argument last night, not while we lay here in your bed. Last night, you were envious of my still having an excellent brain. Well, let me tell you that it is an unfortunate side effect of this brain that I cannot stop thinking sceptically. My brain cannot let go of an unpleasant thought, and it must follow the thought to its most painful conclusion, however unworthy. But I know I was wrong. I should not have doubted your feelings, my dear; you could never have confessed so much to me if you did not truly love me. I am sorry.
Even as you kissed me goodbye this morning, you still looked as though I had broken your heart, and I do not want that at all. I only want to make you happy now. I love you, and I shall treasure this ring you have given me. And I shall certainly believe in its pledge, and I shall certainly believe in your love. I can hardly wait to see you again.
I hope your Moriarty case will not try you too much. And please, if you need help with your addiction, do consult Dr. Watson. I am sure he would rush to your side. I will write you soon.
The untimely death of the lady
Helen dies suddenly while travelling to visit Irene and Godfrey. At home in Baker Street, H receives the telegram and is stunned. He sits frozen, shocked and grieving.
Lestrade suddenly arrives with a case, not understanding what's wrong with H. After a moment H agrees to come, hoping to bury himself in his work. This eventually turns into his reckless pursuit of Moriarty from Jan to April 1891.
He also takes up cocaine again. Maybe morphine too, to help him sleep. That's what leaves him in a horrible state when he sees Watson again in April. Meanwhile, Mycroft visits to suggest that H get professional help from a Dr. Freud in Vienna, but Sherlock is nowhere to be found.
So much still depends on how much Mycroft knows at this point, and how much Watson knows. Holmes has avoided Watson for most of 1890. I've also not decided whether Helen ought to see him in a series of visits, rather than having it happen all at once.