Train of Thought
“Your hand is on my penis.”
John Watson squinched his eyes closed, but this failed to shut his ears. The baritone rumbling to his right kept rumbling.
“I’m sure the close quarters you enjoyed during your military service left you comfortable with the intimate proximity of men, you might even find it—“
Apologising as he stepped on a woman’s foot, begging pardon as he elbowed a man in the ribs, John turned forty-five degrees in the crowded—absolutely seriously wall-to-wall fucking packed—tube car and faced the annoying git whose expensively-clad penis he had, indeed, been unintentionally touching.
Now face-to-face with the over-tall pretty boy, John glared up and growled, “I might even find it what?”
Sherlock Holmes both lifted his chin and looked down his nose. He’s unused to being sassed by strangers. By ‘colleagues,’ yes, by his brother, his brother’s assistant, the downstairs neighbor, the corner grocer, the dry cleaner, and by his landlord, certainly, but not usually by people unfamiliar with him.
Which is to say Sherlock paused before replying. Which was all the reply the belligerent little man before him required.
“Let’s get a few things clear, mister.” The stranger rose up on tip-toe so he could drop his voice. “It was the side of my hand that was on your…you. And it wasn’t there because I wanted it there.”
The man huffed in Sherlock’s face and for the first time all day—all week—something was not tedious. No, suddenly something was very near and warm and smelt of liquorice and righteous indignation. That something was blue-eyed, squirmy tongued, and listening to him.
“But, assuming you’re a bit dim or extremely unobservant, I’ll let you in on a secret mister: The tube’s crowded today. Do you see? Can you see?”
The train lurched because that’s what trains do, and Sherlock let the motion press him against the ill-tempered man with the sweet-smelling mouth, and yes, oh yes Sherlock saw. Saw the little man flush to his hair line at the unexpected press of an expensively-clad erection, saw the man’s mouth twitch, saw the man wage a brief war with himself.
And saw which side won.
The small man stood down, literally, but he did not move away. Instead he stood rock-steady still and he kept his gaze locked on Sherlock’s sternum and he simply started talking and he didn’t stop, didn’t stop, didn’t stop for ten tube stops.
John Watson went on and on and endlessly on about absolutely nothing—the expense of public transit; the cold; army pensions—because it felt like he hadn’t talked to anyone in days, maybe weeks, and now suddenly someone heard him and it didn’t matter that the man’s interest was physical, it didn’t matter John believed himself straight, and it didn’t matter that they didn’t know each other. What mattered now was that John could see the chest in front of him and John’s observant, he is, and so he could see the quick rise and fall of the man’s breathing, proof that he was listening and so John kept talking and before he shut up they were in Barking for Christ’s sake and the tube had long since emptied but neither of them had moved much, neither had stepped away.
And then suddenly they did, one laughing, the other with a lop-sided smile but they didn’t go far, not really.
Wordlessly they sat side-by-side in the now-empty car, ready to make the tedious journey back toward their missed stations and they didn’t know it yet, they wouldn’t know it for weeks, but from this day forward neither would move far from the other. No, neither would ever go very far away.
From this day until the day they die where there is one, the other will always be.
Well this went emo rather suddenly. I seem to visualise them meeting cute or being on the edge of ruin when they find one another. Thoughts? P.S. A few folks have asked after each of these, “What happens next?” Since I don’t have time to write those tales maybe you’d care to take any of these stories as a jumping-off point for your own?
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