asra_fic: (Holmes)
[personal profile] asra_fic
Title: Homecoming
Characters: Holmes/Watson
Rating: G
Words: 659
Warnings/Spoilers: None.
Summary: Watson walks home on a cold night, and is welcomed home.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: Set in book-verse, but can really be part of any 'verse you prefer. This is my first time writing this pairing. For the prompt ‘playing an instrument’ on my [livejournal.com profile] schmoop_bingo card (but I’m not sure how schmoopy it is!).


It’s a devil of a night, the kind that makes him wish he were back in Afghanistan because it would at least be warmer, more bearable than this damnable cold that bites at him and enters his bones, spreading misery from within him to the very tips of his toes, curled uncomfortably in his boots. His old injury is spectacularly aggravated, and his world is suddenly reduced to the slivers of pain that assail his leg with every step he takes.

The cold makes the thought of the patient he has just left behind even more painful than usual. Mrs Higgins doesn’t have much longer now, and it’s all he can do to make the nightly visits to the tiny, desperately indigent house that she shares with her daughter and three grandchildren. He always refuses payment, gently telling the daughter, Sarah, that it can wait until the next time. To compensate for the loss of the fee, he walks back home rather than take a hansom.

It’s always painful, the knowledge that no doctor can save a patient from certain death. It is monumentally difficult, when he has taken an oath to protect life, to have his task circumscribed to this: to offer support and strength to the family in a time when grief is imminent, to offer its members the solace of knowing that they have done everything they can, that there is something greater than pain, and poverty, and death… that kindness, and togetherness, and the sense of home, count for something after all, that they are not commodities to be discarded cheaply, but rather treasures to be cherished until the last, and rekindled as darkness falls, for no human being can weather the night without a flame, however fragile it may seem.

The fog curls around him as he walks, limping quite badly now, and he is still almost a whole street away from home. But then, through the harshness of the cold and the muttered curses of his fellow pedestrians and the clicking of horses’ hooves on the cobbled street, he hears a most welcome sound. It is the melody of Chausson’s Poème, drifting almost lazily toward him through the fog, twining itself about him like a thick woollen scarf. The music is faint, almost like an echo of a memory, and he would not be able to follow the notes had he not heard Holmes play it many a time before; it is one of their most beloved pieces, its notes familiar and welcoming. I know, the music seems to say. I know you’re in pain. I know every step hurts. Just a few more steps, my love, and you’ll be home.

He can barely see for a few steps ahead of him, so he is almost upon 221B when he sees the open window and the tall man silhouetted in its frame. Holmes raises the hand holding the bow in greeting as he catches sight of him, and Watson nods in response. For a moment, their gazes lock, and the image of Holmes begins to frame itself in his memory, softly, serenely. When he ascends the stairs, his remaining senses will flood his consciousness, merging into each other like colours in a kaleidoscope, and he will forget where he ends and Holmes begins. For now, for this moment, the music has receded and there is just this, the sight of Holmes looking down at him with that indescribable expression on his face, and the sense of sight is the only sense that he can bear to indulge in this moment. In a moment, he will open the door with his key and step into the familiar warmth of their home, and the arms of Sherlock Holmes. But for now, there is just this: the quietness of the moment, the way in which they are holding each other’s gaze, the frozen moment beginning to melt into the anticipation of being welcomed home.


Chausson’s Poème can be found here.
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