There are two gazes with which John Watson sees Sherlock Holmes.
There’s the lover’s eye that looks upon that man and finds oh such lushness. The deep curve of his sweetheart’s lower back and the extravagance of what comes after. The swell of lean muscle in arms and legs. The shadowed hollows of that fine neck.
And then there’s the doctor’s gaze that looks upon Sherlock Holmes and what it sees is far less lyrical.
One. Two. Three.
When he first fell in love with Sherlock that’s what John did in their bed, out loud and often. He counted his lover’s protruding rib bones and then he’d fall silent, a heavy hand resting still and protective over that hungry place.
This far and no farther.
John never said that to Sherlock. Never made grand pronouncements about what he’d do. John just went and fucking did it.
And it was fight dirty. To get Sherlock to eat John played to the man’s pride, his arrogance, his distractibility. He tricked him, cajoled him, made threats. In the end he offered up his own body as the ultimate enticement and in the end…it worked.
Sherlock ate. And ate. And as if it were merely something he’d forgotten how to do, once painstakingly relearned he actually continued doing it.
And John, so much better than brilliant, praised his sweetheart’s new body. He lavished it with touches, trembled it with moans. He admired it, tickled it, dressed it, and stripped it. And he said I love you, I love you, I love you. But the words he didn’t say were the ones Sherlock heard clearest: If you starve yourself again, my love…I promise you I will go hungry, too.
Sherlock has really only one gaze with which he sees, but that one’s quite enough. He sees John, every stern-boned inch of him. And what he sees he’ll always cherish and most of all, struggle to protect.
And so Sherlock will eat. He will eat.
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Annacarrota’s beautiful drawing, and her own comment after it, inspired this. Self-starvation isn’t the answer, it’s never the answer—if you think it is, you’re asking the wrong question. Don’t do it. Never do it. Find a better, saner way to be strong. I did, long ago, you can, too. You can. (This story also available in Czech. Thank you Miamam!)