Yay. Confrontation scene. Finally.
Edit: OH. Btw. Gosh, I can't believe I forgot to say this. Thanks so so so much for all your great feedback concerning the OOCness of my Holmes. Such a relief I can tell you. I was aiming for a purely RDJ inspired Holmes so to hear that he's more or less on target is very much appreciated. Thanks again! <3
Disclaimer: Not mine.
As soon as Watson was gone, Holmes took the case and the bottle of cocaine out of the bedroom. He emptied the contents of the bottle into one of Mrs Hudson's pot plants and took the case to the fireplace.
He lit it and knelt down, clutching the case between his hands. It was a mild day and the heat radiating from the fireplace made the leather soft and hot to the touch. Holmes dropped it onto his lap, thumbing the clasp.
He slowly opened it, a faint lump sitting his throat. The needle winked innocently at him in the firelight. He felt like he was saying goodbye to an old friend. An old friend who he had come to rely on too heavily.
He closed it again, swallowing hard. He held it out to the fireplace; the small, flickering flames licked greedily upwards, towards his outstretched hand.
He stared at the case in his hand. His mind had gone blank. His fingers were trembling slightly. He took a shuddery breath, willing himself to let go. He just had to move his fingers slightly, he just had to unclasp his hand and it would be gone. It would burn and he would be free of its grasp.
"Just do it." He hissed at himself. "Just get rid of the damned thing."
Suddenly he could feel the leather slipping from under his damp fingers. He felt it almost slide completely from his grip and with a thrill of panic dug his nails into it and flung it back onto the floorboards.
It hit the floor with a dull thud. Holmes stared at it, panting slightly and feeling sticky and damp from the heat of the fire.
He sighed to himself and went to put it back in the cupboard.
Watson pretended not to notice the servants' sideways glances as he removed his hat and coat by the door on his arrival home. He knew immediately that he had been missed.
He ignored them and went to find Mary. He found the bedroom deserted. He noted with a pang that the bed had been made and the clothes removed from the floor. All signs of the disastrous encounter the night before had been erased.
His study was as he had left it, everything immaculately in order. She had not been in here, he had half expected to find it dishevelled as though someone had been searching.
He searched the parlour and the dining room and finally found her in the drawing room poised with a book at the window. She looked up at him as he entered but did not, as he had half expected, bear down on him like an angry wolf. She didn't even look vaguely surprised to see him. She did not smile, raise her eyebrows, frown or even close her book.
"Mary," He said anxiously, striding to her side and taking her small, cold hand in his. She looked up at him blankly, as though she didn't even recognise him as her husband. "Mary, I'm so sorry."
She said nothing. Her hand was limp in his. Her eyes were strangely vacant.
"I shouldn't have left you last night." He said, feeling his heart beat begin to thud anxiously in his chest.
Mary snatched back her hand and fixed him with a calculating look. "No. You should not have." She said coolly, closing her book with a soft thud of leather on paper.
Watson was not surprised by her anger. He knew that he deserved it. But he also knew that she would forgive him. She always forgave him. She was his sweet, understanding wife. She would always allow him his faults and failings. He was so blind by that assurance that he did not comprehend the silent rage settling in her eyes.
"I'm sorry we fought," He said earnestly, kneeling by her. "I'm sorry that I left. I just felt... confused and upset." He grasped her hand appealingly. "You understand, don't you?" He needed her to tell him that she forgave him, that he had not hurt her. He was selfishly hoping she would ease his guilt.
He studied her face. She looked pale and drawn and there were dark, discoloured shadows under her eyes. He wondered if she had slept at all the night before. Maybe she had even waited for him. Waited until it became clear that he was not coming back. He lowered his eyes.
He felt her pull her hand again from his. "You left me in the middle of the night." She said quietly, every word a stinging reproach. He forced himself to meet her eye. "You left me in the middle of the night without a word of explanation." Her voice and gaze were steady "You left me."
Watson stared at her. He had expected her to be angry- but he had also expected her to forgive him and to tell him she understood. She always forgave him, she always understood. But there was no smile on her lips now, there was no warmth in her eyes. Not this time.
"I-I'm sorry..." He faltered, standing up unsteadily and turning away from her. "I know it was not the right thing-
"Where did you go?" She asked suddenly.
Watson glanced down at his hands. The hands he had used to make love to Holmes, bathe Holmes, hold and comfort Holmes. He felt as though there were blood on them.
He walked to the writing desk, still not turning to her. He stood at the edge of it, pretending to neaten some old letters left there. His hands were trembling slightly. His mouth felt dry. He knew he needed to speak. He knew he had to tell her the truth. This was his chance to put an end to the lies and betrayal. He just had to tell her the truth. He would deal with her anger and her hurt.
He cleared his throat. He rolled the words around in his mouth. "I..." He began weakly, dampening his lips. "I..."
"Yes?" She prompted him sharply.
"Was in a hotel." The words fell from his lips before he could stop them.
He turned to her, feeling his heart sinking. "I was in a hotel." He repeated, cursing himself.
For a moment, she said nothing. She gazed at him, the book still in her hands. Watson could feel himself colouring under her cold eyes.
"Indeed." Mary said softly at last and he knew she did not believe him. "Which?"
"I don't know." Watson replied numbly. "I don't remember the name."
"Where was it situated?" She pressed him.
"I don't remember." Watson said impatiently. "Can we please just forget it? I'm sorry. I was wrong to leave you. But what's done is done-
"Yes, of course." She said roughly. He felt silent.
They stared at each other. Watson fidgeted uncomfortably where he stood. He thought of Holmes alone in Baker Street, he thought of the bed they had shared and how he had held him and he wished, not for the first time, that he were a wiser man.
At length Mary sighed. To Watson's relief, she smiled. A wan struggling little smile but a smile all the same. "I'm sorry. You're right. Let us not linger on... such things." She put her book aside and stood up, smoothing down her skirts.
Overcome with relief, Watson went to her and gently put his fingertips under her chin. "I'm glad you understand." He said gently.
She slowly looked up at him. An odd look came across her features, but so fleetingly that if he had not been so close, he would not have seen it.
And then, to his surprise, she kissed him. He felt her lips beneath his, pursed and tight. It was like kissing a stone statue of a woman. Just weeks ago kissing her had been passionate and ardent, now she could not even muster the strength to move her lips in response to his.
He broke away and saw immediately that he had congratulated himself too soon on successfully appeasing her.
Her whole form was shaking. Watson felt his blood turn cold and he felt frozen where he stood.
"The fact," She began in a voice shuddering with barely suppressed anger. "That you can stand in my house, under my roof and look me in the eye and tell me you slept in a hotel last night when I can smell his tobacco on your breath is truly stunning." She spat the last words at him with a venom he had never heard in her voice before.
He could feel his whole body going numb with shock and disbelief. He couldn't move, he couldn't even look away. He felt paralysed.
No. She couldn't know. How could she know? She couldn't possibly know. He told himself in a desperate, rapid succession.
"Mary." He said hollowly, not completely aware of his mouth moving. "What do you mean?"
She narrowed her eyes at him. "What sort of halfwit do you take me for?" She said icily. "Do you think I don't know what you are?" She took a shuddery breath. "I know... I know you're..." She couldn't bring herself to say the word. She swallowed, the disgust terribly evident in her every feature of her face. "With that... that freak."
Watson didn't speak. Everything was swimming before his eyes, the floor seemed to sway underneath him. He couldn't believe this was happening. He couldn't believe that everything was crumbling down around him so suddenly and without warning.
"Did you think I wouldn't ever discover it?" She spat at him. "Did you intend to lie to me until my dying day?"
Watson stumbled back, he had to put space between them. Her words were making him sick to his stomach. He turned away and almost staggered to the writing desk, leaning heavily on it to support himself.
"Did you ever love me?" She asked in quiet rage. "Or was marriage just a convenient facade to cover up your own sordid little activities?" She laughed humourlessly. "You took me for a right fool. I was so willing. I was so desperate for you to love me. I would have forgiven you anything." She gave another cold, bitter laugh.
Watson's heart was beating so hard in his chest it almost hurt. He felt nauseous and light headed, he felt like he was going to throw up or pass out completely. The panic and the shock were taking full control of him.
"Did you intend to take advantage of me specifically or was I just lucky enough to stumble across your path at the right moment?" She asked him poisonously. "Did you ever feel anything close to regard for me?"
Watson still did not answer. His throat felt like it had closed in on itself.
"Answer me!" She screamed at him. "For God's sake, answer me. If you're a man, if you have any decency, you tell me the truth for once-
She broke off with a sob.
Watson could feel the hot, ashamed moisture beginning to spill from his eyes. "I..." He pressed a hand to his eyes, as if trying to force back the tears. "I'm sorry." He said hollowly.
"I d-don't... w-want your... apology." Mary stammered through her tears, hardly able to articulate the words her body shook so much.
He heard her collapse down against something. He could hear her crying. She was crying as though she had just lost him, as though he had just died in her arms. She was stricken with grief and he could barely stand it. He wanted her to hate him. He could take hatred. He couldn't take this. He couldn't take her pain.
He unsteadily straightened himself, the tears thick and cold on his cheeks. "You can't throw away this marriage." He said in a toneless voice, watching her curled against the base of the window, her face buried into the seat. "I won't allow a divorce."
She looked up sharply at him, her face was stained and red. "You won't allow a divorce?" She croaked. "You won't allow a divorce?"
She staggered upright, anger breaking through her sadness as he had hoped it would. "What gives you the right?" She spat.
Watson rounded on her. "You're my wife, you'll do as I say." He snarled at her. "Do you think a divorce will solve all your problems? If we divorce, you'll never have a chance of happiness, I assure you. I will try and make things right but I will not allow a divorce." He could feel himself becoming flushed. He was angry with her even though he knew he shouldn't be. He couldn't stand the sight of her. He just wanted to be away from her and the cruel reality she had brought down on him.
He thought perhaps she would hit him or scream at him again but she did not. She had fallen silent. She gazed at him, her face suddenly calm again.
"Do you hear me?" Watson said hollowly.
He turned his back on her and went to the writing desk, falling tiredly into the chair behind it.
Silence fell heavily on them. Mary seemed frozen where she was, she was not looking at him. She was staring at the floorboards, her eyes were sore from crying but no tears were falling now.
Watson wondered what she was thinking of. What could she think? Everything had been laid bare upon the table. Her husband was not the honourable, loyal, good natured doctor she had been tricked into marrying. Here was a man who had lied to her, who had concealed his true nature and then punished her for discovering it. He felt repulsive. He felt like he had become everything he had always reviled. He was selfish, greedy and destructive to everyone around him and finally Mary realised it.
At length she came to the edge of his desk and placed both her hands on the table top, fixing him with a steady gaze. "If these are the last words I ever speak to you, I want you to know that I speak them truthfully." She said softly. "I loved you. I truly did. I wanted us to spend our lives together. I wanted to be a good wife to you." Watson bowed his head. "But you have betrayed me in the worst way imaginable." She went on coldly. "And so I hope you and Holmes find happiness together. And then I hope you spend an eternity burning in hell."
She turned on her heel and stalked from the room.
To be continued.To Chapter Sixteen
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