The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, Watson’s Private Version
“You’re not hurt, Watson? For God’s sake, say you’re not hurt!” His hands were frantic, checking for injuries, and I grabbed one in my own as it passed by.
“It’s nothing, Holmes. A mere scratch.” He ripped my trousers with his pocketknife, and, finally satisfying himself that I was uninjured, met my eyes. His intensity startled me, and I found myself subdued.
It was worth a wound-it was worth many wounds-to know the depth of loyalty and love that lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking
“Holmes,” I murmured, the spark of his ferocity fanning a secret hope I had long left dormant.
“You are right,” he cried, sighing with relief, “it is quite superficial.” The warmth in his eyes set to flinty steel as he turned to Garrideb, who was still lying where he’d fallen. “By the Lord, it is as well for you. If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive. Now sir, what have you to say for yourself?”
The man leaped down the opening, and I lunged up after him, but my leg gave way beneath me. Holmes was at my side in an instant, arm under me for support.
“Holmes!” I shouted this time, but he merely kicked the door closed, shoving an iron-legged footstool over it.
“There’s no other way out. He’s as good as trapped until Lestrade arrives. Now sit. No well man stumbles like that.”
“I’m fine,” I assured him, hoping to avoid his scrutiny, for his affections had left me quite flustered, and I knew I could not hide the true reason from him
“Nonsense, you’re flushed and your pulse is racing. Watson, is it your heart?”
Oh, if he only knew how right he was.
“You’d send me away if you knew.”
“What possible reason could I have?”
“Because it is my heart, Holmes. Or rather, yours, because that is who it belongs to.”
I tried to stand then, afraid to see the look in his eyes when he realized, but he pushed me back into the chair, holding me there.
“Watson,” he whispered, “Watson, be true with me. I can’t bear it if you’re not.”
He had yet to look at me, but the edge of a tear was escaping, and I freed my hand to cup his face.
“How could I lie about something so dear to me?”
“Dear boy,” he breathed, turning and placing a kiss to the center of my palm. “If you knew the depth of my affections for you, it is you who would run. They are not the emotions of a sane man.”
“Have I ever claimed to love you for your sanity?” I asked, and his eyes finally met mine.
“I did not know you ever claimed to love me at all.”
“Then let me make it abundantly clear,” I answered, and finally drew him to me in a kiss.
Submitted as part of our 2022 LGBTQ+ Novel Rewrite series