Author: Ariane DeVere
Word count: a smidge over 1000
Rating: PG maybe
Characters: John, Sherlock
Warnings: only if you don’t like people falling in love
Disclaimer: Sherlock belongs to way more powerful and wealthy people than me.
John takes Sherlock to the theatre. Someone on the stage causes John to make a startling realisation.
“This is ridiculously short notice, John. Why didn’t you tell me about it before?” Sherlock complained irritably down the phone.
“Until two minutes ago, I didn’t even know that we would get in,” John told him. “This play is the hottest thing in town, you know – you can’t just roll up to the box office and demand tickets. I’ve been sitting in the Returns queue since two o’clock and the desk didn’t open until six and I’ve only just got two tickets. We’re really lucky someone returned them, so get yourself down here quickly: if you’re not here by seven thirty they won’t let you in for the opening sequence, and that’s apparently the best bit of the whole play.”
“But why do you even want to see it?” Sherlock asked. “I didn’t even know you were interested in the theatre.”
“I’m not normally,” John said, “but Sarah saw it a few weeks ago and ever since then she’s been telling me that I absolutely have to see it. Then Sally saw it on Friday and she’s been texting me ever since and saying the same thing. I have no idea why they’re so keen, but I had nothing to do this afternoon so I went and sat in the queue. Nice bunch of people – we had a good time. Remind me to find out what this Livejournal thing is when we get home. Anyway, get a move on – you’ve got about forty minutes to get here.”
For thirty-seven minutes John fretted at the theatre door, wondering if Sherlock was going to throw a wobbly and deliberately arrive late, but his friend finally came striding across the plaza and allowed John to rush him up the ludicrous number of stairs to the entrance to the stalls, Sherlock taking some of them three at a time simply because he could, the bloody show-off, while John stumbled after him, wishing they’d taken the lift instead. The returned tickets were really good seats, four rows from the stage – and should be good considering how much they had been (John hadn’t been to the theatre in years but had gulped heavily at the price and had made a mental note to tease both Sarah and Sally that they ought to pay him part of the cost, seeing as they had bullied him into this). Sherlock slumped into his seat griping about not having had time to buy a programme and not having the first idea who was in it or who was directing it. John was about to sarcastically suggest that he ought to be able to work out everything he needed to know from the ... thing on the stage but then the lights dimmed and the opening sequence, which each of the girls had separately told him was amazing, began.
It wasn’t really John’s kind of thing, though he could understand why the girls had been so excited – and giggly – about the scene, but even with his lack of theatrical knowledge he could appreciate that this was something new and very different. Turning his head slightly to his right he could see that Sherlock was already engrossed, his fingers steepled in front of his mouth as he watched. A second character entered, walking right through the audience, but John wasn’t really paying attention to him, his focus still on the actor who had held the stage alone for the past fifteen minutes with an energy that made John feel tired just watching him.
The second character was only on the stage for about a minute, and it was another forty minutes or so before he reappeared, charging in from the rear of the stage wearing a long coat that flared out behind him in a way that seemed oddly familiar and Oh.
It was as if someone had stabbed John in the stomach. For one panic-stricken moment he wondered if somebody had shot him, or if he was having some unrecognisable medical crisis. The brief moment of pain was savage and intense and John only just avoided doubling over in his seat with the severity of the sensation.
He had a feeling that he had actually gasped out loud because the person sitting in front of him half turned her head, apparently wondering what she’d missed onstage to provoke such a reaction. The other reason he was sure that gasping had been involved was because, while the pain in his stomach was fading, his chest now hurt. Apparently he had sucked in a large lungful of air but hadn’t yet got around to letting it out again. For some odd reason he didn’t seem to be able to remember how it was done.
He couldn’t understand what was going on. And he knew exactly what was going on. And he didn’t want to know exactly what was going on, because it was too much to handle. It wasn’t possible. It mustn’t be possible. It couldn’t be possible, even though it made total sense; even though a large part of his mind was screaming, “See? I knew it all along! Why didn’t you listen to me?!”
Beside him, Sherlock shifted briefly in his seat, apparently unaware of the crisis which John was undergoing. John finally managed to exhale and then resume some semblance of normal breathing, which wasn’t easy with the revelation that had just hit him. It really didn’t make sense. So a character had a long coat – but this should not be setting off the realisations that were smashing into John’s head right now. And yes, the character was tall and slender and graceful and had impossibly attractive curly hair ... and was ludicrously self-confident and arrogant and self-centred ... and unaware or uncaring of what anybody else thought or felt ... and had just turned around into a position where the stage lighting hit his face in such a way that his eyes were glowing so blue that John was momentarily transfixed, and then knew with complete conviction that he was lost forever.
Because the beautiful man on the stage had just made him realise that he was in love with the beautiful man sitting beside him.
And John didn’t have the faintest idea what the hell he was going to do about it.
Inspired by atlinmerrick who gave me the prompt of John and Sherlock going to the theatre to see “Frankenstein.” Blame her. I always do.
Dedicated to anyone who sat in the Returns queue at the National, especially if we got chatting. I was staggered how many LJ users I met on the two occasions I was there! Hi in particular to ratherbe4gotten, mintyflossy, Lucy on tumblr, fezzesarecool from the BSSC, the woman to whom I flogged my spare £45 ticket for 30 quid on the last Friday of the run (I never got her name!) and anyone else who helped the time pass so nicely.
The title of the fic is, of course, a quote from the play – one of the most moving lines of the entire play, in my opinion.