Title: Bastion
Author: Jessie Blackwood
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Fandoms: Sherlock
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are not my characters, they are public domain. Anything that resembles Sherlock BBC belongs of course to Mr Moffat and Mr Gatiss and is theirs alone. The plot is mine. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is otherwise purely coincidental.
Note: I wondered in light of the TV documentary what John's POV would be. This is my take on it through Sherlock's eyes. It is with great respect to Abundantlyqueer's Two Two One Bravo Baker that I post this, because it remains one of my favourite works and everyone should go read it. I had it in mind when writing this.
It is also my first foray after my own long hiatus and a tussle with real life issues including hateful writer's block. Sorry nothing else has been updated yet. It is my New Year resolution to get back to it soon. Role on 2015. Happy New Year to everyone who reads my stuff and thank you.
Summary: John is watching the TV documentary concerning the disassembling of Camp Bastion. Sherlock observes.


Sherlock cocked his head, listening. His sharp hearing sifted through the sounds that defined a typical Sunday evening in 221b Baker Street. London traffic, now muted a little, was mitigated by Sunday trading hours which meant fewer people were abroad. Mrs Hudson was moving about downstairs; as usual she would be mid-way between dinner and watching some inane antiques show on television. Threaded through this familiar audio track were the general creaks and cracks of the house settling, rain on the windows, and a dog—probably that scruffy mutt Mrs Turner was babysitting for her daughter—barking through the walls. Above those, however, the Detective could also hear the sounds of their own television coming from the sitting room.

John was watching. It was never on unless either man was actually watching it, neither of them requiring background noise to complete personal tasks. Sherlock watched occasionally but the idiot’s lantern was only something he resorted to when extremely bored and then it only lead to more frustration with the goldfish who insisted on inflicting themselves on the viewing public, airing their dirty laundry in a futile attempt to obtain their fifteen minutes of fame. Infamy rather. Sherlock would rather stick red hot needles under his nails than ever appear on Jeremy What's-his-name’s excuse for air time, although… Sherlock considered there might be some small pleasure to be derived from demolishing the so-called guests’ lives.

Sherlock was vaguely surprised that the television was on at this time in the evening. It was usually either current affairs, antiques or religion on Sunday, and John had never struck him as being interested in such things. Something else then. Documentary perhaps. The question was, what subject did it cover? Some fool naturalist risking life and limb to bring photos of some cute baby predator to the public eye? Babies they may be but didn't these people realize that cute did not equate with cuddly and that one slip would result in having to bring some vital part of their anatomy to A&E in a bag? Sometimes, people had a woeful sense of self preservation...

Wandering into the sitting room on the pretext of finding a book he needed, Sherlock confirmed his deduction on seeing John sitting watching the box from the comfort of the sofa. However, something was not right. John ignored him. Not even a flicker. He did not look up to acknowledge Sherlock’s presence, nor did he move as Sherlock traversed the room, which meant Sherlock had to step over John’s outstretched feet. John was also watching with a certain intensity of focus, a rigidity in his body despite being seated in what to the untrained eye would look exactly like relaxation.

Sherlock did not pause but went to the bookshelf to seek the volume required. He half expected John to interrupt him, either to tell him to get out of the way, or to ask what he was looking for, but nothing came. That was more telling than anything. Despite himself, Sherlock paused and focused on the report on the television. He leafed slowly through the book on the pretext of seeking the relevant passage, while in truth his attention was elsewhere; three feet to the right of where he stood to be precise. He had determined that he wouldn’t stay, that he would leave John alone, but something made him change his mind. It might have been the expression in John’s blue eyes, or his absolute quiet, but Sherlock was off-kilter where this version of John was concerned. He had no familiarity with it, no experience at all with John in silent-running mode.

Sweeping vistas of sand and blue skies met his eyes, together with a commentary involving several British servicemen and women. Scenes of militarily-precise dismantling was taking place; tents being folded, equipment being boxed, efficient packing up and loading of gear onto transport planes. He watched as thousands of pounds worth of equipment was handed over to the people who would, from now on, have control of this amazing country. Sherlock took a step toward to his room but John’s absolute stillness was far from right. John was also doing his best to hide his emotions. Sherlock stopped, considering, deciding on another course of action.

“John?” Sherlock was not particularly surprised when John ignored him. “John, is anything wrong?”

“I’m watching, Sherlock. I’d like to keep on watching? And listening too. Please? Thank you,” he added when Sherlock fell silent. When he continued to stand there, John glanced up in exasperation. Sherlock looked...uncomfortable. John sighed, resigned. “What?”

The blunt question obviously caught Sherlock off-guard. “Er...might I...watch with you?”

“Sherlock…” John had been going to say no, expecting Sherlock’s usual inability to remain quiet when presented with a documentary. Something in his friend’s expression changed his mind though. “Oh, alright, but please shut your mouth and let. Me. Listen,” he emphasized carefully. John was not reassured by Sherlock’s nod, despite the man folding himself into the seat next to him with more care than he usually displayed.

Less than a minute into the program and Sherlock knew exactly what was going on. They were dismantling Camp Bastion. He opened his mouth to point out some inefficiency or other, but one glance at John made him shut it again, even though he was fairly sure John had not seen him open his mouth in the first place. Something told him that it was better to remain quiet and observe before his brain could make him say something he would no doubt regret. It was quite obvious that this meant a lot to the man sitting quietly beside him. Sherlock could not imagine exactly what John was feeling; he still had trouble with sentiment, but he knew John, even if Sherlock himself wasn’t a good navigator of the emotional. John, as well as being a superb conductor of light, also acted as a very good emotional barometer.

So this meant something personal as well as something deeply emotional, if John’s attention was anything to go by. Of course, Sherlock thought as he watched. They were dismantling something John still felt he had an emotional connection with, having spent so long stationed there. He had been whole there. He had been competent, capable, respected. How many lives had he saved under those intransigent canopies? Wisely, Sherlock stayed quiet and let the drama unfold.

“Sherlock…?” John eventually turned to look at the man sitting next to him. Sherlock’s whole attention was riveted on the television.


John eventually nudged him. It took three nudges before the detective seemed to come back to himself. “Sherlock… what’s the matter?”

“I was keeping quiet, John. Like you asked me to…” Sherlock actually seemed puzzled.

John sighed. “Sherlock...look, I know you don’t understand…”

“Actually, I understand more than I think you realize, John. I expect you’re feeling attachment issues…”

“That’s an interesting way of putting it, but...yes, I guess. It was my home for a long time. I've always been attached to the place, ever since I disembarked on my first deployment. Sherlock, Afghanistan is an amazing country. The light is like nothing else you've ever seen...The air...it tastes different, feels different, and if you can just get past the reason why we were there…”

“Yes, I can imagine a war does somewhat get in the way of one’s appreciation…”

For a moment John stared at him, then dissolved into giggles. “Damn it, you prat,” he wiped his eyes, still chuckling. “I meant...oh, forget what I meant…” Sherlock smiled back at him, a wide grin on his expressive mouth.

“You know I have been there, John. I do understand what you mean. I admit it was a brief visit; I was following through an investigation for my brother so I was only there a few days. Even so, the place is...incredible, really, underneath the conflict. The people… hospitable, welcoming, intelligent, proud too. The light was...how can light have a smell, John? The desert is parchment under sapphire; I’ve never seen skies that blue and clear before…”

“You actually do understand.” John sounded quite surprised.

“Of course I do. However, I was only there for a few days. You lived there for years. Although, it seems not to make much difference how long you stay for, the place has a way of holding on to you. It takes your heart strings and makes some kind of Gordian knot out of them. It’s no wonder you still have a deep connection to the place... What?"

"Just... you, Sherlock. Even after all this time, you can still surprise me, that's all. You act like you have no emotional understanding and then you show a sensitivity that far outweighs what you show to the outside world."

"Of course, John. I still have to retain some secrets. After all this time, I would have expected you to understand that. Besides..." Sherlock grinned, "can't have you getting bored with me."

John snorted. "Last time I looked, that wasn't my problem, Sherlock."

Sherlock's expression turned fond. "Well, it's not been a problem for me since I met you, John Watson. Does that..." Sherlock gestured to the television. "Does it disturb you, seeing it taken apart?"

"Not as much as I thought it might, really," John confessed. "I guess we all knew it would go sometime, it was never meant to be permanent and nobody wanted it to be, but still... it's odd, knowing how far I've come since then and knowing that a place that made me who I am has gone forever."

Sherlock nodded. "Thank you, then, for letting me share it."

"Well, for once, I was happy to, Sherlock. I haven't really had opportunity to share much about my past with you. You deduced everything you thought was important about me the moment you laid eyes on me. There didn't seem to be much point in volunteering any more. If you want to know something, you just...look at me and work it out."

"Forgive me if I've ever lead you to believe I didn't want more, John. I know I'm not the most...loquacious of men..."

John's eyebrows rose. "Of course not, Sherlock," he commented dryly. "Whatever would give anyone that idea?"

"Yes, well, being that way..." Sherlock paused, the sarcasm in John's tone a tad late in sinking in. "I was referring to my emotions, John. I don't discuss what I'm feeling very often, I just wanted you to understand, I..."

"I know, Sherlock. Really, I know. Sometimes..." John fell quiet for a moment. "Look, I don’t believe we’re either of us very good at this, Sherlock. Navigating the murky waters of what passes for our emotions is not what blokes do, after all."

"Am I a bloke, too, John?"

"Well, you might not be your average pub-going, sport-loving, lad-about-town but you're still a man..."

"Yes, but unlike Geoff Lest..."

"Greg, you berk. Don't tell me you don't know his first name by now..."

"...Greg, yes, him. Unlike Greg Lestrade, I'm not very good at that, John. Although, my personal consideration is that you are better at it than you give yourself credit for…”

John rose to his feet, sighed and then gave Sherlock one of those familiar close-mouthed smiles, with a warmth that lit his blue eyes with the depth of feeling he had for his mad genius flatmate. He switched off the television and headed for the kitchen.


Sherlock watched him go. "Thank you, yes. Tea would be good." Sherlock listened to the sounds of John making tea as they blended seamlessly with the familiar background noises of Sunday evening in Baker Street; the sounds of London traffic, muted even more as the evening wore on, Mrs Hudson still moving about downstairs, the general creaks and cracks of the house settling, the rain still hitting the windows, and Mrs Turner's daughter's dog, still barking through the walls. Into it all, John returned with the tea.

"There you go," John said, handing Sherlock a steaming mug. He stood for a moment as if deep in thought, then squared his shoulders, fixing his friend with a look. "Sherlock, far as I'm concerned, you're fine just the way you are, seeing the world the way you do, doing what you do. It's all fine. Maybe Bastion forged me, but that's my past. You're my future, Sherlock, here and now, but you know that. You solving crimes, me blogging about it, you…” John’s mouth curved into a smile again. “You forgetting your pants. All of that, it’s what we're about."

"I'll remind you of that when they refer to you as 'Bachelor, John Watson' in the papers again, shall I?"

John chuckled. "They can call me what they like, Sherlock, doesn't alter who I am."

"Of course not, John. It would take more than that to change you. Besides, I know exactly what you are, I don't need the papers to tell me, or a documentary for that matter. As you remarked, I only need look at you to work it out."

"Go on then. What am I, Sherlock?"

Sherlock regarded him for a moment, a slow smile blossoming on his expressive mouth. "I would have thought that was obvious, John. Yet again, you see but you do not observe."

John regarded him with fond exasperation. "Well? I'm sure you're going to share your expertise, aren't you, oh, Observant One?"

Sherlock smirked. "You're mine, of course."

John had to smile at that; broadly, and for a long, satisfying time.