I started here: http://snogandagrope.tumblr.com/post/73218819172/sorion-leandraholmes-sorion-yaycoffee

But then this meta went so far beyond that that I decided to make it its own.

After John found out about Mary’s lies, Sherlock did NOT vehemently make his approval known.  He did something even better than that.

He provided John with all the information he needed to make his choice for himself, and then he offered his support to John in whatever decision he wanted to make, and then he stepped back.

Once Sherlock found out about Mary, he set up a scenario where John would find out everything about Mary without anyone’s emotional baggage weighing in on the issue.  Mary’s truth is presented to John in the form of facts: she is/was a professional killer; she deliberately did not do her best to kill Sherlock; she loves John so much that she would do absolutely ANYTHING to protect him and their relationship.

And then, back at Baker Street, he brought John face to face with his own emotional truth.  He laid out the underpinnings of John’s psychology so that John would be forced to confront his own issues as they affected his decision, so that John’s own hangups would not influence this decision for him.

But he did not attempt to press John back toward Mary.  In fact, exactly the opposite: “What is she, here and now?”  He forced John backwards, away from her and any kind of emotional investment, to accept her as a client—the most objective, neutral thing a person could possibly be to John, who after all has learned Sherlock’s methods of analyzing clients in unemotional objectivity.  He makes John disengage as completely as possible (“Your way, Sherlock, always your way”), which simultaneously allows John to process what he’s learned about Mary from an uninvolved standpoint, AND gives John a solid emotional place to stand after the rug of his life has been yanked out from under him—in solidarity with Sherlock.  If Mary is a client, then by definition John and Sherlock are together.  Sherlock is there.

And then John took MONTHS to think it over.  Sherlock waited with him, on that I think we can be absolutely sure.  Although apparently he saw Mary at points (she refers to him giving her the silent treatment, which implies that they must’ve been around each other enough for it to show), personally I think John probably largely stayed at Baker Street for that time (the chair coming back was meant to insinuate this, as John said himself; “Why does Sherlock think I’ll be moving back…?”).  

In keeping with the neutrality with which he presented Mary’s truth to John, I think Sherlock probably approached that entire time period in the same way.  He provided John with every truth, insight, and offer of support that would allow John to make the best, most informed decision.  But he never attempted to push John in the direction of a decision.

HE WANTED JOHN TO HAVE THAT FREEDOM.  It was very important to him that John be able to make his choice on who to have in his life based on full knowledge and disclosure, and based on John’s own needs and reasons.

Sherlock can be a horrible dick, but he can also be a very good friend.

What’s more, I don’t think John ever chose Mary OVER Sherlock.  He didn’t need to; neither Sherlock nor Mary ever made it an either/or proposition.  And they could have, very easily.  Hell, if Mary really wanted Sherlock out of the way, she could have just killed him.  But she asked him to keep his mouth shut, because she knows Sherlock is devastatingly important to John and she would rather throw herself on Sherlock’s dubious mercy and keep him for John than kill him.  And Sherlock…Mary SHOT him.  If Sherlock had wanted to, he had the power and knowledge to influence John and summarily get Mary not only booted out of John’s life, but also probably arrested and extradited.

But neither of them did.  They were so, so, SO very careful to keep John from ever having to choose between them.  They both wanted him to have them both.

And John never does choose between them.  He falls back on the support of one, and then the other, as the situation requires—as is healthy in a functional support network!  Mary is presented to us as John’s pressure point, but Sherlock isn’t.  But why does that necessarily have to do with the amount of his love for either of them?  From John’s perspective, Mary is the one in a vulnerable position.  She is in danger from CAM, she is pregnant, she is his wife (and, let’s face it, John’s got a touch of the old-fashioned sexist chivalry; she’s a woman, and he’s a man, and it’s supposed to be his job to protect her).  Meanwhile, from John’s perspective, Sherlock is basically fucking invincible.  He came back from the damn DEAD; John is convinced he can do ANYTHING.  He does not see Sherlock as being substantially in danger from CAM (probably rightfully so), and therefore Sherlock is not a pressure point.

In fact…let’s revisit the moment when John confronts himself on screen at CAM’s house…and the fact that he is in fact Sherlock’s greatest weakness.  He looks shocked, and almost horrified.  He WANTS Sherlock to be invincible, impervious, and to realize that HE is the lever with which Sherlock can be brought to heel…  He stares, aghast, at Sherlock’s terrified face on that screen as he pulls John from the fire, shouting his name.  He can’t look away.  Until this moment, he did not TRULY understand how deep Sherlock’s feelings ran for him…and when he’s forced to see it, he’s not sure he likes it.


And I think that’s not because John is uncomfortable with Sherlock’s feelings for him—REMEMBER THE DRUNK SCENE FROM TSOT—but because he really, really needs Sherlock to be untouchable right now, for all their sakes.  Remember the Fall?  ”Alone protects me,” Sherlock said, and John rebuked him, “Friends protect each other.”  But they don’t, they don’t, and John is seeing that on screen in front of him.  HE IS SHERLOCK’S DOWNFALL.  He’s horrified at himself, being Sherlock’s pressure point, and he’s staring at the proof.

And then, then, the (near-)fatal goodbye.  Does anybody need reminding of how fiercely stoic John is?  Of how much Sherlock hates being emotional?  Look at their body language!  They have imposed a strict amount of space between them over which they dare not so much as sway—and that happens when people need that physical space to buffer themselves emotionally.  Their hands are kept firmly behind their backs, lest they reach out to one another in an unguarded moment.  They keep looking away from one another, which is a classic sign of being emotionally overwhelmed, especially in repressed people.  When it’s not written anywhere else on your body, it’s in your eyes, and so you hide them.  THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY.  Because how can you say goodbye, forever, to the person you love?  John is not untouched.  He’s completely at a loss.  There’s nothing he can do here, and it happened for his sake, and he and Sherlock—neither of them knows how to reach out beyond their emotional walls to address everything that’s between them without completely fucking losing it.

You want a comparison?  Check out John at Sherlock’s grave, before he breaks down because there are no witnesses and at last he can let go.  So private in his grief that even we the viewers can’t see it beyond his darkened reflection and his hand over his face.  THAT is how intensely stoic John Watson is.

You want another comparison?  Check out their conversation at the end of Study in Pink, the way they’re standing, looking at each other (or not), and moving around.  If you don’t believe me, flip through these screencaps to watch it again for yourself: http://crime.grande-caps.net/gallery/displayimage.php?album=616&pid=455094#top_display_media

And if you have any further doubts, WHY DO YOU THINK WE GOT THE DRUNK SCENE in TSOT?  Both of them plastered enough to, for once, let down every guard and wall, and slosh into a happy puddle together with stars in their eyes.  At every moment of every day of his life that John is standing next to Sherlock, under that ferociously British stiff upper lip, THAT is the look John’s heart is directing at Sherlock.  In case you need a reminder:


So yes, it’s a shame the episode didn’t take a bit more time to remind us of John’s perspective on everything, but it is absolutely there.  We already have it.  It’s not just Sherlock, and it’s not hopeless pining!Sherlock, and it’s not uncaring John or John picking Mary over Sherlock or any of that.  Sherlock and John adore the fuck out of each other mutually, and now they both have a thorough understanding of just how deep it goes.

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