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Sherlock - The Thing with Feathers
Every day, Sherlock watched him. Every day he studied the fine golden hairs that captured the classroom’s fluorescent light so brilliantly. Every day he swept his eyes down the length of smooth, well muscled neck and along the boy’s broad shoulders, imagining laying a palm on the sun tanned expanse of skin just to feel a tingle of human warmth. Every day he caught the boy gazing out the window; his face soft with sadness, his mouth just barely slackened as though he was staring into some other place, some better place—only to be wrenched back to the present by the professor’s dreary questions. His eyes seemed blue at first, but as Sherlock studied them more carefully he noticed a steely grey beneath the blue that made the boy’s eyes seem unfathomably deep. Gazing into them was like standing on a boat in the middle of the sea and looking down into the wild, shimmering, infinite depths. It was unbearably beautiful, but also terribly overwhelming, and threatened to wake the emotions Sherlock had stifled so well for so long.
Every day, the boy fiddled with his pen, lightly touching the tip to his wrist so that his skin was constantly marked with inky constellations. Sherlock watched as the boy flexed the fingers of his left hand beneath his desk, watched the boy’s fingers tremble slightly as they rested on his lap. He noticed the brief flicker of pink each time the boy swept his tongue absently along his bottom lip.
And felt warm, too warm, under his regulation button down and blazer. Felt the sudden heat blooming on his prominent cheekbones, certain that his blushing was terribly obvious against the pallor of his skin. He would tear his gaze from the boy and glare at his textbook with utter resolution, determined to maintain his cold dignity and composure. But it was no good, because the boy always seemed to notice when Sherlock’s eyes were no longer resting on him. He would turn to look at Sherlock with an unsmiling expression, his eyes burning a bright blue, making Sherlock feel as though his very soul was being examined. He despised this, the feeling that his faults and flaws and weaknesses were on display.
Yet the boy never looked at him with disgust and distaste, like everyone else on the godforsaken earth. He would stare into Sherlock’s eyes for moment, brow furrowed, tongue peeking from between his lips, looking for all the world like someone trying to solve an infinite mystery. He was in a way, Sherlock thought in the quiet moments each night before sleep overtook him. The boy had no idea that Sherlock was so devastatingly complicated, shut off from everything but his sharp observations. The boy couldn’t possibly know that Sherlock had been raised in an icy, acerbic family with no regard for human feelings. He couldn’t grasp the dark rage buried in Sherlock, couldn’t know that Sherlock’s wonder and worldly innocence had rotted away long before he got the chance to truly appreciate them.
But the boy did seem to understand that Sherlock was not the untouchable, marble being he made himself out to be. And that was more than anyone else had ever been able to comprehend, which made the boy dangerously fascinating.
Sometimes, Sherlock envisioned a friendship between them, but he quickly discarded the idea. It would end in pain. That was how it was with Sherlock, how it had always been.
It was just like the audiences of his mother’s supercilious friends that gathered to hear him play the violin. They smiled and nodded like old wind up dolls during the performance, watching him with approval. They stayed for the swelling crescendos and breath-catching trills, bestowing him with a burst of polite applause after the last ringing note. But then, when he drew his bow away from the violin and let it hang limply at his side, their glassy smiles faded and they would not meet his eyes. He watched them retreat into the sitting room for tea; coldly detached, thinking that someday he would meet someone who wouldn’t leave him when the song was over. He would meet someone who would stay with him through the silence, not needing to be impressed, not needing him to prove anything.
Bitterly, Sherlock laid his violin on the sofa and went to his room, hating the treacherous toil of being alive.
Everyone would leave him. Everyone.
Expect, perhaps, for the boy in his history class, with the golden hair and burning eyes and calm determination. There was something different about him, something a bit extraordinary. He was a greater mystery than any Sherlock had solved so far, an impenetrable enigma, a puzzle that stuck in Sherlock’s thoughts like a blade.
Every day, Sherlock watched him. Every day, he devoured the boy with his eyes, filled with a feeling that words could never describe.
He would call it hope.