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Floriography Lessons 
19th-Mar-2010 11:47 am
Oh God What the Fuck

In response to this prompt. "I want Watson to COURT HOLMES."
So a few days ago I did not write fanfiction at all, now suddenly there is time-travelling crack, angsty PTSD darkfic, and now, disgraceful schmoop. Do you understand the title of my journal now?

Floriography Lessons.

"It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers." -- The Advenure of the Naval Treaty.

“Holmes, do you happen to have studied floriography at all?”

I raised an eyebrow. “No, Watson. While as a sentimental preoccupation of the bourgeoisie the so-called ‘language of flowers’ is unbearably trite, still  I suppose, as a species of code language it does have some points of interest. But it has yet to feature in any criminal case in which I have been involved.”

He looked touchingly crestfallen. “Then the nuances of this will be quite lost on you,” he said. And with a little cough he produced a small bouquet from behind his back and, with a slight bow, presented it to me.

“Ah.” I took the posy. I could hardly not accept it. I stood there, holding it awkwardly in both hands.    “This is... charming, Watson.”

“You like flowers,” he reminded me, shyly. He had gone an endearing shade of pink.

I do. And no one has ever given them to me before. Nevertheless, I was in some perplexity. I looked at them, and then around the room. “What should I... ah...?”

“You should put it in a vase.”

“Of course. Do we have a vase?”  

We do not seem to have a vase. I examined my chemistry table and decided I could do without my largest glass retort until the flowers wilted. I was arranging them, feeling thoroughly self-conscious, when he came and laid his arm around my waist.

“Lily-of-the-valley,” he told me, “Signifies trust. Orchids mean that I think you’re... um... beautiful. And the asters are to suggest love and constancy.”

“Oh.” God help me, now I was blushing too. “Well, that is, very... interesting.”

He took my face in his hands and, very gently, almost reverently, kissed me. It was somehow the most ardent and yet the purest kiss I have ever received. For a moment I felt like an extremely overwhelmed and rather virginal seventeen-year-old.

“Shall we do something depraved on the hearth-rug?” I suggested brightly.

“No! That is... no. Not yet. I thought we might... go out to dinner.”

 “Well, if you’re hungry, then by all means.”

So we went to Marcini’s, and aside from some furtively amorous glances over the wine it was quite like old times, though I noticed he kept urging me towards more elaborate dishes than we usually select. It was only when he tried to pay the bill in full that my bemusement spilled over into irritation.

“Watson,” I demanded. “What are you doing?”

At least he did not affect not to understand me.  He reached out and stroked a fingertip over my hand. “I want to do this... properly.”

I had to wait until we were out of the restaurant to continue the conversation safely. Once we were outside and searching for a cab I hissed, “How does one conduct a highly illegal liaison properly?”

“That is what I’m trying to work out,” he replied, with dignity.

“Look, I know this is all very new to you, and it is understandable you should turn to more familiar modes of behaviour. But you cannot model this relationship on some - some romantic interlude at a debutantes’ ball! And for heaven’s sake, even if you could, why am I the young lady?”

He looked startled. “I didn’t mean to imply...”

“Oh, didn’t you,” I said darkly. “Now, do listen to reason, dear boy. Courtship, which is what you seem to be attempting here, is a type of persuasion. One undertakes it in order to achieve favours not yet won. To achieve sex, to put it bluntly, whether in or out of wedlock. I do not wish to disillusion you, but marriage being out of the question  I believe I have already given you most of what is on offer.”

“You are wrong,” he said. “I mean, about the purpose of romance. There is more to it than that.”

“Oh, is there?”

“Yes. To try to make the person you care for... happy.”

I opened my mouth, and then found myself shutting it again. So there was nothing for it but take the man home, tear off his clothes and do unspeakable things to him for hours and hours.

 *  *  *

Having put quite some care and energy into that encounter, I think it was reasonable to hope I might have cured him of his ridiculous notions. And a few days did indeed pass in what I consider a far more sensible manner for two grown men who are friends and colleagues and happen to be sleeping with each other.

Then he brought me chocolates. I am wholly exasperated.

“You don’t need to do all of this,” I told him.

“You are eating them,” he pointed out.

“That is not the point!” I exclaimed indistinctly around an unfortunately chewy mouthful of nougat. “If you want to make me happy, you do it all the time, with the exception of those times when I am incapable of happiness. And you see to it that those times are far, far rarer than they would have been without you. You have been doing it for years. Before you had the slightest idea what else I felt for you. You achieve all this by doing nothing except being here. By being, at all, actually. That is quite enough.”

“Well,” said he, smiling. “Now you get extras.”

I wish he would stop saying things that leave me speechless, it is not a sensation to which I am at all accustomed.

"And even taking your cynical view that one only makes romantic gestures in order to get something, if I get declarations like that out of it, you'll own I have not done too badly. I call that pretty good going, for a box of chocolates.”

I was no closer to finding a serviceable reply.

Still smiling, he tilted his head to one side and surveyed me in the most smugly provoking way. “I rather like it when you are flustered,” he said.  “It is not something many people get to see.”



So that’s your game is it, Watson? Well, two can play. I have purchased a book on floriography and my studies progress apace. I am going out to the florists and I shall return bearing gifts of orange-blossom meaning sex and coriander meaning lust and maybe a cactus...

Oh, fine, and maybe some red roses. If I find myself in an uncharacteristically sentimental mood, I may even scatter them over his pillow.


28th-Mar-2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
maybe a cactus...

You are made of utter, brilliant WIN.
29th-Mar-2010 01:20 am (UTC)
Thank you!

12th-Apr-2010 06:11 am (UTC)
This is delightful in all ways.
22nd-Apr-2010 07:12 pm (UTC) - It is lovely
Watson is very lovely in the story, image he court Holmes, I want see Holmes face, did not know how could he react.
28th-May-2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, this is so, so adorable.
28th-May-2010 10:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
28th-May-2010 10:10 pm (UTC) - Re: My Icon Bows to this Story
*is still in state of crazy glee at being read by fic-writing hero*

Haha. "Look, pansies!" I know what that's from. I smiling at the memory of a line from that only yesterday.

Holmes. Holmes, Holmes, you are so clueless and so adorable, anyone would buy you flowers and dinner and chocolates and teddy bears and beach vacations and pretty pretty diamonds and pina coladas and sexy dressing gowns and caricatures done in bad watercolor and name stars after you in the registry, JUST TO SEE YOUR FACE.

Exactly! Discombobulated!Holmes is my favourite flavour of Holmes, especially if Watson is the one doing the discombulating. Which sometimes means inflicting horrendous angst on them both, but sometimes it can mean flowers and chocolates.
29th-May-2010 01:25 pm (UTC)
I know that when Katie sends me a rec at 2:30 in the morning, it'll clearly be worth reading sooner than immediately, and of course she was right. This was sweet, adorable AND hilarious, an absolutely perfect start to the weekend. The last few lines are my favorite part--Sherlock Holmes is the world's biggest softie, for all his bluster, and of COURSE Mr. "God is in the roses" would be unable to resist :) D'awwwww, *Holmes*.
30th-May-2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was such fun to write. And I love that "God in the roses" bit so much, it's such a lovely thought and so appallingly illogical, and comes so intriguingly out of nowhere.
31st-May-2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
This is entirely hilarious and lovely and great! <3!
4th-Jun-2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
6th-Jul-2010 02:01 am (UTC)
This is fantastic!
10th-Jul-2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
And yet more brilliance. *sigh* I think that's all of them, alas. I shall just have to wait for more. Angst or crack, you write them both wonderfully!
18th-Jul-2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
“Shall we do something depraved on the hearth-rug?” I suggested brightly.

Ahahahaha! This is the GOOD crack. Charming and funny.
12th-Aug-2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
This is delightful!
16th-Sep-2010 01:05 am (UTC)
Awwwww! Awwww! This is charming. I love your brand of schmoop.
25th-Sep-2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, Watson, you sneaky romantic piece of work. <3 Love speechless!Holmes. I'm somewhat fascinated by floriography (although less general accounts of which flowers means what tend to contradict each other) so this was a very delightful read.
31st-Jan-2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
Awww. This is all too sweet! I love their charming clumsiness and trickery (flowers in a glass retort, this is priceless). Go Watson, show him how it's done!
10th-Mar-2011 08:34 am (UTC) - sorry...
Uhh, I guess it's not really normal to post right after my previous comment but I must say that by now I've read this for approximately the 43th time, and every time my grin gets wider. There should be much, much more courting!Watson (or courting!Holmes) fics.
Oh, fine, and maybe some red roses. If I find myself in an uncharacteristically sentimental mood, I may even scatter them over his pillow.
I WANT THIS. That is, Holmes giving Watson red roses. *daydreams*
6th-Jun-2011 08:41 am (UTC) - Love love love
I love this fic from beginning to end, every flowery instant to it.
I love the fact that Holmes likes flowers (he totally does) and that he lectures Watson about bringing him chocolates while eating said chocolates.

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