AU - Teacher!John / Student!Sherlock
[ Regret ]
Sherlock sat at the back of the classroom, elbows bent, forearms dangling carelessly off of the front edge of his desk. He didn’t mean to stare; he couldn’t quite help it. The only time he was allowed to look at John was in class. So in class, he looked.
John had his head down over his desk, crowded close with another student’s, presumably one lagging behind from John’s previous class. The boy was tall and lanky and dark-haired and Sherlock felt an irrational flare of jealousy lick up his spine as he watched them laugh together. John flashed a winning smile and patted his student’s arm, and then the boy began to gather his things and stand.
John’s gaze met Sherlock’s briefly and all the light left it, replaced by a cold look that was still somehow burnt around the edges in warning fury, as if John were angry with himself for even accidentally catching Sherlock’s eye. Sherlock made an effort at a placating grin but only managed to stretch his mouth insincerely across his cheeks before dropping the expression altogether and burying his face in the crook of his arm.
It was going to be a very long semester.
He knew he wasn’t supposed to follow John. He knew that.
It was just that John was everything he wanted to see and to be around, and John wouldn’t talk to him and John didn’t look at him, and it was all Sherlock could do not to scream how much he loved John, right there in the middle of class.
The only thing that kept him from doing so was to allow himself the simple relief that came in watching John.
He watched John chatting with other professors in the car park after class. He watched John ordering coffee at the campus cafe. He watched John lick his lips as he listened to other students’ queries and he watched John fumble with the change in his pocket when he stopped to donate money to the student government’s charity drive.
Sherlock knew he wasn’t supposed to follow John, but if he didn’t, he was sure he’d do something else. Something much worse.
“Any questions, Mr. Holmes?” John paused in his lecture to glare at Sherlock over the tops of his glasses. “You’ve been quiet.”
Sherlock nearly jumped out of his own skin.
It was the first time John had spoken to him in weeks, the first time John had even acknowledged Sherlock’s existence, beyond a generous grade and vague comment on Sherlock’s assignments, since the day he’d told Sherlock to pretend they’d never made love.
Sherlock stared at John for a few more seconds. He wanted to bask in John’s attention, to savour it. He looked back into those empty eyes hovering over strict and thin lips curled into a sneer, lips that did nothing to resemble what they were when lust-reddened, helplessly pressed between Sherlock’s own. Sherlock wanted to enjoy it, this momentary reprieve from the silent treatment; but in the end, it only left him feeling empty and hollow.
“No, sir,” he said. “None at all.”
It was after that class that Sherlock decided he’d had enough.
He wouldn’t be able to concentrate here; he couldn’t stay. With his top marks and easy intelligence, he could transfer to any university he liked. He began filling out paperwork in earnest, uncaring as to where he would end up. As long as the name was big enough to satisfy his old money family, it was all the same to him.
He’d go anywhere that John wasn’t.
The entire process only took a few weeks, a month maybe. He was lucky enough to get his application in under the wire, and his obvious talents drew him open-armed reception from a large selection of universities across Europe and even America. He allowed his older brother to select for him; he didn’t have much of a preference beyond the idea that the further from London, the better. He finished his exams and packed quickly. His plane ticket and passport awaited him, along with his luggage, in the back seat of the most expensive car he’d ever seen. Mycroft really was sucking up to all the right people at work, he thought, amused despite himself.
All that was left was the note.
John threw a cheerful wave at his departing colleague and began piling his various papers, books, and other detritus from his desk. It was the last Friday of the term, and while he didn’t need to completely clear out his office, he’d rather start spring semester with a fresh workspace.
He paused in his rifling when he noticed a piece of notebook paper that he didn’t recognize. It was scrawled all over in spiky lettering, and his heart beat a bit faster than usual when he recognized the penmanship.
John sat down hard on his chair. He wasn’t sure he wanted to open it. He wasn’t sure he had any choice.
With trembling fingers, he unfolded the letter.
Dear John, it began. This is my goodbye.
John blew out a breath, and continued.
I can’t stay here and know you’re here too, breathing and laughing and going on without me. I tried, John. I tried to just be a student in a class with a professor that he fancies. I tried to find other things to distract me. I’ve never been very good at distractions, John. You were the only worthwhile distraction I’ve ever had.
I’m leaving this university. Please don’t feel guilty; I’m going to another one, a better one, or so my brother tells me, and he should know these things. I have to say goodbye, because I need you to know. I need you to know that I will never forget you.
The feeling of your skin under my lips, the smell of your neck, your hands on me, you inside me; I will never forget, and I don’t want to forget. I wouldn’t take back that night for anything, and I need you to know that because it’s killing me that I’m the only one who does.
I love you, John. Goodbye.
John put the letter facedown on his desk. He removed his glasses and exhaled shakily. So that was it, then, he thought. Sherlock was gone. He should be relieved, really. It’s for the best, all of it was for the best.
He pressed his fingers to his eyes and stayed quiet a long time. And if a tear escaped the left one, well, no one would ever be the wiser.
——- ——- ——-
Ficlet, once again, by the lovely and talented wearitcounts. She has kindly written ficlets for this little series, I can’t thank her enough!
You can read all the previous ones here.
I feel honored that she wanted to write for these set of gifs and I cannot wait to collab with her again :D