Author's Note – Another chance to practice my het romances. I tend to prefer f/f or m/m to m/f romances, and I know I cannot stagnate as an author. So, here's my chance to practice my heterosexual romance and have fun with my favorite couple. The twist to this is that John is a girl in it! I kind of like the idea and decided to have fun while forcing myself to practice. This is actually one of my first times to gender-bend a character, and my inspiration for this has been written by the wonderful OleanderHoney on AO3. I hope she approves of this one!
This will be a tad OOC for John truthfully, but I am playing with certain situations in hopes of making the ending that much sweeter.
Disclaimer – I do not own "Sherlock" and no money is made from this tale! I just love tormenting the characters for my own amusement.
Chapter One – The Doctor Meets the Detective
Johanna Watson sighed as she stepped out of her therapist's office. She had been seeing Ella for her PTSD since returning from Afghanistan, and it felt like a complete waste of time. Nothing the therapist suggested seemed to be working, and it was almost frustrating to know she was devoting so much time to a treatment plan that was utter shite. A large part of her was ready to fire the woman and find another therapist in order to keep up with the guidelines of her discharge and pension.
She sighed again, leaning on her cane as she headed out of the office. Ella had commented that nothing seemed to break through the cool, detached surface that Johanna surrounded herself with and had ordered that she try the blog again. In the doctor's mind, the blog was a colossal waste of time since nothing happened to her and the therapist really had no idea what the cause of her issues were. What was she supposed to write about? Her nightmares? The days that went by without anything to spark her interest? Was she to write about how her dreams, the few she had cherished since childhood, had been destroyed?
No, there was no way Johanna could do such a thing. It was difficult enough to face all of these issues on her own, and she knew that sharing her thoughts with strangers was an impossibility. If there was one thing the physician would not do was complain about her issues where the outside world could poke and prod at her vulnerabilities.
The former military woman slipped outside, moving carefully to the Tube's entrance so she could head back to the bedsit. She was too strapped to take a cab today, which meant relying on public transportation. Her blue eyes watched the people around her, biting back a sigh as each individual seemed to notice everything but her.
That was another thing that didn't seem to change as time went by, no matter how often she'd wished for it when she was younger. People seemed to overlook her when she was not in her comfortable settings – surgery or in the field. Johanna knew she wasn't a beauty or even one of those unique kinds of individuals that seemed to garner the attention of everyone around her.
Her father had often called her his 'ugly duckling' and had promised that she would grow into the swan like the duckling in the story had been. When she was a child, she would curl into his side and let his warmth chase away her sorrows from the horrible teasing of her sister and school mates as well as the ever growing disappointment of a mother that had wanted two gorgeous daughters. Johanna had stopped waiting for that transformation long ago and had spent her time immersed in her studies and a few choice sports that had drawn her attention.
The blue eyed woman didn't consider herself ugly, but she knew she fell short of being called beautiful. Johanna had schooled herself harshly in regards to trying to feel disappointment over it and continually worked on her hobbies as well as improving her mind where she could. As long as she had her books, she didn't mind being overlooked as a potential mate. If the men around her didn't appreciate her intelligence and talents, then they were just out of luck.
She approached the tube's entrance and shook her head, trying to regain control of her thoughts. A very large part of her did not want to go home, knowing the temptation that lay locked within a drawer. Her state of mind was too imbalanced to risk that right now so she decided to get a bit more exercise, heading towards the park near the hospital she had put so many hours in during her training.
When she turned a corner in the gardens of the park, a voice reached her ears and made her pause.
"Johanna Watson, is that you?"
The doctor turned, mind racing for a moment before the changed face looked familiar to her. She gave him a gentle smile, moving towards him as she addressed the man.
"Mike Stamford, it is good to see you."
The heavyset male got up, extending a hand towards her. His smile was just as kind and open as it had been during their university days, and Johanna was so pleased to see that.
"How are you doing? What have you been up to these days?"
"Well enough, I suppose," she answered him. "I was invalided out of the military so am trying to find a way to center myself and get used to civilian life again. How about you?"
"Doing well, doing well. Married now, with kids, and working over at Bart's these days as a teacher of the bright young minds of tomorrow. God, I hate them. I'm sorry to hear you were injured," Mike shared, looking at his friend. "Are you in London temporarily or looking to stay?"
"I'd like to stay," Johanna admitted. "However, living in London is well beyond my means and the place I'm living at is a cramped hellhole. Army pension doesn't pay enough for me to remain in town."
"I suppose Harry's place is still out of the question?"
She sighed, rubbing her forehead with her free hand. Mike had met her sister during their time in university and knew firsthand what a rotten bitch Harry was. He'd also gotten to meet their mother and had quickly quipped to Johanna later that he knew where Harry had gotten that nasty attitude from. It hadn't helped ease the horror and shame she'd felt, but he'd not held her family against her. She's been very grateful for that.
"She's gotten worse over the years so yeah, her place is a definite no-go. Same as returning to my family's house."
"Have you thought about getting a flatshare?"
The blond shook her head, hand moving to cover the one that rested on the cane.
"I'm not a good candidate for it; I mean, who'd want me as a flatmate?"
The response was not something Johanna had expected, and she gave him a keen look when he started laughing.
"What's so funny?"
"Oh Johanna, you are the second person to ask me that very same question today. Come with me," he instructed, knowing her curiosity would lead her to follow him into the hospital he worked at.
The hospital where the two friends had trained was certainly different now, she observed. It had a more modern feel to it thanks to the renovations and the advanced technology that was available to be seen and used by the staff. When she commented on how things had changed, Mike only laughed and agreed.
"Why are we going to the morgue," Johanna asked, recognizing where they were going.
"That's where the chap is I want you to meet," Mike answered. "He's usually down here to run tests and the like."
Well, there were worse places to run tests so the woman said nothing bad about it and simply followed her friend into a small lab near the main area of the morgue.
"Mike, may I borrow your mobile?"
Johanna blinked when she heard the deep voice address her companion, rocking for a moment when she had realized it had come from the skinny man behind the microscope. She couldn't see much of him considering his head was down, and it was hard to get any sort of description on him beyond dark hair, skinny appearance, and deep voice.
"I've not got it with me," Mike said sheepishly after searching his pockets. "I left it in my jacket back in my office. Landline works though."
"I prefer to text," the man responded and Johanna moved, fishing the phone her sister had given her out of her coat pocket. She took a step forward, holding the device out.
"You're welcome to borrow mine."
She froze when he looked up and assessed her, which was a first for her. Most people never really saw her, and this man was taking the time to really get a good look at her. Johanna knew she wasn't much to look at: inexpensive clothing that was ill-fitting due to her weight loss during her injury and subsequent illnesses that followed, dirty-blond hair worn in a short cut, and her plain features that simply showed the signs of stress, pain, and illness. The gaze only lasted a few moments, but it seared her right to the core.
"Afghanistan or Iraq," he asked, eyes going down to her mobile as he swiftly typed a message.
"Afghanistan," Johanna answered, a bit taken aback by the question. "How did you know?"
"Do you have any problems with the violin?"
"No," she began, a bit baffled and trying to keep up with his thought processes. How had he jumped from where her last assignment had been to a musical instrument?
"I play the violin at odd hours when I'm thinking and am prone to going days without speaking as well. Potential flatmates should know the worst about each other."
Johanna quickly caught up, tired as she was, and watched him carefully as she responded.
"I'm pretty much non-communicative if I don't have my cup of tea first thing in the morning," she began. "Since you know where I was last stationed, then you should know that the time there left its mark on me in more ways than one. You'll need to tread with care some days, but I'll try to give some signal if I'm having an off day. Since you've brought up the idea of sharing a flat, I assume you know what you're getting into by considering me as a potential flatmate?"
He blinked at that, a bit surprised but pleased that she'd responded like this. Apparently, she had more potential than he'd originally thought.
"Are you speaking of the PTSD or something entirely different?"
"I brought the first issue up a few moments ago," she replied. "The second issue is gender oriented."
"That should not present a problem," Sherlock answered, tilting his head a bit as he picked up his scarf to tie it around his neck.
Mike snickered at that, knowing full well what his friend was referring to. Sherlock was going to be in for a shock if Johanna did move into the flat with him. He waved a hand when the smaller doctor gave him a look.
She slid her mobile back into her pocket, limping towards the tall male as she questioned him.
"Have you been around women more than a few weeks?"
"Not really," he admitted, watching her with what looked to be fascination. "Why do you ask?"
"The worst I get is one week out of the month when hormones are an issue," Johanna replied, standing in front of him. Being a doctor, mentioning this issue wasn't as embarrassing as it could be but his attitude towards her PTSD indicated that he may be able to handle the once a month female issue without a problem.
"I have not been around women for a great length of time, outside of my mother," he told her. "I suppose we shall see how it goes."
"You did say we needed to be open regarding potential problems," she said to him.
"That I did," he agreed. "Are you free to view the flat now?"
"I am," Johanna said to him. "I'm Johanna Watson," she introduced herself, holding her hand out to him.
"Sherlock Holmes," he said, taking her hand for a brief moment. "If you'll wait a few moments, I need to retrieve my riding crop from the morgue."
She shook her head, wondering just how crazy this man was and then pondering her own sanity by her agreement to view a flat with him. The small woman shrugged, following him out of the lab and into the morgue.
The silence between them was easy, lasting until Sherlock flagged a cab. She settled herself as comfortable as possible before looking at her potential flatmate.
"Given the question you asked me earlier, I take it you're some kind of genius or really good at observing people."
"Both," the curly haired male answered. "You stand at parade rest when you come to a stop and watch the room you are in rather carefully. You took time to position yourself to watch everyone while ensuring your back was not to the door. This is an indicator of your time in the military, especially indicative of the fact that you spent enough time in a war zone to build this habit. Your skin is tanned in the areas where a shirt does not cover but is pale above the wrists. This is not typical of sunbathing so you were in a desert area during part of your time in the military."
He drew a breath and continued on with the explanation of his observations. The detective was not quite certain how the woman would react to words he was sharing.
"You mentioned to Stamford that things had changed since you were last here and the familiarity with which he treated you indicates that you both were in uni together as well as spending your residency and training at St. Bart's. Given your time in the military, you were a surgeon until you were invalided out due to a shoulder wound.
"You could have stayed with your brother but decided not to due to his drinking issues as well as the way he treats you and his ex-wife."
"How did you know about the drinking," Johanna asked. The drinking problem her sister had was only part of the reason as to why she wouldn't ask her only sibling for help. Harry had thrown it at her in a rage after she'd inquired to the whereabouts of her former sister-in-law as the doctor had not been told about the split up. Johanna had been told to keep it and if her financial situation had been better, she wouldn't be using it at all.
"Your mobile has scratches near the charge port," he explained. "Even drunk, a person will automatically hook their mobile up to charge at night. The hands shake, leaving the marks on the phone. You always see those scratches on the mobile of an intoxicated individual but never on the one that belongs to a sober male."
"Incredible," she breathed out, shaking her head.
"You think so," he asked, looking over at her with those unusually colored eyes.
"I do, and you're nearly spot on. However, Harry is short for Harriet."
Sherlock frowned, fist clenching for a moment as he processed what he'd been told. It was obvious he did not like having missed the gender of the subject he had been speaking about.
"Sister instead of a brother. There's always something I miss."
"Don't feel bad," she told him. "You did remarkably well on the other things, and Harry is usually a male name. I've never seen anyone read that much detail from my appearance or a mobile before."
"You're the first to say anything nice about it. It's not the response I usually get."
"What is the response you get?"
He gave her an amused look when he answered the question she'd put to him.
Johanna bit back a laugh, realizing that most people would be unnerved by someone picking up that much information simply by looking at them.
"I had wondered what it was you'd seen when you looked at me."
Any question he may have regarding that comment was cut off when the cab arrived at its destination.
"221 Baker Street," the cabbie announced and Johanna exited the vehicle, digging in her pocket for her wallet. She was forestalled by Sherlock handing the driver a wad of bills before gesturing to the door.
"Welcome to Baker Street, Dr. Watson."
Author's End Note - I hope everyone enjoyed this. I've planned for quite a few stories in this universe so hopefully things will go well. Please let me know what you think of it, and I shall see you next chapter! Laran