Author's Note: That's it, I'm going to flunk out this semester, I can tell already, haha. My head is filled with one thing and one thing only. Anyhow, this is just a little character sketch/useless drabble. I might do a companion piece which entails all the things Sherlock knows about John - haven't decided yet. Let me know what you think, please - I know nothing actually happens in this fic, but it was so absolutely enjoyable to write that I'd really like to do a second if you'd all be interested. Finally, the format of this story may or may not *embarrassed smile* be based on a song by Taylor Swift. I didn't want to admit it, but I suppose I've gotta give credit where credit is due. Okay okay, enough - please enjoy and give me some constructive feedback : )
John Watson had learned a great many things during his tenancy at 221B Baker Street. He had learned how to dust for fingerprints; he had learned how to play a little violin; he had learned that finding a small intestine in the refrigerator would immediately and completely quash any desire he might previously have entertained for a bologna sandwich. Of these new found skills and revelations, some were useful and some were not – some were downright disturbing. But the subject by which the good doctor found himself most intrigued was his own flatmate. John supposed he had taken up his study of Sherlockology the moment he'd laid eyes on the man in the lab at St. Bartholomew's, and he was still diligently compiling his knowledge base and strengthening his observational skills – all the better to catch each and every captivating detail.
By this – the eve of his third-year anniversary at Baker Street, John Watson could perhaps have answered any question concerning his best friend. From the most mundane to the most complex, John Watson was a Sherlock encyclopedia. If you were to ask him, for instance, what Sherlock liked to eat for breakfast, John would tell you that his friend did not particularly like to eat anything, but would most likely tolerate an English muffin with blackberry jam – only if the muffin was lightly toasted, the jam was seedless, and his day was not going to be a particularly busy one.
Or, let's say you asked kind Dr. Watson what color Sherlock's eyes were. Well, anyone might tell you they're grey. But only John could tell you, with heavy reliance on absurd metaphors, what exact shade of grey they were … or that they turned a pale robins-egg-blue when Sherlock was relaxed or relatively happy, or a faded sea-foam-green in very, very intense sunlight.
John Watson could tell you – if you were to ask – that Sherlock only slept when he absolutely needed to – and oftentimes not even then, if he were in the middle of a particularly interesting case. But the one thing that put Sherlock to sleep, never fail, was a thunderstorm. Some steady rain on the roof, a low grumble of thunder, and Sherlock was as helpless as an infant. John had once caught the great detective facedown in an experiment, once in the armchair with the violin resting on his chest – and more than once, in the middle of a relentlessly grueling case, John had prayed for foul weather just so that his weary friend might get some much-needed rest.
John Watson could tell you the scent of Sherlock's cologne, and the scent of Sherlock when he had been too busy to bother with cologne. He could tell you what Sherlock smelled like pre-shower, post-shower, in the spring, in the winter, after it rained, before he went to bed, and after a nap.
If you were to ask John Watson what went on in Sherlock's brain, he would purse his lips and bunch his funny eyebrows and answer that while he wasn't entirely sure, he knew that the contents of his friends' head were approximately sixty percent fact – useless knowledge only he knew how to put to good use; twenty percent curiosity – the motivation for gathering more useless knowledge; ten percent concentration – not on all that knowledge, but on everyday social graces and on remembering to brush his teeth daily; and that the remaining ten percent was filled with monsters. John could not be certain in what form Sherlock's monsters appeared to him, but he knew they were greedy, self-destructive little buggers with whom Sherlock was constantly at war.
If you were to ask John Watson, conversely, about the goings-on in Sherlock's heart, John would have only one word: passion. Perhaps not many would think the word appropriate for such a seemingly cold and detached individual, but John knew better. Whether it be for his work, for his fierce protection of Mrs. Hudson, for the attainment of ever more dizzying heights of genius, or perhaps – just perhaps – for love of a certain army-doctor-turned-friend, Sherlock's wild and weak heart was filled to bursting with violent passion.
John could tell you that Sherlock was born on the thirteenth of November, making him a Scorpio. He could tell you that Sherlock – though the man himself would never admit to such a foolish notion – had a favorite color, and that color was a tie between deep amethyst and midnight blue.
John Watson could tell you that Sherlock loved classical music, but if he was in one of his moods – and they were few and far between – if he was in one of his frustrating, dreamy, intangible moods, he would listen to jazz. Sherlock Holmes would lay the length of his long frame on the sofa, fold his hands over his lean abdomen, close his eyes and listen to slow, deep jazz. The kind with a throaty female singer accompanied by a cautious piano and soft drums like waves, coming and going, and cresendoeing to terrifying heights of delight. Unexpected chord progressions and moments of dazzling purity and insight.
John had spent one breathless evening, some months back, observing his friend in one of these moods. He noted the way Sherlock's brow would crease and smooth at random intervals of tension and resolution in the melody; how the corner of Sherlock's mouth would twitch delightfully at particularly poignant turns of lyric; how he would sigh and clench his fingers tight, as if attempting to hold on to something obviously fleeting and lovely. It was at times like these when John Watson knew for certain that his own beloved detective was not, in fact, incapable of that grand emotion which so many liked to deny him. No, John knew, Sherlock was perfectly capable of love at its deepest, darkest, most passionate center. He might never have felt it before, he might not know what it looked or tasted like, and he might never allow it to touch him the way a good normal person might, but he could do it, if he so chose. He felt it, and the possibility was always open.
All these things John Watson knew about Sherlock Holmes. And yet, paraphrasing a certain classical philosopher – at the end of the day, all the knowledge he had gained only led him to one undeniable fact: that he knew nothing at all about Sherlock Holmes. How could he – poor silly average man that he was – how could he possibly understand such a creature. How the cosmos must have aligned to birth such a demigod. How the high tide must have reared up to kiss the North Star, and that must have been Sherlock's noble beginning. How all the dead geniuses of the past – Shakespeare, Bach, Newton, Plato, Michelangelo – must have gotten bored in heaven and decided to unleash the divine being of Sherlock Holmes upon an unprepared and unsuspecting humanity.
No. John Watson could never know. Because if you asked John about his flatmate, he could give you innumerable answers: shoe size, tea preparation, scholastic history. But ask him one more question – just one more – concerning the great Sherlock Holmes. Ask John if he is in love. Because after all that open and honest conversation concerning his best friend, when you ask him the question that really matters … he'll lie.