Summary: John Watson, on happiness, simplicity, and Sherlock.
Warnings: None, for once.
Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock. Sherlock, John, and all other characters and concepts as depicted in this contemporary universe are the property of Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, and their associates. The only thing I own is the story below as you see it written.
Notes: HERE! Have another one! A plot bunny bit me and I could not resist. It's a Sunday, I had literally nothing to do. Thus, fic.
Excerpt from the blog of Doctor John H. Watson. Post dated November 19th, 2016.
I like to think I'm a rather simple bloke. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm a simple bloke—at least, compared to the modern standards. I don't want for much, never have. Even when I was a kid, I never threw a fit because I didn't get something I wanted. Of course, I threw fits for other reasons; I was tired, I was hungry, my sister and I were fighting, sometimes just to hear the sound of my own voice. But I don't think there's a person alive who didn't throw a fit for those reasons when they were a lad. All things considered, though, I was a happy kid.
In my old age, I've gotten even simpler. Well, old age isn't really the term I'm looking for. I'm only forty-one. That's not old by anyone's standards these days, as much as I complain about getting old and wasting away. Sometimes I find myself envious of Sherlock, that firecracker of a husband of mine. At thirty-six he still doesn't look a day older than he did the day I met him—and that's saying something, because I thought he was much younger than thirty when I first saw him. I'm not old, though—not really. My mum and dad are in their seventies and both are still kicking like they're half their age. My gran lived until she was ninety-four. So yeah, I don't think I'm old.
Anyway, as I've gotten older, I think I'm even simpler than I stared out as. All I really need is some comfortable clothes, a bit of change in my pocket, Sherlock at my side, and 221B Baker Street. As such, the things I derive pleasure from are, I think, rather simple and mundane. I never really know what's going to make me happy, or brighten my day, and I think that little bit of spontaneity is good for me. Of course, we do live spontaneous lives, Sherlock and me, but hardly ever in a way aimed at the pleasurable. Usually it's running around London, not knowing where we're going to end up next or, though neither of us ever acknowledge it, whether we're going to be alive in the morning. That's exciting, that's how I make my living, really. What a live for. And it's fine.
But sometimes it's nice to just derive pleasure from something so simple that it astounds you.
Like fresh bread from the baker, or better yet homemade. Sometimes it's still moist, spongy, like cake. It makes the best sandwiches. Bread like that you don't ruin by toasting, so you just slather the jam on it and fold it in half and eat it like that. Mrs. Hudson, bless her soul, makes the best sourdough, and Sherlock eats the stuff like he does any of her baked goods; gorges himself on them after a case. During cases, I take a few slices and put marmalade on them, and it's one of the few sure-fire ways he'll eat while working.
Or sometimes she makes cinnamon bread and when it gets stale we put it in bread pudding. My God, it's amazing.
Hopefully you see what I mean. It's so simple it's stupid. But it's not totally unprecedented, I suppose. I lived in Afghanistan for three years, surviving mainly off of reconstituted MREs. Which—don't let anyone fool you—tasted like absolute shite. Fresh bread was a luxury not often afforded us. When I came back from war, I must have gained ten pounds in the weeks between me being released from the hospital and meeting Sherlock, because being reintroduced to the wonder of actual food was one of the few things that cheered me up. My love for food hasn't waned since then; now I just get enough exercise to work it off.
Sherlock can cook like an angel when he wants to, I swear. Got all the recipes from his grandmother, and she was French. Frogs can cook, I will give them that. I say 'frogs' very lovingly, of course—Sherlock is French, full French actually. Everyone thinks he must have some English in him somewhere, because he speaks the language so well, but no; he's French all the way. Lived in Paris until he was ten then moved to London. Of course, being the genius he is he's been multilingual since he could speak. Speaks fluent everything it seems like. Really he can only speak English, French, Spanish, and German fluently. He's conversational in at least ten, though.
He always moans about having less of a knack for languages than Mycroft, whom (If Sherlock is to be believed) can speak twenty-three languages fluently. I mean, that can't be true, can it? How can one person keep so many words in his head?
God, it's hilarious to watch those two argue in French. No clue what they're saying, unless they somehow veer into my range of over-simplified, school-boy French, which they hardly ever do. Really I only know what they're saying when I catch a cognate, and they speak it so fast that's just as rare an occurrence. But the way they just get in each other's faces and lose all their posh, uprightness is practically better than telly. There's nothing better than watching your husband be put in his place by his big brother.
I don't say that to be mean, of course. I don't want him to be depressed, and I wouldn't find it amusing if it depressed Sherlock. It doesn't, though—just makes him curl into a ball and put on the fakest pout I've ever seen, which nevertheless he always coaxes me into getting rid of one way or another.
That's another simple pleasure—getting Sherlock to smile. Sometimes it's so easy. I never know what'll make him smile; better that I don't, really. If I did I think I might abuse it. It's the great thing about being married. You never think another person's joy will give you so much joy until you just meet that one person who you'd hang the stars for. And I would do that for Sherlock, I really would. Those months, the Great Hiatus as I've called it in my blog posts (For lack of wanting to refer to it as That Time I Thought the Man I Love Was Dead), were the worst time of my life, worse than the days right after I returned from Afghanistan. I didn't know what to do with myself. It seemed like everything good about my life had died with Sherlock.
I don't want to think about that.
This is about happiness.
It's just such a wonderful thing, happiness. It's almost physical. It swells up in your belly and makes your toes tingle. It's got so many forms. It's that fluttering feeling you get in your stomach when you stare at someone you really love, and the secondary feeling you get from realizing that you still get that feeling, even though you've been staring at that person practically every day for years. It's that air of anticipation when you know something good is going to happen.
Remember when you were a kid, and you woke up on the morning of the big annual school trip and for once you could barely wait to get to school? Yeah, that's what it is. Happiness. For a few minutes, it can make everything seem right in the world.
I'll admit, sometimes it's hard to come by. Sometimes it seems like you'll never be happy again. I've been there. God, have I ever been there. But then something happens one day. You meet the right person at the right time, and things start turning up. Suddenly you're smiling again, laughing again, and by letting the good times wash over you, you learn how to cope with the bad stuff in life, the not so pleasant, the unhappy. We all have them, and usually they're small things—you lost a sock in the dyer, your favorite shirt got a rip in it, dog ate your toast.
Sometimes they're not so small things.
My husband suffers from bipolar disorder, as some of you may know, and the rest of you obviously do now. Don't worry—he's given me permission, as his Boswell and his husband, to reveal this information. He suffers from what we call Black Moods. He sits around for days on end, not talking, not engaging. Sometimes they stretch on for so long that I worry he'll be like that forever. There was one, a few months after we married, that lasted for almost two months, and I don't think I've ever been so scared. Thankfully, he's never been suicidal, or I would have taken some sort of action. But it just lasted for so long, and was so draining on everyone. The look in his eyes was the worst. It was like he was trapped there, the energetic Sherlock, the one that is so full of life that I can't look at him for how bright he is sometimes. It was like he was a prisoner in his own body.
Then, one morning, it all stopped.
I'm a surgeon, not a psychologist, so I can't exactly explain these things, but I do know that sometimes, that's how these things work; there is no easing out period. It comes and it goes as it pleases, gone as quickly as it came. I woke up that morning to find his head on my chest, ear over my heart. He told me he could feel my heartbeat, and told me that he had woken up happy. And I knew that everything was going to be alright.
That's how life works, isn't it? Even if you aren't bipolar, we all have periods of time where we're just down for no reason. We don't know why, and we don't know when it's going to stop. Sometimes you just walk in the door and sit down and have a cry, and it makes you feel better. You never know what will help, so try everything.
Try taking a walk; it's good for you in more than one way. I walk all the time. Around the block, up and down Baker Street. Sometimes I take Sherlock and we go to the park and make an afternoon of it. We do that a lot after it rains. Sherlock loves the smell of ozone. He walks around with his nose in the air, taking in huge lungfuls. Arm-in-arm (We've never been a hands-holding couple) we'll drift through the park or down the street, not really paying attention to where we're going. Getting lost in a city where we never truly can. The illusion is nice, though.
Rain. Sherlock loves the rain. He finds it more interesting than the telly, hands down. I think it's one of the reasons he loves London so much. Rains all the time here, incase you didn't know. He especially loves thunder storms. I'm not sure why; he's never been inclined to tell me, and I'm perfectly fine with that. Secretly, I think it's because he doesn't really have a reason. Or maybe the reason is so mundane that it doesn't even register with him. He sits by the window, in the living room or sometimes upstairs in the bedroom, and watches the rain come. When we got married, which will be two years ago in January, we bought a larger bed and rearranged the furniture to accommodate for it. The bed ended up pushed against the wall across from the door, because I've honestly never been comfortable sleeping without something against my back, and I feel better if I can see the door without having to contort. Because of that, Sherlock can now sit at the foot of the bed and stare out the window. He does that when it rains.
Happiness isn't picky; it's the least picky thing. It can come from a sound. As I said, I'm a simple bloke, and I've accumulated a long list of things that can cheer me up just by hearing them. Mrs. Hudson trying to sing can make me giggle like a baby. It's ridiculous, but something about that adorable old woman trying to sing Some Things are Meant To Be just hits my funny bone.
There's a noise Sherlock makes when he's sleeping on an odd position, like curled on the couch or in his chair. It's a small, high-pitched humming noise. Theoretically, I know he only makes it because he's cutting off his own air supply with the weird positions he gets himself into, and if he doesn't wake himself up within a few minutes I always do it for him, wake him up gently and help him to bed. It never fails to make me smile, though, when I hear my usually dignified husband making that odd, almost rodent-like sound.
I guess it's obvious by now, but the people you love are always the people who will make you the happiest. It's the little things they do, their quirks that make you giggle, or something they do that is just so uniquely them that you can't imagine anyone else doing it. When we were little, Harry used to suck the pimentos out of stuffed olives and not eat the actual olive. She still does that, and it drives Clara up a wall, but I just sit there and laugh because it's such a Harry thing. I can't imagine her not doing it.
Or there's my mum. Now, I firmly believe that my mum is the most adorable woman over the age of seventy you'll ever meet. Which is why it's so funny when people realize she swears like a sailor. It gives me a little moment of joy whenever we're out and Mum lets loose with a chain of curses that would make a lesser man blush, and all within the vicinity just kind inch away a bit. But my mum, being my mum, doesn't care. That, I think, is what makes her such a great mum. Let it never be said that John Watson doesn't have a great mum.
It's everywhere, happiness is. It's in the things you see, the people you meet. If you look for happiness, you'll find it. You may have to try a little to find it, maybe change your scenery, but eventually you'll get there. You'll find it in the place you least expect it, or in the places you long ago wrote off as mundane. You'll find it in the morning, waking up to see the sunrise filtering in through the window. Realizing that you've woken up, and that in itself is an accomplishment, and that you're really, truly satisfied with life and where you are for the first time.
That happened to me a few mornings ago. I realized that I was well and truly happy. Which lead me to ponder happiness, life's simple pleasures. Because I'm a simple man and my pleasures are simple. Cuddling, kissing, soft things, a really good cup of tea that warms you down to your toes.
A blanket warm from the dryer. A blanket warm with someone else's body heat.
The sound of rain pelting the window.
Waking up to the sound of violin. The smell of warm skin in the morning, untainted by soap or cologne.
My husband wearing one of my shirts. My husband wearing nothing but one of my shirts.
The sound of London at night. The sound of the country at night.
The face a baby makes when he's learning how to smile and does it wrong.
Looking down and still being surprised to see the wedding ring on my finger, despite the fact that I've been married almost two years. Then looking at Sherlock and seeing his ring, and the feeling that rises up in me, because I never expected Sherlock to wear a ring and the fact that he does makes me feel warm inside every time I see it.
Cold iced tea on a hot day. Warm tea on a cold day.
The strange sense of glee I still get from correcting people when they address me as 'Mister' instead of 'Doctor.'
The entirely new sense of glee I get from signing my name Watson-Holmes instead of just Watson.
Biting into a fresh pear that's still crisp enough not to turn into mush in my mouth.
Looking at happy old couples and being able to see myself thirty years from now.
Basically, it's not hard to be happy, and it's honestly easier to find the happiness in things than the sad. Some people walk around, determined to see the negative in some things, and those people are never happy because they just don't want to be. It's hard work, being angry, being cynical. I know I can be a grumpy old bugger at times, everyone can. But not all the time, not even half the time. Most of the time, I'm just happy to be alive, happy to have what I do. Happy to be comfortable.
Happiness is such a simple emotion sometimes. Others, it can be very complex.
I'm writing this from the cafeteria at St. Bart's. Nothing's wrong, I assure you. Everything is very alright. As I sit here, and ponder the concept of happiness, I can register other emotions as well; fear, mostly. But sometimes happiness comes with fear. Ever wonder why we sometimes cry when we're happy? Happy isn't an emotion that makes you cry. Sometimes you fear your happiness, because sometimes it's so immense that you just don't know what to do with yourself.
My son was born today. We named him Hamish. Hamish Harry Watson-Holmes. His middle name is homage to his biological mother, who's possibly the best sister in the world and whom I will never make fun of or mock again.
At least until she's off the pain meds.
He's a beautiful baby. Nine pounds, two ounces. Ten fingers, ten toes—I counted them myself. He's redheaded, which is weird, but Sherlock says he started out life as a redhead, so he's probably going to look just like his dad when he gets older. Other than that, he looks just like Harry. Enough so that people will probably think he's mine. That makes me feel happy. It's too early to tell whose eye color he'll have in the end, although personally I'm holding out hope that he'll inherit Sherlock's.
Becoming a dad has possibly been the most terrifying experience of my life, but I don't think I've ever been this happy either. I held him earlier, my son, and the realization that I now had a small person to care for, whom was utterly helpless and dependant upon me hit me all at once. It should have terrified me—bloody hell, it did terrify me. But for some reason, it also made me feel utterly euphoric. I realized then why people do this—have kids, that is. They can joke all they want about having someone to look after them in their old age. But I truly realized why it's such a magical experience to hold your child in your arms for the first time.
It's happiness. Happiness in its purest form. It's staring at a little person and realizing that it's your job to shape them into who they will one day be. Realizing that you're going to spend the rest of your life watching them grow, watching them change. Watching them go through the things you did, and offering advice when it happens.
Children are innocent. They are the simplest beings of all, and you are everything they derive joy from. You are their simple pleasure.
It's an astronomical responsibility, and not simple at all. Yet it's instinctual, the thing we're essentially built for. In some ways, it's not complex at all.
Find your happiness. Just look for it, and it'll find you. It might be in a place you've never been, some country you've always wanted to go to. It may be in a cottage in the country, in the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. It may be with the one person you love more than anyone else. It may be with your family; with the family you're born with or the family you chose. It may be in solitude. It may be in togetherness.
It may be in more places than one.
It may be in the arms of the woman who raised you, who makes the best banana nut muffins in the world, who is still there whenever you need her no matter what time of night, no matter if you're four or forty.
And in the sweet voice of the other woman, who's like a second mother to you, who sings to herself when she thinks no one's listening and who knew the moment she saw you and your husband together that you would someday marry, even if you couldn't possibly imagine it yourself at the time.
And in the actions of the sister who turned her entire life around to help her older brother out when he couldn't even get out of bed in the morning because his best friend had killed himself. The sister who knew she couldn't let her brother go down the long, treacherous road she'd already taken.
And in the gruff chuckle of the jaded Detective Inspector that nevertheless can still crack a smile and tell a joke. Who's murder at pub quizzes and knows more Doctor Who trivia than any one person has a right to know.
And in the heart of the man who literally saved your life and, by doing so, became the most important person in your life. Who gave you a reason to live. Who can be the most infuriating person in the world at times, and who you can barely stand to look at sometimes but even so, have never stopped loving, not for a moment. Not since you realized it when he jumped off a rooftop and you almost died yourself. Not since he came back from the dead and you promised yourself you would never go a day without telling him just how much you loved him, even though he may rarely return the sentiment. You can tell in his eyes, and the way he cleans the ring on his finger.
And in the droopy eyes of a tired, hours-old baby who does not know who you are yet, but will. Who will someday call you dad and come to you with his problems, thinking you a deity who can solve everything. Whose life it will be your job to protect with your own. Whose mere existence fills you with so many contradicting emotions. Who you vow, right there as you stand in the dimly-lit hospital room, cradling him to yourself, to always love, to always support, no matter what happens.
That is where I found happiness.
A/N: That turned into something I didn't plan for. O.o There was a lot more Sherlock in there than I planned. He worms his way into everything, little bugger! The intention was to have this be kind of a stream of consciousness. It didn't work out quite that way. I kind of just wanted to get my thoughts down on paper and this is what spewed forth.
Also, I've been meaning to ask for a while now, but would you guys maybe consider following me on Tumblr? It's relevant, I swear. I post updates for stories on there, and information on what I'm going to be doing that may interfere with updates.
There's also a lot of crap on my Tumblr so, you know, your choice. |D
I'm detective inspector narwhal over there (Kindly remove the spaces) if you're interested.
Hope you enjoyed and thank you for reading!