Once upon a time, there was a little boy by the name of John Watson.
John was a good little boy; he always ate up his vegetables, always finished his homework on time, always in bed by 9:30 sharp with teeth cleaned and hair combed. He never complained when his mother gave him chores and always remembered his pleases and thank yous.
John Watson was a very, very well behaved little boy.
So why did his daddy always punish him?
Why did John's daddy hit him? Why did John's daddy send him to his room for days without food? Why did John's daddy touch him in very bad places after his mother went to bed? Why did he deserve it? He was a good boy…
John Watson didn't stay a little boy forever. He grew older and older, and his father's abuse became more frequent, more violent and very, very painful.
So, when John reached his sixteenth birthday, and his father sent his friends home in a drunken stupor so he could send John to his room… only to join him later, he decided he wouldn't be a scared, helpless little boy anymore.
And he ran away.
John remembered that night so perfectly. He could recall it anytime, like pressing play on a video in his mind. How he silently pulled open his drawers and took out his warmest clothes, how he folded them down and squashed them together in his school bag, how he emptied his secret stash of money (hidden so his father couldn't spend it on beer) into his pocket, crept down stairs in pitch black darkness, his father's snores masking the creek of his footsteps, filled the remainder of his bag with food, stepped out the door, ran and never looked back. He remembered the long, cold, daunting walk to the train-station, the sun just peaking out as he arrived. He remembered the quiver in his voice as he asked for a ticket to London, the way his hand shook and his pulse raced as he handed over the money and shoved the ticket into his jacket pocket. He remembered being so hungry as he waited for his train, but only having enough money in his pocket for a bag of cheese and onion crisps. They were delicious, but didn't last very long. He remembered the churning and butterflies buzzing around in his stomach as the train made its path through England, heading towards the city of John's dreams. He remembered whispering 'father cannot hurt me, father cannot hurt me' in time to the rhythm of the steel wheels on the rails. He remembered arriving, and the sheer, utter, soul crushing panic of realizing he had nowhere to go, no money and no hope, hundreds of miles away from home.
John Watson was very much alone.
He had slept rough for the first year, only just staying alive throughout.
Breaking into the abandoned flat was easy enough, living in it wasn't. it was damp, the windows were smashed, the whole place was crawling with insects and stank horrifically. John couldn't remember a time he felt healthy living in it.
He survived well enough; he had gotten a job at a local shop, owned by a very nice Arabian couple. He earned only just enough to give himself two tiny meals four days a week, the rest he had to steal.
For a year John, a sixteen year old boy, lived this way.
That is, until everything changed. Again.
The flat was sold.
John was caught stealing and was fired.
John ended up in hospital after passing out from starvation and the cold, only just escaping before they knew who he was.
When John Watson was seventeen, he joined a gang as a drugs mule.
Several months later, John was mugged as he made his way to a local nightclub. He had lost £300,000 worth of drugs and the gang wasn't happy. They gave him a choice; he sells his body and gives all the profit to the gang until the dept is paid, or he takes a good, clean bullet to the head.
And so he spend the next seven months standing in the freezing rain, wearing skin tight jeans and a three-sizes-too-small tank top, waiting with a large, hairy 'escort' for someone to come along and pay for the rights to have sex with him.
But hey, it was better then a bullet… right?
Today was the last day John would spend as seventeen.
The night was still; cold, yet mild and calm, the sky streaked with grey wisps of cloud. The chill in the air nipped at John's exposed arms, goose-bumps prickling up and down his skin. He'd been stood at his corner, by a dark, damp alleyway, for three hours now. His legs were starting to cramp up. His back gingery touched the brick wall behind him, serving only a little relief to the strain.
"M'ember your fuckin' posture." Growled the man by his side, and John pulled away from the wall as if it was eclectic. The man seemed to be getting frustrated, his thick leather jacket mustn't be keeping all the cold out by now. 'Maybe we can go', thought John, 'maybe I won't have to do it tonight! I'll be further behind on my dept but… please, just tonight… please, God, just let me have tonight…'
John hated this. He loathed the way the men grunted, the way their fingers were so thick and rough, the way they called him awful words and spat on him. Most of all, he hated the way it felt like his father. The way every touch, every sick groan and every bit of pain made him feel like a little boy again; a scared, hurt little boy, fighting back tears as his father forced him to do things he was too young to understand.
Hadn't he escaped from all this? He ran to escape and now he was trapped again, being abused by countless men who all resemble his father.
But just tonight, please… please, just tonight…
John lifted his head as a black car approached. John's heart dropped down by his stomach as it pulled over, the engine stopping dead. He couldn't just have one night…
The window of the driver's seat opened a fraction.
"Don' fuckin' move, kid, got it?" The man huffed, waddling in a threatening manner up to the driver's window, "You wan' the kid?" he asked, John heard a muttering, "right… whole night, huh? £300, up front." John watched with a growing emptiness as a pale hand slid out the window, clutching a handful of notes which he passed to the hairy man. The man came over to John, flipping through the notes, "This guy's got you all night. Give 'im a good time."
John didn't speak as he walked towards the car as if approaching the gallows, his shoulders hunched, stomach threatening to heave and tears threatening to fall. He pulled open one of the back doors and slid inside, fastening his belt with shaking fingers.
"So," Came a deep, smooth voice from the front, "you must be John Watson."
John raised his head, blinking, "Wh… I… n-no, I-"
"It wasn't a question. You are John Watson." Said the voice again. The car was dark; John couldn't see the man in front of him, "From the looks of you, you've been doing this for about half a year. You hate it, obviously, but you can't quit. It can't be for a living, no, you had a, what do you call them… escorts with you, taking all the money. You owe him, or more likely, you owe who he works for. You're young, I wouldn't say a day over eighteen, but from your accent you're not from here. You ran away. Family problems, perhaps. You ran away, you got involved with some very bad people… and now here you are. Trapped in a sick world of human trafficking, being passed around like a splif to horny old men."
The car passed by a street light, illuminating the man for a second. Dark curls, high cheek bones, about thirty. John was struck by how young and youthful he was; normally he'd get middle aged men, balding and chubby.
A hint of a smile was on the man's lips, "My name is Sherlock Holmes."
John was absolutely struck dumb by the man's behaviour. The man, Sherlock, was so calm, so friendly… John found it so unsettling. "… I… erm…"
"Don't worry, John… I'm not going to have sex with you tonight."
John found himself panicking further, "… What?"
Sherlock chuckled from the front, "Relax. I'm going to take very good care of you."