John was turquoise with splatters of blue, like someone had flung paint at him. He thought he looked rather nice, and took pride in that, despite the fact that no one else could see it. Still, he felt a bit proud when he met someone with ugly orange shades or tinted with brown, and felt a tiny bit happier to know that he was the colour of the sky, at least most days.

He hadn't always been turquoise, or at least had seen that he was, although he suspected the colour people were was constant throughout their life, so he would have been blue, even prior to his seeing it. But this seeing part was a relatively new development. Post Afghanistan. That was really what his life had become now, things that were Before, and things that were After.

John had been interested in his own colours for the first few months, but after the novelty of them had worn off and he was discharged from the hospital with a cane and a therapist, they didn't seem to matter as much. And like they somehow felt it, his colours faded and shrunk away from him.

Things were dull in London. The colours just couldn't compare to the blood red of the many things in Afghanistan, the sunsets, the sand, and the blood of the men around him he couldn't save.

So he wandered around, looking for bright people and things, all the while feeling himself growing more faint.

Mike was looking particularly green that day when John met him again. So much, in fact, that he almost missed him sitting in the park. He looked a bit like grass, fluttering about in the wind. John hadn't really wanted to meet him, to talk about what happened, but he'd been forced into it.

"I heard you were abroad somewhere, getting shot at. What happened?" "I got shot."

Mike's colours blushed and grimaced, embarrassed for him, even if he didn't outwardly show it. John felt bad for that, and allowed the man to buy him a cup of coffee and they sat together on a park bench, Mike people watching and John for colours.

One thing led to another and John allowed Mike to talk him into meeting someone looking for a flatmate.

This decision was one of the most influential in his life. (Going to med school, signing up for the army, getting shot [not a decision], coming back to London, not jumping off the bridge that day, and now this. Allowing Mike to drag him into this mess that would become his life.)

Sherlock was perhaps the most brilliant man he'd ever seen. At least, that was going by John's initial impression of his colours. He's never seen someone who was so wholly violet before. He'd seen people with streaks of violet, or occasional patches, but he'd never seen someone who had been practically entirely shrouded in violet.

It left him with no words for a few minutes.

John offered him his phone, any opportunity to get closer, and found that light pink and yellow tendrils reached out to his wrist. He heard most of the conversation, and wondered if he perhaps missed the most important bit when the brilliant man invited him to come live with him.

"Got my eye on a nice little place in central London. Together we ought to be able to afford it. We'll meet there tomorrow evening; seven o'clock. Sorry – gotta dash. I think I left my riding crop in the mortuary."

John gaped at this strange man who he'd just met, with colours he'd never seen before, and who was still nameless."Is that it?" "Is that what?" "We've only just met and we're gonna go and look at a flat?" "Problem?" "We don't know a thing about each other; I don't know where we're meeting; I don't even know your name."

And the violet man ran through a series of facts about him, flashed a smile, offered a name and address and was gone.

John looked over to Mike, whose colours were hovering about rather sheepishly, and he only said "Yeah. He's always like that."

He met Sherlock again the next day, still the brilliant shade of violet, leading John to wonder if the man was like this all the time. It might be hard to look at him so much, especially if they were going to live together.

The landlady was lovely, a Mrs Hudson who fretted about Sherlock like a mother hen. She was emerald green and indigo with streaks flying around. John liked her immediately. He tried not to judge people by their auras, but it was rather difficult, seeing as they were excellent judges of character.

A man showed up at the flat, a man who looked exhausted and tired of life, defeated to be coming to Sherlock for help. His colours were subdued, but John still recognized the dark red of a capable and realistic man. He asked Sherlock for help, with a suicide no less, and while Sherlock pretended to be only mildly interested, John saw him brighten more than he thought possible, and actually considered shielding his eyes. It subdued somewhat after Sherlock bounced around the flat, but John was still hesitant to share a cab with him. But of course he did.

Sherlock dragged him to a crime scene. He met a woman who was bitter, and man who was even more so, and a dead woman who had nothing. Dead people didn't have auras anymore. The disappeared along with all brain function. The soul, some might say. Not John.

(He's seen far too many brain dead patients, kept alive with ventilators and machines, people who were technically still living, but had no colours, no aura, no life. He hated those patients.)

Sherlock ran off and left John alone. He was picked up by a car with a strange woman whose colours didn't believe any of what she was saying. It was interesting to watch, like a lie detector that only he could see. He smiled at himself.

She took him to a building to meet with a strange man.

"You don't seem very afraid," the strange man informed him.

John almost laughed. No man with that colour could possibly be frightening.

With that mix of brown and grey shrouding his interior colours, that man was guarded beyond belief. But inside, there was a deep blood red. Sure, there were spots of other colours, but they were hidden by the murky outside, and most of all, that blood colour that hid everything else away. And where most people's auras danced and had little bits that flung out to touch others, body language for the soul, this man had none. His clung to his body like it was afraid to leave.

Definitely hiding something, John decided.

"You don't seem very frightening," he told him.

Yet some of what that man said rung true. ("Could it be that you've decided to trust Sherlock Holmes of all people?") Because by the end of the night, John had shot another man for Sherlock, a dark and brooding man, a dying man. John could see death in him, could see it in most people. He even saw how he was reaching out to Sherlock, black tendrils like snakes reaching out to squeeze the life out of his brilliant violet. As soon as John shot him, the black fingers left Sherlock alone, and he grew brighter.

John crouched behind the wall, breathing heavily and eyeing a spot of dark grey that flickered around him for a moment before disappearing. Guilt? No, he decided. He'd saved Sherlock.

He saved Sherlock that night and they went out for Chinese. John swore he practically felt himself growing brighter.