Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, I'm just borrowing them.
Not brit-picked or proof-read.
On the curious case of human routines
There are many ways to remove a soldier from war – death, honourable discharge, dishonourable discharge, defection, wounds.
It all boils down to a simple reason:
Human bodies are breakable. Their souls even more so.
John Watson's body isn't fragile, though it may seem small in height. All sorts of sports, especially rugby, then army training and trying to survive left it well-muscled and strong. Craving.
He doesn't have a delicate soul. It's unbowed, shaped by former hardships, by faith, by tea and woollen jumpers mixed with gun powder and steel. More craving than his flesh.
In the end, they betray him both in Afghanistan.
After getting shot his body starts bleeding out, goes into shock, allows him to slip into unconsciousness. It would be ironic that an army doctor used to dealing with gunshot wounds, can't heal his own body. It would be, however that's a routine in history and really what wit is there in repetition?
His soul is even more of a traitor, conjuring images and dreams of heat and sand and the feeling of rightness. It prevents him from pursuing any work. Its conspiracies with his flesh result in a fine tremor and obvious limp.
His cravings become routine, as the treachery sinks in further with each passing day.
But neither his soul nor his body sold him out. Because they aren't separate parts of him, they are him. Even betrayed by himself John will not relay on excuses. Remains brutally honest, even with himself. Being honest is so much him it seems to be routine, too.
Routine is good, his therapist tells him. It will allow him to readjust to civil life faster. It will keep him more balanced to deal with his PTSD.
Routine shouldn't be too hard for a military man one might reason. There is nothing but routine in the army after all. A bit not good, John would say, mixing army and war into one entity.
Humans like to conventionalise war. But the only routine in war is that humans start and wage it.
There is no routine in bombs exploding, shrapnel flying. Men dying far from home and an existence tinted with violence and danger is something people become only acclimatised to.
It doesn't make death or wounds any more mundane, doesn't diminish the worth of those lives.
Still, routine is good for John according to Ella, hence he complies.
Gets up, goes to the bathroom, washes hands, showers, washes face, brushes teeth, brushes hair. Craves.
Drinks tea, eats an apple. Craves.
Opens the drawer, gets his laptop out, looks at the illegal gun, closes the drawer. Craves.
Boots up his laptop, opens his blog, looks at it, allows it to remain blank. Craves.
Wants to crawl out of his skin, detests his disabilities, loathes Ella and PTSD and Harry's drinking and himself. Craves.
It's all part of his routine. That's good, isn't it?
Human lives are all made of routines. Their routines are as much part of the human as are their souls or bodies.
Soon, John tells himself, he will shoot his routine and bury it six feet under.
For a long time after that vow he doesn't get the chance to do it as his routine is swept away by a tall stranger with ebony hair and a swirling coat.
Slowly but surly his old routine falls apart. He waits for a new one to establish itself.
It does in a way.
In Sherlock's sulking when there's no case. It's there in the tea and peoples' reactions to Sherlock and his dazzling brilliance. In the absence of milk in the fridge and the happiness John feels. There is routine in the rows between John and Sherlock, in their mad giggles at a crime scene and John's 'Bit not good'.
The doctor is certain there must be a pattern in all of this madness. But he is not a Holmes and therefore doesn't bother searching for a pattern.
He only realizes there was an underlying routine in his life with Sherlock when it falls down.
Once again it would seem ironic that the routine is torn away in the same way it was introduced:
By a tall stranger with ebony hair and a swirling coat.
John doesn't appreciate the irony because he had desperately wished for Sherlock to not be a stranger anymore.
After a lifetime of floating between the stages of too much feeling and no feeling at all, John finds himself settled into a new routine.
It doesn't waver much from the one he had after returning from Afghanistan, aside for the following points:
He spends at least five hours per day searching for prove that Sherlock Holmes was a great man, had managed to become a good one. Craves.
He keeps Sherlock's Homeless Network neatly organized, patching one of them up here, providing a meal there. Craves.
The doctor ignores calls and letters and visits from journalists. Craves.
He doesn't bother justifying his late friend or explaining why he does what he does, although he will tell anyone asking his honest opinion on Sherlock. Telling them how Sherlock was the best and most human being John had the privilege of calling his friend. Craves.
John Watson believes in Sherlock Holmes.
It's routine really.
Author's Note: Thank you very much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this work despite the slightly angsty air. English is not my first language so please excuse any mistakes. Reviews would be greatly appreciated as this is not only my first work in this fandom but also the first one I published.