Sherlock was sprawled out on the floor of his sanctuary. All around him he could hear the sounds of the forest incessantly chirp away, determined to spread a feeling of calm and happy overall those who heard. How could they be selling such a huge lie? Today was not a happy day. In just two days, summer would be over and he would be forced back to that hellhole of a school. The glorious days of solitude and experimenting would be over until the next summer, replaced by his personal purgatory. He would be restrained in a classroom, trapped for the purpose of education. It was ironic that this confinement was actually hindering Sherlock's education; he could be further advancing his knowledge if left alone. Instead, he had to sit and pretend to learn from the teacher. Then, he would have to carefully navigate around the other students so as to avoid getting beaten up everyday. Not that it would help. He would still have to endure Moriarty.

Sherlock's existence was a lonely one. He'd never had friends, his parents were never home, and his brother, Mycroft, was an insufferable git. The only semblance of a relationship in Sherlock's life was his boyfriend, Jim Moriarty. Of course, Sherlock was a high functioning sociopath, and therefore had no real feelings for Jim. He had learned to cut himself off from his emotions long ago, as they had lead him to nothing but trouble. But Sherlock was also rather observant, and therefore was able to act somewhat convincingly. It probably didn't matter to Moriarty. Jim knew he had Sherlock on a leash. He controlled Sherlock's supply. Of course, Sherlock was not actually addicted to the drugs, but he did rather enjoy the side affects. The calmness that settled over his never-ceasing mind. The lucidity the loaned him. It was enough to keep Sherlock coming back for more. But Moriarty didn't want money for payment. He wanted Sherlock. So Sherlock, who couldn't have cared less about his body, after all it was simply a transport for his mind, let Jim have what he wanted. Money would never be a problem, as the Holmes family was obscenely rich. However, Sherlock found it easier to hide his drug habits when monetary exchange wasn't involved. So Sherlock let Jim use him and beat him and force him, so long as the 7% solution he craved kept coming in. Sherlock knew it wasn't healthy, but justified it with the fact that at least this way, he wouldn't be alone. It wasn't optimal, but Sherlock tried hard not to care.

Yet another respite offered by the summer. Sherlock didn't have to deal with these emotions trying to burst through his carefully crafted wall. He didn't have to worry about Jim bruising him, and then telling him that only he could ever love Sherlock. He didn't have to worry about the other kids constantly jeering at him as he walked through the halls. He didn't have to worry about the teachers being jealous of his intelligence. He could sit in his sanctuary, a tree house that Mycroft and his father had built years ago, and experiment to his heart's content. He could pretend that his tree house was a pirate ship, and that he was the great pirate Holmes, the scourge of the seven seas. He could retreat to his mind castle, and spend a day organizing and cleaning palace. He could do what he wanted, whatever he pleased. In the summer, he was his own man. Moriarty lived to far away to come see Sherlock often during the summer, but during the school year, Sherlock would have to succumb to his desires whenever Jim felt it appropriate. And Sherlock would sink farther into his shell of self-loathing and insecurities, trying to bury them underneath a calm facade.

Sherlock's fingers unconsciously ghosted over the bruises on his arm. Only in this safe haven could he roll up his sleeves and let the truth be exposed. Only here would he not be judged for being in an abusive relationship because of an "addiction", as everyone would call it. His tree house was a fortress of solitude. No one was allowed up here, save himself. Not since he had commandeered it after Mycroft gave up the house. It was his secret place.
No one could ever-

"hellooooo? Anyone up there?" A voice called from the ground below. Sherlock snapped up and quickly rolled his sleeves down, a habit formed since this summer's commencement. Sherlock stayed quiet, hoping that the voice would leave if it thought no one was up here. Sherlock cautiously crept over to a small window in the floor. Through the special window, Sherlock was able to see the ground and about a 10ft. diameter around the tree base, but the window was unseeable from the ground.

"Hello?" The voice said again. Sherlock could now see that the voice belonged to a sandy haired boy, roughly his age, probably two years older, who was circumnavigating around the base of the tree. The boy had the most gorgeous blue eyes Sherlock had ever seen-Cut that out brain. Sherlock should not be thinking about how well toned the short body was, or how the jumper he wore was completely inappropriate for the summer months and should be immediately removed. Sherlock shook his head to ward off these thoughts. He shouldn't think about the boy this way, lest his hopes build without his permission. This boy obviously had some sort of power that allowed him to make others feel. Perhaps it was the kindness of his eyes, or the openness of his overall demeanor. Sherlock peered back down at the boy, just in time to see him give the tree house on last scrutinizing look, shrug his shoulders, and walk to the ladder to ascend to the house.

Drat, how could I have forgotten to pull that up! Sherlock mentally chastised himself. He panicked and scrambled over to the trapdoor. He undid the latch and let it fall down, not realizing the boy was fairly close to the top. The boy, who was surprised by the door suddenly swinging towards him, let go and fell a very uncharacteristic display of courage, Sherlock threw himself partially out of the door and lunged for the hand of the falling boy. He very nearly missed.

"Bloody Hell!" The boy gasped, surprised by both the sudden appearance of Sherlock and the affects of gravity. He grimaced as Sherlock pulled him back towards the ladder, eager to pull himself back into the safety of the tree house. Sherlock took a moment to catch his breath, and then when sandy blond hair popped up through the door, Sherlock began his campaign to get rid the invader.

"John Watson, I am Sherlock Holmes. You recently moved into the house down the street with your mother and alcoholic brother" Sherlock started, hoping to scare the boy- John- away, " You moved here to attempt to get past the fact that your father survived years in the military, only to die months after his return, because he drove drunk with you in the car, resulting in a shoulder and a thigh injury for you." Sherlock took a big breath, then let a satisfied smirk settle on his face. He drunk in the look the other boy was giving him; his eyes and mouth were wide in...was that amazement?

"H-how did you-?" John stammered.

"I didn't know, I saw," Sherlock sneered "and for future reference, this tree house and tree are mine, and I don't appreciate intrusion." Sherlock was trying to figure out why he had lunged after this boy. He wouldn't have fallen that far, and quite frankly, he shouldn't have been snooping if he didn't wish to be injured.

"Well, how did you see that, then?" John persisted. Sherlock sighed as he prepared to launch into his speech. He wasn't sure why he bothering to tell the boy this, but he really wanted to see that look of amazement again, so he said, "Your name is on the back tag of your jumper, which I could easily see while you were dangling from my hand. The recent move is indicated by the fact that you didn't know that this was my tree, or even my property and also by the fact that you are exploring here alone, as if you were just visiting, you would be accompanied by a current resident of the house you were staying in- you are new o the area, and the only empty house within walking distance is the house two doors down from mine. Then there's you're brother. Your clothes smell of alcohol, but your breath doesn't, so you've been taking care of someone who does quite a bit of drinking. If it was you mother, you wouldn't be here, as you would have to be at home unpacking as she would be too drunk or too hungover to help. So a sibling then. Just below your name on the sweater, another name "Harry" is crossed out. The sweater is a little big on you, so most likely and hand-me down from Harry, your older brother. Now for the injuries. When you fell, you grimaced when your descent was stopped, so the sudden stop obviously hurt a lot. You weren't falling that fast, so the stop alone shouldn't have hurt that much. But couple that with a recent injury- much more painful, painful enough to elicit a grimace. Then when you were walking around the bottom of the tree, you were limping slightly. Based on the rigidness of how you hold the whole leg, the injury was far up the leg, so thigh. The way you hold yourself and your hair style says military, but you are obviously too young to be enlisted, so older family member or father has obviously influenced you. But the habits are obviously a product or many years being subjected to them, so father seems likely, as the habits are very deeply ingrained. However, your hair is now a bit too long to military, so that influence is not around to enforce that habit. So your father must either have left, or is dead!" Sherlock finished triumphantly, breathing a little heavy after attempting to spout it all out in as few breaths as possible.

"B-but how did you know about the-" John said, barely able to speak past his amazement.

"Accident? Shot in the dark, but a good one though," Sherlock winked as he said this, surprised at his own audacity "You moved to a quite place where you could easily walk everywhere, suggesting that you and your family are weary of cars. Why would you be unless someone had been involved in a tragic accident with one recently? You're posture is rather rigid for someone who just lost a loved one. Sorrow tends to make people soft, but anger, now that will make you tense up. So anger towards the lost loved one. Why would you be angry towards them, unless they had committed suicide. But the fact that you have recent wounds and recently lost loved ones, must have some correlation. So car accident, must have been caused by loved one-drunk driving. Drunkenness is also supported by the military background." Sherlock smirked as he finished. He was sure John would leave now, then he could let himself sink back into his safe place and delete this whole confrontation. Then he wouldn't feel as though he lost anything, or remember the sparks of hope that were shooting through him at this moment. He would be blissfully alone again. Alone was what he had. Alone protected him.

"Brilliant!" John breathed.

"Really?" Sherlock asked and cocked his head to the side, surprised.

"Absolutely, who couldn't think that? I never could have done that!" John said, a wide grin breaking over his face.

"That's not what most people say." Sherlock admitted a little shyly. Who was this boy, messing up all of Sherlock's preconceived notions? Who had given him such permission? Why was he so friendly? Why wasn't he yelling freak and trying to get as far away as possible? Why was he still here? All these questions swirled around in Sherlock's head. None of them could be answered with simple deductions. Why was this so complex? He hung his head as the memories of others reactions to his abilities were juxtaposed with the example set forth by John. John Watson, why are you so different?

"What do they usually say?" John asked. He seemed so...concerned. Genuinely concerned. Sherlock's list of questions grew larger. Quite frankly, he was shocked. He had just spouted John's embarrassing secrets out at him, and here was John, telling him he was brilliant, and then being concerned for him. Sherlock couldn't understand why John was being nice to him.

"Piss off." Sherlock answered, without really meaning to. John started to giggle, and then full out laughed. It was a beautiful sound, bright and genuine. It was like music to Sherlock's ears. Sherlock started laughing as well, hoping to prolong the length of John's laugh.

When the two finally calmed down, John moved to sit directly in front of Sherlock, and quite a bit closer then he had been sitting. The door was closed, they were alone in the tree house, together. Sherlock felt his pulse start beating erratically, and mentally cursed himself, hoping that John wouldn't notice. The two sat quietly in companionable silence for a moment, each staring into the others eyes. It was John who finally broke the silence when he asked Sherlock "Since you seem to know everything about me, why don't you tell me some about you? Where do you go to school?" Sherlock chuckled at John's assumption that he knew everything about his new companion. Sherlock wished he could know everything, which scared him. Why should he waste precious memory space on his hard drive of a brain on information about this boy? But Sherlock couldn't bring himself to push the other boy away, not until all of the confusing questions blocking up his brain were answered. So Sherlock answered with "St. Bart's Academy."

A grin broke across John's face at the words. "That's where I'm going too," He exclaimed "Good, I'll have at least on friend! What's it like there? Do you have many friends?" Sherlock's heart stopped at these words. Friend, he had said. Sherlock had a friend. He didn't have to be alone anymore. This boy had wormed a way inside his fortress, and Sherlock didn't want him to leave now. But surely once he saw how unpopular Sherlock was at school, he wouldn't want to be friends with Sherlock anymore. John would be taken from him, just like all the other good things in his life.

"School is insufferable. You won't want to "hang out" with me there. You'll do much better on your own than with me. You are aesthetically pleasing, and therefore will do fine with the ladies. You are also rather athletic looking, so would fit in with the "jocks". Don't make the mistake of hanging out with me. You'll just get bullied and called a freak. You could do so much better. It's best if you just stay away. I understand." It killed Sherlock to say these words, but he knew they needed to be said. He would rather see John happy without him than miserable by his side. Sherlock still couldn't figure out why he cared , but he did. Bloody emotions he sighed to himself. He was sure he could repair the hole made by John Watson when he inevitably left, and decided to go ahead and start the process, hoping that it would drive the boy away quickly so as to avoid more damage to his fortress. He glanced at John's face, expecting a look of disgust, only to find a very confused face staring at him.

"Why do they bully you, Sherlock?" John questioned. A tingle shot up Sherlock's spine when Jon said his name. It sounded so pleasant, so different from the way most people said it. That same concern from before was dominant on John's face.

"They don't like when I tell them things," Sherlock whispered "I don't mean to say them, but often they make me angry, usually with their stupidity. My observations are the best way to get back at them. Sticks and stones may break their bones, but my observations really hit them where it hurts. They usually just pop out, even when I don't me for them to. They shun me because they think it'll make me stop, if I have no friends. But I don't care. I don't need anyone. Alone is what I have, alone protects me" As Sherlock said the last few words, he began curling up into a ball and curling in on himself.

"Well, I could see how your deductions could be harsh, but if they didn't want people to know, they shouldn't have done it in the first place!" John said angrily."And furthermore, I don't care what other people say. I think your deductions are brilliant, and I want to be your friend." With that, John reached out and placed his hands on Sherlock's shoulders.

A warm feeling radiated through out Sherlock at these words. John wanted him. He slowly looked up at his new friend. His only friend. Thank you he said quietly, as he met John's eyes. A familiar smile lit up John's face as he answered "Anytime." With that, Sherlock launched himself at John and trapped him in a hug. Perhaps he was a bit too exuberant about it, because the next thing he knew, he was on top of a chucking John who had been knocked to the ground.

"Sorry." Sherlock mumbled. As he quickly climbed off, a deep pink blush colored his cheeks. Great he thought to himself just an hour with John has left me an emotion idiot who tackles people for being nice to him. Smooth Holmes. He was shaken out of his mental self-reprimandation by a pair of arms encircling his waist. John was hugging him now.

"It's okay." John replied. The he let go and leaned back. Sherlock sighed as the arms left him. He wished they could have stayed around him forever. What was this boy doing to him?! Sherlock could barely keep his uncaring facade up as John looked to him.

"So, not many you have a girlfriend?" John asked innocently. Oh, if you only knew John, if you only knew.

"Not really my...area." he replied cautiously, not wanting to scare John away.

"Oh." John considered for a moment, then his eyes widened as he slowly said " do you have a boyfriend then?" Sherlock had a moment of panic. If he opened up about Jim, the whole story might come out, and surely that would convince John that he was much too freaky to be friends with. He couldn't have John leaving, not after he had started breaking down his carefully crafted defenses. But he couldn't outright lie to John. Friends weren't supposed to do that, right? John saw his hesitancy and said "which is fine, by the way."

Sherlock wished he could tell John everything, but he couldn't risk John leaving. He couldn't risk losing the only person who had ever wanted to be his friend without ulterior motives. so Sherlock told a half lie "No..." Sherlock decided Moriarty wasn't technically his boyfriend, as he reciprocated no feelings for the drug dealer. To be perfectly honest, Sherlock felt that Moriarty didn't actually have feelings for him either. He probably just wanted him for the sex. So it wasn't really that big of a lie. That didn't stop Sherlock from feeling guilty about it.

"Oh, ok," John said, looking a little suspicious at Sherlock's lack of confidence "so you're unattached, like me." The silence that ensued was awkward, as each boy tried to sniff out the others motives. Sherlock felt the need to clarify his lie, so he told another half-truth. After all, two halves made a whole right? "John, I'll have you know that I consider myself to be in a relationship with my experiments, and though I'm flattered-"

"Oh no, God no. That's not what I meant. I'm not gay." John said quickly, obviously flustered. Sherlock's heart sank, but he just gave a small nod and looked down. Both boys flushed at the implications, but Sherlock, surprisingly found them not unfavorable. Might as well admitted, if just to myself. I, Sherlock Holmes, am attracted to John Watson. It made sense. It answered some of his questions. But he still had important ones to answer. Why did he care for this boy? What made him special enough to receive the friendship of this marvelous human being? What would Moriarty do when he found out? Because Sherlock knew he couldn't go on with Moriarty. How could he let Moriarty violate him anymore. He wanted to reserve himself for John, and John alone. John would be the only person he let in. Not that Moriarty had ever breached the walls of his previously impregnable fortress. But he knew he needed Moriarty for the drugs. If getting rid of Moriarty meant no more drugs, he would do that for John. God, he figured he would do anything for John. What the hell has come over you, Holmes. You've known the guy for what, an hour? Why is he so special? What makes him worthy of you? Sherlock had no answer to the first question. He didn't know why John was special. Sherlock just knew that he had pulled Sherlock out of a deep depression in less than an hour, and had changed his outlook on everything. Someone cared for Sherlock. Someone wanted to be with him. Before John had shown up, he had been so sure that no one could ever want him, but John had said it himself. He wanted to be the friend of Sherlock Holmes. And that was exactly why John was worthy of the attentions of Sherlock Holmes. He took the time and effort to care.

Sherlock looked up into John's eyes, and realized something. John said he wasn't gay. John would never like me the way I like him. This saddened Sherlock, but he quickly decided he didn't care. He could handle some disappointment if it meant John would stay in his life. John may never love him, but Sherlock could hide his feelings, and they could be friends. Moriarty was the only one who could ever want him in that way. Moriarty made him feel wanted, but so unloved. He had to scourge himself of Moriarty and his drugs.

A small noise interrupted the silence of the tree house. Sherlock pulled his phone out of his pocket, recognizing the noise as his ringtone. He paled as he realized who the text must be from.

Meet at the pond in 30 min. -JM

Sherlock had to get John away. Jim Moriarty was definitely a jealous man, and he didn't want John and him to meet, especially not when Sherlock would be leaving him.

"Well John, I've enjoyed this but really must depart. So if you could just-" Sherlock said, reaching out his arm to usher John towards the trapdoor. As his arm stretched out, his shirt rode up his arm, revealing the bruising on his arm. John's loud gasp interrupted the rest of Sherlock's sentence.

"What the- What happened? Did someone do this to you?" John inquired as he gingerly grabbed the arm to examine it.

"Yes- I mean no! I mean-" Sherlock frantically searched for an explanation.

"Sherlock! Who did this?" John thundered, looking rather like an angry Zeus.

"What I meant to say is that one of my experiments did this. Not an actual person, just an abusive experiment." Sherlock hastily lied as he covered his arm. He felt even more guilty at this lie, but one could almost consider Moriarty an experiment, so still just another half lie. John glared suspiciously at him, but seemed to take the bait.

"Tell me more about these experiments, they sound dangerous." John said, an excited gleam in his eye. Sherlock wished he could tell him about all his experiments, but he didn't have time. He had to get to Moriarty and ditch him, then he could tell John all about his experiments, and hopefully John would like them. Or at least accept them. Sherlock shivered as he thought about a scenario in which John thought his experiments were freakish, and therefore, Sherlock must be a freak by association, and therefore should not be friends with a non-freak such as himself. No John wouldn't do that. Sherlock prayed(not that he believed in any deity) that John wouldn't react like that.

"I really have to go now, but perhaps tomorrow we could go to my house and see them." Sherlock said, hoping that John would want this.

"Okay. Yea sounds good." John nodded and let Sherlock see another of his dazzling smiles. Sherlock's heart fluttered at the thought of John being at his house, watching him experiment.

"Give me your phone." Sherlock demanded. John quickly handed over his mobile, and Sherlock put his number in. Then he sent himself a quick text, so that he would have John's number. Satisfied, he handed John back his phone.

"One last thing." John said. He held up his mobile to take a picture of Sherlock.

"John!" Sherlock whined. He detested having his picture taken. It seemed so frivolous and unnecessary.

"Oh, come on Sherlock. Give me your best deducting pose." John insisted. Sherlock grumbled, but let John take the picture. He steepled his finger under his chin and stared straight at the camera. John chuckled, then put his phone away and headed for the door. Sherlock realized his opportunity and seized it.

"Wait, John. Fair is fair." Sherlock said smoothly, bringing out his own phone. John sighed, but let Sherlock take the picture. He made sure to get several, claiming innocence when John accused him of taking forever. Sherlock finished, then smiled at John. A real smile that Sherlock hadn't had on his face in years. They said their good byes, and departed the tree house. Once at the bottom of the tree, Sherlock took off for the pond. He didn't have much time left, and Moriarty would be very angry if Sherlock was late.