It's Normal

A/N: I got bored and prompt-surfed. Obtained this idea from McSweeney's. This isn't categorized as romance, but can be interpreted as such if you squinted. It was written very early in the morning, so it's kind of abstract, but oh, well.

Prompt: Write a short scene in which one character reduces another to uncontrollable sobs without touching him or speaking.


Doctor John Watson had experienced a lot in his lifetime: Romance, betrayal, grief. He was like most men in those regards, and he'd always been like most men, he supposed. As a child, he was typical; he picked on his sister, got into scrapes with other children, and the like. His teenage years were far from abnormal, and even in the military, John was nothing if not a classic soldier.

He didn't have to tell a soul about his infamously eccentric flatmate for the world to realize that he'd always been a relatively "normal" man until 221B Baker Street. Until Sherlock Holmes.

Memories of thrilling adventures would fill his brain at night, forcing out the monotony he'd become so accustomed to, and the satisfaction with his life that he felt in those months were, even to this day, unparalleled. John Watson wasn't—for a short while—someone to be considered average. This pleased him in a strange sort of way, to know that he was unique, that Holmes was unique and had inspired him to believe in the unbelievable. It almost bordered on insanity how happy he was. Then Sherlock jumped that day, and the façade faded. It was as though a photograph had been burned—a black and white memory eaten away by painful fire.

John was suddenly so achingly normal, and sometimes it felt like the mourning was more for himself than for his fallen friend. That feeling, of course, soon subsided, and then he fell back into his old, monotonous life once more, dragging through the days until they turned to years. 221B was always quiet. Typical. Boring, even.

The roof wasn't boring, the blond thought, nudging one shoe toward the edge. His gaze, which was usually reserved, suddenly filled with emotion at the sight of the ground below him. He wouldn't jump—he couldn't, and he still wasn't sure if that was due to his attachment to his friends or to his cowardice. Either way, he wouldn't dare put his foot over the edge, so he settled for standing there absently and didn't move until he heard a faint shuffling noise behind him.

His first thought upon turning around was that he was crazy. He was seeing visions of a tall, slender man with familiar eyes and loose, dark curls atop his head—a man who had once stood in the very spot John was occupying now. Seconds later, another thought crossed his mind: That he was crazy, but Sherlock was actually there on the roof with him, and maybe that craziness he felt was a perfectly normal thing, for the moment.

Neither of them said a word.

John stepped down, only to remain glued to his new spot for some time, his expression changing from its cold mask when the corners of his eyes began to water.

Sherlock smiled at him—a thin, wan smile that somehow willed John's tears to fall the same way they had at St. Bart's those years ago.

The doctor never understood how someone as supposedly hardened to misfortune as himself could have cried at the mere sight of another person, but, right then, the only thing he could seem to do was snivel, gripping tightly at his hair and wondering why there was still a smile on his face.

It was so jarringly abnormal, the way the detective was smiling, but John felt it was only natural to smile back, even though his eyes were clouded and his body may've been wavering dangerously close to the roof's edge. But it was fine—all fine, he thought, shaking his head at the entire situation. He was able to laugh only for a moment before he was on his knees with his hands flat on the concrete of the roof beneath him, caught between sobs and hiccups that made him feel ten years old again.

Sherlock sat to John's left, though he left a comfortable amount of space between them, whether out of courtesy or something else, the blond couldn't be sure. Still, neither of them spoke, as it didn't seem to be necessary for the time being.

It took John a considerable amount of time to calm himself, and only a moment longer to realize that he'd never—not once in his life—been an average being. After all, he was someone destined to meet Sherlock Holmes. Normalcy was definitely out of the question.

Even now, he was aware that things wouldn't be the way they were before, but that thought was strangely comforting in its promises of an open future. It wouldn't go back to normal, but it would all be well, in the end.