No one had ever called Sherlock Holmes an idiot.
Of course, Sherlock himself would use the word at times simply because it was the easiest way to distinguish between himself and other people, and others let him do it. Though they appeared to take offense they had never argued with him on this matter and to be honest, it had bothered him. It was a difference between him and others, a thin line but a line all the same. His brother, of course, was neither one of the idiots nor like Sherlock, but there was no other adequate word with which to describe him either. Thus, for a great part of Sherlock's life, the world consisted of three types of human beings: Sherlock himself, Mycroft, and other people. People who were idiots.
Until John Watson showed up.
Somehow, the usual distinction did not apply to John and Sherlock found himself wondering why. That was, in itself, very unusual. Sherlock would only concern himself with people if they were relevant to a case or an experiment; relationships mattered only if untangling them could solve a puzzle. Therefore, the mere pondering over why John was not simply filing himself under the "Idiot"-folder in Sherlock's mental hard drive was an even stronger indicator that somewhere along the way, Sherlock must have made a mistake.
He did not like that thought. However, it was an interesting piece to the puzzle which was neatly putting itself together in a completely new mind-folder labelled John Watson in Sherlock's mental archive. Admittedly, it had taken some time for it to get going. While most people ceased to be of interest after approximately two minutes and forty-six seconds, the mind-image of John Watson, after more than twenty-four hours, still had blanks.
And now he called Sherlock an idiot.
Idiot. Noun, derived from French, derived from Latin, derived from Greek. Formerly a word used in a classification system where it described a person of profound mental retardation with a mental age below three years and generally unable to learn connected speech or to guard against common dangers, the word now meant that the person called idiot was a foolish, stupid or senseless person. Synonyms included but were not limited to: moron, half-wit, imbecile, simpleton, prat, and blockhead.
No one had ever, ever, called Sherlock an idiot before. He was baffled. And then he laughed.
Laughed, yes, because John had said it with the same blunt honesty that he had used only hours before when he had said amazing. Which, quite frankly, was another word that Sherlock was not very experienced hearing in regard to himself. And the thing was, that the way John had said it gave the word a different meaning yet again. It was even a whole other meaning than Sherlock himself had given it.
Sherlock called people idiots because they appeared as if they felt inferior to him. Not because he thought they were mentally or intellectually retarded – they were not, and he did not think so – but because they felt inferior to him because he used his mental capacities to the best of his abilities, when they obviously did not. It was not he who had drawn the differentiating line between himself and others, they had, because they obviously felt that they could not use the word about him.
And then John just did. Effortlessly. Offhandedly.
The line did not disappear, of course. Other people were still idiots. But instead of making room for himself on the Sherlock side of the border, separating himself from the idiots like Mycroft did, John had simply done what Sherlock had done for him earlier that evening. Lifted it up and let Sherlock in on the other side.
Somehow, with a few words, Sherlock was not so far away from everyone else. And it was rather nice. Foolish, of course, but nice.
"Dinner?" he asked, trying to subdue the silly feeling rising in his chest.
"Starving" the doctor replied, and the feeling expanded. Happiness? Well, that was stupid. But standing on this side of the line, maybe he could stand being stupid for a while. Being an idiot was not all that bad.