The John that I Never Knew
Sherlock tilted his head, one-parts amusement and one-parts annoyance, as he watched John stumble into one of the pub's chairs.
"Don't say it, Sherlock," John warned.
"You're drunk," Sherlock said.
"I am not drunk!" John bristled, holding onto the counter for support. "Now, please, be quiet until I get back."
"Because you're going to say something and insult Thomas."
Sherlock rolled his eyes and looked back to his drink- only water. "The queue's only getting longer, John."
"Be good," John hissed, before walking away.
Barely a minute had passed before Thomas, John's friend from the army, re-joined Sherlock at the bar.
"Where did John go?"
"Bathroom," Sherlock replied bluntly.
"Oh, he never could hold his liquor. Not a chip off of Harry, that's for sure," Thomas said cheerfully.
Sherlock shifted his gaze sideways to Thomas, inspecting the man without moving his head. He was five foot seven, average build, brown eyes, gray and black hair, of Scottish descent. Near John's age, but three years older if Sherlock guessed correctly. As with John, as Sherlock had so deduced, the haircut and the way he held himself said military, and going by the scar on his right hand, he was still in active duty.
Against John's better wishes (and demands), Sherlock raised his head and opened his mouth. "You were in his infantry?"
Thomas nodded. "I'm still in that infantry. Yeah, devastated when John was invalided home. Well, I suppose it's something we all wish for, to be able to come back home, but in one piece and we barely knew if he was alive or dead. It's good to see him. He looks well." He glanced at Sherlock. "How long have you been together, then? Didn't take him as that type, but to each their own, buddy."
Sherlock took a sip of his water. "We've been living together for two years, but I've known him for about five."
"Wasn't that 'round 'bout the time he got back home?"
Sherlock nodded. "Yes... I believe it was about a month after he returned."
"How was he, back then?" Thomas asked. "Melding from a soldier's life to a civilian's can be a rough transition. I've known blokes who we've lost to the void, poor souls."
"He was seeing a therapist..." Sherlock said slowly. He wasn't sure how much of this John willingly shared with people. "For psychosomatic wounds and tics."
Thomas sighed and took a drink of his own beverage; he was drinking scotch. "Poor bugger. But he seems happy now, eh? He's got you to thank for that."
Sherlock winced delicately as Thomas slapped him on the back. "Perhaps."
"Come on, you've seen 'is blog. The first time that he ever really wrote anything was when he met you."
"Perhaps that is because nothing happened to him before he met me?" Sherlock asked dryly.
"You changed his life," Thomas remarked.
Sherlock stifled a sigh and took another drink of his water. He cast his gaze slightly to his right. The queue for the loo was diminishing, but John wouldn't be back for another three point seven minutes, if his calculations were correct. Longer if he went back to get more drinks or order more food. Sherlock looked back at Thomas.
"He was a good doctor," he said. It wasn't a question because John had told him as much. It was one of those thingies... what was it called... a conversation starter. Because, for once, Sherlock wanted to talk- about the John that he had never known, that was.
Thomas nodded. "Aye, best we had. Well, that was my opinion, anyway, and a lot of others, too. There was nothing that he wouldn't do to help someone if he had the chance. That was how that shell exploded, you know."
Sherlock, metaphorically speaking, perked up. "What shell?"
"Oh, didn't he tell you?"
"Obviously not," Sherlock replied. "Is this why he was invalided back to London?"
Thomas nodded. "He went back to rescue one of our guys, he can't have been more than twenty, come to think, and a shell exploded near them. John tackled the guy so he wouldn't get hit with the shrapnel and the force of it, but it knocked them both clean out. Of course being that close to an explosion of that force, regardless of them luckily not getting their limbs blown straight off, can cause any amount of internal damage and we never heard..."
Sherlock was staring at the bar, mentally visualising the scene being described to him. "Stupid. What would he do that for? He could have killed himself."
Thomas frowned. "Because he's a doctor, Holmes. It's his job to protect the people around him and make sure they're alright, even if he's not going to be."
Sherlock almost frowned. "To sacrifice two lives instead of one is... illogical."
"'The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,'" Thomas said.
Sherlock looked up at him blankly.
Thomas laughed. "'ey, don't blame me; you were starting to sound like Spock there."
Sherlock frowned. "Why does everyone keep comparing me to Spock? And why do I know that name?"
"Star Trek? God, John wasn't kidding when he said you were hopeless," Thomas said, in the same teasing tone that John had said it in previously. "But, no, it fits for John. He would do anything to help anyone else, regardless of what happened to him."
"He was a martyr, then," Sherlock said. "It is in my experience that the ones who try to be martyrs usually end up with a bashed in skull."
"That's why you're there, huh?"
Sherlock looked at Thomas again, posing the silent question. What?
"Well, you're keeping him in line, eh?"
Sherlock pressed his lips together and swallowed back a laugh. If anything, John was trying to keep him in line, not the other way around. "Maybe."
"Like I said, this is the happiest I've seen him since he was acknowledged as Captain," Thomas said, drinking the rest of his scotch. "Whatever you guys are doing, you're doing it right."
Sherlock glanced up as he distinguished the sound of John's footsteps from the rest of the crowd.
"Sorry about that," John said, taking his respective seat between Thomas and Sherlock. "Queue's atrocious."
"Ah, not at all. Holmes and I were having a chat, anyway."
John looked at Sherlock. "Oh, really?"
Sherlock took an unconcerned sip of his water. "Just discussing you."
"Me?" John asked. "What? Why?"
"I was saying that you look happy," Thomas said. "Telling Sherlock about your stories and such."
"My stories? I don't have stories," John said, frowning.
"Course you do. And then Sherlock was telling me about the years you've been together," Thomas said. "You're good for each other."
John's frown deepened. "Wait, what- Sherlock, what have you been telling him? We're not together, Tom."
"Huh?" Thomas frowned.
"We're not gay. I'm not gay. He might be, I don't know, but I'm not."
Sherlock sighed and set his glass down as Thomas continued to look confused. John was about to turn on him, he knew it.
John looked at him again. "What did you tell him? Do you go around telling people we're a couple?"
"He asked me how long we've been together. I told him I've known you for five years. I didn't know that 'being together' signified a romantic or sexual relationship," Sherlock said in a monotone.
"What did you think it meant?" John demanded before looking back at Thomas. "God, Tom, I've got a girlfriend. I'm not dating this clot."
"I thought it meant how long we'd been together," Sherlock muttered. "We've been living together for two years, would have been five if I hadn't been otherwise occupied," he muttered, mostly under his breath. "We've been together. Besides, who knows how long this girlfriend's going to last."
"Shut up, Sherlock!"
Thomas raised his eyebrows. "'This' girlfriend? How many have you had?"
Doctor, Spots, Nose, Boring Teacher, and Less Boring Teacher were the five that came to Sherlock's mind, but he (wisely) did not say anything.
"Not many," John said forcefully. "Just a few now and then, but, Mary, I think she's the one."
Sherlock sighed. "Oh, God." Propping his elbow up on the bar, he rest his chin on his fist and stared towards the wall.
"Shut up," John repeated, shoving Sherlock's shoulder.
Sherlock smirked slightly.
"Well. I'm feeling peckish and Johnny, you've got to tell me about these girlfriends," Thomas said, grinning. "Fish and chips?"
"Mmm, yeah, sounds good," John said, reaching for the menu slip. "Maybe some pizza."
Sherlock watched them from the corner of his eye, smiling impossibly small as he reached again for his drink.
Happy Remembrance/Veteran's Day. Thank you to all those who have served, who are serving, or are planning to serve. :)
I do not own Sherlock. Thank you.