Doctor John Hamish Watson had spent years saving people. Throughout his career he had saved countless people in countless places; mothers, fathers, children in hospital, soldiers in the desert, strangers in the middle of nowhere. It was his job after all, as a soldier and a doctor- a very good one. But after that fateful bullet to the shoulder, and the subsequent psychosomatic limp, he never thought he would do such a thing again. It turned out he was mistaken.
His meeting with one Sherlock Holmes, the world’s only consulting detective, would change everything. He was one of the most reckless and self-destructive people John had ever met, and from the very beginning he had felt the need to protect him to the very best of his ability, even if it meant risking his own life in the process. The mind-set that had been drilled into him for years and his naturally protective nature meant that he was in a near-constant state of distress over what his flatmate would get himself into next.
It all started when he received three mysterious texts from Sherlock when they were working their first case together. There was something about the consulting detective that peeked John’s curiosity; he was like no one he had ever met. A genius, most definitely. Completely oblivious to social queues, obvious by the fact that he had left John at the crime scene without even a backward glance. And he seemed to be in a permanent state of amusement over the dullness of those around him. One thing was for certain, John was intrigued, and he wouldn’t be satisfied until he unravelled the mystery of Sherlock Holmes.
Baker Street. Come at once if convenient. SH
If inconvenient, come anyway. SH
Could be dangerous. SH
The last text had spurred John into action. Thinking that Sherlock might already be in danger, or was planning on putting himself in danger in the near future, he retrieved his gun before finally going back to Baker Street. With a steady hand and prepared to face any number of scenarios he walked up the stairs to 221B. It would be an understatement to say he was shocked to arrive and see Sherlock lying languidly across the sofa, completely safe.
The gun would most definitely be useless in a situation like this. Clearly Sherlock was in no immediate danger, but the nicotine patches visible on his arm did beg the question of whether Sherlock realized how very real the risk of nicotine poisoning was. Perhaps there was danger after all, just not the kind John had been expecting.
“What are you doing?”
“Nicotine patch. Helps me think. Impossible to sustain a smoking habit in London these days. Bad news for brain work.”
“It’s good news for breathing.”
“Oh, breathing. Breathing’s boring.”
“Is that three patches?”
“It’s a three patch problem.”
“Well? You asked me to come I’m assuming it’s important.”
“Oh, yeah, of course. Can I borrow your phone?”
His phone. Sherlock Holmes had text him incessantly requesting his presence all the way from the other side of London to borrow his phone. John wasn’t even sure what to say at first, completely taken aback by the strange request, but it was here when he first learned that Sherlock never had any requests that weren’t considered strange, though in his mind they made complete sense. And it turned out Sherlock’s request did make sense, only John hadn’t been expecting he would be texting a murderer at any point in his life. Not even two whole days into his ‘association’ with Sherlock Holmes and he was already baffled. He didn’t know if he could handle living with the madman, with his strange requests, sudden silences and even more sudden bouts of excitement. But then this was exactly what John needed in his life. Something unique and exciting, something where he could feel useful again, where he could care for others and have something to do, something to look forward to.
And he most definitely had something to look forward to. After an unexpected drugs bust at the flat, John started wondering exactly when the surprises would stop. If it weren’t for his nerves of steel, he wasn’t sure he would have been able to act so calmly around a detective inspector from Scotland Yard with an illegal gun tucked into his trousers. Hours later, once the flat had been vacated and John was left alone with a beeping notebook, he was more than glad to have the gun with him.
Little did he know he would be using it again. Little did Sherlock know his text to John had saved his life.
Had it not been for Sherlock implying that it ‘could be dangerous’ John never would have thought to bring his gun with him. Had it not been for Sherlock’s mysterious exit before John never would have thought to follow when the location of the mysterious pink phone was broadcast. Without a second thought, he’d grabbed his jacket and gotten into a cab, spewing out directions left and right and hoping he could reach Sherlock before something went horribly wrong.
It had been clear by the excessive use of nicotine patches and the lack of meals that Sherlock wasn’t overly concerned with his body and his health. After all, his mind took precedent, but John never would have thought that Sherlock’s boredom and need to prove himself clever would bring him this close to death.
From his spot at the window, where John had already figured out Sherlock was unable to hear him, he could tell something was wrong. Sherlock, who was always spouting off deductions and insults, was eerily quiet, staring intently at the bottle in his hand. The cabbie on the other hand just kept talking.
“You said the victims all took the poison themselves, that he makes them take it. Well, maybe he… I don’t know, talks to them?”
Sherlock raised his hand up and John panicked when he saw the pill. What could the cabbie possible have told him to get Sherlock to take it? Sherlock who knew exactly what it was and how many people had been killed already, and he was about to make the exact same mistake.
John waited, tense yet short seconds, watching intently from the building across, hoping and praying that Sherlock would put the pill down. But he just kept raising it, closer and closer to his mouth. Too close for comfort.
John took the deadly shot.
The cabbie fell back; Sherlock twitched and dropped the pill out of sheer reflex and shock. After a quick glance to make sure he was safe John fled the scene, tucking the gun back into his trousers, confident that he would need it again.
John stood innocently on the side-lines, watching Sherlock and Lestrade talking, wondering if either- or both- had already figured it out. He knew it was only a matter of time until Sherlock realized he’d been the one to shoot the cabbie, but John wasn’t sure if he would confront him about it. The second Sherlock looked over at him he knew. The second Sherlock opened his mouth he knew.
“Yes. Yes, must have been, through that window.”
“Well, you’d know. Need to get the powder burns out of your fingers. I don’t suppose you’d serve time for this but let’s avoid the court case. Are you alright?”
“Yes, of course I’m alright.”
“Well, you have just killed a man.”
He had, and the realization hit him suddenly. So suddenly that he didn’t even know what to say. But he’d had his reasons. He’d been justified. The man had killed four others and would have continued killing unless he was stopped. Sherlock would have died if he hadn’t been stopped.
How had Sherlock become so important that John had killed just the day after meeting him? Mulling the question over days afterwards he still hadn’t figured out the answer, but there was one thing he knew for certain. This was just the beginning.