Nothing happens to John Watson.
He is born, he grows up, he goes to school, he goes to war, and he comes back with a limp to slow him down. He has stories to tell and anecdotes to recite, but at the core of it all he feels an emptiness. Through all his life, he has been waiting for something to happen: something big, life-changing and beautiful.
One Friday it does.
One Friday he is taken hostage by Sherlock Holmes.
Staring at the ground, John keeps to himself. Further up the road, the blue lights of sirens flash, but he doesn’t approach. It isn’t his business. All he wants to do is to get home where it is warm and he can get into bed. He has little else to look forward to.
He might be determined to ignore the situation at the end of the road, but even John can’t ignore the cold metal of a gun pressed against his temple. “Walk with me and you won’t get hurt,” the tall stranger says, while he guides John into an awkward, backwards shuffle. “He’s my hostage! Don’t come any closer!”
John feels oddly calm. He stares at the gathering of police officers at the end of the street. They all look rather alarmed on his behalf, which is not remotely soothing. The sight of an alarmed police officer is never a good sign. “Sherlock,” a detective sighs, his expression weary and hurting. “You don’t have to do this. We’ll sort it out.”
“Sherlock…” John repeats under his breath, as he walks backwards under Sherlock’s command. The gun against his temple doesn’t waver. At this range, at this angle, John would be dead within a split-second if Sherlock pulled the trigger. It doesn’t scare him. “I’ve heard of you. You’re the detective.”
“And you haven’t watched the evening news,” Sherlock replies. “If you had, you would put that in the past tense. I was ‘the detective’.”
“And what are you now, then?”
“I’m the fraud.” The police officer who seems to be in charge starts to take a single step forward, but Sherlock stops him by pressing the gun more firmly against John’s head. “Don’t be an idiot, Lestrade. You know I’d do it. You know I’d pull the trigger.”
Lestrade’s eyes narrow sceptically, but he waves his hand as his underlings to get him to back off. “What’s the plan now? Are we just going to keep reversing ‘til we run out of road?” John asks.
“I’m working on that,” Sherlock says. “Get ready to run.”
“What?” John blinks in unintended amusement. “Why would I run with you?”
“Because you’ve been bored ever since you got back from the war; because for the last minute you haven’t needed your cane.” A glance towards Sherlock out of the corner of his eye reveals a very smug smirk. “And, if you need any extra reasons, because I have a gun and you don’t.”
John keeps walking backwards, without a single limp in his stride. His cane is a dead weight in his hand. He feels ridiculously free; it makes him want to laugh. All he allows himself to do is nod once, barely visible. The gun rubs against his temple with the movement, a cool caress of metal.
“When we get to the next corner, start running,” Sherlock murmurs.
They take three more steps backwards, then they’re off.
His feet hammering on the pavement, John hasn’t felt this alive in years.