So, for some reason John’s parents sent him to the only school in the Greater London area that still teaches Greek and has an active fencing team. John thinks that intensely dense for several reasons. First of all: What kind of extracurricular activity is fencing? How does knowing how to wave around a glorified nail-file help you survive in modern day London? If you get mugged it’s not like you can pull out your épée and call “engarde“ like you freshly hatched from the latest re-publishing of Dumas‘ Musketeers. Well, you could but it’d probably earn you a serious beating in addition to the mugging.
Actually, John would gladly give his wallet to whichever willing professional mugger to see that happening. That may have something to do with who is the living embodiment of the fencing spirit of his school.
Sherlock Holmes is a pretentious arsehole with a God complex.
Now, John isn’t saying that he himself hasn’t faults. Girls complain he never talks about his feelings (or anything else, really) and his mates call him judgmental. He is strong-willed enough to not actually change anything about it. Let’s face it most things don’t need talking about and it’s not like his judgments aren’t based on solid facts. But he at least is aware of these things and when he had to do this English lit project together with Molly he listened to her lamenting on and on about the psychological damages of her cat. He made the appropriate noises of commiseration while typing their essay and he didn’t judge her for her early demise into spinsterdom.Well, at least not out loud.
Point is, John is trying to be nice. Sometimes.
Sherlock on the other hand is pretty much excelling at professional arseholism.
That in itself would be bad enough but Sherlock is also by far the best fencer around. And as it happens this bizarrely means that he is as popular as the football captain is in any other (translate: normal) school. If John was living in a bad American movie Sherlock would undoubtedly wear a Letterman jacket and date the head cheerleader. John however is living in the real world in London and Sherlock wears a tailor-made black coat and t-shirts from Punk bands that no one knows. And when he dates, it’s usually some random bloke (usually shorter than Sherlock, usually blond). Usually it’s someone no one has ever seen before and no one ever will again once Sherlock has finished (translate: got bored) with him.
Still, everyone loves Sherlock.
Well, no. ‘Love‘ is not the word John would assign to Sherlock’s devoted flock of followers. Or to Sherlock. Anyone remember that crazy American bloke with the cult who one day suggested that it would be a brilliant idea to just collectively commit suicide? Sherlock is like that guy. Only that John is certain that Sherlock would never kill himself. He would be dead and couldn’t admire his cheekbones in the mirror and shout ’engarde‘ at random strangers in the street. No, Sherlock is definitely too in love with himself to ever do himself in.
Not that he doesn’t have a thing for the whole glorification of everything morbid. In addition to his raven black hair and his sort of vampire-like complexion he has this obvious fascination with dead and decaying things. If anyone asked John it fits because clearly Sherlock’s entourage is a bunch of zombies who had their own brains for breakfast.
Sometimes, John is a bit mystified why Sherlock surrounds himself with such a bunch of unquestioning worshippers in the first place. He highly doubts that anything they do or say provides even the smallest of challenges for Sherlock. At least once every school day Sherlock tells one of his entourage to piss off because he or she is boring a hole in his skull. He claims that regularly he barely avoids getting stupidity induced brain cancer. He’s a real charmer, Sherlock Holmes. If there is anything that Sherlock loves more than fencing or looking down on people it’s a challenge. Nothing better to show off his evident superiority.
Sherlock is an arrogant cock. John might have alluded to that before.
Now, John is fine with Sherlock being a better fencer than him. Fencing is idiotic and the whole outfit makes anyone look like the lovechild of a whitewashed ninja and a storm trooper. Anyone aside from Sherlock, really, but Sherlock could wear a Big Bird costume and make even that look regal, posh and condescending. Okay, feathers, red stockings and huge bird feet might not be as effortlessly, damningly sexy as the fencing outfit. Half of the audience in the packed ranks at every fencing event sports a hard on for Sherlock, his impossibly long legs and the way he makes fencing look like a much less messy, very appealing alternative to public sex. John is not one of them. And he doesn’t think the red stockings idea weirdly attractive either, just for the record.
The point John was trying to make before Sherlock distracted him with his waving around of phallic symbols (clearly, Sherlock’s fault), is that John has no problem with the whole fencing-like-a-Musketeer-thing. Aside from it being stupid. What John does have a problem with is that Sherlock isn’t just a brilliant metaphorical-penis-flapper, he also excells at boxing. And he only gets straight A‘s in Biology. And Chemistry. And English Lit. In Greek, for heaven’s sake.
And unsurprisingly Sherlock thinks it below himself to raise his hand in class and wait his turn like any other pupil. He just spits the right answer into the room before the teacher has finished the question. If condescention was a person it would have iceblue eyes, neatly clipped black-polished fingernails and Sherlock’s full lips, perpetually curled in disgust over other people’s stupidity.
That’s what John hates. He sits behind his desk, his arms crossed and he knows that he is telegraphing his loathing to a degree where people in Afghanistan (or any other far away land) can hear it loud and clear and probably interpret it as a declaration of war. Which it is. Just not to the Afghani people.
When John gets angry – like, really angry – all words die in the desert of his own throat. They make it feel raw and parched and like someone is slowly strangling him. Sherlock’s left eyebrow has more taunting potential than Mohammed Ali at the peak of his carreer and John wants to punch him. Only that (of course, because John’s life sucks) Sherlock would beat him there, too, fucking boxing wunderkind that he is.
So, as far as strategy in classroom trench wars goes, John focusses on the two things he definitely is better at than Sherlock: Taciturnity and silent judgmentalism (stress on the silent).
After yet another staring match that this time lasted almost the entire period, Sherlock rolls his eyes and averts his gaze. It’s just the briefest of moments, a minor jolt of irritation, a crack in his otherwise Achillean armor. But to John it feels like a victory of Homeric proportions. He would write an epic poem about it but the thing is, he didn’t really pay attention to any of the stuff their Greek teacher has been talking about for the last 45 minutes.
The teacher finishes what seems to have been a longer briefing by telling them to pick a partner for their assignment. Having been too focused on his own little corner of the trench John feels a bit lost when the bombing and machine gun onslaught stops abruptly. The other pupils chatter quietly amongst themselves.
But of course everyone waits for Sherlock to choose first, even the teacher looks at him expectantly. Sherlock just sits in his chair with his impossibly long legs outstretched and his right arm resting on the back of his neighbour’s chair, icy blue eyes raking the crowd. A medieval Lord taking his pick amonst the village virgins.
Sherlock’s eyes find John again. John’s eyebrows furrow automatically, front line soldiers bellowing ’bring it on‘. Once more into the breach and all that, John can easily do another hour of cold war quality glaring. Sherlock tilts his head and for all his slouching king-of-the-savanna pose he looks ready to pounce.
“Well?“ the teacher prompts after a long moment of silence and tumbleweeds blowing through deserted streets.
“I’m going to work with John,“ Sherlock announces in his dark baritone.
Everyone looks at him in surprise, even the teacher. But Sherlock is already packing up his books. Even zipping his backpack is a demonstration of power with him.
“Watson?“ the teacher finally remembers to ask. From the look on his face the aforementioned people of Afghanistan weren’t the only ones who heard John’s silent battle cries.
Now everyone is looking at John, even Sherlock interrupts his stuffing his bag.
In case there is someone who still hasn’t cottoned on to that fact after the already heavily overdone battlefield allegories, John has watched his share of World War documentaries. He also spent just the right amount of completely too much time playing “Medal of Honor“.
He knows that the worst mistake you can make after winning a skirmish is considering the war won.
“Sherlock.“ John nods at the teacher and clenches his jaw. “Fine by me.“
John re-directs the missiles of his glare at Sherlock again. There is a small smirk plotting an ambush on Sherlock‘s full lips. Must be about the same expression Napoleon wore when he spotted Wellington on the fields of Waterloo.
Fine by John. This is so on. Bring it fucking on.
Sherlock slings his backpack over one shoulder and struts out of the classroom with his usual flourish. John scoffs, squares his shoulders, follows with a deliberate lack of hurry.
He has not the faintest idea what project it is they are supposed to be working on.
It’s not like it matters.