"Where are you going?" John's mum asked. She was a sweet old biddy, entirely too tolerant for her own good, John thought, but he was grateful for it all the same.
"The pub. To pick up Harry." He said. He was 16 and already looking out for his older sister, knowing she was entirely too close to drinking herself sick on a daily basis.
"Alright. Just watch out for those Holmes' boys, won't you? I hear the younger one is vicious."
John raised an eyebrow, outwardly sceptical. "I can take anything he dishes out, Ma, he's scrawny, from what I hear." He was thrilled by the mention, of course. From what he heard at school, the younger one (apparently called Sherlock - the Holmes' were pretentious twats) was a genius. John's curiosity was piqued. He was sure Sherlock wasn't all that, and in fact, longed for a confrontation with the cocky little shite, but such things were forbidden. It did not do to get on the wrong side of Daniel Watson, John's grandfather.
"I didn't mean a vicious fighter." John's mum said primly, before sending him on his way. "If you're not back by ten I will send out your father."
John almost laughed. Dad would be beyond drunk by 10pm.
The pub wasn't far, and it was on the 'right' side of town. The Holmes' had an old manor on the outskirts of town, whereas the Watson's lived in a humble 4 bedroom just off the town centre. John enjoyed the comparison. He felt he came out of it rather well. It was a dingy pub, exactly the kind Harry liked to frequent (a comparison John liked a little less - he heard about the elder Holmes', Mycroft, and the classy establishments he frequented), and it was full to overflowing. Finding Harry and convincing her to leave would be a chore.
John was practiced at this, though, and the bouncer waved him through without a word. Recognised on sight for rescuing your older sister was not something he'd ever been proud of, but he was pretty sure Harry was.
The floor was sticky, and the tables filled. A queue was formed at the bar, and John spotted Harry sipping at a pint, clearly quite far gone, in the corner, alone. At least he wouldn't have to extricate her from someone who was being (he thought) entirely too friendly. John was on the rugby team, and enjoyed a good scrap, but not with someone at least 5 years his senior.
"Harry. Come on." He said. "We're going home."
"It's early yet, John. Come sit, have a drink. This crowd is boring."
John sighed. They had this conversation most days. "Harry, c'mon. Ma's expecting us."
Harry snorted. "She'll be fine." She waved her hand dismissively.
John scowled, slumped into the seat next to her. He'd wait this one out. He couldn't be bothered, in all honesty. He had school in the morning and he just wanted to go home. But fighting always made Harry dig her heels in.
A wicked grin split Harry's face in two. "Holmeses." She muttered, elbowing John. He sat up slightly, scanning the bar for a glimpse of them.
Ah, there. "The lanky one, looks about my age?" He asked Harry.
"Sherlock." She smiled.
John squared his shoulders, standing up and approaching Holmes the younger. He tapped him on the shoulder. "Not sure this was your sort of place, Holmes."
Sherlock smiled, scanning the surroundings. "Whereas this is exactly the kind of place your sister spends a lot of time in." He paused, a smirk settling on his features, before evidentally deciding John wasn't worth his time. "Go away. I don't have time for your family politics." He finished, sounding rather petulant.
John raised an eyebrow. Now that he was here, and the somewhat infamous Sherlock Holmes was in front of him, he was itching for a fight. "Busy, then? Doing what?" He said, brightly. He knew it was irritating.
"Just busy." Sherlock muttered icily, glancing around. He looked more agitated with every second John stood in front of him. John decided he'd be staying for a while.
"Buying cocaine." Sherlock said, evidently seeing someone he was going to... buy cocaine from? John assumed. "If you'll excuse me."
John blinked, and stood aside.
Apparently the Holmeses weren't so different after all. Even they have their vices.