There are certain things that you should know about him. First, he's unemployed. Second, he hates his therapy sessions. Well, 'hate' may be too strong a word to describe his sessions with Ella, but the point still stands. He doesn't like it when she reminds him that the nightmares are due to PTSD; he can't stand it when he has to remind her that nothing ever happens to him; and he wants to break something every time she tells him that he's the one who has the power to make things better.
Because he damn well does not, and she's a bloody terrible therapist.
Of course, rather than tell her how he feels, he continues his weekly sessions with a polite smile on his face, pretending to agree with her assessments, all the while loathing every single second he spends there.
The only thing that he looks forward to is the 46 minutes he spends in the tube on his way to Ella's office. In order to spend the 46 minutes wisely, he writes about his fellow passengers. He notes down their clothes and belongings, tries his best to describe the individuals he has chosen, and he lets his imagination make out what their story is.
Because if there is anything that John Watson believes in, it's that everyone has a story of their own. Fascinating or not, that's another point altogether.
(His other belief is that tea cures all pains in life. Come on, you know it's true.)
John knows that he's not capable of accurately retelling their life story (accuracy has never been something that he excels in, unless a gun is involved), so he does the next best thing. He uses the minor details he collects from thorough observation of the passengers to form his version of the kind of lives they lead. In that duration of time (the aforesaid 46 minutes), John chooses one individual, notes down whatever he deems is necessary to describe them, and proceeds to write a story about them. Once he is done with that person, he moves on to the next. Time passes fairly quickly, when one is occupied.
Feel free to laugh at him all you want, but the good doctor is devious and he knows it. Not only does he find this exercise interesting, but all that he has written in his notebook, he types in his blog. You know, the one his therapist insists on?
She's pleased by the fact that he's blogging, and as long as he can avoid blogging about himself, John's more than willing to continue. He finds that by doing this, he is allowed to think about the lives of others rather than dwell on his own.
His life. What exactly can one say about his life?
Captain John Watson, former army doctor, a thrill-seeker with a psychosomatic limp in his leg, and an intermittent tremor in his left hand. A man who misses the war and battlefield; and now thinks of himself as a self-proclaimed storyteller.
The writing helps him to forget about how lonely he is, and his weekly 46-minute journey becomes something he enjoys.
Right now, as John sits on one of the worn-out seats of the tube that was offered to him by a young girl who had noticed his limp (the leg's not even injured — YEAH BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT IT DOESN'T HURT — John you are imagining the pain it's not real — I'M A BLOODY DOCTOR OF COURSE I KNOW IT'S NOT REAL — get a grip it's not real — SOD OFF IT HURTS LIKE HELL), he takes his time in choosing someone to write about. He settles on the young man sitting across him, and begins scribbling all of his observations in his notebook.
- Ring on left hand: Married.
- Dumb-arse cap (ew ew ew): Values the thoughts and opinions of others. Someone must have told him the cap was cool.
- A man purse like the one Indiana Jones had.
- Pink backpack, with cartoons on it.
John gleefully notes that the backpack must belong to the man's daughter, and he concludes that the man must adore his daughter very much to be willing to be seen with such a flashy bag. Looking up again, John then notices that the man looks absolutely crushed, with a blank expression on his haggard face, and his eyes are visibly red but there is no sign of tears, and those sad eyes are directed towards the ground.
The man is holding on to the backpack very tightly, and a wave of sadness hits John. He realizes that something terrible must have happened to the girl, and John grimly writes that down. He avoids looking at the man for more clues, and uses whatever information he has already obtained to write out his version of the man's story. John's heart wrenches when he settles on one of the many possibilities of the girl's situation, and ignores it by diligently letting his imagination run free.
He's so engrossed in writing that he doesn't notice when someone sits beside him. When he hears an unfamiliar voice speak, John jumps in his seat, and is utterly confused.
"Not his daughter, it's his sister. And she didn't get kidnapped, interesting though that might be; but she is, however, dead. Based on the medications sticking out from the front compartment of the backpack and from the fact that they're used to treat septicemia, she obviously wasn't given her medication on time, nor was she taken to the hospital quickly enough. Judging by the way he's clutching the bag—his knuckles have turned white—he's either feeling guilty or he's still in shock. Can't see why the backpack matters so much, though."
The stranger finishes his monologue with a huff, and glares at the man as if the man has done him a wrong for acting in a way that he doesn't comprehend.
John, in spite of himself, whistles softly, completely awed by the explanation.
"Sentiment." John offers. "If what you're saying is true, then the backpack is probably the last thing he has of her, or it was something that reminds him of her."
"If?" The stranger repeats the word like it's something revolting and continues. "There is no 'if'. I'm sure of my deductions. I'm always right."
"Good on you, then." John mutters.
The stranger peeks at John's notes again and smirks.
"As much as I disapprove of your exaggeration and dramatic style of writing, I happen to agree with your observation that the cap he's wearing is"—he squints—"a dumb-arse cap that should be burnt with fire and salt. Though you must mean 'fire and sulphur'."
John rolls his eyes at the man beside him and shoves his notebook in his bag.
"I don't care what you think about my style of writing, and I sure as hell don't need your approval. So, would you kindly please, sod off?"
John sounds completely calm as he speaks, looking non-threatening in his one-size-too-big jumper, yet inexplicably dangerous.
The man looks torn between feeling uncomfortable, amused, and curious, before his lips twitches upwards to form a small smile.
"Interesting. Sherlock Holmes." The stranger extends his hand politely as he introduces himself.
"Ducky Wellington. How do you do."
The stranger—Sherlock—looks terribly insulted.
"You could do better than that."
"Yeah, well. I like to exaggerate, as you've very brilliantly pointed out."
"No one's named Ducky."
"I used to have a duck named Ducky."
"No, you didn't."
"Yes, I did."
"No. You didn't."
"But I did."
"And how did you arrive to the conclusion that I didn't have a pet duck?"
"Because no one has ducks as pets, obviously."
John raises his eyebrows, and watches smugly as Sherlock continues.
"Ducks are meant to be eaten and I happen to be very fond of them."
"Are you fond of them as pets, or are you fond of them as meals?"
"I don't know how we are able to maintain a conversation about this. Ducks are mundane creatures which are exquisite when cooked with herbs, but other than that, they're quite dull. I don't talk about things that are dull." He says the last part more to himself than to John.
"I'm insulted in behalf of the race of ducks that you've referred to as mundane and dull. Also, if you don't want to talk about things that are dull, you should stop talking to me."
"And why is that?"
"Because I'm made of dull. Dull is my middle name."
"Ah. It's nice to have made your acquaintance, Mr Ducky Dull Wellington."
John bursts out giggling at the stupidity of his cover name and Sherlock can't help but let out a low chuckle of amusement.
"Very observant, aren't you, Mr Holmes? So, what can you tell me about me?"
"Are you sure you want me to do that? It doesn't usually end well."
"I wonder why," John deadpans.
Sherlock smiles at that and John feels himself wanting to see more of that smile.
"Go on." John urges Sherlock to continue, trying to rid the strange thoughts from his head.
"If you insist."
Sherlock turns and faces John, and when Sherlock smirks, John wonders what in the world he has just done.