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What You're Worth

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This was a typical evening at the Watson residence. It always started after dinner, when John was washing the dishes. Usually it started with a simple comment, sometimes John didn't even have to say anything. Everything he did was wrong, everything he said was wrong, every opinion he had was wrong. He could never do anything right, he knew that. This particular October evening it had started when Mary was looking through John's bag.

"What is this?" Mary held up a stack of folders that she had pulled out of John's bag.

"Oh... erm... those are just some files I need to go over tonight." John said without thinking. The second the words left his lips, he regretted it. Mary didn't like him doing work at home. She was always pestering him about work.

"Why didn't you do that at work?"

"I was busy with patients all day; time got the best of me." John hurried with the dishes, not wanting to give Mary something to throw whether it was at him or the wall. He knew this was turning into a fight, everything turned into a fight.

"I'm busy all day too and yet, somehow I am able to finish my work AT WORK." Mary began to yell. This was about the time that John started apologizing, trying to end the argument but Mary never let that happen; she always wanted to make sure John felt miserable afterwards. She always succeeded in doing that.

"I know you do. I'm sorry; I won't let it happen again." John made a mental note to finish his paperwork first. He thought he might be able to persuade his co-workers to help him with it. John finished putting the dishes away, did one last scan of the kitchen before concentrating on Mary. Why did I ever get married, he thought to himself.

"You better make sure it doesn't. Honestly, all I want to do is come home and be with you and you won't even let me have that. I never got to see you during our first two years of marriage because you were out shooting people in the middle of a desert. Do you know how lonely I was then?" Lonely enough to shag everyone in town, John thought. He knew Mary was dishonest and that she had cheated on him more times than he could count but something held him from leaving her, maybe it was the constant reminder that no one else could put up with him.

"No you don't know. Your whole bloody military career was a joke. You got one bullet wound and came crying home. You could have stayed there, helping to win the war. I think you should have been dishonorably discharged. You didn't leave with honour; you have no pride left after leaving on such a minor injury. Sometimes, I wished you had just died out in that desert, and then I wouldn't have to put up with the nightmares and the anxiety attacks. At least then you would have died with honor. Everyone is always saying how 'heroic' you are, but you're not. You are a coward, John Watson, a coward who got himself shot. Only idiots get shot, John." She continued. John was used to this by now; sometimes he even believed what she said about him. Everyone thinks that only women get abused in relationships but John knew otherwise. She didn't hit him; she would hurt him with her words. Occasionally, she would throw something at him but mostly she would yell. John didn't say anything in reply; he knew she wasn't done yet.

"And another thing, you barely do anything at your certain job, clearly." Mary held the folders up again. "I wouldn't call you a doctor; you don't help anyone, you just give them pills. You bring in less money than I do. You are worthless, John, completely and utterly worthless. I wish you wouldn't come home some days, so then I could move on. You don't know how miserable you make my life." She was still yelling. The impact of the words finally hit John. The lump in his throat appeared, followed by the pain in his chest. Today, he believed these things were true. He was worthless; he stayed with Mary because she was the only one that would ever love him, if she even did love him. Mary had a look of disgust on her face. John refused to show his pain to her, to let her win.

Mary gave up and walked into the bedroom, leaving John standing alone in the living room. When he knew that Mary was in the shower, he allowed himself to cry. He wiped the tears away as quickly as they fell. John had learnt how to cry silently, the only sound that was made were John's deep inhales of air. Crying didn't make him feel any better though; he was ashamed of himself and knew in that moment that he was pathetic.

Sherlock, with his riding crop in one hand, advanced down the hallways of St. Bart's. He was in need of a doctor to help with the cause of death on his current case. Sherlock hated the cases that Mycroft gave him, they were always boring, nothing to keep his mind from wandering. Sherlock pissed off most of the doctor's at St. Bart's so he needed to venture to sections he never visited, like the surgical warden. He was lost in his deductions of his cases, so much so that he failed to notice the man walking towards him, texting. Sherlock never missed any detail; he was always focused even when he was multitasking.

When Sherlock collided with this man, he was shocked. His riding crop flew from his hand, and the man's mobile followed it. The man fell to the floor while Sherlock held his position. Sherlock calculated the fall and the man would have a bruise on his right hip in a few hours and his shoulders would be sore for two-three days. The man appeared to be struggling to get up so Sherlock offered him a hand.

"So sorry about that. I was busy, hope you're alright." Sherlock said, retrieving his riding crop from the floor. He glanced up at the man. Nametag: John Watson. Steady hands: Surgeon. Coat still white: newly hired. Haircut, short and standard: army. Wedding ring: married. Ring is scratched and damaged, clearly not taken care of: unhappy in his marriage. Bags under eyes: hardly sleeps. Strange bruises on arms: abused. Constantly looks at floor: insecure. Outfit, picked out by his wife: controlling wife. Though he seems concerned about his wife, like he was also checking up on her: his wife must be unfaithful.

"I wasn't paying attention either, I was texting." John holds out his phone.

"Your wife?" Sherlock asked even though he knew the answer.

"Yes. How did you know?" John looked puzzled. Sherlock had seen that look a thousand times, every time he deduced someone, they gave him that look. Sherlock had fooled himself into thinking Dr. John Watson would be different.

"Well considering you're married and your wife is rather controlling, she'd be the only one to text you during your shift, probably to check up on you." Sherlock explained.

"That's brilliant." John was baffled by this man, he knew everything about him and they'd never spoken before.

"That's not what people normally say."

"What do people normally say?"

"Piss off." They both laughed though Sherlock isn't sure why he's laughing. Soon the laughter died out and a silence fell between them.

"I'm John Watson, though you probably already know that." John looked down at his nametag. He extended his hand to Sherlock.

"Sherlock Holmes." The two men shook hands. Sherlock noted that John follows all social protocol.

"Nice to you meet, Sherlock Holmes." It only just occurred to Sherlock that John was a doctor. A smile formed on Sherlock's face.

"Doctor John Watson, DOCTOR JOHN WATSON!" Sherlock shrieked with joy. "Could you help me? I'm a consulting detective, the world's only. I have a case and I need a doctor's view on things. Would you be willing to help?" This was so out of character for Sherlock, usually he just demanded that people do what he wanted but now he was asking, kindly, for help.

"I suppose I could help. It would have to be after my shift. I end in about two hours, if you don't mind waiting." John was just going to text Mary that he was ordered to help Sherlock. She'd think he was working, not volunteering to help someone. She hated how John could never say no, to anyone; she told him that made him weak and spineless.

"No, that's great. I have so work to finish up in the mortuary. I have to see how long it takes for bruises to form after being hit with a riding crop."

"Oh, I thought you just carried that around for looks."

"Of course not, that'd be foolish. Meet me in the forensic lab after your shift?"

"Sure thing. I'll see you then." John turned to walk away. Sherlock waited until John had turned the corner before heading down to the mortuary. He felt bad for John, considering all he knew.

Sherlock was halfway to the mortuary when his mobile rang; he knew exactly who it was. Took two minutes and twenty six seconds, Sherlock thought as he answered the call. Mycroft was always watching him, tracking everything he did and everyone he spoke to; it was rather annoying at times.

"What do you want, Mycroft? I'm busy."

"I would not get involved with Dr. Watson if I were you."

"I already know; that's his problem, not mine."

"It makes working with him very difficult, though it'll leave his wife with some extra time to shag her co-workers."

"Mycroft, this is none of your business. Sod off."

"Don't let your temper get the better of you, Sherlock. We both know I'm right."

"I know that you're meddling in things that you should keep your nose out of."

"Sherlock, his wife would kill the both of you if she ever found out."

"How do you know John won't tell her?"

"He's scared to bring home paperwork; he's not going to tell her that he's decided to help a detective with his cases."

"He might."

"Don't fool yourself into thinking that, Sherlock. Holmeses are better than that. I thought you were smarter than that."

"I am. Stop annoying me. I have work to do. Go eat some cake or something, just leave me alone, you prat." Sherlock ended the call before Mycroft could respond. This was Mycroft's way of showing he cared, but all it did was piss Sherlock off. He didn't need someone watching over him all the time like a child. Mycroft knew that if he insulted Sherlock's intellect that Sherlock would get angry. That was one advantage Mycroft had, being his brother gave him the knowledge of everything that pissed Sherlock off.

Sherlock decided to forget about Mycroft and focus on his experiment until he had to meet John in the lab. The time passed by quick enough; Sherlock made his way to the lab twenty minutes early to analysis some fibres he had found. He hypothesized that there would be traces of hydrochloric acid on the fibres.

John stepped into the forensic lab and was pleased to see Sherlock fiddling with one of the microscopes. He looked nervously at the ground before looking up to see Sherlock was staring at him. He could feel his gaze on him but surprisingly it didn't make him uncomfortable. Sherlock noticed John's expression and returned his attention back to the fibres under the microscope. His hypothesis had been correct, naturally. John was clearly waiting for Sherlock to speak first.

"I'm almost done here, John. I'll only be a few more minutes." Sherlock didn't look up from the microscope.

"Alright. So what exactly do you need my help with?" John had been curious as to what Sherlock could possible need from John when he was already so intelligent. John had googled him after he'd returned to his office; where he'd found his blog The Science of Deduction. It was an interesting blog but Sherlock mostly used it to show off his deduction skills to the world.

"Well I need a doctor to help me analyse bodies, I mean I can do it myself but I wouldn't be as in depth as you could be."

"I can certainly help with that. Just let me text my wife so she knows I'll be out late." I'll be running late, sorry. The boss gave me extra patients today. I'll be home as soon as I can. I love you, John texted to Mary. He'd tell her tomorrow, when she wasn't going to get upset with him.

"I think I'm done here." Sherlock looked around, he could leave his experiment here; no one would be in the lab to mess with it. "Shall we go? The body is in the morgue at the Yard."

John nodded. Sherlock walked over to John, stopping for a moment before leading the way. John knew that this was the start of a friendship, whether he wanted it to make or not. This was the first of many adventures they'd have together; the consulting detective and the doctor, a perfect combination.

John tried to be as quiet as possible as he walked into the flat. He knew Mary would be waiting in the living room for him, waiting to start yelling at him. Time had yet again got the better of John. Sherlock had offered to buy him dinner after they had finished up at the morgue. John had accepted without even thinking about Mary and now he was regretting it. She was giving him the look, the look that meant he was in trouble and nothing could help him.

"Where have you been? I've been worried sick." Mary yelled. Her face was flushed and she was wearing a different outfit than she had on in the morning. She's cheating on me again, John thought. It broke his heart that she cheated on him; it broke his heart more that she didn't try to hide it from him. It was like she wanted him to know. They hadn't had sex in a few months, mostly because John couldn't stand the feel of her against him. She still tried to seduce him though and when he denied her, she'd find a co-worker who would satisfy her needs. John still loved her though, he didn't know why but he did.

"I texted you that I was given extra patients today. There was nothing I could do; I would have lost my job if I didn't." John tried to explain but knew it was pointless.

"I thought you'd be at work for an extra hour or two, NOT FIVE. IT'S ELEVEN AT NIGHT, JOHN. YOU COULD HAVE BEEN DEAD IN A GUTTER SOMEWHERE." Her face was cherry red now. This was going downhill, quickly. "YOU ALWAYS DO THIS TO ME, JOHN. LEAVE ME ALONE, WORRYING ABOUT YOU! HOW DARE YOU? YOU ARE A TERRIBLE HUSBAND."

John remained expressionless, he held back his emotions from Mary. Showing her his feelings would only give her more power over him. He tried to distract his mind while Mary continued to yell at him. His mind drifted to Sherlock, the brilliant detective. He thought back to what happened at dinner. Sherlock was charming though he didn't know it. They had laughed together and it had been the first time in a long time that John had genuinely smiled. They discussed the case and John got to know Sherlock a bit better.

"JOHN, ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME?" Mary screamed at him. John diverted his attention from his daydream back to Mary. He nodded at her. She was still steaming with anger.

"Of course I am." John replied.

"DON'T LIE TO ME. I KNOW YOU WERE OFF IN YOUR OWN WORLD. IF YOU SPENT HALF THE TIME YOU DO DAYDREAMING, MAYBE YOU WOULD HAVE GOTTEN PROMOTED BY NOW."

"Mary, I've only worked there for three months."

"CLEARLY YOU AREN'T PUTTING ENOUGH EFFORT IN. YOU NEED TO PROVIDE FOR ME, JOHN. THAT'S YOUR JOB AS MY HUSBAND. AND YOU CAN'T EVEN DO THAT. I HAVE TO WORK TWICE AS MUCH JUST SO WE CAN PAY THE BILLS. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT DOES TO ME? I'M STRESSED OUT ALL THE TIME AND IT'S YOUR FAULT." Mary picked up the lamp sitting on the end table. She ripped the cord out of the socket and threw the lamp at John. It hit him square in the forehead, right below his hairline. John pressed his hand to his head as the blood started streaming down. He could feel it drip from his hand. Mary yelled something John couldn't make out and stormed out of the flat, taking her purse with her. John sunk to the floor, his back against the couch. His head was beginning to feel fuzzy and he was suddenly drowsy. A small puddle of blood was on the floor next to him. Slowly the light faded from his eyes.