Sherlock isn’t the only one with black moods; John is far too aware of the itch, the pull, the need. There are days when the call of danger is so strong that he loads a bullet into his gun, places the muzzle to his temple, and puts his finger on the trigger and sits like that for minutes, sometimes hours. Sherlock doesn’t know of John’s black moods, it’s the only thing the doctor has been able to keep from his detective. When it gets too much to handle, John dresses up as if he was going on a date and then heads to the most dangerous parts of the city, late at night. He meanders soft and clueless: makes himself a target, and when a predator strikes what he thinks is easy prey, John Watson shows him just how wrong he is. It’s easy, so easy to hide; their black moods are often in sync, no crimes means no puzzles, no stimulation for Sherlock, and no excitement for John, and he takes this opportunity to flee under the guise of hurt, offence, or annoyance, but he could never blame Sherlock, he knows too well. The problem is, a new case or enigma doesn’t always bring excitement. There isn’t always a chase or a thrill, and while the puzzle leaves the detective sated, the soldier struggles on. It’s days like these when the nightmares return, and it’s harder to escape, and John become angry and ruthless like a beast placed in a cage far too small, but later he feels regret, always the regret, at lashing out at his truest friend. John is careful, of course he is, no one must ever know, and he’s always ready to cover up the marks with stories of drunken brawls, bad breakups, and kinky sex, but Sherlock never asks. John Watson needs London as much as Sherlock Holmes does. He needs the battlefield because he’s a soldier, and he’s waiting to get shot.
It wasn’t because of Afghanistan, no matter what Mycroft Holmes thought. John Watson had been at war his whole life. He was reckless as children often are, but unlike most children, he welcomed the consequences. His friends and parents always wonder about the little boy who never cried because of his skinned knee, or gashed forehead, or broken ankle. John Watson does not enjoy the pain, he never has, the pain does not fulfil him sexually or otherwise; John Watson wears pain like a badge, a medal, I survived this battle and march on to fight the next.
Afghanistan was perfect: the itch, the pull, the need finally abated. I could do this for the rest of my life he thinks, and almost does. Another badge, another medal, this time permanently stain upon his shoulder. He’s not proud of the leg, however. As medal’s go, it’s rusty and embarrassing; blood red letters painted across his chest that spell: W-E-A-K, D-A-M-A-G-E-D, B-R-O-K-E-N. The itch takes hold again, but does fade; it pulls and grapples at his mind driving him mad. He steps in front of cars drives knives into his flesh, anything, anything to make him feel again.
“When you walk with Sherlock Holmes you see the battlefield”
Welcome back Doctor Watson. Welcome home.