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Sherlock: The Years Before Part 1
Sherlock sat in his chair, his long, slender hands folded under his chin. His blue eyes were fixed on the wall, deep in thought. John walked out of the bathroom in a house coat, rubbing his hair with a towel. He picked up the newspaper and sat down, flipping through the pages. Something was bothering him. Sherlock could tell. The way his hands folded and unfolded the corners of the paper. The way he tapped his foot quickly. It was obvious. Something wasn’t right. But, Sherlock wasn’t one to talk to people about things like this, so he kept quiet.
“Sherlock, uh, this might sound weird,” John finally said, his eyes a little uncertain. “But have you ever, I don’t know, felt like we’ve met before?” He thought for a minute before shaking his head. “You know what? Forget it. That was a stupid question.” He walked over to the microwave and put a mug of tea into it.
Sherlock’s eyes darkened, uncharacteristic sadness pooling in them. “Yes. I have.” He whispered, but not loud enough for John to hear.
At the far back corner of a bright eighth grade classroom sat a boy. He was taller than most of his classmates, and thinner too, with dark curly hair, pale complexion and high prominent. The desks around him were empty, bare of any life. He always sat alone. No one ever sat with him. No one wanted to. And he didn’t want to sit with them.
Students chatted loudly and buzzed around their friends, laughs ringing through the air. Alone as usual, the boy in the corner had his nose stuck in a book about chemistry. A group of boys of all different shapes and sizes swaggered over to him.
“Look!” One of them snickered. “Brainy boy’s readin’ again!”
“What are you readin’ about this time? Naked ladies?” They broke into a fit of wheezy, childish laughter. The boy kept his eyes on the page.
An especially tall boy snatched the book from him. “Awww! Poor Sherly Whirly hasn’t got any friends! Does he lads?”
The boys shook their heads. “None except for books!” A scrawny boy with dark hair parted down the middle said, looking extremely proud of himself.
The tall one turned to him. “I like you! What your name?”
“Philip Anderson.” He said, puffing up his chest.
“I like you Philip! You could be useful.” He flipped through the pages of the boy’s chemistry book. “No point in keeping this.” He chucked over his shoulder onto the floor. Pages bent as it flopped to the ground. “See you later Sherly Whirly.”
The boy picked up his book and smoothed the pages, his face showing no sign of emotion. He brushed off the cover with his shirt sleeve and went back to reading. The bell for home room rang and everyone sat down. The teacher walked in, trailing behind him a short boy with sandy blond hair. He was wearing a beige sweater that looked about a size to big and baggy jeans.
The teacher stood at the front of the room, the boy standing next to him looking very uncomfortable. “This is John Watson.” The teacher announced as he peered over the rims of his glasses. The boy waived shyly, his face flushing. “He just moved here a month ago, so please help him if he needs help. Where shall we put you… Ah! The seat next to Sherlock is free! How about you sit back there.”
The boy walked silently over to the desk and pulled out the chair. “John Watson.” He said, sticking his hand out awkwardly.
The boy put his book down and gripped the boys hand. “Sherlock Holmes.”
The bell for class change rang and the class left like a whirlwind. Sherlock wandered off to the side, avoiding his classmates. The new boy with the sandy blond hair ran to catch up with his long strides.
“What class do we have?” He asked.
Sherlock blinked in surprise. Most people didn’t talk to him unless it was to pick on him. It took him a moment to recover and remember John had asked him a question. “Uh, English.” He muttered, still in shock from being talked to.
“Are you okay?” John asked him, his face looking sincerely worried.
“Yeah. I’m fine.” Sherlock stammered. There was something about this John that he liked. Maybe it was the need for excitement and danger that he saw in his eyes. Maybe it was the way he talked to him like it was no big deal.
When they got to English John sat down in the empty seat next to Sherlock. The seat where no one ever sat willingly.
“Are you sure you wanna sit there?” One of the boys from earlier asked John. “I mean, you’re sitting next to a freak! No one sits next to him.”
John shrugged. “I don’t mind sitting here.” The boy scowled at him and stomped over to his seat.
Sherlock stared at John, his eyes wide. “Did you just say… you don’t mind… sitting next to me?”
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t I?”
Sherlock blinked again. “Because most people think I’m weird.”
“Well, are you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then you must not be that weird.” John pointed out.
The group of boys from that morning walked over to Sherlock and John. Philip was leading them over, a grin spread across his face. “Sherly Whirly’s got a little friend I see. What he do, pay you?”
John glared at him. “He didn’t pay me anything! Leave him alone!” His face was red, his eyebrows knit together with anger.
“Whatever. If you wanna hang with the psychopath then that’s your business. Don’t be surprised if he tries an experiment out on you!”
“Mr. Anderson, is there a problem?” The teacher asked angrily from his desk.
“No sir.” Philip glared at Sherlock and the group left, their noses in the air.
“Why do they like to tease you?” John asked Sherlock once the group was out of ear shot.
“Like I said. Because I’m weird.” Sherlock shrugged. He didn’t look hurt. He looked basically emotionless. But, deep in his eyes, if you looked closely, near the very back, he looked lonely. Very lonely. The only person to notice this, or look hard enough to notice was John.
“You don’t seem very weird.” John pointed out. Sherlock studied him for a moment, his eyes flitting across him
“You moved from Hampshire. You want to be a doctor. You do very little physical exercise and are a very stay at home person. You don’t have much contact with your sister and don’t like her a lot. Your dad is dead and your mom isn’t exactly the most stable person in the world. Most of the clothes you get are hand-me-downs from other relatives, possibly cousins.”
John gaped at him, his eyes wide. “That was… brilliant!”
“Really?” Sherlock tilted his head a little. You could tell by the pleased look on his face that he liked the praise.
“Yeah! How did you know all that?”
“Your accent is from Hampshire and you just moved recently, so you must have moved from Hampshire. You have over a dozen pages in your notebook filled with information on medicine and different kinds of injuries, which I noticed while you were flipping through it when we first arrived. You obviously want to be a doctor. You’re not overly thin, and certainly not muscular. Your arms don’t have indications of muscles that would be on a person who was fairly physical. Your shoes are faded, indicating that they are older, but they aren’t dirty, so you obviously don’t wear them a lot. So, you don’t exercise a lot or leave the house often. The page you’re flipped to has a group of signatures on it. One of the signatures is crossed out. It says Harriet, so it’s obviously a girl who signed it. The writing isn’t overly neat, so it was someone younger than you. Most likely a sister. You don’t particularly like her because the name has been crossed out. Your shirt and pants are at least two sizes too big and are stained and warn, indicating that they had a previous owner. Probably not your sister since the clothes are a male style, so probably a cousin. Have I missed anything?”
John stared at him wide eyed. He shook his head. “Harry and I don’t get along. We never really have. Yes I do want to be a doctor. No, I don’t get out a lot or do much. And my clothes aren’t from a cousin, they used to belong to my dad”
“That was my second guess.” Sherlock murmured. “But, I was mostly right then?” He asked, self-pride flickering on his face.
“Yes. I don’t think I understand how you saw all that though.”
“You just have to look hard enough.” Sherlock said, smiling faintly. John was the first person who hadn’t called him a freak for being able to figure all that out. He didn’t know how long it would last, but he hoped it would.
By the end of the day, John had sat with Sherlock in every class possible. Getting them in trouble once for talking too much. After classes they’d walk down the hall and John would ask Sherlock if he could tell him something about this person or that teacher and Sherlock would tell him as much as he could.
“You should be detective!” John told him as Sherlock got his stuff out of his locker.
“I don’t want to work for the police. The police are stupid. They don’t know what they’re doing half of the time. And the other half they still don’t know what they’re doing.” Sherlock said, throwing his long black coat on.
“Then don’t work for them! Make your own detective agency or something!” John exclaimed, following him down the hall. He had to jog to keep up with Sherlock’s quick pace.
“Where do you live?” Sherlock asked as they stepped out into the cold London air.
“34 Oxford Street. Why?”
“Just wondering. I live at 10 Berwick.”