A Peak Behind the Mask

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Sherlock sighed heavily, leaning forward on his elbows as if he had a very important matter to discuss. But for some reason all he did was watch John curiously, as if a servant eating was a very fascinating thing to watch.
"John..." Sherlock muttered, as if this were a really touchy subject. "Could I ask something of you?" 
"Ya, sure." John agreed, looking up from buttering a piece of bread at Sherlock's serious eyes.
"My father, he wants me to win this tournament. As you probably know, I win every year." Sherlock admitted. He didn't look very proud of that, in fact he looked pretty upset.
"Yes I know, the servants told me." John agreed.
"I can't actually fight." Sherlock admitted quickly. John looked at him in confusion, setting his bread down on his plate.
"I know." He agreed. "You ran away from that pig, and obviously you weren't doing all that much training down with your friends."
"Molly's my friend, Billy's not." Sherlock said quickly, as if that needed explaining.
"Yes, alright." John agreed, laughing a little bit at Sherlock's defensiveness.
"Since you're the only one who really knows who I am, would you mind...training me?" Sherlock wondered. John almost laughed, looking at Sherlock as if trying to tell if he were being serious or not.
"Sherlock you hate me. I hate you. That's the thing here; we're like...mortal enemies. How do I know you don't just want an excuse to impale me and make it look like an accident?" John wondered.
"You hate me." Sherlock muttered, looking down in shame. Of course he knew that, didn't he? Or did he think this dinner was enough to settle any feuds between them? John sighed, looking at the prince and shrugging in agreement.
"Alright, I'll do it." he agreed. It would give him a good excuse to be alone with Sherlock, maybe even find the right opportunity to use the silver knife. But as John watched Sherlock more, the exposed, scared boy, he was starting to think that this assassination would be a lot more difficult than he had thought. Sherlock's smile looked enough to make anyone's heart glow, the carefree happiness that now filled his face made John need to smile back.
"You will?" he asked, as if he hadn't heard John properly.
"I guess, I mean I've got nothing else to do." John shrugged. Sherlock stared at him, raising an eyebrow curiously.
"Aren't you a servant?" he wondered. John paused, nodding proudly.
"Ya, I am, but they don't give me much work, they think I'm rather...awful." John admitted.
"You're an awful servant? Well that's a shock." Sherlock said with a laugh. John smiled a bit teasingly at Sherlock.
"Is that anyway to address your trainer?" John wondered.
"Oh don't you getting egotistical on me now, I'm your superior no matter how you look at it." Sherlock snapped. John nodded in agreement, but he couldn't help but have a smile on his face.
"Well I need to go up to the castle; Greg's going to wonder where I am." He decided, getting to his feet.
"Yes of course." Sherlock agreed, getting up as well as if he felt obliged to walk John to the castle himself.
"I'll meet you at the arena after lunch. In the morning I have to see if I make the tournament in the servant's ring, I'll just keep my armor on." John decided. Sherlock looked at him kind of shyly, tapping his fingers against his leg awkwardly.
"John do you mind keeping this between us?" he wondered.
"What, dinner?" John asked. Sherlock couldn't help but smile, nodding in agreement.
"Yes, that too. Don't speak of Irene's leaving, or me letting a servant eat royal food, but don't talk about our training either. Say that I'm making you polish my armor or something, they can't know that I can't fight, it will ruin my reputation entirely." Sherlock pointed out.
"Of being a good fighter, or being a jerk?" John wondered. Sherlock scowled, crossing his arms defensively. Now that was the Sherlock that John recognized.
"I am a jerk; don't go making me look like a better person than I am." Sherlock snapped.
"I'm sorry your majesty, I guess I mistook whatever this was for kindness." John admitted with a smile. Sherlock didn't smile back, his scowl stayed.
"I'm being selfish John; I want your help so I'm using my money and power to convince you." Sherlock pointed out.
"Yes of course." John agreed, laughing a little bit at the ground.
"It's true!" Sherlock insisted, looking a bit like an angry child.
"No, of course I believe you." John assured. "Now I should be going." John started off down the path, walking slowly in case Sherlock wanted to end their conversation.
"John!" Sherlock whined, and John turned, smiling proudly.
"Yes Sherlock?" he wondered.
"I'm really going to make you polish my armor after training." Sherlock insisted.
"Alright, that sounds fair." John agreed. "Goodnight my lord." John bowed mockingly, turning around and continuing down the path.
"AND I'M NOT GOING TO PAY YOU!" Sherlock called at him. John just smiled to himself, knowing that in some way he had just cracked Sherlock's mask right open. He had known there was a nice man, a hero, buried under that scowl. When John arrived back at the servant's quarters Greg was sitting up in his bed, his head propped on a pillow and a book open in his hands. The room was dark and there was a chorus of snores from all around, Greg was only reading by the light of a dim candle by his bed. Maybe it was later than John had realized.
"Where in the world have you been?" Greg wondered, shutting the book and setting it down next to the bunk.
"I've been talking." John admitted, which was pretty much the truth.
"With who?" Greg wondered. John sighed, thinking of his promise not to tell anyone.
"None of your business." John said with a smile, quickly changing into his pajamas and burrowing underneath the woolen blanket.
"If you've got a girl that I don't know about I'm going to be pretty upset." Greg decided. John just laughed, shaking his head in annoyance.
"No girls, of course not. You just wouldn't know who I was talking to, someone from the Adler kingdom." John pointed out. Greg sighed, not looking convinced. But never the less he rolled over and extinguished the candle, plunging the room in total darkness.
"Well then, goodnight." Greg decided with a yawn.
"Goodnight Greg." John agreed. He heard Greg roll over in his bed, getting comfortable underneath the scratchy blanket. John, however, stayed still, laying and staring at the darkened ceiling. He wondered if Sherlock was actually being serious, did he really sink so low to ask for help from a servant? And was he really just pretending to be nice, or did he actually have a heart under all of that sternness? It would be very interesting to see how this all plays out, to see just who the Golden Prince was, underneath all of those expectations, underneath all of that scowling. Maybe he was nice, maybe he was kind, caring...loving. It made John's stomach squirm to think that he was going to be the one that would have to kill him. He was going to be the one who had to spill all of that royal blood, he was going to be the one to silence Sherlock for the rest of eternity, and no one will ever know what he would have to say. John would have to stop a life before it had lived to its fullest, and now, while he saw Sherlock as more than a jerk hiding underneath a crown, well, he wanted to see him as more. Maybe he could actually befriend the prince of all princes. But no, that was impossible. It was Sherlock Holmes; Sherlock would never befriend a servant. So John just gave up, rolling onto his side and closing his eyes, and soon the chorus of snores that filled the servant's quarters were joined by one more voice.

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