As soon as Sherlock's feet touched solid ground he ripped off his chest plate, throwing it to the side in the grass and wiggling out of his chainmail, breathing freely for the first time all day. But of course he wasn't going to pretend that John was his hero, he wasn't going to even acknowledge the fact that John had been the one to save him. If it wasn't for John's short temper they wouldn't have been in the river in the first place and Sherlock wouldn't have needed saving.
"You could've killed me!" Sherlock yelled, turning on John who was now leaning against a tree, trying to catch his own breath. John looked at Sherlock through his sopping wet, dropping bangs, looking completely betrayed.
"You drew your sword on me, I was defending myself!" John insisted.
"You know I don't even know how to use a sword!" Sherlock exclaimed, walking up to John in anger but not really knowing what to do when he got there. Even though he felt a lot freer without his armor on he knew that any move he tried to make would be deflected by a simple blow by John. Sherlock liked to think he was tough, that no one wanted to mess with him, but in reality he was no more than a weak little beanpole. John sighed heavily, finally seeing that there was no point in arguing.
"Alright, Sherlock, I'll apologize for nearly drowning you if you apologize for losing your temper." John decided, looking as though he thought this was a fair trade. Sherlock growled in anger, shaking his head of wet curls and stepping back.
"No one gets apologies from royalty, especially not from me." Sherlock snapped.
"I'm not just someone you can push around Sherlock!" John insisted, stepping forward intimidatingly, as if this were supposed to scare Sherlock. In reality, it kind of did, but Sherlock would never admit that.
"Oh, who do you think you are to me John? Do you think we're friends, do you think I care about your wellbeing? Do you think I don't want to hurt your feelings?" Sherlock asked softly, tauntingly.
"You're nothing more than a rotten boy Sherlock, it sickens me that there are people out there who respect your name." John snapped back. Sherlock stood there in numb shock; he had never been treated with such disrespect in his entire life.
"How dare you talk to your prince like that!" Sherlock exclaimed, his face turning white in rage.
"You're not my prince. You're nothing to me Sherlock." John growled.
"Why you....you..." Sherlock couldn't think of a response, shaking with rage when someone actually dared speak the truth about him. "I should throw you in the dungeons!" he exclaimed. John sighed heavily, running his fingers through his wet hair and smiling threateningly.
"Try it Sherlock, I dare you. Mycroft already told me that you're not allowed to punish servants from the other palace, in fact he told me that he set you right when you put me in the stocks." John snapped. Sherlock froze, his entire body ridged, he didn't know what to say, what to do, no one has ever given him the opportunity to practice this sort of enragement. So he just stood there, gaping at John like a fish, his fists clenched. John sighed, walking towards the forest path with his hands in his pockets, his sword swinging at his side.
"Goodbye Sherlock, I guess I'll see you at the tournament." He decided in a sing song sort of voice.
"I'm going to kill you in that tournament John. I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" Sherlock screamed, his voice shaking through the forest. But John had disappeared down the path, leaving Sherlock alone and helpless. As soon as John was out of his sight Sherlock felt his rage melt, leaving him shaking and sputtering words no one would ever hear. He sunk to his knees, his legs unable to support his weight, shivering as the cold river water just started to sink in, freezing him to the bone. And for the first time in what felt like forever, Sherlock started to cry. He sank to the mud, alone and exposed, tears flowing from his red eyes as he processed everything John had said to him. Sherlock cried not because of John's harsh words, not of his threats or of his actions, but because he was right. Sherlock could barely breathe when he realized that everything John had said had been correct.
John POV: John was furious as he trudged back to the castle, he felt like the water clinging to his skin was going to evaporate as he clenched his fists, imagining at the ways he would like to kill that prince. He had thought that maybe Sherlock was nice on the inside; he had thought that Sherlock had changed for him; he had given up his selfish prince ways to make a good friend. But John was wrong, of course he was. These royals only cared about money, power, and self-esteem. Sherlock couldn't face the fact that he was an absolutely miserable human being, with his arrogance and his need to be right all of the time, John wondered how anyone could survive being around him for more than twenty minutes. By the time John reached the cobblestone paths his boots were completely filled with water, his feet sloshing around with ever step he took. He was dripping everywhere, thankfully his hair had started to dry off but other than that he felt like he had his own personal traveling bathtub, just a layer of water clinging to his skin at all times. It was miserable, he was humiliated to walk through the town looking like he had just tried to be one of the fish. But there were more emotions boiling in his chest other than embarrassment, vengeance, for one, would be a good emotion to pick. Vengeance for that conceited prince, the dying need to be the one to silence him forever. No words of his were worth the assault they would have on someone else's eardrums; his tongue didn't deserve the constant abuse of having to deliver such rubbish day in and day out. Sherlock was better off dead, and John was certain that if the kingdom really knew who he was, they would agree. John knew that Sherlock Holmes didn't deserve to be a prince; he didn't even deserve to be a servant, not even a human! Sherlock would be a lot more bearable if he were a cockroach, scurrying with a miniscule crown on his head, trying to avoid the powerful crunch of John's boot.
"Where have you been?" asked an astounded voice from the end of the hallway. John groaned, expecting a servant to be whining to him since it seemed to be a female voice. But when he turned around it was the Devil's bride herself, Irene. She was wearing a green dress, marching down the hall in her high heels so that every step made a loud clicking sound against the stone. That might've been a nice sound if John weren't so worried that the next place her heel would end up was his neck.
"Your majesty, my deepest apologies." John muttered, not knowing what else to say so he dropped into a bow.
"I don't want your apologies, I want your excuse. Where have you been?" Irene wondered, crossing her arms and looking at John with a poisonous expression.
"I've been...out." John muttered guiltily, trying to smile a little bit to at least melt that icy glare of hers. But alas, Irene didn't look impressed.
"Where have you been John, because I'm going to need a much better excuse if I'm not to sack you right now." Irene threatened. John sighed heavily, remembering that Sherlock wanted this whole thing to be secret. But John operated on secrets, his entire relationship with the Adler family was a secret and technically he was a spy, so she had every right to know. Besides, Sherlock didn't deserve any favors from him right now.
"I've been, well, I don't want to say bonding, but getting closer to my target." John admitted. Irene gasped a little bit, looking around at the empty hallway desperately before dragging John to the side, his soggy armor falling uncomfortably onto his neck.
"you've been making contact with Mycroft?" she wondered. John groaned, repositioning his armor and shaking his head.
"With Sherlock." He corrected. "I've got the princes, Mary's got the parents."
"Yes, with Sherlock that's excellent. He's more secluded, he'll be the challenge." Irene decided.
"Well last night when you um...left, he invited me to eat with him." John admitted, wishing he hadn't mentioned Irene's rejection. Instead she looked as though this were great information.
"He did, did he? Why would he want to have dinner with you?" Irene wondered.
"Well, he asked me to help him train for the tournament. I'm in by the way, I'm going to fight for the servants." John said with a smile.
"The good news just keeps coming." Irene said proudly. "Anyway, what about the training? Is that why you look like you were swimming?"
"Drowning more like it. We had a big of an argument, a little dispute that got a bit heated. He drew his sword on me so I had to defend myself, I tackled him and we both fell into the river, he might've drowned if I hadn't pulled him out." John admitted. Irene groaned, shaking her head so that her crystal earing shook back and forth.
"John, you're an assassin, you're supposed to take his life not save it!" Irene exclaimed.
"I have to kill him with the knife!" John insisted.
"Yes, I know, with the knife, but you were alone, secluded, no one knew where you were, why didn't you just do it while you were arguing? Even if you did get caught if it looked like you were fighting then that wouldn't even trace back to us." Irene insisted. John groaned, he hadn't thought of that to be honest. Even though it was very tempting to set Sherlock straight there was still a very uncomfortable feeling in John's stomach about killing him, it seemed like an impossible task for another day. It didn't really feel like he was going to have to become a murderer.
"Yes, now that you say it like that...yes." John agreed.
"Every day you waste away here is another day your family rots in the Moriarty's dungeons. How long do you think your poor old mom will last if she suffers from not only a broken body but also from a broken heart?" Irene wondered, her face dropping into a fake frown. John growled at her, trying to pull away from their little hiding spot and make his way back to the servant's quarters. But Irene flung out a hand, stopping him where he was.
"I'm warning you Watson, no stalling. I want him dead, and I want it done soon. He may be beautiful but he needs to die." Irene warned. John took a dep breath, nodding reluctantly.
"He'll die Irene, but patience is a helpful trait in times like these." John assured. Irene did something of a snarl before finally releasing John, letting him run down to the servant's quarters alone, his chest plate leaving a trail of water droplets all the way down the hall. When John arrived at the servant's quarters he expected it to be dark and unoccupied, but when he pushed open the wooden door he found that, to his surprise, one bed was occupied. There was a Greg sized lump under the blanket on Greg's bed, facing the wall so that John couldn't see his bloodied face. John immediately felt a pang of guilt when he saw Greg, and the events in the arena suddenly caught back up to him. So much had happened since the two had fought that Greg almost forgot he was going to fighting in the tournament.
"Where have you been?" Greg wondered in a spiteful tone. John groaned heavily, taking off his chest plate and wiping it off with his woolen blanket.
"Don't tell me you're mad too." John muttered, not really in the mood to get yelled at again.
"Not mad really, just wondering. I sound mad because I can't talk properly." Greg admitted, rolling over so that John could see the bandages wrapped around his face.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry Greg!" John exclaimed, feeling the need to do something other than apologize. Maybe he could bring Greg some chicken soup later. Greg just shrugged, as if this whole thing wasn't a big deal.
"It's no problem John, honestly. I'm proud of you, I'm happy you're going to the tournament." Greg assured. John sighed in relief, but something told him that Greg was just saying what John wanted to hear and not what he really felt. Wasn't it his dream to fight in this tournament, and the one year they had enough money to enter John stole his glory right from under him? A servant from another castle even! John felt bad but he couldn't help but feel proud of himself, he couldn't help wondering how far he'd manage to go.
"Who's mad at you?" Greg wondered, folding his pillow over so that he could talk to John without lying down completely. John just shimmied out of his chainmail, letting it hang over his bedpost and shrugging.
"It seems that everyone is today." He admitted. "Irene yelled at me for not being at my servant duties, and well, a couple other people." he muttered, not wanting to blatantly tell Greg about what he had been doing with Sherlock. Then again he wasn't so keen on keeping Sherlock's secrets right now, on account of John wanting to murder the pathetic prince.
"And why are you all wet?" Greg wondered, a very understandable question.
"Long story that I don't want to go into. Basically I fell into the river." John muttered, summing up the story that would probably only take one minute to explain. Greg nodded, as if that were perfectly logical. The river was a good three miles from the castle and John had no business there, why wasn't Greg at least a little bit curious? Then again John wasn't complaining, he hated having to lie to his best friend, especially after bloodying him up so badly.
"So it's been a pretty eventful day for the both of us." Greg said with a smile.
"What's the diagnosis?" John wondered, changing his shirt quickly, happy to be in nice dry clothes after being soaked to the bone.
"On you know, they said it's broken but they could always be wrong. Doesn't matter though, I didn't really have a modeling career ahead anyway." Greg assured with a laugh.
"Once again I am so sorry, I honestly didn't know I was going to hurt you that bad, if I had known I would've done something else, God I feel awful." John admitted, changing his pants into his dry cotton pajama pants and feeling loads better. This dry fabric felt gave his skin a warm sensation, making John feel all warm and toasty.
"Hey John, I'm not an easy man to anger. If I say it's fine, it's fine. I honestly don't care, you deserve this. And besides, I could never fight with a broken nose." Greg pointed out. John forced a laugh, not wanting to point out that he had broken Greg's nose to win the match.
"Ya well, I'm kind of scared, you know? To enter the tournament, to have everyone watching me, I feel like I'm going to fail epically." John admitted.
"You're going to win John, you know why?" Greg wondered, leaning up on his elbow so that he could face John completely. John couldn't help but laugh, not only did Greg look like he was going to give John the best advice of his life, but his entire face was covered in bandages and he sounded a bit like a duck.
"Please enlighten me." John decided, waving his hands in front of him for Greg to go on.
"Because you're stubborn." Greg said with a smile. John looked at him in confusion, wondering what on earth that was supposed to mean.
"Alright, well, that's not really going to help in the arena is it?" John wondered.
"Oh it will, it definitely will. You'll go until you face Sherlock, and with any luck you'll face him in the final. This is all going to be a treat, you'll see, because you have anger in you. You want to be in this tournament so that you can publically humiliate Sherlock Holmes, and you're not going to stop until you reach that goal. He doesn't stand a chance; no one does, when they're in the way of that stubbornness." Greg pointed out. John smiled happily, realizing that Greg was right. Of course he was right, that hatred for that pompous prince was what guided John to winning the servant's bracket. He had pretended that Greg was Sherlock and in turn he broke his nose. As long as John can channel that rage, as long as he could put wood on that fire, all would be well. John knew that no matter how this tournament goes, win or lose, he wasn't going to be the biggest loser. Because he was going to win at least one of those rounds, and that was going to be the one with Sherlock. He is going to make that prince cry, mark my words. Sherlock doesn't even know what's coming. He doesn't know that after that tournament, he won't want to see the light of day for weeks. The humiliation will rain down on him like acid, suddenly the Golden Prince was going to be the laughing stock of the entire kingdom, and slowly everyone was going to discover that this prince wasn't all he was made out to be. Everyone was going to find out that he was a fake, and John was going to be the one to expose the truth.
YOU ARE READING
Sherlock is the youngest son of a powerful family dynasty, with all the pressure of being the perfect prince sitting on his shoulders. However, he builds his good reputation on lies and tricks, and he dreads the day when his failures will come into...