John Watson raced around the playground, yelling his head off with the other five year olds playing tag. He loved recess and getting out in the sunshine. It was the best part about school, though he liked learning too. As he rounded the basketball nets again, he saw little Sherlock Holmes sitting by himself in the grass. The pale boy was holding a small magnifying glass and studying something intently. John waved at the other kids and headed over to Sherlock, wondering what he was doing.
“Go away,” Sherlock said before John even opened his mouth. “I’m busy.”
“I don’t wanna go away,” John replied, settling down onto the grass next to Sherlock. He beamed at the other boy, gap in his teeth from where one of his front ones had fallen out. “Whatcha doing?”
“Studying the bugs in the grass,” Sherlock huffed after glaring at John for several seconds. “Why do you care? All the others make fun of me. They’ll make fun of you too if you stay here.”
“So?” John asked, shrugging. “You’re fun. I want to look at the bugs too.”
Sherlock just goggled at John for a few seconds before turning away. He wasn’t quite sure how to handle this. Most of the time, he spent recess completely alone and that was how he’d come to like it. All he could expect from the other children was teasing. Or tears when he deduced family problems from them. In the short time he’d talked with John, he’d seen that his parents were divorced, he had an older sister, and that John had a dog but it seemed to be sick. Of course, Sherlock said none of this, not wanting to hear the words “Piss off” again.
They sat quietly staring at the beetles and ants in the grass until one of the teachers called an end to recess. John jumped up and smiled brightly at Sherlock before dashing off. Lunch was after recess and the shorter boy was hungry. Sherlock followed more slowly, bored beyond belief at the classes he was taking. He turned over the short conversation he’d had with John, unable to find a lie or an ulterior motive in the boy for wanting to spend time with him. But it didn’t happen again the rest of the week and Sherlock put the incident out of his mind.
About a week later, Sherlock was studying the squirrels chittering in the branches of one of the trees around the playground when John came up to him and tapped him on the shoulder. Ignoring the other boy, Sherlock wrote something down in a little notebook and concentrated on the squirrels again.
“Hey,” John said, tapping Sherlock again. “Whatcha doing this time?”
“Studying squirrels,” Sherlock replied shortly. “Don’t stop me now. This is important.”
“Oh, sorry,” John said contritely. He looked up at the squirrels in the tree wondering what Sherlock was finding so interesting. He stayed quiet the rest of recess, alternating between watching the animals and watching Sherlock. John found himself nearly fascinated with Sherlock as the boy was completely different from everyone else in the school. He ignored the calls from his friends to come play with them in order to stay and study Sherlock.
This became the pattern over the rest of the school year. John stayed with Sherlock during recess, helping him when he needed it and just watching and offering comments at other times. John felt like Sherlock was becoming a friend but Sherlock was really just confused. He’d never had a friend before in his five short years. Mycroft didn’t count as he was family. But he came to enjoy John’s presence, finally opening up and talking with the other boy. Their teachers seemed pleased with the friendship as well; they knew how difficult it was on Sherlock to be alone.
When the end of the school year arrived, Sherlock felt a dawning panic. He wasn’t going to be able to see John anymore! He tried to hide it and just enjoy the time he had left. After all, this was the longest anyone had spent with him and Sherlock was fairly certain John would forget him over the break. On the last day of school, they spent nearly the whole day together as it was really just a blow-off day. Sherlock was quiet and sad, something John couldn’t understand.
“What’s wrong, Lock?” John asked, using the nickname he’d given to Sherlock about halfway through the school year. “Why you so sad?”
“Because school’s over,” Sherlock replied quietly, smiling at the name he’d come to like. It showed John cared, at least for now. “Break’s here and I am going to lose a friend.”
“Who? Why would you lose a friend because of break?” John wondered, tilting his head to the side in confusion. Sherlock just shook his head, not wanting to answer, but John wouldn’t let him get away with it. “You should tell me. I’ll... I’ll steal your magnifier if you don’t.”
“Fine, fine,” Sherlock grumbled, looking away from John. “I’ll lose you as a friend. You’ll go back to your old friends and forget about me. Everybody does.”
“No I won’t,” John replied confidently, grinning at Sherlock. “You’re my friend and mom wants to meet you. You’re coming over to my party after school, Lock.”
Sherlock stared in surprise at John. He hadn’t seen this coming and that made John all the more valuable as a friend to him. Someone who could surprise him was indeed a treasure. Sherlock nodded shyly, feeling warmth blossom in his chest. Finally, he had a friend who wouldn’t abandon him. At least not yet. Maybe not ever. John nodded and reached over to hug Sherlock impulsively. He was glad he’d made friends with the shy boy, no matter what his old friends might say. It was a good thing.