Fandom: Cabin Pressure/Sherlock
Characters: Martin Crieff, Sherlock Holmes
Warnings: Slight trigger warning for bullying.
Summary: "And Martin would be proud to say that before Sherlock Holmes became who he is, he was his friend."
Martin never really had a lot of friends at school. Not because he was a mean child, on the contrary, he was always warm and fuzzy to whoever approached the young boy. But he was just that unlucky child that received the job of being the school’s punching bag. It didn’t help the fact that he was as confrontational as a teddy bear and the smallest student in every grade in school. He was basically the perfect target for cruel children.
And so, it wasn’t odd to see the poor ginger boy crying his eyes out all alone in one of the corners of the playground during recess. It was possibly the only time when he could actually let go of the frustrations he would accumulate from being the laughing stock of his classmates. ‘Stupid’ they called him, because until he was six he believed that he could be a plane, and unfortunately for Martin, they didn’t have problems with their memories. They excluded him from all games of tag and hide and seek because he was too slow and always ruined the game. And yet on the outside he seemed to show little care. “I’m fine, teacher!” Martin would always say in that chipper voice of his every time a teacher would ask him if he wanted to play with the other children. It was obvious that he wanted to, but it was also just as obvious that nobody wanted to play with him.
So Martin simply took an interest to solitary activities. He looked at books about planes, looking at the pictures and not being able to understand a single word of it, but nonetheless, always interested. He would take his stuffed plane toy and pretend to be a captain, or as he would say, “commander”. It didn’t stop the hurtful comments of course, but as long as he was able to escape into that corner of his mind where he could imagine that he was the captain of a plane, he didn’t have to feel so lonely during break.
Third grade wasn’t much different from the last two. Martin grew in terms of height, but it didn’t matter because it seemed that everyone was one step ahead of him as always. He continued to be the outcast in the classroom, even with his attempts to simply make one friend. At least one. But unlike the other children, he had no hobbies like sports or watching Saturday cartoons. To Martin, his one and only hobby was, well, aviation. And this year it was made painfully aware for the young ginger that he wasn’t like the other children. They were good at sports and actually liked to run around and chase after a ball. Martin didn’t have such interests or the abilities to do it, and he finally learned the fact that no one wanted him on their team because he would be as useful as a dying cat. So each gym class he would make an excuse as to why he couldn’t join them to play football or why he couldn’t kick the ball during kickball. He immersed himself in his books and retreated to the safety of his imagination, seemingly ignoring each time the boys would push him around when the teachers weren’t looking or each time they snickered when he made a mistake.
He was still the same crybaby, though. He just knew how to hold it inside long enough to get home. His parents and teachers seemed to get more worried about the young boy. Worried that Martin would just become one of those crazy loners when he grew up, or that maybe there was something wrong in his head. They took him to a child psychologist with no results, other than ‘it’s just a phase’. And yet, the phase didn’t seem to end, and at the end of the school year, Martin hadn’t changed.
And by the time fourth grade came around, the ginger had an apathetic outlook on the upcoming year. Nothing had seemed to change when it came to his classmates. That same boy, named Charles, that would kick his chair or throw paper airplanes at him when the teacher wasn’t looking sat behind him, and he was sure he heard the snickers of children when he almost tripped over his own two feet. ‘What a klutz’ he thought to himself, blocking the others out.
But as he looked around the room, he saw a new face, one that he hadn’t seen during his school life. A boy who seemed to be as pale as a ghost, black hair, and a pair of sharp blue eyes was scanning the whole classroom with the same deadpan expression, and if Martin didn’t know better, it was almost as if he was staring through their souls. When the boy’s eyes landed on Martin’s own blue orbs, he felt intimidated, promptly looking down at the notebook on his desk. He then felt something hit the edge of his desk. Looking up, Martin searched the room for a possible culprit before he met that strange boy’s eyes that still stared at him. He nodded his expression unchanging.
Looking at the crumpled piece of paper (not an airplane, he noted) he opened it up, revealing a simple message.
- The name is Sherlock Holmes.
Giving a small smile, Martin wrote an answer on the paper:
- I’m Martin Crieff!
And right after he threw the paper all the way across the room and Sherlock placed it in his backpack in one swift move, the teacher entered, marking the beginning of fourth grade.
Compared to the other years, Martin had to say that he did have a considerably better time. It wasn’t because they stopped picking on him (in fact he was sure that it doubled) but the fact that his social circle went from zero to one in one day. Sure, Sherlock wasn’t talkative at all, but the fact that he was interested in listening to Martin ramble on and on about planes and being a pilot was enough for him. He didn’t know much about Sherlock since he rarely bothered to ask, and when he did all he would get was Sherlock spacing out to some part of his world. Martin just assumed that something bad had happened to Sherlock and he left it at that. And if Martin was completely honest, Sherlock reminded him of one of the children he saw when he went to the psychologist. His mom said that those children ‘had no soul’. But he didn’t believe that. He believed that Sherlock was a good person, deep inside. He was just picked on a lot, like him, which was true. It was just that the other would know how to ignore it better than him.
The black haired boy would sometimes talk about things that interested him. He always talked about how he could read people, like a book, just by observing. He always insulted most people just because they were ‘stupid and dull’. But he considered Martin to be an exception. Sure, he wasn’t bright, but he listened to Sherlock and didn’t ask stupid questions…or pick on him like the others in the class, who made fun of him or avoided him because he was a freak according to them. Even the teachers would avoid Sherlock if they could. Martin was the opposite. He grew a liking towards his only friend, tagging along during recess, lunch and even worked as the voice of reason for when Sherlock wanted to get some needed revenge on some students. He would point out the dangers, and while the other boy would rarely listen to him, it made him smile how someone actually cared about what he did. Over the course of the school year, Sherlock came to find Martin as the closest thing he had to a friend.
One day, Martin decided to fully trust his only friend. During recess, he and Sherlock came to their usual hiding place. When they sat down, he nervously pulled out something from his backpack; his newest plane model. “I’ve worked hard to get this!” He chirped, as Sherlock observed it from all possible angles. “My mum and father didn’t want to pay it for me, so I had to save up for it! It was nice though, since it’s the newest model.” He continued. It was true, that his parents thought that Martin’s obsession had to stop, but it didn’t. In fact, his dream of becoming a pilot seemed to stay, much to his father’s distaste.
“A Boeing 747 I see.” Sherlock casually commented, handing back the model to the other boy. “You bought it just yesterday, and you probably took it out of the box at night.” He then added, a proud smirk on his face.
But before Martin could even say a thank you, someone stormed up to them. It was, of course, the boy and the group of children that made their lives impossible, all wearing that grin that made the boy’s stomach do flips, and made Sherlock’s deadpan stare sharpen a little, as if to scare the boys away. It didn’t work.
“Hey, freaks! What’re you doing here?” The tallest questioned, kicking Martin’s backpack out of the way, causing the rest of the group to erupt with laughter at his distressed face.
“N-nothing.” Martin stuttered in a small voice and lowering his head to stare at the grass below them. “W-we’re doing nothing so just...” His voice trailed off there, and he felt the tears welling up in his eyes. ‘No, don’t let them see.’ He begged mentally. But it seemed that it didn’t work, considering the laughter of the others.
“Awwww, poor little Martin’s about to cry!” They mocked in a sing song voice. While Sherlock showed little expression other than a frown, Martin was on the verge of tears, huddling his model in a protective manner. They turned to Sherlock. “Come on, you weird freak, don’t tell me that you’re friends with this bunch of rubbish? All he does is talk about aeroplanes! But then again, you don’t talk about anything! Hah! Two freaks!”
Sherlock merely stood up, and while he was sure that he heard the poor boy that was on the verge of tears breathe in a shuddering breath, he looked at the leader of the little group in the eye and said, “Why would I waste my time on someone who bullies in order to fill the void in their life after their mother died?” in that cold and unforgiving tone.
Silence stood over the tense scene, as Charles tried to come up with a comeback for Sherlock’s comment. And as he was stared down by the other classmates, he looked down at the boy that was huddling his wooden model, and a grin grew on his face. “Hey, Crieff.” He commented, making Martin raise his head in confusion. No one except the teachers called him Crieff. And yet, the boy continued, “You need help getting up?” He asked, extending his hand. And before Sherlock could even say ‘No, Martin, don’t.’, the small fourth grader took the bully’s hand, who helped him up, right before pushing Martin back down on the ground.
But before the boy had been able to do anything else, Sherlock was right in front of him. And before he was able to react to that, the black haired boy punched him in what Sherlock believed to be the stomach. Nothing too strong, but strong enough to knock the wind out of Charles and make him run. Picking up the airplane model that had fallen from Martin’s hands during the fall, he handed it to his friend, who wore a shell-shocked expression at what just happened. “He deserved it.” Sherlock muttered. But before they could savior the moment, the teacher approached them, yelling at them both. It didn’t take long though, as Sherlock had admitted that he had indeed punched the other student to protect his friend. He was sent home early that day, and after that, Martin never saw him again.
By the end of the year though, the boy had received a message from some address. When he opened it, he was surprised.
- Hello Martin,
- You must be worried about where I had been. I had to change schools. Apparently in that place they don’t care about getting the facts straight. Though this school is dreadfully boring. I wish there was someone like you around.
Good luck though.
P.S. It took a long time because there are a lot of Crieffs in the United Kingdom.
P.S.S. Astronomy is stupid and boring.
And even when he became an adult, every time he would even hear the mention of the name Sherlock Holmes, a grateful smile would spread across his face, and he would be proud to say that before he was a consulting detective, he was his friend.