Summary: John had decided long ago that he wouldn't ever go out on the full moon, blooded or not. In the Army, things were different, but invalidated back to London, things have to go back to the way things were. That's harder to make sure of when he meets a Mad Vampire by the name of Sherlock Holmes.
So, there are quite a few Werewolf and Vampire stories in this fandom, and I thought I'd try my hand at it. Well, that's a lie.
I've had this plan in my head for a while now, and already know the title for the second story to this, which will be season 2, called "Whiffer-dog Watson" (not really spoilers), so farther along you can look forward to that. But I've had this idea, this take on the werewolf/vampire/human coexistence, for a while now, and have already written a couple of different beginnings to this story before deciding I really like this one best.
So I hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1—He really wasn't.
John wasn't racist.
He really wasn't.
He didn't say that because he'd just said something that might be considered even lightly racist (and therefore had to vocalize that he was so very not discriminating against Feeders—sorry, Vampires, or Furries—sorry, Werewolves, or Regulars—sorry, Humans), or even because he had something to prove.
He just had issues with whom he could date.
It wasn't for lack of interest, he thought, as he smiled reflexively at the woman picking out a packet of crisps next to him, smelling her interest even as he noticed the slow dip in her perusal over him.
It was mostly because they ended up misunderstanding so much.
That was why he only dated human women.
Only human women.
And that wasn't even because he was straight.
He'd done more than enough experimenting to know that he wasn't even coasting on a fence before ultimately leaning to one side or another… it was more like everyone imagined a fence while John only saw that there was a huge yard for him to explore, but was limiting himself purposely.
It was all the misunderstandings that kept him from expanding much…
So he wasn't racist.
He wasn't straight.
And he wasn't what most people would call regular, though normal fit him pretty well.
Human women saw him the closest to what he is, even with the collar, chain, and red tag that, for some reason the army had misplaced the papers ordering a new white one for, but he wasn't going to complain about that.
He didn't want to go to a clinic every month, and he'd managed in the war without anyone noticing through all the hustle and bustle that he wasn't getting his regular drip like he should (the thing about so many Were's in the service, and the significantly smaller number of Vamp).
So when people saw him, they saw a sturdy man on the shorter side, dishwater blonde hair with a bit of grey/silver patterning, a kind face, and a red tag on his collar that meant that he was on a regular drip, and so was safe to be around even after he Changed. Not that John Changed in front of people, no, and even on full moons he didn't leave his apartment, despite the red tag.
If people got closer, they would also notice the strange sharpness of his blue eyes, the focused look that Humans got to recognizing as not-Human (though they could tell by the collar and tag), and they might happen to catch a glance of his tag and see the royal seal that meant he was part of Her Royal Majesties Services, the Medical cross behind it specifying the RAMC. That would be solidified by the fact that his tag was far from pristine; carrying a number of nicks and scrapes from shrapnel, bullets, and other debris.
And, depending on if you were a Were or a Vamp, you might notice things like his base scent, the other scents that marked him for how hygienic he was (and what products he used), you might even notice his heavier heartbeat or smell the iron tang from his thicker blood, rich from a high-meat diet, made thicker by being born a Were.
Many things get noticed and dismissed, but it's John underneath all that.
Most people notice the collar first, though, just like one would notice a Vamp by his or her wristband, and the absence of either from a Human, and made decisions about the person immediately based on that.
John wasn't terribly tall, was unassuming, kind, and was, therefore, what most referred to as a 'beta' (despite various researches indicating that no such labels could correctly be administered to a Werewolf any more than one would be able to do so with a Human or a Vampire).
Anyone from his platoon would know that it was something entirely different, but he wasn't doing that anymore, he didn't have to overhear whispers of an offensive but well-meaning nickname, he wasn't sent out on short missions between patients, he didn't have an entire group to look after anymore, and he wasn't, he wasn't—
Ah, yes, they would also notice his cane. The limp.
The limp that meant he wasn't useful.
John sighed and moved on.
The full moon was in five hours, and he had to stop by the butchers for a few cuts since he wasn't going out (again).
Sometimes he wondered if his landlord wasn't suspicious.
Every month John didn't go out, he came by the sit-in John was set in for the duration of his therapy sessions and would check for damages—even blooded Werewolves paced and couldn't help but gnaw and scratch when kept in an enclosed space, but hadn't yet had any reason to insist on the basement.
The red tag meant that he couldn't insist he take advantage of the underground area, and the lack of property damages meant he couldn't insist that John go out like all the other regularly dripped 'Wolves.
John wondered why he hadn't been asked about that yet, and wondered morosely if he'd be asked by his next landlord or lady, when he had to finally move out of London.
His pension wouldn't last, not even with the extra afforded by his werewolf status due to his increased meal intake.
Perhaps he needed a flat share.
He thought a moment, but shook his head and thought again about not being racist, but the lack of understanding for his situation.
He couldn't even imagine living in with a human woman. In his experience they had set ideas of what was so, and wouldn't know to leave him alone on these nights. He'd lost his last girlfriend because she wanted him to stay at her place one night when the moon as full, and couldn't understand why he said no.
"It's not like you'll do anything John! You just got your red tag from the army, and it may be the only time I really get to see you before you go on tour!"
He didn't want to dwell on the fact that she considered 'really seeing him' as seeing him Changed.
John couldn't explain that he got his red tag by sneaking past the line, changed, and acting like he normally did, watching as the pack of wolves on the other side were corralled forward and bit and nipped at each other like a bunch of rowdy puppies with massive fangs.
If he knew that getting the red tag meant that Coralline would insist that he Change in her flat when he mentioned that he wouldn't be going out.
Getting his tag was the first time since he was 12 that he went out in public Changed.
John wasn't good in public. He didn't like the stares.
At least in the Army it got to the point that no one cared.
The last time he went out of his room when he was Changed willingly had been when he was 6. Now that he had more control not to change any time he was feeling emotional, or threatened, John didn't go out on the required Change days of the full moon. No one had seen him willingly on those nights until the army, and even then John was primarily working as a doctor, so that meant more time out of fur than in it.
And really, if more people could understand the meaning of inter-racial-cooperation like you came to while in the army, John wouldn't have to continuously have to remind himself that he wasn't racist.
People had this idea about werewolves that meant that they were always thinking about whose dominance trumps whose, thinking about sex, thinking about going for a hunt, and always thinking about food.
John could admit that he often thought about food, but it was hardly unusual, since a Were in his right mind was a well fed Were, and even the youngest needed near twice as much food as the average human.
It was why there were eating contests specifically for Werewolves, and then a separate one for Humans. There weren't any for Vampires, but that was mostly because they didn't need to eat much in the first place, at least nothing solid.
The hunting thing was less a hunting thing and more of an instinct thing. And even then it was really all about adrenaline.
Well, for John it was.
He'd heard others talking about going for hunts, about the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of bringing down their prey, even if it was a mouse or a rabbit. He'd heard others trying to explain it to humans, saying it was the satisfaction of providing for ones self, an age-old instinct that told you that 'hey, you can go out and find something to feed yourself,' and was satisfied by even small hunts.
It was why there were so many 'Wolves in the police, in the army, in security, in places where you could be provided the hunt if not the kill. Sometimes with the kill, if your job demanded it.
Every summer that John was at Bart's he would take at least one weekend to go camping, to let himself run around, and yes, he did scent out and track a number of animals, but that was all just following a scent. John knew he had a good nose, even then, and it was fun tracking a rabbit, or a deer around on it's route.
It seemed sometimes that where others DNA said "Scent, Hunt, Kill!" John's "Scent, Hunt, And Maybe Follow Around For A Bit, Just To See How Long You Can Go Without Scaring It Away!"
But then again, John also didn't need to be regularly blooded to keep a lucid mind when Changed, so there you go, there's a slap to the wrist for starting to think John was the standard Werewolf. The red tag may say he was regularly blooded, but when you were in a… horde would work, but for humors' sake you'd likely call it a Pack, then it's easy to get someone to believe that one got mixed up in the unblooded rabble while looking for someone to replace their silver tag with a red one.
So always thinking about hunting was an unfair stereotype.
The wanting sex wasn't.
John had a healthy interest in sex, but it didn't dominate his mind.
However, that lack of domination in his mind didn't keep him from getting one of his least hackle raising nicknames, Three Continents Watson.
But really, it wasn't like he was one of those sex-crazed nymphomaniac Were's, really.
He left that kind of reputation to the young ones who went after anything with a pulse and a hole/peg at the appropriate height.
Which all really left the most inconvenient stereotype, the dominance thing.
John is interested in relationships, not a constant test of wills.
With other Werewolves, in either gender, this usually meant he either encountered those who were so careful in not seem like they were assuming dominance that they smashed down any show of personality, or they were constantly making sure that they were the ones in the dominant position. Sometimes he even met someone who was looking for someone to boss them around and take care of them, and while John enjoys taking care of his partners, that didn't mean he wanted to be giving orders. He wanted to have a relationship, not an underling to boss around.
With Vampires, things were a bit different.
He knew that one of the stereotypes for Vampires was that they were bossy, and it seemed like it was true for most vampire's that he'd met, never mind dated.
But, perhaps it was because of his short stature, or his friendly and generally helpful personality, the few vampires who he'd dated seemed to think because of his 'beta-ness' that he wouldn't mind being used like a doormat.
And they usually got defensive when he called them on it, which meant that they thought he was trying to pull some dominance BS on them.
But this attitude also meant that they thought they had a right to take a sip after they'd gotten to a certain stage of the relationship.
Usually without even a by your leave.
When he said (and sometimes demonstrated) 'No', it once again went to the dominance game thing.
What do you mean, they'd ask. It's a win-win situation, I get a drink and you keep your mind when you go all fury, they'd cajole. You only meant no drinking until things got serious, they'd insist.
You're only saying no because of some dominant Alpha thing, aren't you, they'd accuse.
No, I'm not in the least bit interested in being a snack, thank you, he'd usually reply.
Sometimes things would go on for longer, until they insisted again, thinking that surely now he knew them well enough to allow just one sip, right?
And it was always a surprise to them.
John sighed again.
And as for Humans… surprisingly enough for the men it was usually a situation similar to that with other Werewolves.
A lot of unsure posturing just to make sure John knew they weren't playing the beta or omega or whatever to his Alpha, or else thinking they were being big shots by trying to assert dominance over a werewolf.
Quite a few blokes who he'd thought were alright turned out to be that sort after they realized that John wasn't interested in always acting like Captain John Watson (though at the time, he hadn't had the title or the experience), and decided to show all their friends how they could make 'their Were' jump through hoops at their command.
Yeah, John wasn't looking to be treated like an inmate at one of the Old-style Werewolf Labor Camps, back in the day when Vampires still hid in plain sight, where Werewolves were seen as somewhat intelligent dogs (like a poodle), and being racist meant that you had an issue with the slant of someone's eyes or else the colour of their skin.
Human women usually had ideas about dating werewolves, but those were usually based off of romance novels. Ideas like one being 'entranced by her scent', 'instincts urging him on', 'uncontrollable knots', and usually involving some women out there who would be able to 'sooth the beast inside your mind, without the need for vampiric bloodletting'.
But what this usually led to was women becoming charming and confident when he showed interest, the idea that something that human men and vampire men couldn't catch had attracted him to them.
John never could tell them that it was the fact that they looked pretty, that they seemed like they might be interesting, and that they weren't wearing enough perfume to make him choke had led him to chatting them up. John had a sensitive nose even for a Were, so that last part kept him from clubs when he was younger, and kept him from the kind of women who felt that they needed that perfume to be attractive.
So no, John wasn't racist.
He'd had some of the best blowjobs he'd ever had from Vampires (whew for the lesser need to breathe), as well as some of the most engaging conversations.
He'd also had some of the most fantastic shags with other Werewolves (all that energy packed into a naturally fit body), as well as the most enjoyable days out he's had.
He's also done some of the most surprising things with Humans, both male and female, both sexual and casual, but all that could be trumped, he could tell you later, by a strange man—the strangest man he'd ever met, really—he meets less than a week later.
But that doesn't happen for a while yet.
John had his nose just out the window, taking in the scents that blew past.
John had always loved the smells of London, even the ones that made other Werewolves complain. There was so much variety, and as much as one might jokingly consider a city to be a concrete jungle, to John that was exactly what it was.
It was true that there were a number of smells that could be found in the forests, but there are always new smells on the wind in a city.
The training compound that John went to for school was right by a forest, with a country town an hour's drive out, and home a two-hour train ride away, so John could identify pretty much any scent he may come across.
He'd come in at top of his class in tracking, and had top marks in cleanest kill (to the irritation of the pedigree students), and while he enjoyed the clean air and earthy scents that pervade forests and country-side alike, there was just so much more to identify in a city.
In London he could tell if someone had been by the channel, even if only for an hour that day, he could tell if they used a particular kind of gas in their car, if they took a taxi or public transit; specifically the bus or the underground, and on a good day he could even tell if they'd been on it for longer than half-an-hour.
He could, if he wanted, track one woman across London just by following her brand of perfume, or a man by his cologne, and would still be able to follow if someone wearing the same perfume/cologne had crossed tracks based on whatever else had been mixed into the person he was following's scent.
He could also tell smaller things about a person, like if they'd showered the night before or that morning, if they had had to exert themselves at all that day (though sometimes he could be a bit off if they happened to sweat more than usual), and even if they'd changed their shampoo within the past week based off the residual or clashing scents.
John was proud of his nose, he depended on it throughout his days, and it had been a dependable constant while in the army.
It was convenient being able to smell the faintest tang of infection, as a surgeon, and to be able to tell with a good wind if there was enemy nearby, as a soldier.
His nose had saved his life a number of times.
It had nearly saved his shoulder, too, but that sniper had chosen their spot well.
Not well enough to duck for cover when John had, delirious with pain, turned around and shot them (and wasn't it funny that the best marksman of the Northumberland Fusiliers was Captain John Watson, RAMC surgeon?) even at that distance, but John hadn't caught their scent until it was too late for his army career, even if it was enough to save his life
He huffed through his nose to clear the way for another breath of air and new scents, and mentally shook himself from ruminating.
Physiotherapy had given him enough time to cuss out himself and the sniper, think of how else things could have gone, and more than enough time to find out that the worst pain wasn't from the bullet wound, but was instead at the hands of his doctor, and that just meant he spent more time cussing out Dr. Reflex and her damnable name and tendency of using it in every conversation.
She was the one testing out his flexibility and mobility, sure, as well as his reflexes, yes, but that didn't mean he wasn't tempted to test out her 'reflexes' to a jab or a punch.
A knock at his front door had him raising his head, and getting up from his slump by the window to pad to the door, ducking his head under the hanging light.
"A'right in there?" asked his landlord. This was routine by now, his landlord anxious to make sure there wouldn't be any property damage, only made more worried by the lack of thumping or any other noises coming from his room.
John grunted and bumped his knuckles against the wooden door to signal he'd heard, he was still there and there wasn't anything to worry about.
Occasionally this wasn't enough, and he'd fish out his copy of the key to open the door as much as the chain allowed, and John would let his nose peek past and into sight before moving back behind the door.
The only thing his landlord had to say to him about these nights was that he 'had a big nose' before half ordering and half asking him to make sure he doesn't make a mess next full moon.
John was always tempted to say that his nose was just proportional, , but that kind of talk usually made people curious.
The Training compound allowed their students single-rooms (their own territory, he'd often heard joked), and John had always been a bit big.
Once he'd accidentally Changed and managed to wander off to a part of the school reserved for the older years, the ones with extra classes teaching them how to behave the next year when they went to high school, mixed in with Vampires and Humans, and he'd been so confused and afraid when everyone assumed he was a lost student.
He WAS a lost student, but everyone assumed that he was a lost student who was meant to be in that building, and so he was sent to a different Nursing Station than he was used to, to wait out his Change, and then sent to the principal's office when it was discovered he was only in fourth grade.
He didn't get into trouble aside form a stern talking to about why the younger years weren't allowed in that particular building, but there was an inquiry as to why no one had checked his tags, the ones that would have clearly marked him as a lost younger student.
And then the principal had seen his measurements from the yearly physicals.
And then he'd asked what his breeding was.
And then he'd been skeptical when John said that he'd been the First in his family.
And then John had to explain that yes, his parents had been just as surprised at his size as they had been in finding out that the Watsons, who had no history of Werewolves in the family for more than a dozen generations, had produced one.
And nossir, he wasn't the first-born. It should all be on that file, sir. Yessir.
But tonight wasn't a parania night for John's Landlord, so as soon as he heard footsteps moving away from the door, John moved back to his window to stick his nose out.
He was on the fifth floor, which would be inconvenient for his leg if not for the two working elevators in the building, which meant that he only got a catch of something on the wind, and then nothing close by, but he had to satisfy himself with that.
A draft brought the smell of Scentless (which, despite all claims against it, DID have a scent, at least to John), and he wondered if it was a Were with a sensitive nose like John had, or a government type.
It was a sort of spray that you could buy easily enough and use on yourself to dampen the smell of perfumes or oils or scents that are in the everyday hygiene products you used, meant to be for the use or benefit for Were's with sensitive noses.
John had a sensitive nose, but couldn't stand the smell of the stuff. Also, he rather liked the faint smells that came from everyday living, and Scentless was rather like the polar opposite, but still extreme, version of too much perfume or cologne.
But really, Scentless was mostly used by government officials, by those who didn't want their scent left behind.
John could imagine that criminals used it as well, but if other Were's could smell it like he could (he didn't know, the conversation had never come up, but he assumed so), then Police 'Wolves would still likely be able to follow the Scentless trail left behind.
Really, John thought the stuff was rather useless, but he supposed that someone, somewhere, saw a market for it, and it was still stocked on shelves, so John assumed that there was a steady market for the stuff.
He spent a little more time at the window, watching the world go on by and catching the tidbits thrown his way on the wind, before calling it a night.
It was the last night of the full moon, so he had a Therapy session the next day.
John woke up with a lurch, snarl at his lips and heart pounding like artillery shells firing. Bland walls and his own scent surrounded him, and a lurch of dissapointm—relief shot through his chest just as quickly.
It was going to be a long day.
"How's the blog going?"
"Yeah, good, ehm, very good…"
"… You haven't written a word, have you?"
"You just wrote 'still has trust issues'"
"And you read my writing upside-down… you see what I mean? John, you're a soldier, and it'll take you a while to adjust to civilian life. And writing a blog about everything that happens to you will honestly help."
"Nothing happens to me."
"Well the full moon ended last night. Why don't you write about what you did?"
"I stayed in."
"You could write about other times you—"
"I always stay in."
"… And why is that?"
"I… just do."
"Since I was little."
"But you have your red tag…?"
"Because I enjoy being lucid… you just wrote 'trust issues with other werewolves'. I don't have a problem with other werewolves. Or Vampires, or Humans, in case you try going that way."
"John, I'm just trying to understand. Werewolves get their red tag so that they can go outside on the nights of the full moon, so that they have another option to staying indoors, or in an Underground Bunkroom. From what I understand, very few would go to a clinic to be bitten, or blooded as it's called, just so that they could stay indoors."
"Well I'm not part of that few then, am I?"
"…No John. You're not."
"John... John Watson?"
John didn't recognize the man immediately, and only got a vague sense that he'd known him from his time at Bart's when the wind shifted and he caught the man's scent. But Mike was saying so and reintroducing himself by the time he'd registered the fact, and taking the lack of recognition well enough, so John let the momentary embarrassment pass.
Whatever part of his memory that stored information about people in relation to their scents only brought a hazy memory of company and friendship with this Human, as well as a number of funny set ups for dates, so John at least knew he was genuinely friends with Mike, even if they hadn't been that close, which put him in a smaller category than the scent field of People Who He Knew And Was Only Acquaintances With, which usually meant that there was something obnoxious or prattish about them that kept John from fully relaxing around them.
"I heard you were abroad somewhere getting shot at! What happened?"
John tried to think of a delicate way to put it (because wasn't that what people did? They took serious, important things, and made light of them?), and what ended up coming out of his mouth was a short, and barely joking (delicate, remember?)
"I got shot."
"What about you, are you staying in London?"
"Ah, can't afford London, not with an army pension…"
"Even with that boost for that enviable metabolism, eh? Aah, but you couldn't bear to be anywhere else. That's not the John Watson I know."
"Yeah well, I'm not the John Watson—…"
"… Couldn't Harry help?"
"Huh, yeah, like that's going to happen."
"Still making, eh, puppy jokes then?"
"Well, I dunno, maybe you should consider a flatshare."
"C'mon, who would want me for a flatmate?"
"You know you're the second one to say that to me today."
"Oh? Who's the other?"
Chemical stink stung his nose when Mike opened the doors to one of the old Labs at Bart's. John remembered nearly passing out in this lab in his second year when another student accidentally set off what smelled like a mixture of stink bomb and skunk to John.
He could still smell a bit of sulfur in the air, and he twitched his nose in remembrance, sharing a smile with Mike when he caught him looking. If he remembered correctly, Mike was the one to haul him out of the room.
Looking around, he saw quite a bit of the same sort of equipment he and his classmates had used, but there were a number of new things around, including a new air filtration system running all along the ceiling.
There was another bloke in the room, a vampire by his complexion and by the black ribbon stuffed in his suits breast pocket, fiddling with a number of chemicals. John could smell a number form where he was, and recognized quite a few, though he couldn't think of anything that all put together would create, other than a mess.
"Well, a bit different from my day."
"Huh, you have no idea."
"Mike," sighed the vampire, "can I borrow your phone? There's no signal on mine."
"Well what's wrong with the landline?" John thought it was a valid question, but the man didn't look up from what he was doing when he replied.
"I prefer to text."
Mike pat his pockets, and didn't sound too apologetic when he said, "sorry, it's in my coat."
After a pause, John offered his own mobile. He didn't know how to use half the things Harry had downloaded onto the thing when she owned it, but it was a fairly easy-to-use phone.
"Here, use mine"
He seemed surprised, and John figured that people weren't too willing to hand over their phones to strangers. It did seem as though more and more people were getting obsessed with their electronic devices.
"This is an old friend of min, John Watson."
The man hmm'ed as he wandered over, thumbs sliding over the miniature keyboard of John's phone when he took it, getting to the texting option quicker than John had been able to figure it out when he first got it. There was a very brief flare of jealousy, but John had long ago resigned himself to the fact that he wasn't exactly tech-savvy.
"Afghanistan or Iraq?"