impulsereader (impulsereader) wrote,
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Sherlock fic: Solving for Home

Title: Solving for Home
Recipient: fiona_fawkes
Author: impulsereader
Beta/Britpicker: quarryquest
Characters/Pairings: John, Sherlock, plus a tiny smattering of Lestrade and Mrs Hudson. Gen.
Rating: PG for a bit of violence visited upon the lads during the course of events.
Warnings: None
Summary: A look at the evolution of John and Sherlock’s friendship.
A/N: Written for December 2012 holmestice. Now with added Bartók! Thanks go to pargoletta for being my ethnomusicologist. In the end I decided there was no real reason for Sherlock to especially enjoy practicing a piece which is only, at best, half of a whole. There are a few additional notes at the end.

*****

2010

The flat was quiet.

John had only lived at 221B Baker Street for three days and six hours so far, but judging from the events which had filled the hours, minutes, and very seconds of those three and a quarter days, he was guessing (or, rather, he’d do better to deduce, he corrected himself) that it was going to be a very rare thing for the flat to be quiet.

Or perhaps, more accurately, (see, he said to himself, the deducing was already proving itself) it was very rare for the space surrounding Sherlock Holmes to be quiet. The man hummed with energy as if he had his own personal set of cartoon electrons zooming along in orbit all around him.

John amused himself for a second by imagining 221B itself breathing a little sigh of relief when its enigmatic occupant dashed out the door and down the seventeen steps. Only on some days though, because the flat and Sherlock clearly belonged together. There were, however, occasional days when even the most devoted of companions was glad for a few hours’ respite from his or her beloved.

John descended from his room (miraculous work on Sherlock’s part, that) steadily but carefully, aware of and analysing the silence as he moved. He had already learnt that this approach was advisable on the battlefields of both Afghanistan and London. He couldn’t be sure if the flat was quiet because Sherlock wasn’t currently in residence, was lost somewhere in that magnificent brain of his, or was - god, John didn’t even know - how could he? His head was still spinning as he tried to grasp just the basics of Sherlock. The man could have trussed himself up like Houdini and even now be attempting to free himself using only the power of his brain; John supposed that would prove a relatively quiet endeavour (also likely successful).

So far John could only count a few points reliably sorted, and even those he wasn’t planning on setting into stone just yet. As of this moment, they were:

1. When Sherlock was clearly being an idiot it was best to shoot first and interrogate over late-night Chinese later.

2. The people he met from here on out would all fall into one of two categories: ‘Thinks Sherlock is a Psychopath’ or ‘Owes Sherlock a Favour’. He was very, very interested in finding out if the two ever intersected; he suspected they didn’t.

3. John’s analysis was meant to go deeper.

He entered the sitting room and saw that at some point since he’d gone upstairs (just an hour ago) a scale replica of the Sphinx had taken up residence in the chair he’d tentatively claimed as his. He patted it on the head as he walked past.

The ridiculous riot of patterns in the room was dizzying.

The bison skull wore earphones, and what sort of music did a bison like best? The human skull (charmed from the clutches of a disapproving Mrs Hudson clucking about hygiene) grinned at him from the mantel, and he wondered if Sherlock’s friend was jealous of his (bovine? he wasn’t sure) counterpart or if he preferred the detective’s verbal compositions to Radio 1. Was John himself now in competition with the skull?

Also propped on the mantel (to the left of the knife skewering that morning’s post) was a shadowbox showcasing a flock (colony? cloud? cauldron?) of taxidermied bats, wings spread and neatly pinned. Had Sherlock purchased it? Had he captured and prepared the bats himself? Could it possibly have been a gift?

There were so many questions, and they were just the tip of the iceberg of the man who was Sherlock Holmes. And comparing him to an iceberg was so very apt, because there was so much going on beneath the surface; John couldn’t begin to imagine what it might be like inside Sherlock’s head.

But perhaps, he reflected, it was a little like being in this room over which Sherlock had metaphorically vomited all his possessions.

Was it odd, then, that John felt more at home here than he ever had outside of his childhood bedroom?

*****

2015

The flat was quiet.

Sherlock had only returned to 221B Baker Street three days and six hours ago, but from the events which had filled the hours, minutes, and very seconds of those three and a quarter days, he had hopefully proved that the flat would very rarely be quiet from now on; John would like that, he thought.

Or perhaps, more accurately, if John chose to stay on (please all the gods of science and deduction let him stay on) Sherlock would make sure the space surrounding John would very rarely be quiet.

But at this very moment the quiet was a good thing because John was asleep.

Sherlock knew this because he himself had talked him into slumber.

He regretted the abrupt confrontation which he had been forced to inflict on his friend. Only Mycroft’s incapacitation had made it necessary to drag John into this last bit of his plan. As always, John Watson had not failed him. A moment of severe confusion; a split second when he had swayed on his feet; yet an instant later he had been dashing down the streets of London at Sherlock’s side, solid and reassuring as nothing else had ever been in Sherlock’s life; everything was put right once again, the world shifted on its axis to where it should have been all along.

...

No.

Of course not, not really. Sherlock had never before had to convince John that after three days and four hours of furious non-stop action he very much needed to get some sleep now that the case was solved. Sherlock had never before had to walk up the stairs to John’s bedroom and sit by his side reciting the periodic table in order to convince his flatmate’s brain that if it allowed his eyes to flutter closed Sherlock would still be there when they opened again. He’d got to the boring man-made radioactive ones before this had been accomplished.

So.

There was some work to be done here at home; just as there had been work to do away from it.

Sherlock sank into his chair and dropped his head back. He was so very tired. He couldn’t remember ever being this tired before. It had all seemed so simple, so straightforward. Take them out. Take all of them out. Ensure that everyone would be safe. But then he’d had to do it alone, day after day, and even worse than that there hadn’t been any clever puzzles along the way. The task Sherlock had set himself had been utterly mundane; he might as well have been working at a job in the City for all the mental stimulation the last three years had provided him. It had been clean-up, pure and simple, the work of a drudge.

He would do it all again if he had to. He insisted to himself that it had been worth it, and now he would be able to reap the rewards of his work. He was back home; John, Mrs Hudson, and Lestrade were all alive and pleased that he was as well; Baker Street had even been preserved for him, though it was rather tidier than he had left it (they would never speak of it, but Sherlock was grateful to Mycroft for the gift of Baker Street). There would once again be puzzles to solve and John to reflect his genius back at him.

He had finally come home.

Was it odd, then, that it didn’t yet feel as if he had?

*****

2010

“Move to your right!”

John obeyed, but the man with the pipe adjusted accordingly; the swinging metal rod didn’t catch him full-on, but dealt his head a glancing blow which sent him reeling anyway. He moved with the impact, buying time and space.

Sherlock cursed silently as he knocked out his own quarry with a no-nonsense uppercut to the jaw. Dr John Watson had already proven he could hold his own in a fight, but Sherlock couldn’t quite seem to keep himself from monitoring his status while they were each engaged separately; especially when John was outnumbered.

He spun round and whipped off his scarf so he could use it to capture by the neck the man armed with a knife who was trying to take advantage of the doctor’s momentary disorientation. In this way the thug’s murderous lunge served only to assist Sherlock in cutting off his air supply, disarming him, and knocking him soundly on the temple with the hilt of his own weapon which sent him to the ground, unconscious.

By the time Sherlock had accomplished that, John had recovered and similarly dealt with the pipe-wielding miscreant.

“Well,” John panted, “that was stimulating.”

Sherlock frowned. “You’re bleeding.” He spent precisely two seconds deep in thought. “We’re going to need some code words.”

*****

2015

“Bogus laundry!”

What?” John looked over at Sherlock incredulously. This was rather difficult because he was currently fending off a very determined gentleman armed with a fireplace poker. “Is that the sort of thing you pull when you’re working without a partner?”

“False teeth?”

“Sherlock, I’m a bit busy. Stop giving me rubbish advice.” With a grunt, he shoved the thug bodily away from him.

“Giant rat!”

“Oh.” That suggestion John took to heart, pivoting in place and sticking out a well-aimed foot to send his opponent crashing to the ground and the poker subsequently out of his grasp.

“’Furniture van’ may have been effective as well,” he mused, striding over to take custody of the weapon.

Sherlock finished up with his own weapon-waving adversary by inflicting a casual ‘remarkable worm unknown to science’ upon him, as opposed to a series of ‘trained canaries’ as he might have done once upon a time. His age was showing.

*****

2010

John had (for the first time) breathed life back into Sherlock a few hours ago.

Now he was making tea.

He picked up the tea tray and took it into the sitting room. “How are you feeling? Any trouble breathing?”

Sherlock didn’t look up from the beagle he was preparing for dissection, though he did reach over and pluck a teacup from the tray as John walked by. “Mmm.”

“You’re warm enough now you’re dry? Do you want a blanket?”

Sherlock was silent, ignoring his flatmate’s inquiry in favour of a close visual inspection of his subject.

This annoyed the hell out of John and he berated himself yet again for giving in and not taking him straight to hospital. He still wasn’t sure how he’d been talked out of it.

He set the tray down more forcefully than necessary and marched the few steps back to Sherlock. He planted his hands on the desk and thrust his face into his flatmate’s personal space. “Look, you need to talk to me. I’m worried about you and you should be in hospital for at least a check-up after not breathing for several minutes.”

Sherlock still didn’t even so much as turn his head to meet his gaze. “You examined me yourself. I’m fine.”

“I’d feel better about the whole thing if you had some scans done.” John pursed his lips and came to a sudden decision. “You know what, yeah, let’s go. I’m not kidding. I’m not fine with this. I need to see your insides and be sure there isn’t any damage. You got pretty knocked about even before you required artificial respiration. Come on.” He took Sherlock’s arm and pulled him up, propelling him toward the door.

“John, I’m wearing my dressing gown. Are you actually saying you want me to leave the flat like this?”

“Yes, because if we wait you’ll somehow talk me out of it again.”

And that was how John and Sherlock (the latter wearing slippers on his feet) ended up in the A&E, sitting side by side in uncomfortable plastic chairs, glaring at the world in general in between bouts of glaring at one another.

“You’re being stupid.”

“I’m being your doctor.”

“I’d much rather you be my assistant and confine yourself to handing me my phone.”

“I’d much rather shove your phone up your arse.”

“That hardly seems an appropriate operation for my doctor to perform.”

“I would be doing it as your much put-upon assistant rather than your much put-upon doctor.”

“Mr Holmes?”

“Here; he’s right here. Go on then.”

*****

2015

John had (for the first time since his return) breathed life back into Sherlock a few hours ago.

His hands were still shaking.

“I’m fine. Let’s go.” Sherlock looped his scarf round his neck as he paced toward John, coat flaring dramatically (of course).

“I need a minute.”

Sherlock halted abruptly and looked back at him. He frowned. “You’re not hurt. I would have noticed.”

“Yes. No, I’m not hurt. I’m just - I don’t know. I just need to sit here for another minute. Then we can go.”

Sherlock paused, uncertain. He turned and inserted himself into the uncomfortable plastic hospital chair next to the one John was occupying.

The silence stretched out to much more than the requested minute.

Sherlock had a thought.

“You’re being stupid?” he offered tentatively.

“I am not -,” John started hotly, then paused, remembering. He grinned. “I’m being your doctor.”

Sherlock grinned back. “I’d much rather you be my John and make me some tea.”

“I’d much rather you make me some tea as an apology for spending several minutes not breathing today.”

“I’d much rather you make the tea because you make much better tea than I.”

“I’d much rather I make the tea because you’re right about that.”

“Good. Let’s go then.”

*****

2010

John was pulled from sleep by the irritated scrapings of horsehair over catgut.

He lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, wincing periodically when Sherlock’s violin produced a particularly screechy phrase.

Jesus. He clearly should have registered some sort of objection when this particular peccadillo had been confessed during that first meeting in the lab at Bart’s. As it stood, he didn’t feel the definition of ‘full disclosure’ had been met at the time. He wondered if that was enough of a loophole to justify his stomping downstairs and confiscating the instrument.

Just as he was getting desperate enough to be contemplating makeshift earplugs, the shrieking paused for a moment. When it resumed, it had turned to singing, and he marvelled at the difference. He didn’t know the piece; it could have been something famous which had so far avoided being co-opted by a marketing campaign, or it could have been something Sherlock had composed himself which no one else had ever heard before. Whatever it was, though, it was incredibly beautiful. As he lay there listening though, he realised it was not just beautiful; it was beauteous and commanding, at some times shrill and demanding. It was - well, it was complicated, extraordinarily complicated whilst still managing to be absolutely - beautiful.

This, thought John, was the essence of Sherlock distilled. Annoying, thoughtless git tempered by the flame of breathtakingly beautiful genius.

He lay awake as the strains of the violin assaulted the walls of 221B with this serenade; he wondered what had prompted the change in Sherlock’s head and hands.

*****

2015

John was pulled from sleep by the irritated scrapings of horsehair over catgut.

He waited to see if the change would come. When it didn’t, he pushed back the covers and swung his legs over the side. Donning his dressing gown as he walked, he went downstairs, wincing as the screeching became louder.

In the kitchen he filled the electric kettle and set it to heating. After a moment he remembered Mrs Hudson had been up during the day, and retrieved the biscuit tin she’d brought with her from the top of the fridge. He dumped the ginger biscuits onto a plate and put that onto a tray. He added two mugs complete with tea bags to the tableau as well as the sugar bowl. When the water was ready he took the whole lot into the sitting room.

His entrance warranted only a slight pause in the discordant symphony Sherlock was producing. By the time John’s mug was half empty, though, it had dwindled to absent plucking. A blank-eyed Sherlock stared into nothingness.

“Have a biscuit,” John instructed.

Sherlock obeyed; reaching out blindly, but unerringly putting hand to plate and plucking a biscuit from it. He took a bite and chewed by rote.

When he’d swallowed the last of it, John said, “What doesn’t make sense?”

“The timing. Why would he have waited so long if all he wanted was the one piece of jewellery?”

John sipped his tea. “Maybe he got stuck in traffic.”

Giving no indication he’d registered the comment Sherlock went on, “He could have slipped it into his pocket at the time and kept it from ever being put onto the inventory.”

“Maybe he didn’t have any pockets.”

“Why go back at all? Why wait so long? It doesn’t make sense, there has to be more, there has to be a reason for it.”

“Maybe he’s an idiot.”

“He’d have had to explain what he was after, he – Oh! Oh, that’s it!” Sherlock shot out of his chair and dove for his phone. He typed furiously for a few seconds and triumphantly hit the ‘Send’ button before tossing it back onto the desk and pirouetting in the direction of his chair. He then picked up his violin again and proceeded to play what John now recognized as good old Sonata for Solo Violin Sz. 117, BB 124, written by one Béla Viktor János Bartók who had been dying of Leukemia even as he composed it (John had been reliably informed one very early morning when his friend had been in an expansive mood). Despite the difficulty of both listening to the piece and wrapping his head around all those harsh, guttural accented syllables, this had become one of John’s favourites; it reminded him of the first time he’d been woken in the dead of night by Sherlock’s violin.

*****

2010

Sherlock was a bit afraid he was going to vomit.

This was alarming because Lestrade had refused to leave the waiting room, and Sherlock didn’t want to leave even for the short amount of time it would take him to find the gents and take care of the issue. However short a time it might be, it still might prove long enough for someone to turn up with some (please all the gods of science and deduction any) information on John’s condition.

Thinking about the fact that John was in a condition which required them to be in the waiting room, and that if he hadn’t been following obediently along behind Sherlock this never would have been the case – well, that definitely wasn’t helping with the needing to vomit (though Sherlock flatly refused to identify it as the source). He very much did not want to vomit in front of Lestrade. He realized he had been holding his breath, and let it out in a long exhale. This turned out to have been a mistake, because he subsequently discovered that he was now definitely about to vomit and there was no longer time for a decision. He ended up being grateful that he made it to the nearest bin.

“Sherlock, you all right? You didn’t take a punch to the gut, did you?”

“Shut up.”

“Oh, never mind, you seem fine now. Don’t know what I was thinking.”

He found himself being moved away from the mess and stink of the sick; he allowed his body to be eased down into one of the wretchedly awful plastic somethings which were supposed to pass for chairs. With his eyes closed as tightly as he could scrunch them, he wished (wished upon a star, even) that he and John were in their normal comfortable chairs in their sitting room at Baker Street, as they had been just the night before, and it (that he really) was fine; that it was all fine.

But of course it wasn’t.

Nothing was fine.

John was in hospital because of him, and everything which had been so very good lately was crashing down round his ears.

He’d taken John for granted since he’d taken up residence at Baker Street; he’d heedlessly dragged him into crime scenes and warehouses bristling with armed thugs; he’d dashed through moving traffic knowing he would follow; Sherlock had made himself into a walking health hazard for his new flatmate, and fate was finally cashing in its chips. The problem was that it was doing so at the expense of John Watson when it should have been collecting from the person of Sherlock Holmes.

“Pardon me, are you Mr Holmes?”

Sherlock shot to his feet, feeling dizzy and confused. “Here. Yes. That’s me.”

The nurse smiled at him. “Dr Watson asked me to find you if you were still here. He said that if you were I should let you know that he’ll see you at home tomorrow.”

“What?” He felt even more confused.

“He wasn’t sure if you would have stayed, and he asked me to check.”

“He – what?” Sherlock’s head was spinning and he felt as if he was watching the scene from a distance.

She looked game to try saying the same thing a third way, but Lestrade cut in before she could start. “Thanks, that’s nice of you. Dr Watson’s doing all right, then?”

She turned gratefully to the man in the room who was making sense and said, “Yes, he’s going to be fine. We’ll keep him overnight and send him home tomorrow with instructions to rest.”

“Fantastic. Thanks again.”

She nodded happily and went off, professional favour dispatched.

“Right; let’s get you home then.”

But Sherlock violently shrugged off Lestrade’s gently guiding hand. Finally, he could be rid of him. “Not in a police car. I’ll get a cab.”

Lestrade hesitated but then shook his head. “Fine. Suit yourself.” He shook his head again. As he walked away he said, “I’ll call round tomorrow afternoon to take your statements.”

Sherlock waited thirty seconds to be sure the detective was gone then slipped out the door of the hateful room. He looked round and set off down the hallway. The nurses’ station was unoccupied, and he was able to quickly scan the patient list to find the ward assigned his flatmate. It was the work of an instant to then find the room and slip inside.

John was asleep in the bed at the far end of the room. The bed closest to the door was occupied by another sleeping patient whom Sherlock ignored. The intervening spaces were empty. Sherlock hovered, suddenly uncertain. To have something to do, something to occupy some small corner of his brain, he picked up John’s chart and scanned it. Feeding his brain the information it contained eased something inside him. The knowledge that John’s heart rate was normal seemed to help anchor him to the moment they were currently occupying. His hand stroked the paper gratefully. Once he had transferred all the knowledge into his head, he put the chart down and performed a visual inspection. He resisted the urge to run his hands over John’s body to feel for himself that he was whole.

It was just a simple concussion, he allowed the chart’s knowledge to assure him. The skull hadn’t been fractured. The fact that seeing John drop like a stone had horrified Sherlock down to his bone marrow was beside the point. John was going to be fine. He’d be back at Baker Street tomorrow.

John was going to be fine, even though Sherlock’s murder suspect had clocked him over the head with a tyre iron.

Sherlock curled up on the empty bed nearest his flatmate and watched his chest rise and fall through the night.

In the morning, when he began to hear the stirrings of activity, he slipped from the room. Twenty minutes later he returned bearing two paper cups.

“Oh, hello. You didn’t get my message then.”

“I brought you tea.”

*****

2015

Sherlock vomited violently into the bin then thrust it away from himself.

“Sherlock, you all right? Did you catch a punch in the gut? We can have them -,”

“Shut up. SHUT UP. Get out Lestrade, just go, get out.”

“Sherlock -,”

“Get out.”

“Sherlock, come on, you -,”

“OUT. NOW.”

He didn’t know if his command was finally obeyed; he simply stopped hearing Lestrade if he was still there. He paced because he couldn’t not move.

John would be fine. There was no other acceptable outcome.

Sherlock hadn’t spent three years tediously shooting useless thugs in the head so that John could die on him after six months.

He absolutely hadn’t faked his own death and spent three years slogging back to his life so that John could die after taking a bullet meant for Sherlock.

Logically, he understood what had happened. John, thinking even more quickly than his (supposed to be a) genius friend, had sussed out what was about to happen and realized that he had only one course of action open to him if he meant to keep the bullet from finding its target. And right from the beginning of their partnership John had declared loudly and clearly that he would be standing between Sherlock and death (thank you very much).

So John had stepped to the left to do so once again.

What Sherlock had a harder time understanding was the next bit, when John had been in his arms with a look of faint surprise on his face. “Hurts more than I remember,” he’d said.

The events which had followed were a blur of lights and sirens and shouting and Sherlock saying unnecessary things like John and don’t and please and no; he couldn’t seem to stop himself.

And now, because he hadn’t had the foresight to train as a surgeon, he was waiting. His brain was assaulting him with facts and figures, half of which were insisting that John would likely die on the operating table and the other half claiming that simply making it into surgery alive guaranteed his survival. But his heart had stopped beating in the ambulance; Sherlock had thought his own might do the same in response. That couldn’t have been a good sign. The thought of John’s lifeless body laid out before him shouldn’t have been distressing considering how many dead bodies Sherlock had seen. He thought he might vomit again.

“Sherlock.” He was being patted firmly on the cheek - not slapped exactly, but the contact was firm. He blinked, and found Mrs Hudson gazing at him with deep concern shadowing her eyes. She squeezed his wrist. “Sherlock you have to go clean yourself up a bit. You’ve got -,” she paused and started again, “You’re a bit of a mess, dear. I’ve brought you a clean shirt.” She pulled him to his feet. “Go into the loo; wash your face and change your shirt.” she instructed firmly, propelling him in the right direction while handing him the shirt. Sherlock obeyed, walking away without seeing anything except John’s closed eyes, his lashes shadows against stark white skin.

Mrs Hudson tutted fitfully. “Doesn’t he look just like John - after.”

“He does at that, Mrs H.”

“Thank you for ringing me, Greg. Has there been any word?”

“Not yet, no.”

She tutted again and sat down. “I hope it won’t be too much longer. This chair won’t do my hip any good.”

Later, Sherlock would dramatically declare that they had waited days for John to come out of surgery. He even did it in a tone of voice which heavily implied John must have (very tediously) chosen to spend that excessive length of time being put back together.

In reality it was a mere six hours after Mrs Hudson’s arrival and roughly eight since John’s when a weary doctor with a clipboard appeared in the doorway and said, “John Watson?”

Sherlock shot upright.

“Yes, dear. That’s us. He’s all right now, isn’t he? Everything is sorted?” Mrs Hudson stood and patted Sherlock’s arm.

“Yes, Dr Watson is in recovery and we expect him to be just fine.” There was more, there was much more information, but Sherlock didn’t hear any of it. He was much too busy trying to control the giddy relief which was threatening to send him into hysterical peals of laughter which he was absolutely certain John would categorize as a bit not good. He wanted to save his inappropriate laughter for the next situation when John would be able to tell him off for it.

It wasn’t long before Mrs Hudson had manoeuvred things so that Sherlock was at John’s side once again. He sourly regarded the “chair” which had been provided for his “comfort”, then chose to drag the second (conveniently vacant) bed the few feet necessary for him to sit cross-legged on it and still be close enough to monitor John’s return to consciousness.

He pulled out his mobile and pulled up his email inbox. He began to go through the new messages. “Ha!” he informed John, “This one has a haunted wardrobe. Idiot.” He paused. “That is rather intriguing,” he admitted. “It could be something to look into. Possibly.” He glanced at John, checking for any change or movement. Nothing yet. He looked back down at the screen, but found he had lost interest. He tossed it aside and groaned. “I’m so bored, John. You should wake up and be interesting.” He looked at his friend expectantly; when there was still no change he wilted a bit.

He fiddled absently with the hem of his coat.

“I understand how you felt now.”

He paused.

“I almost did before, I suppose. The pool, of course. But now I really do see. I -,”

He shook his head in frustration.

“I’m sorry,” he said simply, “I really am very sorry.”

There was, of course, no response.

Sherlock curled up on the empty bed and watched his flatmate’s chest rise and fall.

After about an hour, John stirred restlessly. Sherlock scrambled off the bed and nearly hit the ground inelegantly while negotiating the short journey to his side. He laid a reassuring hand on John’s shoulder. He leaned down and spoke near his friend’s ear. “It’s all right. You were shot, but it was an excellent case and after we’d caught the suspect Lestrade managed to make the arrest. I’ll tell you anything you don’t remember tomorrow when you’re properly awake. Sleep now. We already have a new case and I won’t want to delay starting our investigation; you’ll need to be ready to get back to work straight away.”

“Sshhrrllkk,” John managed.

“Yes. When you wake up there will be tea. I’ll bring you tea.”

*****

2010

It had been a perfectly normal day.

John had eaten breakfast.

Sherlock had got the blowtorch out again and set fire to the souvenir tea towel Harry had sent John after visiting Norwich Cathedral.

John had eaten lunch.

Sherlock had dragged him out of the flat and they’d spent four hours crawling on their hands and knees through Regents Park.

John had eaten dinner.

Sherlock had begun testing the grass, dirt and insect samples they’d collected earlier. After dinner John joined him in the sitting room and began a new thriller he’d just bought.

The bell rang. Sherlock ignored it. John sighed, closed his book again, and went to see who it was.

When he came back up the stairs he was holding a box which had been wrapped in paper done in a sedate but colourful striped pattern featuring a tasteful blend of blues. It was topped with a bow which secured a hand-written note. He looked puzzled. “Today was your birthday?” he asked.

“Hm?” Sherlock looked up from his microscope and frowned. “Oh.” He rolled his eyes. “Mycroft,” he said in the habitual tone of disgust which was associated with his brother’s name. “He’ll have bought me another dressing gown; as if I’d wear anything he picked out. The last one was paisley.” He shuddered delicately.

“You should have said. I’d have got you something.”

Already peering into his microscope again, he dismissed that as, “Irrelevant.”

*****

2015

The day was a complete success (of course).

The barest hint saw their breakfast table graced with Mrs Hudson’s freshly baked scones.

Minimal communication with Lestrade provided them with a satisfying opportunity to chase round London on the trail of a forger.

A word in Mycroft’s ear meant Harry’s call went directly to voicemail.

A casual mention of Angelo’s saw them out for a pleasant dinner.

Next was a cosy evening spent in the sitting room at Baker Street accompanied by a short visit with their landlady and a longer one with the cake she’d iced and brought up. Sherlock played the pieces on his violin which John most enjoyed; he had also spent the day strictly refraining from jumping out in front of moving vehicles, which he knew his friend especially appreciated.

The day had been a complete success (of course), so Sherlock wasn’t surprised that after he’d put down his instrument John sighed contentedly and said, “What a nice day.” Sherlock felt the deep glow of satisfaction he so rarely got from anything other than solving a case, but then this had been a case, of sorts.

“It was a very nice present, Sherlock. Thank you.”

That did surprise him; shocked him completely, actually. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he tried, defensively.

John just smiled at him. “I especially appreciated all the times you didn’t heedlessly dash out into traffic.”

Sherlock sniffed loftily and busied himself with looking up the precise boiling point of hexane (even though he already knew what it was).

*****

2010

The flat was anything but quiet.

This was because Sherlock had stolen a child’s birthday party.

Yes, Sherlock. Like a modern day Pied Piper, Sherlock had trooped a line of children (all the little boys in little suits and all the little girls in little dresses with poofy skirts) through the streets of London and up the stairs to 221B Baker Street.

Lestrade was alternately shouting about kidnapping and trying to comfort a crying child; Mrs Hudson was alternately tutting about parental responsibility and trying to comfort a crying child; John was alternately interrupting Sherlock’s explanation with questions and trying to comfort a crying child; Sherlock was alternately attempting to make his explanation heard over all the crying children and telling off all the crying children.

The children who were not crying were running round the flat gleefully and shouting at the top of their lungs.

The flat was anything but quiet.

*****

2015

The flat was anything but quiet.

This was because Sherlock had conducted some sort of experiment which had caused the kitchen to be filled with masses of bright neon pink and yellow - stuff - was the only word John could come up with. It had burst out of his beakers (one for each colour) as if alive and grown to take up all available space, actually chasing its be-goggled (and indignant) creator out of the room entirely. The doorway itself was now a colourful bulge of - stuff.

Most unluckily, Mrs Hudson had been spending time with John in the sitting room when this had occurred. She was now alternately lecturing indignantly at Sherlock and clucking disapprovingly at the - stuff; John was alternately giggling in the background and interjecting humorous insults aimed at the - stuff’s - mother; Sherlock was alternately protesting and whinging, turning between John, Mrs Hudson, the - stuff, and back round again.

Into this chaos came Lestrade pounding up the steps yelling, “Sherlock, what do I have to do to get you to answer a bloody text? Oi! What’s all this - stuff?”

And Sherlock threw up his hands, making a noise like, ‘ggguuuuuuuuuhhhhhh’; and John fell out of his chair he was laughing so hard; and Mrs Hudson raised her voice again to insist, “Don’t you be dashing off now, Sherlock, I’m not your housekeeper and I won’t be cleaning up after you; I don’t care who’s been murdered. Is this - stuff - going to leave marks on my floor?”

The flat was anything but quiet.

fin

*****

A/N: ‘Bogus laundry’ is code for leaving oneself open to attack in the hope of gaining the upper hand by appearing weak and inspiring overconfidence in one’s opponent. It came into being because Sherlock once flung himself (apparently as a result of utter terror [obviously feigned {though not obvious to John}] at finding himself in the midst of a fire fight) into a skip which ended up being full of discarded clothing. This made for a soft landing, but also an utterly furious partner who declared the move not only incredibly stupid, but also unworthy of a code word because neither of them was allowed to do it ever again (hence the ‘bogus’ portion of the phrase) – You put yourself into a confined space, Sherlock! They could have taken you out in an instant!

‘False teeth’ is code for forcefully kneeing one’s adversary in the nuts. It came into being because once, when John had performed this manoeuvre, his unlucky opponent’s false teeth had come shooting out of his mouth as a result – John and Sherlock proceeded to fall about laughing in the midst of the fist fight, but they still came out ahead.

The – stuff – which Sherlock produces (and intentionally allows to run riot in order to amuse John, though he will never admit to it) is a slightly exaggerated (but really, it’s Sherlock, so you know he’d completely fill the kitchen) description of the ‘elephant toothpaste’ experiment which you can see in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezsur0L0L1c I do not imagine it will, in fact, leave marks on Mrs Hudson’s floor, though I am not certain she will be able to obtain buy-in for her plan in which Sherlock cleans up after himself (she did not, however, follow the approved procedure for obtaining such, and so it is only her own fault [and how does that sound to you?]).
Tags: fic: all my fic, fic: my sherlock fic
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