Published: November 25, 2013
John bounced on the balls of his feet impatiently. What was taking you so long? The scheduling board said you had arrived over 15 minutes ago and you were usually efficient and quick with moving to your next destination, so where were you?
Spying your older brother across the station, you crept up behind him with a mischievous grin and pounced on to his back. “You really need to be more observant, Johnny.”
He laughed and yanked you over his shoulder so he could sweep you up into a warm hug. “(F/n), you little brat! I was starting to worry. What took you so long?”
You giggled, pulling him to you tightly. “You always worry, you old worry wart. I was just delayed a bit. Ah! It’s so good to see you!”
“It’s good to see you too, Squeak.”
He swept you off your feet again and you squealed, “John, put me down this second!”
When he wouldn’t, you poked his side lightly, causing him to drop you as he let out an involuntary laugh and batted your hand away. You grinned at him. Growing up with him, you knew exactly where he was ticklish, but he returned you a frown. “What happened to your face?”
You rubbed the back of your neck awkwardly, knowing he was referring to the bruise that was surely spreading across your cheek and jaw by now. “Like I said… I was, umm… delayed.”
“(F/n),” he said warningly, stepping forward to get a better look as he leveled you with a demanding older brother glare.
You sighed and rushed, “I maaaayyyy… havegottenintoarowwithaguyonthetrain.”
John frowned at you, how did you always manage to get into trouble like this? You were like a trouble magnet.
You gave him a little grin and tried to reassure him, saying, “It’s not that bad; he only got in one good shot. Besides, he looks a million times worse than I do.”
John did not find this as amusing or comforting as you did, giving you a look that said you-are-in-so-much-trouble-you-don’t-even-know. Your eyes went wide all the sudden as your hearing picked up a conversation behind you and you pulled him in front of you so you could hide behind him.
A couple of coppers were pulling a badly beaten man from the train. He was yelling something about a quick bitch from hell as he nursed a broken arm and then demanded that they find the whore who broke his nose and put her in jail.
The police officers shook their heads, one saying, “If the witnesses on the train are to be believed, which I know they are, she did the public a service. Did you really think you’d get away with kidnapping a child in such a public place?”
John spun to look at you, careful to keep you concealed from the man’s wild eyes, and hissed, “You did that? I can’t say I blame you but still… can’t you stay out of trouble?”
You grinned as you noticed the pride that was now creeping into his face and gave a slight shrug. “What can I say? Trouble always seems to find me. It’s not like I go looking for it.”
He sighed, knowing what you said wasn’t exactly true. “Come on; let’s go put some ice on that.” He took your bag and linked your arm with his, leading the way.
221 Baker St.
It looked nice enough from your position at the bottom of the front steps; well-located, quaint, quiet, but not too quiet… It could work. You glanced down the street. It wasn’t Montmartre or Paris, but London would do.
John rolled his eyes at you when he realized you were still down on the very edge of the sidewalk and not following him through the door. “Well? Are you just going to stare at it or are you going to come inside? I don’t have all day.”
You snapped out of it, pouting as you bounded up the front walk to catch up, “Not even for me?”
He chuckled, taking your hand and pulling you inside and up the stairs after him, all the way to apartment B.
Seeing the door, you tugged at his arm. “Shouldn’t I at least see where I’ll be living before you drag me all over your apartment, Johnny?”
He waved a dismissive hand at you, opening the door. “Later. I don’t want you meeting Mrs. Hudson before we take care of that bruise. She’ll think you’re some sort of hoodlum – though I’m not entirely convinced you aren’t.”
You let out a smooth, melodious laugh as he pulled you into the flat, shoving you down into a chair before he went to get something for your face. You took everything in with a little grin. It was just as John had described to you – the skull on the mantle, the bullet-ridden smiley face on the wall, the mess in the kitchen.
You bounced up to look at the collection of books on one of the walls near the window, running your fingers lovingly over spines old and new until you came to one you knew well. You pulled it out, yelling over your shoulder, “John, you twat, I’ve been looking for this everywhere! You might have told me you took it.”
There was a deep chuckle from behind you that most definitely was not John’s. You froze, thoughts racing. Roommate. Right. High-functioning sociopath. Often sleeps late. More likely than not is dressed in night clothes. Woken by the noise. Younger than John, from the timber of his laugh. Tall. Standing in the doorway that leads to the bedrooms and bathroom.
You remembered the blanket on the couch and smirked.
Wrong. Not asleep at all. Thinking. Got up to use the restroom.
John came back in carrying a bag of ice and some Advil. “What is it that I took? Oh… Hello Sherlock. I’m sorry. Did we wake you?”
Before the man could answer, you turned, saying, “Stop fretting, John. He wasn’t asleep. By the look of it, he was on the couch, probably thinking, and got up to use the loo just before we came in. Also, he’s wondering why I’m here as he’s figured I’m a relative of some sort, but more likely than not wasn’t listening when you told him I’d be moving in downstairs, when you told him I’d be arriving today, or even when you were leaving to pick me up. I’m taking this book.”
You walked over and took the ice from John casually before returning to the armchair you knew was his to look over the familiar book. John floundered a little, looking over at Sherlock, unsure of how he’d react. To his surprise, there was a slight smile on the consulting detective’s face.
Realizing you’d only taken the ice, he began to scold you. “(F/n), you need to take these. They’ll help bring down the swelling.”
You waved a hand. “The swelling will go down on its own. You know I don’t take pills.”
Sherlock decided to observe this little interaction for a while longer before saying anything and went to sit on the couch.
John sighed. It would do him no good to try and get you to listen and you were right about the swelling going down on its own. He shook his head and went to make tea.
Pulling your legs up to sit cross-legged, you smiled as you ran your hands over the smooth, worn leather cover of your prize. You’d bound it yourself when you were young and going through a bookbinding phase. You opened it to flip through its pages, stopping when you came to a particularly interesting drawing you’d done, or to read something that John had written.
It had started out blank but was now entirely full of John’s and your own youthful adventures and thoughts, like a shared journal or sketchbook of sorts. Sherlock watched you carefully as you chuckled quietly at some pages and frowned at others before John re-entered, bearing tea. “Oh, that one… sure, take it. It belongs more to you than it does to me anyways.”
You took the tea without looking up at him. “Lies. It is just as much yours as it is mine, but I shall take it all the same, as you’ve been hoarding it all this time.”
He knelt in front of you, pulling the arm holding the ice away from your face and frowned. “Does your jaw hurt or click? It looks pretty bad. It must have been a good hit for a bruise to appear so quickly.”
You pushed him away with your foot, still flipping through the book. “I’m fine. He got in one good swing, but it’s not anything I can’t handle. It’ll heal up in a couple of days.”
John gave up, going back to the kitchen while grumbling, “The fact you even know that at all is worrisome.”
You rolled your eyes and turned your attention to Sherlock. He expected you to say something – comment on his staring, introduce yourself, or something of the sort – but you didn’t. You simply stared back at him, doing some observing of your own.
He was as you thought; tall, slightly younger than John, wearing nightclothes. You took in some new facts as well – the icy blue of his eyes, the dark curls that fell in his face, and his blank expression. He was watching you, trying to read you and deduce as much as he could. Arrogant. Cocky. But underneath was something else… Caring, possibly.
You were wondering what he might be deducing from you when he spoke. “I’ve been informed it’s rude to stare.”
You kept your gaze on him. “As have I, though I believe that, as you started it, I have every right to reciprocate.”
He seemed surprised by your answer and you gave a small smirk before he continued, testing you, “It is also rude to enter the living space of another and not introduce yourself.”
You didn’t even flinch, replying, “A host who does not greet or offer an introduction to a guest cannot rightfully expect to receive either in kind.”
Silence enveloped the room again as you both went back to staring. It wasn’t as though Sherlock was having trouble reading you, it was simply the fact that he was curious enough for him to stay quiet.
He was about to break the silence when you suddenly giggled, “I like you. You’re interesting.”
He tilted his head slightly, eyes narrowing, and then went to the kitchen to make sure John wasn’t messing with his current experiment.
As soon as he left, you rummaged through your bag, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen, and began scribbling. It didn’t take you long to finish your task and you tore the page out, slid everything else back in your bag, and laid the paper on the coffee table. You stood, slung your messenger pack over your shoulder, and called, “I’ll be back later, Johnny!” as you darted out the door.
Before John could even register what you’d said, you were gone. He sighed and ran a hand over his face, trying to remind himself that you were an adult and could take care of yourself. Sherlock’s eyes locked on the paper you had left and he went to pick it up.
It was him – a drawing of him, rather. You’d captured the bullet holes and smiley face on the wall behind him and the wrinkles of the couch, but more importantly, was the way you’d perfectly rendered his face and position as he stared at you. His eyes expressing a slight curiosity within the overwhelming sense of superiority, the corner of his lip turning up ever so slightly, the way his hands were clasped together confidently - you’d put it all down on paper. Underneath it, in loopy handwriting, it said, “A pleasure meeting you, Sherlock Holmes,” and in the corner, in a flurry of elegant swirls, “(F/n) Watson.