John had just taken a gulp of his mostly lukewarm tea, which made a rather undignified reappearance by way of his nostrils, splattering page 98, the front of his favourite woolly jumper and the television remote control. He still couldn’t deal with the words ‘Sherlock’ and ‘roofs’ in the same sentence.
He used his oyster card as a makeshift bookmark and slammed the sticky novel down on the side-table, just as the twilight gloom of the flat was rent by a jagged flash of light. Under his breath, he began to count “one one hundred, two one hundred....”
BOOM! A thunderclap of truly monstrous proportions rattled the windowpane.
“Okay, that settles it then. We are not going anywhere remotely near a roof in a thunderstorm.”
Sherlock strode over, snatched the book from his fingers and tossed it towards the mercifully unlit fireplace. “John, whoever stole the severed head from our mantelpiece last week must have broken in through the skylight. It’s obvious! Mrs Hudson locks this place up tighter than the Tower of London, and due to the recent inclement weather, all the upper windows have been shut for weeks. Furthermore, you are, by your own admission, a very light sleeper, so any attempt to gain forceful entry, would have roused you from you slumber. The only logical conclusion....”
As Sherlock continued to let his deductions unfold, John sunk deeper into the comforting embrace of his chair. He was going to have to come clean at some point and admit that he’d taken the head back to the morgue himself in a fit of rightful indignation. The mantelpiece really was not a suitable place to store it. Like a pair of bookends, the head and the skull had been staring at him all evening, quite putting him off completing the Guardian Crossword.
“Sherlock,” he interrupted, “are you really suggesting we climb onto a roof, in the middle of a storm to look for signs of a break-in? We’ll end up fried by bloody lighting!”
“Of course we won’t,” Sherlock replied smugly, thrusting John’s coat towards him. “You are, after all, a conductor of light!”
John froze; one arm shoved into his jacket and whirled around to frown suspiciously at his flatmate. Yep, there it was. That little half smile. The bastard had just made a joke.
“Oh, ha-bloody-ha! Conductor of light - Lightning conductor. Very funny! And you’re many things Sherlock, but as we both are well aware, suicidal is not one of them. So I deduce that you bloody well know, don’t you? You know it was me that took your fucking severed head.”
Sherlock’s grin grew to cover his whole face, which was frankly, a little disturbing. Slowly he unwound his scarf and tossed it towards the coat hooks. “I was getting bored waiting for you to admit it, so I decided to force the issue. Would you have actually followed me?”
The flat lit up once again, this time followed immediately by a clap of thunder loud enough to set off car alarms all along Baker Street. John smiled wanly. “Sherlock, I’m never letting you on a roof again. At least, not alone.”
Sherlock had the grace to look a little sheepish. “Not good?”
John tugged his arm out of his jacket and tossed it towards the coat hooks where, unlike Sherlock’s scarf, it promptly fell to the floor. It might have been in poor taste, but at least Sherlock was trying. And honestly, as jokes went, it wasn’t that bad.
“It’s fine. Bit close to the bone, but nothing a nice cuppa made in a clean, fresh, nippleless mug won’t fix.”
“You want me to make tea?” Sherlock deduced.
John scooped up ‘The Crow Road’ from the fireplace, settled back into his comfy chair and tried to open it at page 98, only to discover the pages glued together with cold tea and snot around his oyster card.
And of course, their little piece of the London Grid would pick that exact moment to go down, plunging them into eerie darkness.
So – tea, television, and a good read were out of the question.
“Bed?” he ventured.
“Bed,” Sherlock agreed. And bless his massive, wonderful, sexy brain, there he stood, a lit candle in one hand and the other reaching out to John in invitation.
John had been having a bad day. But things were definitely looking up.