It was a crisp, clear, rain-free October night in London, and John Watson had plans.
“Honestly John, I don’t see why you need me to go with you to this...whatever it is.” Sherlock said, flopping onto the sofa. Flopping in a suit didn’t have quite the same effect as a full-dressing gown flop, but Sherlock was still able to make it annoying as hell.
John looked up from where he was tying his shoelaces and made a face. “Because it’s fun, Sherlock. Surely you’ve heard of such a thing.”
Sherlock sat up and waved his arms at John. “Really? A ‘haunted house’ filled with dull people in boring costumes jumping out of doorways and shouting, ‘boo!’? Tedious.”
“I like haunted houses and I’m going.” John grabbed Sherlock’s coat and tossed it at the detective’s face. “And you’re going with me. Now.”
With a huff, and an eyeroll that John swore he could actually hear, Sherlock carefully patted his curls back into place, put on his scarf and greatcoat, and pouted his way out the door to catch up with John.
The venue was an old warehouse, liberally festooned with fake spider webs and orange and purple fairy lights. John grabbed Sherlock’s arm and dragged him towards the entrance. They paid their admission fee to a man sporting a wig and a set of fake vampire teeth, and went to stand in line.
John bounced on his toes and grinned widely. “Have I ever told you how much I love Halloween? Dressing up in ridiculous costumes, parties, taking dates to scary movies at the cinema.” He nudged Sherlock and winked. “You know the best part about that, right?”
Sherlock blinked and stared at the other man. “No.”
“Really? You take your date to a horror film, and whenever she gets scared she jumps and grabs onto you. Eventually, if you’ve done it right, she’s practically in your lap.”
Sherlock cocked his head to the side, reminding John of a stork or some other tall, gangly bird. “I’m afraid I don’t follow, John. Why would something so obviously fake frighten someone enough to cling to you? I should think that would just be evidence of mediocre intelligence and the inability to discern real from imaginary.”
John sighed and rubbed his forehead. “Sherlock, it’s…” he looked up. “Oh look. It’s our turn to go inside! You’re going to love this!”
They walked in through a narrow passageway that turned sharply to the left. As they came around the corner, a woman jumped out in front of them and screeched. She was dressed as a hag, with a matted gray wig and rags hanging off of her. John jumped and laughed. Sherlock stopped and studied her curiously, cataloging every element of her appearance.
“The makeup isn’t bad, but I can clearly see the line of demarcation at your jaw. There’s also a rather large lock of ginger hair sticking out from under your wig, and the mobile phone in your pocket is blinking. Obvious.”
John grabbed Sherlock’s lapel and pulled him down. “Christ, Sherlock! Can you at least pretend to have fun and not embarrass me? Just humor me for once, okay?”
Sherlock rolled his eyes and then opened them wide in mock terror. “Oh! Eeek! Save me, John!” He then grabbed John’s arm. “Oh John! You’re so strong! Save me!”
For a second, John rather liked the feel of Sherlock’s large hands on his person. It was...different from what he was used to with women. Strange and different, but nice. Then he shook his head and gave his gangly flatmate a shove. What the hell was that, anyway? Why was he sweaty all of a sudden and why the hell did he have butterflies fluttering in his stomach like an angsty teenager? He kept walking.
The next corridor consisted of fake spiderwebs that John easily ducked beneath, but Sherlock walked right into. John grinned to himself as he heard Sherlock making sounds of disgust as he pulled the offending decorations from his hair. They then went through an area where fake body parts covered in equally fake blood hung from the ceiling. Sherlock smacked a rubber hand and an eyeball out of his way and huffed. It was then John decided that even if this haunted house proved to be completely idiotic, he was still going to get his money’s worth just from watching Sherlock. He stifled a giggle and turned around to face the other man.
“Sherlock! I…” John was stopped short when he saw the large man dressed as Frankenstein’s monster sneaking up behind Sherlock. John’s eyes widened in surprise.
“What? Do I have something on my…” Sherlock was cut off as the monster crept up behind him and growled.
John watched with amusement as Sherlock’s eyes widened to almost comical proportions, his pupils dilating dramatically as his body activated its fight or flight response. It would seem that at that moment in time the world’s only consulting detective chose flight. With an extremely undignified scream, Sherlock ran behind John and wrapped his arms around the shorter man’s neck.
“Oi! Get off, you great clot. I can’t breathe!” John twisted himself around until he was able to escape the hands that held on like iron bands. He would have sworn he saw the monster smirk as it moved on to terrify a group of squealing teen girls who followed a few meters behind.
They made it nearly through the rest of the haunted house with minimal drama. Sherlock followed closely behind John, hunched over, with his left hand fisted in John’s jumper and his breath hot on the back of John’s neck. When they reached the room that was filled with mirrors and required them to cross over a wobbly bridge, Sherlock grabbed on with his other hand as well. John could feel the lanky detective pressed up behind him, and tried very hard to ignore the heat he could feel rolling off of Sherlock’s person. He told himself that his own slightly elevated heart rate was due to the haunted house. Yes, that was it.
“John!” Sherlock whispered frantically. “I see lights! I think we’re nearly through.”
John chuckled. “Oh good. You know, Sherlock, I had no idea this would affect you as much as it has. I would never have taken you for someone who frightened easily.”
“Hmph. I’m fine, John. Only an idiot would be scared in this place.” John noted that Sherlock’s words said one thing, while his death grip on John’s poor abused jumper said another thing entirely.
They reached what looked to be the final corridor before exiting the warehouse. There hadn’t been any creatures jumping out in front of them recently, and John was beginning to wonder what the big finale was going to be. Of course Sherlock had no idea that a finale of any sort was coming up before them, and had begun to relax his hold on John slightly. John braced himself and kept walking.
Suddenly, off to the side, there appeared a giant of a man wearing a hockey mask and carrying a chainsaw that made a very convincing sound. He leaped out at Sherlock and waved the saw in the air.
John felt Sherlock tense up. When the man with the chainsaw began chasing them, Sherlock let out a strangled squeak and started running for the exit, coat flapping behind him. John turned to the chainsaw man and said, “Mate, whatever they’re paying you for this, it’s not nearly enough.” Laughing, he chased after the easily-startled detective.
John found Sherlock standing outside the exit, bent over, hands upon his knees. He was breathing heavily. “So…” he said.
Sherlock looked up. “Yes?” He narrowed his eyes at John, challenging him to comment on what had transpired inside of the warehouse.
John just smiled. “Chinese then?”
Sherlock stood up and smiled back. He walked up to John and smoothed out the back of the other man’s jumper. “Only if we get those dumplings you like.” Then Sherlock stepped out to the curb to hail a cab, leaving John to wonder what had just happened.
As he walked to the waiting cab, John secretly decided that this had been much more fun than any scary movie he could have gone to tonight.