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The Structural Composition of Folly

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The blog of Dr John H Watson

[November 16th, 2011]
[Another Day in Baker Street]
[It was -]

John sighed over his laptop, which had been wrenched from Sherlock's grasp fifteen minutes earlier. He'd gone through his emails, and was attempting to update his blog. Not a case to blog, no, he could only wish. He'd be doing quite well if wasn't for the arrhythmic pizzicato plucking from Sherlock's violin that kept breaking his concentration.

"Sherlock, could you please stop?" he asked finally, nerves shredded under the relentless dissonance.

Silence reigned for all of one minute during which John tried to gather his thoughts before the plucking started again. John pressed the heels of hands to his eyes. God. He'd like to escape and go for a walk, maybe kip at his friend Sarah's just to escape but it was filthy outside, a cold November drizzle. He bent over his blog, jaw clenched tight enough to ache and hammered out a few sentences.

[It was a dark and stormy night. Inside as well as out, metaphorically speaking, because if my flatmate the genius detective five-year old didn't stop torturing that violin, I would break it over his head. If not worse. Do you people have any idea what it is like living here some days? Trust me, the benefits are FULLY balanced by the detriments.]

An unearthly shriek heralded worse things to come: Sherlock had picked up the bow. John's fingers twitched.

[It's been a quiet week without any cases bhnkljkir...argfuck KILL]

No amount of benefits later in bed would make up for this torment. Even if Sherlock really, really tried. John would make his lanky lover try, and it still would not be enough.

"Homicide," John said, conversationally, tasting the word. A pleasing word when compared to the more mundane 'murder', it rolled off the tongue. Will they blame me? The Scotland Yarders? For killing him?

Sherlock sat up quickly, bow falling onto the sofa cushions. "What? Where? Is it on news sites?"

"No. You. As in, are about to be a victim of. If you don't stop."

Sherlock flopped back with a loud sigh. "Oh. Threats. Tedious."

"Yes, I know you are bored! Mrs. Hudson knows, the married ones next door know! For God's sake, Sherlock! Give it a rest!"

"I need something. Work. A diversion." Sherlock's hand was crawling toward the bow again.

John's mind froze in panic, then cast about frantically for something to interest Sherlock. It was the genius of last-ditch mental self-defence that came up with the answer, and John blurted the last thing he'd read in his email from an old friend.

"GISHWHES."

The large pale hand stopped its spidery creep. "Gesundheit."

"No, GISHWHES."

"What, pray tell, is Gishwhes?"

"Something to occupy your brain for a while. Until we have a case. It's a scavenger hunt."

"I'm not five years old, John."

"That's debatable," muttered John.

"I heard that! Fine." Sherlock threw an arm over his eyes and gestured at John. "Go on then. Tell me what kind of scavenger hunt could possibly occupy my mind."

"Well, I was just reading about it, a mate of mine has joined. It's the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. Some actor fellow, name of Misha Collins and some friends have set it up. They want to set a record in the Guinness Book of World Records, and have got people signed up from all over the world."

"Mm." The noise was non-committal. Not good. John went on, a bit desperately.

"You get put on a team, the final list of items to be scavenged goes up this Saturday and you have a deadline. All the items have points attached. Some of the ones from last year look quite challenging, actually."

There was a notable lack of response. In the silence, John almost could hear the violin twanging of inevitable homicide creeping towards him. He hastily pulled up the website for GISHWHES, and turned off the yodelling sound of the video. Ah, here.

"Most of these are photo challenges, can't be retouched. Like - Take a photo of a skateboarder wearing a wig in front of Buckingham Palace. You have all those friends on the street, you could have done that one -"

"Too easy," the deep voice intoned. John twitched. You could use the violin strings, garotte him - not good, Watson, not good. He plunged on.

"A child swimming or bathing in a tub full of cranberries ."

"Mm. Bizarre. Small challenge involved there."

"Getting cranberries?"

"No, borrowing a child." His flatmate shuddered fastidiously. John clenched his teeth.

"A person setting up a tent on a traffic island. They must also unroll a sleeping bag and get in it and zip the tent shut."

The arm covering Sherlock's eyes lifted slowly. "That one - has a certain amount of interest. The civil disobedience alone is intriguing."

"A person in a small, motor-less water-craft on the Yangtze River." Sherlock's eyes narrowed - doubtless, John thought, trying to think of any acquaintance he could talk into doing the photo for him. "And my favourite from last year - A projection of an image at least 20 feet wide of Misha Collins on an exterior wall of a federal government building at night." John said it casually, but he knew Sherlock and his likely reaction to this.

Sherlock's hands tightened on the violin resting on his chest. A smile began to spread over his face. He opened his mouth but John beat him to it.

"No, I don't think they would have minded the projection being bigger, and yes, Mycroft would have a fit if you did that on Parliament."

Sherlock was indignant. "Only if I was caught, John!" He swung his legs over and sat up again. "All right. I'm in. I can always delete the data afterwards if it is too silly. And if a case comes up..."

"Good thing too, registration ends tonight." John began to pass his laptop over to Sherlock but paused. "No. No, I don't think so."

"What?" Sherlock lifted a brow. "You were the one contemplating my murder just now, John, and by the way, I'm very proud of you for doing so, I do like to see you stretch your mind a little. The violin strings would have worked very well, by the by."

John snorted - no surprise that Sherlock had seen the speculation in John's true-blue eyes like twinned TV sets. Murder Your Flatmate at 9:30, followed by the news!

Sherlock continued, "So, why shouldn't I join this scavenger hunt to forestall my demise at your hands?"

"It is too easy." John let the laptop rest on his leg. "You need it to be a bit more challenging."

Sherlock had an impatient look on his face. "Well? The whole thing seems absurd, but imaginative. What do you suggest? It's your idea. My life rests in your little hands."

"My hands are not little, only compared to yours, and I think you've been happy enough about the size on occasion? Shut up a minute." John thought a moment, tapping his lip. "Well. You could use a random number generator to choose your assignments."

"What if it is not feasible for me to complete it? Because of geographical distance, or materials?"

"I'll be the arbiter - I'll judge whether you can reasonably do the challenge. And don't forget, Sherlock, it's a team endeavour. You'll have others who can help or will find items. Oh!"

"What?"

"You have the skills. Set up a site or location online for your team to communicate."

"Social media. Easy enough."

"Lastly - to help set the record, each team must submit at least five completed items. But you know what? I think you are more than capable of that, Sherlock. I think you can do at least five items by yourself." John let a smirk flit over his lips. Sherlock's eyes narrowed.

"I see." The voice was dark and intent. "Are you sure this is not some elaborate ruse on your part to keep me from my stringed improvisations?"

"I'll string you up, you skinny bastard, if you even look at that violin again in the next ten days. In other words, you are perfectly correct, detective. Are we agreed?"

Sherlock thrust out his hand and John leaned over to shake it. Sherlock sighed, rubbing the back of John's knuckles. The motion made something glow warmly in John's stomach.

"John?"

"Hm?" John dragged his mind back from the warm and slightly erotic place it had wandered off to.

"I wanted you to pass me your laptop."

John jerked his hand free with a scowl and thrust the laptop at his smirking lover. "I'm taking a shower and going to bed."

Later, just as he was on the edge of sleep, the bed dipped and a long bare arm wrapped itself around his waist. A voice growled in his ear, lips tickling. "The hunt doesn't start until Saturday. And if I'm not to play violin, I need something to occupy myself in the interim."

"Oh, well then. " John rolled over and prepared himself for his fate. "I'm entirely at your disposal, hunter."