It is almost midnight. Sherlock is watching the shadows flickering on the wall - he's experimenting with moths and flames and it's creating quite a mess. The compact bulk of his phone vibrates against his thigh.
You're like a magpie -
I want my ID card back.
Sherlock smiles. It's been nearly eight hours - Lestrade must have just arrived home and checked his pockets. He can imagine him shrugging off the familiar suit jacket, throwing it carelessly onto that creaking grey leather sofa and heading straight to the kettle.
Don't know what you're talking about.
Kindly refrain from texting me at this late hour;
I was asleep.
There is a little while - kettle boiling, bag thrown in cup, milk added - before the phone buzzes again, softly in the still quiet of 221b. Another moth goes mutely to his death as Sherlock taps 'read'.
They're stupid creatures, moths.
Bollocks, you don't sleep, you're a fucking bat.
I want that ID card back, it costs to get them reprinted, you know.
The flame flickers; Sherlock makes a note. Everyone has sympathy for the moth, getting it's wings burnt. They don't think about what effect it has on the flame.
But this one holds. He runs a thumb slowly over the keypad on the phone whilst thinking.
You're home late; should you really be eating
leftover cake before bed?
The reply to this one is immediate.
How did you bloody know I was
eating leftover cake?
Sherlock smiles. Even after all these years and with this frequent consistency, he still loves being right.
Especially with Lestrade - it annoys him so much. He can almost see the frown lines, deep and familiar etched around his eyes. His nose creases too, when he's indignant. It's not very flattering.
The ungodly Anderson had a birthday two days ago.
Humans have parties for that sort of thing, don't they?
And parties have cakes. I know - I went to one once.
I was four.
'Me' is a bad way to sign a text. Could have been anyone.
The moths are being clever, flying just near enough to feel the heat on their paper-thin wings and then flying away. Sherlock almost wants to push them, just to hear the faint crackle, to see the burn.
It takes a little while for his phone to vibrate again. He even checks it once, wondering about the signal. Eventually there is that drone on the tabletop and his hand is on it before it's stopped.
I bet you were the life and bloody soul.
It was Victoria sponge with buttercream; Donovan said she made it
but I saw the Marks and Spencers box.
What you up to? John there?
Detective Inspector Lestrade,
(That better for you?)
Sherlock times almost the exact length of time he waited himself, then replies. He likes being petty.
Tsk tsk, she's sleeping with him
and she can't even take the time to bake him
a cake. Or is that what he has a wife for?
An experiment. No.
Lestrade replies swiftly this time. Because he knows Sherlock is playing the text reply time game - he's not as stupid as he looks, and he really does look rather stupid.
I'll tell him you said that.
What sort of experiment? Where's he gone?
Have you let him off the leash for an hour?
The bang of a door downstairs makes Sherlock sit up and listen - all but one of his moths have got bored and flown away. He hasn't been paying enough attention.
There is another noise, Mrs Hudson talking to herself, and Sherlock relaxes.
If anyone needs a leash it's him.
It involves moths and flames. You wouldn't
understand. John is with Sarah.
...Jealousy does not become you, Lestrade.
It takes an entire ten minutes for the phone to go again. Sherlock is almost looking out of the window for a car to appear.
Oh, I think I would understand...
...You want me to come round?
He doesn't wait to play the time replying game, lets his fingers dance over the keys quickly.
(Bring any leftover cake.)