Sherlock Holmes is a difficult person to live with on the best of days, but on days like this, when the man sinks into one of his black moods, it’s nearly unbearable. In this particular case, Sherlock was not simply depressed or bored, he was grieving, grieving for a woman who he barely knew, a woman who pushed him and challenged him in ways ordinary crimes did not. And John, as ever, tries to make the best of a difficult situation. At any other time, John would have lost his patience by now, but for Sherlock’s sake, he tries to make his patience stretch a few more days.
But his patience was stretched thin to begin with. Almost from the instant the case began, starting with driving out to the middle of nowhere with a laptop so Sherlock can consult via webcam, to being picked up and flown to Buckingham Palace, then to the home of Irene Adler, John’s patience and self control had been stretched to the limit and then some. Little barbs and jabs and double edged sentences have been swallowed and locked away in his throat, forbidden from being spoken out loud at a time when Sherlock would not take it with the usual grace. They fuel the storm rumbling behind his breastbone.
It’s been building for a while, storm clouds roiling and thundering in his chest. The sense of being penned in, of being useless, of having utterly nothing to do, of having what he desired and hungered for so close but unable to take it.
John can’t stand the melancholy of 221B, can’t stand the sentimentality (which Sherlock will vehemently deny) of the music his erratic flatmate has been composing, can’t stand the mournful beauty of the man as he mopes and sulks throughout the common area of the flat.
He has no doubt that if he stays in for a single moment longer, he’ll snatch the Stradivarius out of Sherlock’s hands and throw the mad, infuriating, beautiful, breathtaking, amazing, brilliant man onto the sofa and attempt to ravish the melancholy out of him. He doesn’t though. More like than not, John suspects, that particular course of action would just make an unbearable situation worse. So he posts three words on his blog, “Constant Spotter,” and “20:00hrs,” and goes out.
If Mycroft Holmes’ men were watching, and they usually are, they could map out a path through London, one that takes John first through a long meandering course through Regent’s Park, then to a cozy family run restaurant, then to the upscale neighborhood where Irene Adler had made her residence. John has spent almost eight hours just wandering through London, and he is now only two houses away from Irene Adler’s former residence. John climbs up the steps of a house with a lit candle with the crest of the RAMC stamped in the wax in the window.
No one hears the cries of a former army surgeon as a flogger cuts the air and bites into tender flesh. If the tall, pale soldier hears his former Captain moan a name into the sheets that is not his, he doesn’t say a word.
The storm spends itself in red welts on a too thin back only just regaining a healthy weight marred with a jagged scar on the right shoulder.