"Doctor Watson!" The sound of Holmes' voice, unusually impatient and crackling with nervous energy jolted John Watson from his thoughts, and as he slipped into the other room, he was struck by the sudden smell of decomposition. Holmes was crouched over a crumpled pile of human remains, his eyes feverishly bright and alive with a sort of glee that Watson had not quite gotten used to yet.
"Dear God, man!" Holding a handkerchief to his face, Watson joined his friend by the bundle. "How long has this been lying about?"
"I was rather hoping you could tell me that." The detective's voice had sunken to a low murmur, and his mind was clearly racing along on a separate track - one that never failed to worry Watson.
It always happened the same way. The detective's sharp gaze would somehow grow mildly unfocused and sharpen at the same time, and his breathing would become shallow. Very rarely did Sherlock Holmes seem so utterly alive as he did when he was on a case, and when there was murder involved, the effect was multiplied. For a moment, Watson imagined that he saw the detective's lips tremble, a slight flush colouring his pale features, giving him the appearance of an infatuated schoolboy who had just sighted the object of his affection from across the yard. It was incredibly unsettling, and Watson cleared his throat to regain his friend's attention.
"Five days, Holmes." Watson removed his handkerchief, holding his breath as he did so, wondering how Holmes seemed to breathe the reeking air just as well as clean air, better even.
The detective frowned. "Would you say, my dear Watson, that the cause of death was a crushing blow to the head?"
Watson pursed his lips. "Based on the lack of skull at the top of the head, yes."
Stifling a smile, Holmes pressed the fingers of one hand to his lips, and Watson looked at him, then back to the corpse before returning his gaze to the detective. "You've already solved it, haven't you?"
To this, Holmes said nothing, but grinning, stood up and left the room ahead of his friend.