The bathroom is the most relaxing room in 221B Baker St in John's opinion. The cool tiles are calming, reassuring under John's bare feet and there seems to be an endless supply of fluffy bath towels in various shades of grey.
The entire colour scheme is soothing, John realises. Mid tones of grey over the walls and the ceramic white of the tiles and bath - very nice, John concedes.
And if he's honest with himself, the nicest thing about the bathroom of 221B Baker St while John is in it, is that Sherlock is not.
John smiles to himself at that thought.
It's not that he doesn't appreciate the frailty of genius, it's more that he doesn't appreciate being the stupidest person in the room all of the time. Sherlock Holmes: Brilliant, yes. Rude, also.
But here, in the bathroom.. John hums to himself, a silly little tune that he must've heard on Mrs Hudson's radio downstairs, as he reaches for his razor and shaving cream.
He opens the vanity and stares deep into the abyss of hygiene products (his) and mildly illegal chemicals (Sherlock's). As he reaches for the shaving cream, something stops him. A flash of orange. John frowns. Orange is not a colour that either he or Sherlock are particularly fond of. It's a small bottle.
John picks the bottle up and turns it over in his hand. 'London Nail Art: Traffic Conduction Orange '. He grimaces, but his curiosity is piqued. Nail polish. Too garish for Mrs Hudson, and too.. feminine.. for this apartment.
There is no answer. John wonders to himself if he really expected an answer. He could be standing next to Sherlock sometimes, looking him right in the eyes as he spoke, and he would still get no answer.
He sighs and tightens the towel wrapped around his waist.
'Oh goooood. You found it.'
Sherlock is not facing John as the doctor walks into the living room; in fact, his eyes aren't even open. He's lying on the lounge, his fingers steepled under his chin. John holds the nail polish up.
'Any reason we have nail polish in the bathroom?'
'Do you mind?'
John flushes, 'Of course not. Did you.. ah, did you have a woman over while I was away in Dublin?'
To John, that seems the only logical explanation. Sherlock must have had a woman over at some stage in the last two weeks, while John was attending a medical conference for Sarah in Dublin. Not that it mattered, of course. Sherlock was allowed to bring women into the flat. It was, after all, half his flat and therefore Sherlock and his guests were entitled to, logically, half of it.
John is glad that Sherlock has his eyes closed and facing the other way, because the doctor's face has flushed a hotter pink than it really should have.
'You heard me, Sherlock. You had.. you had a girl over, right?'
Sherlock sits up abruptly and waves a pale hand in John's direction.
'Girl? Definitely not. I already told you, not my area. Come here, John. Bring the nail varnish.' Sherlock beckons him hurriedly, indicating John take a seat on the recently vacated lounge.
'What? What's wrong, Sherlock?' John's eyes are wide and Sherlock is standing, pacing back and forth in front of the lounge.
'I just need to prove it, John! I just need to prove it! And now you're here -' Sherlock turned and observed John intensely - 'You can help me.'
'Help you? With what?'
'I need you to paint my nails.'
A half hour later and John, Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson's carpet and coffee table are covered in fluroescent orange liquid that is quickly hardening.
'Would you Just. Keep. Still?'
John is gritting his teeth and biting out the words. Every time he manages to do an adequate coat of a nail, Sherlock grows bored and decides to touch something. Sherlock sighs and sinks back into his chair opposite the lounge, one hand outstretched.
'But it's so terribly tedious, John. Like watching paint dry.'
'Funny that.' John mutters, eyes steady and focused on the minute brush strokes up and down Sherlock's nails.
'If you move, I may actually shoot you, Sherlock Holmes.' John has just finished the pinky nail of Sherlock's left hand and, although rather shoddy, all the detective's nails are a brilliantly kitschy orange.
'Are we done?'
'Interesting.' Sherlock observed his nails and then cut his eyes to John. 'You were very slow, weren't you?'
'Excuse me? If you'd stopped squirming for one bloody minute, I might've been faster. Besides, it's not like it's something I do all the time.'
'Exactly!' John sat back in suprise, Sherlock had leapt from the chair with blazing eyes. 'Exactly, John! It took you 37 minutes to apply the polish without any previous practice or experience; a military man who is accustomed to masculinity and not so in tune with the finer details of precision and accuracy, discounting the markmanship of a gun.'
'I don't know if I should be offended by that.' Sherlock wasn't listening.
'Of course, of course! It makes so much sense. Get Lestrade on the phone, now.'
'It was the Chinese lady, John. Don't you see? The Chinese manicurist.' Sherlock rubbed his hands together gleefully. 'I love it when I'm right.'
John was genuinly confused.
'Sherlock, what is going on here? I just painted your nails, and now you're saying it's the Chinese manicurist? Did the polish fumes get to your brain?'
'The case, John.'
'Oh-' Sherlock stops in the middle of the room and appears thoughtful. 'I picked up a case while you were away. Must've forgotten to mention it. Nasty murders, 3 women killed after a trip to a spa on separate days. Fascinating stuff.'
'And you didn't tell me?'
'Must've slipped my mind.'