John looked round the bright kitchen, ignoring the pile of pizza boxes by the bin, and nodded. It was very nice for student accommodation, and only twenty minutes to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. There was probably a catch.
“What’s the second fridge for?” he asked Mike. “The one with all the warning signs on it?”
Mike (a skinny trainee doctor with a fondness for gossip) looked at the fridge as if he’d never seen it before. “What fridge? Oh, that one. That’s Sherlock’s fridge, do you want to go to the pub?”
John frowned in thought as he tried to remember where he’d heard that name before. “Sherlock? I don’t think you’ve mentioned him.”
“Of course I have,” said Mike, looking at his watch. “He’s got the other room on the top floor. Chemistry PhD, quiet chap, you know. Let’s go to the pub now, I’ll buy you a drink.”
John was about to accept when the kitchen door was thrust open by a lanky man with dark hair wearing a heavily stained lab coat.
“Ah, Mike,” he said with an air of mild surprise. “Have you got any contacts on the Cambridge council?”
Mike sighed. “You know that I haven’t. Sherlock, this is John. He’s come to look at the room,” he said with a meaningful eyebrow raise that Sherlock ignored.
“Hello,” said John, giving a little wave. Sherlock looked him up and down then turned back to Mike.
“Do you know anyone who does? I need to speak to them about poison licences.”
“Oh! I know you,” said John, still smarting from being ignored. “They’ve got a sign up at the hospital about you. Did you really steal a foot?”
Sherlock flicked his eyes in John’s direction. “Yes. And you attempted to maintain concurrent relationships with two of your housemates and thought that they wouldn’t find out.”
John straightened his shoulders defensively and glanced at Mike. Mike shrugged don’t blame me before glaring at Sherlock. Sherlock smirked at both of them.
They all turned as the back door rattled and a fit, brown-haired man wearing a leather jacket let himself in. John recognised him from nights out drinking with Mike as Greg Lestrade, Mike’s other housemate.
“The Howells?” asked Sherlock.
“Yes,” said Greg. “Will you come?”
Sherlock paused for a moment before responding. “Tenor?”
“Anderson,” said Greg with a grimace.
Sherlock frowned before nodding. “Add 20% to the usual fee for dealing with him.”
“And take off 10% for each person you make cry,” said Greg.
Sherlock stared at Greg. “Fine,” he said grudgingly when Greg didn’t back down.
“Thanks,” said Greg, and he went back out of the door. Sherlock grinned, unbuttoned his lab coat and dropped it to the floor to reveal an immaculate suit underneath. He grabbed a college scarf off the table and looped it round his neck while whistling a jaunty tune, then went into the hall to fetch a long coat before heading back towards the back door and pausing in front of John and Mike.
“You’re a tenor,” he said to John, savouring every word.
“Ye-es,” said John. “Wait, how did you-“
“And you’ve sung the Coll. Reg. before. Want to sing it now?”
John considered it for a moment. His usual Friday night plans were off the cards since half of his friends weren’t currently speaking to him, and it would probably be a good idea if he spent as much time as possible out of the house until he could move out. “Yeah, alright.” he said, and grabbed his coat. “See you later, Mike.”
Mike waved goodbye with a raised eyebrow and a look John had seen before that said I don’t know what you’re doing but it’s going to be entertaining to see what happens. John and Sherlock walked together out the back door and up the path to the main road.
“How did you know about my housemates? And that I sing tenor? I’ve never told Mike that.” asked John as he buttoned his coat up against the freezing February wind.
“Hm? Oh, that. You’re looking for a single room in the middle of term even though you’ve been working at Addenbrooke’s with Mike since September, which says that your housemates have kicked you out. Mike wants you to live with us, which rules out a large number of objectionable behaviours. Most likely explanation is some form of sexual infidelity, a hypothesis which is supported by the faint handprint still visible on your right cheek from where one of them slapped you. Your singing history was even more obvious - you recognised the name Howells and I can hear it in the timbre of your voice,” rattled off Sherlock, walking briskly with his shoulders hunched and not looking at John.
“That’s brilliant,” said John, grinning in spite of himself and filing away the look of surprised pleasure on Sherlock’s face for later consideration. “I thought you did chemistry.”
Sherlock hummed before responding. “That’s up for debate.”
John looked sidelong at him before Sherlock elaborated. “At the Senate. The Chemistry department is arguing that I should be supervised by the Music department instead.”
John blinked. “Is that possible?”
“Probably not, but I admire their creativity. They spent last year trying to get me kicked out of the university altogether; this is a much cleverer strategy.”
John didn’t know what to say to that so he ignored it. “So how come Greg’s asked you to take evensong?”
“Oh, I’m a consulting organ scholar.” Sherlock looked at John’s disbelieving expression and shrugged. “It’s probably not a career for life.”