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A Study In Ludus

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Professor Watson. SH

Yes? Hello? JW

Who is this? JW

Sherlock Holmes. SH

…Mister Holmes, how did you get my personal mobile number? JW

Irrelevant. SH

Nope. Very relevant. JW

You never answered my question. SH

And what question was that? JW

Whether you would accompany me to dinner. SH

…Mister Holmes, I thought I made myself perfectly clear. JW

While I’m flattered by your apparent… er… ‘interest’, it’s against the rules. JW

Christ, I’m almost ten years older than you are. JW

You’re nine. SH

Still, I’m also your Professor. And you're my student, and these things are just not done. JW

I understand there is a considerable amount of risk, but I have no friends to speak of. SH

Therefore, no one to tell nor brag to about any sort of romantic entanglement. SH

It’s not appropriate. JW

Does my personality somehow lead you to believe that my biggest concern is what’s appropriate? SH

Well. You’ve a point there. JW

So. Dinner? SH

No, Mister Holmes. JW

Sherlock. SH

Look, you’re a brilliant young man… if not a bit prickly in your demeanour. JW

I’m sure if you’re looking for a relationship, you can quite easily find someone your own age. JW

The ‘someones’ of my age majority are spectacularly idiotic and dull. You must be aware of this – you try to instruct them on a weekly basis. SH

I’ve no interest in them. I have an interest in you. SH

You are marginally more intelligent than most of the other professors at this institution. And considerably less dull. If my deductions are correct. SH

Your deductions? JW

Yes. SH

Shall I talk about your strained relationship with your older sibling, or the fact that you limp occasionally when you’re giving a lecture? SH

You… JW

I don’t limp that often. JW

No, not often. SH

Teaching seems to distract you from thinking about it. But the number of times you attempt to rub away the ache in your shoulder is also indication enough – paired with your more formal stance when at the front of the lecture hall, your haircut, the way you carry yourself and address disrupting students – that you recently returned from military service. I assume you damaged your shoulder, perhaps shot and discharged even, as that ache seems real enough. But the limp is purely psychosomatic and not nearly as consistent. SH

[no reply]

Dinner then? SH

How did you know all that? JW

Who have you been speaking to? JW

I didn’t know, I saw. SH

Deduction, Professor Watson, is a very useful skill. SH

Everyone is capable of it, though certainly not to my degree. SH

…Mister Holmes, please don’t text me anymore. JW

I can be incredibly persistent, Professor Watson. SH

Why me? JW

As I said. You intrigue me greatly. SH

I want to know more about your past and what makes you ‘you’ in a matter of speaking. SH

Much to my chagrin, I cannot possibly deduce everything about you. SH

But I want to know what makes a man like you appear so defeated. SH

Are you haunted by the war, or do you miss it? SH

Why resort to teaching in the Biomedical Sciences? A Immunology and Infection course specifically? SH

Why are you populated by friends and colleagues who speak very highly of you… but retain an air of loneliness and loss of direction? SH

[no reply]

So. Dinner? SH

…Why are you doing this to me? JW

I’d have thought that was rather obvious. SH

I like you. SH

[no reply]

Dinner. SH

…Alright. JW

Good. SH

There’s a small Italian restaurant, just off Northumberland Street. Angelo’s. SH

Tomorrow evening. Nine o’clock. SH

Just dinner. JW

We’re going to talk, and that’s all Mister Holmes. JW

Sherlock. SH

Sherlock. JW

I’ll see you then, John. SH