”My name is John Hamish Watson, and I’m lost!” the kid in the large sweater hugging a hedgehog teddy said once more, just as he’d been practicing for the past ten minutes or so. It had taken all his self control to realise it without freaking out, and it had taken all his courage to man up and do something about it.
He now stood in front of a town house, right next to a closed-off bistro. The second to last stair step, to not seem importunate, just as his Mum has taught him. He recited his little speech and cleared his throat, before ringing the door bell.
“221B” he read to himself.
At first nothing happened. John breathed out and was about to try the next house, when he heard a terrible din from inside. It sounded as someone was speeding down the stairs, and John froze.
“Molly, so you decided to show up after all?” a yell came from inside, as there was a rattling by the door locks. “I’m so glad,” the same voice said, as the door flung open, and a very tall youngster leaned out. John looked up at the seemingly happy teenager, whose expression soon changed to a controlled bewilderment.
Late teens, clearly meterosexual by the looks of it, although John naturally didn’t know the exact word for it, and apparently waiting for a girl named Molly. John tightened his grip around Jones, the hedgehog teddy, and tilted a bit to the side, which gave him the possibility to take a look inside the house.
The teen was very slim, and even though his muscles were not all that distinct, it was clear that he took good care of himself. These few things were all John knew of the stranger, but they were more than enough for him to trust him.
“My name is John Hamish Watson, and I’m –“
“Lost,” the teen cut him off, and John could read pure boredom in his face. John winced then nodded. “I think I lost track of Mum in the market, because –“ John was about to explain his situation, but once more, he was cut off by the stranger. This time by an unambiguous hand gesture. “Why do you think I’d care?” asked the dark haired teen, as he leaned against the door frame.
John was startled by the coldness in his voice and began to stutter “W-well, it’s just ‘cause... I m-mean could you...” his eyes started watering up. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go! When a kid comes to your doorstep and tells you he’s lost, you invite him in for biscuits and tea and let him borrow the telephone!
Then he heard the teen sigh and he looked up again. “Okay, all right, I got it! Come on in already,” he said and entered the house again, while waving at John to follow him. Once they’d entered the house, John could quickly see why there’d been such a racket from the stairs earlier. They seemed absolutely impassable, as they were plastered with books and shoes and – holy Mary, was that a human hand preserved in spirit?
John must’ve been quite baffled by it, because it took the teen several snaps with the fingers to draw back John’s attention. “Sorry,” John said, as he tried his way up the minefield, “Don’t be,” he was almost startled by the fact that he’d received an answer, “It pays off to be curious.” John just nodded, not sure if he’d understood.
Once they’d entered the upstairs part of the house, the teen started to look around for something. A phone was John’s first guess. And since he didn’t want to mess up the muddle even more than it already was, he decided to just sit down in one of the comfy looking chairs, and watch and wait.
The living room, as it must’ve been, was horrifyingly messy. Mum would’ve gotten into a stew if she’d seen it. He could see how it’d be hard finding anything there. “Doesn’t your Mum ever tell you to clean up?” John asked out of curiosity as he clenched Jones to his chest.
He could see the teen stiffen a bit, “I don’t live with my Mum,” he said in a mock voice, as he picked up his search from where he’d left it. John eyes widened in amazement, “you mean you live here all by yourself?” he looked around again, as if he saw a whole new world now. “Of course I don’t, what do you think I am? The duke of York?” this time the teen didn’t stop his quest to talk. “I’ve got the upstairs apartment, I’m renting this place from Mrs. Hudson downstairs, don’t be daft!” he continued, but cut himself off with a small “aha!” as he found the telephone.
“So, John Hamish Watson, what’s your parents’ phone number? I can’t wait to get you off my hands and back into theirs,” although the question begged for him to show at least a bit interest, John could detect no excitement whatsoever in neither his voice nor face. John looked down at Jones and fumbled with his jacket pocket, in which his parents always made him carry a piece of paper with their phone number on for emergencies.
He received an impatient look from the teen and hurried to hand over the note. It was written in Mum’s neat handwriting, and John’s name was written on it as well. The teen dialled the number and after a few seconds began talking in a completely different tone from when he’d talked to John.
“Yes, hello Mrs. Watson? Sorry to disturb you, but it seems I’ve found your son. Yes, John, mmh?” he shot a few glances over at John, who noticed that his facial expression had changed with the tone. John smiled; maybe he’d just played angry all that time?
“Of course, it’s 221B Baker Street,” the teen smiled into the air, as if he was talking face to face with John’s Mum. “I’ll see you then,” the teen ended the conversation and hung up.
As the teen turned around to face John again the kid in the chair was smiling widely and hugging the hedgehog teddy closely to his chest. Now the teen would definitely go and fetch some biscuits in the kitchen, and they would drink tea and talk about stuff that John took interest in, because that’s what adults normally did!
But alas, John was disappointed to see the teen’s expression change swiftly into the same plain and dull look as it had been mere moments ago. John’s smile faded slowly as Sherlock started to ignore him completely, turning his attention towards the cell phone in his hand. John fidgeted with his hands for several moments before gathering the courage to ask the teen what he was doing.
“I’m texting someone,”
“Doesn’t concern you.”
“Is it that girl?”
The teen turned his gaze towards the kid again, the look in his eyes stern but oddly enough John could also see that he’d woken the teen’s interest. “That girl you thought I was when I first arrived?” John continued, gaining more attention from Sherlock.
“Who is she?”
“No one important,” Sherlock answered, and finished his text as he walked over to sit in the other chair, pushing some clothes off the arm rest as he did so. “Just a girl I know,”
John knew it probably wasn’t true, because the teen had sounded so eager when he’d thought John was that girl, so of course she couldn’t be no one important. “What is her name again?” asked the eight year old and pulled his feet unto the chair.
“Molly,” the teen answered as his phone gave a buzz and his attention returned to it.
John smiled into the plush surface of Jones “Are the two of you dating?” he asked innocently.
“Oh, for God’s sake,” Sherlock turned around and faced the kid. He looked angry and tired, and John suddenly felt like he’d crossed the line somehow. “No, I’m not dating Molly! The girl is intellectually an inferior and I take no interest in engaging in a romantic relationship with her, what so ever. In fact, she’s so inferior that I’ve taken up a bet to see how easily she will fall for me, and so far my odds are with me!”
John shrank in the chair and his eyes watered up. “You just sounded so happy when you thought I was her,” he excused himself as he hugged Jones even tighter to his chest and hid his face in its surface. He was very much looking forward to when Mum would come and get him.
The teen clearly wasn’t too happy about the subject either and decided to change it as quickly as possible. This had to be the most kind he’d been for quite a while, and he sighed as he reached his hand out in peace. “What is that teddy you’ve got?” John was surprised by the question and eased his tight grip around Jones to look at it better. “This? This is Jones!” he dried the tears off his cheeks with his sleeve.
“He’s a porcupine Harriet gave me!”
“Don’t be daft,” said Sherlock, voice again flat and emptied from any sign of emotion apart from scorn. “That is clearly a hedgehog, not a porcupine, please do your research!”
John didn’t reply. He certainly hoped that Mum would come and get him soon.
“I’m very sorry, John decided to wander off, I hope he hasn’t been to too much annoyance,” said Mum, her hands hugging John’s shoulders tightly, as if he’d run away again. The teen, Sherlock Holmes, just stood with that odd fake smile and shook his hands at Mrs. Watson. “Not at all, he’s been behaving so nicely,” he even smiled at John as well, even though John knew there was nothing genuine about it.
“Either way, thank you very much for taking care of my son, Mr. Holmes,” Mum said and took the teen’s hand to shake it. As she was walking down the stairs, pulling her son with her by the hand.
When Mum opened the car door and made sure John was securing his seat belt, John looked over Mum’s shoulder and saw Sherlock stand in the doorway, leaning up against the door frame. The teen lifted his hand for a lazy wave and John replied with a chary wave of his own.