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I think the Cat is on Fire!

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I Think The Cat is On fire - We Both Know What is Going On Here

He settled into his new life, keeping up with the doings on the street and occasionally lending his hand to the scourging of undesirables who dared to challenge his replacement.

There was a tension in the air at home as summer grew long of tooth and the trees began to shed. His coat had returned to a more healthy sheen and he swished his tail with swagger and eyed his world with pride. He waited longer than usual for the door to be opened and John didn't pick him up in his usual greeting. Sherlock hopped up on the counter and pranced about until he found a bowl of something delicious. Not wanting to bother anyone, he helped himself.

The back of his neck was suddenly supporting his weight as he relaxed into the nerves being squeezed like when he was so young. There were loud noises as 'the other' opened the door and flung him outside. He caught himself gracefully, and then turned to see the door slam. This would not do. He went around back and let himself in the window. He was just relaxing on the couch when another storm of human noises erupted. John scooped him up and stroked him. Sherlock glared at her with satisfaction. John didn't fling him out the door, but it did hurt him that he set him on the step when it was plainly obvious that this was not the location he desired at this moment in time.

It was harder to get in from the second story terrace, but he managed. He was again dosing comfortably on the couch when he was disturbed, accosted, and flung out the door. Well, he could only take so much. He stalked off toward the old neighborhood. Let them see how fast the mice returned without his constant vigilance on their behalf.

It had been seven months, two days, three hours, and six minutes, since Sherlock had come into their lives. John adored the cat and Mary thought he was hideous. He sported a terrible scar that still grew no hair from his left ear down across his eye and ending at his mouth. John knew he was lucky he hadn't lost the eye. His throat had been gashed open terribly and there were a few patches of hair now beginning to grow in, but he wasn't sure these scars would ever be hidden. He was all black with bits of brindle here and there. He had untidy fur and a terrible attitude. He made messes, knocked over cups of tea by sticking his nose in them, chased bugs about the room leaving destruction in his wake and yet John was pretty sure that he could not exist without Sherlock.

Mary has to take medication for allergies because his hair gets on everything no matter how often John brushes him. He's a smart little cat, took right to his litterbox, and once he was allowed outside again, he rarely used that unless the weather was especially terrible.

He and John had passed the winter's end together. The little fellow made him cheerful. Mary noticed it right away and it swayed her heartily towards letting him stay. John had been dreading the day he would have to give him up. It helped that he was some kind of genius mouser. Rarely did a day pass that he didn't leave evidence of his kills. At first Mary was thrilled, she hated mice, and she'd drug him into the kitchen to see the five trophies lined up on the floor. Of course it was John's job to dispose of the tails.

The charm of Sherlock's frequent offerings had worn out a bit, but she did like getting into the cupboard and finding it mouse-dropping free. She absolutely didn't approve of John sneaking the cat food off his plate, but John turned his best pleading expression to her and she relented with a roll of her eyes. Even she could see how good for John a new Sherlock appeared to be. This ugly little cat seemed to fill up a hole in him that she could not, so Sherlock stayed.

John hid his grief better now. While Mary is off at work, he plays with Sherlock. John talks to him just like he was the real one, and even read the paper to him if there is an especially interesting case. Life is going on without the real Sherlock, who faded a bit each day. This fading memory sometimes troubled him to the point it would all swoop back on him and he would sit down and there was no stopping the tears. Sherlock would take his place in his lap and John would stroke the cat and let the memories of the man, eat him alive.

It is on one of these days that John has the profound idea that the cat just might be the real Sherlock. They were so alike it was uncanny. He is in the middle of one of his black weeping tirades about how he never got to tell Sherlock he loved him and never thought he was a machine, when the cat did the most amazing thing. He very gently began to lick his face, as if wiping away his tears, as if trying to comfort him. He let the licking go on for a few minutes until it actually began to hurt then he pulled the little cat close to him and buried his face in his fur. When he let him go, Sherlock just looked up at him with eyes of greyish-green and seemed to say, "We both know what is going on here, John."