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The Eye of the Beholder

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An exhausted Dr. John H Watson sloggs through the wet streets of London. The sun has already set, making it much darker than it should be. A few days before Christmas and a long shift at the A & E, John was just glad to be walking away from chaos for a few days. He left his briefcase in the office, not planing at all to catch up on any extra reading. The impending holiday had made his night at the A & E a busy one, with a case of child abuse and sick newborn, amongst the broken bones, sniffles and fevers.

John thought he could feel the beginning of a migraine headache starting in his upper shoulder. The very same spot where he had gotten shot in the Army years ago. A dull nauseating ache, starting in his shoulder and going up his neck into the back of his head. John made straight for the bus, no stopping off at shops tonight. For the last few years, he had started to have severe headaches--nerve damage he thinks. 2 paracetamol and a stiff drink is his plan. Oh yeah and maybe dinner.

The bus rumbles though the wet London streets, setting him off a few blocks away from his flat. He gets off the bus, stepping in a cold puddle, his sock full of water. Seems about right. Sighing, he was just glad to be home. Home. 221 B Baker street, his home for the last 10 years. The flat he lived in was small and dingy but there was no place on earth he'd rather be.

He looked forward to a quiet evening sitting beside a warm fire with his feet up and no responsibilities.

Putting his key in the lock and turning the knob, he was met in the front hallway by a frantic looking older woman. Mrs. Hudson the landlady, looked relived to see him, "Oh John! Just the person! I'm so glad you're home! But I,-- I wanted to warn you..." she whispers hesitantly, looking over her shoulder towards the stairs to the floor above.

Just then, he hears a crash from the floor above and another sound much like an expolosion.

"Well that's just what I meant, he's been at it all day--" she started to explain, "John, maybe now that your home, if you'd just-just talk to him maybe..." of course, John knew who she was talking about and why she was so worried, he nodded to her gravely and bounded up the stairs two at a time. He opened the door to his flat.John knew exactly why Mrs. Hudson was worried./p>

Sherlock.

"John!!" Sherlock turned to him with a genuinely beaming smile. The flat was a terrible mess, Sherlock stood in the kitchen, bottles, flasks, Bunsen burners and not one, but two microscopes on the kitchen table. Sherlock stood there with safety goggles on, amid the mess-- looking pleased.

John surveyed the scene, his mouth set in a firm line, the ache in his neck just starting to throb. "Sherlock, what's going on?"

Sherlock looked thoroughly perplexed, eyes wide. "What do you mean? Just..."

John walked over to him. "Can you stop?" he asked, too firmly, maybe, taking a flask out of Sherlock's hands. "We'll be leaving for your mum's house in the morning. You're not starting something new, are you?"

Sherlock pushed the goggles up onto his forehead and spoke slowly. "No. Well, yes, but I was bored...I don't have a case and I had nothing on and I was waiting for you..." the last part of the sentence trailed off and then he was quiet.

"Ok, well, now I'm here." John tried a more even tone of voice as he set the flask in the sink. There was no need for anger, migraine or no. He was just glad to be home, Right?

Turning away from the sink, he touched Sherlock's shoulder. "Dinner?"

"Starving." Sherlock respondes.

Luckily, they have some leftover Thai that they reheated. No sense to leave food in the fridge when they will be away visiting Sherlock's family for the better part of a week. John was quiet all through dinner, his mind elsewhere. It was difficult to keep up with Sherlock's detailed explanation of his latest experiment-- the one that went wrong in the flat just moments ago.

John could not quite lock onto Sherlock's words. He did not finish his dinner. He got up abruptly from the table and cleared his throat. "Sherlock, I need to sleep. I think I'll be better in the morning. I'm sorry."

Sherlock frowned.

There was little he could do about Sherlock's pouting. John went to bed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sometime around midnight John woke. He was laying on his stomach in just his pants. He wondered what time it was. With his eyes closed, he inhaled deeply, the 800-some thread count Egyptian cotton sheets with their distinctive smell. No, he thought, smell is really the wrong word. Fragrance is better. He knew that fragrance intimately. Sherlock. He opened his eyes to look towards Sherlock's side of the bed, near the door. Sherlock was asleep, John knew. 10 years of sleeping with someone will cue you in to just those patterns. John could not see his face, but he could hear him breathing evenly, quietly, peacefully. John let his eyes linger over Sherlock's broad, well toned shoulders, his hard muscled back tapering to a slim waist. Not an ounce of fat on him, although he never exercised, well, not formally. John smiled.

He wondered what woke him, it was cold in the bedroom, he had kicked the blanket off. John grabbed his track pants from where he had tossed them on the floor and pulled them on.He got out of bed and walked to the loo. Coming back, he noticed that the bedroom curtains were moving gently in the room, as if there was a breeze. That's why it's so cold in here, Sherlock probably left the window open after the explosion. Let's close that.

Crossing the room to the window, he saw a shadow out of the corner of his eye and jumped and turned. Heart hammering in his chest, he realized that there was a small person--a kid-- in the room. John was shocked, outraged and mortified. 'Jesus Christ!' he said, "Who the hell are you and how did you get in here?"

"Hi, I'm Johnny." said the kid, who did not look at all unhappy or confused or ill at ease to be there.

"What in the name of God are you doing here? Where do you live?" John asked, mind spinning, wondering now if his migraine caused a hallucination. /

'I have been sent here to show you some things." the young boy stated matter of factly,

Still terrified, a suspicion started to dawn on John just at that moment. Sherlock fast asleep. Curtains moving, but no open window. He looked more critically at the kid standing before him. He wasn't dressed like the kids today, but a little more old fashioned. Short hair, patches on the knees of his trousers. No coat. A kid from the past. At that exact moment, John knew he was dreaming. OK, this made much better sense. No it did'nt, not really.