“Why is it whenever you volunteer for something, I’m the one who ends up doing the work?” John Watson asked. “Like now. You offer to help Mrs Hudson with the gifts for the Christmas party and I’m wrapping the presents. And you offer to care for Tilly and I – oy cat, I’m using the sellotape – end up looking after her?”
“She just wants some attention. She misses Stanley.”
“So you play with her.”
Sherlock leant down and waved some ribbon at the little cat, who pounced on it.
“That ribbon is supposed to be for the presents,” John grumbled.
“You can’t have it both ways.”
John picked up the sellotape and flung it at Sherlock. Tilly, clearly thinking it was a game, chased after it, and batted it under the sideboard. She crawled underneath, leaving just her tail and back legs visible.
John sighed. “Brilliant!” He stood up and stretched. “I’m going to make some tea. Do you want some?”
He looked across at Sherlock, whose attention had returned to his laptop.
“I said, do you want some tea?” John repeated loudly.
At that moment the door opened, and a voice said,” I’d love some if there’s any going.”
“Come in, Stanley. Yes, I’m just putting the kettle on. There’s nowhere for you to sit and your cat’s under the sideboard, but do make yourself at home.”
The subdued response caused John to look over at Stanley. At the same time Sherlock stood up and came across the room. He swept the wrapping paper off the sofa and pulled Stanley down beside him.
“Not the result you’d be hoping for,” Sherlock said.
Sherlock waved his arm at John in a gesture which he took to mean that tea would be appreciated, so he went to make it. When he carried the mugs through a few minutes later he found Tilly had reappeared, looking slightly dusty, from under the sideboard, and had assumed her rightful place in Stanley’s lap, where she was purring loudly.
“Here,” John said, “drink this. I’ve added something to it, and I don’t mean two spoons of sugar.”
“Cheers!” Stanley said, accepting the mug.
John sat down on the floor, in order to continue wrapping the presents, then remembered the sellotape was under the sideboard. He lay on the floor and tried to reach it, before giving up and pulling his arm back out and sneezing from the dust on his jumper sleeve. He’d continue wrapping the presents later.