The piece of paper was taunting him.
That was stupid, of course. Not just stupid, it was patently absurd that John would ever think that a single piece of paper could do anything so silly as mock him as it sat silently on his desk. But still, despite the severe mental talking to he had given himself three times now, he could not possibly shake the feeling that the forlorn scrap of newspaper sitting on his desk was purposefully drawing his eye and ridiculing every decision he had ever made that resulted in it being there. The spidery scrawl of handwriting on the paper blazed out like a beacon in the semi-darkness of his flat, catching his attention at every turn and inviting him with subtle draw and siren song to simply give up, give in, and dial the number scribbled there. It was laughing at him, it really was.
None of this was supposed to have happened, not by a long shot. He wasn’t supposed to still be losing himself in restless madness, still contemplating various methods of ruining his life, still looking for any excuse to do something stupidly dangerous just to feel the rush of adrenaline and excitement coursing through his veins for even a brief moment in time. That was supposed to have been taken care of, supposed to have been fixed by the absurdly stupid thing he had already done as his last hurrah before settling back down into the placidity of civilian life. If purchasing a male prostitute off of a street corner hadn’t been enough of a terrible, ill-thought, idiotic decision to shake him out of the funk that had been plaguing him for the last several weeks, what on earth could be?
But apparently even that had not been enough. John had been foolish enough to think that his restless anxiety would be banished by one last big dangerous act, but of course he could never be that lucky. Oh, he had certainly done it. He had ventured out into the darkness of London’s streets at night when the world had quieted just the tiniest bit and the outcasts of the city had come out to play, flitting through the shadows and living lives that most people could never dream of. He had journeyed to a part of this city he had never imagined visiting before, where he was so obviously out of place he might as well have had a spotlight shining down upon him. And once there, he had picked up a random man off of a street corner, a man that he had never met before in his entire life, and he had paid that man for sex. It was stupid, absolutely stupid, and it had been one of the best nights of John’s life.
He could not shake the man from his mind. That impossible, beautiful, mysterious man who had called himself Sherlock. The man who had appeared like a vision out of the darkness and given John the most incredible night of his entire life. He had looked at John and seen straight through him, somehow seeing in one glance everything that John needed and desired and could never admit to looking for. He had seen straight through the staid exterior, the shell of calm and stability that John showed to the world around him, and had discovered in a single glance the desperation and yearning that lurked beneath. And he had set it free. With his touch, his voice, his body moving beneath John’s own, Sherlock had made John feel more alive than he had since before he had been left bleeding out on the desert sands a thousand miles from home. Sherlock had brought John back to life, and it had lasted for a single evening only.
And since that night there had not been one thing, not one single solitary thing on John’s mind besides calling the phone number that Sherlock had left for him. He could not say what on earth had motivated him to even keep the piece of paper in the first place – was it some sort of misplaced sentimentality, a desire to keep a token reminder of his adventure just as he kept the gun that tied him so firmly to the war that had ruined his life? It was possible, but even in the silence of his flat and the echoing of his own mind John could not lie to himself. That paper was no mere token, no simple keepsake to remember his night by. It had a purpose, one that beckoned to him with the memory of touch and desire and words whispering into his ear even now with elusive temptation.
My mobile number. I should think that’s an easier way of finding me rather than searching street corners when you want to purchase my services next time.
Not if. When.
But no, this was absurd. Even the fact that he had saved that damn phone number was ridiculous enough, much less entertaining the idea of calling Sherlock, and if John had any scrap of sanity left he would get up and throw the damn thing away this instant. Of all the things he needed in his life, and there were certainly many, another night with a prostitute was not one of them. He needed a job, he needed a new flat, he needed a life to get himself back into the world instead of simply floating through it like a leaf caught in an errant breeze. It had been long enough since he was sent back home, more than long enough to excuse the difficult process of readjusting to civilian life and dealing with the injuries he had sustained. What was he doing with himself now? But no matter how often he tried to shake himself back into reality, how many times he sternly told himself to pull it together, how many promises he made himself that today would be the day that he shoved it all aside and rejoined the world that he had abandoned, it never happened. Nothing mattered. Not when you were a useless old army doctor with an imaginary war wound.
Or, he had been an army doctor with an imaginary war wound until exactly one week ago. Up until then, he had needed that blasted cane to do so much as take a few steps, overcome with a twisting mass of pain that had no source and yet still left him gasping and staggering for any form of support to keep from collapsing. It was infuriating, that he should be so hindered by an injury that was nothing more than his imagination getting the better of him, and yet there was nothing he could do about it. Even his therapist seemed utterly stumped by his leg’s stubborn resistance to any and all treatment, and John had begun to give up hope that he would ever be able to walk again, ever be anything but a useless old relic left limping while the world passed him by.
Until he had met Sherlock. Until he had thrown caution to the winds for a night of mindless insanity. Until he had become so wrapped up in excitement and anticipation and dangerous pleasure that his leg had been the last thing on his mind and the limp had vanished like fog in the morning sun.
Until he had been brought roaring, trembling, gasping back to life by the only person who had ever seen him as he truly was.
But even still. No matter how he longed for another night with that man, no matter how he yearned to lose himself and forget his troubles for just one more evening, he should not. The first night had been dangerous enough, another would be asking for disaster. What if he were caught? What if people found out? He would be a laughingstock, certainly, or possibly worse. What hope would he have of rejoining the world then?
He shouldn’t call.
“Um, hello. Is this – is this Sherlock?”
“Oh. Well. Hello. This is, this is John. From the other night?”
“Right, um, I’m John Watson? We…we spent the night together last week? You gave me your phone number –“
“Obviously, or you wouldn’t have been able to call me.”
“Yeah, obviously. Well you gave me your number in case I wanted to…to see you again. And I was hoping, well I was thinking that –“
“You want to purchase my services again.”
“I can be there in an hour, is that sufficient?”
“So soon? Well, I suppose that’ll work…”
Half an hour. He still had half an hour. Could time really be moving this slowly?
John paced up and down the narrow confines of his flat like a caged animal. Ten steps up, turn, ten steps back. No pause, no rest, nothing but mindless pacing that would soon wear a groove in the carpet with his endless footsteps. He had already straightened up the flat, mentally berating himself as he did so, and there were only so many times that you could re-make a bed that was so perfectly in line with military standards that he could surely bounce a penny off of it. Everything was in place, everything was in order, and he still had half an hour to wait. John was afraid that he might go insane.
Why am I doing this? Why did I ever think this was a good idea?
That was the question he kept circling back to in fevered delirium, the question that kept eating away at him with nagging persistence as he paced restlessly back and forth. What on earth had ever possessed him to repeat this insanity? But even as he asked the question of himself again and again, repeating it in increasing desperation as his footsteps grew more and more hurried, he knew that the answer was of course contained in the pacing itself. His steps, no matter how frantic rushed they grew with every crossing of the tiny room, were as firm and steady as anyone could hope for with not a trace of hesitation before each foot was planted.
He couldn’t give this up, not now. No matter how his brain screamed at him that he was an idiot, a fool, a danger to himself for going through with this, he simply could not give up the rush of life and energy surging through him with every minute that ticked away. The rest of his life was empty, grey, utterly meaningless compared to this. What did that say of him?
John preferred not to think about it – it was easier to pace.
Would he survive another five minutes?
Calm down. You have to calm down.
Ten steps up, turn, pause.
How can I be calm? This was a mistake I can’t do this oh God what is wrong with me?
Ten steps down, turn, pause.
People do this all the time. It’s fine. It’s all…fine.
The sudden knock at the door nearly sent John out of his skin. No matter that he had been counting down the seconds to exactly one hour from when he had hung up the phone, no matter that he had been waiting for this very moment, half filled with singing anticipation and half sure that it would never come – the sound of those three quiet raps startled John so badly he jumped in surprise, followed by a guilty look round the empty room to make sure that no one had noticed. With hammering heart and unshaken step, he crossed the too-short distance of what passed for a sitting room in his flat to the door in what he would absolutely never admit was a run. His mind was spinning, racing, whirling with a million questions and doubts and second guesses that were impossible to take back now.
How did he knock? He should have buzzed to get in, how did he get past the front door? Did someone let him in? Oh no, oh no, oh God he didn’t talk to anyone did he? Do they know? Is it someone come to catch me out?
The fears grew more and more absurd with every second that passed, every breath taken between the sound of the knocking and the click of the lock being fumbled open driving him closer to the edge of desperate panic. By the time he navigated the suddenly impossible maze of locking mechanisms and doorknobs he felt as though his heart was going to explode out of his chest, but somehow he managed finally, finally, to wrench the door open and peer out into the dimness beyond.
It should have been impossible, but there he was. Looming in the persistent darkness of the hallway caused by a burnt out bulb that had not been changed since John moved in months ago, Sherlock stood quietly before John’s door. He was just as John remembered him from that night that felt a lifetime ago, when he had appeared in the smoke and darkness of a London street corner like a vision from another world. Pale, impossibly pale face framed by the upturn of a dramatic coat collar. Cheeks just this side of gaunt, skin stretched tight over cheekbones so beautiful they made John ache. And eyes, oh his eyes. Those piercing, glowing, ridiculously blue eyes that stripped John to his core and left him trembling and vulnerable and helpless beneath them. Those eyes fixed on him now, flicking up and down him in rapid motion to take in the shallowness of his breathing, the flutter of his heartbeat, the desperation of his gaze. In an instant, John was laid bare before him. And in that instant he remembered what it was to be alive.
“I – how – “ John stammered, any greeting he had been planning vanishing from his mind the moment those eyes locked on his own with laser focus and determination.
Sherlock did not answer. He did not speak a single word, only stepping forward slowly and deliberately to crowd John through the doorway and back into his flat while never once breaking his gaze. The door swung shut behind him, definite in its finality, and they were alone in John’s flat with nothing but silence between them.
“Sherlock,” John whispered, the name a plea and a prayer on his lips as he begged for something he needed but could not name.
But even if John could not hope to articulate what he so desperately longed for with something so paltry as words, Sherlock did not need them. “Take off your clothes,” he commanded, voice hard with immutable will.
“Take off your clothes.”
For a moment, for one brief moment of strong-headed rebellion, John considered saying no. This wasn’t the way things had worked last time, this wasn’t how John had imagined this moment at all in the long hours of nights spent awake in restless distraction. But he was pinned, caught in the piercing gaze that had not yet wavered from him for a moment, and he was left helpless to resist. Sherlock was staring into the heart of him, stripping away the walls and the bravado and the stubborn resistance he had built around himself for protection and defense and leaving nothing behind. There was no way that John could resist even if he wanted to, and there was absolutely no question of that now. John would do whatever Sherlock asked of him, as long as he continued to look at him like he were the most fascinating thing in the entire world.
Hypnotized by Sherlock’s gaze, John reached up to the buttons of his shirt with slow and steady fingers, hardly daring to draw breath in the silence and the tension that crackled with electricity between them. One by one, button after button fell open with no protest until the shirt slid to the floor with a sigh of rumpled fabric, disregarded and forgotten. John hesitated, hands hovering over his belt buckle, unsure how far Sherlock intended this to go before he took action himself, but Sherlock continued to stare at him with eyes shining brightly in the gloom, fully clothed still and radiating authority as John could not have imagined. The message was clear.
Slowly, carefully, with a gentle clink and a rasp of worn leather, the belt was undone and trousers fell to join his shirt in a graceless pile on the floor. There was only a moment of hesitation before pants followed soon after, and in the blink of an eye after John had opened the door to allow Sherlock into his flat he was standing naked in the center of the room. His head was spinning, heart thumping, breath coming shallow and uneven under Sherlock’s eyes and the feeling of overwhelming vulnerability that was breaking over him in waves. But with the discomfort, with the uncertainty, with the shame that came from being so very exposed to a man he hardly knew, the slow surge of desire that had been building for so many days was threatening to drown him with its force. John could feel himself growing hard already simply standing here under Sherlock’s inspection, not having been touched once and yet already as turned on as he could ever remember being. What was it about this man that affected him so profoundly? John could not begin to say, could not do anything but return Sherlock’s gaze like a man possessed, and pray that he would take action soon.
For his part, Sherlock continued to stare at John coolly and impassively, looking for all the world as if John’s nudity meant nothing to him. Perhaps it didn’t – perhaps all this truly meant no more to Sherlock than cash in his pocket and another fix on the horizon, with John as a passing diversion who needed his brief attention. John hoped not. Deep down, in a part of himself he did not like to address for fear of what it might mean, John knew that even after only meeting Sherlock twice in the most ridiculous of circumstances, he already hoped with a fervency that alarmed him that Sherlock did not see him as only an interesting source of income. But now, with Sherlock’s undivided attention turned firmly on him, even if that were not true John could not bring himself to care. He had Sherlock now, and in this moment that was all that mattered.
After an eternity of silent contemplation, Sherlock turned away to calmly begin removing the black coat that seemed as much a part of him as his skin. He moved with deliberate care and consideration, dragging the moment out with the slow precision of his actions and the unspoken message that came with them - I am in charge tonight. And on any other night John might have resisted, might have tried to reassert his dominance and regain control of the situation. But tonight, when his brain was skipping frantically on endless repeat, when he could not settle himself for a single moment, when the simple act of standing still while Sherlock removed his coat was an effort of monumental proportions, there was no question. Sherlock was in charge. And John was glad of it.
The jacket was removed, peeled off with agonizing slowness to reveal the shirt of deep purple beneath that clung to him so closely it may as well have not existed in the first place. Where the shirt he had worn in their last encounter had been loose and worn with age, this one was fitted to him like a second skin to reveal every line and muscle beneath and send John’s pulse racing ever higher. Paired with the skin-tight jeans that John remembered so vividly, Sherlock was no longer a man but a walking obscenity. He was an advertisement for sin, a brazen announcement of the debauched pleasure he promised to those who could afford him and braved what he had to offer. And as he bent over slowly, painfully slowly to lay his coat across the seat of John’s chair, he cast a glance back to where John stood transfixed that promised all of that and more if John played his part.
There was no questioning that now. There was nothing in the entire world that would cause John to move a muscle until Sherlock ordered him to, nothing left in the universe besides watching the shift of muscles on that thin frame and waiting with breathless anticipation and painful arousal for the next order to come his way. Inner turmoil, restless anticipation, circling doubts all fell away in the face of Sherlock and the wordless promise of what was to come.
Still fully clothed and already driving John mad with desire, Sherlock paced across the room to close the distance between them, coming so tantalizingly close as to set John’s every nerve ending alight with the nearness of him. He could smell the bite of cigarettes, the tang of sweat, the musk of sex and lust and God only knew what else that should have repelled him with its vulgarity and did no such thing whatsoever. Sherlock smelled primal, rich with life, and oh so very fuckable. John nearly buckled, nearly reached out to grab the man not six inches away from him and throw him down onto the bed to take what he so desperately wanted. But the last remnants of his self-control held him still despite the screaming of his desire, sternly allowing him to let go of control for tonight and allow whatever was to happen to simply happen.
Sherlock circled around him slowly, looking John up and down in minute observation, taking in every square inch of him in obsessive focus and intimate detail. John had never felt so exposed, so open, so bare before another human being as Sherlock pulled him apart with his eyes to leave him empty and trembling in their wake. By the time he came back around again John was shaking under his scrutiny, alive with anticipation and the strain of holding himself still as he was observed and cataloged piece by intimate piece. But his effort was rewarded, made so very worthwhile as Sherlock’s eyes dragged up him slowly to meet John’s own and were lit up by the briefest of flickering smiles, ephemeral and fleeting and utterly wicked.
A hand came up to make searing contact with John’s chest, a caress and a direction in one to propel him backwards with no notice. John stumbled over his own feet, losing all sense of direction and solidity at the force under the sudden contact, but the bed swam up to greet him as he landed in a graceless heap under Sherlock’s looming shadow. Before he could catch his breath there were hands in contact with him once again, stealing the very air from his lungs with their touch and leaving him gasping and desperate beneath them. The world was reduced to skin on skin, the contact made between hands and body, the desperation for more even as nerves were set afire with sensation. Lips soon followed, pressing kisses and bites and caresses in the wake of exploring fingers until John was writhing and senseless with his need.
His moans were swallowed by lips and tongue, ruthless and searching on his own. Sherlock was relentless, unceasing in his attentions, kissing John with unyielding force to drive him mad. John was losing himself in Sherlock, losing every ounce of himself as Sherlock ran his hands endlessly over his skin with delicate and exacting caresses. Now fingers were dancing over his nipples, swirling and rubbing and pinching to make him buck and gasp against Sherlock’s lips, now those hands were brushing ever lower as teeth were set to the delicate skin of his neck to wring a moan of pleasure from him. Too much, it was nearly too much for John to handle, and he could not get enough of it.
“Oh, God,” he gasped to the ceiling, eyes gone wide and staring at the sensation of a firm hand wrapped around his cock to give him the relief he needed so desperately. This was amazing, this was better than amazing, this was everything he needed without even realizing that he did. He thrust erratically in time with Sherlock’s strokes, reduced to mindless desire and gratification. But when he felt himself already drawing close, already coming near the edge he did not want to cross, he knew even as he raced onwards that this was too much, too soon. He didn’t want this to end yet, didn’t want Sherlock to vanish into the night to leave him alone with his thoughts once more, didn’t want to face the emptiness with only this brief bout of pleasure that was not nearly enough.
“Sherlock,” he gasped, breathless and choking on his own desire. There was no response, only an increase in the pace of Sherlock’s stroking, causing John’s eyes to roll backwards with a moan. “Sherlock, God, Sherlock, please. Please, oh, God please not like this. I want, I want –“
He trailed off, lost, but the movement of Sherlock’s hand slowed and stilled, and when John opened his eyes he gasped to see Sherlock’s eyes fixed with laser intensity on his own. To have their full attention was enthralling, and the picture of Sherlock bent over him, still fully clothed with face flushed and hand wrapped around his cock was enough to knock the wind from John entirely. Was there anything so lovely as the way Sherlock looked now? John thought not.
“What do you want John?” he asked gruffly, voice a low and gravelly rumble that pierced John to his core.
“You. I want you.”
Time blurred. John could not be sure how Sherlock removed his clothing with such inhuman speed while still keeping his hands busy in their dance over John’s body, nor did he care to wonder how a man so fragile in appearance could possess such strength to man-handle him up the bed with apparent ease. His brain was occupied with far more pressing things than wondering or thinking, far more caught up in the burning touch of Sherlock’s fingers that had slipped down, down, down to make him gasp and arch and squirm in frantic pleasure. Sherlock remained ruthless in his attentions, not pausing for even a moment to let John catch his breath as those fingers teased and danced, over and around, in and out, eliciting gasps and whimpers that John could not quite believe were his own. He could never remember feeling this way before, hell he could hardly remember anything at all right now besides how it felt to have Sherlock undoing him piece by piece.
A crinkle of plastic, a slight pause, swiftly followed by a shock of cold and searing contact that had John arching himself right off the bed in his surprise and pleasure. Sherlock’s fingers were teasing no longer, instead moving deftly and with a purpose that could only mean one thing. The moments seemed to blur together once more, John losing himself utterly as his world narrowed down to nothing but the increasing fullness inside of him as Sherlock readied him with ruthless efficiency. Ruthless it truly was, ceaseless and persistent and so demanding that John could hardly breathe at the onslaught of sensation, and that was exactly how John wanted it. He did not want to think, did not want to go slow and steady and careful – tonight he wanted to forget himself entirely in the pleasure that Sherlock gave him, even if it was fast and hard and rough. And somehow that ridiculous, wonderful man had seen that all in the blink of an eye and was giving him exactly what he needed.
Soon John could do nothing but pant out short, shallow gasps and try desperately to hold himself together. But just when he thought he could take no more of Sherlock’s damnably clever fingers they were removed, and the emptiness they left behind caused him to cry out a wordless protest at their departure. Breaking his gaze from the ceiling for the first time since Sherlock had begun, John looked down the bed and lost his breath entirely. The sight of Sherlock, naked and bare and nearly glowing in the dim evening light, stretched out over him with eyes gone dark and cheeks flushed, oh it was John’s undoing. He was like a creature from another world, a creature of sin and pleasure and fantasies fulfilled, something that should not exist and yet was made real in elegant perfection. And yet when Sherlock caught John’s gaze and held it fiercely, moving slowly up the bed to fill the emptiness that his fingers had left, he was more real than anything John could imagine.
There were no words, this time. No cries, no shouts, no curses to pierce the evening air. There was nothing but the rhythmic creaking of a bed too small for them both, their labored breaths in the silence, and the occasional gasp when it all became too much. And not once, not one time as they moved together in increasing speed and urgency, did they break the gaze that they shared. John stared into Sherlock’s eyes as though he were held there by some unbreakable tether, as though if he were to look anywhere but into the blue eyes that had become the center of his universe it would all fall away from him in an instant.
The pace increased. Even without speaking they knew what the other wanted, although truthfully it was Sherlock who knew what John wanted and gave it to him without needing to ask. John could do little more than cling to Sherlock in desperation and try to hold himself together, although that was a task that was becoming increasingly difficult with every thrust. He was slipping, losing his control, and it would only be a matter of time until he lost himself entirely. God, he didn’t want this to end, not ever, but the end was looming towards him ruthless and inescapable all the same.
But before he could say a word to beg Sherlock to slow his pace or to warn him of the inevitable, there was a hand working its way between them to grasp at his painfully hard and leaking cock. John nearly fell to pieces right there, nearly ended it all with an undignified cry at the first contact, but Sherlock held him steady with eyes and touch and presence alone as he began to stroke with agonizing slowness. It was unbearable, impossible to endure, an overwhelming onslaught of sensation that only grew with every stroke and thrust. It was close, so close now, and then…
Not breaking eye contact for a moment, Sherlock brought himself so close that their foreheads were nearly touching, and with a voice gone hoarse and rasping whispered one word.
John’s vision went black. Whether his eyes had rolled into the back of his head with the force of the orgasm that ripped through him or perhaps he simply lost his sight for a moment he could not begin to say, nor did he particularly care to. His world shuddered at the very foundations as he arched with a wordless cry of desperation and fulfillment. He shook, he trembled, he ached with the pleasure that coursed through him in wave after wave, and even as he came down from it shaky and boneless and complete like he had never known the aftershocks still rippled through him with relentless persistence.
And even as he twitched and spasmed and reassembled himself Sherlock was still moving, still pushing onward towards a final finish of his own that he had not yet reached. He looked half mad from it, no longer human in his frantic need, until at last with a gasp and a shudder that seemed to tear him in two he stilled completely. They froze there together like that, sweating and panting and exhausted and yet still not ready to pull apart and collapse into a tangle of limbs. The stillness only lasted a moment, a quiet span of seconds when they breathed in unison and stayed joined together after the deed was finished, but it was a moment that John treasured no matter how brief.
But it could not last, and seconds later Sherlock was pulling himself out of John and vaulting off the bed as though he had somewhere he desperately needed to be right that instant. It wasn’t a surprise, not really, but that did not mean that John was not ever so slightly disappointed that their time was already over and that Sherlock would likely be out the door and vanishing into the night once more in five minutes or less. But even still he would savor this moment while he still could, and the warmth and happiness and easy contentment that were still flooding through him meant that he could do just that with ease.
Reaching over the edge of the bed to fish around for something to clean himself off with, John looked over towards where Sherlock was getting dressed with brisk efficiency. “Thank you.”
Sherlock paused in the buttoning of his shirt and looked across the room at John, eyes narrowed in surprise. “I beg your pardon?”
“You know, you really should learn to take a compliment” John answered with a chuckle before standing up to fetch his clothing. “I said thank you. For that, for knowing exactly what I needed without me even having to ask. I don’t even know how you did, but thanks.”
The suspicious uncertainty left Sherlock’s face, replaced with a scornful smirk that suited it far better. “It wasn’t exactly a mystery, believe me. One look at you and the way you were nearly vibrating with tension and uncertainty, and I could see that you needed to be distracted. It’s a compulsion I have some familiarity with myself.”
“Yeah well, it was still bloody brilliant. You’re a damn miracle worker, is what you are.”
“Hardly,” Sherlock scoffed, but John still caught the hint of a satisfied smirk that flitted briefly over his face at the compliment. “Like I told you before, my job is to please people. I’m simply better at it than most.”
Silence fell as Sherlock pulled on his coat, and unsure of what else to say John resorted to asking a question that he already knew the answer to because he did not know how to approach what he truly wanted to ask. “Are you going back out for the evening?”
“Yes. There are several more hours of business left.”
“Right, of course. Right. I figured as much.” He hesitated, unsure of how to begin, before taking a fortifying breath and asking as steadily as he could manage, “Sherlock, can I ask you something? Is it possible, I mean…would you be willing to do this again? As in, regularly? Every week, maybe?”
Sherlock looked at him blankly, not changing his expression in the slightest. “You wish to see me once a week?”
“I – yes. Yes I do,” John answered, face flushing in embarrassment.
“Does the same price suit you?”
“This time next week it is then. Good evening, John.” And with that brief farewell and not another word said about the business deal they had just negotiated, Sherlock left the flat and vanished onto the streets of London once more.