Every couple of months, John Watson would take a stroll around the City. He might walk across the bridge between Tate Modern and St Pauls, or follow the Silver Jubilee plaques set in the pavement around the City, or just stroll over Blackfriars Bridge and see where his steps took him. But at some point he would pause, just for a few moments, near Wallbrook Street, lean on a wall for a while, maybe eat a roast beef sandwich.
"Just recharging the batteries," he said whenever Sherlock would ask him. And Sherlock did ask him, every time he did it, without apparently remembering from one month to the next that he had already asked and been answered. John just smiled and made some tea.
So when Moriarty came into their lives no-one was really prepared for John Watson's reaction.
"Let's have a barbecue," he said.
"A barbecue??? John, has it escaped your attention that we have no front garden, and the space at the back where Mrs Hudson keeps the bins is scarcely a "back garden", and that the essence of barbecue is, as I understand it, the cooking of food in the open air?"
"It'll be fine," John said. "I'll get a disposable one, and we'll open the windows."
There were eight of them. Sherlock and John, of course. Mrs Hudson could hardly be turned away. But Sherlock was incensed at the thought of providing Mycroft and Anthea with actual food, voluntarily. He wasn't much interested in whether Lestrade, Sally and Molly turned up or not, but John was insistent. Seven guests, and me, he specified. Sherlock reminded him, several times, that – as primary tenant – he was scarcely a guest but John argued successfully that, unless Sherlock planned on making burgers and roasting them on a disposable barbecue, John was, in fact, the host of the barbecue and had seven guests.
"It's traditional," he said. And winked. Sherlock decided he was either drunk or going mad, but not in an interesting way, and deleted the entire incident.
There were beefburgers from the, rather smoky, barbecue, along with buns to sandwich them between, condiments and a few onions to help them along and, by way of alternative, a somewhat undercooked beef wellington from the oven. There wasn't much else to eat apart from beef in bread or beef in pastry, but honestly it was a pretty good meal.
"Here," John said, unexpectedly producing a wooden box containing tiny drinking glasses and a square bottle of something that smelled of old woodsmoke. He poured everyone a thimbleful and waited for silence.
"I'd like to make a toast," he said. "To Mithras."
Everyone looked at him as if he'd gone mad, but then Lestrade said gamely "To Mithras!" and they all joined in.
John took a deep breath, seemed to grow a few inches taller, and then smiled. Moriarty wouldn't know what had hit him.