When John finally returned to the flat, he found Sherlock still in this position, his eyes closed. John Watson was a sandy-haired boy, well-built with dusty blue eyes. He was a naturally friendly person, liked by many of his fellow students. His calling was medicine, but although he enjoyed the course, he could not see himself settling down as a local GP. He wanted more than that. He found ordinary college life interesting, but not as scintillating as he would have like. But living with Sherlock Holmes certainly put the adrenalin back into his life. He had been desperate for cheap accommodation, having not come from a wealthy background. It had taken a lot of persuading on John's part to get his parents to agree to him studying at King's College, but it had been worth it.
"Sherlock?" the (slightly) older teen called uncertainly. He still wasn't used to all of Sherlock's quirks.
The raven-haired boy held out a hand to silence his flatmate.
"Shh, John. I'm thinking."
John raised his eyebrows, but remained quiet. He went about his ritual of putting his college stuff away, before going to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. He made one for Sherlock without asking, knowing it would be welcomed, even if he did not say so. After he had placed a mug in front of Sherlock, he retreated to what he had come to think of as his armchair. They settled into an easy, companionable silence. John was studying a paper on the cause and treatments of asthma; Sherlock still in deep thought.
The silence was broken abruptly by the deep baritone of Sherlock.
"How did it get there?" he mused, to no-one in particular. "The victim couldn't have had it with him, so the murderer must have planted it. But why?"
His voice roused John from his reading. He looked up to find Sherlock staring at him with that piercing gaze. No, not at him, more like through him, as if he wasn't there. John was used to this - to Sherlock talking at him, not expecting a reply. Sure enough, he carried on without waiting for a response.
"He was a wealthy man. Maybe...? No. The murderer didn't take his wallet. He wasn't after money. What then? A personal vendetta? Mmmm. Interesting."
The gangly youth sprang up. "I've got it, John!" he cried, excitedly.
John also stood. "Got what, Sherlock?"
Sometimes Sherlock forgot that John was just as ordinary as the rest of them, and he could not follow his own deductions.
"The identity of the burning oil murderer! Come on, we've got to go to the Yard." He started getting ready to go, but John laid a hand on his arm.
"It's late, Sherlock, and I've got an assignment due tomorrow. Get Mrs Hudson to send a message tomorrow morning."
Sherlock saw the sense in his words and reluctantly sat back down.
"I don't know why you persist in reading those papers. You know what they contain, and you do not find the contents interesting."
Having had his source of entertainment taken away, he focused on the only other interesting thing around: John. The blond boy looked slightly taken aback at Sherlock's bold words.
"I...I've got to read them, for college." He hated it when his flatmate was right about him. He did not find asthma cures interesting, nor how to recognise the symptoms of influenza. They were not life-threatening, hanging on a knife edge, operations.
Sherlock stalked closer, scrutinizing John intently. "What are you doing here, John Watson?"
The question surprised John. "I live here?" he said, turning it into an hesitant question.
The other boy sighed, exasperated. His flatmate could be infuriatingly stupid sometimes. "Not here. Here. In London. At King's."
John didn't answer straight away. There were things about his past, his family, that he kept secret. He would like them to stay secret.
"Sherlock, there are some things you should not ask me. About my past. I don't want to talk about it, and you should respect that."
It was Sherlock's turn to look taken aback. He took a step away from John, giving him the space he needed. He didn't know what to make of his flatmate, with his friendly nature and locked trunk of secrets. He did know that he did not want to cross John when he had that look on his face. He knew John Watson was not a man you wanted as an enemy.
John gave him a grateful smile, then turned to make his way upstairs to his room, leaving a confused Sherlock behind. Not much could confuse a Holmes, so this was quite a feat.