"Oh, Juliette, would you be a dear and go put the kettle on?" Mrs Hudson said sweetly, in a way only a woman her age could.
"Yes, Gran, sure." She shuffled into the kitchen and flicked the kettle on, listening to the water as it hissed and bubbled. She'd always liked the sound; it seemed comforting. The British cup of tea. Known for its ability to sort out any difficult situation. As soon as she saw the button click back up again, she grabbed two mugs and a couple of teabags, dropped the bags in the mugs and carefully, due to her protected upbringing, poured the water in.
"Tea's ready, Gran! Are there any biscuits?" Mrs Hudson shouted back: "Yes, love, they're in the cupboard to your right." Juliette looked up to see the door and opened it, feasting her eyes on the wide variety.
"Which ones shall we have?" She called.
"Oh, just the digestives. The rest are Sherlock's specimens." Juliette frowned, then, checking her Gran wasn't looking, peeled open one of the packets. Her stomach lurched at the sight of the rotting, mangled ears. She felt herself about to retch, so she shoved them right to the back, grabbed the digestives and ran away. She had never been more glad to have Gran in the house with her.
"Sherlock...?" John was frozen to the spot as he said the word.
"What is it?" He said, walking over to John, who was holding a packet of 'Custard Creams'. Unfortunately, they really weren't biscuits.
"Is there a reason that this packet of 'Custard Creams' happens to be full of..."
"Toenails? Sorry, yes, I was doing an experiment on the fungus that grows between the nail and toe, so I needed to keep them somewhere. Plus I couldn't miss the look on your face when you opened them...priceless, John, priceless..." Swallowing hard, John stood for a few seconds:
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
He could feel the calm settling again. Cautious so as to not provoke any more anger-inducing comments from Sherlock, John walked slowly to his chair and lowered himself into it. He wished he could just block out everything in the room right at that minute and be in complete peace. And, in fact, for a few seconds, there was that peace. But then, of course, Sherlock decided to put the kettle on. That was the last straw.
"Shh, John! Please, I was thinking!" Sherlock said, waving his hands up and down, motioning for John to fall silent. Instead, John just exploded:
"No, I will not be quiet! I live in this place too, Sherlock! If you want to think, go elsewhere! Because, you know what? I don't care what you're thinking about! I don't flippin' care if it's the flippin' queen who's involved; I just want some peace and quiet!" Sherlock just stood with his mouth slightly open.
"Well, to be honest, if you had just been quiet in the first place-"
"Okay, that is IT!" And John whipped his coat off the hook and stormed out of the door. Sherlock bit his lip. He knew that he'd crossed a line this time, gone that step too far. And despite being a high-functioning sociopath, he couldn't help feeling guilty.
Three hours later...
"Yes, yes, I'm back! So?" John stood, red-faced and embarrassed in the doorway, waiting for Sherlock to humiliate him. But he was answered with something he'd never have expected.
"Look, John, I...I realise that I...um...that...that I...I realise that I...went, um, t-too far...with, um, that. I'm, er, sorry..." John raised an eyebrow but then dropped it. Sherlock had obviously really meant his apology and it would be unfair to mock him. Instead, John just nodded. He wished he could think of something clever or funny to say, but nothing could really match Sherlock's incredible IQ.
It occurred to him just how much he valued Sherlock's praise, just how much he needed the acknowledgement. But...well, he didn't feel any attraction to his friend...didn't he?
He stood, not quite knowing what to do, whilst Sherlock's eyes roamed around the room, desperately searching for something to answer John with. But, in the end, they both decided to just move hurriedly to a sofa and occupy themselves with reading the newspaper and not really relaxing, or -in Sherlock's case- just sitting, looking as if they were praying, just thinking.
"Is Juliette in?" Sherlock asked, avoiding John's gaze. He realised that it was time to speak up.
"Look, Sherlock, you apologising...that really helped, so thanks. Don't feel so 'ashamed of your emotions' or whatever. To me, it just makes things better, okay?" He could see the sigh of relief in the drop of Sherlock's chest.
"John...I...thanks. But, ahem, anyway...is Juliette in?" And the old Sherlock was back: insistent and blunt. But then again, he was so sharp. John sighed to himself, threw down the paper and stood back up.
"I'll go and fetch her, shall I?" Sherlock didn't look up: "If you would." John turned and walked down the stairs, following the sound of Bastille music that everyone in the house had grown to recognise as Juliette's 'theme tune'. When he reached her room, he rapped sharply on her door. No sound came from inside apart from the music. Bemused, he slowly pushed open the door, expecting for Juliette to suddenly shriek as he came in. But again, no sound came.
That could have been the fact that she'd been expecting him, but it wasn't.
There was no sound from the room because...Juliette wasn't there.