Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock Holmes. That great honor falls to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
A/N: Based on a minor scene in Hound of the Baskervilles. I really couldn't get this plot bunny out of my mind, so here it is. (And, yes, my Watson voice isn't at all accurate and the boys are a little OOC. Please be forgiving and enjoy)
The Game is a Foot
"No, Watson; I fear that I could not undertake to recognize your footprint amid all the footprints of the world. If-"
My pen paused in the air as I reviewed the last line I had written. If Holmes noticed the sudden pause in my scratching he didn't show it; in the past hour of my writing he had been nothing more than a statue in his armchair, contentedly smoking from his pipe. He had occasionally, earlier in the evening, observed my drafts from over my shoulder. Seemingly satisfied (although I knew the final copy would no doubt receive some form of criticism) he left me to my scribing.
At the time of our adventure with the Baskerville Curse I had given little thought to Holmes' statement. In fact, I had been more pleased just to see my old friend. Yet in the safety of my own chair at 221B Baker Street, I couldn't help but take notice at this honest admission of my friend's inabilities. Normally, it was completely against his nature to reveal such a truth. Then again, he might have been bluffing, something he has done before with clients in order to hide the full powers of his ability.
"Is something amiss, Watson?"
"Not at all, my dear fellow," I hastily responded. An idea had sprung to mind, one that was as childish as it was tempting. "Just a small correction to my notes, that's all."
"More than a small correction, what with how long you have been still." A rustling of cloth alerted me to Holmes movement from his chair. I turned to face him, and saw that he had crossed to the mantle and the ever important slipper of tobacco.
"Well, it seems I recorded a conversation incorrectly," I said, trying to keep a smile from forming. "I mistakenly wrote that you cannot tell my footprints from the rest of the world."
Holmes stiffened, and it took all my power not to smile. Within a second he had regained his composure, but I already knew that I had irked him. As he nonchalantly added more tobacco to his pipe, he said, "Your records are correct. Your footprints are, on their own, impossible to decipher."
"Holmes, you have often astounded me by revealing private knowledge of my own mind, yet you cannot tell anything of my feet? I highly doubt that. More likely, you were bluffing."
A flash of irritation flew across that normally stoic face. I could tell I had truly hit a nerve when Holmes said, rather tersely, that he was not being false in his claim. Now I finally allowed the smile that had threatened to overtake me to appear on my visage.
"I suppose, then, that if I were to leave these rooms and wander the streets you would be at a loss as to finding me?"
"Hardly!" Holmes barked. "Watson, there are a variety of ways that I might be able to track you without even once having to resort to searching for footprints. My methods aside, I know all the various locales in which you are likely to be."
"Really?" I rose from my writing desk and headed towards the door. "Well, I suppose there is only one way to know."
"Watson, where are you headed?" Holmes asked. "You cannot be serious-"
"Homes," I interjected, "you have two hours. I just ask that you wait at least a quarter hour before pursuing me, for the sake of fairness."
With that, I quickly left 221B as fast as my feet would carry me, careful to avoid heading in one particular direction for too long. Although I hadn't given Holmes the chance to accept my challenge, I was already relishing the freedom of the chase. For once, I was being pursued, hunted, by Sherlock Holmes. Even if he refused to play my childish game, I would have a pleasant 2 hours of private exploration of London. If Holmes did follow me, I was certainly going to make it an interesting journey for him.
To be continued…despite cheesiness.