AN: After the overwhelming number of reviews I got for my last SH fic - 31 so far, largest amount of reviews for a oneshot ever - I decided to try my hand again at the fandom and so this was born. Hope you enjoy!
Sherlock Holmes looked up as Watson walked into the room, a line crinkling above his forehead as he frowned. Holmes resisted the urge to look anything but aloof as he took in the article in Watson's hand, "Yes, Watson?"
"I see no point in asking this-"
Holmes' lips twitched, "Well, until you do see a point then I see no reason for you to be standing here, but when you do see the point then, please, go ahead. I insist."
"-considering you will rarely give an honest answer-"
"Now Watson, honesty is so abstract a concept." Holmes commented offhandedly as he picked up his violin, plucking the strings lightly at first to check if his assumption that they were out of tune was in fact correct.
They were. He was. Again.
"-but I feel the need to ask why exactly my doctor's coat is covered in what I can only guess to be soot and dust?"
Holmes looked up to meet his friend's eye, "Why isn't it obvious, old chap?"
"No. It is not. That is clearly why I am indeed asking the question."
"Ah, you make a good point, but in the nature of the answering the question then I must ask you to address any self-presentation problems you have." Holmes smirked at the subtle movement of muscles in Watson's face, alluring to his shock at the statement. He continued, "Honestly Watson, you'd think after all of your time as a doctor that you would understand the most simple and basic hygiene requirements of a doctor. That does include clean clothes when attending patients."
Flabbergasted, it took Watson a moment to find his voice. When he did, he slowly raised the coat in his hand, holding it up as if to wave about his point as he said, "I didn't do this."
"Is it not your doctor's coat?"
He gave a nod. "It is."
"Then it is your responsibility to keep it clean."
Watson scowled at his friend. "It was clean."
Holmes glanced towards the coat, his eyes narrowing, as if expecting the article in heightened detail, "It doesn't appear to be clean, at least not from my standards of cleanliness."
"You don't have any standards in terms of personal hygiene; let alone cleanliness in general." Watson replied, "And this coat was clean. I cleaned it myself."
Continuing his plucking of the violin, a smile on his lips, Holmes commented, "I do not think it would be too forthright to say that you did a poor job of it, Watson; awful in fact, truly horrendous."
Watson glared at his friend, frustration emanating off him, as his tone took on a slightly higher quality, barely noticable to anyone other than Holmes, "It was immaculate before I was in hospital. Now, it is in this condition. You wouldn't happen to know why."
Holmes placed his patented look of innocence on his face as he said, "Of course not, Watson, you are merely mistaken. You believed that you had cleaned it when in fact it had not been cleaned; a simple mistake on your part, one that can be easily amended with some water and soap."
Watson scowled, "Holmes, this was clean. I am sure of it; just as I am sure it is of your doing that has lead to its current state of condition."
Holmes narrowed his eyes at Watson, taking note of the sudden subtle changes that had overcome him; he could see it in his face that he was working it out. It was a simple look in the eyes that held the answer; Watson always had a particular look for solving his own personal puzzles. He needed to avert the course Watson's mind was taking.
"Watson-" He began, but was promptly interrupted.
He tried again, his voice louder, "Watson-"
Eyebrow drawn, Watson asked, "Did you use this for one of your disguises?"
Oh dear, too late.
"Watson-" He tried, hoping the use of a disguise would be sufficient enough and he would not delve into the motives behind said usage.
He threw his hands up in exasperation, breath hissing through his teeth as he let out a frustrated sigh, "You did! How many times have I told you Holmes to stop stealing-"
"Borrowing." Holmes amended.
"-Stealing my clothes? And especially to use my work clothes for one of your derivative schemes."
"Firstly, they are hardly derivative." Holmes proclaimed, "And secondly, it was for a just cause."
Holmes said no more; an unusual act for a man so accustomed to boasting, in detail, every facet of his reasoning and his actions, "And?" He drew the word out, hoping to coax the man on.
Holmes raised an eyebrow, "And what, Watson?"
"What was this 'just cause'?"
He looked away momentarily to the violin in his hands as he answered, "That is hardly of any importance."
Watson raised his coat to Holmes' eyelevel once more, "My sullied attire says otherwise."
"It is hardly of any importance because it doesn't have any relevance to the case; at least not anymore. I needed the coat for a personal reason, and a reason which was fulfilled and has no more relevance as it came to nothing."
Watson was silent for a moment.
In his experience, he had witness on numerous occasions the power small details could have over Sherlock Holmes. They helped him draw logical conclusions to the most impossible of puzzles, much to the bafflement of others around him. No, this was not a case of something coming to nothing; nothing ever came to nothing, not with him because Holmes always found the details that were hidden amongst the concept of nothingness, because it simply that; a concept, one of which held no meaning to the man named Sherlock Holmes.
So what exactly was he trying to hide?
Watson simply stared at Holmes, his mind working furiously in an attempt to confirm the inkling in the back of his mind by searching through the muddy haze of his memories until it found a relevant connection - a fairly recognisable face with a questionable accent.
"It was you!" Watson exclaimed.
Holmes' fingers ceased their fiddling on the violin. He looked up to meet Watson's eye and said, "I thought you had already deducted that it was I who borrowed your coat. By exclaiming it out loud with such feverish excitement does not serve anymore purpose once the deduction has already been made, which leads me to assume that you have came to the conclusion that it was I, who has apparently partook in some other act in relation to the coat's disappearance. I, of course, already know the act itself having participated in it, but go ahead, I'm sure after being in my company for so long you eventually would have had to pick up on some of my deduction skills. I just barely believe it's taken you this long to figure it out; you used to be in possession of a much more quick and agile mind."
He scowled at Holmes, before he tentatively asked, "So you are willing to admit it was you who acted as my doctor?"
He gave a nod, "Yes, Watson. I admit it. It was I. Bravo, well done, old chap. You've solved your first mystery; not much of one, I admit, but a slightly better than average achievement nonetheless."
Ignoring the less-than-subtle prod at his intelligence, Watson could not help but wonder why he had taken such drastic measures. Surely, the man had known he was fine. Even he could remember – despite the fading consciousness he was faced with – telling the PC who had alerted him to Holmes' impending warrant to assure him that he was alive. He had told the man; insisted upon it in fact, that Holmes should worry about himself, and not to get himself caught, trying to find out his condition.
Yet he had.
And that made Watson curious. Again.
"But you were wanted by the authorities..." Watson frowned, "Why did you risk it? You already knew I was alive."
"Sometimes, Watson, the risk is worth the reward and the actual proof of knowing that you were alive was a reward far greater than the risk."
Silence enveloped them.
The alien nature of emotion within Holmes' statement seemed to create an invisible bubble around them, trapping their existence within a moment of suspended animation. It was neither comfortable nor uncomfortable but like all moments they had to end, and Watson knew that he would have to be the one to end it this time.
"You looked ridiculous." Watson exclaimed, a bemused smile on his face.
Holmes scoffed, looking minutely offended by the statement, "I'll have you know that I did not in any way look ridiculous."
"I looked the part. It got me in. No one questioned it. If I had looked ridiculous, as you so claim, then my appearance would have gotten me no further than the front door."
Watson was silent for a moment, unable to dispute the claim.
"You sounded ridiculous."
Holmes smiled, "That may be Watson, but I was playing the part of a doctor. You can hardly fault me for that."
Watson rolled his eyes, before he thrust the jacket into his friend's hands, "You're cleaning this."
"Ah, splendid!" Holmes jumped to his feet, placing the coat and his fiddle on the chair he had previously occupied. Watson warily observed him, cautious of the excitement within his friend's actions, "This is the perfect opportunity to experiment."
Watson shook his head profusely, bundling his coat into his grip again as he watched Holmes wander over to his array of chemicals.
"No Holmes. As I told you last time 'Never again!' There is no way you are experimenting on my clothes. I have learned from your past mistakes." He proclaimed.
"Oh, nonsense Watson, it's perfectly safe. There will be no unfortunate side effects. I already apologized profusely for the unexpected rash you got, but that was hardly my doing. You were the one who got covered in coal dust. It was most unexpected an event, one I could not foresee occuring, let alone know of the reaction a large amount of coal dust would have with my concotion. Now as I was saying, I believe I may have produced a-"
Holmes straightened up suddenly, and he slowly turned, eyebrow raised at the absence of sound. "Watson?"
Shaking his head, Holmes could not help but wonder when his friend would get over this unnecessary reluctance towards experimentation. It was ridiculous that Watson would no longer be in the same room when he was honing his technique.
Now where was that coat?
He looked towards the chair, the fiddle standing tall as he had left it and beside it there was a noticeable absent. It was then that Holmes realised that not only was Watson gone, but was so was his coat.
"Ridiculous..." Holmes muttered to himself as he turned back to his experimentation.
It was of no concern.
He had, after all, numerous other things he could borrow to experiment on. And if that failed, there was always the dog.
AN: I wasn't planning to put the line with the dog at the end, but considering the subject of my last SH oneshot. I couldn't help myself. Feel free to review! :D