John opened up the laundry bag that he had left in the sitting room and rooted through the kaleidoscope of dull cottons and canvases. He felt at the bottom of the bag and half-succeeded in his search; drawing his hand back out, he found himself holding a single sock. John swore to himself, realisation dawning, and emptied the jumble of material onto the sofa. It seemed that he had suspected correctly – his carefully rolled socks were now a handful of forlorn-looking left feet. Throwing them back onto the pile, he rounded on the kitchen.


His flatmate didn't flinch, continuing to read an unmarked, leather-bound book. His feet were on the table surface, nestled between a chopping board covered in a greyish powder and a collection of slightly luminescent bottles. John considered sweeping them onto the floor in a spontaneous act of defiance, but uncertainty over their contents made him back down.

"Sherlock," he tried, exasperated. "You have to stop this. Please… just take a case. Any case."

Sherlock's hand, fully clad in one of John's beige socks, popped up over the pages of the book and John rolled his eyes as violently as he could.

"Stop what?" Sherlock was almost a perfect ventriloquist to boot, and the little sock mouth flapped in time to his words.

"This is ridiculous, I…" The doctor stalled, staring at his missing sock. The lunatic had actually sewn button eyes and a neat little cap of grey hair onto the sock's 'head'. "What the hell is that?"

"John, you shouldn't talk to yourself like that," Sherlock directed at him, for the first time. Then he pursed his lips and continued his act. "Yes, John. Have a little self-respect."

"You have to stop stealing my clothes, Sherlock. It's not normal."

"Just a moment, we did tell him to get a hobby," John-sock stated. "Perhaps we should be a bit more supportive."

"Sod the hobby; take a case and give me back my socks! What on earth have you done to the rest of them…" John tailed off, wishing he'd never asked as a slow grin spread over Sherlock's face. Dropping the book into his lap, he rummaged under his chair and re-emerged with an obviously female counterpart to the John-sock.

"Hello, John… have you missed me?" Sherlock didn't even attempt a falsetto for the Sarah-sock. "It's been five minutes since we saw each other… we should 'get off'…"

John checked his pocket for his keys. "I'm going out," he grumbled. "When I get back I want all of my socks rerolled and back in with my laundry. Please, just do this for me and then take a case…"

"We need milk!" His puppet-self shouted after him, and the door slammed. Sherlock regarded John-sock with an air of disappointment.

"He didn't even stay long enough to meet Molly and Lestrade."

"Do you blame him?" John-sock flapped back at him.

"What are you talking about?"

"Nobody likes a flatmate who pilfers socks…"

"Shut up!"