Sherlock studied John in a lazy fashion over the top of his book. His own lethargy was contrasted in the almost manic behaviour of his flatmate. So far this morning he risen late and then spent a great deal of time first showering and then cleaning the bathroom. He had then gone straight into the kitchen to do the washing up. That had led to him cleaning the oven, which was quite handy as there was still melted polystyrene in there from when Sherlock had tried to cook a pizza in there a few weeks ago. He'd moved on from the oven to the fridge and had slowly unloaded everything that was in it onto the countertop and then started washing it methodically with a tub full of soapy water.
"Are these ears?" he suddenly called to Sherlock.
"Leave them where you found them!" Sherlock responded. He was glad John had mentioned them; he'd entirely forgotten that he'd started that experiment.
"I can't; I'm cleaning the fridge."
"Clearly." Sherlock responded. He thought for a moment. "Throw them in the bin. They aren't important any more."
John appeared. "I can't do that!" They're human ears; you can't put human ears in the household waste."
"Why not?" Sherlock asked. John didn't answer but he raised his eyebrows at him. Sherlock sighed dramatically. "Fine; put them back for now; I'll get rid of them later."
"I'm about to start clearing the table. Is there anything on there that might kill me?"
Sherlock looked back at his book. "Not quickly, anyhow."
John rolled his eyes. "You could help me you know." He said.
"Why?" Sherlock answered. "I don't care if it's a mess." He went back to his book.
John disappeared into the kitchen again.
If truth be told, Sherlock was finding John's behaviour delightful. Not specifically the cleaning; he had been quite honest when he said that he didn't care, as far as he was concerned the flat needed four walls and a roof to provide adequate shelter and anything beyond that was an added bonus. This particular flat better than most because of the central location and having Mrs Hudson in residence, but other than that it was a place to be while he was between cases, and nothing more. What was delighting him at the moment is that he couldn't quite work out why John had suddenly embarked on a cleaning frenzy. He considered five main hypotheses.
One; the season. Apparently people regularly clean in the Spring and though the reason for it eluded Sherlock, he suspected it was something deeply primal, such as the feeling of coming out of hibernation. Preparing the dwelling for a new year. He'd never been similarly affected but John was of course slightly less evolved than he was. The watery March sun was shining happily on Baker Street, so it was at least possible. On the other hand, it had been shining in the same way yesterday, and the day before, and though John had been increasingly moody over the last week, he hadn't started the cleaning until today.
Two; precautions. He wondered if John had unearthed something unpleasant by accident, and was therefore taking the precaution of cleaning thoroughly to avoid a repeat occurrence. Sherlock concentrated, mentally viewing each room of the house. Probably the worst thing, though 'worst' was subject to interpretation here, were the ears in the fridge that he'd forgotten about. He failed to believe that he was capable of two such lapses on one day, and the cleaning had started before the discovery, so that was unlikely too.
Three; expecting a house-guest. That was intriguing. If John was expecting a mutual acquaintance, he would have said. That ruled out quite a number of people. It was possible that John was intending to bring a lady-friend home with him and the thought of that delighted Sherlock. He always had such fun when John did that. He frowned. John hadn't brought anyone home for several months now. He knew that there had been women on and off since then, which meant that John had learned that bringing them back to the flat was a bad idea. John was many things but he was not stupid. Well, not very stupid anyway. So that was ruled out.
Four; aliens. Aliens had landed on the planet and replacing the brains of unsuspecting humans with something from a race that particularly liked cleaning and John had fallen prey to their evil scheme. He told himself he really must stop watching Doctor Who and ruled that out too.
Five; drugs. In John's case, this was even less likely than the aliens.
He thought about interrogating John slightly to see if any further clues presented themselves but he decided that having his chemistry equipment cleaned and organised was too useful to interrupt John's flow now. He settled back to his book.
About an hour later John appeared in the living room with two cups of tea. He put Sherlock's on the coffee table by the sofa and took his own to his armchair, where he sat down, sighing. A moment later he sprang up again to tidy the books and paperwork on the table into neat, precise, piles. He sat back down.
Sherlock watched him as he reached over to Sherlock's bookshelf and pulled one of the books forward slightly. A frown appeared. Suddenly he got up and disappeared into the kitchen again, reappearing with a duster a few moments later.
Sherlock couldn't resist any longer. "John, what the hell are you doing?" he demanded.
"I'm dusting the bookshelves." John responded.
"Yes, but why?"
"Because books get dusty!"
"Why are you cleaning everything in sight like a fussy old lady?"
John looked at him. "I'm not!" he protested. He glanced round at the pristine flat. "Sometimes it's nice when things are neat and tidy."
Sherlock narrowed his eyes. "No, that's not it. There's something else isn't there. What is it? Aliens or drugs?"
John stared out of the window, stubbornly refusing to dignify that with an answer.
"Tell me!" commanded, Sherlock.
"It's nothing. I'm just a bit..."
"What?" demanded Sherlock.
"Bored! I'm bored, OK! I'm bored out of my brains and I tend to clean things when I get bored."
Sherlock stared at him for a moment, and then roared with laughter. John blushed.
"Bored!" Sherlock said. "You get bored?"
"Of course I get bored. Boredom isn't the privilege of the genius!" John snapped.
"But you've never cleaned like this before!"
"I've never been bored before! Not here anyway; the hotel room I lived in before moving in was immaculate."
"Well," said Sherlock, looking at John fondly, "it appears we're both reprieved. That's the sound of Mrs Hudson answering the door and if I'm not mistaken the caller will be redirected upstairs to consult with me. Ah yes." They listened as footsteps sounded up the stairs. "A woman, small and youngish, not police. She's distressed."
John was about to demand an explanation when there was a tentative tap on their living room door.
"Come in." Sherlock called standing up. John stood too as the door opened and a small, mousy looking woman came into the room. She looked to be in her early thirties, fair skin and brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. She was thin, and John suspected had lost some weight recently. She was pretty, and John instantly pitied her for hollows over her cheekbones which suggested sleeplessness and for the red, watery look of her eyes.
"Hello." She said. "I'm looking for Sherlock Holmes."