A/N: My first time venturing into the oneshot world in this fandom. We'll see how it goes.
The criminal activity mentioned is pretty much straight from canon. ACD left us with some good cases, I might as well make use of them. Let me know if you get the reference.
"Honor wears different coats to different eyes."-Barbara Tuchman
Sherlock's coat was a hideous thing. It dominated the hat rack and smothered all the other hooks so that I had nowhere to hang my own humble garment. It was long, imperious, and gave Sherlock more unneeded authority. He was tall and grave enough as it was without a black cape about him.
I was convinced that I hated it. I found it unnecessarily splendiferous. I supposed he liked it; its grandeur fit with his self-created image of superiority.
We had justified use of our coats that evening in the drizzle and chill. The atmosphere was something of a damp misery, the kind of weather that London is personified by, the kind of weather that made me think almost fondly of hot sand and glaring sun of recent times. Almost.
We'd had a great influx of cases, enough to keep Sherlock happily occupied and our kitchen divest of boredom-ensued experiments. I, though, grew weary of the quick-paced cases. It was difficult to keep my job decently and amble about with Sherlock as well, especially when the cases were as exhaustive as they had been lately, involving much roaming in the night and little rest. Yet I could not bring myself to miss a piece of an investigation that I had the power to witness. The thrill of a case caught me in a vice-like engagement. I could not deny it was exhilarating. It was only the stupor-like state that I went through the rest of the day in that made me second guess my double employment.
Sherlock wasn't bothered by the exhaustive natures of the cases in the least; in fact, he seemed to revel in it. He was more energetic than ever, a complete opposite of the lethargic figure that sprawled on the sofa during slow weeks. His sleeping and eating habits had me concerned medically, but for his mental state I believed there was no better thing than a complex case, and so I did my best to encourage his efforts. He wasn't stopped by human limits, it seemed (though I was aware one day he might collapse from pure neglect of his health), and certainly not by a lot of rain. If anything he was probably grateful for it- less people willing to venture out, thus less competition for cabs, thus faster transport, an attribute greatly appreciated by Sherlock, impatient as he was.
We took a cab, going who-knows-where, for Sherlock's love of ambiguity prevented him from telling me many things. It made for an impressive presentation at the end of a case, but to his companion it was rather trying. I did my best to keep a good nature, but a combination of fatigue and irritation in general made me very grumpy. It was a good thing Sherlock didn't talk much, for if he had attempted to converse with me I might had snapped his head off.
We stopped in a nice-looking part of town. Shops lined the streets on either side. Sherlock led me to the corner of a store and into the alleyway next to it, finally coming to a halt beside and dumpster and crouching down near it. I joined him.
I didn't say anything but looked on expectantly.
"You remember the fellow who had his bust of Napoleon stolen?" Sherlock murmured, keeping his eyes glue on the main street. "I've nearly concluded the case. The offender has a curious pattern of theft that should lead him here next. At any rate, we'll find out soon enough. He's not a particularly dangerous fellow, if I'm correct, just an oddly disposed one."
I nodded to show I understood and settled back against the wall, where I had a clear view of the alley opening. To my dismay and increasing misery, the slight drizzle escalated into a steady downpour. The wall of the shop offered little protection from the inclement weather. I bemoaned my lack of hood and drew the collar of my coat as tight as I could to my neck.
Hours passed. A feeling of deep irritation overtook me. I began to question why I should be out here in these deplorable conditions, why I should be required to accompany Sherlock on these ridiculous expeditions, why I should be up at this time of night when I had work in the morning, why I should be here at all.
I pulled my legs closer to me in an effort to reposition my cramping muscles, in the process splashing through a puddle.
Sherlock looked over in annoyance. "Do keep quiet," he whispered and then snapped his head back towards the road. I blew out a long-suffering sigh.
"And try to keep the despondency down. You're lowering the whole block's mood." He murmured over his shoulder.
At this I snapped. "A little respect, Sherlock, would be nice." I spat.
"What?" He quipped, turning around to face me.
I paused, taking a deep breath and wondering if I was going to regret this. "Just some respect," I repeated, closing my eyes. "Would be nice." I added, as an afterthought.
"I respect you." Sherlock chimed, sounding confused and not a little indignant. "We have a perfectly normal mutually-respecting flat mate relationship."
"No, no we don't. Normal flat mates don't drag each other about to undisclosed locations in the middle rainy, cold nights. They have dinner together, share a bathroom maybe. They honor each other's space and time."
Sherlock looked genuinely distressed for a moment, but then his face turned stony.
"Don't they?" He said blandly. He turned back. There was a heavy air of discomfort, and Sherlock was practically emanating anger, though I couldn't see why such a rare comment from me would make him so mad. I settled back, a bit disconcerted and confused why I was the one feeling bad.
It could not have been absurdly long before we saw anything, but it felt like ages in the wet and cold. Eventually, though, the fellow did show, lurking up to the shop door in a way I classified as positively amateur. The most experienced criminals were the ones who looked natural about it.
Sherlock leapt to his feet, padding swiftly towards our culprit and leaving me to follow behind. He disappeared just around the corner and out of view. Holmes had taken the bend at a run, and I did likewise.
In an instant our query attacked us. I am unsure of how, but the corner offered an excellent hiding place for an assaulter-in-wait.
I could not tell what happened to Sherlock, but upon my own head something very heavy crashed, and immediately my hands went to my skull, afraid that if I didn't hold it together it might all fall to pieces. The sudden movement of my arms divested any balance I had retained and in a rush of disoriented equilibrium I fell. I remember hitting the ground, but thinking that the stone was not as hard as I'd anticipated, and feeling very pleased about that.
There was scuffling above me, and I felt that I should take some sort of medical inventory of myself, but I couldn't think what to do. Instead I decided to find Sherlock, for he was very suddenly very prominent in my mind. He would probably also know what to do about the bloody medical inventory. I sat up, feeling very weighty indeed. With a supreme effort I managed to get to a crouching position, but all at once I was swinging out of control and I had the worst feeling of disappointment about it. Before I could hit the ground again (I noted appropriately that it would have been alright if I had, for it was so soft), hands were on me, and on my shoulder and the supporting my head. I was lowered once more to the ground.
There were both striking moments of cognizance and blurry unreality. In a mix of the two, Sherlock's face came fuzzily into my vision. I recall great joy at finding him, but he looked rather anxious about it and I wondered if I'd done something wrong.
The hand was gone from the back of my head and returned to Sherlock, who regarded it testily.
"Your hand's bleeding, Sherlock." I remarked, saddened.
He continued to look distressed. One of the last aware moments took over, and the next time I could think there was a pillow beneath my head and Sherlock had lost his coat. It was still dark, and instead of the nice, nice soft ground, I now lay on wet, hard stone.
"You'll get blood all over it," he declared with some of the attitude I recognized as Sherlock and gesturing at the pillow beneath my head, which I could only guess was his deified coat. He rummaged through his jacket pocket for his mobile, but I already knew it wasn't on him, for he'd left it as he always did on the mantelpiece, and I had pocketed it on the way out.
"Here" I slurred, meaning to reach for my coat pocket and somehow managing only to fumble along the asphalt. Sherlock deduced my motive and removed his phone from my pocket, looking oddly at me as he did so.
Sherlock dialed a number and had an urgent conversation with someone. I didn't focus on the conversation, I couldn't seem to get my mind around the words and phrases, but his tone of voice perturbedme. To another, he might have seemed perfectly normal and calm, but I could sense some small undertone in his voice that didn't fit with his usual demeanor.
I gave up trying to pay attention to Sherlock and looked up at the sky instead. It still rained, some fell onto my face but I didn't mind it now.
Next followed a period in which much is lost to me besides snatches of memory and Sherlock's tenor floating in and out of my ears. Every so often I would comprehend what he was saying, but most of the time it just sounded like nonsense. Even when I did understand, I was wont to believe it was an invention of my brain, so unlike Sherlock the snatches seemed.
Then the concentration of my senses switched from auditory to visual. Flashing lights appeared in my vision like fireworks without the boom. Only muffled sounds pierced my ears now. I was being propped up and then raised to my feet, leaning heavily on someone. We tried to walk forward but within the first few steps I quickly faltered and stumbled. Swiftly I was hoisted up between two people. I leaned my head back and saw Sherlock above me, some unknown man in front of me. Beyond the unfamiliar fellow I saw the area where we'd staked out. In a rumple on the ground lay Sherlock's atrociouscoat. I was alarmed that he should leave it there. It was of the utmost importance to it, was it not?
"Your coat, Sherlock," I called, though it came out more as "Y'coat, Serlock."
He looked down as if I'd said something preposterous. "Leave it there, John."
I was consternated at this. That coat, along with skull that had been on the mantelpiece, was one of his prized possessions. "Really?"
Besides it being foolish to leave such a nice garment lying in the street when it was so easily obtainable, it was lamentable also that Sherlock would almost certainly catch cold in this weather without a coat.
I was fading, but instead of fighting it I succumbed. In thebizarre place betwixt consciousness and sub-consciousness, sounds of the outside mixed with my sleep. An ever-present siren wailed softly, but I didn't register what it was until much later. Every so often Sherlock's voice would penetrate the haze, coming off as a mixture of anger, irritation, and disquiet. The general tone of his voice was much higher than usual. It was this medley of sounds that I drifted off to.
Within a week of the night John had so foolishly been concussed and had distressed all of us, he'd recovered enough to go out and be about, though I was less than enthusiastic about the idea of him wandering around the city in his still slightly muddled state. Nonetheless, by the end of the seven days I was so disinterested and listless that I settled onto the couch and had a certain amount of apathy for what he did that day, so long as he came back in one piece.
In another few hours I was becoming positively languid. It was with great welcome that I heard the door open downstairs, for if it was John then it meant a possible form of entertainment, and if I was lucky, mild mental stimulation.
John entered with a package in his hands. I turned my head only, still feeling too lazy to move the rest. He walked over to the decidedly empty coat rack and hung his jacket, then dropped a few things on the table, looking repulsed at a few unsavory objects I'd put there for safe keeping. I kept my eyes on his movements the whole time. To my undetectable delight, he walked steadily.
I had assumed the package was something unrelated to me, but John approached me with it clutched tightly in his hand, though the rest of him was perfectly, perhaps falsely, relaxed. He handed it to me, and when I didn't reach out a hand for it, simply set it on my stomach.
I glanced at John, then the package, and unwrapped it. Inside was a glorious black coat, very similar to my old one, which I was beginning to keenly feel the loss of. I was taken aback. It was extraordinary enough that he should even remember the incident clearly enough to recall my forgotten my coat, much less have the solicitude to go out and get me another. Extraordinary.
John stood, wringing his hands in a nervous manner, and I realized that I should claim some sort of manners and thank him for it. It had obviously taken some nerve for him to go buy it.
"Thank you," I said, rather stiffly. He nodded in consolation. We remained in silence, I marveling at my flat mate and him just standing there. I said nothing more to him, he nothing more to me. Life went on, but I had a new coat.