And so it concludes...
1st January 2011
It was nearing 3am when John looked up from the washing up bowl to find that most of his guests had left. It was a relief. He itched his nose with his sleeve as the soap suds dripped from his hands. From the kitchen door, a sleepy female voice spoke up.
"Nice Marigolds!" His sister joined him at the sink and rested her head on his shoulder. He gave her a kiss on the top of her head.
"I do love you. You know that, don't you?"
"Urgh, shut up John. You're drunk." Harry gave a laugh and studied John's face for a moment. "I'm sorry Sherlock didn't show."
John just gave a sniff of indifference and continued to concentrate on his washing up.
"That's Sherlock for you. This is what he does. He'll turn up, probably in a day or two, when he's hungry or lonely."
"Disappointed," Harry decided. John gave a sad smile.
"Maybe a little. Anyway, thanks for this; for depressing me. Really helpful! Why don't you do something useful for a change?" He nodded towards the tea towel and Harry gave a snort.
"I don't think so!" She left quickly, grabbing a bowl of crisps on her way to the living room.
Half an hour later, John found himself sat alone on the sofa, finishing off a bottle of wine which he tried to convince himself was the same one he'd started the party with. The radio played quietly, and John hummed along tunelessly to fill the otherwise empty silence. He barely registered the sound of footsteps up the stairs and his flatmate enter with a weary smile and sit down heavily beside him on the sofa. Sherlock Holmes gave a sigh and looked around him.
"Where is everybody?"
John gave a slurp of his drink and then passed it to Sherlock who sniffed it in displeasure before taking a sip.
"Home, they have gone." John frowned at his own sentence, wondering when he'd turned into Yoda.
"Oh," Sherlock said, genuinely surprised. "Have I missed it?"
"Yes. Yes, you've missed it. It's half past three in the morning. Welcome to 2011." Attempting and failing to rise from the sofa in a huff, John settled for crossing his arms over his chest and grimacing. "Where've you been Sherlock?"
Sherlock took another sip.
"Oh, I've had a case for the past couple of days. Lestrade has been really ratty about it, saying I'm putting them off and sending them in circles. He was really unpleasant about it. He even banned me from getting involved. So, therefore I had to orchestrate a party to distract him while I got on with my job." He smiled at John and helped himself to a handful of tortilla chips. "Is that ok?"
John blinked at him. All of this had been a ruse? John had wasted time, energy and money simply for Sherlock's own gain. He wanted to be angry. He wanted to laugh in disbelief. He found he was too tired to do either. When John couldn't find the words to respond, Sherlock took this as a yes.
"Did Mycroft stop by?"
"Briefly," John mumbled. He wished Sherlock hadn't taken the wine from him.
They sat in silence as they shared the solitary glass of wine and listened to a rowdy crowd of people make their way down Baker Street. After a brief moment John leaned in to Sherlock and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. Sherlock blinked at him, stunned.
"Ok, what was that for?"
"That was from Molly. This," he punched Sherlock hard on the arm, causing him to yelp in pain, "This is from me. Thanks for standing me up at our own party. I looked like a proper loser! Don't you ever, ever do that to me again."
Sherlock looked taken aback.
"I never actually said I was going to attend," he pointed out dryly, rubbing his sore arm. "You just assumed. Besides it looks like you've had a nice time." He surveyed the mess which had been left behind. "I got your voicemail by the way. Very...tuneful."
His words made John's face brighten slightly.
"Yeah, well, you missed out. Next time we have a party, can it be like our usual parties?"
"You mean just you and me?"
Sherlock nodded his agreement as he studied John tired face.
"Thank you John. You've been really helpful tonight."
"It would have been nice to have known I was being helpful," John slurred into Sherlock's shoulder. Sherlock gave a little chuckle.
"How much have you had to drink?"
John grinned at Sherlock who gave a laugh.
"Go to bed John. You're drunk and an idiot." He helped his inebriated flatmate from the sofa, and up the next flight of stairs to his bedroom. John giggled as he rolled onto the bed. Sherlock switched on the bedside lamp and pulled back the duvet as John crawled into bed fully clothed and lay very still. He cringed as he gave a hiccough.
"Sherlock," John whispered as Sherlock pulled the duvet up to his chin. "You are by far my most favourite person in the world. Have I ever told you that?"
"No," Sherlock said bluntly, looking down at his beaming friend. "But I already knew that, you didn't need to tell me."
"Oh, ok. Night then. See you in 2011!"
"It already is 2011," Sherlock pointed out. John frowned.
"No I don't think so," John replied and with that he was asleep. Sherlock spent a brief moment studying the quiet being in the bed before turning and leaving the room, switching off the light as he went.
Moments later Sherlock returned to John's room.
"Mmm? What? Imawake," John slurred into his pillow.
"There's a woman asleep in my bed."
With this news John sat up rather quickly and squinted at Sherlock, outlined in the doorway by the light from the landing.
"Oh, can you send her in here please?" John tittered. Sherlock frowned at this request.
"Um...no. I think it's your sister."
John laughed at this very loudly, and for longer than Sherlock thought was necessary.
"Ok, good night then," Sherlock said bluntly and turned on his heels, heading back towards the stairs.
"Oi! No! Sherlock do not get into bed with my sister. That's like...incest."
"No John, it really isn't."
John pulled at the corner of his duvet and patted the mattress. Sherlock heaved a sigh, feeling that he wasn't drunk enough for any of this. He climbed into John's bed and lay very still, listening to John mumbling incoherently. Eventually, the mumblings turned into loud, deep breaths of someone on the cusp of hyperventilating.
"Sherlock, I don't feel very well."
"Shh, John. Sleepy time now."
"Sherlock, I'm going to be sick," John gave a little sob. Sherlock gritted his teeth together.
"You'll be fine. Close your eyes and go to sleep."
There was a pause.
"Will you go and fetch me the bucket? I need a bucket."
"No," Sherlock huffed, sitting up in bed and glaring at the dark form of his irritating bed partner. "You do not need the bucket. You are fine. Go to sleep." As Sherlock threw himself back down onto the mattress, the motion made John retch, and Sherlock was highly irritated by John proving him wrong. John had needed the bucket after all.
"Urgh," Sherlock exclaimed, leaping from the bed. "Oh for goodness sake!" He couldn't help feeling that this was payback.
As the sun rose, Sherlock – who had spent most of the early hours sat on the bathroom floor with John – pulled back John's bedroom curtains and gave the ailing man a hard nudge. John groaned and tried to swallow several times but his mouth was too dry to obey.
"Get up. Lestrade wants us."
John wanted to point out that he was unnecessary. However, his mouth wasn't functioning so he gave a negative grunt and rolled over, burying his head under his pillow.
"John. Up. Now. The fresh air will do you good."
An hour later, after John's several attempts to shower without vomiting, they headed for the crime scene; a derelict night club. Lestrade greeted Sherlock inside, looking rough but much livelier than John. He scowled at Sherlock.
"You were here last night, weren't you? After I specifically told you not to. I've seen the CCTV footage."
"And you were at my house last night," Sherlock replied dryly. "I've heard the voicemail." Lestrade managed a smile at this.
"Ah yes. You missed out. Where is John anyway?"
Sherlock looked around him, noticing for the first time that his companion was missing. He sniffed his indifference. It was irrelevant. He'd come to see the corpse.
"I assume he wasn't dead when you left him last night?" Lestrade asked. Sherlock looked up at him from his position next to the dead body.
"Earlier this morning actually, but you assume correctly. And no, I didn't kill him before you ask." He studied the corpse carefully for a long moment but grew irritated when his attention was caught by the shuffling feet and rasping cough of the new addition to the crime scene. John stared with bleary eyes down at Sherlock and the dead body before handing over a coffee to Lestrade. He held his own drink in his left hand, and produced a neatly wrapped bacon sandwich from out of his coat pocket. Sherlock remained crouched, his jaw open in disbelief. He stared from John to Lestrade then back to John, who was munching happily on his breakfast.
"Hang on...I'm sorry...Am I interrupting something?"
"No. Carry on," John mumbled through a mouthful of bacon sandwich. Lestrade hid his grin behind his cardboard cup. Sherlock remained still.
"Did you...just get yourself a sandwich?"
"Yes. How observant of you."
"How bloody selfish of you, John! This is a crime scene. This man is dead. Have you no shame? And you're getting sauce everywhere!"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'll just go wait in the car shall I? Or better yet, back in bed where you should have left me!"
They glared at each other and were interrupted by a small cough from the D.I.
"I hate to interrupt, but time's getting on and –"
"Yes. Fine. He topped himself," Sherlock snapped, wrenching off his latex gloves with force and throwing them on to the floor.
"Yes, I'm sure."
"Any particular reason why?"
"Oh I don't know," Sherlock scoffed. "Maybe he was so disappointed that his flatmate bought himself a bacon sandwich without asking him if he wanted one first."
"Maybe he spent all night at a party where the host didn't even bother to show up?" John snapped back.
"Maybe his flatmate got so drunk that he threw up in the bed, and then on his feet and on the bathroom floor. And twice in the shower this morning!"
"Alright enough!" Lestrade shouted, causing Sherlock and John to jump apart, and the entire police staff to stop what they were doing and stare at the scene the pair had created. "Sherlock, thank you for your help, as always. Now please go home and take John with you. He's not looking so great."
John scowled at Lestrade as Sherlock dragged him past the D.I and towards the exit. The street was quiet and Sherlock hailed a cab with relative ease. They climbed into the back seat and stared out of opposite windows until they reached Baker Street.
Once home, John flung himself onto the sofa with a groan, and buried his face in his knees.
"Sobering up is no fun at all. I should just stay drunk the whole time. Problem solved."
"Now you're sounding like your sister," Sherlock remarked, sitting beside John. John looked up suddenly.
"Oh God, is she still here?"
"No," Sherlock chuckled. "She left earlier this morning while you were still unconscious."
"Oh," John said quietly into his knees. "I'm sorry I was an arse. I didn't mean to shout at you.
"It's fine. I did mean to shout at you. You really were getting sauce everywhere."
"Sorry," John mumbled, blinking regretfully up at Sherlock. He rested his head onto Sherlock shoulder and gave a big sigh. "Do you know what I've come to learn, Sherlock? That I don't like people. People make mess. I don't mean literal mess, not really anyway, but complications and irritations. Remember Christmas? It was only a week ago. It feels like a life time ago. Just you and me and a trifle. That's how it should be. My New Year's resolution is to avoid people at all costs."
Sherlock smiled thoughtfully at this. John would, of course, get bored. And Sherlock would have to take him out to interact with people, whether they be alive or dead, criminal or constabulary. It was his job to keep John entertained after all. Amongst other things.
"Sherlock?" John spoke up quietly after a while. "What's your New Year's resolution?"
Sherlock took a deep breath as he considered this.
"My New Year's resolution, John, is to listen to you more."
"Really?" John asked in surprise, rolling his head on Sherlock's shoulder to look up at him. "That means a lot Sherlock. Do you really mean that?"
"Yes," Sherlock told him firmly. "Next time you say you need a bucket, I shall fetch you a bucket."
Thanks for reading. Have a good one wherever you are. I wish you health and happiness in 2011. Cheers!