Five Times John Saw That It Was a Very Bad Idea Indeed To Keep Anything He Ever Wanted To See Again in the Pocket of the Blue Raincoat He Bought On Sale Last June, and One Memorable Time He Didn't
"I must have the Fifth Doctor's pockets," John complained, digging angrily in his raincoat.
Sherlock looked up from his book, "Peter Davison? They're bigger on the inside?"
"Yes, or Mary Poppins' carpetbag or any other literary allusion of a bottomless pit you would like to use!"
John began to empty the pockets one by one. There was no cricket ball, but there were clean tissues, a prescription pad, his phone, a Satsuma (that's where that had gotten to—he'd wanted it at lunch), a couple of pound coins and other change, a very crumpled fiver, several receipts for restaurants across London, some for cabs in the vain hope that he could get some reimbursement, a couple of bus schedules, and lint.
Sherlock came over to peer at the pile on the table. "What are you looking for, perhaps I can help?"
"A phone number, on a card."
"Possibly. Tara gave it to me."
"Tara? Who's Tara?"
"The woman at the coffee shop near the surgery. She wrote down her number and now I can't find it."
"It might have been fake."
"She offered it to me."
"Were you trying to get off with her as you so charmingly put it?"
"Was I…? We've flirted a bit when I buy a bun or tea. And she suggested I call her if I didn't have anything…going on."
"Sounds like true love," remarked Sherlock drily, returning to his chair and his book.
"Oh, shut up. Just because you're above such base concerns doesn't mean that the rest of us have to be. Some of us like to go on dates—proper dates, not your definition of dates."
Sherlock merely raised one eyebrow before turning the page.
"Dammit!" John cried as he shoved his hands deeply into the pockets of his raincoat. He was already grumpy, overheated from having to wear his raincoat against the rain on a humid day, and this was just the cherry on top of the icing on top of the proverbial cake.
It didn't help that Sherlock was still in his pajamas on the sofa in the same position in which John had left him. Sherlock opened his eyes and flicked them over John in annoyance before shutting them again.
"I've lost a USB drive. I know I put it into my coat pocket."
Sherlock opened his eyes again, curious, "Was it important?"
"Patient information, banking, something like that?"
"No." John sighed and ran a hand through his newly cropped hair. "Nothing like that. Just…someone gave it to me and it was a very nice gesture."
"A girl, a woman, a temp at the practice. We've been chatting about music and we have similar tastes, old Motown, classic rock, so she downloaded—"
"She made you a mix tape!" Sherlock's face crinkled up in an expression that was half amusement and half derision. "How old is this girl, John?"
"She's twenty-seven, not that it's any of your business, and it wasn't a mix tape, it was a demo of her band. She's sure to ask me if I liked it. What am I going to say?"
Sherlock resumed his languid pose, "Buy her some of those rubber band things that young people are wearing these days. I'm sure she'll be thrilled."
John flung his coat onto his hook, resigned to the USB's loss. "Shut up, Sherlock, just shut up."
"Oh, for the love of God!" John was standing in the middle of the sitting room holding his raincoat upside down and shaking it. The contents of the pockets had already been deposited on the table but a few missed coins and a wrapped sweet fell to the floor and rolled away into the dust beneath the chair. Fortunately it hadn't actually been raining when he came home or he would have been shaking water all over the flat.
Sherlock, who had been coming up the stairs during John's outburst, stepped cautiously into the room.
"You didn't see a book on the stairs did you, a paperback?"
"How can I have lost it? How can I have lost a book between the bus stop and here? She's going to be so upset."
Sherlock paused, "Who's going to be upset?"
"Rose. The woman at Waterstone's. I really wanted to read this new book about Afghanistan and the Middle East after the attack on the New York City World Trade Towers and they were sold out so Rose said that I could borrow her copy. She seemed really nice and now I'm going to have to go back and tell her I've lost it. Damnit! I don't know what is wrong with the pockets of this coat!" John stomped off to his room.
The next morning there was a new copy of Every Man in This Village is a Liar on the kitchen table. Sherlock had already left the flat by the time John saw it.
When John took the book back to Waterstone's Rose seemed surprised to see him.
"Oh, your friend already brought me a copy."
"Tall, really good looking? He said that he'd spilled tea on the one I lent you and he'd gotten me a new one as a replacement. He was really nice, and so apologetic about it. I'd have liked to have…well, no point, obviously. Tell him I said hi." She smiled and went back to work leaving John to wonder what had come over Sherlock.
"Ah, well, no big loss," John sighed after feeling the pockets and then hanging up his blue raincoat.
Sherlock glanced up from his laptop, his face a little eerie in its ghost light. "You've lost something, I take it?"
"Yeah, nothing important. Jeanie gave me a card tonight to celebrate our fifth date."
"She gave you a card to celebrate your fifth date? She sounds a bit…soppy.
"Yeah, that's why it doesn't bother me that much. She was soppy. She thought it was significant if we wore the same colour. She thought our signs were compatible. I don't think it was going anywhere. I'll have to let her down easily."
"End it soon. It's much kinder that way."
"I've told you before, Sherlock, I'm not looking to you for dating advice."
"Just trying to be helpful," Sherlock said as he began typing again.
"I give up, I just give up. Obviously this raincoat was on sale because there's some invisible hole that lets things fall through."
"That and it's a terrible shade of blue. What have you lost this time?"
"A bus— You don't' like the colour?"
"Let's just say that it isn't flattering. What did you lose?"
"A business card. Terry gave it to me."
"She was selling double glazing?"
"No. He's a physical trainer."
"Yeah, we'd passed each other running in the park a few times. He suggested that we work out together."
Sherlock tilted his head back against the couch. "Exercise is boring. You don't need it, you're fine."
"Some of us have a normal metabolism and like to eat once in awhile. Although Terry did say that I was in pretty good shape. I told him about the army and how I'd like to get back to that level. He said he could easily help me."
"I'll bet he did," murmured Sherlock, eyes shut, arms spread out, effectively occupying the entire couch.
"What? No, he… What are you…?"
Sitting up, Sherlock said, "Are you really that naïve? You're an attractive man, John. There's no reason why you wouldn't be approached by someone of the same sex as well as women. God, I need a cigarette." Sherlock flopped back into his previous position.
John sat down in his chair, thoughtful. "I guess he could have been, maybe… That might be fun."
"I didn't think you were looking for that kind of relationship."
John shrugged, "It's not outside the realm of possibility. I tried a bit at uni. Never got very far, but Terry is good looking, tall, broad shouldered, pale blonde. Rugby build. We had a lot in common. I guess I'll have to see how it goes."
Sherlock jumped up abruptly and strode to the door for his coat. The weather had turned nippy as it rolled into autumn. "I'll be out for awhile. Don't wait for me."
"You okay, mate?" asked the bartender kindly.
John had been throwing back Boilermakers for approximately forty minutes. He was well and truly sloshed. "Yeah, no, yeah…just got dumped."
"I'm sorry. You might want to go a bit more slowly, though. You loved her a lot?"
"No, not really. Liked her a lot. Liked the sex a lot." John smiled a wobbly smile.
"Well, if it's sex your after I'm sure you could find some company. Couple of ladies at the other end of the bar."
"Nah, wouldn't be a lot of fun tonight."
John beckoned the bartender closer, "I think I'm in love with someone else."
The bartender smiled soothingly like all good bartenders everywhere.
"They don't like me though. Don't like anyone. Stupid. Just my luck."
"Are you sure? Maybe you should tell them? What's the worst that could happen?"
"Can't do that. Mess everything up."
The bartender smiled and might have said something else but he was called away by another bleary drunk.
John fumbled in his pocket. A five year old had given him a paper fortuneteller at the practice that morning. He smoothed it out. The back of the paper was blank. He stared at it for a moment and pulled out a pen from his shirt pocket.
The next morning John staggered downstairs. He had only the vaguest memory of finding his way home and his head felt like it weighed thirty-eight pounds and was filled with tiny gnomes breaking rocks. The cold as he walked home was the only reason he'd sobered up at all. It was a bit too cold for just his raincoat.
Sherlock sat at the table holding a piece of paper. John's blue coat was draped over the opposite chair.
Sherlock set the paper down slowly. He looked at John and his eyes were cautious. With a sickening lurch in his stomach that had nothing to do with the hangover, John remembered what was on that piece of paper. Oh, sure, the raincoat hadn't eaten that.
I don't know why I'm writing this. I won't ever show it to you. I was blaming you for the fact that I never seem to be able to keep a relationship anymore because you show up on dates or text and pull me away to crime scenes, but the real truth is that no one I've tried to date seems right. They're not you. No one is you. No one is like you. No one comes close. I don't know what that means. If it means anything. Sometimes it seems like it means everything, but there's no point in my even thinking that because you don't have relationships. You're not interested. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I'd said, Yes, I am asking if you're single that night at Angelo's because I am interested, are you? But you'd have probably not wanted me to share the flat with you then and everything would be different.
"You went through my pockets," he managed, only slightly accusingly.
"I was looking for your phone. We both know it's not without precedent."
"Do you always go through my pockets?"
"Oh. I think I need to sit down." John fell onto the couch in an ungraceful heap.
Sherlock picked up the paper again. "John…"
"You don't have to say anything. I was drunk. Lindsey dumped me. Said all I ever talk about is you. Just forget it. Forget everything. I want to forget everything."
Sherlock bit his lip and turned the paper over and over in his hands. "What colour did you choose?"
"The fortune. What colour did you choose?"
"Oh, purple. Purple, two and one, you know two-two-one."
Sherlock refolded the paper and manipulated it with his fingers until he lifted a flap. "You will have ten kids." He smiled wryly, "Well, I can't give you that, but I can give you an answer."
"An answer?" John knew he was not thinking at his best, but he couldn't fathom what Sherlock was talking about.
"Yes. The answer is yes."
"What's the question?"
"Am I interested. And the answer is yes. It's always been yes."
"Oh." John shut his eyes and tried to work through the conversation, the words that Sherlock had used. He opened his eyes wide, "Oh!"
"Oh, indeed," smiled Sherlock, and John smiled back.