Sorry about the delay, everyone. I had a hellish week. Anyway, I hope you like the chapter. I'll try to finish the next one sooner.
Sherlock isn't mine.
4. Age Thirty
Sometimes nicotine was enough. Most of the time it wasn't.
Sherlock scratched absent-mindedly at the nicotine patches stuck to his left forearm. His head was spinning and he was getting quite irritatingly nauseous. Nicotine overdose symptoms. Perhaps four patches was overdoing it.
His current case was proving to be troublesome. Sherlock had been working on it for a couple of days and he still had nothing to go on. The victim was a woman in her early thirties, found dead with no visible signs of violence. She appeared to have died of a peanut allergy, but there were no peanut products next to her and no signs of peanuts in her mouth. The woman had come to the room to meet a lover, but the lover himself was seen at a local supermarket at the same time.
The husband was in Italy.
And the nicotine did nothing but give him a headache.
The patches sped up Sherlock's thinking and cleared his mind, allowing him to ignore the small noises outside and concentrate on the case. This time they were not strong enough. The answer felt just out of reach, and every time he thought he might be getting closer a noise outside or a stray thought would distract him and he would lose his trail of thought entirely. He needed something stronger than nicotine or he would never be able to solve this case. He wondered absent-mindedly if he should go back to cocaine. This was a regular occurrence. In fact, a day had not gone by in the past five years without Sherlock silently wondering if he should go back to cocaine.
The fact that there was a stash hidden inside the couch he was sitting on also didn't help. Sherlock told himself to stop being so pathetically obsessive and returned his thoughts to the case. How could she have died of a peanut allergy in a room with no peanuts in it? He suddenly heard the front door of his flat open. Valerie, his flatmate for the past three months, had obviously returned from work. The woman, a law student in her late twenties, entered the living room and stared at him.
"Four patches? That's a first."
"Tough case." Sherlock liked having Valerie as a flatmate. She was not a complete imbecile, and she was very responsible, so there was always coffee in the house. She also let him do pretty much whatever he wanted (except for experimenting in her room. Sherlock learnt not to do that on their first week together).
"We have to pay the gas bill. Do you have money?"
"Mhm," Of course, no one was perfect. Valerie had a knack for choosing the worst possible time to discuss boring, mundane things like bills.
"Was that a yes?"
"Mhm,"Couldn't she see he was in the middle of the most perplexing case he had ever had? Sherlock tried to concentrate on it again.
"Sherlock!" Severe peanut allergy sufferers can die from being exposed to minute amounts of peanuts. It's also a very quick death. The murderer (because it had to be murder) had obviously killed her with a small amount of peanuts, but how could he make it undetectable?
"Are you listening to me?"
Sherlock eyes widened.
"It was the lover."
"What?" Valerie frowned. Sherlock rose from his chair and approached his flatmate. He was fairly certain about his deductions, but he still needed to test if it was possible.
"Valerie," He started, "I need you to know that what I'm about to do is extremely important to me." Then he leaned in and kissed her on the mouth. He had never kissed anyone before, and now he really couldn't see what the fuss was about. It was too wet, and why would anyone want someone else's tongue in their mouth like that? Valerie kissed him back, placing a soft hand on his cheek. After about five seconds Sherlock broke contact. Only then did Valerie seem to understand what had just happened. The woman was staring at him with her eyes wide. Sherlock looked as she gulped in surprise and gave him a slightly questioning look.
Sherlock grinned madly.
"Brilliant," he said, "Thank you very much."
It was the lover. He had come in and kissed her after eating peanuts. It would only take a little bit to kill the woman, and she probably swallowed her saliva so the police found nothing. The lover then ran out and was seen in a supermarket. The whole murder couldn't have taken more than thirty seconds. Brilliant.
Sherlock strode out of the house and took the first taxi he saw to Scotland Yard.
One week later.
"SHERLOCK!" The cry came from downstairs. Sherlock ignored it. He carefully aimed his handgun above the last hole he made and slowly counted in his head.
'One, two, shoot,'
BANG! The sound reverberated through the room and Sherlock smiled humourlessly at the perfect SH he had carved into the wall with bullets. He was so bored.
"Sherlock!" Valerie burst into the room. Sherlock glared at her.
"I told you not to enter when the door's closed," He said sulkily.
"What the hell did you do?" The long-suffering woman looked at the wall and gasped.
"What do you think I did?"
"Did you just carve your initials into our wall?"
"My wall. And why did you bother asking if you already knew?" Sherlock's hatred for stupid questions increased tenfold when he was in a bad mood.
"Where did you even get a gun?" Sherlock glared at her. He raised his gun again, aimed it carefully and pulled the trigger.
"No!" Valerie shouted.
"Bored!" It didn't often get this bad; Most of the time the boredom was manageable, but every once in a while it would get physically painful. He felt as if his mind was scratching itself raw. He wanted to throw himself out of a window just for the momentary rush of adrenaline. He shot the wall because the noise made his heart beat faster, if only for a second. Valerie didn't understand any of this, obviously.
"You can't randomly shoot walls! What if I were on the other side?" Valerie exclaimed.
"Then my day would become infinitely more interesting."
"What do you mean?" The woman looked scandalized.
"Well, you would have to be on the outside of the building, hovering at a height of three storeys off the ground," Sherlock said, looking at her as if she had disappointed him with her stupidity, "I would find that quite intriguing." Valerie sat across from him on a different sofa and Sherlock looked back at the wall.
"Would you even care if you accidentally shot me?"
"Hm?" Sherlock didn't hear her. He was too busy wondering how long it would take to add an ERLOCK to the SH already on the wall.
"Do you care about me at all?"
"Of course I do," Sherlock muttered, not looking at her, "Who would share rent with me if something happened to you?" Unfortunately, Sherlock really did need a flatshare. Most of his cases were with Scotland Yard, and therefore unpaid, and he spent the money he did have paying cab fares.
"Sherlock?" Valerie asked quietly. Sherlock noticed absent-mindedly that she was using a strange soft tone that she had never used when talking to him before.
"Can you look at me, please?" Sherlock's icy eyes met Valerie's brown ones.
"What is it?" The woman licked her lips and averted her eyes. She looked nervous.
"You kissed me a week ago. I think we should talk about that." Where did this come from? Wasn't she busy reprimanding him for shooting the wall just a moment ago?
"I…" Sherlock started, "Did I?" He thought about it for a few more seconds, "OH! Yes! Right. Experiment, for a case."
"It was an experiment. Didn't I make that clear at the time?"
"N-No, you didn't!" Valerie stammered, her cheeks were turning a deep shade of red, "How could you even… I thought you… You idiot, Sherlock!"
"I'm not an idiot!" Sherlock shot back.
"I really thought you…" She turned away from him, "Stupid, stupid idiot." Did she really think he meant anything by that kiss?
"I'm the idiot?" Sherlock asked and rose from his chair, "I'm not the one who's delusional, am I?"
"Can you blame me?" Tears spilled from Valerie's eyes, making Sherlock even more uncomfortable. He didn't mean to hurt her, but it really was her fault for misunderstanding something so obvious. "You played with my emotions!"
"I didn't! Your imagination did that!" At that she spun around, slapped him in the face, wrenched the gun out of his hand and pointed it between his eyes. Sherlock took a step back.
"That's it," She said, "I've had enough of you."
"Valerie," Sherlock started, his hands raised. His heart was suddenly beating again, he felt adrenaline coursing through his veins. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn't help thinking that this was way more fun than shooting the wall. "You might want to put the gun down."
"No," She replied icily, "because this is the only voluntary eye contact you've made with me since you moved in, and I want you to keep looking at me. Now listen, you will pack up your things and you will leave this flat. If anything is still here when I get back from work tomorrow evening, I will set fire to it. Is that clear?" She cocked the gun and Sherlock wondered where she learnt to shoot.
BANG! The bullet went through the wall behind Sherlock's head. A second later he felt something very hard hit his shoulder. Valerie had hurled the gun at him.
"Ouch!" He cried, massaging his soon-to-be-bruised arm.
"You deserve it!" The woman spun on her heel and left the room. Sherlock suddenly noticed he was shaking.
The morning after.
"Mike, do you have a shed?" Sherlock did not have to look up from his microscope to know that it was Mike Stamford who had just entered the room. The time was around 11 a.m. and Sherlock was researching the effects of different brands of shampoo on blood coagulation.
"Hello to you too, Sherlock," The other man answered. He laid his briefcase on a nearby chair, "And that really depends what you want it for."
"I need to store some… things. Nothing strange."
"When you say nothing strange do you actually mean human skulls or things that I would call non-strange?" Mike was one of the only people at Barts who would talk to Sherlock. He didn't seem to care that the other man was a self-proclaimed sociopath and probably a little bit autistic. Sherlock, in return, tried not to be too horrible to him.
"No, the human skull stays with me," The other man replied matter-of-factly, "I meant a chemistry set, bed sheets, a cushion… Actually, maybe two cushions… I think there's also a chair that's mine…"
"Sherlock, don't you have a flat for those things?"
"Well," Sherlock finally raised his eyes from the sample in the microscope, "I kind of got a little bit evicted." Mike laughed.
"Kind of got a little bit evicted? What's that supposed to mean?"
"That Valerie pointed a gun at my face and told me she'll set my belongings on fire if I don't leave," Sherlock said. Mike gawped at him.
"She pointed a gun at your face?"
"That's hardly relevant right now," Mike's expression suggested that he begged to differ, "I need a place to put my stuff."
"I guess you can use my shed if you want… Are you going to try to find another flat?" Sherlock sighed and went back to his microscope.
"I've found a flat already. It belongs to an old client of mine. I can't afford it alone, though."
"So you're looking for another flat share?"
"I'll keep my eyes peeled for possible candidates."
"I'm not hopeful. I'm a very difficult man to find a flatmate for," That was an understatement. Sherlock had been sharing flats for about four years, and Valerie was flatmate number twenty-nine.
"Well, you tend to be a little difficult to put up with," It was Mike's turn to make an understatement. Sherlock smiled. Valerie had been the twentieth person to tell him he's an idiot before evicting them (the remaining nine used much more explicit terms), and the third to point a gun at him. 'Difficult to put up with' indeed.
"I know it's difficult, but I'm sure you'll find someone eventually," The man rose from his desk, "I'm going to get lunch, want me to get you something?"
"What day is it?" Sherlock asked.
"No thank you, I'm fine."
Mike left the room. He had offered to help, but he didn't know if Sherlock would ever find a flatmate who didn't become homicidal after a few weeks. He wasn't too hopeful, to be honest.
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Next chapter coming soon!
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I know I haven't updated in a really long time, but don't give up on me! I am still alive and honestly do plan to continue (and finish this story). Next chapter coming soon (I hope).