"The human body has such amazing capacity for pain. It works so diligently to heal itself and alert the brain to trouble."
Softly, almost to himself, Sherlock looked up and said, "Carl Powers."
"Carl Powers was my first case. I was the only one that thought it was murder," Sherlock said as he gazed at the shoes, "The killer kept them all these years."
"Carl Powers? I think I remember him," John said while thinking back, "He drowned while having a fit, right? I went to school with him."
At that Sherlock snapped his head around to stare at John, "You knew him?"
"It may have been 20 years ago but you don't forget a classmate dying like that," John replied with a slow shake of his head. "I didn't know him all that well – he was a right arse – but it was still a shock."
Sherlock raised an eyebrow and returned to his experiment only to be interrupted when Molly entered the room. John smiled and began to say hello but her attention was focused entirely on Sherlock. With a meek voice, she asked, "Any luck?"
"What was the greatest invention of the 20th century?"
". . ."
"Penicillin. The ability to fight infection has given humans the chance to face death in all its grisly horror and come back, stronger than ever."
Jim tentatively entered the lab at Molly's insistence and tried to feign interest in Sherlock Holmes while avoiding John. However, he could not help but look up and meet John's eyes for a moment, just to see if they were as blue as he remembered. His heart pounded quickly when his gaze was met by an inquisitive stare and subsequent wide smile from John. The doctor stepped forward as he spoke, "Jim, is that really you? It's John Watson."
Jim could hardly believe it, John recognized him. He held out his hand but was met instead with a warm hug as John asked cheerfully, "What has it been? 20 years? You look great."
He could hardly suppress the blush that crept onto his cheeks as he stammered in response, "So do you. What brings you to Bart's?"
John rolled his eyes, "Sherlock here. I'm his flat mate and colleague . . . sometimes."
"You help with his cases?"
"You could say that. I suppose genius likes an audience," John laughed.
Sherlock mumbled in irritation, "I'm trying to work."
John huffed, "Right. Why don't we chat in the hall?"
As they left the room, John placed his hand lightly on Jim's back causing a wave of heat to shoot through his body.
"Did you know that skin is the body's largest organ? Skin consists of three layers and is constantly dying, flaking away, and regrowing. In a place like your finger tip, there are hundreds of microsensors working to detect temperature, texture, and movement."
"So what do you think?"
"Hmm?" Sherlock asked, not looking up from his microscope.
Molly fidgeted before asking again, "What do you think of Jim?"
"Oh . . . he's gay," Sherlock replied dryly.
"What do you mean gay? We're together," Molly responded nervously.
Sherlock continued to gaze through his microscope but Molly persisted with thinly veiled anger, "He's not gay. Why do you always have to ruin – he's not gay."
"With that level of personal grooming and not to mention his underwear."
"Yes, visible above the waist line and a very particular brand. Then there's the all too telling fact that he is currently in the corridor chatting up my flat mate."
Molly looked to the door with distress as she asked, "But they're just old friends and besides Dr. Watson isn't gay . . . is he?"
"Not that I know of, but he does have the tendency to attract attention from all sorts of men. You'd best save yourself the time and -" Before Sherlock could finish speaking, Molly ran from the room.
The detective tried to return to his work but could not shake the image of John's smile upon seeing Jim. The introverted homosexual was clearly attracted to John and held strong affection for him but somehow the thought of John sharing those feelings made Sherlock quite uneasy.