"I don't want to go."
"I'm telling you, I don't want to go."
"I'm hearing you tell me that, and I'm ignoring it. I don't want to go on my own."
"It's a party. There's absolutely no reason why either of us should go."
John smiled. "It's a party, there will be booze and fun. On top of all that, it's fundraising. I'm going, and I'd like you to come with me."
Sherlock scowled. "You've already bought my ticket…"
"You've paid me back for it, by the way."
"Then the fundraising part of it is over whether I go or not."
"There's more fundraising there. There's competitions and raffles and stuff."
"I'm not going."
Sherlock sank down on the sofa, put his feet up on the coffee table, and folded his arms.
John grinned and came to sit next to him.
"Should I tell you about Joanna?"
"I think I should."
"I think you shouldn't."
"Joanna's having a heart operation tomorrow."
"And she's quite scared. She lives in Portsmouth, but she needs the specialist team at Bart's for this. Every day her Mum drops her brothers at school, goes to sit on the train for two hour, spends a few hours with Joanna, then gets on the train back again to pick up her brothers from school, she tidies the house, cooks everyone tea, and starts it all again the next day. Joanna's dad works shifts and if he doesn't work he doesn't get paid, so she hasn't seen him for over a week. He needs to get paid because otherwise Joanna's Mum can't afford the train fair to visit her eight year old daughter who's having heart surgery tomorrow."
"I mention this because if there was a little more in the budget for the families in hardship fund, we'd be able to at least cover the train ticket so that Dad could miss a shift or two, so that Mum could relax and stay longer, and help Joanna feel better."
"I mention this because someone, not mentioning any names, had a minor, tiny operation last year, and he went ballistic when I was even a minute late at visitor's time. And that person wasn't eight."
"I'll write a cheque. I'm not going to the party."
John leaned forward until his chin was resting on Sherlock's arm. He looked up at Sherlock.
"Please come with me."
"Don't do that."
"Please, come with me."
"Stoppit!" He fought a smile.
"Please, pleeeease, come with me."
Sherlock sighed. "Fine. Whatever. I'll come with you."
"Marvellous," John said, getting up and walking away. "You should probably start thinking about what you'll dress up as."
"It should be frightening, you say?"
"No, I didn't say that. Traditionally, yes, costumes should be frightening, but these days just dressing up is what's expected."
"I think if I'm going to go along with this nonsense, which I'm still not sure about…"
"You have to. You promised."
"Well if I am, I should do properly. If I'm going to dress up, if I am, the costume should be scary."
"Fine. Knock yourself out."
"John! John!" Sherlock yelled and John woke up from his doze on the sofa.
"Wha? What'sit? What the hell?" He sat up and looked at Sherlock.
"Well, what do you think?" Sherlock asked. "Scary enough for the party?"
John looked at him for a while. Sherlock was wearing a suit. A good suit. It had a waistcoat and there was a gold watch-chain showing in the pocket. He was wearing a dress shirt, fully buttoned and a tie. His hair had somehow been tamed and it was neatly combed close to his head.
"I don't get it," John said.
Sherlock frowned for a second, but then his face cleared in understanding. "I forgot my prop!" he said and he ran back to his bedroom.
He came back in with an umbrella, and he leaned on it and crossed his leg.
John guffawed and then fell into uncontrollable laughter. He calmed himself and looked at Sherlock again. He roared with laughter.
"What? You said scary, this is scary!"
John calmed himself to a giggle and wiped his eyes.
"No, Sherlock. Sorry."
Sherlock sighed and went back to his bedroom. John calmed down for a second, but then he started giggling again.
John finished the last of the washing up and he put the kettle on.
"What about this one?" Sherlock said, suddenly behind him.
John turned and yelped.
"See! I knew that Miss Sumptuous Serena was scary! You didn't believe me at the time."
John breathed again and examined the outfit. Sherlock was wearing knee boots, laced from toe to top, with huge, block platform making Sherlock far too tall for a normal person. He was wearing fishnet stockings with the ends of suspenders just showing beneath his tight leather shorts. The corset was in poison green silk and Sherlock's lipstick matched it. There was a short, velvet jacket and eye make-up. Lots of eye makeup, largely in green.
"I can do the pout," Sherlock said. "Look, I've been practising." He pouted.
John shook himself back into the present.
"I'm not saying don't keep the costume," John said. "I mean, it might well come in handy sometimes. Maybe." He blushed. "But not to the party. Please."
Sherlock raised his eyebrows and pondered this. "Fair enough," he said. "But you have to keep that naval uniform. The one with the hat."
"Good. You're not allowed to wear it to the party either."
"I wasn't going to."
The evening of the party arrived. Sherlock disappeared quite early and John prowled in the hallway outside of his room, desperate to work out what Sherlock had finally come up with. Sherlock's door was locked though, and as it got later and later he gave up and went to get changed himself.
When he was ready he went downstairs and found that Sherlock had apparently finished and he was in the kitchen eating ice-cream from the tub.
Sherlock looked at him and frowned.
"Priest's aren't scary," he said. "They're silly, not scary."
"Yeah, well you didn't know Father Patrick who used to visit our school. Trust me; scary. Especially when he'd had a drink or two."
"Hm. Well, you should know that without having met Father Patrick, I don't find that costume scary."
"No, don't look like that, it's a good costume. In many ways, it's better than the navy costume."
"Oh. Well, I'm not taking it off now."
"No. We can remove it later."
"What about you? You haven't got much time to finish."
"I am finished."
John looked. Sherlock had a scar and stitches running from one side of his forehead to the other. It was very realistic, but in every other way, he was just dressed as Sherlock. He was wearing his velvet jacket (not the short one) over a navy blue dress shirt, tailored trousers and his brogues.
"You're going as half a Frankenstein's monster?"
Sherlock frowned. "No."
John continued to stare at him.
Sherlock sighed. "Remember that nightmare I had last week?"
"The one with the doctors and the straw? Oh!"
"You've had your brain removed!"
"Yes. Scary. Possibly the scariest thing imaginable." He frowned. "Is it OK?"
"Oh yes. Come on, let's go."
"Are you sure we can't just stay here instead?"
"Come on, Sherlock, just for a bit. I promise I'll dance with you."
"Now that is scary!"
Sherlock grinned as John pulled him from the flat.