John sighed, picking up yet another dirty shirt off of the living room floor. He tossed it into a nearby laundry basket and glared in the direction of the kitchen. "Seriously, Sherlock, do you actually have any clothes in your closet? Because it seem to me like they're all out here, on the floor."
"If I stored my dirty clothes in my room, as I'm sure you're suggesting, I wouldn't have room for my experiments," the consulting detective replied.
"Here's a thought," John said sarcastically, "do you own damn laundry! I'm your flatmate, not your house-keeper."
"Now you're starting to sound like Mrs. Hudson," Sherlock said, and John could hear the smirk in his voice. John shook his head and sighed again in defeat. Muttering curses at Sherlock, he grabbed a pile of clothes and plopped them into the basket.
A few hours later, John stood in the center of their now-clean living room, admiring his work. He knew that it wouldn't last more than a week, but he was still filled with a sense of accomplishment nonetheless.
Sherlock emerged from the kitchen for the first time that day clad in an apron, safety goggles, and yellow rubber gloves. John didn't bother asking what he had been doing. "So you finally finished?"
John nodded. "Yup. All I have to do is go fold the clothes. I'll bring you yours later." Sherlock said okay, then went back into the kitchen as John made his way upstairs to his bedroom where a laundry basket sat on his bed.
He hummed quietly as he worked, thinking about how he would kick Sherlock out of the kitchen so that he could attack that mess next. The folding was going well until John reached in for a shirt and pulled out a tangle of blue threads. He stared at it in confusion for a second, trying to figure out what it could be. When it finally dawned on him, he dropped it like a hot pan and jumped off of his bed.
"Shit," he whispered. "Shit, shit!" He paced around for a second, trying to think. Maybe it wasn't what he thought it was. Maybe it was something else, something completely unrelated to Sherlock.
He ran down stairs.
Sherlock was, of, course, still sitting at the table, peering into a microscope. "Yes?" he asked when John stopped at the doorway.
John waited a second before answering, trying to get his breathing under control. "Yeah, uh, do you know where your scarf is?" Sherlock glanced at him suspiciously.
"It should be in the living room. But if you're planning on washing it, too, then you need to hand-wash it. Otherwise it'll fall apart." John felt the blood drain from his face, and he walked away quickly.
"Okay, thanks." Stopping at the stairs he called out, "Oh, yeah, I found it!" He didn't wait for Sherlock to respond before running back to his room. He stood with his back against the door, staring at the remains of the scarf as if it were a bomb that would go off at any second.
Maybe he could fix it? He knelt down on the floor and picked up a few threads. Nope. It was definitely ruined. He ran a hand through his hair. How was he going to explain this to Sherlock? He wore that scarf literally everywhere. God, he was going to so pissed. And then he'll throw another temper tantrum, and John will have to go buy new mugs.
"I just bought some last week!" John moaned. He sat like that for a minute, kneeling on the floor, head in his hands before he stood up and started pacing.
"Maybe he won't notice it's gone," he muttered, then he rolled his eyes. "Of course he'll notice, he notices everything." He came up with a number of other ideas, all more ridiculous than the last. "Right then," he said as he placed his hand on his doorknob. "I'll just go down there and tell him. It was an accident, after all. He's an adult, after all. He should understand." And John was a soldier, for God's sake! He fought in Afghanistan! He's shot a murderous cabbie, been kidnapped by a Chinese mob, and had bombs strapped to his chest. He can go downstairs and tell his flatmate that he accidentally ruined his scarf.
But Sherlock was awfully busy with his experiment at the moment, and he hates being interrupted. It could wait until tomorrow, John decided.
Two weeks later, and Sherlock still didn't know about his scarf. They hadn't had a case, and Sherlock, too caught up in his own moping and sulking, hadn't noticed its absence. It just sat in John's drawer, plaguing his dreams.
If asked, John honestly wouldn't be able to say why it bothered him so much. All he knew was that he hadn't gotten a decent night's sleep since it had happened. Not only that, but he couldn't find the words for his blog, and his tea-making skills had gone down the drain. John had noticed Sherlock giving him curious looks, but he had yet to say anything. And if Sherlock wasn't going to ask questions, John sure as hell wasn't going to bring it up first. Finally, though, the day came when John couldn't keep it a secret any longer.
Sherlock barged into his room, coat half-on and eyes gleaming in excitement. "John! Wonderful news! There's been a murder! Lestrade just called; come, we've got no time to lose!" He sprinted down the stairs, with John following behind nervously. He watched as Sherlock turned in a circle in the middle of the living room (which was once again a mess, to John's annoyance).
"Have you seen my scarf?" he asked, picking up stacks of papers and looking under cushions. John took a deep breath.
"Yes, well you see, about your scarf…" Sherlock stopped and gazed at John with a mixture of curiosity and impatience.
"Do you remember when I was cleaning the flat a couple weeks back?" Sherlock nodded. "Right," John continued, choosing to look at the ground rather than Sherlock's face. "Well, I was picking up your clothes, and I wasn't exactly paying attention—there was a quite a lot—and—"
"Spit it out already!" Sherlock snapped.
"I ruined your scarf!" John blurted out. Sherlock's eyes widened in surprise, and John hurried to continue. He could feel his face getting hot. "It was an accident, Sherlock. I'm really sorry. I know I should've told you sooner, but we didn't have a case or anything, and I was afraid you would be upset and—wait, why are you laughing?" For Sherlock was indeed chuckling, shaking his head in amusement.
He turned and went into his bedroom, leaving behind a confused John. When he returned, he had around his neck a scarf identical to the one John had destroyed. John's mouth fell open as he stuttered, "What the bloody hell is that!"
Still grinning, Sherlock replied. "Mycroft isn't exactly original when it comes to birthday and Christmas gifts. As a result, I have an entire drawer filled purely with blue scarves. I simply prefer to wear one at a time. It makes them last longer. Was that what was troubling you these past two weeks? I thought something had happened with Sarah, and you just weren't speaking about it."
"W-well yeah," John said defensively. "For all I knew that scarf was something special given to you by a grandmother…or…something." As he spoke, he got more and more embarrassed. "And why would you just assume that something was going on between me and Sarah? Everything's fine, thank you very much!"
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Please, John, you know I'm not one for sentiment. And if nothing's wrong at the moment, then I'd prepare yourself." John meant to ask what that was supposed to mean, but Sherlock was already at the door, turning up his collar. "If you're quite done fretting over scarves there is a crime scene awaiting my expertise." He then ran down the stairs and out the front door.
John lingered for a second, mentally cursing Sherlock and his entire drawer full of stupid blue scarves.