John was woken up by the sound of the phone ringing. He did not want to get up. It was the first time in over 48 hours that he had actually had any sleep, and it wasn't fair that he should have to give it up all for some bloody stupid phone call. However, he could already feel it slipping away, and much like a cold breeze, he could feel daylight and reality and being awake slip over him.
Sighing, he got out of bed and went downstairs, looking around for his flatmate.
"Busy." came the reply from the kitchen, and John briefly wondered if it was possible that Sherlock had actually managed to blow something up already. He quickly dismissed the unpleasant thought from his mind, and picked up the still-ringing phone.
"John." A tight, worried voice reached up the line. "It's Lestrade. You've got to get down here, you and Sherlock."
Hearing the obvious distress in his friend's voice, John said, "Lestrade, is everything...alright? I mean, obviously something's happened, but...is there anything...else?"
A pause. "...John, it's Sally Donovan."
"What? Sergeant Sally Donovan? Why, what's happened to her? Is she hurt?"
"She's gone missing, John. Her flat's empty, but there's...well, there's a note. Just thought you should come and, you know...take a look."
"Oh, God...I am so sorry, Lestrade, really. I mean...God. Missing? Sally? It's just...Jesus Christ, Greg. It's a bit of a shock, I suppose. Look, we'll be there in ten. Okay. Bye."
John hung up and made his way through to the kitchen, where Sherlock was setting fire to something. He didn't ask what. John cleared his throat.
"Um, Sherlock, we, uh, we need to get down to the Yard."
The consulting detective didn't look up. "Why?"
"There's been an abduction. Sally Donovan. Went missing this morning, and there's a note in her flat."
At this, Sherlock looked up. "What?"
"Sergeant Donovan, Sherlock. Abducted, this morning, note in her flat! Now, I know that whoever did it is probably doing you a favour, but I am going to help and you are coming with me, like it or not."
"You think whoever took Sally Donovan is doing me a favour?" Sherlock asked, actually sounding...surprised.
"Well, it's not exactly a secret that you two hate each other."
"That doesn't mean I want to see an innocent person kidnapped. Sergeant Donovan is many things, and it's true that she doesn't like me and I'm not particularly fond of her either, but she's still an innocent person."
John just stared at Sherlock. He didn't think he'd ever seen his flatmate give such an amazing display of humanity. Shaking his head as if to shake off the shock, he said,
"Right, will I, uh, call us a cab, then?"
The small fire in front of Sherlock suddenly flared up, causing the two men to leap back from the table.
"You get a cab, I'll be right behind." Sherlock said, eyeing the fire. John nodded.
"Right. I'll meet you at the Yard."
Rain. Everywhere, it's raining. Small, silver droplets, falling from the sky. Rain, rain's good. Clears my head, helps me to think.
There's no cabs. Looks like I'm walking to the Yard. I don't mind, it isn't far. Not for me, anyhow. Besides, it's nice to get everything out of my mind. So full, always so damn full, everything, all the time, like a clock...never stops ticking, but the rain...just focus on the wet drumbeat, the splash of feet in puddles, the rain slowly soaking my clothes, my skin, everything...like it's a part of me, soaking right into me...
The rain is nice. A welcome, a relief. Rain doesn't ask questions, not like people do. It doesn't matter what people say, they can call me what they like now, because the rain will always drown it out. That comforting, familiar pitter-patter, at the windows, on the roof, against the door...just the rain, that's all there is...washing everything else away, making it all clean again...I can forget everything, forget I'm me. I'm just another human being, caught up in the rain, swept along in the storm.
Why do they all shelter from it? The rain? They crave their voices being heard above all others, to stand tall over everyone else...don't they want the rain's shelter? The protection it offers? In the rain, you are anyone.
Sometimes I wish it rained forever. Just me, trapped, in the eternal downpour. The rain would wash away all else, all other people...
Mycroft always told me caring is a disadvantage. Just for now, I don't need to worry about that. I'm just here, enjoying the feel of water trickling down my skin, cleaning me, hiding me.
Nobody else understands. Even John wouldn't understand. Rain makes me invisible, just another one of the crowd. For once, I'm not the freak of Scotland Yard or the high-functioning sociopath, shooting the wall in 221B.
What I'm saying is that I'm not a label.
I know how they see me, and it irritates me to death. Their absolute stupidity. How well they think they know me. It's like they think people have a word printed on their head, and that's them. That one label is one person, like we're all two-dimensional. They never think to look any deeper, that there might be more. John tries, I know he does, and Mrs Hudson. Even Lestrade makes an effort, but they are all just so bloody stupid. They can't understand; everything, running through my head at every hour of the day and night. It's not just that sleeping slows me down, it's that my mind simply does not have the ability to stop until I'm about to collapse of exhaustion. I didn't ask for my mind to be the way it is, but most days I honestly don't care. It's just a part of me, one I know well and can use to my advantage. But it's stupid people like Donovan and Anderson that really get on my nerves when they think they know it all, but really they don't know the half of it.
Thinking they can sum it all up in little short words that mean absolutely nothing. Because they don't know what it's like, always thinking, always on the go. When I was a child, believe it or not, all I wanted was to be normal. I don't think about it so much now, but it always gets me when people think they know me so well, know how I work, what I am, and they've only just scratched the surface. They don't understand, they never will understand.
It gives me an excuse to hide, just a few short minutes of privacy. Nobody pays attention to you in the rain; they're all too busy hurrying home to dry off.
I'm like a ghost, like a phantom, passing, unseen, through the London streets.
The cab pulled up smartly next to him, sending ripples through all the puddles, still being filled more and more with rain. Without even thinking about it, Sherlock stopped walking and got in, telling the driver,
"Scotland Yard, quickly, if you don't mind."
In the grey, rainy half-light, the driver gave a rather sinister smile. "Certainly, sir. New Scotland Yard it is."
They never got there.
In retrospect, getting into a taxi that just happened to pull up next to him when he was cold, wet, and almost totally lost in thought probably hadn't been the best idea Sherlock had ever had, if the chloroform mask currently being forced over his face was anything to go by.