"Obviously, it was the grocer," Sherlock concluded with finality. He had been expounding upon his most recent case in excruciating detail to John, working through all the details aloud (to curry John's favor and attention, although he would never admit such a thing). The consulting detective paused now with a superior smirk upon his face, steepled fingers pressed against his lips, waiting for the chorus of "Brilliant!" "Amazing!" "Fantastic!" "How the bloody hell do you know that?" that was due to come any moment now, yes, just now…except…there was nothing. The flat was silent, and Sherlock quirked his head, looking about him with mild interest, quickly furrowing brows, and burgeoning suspicion. Where was John?
The flat was quiet, eerily clean; there was no sign of the blogger. Sherlock struggled to recall the last time that John had spoken. Hadn't he said something about going to Tesco's for milk? Ah, yes, that was it. He had mentioned something to that effect earlier. Yes, Tescos, that was where John was, surely. Sherlock flopped back into a reclined position on the sofa and scanned the still quiet flat. Quiet was all well and good when Sherlock was trying to concentrate, deduce, puzzle the intricate mysteries of human stupidity, wander through his mind palace for hours on end. Quiet was less tolerable when the solving was over, the cases complete, everything put in its place, and he required immediate and unrelenting attention. He glared moodily at the skull on the mantle, as if were personally responsible for John's absence.
Sherlock noticed his mobile sitting on the coffee table. Though it was quite close, it was not within reaching distance, and Sherlock contemplated the short walk necessary to retrieve it as if it would require momentous effort analogous to a tri-continental journey (rather than five short steps). This was when he realized: didn't he ask John to pass him his mobile earlier? A crinkle appeared above Sherlock's nose as he became increasingly consternated, why hadn't John handed him his mobile? And come to think on it (Sherlock jerked abruptly into a seated position, frown deepening) hadn't that been the third time he had asked for his mobile? Where was the cup of coffee he'd requested earlier? And the tea? Sherlock's eyes surveyed the flat, on the lookout for any suspicious data. Where was John's laptop? He would not require his computer to do the shopping and he would not have gone to "work" at a café, not when Sherlock was on a case and "finally bloody quiet." The detective launched himself off the sofa with violent energy and snatched his mobile phone from the table with mounting worry (though Sherlock, of course, would not recognize or acknowledge the jumpy feeling spreading from the tips of his toes to the ends of his curls as concern).
No missed calls. No new messages. No texts (unless you counted the ten from Mycroft and three from Lestrade, and Sherlock did not). Sherlock sent a rapid-fire text to John and, when it was not promptly replied to, fired off another fifteen in prompt succession. All unreturned in a five minute frame, which in his agitated frame of mind, Sherlock considered to be completely unacceptable. He snorted briefly in disgust with himself, as he texted both Mycroft and Lestrade, ignoring the contents of their previous messages and demanding instantaneous explication of his blogger's whereabouts. Sherlock narrowed his eyes. If Mycroft had kidnapped John again, he would be very sorry indeed.
The consulting detective threw the phone at the sofa with loathing and grabbed fistfuls of his own hair, tugging it in blatant consternation, before pacing the flat in long strides, which carried him round and round the furniture and then up and over it. Had John left a note? Sherlock stopped short, perched on the arm of John's chair, and redirected his energies, frantically searching for such a missive. First in obvious places: the kitchen table, the refrigerator door (which Sherlock quickly divested of magnets) the countertops. No note. He moved into the sitting room. He removed every object on John's desk, tossing papers, forms, pictures, electronic equipment, medical journals, fan mail, the hideous vase that John's mother had sent him for Christmas (Sherlock felt no remorse when the thing shattered upon hitting the floor. John hadn't liked it anyway, and Sherlock hated it).
Sherlock was beginning to panic now. John always left some indication of his movements when he left. This lack of notice was highly out of character and wholly unpalatable. The consulting detective continued his search, desperately pulling apart the sofa, throwing the Union Jack pillow across the room; he ransacked through his composition notes, leaving scattered sheets and scores in his wake as he climbed atop his chair and began pulling books off of the shelves with impunity, rifling through them before dropping them with resounding crashes against the floor.
"No. No. No. No. No. No." He exclaimed, throwing his hands into the air before leaping over to John's chair and hopping to the floor. He searched behind the impaled Cluedo board (hurling the knife at the opposite wall), tossed the empty milk carton at the smiley face spray painted on the wall, spun in a frustrated circle, running his hands agitatedly through his hair again, and faintly growling. Not even the discovery of an "emergency" carton of cigarettes (one of which he promptly lit up, and the rest of which he quickly and securely placed in his jacket pocket) alleviated his frustration. He picked up his skull with a vigorous swoop and a stormy expression and was either about to viciously interrogate it or throw it against the front door to further demonstrate his displeasure when said door sprung open. Sherlock's mouth parted and a smile began to form upon his lips before the countenance of Mrs. Hudson appeared, darkening his displeasure by several degrees.
"Sherlock," she said, "I heard a dreadful racket, are you all—what have you done the flat?"
She clasped her hands to her mouth as she took in the debris that had accumulated in the past fifteen minutes. Sherlock had no care for that. He crossed the room in three strides and loomed menacingly over his landlady.
"For heaven's sake, not now, Mrs. Hudson," he took her shoulders in his hands and fixed her with his most piercing stare, "Where is John?"
"John?" She appeared baffled, and Sherlock rolled his eyes, must everyone be so dense all the time?
"Yes. John," he elaborated, "short fellow, rooms with me, has a exacting predilection for jumpers (some of which are particularly hideous), recently returned from Afghanistan, enjoys tea and jam, frequently assists me on cases, blogs, John."
Mrs. Hudson continued to look puzzled, "Isn't he away?"
"Away!" Sherlock repeated, eyeing his landlady as if she had kidnapped John and was hiding him somewhere.
"Isn't he at that medical conference? He's been talking about it for weeks now," she backed away and sighed as she glanced around the room before fixing Sherlock with a reproving glare both for demolishing the flat again and not having the decency to notice that John had been gone for forty eight hours, "left two days ago."
Sherlock gaped like a fish. Mrs. Hudson tutted, "Bit tetchy are we? You just sit down. There's a good lad."
Sherlock frowned, turning instantly stroppy, personally affronted by John's disappearance, and Mrs. Hudson's complicity in the plot.
"I do not want to sit down. I want John. Get me John."
Mrs. Hudson placed her hands firmly on her hips. "Sherlock, John will be home in a bit, now you sit down and behave." She muttered several things as she bustled about. Sherlock heard snippets that sounded like "bloody madman," "thank goodness it wasn't the gun again" "what a mess!" and "what a horrible boyfriend, doesn't even notice when John's out of town." She gave up on the sitting room immediately and went to see if there was anything salvageable in the kitchen (Sherlock heard her shriek upon the discovery of human noses in the vegetable cabinet, and smirked slightly before continuing to glare). She gave him a firm lecture about perishables and eating properly and appropriate separation of experiments and food in kitchen spaces. Sherlock tuned her out completely with a "yes, of course." She huffed some more and then left to get some "proper food" for 221B, while reminding Sherlock that she was not his housekeeper.
Sherlock jumped up the moment she was gone. He resumed his pacing, invaded John's room, throwing jumpers (didn't he own anything else?) across the bed and unearthing his collection of detective novels from the foot of his closet. He smoked another four cigarettes, texted John three more times, decided to search for bugs that Mycroft had left in the flat, which involved the destruction of two lamps, messaged Lestrade asking for a new case, hacked John's blog, found John's gun, and used it to add further decoration to the wall.
When John Watson walked into the flat, half an hour later, tired after a long journey, looking forward to a nice up of tea, he was greeted by the sight of Sherlock seated on the floor, smoking gun in one hand, cigarette in the other, leaning his back against the sofa. He was settled in the midst of what appeared to be their collective worldly possessions, several of which were broken, most of which were damaged, facing new graffiti sprayed and shot onto the wall.
"What the bloody—?" John dropped his suitcase and placed his right hand firmly against his eyes, taking a deep breath. "Missed me did you?"
Sherlock looked up at John from his position on the floor with a strangely childlike expression on his face and a lingering panicky look about the edges. "You vanished, John."
"I didn't vanish!"
"You weren't here," the detective accused.
"Obviously," the blogger retorted throwing his hands wide.
"You left without telling me. Not even a note," Sherlock admonished, crossing his arms tightly against his chest.
"I've been telling you for four weeks. You said it was fine. And you hate when I leave notes. Said it was 'pedantic.'"
"You did not."
"Yeah, I did. It's not my fault that you weren't paying attention."
"I always pay attention."
John snorted, "Apparently not."
"You were gone. I didn't know where you had gone. I may have overreacted. Slightly," they both took a moment to look around them at the wasteland that used to be their sitting room. Then they began laughing, chuckling, giggling even. John had to put his hands on his knees to catch his breath.
"Maybe? Maybe overreacted? Bit of an understatement, don't you think?" he laughed some more, "Sherlock, you tore the bloody flat apart."
Sherlock smirked somewhat sheepishly, and John rolled his eyes.
"Right, fine," he grabbed his case with one hand and wiped his streaming eyes with the other, "I'm going to go put this away, then how about we get a bite to eat, yeah?"
"Fine," Sherlock said as if he couldn't care less, but John could see right through him to his secretly pleased core.
"You're cleaning this up, you know?"
"Of course, John." Sherlock smirked more broadly, and John glared suspiciously before walking down the hall, talking to himself, something to the effect of "why he can't just show affection like a normal person…" "no, 'I'm bloody Sherlock Holmes, I'll just tear the bloody flat to pieces.'" "git."
Sherlock rose to his feet, buttoned his suit jacket purposefully, glanced in the mirror and smoothed his curls in a semblance of order, adjusting his shirt, and putting on his consulting detective face. Three, two one, he thought, and was met with John's voice, echoing down the corridor full of annoyance, bordering on rage:
"Sherlock! What the hell did you do to my room?"
Sherlock smiled at his reflection before pivoting towards John's voice and calling back, "It's good to have you home, John. Now, let's be off to dinner, shall we?"
This is dedicated to my brilliant, amazing, meretricious, fantastic Hunter, who is the John to my Sherlock and whose trip out of town a few weeks ago inspired this fic. I, thankfully, was not as completely oblivious as Sherlock, but the sentiment was the same.
Thanks for reading! Please leave a review, if you get the chance. I rather hope that this was a nice, light break from my more angsty stuff (new chapter of No Words will be up on Friday). Friendly reminder that I am always open to prompts/requests.