Title: Cabin Fever
Warnings: some references to John's PTSD at the beginning, but otherwise just pure fluff
Spoilers: Heavy references to a throwaway joke in Scandal and Hounds, no plot spoilers
Summary: A massive storm keeps John trapped in Baker Street with a half-blind (for science!), very bored Sherlock Holmes.
Author's notes: I haven't played Clue(do) since I was a kid and I did some extensive research to remind myself of the rules. I apologize for any mistakes made in regards to the rules or British version of the game.
This got kind of long on me and I was going to break it up, but the only suitable place made the parts really lopsided, so in the end I've kept it all as one piece. I may have fudged the way London electricity works for the sake of storytelling.
John was running to and fro in an infirmary full of patients, all screaming for attention. Every few moments, the ground shook with distant explosions that seemed to be getting louder and louder. John stumbled around, trying to help everyone, all the while being barked at by his superior officer who told him he needed to be doing better. John tried to explain that he'd never been prepared for this situation – they hadn't told him how to look after chickens in medical school. For every bed was occupied by chickens, squawking and screaming and bleeding.
A huge explosion went off and John woke up, then immediately tried to take cover. Which was hard, because he was wrapped firmly in his quilt and only succeeded in almost rolling himself off the bed. He suddenly made the connection that he was in his room at Baker Street, not Afghanistan, but he still threw his arms over his head at the next explosion that went off. It shook the whole room.
A flash of light zigzagged outside his bedroom window.
"Thunderstorm," he muttered to himself, raising his head to see the torrent of rain beating on his window pane. "It's a bloody thunderstorm, Watson, pull yourself together."
Another, slightly less powerful clap of thunder sounded and he only flinched a little. He sat up and took some breaths, trying to calm down. The thunder explained the explosions in his dream and his mind probably made the infirmary scenario up to explain it, but what the hell were the chickens about?
His shoulder throbbed and he massaged it, wincing as another clap of thunder followed an electric streak of lightening. His injury always played up in bad weather. Apparently getting shot turned you into some sort of meteorologist. Like a cow that laid down when a storm was brewing. Or an old person with arthritis.
He watched the storm rage for a few minutes, fascinated by the light show. He liked thunderstorms. He liked the feeling of being surrounded by nature, like a little animal in a burrow. He liked to burrow.
It was certainly a violent storm. A good day for curling up with a book on the couch and drinking tea. He got up and dressed, then headed downstairs.
"Me too," Mrs Hudson greeted him as they met on the landing. She nodded toward the shoulder he was still massaging. "I've been up half the night with my hip. It's the weather, you know."
They entered the living room together, where all the curtains had been drawn closed for some reason. John peeked through one to see that the weather seemed to have grown worse even as he'd walked down the stairs. The rain lashed against the panes, like a waterfall rather than individual drops. Lightning streaked from black clouds in the sky. Only a few people moved around the street, hunched into their macs and sprinting for cover.
"It's really raining," John said.
A snort of derision came from the kitchen. "I see my lessons in observation have finally paid off. Well done, John," Sherlock said.
"Ooh, it really is," Mrs Hudson said, coming to peer next to John.
"Oh, Mrs Hudson not you too," Sherlock complained. "What is it with people and weather? You'd think it was some sort of little miracle, the way everyone prattles on about it. 'Oh, looks like we're in for rain', 'the telly said it was going to be sunny', 'I wouldn't want to be in Kent, I hear they got two inches yesterday'. Please!"
"I'm glad I don't have to go anywhere today," Mrs Hudson added, ignoring Sherlock.
"The A&E is going to be jammed," John predicted. People always got stupid in bad weather.
Sherlock made a strangled cry of pain and John and Mrs Hudson shared a smile as they backed away from the window. John sat down at the table to check his e-mail and see how his blog was doing. Sherlock had already been using his laptop, as evidenced by the fact a webpage showing a variety of gruesome stab wounds was opened. He imagined most people stole their flatmate's laptops to look at porn. His flatmate stole his to look at gore. John decided he didn't need to see that this soon after waking up and closed it down.
He waded through the comments and e-mails, flagging what needed to be replied to and what could wait. Mrs Hudson fluttered around him, picking over the mess and putting away what she could. John was replying to a comment from Harry when he became aware of a sickening wet 'thwack' sound coming from the kitchen.
'And Sherlock's stabbing melons,' John added to his comment, before posting.
"I wish you wouldn't stab things, Sherlock," Mrs Hudson said. "It gives me nightmares."
"I always stab in a controlled environment," Sherlock assured her.
"I'm not sure the kitchen counts as a controlled environment, Sherlock," John said.
'Thwack!' went Sherlock's knife. "It is an environment and I am in control of it," he said. "Therefore it is a controlled environment." Thwack! Thwack!
"Yeah, I would challenge your definition of 'in control'," John said.
Sherlock didn't answer, as he looked to be attempting to snog the melons. John turned his attention back to his blog where, in the short time he'd looked away, Bill Murray and Mike Stamford had both commented asking if 'stabbing melons' was a euphemism.
'Oh God, no. Very literal,' John shot back, quickly.
"Sherlock, what have you done to your eyes!" Mrs Hudson exclaimed, as she entered the kitchen. "Your pupils are huge!"
John looked over in alarm, his mind having jumped to three possible conclusions in as many seconds for what Sherlock might have done to make his pupils dilate. None of them were good things.
"I have drops in for the experiment," Sherlock said. Mrs Hudson looked no less aghast. "Like you get at the optometrist, to examine your retinas."
"Where did you get mydriatic drops?" John demanded, his heart rate slowing down now that he knew Sherlock wasn't about to collapse from a drug overdose or head injury. He held up a hand. "No, I don't want to know. Why do you need to dilate your pupils?"
"I'm trying to ascertain a person's accuracy with a weapon when they have no near vision," Sherlock explained, managing as always to make a ridiculous idea sound like it was something everyone should have thought of.
"And how's your accuracy?" John asked.
"I can't tell, I have no near vision," Sherlock said.
John laughed and Sherlock made a face, turning back to the melons. John realized what he'd mistaken for snogging was actually Sherlock trying to see the results.
John tried again to finish up what he was doing on the computer, but was interrupted a few minutes later when Sherlock threw himself into a chair dramatically and declared that he was bored.
"I thought you were working on your melon theory?' John said.
"I'm done," Sherlock said. His leg bounced up and down. "And now I'm bored."
"You can't be bored already, you've only been not doing something for ten seconds," John said.
"I don't see how the length of time one is idle has anything to do with how bored one is," Sherlock said.
John sighed. "You were excited about those kidneys you got yesterday," he said. "Why don't you do something with them?"
"Mrs Hudson threw them out," Sherlock said, with a pout.
"I thought they were rotten meat!" Mrs Hudson said from the kitchen, in a way suggesting this was not the first time she'd defended herself about the incident. "You don't label anything, how am I supposed to know what's important? There was yoghurt in there with hair growing in it."
Sherlock perked up at that. "Really? Where?"
"I threw it out, Sherlock," she said, apologetically.
"You have no imagination, Mrs Hudson," Sherlock said, disappointed now.
John shook his head in amusement. "Well, you are a grown-up, Sherlock. In theory. Find something to do. Read a book."
"I have induced hyperopia," Sherlock reminded him.
"You should have thought of that before you put the drops in," John said. Sherlock mimicked him silently. "Very mature. Why don't you write something for your website? You haven't done that for awhile. Write about fingernail clippings or how to identify wine stains or something."
"I have induced hyperopia," Sherlock said, speaking slow to make it clear that John was an idiot. "Besides, no one reads my website now that you have your...'blog'."
John found himself rather perversely pleased by how jealous Sherlock was about his blog. It was the one area he had a one-up on him. "If you write something, I'll link to it."
"I don't need your pity hits," Sherlock snapped. It was such an odd phrase that even he looked confused by it.
"Well, I'm not your activities director, Sherlock, find something to do," John said.
Sherlock pulled his mobile from the pocket of his robe, squinting and holding it far back from his face to see the screen. "Maybe Molly has something interesting for me at the – John! Give me back my phone!"
John held it out of his reach, which was hard because Sherlock had the limbs of a spider. "You are not leaving the flat in this – " he got the distinct impression that Sherlock would punch him if he used the word 'weather', so settled on a repetition of "this. You are not going to Bart's."
Sherlock pouted. "It can't be that bad out there," he said.
"It is. And you can't walk around London half-blind," John pointed out. "Plus you'll have photophobia from the drops."
Sherlock ignored him and went over to the window to see for himself, wincing at the light when he opened the curtains. Another bolt of lightning flashed and he ducked his head in pain. He heaved a great, put upon sigh and flopped back into his chair. "I could always ask Molly to – "
"No, you're not skyping another autopsy, either," John cut him off. "Molly has better things to do than run around playing cameraman for you."
"Fine! Can I at least have my mobile back?" Sherlock asked.
"No," John said. He opened the drawer in the coffee table and shoved the phone in. "We both know you'll wander off into your room or somewhere and call her anyway."
Sherlock folded his arms across his chest and sat like a scolded child in the chair. His leg bounced faster. John ignored him, setting down on the couch to read a book and keep an eye on the drawer in case Sherlock made a move for it.
After several minutes of leg bouncing, Sherlock finally picked up the remote for the telly and flicked it on. He looked at the screen, making a variety of wincing faces, then he got up and disappeared into his bedroom. He returned a moment later wearing an expensive looking pair of sunglasses.
"Oh, those look smart," Mrs Hudson said, affectionately.
"They look ridiculous," John said.
"You look very nice," Mrs Hudson insisted. "Who wants tea?"
John and Sherlock both raised their hands. Sherlock climbed back into the chair, perching on it like a gargoyle. He turned up the volume on the television, able to watch now that the sunglasses were protecting his eyes. He flipped through the channels, making several derogatory remarks, until he landed on a children's show where the hosts were doing some sort of science experiment.
"So the universal indicator came up blue," the host announced, in the voice everyone used when talking to kids. "Does that make it an acid or an alkali?"
"Alkali," Sherlock answered.
"That's right, an alkali. That means it has a pH balance of more than..? Does anyone remember?"
"Seven," Sherlock said.
"Seven, that's right."
"Of course it's right, everyone knows that," Sherlock said.
John shook his head and chuckled. For the next few minutes Sherlock predicted whether various substances would be acids or alkalis, taking the whole business very seriously and prompting the hosts if they didn't 'respond' to his answer in a suitable period of time.
"This show is patronizing," he declared. "It's not accurately explaining the scientific principles involved."
"It's for children, Sherlock," John said. "They're trying to make science fun."
"Science is fun, it doesn't need to be made so," Sherlock said. "What are they doing now? I don't want to learn how to make a guitar from a tissue box and loo roll. What happened to the experiments?"
"It's just one segment of the show. The whole thing isn't experiments," John said. He wondered when he'd developed the ability to carry on a conversation and read a book at the same time. He suspected it was a survival mechanism. If he couldn't mulitask, he wouldn't get anything done.
"I could write a better show," Sherlock said.
"Sherlock, any kind of show you would create would be scarring to children," John said.
"But it would be educational," Sherlock said.
Mrs Hudson emerged from the kitchen with tea, which she handed out to both men. Sherlock began flipping through channels again, pausing only to tell a news report about the storm that it was mundane.
"Oooh, Lydia's on, stop there," Mrs Hudson said, sitting down in the other chair. "This is a wonderful show, Sherlock. John and I used to watch it before he got his job."
"I'm not proud of it!" John quickly defended himself.
Lydia was one of those shows where people came on to find out the fathers of their children or confess to having a phobia of carrots or a fetish for Marmite. When you were unemployed and spent most of your day in a flat with your landlady or chasing your flatmate around London, it was the kind of show that made you feel better about yourself.
"This is ridiculous," Sherlock said, about thirty seconds into the show. In less than two minutes, however, he was already predicting outcomes and yelling at the mother who couldn't figure out the father of her child was 'the one with the nose ring, look at his ear lobes!' By ten minutes into the show, he was correctly predicting segment names, right down to 'my fear of shoelaces is driving a wedge between my fiancée and I'. By half an hour, Sherlock was thoroughly engrossed. Which is exactly what happened the last time he'd watched a programme like Lydia.
"You'd think he could just wear Velcro, or slip ons, poor thing," Mrs Hudson said.
"Shh!" Sherlock said. "I need to hear how he pronounces his w's."
John was able to make good headway into his book over the next hour, as Lydia was followed by another show of a similar theme, which Sherlock and Mrs Hudson also watched. He felt it was safe to get up and make breakfast, while Sherlock was distracted. He made toast, deciding not to play 'Is that Jam or A Bodily Fluid?' and just stick with butter on it. At least the butter looked like butter, tasted like butter and was in a butter dish with the word 'butter' marked on it. Not that that was any insurance when you lived with Sherlock, but it had much better odds.
Mrs Hudson left halfway through the next show, to put the laundry into the dryer. She made Sherlock promise to let her know if 'that poor girl who was abducted by aliens ever found out if her boyfriend was cheating on her'. Sherlock waved a hand at her and told her to be quiet. He spend the rest of the show making comments to her empty chair.
John was starting to think the day might not be as bad as he predicted. Provided the trashy telly held out, Sherlock could be entertained for hours, despite the storm. John might actually get to finish his book.
Then the power went out.
There was dead silence in the flat for several seconds, interrupted only by a rumble of distant thunder.
"John," Sherlock said, in a flat voice.
"Don't panic," John told him.
"John," Sherlock repeated, more upset.
"It might just be off for a few minutes," John said. "Someone probably accidentally cut into something or the storm messed something up."
"John!" Sherlock said, flinging himself up out of the chair and tearing off the sunglasses. He stood still, his eyes flicking from side to side like a wild animal. "I need electricity. I cannot function without electricity."
"You mean all this time I could have just unplugged you?" John said.
"This is not a laughing matter, John," Sherlock snapped.
John laughed anyway. Sherlock glared at him. John held up his hands in surrender. "I'm sorry. You're right. It's very serious. But people survived hundreds of years without electricity, I'm sure you can survive for however long it takes them to fix it. Just sit down and be calm."
To his credit, Sherlock did appear to be trying to sit down and be calm. He sat down at least, curling up in a ball on the chair and staring at the skull on the mantelpiece. John went back to his book.
"It's too quiet!" Sherlock shouted, approximately ten seconds later. John looked pointedly at the window, where the drumming of rain and the occasional clap of thunder could be heard. "That doesn't count!"
"Play your violin, make some noise," John suggested. "You don't need to see to play, do you?"
Sherlock opened his mouth to argue and then seemed to realize it wasn't a bad suggestion. Soon, the flat was filled with music. Not particularly happy music, John noted. The first piece was rather dark and ominous and the second was frantic and frenzied. The third piece, something sounding like it belonged at a funeral, stopped abruptly halfway through.
"It's not working!" Sherlock said.
John sighed. "For God's sake, Sherlock! Can you not just sit down and be quiet like a normal person? Have a nap. When you wake up, everything will likely be back to normal."
"I don't do naps," Sherlock said, coldly.
"You should try," John said. "Give your brain a rest for a bit."
"No!" Sherlock said. "I can't! I can't just...stop...thinking, like you can. My brain is going, constantly. It doesn't turn off. It is always moving. I can sometimes quiet it, but I can't mute it entirely. I don't know why you don't understand that. I'm not a normal person."
"That I know," John said.
Sherlock scowled and began to pace. He was bordering on manic now. John had a rough 'Boredom Scale' in his head, with landmarks for each level of Sherlock's behaviour. They were entering into danger levels now. Sherlock climbed back into the chair and rocked back and forth, rubbing his hands together. Then he got up and paced some more. By the time he'd grabbed the knife off the mantelpiece and began eyeing the chair with a worrisome gleam, John knew he'd have to act.
"Okay, okay," he said. "What do you want to do?"
Sherlock looked around desperately. "I don't know! What do people do?"
John always found it disturbing that Sherlock never classified himself as 'people'. "We could...play a game?"
Sherlock consider that for a moment. "Chess?" he suggested.
"Not Chess. Every time we play, you last for about ten minutes, then lose patience and tell me the moves of the rest of the game and yell at me for being predictable," John said.
"You are genuinely rubbish at it," Sherlock said. "Cards?"
"You count them," John said.
Sherlock sighed. "I still don't understand why that bothers everyone so much. It's a perfectly reasonable approach. Why would go you into any situation without having as much information as possible?" He stabbed the knife down into the stack of mail a couple of times. "What else is there?"
John cast about for inspiration, but neither he nor Sherlock were big games players. "I'll go see if Mrs Hudson has something," he said. "Just...don't stab anything while I'm gone."
"I can't promise that," Sherlock said.
John hurried downstairs.
He knocked on Mrs Hudson's door and she opened it a moment later. "I was just going to come and see how you're doing," she said, looking fussed. "I called to see what was happening with the power cut because I was worried for Sherlock. The explanation seemed very complicated, but they're working to fix it. It's just our area that got cut. Is Sherlock all right?"
"He's got a knife," John said.
Her eyes widened. "Poor thing," she said. "How can I help?"
John explained the situation and she said she might have something in a cupboard somewhere. A thorough search finally revealed a very battered, dusty, falling apart version of Cluedo that looked like it might have been purchased in the 60's.
John took it upstairs. He was relieved to find the chair was still intact, though the pile of mail looked to be skewered beyond legibility.
"What's that?" Sherlock demanded.
"Cluedo," John said. "You'll like it. It's about a murder."
Sherlock's interest perked at this and he came over to watch while John sorted through the box.
"I haven't played this since I was a kid," John said, scanning over the rules to remind himself how it all worked.
He explained the general point of the game to Sherlock as he set-up the board. Sherlock interrupted several times to ask questions, demanding to know why Dr Black was having a party, why his mansion only had one floor and what the backgrounds of the guests were.
"It's not important," John said.
"How am I supposed to solve the murder without the proper facts?" Sherlock asked.
"You'll see as we play," John assured him.
The knife piece appeared to have been lost and Sherlock suggested they use a real knife, as the pieces were 'cheap facsimiles anyway'. John vetoed that idea and replaced it with a paper clip instead.
"These people have ludicrous names," Sherlock said, as the cast of characters was revealed.
"Look who's talking," John said.
"My name is not ludicrous," Sherlock said. "It is merely unique."
"It's a little bit ludicrous, Sherlock," John insisted. "What character do you want to be?"
"Is there any strategic advantage to choosing a specific one?" Sherlock asked.
"Miss Scarlet goes first and Mrs Peacock has the shortest distance to a room," John said.
Sherlock considered this very carefully. "What one are you choosing?" he asked.
"When I used to play with my family, I was always Colonel Mustard," John said. "So, I guess I'll keep up the tradition."
"I will be Professor Plum," Sherlock said, saying this as though it were a momentous decision. "One would assume he has the most intelligence."
"It's just a piece of plastic, Sherlock," John said.
"And you've chosen yours based on nostalgia," Sherlock pointed out.
John smirked and finished setting up the board. Sherlock's pupils had contracted enough that he could sort of see what he was doing now, though John had to move his piece around and when he showed his cards, he had to hold them back far enough for Sherlock to see them. Sherlock received his Detective Notes sheet and began scribbling in the 'notes' box, which John had never seen anyone actually use. He wasn't sure how Sherlock was managing to write when he couldn't see, but he was doing it with a will.
Sherlock seemed to enjoy the game as they played, which surprised John. He made his guesses and scribbled so much in his notes section that John had to give him three more sheets before the end of the game. And John for, as Sherlock would put it, purely nostalgic reasons, enjoyed himself as well. Games night at the Watson household was one of the rare times the family could do something together without it turning into a fiasco and John had fond memories of it.
"I would like to make an accusation," Sherlock announced, after they'd played for awhile.
"Go for it," John said.
"Dr Black, in the cellar, with the lead pipe," he said, with confidence.
John looked at him. "Dr Black is the victim, Sherlock," he said. "And the cellar isn't an option."
"But it's the only solution that makes sense," Sherlock said. "He must have been killed in the cellar, that's where his body was found. None of the other guests have the physical strength to move his body from one of the other locations. Not that he's dead, mind you."
"He's not?" John asked, against his better judgement.
"No, no. You have to think about it logically," Sherlock said. He got up to pace. "What sort of person throws a party but only invites people with colour-based last names? They must be aliases and people only need aliases when they have to disguise their true identities. Therefore we can assume that they all have some sort of criminal backgrounds. So Dr Black, also probably an alias, invites these dubious characters to his home with the intention of staging his murder and providing several suspects, all of whom have a background that would make them instantly suspicious to anyone investigating. I suspect the motive on his part is some sort of insurance scheme. He's in need of money, as evidenced by the fact only one floor of his supposed 'mansion' is open to the public. The second floor is probably in need of repair. He can also only afford to hire one staff member, Mrs White, who appears from her portrait to be a maid or cook of some sort. That's hardly enough people to run a whole household."
John just stared at him. "Really?" he said. "You're really going to do this over a board game?"
"Furthermore," Sherlock said, ignoring him. "We can also rule out several of the weapons. The revolver and the dagger would have left obvious marks on the body, so there would be no question of which weapon was used. The same can be said for the rope, which would have left marks on the neck. That leaves the trio of blunt instruments, which could theoretically be used without leaving a distinctive mark on the body. A candlestick is a common enough object and a spanner's presence can be explained by the aforementioned repairs to the house, but what business does a lead pipe have in a country mansion, just left in one of the rooms? It is the odd one out, so it must be the weapon."
"But...it's not," John said. "You know it's not. We ruled it out. I had the lead pipe card. I showed it to you. You marked it down."
"I marked it down, but I did not rule it out," Sherlock declared. "Think about it, John, where do these cards come from? On what source are they based? Why should be believe what they are telling us?"
"We're the detectives," John tried again. "We're gathering the evidence."
"We aren't the detectives, you're Colonel Mustard and I'm Professor Plum," Sherlock insisted. "We can't be both, John."
"It's a game, Sherlock! It's just a game. It doesn't have to make sense," said John.
"Of course it does!" Sherlock said. "What's the point of it if it doesn't? It's not fun if it doesn't make sense. The only possible conclusion is that Dr Black faked his death, in the cellar, with the lead pipe. Possibly with the help of Miss Scarlett. She found the body, so she may be in on it but I confess I'd have to play again to confirm my theory."
John snatched up the envelope with the solution and opened it. "The only possible conclusion," he said, showing Sherlock the cards. "Is Rev. Green, in the conservatory, with the revolver."
"That's what Dr Black wants us to think, that's the way he's planted the evidence, but it doesn't make sense," Sherlock said. He was in his full glory now, posed with his hands steepled at his chest; a classic 'I am so clever' pose that frequently made John want to punch him. "If he was killed in the conservatory, how did he get to the cellar? If he was shot, why did no one hear the noise? Why is it not obvious from the wound that it was from a bullet? What possible motive could Rev. Green have?"
"But the rules..." John said.
"The rules must be wrong," Sherlock said.
"They're the rules, Sherlock," John said. "You have to follow them. There's no point if there's no rules."
"That's why you will never be a great mind, John," Sherlock declared. "You can only see in black and white. You have to think outside the box."
"The victim cannot be the killer!" John said. He couldn't believe he was getting this riled over a board game, but couldn't seem to help himself.
"His house doesn't have any bedrooms!" Sherlock shouted. "Why invite six people to stay if you don't have anywhere to put them?"
"Because, it is a board game!" John said. "It is a bloody board game!"
"I don't see how that has any relevance," Sherlock said.
They were both yelling at each other now and John, struck by the utter hilarity of the situation, burst out laughing. Sherlock stared at him, dumbfounded, which only made John laugh harder. Then Sherlock cracked a smile and started to laugh, too.
"We're never playing this again," John said, after he'd calmed down.
"But I haven't fully established my theory," Sherlock said.
John shook his head. "No. It's on the list of banned games. Chess, cards, Monopoly and Cluedo."
"The Monopoly incident was not my fault," Sherlock said.
"Yes it was," John said. "I'm packing this up and putting it away. Also, give me back your mobile."
Sherlock feigned innocence. He soon realized it wasn't going to work and rolled his eyes, removing the mobile from his pocket. John put it back in the drawer, along with the Cluedo game.
"What now?" Sherlock asked.
"I think I've done my share for the Bored Detective cause," John said. "You think of something."
Sherlock pouted and then got up to pace around the room. He opened and closed drawers and pulled out various objects, examined and returned them. He paused at the Sudoku Rubics cube and took it back to sit down and work on it.
John returned his book, thinking it would take awhile for Sherlock to solve it.
It took fifteen minutes.
However, Sherlock looked very pleased when he was done.
"I can see!" he announced, tossing the cube up and catching it.
"Praise the Lord!" John said, in his best televangelist voice.
Sherlock hurried to the kitchen to work on his melons. Two minutes later the power came back on. A shout of joy echoed from the kitchen. John relaxed with his book, stretching full out on the couch now that he knew Sherlock had something to distract himself with.
A good two hours passed with only the sounds of squishing melons and Sherlock's murmurings coming from the kitchen. The thunder seemed to have died away and now only the heavy rain remained. Mrs Hudson bought up sandwiches for lunch, which John ate and Sherlock waved away. John went downstairs to return the dishes before Sherlock got hold of them. When he came back upstairs, Sherlock was standing the living room, aiming his gun toward the kitchen.
"What the hell are you doing now?" John demanded.
"I'm practising my aim," Sherlock said. "No point in wasting perfectly good melons."
"Give me the gun," John said, holding out his hand. Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Seriously, give me the gun. I can disarm you. I will. Give me the gun."
"Oh, fine," Sherlock said, handing the revolver over. John quickly removed the bullets. The gun went into the Drawer of Banned Things, with the mobile and Cluedo. John sat on the couch and put his feet on the coffee table over the drawer to ensure Sherlock couldn't get to it.
"You know, you could eat the melons," John said. "That would be a sensible solution for not wasting them."
Sherlock waved his hand as though dismissing the notion as ridiculous and flung himself into the chair again.
John suddenly noticed that the Cludeo board was on the wall next to the mirror, held in place by Sherlock's knife. He rolled his eyes. "Very mature," he said, gesturing to the display.
"I wanted it where I could see it," Sherlock said. "I will figure out how the murder was accomplished."
John picked up his book as a sign that he was done discussing the game. He was really very close to finishing it and that almost never happened. Sherlock got up and retrieved a book for himself. Then there was blessed silence in the flat for almost an hour.
The rain stopped around three in the afternoon. Sherlock announced this with great joy.
"You do realize you just commented on the weather, don't you?" John said.
This earned him a withering glare. Sherlock turned his back to him and stuck his nose in his book.
At 4:15, the coffee table rang. Both men were momentarily confused until they realized what was going on. Sherlock was reading in his chair and was so excited, he climbed over the back of it rather than just standing up and then dove over the coffee table. John barely managed to pull his legs in and roll out of the way before Sherlock landed on the couch. He yanked open the drawer and pulled his mobile out.
"For the love of Christ, please tell me that someone has died!" he yelled into it. He listened for a moment and then threw an arm up in triumph. "We will be right there."
He ended the call and vaulted over the coffee table, hurrying through the kitchen to his bedroom. Less than two minutes later, he emerged fully dressed.
"Why are you still sitting there?" he demanded of John. "Hurry up! Get us a cab! We have to go now!"
John was three pages away from the end of his book. He considered asking for five minutes, but feared Sherlock would leave without him. He tossed the book aside and followed Sherlock downstairs, grabbing his coat as he went.
Mrs Hudson came out to see what the commotion was. Sherlock spun her around gleefully and kissed her forehead, before opening the door and tromping out into the puddles.
"There's been a murder," John told a confused Mrs Hudson.
She smiled. "Oh, excellent," she said. "That'll be nice for him. Have fun!"
John often wondered if Sherlock knew how lucky he was having Mrs Hudson for a landlady. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and followed Sherlock out.
It took them a few minutes to find a cab, John patiently attempting to keep up with Sherlock as he ran through the streets like a mad man. He threw himself in front of the first one they saw and John winced in anticipation of his being run over. He wasn't.
"Mayfair, quick as you can," Sherlock told the driver, as they hopped in. "If you do it without speaking about the weather, I will give you an extra twenty quid."
"Deal," the driver said, quickly.
They sped off, sending water flying as they went.
"I think I've figured it out," Sherlock announced.
"We haven't even been to the scene yet," John said.
Sherlock waved a dismissive hand. "No, not that. Cluedo. I think I've figured out how the murder was accomplished," he said. "I failed to take into account the possibility that the body was not Dr Black at all, but a person who he hired to pretend to be him. Then he could murder himself and pin it on someone else, collect the life insurance and be out of debt."
John rubbed his forehead. "Sherlock, if you can make it to the crime scene without speaking about Cluedo, I will buy you new kidneys," he said.
Sherlock grinned. "Deal."