There's a dull static-like buzz emitting from the little silver box just beside the front door. The thin ginger man doesn't move for it—he packs the next pinch of the odorous green plant into the glass bowl and heaves an exasperated sigh. "Ain't no one s'posed to be comin' round right now," he tells it, his eyebrows lifting in something between exasperation and surprise. "No one's rung me. Got two rules, and these punters can't even follow 'em." He packs the pinched bud into the bowl with his thumb, adds a bit more. The buzzing becomes slightly more incessant, the button at the entryway obviously being held down for longer periods.
John Watson glances between the door and the man. He watches the methodical packing and eventual sliding of the small water-pipe toward him. "They sound like they might need you," he mentions, picking it up delicately and looking to the door once more.
"If they know where I live, they know how it works," the man replies.
"Gabe, it's going to do my head in any minute," John retorts.
The ginger man called Gabe throws John a look, one quirked brow and a downward turn of the corner of his mouth. He inhales deeply and sighs in that same tired way he had before. "Fine," he says, hands upon his knees as he pushes himself up to a stand. "Tryin' to teach th'bugger a lesson, but fine. Do it your way."
Gabe the Ginger makes for his door and turns back to John. He gives the twenty-something a nod, looks to the bong. "Go 'head and start that off." John does so with a return nod, snatching up the blue lighter from the coffee table and sparking it to life.
The button gets deployed and Gabe speaks into the speaker box gruffly. "What d'you want?" he asks, dropping his hand heavily once he's finished. A moment later, a voice comes back, deep and tinny. "Quatre-vingts," it says, and Gabe holds off on replying immediately. His eyes shut and a resigned sort of sigh escapes him. His head droops and his lips move in a silent curse. Finally, he smacks the button and tells the stranger, "Yeah, all right. Come up." Then he deploys the second button, the red one marked 'Front'.
"Who's that?" John asks, choked around held smoke as he holds the bong up toward Gabe. He releases his breath and the dense cloud billows into the room.
"This... absolute cunt of a bloke," he says, shaking his head as he flops himself back into his seat. "Don't seem him very often, thank fuck for that, but he-" Gabe stops in order to take his hit, sucking up the rest of the charred green in the bowl and setting the piece on the table. "But he always buys big and he doesn't hang about any longer than I need," he explains in his exhale. "If he didn't, I'dve told him to fuck off ages ago," he adds, shaking his head once again.
Johns chuckles, a short sound, and shakes his head as well. "Can't be all that bad, can he?"
Gabe gives him a look, a knowing look that begs not to be questioned. There's a quick rapping on the door that brings both sets of eyes to stare at it. "Yeah, s'open," Gabe calls over his shoulder. He begins the packing of a second bowl as the door opens.
The man who walks in is twenty-two at best. Long, lean, pale. He's dressed in what can only be regarded as fashionable, with a mop of dark curls to top it all off. John notices his eyes right off—in this light, they're pale and possibly grey. He can't be certain. The stranger shuts the door behind him and strides to Gabe's free side, ignoring the second man in the room and peering down to the redhead.
"Holmes," Gabe says without looking to him.
"Connor," the boy called Holmes replies, deep and monotonous.
"Might as well have a seat. Y'know how it works," Gabe tells him, nodding to the empty seat beside John on the couch. John makes to move, scoots a little closer to the arm he sits beside, but Holmes doesn't move. "You and I both know I've little time for your ludicrous rules," he half-admonishes. "Give me my eighty and I'll take my leave."
"That's not how it works," Gabe retaliates. "And if you're desperate enough to come to me, then you know just as well as I do that ain't no one else got any. So sit down, take a load off." He finally looks up to the boy from beneath his brow. Holmes' eyes are narrowed. He looks like he'd rather throw a tantrum, smack the marijuana from between Gabe's pinched fingers and snatch up what he came for.
Instead, he shuts his eyes and takes a shuddering breath. His hands clench and then he allows his eyes to open. Begrudgingly, he takes the empty seat, flinging the messenger bag he adorns onto his lap in petulant irritation. "You do realise you aren't fooling anyone, yes?" he asks, voice a dangerous mixture of nonchalance and ice. "If they wanted you, they'd have-"
"Have you met John?" Gabe interrupts him mid-sentence. Holmes scowls at Gabe and looks to John. Blue, John realises. Holmes' eyes are blue, very light and quite intense when turned upon a person. He doesn't flinch as he meets them though, even manages a half smile and an extending of his hand. "John Watson," he says.
Holmes doesn't take his hand. Instead his icy eyes rove over John quickly, detail the lines of his hand and posture before meeting his eyes once again. "King's College, yes? Medical student. No older than twenty-three, I imagine," he says. John keeps his hand held where it is, but his brows begin to knit. His eyes dart sideways to look to Gabe, who does nothing more than continue on with his duties. "Yeah," John says, quirking a brow. "Did he tell you about me?"
"No. It's obvious," Holmes retorts, his own brow quirking in a haughty gesture.
"Well... how do you figure?" John asks, tilting his head gently.
Holmes' eyes glance toward Gabe the Ginger, who continues his silence, before looking back to John. "Your rucksack—just beside your feet, half open. Filled with books. Not just books, text books. Big, thick, heavy," he says, sneaking a peek down to the bag in question. "So then it's safe to assume you've just come from a lecture. If that's the case, then your University is nearby. Don't have a car—wouldn't have your bag with you if you did. King's College isn't but a ten minute walk from here."
John stares unabashedly.
"You're a bit older than the typical University student," Holmes goes on. "Not quite as fresh-faced as your standard first year. Still in school though? Only a few degrees force you to be in for that long, with those sorts of textbooks—medicine being most likely, considering what's offered. Therefore, medical student." His head gives a little tilt, shoulders a little shrug.
John's head is fuzzy but pleasant, and this Holmes character is clever. He lets a suppressed sounding giggle vibrate in his throat before nodding. "That was fantastic," he says, straightening his lax held hand. "You make it all sound obvious, like it's sitting on my face."
"It is," Holmes says, but he sounds different—not quite as cool as before.
"John Watson," John says again.
"Sherlock Holmes," Holmes replies, carefully taking John's hand in his. They both seem to size each other up, eyes roaming over one another before parting their hands. "You played Rugby in secondary," Sherlock says, folding his hands into his lap. "Stopped once you got into University. Lead a fairly average bachelor life—late nights, obvious in the slight bags beneath your eyes. No exam—wouldn't be carrying as many books. You must be quite active in the social sector—marijuana and alcohol are probably your biggest vices."
"How do you do that?" John asks, though it's not accusing. It's curious.
"Simple observations," Sherlock replies. Gabe looks up then, eyes darting between the two. His brows are raised in mild surprise and his fingers, curled around both bong and lighter, are stuck in place. "It's amazing," John says, a simple statement of fact.
"People don't normally say so," Sherlock admits.
"It's annoyin'," Gabe states, snapping the two back to the room at hand. Sherlock scowls at the ginger. John's brows furrow and he leans back into the couch. Nothing more is said for the moment, the bong is passed from John to Gabe to Sherlock and back around. Every move Sherlock makes is deliberately tensed. John thinks it's a shame that he's gone rigid.
Time passes in idle chitchat between John and Gabe. The ginger makes no attempt to include Sherlock Holmes into the conversation. John tries to think of ways to do so, but falls short in his addled brain.
"I'll get your shite together in a mo," Gabe says suddenly to Sherlock. He stands himself up and stretches, arms extending outward as he stalks stiff-legged into the dim hallway.
A silence falls over the room and the two remaining boys shift in their seats. Sherlock takes a breath, as though he may begin to say something, but he shuts his mouth before words come out. John clears his throat. "You don't come to Gabe often, do you?" he asks suddenly, quietly.
"I avoid it if I can. I'm certain he relayed his opinion of me to you once he realised who was at the door," Sherlock replies, quirking his brow. His head turns slowly, looks to John. "Overpriced. Horrid little man, but he's never without."
"Have you got better?" John enquires.
"Generally. My usual man is out of town," Sherlock tells, "And the others didn't have the quantity I required. Therefore-"
"Therefore Gabe the Ginger," John finishes. He sighs as he rubs his hand over his face. He is overpriced, John knows it. But he's always holding, and John's not got another reliable person to buy from. Sherlock gives a slow nod in reply, just the one, and leans back into the couch. "Hate coming here. Stay for an hour—for what?" he mutters, crossing his arms slowly over his chest. "Idiotic reasoning. No matter if I stay five minutes or five hours, no one would believe us to be friendly enough to hang about one another willingly."
"Might work better if he wasn't a twat," John says, and Sherlock gives a smirk. "I'd have to agree," he says with a nod, wetting his lips and looking back to the table.
Another silence hovers over them before John turns his body toward Sherlock. "Strange question, but would you mind if we exchanged numbers? Between you and I, I'd like to have someone a bit more... reliable for these sort of transactions," he says quietly, slipping his mobile from his rucksack and sliding a thumb across the screen. Sherlock eyes him for a moment, watches his hand, his mobile, his elbow. John looks back up with raised, expectant brows.
"If not, it's fine," John says suddenly. "Just thought I might ask. You seem like you'd just—know better, about people." He gives a nervous little laugh, rubs a palm against his cheek. "Not that I'm a daft prick, I'm all right at reading a person, but if you can get all that from a thirty second glance you've got it far better than I do."
Sherlock gives no recognition that he may say anything more. John gives a slow nod and begins sliding his phone away. "Right," he says awkwardly, turning back to face the coffee table. He can feel the back of his neck begin to flush. Suddenly, he's hoping very much that Gabe gets back and quickly.
Until there's a mobile in front of his face, a new contact screen opened and already labelled "John Watson". He looks over to Sherlock, who is looking toward the table. "Enter in your number," he instructs. "I'll be running low enough to contact my preferred within the next few days. I'll be in touch then."
Oh. John nods deftly and takes the phone from Sherlock's hand. It takes him a few tries to enter his mobile number in properly, and he thinks of taking a moment to text himself. But something tells him that Sherlock Holmes can count the exact amount of time it takes to put in a mobile number. He seems like the type.
Gabe takes his seat once again and the conversation falls to a hush. Sherlock pockets his mobile once again and scoots himself forward on his seat, perching at the edge as Gabe finally gathers his purchase. John makes idle conversation with Gabe once more, mentions that he should probably be off too. "Work and all," he says to a nod.
He watches Sherlock pull his wallet and can't help but notice a bill fold not lacking of finance. He looks away just in time—Sherlock glances to him just before he tosses his money upon the table. The small bag gets handed over and Sherlock snatches out an empty pill bottle from his bag. He stuffs the bag inside and stands as he closes it up. "Well, it's been delightful—as usual," he states, facetious as ever.
"Right. Now bugger off," Gabe says.
"Gladly," Sherlock agrees. He gives John a look and his lip quirks at the corner. He doesn't say anything more, but there's a message that's been passed from man to man within the silence, a secret camaraderie. The moment the door shuts behind him, Gabe lets out a loud sigh and slouches deeply into his chair. "Such a ponce-y twat," he exhales, shaking his head.
"D'know," John replies, half shrugging his shoulders. "Didn't seem all that bad."
"Public school wanker, that's what he is," Gabe goes on, sitting upright once again. He pieces through his stash, picks for what seem to be attractive bits of smoke. "But he pays—and that's what I give a fuck about."
"How much were you after again? Forty, innit?"
"Yeah. Forty'll do me."