The lecture hall is warm. John Watson thinks he might fall asleep. It's not as though he can understand what the professor is saying anyway, his rushed Russian-accented lisp almost a foreign language within itself. He's given up on note-taking, has settled for letting his phone record the manic voice from the front to hopefully decipher later.
The recording halts though, the screen goes dark and the notification of a text message pops up. The phone vibrates loudly, the girls sitting on either side of him give him side glances. "Sorry," he whispers, gives what's been considered a charming little smile as he picks up his mobile. He doesn't recognize the number. He eyes the notification before opening the message.
Make yourself available in ten minutes.
SH? John frowns at the screen. He checks the time and notes that there are forty minutes of this lecture left. He's more occupied by the initials. SH. He can't seem to pinpoint them. He doesn't know anyone who signs off on their texts. And SH doesn't sound immediately familiar. He taps out his own reply.
He sets his phone back down and is officially mentally checked out from the lecture at hand. He's considering skipping out on the rest anyway, is trying to decide if either of the girls beside him are taking good enough notes to ask for. His mobile vibrates before he can make a decision.
Meeting my supplier. You wanted reliability, did you not?
Oh. Of course, of course, John finds himself thinking. SH. Sherlock Holmes. He'd almost forgotten about the boy, a week and a half of nothing having pushed the stranger from his head. And now, here he is—making good on a half-hearted plan. Ten minutes.
In lecture. Can't wait?
But he's already packing up his books, is leaning in to the brunette to his left and sweetly, carefully asking if she might be willing to lend him her notes after.
No. Five minutes.
Pushy little shite. The brunette is called Andrea, and she seems rather willing to jot down her number on the little corner piece of paper she tears from her page. "Free at seven," she tells him in a whisper as he scoots his way behind. He shoots her a quick, breezy smile and gives her shoulder a squeeze before sneaking out toward the door.
He doesn't get any further than the front door of the building before someone falls into step beside him. "Two minutes late," the person says quietly, and John realises that it's none other than Mr. Holmes himself. He shields his eyes against the sun as he looks up to the taller. "Had to get the notes. You don't have a lecture or anything round noon Wednesdays?" he asks, eyes squinting to focus.
"I've better things to do with my time than sit about in a room with thirty-seven idiots attempting to measure out chemicals to the exact line," Sherlock replies in a mutter. "It's a chore most days," he adds, straightening his spine and rolling his shoulders back.
"Then why go at all?" John asks.
"Unlimited use of the wet labs," Sherlock replies, as though the answer is obvious.
They fall into a quiet as Sherlock seems to lead the way. John's not sure where he's leading—are they going directly to this person's flat? Are they meeting him somewhere? Is there some sort of—stop in between they have to make, for money or warnings or something? He opens his mouth after a moment, takes a breath as though preparing for speech, but Sherlock makes a quick turn down an alley.
John immediately thinks there's something not right about it. He doesn't follow, pauses just steps within the alley. "Is there a reason you're leading me down an abandoned alley?" he asks, loud so that it may reach the striding form.
Sherlock, apparently, hasn't realised that John has halted. He stops and turns, looks momentarily confused before giving the shorter boy an exasperated sort of look. "What, you think I'm going to kill you?" he asks, sarcasm dripping from his tone. He crosses his arms over his chest. "If I was going to kill you, I wouldn't have met you in a public forum," he says, voice gone monotonous once again. "I wouldn't have sent you a text message, allowing you the opportunity to save my mobile number and therefore ruining any alibi I might come up with. I wouldn't have allowed myself to be seen or heard in any association with you. And I certainly wouldn't have done so in the middle of the day, where eyes that don't mean to follow do anyway." He scoffs, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. "I'm not daft enough to kill a man in the middle of the day."
"That's reassuring," John says, returns the sarcasm and defiant stance.
"I don't have time to reassure you that I'm not a psychotic murderer," Sherlock says, face showing boredom like it has memorised the action. "If you want a more reliable connection, you may follow me. If not, then do feel free to await the perfect time to get the notes from whichever unsuspecting woman you peddled a mobile number from."
John's chin lifts and his shoulders square. He thinks he might bollock this Sherlock Holmes character, twat that he seems to be. But he's—interested. "How'd you know it was a girl?" he asks, eyes narrowing slightly.
Sherlock huffs. "Obvious."
Another huff, more annoyed now. "The way you held yourself said confidence," he says. "Slight smile, straightened spine, striding steps. Wasn't a high mark, your class had been in session for half an hour when I sent my message. The affects of a high mark last for no more than thirty seconds. So it was something that had happened just before you left the class." He pauses momentarily, eyes John quickly before looking back to his face. "Hand in your pocket—slightly fisted, holding something, something you didn't want to lose. Something small, light. Easily missed—bit of paper most likely. Information wanted. E-mail address, maybe? No, phone number. Much more of a victory, holding onto the trophy. Wouldn't give a toss if you'd have asked a bloke, as you have no homosexual tendencies that I've foreseen. So—woman. Probably moderately attractive, perhaps blatantly interested, more than likely—both."
John doesn't realise his jaw is hanging until it snaps shut. He can't seem to keep the haughty stance he's been holding, arms falling slack to his sides. He wets his lips and—and he can't seem to bring himself to turn around and leave. Sherlock Holmes has a more reliable connection, with better pricing. And he's a twat, sure. But he's an interesting twat, clever. So John swallows down doubt that lingers in his throat and steps forward, one slow step, before striding to meet the git with the now-smug smile on his face.
"I have to wait until after seven to call her," John says by way of explanation as they begin walking once again.
Sherlock snorts. "Busy woman."
"Hope her notes are actually some good, though," John adds, shoving his hands into his pockets, "A shag isn't worth the information I'll be losing."
"I wouldn't hold your breath," Sherlock states, giving John a quick side glance before crossing through onto a quieter street. John smirks, shaking his head as he checks down both sides of the street. "For which part? The notes or the shag?"
"I'd say the notes, though I've nothing to go on. Can I see the slip of paper?"
John nods, grabs out the little piece of paper and hands it over to Sherlock Holmes. He wonders if the boy is careless enough to let it drift in the wind on a whim. He tenses just slightly, ready to chase after it at a moments notice. Instead, Sherlock gives the paper a ten second glance before handing it back. "Definitely the notes," he affirms.
He reaches into his trouser pocket and grabs out a key with a single key chain attached: a car alarm. He presses the button and a car far too expensive for a twenty-two year old returns the response. "Well, hope she's a fair shag then. Would hate for my marks to suffer and for no good," John says, though it's half-hearted as he eyes the car. It's sleek, sporty. Not what a kid would drive, unless they had a parent or two with financial resources. He recalls the bill fold of money and thinks he might be, in fact, dealing with a public school wanker.
"We're making a stop," Sherlock says, leading them to the car. "Before we make our way. I need to change."
"Change? Honestly?" John asks, his eyes roaming over the cars body before he pops the door open. "As in your clothes?"
"Yes," Sherlock retorts. He doesn't make any hint that he may explain further, and John thinks of prompting for a better explanation, but neither occurs. They strap themselves in and Sherlock docks his phone carefully. When the car comes to life, the small display in the dashboard lights. His long, slender fingers tap at the screen, his eyes focus themselves upon the road. "Should we go by my flat as well? Or is my attire all right?" John asks when the pull away from the curb.
Tchaikovsky begins to lull through the speakers, soothing and quiet. Sherlock gives John a side glance and tuts. "We may just," he replies.
"Would hate for you to make the wrong impression. Reflects poorly on me."
"What sort of clothes should I be wearing?"
"Things that haven't been sullied by human excretion of any sort."
John frowns. His brows furrow and he suddenly feels as though he may be stepping into some sort of Mafia film. Where everyone is required to wear suits and the supplier is a germophobe with an itchy trigger finger. He wonders if Sherlock's the sort to deal with such. He opens his mouth as though he may ask. He doesn't.
"Wait, so am I really going to—"
"You may need a different top."
"I haven't got anything with me," John says, leaning on his elbow against the door. "And you're going in the wrong direction if we're going to need to stop off at mine."
"We won't," Sherlock retorts. "I'll accommodate."
"I don't think I'm going to fit anything you've got," John chuckles.
"You'd be astounded what a waistcoat can do for an ensemble," Sherlock says with a hint of a smirk.
"Brilliant," John replies.