AN: Thanks Aless for the inspiration. The prompt is at the end of the story. This can be viewed as the sequel to my shorter story, 'Comparative Studies', though they can stand alone. Unbeta'd. *Dedicated to the ladies of the Kitchen, here is my first writing offering to you all, fresh out of the oven.*


HUNTING THE HUNTSMAN

"Tea?" John asked entering the kitchen whilst ignoring the fact that Sherlock was crawling on all fours across the linoleum.

"Hmm, what?"

"Tea, Sherlock. Do you want a cup?"

"Yes." The detective stood brushing down his knees and peering over John's head at the cupboards. "You're home early."

"Slow day at the clinic, they let me off early." John turned his head in confusion. "Is everything alright? You keep looking over my shoulder?"

Sherlock shook his head slightly, eyes still sweeping over the kitchen. "I'm fine. I'll be in the living room."

_?_?_

He hadn't counted on John's early arrival. That certainly made things more difficult, really, how was he going to explain about the odd house guest. More importantly, how the hell did it get away? Well he knew how…he left the lid of it's box open, but where could it have gone?

Scowling, he looked at the living room and stalked towards the bookshelf, hoping that it would be a good starting place for his search.

_?_?_

"What the hell happened?" John asked looking at the destruction in the living room. Amidst the chaos stood Sherlock, chair to the bookcase, eyes peering intently at the ceiling.

"I'm looking for something," he replied turning to look at John who placed the cup of tea onto the mantle.

John looked unimpressed.

"It's important," he stressed.

Letting out a small puff of air, John's shoulder's slumped, all thoughts of taking a nap flying out the window. "Tell me what it is and I'll help." Silence met his offer and he couldn't help but roll his eyes. "I know that you think losing things is 'beneath' you, but if it matters this much, then lose the pride and allow me to help."

Sherlock hopped down from the chair. He walked over to the mantle and grabbed the cup of tea, cringing as the words left his mouth. "I don't...exactly know what I'm looking for."

Disbelief coloured John's face. "You don't- Sherlock, how can you not-"

What was he doing? Saving his own skin. What was that ridiculous saying? What John doesn't know can't hurt him...

"I'll know it when I see it, and I'll expect it'll be much the same for you."

"That sounds like you already know what it is." The disbelief morphed into suspicion.

"Don't be absurd, if I knew what was then I wouldn't need your assistance."

John ignored him beginning to sort through the items scattered on the floor. "Is it for a case? Like a document or a book?"

"I should probably check upstairs."

As Sherlock began to move leaving John still sitting on the floor, he heard: "You didn't answer my question! Is it big, small, dead, living...is it poisonous?" He stood up quickly making to follow Sherlock, his voice slightly irritated, "Don't tell me its poisonous!"

Sherlock disappeared up the stairs muttering. "I won't then."

Hours later when the search hadn't proved fruitful, John had called it a night forcing Sherlock to rearrange the living room into some semblance of tidy.

_?_?_

He had just finished his latest blog post. Smiling in satisfaction, he closed his laptop.

No doubt Sherlock would read it soon and counter every sentence he wrote that didn't have some scientific validity.

Sherlock had his own blog dedicated to the science of these cases; the man damn well didn't have to hijack John's.

Just as he was checking his gun he saw movement in the corner of his eye. It was large, skittering across his wall. His eyes immediately moved to follow the shadow, but dear lord, god did he wish that he didn't.

A spider.

A massive eight legged, hairy, poisonous spider.

And Jesus fucking Christ it was huge.

His eyes widened. Holy crap - that thing just jumped.

Breathing quickly he stood, taking a step back.

Here he was, the tough ex-army doctor who was afraid of spiders.

Harry would laugh if she could see him.

The spider ran across the wall, weaving a lazy path towards the ceiling and then dropping down again until it stayed, just under the shelf that housed his copy of Gray's Anatomy.

Harry's unhelpful voice floated into his ear. Alright Johnny, it's just a spider. All you gotta do is squish it. The advice would've been fine if he could bring himself to move more than three steps towards the darn thing, which apparently was not going to happen any time soon. He clenched the gun in his hand tighter dropping his eyes for the briefest moment.

When he raised his eyes, the spider was gone.

And shit, now not seeing it was so much worse.

He moved to the middle of the room eyes scanning the surface of the room. He did double-takes, his eyes playing tricks on him. He'd never be able to sleep again if this bloody thing wasn't found.

The dart of black across the floor almost gave him a heart attack and the little leap it did to reach up the walls did not help to cease the drumming in his chest. Without thinking he raised his arm, squeezing the trigger, not flinching as the loud bangs resonated in his room. He didn't even hear Sherlock's yell until he had lowered his arm, taking note of the three bullet holes in his wall and the remnants of the spider dashed across it and in little piles on the carpet.

_?_?_

Mrs Hudson leapt hearing the shots fired and scowled thinking that Sherlock had gotten bored and decided to take it out on her wall again.

"Sherlock! John! What in heaven's name is going on?" she cried going up the stairs, the twinge in her hip was a reminder that she should have slowed down...yet, her desire to throttle Sherlock meant her hip could take a hike. "Sherlock, this is coming out of your rent young man! Shooting my wall once-"

She had just reached outside the room when Sherlock called out. "It's alright Mrs Hudson! It wasn't me!"

"John?" She stopped short in disbelief watching as Sherlock gently took the gun away from John. "What happened?"

"Arachnophobia. It's quite common though I'm surprised that John has it considering Afghanistan."

Her eyes softened immediately. "Poor dear," she cooed, "I'll pop the kettle on. Make you a nice cup of tea to calm your nerves."

_?_?_

"John?" Sherlock asked placing a hand upon John's shoulder and frowning at the unexpected flinch. John managed to tear his eyes away from the spider. "That was rather impressive."

Snapping out of his daze, he swallowed a shaky breath. "Oh, um…sorry, about the wall and the, shooting…" He raised his voice louder. "Sorry Mrs Hudson!" He received a kind reply saying that there were biscuits as well as the tea on the counter and that she was taking her leave.

"I take it that I won't be bringing any more spiders into the flat," he said wryly.

John whipped his head to meet his suddenly nervous flatmate. "You brought that thing in here?!" he yelled storming out into the kitchen.

"Well, I didn't know you were afraid! And yes, I wanted to measure…" he trailed off watching John viciously bite into a biscuit. Okay, so he feared for his life…just a little bit. "Are you going to hit me tonight?"

Surveying his friend, John shook his head.

"Maybe tomorrow."


AN: The prompt was: Sherlock brings home a huntsman spider to the flat on 221B and promptly loses it. John comes home and Sherlock tries to get him to help find it without admitting what it is that they are looking for. So yeah, not to be taken completely seriously. But, I do hope you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading :)