"Really? And where do you live now?"
"Well, I share a flat at Baker Street."
"So you've got a flatmate then. How is he?"
"He's a... very... peculiar person."
"Peculiar? You mean something like old Reece?"
"No-o," I laughed. I had to, because I remembered our old college professor, who always came terribly late to class and after chatting with whiteboard for the rest of the lesson, he announced that no one of us (of the students) shall become a great dentist, and then he shuffled away, "Nothing like that... In fact, he's even more curios. You could meet him, actually, if you would stay a bit longer. That is why I'm here. Sherlock-"
"Sherlock? What a strange name..."
"I can't see anything strange about my name," a sonorous voice, known only to the one of them, suddenly cut their conversation.
"Holmes, you're here," the man, who had recognized the voice, turned his head.
"Well, of course I am here – six o'clock, as I have said."
The Detective's gaze fell upon the other man now: "My name is Sherlock Holmes, sir. And yours?"
"Doctor Alexander Campbell, sir. I am an old friend of this remarkable man here."
"Oh really?" the thin man wondered and turned back at his... friend.
"Yes. Alexander and I were on the same collage years ago. Then he went to America and I-"
"Went to war and got shot," Holmes ended nonchalantly.
"I was offering you to go with me, remember?" said Alexander, sounding like he was blaming himself for Watson's wound, and looked at him with said expression on his face: "But you wanted to go to Netley," he sighed.
"I did indeed. (...) I wonder what it would be like if I had gone with you that time."
"Well, you would never meet me, Watson."
"You're right, Holmes," he agreed, and with amused smile he added: "Oh, I should have gone."
Sherlock frowned slightly at this remark, for he was glad he had met Watson (as Doctor Campbell had said, he was a really remarkable man and the Detective was grateful to have him by his side), and if John was not, it would be a very unpleasant information for him.
"Watson, the concert starts in thirty minutes, we should go. I'm sorry Doctor Campbell, but I have to take this man from you. I'm sure it won't be such a problem since you've got an appointment with some elderly lady... your mother possibly?"
"My... aunt, actually..." the Doctor looked surprised. "Sorry, how did you know?"
Sherlock Holmes smirked with contentment: "I can see a small velvet case, such as jewels are given into, making a crease on your pocket. And from the fact you've put it there, instead of carrying it in your briefcase, I assume it does not matter to you to make impress so much as hand it over to someone else. But still, the velvet is very nice and it is well known that China trade with United States more then with our Kingdom, so you've probably brought it from America like a present for someone here in London. Also I do not presume you'd be meeting some young lady when you've basically just arrived. And judging by your answer – I was right."
"Please excuse him, Alexander. He is always like this."
"By Jove! So this is what you've meant by peculiar..."
. . .
They started to talk again like Holmes was not even there, and you should know he wasn't very happy about that.
"Watson," he tapped on John's shoulder.
"Oh, yes! The concert – of course. Sorry, Alexander, we really have to go now."
"Sure. But we will see each other, won't we?"
"Absolutely. (...) Holmes?" he turned to the man, who was so keen to go to hear Paganini's Capriccio, "There is no case tomorrow, or am I wrong?"
"No. The Yard is now surprisingly self-sufficient."
"Hm. So you could manage without me I hope?"
"Yes, I think so. Mrs. Hudson will keep me company."
"All right then," quitted the Doctor. "Alexandr, where shall we meet?"
"I think you know it, John."
The short man lowered his eyebrows and glanced away and back as he was trying to figure out the meaning of the previous sentence... "The conker tree?" he tried at last, when he remembered the place where they used to meet after classes.
. . .
"And John," the man called after his friend, who was now walking off with some tall stranger by his side.
"Yes?" he turned back.
"Never use a cold stethoscope!"
Watson laughed, for it was an old personal joke of theirs: "Only if it's summer!" and waived him goodbye.
. . .
When we arrived home I was still honestly surprised by Holmes's today's verbosity.
All the way back from concert he was asking me about Alexander and things connected with him.
I did not know if I should be pleased that he's so interested in my friend, or disconcerted. Because when Sherlock Holmes was interested in someone, it never was so simple.
. . .
"And what was he doing in America, then?"
"Practising, maybe? I don't know, Holmes, I've told you. But I think I'll learn about it tomorrow – and with details I presume."
"Right. Of course."
"Holmes, you... it seems to me you are behaving oddly today. Are you sure you'll be alright?" Sherlock's behaviour was really weird (well, weirder then usually) and John had no need to find him with a needle stabbed in his elbow pit, when he would return from the meeting with Alexander. "Maybe I should stay here tomorrow..."
"Yes, maybe," Holmes mumbled rather for himself. "But no!" suddenly there was the typical energy of his, "Do not listen to me, Watson. I'm just a little bit bored, my dear friend. Nothing more. You should go. You haven't seen each other for... ten years was it? And therefore you shall go," he ended the speech and grabbed his Stradivarius, starting to strum it by his long bony fingers.