The more you ignore me
The closer I get
You’re wasting your time
I am now
A central part
Of your mind’s landscape
Whether you care
Or do not
Yeah, I’ve made up your mind
Sherlock had made up his mind about John Watson the moment he held the other man’s mobile phone in his hand. His mind whirred and in a moment he had well-rounded thumbnail sketch of the lonely, proud, crippled army doctor who had been delivered to Bart’s by Stamford.
Yes, Stamford, you did well. Far better than I expected. And far more quickly. Since Mycroft decided to tighten the purse strings beyond all fairness, I was dreading having to share my space with some dullard, but I think this may be an entirely positive outcome.
He sat in his chair at his new flat at 221b Baker Street. Three young men were hauling his things up the narrow flights of stairs. Occasionally there were questions.
“Where d’ye want this to go, Mr. Holmes?”
“Label. On the box. Read the label on the box. That’s what labels are for,” Sherlock muttered, preoccupied by a news article on his phone.
“Now, say, what about this?”
“Label …” Sherlock murmured, flicking his fingers as if he could shoo the words away.
“But there’s no label, sir. It looks like … wuzzat thing they kill whales with?”
“I think it’s a harpoon!” another chimed in.
“Yes, yes, it’s a harpoon,” said Sherlock impatiently. “Just prop it up in the corner. I’ll find a place for it later. Focus on the boxes and furniture. Hurry now, I have things to tend to before my appointment at 7 o’clock.”
Mrs. Hudson entered the flat, letting out a surprised sound as she narrowly skirted one of the men.
“Pardon me, ma’am.”
“Oh, goodness,” she exclaimed. “Quite all right, yes.” She turned to look at Sherlock. “You hired movers, did you? I didn’t realize you had so many …” she turned and looked around in a mixture of awe and concern at the clutter already filling the flat “… things.”
“They’re not movers,” murmured Sherlock, squinting at a new site on his phone. The Personal Blog of John H. Watson. Two entries.
Nothing happens to me.
Sherlock frowned and looked up at Mrs. Hudson with an are you still here? expression. “Yes?”
“If they’re not movers, then who are they?”
“Homeless network,” Sherlock replied before heaving himself out of his chair. “Mind giving me a hand in organizing a few things, Mrs. Hudson? My new flatmate will be around at 7 o’clock and I want him to be able to properly move around the place. He has a bad leg.”
Mrs. Hudson picked up an Erlenmeyer flask and stared at it in confusion. “You found one already? But he hasn’t even seen the flat yet!”
“Oh, he hasn’t agreed to move in yet. But he will.”
Mrs. Hudson chuckled softly and set the flask on the kitchen table. Must be some kind of modern crockery. He does have a bit of an artistic flair … wonder what the other one will be like. “Oh, Sherlock, if you say it, then it must be so.”
Sherlock appreciated the landlady’s unwavering faith in his abilities. He knew he had chosen well when seeking new accommodations. Some of his previous landlords had been far less understanding of his proclivities.
He appreciated it even more when Mrs. Hudson played along, greeting him warmly when he arrived with John; as if it had been weeks instead of hours since he’d last seen her. Standing in the flat with her and John, Sherlock thought once again, I have chosen extremely well this time.
John Watson thought he was amazing. And he came to the crime scene with Sherlock. Of course he did. Once Sherlock had got him to admit he missed the danger and excitement he’d experienced at war. Another step deeper into the doctor’s psyche. Before the night was out, Sherlock intended to be fully ingrained. All right, so John hadn’t been terribly useful in adding to the information about the case, but that could be worked on. And besides, the cachet of having a doctor at his side would prove invaluable. And the confusion on Sally Donovan’s face had been worth it. The crass comment about the state of her knees was even a bit beyond the pale in terms of Sherlock’s insensitive jabs, but he had to maintain an image of superiority in front of his new to-be flatmate.
Amazing. Extraordinary. Brilliant. The complimentary adjectives kept spilling from the older man’s mouth. That itself was rather amazing. If Sherlock’s mind wasn’t already made up about the doctor, it was doubly so now. Now it was just a matter of making up John’s mind for him. Should be easy enough. First, time to conduct a little experiment. He set the pink case aside and flopped back on the couch, typing out a rapid text.
Baker Street. Come at once if convenient. SH.
He waited for a few moments, then tapped out another for good measure.
If inconvenient come anyway. SH.
He slapped the second nicotine patch on and waited. After more than ten minutes, his phone remained silent.
Don’t think you can ignore me, Doctor. I know better. And I have something to show you.
He picked up his phone and tapped out another missive.
Could be dangerous.
Two minutes later his phone pinged.
Sherlock smiled. And reached for a third patch before closing his eyes. Back to work.
He knew it! Oh, he was good. He’d taken off in pursuit of the taxi and John had followed him. John was running. John was jumping.
John had left his cane behind at Angelo’s. He had a full range of movement. Psychosomatic, indeed. All the doctor needed was some excitement. The thrill of the chase. A puzzle to solve. Sherlock could give him all that in spades. In return he got a flatmate and an assistant. A man who thought he was brilliant and amazing. A man who could walk properly again. It would be the deciding factor. The final nudge in Sherlock making up John’s mind for him.
Back at Baker Street, they were leaning against the wall in the hallway, breathless and laughing and Sherlock couldn’t remember the last time he really laughed with someone. He rarely laughed at all and when he did, it was usually at someone because they were being idiotic and slow. He enjoyed this experience with John a bit more.
“Mrs. Hudson, Doctor Watson will take the room upstairs,” he called out.
“Says who?” said John.
“Says the man at the door.”
Angelo arrived on cue. And when John reached out to take the cane Angelo was returning, he glanced back at Sherlock and the detective knew then and there it was decided.