DIDN’T YOUR MOTHER EVER TELL YOU
NOT TO LOOK A GIF HORSE IN THE MOUTH
title: like rosin on heartstrings
Written for pyromancing, for the Johnlock Gift Exchange. Hello friend! I hope you like it.
Prompt: “Post-Reichenbach Sherlock sneaks into John’s flat at night ‘just to see him again’ and retrieve his violin. We get an angsty reunion when John wakes up, thinking that a robber is stealing Sherlock’s violin.”
Warnings for, er, well, angst. Oh, and lots of cursing.
The man who enters 221 Baker Street does not look healthy. Midnight’s streetlamps paint him sallow. The gaunt lines of his face are crippled by sagging fatigue, and half-moons are blacked in beneath his reddened eyes.
With his face this altered, it would be easy to imagine the man had changed during his seven months and twelve days of absence. It would be easy to imagine an added weight to his brisk walk, or a certain harrowed emotion behind those hard unreadable eyes. But Sherlock Holmes is not that kind of man; he is no prodigal, transformed before some humble return. He is, as he always has been, immutable, and the things he has seen have not alarmed him. Christ knows it would take something more impactful than crime and killings and cruelty to change him.
He shuts the door to the foyer behind him and removes his hat. He has shorn his hair down to tufts and dyed it to a dry wiry ginger. He wears shapeless black pants and two jumpers under a heavy beige coat. In general, he does not look like Sherlock Holmes – sometimes a glimpse of himself in the glaze on a store window takes him aback – but he hardly dwells on it. This is all in the interest of efficiency, anyway. It does not do to draw attention.
He hasn’t been in London for seven months and twelve days. Even now, he has only returned because he traced Sybil Earhart’s base of weapons smuggling to an apartment not far from this block. And he wouldn’t have returned to 221B except that he keeps finding his fingers itching for his violin.
That is the only reason, he tells himself.
After all, his violin helps him think. And his mind is the only thing that will matter until he has won the game Jim left him to play.
Yes: he is walking up these dark steps because of his violin, and because of his violin only. He is picking the lock on the door because of his violin, because his violin helps him think. He is drawing in a deep breath because he needs steady hands to carry out this heist effectively. He has no other motive for returning; he has no reason whatsoever to dip into sentimentality.
When the door swings open, Sherlock does not look toward the steps, nor up the steps, nor to the door at the top of the steps.
He does not look around and catalogue every change that has been made to the place in the last seven months and twelve days. He does not notice that two of the windowpanes have been replaced; neither does he notice the bareness of the mantelpiece, nor the empty shelves, nor the stack of unlabeled boxes in the corner. He does not take note of the frankly rather surprising scores in the kitchen table, scrapes that appear to have been drawn there by human fingernails. He does not notice how freakishly neat the place has become; he does not notice the tiny evidences marring the cleanliness, such as the infinitesimal rips in the wallpaper (cut there by what, exactly? Sharp edges of some sort? Is that a tea stain by the rip? Who would put tea on a wall?), such as the loosened stitches in the cushions of his old chair.
He most decidedly does not observe any of that.
grapes are really weird once you take the skin off.
this also applies to humans