Sherlock has gotten lost from his group. Well, allow me to rephrase: he'd gotten separated from John. The rest of them he'd fully intended to ditch from the very beginning. But it was John he wanted to keep an eye on. Just before stepping inside they'd promised to watch one another's back, and Sherlock fully intended to keep that promise, but now John was nowhere in sight. Perhaps he'd taken a wrong turn, or ran into trouble, or…
The detective shook his head. He couldn't worry about that now. John would be alright on his own, he knew that.
Keeping both hands grasped firmly around his gun, Sherlock pressed close to the wall as he crept forward, his shoulder brushing against it slightly. The tunnel ahead of him was dark - almost pitch black, with the only light guiding him being a faint blue glow. Sherlock could hear voices around him, some closer than others, giggling mixed with screams, but he tried his hardest to block them out.
He had to remember what he'd come for.
Finally Sherlock reached the end of the tunnel. Eyes shifting over, he spotted the reflection of something neon red against the other end of the tunnel. This had to be it. Sherlock took a deep breath and hesitated for all of a second before jumping out from around the corner. Weapon raised, he began firing as many shots as he could get in, but it didn't make a difference.
Without warning there was an exaggerated sound like the power shutting off and the blue lights on his vest went dark. A child whose head couldn't have gone much past Sherlock's thigh pushed past the older man, laughing maniacally and waving his gun about in the air.
Suddenly a hand was on his shoulder. Sherlock glanced over to see John back at his side, half-smiling. "Aw, don't worry about that one. He's a pro - got me four times back there."
"I was doing so good," Sherlock said, a distressed look in his eyes.
John snorted. "You need to stop taking this game so seriously, mate. It's just laser tag." He paused and watched as Sherlock's glowing vest came back to life with a loud hum. "See? Good as new. Say, why don't you finish taking out this base. I already got the points here so I'll meet up with you again at the yellow base. And if I see that jerk in the yellow on my way over I'll shoot him for you!"
Without waiting for Sherlock to answer John darted out of the red base. The detective made a face and lifted his weapon towards the ceiling again. And then the power-shutting-down noise returned.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me!"
John hung up his vest with a smug look. "Think you did that good?" Sherlock asked, starting to unbuckle his own.
"I know I did. Don't forget to check your player name."
Sherlock pushed a button and looked down at the tiny screen: Spazz. Without saying anything he removed the vest and followed John out.
Back in the lobby the men joined the rest of the two birthday parties that had participated: Mike's and some 10-year-old kid's. A hush washed over the group of people as they watched the loading bar with anticipation. Once it had reached the end of the screen the game's stats appeared and those who had been on the blue team let out a series of ecstatic shrieks and clung to each other. Sherlock came close to covering his ears with John next to him and doing the like.
"How'd you do?" he asked, raising his voice over the shouts.
John pointed at the screen. "First on our team, fourth overall. I was Squirtle. See?" The doctor didn't think to ask how Sherlock ranked, and he didn't bother to tell him.
There was a buzzing from inside Sherlock's pocket. He slipped out of the crowd as discretely as possible and went outside to answer his mobile, where he could escape the loud arcade noises in the background. Sherlock glanced down at the mobile before flipping it open. It was Lestrade. "Oh, thank god," he exhaled. "Please tell me somebody's just been brutally murdered."
"Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On a-Jupiter and Mars"
As he sang, John finished rinsing the last of the shampoo out of his hair and reached for the half-empty bottle of conditioner.
"In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby, kiss me"
After getting out of the shower, John quickly dried himself off with a towel, which he then tied around his waist. Still humming the rest of the song to himself, John opened the door to find himself standing face-to-face with Sherlock. He let out a high pitched yelp and slammed the door shut. John then took a deep breath, tightened the towel skirt, and swung it open again.
"Sherlock," he said with a hint of agitation in his voice. "Welcome back. I was wondering where you'd run off to, considering you disappeared halfway through Mike's party."
"I have a favor to ask of you," his flatmate explained coolly.
"Oh, goody," John sighed, pushing past Sherlock and heading towards his own room to get dressed. Sherlock came close to following him in, but stopped just outside when John closed the door on him.
"Well, I figured you'd be onboard, so I went ahead and booked us the performance anyway," Sherlock went on, his voice raised so that John could still hear. "Lestrade thought I should double check with you anyway."
"What am I being forced into this time?" John's muffled voice said from the other room.
Rather than giving his friend a straight answer, Sherlock instead chose to dance around the question. "You like music, don't you, John? Of course you do. I heard you singing in the shower. And not a bad voice, too. Perhaps a little off pitch during the chorus, and I don't advise you try harmonizing with yourself, but those are insignificant. Anyway, I uh… I was wondering if you wanted to start a band with me. Well, me and the Detective Inspector. Temporarily, of course. We wouldn't have to be good so much as convincing. It's a… rather long story."
"John? Should I interpret your silence as a sign of approval?"
After about a half-minute of silence the door creaked open just enough for John to squint at Sherlock through it. "Are you drunk?" he accused.
Sherlock blinked. "What? No. I haven't been drinking. Why do you always ask me that?"
"I don't know, why the bloody hell do you want to start a band? You can only play the violin, and I could probably figure out Chopsticks on piano, but that's about the extent of it."
Pushing the door open further, Sherlock went ahead and invited himself inside. Thankfully John was already clothed by then. "Oh, John, stop being so traditional," the man went on. "Don't you know how all the music sounds these days? You don't have to have any real talent in a boy band, just be able to sing in time and look good doing it. It's a rather simple recipe. Although, if you feel it's absolutely necessary, I'm sure I could put a little time into learning to work a drum set, and Lestrade claims that he isn't half-bad on the guitar."
"You still haven't told me what all this is about," John pointed out as he took a seat at the foot of his bed.
"Oh, right, of course. The three of us have taken up a slot in an music talent show slash competition for up and coming artists and pop groups. They weren't accepting any more singles by the time we signed up, so Lestrade put our little trio down under the title of The Bakerstreet Boys. He thinks he's rather clever, you know."
John frowned. "Okay, yes, I've got the general idea, but WHAT IS THE UNDERLYING PURPOSE IN ALL THIS?"
"Well, isn't it obvious?" Sherlock asked, whipping his head around. "The competition consists of a series of performances throughout the London area. At each one the groups are given a rating, and the best of each move on to the next stage."
"You could've just said 'a tournament'," mumbled John.
"However someone, or perhaps a group of someones, has been hindering the competition. We'd be stepping in in order to pinpoint the cause of the disturbances from the inside."
John rubbed at his eyes. "And you're putting us directly into the line of fire just to get a better angle on a case. Of course you are."
Sherlock pursed his lips into a mischievous grin. "And Bingo was his name-O. So you're on board, yes? Perfect! I'm headed out for a bit. Lestrade's scheduled a band meeting in his garage at seven. I expect you to have a pitch for our hit new single by then. Good luck." Giving a curt nod Sherlock bounced on out of John's bedroom. John stood gaping after him for a moment or two.
"Now hold on," he let out, scurrying after the man. John stopped at the top of the stairs. "Sherlock, wait!" he called after the detective. "How the bloody hell do you expect me to write a good song in the next two and a half hours?"
At the foot of the stairs Sherlock stopped and looked up at John, blinking. "I'm confident that you'll think of something," the man said with a suggestive wink.
The entire situation proved to be much more stressful to John than he had originally anticipated. Why should he write the stupid song, anyway? Sherlock composes. He could at least come up with a melody they could work with, whereas John went through half a notebook scratching out ideas for titles and lyrics and ripping paper after page from it, which he would crumple up and throw towards a wastebasket at the opposite end of the room (although the vast majority of these had accumulated in various piles around the floor).
After what felt a lot longer than it probably was, John got fed up for the last time and chucked the entire spiral, instead pulling out his laptop in a retreat to Facebook and Tumblr. But when the man first started it up he noticed a familiar little icon sitting on the desktop: The Sims 3.
Sherlock had installed the computer game. Someone got it for him as a joke, probably Mrs. Hudson or Molly, but the detective then ended up putting a good amount of time into recreating 221B Baker Street and everyone he knew between cases. John stared at the icon for some time, his index finger rubbing back and forth across his lower lip for several moments before he finally clicked on the thing. Oh, what the heck, he thought to himself with a shrug.
John couldn't be bothered to create a new family to play with, so instead he took a look at the version of himself Sherlock had made. The character didn't really look like him, but he supposed it was as close as one could get using something like this. He hesitated before clicking to see what traits Sherlock had assigned to him: flirty, heavy sleeper, good, easily impressed, and brave. John let out a sigh of relief - it could've been a lot worse. He then spotted Sherlock's sim starting to fix itself a meal and decided to check out that one's traits: genius, brave, ambitious, loner, and childish. John made a 'hm' noise to himself.
The Sherlock sim finished eating, walked over to a radio stashed towards the corner of his own version of 221B and turned it on. The computer began blasting a song similar to the sort of things John would hear on the radio that was wildly popular with younger generations. Not his favorite genre, of course; but it was catchy, and the strange sim language singing along to it didn't even bother him all that much.
After listening for several seconds John realized that he had been tapping his foot along the entire time. And then a strange idea occurred to him. He hummed along with the music as it looped twice and then muted the computer. John pulled out his mobile and, before he forgot how it went again, made a voice memo of himself humming the same tune. Once he had finished the man glanced at the time - 6:32. He shut the laptop, leaving it sitting out on the table, and started getting ready to head out.