The newspaper crinkles as I sink lower in my chair, hoping that he’ll go away. I’ve barely had a moment to myself these last few weeks. I mean, yes, it is fantastic that he’s still alive, that he survived the jump off of that rooftop --- even though he won’t tell me how in the bloody hell he did it. But he waited three years to come back to me. And when he finally did return, do you know the first thing I did? I walked right up to him and punched him in the face. Broke his nose and knocked him flat on his back. But ever since then all he’s done is follow me everywhere, like an eager watchdog. I’ve tried convincing him that I’m safe now, that Moriarty is dead, that no one is coming to get me, but he merely ignores me.
I take a deep breath and lower the paper to my lap. He sitting in his chair just a few feet away, legs tucked up right against his arse, fingers tapping anxiously against the armrests. His eyes flicker up to my face for a moment, then dart away. “I need,” he starts, but bites down on his tongue and leaps up from his seat, hands flying through his curly hair. I growl quietly and raise the paper back up. “I’m not buying you any cigarettes,” I say firmly. “No no no no no!” he practically shouts, beating his palms against his head. “I don’t need those, not right now at least, I need, I need...” I sigh and get to my feet, tossing the newspaper onto my chair. “I’ll go get your medication,” I say, moving towards the kitchen. But before I can even take a step, he grabs me by the shoulders and spins me around, cocooning my cheeks with his spindly fingers. “I need you, John.”
“I’m sorry?” I sputter, my face suddenly very hot. I can feel the color rising in my cheeks and I try to force it back down. “What do you need me for?” His eyes dart away again and his lips curl inwards, his face tinted with a tiny pinch of hope. “It’s for a case,” he says his eyes locked on my shoes, trying to avoid my gaze. My face drops a little, but I quickly regain my smile, hoping he didn’t notice my disappointment. “I need to go to a bar,” he continues. “The World’s End.” I look at him, a bit confused. “So?” He pauses for a moment, his eyes flitting up and down, side to side, anxiety coursing through his entire body.
“I need a date.”
My face flushes again. “Uh, uhm, me?” He looks at me just long enough to nod and say “yes.” Oh god. Oh god oh god oh god. “But but but Molly,” I say quickly, grasping at straws. “Take Molly. I’m sure that she’ll absolutely love to go.” His worry disappears for a second as he rolls his eyes in disgust. “Oh yes,” he huffs, “I’m sure she will. And then for the next few weeks I’ll never be rid of her. You remember what happened after I gave her that meaningless kiss at the Christmas party.” I look at him with a little bit of pity. “It wasn’t meaningless to her,” I say quietly. He snarls at me. “Either way, I was unable to go anywhere without her either joining me or begging to tag along.” He stands a bit straighter and pulls at his jacket, attempting to straighten it out but doing an awful job. “Besides,” he starts slowly, eyes up and dancing across the ceiling. “Besides, she couldn’t come even if I wanted her to.” I clasp my hangs over his and a sudden heat shoots through my spine. “And why’s that?” I prod shakily. “Because,” he murmurs quietly, “it’s a gay bar.”