Sensing that it was John, who was coming home and not someone else, didn't prove a challenge to the great Sherlock Holmes. Doctor Watson had this very specific way of opening the front door, unique pace of climbing the stairs and breathing pattern that somehow felt soothing. But Sherlock, sitting in his armchair and browsing through a newspaper, knew that something was different today. All those little habits of John's were slightly altered. Perhaps due to the rain that kept falling incessantly for the whole day. Whatever the reason, Sherlock was mildly intrigued. Something was afoot.
"Hello, John," he said casually, eyes fixed on John.
"Hello, Sherlock," John replied quickly and hurried to the kitchen, clearly trying to avoid the attention of his flatmate. Obviously, that had quite the opposite effect, especially when a muffled "meow" could be heard coming from the general direction of John.
"John?" Sherlock asked with misleading calmness.
"Yes?" The water was dripping from him as if he just came out of the shower, but he didn't seem to mind that. He put a bowl on the kitchen table and started to go through the stuff in the fridge, flinching at any human organ he found there.
"I don't suppose you suddenly developed an interest in animal sounds imitation, did you John?"
"Not really..." He finally grabbed a bottle of milk and poured its content into the bowl.
"Meow!" Sounded once again, this time in a more demanding tone. John unzipped his jacket and placed something fluffy on the table.
Sherlock sprang out of the armchair and rushed to the kitchen. The scene which unfolded before his very eyes wasn't overly pleasing. He saw a small black kitten drinking milk greedily from a bowl. John looked both proud of himself and apologetic. Only he could do that.
"I always thought you were a dog person," Sherlock stated acridly, clearly reprimanding John.
"I am. But I couldn't just left him in the rain!" He answered defensively.
"Yes, you could."
John glowered at Sherlock but decided not to reply. Instead he just stroked the cat's head which resulted in a quiet purr.
"You're such a soft-hearted person sometimes, John... and so imprudent," he smiled mockingly. "You cannot possibly hope to save the whole population of homeless pets in London and accumulate them on Baker Street!"
"I know! But this cat is special," John declared firmly.
"Special? How special?", Sherlock inquired with curiosity.
"I was standing at the traffic lights, just around the corner, and it was raining... well, cats and dogs. Anyway, I suddenly felt that something was climbing up my leg. Before I could do anything shout, shake it off or have a heart attack the assailant hid under my jacket. And when I looked down, I met the most cheeky gaze I've ever seen. I almost felt as if the cat was challenging me! It kind of reminded me of someone," He gave Sherlock a meaningful look. "So I took him home."
"Interesting story, but the cat cannot stay here. It may destroy my experiments," Sherlock told him adamantly. John, however, chose to ignore all the objections.
"I called him Sherlock."
There was a moment of absolute silence in the flat.
"What? You named a cat after me?" The detective blinked in surprise, which didn't happen too often.
"Well, he behaves like you and he even looks similar. He's skinny, has black fur, blue eyes..."
"I don't have fur, John," he objected.
John glanced at Sherlock's black, dishevelled curls and said:
Sherlock gave out an irritated sigh, but his scientific nature prevailed over animosity. He leaned over the cat and examined it thoroughly. The object of observation was patient, even looked a bit bored.
Sherlock's forehead creased in a big frown.
"I have bad news for you, John," he said gravely.
"What? Is he sick?"
"No. Your newly acquired Sherlock is a 'she'." A sigh of exasperation left his throat.
"Oh?" John looked puzzled.
"Sherlock is a female!" Sherlock snapped, clearly displeased.
John did his best not to burst out laughing and he very nearly succeeded.
"Well, I guess I'd better change his... her name then."
"That would be desirable, yes," Sherlock obviously took offence at the whole situation.
John ruminated about the issue of a name for a while.
"What about Shelock?"
"Shelock?" Sherlock snorted. "Undoubtedly, that's the most silly name for a cat in the UK".
"Shelock it is then" John smiled and stroked Shelock's silky fur. It seemed that 221B Baker Street gained a new tenant after all.
Sherlock glared at them, feeling a pang a jealousy.
"I hope I won't need to compete for your attention with a cat?" He asked nonchalantly, even though his facial expression remained serious.
"Attention or affection?" John observed with a mischievous glint in his eye.
Sherlock cleared his throat.
"Both in fact."
John grinned and moved closer to his moody flatmate. He ruffled his hair with tenderness.
"Don't you worry. I like your fur better."