For batik96 who suggested John’s reaction to Sherlock with short hair, for a case or due to an experiment. A quickly written ficlet.
“Anything new going on in London that we should know about?” John asked absentmindedly without glancing up from the paper he was reading. The “Um” followed by a pause, then a clearing of the throat was so unlike Sherlock, that John set down the paper immediately and rose only to be so stunned into shock at the sight that he had to sit back down.
Sherlock stood in front of him, nervously rocking on his heels, his head devoid of it’s mop of curls. His head, in John’s mind, was practically shorn. His dark hair, the auburn more pronounced with it’s short cut, now looked closer to John’s own usual military cut, that for a second John didn’t believe his eyes.
“Wha-? Wh-?“John stammered each sound punctuated by a pause and disbelieving hand gesture, “What the hell happened to your hair?” he finally managed to spit out.
“Weeeelll,” Sherlock tried for humor, but the dark look on John’s face cut him off. “You see, I was testing the flammability of fabrics – Really fire retardant is humorous at best, John – and unfortunately combined with the other chemicals in the lab, there was a minor explosion,” Sherlock held up his fingers for emphasis on minor, “and it might have singed my hair.”
“Might have? MIGHT HAVE?” John shouted, “Sherlock you practically have no hair. It didn’t singe your hair, it burned it clean off!”
“No, no. That’s not entirely true. I tried to cut off the singed part, but it was uneven, so then I tried to even it out and it kept getting shorter and shorter. It looked even worse before Molly got a hold of it.” Sherlock explained.
“Molly cut your hair?” John’s face was red with anger.
“No, I cut my hair, Molly ‘styled’ it. I promise you, it was not pretty before she got her hands on it.” Sherlock looked pleadingly at John. “Look you can still run your fingers through it.” Sherlock attempted to ruffle his hair in an attempt to pacify John. His long fingers barely made a dent in the short tufts.
John huffed. “Come here.”
Sherlock went meekly and knelt in front of John’s chair his head bowed. John slowly began to run his fingers through the new haircut. It wasn’t the same as the thick curls he was used to but Sherlock responded the same, relaxing into the touch. “Idiot” John thought to himself but began to get used to the new feeling under his fingertips.
“One would think you of all people would know better than to have open flames near chemicals.” John said as he continued to explore the short hair at the nape of Sherlock’s neck, mourning the loss of the little curl that used to be there.
“One would think that a product labeled flame retardant would be. We need to alert the manufacturer as soon as you’re done here. But don’t rush.” Sherlock was limp at John’s touch, his head now in John’s lap.
“It’ll grow back,” John reaffirmed to himself out loud.
“Yes, John, it’s just hair, it’ll grow back. Now hush and keep doing what you’re doing,” Sherlock sighed.
John smiled. It was just hair, but in his mind, it couldn’t grow back fast enough.