Mycroft found out about the events of the night, as he always seemed to find out everything Sherlock did, and instructed Sherlock to take John and return to the countryside while Derwent and any of his accomplices were dealt with. Although he was thoroughly annoyed by this, Sherlock obeyed, as he knew disobedience would only lead to more annoyance from Mycroft. The next morning, Sherlock dropped by Scotland Yard to inform Lestrade that he would be leaving London, but would continue on the case from the country house, and correspond his findings via letters. The carriage ride back was rather quiet, as Sherlock was thinking about the case and John was still rather shocked by the events of the previous night, although whenever Sherlock glanced at him, John gave him a quick smile to show that he was alright, and that the two of them were still friends. When the carriage stopped outside Knightly Estate, John gave a friendly goodbye to which Sherlock gave a rather short reply. He was in his mind palace: a place he resided to when he was solving a case. When he returned home he ignored all his servants and went straight to the drawing room and slumped on the sofa. He lay with the palms pressed together under his chin, a crease in his brow to form a look of intense concentration.
Mr Selwick’s assumption of Miss Temple being the benefactor was completely wrong. If her intentions were for Mr Selwick to become a gentleman, she would have said so and he would be a gentleman at this very moment. If not her, who? Where was the senior Mr Selwick? Sherlock hadn’t asked but he could tell from Mrs Selwick’s behaviour and body language that senior Mr Selwick was dead. The family was middle-class, so the money wouldn’t have come from a relative. Young Mr Selwick’s behaviour didn’t suggest he was hiding anything, so the money wouldn’t be a pay-off or gambling winnings. Perhaps he was hiding something, but just didn’t realise it?
“Damn!” Sherlock exclaimed suddenly, and he jumped off the sofa.
He scraped his hands through his dark hair and exhaled angrily. How was he supposed to close the case in a decent amount of time if he couldn’t even be in London to question his client? Letters would take days to arrive and he couldn’t stand the thought of waiting through that terrible process.
“Wiggins!” Sherlock shouted.
A few seconds later, a young, gangly servant entered the room.
“Prepare my horse.”
John wasn’t ‘shaken up’. He was quite shocked of course, but he did not regret his visit to London at all. He had gotten a taste of the action, a taste of Sherlock’s world! How exciting it was, and it was all snatched away so quickly, and there he was, back home, in the boring old drawing room looking at a boring old book trying to think of what to do now. He hoped Sherlock was alright. John was worried he’d upset him, as silly as that may seem, but Sherlock wasn’t as friendly as usual when he said goodbye. But then again, Sherlock was annoyed. That would be the reason, but John just wanted to ensure him that he was definitely up for another adventure. Should he go and see Sherlock, or should he leave him be? He was so bored!
“I suppose something went wrong?”
John turned to see Irene standing in the doorway. He sighed in annoyance.
“I don’t feel like discussing that with you.” John replied, looking back at the boring book in his lap.
“He’s something else, isn’t he?”
“Don’t act dumb, John, I’m talking about Sherlock. He’s different.”
“Well I should bloody hope so, I’m sick of the dull codgers around here.”
“Don’t let mother hear you talking like that.” Irene grinned.
“What do you want?” John asked shortly.
“You and I do have something in common. We are both excruciatingly bored with our lives.”
“Go and find another man to tease.”
“I don’t tease.” Irene’s smile faded. “I test them. It’s all a test to see whether I could bear to marry them. But they are all the same, John. They go riding and hunting, they play cards and dance with the most beautiful women in the room and they act charming, but that’s just what it is: an act. Who knows what they’d be like once I was to marry them. All that charm would fade away and I would be his slave.”
“You’re talking rather darkly, Irene.” John looked up from his book; he’d never heard Irene speak like that before.
“It needs to be said. Married women are too afraid to say it, but I know. Once married, a woman has to tend to her husband’s every need; every desire, no matter what. I don’t want to be marrying just anyone, John. You think I ‘tease’ these men because I find it amusing? I am working them out. I have not found an acceptable man for me yet, except… I think-”
“Irene, I know you’ve got your eyes set on Sherlock, but to be honest, I really don’t think he’s interested in marriage. He’s too involved with his work.”
“I wouldn’t stop him from his detective work, in fact, I would like to be involved in it.” Irene’s smile returned. “It would be such a welcome change.”
“You can stop fantasising about it right now.” John said, slightly too angrily.
“Why are you so cross?” Irene frowned defensively. “Do you want to marry him?” she laughed.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” John huffed. “I just mean that there is no point in you fantasising about it because it won’t happen! He has no interest in you, surely you can see that?”
“He will learn to love me.”
“No he won’t! Open your eyes and accept the fact that for once in your life, a man isn’t dancing around you just because he thinks you’re pretty!”
Irene glared, before turning and exiting the room, slamming the door behind her. John exhaled loudly. He was sure to regret that outburst. Deciding he was finally sick of the same four walls surrounding him, John headed out of the house to go for a walk. He headed down the road towards Sherlock’s house. He wasn’t sure if he was planning on visiting, but he headed that way anyway. He thought about Irene. He felt obligated to apologise to her, but he didn’t want to. The things he said were harsh, but she needed to be told. Her whole Sherlock endeavour was fruitless and she needed to stop; for his sake… more for Sherlock’s sake though, of course. John was passing by the empty fields on the way to Crowley estate when he noticed a horse. It was standing by itself on the middle of the field, and furthermore, it looked like Sherlock’s horse. Finding this rather odd, John turned and walked in the field, through the slightly overgrown grass to investigate. Had one of Sherlock’s servants made a mistake and let the horse out? It looked like it has a saddle on though, so that couldn’t be right. Had Sherlock been thrown off and the horse run off by itself? John became suddenly worried. His heartbeat fastened and he walked more briskly towards the lone horse. He was just a few metres away from the stallion when he tripped over something and fell on his front in the grass. The horse whinnied as if laughing at him.
“What the?” John picked himself up off the ground and turned to see Sherlock on his back, in the grass, not unconscious or injured, just pondering.
“Hello.” Sherlock frowned questioningly.
“Hello to you too.” John replied, still confused and a bit dazed from his fall.
“Sorry I tripped you up. I suppose the long grass concealed me.” Sherlock said, still on the ground.
“Yes, I suppose it did… what are you doing?”
“I’m thinking about the case. I fancied some open space, the drawing room felt too cramped for my thoughts.”
“Have you come to any conclusions?”
“I have. I have come to the conclusion that Mycroft is an irritating git.”
John chuckled. “I’m glad you said it first.”
Sherlock grinned. “In all seriousness though, I will need to return to London. I need to speak with Mr Selwick again, and I’m sure I can solve it promptly.”
“Will Mycroft let you return to London?”
“Who knows? I’m not going to ask him.”