Natalie stood in front of a small flight of steps. They led up to a door with the label "221B" written above it. The building was in an older part of the town, and was rather old-fashioned, but still there was a modern feel to it all. 221B Baker Street. That would be Natalie's new address until her parents would return. A frown covered her face. She missed them, and was not used to being away from them. She was stuck in London, on a whole other continent, for reasons even Natalie herself did not know. It wasn't like them, and that worried her. Raising her arm to knock, she stopped herself to think. John Watson. Her parents had sent her to stay with him for the period, however Natalie didn't even know who he was other than that he was part of their very extended family. Why him? There were many other relatives living in Natalie's home state of Florida. Why would her parents send her to London, to this unknown man? Determined to find answer, her arm knocked on the door three times.
"Coming!" shouted a man, as the sounds of his footsteps down a staircase rattled the halls. He had a British accent, something Natalie was not used to. The large wooden door burst open as the sight of a smiling middle-aged man greeted her. He was not tall, but still Natalie was forced to look up at him. He had a small face, dark blonde hair combed to the side, and a large smile on his face. "Hello there, uh, Natalie!" he said, extending his hand to shake hers.
Holding out her hand they shook, as Natalie smiled and sheepishly said, "Hey, um, Mr. Watson."
"It's doctor Watson," the man grinned, motioning for Natalie to enter the building. There was a staircase to Natalie's left and another hallway to her right. She figured that she would live upstairs with Dr. John, considering she had heard him walk down the stairs earlier. "So we live upstairs, and Mrs. Hudson lives down-" he stopped to point at the hall, "-there. Let's go up. And let me take your bags!" After handing over her luggage, the young Natalie followed John up the stairs and into another room. "This is where we live," he unlocked the door into a suite. As Natalie entered, she turned to face her surroundings. There was a couch in front of the doorway, with a desk by the window, and by the opposite wall there was a fireplace with multiple odd items on top of it.
"Is that an – uh – skull?" Natalie asked, rather worried at the décor of the suite. For all she knew John Watson could've been a madman that she was stuck with.
"It's my friend's," sighed John, placing a blanket over it in a shy attempt to make the house a little more 'kid-friendly.' "Have a seat," he asked Natalie. The young girl unbuttoned her jacket and sat down, continuingly eyeing her odd surroundings. "Would you like a drink?"
"Just water, please," Natalie nodded as John walked into the kitchen. Emerging quickly after, John handed her a glass of water and sat down by the desk.
In an attempt to create conversation, John asked, "How old are you, Natalie?"
Lowering her glass, Natalie said, "I'm 15."
As John opened his mouth to ask another question, the door below was opened and then suddenly closed in mere seconds. Natalie turned her head, hearing sudden steps on the staircase. Seconds later, a tall man wearing a long coat came into view. He had curly black hair and a long face, and walked past a seated Natalie without making any acknowledgement. "John, Mrs. Hudson says she's making dinner today." He had a strong voice.
"Oh, well, isn't that nice," John said, trying to make the newcomer notice Natalie seated on the couch.
As the tall man faced the fireplace with his back towards Natalie, he suddenly stopped and said, "John."
"Uh, yes, Sherlock?" asked John. Natalie concluded that the man's name was Sherlock, then.
"Why is there a girl on the couch?" Sherlock wondered.
"This is Natalie," said John, embarrassed by the fact that he hadn't told Sherlock of her visit earlier. Sherlock slowly turned his face and eyed the young girl.
Quickly standing, Natalie held out her hand to alleviate John's embarrassment, and introduced herself, "Natalie Grace."
Sherlock continued to stare at her, and swiftly began to talk. "You've just arrived from the airport. Your transatlantic flight was delayed, providing you with a lengthy holdover in Atlanta. You live in Florida with your parents, who have opted to teach you at home, at least in part because of their religion. Your brother likes superhero movies, but not as much as you, and you spilled your drink on the flight here before trying unsuccessfully to fall asleep, probably because you were thinking about this unexpected trip to England."
"How?" Natalie stared back at him with wide eyes.
"He does that," John spoke up, "likes showing off."
"It was nothing impressive, anyone could see it if they had a modicum of intelligence." Sherlock stepped forward and pointed to her suitcase where it had fallen open. "Textbooks that are clearly not from the American public school system, therefore they must belong to either a private or home school. However, there are no stickers or stamps marking the books as belong to any sort of school, so she's homeschooled. Also travels with a Bible, so she's religious, or at least her parents are, providing a probable reason for home education. Captain America t-shirt, clearly a boy's shirt, probably her brother's, potentially her boyfriend's, but her parents care enough about their god to school her at home, so they probably think she's too young to date. So, home educated, a brother who likes Captain America, but not so much that he prevents her from leaving the country with his t-shirt."
"I can see where I spilled juice on my shirt, but how did you know the rest of that stuff?" asked a very shocked Natalie.
"Your hair tells me you tossed around on the plane while leaning back, quite a bit in fact. You could have been looking out the window, or talking to the person beside you, but that would only flatten the hair on one side of your head. No, you were trying to sleep, but you were too nervous to do so, instead you continued to shift around in your seat, striving to get comfortable. I can see a piece of what looks like a postcard sticking out of your jean pocket that says 'Atla,' obviously short for 'Atlanta.'
"But how did you know that she wasn't from Atlanta?" asked John.
"Look at her hoodie, John. It says 'Miami Dolphins' across the front. 'How do you know it's not a souvenir?'" Sherlock raised his voice mockingly as he asked the question to himself. "the Miami Dolphins are clearly an American football team, it's highly unlikely that she would have a friend with a hoodie for an out of state team.
"How on earth did you know that my friend lent it to me?"
"It's clearly not yours, the sleeves are far too long. It could have belonged to a sister, but if you had a sister with a jacket, then you would have a jacket too. So someone lent it to you for this unexpected trip to a colder climate. Finally, I can see your phone sticking out of your hoodie's right pocket. The battery is almost completely drained. You can't use your phone on the plane, and you would have spent your time before leaving home packing, so you must have spent a long time using it at the Atlanta airport as you waited for your plane to come in; thus you had an extended layover. Have I forgotten anything?"
Natalie's mouth gaped open, at a loss of words.
"Hello, my dear," said another voice, much softer than Sherlock's. Natalie turned, realizing she had failed to notice the entry of the woman standing in the doorway, during Sherlock's deductions. "I'm Mrs. Hudson," smiled the woman. She was thin and old, but still maintained a good sense of fashion. Or at least attempted to.
"Hi, ma'am, I'm Natalie," shyly greeted Nat, attempting to cover up the fact that she had totally ignored her earlier.
"Natalie; what a sweet name," said Mrs. Hudson, turning to John. "I've ordered some Chinese."
As John attempted to speak, Sherlock suddenly interrupted him. "I thought you said you would be making food instead."
"Well, I was running out of time, you see, I had a program to watch on the telly," Mrs. Hudson attempted to inform Sherlock, but the man ignored her. "I am not your caretaker!" she shouted as the doorbell rang. "Oh, that must be the food, I'll get it. You dears better prepare the table." Smiling sweetly, Mrs. Hudson walked down the stairs.
Natalie and John took out the plates and glasses. Sherlock, however, decided to have a seat and wait. Natalie eyed the man with suspicion. "I'll go get the drinks," she smiled, as walked to the fridge, which was behind the wooden table in the kitchen. Grasping the handle, Natalie pulled the fridge door open and suddenly let out a shriek. Both John and Sherlock turned, with the doctor pulling her away into his arms while the young girl continued to scream. "Is – that – a – head?!"
John began to apologize to his relative while Sherlock closed the fridge. "A human head, yes. Good eyes," he mocked, in his normal cold and calculating voice.
"Sherlock!" John scolded the man with one arm wrapped around a petrified Natalie. "Now, you, dear, have a seat," John comforted her, pulling out a chair. "I'll get the drinks."
Moments later, the four of them sat around the table with the food in the centre. Sherlock took the food first.
"Sherlock! Shouldn't you be feeding your guest?" asked Mrs. Hudson, angry at the man's manners. Or perhaps she was angry at his lack of them.
"Mrs. Hudson," Sherlock turned to her, "are you saying I should starve myself for her?"
"Sherlock, just-" John rolled his eyes, grabbing the food clamp from the man and had begun to place noodles on Natalie's plate.
They began to eat, silently at first, but Mrs. Hudson took it upon herself to start the conversation. "So, Natalie, isn't it? How old are you?"
As Natalie opened her mouth, Sherlock interrupted, "She's 12, judging by her size."
Natalie was astonished at Sherlock's guess, and was rather insulted, but decided to use his one mistake against the man himself. "Aha!" Natalie roared, "I'm 15!"
Tilting his head, Sherlock stared at the smiling young girl confusedly. "Your size says otherwise." Despite being wrong, he was still determined.
"I might be short, but you just made a mistake in your guesses!" Natalie continued to laugh, and was joined by the other two. Sherlock bowed his head and ignored the laughter.
Mrs. Hudson asked, "Natalie, where are you from?"
Natalie looked at Sherlock, smiling, "aren't you gonna answer?" she mocked. John stifled a laugh while Sherlock stopped to stare at her. It was not easy for someone to understand Sherlock's facial expressions, so Natalie sat there wondering if he was surprised or angry. Continuing her laugh, Natalie said, "I'm from Florida, ma'am."
"Oh, well isn't that nice. I've never been there myself, but my husband was convicted of murder in Florida," Mrs. Hudson said casually.
It had been a long day for Natalie. In the early morning, she woke up in Florida, and after a long night she was in London, eating dinner with three strangers, one of whom was probably an extremely insane psycho. Luckily, Natalie absolutely adored Chinese food, and practically inhaled her plate. "You're obviously hungry." That was said by none other than Sherlock.
"Sherlock, let the girl eat!" John argued.
"I was just saying."
Natalie ignored the argument, focusing instead on the last sushi in the centre plate. Natalie loved sushi more than any other food and was determined to take the last one. Holding out her fork, she motioned to take it. However, Sherlock also wanted the sushi, and also motioned to take it. Seconds later the two were locked staring at one another, both their forks mere centimetres away from one piece of sushi.
"Sherlock, let her have it," John said. "She's a guest." Ignoring John's words, Sherlock continued to hold the fork in place.
"Actually, it's fine," Natalie said, pulling her fork back. "He can have it." Without a second thought, Sherlock lifted the sushi and began chewing.
"Sherlock!" This time both Mrs. Hudson and John were shouting.
"What? She said that I could have it."