The day had begun with John and Sherlock on a case, as many days do. John wasn’t entirely sure how they had ended up playing laser tag against each other like a couple of school children, but that was where the day had led to.
A request had come on Sherlock’s website for investigation into a children’s arcade. Some of the staff had noticed some strange things happening in the arcade, and they weren’t sure what to do. So they had contacted Sherlock to come investigate. They seemed to be under the impression that there was something supernatural going on. Of course, Sherlock couldn’t resist investigating that. He had to prove it wrong.
They arrived at the arcade before it opened to talk to the owner and the employees. They told Sherlock about the lights flickering on and off, cold spots that would randomly appear and then disappear just as quickly, machines running when they shouldn’t have, the animatronics appearing to move on their own, haunting music playing, doors being opened or unlocked when they shouldn’t have been, and a whole host of other problems. The last person to talk to them was someone who claimed to have been assaulted by whatever entity had taken residence in the, quite frankly, second rate arcade.
Shaking, the employee described how he was closing one night when he had heard strange noises. He had tried to ignore them, but after hearing one right behind him, he got spooked and ran into the laser tag arena. While trying to hide, the lights and fog machine had come on. He was chased through the maze, attacked, and woke up sometime later with a bump on his head and a bruised ego.
In the time it took to listen to everyone give their account, the arcade had opened. Sherlock sat stock still, entranced in his mind palace, while bad music blared loudly and children ran around, whooping and hollering.
“I need to see the inside of the laser tag arena,” Sherlock eventually announced after several minutes of sitting in silence, fuming slightly as he tried to block out the distractions around him.
“You … want to play laser tag?” John asked in disbelief.
“Yes, John, I do,” Sherlock said, standing and walking towards the laser tag arena, coat swishing behind him.
“Oi, Sherlock. We gotta buy tokens to play laser tag.” Several minutes and token purchases later, they were suiting up to play laser tag with a group of teens and younger children. John and Sherlock weren’t really paying attention to what suits they were putting on, so they ended up on opposing teams. Neither one of them really cared, however, as their goal was much different from the children around them, who were giving them many strange looks. John tried his best not to fill self conscious. As usual, Sherlock didn’t seem to notice. He spent his time looking around the entrance area to the laser tag arena and impatiently waiting for the employee to finish explaining the rules. When they were finally allowed in the maze, the two teams ran off in opposite directions. John attempted to follow Sherlock, but someone from his team shouted,” where are you going!? This way!” Another person wearing the same color as him grabbed John’s arm and dragged him where the rest of the team was heading.
“Hey, wait,” John tried to protest, but his younger team members were too focused on winning to let the dumb old man ruin their chances.
“Oh, great,” he muttered. He had no idea where Sherlock had gone off to. The kids all huddled together, discussing their game plan, until the alarm that they could start shooting went off and everyone scattered. John was left standing alone and was shot by someone almost immediately.
“Hey, what the-!” he exclaimed as his suit buzzed and flashed several times.
“I’m gonna kill Sherlock for dragging me into this,” he muttered as he walked away, trying to find his tall friend somewhere in the flashing neon lights and fog that filled the air. However, Sherlock wasn’t anywhere out in the open. And John was getting real annoyed at getting shot every few seconds. He eventually started going to more secluded parts of the maze. Still, Sherlock was nowhere to be found.
“I’m never gonna find him,” John muttered after checking yet another darkened dead end. However, he turned around and there stood his friend, appearing almost out of thin air, like a ghost.
“Oh, there you a-” John was cut off as Sherlock pressed him up against the wall, a very solid ghost.
“Hey, what are you-” John was again cut off as Sherlock pressed his lips to John’s. For a moment, the world ended. There was no intense music. There were no flashing lights. There were no children playing fake war. There was no arcade, or floor beneath their feet, or even air to breathe. There was only Sherlock’s lips on John’s and the explosion in his chest slowly spreading to his entire body and turning his mind to mush.
When Sherlock pulled away, John nearly fell, Sherlock’s weight no longer keeping him pressed against the wall. He tried to think, to form at least one coherent sentence. But his brain completely failed him.
And then Sherlock did something else completely unexpected: he shot John Watson in the chest, point black. John was brought back to reality at the familiar buzzing of his suit. John watched in outrage as his friend walked away, smirking.