You may have read of the remarkable explorations of a Norwegian named Sigerson, but I am sure that it never occurred to you that you were receiving news of your friend.

- The Adventure of the Empty House

It’s half three when the good doctor notices the light’s on. His bedfellow, the daft git, is sitting up beside him and reading, hands steepled underneath his chin and book balanced on his knee.

“ … s’that?” he murmurs, his words a steady slur. “S’not English.”

“You’re not wrong.”

John rubs his eyes with his fingertips and blinks, frowning up at the other man.

“It’s Norwegian,” Sherlock says, shifting against the sheets. “Go back to sleep.”

The stubborn bastard sits up instead, pulling a corner of the bedclothes around his shoulders. “You wrote all this in Norwegian?” he asks, squinting at the spikey, spidery scrawl.

Sherlock cautiously peers over at the captain, mouth thinning.

“It seemed appropriate.”

“Why?”

The detective dramatically rolls his pale eyes. “Because I was traveling under the name of Benjamin Sigerson at the time.”

Sherlock snaps the journal shut and leans away to stash it underneath the bed again.

“You aren’t going to read any of it aloud?”

“You don’t speak Norwegian.”

“No, but your English is passable.”

“It’s mostly apiology.”

“Bees?”

“Mmn.”

“Will help me get back to sleep, then.”

Sherlock hesitantly settles onto the bed again, slumping back against the pillows like a boneless cat. He lets John lean against him, despite the doctor’s vaguely amused smirk.

“The study of bees has a simple appeal,” he starts, brow twitching. “For when a bee is born, despite having the densest neuropil tissue in the kingdom animalia, her entire life is already laid out before her. And because we know everything she is and everything she ever will be, we will always know how long she will work, how far she will fly, and when she will die.”

The good doctor settles closer, still smirking as he tries to imagine the detective studying the little working gangs instead of watching the criminal world of London.

“The greatest problem comes from predators. Despite their unpredictability, she must be willing to sacrifice herself lest she lose everything she’s ever built or worked for,” Sherlock continues. “Her final act of defense is fatal. The death occurs within minutes, but she doesn’t feel any —”

“Hold on,” John interrupts, brows knitted together. “You wrote this while you were away?”

“Obviously,” the detective replies, the edges of his tone frayed with annoyance.

John’s entire expression softens. “You’re an idiot,” he murmurs, eyes widening with gradual realisation. “You always went on about how my write-ups romanticised fact, how they didn’t focus on the science of your method, and here you —”

“You interrupted me before I got to the passage about older bees venturing too far and forgetting their way back to the hive,” Sherlock offers, a hesitantly affectionate smile hiding in the corner of his mouth.

“S’enough metaphor for one night, yeah?”

study from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences about older bees having difficulty finding their way home ]

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