What Sherlock Doesn't Know:
1. Popular literature
2. Films that are not Bond
3. TV of any kind
5. That the Earth revolves around the Sun. No, really.
(This list is absurd.--SH)
"So," I asked. "Sebastian. Tell me the story."
Sherlock's nose twitched. "What do you think the story is?"
"You hate him right down to the water molecules. I'm curious why."
Sherlock raised an eyebrow. "Was I obvious?"
"Mm. Have to work on that."
"You'll work on that? Really? Because I have a list of things for you to work on," I said (hopeful, ever hopeful).
"Already read it. Cleaning is boring, I don't own any underwear--"
"You don't own any?" That was item number two, stop stealing my boxers.
"Laundry is intolerable. I dry-clean all my clothes. My cleaner of choice picks up and delivers. They don't do underwear."
"But there's a washing machine in the basement," I said.
Sherlock looked at me. "BORING," he said emphatically.
"You spend a fortune on dry cleaning to avoid being bored?"
"I get a discount. I saved the owner from an arson protection ring."
"Right," I said. "Your network of gratitude. And why do you steal my boxers then?"
"Because wearing underwear is more comfortable, but not comfortable enough to justify washing. If I wear yours, you do it instead."
I sighed. Sherlock smiled. "You can't fault my logic," Sherlock said.
"I never fault your logic. I fault your personality."
"And yet here you are and here Sebastian isn't."
"Have I mentioned how much I don't want to be here right now?" I asked. I rattled the cuffs for emphasis, because we were handcuffed together face to face around a pillar. My arms were handcuffed behind Sherlock's back and Sherlock's behind mine, so that we were pressed flat to the pillar, embracing like--well, like very close friends indeed. The criminal (burglar, simple method, complicated motive, Lestrade hadn't called Sherlock, Sherlock called him, then it got complicated, and neither of us expected that cardboard-covered hole in the floor, and I'd stepped into it and wrenched my knee, and Sherlock fell over me) had also interlaced our arms, so that neither of us could raise our hands above the other's shoulders. "Are you absolutely sure you can't pick these cuffs? I'm not sure I believe you."
"I could break them with a sharp rap on a hard object. Your backside doesn't qualify."
"Thank you very much."
Sherlock smirked at me again. "I could pick them with a paperclip, pin, biro, brooch, anything small and sharp. Again, your arse--"
"We've discussed my arse far too much in this conversation."
"Whose fault is that? Third, I could break my hand with the leverage I have, but I would rather not."
"Agreed," I said.
"I could break your hand as well."
"Which you haven't, so that means you're not going to," I said. I did understand the man a little.
Sherlock nodded slightly, not exactly smiling. "So we're stuck until help arrives," he said.
"Right. Back to Sebastian. You knew him eight years ago--university?"
"John. He mentioned university when we talked. Do try to move past the obvious."
I prodded him in the back with my index finger. He frowned at the unpleasant sensation. "How about a deal? I drop the subject of my underpants and you tell me about Sebastian."
"You've already dropped the subject of your underpants. You've recognized my intransigence and succumbed," Sherlock asked.
"Fine then. I stop doing this," I said, and poked him in the back. Sherlock twitched and squirmed. I poked him again.
"You're not normally so physical with me. I don't like this alteration," Sherlock said, hunching his shoulders like a cat when I poked him twice in rapid succession.
"Yes, well, I just found out you're wearing my underpants on purpose. I feel freer now. Uninhibited." I smiled at Sherlock and jabbed him with my middle finger so hard I nearly hurt myself.
"John, stop!" There was real distress on Sherlock's face. I stopped. "I don't like pain, I don't like being confined, and I don't like being touched," Sherlock said fretfully. He shook the cuffs against my back.
"Oh dear," I said. "Did you just snap?"
Sherlock scowled at me. "I'm not under mental tension. I am not going to snap. I was vocalizing my emotional state, because you are so utterly incapable of recognizing the clues set before you. I can cope with being touched and confined since the situation is inescapable, but the pain you are causing for fun is entirely gratuitous."
"Ah," I said. I considered for a moment as Sherlock took a deep breath and rested his face on the pillar. Then I poked him again. "Tell me about Sebastian and I'll stop."
Sherlock snarled. "We met in university, he lived in the next room, we both took a module in economics, him because he was in business, me because I was curious. I of course had perfect marks, and he declared himself my 'study buddy.' He posed dull questions until I answered them out of annoyance. It was due to him I discovered the power of speaking my thoughts aloud."
"What, before then, you just sat around silently until you came up with something brilliant?"
"Good God. What a prat you were," I said, imagining a thin, curly-haired boy sulking under his eyebrows, not opening his mouth.
"So I'm told. Don't poke me!" Sherlock said before I moved my finger. "He graduated before I did. It took me six years to finish my chemistry degree."
"They kept failing me for not showing my work."
I laughed. "Oh, Sherlock, you idiot."
"Proofs are tedious," Sherlock said. "After Sebastian left university, he continued to send me problems. I enjoyed working on them. I thought this was friendship, a give and take of ideas. Then I realized that the problems he sent me were not hypothetical; when he asked me to predict the movement of the New York Stock Exchange, that had a real-world application and he was applying it."
"And not giving you credit," I said.
"He gave me credit. He sent me a check." Sherlock sneered into thin air. "For my work. My time. My efforts."
Which made no sense. He was complaining because he'd been paid for his work--oh. "You thought you were friends. You did it out of friendship. He turned your friendship into a monetary relationship. Did you invite him somewhere?" A horrible thought occurred to me. "Did you ask him out?"
Sherlock frowned. "No. It's not important."
"You asked him..." I tried to use Sherlock's methods. What was Sherlock capable of? What did the ordinary man object to? What would offend Sherlock? "You asked him to dinner in a non-sexual way. He took it as a date. He laughed at the very idea--in front of other people, right? He mocked you. And then sent you another problem like nothing had happened."
Sherlock narrowed his eyes.
"I'm right, aren't I?"
"Don't poke me," Sherlock said before I moved. "I told you the story."
"Am I right?"
"Yes, you're right."
"Yes!" I hissed, trying to fist-pump.
Sherlock sniffed and shoved my elbows away from his sides. "Simple," he said.
"I read your bloody mind! I'm getting better! Admit I'm getting better!"
"Yes, my company has had a beneficial effect on your mind. Don't poke me!"
I rubbed Sherlock's back instead. "I'm not hitting you, I'm hugging you," I said.
"Have you ever had sex?"
Sherlock looked at me. "An inappropriately provocative question. Uncharacteristic for you."
"We're bonding. Discussion of sexual history is pretty standard between two blokes," I said.
"I've noticed that."
I nodded encouragingly. "I'm sure you have."
"You're making fun of me," Sherlock said. "Why? There's nobody else around."
"Because pointing out the failings of another human in an affectionate way is another method of bonding."
"I feel affectionate," I said.
Sherlock sighed and looked away. "Too much data. Can't find the pattern. I need to think."
"So you are a virgin, right?"
"Not now. Thinking." Sherlock laced his fingers behind my back and knotted his brow.
"Thinking!" Sherlock snapped.
"Fine," I said, leaning against the pillar. "I'm nearly comfortable now anyway." I rubbed Sherlock's back.
"Stop touching me!"
"Ugh. Oh, thank God, the police are here," Sherlock said. He turned his face away. "Hello! Help!"
I heard the sirens once I listened for them. I alternated cries with Sherlock. "Help! Police!"
It was Donovan who found us. Bugger. "Aw, boys!" she said. "Adorable!" She clasped her hands under her chin.
I nudged Sherlock into silence. "Please, my leg, it's cramping up," I said, grimacing in pain as best I could. Which was true (bloody hole in the floor, bloody cardboard) and did the trick. She popped the handcuffs instead of standing around and taking humorous pictures for the LOLSherlock group on Facebook (small but devoted following).
When we returned home, Sherlock took to the sofa immediately. I put the kettle on. "The criminal went to Canada. Montreal. He doesn't know French," Sherlock said by the time the water boiled. "Tell Lestrade. It should be easy from there."
"Sure," I said. I texted "Burglar fled to Montreal. SH" to Lestrade and handed Sherlock a cup of Darjeeling.
"Define virgin," Sherlock said.
"Someone who's never had an orgasm in the presence of, or provoked orgasm in, another person," I said. I'd had an hour or so to think about it. Sherlock was fairly predictable sometimes.
Sherlock frowned slightly. "You would consider someone a virgin if they had attempted sex but neither party reached orgasm?"
"These terms are so imprecise."
"Yes," I said. "A person would still be a virgin if they tried sex and failed. A thing isn't done unless it's done properly."
"Yes, I'm a virgin."
"For certain values of virgin, obviously."
Sherlock grunted and turned his back.
"Unsuccessful sexual history," I said.
"Stop imitating me. It's annoying."
"Male or female?" I asked. "No, both, for scientific accuracy. Plus a dog to start ruling out paraphilia."
Sherlock rolled back over. "Now you're trying to provoke me."
"I'm thrusting to the heart of the matter," I said.
Sherlock narrowed his eyes at me. "Enjoy your tea, dear," I said, retreating to my room to update my blog with our adventures. "And I forgive you for borrowing my underpants," I said from the door.
"Yes, I knew that three hours ago," Sherlock said (he always had to have the last word).
Things for Sherlock to work on:
1. Clean the bloody flat
2. Body parts--LEAVE A NOTE
3. In fact all experiments, leave a note
4. Finish all sentences once begun
5. Respect the closed door
6. Especially the loo door
7. When your best friend is trying to pull, don't imply that we're gay together
8. Stop correcting my grammar
10. You know what I mean about the jelly, don't pretend that you don't.
(This list is pointless.--SH)