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If/If

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If/If

Watson draws scenarios, keeps scores. Naturally, she never expected her private ramblings to be found, but alas, they have, and she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place: act out her scenarios, or never find out if her predictions were right.

Watson never appreciated uncertainties.

——

It’s not that he was rummaging through her belongings, no, she’d specified that that was absolutely unacceptable. But again, he wasn't rummaging, he was looking for a specific object, one that wasn't exactly hers but really was just in her possession.

You could realistically say, without reaching, that the ensuing madness was entirely her fault - she was supposed to leave that receipt on the desk in the library, he’s positive he asked her to do so at least two times. And anyway, who leaves their journal just lying around like that?

Entirely her fault, absolutely. After all, she was the one who wrote it, the one who didn't hide it properly, and ultimately, the one who agreed to all of it.

The first time he reads it, he is absolutely astonished. See, Sherlock Holmes is not a man to be surprised by just about anything, but the “scenarios”, the attention to detail, the circumstantiated goals of each experiment, - yes, experiment, because that’s what they were - her predictions about what those would ultimately accomplish.

He’s desperate to know if she’d be right.

——

Watson arrives at the Brownstone to blasting Wagner and the pungent smell of… something that did not smell good at all. She’s hoping for a quiet night, maybe a bath and some reading if she’s lucky, maybe she’ll even get to have an actual meal.

“Sherlock, I’m home!” she calls, dropping her keys in the bowl and walking straight towards the kitchen, in the hopes of avoiding that the disgusting smell has enough time to linger. She sees it as soon as she enters the kitchen, it’s navy velvet cover contrasting against the dark wood of the kitchen table.

If asked, she’d go to her grave swearing that it never happened, but for a not-so-brief moment, Joan Watson considered turning around and never walking into that stupid Brownstone again, out of sheer shame. She thinks she should be gravely upset that he so brazenly invaded her privacy, but it’s almost like her body doesn’t have enough energy to feel anything else other than extreme embarrassment.

“Is that my journal?” she asks, for no other reason than to delay the inevitable conversation concerning its contents, and decides to sit down in an effort to brace herself for what’s coming

He looks over at her and smiles (smiles?) at her “Evening, Watson.” he says, stirring something utterly vile in a pot that’s absolutely going to be binned as soon as he turns this back “I believe it is.”

“Okay,” she breathes “what’s it doing here?”

“I came across it earlier today as I was looking for something in your bedroom.”

“I see.”

“I believe, Watson, that this isn't a mere journal.” he turns off the burner and turns to her “This is a guidebook for our next few weeks.”
“Ah.”

For an inordinate amount of time after the “scenario weeks” had passed - years after - Sherlock would bring up that she agreed to participate integrally in the experiments she detailed in that notebook.

Every time she would remind him that people in severe state of shock are in no shape to make decisions.

——

Scenario One: Sherlock and I use only non-verbal communication for a week
Goals: Improving non-verbal and alternative methods of communication, improving understanding of corporeal signage, challenging each other to come up with creative solutions to communicate in manners that are richer and more effective
Predictions: Sherlock would not last three days. Things will be thrown around carelessly by the both of us. Communication will probably not improve but we will lose a lot of patience and possibly a few house items due to random bouts of frustration.

They agree (she will insist she was coerced) to meet on the roof at ten o’clock on a Sunday to kick-off the non-verbal communication week. She is reluctant, he is smug. He’s already there, tending to his bees, by the time she opens the door.

“Morning.” she says, walking towards one of the hives

“Morning, Watson.” he answers “Are you ready?”

She looks at her phone and notices that there are still a few minutes left until they are to begin “Yes. Perhaps we should establish some ground rules?”

“Absolutely,” he agrees “first of all, I think that we should abstain also from written communication,” he states, matter-of-factly “really give ourselves a challenge in ‘alternative methods of communication’.”

She chuckles at his suggestion. “Sure. Are you sure you’re up for that?”

“I am absolutely positive.”

His phone beeps and he shows her the notification on the screen

GO TIME

——

At first, it’s a struggle. She constantly has to police herself, withhold commentary she believes to be extremely relevant. She takes to nudges and gentle shoves.

He keeps a smug smile plastered to his face almost constantly, works cases and drops files with gigantic red circles in her vicinity frequently. He takes to foot stomping and tea drinking.

By Tuesday, they are more or less adapted to the silence, have found easy rhythms that are governed not by words but by touches, a pat here, a nudge there, and they flow nicely. He’s worried however, that rather than bring them closer together through “creative communication solutions”, the silence is driving them apart thanks to their mutual desire not to break the no-speaking rule, so he makes a decision to remedy.

On Wednesday, he brings home a case, a relatively old B&E, in which they can work together. He sets up the case on the library, tapes the files on the walls and writes the most relevant information in red marker for her to consult, and for a brief moment, he almost calls to her, before remembering how badly he wants to prove her wrong, and decides to find her and bring her to the library himself. He finds her in the kitchen making a cup of tea. She extends a mug to him in offering, and he shakes his head, points to the library hoping she’ll get what he means.

Either she doesn't or pretend that she does not, because she looks at him and plops down on one of the kitchen chairs with a shrug, returning to the book she’d been reading earlier, calmly sipping her tea under his affected gaze.

So he decides for a more pointed approach, crosses the kitchen and takes her hand, tugging at it lightly to indicate that he'd like her to come with him, and she does, because it’s so utterly strange, so utterly shocking, that she trails numbly after him, her hand enveloped in his.

And what shocks her the most, really, is that at no point when he’s showing her the case files, pointing at the most likely suspects, shaking his head towards leads he wants her to pay attention to, does he ever let go of her hand.

She assumes he didn't realize he was still holding it and tries not to think about it.

That night, she goes to bed early, and he stays up working on the case. It’s the middle of the night when he sees something important, something he missed before, and as he gallops up the stairs towards her room, he has every intention of opening the door and yelling “Watson!” loud enough to wake her up. By the time he’s actually gotten to her room, however, he has remembered the rules and decided to nudge her awake instead.

After several futile attempts to gently nudge her awake, he realizes he won’t be successful. She’s been living with him too long and learned to sleep through mild (and she would argue, severe) discomfort and disturbance, and doesn’t as much as stir at his attempts. He considers using approaches that are, so to speak, less kind, but decides not to (he would never admit to it, but he thought she looked positively poetic while asleep), choosing instead to sit by the foot of her bed and wait for her to wake up. Sitting becomes leaning, leaning turns into lying down, and eventually he's asleep beside her.

She wakes up pinned under a wayward arm and it takes her several seconds to understand what’s happening - well, not understand what’s happening, that she still can’t fully grasp, but to understand who that solid, warm mass beside her is (another thing she would never admit to is how nice it felt - she hadn't slept that well in ages). Once she does, she slips from under his arm and pokes her bedtime companion with enough force to bruise.

He wakes up with a startle and simply shrugs at her questioning gestures, getting up and leaving her room as if nothing ever happened. Naturally, they didn't talk about it.

By Saturday they have, against all odds, made considerable progress on their case. Their suspect list has narrowed down to two people and most of the evidence has been sorted nicely, and they can both feel a solution coming. Watson is the one who ties up the last remaining loose end, a substantial piece of evidence they hadn't managed to connect to either suspect, one that effectively solves the entire ordeal. She pins the evidence to the suspect’s picture on the wall and gets Sherlock to come look.

After he assesses her conclusion and certifies its validity, he cups her face in his hands and plants a sloppy, languid kiss on her forehead before running off to call Bell, and she spends a long time standing exactly where he left her, equal parts astonished, satisfied and terrified of what the following weeks will bring them.

She doesn’t read his conclusion and he doesn’t read hers, but after a few weeks, they find out they were one and the same.

Conclusion; Scenario One, AKA The Non-Speaking Week (Holmes) - no comment
Conclusion; Scenario One, AKA The Non-Speaking Week (Watson) - the goals we sought to achieve through the course of this experiment were amply achieved. new lines of communication were established and we've managed to prove that we are able to work well together under the harshest, most unfriendly circumstances. no objects were broken or damaged in the process 
Side Conclusion; Scenario One, AKA The Non-Speaking Week (Watson) - what the FUCK