Sherlock sits on the sofa, contemplating the table before him. On it, the syringe sits, inviting. Sherlock is bored. There hasn’t been a case in nearly a week. At least, there hasn’t been anything interesting enough, worth Sherlock’s time, in at least a week. John is out; Sherlock supposes he must be at work, as it is daytime and John does that.
But the point remains; John is not there, there have been no interesting cases, and Sherlock is bored. And the syringe sits at the table, waiting.
Sherlock knows that the drugs do not actually sharpen his intellect. He realizes that he may be slightly dependent on them to make the world seem more real, to be sharp. Sherlock knows that all the heroin does is give him a little dry mouth, and create an addiction. Sherlock knows all of this and yet.
He is bored, and John isn’t there to stop him. Besides, Sherlock has been more careful since John has come, or more accurately, since Lestrade had come with his trumped up warrant while John was present. He no longer injects the drug into the inside of his arm. It’s place conditioned at any rate; the drug takes longer to affect him.
Decision made, Sherlock stands up and removes his trousers. He fingers the inside of his right thigh, at the little row of bumps that follow close to his groin. The left side is bare and chilled, still clean. No, not there. The right for now; the rush is still strong.
Quickly, practised, Sherlock fills the syringe, careful to not lose a drop. He pushes the needle into his thigh and depresses the plunger, careful to remove the needle after.
For a moment, nothing. The drug slowly moves into his system. But in a heart beat, a heart pump, two, three, the heroin moves through his body. Ah, there. The rush of it, brushing past his defences, helping him, for a moment, feel. His ennui lessens, and Sherlock feels a sudden clarity, an understanding of the world, of the people populating the world. Sherlock feels connected to each and every root in London, to all the hearts beating in the city.
Spent, Sherlock falls backwards onto the sofa, the syringe falling from his loose hands. In a moment, he’ll stand up, pull his trousers up. Wouldn’t do for John to return home and see him like this; John will know, and John will disapprove, and Sherlock doesn’t feel like dealing with the fallout.
For now, Sherlock basks in the sharpness of the world, in the way everything becomes so clear, in the way he suddenly knows, without a doubt, the answer to life, the universe and everything.
An infinity later, he hears the telltale creak of the front door opening below, quickly followed by the creak of the first step up the stairs. Springing into action, Sherlock dresses quickly, and shoves everything into his kit, careless of the equipment within. Under the table, he lifts the loose floorboard, moves the body of the decomposing rat (a scientific experiment that he will return to someday), and shoves the kit beneath.
By the time John opens the front door, shaking loose drifting snow from his coat, Sherlock is in lazy repose on the sofa once more, affecting an air of boredom.
Sherlock is, of course, not bored. He notices, in excruciating, almost painful detail, each flake of snow upon John’s coat. He notes that John is speaking, although Sherlock cannot make out what it is he is saying. The world is too bright right now, too much to see, for Sherlock to focus on sound as well.
John is holding a brown paper bag of curry, and Sherlock is suddenly ravenously hungry, starving. He is at the door in moments, nearly ripping the bag out of John’s grasp. John turns, startled, but Sherlock is already back at the sofa, pulling out styrofoam carton after styrofoam carton of food. The rich smells of the curry drift up to Sherlock’s nose, and the scent is so strong, almost too much for Sherlock to bear.
Sherlock attacks a carton of what turns out to be curried lamb, shovelling the food into his mouth with the plastic fork. He is aware of John’s stare, John’s stare turning into a disapproving frown, but he’s much too focused on the spice of the curry to care.
Suddenly, Sherlock finds himself bereft of the carton, though the fork remains in his hand. Looking up, Sherlock registers that John has taken the carton and is staring at Sherlock reproachfully.
And Sherlock knows, without a doubt, that John knows. John, who is so casually unobservant, who sees everything but understands so little of it, John who doesn’t notice things, knows what Sherlock has done.
John opens his mouth to speak, to remonstrate, but Sherlock is quicker. A good defence is a strong offence, and Sherlock applies this to good use. Deflect, deflect, deflect, and now John is becoming angry, he’s putting down the carton, he’s storming away, he’s gone up to his room, the door slams, and Sherlock is alone.
He takes a breath, and succumbs to the sharpness of the drug again. Sherlock would tell himself this is the last time, that he couldn’t bear to watch John’s disappointment anymore. But he’s beyond lying to himself; doesn’t see the point.
And he knows that the next time John’s gone, the next time he’s bored again, when he feels that darkness coming and clouding and dulling his mind, Sherlock knows he will pull up that floorboard, and let the drug take him again.