If Sherlock had to admit why he had the television on, and set to such an inane show at that, he’d have said it was too much of a bother to go turn it off. This was in fact true, if misleading. Not to mention, it didn’t explain why he had turned it on in the first place before throwing himself on his sofa with his laptop, legs half up the wall and head hanging at the cushion’s edge.
He was meant to be checking for new cases. He needed cases. Instead, his attention kept being drawn by the sudden outbursts from the telly. If he tried, he could tilt his head enough for an upside down view of an older omega man looking down at some cards. Not that his omega dynamic was obvious through the television, without any way to smell his scent, but Sherlock had made a study in the subtle differences that present between dynamics.
“Well there you have it; bookworms are actually beetles.”
He most definitely wasn’t watching because he liked the show. The audience laughter felt contrived, not to mention occasionally too loud, and the information presented had an unfortunate way of cluttering his mind palace with unwanted trivia. Either it was utterly useless information, or it was incredibly obvious and left him in despair at the ignorance of the masses. Or the information was wrong, which left him annoyed and, on occasion, in trouble with Mycroft. Apparently hacking into a studio to inform them of their idiocy was a crime. In Sherlock’s opinion, he was doing them a favor.
“Now, who can tell me what percent of people will meet their soulmate in their lifetime?”
Of course, if Sherlock had truly needed to justify to someone else why he had the television on, he probably wouldn’t have turned it on in the first place. He told himself he preferred the television to the presence of another person. The background noise helped him think.
The sudden blaring of klaxons came a fraction after Sherlock’s assessment of the contestant’s cautious answer, the number 50% flashing on the screen behind his head. The young alpha grinned good naturedly towards the omega host, the age difference lending a paternal feel to their interactions, rather than sexual, despite their opposite dynamics.
“I suppose you’re going to say there’s no such thing as soul mates.”
“Ooh, right!” One of the other guests hopped excitedly in her chair. A beta woman. “They’re…what’s the term…something…matches.”
“Telgenos Matches,” Sherlock told them impatiently. “But that’s nothing to do with the statistics.”
“Telgenos Matches,” the host said affably, apparently pleased with their efforts. One of the guests talked semi-coherently on the topic, which for some reason incited laughter from the audience. The young alpha continued to insist it was a fifty-fifty chance of finding your match, soul or telegenic, or otherwise. There was more laughter while the host kindly pointed out his idiocy before having more numbers thrown up on the screen.
“Here’s a hint. Here’s a listing of population statistics. These are surprisingly uniform on a global scale. Fifty percent of any given population is beta. Twenty-five percent alpha, and twenty-five percent omega. As betas only change dynamic to alpha or omega after they meet their soulmate, and each soul pair always results in one alpha and one omega, we can conclude that fifty percent of our population, at any given time, has met their soulmate.”
“So it is fifty percent.”
“Of course not, you moron,” Sherlock informed him.
“Well, no. Because the largest beta population can be found in…?”
“Children!” the beta woman exclaimed excitedly, beating Sherlock in answering only because Sherlock had chosen to roll his eyes at the way the host had to lead the contestants to the answer instead of shouting the answer himself. Even after she blurted this out, the remaining three guests continued to look ridiculously confused.
“All children are born betas,” the woman explained eagerly, as though this were radical information and not something everyone knew. “Even if a child happens to meet their soulmate, the change into alpha and omega can’t be triggered until after adolescence, and even then it’s not until the body is mature enough, usually at around sixteen years. Most people meet their soulmate sometime between twenty and forty years of age.”
“Nineteen to thirty-six” Sherlock corrected her. The host did not bother to, still smiling at the fact that one of his guests wasn’t a complete idiot who couldn’t work out simple maths.
“Right, so if eighteen percent of the population in the UK is under the age of fifteen that would mean the remaining population who have met their soulmate is…”
But what it might mean was not to be revealed, because at that moment the entire room went dark and silent.
“Sixty-one percent,” Sherlock muttered to the now darkened box, if only to complete the pending statement before it decided to get stuck in his head and leave him pondering soulmates, of all things, for the rest of the day. The television, thanks to the sudden power outage, was unable to comment. Sherlock found himself continuing anyway.
“But simply taking away the generation who has yet to be able to present still leaves skewed results. One simply has to look at the statistics for over the age of forty; take into account the average number of deaths before the age of forty, and you are left with a not so uniform percentage across the globe, but in the case of the UK, fifty-six percent of the population will manage to meet someone who incites a bond and the transformation from beta to alpha or omega.”
“Whether the remaining forty-four percent have no compatible mate to trigger the change, have fewer possible compatibles, assuming the compatibles theory is correct and there isn’t, indeed, only one possible soulmate per person, or whether the remaining are simply unlucky in finding their compatible has been of great debate. However, the fact that there is such a strict division of dynamics on a global scale, regardless of elderly death rates, or birthrates, suggests that biology demands half the population, at any given moment, be beta.”
“Moreover, calling the unbonded ‘the unlucky fifty’ is not only inaccurate from a mathematical stand point, it is demeaning from a personal. I myself am a member of the thirty-nine percent beta population over the age of fifteen, and I fully intend, even prefer, to remain so until I might be counted among the forty-four percent, assuming I reach the age to become such a statistic. Far from being ‘unlucky’, I enjoy knowing that I am singular.”
It wasn’t absolute silence. There was the faint hum of his laptop, the distant drip of a faucet, the skittering of bugs in the walls. There were the sounds of people as well; the angry and dismayed shouts and thumps coming through the paper thin walls of the building that suggested Sherlock was not alone in the sudden power outage. Not something Sherlock personally needed to get up to fix then. Just another hazard to endure from living in such a decrepit building.
This, he reminded himself, this was why he needed cases. Cases could take him away from this place, if not literally giving him the means to afford better living quarters, then at least figuratively giving his brain somewhere else to dwell, whatever his transport was faced with. He turned his head once more to his laptop, the only source of light in the room.
No internet. Of course. The unnamed neighbor’s connection that he had been using must be out, just like everything else. If he wanted to check his email, he’d have to find his phone. But what was the use of pulling himself up, tramping around in the dark, only to most likely find that he hadn’t had a single visitor to his website, let alone a new message in his inbox? Useless. Pointless.
Before the tedium of existence could pervade his very soul, the sudden jarring tune of ‘God Save the Queen’ intruded upon the silent darkness from inside his jar of teeth. Ah, that was where he’d left his phone, then. He most decidedly did not leap up to answer it. He had no desire to talk to Mycroft at the moment, not even to stave off boredom. If there was one upside to his current living quarters, it was how it naturally repelled his brother from visiting.
His brother, who was one of the most singular individuals Sherlock knew, but who had nonetheless managed to bump into his other half. Over Sherlock’s dying body, no less. Ever since he had completed the transformation to alpha, Mycroft had been insufferable. Alphas protect; that was how the nursery rhyme went.
Alphas protect and lead the rest,
omegas nurture and gather the nest,
betas balance and do their best.
When you are four years old, and you and all your peer mates are a beta, then it becomes quite natural to interpret the last line as ‘betas are the best’. When you are four years old and you are Sherlock Holmes, you despise that rhyme. He had often heard ‘do your best’ and seen what other children’s best meant. It was praise for mediocrity. When the other children played house and pretended to be alphas or omegas, Sherlock preferred playing pirates.
But if he had been invited to play, he knew he’d have been an alpha.
Alphas are natural leaders. Mycroft, before the change, had been ambitious and protective. After the change, he had become impossibly controlling. He acted as though he were Sherlock’s family alpha, as though Mummy didn’t even count. He was always watching, always nagging, always interfering.
According to Mycroft, this had nothing to do with becoming an alpha. According to Mycroft, he had always been an alpha, it was only his biology that hadn’t been awakened. According to Mycroft, if Sherlock needed a reason for why his big brother was suddenly so caring (overbearing) and watchful (a stalker), he needed only consider the other circumstances surrounding Mycroft’s awakening into his new dynamic. Such as his baby brother’s clinical death from overdose.
Preposterous. Sherlock had almost died before and Mycroft had never reacted that way. Like the time at school when those boys had locked him in a closet, or the time he had exploded the chemistry lab. This, however, merely got an eye roll whenever Sherlock pointed it out.
“Spending the night in a closet is uncomfortable, not deadly,” Mycroft would answer if Sherlock ever attempted to point this out. Mycroft never bothered to contradict the incident with the chemistry lab. Sherlock never bothered to point out that it wasn’t the closet that was potentially deadly, but what one of the boys had locked in there with him. Somehow, Sherlock never liked to admit his own vulnerabilities to his brother. It wasn’t like Mycroft wasn’t intelligent enough to work it out for himself.
And if Mycroft the alpha was annoying, Lestrade the omega was worse. For one thing, Sherlock couldn’t avoid Lestrade like he could avoid Mycroft. Lestrade was too entangled into the Work. For another, Lestrade had gone from the general interest of a close acquaintance to the concerned interest of a family member.
There was no way that Sherlock would be allowed both the Work and the Distraction that balanced him out when the Work was lacking. Like now.
He also, inexplicably, found himself caring when Lestrade expressed disappointment. He blamed it on biology. Omegas were known to emit pheromones that induced others to want to please them.
He didn’t need drugs. He needed Work. He needed paying Work that could get him out of this flat and into more a respectable establishment. He needed a smoke. If not to distract him from the itch running beneath his skin, then to help him in his examination of different kinds of ash.
What he most definitely did not need, was a soul mate. He was fine alone.
Note: Just for the record, Sherlock's opinion of the tv show in question is not my opinion; I quite enjoy that show. But then, I don't mind cluttering up my mind with trivia.