The door to the upstairs flat at 221B Baker Street crashed open, and Dr. John Watson strode in. His attention was completely caught up in the argument he was having with his flatmate, Sherlock Holmes. The detective followed on his heels. Neither of them paused their bickering in the slightest as coats and scarves were removed and hanged, John kicked off his shoes and set them neatly against the wall, and then moved into the kitchen to put on the kettle. Sherlock stayed on his heels, determined to get the last word.
“The victim was no longer interested in her husband sexually; she was bored. Hence the signals she was giving out at her office that attracted her killer.”
“And you deduced the fact that she was bored with her husband, sexually, from a seat imprint on the far end of the couch,” John shook his head, frowning.
“That and they’d been married five years. Statistically--”
“She wasn’t a statistic, Sherlock, she was an individual. Sex doesn’t have to be boring after five years.”
“Perhaps it doesn’t have to be, though I could argue the point. But statistically—“
“All I’m saying is, there’s no way you can be sure that was the case -- either by the fact that they’d been married five years, or by the fact that she sat at the end of the couch. There was a side table there – a lamp and someplace to sit a drink. That’s comfortable. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have a hot time in bed.”
“Why would you assume that they did?” Sherlock countered, annoyance creeping into his tone. “You think about sex all the time, so you assume that everyone else is as obsessed as you are. That’s not deductive reasoning, that’s subjective thinking.”
The kettle boiled. John stood on tiptoes to get 2 mugs and put them down on the countertop harder than necessary.
“Thank you, Sherlock, for deciding that I don’t know how to think objectively, that I just paste my own preferences on everything like a five-year-old. After all, it doesn’t matter that I’m a doctor who has seen hundreds of patients who, you know, have sex lives, or that I know a hell of a lot more about sex than you do experientially. None of that matters because I’m just an idiot, right?”
Sherlock leaned against the counter and scowled. “Your medical practice does not specialize in sexual functionality.”
“No, but I’ve spent a great deal of time practicing as a GP, and I treated a lot of frustrated men in the Army. Believe it, the subject comes up!”
John thrust a mug of tea into Sherlock's hands and went to have his own tea in the living room. He sat in his chair. Sherlock followed.
“You may know something on the subject,” Sherlock conceded, reluctantly. “However, it does not follow that you know more than I do.”
“Of for --! It would kill you, wouldn’t it?” John said, in exasperation, “to admit that there might be just one thing I know more about than you. Why is that? You don’t have a problem listening to what I have to say about the corpses, from a medical standpoint.”
Sherlock snorted. “Which, generally speaking, are things I already knew.”
Sherlock realized immediately that he’d said something Not Good. John went pale. His chin jutted out in that stubborn way of his and his eyes narrowed. “Right, then. Thanks for confirming that it’s a complete waste of my time to go with you on cases.”
“John,” Sherlock said hurriedly, “Even if I usually know as much or more about the corpse than you, your presence and your medical degree have a certain weight with Lestrade and the crime scene staff that my words alone do not. That’s quite useful.”
“You are such a bloody arrogant git!” John said, with no trace of his usual affection.
Sherlock tried once again to back pedal. “There are sometimes things you notice about the body and about the scene that are useful to… trigger ideas. I’ve told you that.”
“Conductor of light,” John said. “I’m flattered!” He didn’t sound flattered.
John leaned forward and poked a finger towards Sherlock. “Listen. We all know you’ve got an amazingly brilliant mind. And I’m happy to admit that there’s a hell of a lot that you know that I don’t know. Cigarette ash, for example, poisons, the way watches look when they came from Sibera by way of Belarus.”
Sherlock huffed a laugh. “You can’t tell the different between Belarus imports versus, say, imports from Georgia. They’re not—“
“BUT,” John interrupted. “I don’t think it would put too much a strain on your vast ego to concede that there are at least a few things that I know more about than you. And sex is definitely one of them.”
John waited. He seemed to expect something. Sherlock was perplexed. “I would concede it, if it were true.”
“How can you sit there and deny it?” John said, with a sarcastic laugh. “Seriously, how?”
“John, sex is a key motivator in crime. Do you really think I’d let myself be ignorant in an area that important?”
That gave John pause. He studied Sherlock for a moment, thinking. “Reading a book about how to drive a car doesn’t make you a good driver.”
Sherlock raised a haughty eyebrow. “And swallowing up every glass of wine placed on a bar does not make you a vintner – or even a connoisseur.”
For a moment John just glared at Sherlock, his face getting red. Sherlock glared back.
“Sherlock,” John said in a voice that was so calm, it was chilling. “You don’t like sex. You don’t have sex, as far as I can tell. Trust me when I say that you are not an expert on sex.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes. “If I didn’t pick up my violin again for ten years, I’m quite sure I would not have forgotten how to play.”
“Ten years?” John asked, with raised eyebrows.
Sherlock blushed, his porcelain cheeks pinkening. Then he blushed harder in annoyance at the tell. “It was just an analogy. I am in no way implying that it's been.... that's hardly relevant."
“Well, Sherlock, here's what I have to say about that," said John with a smug smile. "I'd say that if you hadn’t felt any desire to pick up your violin for ten years, then perhaps you’re not very bloody much of a musician! And if you had a case which involved a compulsion to play sheet music, perhaps you’d be well advised to listen to someone who--”
Sherlock gripped his head with both hands. “Stop it! Stop! These bad analogies are rotting my critical thinking! Let’s stop talking around it, shall we?”
“Fine,” John said.
“You think that because you try to shag every woman you meet, that gives you a level of authority on all things sexual that should supersede mine, that I should ‘bow to your wisdom’ on such matters.”
“No,” John said, exasperated. “I think that because a) I’m a doctor who has had both basic training and clinical experience dealing with sex, b) because I personally quite like it, c) because I’m personally quite experienced with it – as in recently, and d) because I’m quite good at it – yes, you should concede that I know more about sex than you do! Seriously, Sherlock, how is this even debatable! You’re being so childish!”
“Define being ‘good at it’,” Sherlock said with a narrowed gaze. “Every sexually active male in London is convinced he’s ‘good at it’.”
“OK,” John said, in a tone that implied he was taking off the gloves, “I get my partner off, always, at least once and usually two or three times. And women have told me I’m quite, quite good. And besides that -- you just know! I know. So put that in your violin and... er... stroke it.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes. “Please! Women can fake ‘getting off’, John. And of course they are manipulative enough to stroke your ego, and your 'violin' too, I've no doubt.” The corner of his mouth curled up in a sarcastic grin.
“I know damn well when a woman’s faking it, Sherlock, for Christ’s sake! There are -- colors and fluids and -- I just know!”
Sherlock sighed with a ‘this is so tedious’ face.
“I would have thought that, being my flatmate and all, and with all your vaunted deductive powers,” John said in disbelief. “That you would have deduced by now that I am bloody brilliant at sex!”
“John, I can tell when you’ve had sex, and what you thought of it, but unless I see your partner soon after, I can’t deduce what she thought about it, which is rather more to the point. And I rarely see the women after you’ve had intercourse. It’s not like you bring them into the living room for a post-coital chat.”
“I wonder why that is?” John said.
“And I might ask the same of you," Sherlock insisted. "I know you're not exactly a consulting detective, but what makes you deduce I have no experience with sex, or ability to perform it brilliantly, if I chose to do so?”
"Because! Because you have displayed zero interest in it, or in attractive men or women, since I met you! And sex is like dancing, Sherlock, you have to love it! You have to feel it!"
"Sentimental. Twaddle." Sherlock said.
They glared at each other for a good ten minutes. But John, who had given in on so much to Sherlock, and who knew he was right, was not willing to back down this time. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees.
“Right. How much are you willing to bet that I know more about sex, and am better at it, than you?” He said in a steely voice. “Because I’ll bet anything you like.”
“As would I,” Sherlock said, his words equally metal-encased. “But how would we judge such a thing? It's completely subjective.”
“You’re the scientist. If you're so brilliant, figure out a way,” John said. “Meanwhile, I’ll think of what it is I want to win.”
“Game on,” said Sherlock.