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Experiment

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You all have learned reliance on
the sacred teachings of science,
so I hope through life you will
never decline to do what all
good scientists do.
Experiment.
-Cole Porter

 

It was all meant well.

Sherlock remained convinced, despite some evidence to the contrary, that he’d really meant well.

John did not necessarily agree.

Which explained why John was not here. Was absent. No longer in residence. Missing. Despite giving the matter considerable thought, Sherlock was still not quite sure when things went awry. Well, that was not quite true. He knew the exact moment when it all went to hell. The experiment. His life. What he didn’t understand was why, once the matter had been explained logically, John stubbornly refused to understand.

So, really, if one thought about it, perhaps this was all John’s fault. Although he couldn’t quite convince even himself of that.

Sherlock’s only intention was to know John Hamish Watson. To know him as no one else ever had or ever would. It was what he had wanted almost from the moment the other man walked into the lab at Barts. But he hadn’t managed it then. Oh, they were friends and they solved crimes [well, that was mostly him, of course, but John was a brilliant conductor of light] and it was all good. John stubbornly insisted on dating that parade of insipid women who came and went with mind-numbing regularity, but Sherlock thought that over time he could handle that problem. They never stayed long, those women, because, in the end, John always chose him.

But then it all went wrong. Moriarty happened. Sherlock stepped off a roof. John grieved and nearly lost himself. Sherlock came back, John punched him. Twice. And then John pushed him into bed and a new world was created.

In this new world, where they were lovers as well as friends, Sherlock felt even more entitled to learn all that he wanted to know about John, which was, as already stated, everything.

To Sherlock, it all seemed so simple.

So was it any wonder that when it all went balls up [a phrase of John’s] he was more than a little baffled?

He did what he always did at such times, which was to curl up on the sofa and try to deduce what to do next. Hopefully it would be something that would take away the cold emptiness that occupied his chest at the moment.

So, how had his devotion to scientific enquiry gotten him into this mess?

In the beginning, John was quite amenable to the whole process. There were no objections when Sherlock asked for a small clump of hair. A saliva swab. Some skin cells. A little blood. Fingernail [and for completion toenail] clippings. All of that was fine.

Some bodily excretions were slightly touchier. Although the semen collection turned into a very pleasant evening.

Given all of that, was it any wonder he was a bit shocked that another experiment had caused John to turn all cold and angry before just walking away?

The more Sherlock mused, the more it seemed unfair. After all, it was always John who had insisted that Sherlock needed to consider human emotions more and then, when he attempted to do just that, John left him. Really? Was it not logical that once the physical aspects of his lover were analysed and catagorised [and subject, of course to periodic updates], Sherlock would want to move on to other things?

Things like emotions?

In no particular order, he began a study entitled A Comprehensive Investigation and Evaluation Concerning the Emotional Aspects of John Hamish Watson’s Nature. [John really should have let him name the cases on his blog.} Of course, this was more difficult than asking for fingernail clippings. He could not simply walk up to John and say, “Show me envy.”

So. Time to improvise.

Envy.

Possibly he had picked the wrong moment during which to experiment.

John was just in from a ten-hour shift at the clinic, dealing with a flu epidemic. He was tired and aching and smelled of sick. But the experiment had been planned and so Sherlock felt obligated to go ahead.

“Look, John,” he said cheerfully as soon as the other man was through the door. “I bought myself a new laptop. All the bells and whistles.”

“Good for you,” John said heavily. “Maybe you’ll stop using mine now.”

“Well, of course,” Sherlock said. “Why would I use that old slow thing when I have this?” He thought he actually managed to sound as if it mattered to him.

“I’m thrilled for you.”

Sherlock carried on for some minutes as John grumbled under his breath and finally stomped off to his former bedroom, taking his old laptop with him.

Well, that certainly looked like Envy. Interesting.

When John returned to the sitting room about thirty minutes later, Sherlock smiled at him. “Decided I don’t like that new machine after all,” he said cheerfully. “Why don’t you have it?”

John muttered something filthy under his breath and then went into the kitchen to make their dinner.

Which, as it happened, Sherlock decided to eat without any complaint.

 

So the experiment in Envy worked satisfactorily.

But, unexpectedly, things got more difficult after that, mainly because so many emotions seemed rather too fraught to deal with.

For example: Grief.

Sherlock knew very well that he did not need to see John grieving. He’d had ample evidence of that already. It required no further study and, in fact, he had vowed to make it his life’s work to insure that John Watson never grieved like that again.

And, following on that, so many other emotions seemed out of bounds as well.

Fear was something else he had seen more than enough of. John, on the ground, looking up at him standing on the roof. The fear in John’s voice could still haunt Sherlock on a dark night. He never wanted John to feel that way again either.

Or how about Joy? For that he only had to recall the expression on John’s face when he’d first realised that Sherlock was alive. [The punching came later.]

So. An emotion.

What about Jealousy?

Ahh, now this had possibilities.

He could not help thinking back to the whole episode surrounding The Woman. John had clearly been jealous then, although he had not yet been prepared to admit it. But the jealousy then was all mixed up with so many other things that it was useless as data. Not to mention that whatever John had felt was so unnecessary. Even then, no matter what fleeting curiosity Sherlock might have felt towards Her, he already knew that only one person really mattered to him. That was the secret he kept safely in his Mind Palace.

So now he wanted to witness pure jealousy. It would be very interesting, he felt sure.

But some planning would be necessary.

 

Three nights later, he sent a text to John.

MEET ME AT WHITE HORSE PUB @23:00. SH

He knew very well what the response would be. John would sigh and finish his tea, before fetching his shoes and [because this was Sherlock] his gun. Then he would get a cab and come, because Sherlock had asked him to.
At five minutes before the appointed hour, Sherlock made sure that the publican saw him go out the back door, accompanied by the notary he’d been chatting up for a very boring hour.

By 23:01, when John walked into the alley, the notary was on his knees in front of Sherlock, who was opening his own flies.

John came to an abrupt stop.

In that instant, Sherlock knew that he had made a very bad mistake. Perhaps the second biggest mistake of his life.

The expression on John’s face was not one of jealousy. It was utter devastation.

Sherlock immediately shoved the notary away, not caring in the slightest that he landed in a puddle and swore.

“John,” he said urgently. “John, he never touched me. I was not going to let him---“

But John was gone.

Sherlock left the swearing notary in the puddle and chased John. It took almost a block before he caught up with him. He reached out for John’s arm.

“Don’t touch me,” John said in a voice that was colder than anything else in the world.

John didn’t want to be touched by him. That very thought made Sherlock want to vomit. “John, nothing happened.”

“Because I interrupted.”

“No!” Sherlock felt a new kind of desperation. “No. Nothing was going to happen. I timed it just right.” He swiped a hand across his mouth. “God, I didn’t want him to touch me.”

“Which is why you were in an alley with your dick hanging out.” John cringed as Sherlock moved closer.

John actually cringed. “It was an experiment!”

“Oh? Trying to see how many fools besides me would go on their knees for you?”
Sherlock could not believe how everything was falling apart right in front of him. “I wanted to see how you…I mean, it was a study in jealousy. That’s all. Just part of my study of...of you.” Sherlock knew he was babbling. He never babbled. “I already did envy, the new laptop, remember? And I couldn’t do grief or fear, because of…well, you know why I couldn’t. So jealousy seemed---”

But John wasn’t even listening. “I am going to walk away, Sherlock. And you will not follow me. Understand?”

“I understand,” Sherlock whispered. And, honestly, he did. So he just stood on the pavement and watched John Watson disappear into the night.

 

That had been two days ago and John was still gone.

Sherlock had not texted or called him. There was no point. Instead, he just stayed curled into the sofa, his face buried in the cushions.

It was very late when he heard the door downstairs open and the so-familiar footsteps on the stairs. He did not turn over to look.

He heard John come into the room and sit in his chair. “You are the stupidest fucking bastard in the world,” he said in an oddly quiet voice.

Sherlock just nodded. He had absolutely no argument with which to counter that statement.

“An experiment? Really?”

“He never touched me,” Sherlock whispered. “I opened my flies. I would never let him touch me. Or anybody else.”

John sighed. “Yes, I know. It took some time, but when I thought about it, I knew you’d been telling the truth. As utterly stupid as that truth was.” There was a pause. “If you ever experiment on me again---”

Sherlock finally turned over to look at John. “I won’t. I only did it because I want to know everything about you. Everything.”

“Just ask me. Whatever you want to know just, for chrissake, ask me.” A hard edge entered his voice. “For example, if you want go know how I would feel about finding you in an alley with another man kneeling in front of you, I’ll be happy to tell you.”

Sherlock shook his head. “Not necessary. I saw your face. Every time I close my eyes I still see your face.”

“Good. Glad to hear it.” John stood. “I’m tired. Two nights at Harry’s are exhausting.”

Sherlock listened to be sure that John went into their bedroom and not the other one. But then he wasn’t sure what to do, so he just stayed where he was.

It was about thirty minutes later when John appeared again. “Are you coming to bed or not?”

Sherlock blinked. “May I?”

John just huffed and turned away.

Sherlock uncurled himself from the sofa and followed John to bed.

fini