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"What the hell are you doing?"

"It's an experiment."

John shook his head exasperatedly and proceeded to the kitchen to unpack the groceries.

"You know, not that I expect it, but it'd be nice to come back home sometimes and find something else than you slacking on the sofa, surrounded with endless mess."

Sherlock just hummed in response, never tearing his eyes away from the cage on the coffee table. His palms were pressed together as it was usual when he was thinking, deducing something.

John eventually limped into the living room and claimed his armchair. He gave out a long sigh, the one that indicated a long day, and then turned his attention back to Sherlock.

"So? Mind explaining?"

Sherlock smirked. He liked when John was asking questions.

"Operant Conditioning Chamber. Used in animal behavioral study. Basically, it's a cage with two buttons; one lets the rodent have food, other induces negative experience. Borrowed from the deposit at Bart's, hardly anyone knows this kind of stuff is still there."

"I know what Skinner box is. I just can't see what you gain from studying... is that a rat?" John cocked his head to the side. He didn't believe his eyes - he's never seen Sherlock encounter an animal. He had always supposed he was interested only in people, not any... lowlifes.

"Yes, John, though that bit was obvious." Sherlock got up, leaving the poor thing in the cage, and started to pace. "This experiment is one of the most basics, that's true. Hardly any interesting. It gets better when you alter it to some extend, though," he grinned wickedly, the glint of excitement in his eyes. John wasn't sure he wanted to know about the alternatives. "For example, it might be interesting to see what happens when you switch the buttons for the animal who is familiar with the situation. Or when the animal is deprived of its normal ability to win its food."

John catches up quickly today. "You aren't going to mutilate the poor thing, are you?!"

"...the results could be quite helpful if applied on people. Also, even though the behavior is quite predictable, you may never know with actual living creatures. That's rather appealing, what do you think?"

"No. No, wait. Are you telling me..." John was still quite awed; he stood up, but let it go quickly, as he tends to. He licked his lips, Sherlock noticed, which usually meant he wanted to say something, but decided against it. Basically, "biting his tongue". Only not as literal.

- - -

When John came back downstairs later that evening, Sherlock was playing his violin. The doctor wanted to ask why doesn't he go and let the damn thing screech in his own room, but he only licked his lips again. Sherlock smiles amusedly, never raising his head.

"They do too much mess while being fed, it's annoying," he stated as if that explained anything.

- - -

John decided to call it morning after he spent almost an hour by failed attempts of falling back asleep. He had woken up, being thirsty, but then he could not filter the awful noises those kept coming from the other man's room. Nothing loud, not this time, it was more like constant, however faint, rattling of metal and... chewing? Just at the level of your hearing - not loud at all, but also not silent enough to contently sleep by.

He made a mental note to buy earplugs later today. He knew better than to expect Sherlock to take pity on him.

When he made it downstairs there was a familiar lanky form huddled on the couch. From the recurrent heaving and falling of its chest he deduced the detective was fast asleep. 'God, he's rubbing off on me, now I'm making deductions,' he noted bitterly. He walked to the kitchen to switch on the kettle as silently as possible, looking forward to his nice strong black morning tea. Before actually getting the teabag from the box, he checked for anything suspicious. One may never be sure when living with Sherlock Holmes.

He remembered to tear his eyes off the man only when the kettle whistled. He quickly put it off and prepared the tea. Everyday routine. He liked routine.

"For me, too, if you don't mind."

John almost died of a heart attack. He turned slowly.

"Could you... please... not making a habit of creeping behind me and then scaring me shitless at...," he glanced at his clock, "...five forty-seven in the bloody morning?!"

"I'll try to remember the exact time, yes."

"What are you doing here, anyways?!" John observed him for a little while. Pretended to observe, to be more accurate, for his brain was not prepared to work efficiently just yet. "Okay, I got used to you not-sleeping, but why don't you not-sleep in your own bedroom!"

"The rest of flat is shared," he shrugged. John was reasonably suspicious that he counted his room, too.

"Yes, of course. But why again?"

"They are annoying."

"They? Excuse me, who? Do we have guests over?" John cursed his sleepiness inwardly.

Sherlock only turned the other way, not amused by John's vacancy.

"The tea?"

"Make it yourself."

Despite saying that, John poured some more water into the kettle and put it on. He knew Sherlock was desperate in the kitchen, but he suspected it might be not because he couldn't cook (albeit the thought was undoubtedly funny), but merely because he didn't find the effort worth his time, especially when someone else could waste theirs on it. Not that Sherlock currently had anything more important or even less boring to do.

"If you don't tell me, I'll go and have a look myself," the doctor warned. The addressee acted like he didn't hear. "Alright."

He put another teabag in his other mug (he liked Sherlock far too much to risk him use his own utensils), filled it with water and left for the room rather unfamiliar to him.

First thing that hit him right after opening the door was the awful smell. Animal piss, much like in abandoned larders, he noted. Then he saw the cages and boxes. They were everywhere, those plexi-glass cubicles mostly, about one and half feet long, with the lattice and drinking bowl on top of each. John recognized those - they were used in laboratories, even back at university; scientists kept their guinea-pigs in them.

He closed the door promptly, staring into them blankly, taking a minute to recover. He suddenly realized what the chewing on metal was this morning. Not really sure it made him feel any better, he was.

On the second thought, there weren't that many of the boxes. He suspected Sherlock lost the track, because there were also few old canary and budgie cages, and some shoe boxes, too. He didn't exactly wonder what was in those. He was still in slight shock, walking down the stairs again. Well, may be a little bigger than slight shock. He really didn't like confronting the lunatic before he headed to the work, but there was no going back now.

"Sherlock."

"John?"

He wasn't sure what to say first. So many things on his mind. He wanted to shout, it's a good thing he was master at self-control by now. He took a deep breath and then spoke.

"I'm not asking what you are doing with... those. I'm not asking where they all come from. All I'm asking...," the thing was, he wasn't exactly sure what he was asking. "Look, Sherlock. All I want is a chance of decent night sleep, I really need that. Alright?" He left the question hanging in the midair, his eyebrows raised as if to emphasize his point.

"They are here to keep me entertained when no cases are on."

"That is nice indeed, but..." he licked his lips nervously again. Sherlock held this special gesture of his dear for some reason. Also, he was vaguely interested in what kind of solution John would come up with.

"You need to get rid of them."

'Oh, dull.' Sherlock only hid his expected disappointment behind another infatuating smile and returned to the living room to pick his violin, waiting for John to bring him his tea. He would welcome him with a cheerful composition.

- - -

Later that day, when John got back home, he wasn't surprised to find Sherlock standing at the kitchen table. It was covered with stuff - three of the rat boxes put on one another in a stack, various small bottles, few big plastic bottles (he suspected him to have pinched those from the hospital), pipettes and syringes. A scalpel. Sherlock, who was wearing latex gloves, was momentarily trying to pull a big fat rat out of its dwelling, the critter fiercely resisting. He watched him for a minute, halted in the doorway. He was having hard times trying not to laugh as he saw them both struggle.

Sherlock raised his eyes from the little guy in his hand in order to greet the newcomer. "You home early?"

John turned away dramatically, tapping his foot. "If you take it for granted that I go shopping every day after work, then yes, early."

"Mind helping me out?"

"Yes?"

"Hold it still," he asked without even looking up.

"No, I meant, 'yes, I would mind,'" John tried to protest, but ended up holding the rat captive anyway. While he was inspecting the pale furry body and big red eyes, Sherlock picked up his scalpel. When John noticed, he panicked immediately.

"Sherlock, put that down. What- what...," he tried to reason with him, 'not too successful, no', he though grimly. But come on - who wouldn't panic at the sight of their crazy sociopathic flatmate, particularly happy one too, with a knife, towering upon them? "I admit I probably don't want to hear what you are planning to do to the poor creature, but come on, see some sense. Put the blade down, let's talk."

"What about?" Sherlock obviously didn't get why was he so distressed, but the guy was clearly enjoying it.

"About... Let's not have blood all over the kitchen table, shall we?" John snuggled the rodent protectively. Sherlock raised his eyebrows. He wasn't bored, not at all.

"Don't be childish, John, it'll take only an instant and it'll be over, quickly," he pushed harder. John is far better experimenting material than any animal could even hope to be!

"No," John almost pouted, frowning. It didn't suit him, but it might be only because he had rarely seen him like this. "I'm not letting you kill it!" Not that he had intended to.  "...Her."


"Her?"

"Yes. Males have huge ugly balls." Sherlock couldn't help but laugh at John's ridiculous explanation. "I hated working with lab rats back in school."

"Will you give it back to me?" Sherlock stretched out his gloved hand.

"No, not at all," John's hands weren't squishing the rat so tightly anymore, but his intent not to let go was still clear. "I'm now going to Sarah's and by the time I come back, I want all the rats gone." He meant it and he would insist, it was in his look, in his posture, in his voice. As much as the detective didn't want to, he would still comply. He decided it was not worth the fight. Besides, at least he'd get back his room.


- - -

John returned to the flat fairly late, trying to give Sherlock plenty time to get rid of the pests, enough time to be sure he did. Unless there had been sudden change of mind, that is; he hoped not.

His flatmate was already waiting for him, sprawled on the sofa in condition John was tempted to call "bored to death". The doctor neared him, making him sit up, and then pulled the disheveled rat out of his pocket. He was suddenly thankful for the insight of this mad scientist of his; he opened the one lone box on the coffee table and let the beige critter in. He then walked to kitchen to prepare two cups of tea, bringing them with shortly.

"You know, I never liked rats," he stated as he sipped the hot liquid from the cup. "If I was to ever get a pet - which, by the way, I wasn't - I'd go for a dog. Nothing hyperactive... but still, I'd need to walk it, and you can find plenty of nice women in the park. All of them would be charmed by the pup. Rats, on the other hand...," he snorted, "they stink. They do ruckus during night, and when you take them out, you have all the attention - the kind of unwanted attention."

Sherlock just kept smiling during his speech. Of course he knew where this was leading. John sighed.

"Meet Polly, our newest flatmate," he resumed.

Sherlock smirked, and then added:

"Rats have to be kept in couples... or a group, did you know?"

John facepalmed. He really didn't.
Clearly, I've gone mad. Have been writing like never before lately - also, nothing really productive. You are recommended to ignore this piece of disgrace.

Fandom: Sherlock (BBC 2010)
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Warnings/Spoilers: none :] (or does lack of point count?)
Summary: Sherlock gets a bunch of rats for experimenting. John can't watch them suffering, though. Hilarity ensues.
Not British-picked.

8th December 2010 :snowing:
Fic Sheltie aka *Shel-chan
Sherlock BBC (2010)
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson are public domain, though lotsa respect goes to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
:iconsplashabelle:
Splashabelle Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2010
Wow... Different. But good.
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:iconshel-chan:
Shel-chan Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2010
Thanks :]
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:iconsplashabelle:
Splashabelle Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2010
^^ You're welcome! :)
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