29 December, 2010—16:39

Initial observations:

Physical: Elevated pulse rate: 95 BPM. Blood pressure slightly elevated, 130/85. Pupils slightly dilated and reactive to light. Subject reports increased thirst due to "dry mouth".

Subject is slightly agitated, in a heightened state of excitement. Speech is coming more rapid than usual. Developing a slight nervous twitch in his left hand.

"I haven't got a nervous twitch."

Watson put down his pen and covered the notebook with his hand. "Do you mind? You asked me to make observations! If you're going to dictate to me, you may as well do it yourself!"

"Don't be ridiculous!" Sherlock scoffed. He was pacing the room nervously, dividing his attention between Watson, the window overlooking the street, and any object in the room that happened to strike his interest. He paused in his stride just long enough to shoot Watson a look of mild disdain. "I can't observe myself! The results would be biased."

"Exactly," Watson mumbled, jotting down a few more notes before closing his notebook. For a moment, he watched Sherlock's progress around the room. He watched him pick up his precious skull from the mantelpiece; the trembling of his hand nearly caused him to drop it.

Watson could gloat: after all, how often was Sherlock Holmes proven wrong? But instead he's concerned. "You know, it isn't too late: we can get you into hospital, pump the rest of the drug out of your stomach, get you on an IV…"

"Out of the question!" Sherlock snapped out his answer with a smirk. It was unnerving to see the man smile so much. "I need this data! I need to know if Marshall Crombie could have committed that crime in the state he was in."

"You mean you don't have enough firsthand experience already?" John could hear the note of bitterness in his own voice.

Sherlock ignored it. "Not with this drug."

He decided to try a different tack. "You know, there are ways to obtain information other than direct experimentation…this is why people write books." John found himself treated to another contemptuous look, accompanied by a snort this time.

"Books! This drug is too new to be talked about in any books…"

On that point, Sherlock was correct. "Sugar", as it was known, was the new "it" drug on the streets in Europe, just recently making its way to London. Basically a cheap chemical cocktail of stimulants mixed from common pharmaceuticals and household chemicals, Sugar was Crystal Meth with a punch. It started off like any stimulant, revving up the user's nervous system into a chemical frenzy. However, once broken down by the body, a secondary chemical was produced that acted on the brain as a hallucinogenic. While the stimulant lasted about two hours, the psychotropic effect could last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, based on the batch and the internal chemistry of the person taking it.

That particular effect hadn't manifested itself in Sherlock yet.

IOf course/I he had timed his ingestion of the drug perfectly—fifteen minutes before Watson was due to return to the flat, so John would be able to document the early stages of the drug's effects, but wouldn't be able to force him into the bathroom to stick his fingers down his throat. He could call an ambulance, or Lestrade—force Sherlock to go to hospital and get his stomach pumped and his vital signs monitored properly. Of course, he wouldn't—surely Sherlock had counted on that: his loyalty, his willingness to cooperate, even his morbid curiosity! John could feel the weight of his own predictability dragging him down into Sherlock's madness once again.

16:52: Heart rate has increased to 110 BPM, BP 140/95. Subject's speech is extremely rapid. Impulsivity and agitation have increased, manual dexterity has diminished. Both hands have now developed a moderate twitch.

Subject reports extreme discomfort.

"Is my nose bleeding? Because I think my head might be exploding. Also, do we have a mop or a particularly long feather duster, because those cobwebs in the corner of the ceiling are driving me mental!"

With what he hoped was a patient sigh, Watson turned his attention from his notebook and back to its subject. "Why don't you just come lie down, have a glass of water, before your heart beats right out of your chest? If it beats any faster, I'd start worrying about sinus tachycardia."

"I've already worried about that and a thousand other things." Sherlock's darting eyes called to mind the race of thoughts that must be running through his head. "Did you realize that the plug in our kitchen where I have my Bunsen burner has been improperly grounded for God knows how long? My eyes feel like they're floating, and I do believe there are fish hooks caught in my nose." As he talked, he paced around the room like a caged animal, his eyes darting from one potential hazard to another, his head tilted at an odd angle as if there were indeed invisible hooks pulling it backward. When his lips weren't moving, he worried at his fingernails with his teeth, pulling at the skin until his right ring finger started bleeding.

John tried his best to adopt the calm, authoritative tones of a soldier and competent army doctor. "Sherlock, I think this little experiment has gone on long enough. If we go to Sarah's office, at least, I can give you a shot of adenosine to slow your heart rate…"

"No, no…can't do that now! I'd waste all my data. Besides, I'm fine."

"Fine? You're imagining fish hooks embedded in your face!"

"Imagining? No, I've determined from direct observation: there are fish hooks in my face."

John threw up his hands in exasperation. "Where would the hooks even be coming from?"

Sherlock was able to tear his face down long enough for a scornful glare. "The ceiling, obviously!" He stopped for a moment to contemplate the guilty party. "No, no—that can't be right. That must be the drug. And yet…"

"Sherlock, we have to stop this now!"

"And I'm telling you, we can't! We're in the crucial stages now, it shouldn't be much longer…I tested Marshall's stash, and though intense, it should be relatively short-lasting." He paused for a moment, his eyes tracing invisible paths on the ceiling. He tore himself away with a violent shake of his head. "Christ, do people do this for fun?"

Patience running thin, John crossed the room to grasp his flatmate's arm. "Damn it, Sherlock, you're in danger of stroking out!"

"Not yet I'm not, not yet…anyway, it's time for Phase Two."

"Why do I get the feeling I'm going to hate Phase Two?"

Sherlock all but ignored him, walking over to his jacket slung over the sofa. "Since my hands are shaking, I'm going to need you to roll for me."

For a moment Watson just stared. In the meantime, Sherlock produced a rolled up plastic baggie from his pocket. Now Watson was pretty sure he was stroking out. "Is that…is that a dime bag?"

"Of course not!" The edge of the drug made Sherlock's usual voice of disdain all the more severe, though his mannerisms showed he was more irritated with the function of his own body than his flatmate's distress. "A dime bag! How long has it been since you purchased marijuana? This is an eighth…"

John dragged his hand across his face and breathed heavily through his nose. If he wasn't careful, he might choke on his own frustration. "Why do you have a bag of weed?"

"Because Marshall did. He got a little 'freaked out', as he said, by the effects of the Sugar, and smoked a joint in order to relax. Whilst sober, I found his logic to be somewhat flawed, the unpredictability of one drug's interaction with another being a decided risk. However, in my current state, I must say I can see the appeal…"

Whilst delivering this little speech, Sherlock managed to dig up rolling papers and a lighter from a carved wooden box on their bookshelves. He brought them over to John and laid them across the coffee table. He sat down in the chair opposite with an expectant look on his face. "If you wouldn't mind…?"

John was surely having some sort of stroke now. Did Sherlock really expect him to do this? This was something he could lose his medical license over, not to mention get Sherlock killed.

"If I wouldn't mind? If I wouldn't…mind? Are you kidding me? No! No, there is no way. I am not letting you put any more drugs in your system."

"John." Sherlock's voice was calmer than it had been all evening. The tremble was still there in his long, slender hands steepled in front of his face, but the gaze behind them was steady. "John, you know I need to do this. A man's life rests on this—a crime's resolution, as well. Marshall Crombie is accused of a very serious offense, and I need to know if there's a chance he did it. My heart rate is coming down, I can feel it—I'll be fine. I just need your help for this one last step, and once I have my results, you can give me whatever treatment you desire. Just please, I need to finish."

The gaze that was steady was now growing desperate. How many times has it come to this before? Sherlock reckless and cocksure, determined to have his way, no matter the danger involved. John opposed, standing his ground for as long as he can. A battle of wills he could never win—has never won.

What is it that makes him cave every goddamn time? Is it a weak will? It can't be that simple. No man makes it through a war and a near-fatal wounding alive without an inner strength that fire cannot bend.

Without a word, he picked up the bag of weed and began sorting through it, pulling out the stems. Before long he had a small pile set aside to begin rolling in one of the papers.


Heart rate down to 90 BPM, blood pressure still slightly elevated at 135/90. Pupils dilated and responsive to light. Subject reports increased levels of relaxation and reduced anxiety. Also dry mouth, excessive thirst, and hunger.

"You know, I don't think I ever understood the point of Cheesy Wotsits before…"

Despite his irritation, John can't help but smile as his companion contemplates his orange-tinted fingers. He held onto his anger as long as he could, but relief that things have turned out all right, that Sherlock's vitals are returning to normal, has washed away most of it. "Yes, well; I do think at the moment you're a member of their prime demographic."

"Do we have any chocolate milk?"

"You could have died, you know."

"Is that a no?"

Watson sighed.