Apparently one shots have taken over my life and are stopping me finishing my longer Sherlock story :(
John may not have had Sherlock's astounding capabilities when it came to observing and noticing and using the information he had. But he was far from stupid, and really Sherlock was ridiculously easy to manipulate, it was almost like he didn't bother to protect against it because he never for one second expected or believed anyone would even try and manipulate him. Except Mycroft. But Mycroft was a special case for Sherlock, regardless of his motives Mycroft was ignored.
So after a few months of living together, John began his own series of experiments, working out just how to manoeuvre Sherlock where he wanted him. He learnt endless amounts of fascinatingly useless information,
Sherlock did not like chocolate biscuits, unless they came with tea. But he hated to be caught dunking so he almost never ate them. John discovered this by carefully working his way through different types of tea and biscuits and observing what was eaten when he was both in and 'not in' the room. Sherlock would have been proud of his methodical behaviour.
Sherlock had an almost obsessive hatred of being naked, unless he was bored, and then his laziness overrode it. John discovered this by accident, when entering his room to bring him tea and biscuits. He had done this plenty of times before and had always found Sherlock dressed, inexplicably for 8 AM in the morning, in trousers and a shirt. This time however he had been splayed naked across the bed and had complained loudly he was bored and thumped the bed like a child. John had left rather quickly. Sherlock had remained that way for days, covering his dignity with only a bed sheet if he left his room.
Sherlock did not like orange food, Sherlock actually enjoyed watching crime series on TV, even if he did spoil the end. Sherlock allowed exactly 3 minutes and 35 seconds before chasing a text message for an answer, he never phoned unless he had been ignored for at least half an hour. The list went on and on, and John wondered at what point he should stop cataloguing the man and just get a life.
But each useless piece of information gave him more and more knowledge about the man, knowledge he doubted anyone else had, and sometimes useful things came out of it.
He could get Sherlock to eat whenever he wanted to. Depending on the day of the week and the type of case they were working. Sherlock would only eat a sandwich at precisely 12:00 if the case they were working was especially difficult. But if it was simpler he would eat fish and some potatoes later in the evening, but only during the week. Of a weekend it would have to be chicken.
If he was bored he would eat tea and biscuits and tea and biscuits only. Unless John pretended the food he left out was his, then Sherlock would steal it. Within weeks of discovering this Sherlock's weight began to hover in a more healthy range and John silenced anyone who mentioned it, in case Sherlock noticed to. He was remarkably unobservant about himself.
Sleep was a tricky one to work out, it seemed to have no pattern and took almost two months of careful observation. John eventually worked out that Sherlock only slept in his bed when had solved something, and if he was in his bed he would sleep for at least 6 solid hours. Any sleep gained on a couch was in short bursts but could be encouraged by placing a blanket near him. A few moments would pass and the blanket would slowly creep up around his shoulders and John would be rewarded with approximately ninety minutes peace as Sherlock napped. He also learnt the hard way that if Sherlock slept more than 10 hours in one go he was a terrible human being for at least two days, and nothing fixed this except the quick application of something to occupy his mind. John felt bad, it wasn't really fixing Sherlock appalling mood, just redirecting it away from him. He tried several different methods of waking him after 8 hours, and found that depending on how long he had gone with sleep the effects varied greatly, from completely ineffectual to only have to deal with his mood for several hours to a day. However waking the detective was like trying to get Mycroft to give up a secret, in the end John decided it wasn't worth it and focussed on how to deal with the behaviour that followed.
John knew Sherlock was aware of his observations, he also knew from that shockingly adorable face he had when he was confused he still could not work out why John was watching him so carefully all the time. John was fairly confident his experiments, even if they had been discovered, had not been worked out. But still, just to be safe he stopped for a little while, he still used all the information he had learnt to get Sherlock to eat sleep and bathe. But he stopped looking for more, and in doing so he learnt something more astounding and more important than anything else.
Sherlock missed it, he had been enjoying John looking at him, watching him and making mental notes of everything he did. And he was sad that John had stopped.
John did not observe this, he noticed a slight change in mood but other than that John had no idea. Until three days later when Sherlock stomped into his room (naked save for a sheet wrapped across his hips and flung across one shoulder, they had solved the latest case last night) and demanded to know why he had stopped. He looked sort of pathetic John thought idly from the awkward position in his bed. Sherlock pulled a face that could only be described as a pout and flounced onto the bed next to John, bouncing he man slightly and causing him to sit up properly. John sighed and stood, stretching and went to fetch tea, Sherlock was bored, today would be a tea and biscuits day. He had slept all night, today would be a trying day if he was lucky, a hateful one if he was unlucky. Sherlock was clearly bothered by something, so John would be getting no rest until he had resolved it. Luckily John had slept all night to, at least he had that working in his favour.
He returned with a cup and a plate to find Sherlock had discarded his sheets in favour of Johns and was lying splayed across the bed, pale limbs poking out from underneath the crisp cotton sheets.
"You never answered me" he said sitting up and narrowing his gaze "you brought tea, you want to keep me calm."
"Tea doesn't keep you calm, Sherlock" he said wearily passing him the cup, apparently it was going to be a 'allow me to show of my excellent observation skills' day. John hated those, they always ended up with him being brutally picked apart by Sherlock.
"Oh, and how would you know" he sneered
"If you've not got anything nice to say, please leave. I have better things to do than deal with you all day" John indicated the door, attempting to cut this off before it got started
Sherlock visibly recoiled "Is that why you've stopped watching me? Because you don't want me around anymore?"
"What? No, I was never watching you" John knew it was a hopeless shot in the dark, Sherlock always knew when he was being watched
"Yes you were, don't play games John, I am far better at it than you. I know when I am being observed" the word rolled off his tongue like had to force himself to use it in conjunction with John.
John sighed and sat down "So what if I was, it was clearly annoying or upsetting you so I stopped" best to let Sherlock think John had done it to keep the peace rather than so he could continue manipulating the man
There was silence, and John counted to 92, the maximum amount of time Sherlock ever needed to formulate a response. Then he carried on counting, 100, 150. The silence got longer and he peered at Sherlock,
"Could it be the great Sherlock Holmes is actually speechless? I should take a picture"
"Don't be absurd I'm not speechless I'm thinking"
John snorted "you never take more than 92 seconds to respond to someone, even if that response is only a tactic to buy more time"
Sherlock's head snapped up "so you have been observing me, you've been collecting information on me!" he stood up the sheet falling dangerously low "why? Is it for Mycroft?" he stepped forward and John hurriedly put his cup down,
"No! Sherlock don't be ridiculous, I'm not doing it for anyone. I'm doing it for myself"
"Why?" Sherlock was almost shouting and John said the first thing he thought of as Sherlock stepped closer
"Because you're interesting!"
Sherlock stopped and looked at him and sat back down
"You interest me, no one else seems to know anything about you, I wanted to, so I observed you"
"You couldn't possibly have learnt anything" he said self-assured "I'm very careful not to let things show"
John smiled and shook his head, reminding himself in the long run it was better for both of them that Sherlock didn't know how much he knew.
"Unless…" his eyebrow knitted together "the last few months your behaviour has been very odd, you make food and forget about it, blankets keep appearing near me, we've had every single biscuit under the sun in the house, except chocolate ones, and you haven't bought carrots for ages"
His eyes snapped up towards John who had the decency to look embarrassed
"You've been manipulating me!" it amused John that he seemed more incredulous than angry
"Not at first, I was just trying to find out things, but then I supposed I figured some of that information could be useful" All pretences over, Sherlock knew, so John had no reason to hide anymore "I know you only eat tea and biscuits when you're bored, but never chocolate ones unless no one is watching. So I keep biscuits stocked somewhere Mrs Hudson won't find and eat them. You'll sleep if there's a blanket nearby, so when you're getting too tired but won't admit it, I leave one on the couch. If you sleep for too long you turn into some sort of monster, I tend to just fob you off onto someone else on those days, I tried waking you up before the ten hours was up but that is far too much hard work and you're still pretty grumpy" he scratched his head "I know exactly how long to wait between texts, and how long I've got before you phone me, I know you prefer my grey sheets over your own white ones, I know which days you'll eat what food on and what time of day you'll eat" he shrugged, it was easy actually, you weren't really hiding anything.
Sherlock sat quietly for a few moments before laughing "You have all of this information about me, and you chose to use it to make me sleep and eat properly? Mycroft would have had a field day with this"
John frowned "but it's all pretty trivial, I mean it's not like I discovered you secretly like dressing up as a woman, although your attitude towards nudity is pretty contradictory"
Sherlock waved a hand "I find laziness and boredom override most obsessions and compulsions, besides which it's you, it doesn't feel bad when it's you"
John wasn't sure how to deal with that so he ignored it
"Why did you stop?" the voice was small, John almost missed it and as he looked at Sherlock he noticed the slightly pathetic face was back, sighing he sat down next to him
"I stopped because you had noticed, and it seemed to be upsetting you, and I didn't want you to know I'd been manipulating you, because then I wouldn't be able to, and well, you sort of need it"
"So you didn't get bored and want me to leave?"
"Don't be stupid"
Sherlock smiled, he liked it when John called him stupid, it wasn't like when Mycroft called him stupid, or when Sally called him a freak. It was warm and affectionate. He rested his head on John's shoulder,
"I'll probably forget in a few weeks anyway, and I don't think I mind. It was…nice" he said hesitating over the word "having you watch me, and how things I wanted just sort of appeared when I needed them"
"That's what having friends is like Sherlock, they do things for you because it's good for you" John awkwardly wrapped and arm around the gangly body next to him, and Sherlock moved closer and sighed contentedly his breathing evened out and John surmised he was asleep.
And that was perhaps the most important thing he ever observed about Sherlock, he was fragile underneath it all. But when he trusted you and really opened up he gave himself over completely and without reservation. And overriding all other observation, if you cuddled him he would sleep for a bit and be the nicest man on the planet for the remainder of the day. John was not ashamed to admit he employed this technique every time Sherlock started to act like a prick. Needless to say he spent a great deal of time with his arms wrapped around the detective. Sherlock never once complained despite his smile letting John know he knew exactly what he was doing. And John never once let him know he knew, for once John was happy to be manipulated.
I think Sherlock would be quite easy to manipulate like this. On small personal things, because he really has no idea about them, or why someone would want to, and he would hardly be expecting John to be doing it. XD
and the thing with the bedsheet is inspired entirely by the scenes in 'Scandal in Belgravia' because I have seen so many fics in which Sherlock hates being naked etc and is always impeccably dressed, but clearly he sleeps naked, and doesn't seem overly phased by being naked if he's proving a point, or can't be bothered to get dressed..XD
In regards to the slash aspect, I personally view it as pre slash, in that were I to add another chapter or continue in anyway they would end up together because that is how i regard their relationship. However in the context of the last few paragraphs Sherlock is just being over affectionate because he feels he can with John and John is just being a good friend ( and using whatever he can to get Sherlock to shut up XD)