A/N: I can't justify this. Inspired by autocorrect. And you.
Disclaimed. I don't own characters or Apple or memes or products.
THE POWER THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT!
Mycroft's thoughtful Christmas gift is ill-received, if only because John doesn't know how to use it. Naturally, Sherlock teases him mercilessly.
Need assistance. Amphibian putrification situation now critical. -SH
I would love to help but I'm at testicles. -JW
Glad to see you have finally come to terms with your sexuality, John. Shall we throw a party? -SH
John blinks. What? Oh!
Bloody phone! Tesco, Sherlock. I'm at Tesco. -JW
Pity. Just when my estimation of your intelligence had begun to improve, you consummate with a middle-aged married man, recently unemployed, wearing a cheap suit and aftershave that smells of sick and mint. I suspect he's been standing by the dairy for 20 minutes now, correct? His children like semi-skim milk but his wife thinks he's gaining too much weight, so he's agonising over spending the extra few quid for a quart of skim just to appease her when really he wants to strangle her with his paisley tie. Call it off, you can do better. -SH
John looks over at the dairy section nervously and immediately spots a man who almost matches Sherlock's deduction.
Almost right. Suit's designer and he's rather trim. Not close enough to smell him. -JW
Damn! It's always something. Still: blatant overcompensation. Bad comb-over? -SH
John snickers, stealing another look at the stranger.
Certainly Mycroft's is better. -JW
No amount of strategic combing can mask the fact my brother's flesh is toxic down to the bedrock; new growth there shall not be. -SH
John snorts out a laugh and starts to walk away, typing out his reply. Before he can get it sent, however, a bubble pops up on his screen, telling him the App 'OEDwotd Webber UK' has finished downloading and is now running.
Has Mycroft been at my phone again? -JW
Is this meant to be a state-the-obvious contest? Because I can play too; in fact I'm better at it than I am even at Cluedo. -SH
Let's not bring up unpleasant memories. My PTSD from that game far out-ranks the trauma I got on the field. -JW
Fair. I'll respect your delicate sensitivities. But don't be cruel like the other kids on the playground; I can't help the fact I'm extremely clever, and to exclude me from participating would be nothing short of inhumane. -SH
Fear not, mine flatmate. No inhumanity here. Your exclusion is all to do with the fact you're a pediculous git. -JW
Sherlock does not reply at first. Finally:
I did not know you felt so strongly on the subject, John. If my louse-ridden state so bothers you, pick up some of that shampoo they give to primary schoolchildren. -SH
John looks at his previous text. Pediculous? He furrows his brow. He doesn't even know what that means. Autocorrect again?
A bubble pops up on the screen but he deftly clicks 'close,' anxious to clarify things with Sherlock.
I meant pretentious. Isn't autocorrect meant to give me words you wouldn't want your mother hearing, and all that? -JW
Speak for your own matron. Mummy's heard it all. -SH
Just thinking of that brings on a bout of weltschmerz. -JW
Sherlock is quiet for a couple minutes. Then:
Not trying to deny you your melodrama, but from context I deduce 'weltschmerz' was not the word you meant. -SH
John rereads his previous message and stares. What the hell?
Smartphone has internet; if desired, however, have a proper dictionary back at the flat. This is a most happy accident indeed. Had planned to tell you how to disable the add-ons, but I see now how grave a mistake that would be. -SH
As if on cue, another bubble pops up on the screen. This time, John tentatively clicks 'open.' It directs him immediately to an internet browser, the URL already set (which is frankly not creepy at all, John thinks sarcastically) to the OED online site. Knowing immediately what he's meant to do, John sighs and types 'weltschmerz' into the search bar.
weltschmerz (n): mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state; a mood of sentimental sadness
Bit ironic, that.
John thinks it could be worse. It could always be worse. This does sort of smack of 1984, just slightly, but it's only autofill.
...Of course, the issue is it's Mycroft's autofill - that in and of itself spells danger. John longs for the days when his clumsy, distracted fingers might have turned the intended 'weariness' into, say, 'weather' or 'weeding' or even 'serfdom' - or sometimes, after a long hazy night he'll effortlessly repress until someone shows him the YouTube video, 'wangstar' (which is odd if John stops to think about it: unwise cinematic cameos aside, he doubts he's ever actually used the term - much less typed it into his mobile).
John shakes his head and punches out a response.
WHY DOES MYCROFT WANT ME TO BE A PONCY GIT? -JW
Sherlock's reply is instant.
They're the only type of git he understands. -SH
And he despised Steve Jobs. -SH
P.S. Buy milk. -SH
John's phone buzzes and he glances down almost involuntarily.
John rolls his eyes.
About to see a patient. Go shove old ladies into traffic or something for a few hours. -JW
Did that already this morning. Lost its appeal and besides, Lestrade is quite cross with me now. -SH
John laughs despite himself.
Well, you'll have to find something else to entertain you - preferably legal, or at least on the ambiguous side of illegal - because I've got hours left of wallaroo to do. -JW
John Watson. You are full of surprises. I never would have pegged you for the marsupial type. Tell me, is it the pouch? Must be the pouch. -SH
John grits his teeth.
Wallaroos are lovely, really, John has nothing against them. But he would never -
John cuts off that disturbing line of thought. Scrutinising the letters and their proximity to one another on the touchscreen keyboard, he swears softly. That autocorrect didn't even make logical sense as a fill for 'work'!
I hate your fricandeau brother. -JW
Grievous abuse of both the English AND French languages, John - wrong part of speech. But I will give you points for accuracy. -SH
John groans as the little bubble pops up again. Mycroft must know, then, that he didn't study French in comprehensive or uni. It is beyond disconcerting to think the man either knows him so well he has fine-tuned the program to respond specifically to John's gaps in knowledge, or that Big Brother is watching closely enough to send a helpful hint when the army doctor seems particularly confused.
...or, he has Sherlock pitching in.
John dismisses that idea quickly. Sherlock and Mycroft never work together. What would be in it for the detective? (Well, beyond seeing John go absolutely bonkers, of course...)
Annoyance growing, John opens the bubble and goes to the browser once more, typing the word.
fricandeau (n): larded veal roasted and glazed in its own juices
Nothing off about that.
John shakes his head and turns off his mobile, greeting his patient with a smile that is just a touch splenetic.
John wanders around Hamleys, trying to find something Sarah's new baby would like. As if reading his mind all the way from his sofa in Baker Street, Sherlock texts him.
Doesn't matter what you purchase. The first 24-36 months of child's existence are forgotten anyway. Your gift is meaningless. -SH
You are a guiding light. -JW
Merely maintaining perspective, reminding you that you needn't obsess over an item the sprog will use as a germ-catcher for all of a few months at best before casting it aside in favour of something en vogue. -SH
Honestly, I've never been so inspired. -JW
I try. Because I care. I'm a philanthropist. -SH
No, what you are is a Cockaigne. -JW
John stares at the message he's just sent and curses under his breath, knowing immediately what's to come. Sure enough, small bubble - he clicks it and is immediately redirected to the by-now-too-familiar OED website.
Cockaigne (n): an imaginary land of great luxury and ease.
He shakes his head.
Perfect. Just perfect.
Oh, John. Have you no sense of shame? You are handing these to me on a silver platter. -SH
Doesn't John just know it.
"What's his game?" John asks, fiddling with his phone and attempting to disable the OED app.
Sherlock shrugs indifferently. "There are many different types of intelligence; he possesses them all. His strong suit, however, is the art-form of communication - precision and clarity (or lack-there-of, should it suit him) of language. He uses words to intimidate, ingratiate, elucidate, ameliorate, placate, satiate - "
" - and loads of other -ates, I'd imagine," John interrupts cheekily.
Sherlock rolls his eyes. "Yes, if you'd like to be indelicate about it, 'loads of other -ates.' He enjoys making others feel out of their depth."
"But that doesn't explain why he'd care to play with me," John says. "I'm not some political git trying to sneak one by him; I'm not trying to play cricket with a piece of kindling. I know he's smarter than I am. I have never doubted it or tried to prove otherwise. And I don't care. I'm happy as I am. I don't need or want to be what he is." John goes back to the phone, thus missing the look Sherlock is giving him: appraising, calculating, and a touch disappointed.
"I suspect, for him, this is less to do with changing you than it is with having fun," Sherlock murmurs thoughtfully.
John smirks. "Are you having fun?"
Sherlock's lips twitch. "Do not feign ignorance, John."
"I'm going to get you back for this," John promises frankly. "I don't care who started it. You're not stopping it, therefore you're an accomplice. And you said it yourself: there are many different types of intelligence. I've just got to find the one thing I've got that you lot don't."
"I suppose," Sherlock replies blandly, not sounding too worried. "You're like a terrier when you put your mind to something: annoying, persistent and very in the way."
"Is that your idea of sweet talk?" John raises an eyebrow. "No wonder you're married to your work."
Sherlock goes on as if John hasn't spoken. "Besides, for the majority of the population I suppose it's often not simply about brain-smarts - you know firsthand I personally don't put much stock in instinct or emotion, and certainly not garden variety local knowledge and common sense, but I know most people rely on them every day."
"It's worked out for quite a few of them," John reminds the detective helpfully.
"Yes," Sherlock replies with a careless ease. "Some of them manage to live past adolescence..."
"Right," John mutters. "Look, I just need to do something. I'm tired of all these catachreses. They're just not me."
Sherlock stares at him. "Catachreses, John?"
John nods fervently. "See? See?" he says. "I think I've been possessed. It's like something out of a David Firth short."
Sherlock looks, if possibly, even more confused. "Who?"
"You know...the animator? He does his own site, but he's done commercials and shorts for the BBC loads of times." Sherlock continues to look at him blankly. Ah, John thinks. Right. Maybe the detective knew it once, but it's like the solar system: irrelevant until proven relevant again. John chuckles. "Well. Right, I know you live under a sociopathic rock buried deep under grains of antisocial sand where love and pop culture never need touch you, but seriously? You've got to have at least heard of Salad Fingers."
Sherlock shakes his head.
"Spoilsbury Toast Boy?"
"Well, in some ways that's encouraging," John murmurs. "It would only give you lessons on how to be more dysfunctional."
"Glad to know I'm still operating within your range of acceptability," Sherlock quips back.
John snorts. "I guess it's back to square one," he says, mostly to himself. "Different kinds of intelligence."
Sherlock has stopped listening.
"I need to find the power the Dark Lord knows not," John concludes with a triumphant smirk.
"What are you on about now?" Sherlock asks, bored.
John sighs. "Don't worry about it."
As it happens, John's revenge comes around in a very coincidental and circuitous fashion - but he plays his cards right and works to his strengths and his familiarity with his flatmate's intelligence and predicted behaviours.
It would be inaccurate to say John fights fire with fire; rather, he brings an uzi to a knife fight. It's messy, it's abrupt, it's inelegant and it's just a touch out of his control, but it gets the job done. And afterwards he feels quite chuffed. As, perhaps, those wielding uzis are wont to feel.
(...perhaps that one was a bit not good, John frowns, considering. He'll debate later.)
Sherlock and Mycroft might have their pretty words, John thinks with a smirk, but he can wield something just as virulent:
The internet meme.
Sherlock very rarely has issues with autocorrect, himself, as he is a practiced typist on a touchscreen and has owned this mobile for several years now. However, every once in a while he presses 'send' too early or does not look at what he's typing.
Meet at Yard at 8. Need foresight for newest experiment. -SH
Wish you'd had it for all the previous ones. What's different now? -JW
Sherlock huffs; typos are such a chore.
Your cheek does not amuse. Obviously, intended word was foreskin. -SH
Sherlock stares at previous message in disgust. Twice in a row? What is happening to him?
Oh, yeah. 'Obviously.' Dunno, now, whether that's you or your brother's late enemy talking, but I'll assume not you since I always figured you didn't care much for...hoodies. -JW
Sherlock rolls his eyes. What, were they in sixth form again?
Sophomoric at best, John. If you must know I meant 'foregut,' but apparently both you and this infernal contraption must continue to cast aspersions on my character. -SH
;) ;) ;) ;) Oh, Sherlock, come on, now - the set up was #tooeasy -JW
Sherlock stares down at his phone in a sort of perplexed discomfort. He doesn't know what's happening, but he knows he doesn't like it. Contrary to John's belief, he does have some familiarity with current culture...not much, and certainly not one born of caring or thorough research, but times when clients have kept online journals or some such tripe have given him a cursory understanding of the jargon.
...did you just turn your admonishment of my disdain towards you into a Trending Topic? -SH
...and wink lasciviously at me in an attempt to distract me? -SH
John's reply is delayed in coming, but when he sees it, Sherlock rather wishes it could be unseen:
LOLz Sherl, nothin gets by u. c u L8eR KTHNXBAIWTFOMFGGTFObbq -JW
Sherlock wishes to bleach his retinas.
He stuffs his phone in his pocket and tries to think logically. There is a simple explanation - one that doesn't involve rabies, or psychotic breaks or even the inevitable shooting of John in the head. It is a distasteful explanation, but he supposes it's better than the alternatives (which invariably end with blood on the carpet and Mrs Hudson yelling, and maybe A&E but more likely the morgue - and not even for playtime! - or worse than all of the above, Mycroft).
No, alas, it is far simpler than psychosis.
Obviously, John is screwing with him. What Sherlock doesn't know is why.
Is this to do with the OEDwotd app?
im in ur morguez, lookin 4 ur foregutz -JW
all ur foregutz are belong 2 us. -JW
Sherlock forces himself to count to ten. He may be able to regain the upper hand by being sane.
He calmly types a reply:
Kindly refrain from mutilating the closest thing I have to a functional loving relationship, John. -SH
John's reply is painfully coherent:
Hate to break it to you, but this relationship is something of a Bad Romance. Still, I'll play gently and be sure to put them back right where I found them when I've finished. -JW
This is not making sense. This is ridiculous. True, he can't give up all hope yet - John could potentially be possessed by a demon, or maybe Miley Cyrus (the detective sneers: and John thinks Sherlock doesn't know pop culture! He is doing just fine, thank you!). And that would be significantly better than the idea of him sullying Sherlock's eyes with that vapid, insipid and frankly unreadable shorthand for no reason other than John knows it would drive Sherlock mad.
His phone buzzes.
wow. looks like this bloke didn't remember to 'Embrace Life'! xD hahahaha rofl -JW
'HeadOn' collision with the windshield - terrible way to go, BUT AT LEAST HE DIED PAIN-FREE LOLOLOLOLOLOL -JW
Sherlock stares at the screen. Then stares some more. Possession is beginning to look like a rather lovely option - the only one in which Sherlock won't have to slaughter John, in fact. Possession would be preferable to the notion John is enacting some petty revenge...by way of this word-vomit.
The detective is practically punching the screen with every letter he types:
What is your objective? What pleasure do you glean from this? -SH
Just being a good mate! I want to lighten your workload. It's Friday, after all, and I know everyone's looking forward to the weekend. -JW
Sherlock's lip curls.
Yes, it is Friday. What does that have to do with anything?
Front seat or back seat? lawlz -JW
Sherlock looks around him, as if the strangers on the street might be able to telepathically fix this for him. His earlier frustration and confusion has mutated into full blown desire to commit flatmate-cide. He looks at the pros and cons. John is, on the whole, a decent man - unassuming, sarcastic, oatmeal jumpers, good at making tea. If Sherlock kills John, people might miss the man. Sherlock deduces this is a possible, if not probable, consequence of his murdering John. The doctor has friends, after all.
But John's friends are well-adjusted, Sherlock argues. They would recover, most likely.
He pauses, thinks the matter over, reconsiders his analysis and sighs rather heavily, a tension headache blooming between his eyes.
"It would be so much easier," he hisses at the mobile, as if it could transmit Sherlock's rage to John's ears automatically, "if I didn't find your company to be...not deplorable - that is, when you aren't doing this!"
On cue, the detective's mobile buzzes again ominously.
many spare parts on this one. you should conduct experiment: 'will it blend?' -JW
this cadaver is now diamonds -JW
interested in a paraplegic? remember - she may not be bipedal, but she's still bi-winning! -JW
OMFG LOLWUT i think this is rick astley! -JW
nope - chuck testa. -JW
Sherlock...has not understood a word of that.
John is trying to kill him, he thinks grimly.
Maybe it is the possession, he reminds himself. He still has hope. Mycroft might have possessed John and that would be much better, because there would be no murder at the end. Yes, far preferable -
But no, Sherlock realises, heart sinking. Possession is the last thing he would like to deal with right now. Possession would be complicated and dreadfully time-consuming and Sherlock is working a case. Perhaps it is best to think John's just going mad and needs to be put down. Sherlock grimaces at the thought and re-pockets the mobile, ignoring the buzzing in his pocket alerting him to a new text.
In the end, he throws his phone in the Thames and makes a mental note to get another one sometime in future.
And, naturally, redirect all John's texts to Mycroft for as long as this little fit persists.
He makes his way to Scotland Yard, feeling very morose and put-upon, and that John is being selfish by going mad or being possessed (it had better not be possession), and Mycroft really should have thought twice before beginning all this because Sherlock can't steal John's gun without him noticing.
Sherlock reaches into his pocket for his wallet and a pen, only to feel something thin and papery brush against his fingers.
He pulls out a piece of index card, neatly creased in half, and unfolds it.
Written in John's messy scrawl are the words:
this corpse is going to candy mountain, Sherlock!
Sherlock checks his watch. 7.34 on the dot. Oh that clever bastard. Sherlock shakes his head, smiling despite himself. The detective had been played. Sometimes, just sometimes, he underestimates John Watson. Every once in a while he is well and truly impressed by John's attention to detail. That said, Sherlock isn't altogether convinced that his flatmate isn't also possessed - it would make a lot of sense, and would relieve John of some of the guilt he is bound to feel later when he realises the enormity of the anguish he has put Sherlock through.
But this change of circumstance does means Sherlock won't feel quite so put-upon dealing with the whole situation.
Well...alright. Fine. He will still feel a bit put-upon.
Or still rather a lot put-upon. He still feels rather quite a lot put-upon.
Sherlock sighs again. Well done, John Watson, he thinks grudgingly, and glares mutinously out the window. It's not that he doesn't respect his friend, or wish to congratulate him justly. Because he does: he really does. This plan was...while not expert, still expertly carried out. And John deserves kudos. It's more that Sherlock hates being played. And he hates this as-of-yet not debunked possibility of possession.
Because really, when one got to brass tacks -
"Exorcisms are so terribly dull!" he exclaims finally, to no one in particular, unable to hold it in any longer.
"O RLY?" the cabbie intones dryly.
Sherlock groans and sinks further down into his seat.
When Mycroft receives the first of John's texts, forwarded courtesy of his younger brother, he replies with his usual simplicity and pomp. (Mycroft is not given to texting, after all, and Sherlock knows this. The reply is pure social grace.)
Two days later, Sherlock confronts him directly.
What was your objective in this? -SH
I wished to give you both insight into the other's world. -MH
You are everything Mummy raised you to be. -SH
I shan't deny it. You see, I'm tired of pretending, Sherlock. I'm tired of pretending like I'm not bitchin' - a total freakin' rockstar from Mars. -MH
Sherlock never replies. Mycroft hums his contentment, takes 'Anthea' (today, 'Contessa') with him on a stroll along the property. Off in the distance he swears he can see a double rainbow all the way across the sky.