1) Nothing is ever exactly what it looks like.

2) Never trust anything anyone says unless you can prove it.

3) Mycroft is a lying thieving no-good prat.

4) Squirrels are really interesting.
4a) Squirrel bites hurt.

5) When everyone else has gone off and forgotten you and you haven't eaten in a day and a half, the pra... Mycroft will feed you.
5a) Mycroft is a truly terrible cook.
5b) Food is kind of boring anyways though.
5c) Mycroft isn't bad, though. Not really.

6) Other children are stupid.
6a) Pirates are cool. So cool they didn't care what anyone thought and did whatever they wanted all the time.
6b) Calling other children stupid will get you thoroughly beaten.
6c) Pirates get beaten all the time and don't cry.

7) Judo is a brilliant sport.
7a) In the future, do not let Mummy know about the martial arts. Violence does so sometimes solve things.

8) Jellyfish are kind of interesting.
8a) A jellyfish stinger, properly stored, may still be viable for months after you scrape it off the tentacle of the dead jellyfish.
8b) Jellyfish stings hurt and leave welts and make you twitch.
8c) 5% acetic acid inactivates the stingers, as does isopropyl alcohol. Hot water makes it worse.
8d) In the future, do not let Mummy know about jellyfish. Or any other experiments.

9) People are the most interesting thing in the world.
9a) People are the least interesting thing in the world.
9b) There is no inherent contradiction here.
9c) Mycroft is an utter and complete wanker and you do not miss him at all.

10) People are much more comprehensible as dead bodies.
10a) Adults do not listen to children.
10ab) Remember this. This could be useful in the future when you are an adult.

11) Rules are boring.
11a) People who break the rules are not boring at all.
11c) Mycroft loves rules.

12) Children can get into places adults cannot fit.
12a) This is useful when you threaten a pedophile and he chases you and there's an air vent.
12b) Children cannot, necessarily, get out of those same places.
12c) Pocket lint is not edible.
12d) Shoe leather is not edible. Nana lied.
12e) Dead birds are probably not edible either, no matter how hungry you are.
12f) The police have the best toys ever.

13) See Rule 10: Applies to police too.
13a) You are never again to be disappointed by people being stupid. Once is fine but you shouldn't have to list the same rule more than that or it becomes your own fault. If you expect it then it's not a surprise.
13b) It's ok to be frustrated though. Also annoyed, angry, unhappy, peeved, and disgruntled.

14) Our society only functions because criminals are mostly even stupider than police.
14a) Don't get too clever. Simple works best, mostly.
14b) Never lie to yourself. Everyone else, yes. Never yourself.

15) Judo is not as useful for tall people as it is for small people.
15a) A few lessons over five years ago do not make you an expert.
15b) Not everyone enjoys being told the truth.
15c) Growth spurts are only awkward because your brain is still trying to process the height difference.
15d) Perhaps sports would help.

16) Swimming is out for reasons we will not think about.
16a) Football is not a brilliant sport.
16b) Rugby is definitely not a brilliant sport.
16c) When you fall asleep too much at cricket practice they kick you off the team.
16d) Darts, while fascinating, probably don't count as a sport for the purposes of this experiment.
16e) La canne is a brilliant sport.

17) Teenagers are idiots.
17a) Alcohol is vastly better at disinfecting wounds than it is at assisting in social endeavors.
17b) Nailpolish remover will remove superglue. And permanent marker.

18) The idea that dry sodium will have a violent chemical reaction in the presence of water is not a joke being played by your chemistry professor.
18a) Telling them that the school has insurance will not get you out of trouble.
18b) Mycroft is still a bastard.

19) La canne is useless if there are no actual weapons around to use as canes.
19a) Insulting the footballers while they're drunk is possibly tactically unsound.

20) Casts on your dominant hand limit your ability to properly measure ingredients into containers.
20a) If you add water to sulphuric acid instead of sulphuric acid to water, it might explode.
20b) The water in the lab emergency shower smells like dirt.

21) Systema is a brilliant sport.

22) Cryptosporidia will easily pass between goats and humans if you do not observe proper laboratory safety precautions in handling infected specimens.
22a) When you pass out from dehydration the ER nurses will be amused at your expense.
22b) Even in a school with a renowned biology laboratory, the administration can be surprisingly uptight about experimentation on the football team mascot.

23) Cocaine is a delightful way to pass the time when you are bored and the world has turned grey and dull, because your brain without stimulation gets slow and thick and nothing is interesting and everything is wrong and rotten and awful and cocaine makes it sparkle, it's not as good as when it happens on its own but it makes the world brilliant and these people, they all have sharp edges and wickedly witty bon mots to share and you can almost understand why sex is such a big deal because women have never looked quite so clear-edged before and as long as you're not snorting it there should't be any damage to the septum and that's not right, there's something not right about this whole thought, about this whole idea you're forgetting something important everything is moving too fast too much too loud too bright not good make it stop please now now now.

24) There is a segment of the population which prides itself in a recipe for bolognese sauce which overlaps with a criminal element which runs drugs.
24a) Cryptosporidia will remain viable in cyst form for long periods of time, given the right conditions.
24b) They revive beautifully in bolognese sauce.
24c) A large room of violently ill mobsters smells terrible. Next time, advise the Yarders to bring something to filter the smell.

25) London has ducks.
25a) Ducks bite.
25b) Is it a bite if there aren't any teeth?
25c) Whatever it's called when a duck bites you, it hurts.

26) People are terribly fussy about the places they live.
26a) Landlords are terribly fussy about the strangest details.
26b) The fire department does not listen when you say "Don't get foam in the petrie dishes".

27) Systema is useless against a gun in the hands of someone a sufficient distance away.
27a) People who are using the chemistry lab to synthesize ecstasy are, in fact, criminals.
27b) Criminals can be paranoid about innocent questions. Such as "Your formula is all wrong, I can do a much better job than this with ten quid worth of glasssware from Ikea, for a bunch of chemistry majors you're truly stupid, do you really think no-one will notice the missing reagents?"
27a) Criminals are already inclined to criminal behavior so you should not be surprised when they engage in more of it.
27a) A .22 bullet shot from more than thirty feet away will, apparently, not go through an entire copy of "Human Anatomy and Physiology: 5th Edition".
27b) Systema is still brilliant up close when guns are taken out of the equation.

28) The Yarders in London may be called the best of the best, but they are still idiots. And they are also still the people with the best toys.
28a) Never call an interesting corpse a toy in front of a Yarder.
28b) Lestrade has a truly excellent right cross.
28c) Whoever thought of frozen peas for a bruised jaw was a genius.

29) Heroin isn't bad stuff.


30) Rats rats rats rats rats rats rats rats rats rats rats rats rats rats ratsratsratsratsratsratsratsratsssssssss


31) Nurses are angels.
31a) Nurses are evil bitches delighting in the misery of the human condition, feral foul beasts dressed in human flesh I see you I see what you are just give me the the I need Heroin oh god need it need

32) Some apologies are necessary.


33) Apparently the word is asexual. Who knew there was a word?
33a) At least we don't seem to be the sort to form clubs and sing songs and go on parade.

34) Mycroft is unnecessary and will manipulate you if given half a chance.

35) London is somewhat expensive when you've blown all your money on drugs.
35a) Blowing money on drugs is unforgivably stupid when you can make them yourself anyways.
35c) Drugs apparently make you an idiot.
35d) Well. Some drugs. Not all of them have been tested yet.

36) Money is easy to come by. Boring.

37) If you put a corpse into an MRI scanner without first checking it with a metal detector you may encounter unexpected results in determining the contents of the corpse's stomach.
37a) Sometimes the things people swallow are not, in fact, little packets of powder. Sometimes they are wedding rings.
37b) A gold wedding ring under the influence of an MRI machine's magnetic field would be perfectly all right. A modern steel ring is not and will rip out of the corpse's stomach with the speed and destructive effect of a bullet.
37c) Bart's MRI tech will never let you back in.

38) Being physically attractive to some people can be useful.
38a) Molly Hooper is useful.
38b) Be nice to Molly Hooper.
38c) Not too nice.

39) A former military person fresh from a combat zone will likely not be as fussy about little things.
39a) A medical doctor could potentially be useful from time to time.
39b) Perhaps it would be smart not to scare this one off.
39c) Perhaps it would be stupid to try and change who you are at this late date. Either he'll stay or not.
39d) Why on earth are you worried about this anyways?

40) Set it straight right from the get-go: you don't do relationships. Not like that. The work is far more important.
40a) He doesn't need to know that it's because you're utter crap at them.
40b) Besides, nobody stays.

41) John broke the rules. But he didn't because the rules would have let him if they had known. But they do not know because he hid it because really he did break the rules, he did, for me. He did it for me. No, he broke the rules for himself and he stayed with the rules for me but he was able to do that for me because he'd broken the rules earlier, much earlier, for himself -
41a) John Watson is interesting.

42) Someone Interesting Exists.
42a) If you tell they will think you are mad and lock you up again.
42b) If they don't think you are mad they will lock this other person up and that will be almost worse.

43) John Watson is boring.
43a) Sebastian wants to use me.
43b) We need money.
43c) There are easier, faster ways to get money.
43b) You don't always need to examine your motivations too closely.

44) Normal dates are boring. How can he stand them?
44a) Dates with murder are much more interesting.
44b) Not everyone agrees with this, apparently.

45) John is upset because I don't care about the people.
45a) I care about the puzzle, though, and solving that saves the people.
45b) Shouldn't he be happy about this?
45c) Never let him know how flattered I am that someone made me such a lovely puzzle.

46) It is not a lovely puzzle now. This is what people feel. This this this thing, this is what they feel when there's something they care about. Shove it aside, put it away, freeze it in ice and drop it into the darkness. Feeling this is not helping, it's like bees in my brain when I need to be thinking thinking better faster more clearly like cocaine stop it stop.
46) Surviving one battle does not win you the war. You must be better at this. You know now that it will get worse.

47) Adrenaline makes you laugh and want to touch. Ignore it.
47a) John has a better right cross than Lestrade.
47b) Stop forgetting John is a warrior just because he looks like something you want to - don't think that.

48) She is a puzzle.
48a) No-one is a puzzle like this.
48b) John is not a puzzle.
48c) I've never met a person who was a puzzle before.

49) My jacket smells like her.

50) My bed smells like her.

51) My phone still sounds like her.

52) You are not infallible.
52a) This is a flaw you must correct.

53) The country smells a bit.
53a) And there are flies.
53b) I wonder what the biomass of all the flies in the country would weigh?
53c) It's probably impractical to collect them and measure. Cachement system of fabric to collect them and a gassing program to kill them all? The expense would be unjustifiable.
53d) Mycroft could probably manage it.

54) Breaking into a military facility is probably a bad idea.
54a) But quite fun.
54b) John speaks their language. This will work fine.

53) You mustn't care.
53a) Yes it's a bad thing, but it'll solve the case.
53b) Small malices for the greater good.
53c) He'll understand.

54) Stop forgetting he is a warrior. With a gun.
54a) No really, stop forgetting this.

55) The trouble is, whenever you think of him and his stupid thick skull charging in with a gun you get a bit odd. Because he's admirable, he's amazing, he's something you've never met before and might never meet again and you seem to want to break him down into comprehensible bits and make him boring because really sometimes he is boring. Honestly, tea? And fussing about the electric bill after the experiment with the lights and the newspaper, and the maggots. Boring. But then he smiles, and says you're amazing, and nobody says that. Nobody looks at you like that. Nobody has hands that are strong and square and patch you up so gently and can make a fist so hard. Nobody is so competent and so wide-eyed at the same time. Except him.

And you hurt him, you do and you know it and you ignore it because you hurt everyone, you walk around covered in spikes and people bump into them and bleed every time and leave. But he hasn't left. And every time you make him bleed you bleed a little too.

One bed. One bed and he didn't kick up a fuss and a year's worth of things you do not think about come in, make you pause in the doorway, but he's walking out of the bathroom with his toothbrush looking disgruntled and shaking his head like the one bed isn't a problem so you move as though there were no pause, sweep in and drop your things and sweep out. Come on, you say, and he follows.

You wear both of yourselves out so that when you fall into bed together you're too tired to be concerned. You'd offer to sleep on the floor but you don't, oh no. There's no reason. You're both adults. Men. And he's not gay.

You dream that you are holding him, tangled up around him. That he is warm in your arms and solid, muscle and soft middle and brush of short hair he can't seem to let grow out. That he smells of shampoo and moss and lanolin.

When you wake up the bed is empty and he is in the shower and you are glad he can't watch as you press your hands to your erection and shift your hips. You get them, of course, every man does almost every morning. It's nothing more than your body running a systems check.

That's all.

You are all living on borrowed time. You know this. Know it so well. This little time in the country, this is your escape. Your present to yourselves. It can't last. You'll have to go back. Back to where your playmate is waiting for you. Back to the city. Things are getting so deep, there, so dangerous. It's nice to have this little fantasy, this little fox hunt.

You go out, you always go out, and come back cold in the dark to the empty room. You stand there, and know that you've hurt him. Again and again. So there in the dark you try and show him, the other side, under the spines. And you kiss him.

He kisses you back. Oh.

You didn't know.

His sides are warm. There, under his sweater, his flanks have hard muscle and softer bits down by his stomach, because he still eats but there's no running around with a pack in the desert heat anymore, it's just intermittent running after Sherlock in dark alleys. Your fingers didn't feel so cold before you could touch the silk of his skin, the soft pale bits of him the sunlight never sees, the things only lovers have ever worshiped before. His little nipples, brown against his white chest. The flex of his stomach muscles. His lips, that bit of stubble that prickles your nose. His nose. You want that rubbing on your cock, on your collarbone. You want his lips sucking on your ears and wrists and knees, every part of you wants his saliva.

Stepping in close, back against the bed. He moves back, trying for space, but you can't allow that. Then his hands on your shoulders and you forgot, again, that although he's smaller than you he is very strong, so you're falling backwards. It's a controlled thing and the end is soft and his hands are removing your clothes, fingertips indistinguishable from fabric as you shudder in the cold air and he moves and lips.

You wanted his lips. You have them now.

Too much, too much. Going too fast.

You flip him. He's forgotten that you're not just some pretty face. You look up at him, at his eyes gleaming in the darkness, and you unbuckle his belt. Turnabout, you think, fingers not trembling much as you get the clothing off his hips, over his bum, and you get your first grab at his cock. He smells like musk, like wet dog, like heat and ashes and pine and blood. You suck him down as though you could keep him forever, just like this.

You're not completely ignorant. You know about human anatomy and basic sexual theory. Theoretically. So you slide your fingers up, over his round bum, and press against his anus. The heat of him is amazing. He's a furnace, a radiator, he's a blaze of life under your hands. He groans and his hips buck and his hands in your hair send chills down your spine, goosebumps over your naked shoulders. And while you have him in your mouth, so vulnerable, you work a finger inside his body in the only way you can.

There, that's it. Anatomy. Anatomy class has never given you the feel of muscle clamping down, pulsing in your mouth, the taste of him flooding you and filling you. You groan as he comes. When he is done and ended, you stand, weak-kneed and desperate for this to be all right.

He looks at you and the expression is so full of things you lose track, and then his hands are on you again and you are back on the bed on your back where you began.

Asexual, you think, as his hot mouth comes down over your cock and you lie there with your eyes wide. There was a word for it, before his tongue tore words away and left noises and feelings. You feel silly and strange with the taste of his come in your mouth, all bitter salt and chemicals, like the lab. You know the exact composition and yet this is John, this is his DNA in your stomach. Inside you. Outside you, over you, surrounding you, holding you and pulling you outside yourself until heat shoots like lighting up your spine and you cannot control yourself at all, and you shout into the dark room.

56) The drive home is shorter than the drive out.

57) He's yours, now. And you're his.
57a) This does not mean he's stopped with the tea.
57b) Or the boring bits.

58) He's not gay. Why is he looking at men on the computer? He looks puzzled, like he's trying to work something out. His head is tilted to the side and his eyes are narrowed. This is not arousal but those are naked. Men. On his computer. With muscles and shaved bits and oil and careful highlights, men who have designed themselves to look good. Better than you do. Men who might be happy to have a solid little man with strong hands and clever fingers and a hot mouth worshiping their body the way he worshiped yours.
58a) Oh. He was just trying to work out. About the, um. Not gay bit.
58b) Rule 6, one of the first rules you ever learned. Older sister comes out, is strong and proud and hard and her younger brother loves her, admires her, but the other children. Rule six, always. It was no easy thing. He just wanted to be sure, that this wasn't something that was always there.

59) It's only Sherlock, then. John is only in love with Sherlock.
59a) Oh. Love.
59b) This is what that feels like, then.