Cerebral storage capacity is limited.
Lately Sherlock's processing has not been optimal. He has noted symptoms of insomnia, fatigue, and lapses in concentration. Sometimes his fingers long for the strings of a violin and his eyes hold a dampness he cannot understand. Something illogical. Something ordinary.
"Sher-lock," Jim whines and points to his computer screen. "Group of hackers - part of the resistance, I expect - squirreled away somewhere in Chile making trouble. I can't pinpoint the exact location." He tilts his head beseechingly. "Help?"
Sherlock joins him and together they solve the puzzle, put the stir to rest. Sherlock stifles a pang of irritation. This world he's building, he and Jim, it's going to be ordered, it's going to work, and it will be like the heart of a computer: complete, perfect. They just don't understand. And anyway, resistance is futile.
The phrase springs much too glibly to his mind. Overheard, his memory banks tell him and respond to his search inquiry: audio deleted. His irritation expands like a soap bubble and bursts, leaving a stinging sensation like soap in his eyes.
Sherlock reboots. "I-" he mumbles, looking away due to (query: redirect: shame.)
"You're having ordinary thoughts," Jim says, swiveling up to his feet. He adds abruptly, "About him."
"Sometimes I can't stop it," Sherlock confesses. He prizes his mind higher than anything else, higher than Jim, but at these times the lack of control vexes him, touches a chord of (query: fear).
Jim remains silent for (elapsed: 19 seconds). His next words are very clearly pronounced and said with a certain reluctance. "Sherlock," he says, "sometimes I don't think you're special enough."
"I-" (query: self: redirect: Sherlock: redirect: super - ordinary: redirect: coat/violin/john/scarf/John: redirect: ERROR! JOHN ERROR! STOP STOP STOP!
The room flashes blue, crash screen, and then Jim is by his side, as he always is, when Sherlock stutters and fries. "Honey," Jim whispers, "calm down."
Sherlock doesn't understand, now as ever, still reeling from the contradiction, why Jim insists on littering his speech with meaningless verbal ticks. He'd asked once and Jim had grown so still, his eyes so bright, like a cornered (query: dog: warning! Fight/flight WARNING). "Jim Moriarty!" Jim had shouted out the window, wearily adding, "shut up, Sherlock dearest. You're such an exquisite, cold machine."
Now Jim says, "You're so ugly, falling to pieces," and presses his mouth against Sherlock's – he does this sometimes, and Sherlock can't bring himself to object, because while it never feels entirely right, it also never feels wrong.
"Baby." Moriarty giggles like a skyscraper in a hurricane, in those few soaring instants before the building crashes to the ground. He steers Sherlock to a high window and Sherlock braces himself against the rush of visual input - query: city, fog, pigeon, car, light, taxi, phone, flat, pavement . . . - a vertigo built off images. "We are gods, Sherlock." Jim sighs, his breath hot against the glass.
(Response required: query: god: redirect: human: JOHN ERROR: redirect: Sherlock, just please, it's me, I know you're in there, Sherlock listen – query deleted.)
Machines, at least, can be fixed.