They had all warned him. Sally, the first day they met. Even Lestrade and Mycroft warned him, though he'd laughed in the latter's face when he did. He hadn't believed them until right now. Until Sherlock was standing right in front of him. He wished that he couldn't recognize Sherlock, that he couldn't see his roommate, his friend. Wished that he was unrecognizable, a monster. But all he could see was Sherlock Holmes. The same Sherlock Holmes who had saved his life from utter boredom, now in front of him smilingly smugly.
"Sedative in the tea bags," Sherlock said smugly, John looked at him confused, "Sedative in the teabags, only activated when exposed to heat and water. Knocked you out quite nicely and prevented the need for physical damage." John opened his mouth to say something; he didn't know what but Sherlock cut him off.
"You probably want to know how you're tied, so you can think about escape, that's not going to happen, you won't escape. You are secured with duct tape binding each of your limbs to a metal chair which is bolted to the floor as are your feet; your wrists are bound as are your hands." John finally managed to say something, having already noticed most of what Sherlock had described.
"And my neck?" He asked, having already noticed that he couldn't move it. Sherlock smiled at him clearly pleased and that hurt more than anything because it was the same smile he used whenever John asked something clever.
"Your neck is secured to a wooden dowel which has been laid down straight down your back and then the entire length of it has been secured to the back of your chair. I wouldn't want you to be able to slump down or look away." And here Sherlock leaned in frighteningly close to John's face.
"I want to see you everything." Then he leaned away but john was forced to keep looking at him and he realized that no matter what came next he would be looking at whatever Sherlock wanted him to see. Sherlock looked at him and spoke.
"Tell me John where do you think we are. Tell me." Sherlock demanded and John answered carefully.
"Well it's dark, dim lighting, damp, fairly large room, but not warehouse large, no ambient noise from outside. So basement somewhere, probably not in the city, large house or office building." Sherlock's smile grew with every word, making John feel sick. Sherlock clapped his hands together with glee and John watched him warily.
"Excellent, John, really excellent, you even got several things right." Sherlock said, praising John, "We are in a cellar, in the countryside and it is under a house, really very good." John worked up the nerve to question his flat mate.
"Sherlock what's going on?" John asked levelly. Sherlock's smile at him was frighteningly familiar it was the look he got when he realized something that unlocked the entire case; John wondered what he had unlocked now.
"John I've discovered something amazing. You see, there are all of these amazing things I've been wanting to test but couldn't because they 'weren't ethical.' But I've realized that doesn't matter because people are idiots and don't really see or understand anything so why should I listen to their stupid ideas about ethics, when I am so obviously smarter than them. There's so much to do now John. I'm so excited." Sherlock said enthusiastically waving his hands around as he explained to John. John spoke still carefully.
"And why am I here?" Sherlock looked at him in surprise and then grinned.
"John, you always surprise me and I love it," he said happily, "I want you to watch of course. My best companion. You always thought the best of me and you never listened to another when they ridiculed me, so now you get to see my new experiments. Let me go get the first subject." Sherlock said gleefully and hurried off. John sat shocked for a moment before trying nominally to wiggle loose, but he didn't have much hope, Sherlock was very careful and meticulous. Yep the bonds were secure, not even of smidgeon of give in them. John sighed and relaxed as much as possible given his bonds.
When Sherlock returned he was wheeling a chair toward John and when he stepped into the light, John could see that Sergeant Donovan was taped into it.
"Sally!" John managed to gasp out, Sherlock smiled at him.
"Yes, Sally. I thought she would be a good place to start, always insulting who I was, calling me 'freak' and now she gets to be part of my experiments, isn't she lucky." He smiled down at her lolling head. John resisted the urge to shudder and was relieved when he saw her start to move. She lifted her head and flinched when she saw Sherlock, before started to curse at him and struggle against her bonds. Sherlock chuckled and caught her head, clenching her chin tightly between long fingers.
"Now Sally what's a little strangulation between friends?" Sherlock said pleasantly as Sally's frightened eyes followed his movements. He turned from her and started talking to John, explaining.
"Strangulation, just to the point of unconsciousness, for the parameters of the experiment she needed to be unharmed and not drugged, and slight strangulation was the easiest way to accomplish that." He smiled at John and released Sally's chin but she remained silent, frightened eyes meeting John's looking for hope and answers he couldn't give. John wasn't sure if Sherlock was waiting for an answer but thought he should answer anyway.
"Yes," He said carefully and reluctantly, "That does seem to be the logical course of action." Sherlock smiled widely at him and pulled a pair of scissors out of his pocket as he started speaking.
"I knew you'd think so." He said happily to John, "And now we can start the experiment, now all this needs to go," he said grabbing some of Sally's hair and started snipping it off, "We wouldn't any blood to get caught in it, that would artificially encourage clotting which would ruin the entire experiment." He explained while cutting Sally's hair close to her scalp. John could only watch as Sherlock quickly removed the hair from Sally's head leaving only a thin layer of fuzz near her scalp. Sherlock ran his hand through and smiled, putting the scissors away and pulling out a surgical scalpel.
"Now on to the experiment itself," He said to John trailing the blade of the scalpel up Sally's arm cutting a thin gash up the entire thing, "I want to see how long to takes off a person to bleed out only from a few thin cuts on their body, oh and do try not to struggle Sergeant Donovan, it will only speed up the process." As Sherlock said this and John watched on in horror, Sherlock quickly made a cut up each of Sally's arms, down both her legs, just under her collarbone, across her stomach, around her neck and finished it off with two quick slices, one each across her cheeks. Then he stood back and looked happily at his work. John could only look at Sally as her tears mixed with the blood streaming down her cheeks. Sherlock admired is work for a minute, before grabbing Sally's chair and, ignoring Sally's whimpers of pain, pulled it into a corner where John could still see it but where it would be out of the way. Then he came back to stand in front of John. And John couldn't tear his eyes way from him. He searched Sherlock's face, hoping for a sign of remorse or even a sign of maliciousness that would prove he'd changed and would allow John to stop seeing his roommate and start seeing a monstrous something, but all John could see was the same man Sherlock had always been. John closed his eyes, unable to keep looking but unable to look away. Sherlock's voice interrupted his thoughts and for a moment he didn't want to open his eyes but Sherlock made it unavoidable.
"None of that now John," he said, mildly stern and John opened his eyes and looked at him, to which Sherlock smiled, "I have to start the second experiment and I don't want you to miss anything." Then Sherlock walked off again toward where he'd pulled Sally from, leaving John to sit and eyes unable to focus anywhere but on Sergeant Donovan who was crying silently in her corner. John wanted to say something, anything to make her feel better, but he couldn't think of a single thing and was almost relieved when Sherlock returned…almost. Sherlock returned with yet another rolling chair and John managed a small chuckle when his mind supplied him with the image of Sherlock in a room full of rolling chairs, but he quickly sobered when he remembered exactly what was going on and saw Anderson with a nasty lump on his head tied to this new chair. And he was suddenly glad that Sally couldn't see them from where she was. Sherlock smiled at John as he rolled Anderson up.
"I thought we'd go with Anderson next, you know he never respected me professionally and always called me a psychopath which is completely wrong, he's also mind bogglingly stupid so no great loss." Sherlock said cheerfully before bending down to rouse Anderson.
"Anderson. Wake up Anderson. I'm contaminating your crime scene. I'm walking aaalllll over it." Sherlock said, with a smile in John's direction, who had to resist a snort then the urge to throw up because it was so quintessentially Sherlock to taunt Anderson like that. Anderson woke up with a violent start and a yell of:
"Don't you dare touch that Holmes, you'll ruin the evidence!" Sherlock chuckled as he stood up and watched the color drain from Anderson's face as he took in his situation.
"Yes I thought that might rouse you, I did consider 'Anderson I'm touching your wife,' but I wasn't sure I'd get a reaction," Sherlock said and at that Anderson looked like he wanted to scream at Sherlock but couldn't find the words, but that changed when Sherlock continued, "Although maybe I should have said, 'Anderson I've got Sally and I'm taking her away with me.' And there's a reaction!" Sherlock said as Anderson's face whitened even further and fear filled it. Sherlock reacted strongly to that.
"Oh, would you like to see her," And he grabbed Donovan's chair spun it around and walked it toward Sally, "And here she is, Sergeant Sally Donovan, well what do you think Anderson, should she go to her knees, oops sorry she can't she's all tied up at the moment." Sherlock said calmly but with an air of vindication. At this Anderson started fighting and pulling at his bonds.
"Sally! I'll get you! I'm going to kill you Holmes! I swear I'm going to kill you!" Anderson raved, and Sherlock just laughed.
"Excellent." He said, sounding pleased, "The perfect reaction, well done Anderson, you've done something correctly for the first time in your life." Then he grabbed Anderson's chair and pulled him, still ranting, across the room. He opened a door and shoved Anderson in before shutting the door behind him. But as Sherlock walked back to him, John could still hear Anderson's muffled yells. Sherlock smirked with the air of a job well done.
"Well?" He asked John smugly. John searched around for a Sherlock appropriate response, settling on something close to the truth.
"I'm sorry Sherlock, I don't understand the experiment, Explain it to me." John said earnestly and when Sherlock's eyes lit up, he knew he'd make the right choice.
"Well I wanted to test how long it would take for a man to break when confined to a small area with no way out. Anderson was the obvious choice, considering his personality instabilities. That's why it was fine to subdue him physically, because it's largely a mental experiment, which is also why I wound him up so much beforehand. It gives the experiment a solid starting point and prevents the subject from preparing himself for the ordeal." John looked at him for a minute, unable to formulate a response, before finally choking out a stunned, "Brilliant," Which Sherlock beamed at. Sherlock smiled and couldn't resist saying more, so glad that John was so solidly on board with him; he could always count on John.
"Yes and the room is specially designed so we can still hear him, as you've probably noticed, but all he can hear is his own voice."
"Genius." John replied, ashamedly falling into old habits of complimenting Sherlock even now. Sherlock smiled smugly before his eyes flickered over to Sergeant Donovan. He "tsk"ed loudly and left John, walking quickly over to her.
"Sally," he reprimanded, inspecting her cuts and ignoring her whimpers of pain as he roughly grasped her arms and her face to scrutinize the cuts there, "your cuts are completely clotted, that wouldn't do at all. Hmmm." He said, considered the situation, and stood up, pacing as he worked through something. John could see, could recognize the familiar signs of Sherlock working through plans in his head. The scalpel flicked out again, blade flashing as Sherlock swiftly cut lines parallel to the ones he'd previously left. Sherlock turned back to John as the blood started to flow again and nonchalantly cleaned off the knife. John could hear Sally's quiet whimpering but couldn't manage to take his eyes off of Sherlock.
"A pity, I had to change the parameters. But if you can't adapt, you die, right John?" Sherlock asked, once again turning that piercing intelligence on John. John nodded shakily but couldn't resist the question his medical knowledge was driving into his head.
"She's going to continue to clot normally, at least for a time." John stated and Sherlock quirked his head, interest and approval shining in his features.
"True." Sherlock answered, body taut, waiting for John to please him.
"So, the cuts will keep closing and you'll have to keep making new ones to maintain the parameters of the experiment." Sherlock beamed.
"Precisely John, I'm so glad you can see that." A sudden yowl interrupted their discussion, Sherlock's head turned and a vindicated expression crossed his face.
"I believe Anderson has finally figured out the nature of his confinement." Sherlock said. John couldn't restrain his shudder and that maddening howl continued.
"But I've lost focus; I need to begin the next experiment. Stay there John." Sherlock said with a good humored smile, knowing full well that John couldn't go anywhere.
"'Course Sherlock, don't have anywhere else to be." John said and that gained him such a winning smile that he choked. Sherlock swished out of the room. Leaving John, trying to think beyond the next minute, beyond Sherlock's next declaration.
"Doctor," John looked up when he heard Sally's pain-filled but resigned voice. She stared at him, eyes filled with tears.
"I'm going to die, aren't I?" She choked out through shudders of pain. John opened his mouth to respond, to say anything to make it better, but stopped when he realized that there was nothing, that he had nothing. She saw the look on his face and sighed even as every part of her grew redder and redder.
"Yeah, I thought so." She whispered and slumped into her chair. John peered at her as she sank thoroughly into depression and suddenly anger shot through him, red and hot and burning. How dare Sherlock do this, how dare she give up without a fight, how dare he give up without a fight. That thought galvanized him and he started to struggle, to really fight against his bonds. In fact, he was so focused that he didn't notice Sherlock's return until the man was standing right in front of him.
"Welcome to the party, Captain Watson," Sherlock said jovially even as John's eyes looked up at him, burning with defiance, "I did wonder when you showed up, when I'd see the Army man instead of the Doctor."
"Damnit, Sherlock! Stop this!" John spat, now having completely lost his temper.
"Why?" Sherlock asked curiously, intensely.
"Because it's wrong!" John shouted. Sherlock seemed to mull that over, nod and then he straightened up.
"Interesting, very interesting. Thank you, Captain Watson. That explains quite a lot." Sherlock said.
John stared at him, even as Sherlock was reading his own expression. Only a muffled sound from the background, broke their eye contact. Sherlock's head whipped around and he peered into the darkness. Then he stood and walked off.
He returned a minute later, with yet another rolling chair, this one filled with Inspector Lestrade.
"Detective Inspector Lestrade was getting a bit impatient." Sherlock said, sliding the chair into place beside John. John glanced at him and saw that Sherlock had bound him in a similar way to John, had removed his shirt, and placed a strip of duct tape across his mouth. Sherlock, meanwhile, was surveying his mad little kingdom, and suddenly tutted loudly. John looked up at him but Sherlock was looking in Sally's direction.
"Sa-lly, your normal clotting factors have kicked in again, we'll have to fix that." Sherlock chirped in a singsong tone and strode off to Sally's corner. John didn't want to watch Sherlock cut Sally again but to look away would shame her and himself. So, he forced himself to watch as Sherlock methodically cut a third series of lines into Sally's skin and watched as her blood pooled slowly. John did look away for a moment but only because Lestrade's muffled shouting and movement distracted him.
"Greg," John said, drawing Lestrade's attention to him, "Stop. That won't help her." Lestrade looked at him, imploringly. But John simply turned back to Sally, well he tried but Sherlock had stepped in front of him again, completely blocking his line of view.
"John," Sherlock said, his voice rolling deeply, then his attention shifted over, "And Greg? Really Greg? Interesting."
"Sherlock, what are you doing?" Sherlock looked at him, read him, and smiled.
"John, my companion, good to have you back. I am beginning my experiment on…Greg?" Sherlock asked and looked to John who nodded, "Greg." Sherlock beamed at John, grabbed the edge of Lestrade's chair and pulled it around so that Greg and John were eye to eye. Sherlock then bustled around and dropped four boxes of nicotine patches into Lestrade's lap.
"You see this was going to be an experiment on the effect of cocaine on the human body in a set quantity over a number of hours. Unfortunately, that experiment was neither cost nor risk effective. So, nicotine patches." Sherlock stated and shook one of the boxes in John's face. John looked from Sherlock, to the boxes, to Greg and back to Sherlock who was looking at him, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
"I assume this experiment will follow in a similar vein to the proposed experiment." That gained John a nod from Sherlock and he continued.
"Therefore, I assume that you will be exposing Inspector Lestrade to larger and larger quantities of nicotine over the course of several hours until death is reached." John stated blandly and watched as Sherlock beamed with glee as Greg stared at him in horror.
"Correct and since he already had one on when I grabbed him, so that puts right on schedule for applying a second one." Sherlock explained.
"One-hour intervals." John offered but Sherlock shook his head.
"Half-hour intervals, it'll allow the experiment to proceed at an expedient rate." Sherlock clarified and John nodded. Sherlock smiled, ripped open the box in his hand and slapped a patch on Greg.