As you can probably see with my stories, I'm going through a bit of a writers block, especially with "The private lives of us". Hopefully though, both that story as well as this one should be updated soon.
Also, I have to admit that I'm not all too happy with this chapter, which, right now, I'm simply going to blame on the heat wave central Europe has been experiencing (Prague has had nothing but 30 Degrees C plus since the beginning of July.)
Oh, and a big thank you to all who have favourite, followed and reviewed. You're all fabulous!
Sherlock's eyes widened as the realisation hit him with full force, and he realised that Irene was right, it was incredibly obvious. He was almost embarrassed that he hadn't seen the signs, because he had experienced them firsthand when he had been addicted to cocaine. Of course.
However, the fact that he had been so blind only overwhelmed him for a second, before relief, staggering relief washed over him in waves. He wasn't crazy, what he had seen really hadn't existed, at least not in the form he and Henry had believed, and there was a perfectly logical and rational explanation. And Irene had figured it out.
"I was drugged".
Now that he had reached this conclusion (or rather now that Irene had led him to it) formulating a plan to prove the theory was no longer as difficult.
"It must have been some sort of narcotic." Sherlock said, once again pacing around the room. He understood the situation with perfect clarity now, and now his and Irene's roles were once again reversed. Irene sat back on the bed, following his movements with her eyes. Her expression was thoughtful, but her eyes shone and Sherlock knew that she was enjoying this. Though their relationship was certainly physical, the attraction had developed through a mutual understanding and admiration of the others intellectual capacities, and this still very much cemented their relationship. Being able to work on cases together was not only productive, but for them highly entertaining.
While Irene was certainly enjoying the view (her 'smart is the new sexy' comment still held true) she was following Sherlock's every word and coming to her own conclusions, picking up on anything he might have missed.
"The question is where this drug was hidden." Sherlock continued. "We can dismiss everything John and I consumed before coming to Dartmoor, as John remained completely unaffected. So it must have been something that we had here." He lapsed into silence for a second. There are only a few possibilities: It was either something we had in the pub, at Henry's house or at Baskerville.
"The pub is highly unlikely." Irene spoke up. "The only reason they owners could have to poison you would be too somehow boost tourism by making you believe that you saw a monster dog – but from what I saw of the owners' characters and body language, it can't have been them.".
Sherlock nodded in agreement. Unless there was a hidden connection with Henry that he had missed, he could be pretty certain that he hadn't been drugged here.
Baskerville was also unlikely. Not only had he and John arrived unannounced and with fake identification, but they had only mentioned Henry at the very end to Doctor Frankland. They hadn't come into contact with any known substance, nor had they eaten anything there. Besides, drugging them there, even with the ample supply of chemicals, would have been complicated and risky. The fact that only he and Henry had been affected, but not John, completely ruled out the research facility.
And that only left one thing.
"Sugar!" Sherlock burst out triumphantly. "We had coffee at Henry's house," he continued, "and John drank his coffee unsweetened."
He shook his head almost angrily. "It should have been obvious from the beginning." He muttered. "I had two sugar cubes in my coffee at Henry's house, as did Henry, and he's been seeing this hound for at least two days, if not more. Someone must have drugged his sugar."
"It must have been some sort of hallucinogen." Irene supplied. The psychological and physiological effects of the drug (intense visions, non-existent sensations, paranoia , dilated pupils and a high blood pressure)certainly matched the way Sherlock had behaved this evening, right down to his panic attacks and mood swings.
Sherlock nodded in agreement. He knew the effects of deliriants all too well; he should have been able to recognise the signs straight away, despite the strong effects the drug had on the human mind. Right now, his intellectual competence no longer seemed special, just average.
And speaking of average people-"John ought to be back by now".
Irene looked amused, no doubt having guessed his thought process from his expression. "Don't be so hard on him." She said laughingly. "Right now, John has qualities which might prove very useful to the case."
Sherlock raised his eyebrows, before he adopted a neutral expression, no doubt masking his confusion at her statement.
"When we came up, I saw Louise Mortimer entering the pub. It would be a good idea to see how Henry's doing through the eyes of a qualified professional. " She glanced over at Sherlock and saw his surprised expression. "What?"
"You've certainly done your research with this case." he murmured. "How did you find out about her?"
"It's a simple matter of politely asking the right questions". Irene said dismissively. "Obviously Henry has a therapist; that much was obvious from the way he recounted the murder of his father in the television documentary. It's a simple matter of searching for therapists in this area and then discreetly asking around.
"Anyway," she said, walking across the room, and smiling slightly at the expression on Sherlock's face, "from his many dates I gather that John's always had a knack for getting women to like him, at least for the one evening. Let's see what he can get out of Miss Mortimer."
"He's angry" Sherlock said; as he looked at the text he had just received from John in reply to his request to talk to Louise Mortimer. John still hadn't returned, Sherlock guessed he was still following his non-existent U.M.Q.R.A lead. Irene simply smirked.
"I think you offended him more than you realised, darling. I don't think that your usual method of simply telling him to come and help will work this time."
Sherlock frowned. "You know I can probably get more information from Louise Mortimer than John could. John can't read people. I suspect that instead of getting valuable information about Henry he'll just end up in bed with her."
Irene shook her head. She had thought this over, and while Sherlock would certainly be able to get some information out of Henry's therapist, it would be easier with John's friendliness and charm. She guessed that John could probably use the things they had in common (such as their professions) to get closer to her. "Trust me; this is something that John can do better. You don't give him enough credit."
Sherlock sighed, knowing that, essentially, Irene was right. John did tend to be more…empathetic, and while Sherlock could certainly feign empathy, a therapist might not be as taken in by it as most other people. But even so, the task couldn't exactly be that difficult. It was just a case of manipulation. He and Irene could probably pull it off perfectly, but it was best if no one here remembered Irene to be associated with this case.
"I think John needs a little more incentive" Irene mentioned, looking at the text John had sent back. She smiled, knowing exactly how to persuade him to come back down to the pub. "Allow me".
She took Sherlock's phone out of his hand and walked over to the bar, maintaining a small distance from where Louise Mortimer was sitting, holding a glass of wine. Irene frowned slightly, letting her fingers glide over the screen, in the pretence of typing a text message. Nobody took any notice of her.
She snapped a picture of the therapist, smiled, and walked back over to Sherlock. His mouth twitched as he pressed send, knowing that while John might be angry at him, his resolve would significantly waver when he saw the picture Irene had taken.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, John entered the pub and, after briefly scanning the area, walked over the bar where Louise Mortimer was sitting. Sherlock watched him sit next to her and say something and saw her smile. As soon as she turned around to face him Sherlock could see that John had succeeded.
"Perfect." Irene murmured. She took Sherlock's hand and led him upstairs.
As soon as they had reached their room, Sherlock sat down on the bed, his hands folded under his chin.
"We need to find out what effects the drug has on different people." He immediately said. "The effect it had on my mind was already negative, so it's probably safe to assume that the effect it has on an average mind is more intense and overwhelming. I think that the best chance we have is to try it on John tomorrow. It shouldn't be hard, guilt on my side ought to be a sufficient way to manipulate him into-" he looked up, surprised as Irene put a finger to his lips."
"I thought you wanted to help me solve this case." he mumbled while Irene smirked. She perched herself on his lap.
"You can figure that part out later." she told him with a smile. "It's been a while since we've seen each other, Mr Holmes, and I have a very different idea as to what we could be doing right now."
"Really." Sherlock murmured, putting his hands on her waist, his lips now tantalisingly close to hers. "Enlighten me, Miss Adler."
Irene smiled, and wasted no time in showing him exactly what she had in mind.
Thank you for reading. xx