Mrs Hudson's eyes were wide and, if John wasn't mistaken, fear was right next to the worry.

"Sorry 'bout the noise Mrs Hudson." He tried for a comforting smile but her smile in return was a grimace so he guessed he didn't do so well.

"Don't you think you could do something, dearie? It's been five days!" She bit down on her lip and tried to peer around John but he bodily blocked her view. She didn't need to see the 'experiment' that Molly so innocently supplied Sherlock with. Bloodied pigs' heads were not meant for landladies that sometimes took up housekeeping to see. John smiled ruefully at her.

"Well, you know how he is but I'll try Mrs Hudson. How 'bout you go visit Mrs Turner for a while?" Mrs Hudson smiled up at John and patted his cheek fondly.

"You're a good man John. Oo! I got a perfect idea! My niece got me a new double pack the other day; you can have the other set. I never know what Sherlock's into these days but …" she turned around excitedly and made her way downstairs to her flat, John followed a bit curious. She continued to chatter as she started going through her handbag. Seconds later she was smiling as she pulled out a pack of cards still wrapped in the protective plastic, the box showing the sky line of London. "Sophie lives on the continent, she got these at a tourist shop but they'll do the same as any other deck." John smiled at her, plucked them from her hand, and kissed her lightly on the cheek.

"Thank you Mrs Hudson, if all else fails I'll have him build a house of cards." They smiled and chuckled together trying to imagine Sherlock having the patience to do such a feat. They parted ways at the foot of the stairs, Mrs Hudson heading out to, what John assumed to be, Mrs Turner's and John headed upstairs to see if he could tame the beast poking and prodding a pig's head.

When he peeked in the kitchen the table was empty of Sherlock, the pig's head, however, was still sitting on the bare table top oozing coagulated blood. He grimaced at the sight.

"What did Mrs Hudson want?" John spun around to see Sherlock fitting a cartridge of bullets into his gun. John dropped the pack of cards in hand as he jumped up to wrestle the gun from Sherlock's hand before the safety lock was flicked off. He ended up knocking the taller man off his feet and half onto the couch before the gun was in his hand.

"The wall does not need another pounding from you! How did you even get this? I put it in a safe under my bed!" he wrenched the cartridge out angrily as Sherlock flopped his entire body onto the sofa.

"I told you before John, it had it coming. And you should know by now, even the hardest locks are easy for me to pick if I'm given the time." John just rolled his eyes and turned back to the kitchen. It looked like the experiment was over and he was not going to let blood stain the table … again.

"Tea?" he heard Sherlock grunt from the couch. He wondered how long Sherlock could sit still before his brain made him have to move again. He began making two mugs of tea and then saw the dropped deck of cards. He put it next to the waiting mugs as he began to wipe down the table.

"John you better not be messing with my experiment." He froze, his eyes going a bit wide and he looked down at the now slightly clean table. He nervously cleared his throat.

"Course not, I'm making that tea." He heard a sigh from the living area and winced.

"John, I'm not a fool." John whipped around and stared a tad shocked but mostly embarrassed that Sherlock caught him. It's Sherlock though; of course he'd catch him messing with his experiment! As John tried to stutter out some form of coherency Sherlock furrowed his brow and leaned slightly to peer around John, not that he really needed to. "What, is that?" Sherlock walked around John to the counter where the teacups were sitting and picked up the wrapped pack of cards. Surprise leaped across john's face.

"Don't tell me you don't know what cards are."

"Unless they're in a case I probably don't. Still, they don't seem that interesting. If I ever knew their purpose, it's been deleted." John just rolled his eyes and finished making the tea. He shoved a cup into Sherlock's free hand and then grabbed the cards as he made his way into the living area.

"I'll show you." He sat down on the sofa and tore the plastic off of the box once his cup was on the coffee table away from the edge. Sherlock dragged one of the chairs over and sat down across from John, focused on his hands as they shuffled the cards.

"You can do different things with them. Most people play games but there are also card tricks, street magicians favour those. You can also build houses out of the cards if you have the patience for it. Do you want to start with a simple game or can I try my hand at a card trick?"

"I want to see a card trick, I'm sure I'll have it figured out by the end though." His eyes continued to track the cards as they passed between John's hands and John smirked privately to himself.

"Right then," he stopped shuffling and started to lay cards face up in a pile, "I learned this one from a bloke at uni, took me a while to figure it out. What's important right now is that you tell me when to stop dealing cards." He looked up at Sherlock to see that he was completely focused on the cards.

"That's it, stop." John's hands stilled and he looked up at Sherlock a bit wide eyed. He stayed still a bit too long apparently; Sherlock rolled his eyes. "You told me to tell you when to stop."

"Oh." John felt foolish. He cleared his throat as he split the two piles that he had so there were four, roughly equal, piles facing down. He tapped the pile to Sherlock's left. "Take the first card put it on any pile, take the second one and put it on a different pile, take the third put it on the last pile and the fourth one is yours. Look at it, don't tell me and memorize it, and then put it anywhere in any pile." Once he finished explaining he closed his eyes.

"No peeking John." John smiled, he sounded like a kid. He covered his closed eyes with his left hand. "Right then." John opened his eyes and then gathered all the piles and shuffled them twice. He smiled at Sherlock's confused face. Making sure Sherlock couldn't see the cards he started to go through them, picking out pairs and laying them face down. Once he had six pairs he put the rest of the deck down. He clapped his hands together.

"Pick three piles." After a moment Sherlock pointed at the three closest to him, John swept the other three away; he smiled at Sherlock's confusion.

"Pick one pile." Sherlock narrowed his eyes at John and pointed at the outer left pile. John picked up the middle one.

"Pick another pile." Sherlock pointed to the same one, John threw the other pile to the side and then separated the two cards.

"Pick a card." Sherlock glanced between John and the cards for a minute before he gave the cards his full attention. Haltingly he pointed to the card to his right, John's left. John threw that card out. He almost laughed at Sherlock's surprise and flipped the other card over.

"Your card." And in fact, it was the five of hearts. Sherlock stared in confusion and awe at John.

"How …? How did you do that? Half the things you did didn't make any sense." John gathered all the cards and started to shuffle them and he smiled self-indulgently.

"A magician never tells his secrets Sherlock; card game?" He smiled up at him innocently but Sherlock didn't miss that happy mischievous glint in his eye.

"I don't kno-"

"I'll teach you. Simplest one I can think of is 'Go Fish'. Children's game and it can be pretty fun. Harry and I used to get so competitive." He smiled as he remembered and his hands started to deal out the cards. Sherlock observed him as he multitasked, a bit awed that John could be somewhere else in his mind and yet his hands where doing something else. He didn't think that dull people could do that.

"So this," John spread out the cards left in his hands on the coffee table, "is the 'pond'. When you ask me if I have a card and I don't I'll say 'Go fish'. You'll pick a card from the 'pond'. We just go back and forth trying to get pairs unless all the cards are gone. At the end, whoever has the most pairs wins. Think you can deal with that?" Sherlock sneered at him; John smiled back and picked up his cards, eyes scanning. "Pick out pairs if you already have some. You go first, ask for a car-"

"I'm not a child John; I think I've got this." He said condescendingly as his eyes quickly raked over his cards. "Your jack, John." John raised an eyebrow at Sherlock's expectant hand. When he didn't put a card in his hand Sherlock looked up at him. "John, your Jack." John tried to hold back a smile.

"Go Fish." After a moment of shocked and narrowed eyes Sherlock picked up a card and reverted to pouting in his chair. "Four?" a moment of narrowed eyes later John had a four in his hand. "Awesome, you got an ace?"

"Go Fish." A small smile of victory flickered onto Sherlock's face. "Seven?" handed over. "King?"

"Go Fish. Got a nine?"

"Go Fish, three." Another pair was down. "Seven."

"Go fish, you have that jack?" Sherlock's mouth dropped mouth and John smiled triumphantly at him. Many shouts and glares later John had it and put down his pair. It went on for a good twenty minutes until they were down to the last few cards.

"Four."

"Go fish, Queen?" narrowed eyes and another pair was down. "Eight?"

"Go fish!" a lip worried between teeth, "Two?" a heavy sigh and the card was reluctantly handed over. John grinned and glanced between the one card left in the 'pond' and the card in Sherlock's hand. "Four?" Sherlock's face broke out into a full out smile, no facade or barriers in the way. John was shocked, happily shocked but shocked, at the force of Sherlock's emotions.

"GO FISH! Give me that eight John!" His long fingers easily plucked the card from John's fingers and slapped the pair down next to his others. He began to eagerly count his pairs. John sat still, shocked into stillness. "I've got 14 pairs and if you bothered to count yours you'd know you have 12. I win!"