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Nobody Knows My Heart Like You

Chapter Text

The East Wind.

A force of unimaginable power. It is said to be a terrifying force, laying waste to all in it's path. It cared not for walls of stone or clay, if you were the target then you were as good as gone.

It sought out the unworthy. Some believed it was those with free in their hearts, or envy. Those who gifted harm towards their fellow man. Very few had been spared from it's unrelenting force, even fewer kept safe on the cusps of it. Anyone deemed unworthy were plucked from the face of Earth.

You would think that people would feel it coming. The soft tingle in the air, just enough to make your hair stand on end. You would think they could feel a change in the air. That was in the nature of the Wind, coming forth only when it saw fit.

That didn't mean people were standing idle. Far from it. In the shadows, there were dark forces moving about so as to hide from the Wind. They thought themselves clever. They believed they were stronger than the coming Wind.

They were to be proven wrong. For when it concerned him, the Wind knew no mercy

The rest of London could not be so guarded. They were to remain blissfully ignorant of the rise of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson of 221b Baker Street.

Well, except for one.

Danielle Nolan. The landlady of 223 Baker Street, the flats right next door.

Chapter Text

There were a lot of things you could say about Mrs Hudson.

There were a lot less you could never say without facing death or bodily harm.

Mrs Hudson was a wonderful woman. She would sometimes go off on long tangents, letting you know all these bizarre facts about her. Danielle still had trouble believing the story about Mrs Hudson's cat being evidence in her husband's arrest. It was something about it's fur having drugs on it.

Mrs Hudson had a husband. He was in jail in Florida, for a drug ring. Mrs Hudson was alright with it, having apparently asked a strange man for help with it. She came back from the States emotional hurt, but not letting the incidents get her down. Danielle always saw the woman smiling, the picture of a loving grand mother (though the woman had no children of her own)

The favor to the strange man was supposedly being repaid, as that young man was set to move in by next month (which was really in a week, but Danielle liked the way 'next month' sounded)

Danielle had frequent talks with Mrs Hudson. She was so nice to Danielle, helping her out after she'd moved in. Danielle had needed Mrs Hudson's guiding hand.

She checked herself one more time. She quite liked her hair, long locks of strawberry blonde. She let them hang loose past her shoulders. It was a cold winter's day so she wore a pair of long jeans with a thin pale blue belt, and a long sleeve purple/white floral patterned shirt. She had some blue grey sandals too, that she thought went good with her sapphire blue eyes. She hated heels, as she always fell on her face when wearing them. Besides, at 5'7 she saw there was no real need for the death traps.

Satisfied with her appearance, Danielle began the short walk next door.

She was momentarily surprised to see a moving truck outside the flats. Had she forgotten the date again? A quick glance at her phone told her that, yes, she had forgotten the date that the mystery man was moving in. He was moving in next month, but he was moving his belongings in on the twenty-ninth. Today.

Danielle slapped her hand against her face. "Stupid! This happens every time. Every time!"

The young woman quickly turned back into her flats. She had something planned for the new neighbor. Where did she put it? It was somewhere she knew she could find it.

The fridge!

The strawberry blonde rushed to the fridge, finding a box of pre-made biscuits for the oven. As she set it to preheat, she silently scolding herself for forgetting things again. Her mother had always said she needed to get over that.

==NKMHLY==

Some twenty minutes later, Danielle was walking out of her flat with a plate of small biscuits for the new neighbor.

She played it cool, putting on an easy smile to hopefully trick people into thinking she had planned this. Danielle could still feel her cheeks going pink, betraying her pseudo confidence.

Danielle balanced the plate in one hand, trying to use her spare key to Mrs Hudson's. It was only after she pulled her out her keychain (which only had five keys and cute Pop vinyls of Harry Potter and Ariel) that Danielle thought about why Mrs Hudson would lock her door when the new tenant was moving in.

She gently pushed open the door. She had been over enough for Mrs Hudson to say that 221 was open to her.

Mrs Hudson was immediately seen. She was in her flat, having a cuppa.

"Hello Mrs Hudson!" Danielle cheered, balancing the heavy plate of biscuits.

"Oh, Danielle!" Mrs Hudson chirped in delight.

The two had quick embrace, careful of the glass plate in Danielle's hands. When the hug ended, the older woman saw how bright pink Danielle's cheeks were. It was easy to tell with her pale skin.

"I don't know why you forget your coat." Mrs Hudson scolded matronly. "This cold is making my hip go all batty."

Danielle let out a small giggle. "Sorry, I'm a snowman. Well, snow woman, really, which just sounds weird. Snow lady maybe?" She shrugged, keeping a steady hold of the welcoming gift. She looked at the friendly woman with a meaningful expression. "This answer has eluded me for twenty years."

"I thought you were twenty-seven?" Mrs Hudson asked.

"Yes, but I started this when I was seven." Danielle replied simply. "Ah, those were simple times."

This was another reason she liked Mrs Hudson. The older woman never thought less of Danielle for her odd quirks. Mrs Hudson always looked at her in understanding, sometimes even laughed with her. Danielle had appreciated it. She never had much of that.

"Never got his name, I remembered that much. All the people I talked to think he's some mystery man!" Danielle admitted.

She was telling the truth, or at least a half. Danielle did not like using the rumor mill for one short simple reason: it meant being friendly with the neighbors. Danielle already knew the others of Baker Street had a low opinion of her. If not for her age, then her eccentric personality. Call her anti-social, she didn't care. She just hated putting up with all their small talk rubbish.

That's why she wanted to see the new neighbor first. So that maybe (just maybe) someone else would treat her as Mrs Hudson did.

"I haven't told you? Oh silly me. It's Sherlock Holmes." The older woman sighed, shaking her head. "He's a bit odd, though. Reminds me a bit of you, when he's a bit excited. He's moving all his things in today."

"That makes him odd?"

"No, not at all. Sherlock's a blessing. It's just." Mrs Hudson shuddered. "I saw dead frogs in a jar."

Danielle had to admit, that was a bit peculiar. Not enough for her to be concerned. Her younger brother, Felix, had collected frogs until he was thirteen. Yeah, he didn't keep them, after they died, but he was always sad when one died.

"Does he collect them?" She found herself asking. "They could be old pets."

"No, says it's his experiments." Mrs Hudson answered, taking a biscuit. "Says he's something called a consulting detective. That's Sherlock all around. I told you that he had Frank arrested."

The older landlady was smiling now, as she snacked on the biscuit.

"Yes." Danielle glanced at the stairs. "So...is it alright if I take these up?"

"Oh yes Danielle! And don't mind him if he sends you back. He gets prickly with people he doesn't like." Mrs Hudson encouraged. "You'd be his first visitor!"

Danielle was oddly pleased with that.

==NKMHLY==

"Hello?" Danielle called out. "Mrs Hudson said it was alright to come up."

She walked into to one of the oddest flats ever. Sherlock had only moved in today, but the things were scattered about in a way that implied it'd been loved in for months. There wasn't dust on anything, and the furniture all seemed mostly new.

Yet as she looked, Danielle could see a sort of order to it. The desk had space enough for a laptop, though already it was surrounded by various journals and encyclopedias. Someone liked to research with books, in case the internet was less than helpful.

The bookshelves had been a little random, but he had subconsciously put things by order of importance. A lot of them were worn, Danielle knew those creases in books. Sherlock preferred science to pretty much anything really.

She was thankful to her cooling biscuits, or else she'd smell the dead frogs in what Danielle thought was pickle juice.

"Yes? What do you want?" A man suddenly asked from the kitchen. Danielle flinched at the surprise. She turned round to see a man standing there. He had an annoyed expression on his face, probably because Danielle had just walked right into his flat.

He had short black hair, done in a million little curls. His eyes were a bright entrancing blue, that made Danielle think this Sherlock bloke was looking right into her soul (and not liking what he saw). His skin was pale, even more so with his dark Belstaff coat, black suit, and white button up. She thought his chin was a bit pointy, going well with his sharp cheekbones. He was a few inches taller than her. The strawberry blonde would've thought he was a vampire.

"Sorry. I'm Danielle Nolan, from 223. Came by with a welcoming present." Danielle admitted. She held up the plate of biscuits. The way Sherlock stared at the plate made Danielle think of a lord being unsatisfied by his serfs pitiful sacrifice. "Welcome to Baker Street." 'Baker Street! Cause I got biscuits, which I had to BAKE. Get it?! Nice job, Danielle Nolan, you're a genius.'

Sherlock didn't get the joke. Or maybe he didn't want to give her the satisfaction of a horrible joke. Danielle was holding back laughter anyway. She put the plate down on a nearby table. She had been holding her keychain, so she stuffed it back into her jean pocket.

"Neighbors don't really know much about each other, not at first anyway." Danielle caught sight of the skull on the mantlepiece. How had Mrs Hudson missed that? "Really hope that wasn't your flatmate."

What happened next still surprised Danielle whenever she looked back. The light blue eyes scanned her once, even the plate. He had apparently had enough of her. Sherlock Holmes was going to use the science of deduction to cast the strawberry blonde away.

"You have two pets; a cat and a dog. It's black cat that prefers to be held, and you do so despite her claws. The dog, puppy more likely, is a yellow labrador and a gift from your estranged sister. She wants you to start dating, but you stubbornly refuse. But you can't completely ignore them, you were raised family before all else. You dislike your mother, close relationship with your father. Your mother didn't approve. She doesn't favor you. Could be for anything, really, but most likely because you're much too absent minded to hold a steady job for long. Being a landlady was your mother's idea, not your's. You're the eldest of, probably four children. You're still working this job, probably to spite your mother. You'd go to your father for help, but he's been dead four-no five-years."

He said this all so fast Danielle wondered if it was all in one breath. He hadn't glanced away but for a few times, though the strawberry blonde felt she never had anything but his full attention.

Danielle stared at him. "Wow..." She blinked in surprise. She knew she should be insulted by what he was saying (especially that absent minded comment) "Mrs Hudson can't have told you all that."

"She didn't. I observed it." The man stated, in a voice Danielle would call flippant.

She smiled, almost nervously. "Ah. Yes. Obviously."

The consulting detective intrigued her. Few people spoke of her quirks like this, in a way that was just stating facts rather than accusations. At the same time, Danielle felt Sherlock was perfectly in the right to say what he had. She hadbeen rather rude, just walking into his new flat without his permission. She went to grab a biscuit, anything to help her think straight again.

"Can everyone observe things, or is that just...your thing?" She asked.

Sherlock thought she was a bit strange now. He did this to his old landlord before driving off. The old man had run off screaming at his old tenant. He had known she wasn't a client, none of them knew his new address yet. She had brought treats, which was a waste because Sherlock knew he'd never eat them. So Sherlock ranted off facts to get the stranger to leave. By now, the odd Miss Nolan should have slapped him silly. Why had this woman done nothing? She was only intrigued by it, and him by association.

"Very few people have the mental capacity." Sherlock replied slowly, carefully. "I doubt you could." He blatantly insulted. He did not want this insane landlady in here.

She didn't seem phased. Was she always this maddening? "I can't do that, no. Even if I could, I doubt I'd ever be as good at it as you are."

She laughed. Sherlock had insulted her, and she laughed! While not the first, it was the first time it wasn't done maliciously.

"You're laughing." Sherlock stated, starting to be intrigued. Most of the people that didn't hate him had forced adjustment, like Lestrade's rubbish police team.

"Why not? You're saying that stuff about me. If you can't laugh at yourself, then why laugh at all?" Danielle admitted, still smiling innocently. "Besides, I was rude. I should've asked before letting myself in. Mrs Hudson said it was fine, but I still should've asked you. It is your flat now."

Hold on. Why the bloody hell was she apologizing for what he said? Sherlock, for all his reasonings, couldn't tell if Miss Nolan was truly polite or stupid. When he said rude things, everyone rolled their eyes and groaned, before telling him to pull back.

"You were wrong about my mum, though." Miss Nolan decided to add. "She helped get me this job, I'll give ya that, but because I told her I wanted it."

She liked the idea of being a landlady for a long time. She'd chose who could stay at her flats. It saved on funds to not take a bus or cab to work every day. Sure, Danielle didn't like the rumors or the small talk, but it was all worth it to have a place she could call home. That she got to choose who was inside her home.

Sherlock Holmes maintained a cool face as he stared at her. This woman wasn't making sense. Why would she want to be a landlady at twenty-seven? Usually landladies were seen as old, or overly stern. Mrs Hudson was a welcome difference. Danielle Nolan was a mystery now.

"I should go. I came to introduce myself and give you the biscuits." Danielle explained, smiling wider than she had when she walked in. Mrs Hudson would give her the plate when Sherlock was done with it. "So I won't take up anymore of your time."

Sherlock stared at her as she walked off. He was happy to see her off, yet at the same time a part of him acknowledged that she was the first person to come into any of his flats without running away scared or furious with him. Seems he was making improvements.

"Good luck finding a flatmate, by the way!" She added as an afterthought.

"How did you know I'm even looking?" Sherlock asked. He himself didn't want one, only needing one for rent. The consulting detective knew he was an abrasive human (which he only said for lack of better option). Whatever unlucky soul that became his flatmate would need to have the patience of a saint. He'd told Mike that much this morning.

"You added the skull." Was Miss Nolan's last reply.

 

Chapter Text

Danielle came back to her flats with a surprisingly light heart. She knew she should feel heavily insulted, hell anyone else in her position would have slapped Sherlock silly.

Yet he wasn't insulting her out of malice of distaste, the young landlady saw them as statements of fact. Mrs Hudson was a kind person, with an kinder heart. She wouldn't let just anyone live in her flats, just like Danielle wouldn't just anyone live in her's.

Sherlock was a curious one. Danielle wondered how he did it, how he looked at her and saw her past. What gave her secrets away? What was obvious, what was difficult?

Danielle had the entire afternoon to ponder on it.

==NKMHLY==

She walked back into her flat, staring at it in its entirety as if for the first time.

It was a small ground level flat. There were dark purple walls, hardwood floors, and dark wood furniture. She had some photos on the wall. Some weird artsy things, like favorite book quotes or black and white pictures of lakes.

Danielle Nolan had fought for this flat. She'd worked for years, saving up enough to buy the house. She didn't accept much help from her father and siblings, mostly because they hadn't known she was house searching.

It'd been nothing short of a miracle getting a flat in central London. Her family barely believed it when she came out to them. There had been a big party (Danielle still thinks there was a dent in her ceiling from a wine cork) that her whole family came to.

A year and a half later, their father died.

Her pets demanded her attention, knocking her out of the stupor of her father's passing. Her puppy ran up to Danielle, happy that she returned after a short time. She reached down to brush her puppy's fur.

Little Erika was labrador mutt, the little white patches of fur probably meant it was part a beagle. Danielle never checked in the fourteen months. Erika was certainly an energetic puppy (though she was getting rather big these days).

Nightwing was hiding around her couch. He was a bit of a drama queen. Danielle had found him on the streets in one of those boxes you see, with little abandoned kittens inside. Danielle had liked the black kitten, and the cat felt similar (hopefully).

Erika had been a present from Lilly, her baby sister at nine years her junior. Lilly was, in Danielle's words, the daughter their mother always wanted. Lilly had a twin brother, Felix, who was closer to Danielle. This made a bit of a rift between the siblings. Her puppy was a gift after they came to an odd sort of truce.

The reformed bond between the sisters made Danielle smile fondly. It turned curious when she remembered that Sherlock knew that.

Danielle went over to her small kitchen. She hadn't properly cleaned up from baking the biscuits. She got to cleaning the dishes, while making Erika and Nightwing lunch.

As she poured their lunches into their feeding bowls, Danielle paused. The bowl we're both plastic, both white, both with blue painted on names for each pet. She knew they both had matching blue collars. She loved her pets, like Sherlock had said, which was why Danielle had scratched both of them before running over to 221.

She had hugged her dog, which probably got fur all over her pants. Nightwing had been more of a cuddle on her shirt. Probably hard to notice against the dark purple.

Danielle felt a bit proud she had figured that out. Less so when the two animals ran into her legs for their lunches.

She didn't feel very hungry. To be honest, all Danielle felt she could eat was a bag of crisps. There was something interesting going on next door, separated from her only by walls and the Speedy's cafe.

The man who had no flatmate. The man that stared at her and didn't judge her on her job. The man who kept a skull on his mantle. The man who was annoyed with her, yet Danielle had the oddest feeling he was pleased.

She wandered into her bedroom. Danielle stared at the brightest bit of her room; a queen sized bed with soft blue sheets and a bright pink blanket (her mother's suggestion). Danielle added her own flair, as if to defy her mother, by moving a stuffed dragon to it. It was juvenile, and she should have given it to charity, but it was from her father. Besides, the dragon was to her what that skull was to Sherlock.

There was a writer's desk, decorated with her work files, some of her favorite Pop Vinyls, and a green laptop. There was also a wardrobe from her grandmother.

Danielle huffed. She partially wondered what Sherlock would say if he saw her place. Would he see how deep the hatred between her and her mother was? Just how far did his observations go?

How did he see all of that? What was so obvious about her life?

"Am I really that easy to read?" Danielle asked the dragon.

It stared back blankly.

Danielle nodded, as if it had responded. Her lips turned into a thoughtful line, eyebrows "I am, yeah." She paused, glancing around her room again. "What am I even doing? He's just a bloke. Lots of blokes have stared at me. It's not going to change anything."

An hour later, Danielle's fate changed.

==NKMHLY==

She had a tenant in 223c. She hadn't found anyone for 223b, but she was hopeful.

The tenant was a lovely woman, honest. She just got into fights with her flavors of the week. Danielle knew it spooked Erika, so she opted to take Erika out on walks when the fights started.

Danielle was only just coming back from that walk when Sherlock stormed out of 221.

She was barely acknowledging this fact before he was walking up beside her, taking the leash out of her hand.

"Oi!" She yelped. "I was using that-"

The man didn't care. He noticed, and he didn't care. "Take it inside. It's going to get in the way." Sherlock ordered.

Danielle stared at him in confusion. "Erika? What would she get in the way of?"

"The medical equipment." Sherlock explained. Erika apparently did not like the strange man holding her leash. She started jerking away from him, trying to get back to her owner. "Molly is very typical about me ruining her lab again. Doubt she'd like a dog running."

"Molly? Lab?" Danielle was more worried about why Sherlock was still holding Erika's leash. "What the hell are you talking about? And let go of her leash, Sherlock! You're hurting her!"

Sherlock rolled his eyes. He tossed the leash aside. Danielle quickly picked it back up, reaching down to reassure her puppy. "There. I was only getting your attention." He eyed the dog like it was a giant rat. "Either way, you still need to put her away. We'll miss the cab."

"Why should I?" Danielle asked, placing her hand over Erika's head. She scratched the labrador's head to calm her down. The dog loved the attention. "You just grabbed my dog in broad daylight. Tell me why I should listen to you!"

Sherlock stared at her, brows creased in confusion and lips turned down. A signature look of 'can't you keep up with my excellent mind?' "I knew all the details of your life that you thought private. You came to my flat first, you knew you did. No one else in the street could've told, least of all Mrs Hudson. You were relieved, because I wasn't accusing you yes? You want to know how I did it."

"It was just a magic trick." Even as Danielle said that, she knew it was a lie. He knew that. "No it wasn't." She sighed, still rubbing Erika's head.

Just as he was still grinning smugly. "Danielle Nolan. Take the dog inside, then get in the cab." He offered in a way that also sounded like an order. "And I'll tell you how I did it."

She hesitated. Of course she did, a virtual stranger wanted to drag her across town in a cab. What sane person got into a cab with a stranger? There was just this curiosity, of how he did it, of how he picked her life apart.

"Why are you offering?" She felt she had to ask.

"Because you noticed my skull." He admitted.

Now, passers by would think that was the oddest string of words. That they didn't explain at all what the strawberry blonde had asked. Danielle had always been good at reading between the lines, though.

She smiled happily at him. "That's a deal then, Sherlock."

Five minutes later, when Erika was safely inside 223 and under the assurance they would be back before any real amount of time passed, Danielle was climbing in the backseat of a cab.

"What's the lab we're going to? You never said." She commented. She brushed back some of her hair, leaning back to enjoy the ride.

"Mortuary. Molly had a fresh corpse for testing." The consulting detective was staring down at his phone. It was as if Danielle wasn't really in the cab. "And Stamford thinks he's found me flatmate. I doubt it, I'm a rubbish flatmate."

"I saw what you did to the last one." Danielle teased. "God help him."

Sherlock quirked a smile.

...and so the East Wind began...

 

Chapter Text

The drive to St. Bart's Hospital was a short one in Danielle's opinion. It didn't give her a lot of time to think about why they were here.

Danielle was usually anxious when taken someplace new and unknown. She thinks it's because her mum would drive her around and Danielle would be forced to go dress shopping or stupid play dates with boring girls at school. (Plus the traumatic experience of her mother's less than sane drive to Danielle's surprise sweet sixteen. She thought her mother had finally snapped)

The mini-phobia broke when she got her own license and started taking taxis. The idea of her driving herself felt nice for that confidence (and never getting into a car her mother was driving).

So it helped her anxiety to know that she and Sherlock Holmes were inside Bart's Hospital to see a corpse, a new possible flat mate, and a woman named Molly.

Molly.

Molly and a flatmate.

The young landlady made sure to follow Sherlock. She'd not been to Bart's before, and she didn't want to get lost. Danielle had no idea where Molly or the new flatmate were yet. She barely knew why she had come along.

They were approaching a door marked Authorized Personnel Only. Danielle hesitated, unsure if this was really allowed. Shouldn't they be waiting for someone to let them in?

"Just walk like you own the place." Sherlock advised, though barely. It was almost like he had forgotten she was there.

Danielle bit her lip. "I don't even own a car!"

The tall man glowered at her. "Alright. Just stay behind me, you're slowing us down."

Danielle wasn't given a chance to argue or glare. Her neighbor strutted off beyond the door, telling her to either follow or be left behind. Danielle followed.

(Though she did glance at the security cameras as she walked. )

When they walked into the mortuary, Danielle feeling the cold through her purple shirt, she was surprised at the woman standing there.

Danielle didn't let herself think much about Molly. Another fun fact was that she had an active imagination. Most of the time it was fine for a good laugh, other times it was less okay.

Ever since Danielle first heard about Molly, her imagination was went wild with ideas. Molly, drop dead (pun unintended) gorgeous woman with blonde hair and diamonds for teeth. Molly, crotchety old lady with a scowl and yellow teeth.

She knew both of them were ridiculous, but she couldn't stop it. It's like when you tell yourself not to think of something, so it's all you think about.

Danielle felt relieved to see a somewhat mousy brunette, with big brown eyes and a sweet smile. She always liked it when the world surprised her.

Molly seemed quite nice. Her brown hair was pulled back into a high ponytail, showing off her pale cheeks and a cute button nose. She had on a lovely outfit, more fitting to London weather. It was a bit weird though for her to dress so nicely for a job this disgusting. But the that must be what the lab coat was for, keeping off the stains.

Did Danielle forget to mention the bodybag?

"Oh!" The young woman yelped. "Hello." She flashed her attention to the tall pale man. "Ah, who's that?"

"Danielle Nolan." She introduced, with a peppy smile. Danielle "Good to meet you."

Molly did not seem as eager to make a new friend as Danielle. She took Danielle's hand, giving it a nervous shake. Why a 30 year old woman was awkward shaking a 27 year old woman's hand, we can guess.

The man did not care for their little meeting. Why would he? There was work to be done.

He unzipped the body bag. He began to take in the details of the body inside. Sherlock had been waiting for weeks for this chance. It was so much easier to run these kinds of tests when they died naturally.

As per usual, Molly didn't disappoint.

Danielle though. She was turning out to be an odd one. She hadn't asked why he was here, or why he was examining the body.

Sherlock sniffed the body. "How fresh?" He asked sternly.

The question brought Molly back into the proper mindset. Honestly, he couldn't understand why women were always so social. "Just in. Sixty-seven, natural causes." She smiled. It was such a sweet smile. So sweet Danielle wondered how she could've imagined Molly as a cross old woman. "He used to work here. I knew him. He was nice."

Sherlock nodded, content with that assessment. He zipped up the bag, turning to the two humans in the room.

"Fine. We'll start with the riding crop."

==NKMHLY==

As horrible as it was, Danielle found herself entranced.

The loud crack of leather against the recently deceased man. The rapid fire of the blows. That knowledge that the man would never scream in pain again. There had been the surprisingly easy method of pulling him out of the body bag, onto a slab.

Danielle briefly thought that there was so much wrong with this situation. A man whipping a dead body with a riding crop, it's not the sort of thing that just happens.

After the dearly departed man was laid on the table, Sherlock had ordered the both leave. Molly must be used to it, as she strolled right out like it was time for her lunch break. Danielle was slower, if only caused she was staring at Sherlock holding a riding crop over a dead body.

Molly walked Danielle into the observation room. For the past few minutes, they could only watch as Sherlock commenced his experiment.

"So...who are you?" Molly asked, trying to sound polite. She knew she had no right to be jealous. It's not like she and Sherlock were anything. "How do you know Sherlock?"

It helped break Danielle out of the odd thoughts. She glanced at Molly, suddenly remembering she hadn't been alone in here. "No one, really. Just his neighbor. He brought me here."

"That was...nice of him." Molly commented. She shouldn't make this weird. Sherlock had only brought a woman here. He was allowed friends...did he even have those?

"He said it was because I saw the skull." Danielle added, staring at the consulting detective at work. She glanced at Molly as her pale cheeks turned a light shade of pink. "He did this thing. He knew all these little things about me. He promised to tell me how he did it if I came here with him."

Molly laughed fondly. She remembered when Sherlock first did that. It was the first time she let him into the mortuary some four years ago. The mortician thought Sherlock was being a prat (albeit a cute prat. But didn't they all?).

"And you just...followed him?" Molly asked, trying to stay polite and keep the conversation friendly. She ended up sounding a bit skeptical.

Which made Danielle's cheeks go a bit brighter pink.

"If he came to me because of the skull, I came to him because of the answers." Danielle explained simply. It made perfect sense in her mind.

Danielle paused. She turned her attention back to the odd scene in the other room. She didn't even notice Molly quickly put on lipstick.

By the time she would've, both women were walking back inside. Sherlock had stopped the proceedings, even putting the riding crop aside for a notepad.

Molly spoke first. "So, bad day, was it?"

"He moved his things in today." Danielle answered. She heard what Molly had said, just didn't understand that it was a joke. "Not so bad, really. I mean...I don't think so."

Once again, Sherlock paid them no mind. His focus was on science! "I need to know what bruises form in the next twenty minutes. A man's alibi depends on it. Text me."

Danielle at least understood the why, and the urgency. A man was apparently going to go to jail if they...didn't whip a dead body? She'd ask on the way to this flatmate.

The mortician took a chance. If Danielle wasn't a date or girlfriend (Sherlock would think going to the morgue would be a nice date) then Molly had a chance. She came up closer, enough so that Danielle couldn't hear the private conversation. "Listen, I was wondering. Maybe later, when you're finished-"

"Are you wearing lipstick?" Sherlock asked, doing a double take when he realized it. "You weren't wearing lipstick before."

"Oh! And it's gorgeous!" Danielle chirped. She always had trouble with lipstick. It was never the right shade for her.

Just like that, Molly lost her confidence. The presence of the other woman, with her bright clear blue eyes and a smile that made her feel like an old friend, was making Molly wonder why she bothered.

Sherlock had at least noticed her lipstick, and hadn't criticized it. He criticized her last haircut, saying the short hair made her head look rounder. "I, er, I refreshed it a bit." Molly admitted, a displaced frown on her face.

Sherlock accepted the obvious lie. She hadn't been wearing lipstick. Clearly she was subconsciously competing with the young landlady. Why were women always competing?

Well, Danielle wasn't. She was encouraging Molly's lipstick, instead of dismissing it. There were a multitude of reasons why. It was probably because Danielle wasn't wearing any so she felt she was already losing. No. That's not it. More likely that-Sherlock she was asking you about something. Pay attention!

"Sorry, you were saying?"

Molly swallowed the small lump in her throat. "I was wondering if you'd like to have coffee."

Danielle held back a gasp. Oh. Now things were making sense. Walking in with familiarity, Sherlock casually talking to Molly, Molly asking questions (she had been seeing if Danielle was competition!), the fresh lipstick, Sherlock's lost face when he saw the lipstick.

Molly fancied Sherlock. Sherlock fancied Molly!

A distance voice in her mind, sounding an awful lot like her mother, told Danielle to stop being such a starry eyed fool. Romance isn't happening every time two people chat!

...as usual the voice had a point. The eldest Nolan did let herself get swept up in these things.

"Black, two sugars, please. I'll be upstairs." Sherlock began walking away from the put down mortician.

The redhead subjected herself to a world with one less couple. She was too much of a romantic.

"Danielle, with me."

"I'm not a dog, Sherlock." She commented before trailing behind him.

"...Okay." Molly sighed.

They had barely cleared the room before more questions came up to Danielle.

"What's the alibi got to do with flogging a dead man?" Danielle asked as soon as they cleared the mortuary door. It would be rude to ask about the Molly situation. Plus, he didn't look eager to go 'get coffee' at all.

Sherlock continued walking, but answered. "I needed to see if the bruise pattern matches that of a recent victim."

"So, you consult with the police then?" Danielle asked.

Her face scrunching up as she imagined Sherlock Holmes surrounded by the police (in a good way, mind you).

It was the only time sne'd ever heard of people being called victims. He also called himself a consulting detective, or so Mrs Hudson had said.

He seemed to be amused by her comment. He didn't continue the conversation, only speaking moments later telling his neighbor they were going to see about this flatmate.

==NKMHLY==

Danielle was bored.

Sherlock had brought her here, with the intention of meeting a flatmate. Well, no, it was to examine some flakes from another crime scene. Danielle had tried to strike up a conversation, only to find that Sherlock was properly tuning her out.

This left her in a room with a lot of things she didn't know about waiting for a flatmate or for Sherlock to finish.

Though finish with what, Danielle's active imagination couldn't hope to guess.

She didn't like the silence in the room. There was always usually some noise. Her dog's claws on hardwood, the cat playing with a toy mouse, her neighbor stomping about 223b, her telly playing old reruns. Danielle liked having noisein the flat.

She was about to try again to fill the silence. He had to respond sometime, right? She was stopped when the door to the lab opened.

A man walked into the lab. He was a bit large, with short black hair and black rimmed glasses. He was dressed in brown suit, with a white plaid button up, and a ridiculous looking red and yellow striped tie.

A second man limped in behind the first. Danielle thought he looked nice. He had sorta ashen blond hair, cut shorter than the first man's. He wore a dark blue plaid button up, with a black jacket. He was using a cane. He wasn't leaning on it completely. Danielle thought he looked a bit like a hedgehog.

"Well, bit different from my day." The second man mused.

The first man grinned, like the second had made a joke. "You've no idea!" He laughed.

Danielle wondered which one was the new flatmate. Sherlock ignored their musings, choosing instead to go to the microscope. "Mike, can I borrow your phone? There's no signal on mine."

The first man, probably Mike, looked at Sherlock. "And what's wrong with the landline?"

Sherlock stayed in his position. "I prefer to text."

He shrugged. "Sorry. It's in my coat." Though by his tone, he wasn't sorry at all.

Danielle went to get her phone from inside her purse. "I can get mine-"

"Err. Here." The as of yet unnamed man held his phone out towards Sherlock. He was much faster than Danielle. That might be because he didn't have to search for it in a purse. "Use mine."

The consulting detective stared at him a moment. Danielle wanted to say Sherlock Holmes was surprised. "Oh. Thank you." He rose up from the stool, reaching over to grab the phone.

"It's an old friend of mine, John Watson." Mike explained.

Danielle and Sherlock stared at this hedgehog of a man. The scientist didn't stare for long opening up the phone. Danielle had realized this must be the flatmate Sherlock was meeting. She wondered why Mike had been so bland with the greeting, now she knew nothing about John.

The young landlady thought it was the perfect time to introduce herself. She'd just been the quiet bystander up to this point. "Nice to meet you, John." Danielle greeted. She walked over towards him, holding out her hand. "I'm Danielle Nolan."

John smiled politely.

"What're you doing in here?" Mike asked Danielle, as if having a similar thought as to her not being a silent bystander anymore.

"He brought me." Danielle teased the accusation, motioning to Sherlock with a wave. "Wouldn't take no for an answer."

"Afghanistan or Iraq?"

Danielle and John turned to Sherlock. He wasn't talking to Danielle, she knew. She never did anything with Afghanistan except see it on the telly.

"Sorry?"John asked.

"Which was it-Afghanistan or Iraq?" Sherlock clarified in a deep baritone voice. He gave a quick look up to him.

John Watson had come to Bart's to meet a potential flatmate. As far as he knew, John was a stranger to Sherlock. How could he know anything? John knew Mike hadn't said anything...

...which was odd, because Mike hadn't said anything to Sherlock at all, beyond his name.

John turned to Mike. The very question in his eyes. Mike only smiled as if watching his favorite program, and the best part was coming up.

His friend being no help, John turned to the other strawberry blonde woman. She was staring at the scene with faint recognition. She was still confused, definitely, but with an idea as to what the bizarre man was talking about.

"Afghanistan." The still confused doctor answered. "Sorry, how did you know-"

Suddenly, Molly came in, cup of coffee in hand.

Sherlock seemed to expect her coming at that moment. "Ah, Molly, coffee." The mousy mortician came up between the two men, holding up the glass cup of coffee. "Thank you."

He slid John's phone closed, handing it back. John was wondering when in the conversation his time in the war had come up without him knowing. Danielle wondered when Molly had taken off her lipstick.

She wouldn't ask though. Her mum always made a point of Danielle not being rude to people.

"What happened to the lipstick?"

Danielle suddenly praised the idea of Sherlock never being around her mother.

"It wasn't working for me." Molly admitted, awkwardly.

"Really? I thought it was a big improvement." Sherlock countered. "Your mouth's too small now."

Sherlock walked past her. Danielle stared at him, shocked at him being so rude. She shouldn't be too surprised. It was barely an hour ago that he was tugging Erika's leash out of her hands.

Molly wasn't thinking along the same lines. Clearly his rudeness was a common occurrence. "...Okay."

Call it Girl Code, but Danielle couldn't let Molly walk out of this room with that look. "I thought you looked pretty." Danielle tried to cheer up the mortician. "It made your eyes pop, and made your cheeks look more pink."

Though Molly was hurt, Danielle's words had helped. "Thanks." She left the room. This was enough 'Sherlock' for one day.

Danielle frowned, but perked up. There would be other opportunities to make friends with Molly.

"How do you feel about the violin?" Sherlock asked. It was directed at John again. The man with the cane coming out of his dumbstruck revivré

Sherlock's stoic voice gave Danielle the idea to whack Sherlock upside his head. She wondered if his curls would bounce off his head.

John wondering why Sherlock cared. "I'm sorry, what?"

Danielle was about to ask similar, until she saw Mike's smug grin.

Her eyes lit up. Oh my, Sherlock was about to do that deduction trick again, wasn't he? She'd only seen it one time and it was already her favorite thing.

Mike must've known. That's why he had been so simple when introducing John! He wanted John to be deduced by Sherlock!

While typing fast paced on a laptop, Sherlock didn't disappoint. "I play the violin when I'm thinking. Sometimes I don't talk for days on end." He peered over at John. "Would that bother you? Potential flatmates should know the worst about each other."

Then he gave John the most fake friendly smile Danielle had ever seen.

She...felt that was a bit lackluster. Wasn't he gonna go on a big rant like he had with her? John already knew he was here for a flatmate, why did the consulting detective point it out?

John turned to his friend. "Oh, you...you told him about me?"

Mike smiled knowingly. "Not a word."

"But how did he know he was meeting a flatmate?" Danielle asked, eyebrows going up. "He knew that this morning. That's what he told me when we were coming here. Someone had to tell him, right?"

"Correct, Danielle. I did." Sherlock spoke in a voice that Danielle knew could only precede a long speech. He grabbed the blue coat, wrapping it around him. "Told Mike this morning that I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for. Now here he is just after lunch with an old friend, clearly just home from military service in Afghanistan. Wasn't that difficult a leap."

"'Clearly'?" Danielle pointed out.

"Yeah, how did you know about Afghanistan?" The doctor asked.

True to his character, Sherlock Holmes ignored them in favor of his scarf. He pulled out his cellphone-

"Hold on, you had your bloody phone?" Danielle snapped. "Then why ask for our's?"

"Got my eye on a nice little place in central London." Sherlock went on. Danielle found herself staring at Mike, with an expression of 'this is what I deal with now'. She thought she looked like Jim from The Office. "Together we ought to be able to afford it."

He made his way to the door, stopping at Danielle's side. "We'll meet there tomorrow evening; seven o'clock. Sorry-gotta dash. I think I left my riding crop in the mortuary."

The young landlady was surprised. So surprised she only barely remembered she should probably be following him. 'How does one forget their riding crop?' She mused. 'And, how is John supposed to find it? Does Mike tell him, or is that it?'

John turned to them. "Is that it?" He asked.

Sherlock and Danielle paused. Danielle turned to pay careful attention to her possible neighbor. Sherlock, on the other hand, twirled around to John. "Is that what?" Sherlock asked in an all too innocent voice.

"We've only just met and we're gonna go and look at a flat?" John questioned the sanity of everyone involved.

The dark haired man raised a questioning eyebrow. "Problem?" He asked, as if the answer wasn't clear to him.

This made the other man start to laugh. Danielle watched as John tried getting help from Mike, only for Mike to smile at Sherlock. In a last ditch effort he looked to Danielle. She knew she was no help. She was hoping Sherlock with deduce John Watson.

"We don't know a thing about each other; I don't know where we're meeting; I don't even know your name." John argued.

Oh.

Yes.

Knowing the name is important, isn't it?

Danielle felt her pale cheeks go pink when she recalled no one had said Sherlock's name. Well, that's all just wonderful isn't it?

The consulting detective studied John one more time before explaining everything.

"I know you're an Army doctor and you've been invalided home from Afghanistan. I know you've got a brother who's worried about you but you won't go to him for help because you don't approve of him-possibly because he's an alcoholic; more likely because he recently walked out on his wife. And I know that your therapist thinks your limp's psychosomatic-quite correctly, I'm afraid."

And instantly, Danielle was smiling like a child getting cotton candy.

The victim of the deduction stared down at his leg, feeling awkward. Why was everyone so insistent that his limp was psychosomatic?

Sherlock was smug that he managed to impress Danielle twice now. That was a bit of a scientific oddity, in his experience at least. Usually someone was hitting him by now. "That's enough to be going on with, don't you think?"

He twirled around to continue on to the mortuary. That riding crop was perfect for his experiments. It could take ages to find a new one that fit into Sherlock's needs.

He pulled open the door, half noticing Danielle staring at him with wide eyes, before turning to John again. He had made a point about the name and address thing. Sherlock doubted Mike would tell him.

"The name's Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221B Baker Street." He winked at John, then with a quick 'afternoon' to Mike and a 'hurry along' to Danielle.

Who, again, wasn't a dog!

She turned to Mike, once again staring at him like Jim stared at cameras. Beside her, John was making a similar expression of confusion.

Mike nodded knowingly at them (had he ever stopped doing that?). "Yeah. He's always like that."

This was certainly going to be a fun night.

Especially when Danielle realized they would be breaking into the mortuary again! Dammit!

 

Chapter Text

She hadn't gotten the chance to talk to Molly again. It was a bit of a shame. Danielle had been wanted to make friends outside of Baker Street. She would have other chances, she was sure. Well, unless Sherlock never brought her back. He had left her downstairs...

A downside was that she had gotten lost while searching for Sherlock. She ended up missing him, so she had to call her own cab.

Danielle walked out onto the sidewalk. She should probably be heading back to Baker Street. It made sense that Sherlock would head back home after checking in with Molly.

That, and she would just like to go home and try to process how her day had gone.

She held out her hand, trying to hail a cab.

Her phone rang though. A small part of her thought it was Sherlock, calling to scold her about getting lost in the hospital. As if it were her fault that he had legs like a jaguar, and could easily outrun her. Shame on her for being so short.

"Danielle Nolan?" A male voice spoke.

"This is she."

"There's a camera on the hospital to your left. Look up at it." The man went on in a detached voice.

Danielle did so. She could easily spot the CCTV camera. It rotated away from her direction to her surprise. She didn't remember much from her maths classes, but she knew that angle wouldn't be able to spot her.

"And the building just beyond that."

Danielle, with hesitance, looked over at the other building. Again the camera moved so as to avoid seeing her. She felt her jaw go down.

"Go into the van." The voice asked with the bare minimum of politeness.

"What van?" Danielle asked. "And how did you do that?"

At that moment, a black van pulled up.

Danielle blinked. "Oh. That van." Danielle stared at the black SUV. "You've got good timing. That was a bit scary."

A brunette in a pretty black dress walked out, holding the door open for the redhead. She was texting on her phone, not looking up at Danielle. It took the landlady a moment to comprehend the man's request (okay overly polite demand).

"Nope. That is not a cab. My nan fell for this when I was a kid. I still don't know how we didn't get murdered." Danielle warned to the voice on the phone. She still teased her nan about it, over a decade after the joke had died.

"Get into the car, Miss Nolan." The man requested again. "You'll find you have no say about this."

She sighed. Of course this would happen today. She was just having the best luck today.

==NKMHLY==

Danielle Nolan idly wondered what music they would play at her funeral. She would like it if they played techno music, or maybe rock? She could see her mum's tense face as Prince played out at her funeral. Danielle thinks that would satisfy her, allow her spirit to rest.

She knew her imagination was running away with her. What more did she have to do? She was (not technically) dragged into a black van by a mysterious voice over a phone to an unknown location. She was gonna be murdered!

...maybe Sherlock would solve her murder and go 'oh that's where Danielle went'.

The brunette woman was on her phone. Danielle wondered who the woman must be taking.

"Am I about to be murdered?" Danielle asked, five minutes into the drive.

The woman didn't look up from the phone. If anything she seemed more focused on her phone.

"It's just...I saw the movie Hostel, where rich men kill tourists for fun. The movie sucked." Danielle groaned. She laid back out onto the seat she was in. This seat was comfortable. "Which means something from me, cause I've got no taste in movies and telly. But, but Hostel honestly was hell." Nothing from the brunette woman. She paused in her texting, though. "Can I at least get a reaction out of you?"

Oh look, she was texting again.

"Do you have a name?" Danielle asked. She should at least know the name of the last woman she'd ever speak with.

The woman paused in her texting. "...Frankie." She smiled thinly at Danielle.

"Are you being honest?" The redhead countered.

"No." The woman admitted. She never replied with her proper name.

"Alright." Danielle nodded. She turned to gaze out the window. "Then you can call me Rose Tyler. I know I look like Amy, and have the personality of Donna, but I took one of those online quizzes and it said I was 'Rose Tyler'."

Nothing.

Jokes would be wasted on this woman.

On the other hand...Danielle had a lot of bad jokes she'd been trying to find someone to tell. She wasn't about to die without telling these jokes.

"Why can't dogs dance?" Danielle asked. She was already laughing at her own joke. "Cause they got two left feet!"

'Frankie' gave a small laugh at the joke.

Oh, now the landlady was going to have fun.

==NKMHLY==

"Okay, okay." Danielle was red from laughter. The woman, Frankie, had tan skin so it was hard to tell if she was turning red. "I heard this one last week. A hamburger walks into a bar, it orders a drink. The bartender says 'sorry, we don't serve food here.'"

Frankie laughed that time. She'd been laughing for the past few miles with Danielle's jokes. None of them were funny, mostly puns and...more puns. It was just the constant stream of poor jokes got to the secretary of the British Government. Also, Danielle just endless supply. The woman had more bad jokes than Christmas crackers!

"Last one!" Danielle laughed. Frankie didn't know if she could take another bad joke. "Harry Potter can't tell the difference between his best friend and a cooking appliance. They're both cauldron."

The two women started letting out shouts of laughter. They laughed until the car pulled under the abandoned parking garage. Even when she went to open the door for Danielle, Frankie was still laughing.

Danielle climbed out of the car. The last of her laughs fading as Danielle observed the decrepit space.

"Wow. The Premier Inns have really let themselves go." She joked.

Frankie gave her a small smile as she texted away.

There was a man hiding in the shadows. He had ginger hair, though much darker than Danielle's soft orange. He was dressed in a tailored suit, making him look like one of those secret service agents.

The man was holding an umbrella. Even Danielle could guess why. You never know when it would start raining in London. There was a small chance that it was a weapon, but who would want an umbrella for a weapon?

Okay there was a pointy end. Not really pointy, but Danielle was sure it would do for a fast fight.

Danielle walked over towards him. She wasn't the brightest bulb out there, she could still figure out this was the man that called her and moved the cameras.

"Hello." Danielle greeted, giving a polite smile. "If only there was a way to communicate in private. Like...like some kind of telephone device, or something, so you could have called me. Like, maybe if you were already on the phone with me? Too bad."

"You seem tense." The umbrella man commented with a smug smile.

"Always knew I'd be murdered someday for my lip." Danielle explained. "Just though it'd be cause I told a stabber 'what're you gonna do, stab me?' then get stabbed a dozen times. Did not expect to be brought to an underground parking garage, by a man with an umbrella."

The strange man's lips twisted in a way Danielle could call a smile. It could have been a sneer? No, could this be the literal upside-down frown?

Her mind started running away from her again. Was she not going to be murdered?

"Is this about following Sherlock into the mortuary?" Danielle asked. "Because I swear, he said it was fine."

"No." The man's face scrunched up in annoyance. "That's not-"

Danielle let out a loud sigh of relief. "Good. That's been bugging me for a bit. Stopped for awhile, until I saw you and the black SUV. That'd make anyone nervous about anything. Cause now I'm thinking about any sort of bad thing I've done lately. Like when a copper starts driving behind you, even though you didn't do anything. You start worrying about the test you sorta cheated on in year nine. It's not my fault that Hugh was smarter than me. Or that he wasn't coverin' up his sheet." She babbled.

"Miss Nolan." The man spoke. Danielle clapped her lips shut.

Well, she hadn't been stabbed with an umbrella, so she assumed things were going well.

"You have gained the interest of Sherlock Holmes." The man began.

"I did?" Danielle asked in surprise. The man narrowed his eyes at being interrupted. "By giving him food? How does...okay, I see it now."

The man huffed. She felt bad...for a moment. "It has surprised us as well. He abhors neighbors, especially overly excitable ones like yourself."

"Oi! I don't laugh at you for carrying that umbrella!" She snapped. Over excitable? She had been taken into a parking garage. Danielle bought she was reacting quite normally. "As for Sherlock, I only met him this morning."

"And already, you're following him into hospitals." The man countered.

Danielle felt some heat go to her cheeks. "Who are you? What gives you any right to judge me, Umbrella Man?" She snapped. She felt a bit of false bravado.

"An interested party." The man answered after a pause.

"Right. Interested in who?" Danielle added. "It's not me. If it was, you wouldn't be talking to me. You don't ask the birthday girl to help plan her surprise party. It's not Sherlock. You don't really look like you and him would be pals."

"You've met him. How many 'friends' do you imagine he has?" The man countered. "I am the closest thing to a friend that Sherlock Holmes is capable of having."

"And that is?" Danielle asked, harshly.

"An enemy." He answered easily.

"An enemy?" She scrunched up her nose. "That's a bit pessimistic, innit?"

"In his mind, we are." The man explained. He got this far off look. "If you were to ask him, he'd probably say his arch-enemy." He gave a small, bitter laugh. "He does love to be dramatic."

"Well thank God you're here to bring balance to the universe." Danielle snarked.

The man through her a withered stare. It was clear she was pushing the limits of his patience. That was Danielle's speciality. "Do you plan to continue your association with Sherlock Holmes?" He asked sternly.

"Forgive me for presuming, but I think that's none of your business." Danielle argued.

"It could be." The man countered with a smug eyebrow lift.

"It really couldn't." Danielle shook her head.

"If he does move into, um... two hundred and twenty-one B Baker Street, I'd be happy to pay you a meaningful sum of money on a regular basis to ease your way."

"Why?"

She wished she wore heels so she could slap this man with them. "Because you're not a wealthy woman."

That was a bit rude. Yes he was ginger but that did not mean he had to be the soulless stereotype Danielle had dealt with for most of her life. "What do you get out of this, then?"

"Information. Nothing indiscreet. Nothing you'd feel... uncomfortable with. Just tell me what he's up to." He explained carefully.

"How do you know what makes me uncomfortable?" Danielle asked in disagreement. "'S a presuming a bit much." The man gave her a look. "Why should I?" She asked, humoring him.

"I worry about him. Constantly." The man answered. Danielle could understand that, being protective over someone. "But I would prefer for various reasons that my concern go unmentioned. We have what you might call a...difficult relationship."

She'd regret it later, but Danielle was considering the offer. Whoever this bloke was he had a point, she wasn't a wealthy woman. Danielle had been looking to fill 223b, maybe get a second job on the side to give her a little extra. Her share of her inheritance from her father was still there, but she didn't want to dig into that without an emergency.

What about Sherlock? A voice Danielle liked to think was her conscience asked.

Danielle'd only known him something close to three hours now, possibly four. The pale man had called her names to her face. Except he wasn't doing it to be mean. The man had yanked Erika's leash out of her hands. He hadn't hurt Erika, only annoyed her. He left her in the hospital basement. He brought her there, he didn't have to do that. Sherlock had left Danielle to be lost. He took her to meet his new flatmate. A man who didn't even know Sherlock's name. Would he do the same for us, probably not.

Her decision was made.

"It's a lovely offer, sir, but I'm afraid I have to say no." She glanced back the way she came, not surprised to see the car was gone. "Now, does that car come back or am I walking home?"

"But I haven't mentioned a figure." Great, she was dealing with a sore loser.

"Don't bother." Danielle asked, waving his offer away. She made her way towards the exit. If she got a cab now, she could get home in time to feed Erika and Nightwing before they wrecked the place in a hunger strike.

"You're very loyal, very quickly." The man commented with a knowing tune to his words.

"I must be an idiot to you, because what sane person accepts a deal made by a shady character with an umbrella in an abandoned parking garage?" Danielle countered. She was giving him a quirked eyebrow of disapproval, hand on her hip, all the pure elements of sass.

The man didn't even look angry. He looked resigned. He looked-oh Danielle wanted to whack him for this-pleased by the idea of Danielle's rejection. "I could advise you to stay away, or wait for him to be bored with you, but I can tell from your purse that it's unlikely."

"Sorry, you can what?" The hairs on Danielle's neck stood up at his words. They sounded vaguely similar to Sherlock when he was pointing facts out to her earlier.

Just like that, the man had power in the conversation again. His smirk proved that he knew it too. "Your purse. Most women tend to notice when they leave their purse in a stranger's car. You've been standing here for five minutes without it, along with your phone. Which means you must have left them behind in the car on purpose."

Danielle flinched to check. Sure enough, her purse and phone were nowhere on her person.

"You walked here expecting to face a battle." The man explained. "You didn't even think about the consequences, you ran in here prepared to die for whatever reasons you came up with in your silly little head."

She glared her soft blue eyes at him. Oddly it did nothing to stop him.

"It's best not to let yourself be carried away by the...adventure." Umbrella man's face crinkled at the word. "When running with Sherlock Holmes, you see war. A good proportion of London are inept at spotting the dangers until it's too late."

Danielle Nolan did not like this man, and hopefully it would be the last time they ever spoke.

Somehow, she knew it was only the beginning.

==NKMHLY==

When Frankie dropped her off at Baker Street, Danielle was actually eager to get away from the craziness. She would talk to Sherlock tomorrow. She'd spent too much time around people today. Plus there was the twenty minutes she thought she was going to die, then meeting a weird bloke in the dark.

Danielle went into her flat. The landlady felt like she was taking off a disguise as she stepped in the dark purples of her flat. The insane three hours felt like three months.

All this because she knew Sherlock was going to ask for a flatmate?

Whatever, Danielle was going to deal with it tomorrow. She had animals that needed attention tonight.

Erika came up first.

"Hello Erika." Danielle cheered. She knelt down, scratching behind Erika's ears. The puppy barked excitedly. Their peaceful walk was distracted "Let's get you fed, eh? Dinner time."

The puppy recognized the word. She dashed off to the kitchen.

"Nightwing." She regarded in what she thought was a posh voice. In reality she sounded like Aunt Petunia in Harry Potter.

The black cat didn't care. He walked on, caring more about his food.

Danielle felt herself laughing. She looked down at Erika, who was happily hopping behind her. "Okay. Quick dinner, then I've got things to do."

Erika yipped happily.

Ten minutes later, when the animals were fed, Danielle was sitting at her laptop in her room. "'Wait for him to get bored with you?'" Danielle spoke, trying to copy that man's baritone. It was horrid. She powered up the laptop, opening it up to Google. "'You see the battlefield with him.'...flogs a dead body for a police case...just who are you Sherlock Holmes?"

She spent the rest of the night on Science of Deduction.

...243 types of tobacco ash?

 

Chapter Text

The next day, Danielle prepared for John's arrival.

Danielle fed the dog and cat, pouring herself a nice bowl of breakfast. Nightwing was demanding to be held today, so Danielle had to walk around her flat with the cat in her arms. The cat was finicky today.

She let her mind wander while she got herself ready for a shower. She was thinking about which outfit she should wear. It was supposed to rain wasn't it always raining now a days? later tonight so she should think with that in mind. She stepped into her shower, briefly letting herself wander to memories of last night.

She washed her hair while wondering what to do about the thing last night. It didn't seem important to tell anyone, if anyone would believe her anyway. The man had asked for the silence, regardless. He seemed the type of Bond villain to make sure of it. Danielle felt she could give him that much.

There was a loud crash from the living room. Erika started barking wildly. Danielle groaned. Nightwing must've knocked something down onto Erika again. She hadn't had a chance to wash her hair yet! It was always such a pain to brush it when dried!

She turned the shower off, quickly putting on a towel around her hair to keep it from dripping on the hardwood.

"Nightwing what's with all the rack-holy crap!"

There was an obvious difference. Last she checked, Sherlock didn't have a key to her flat. So that meant he shouldn't be sitting on her couch, with Erika barking madly at his toes and Nightwing on the cushion beside him.

"What the hell are you doing in my flat?!" Danielle squeaked loudly. She crossed her arms over her chest, knowing the action was futile. Sherlock had seen everything. "Did you break into my flat?" Danielle snapped harshly. She ducked back towards her bathroom, looking for a spare towel.

Sherlock threw her an unamused look. She knew she couldn't see it. The thing was just audible. "You weren't answering your phone."

That was odd. Danielle knew her phone was charged, with the ringer on high. She really liked her ringtone. How could she have missed her phone ringing? Was it the shower?

No, wait. They was a bigger question there. "How do you have my number?!" Danielle shouted in addition. She pulled a second towel over her body. She could feel heat still in her cheeks so she didn't dare walk out yet. "Erika, quit barking!" The dog ignored her.

"Mrs Hudson gave it to me." Sherlock answered easily. "You weren't answering, so I needed to confirm that nothing could have happened since last night."

The redhead blinked, unsure if she should be touched or weirded out by the concern.

Probably supposed to be weirded out.

Danielle decided she was touched. (Probably not a good thing to think when your neighbor sees you naked.)

Sherlock chose a third option. The one he always seemed to have, because quite frankly the other options were too dull. "Oh quit being stupid. It wouldn't do if John moved in only for myself to be arrested. I left Bart's. I was under the assumption that you were clever enough to follow me. Obviously I thought wrong."

"You were...worried?" Danielle asked. She searched for something to throw on, at least until she could finish her shower. 'I don't know why Umbrella Man said he doesn't have friends. He's a mess at it, but he's trying.' "Enough to get my number from Mrs Hudson, then come into my flat?"

"No. I simply confirming a theory." Sherlock argued after a short pause. So short it didn't need to be mentioned. So shut it.

"The theory that you didn't need to be worried?" Danielle pressed on.

"No!"

"Yes."

"I'm saying no!"

"Well I'm saying yes!"

"Then what you're saying is wrong!"

"I'm in the wrong here?"

"Yes you are!"

"You broke into my flat while I was having a shower." Danielle countered. "How am in the wrong?"

"You didn't lock your door."

"Yes I did!"

"Your lock is rubbish. Get a new one."

Danielle huffed. She had just found a decent night shirt and trousers, quickly throwing them on so she could throttle the man. "Erika! I said stop it!" She snapped. The dog stopped barking, then started growling.

"...what the hell was that crashing noise?" Danielle remembered suddenly. "There a noise. A loud one. What did you break?!"

"Oh good. You noticed that."

"Give me a fucking prize. What did you break?"

"They're not broken. A shelf fell over. Why did you put this shelf by the window?"

She gasped as she ran out to see her shelf. She had just gotten her books organized how she liked them!

"Damn it!" She snapped, seeing the large pile of books on her floor as well as some of her Pop Vinyls. "You knocked over my Spock!" She knelt down to grab the shelf, setting it back up in it's proper place before getting to the books.

"Ah yes. That's which one he was." Sherlock remarked, gazing down at the mess like it did him a disservice. It didn't help her anger. "I could never remember his name."

"What? You didn't watch Star Trek?" Danielle asked, struggling with the board. 'It'd be great if there was someone in the flat-maybe the person that made this mess-that could help me clean.' "You look like the type that'd watch it."

"I had little interest for watching the telly as a child." Sherlock argued.

'Great. Now I've got an image of tiny Sherlock in a too-big coat and scarf running around London, shouting at the police.' "Next time you're in my flat, be more careful! Spock liked being with the books." She started to put the books back up.

"He's an inanimate object, he doesn't have feelings." Sherlock reminded her, in his 'I'm smarter than everyone' voice. "Maybe you should remember that for later."

"I know! But...it was cute to have Spock with the books, okay?" Danielle snapped harshly. "What if I put your skull on the mantle? Would that be good enough for you?"

Erika barked harshly at Sherlock again.

"She holds a grudge from yesterday." Danielle explained to Sherlock. "Erika. Stop it now. Mum's handled it!"

The labrador seemed chastised now. She gave a glare to Sherlock before going to the kitchen, probably to sulk. She didn't sulk that often. Dammit, Danielle wanted to take it back. The redhead hating upsetting her dog.

"At least Nightwing likes you. He hates everyone, 'cept me."

"Next time?" Sherlock suddenly commented.

"What?"

"You said 'next time you're in my flat'. I presume that means I'm allowed back in?" Sherlock asked.

Danielle blinked in surprise. She had said that, hadn't she?

"I guess so, yeah." She replied, as she stacked books back on her shelf. "But next time wait for me to say it's alright. I don't fancy this happening again."

Sherlock actually looked delighted (and if Danielle was honest, a bit confused) to be let back in. "Perfect. We should get ready. John will be here in a few hours. It won't be good to welcome our new neighbor looking like tramps."

"Gee I should take a shower. Do you mind?" Danielle requested, giving him a quick glare.

"Yes. I need to go back to Scotland Yard." Sherlock rose off the couch, floating off like king of the flat. "I need to see if they arrested the brother yet."

"For which case? The one with the green ladder, or the body you flogged yesterday?"

"The one with the ladder." Sherlock answered. His blue eyes crinkled in delight. "You read my blog?"

"Yeah...please never talk about the 243 types of tobacco. I'd get lost, and I don't want to be rude." Danielle explained, lifting her Spock Pop off the ground. "And I like the idea of you telling that one lady-the one with those fancy shoes- that her husband was cheating on her with her boss. It's hilarious, cause I could actually hear you saying it to her! And she'd shout back in this really snooty voice!"

That was probably the best response about his blog that Sherlock had ever heard.

==NKMHLY==

At seven o'clock, Danielle went over to 221 to meet John, the newest addition to Baker Street.

She decided on wearing a deep blue dress, that was similar to a sundress except had longer sleeves. The dress fell to her knees. She also had a pair of long black leggings, the London breeze in January was no joke. Her shoes were a simple pair of black moccasins (she loved these shoes). Her hair had been done in one long curl, over her left shoulder. She tended to curl her hair like that when she was nervous.

She walked out of her flat to see John walking up, his cane making a distinct clapping noise against the pavement. She smiled at him, walking over.

John smiled back, once he saw her. "Hello. Miss Nolan, yeah?"

"Yeah. Doctor Watson?"

"Just John, if you don't mind."

"Then I'm just Danielle." Danielle countered, with a victorious smile.

"Alright." He smiled warmly. Danielle had a feeling that he was a mighty fine doctor, with that smile. He turned to 221. "Is he up there?"

"Nah. He should be here any-" Danielle stopped herself, seeing Sherlock pull up in a taxi. "There he is."

"Hello." Sherlock greeted John. He turned back, quickly handing money to the cabbie. "Thank you."

John and Danielle turned towards him. John stretched out his hand. "Ah, Mr Holmes."

"Sherlock, please." The consulting detective asked. The two men shook hands.

Danielle smiled a bit awkwardly. She hadn't seen Sherlock since that morning. It was humiliating, for one, and the man had broken into her flat. She could remember how hot her cheeks had gotten.

"Well, this is a prime spot." John commented, while looking up at the flats. "Must be expensive."

"Oh, Mrs Hudson, the landlady, she's giving me a special deal." Sherlock excused. "Owes me a favor. A few years back, her husband got himself sentenced to death in Florida. I was able to help out."

"Sorry-you stopped her husband being executed?" John asked.

"Oh no. I ensured it." He gave that 'let's start with a riding crop' smile.

It was perfect timing. Mrs Hudson opened the door for the three of them. The elder landlady pulled Sherlock in for a hug, which was about the sweetest thing Danielle had ever seen. "Sherlock, hello."

Sherlock gave her a brief hug, before turning back to John and Danielle. The man was keeping a face firmly denying he had ever done something so human as to give someone a friendly hug. "Mrs Hudson, Doctor John Watson, you know Danielle Nolan."

Mrs Hudson smiled warmly at them. "Hello."

"How do?" John greeted.

"Good to be back." Danielle replied.

Mrs Hudson led them inside. "Come in." She opened the door wide enough for everyone to shuffle in.

"Thank you." The doctor breathed.

"Shall we?" Sherlock asked, impatient.

Mrs Hudson nodded. "Yeah."

Danielle followed them up to 221b. She ended up behind John, who hobbled up the steps with his walking cane. Sherlock bounced up the steps, two at a time. He was at least decent enough to wait at the door for them.

The door was opened wide. Danielle saw Sherlock was still in the process of putting all his things away.

'He had the nerve to judge my decoration? I should have brought this up. Smug arse!'

"Well, this could be very nice." John stated. He looked around the new flat. "Very nice indeed."

"Yes. Yes, I think so. My thoughts precisely." Sherlock bobbed his head, keeping focus on John.

"So I went straight ahead and moved in."

"Soon as we get all this rubbish cleaned out...Oh."

Danielle couldn't help but giggle at the awkward scene that followed.

"So this is all-"

"Well, obviously I can, um, straighten things up a bit."

Sherlock tried to tidy up, but it wasn't getting anywhere. This place would be a good house someday. Danielle caught sight of a mirror, quickly glancing to check her hair.

"That's a skull." John pointed out.

"Friend of mine." Sherlock answered. "When I say 'friend'."

"I like it." Danielle complimented.

Sherlock smiled at her again.

She'd never admit her heart felt warm at that smile.

She didn't even notice Mrs Hudson come up with empty tea cups.

"What do you think, then, Doctor Watson?" Mrs Hudson asked. "There's another bedroom upstairs if you'll be needing two bedrooms."

"Of course we'll be needing two." John stated, scrunching up how face in confusion.

"Oh, don't worry; there's all sorts round here." Mrs Hudson leaned over to Danielle, whispering in conspiracy. "You know Mrs Turner next door's got married ones."

Danielle blushed at Mrs Hudson's words. Yes, Mrs Turner was usually bragging about her 'married ones' to the other landlords/ladies on Baker Street. The Hames' were decent blokes, they didn't deserve to be called 'the married ones'.

John seemed to have caught that comment. He didn't dignify it with a didn't noticed any of this. He was idling through some of the boxes.

Trying to think about anything else, Danielle noticed a bull's head with white headphones on. 'Not even the furniture likes hearing Sherlock when he's in a mood.' She found herself thinking. She let herself smile.

"Oh, Sherlock." Mrs Hudson tsked. Sherlock's head popped straight up. "The mess you've made." She chided him, moving into the kitchen to tidy up.

"I'm trying not to look at it." Danielle acknowledged.

John fell down in the older looking chair. Danielle took that as an invite to relax, so she settled herself down on the couch. She quite liked it. It was surprisingly comfortable.

"I looked you up on the internet last night." John spoke, more like a start to some small talk really.

"Anything interesting?" Sherlock asked, nonchalant.

"Found your website, The Science of Deduction." John went on.

"What did you think?" Sherlock didn't even hide that he was fishing for compliments.

Danielle nearly snorted at John's face. She couldn't hold much back at Sherlock's.

"You said you could identify a software designer by his tie and an airline pilot by his left thumb." John recited, skeptical.

"Yes; and I can read your military career in your face and your leg, and your brother's drinking habits in your mobile phone." Sherlock explained. He gave Danielle a pointed stare. "And I can see your family history in your keychain."

"How?" John and Danielle asked.

The maddening man turned away with a knowing smile. The kind you wanted to smack off someone so they wouldn't look so smug.

She never had much thought for slapping people until Sherlock. Maybe the occasionally bloke on the street, or someone she saw on the telly, but never someone who's name she knew. Danielle would have, except there were witnesses. She never like doing things in front of witnesses.

(That was a lot less menacing in her head)

"What about these suicides then, Sherlock?" Mrs Hudson encouraged, coming out from the kitchen with the newspaper. "I thought that'd be right up your street. Three exactly the same."

"Four."

Danielle turned over to Sherlock. The man had said it with such certainty. "What?"

The man was staring out the window on the street.

"There's been a fourth. And there's something different this time." Sherlock added, cryptically.

"A fourth?" Mrs Hudson asked.

Sherlock turned to the door, just as a man Danielle had never seen before ran in. He was bit old, but he was looking at Sherlock like the pale man was his last hope.

"Where?"

"Brixton, Lauriston Gardens."

"What's new about this one?" Sherlock asked. "You wouldn't have come to get me if there wasn't something different."

"You know how they never leave notes?"

"Yeah."

"This one did." "That's a bit different, yeah.' Danielle thought. "Will you come?" The older man near begged.

"Who's on forensics?" Sherlock replied instead.

The man gave him a look of 'now don't hate me for these words'. "It's Anderson."

Sherlock gave a quiet noise of disgust. "Anderson won't work with me."

"Well, he won't be your assistant." The other man tried to say it as a positive.

"I need an assistant." Sherlock countered.

Meanwhile, Danielle was watching them argue with a literal front row seat.

The man huffed, before staring at Sherlock in patience. "Will you come?" He asked again.

"Not in a police car. I'll be right behind." Sherlock decided

The man bowed his head, playing to Sherlock as if giving this man the time was like being given gold from a king. "Thank you." The stranger glanced at Mrs Hudson, John, and Danielle before walking back out.

It wasn't until the man was long gone, did Danielle turn to ask a question. Before she could get the first syllable out, Sherlock was jumping up and down in childlike excitement.

"Brilliant! Yes!" He cheered. He did a little twirl in the middle of the room. "Ah, four serial suicides, and now a note! Oh, it's Christmas!" The unbridled enthusiasm was infectious. It was making Danielle smile, though she was confused.

Picking up his scarf and that long coat, Sherlock made his way to the kitchen. "Mrs Hudson, I'll be late. Might need some food." Sherlock explained in a rush.

"I'm your landlady, dear, not your housekeeper." Mrs Hudson chided.

"Something cold will do. John, have a cup of tea, make yourself at home." Sherlock carried on. "The biscuits Danielle left yesterday are cold, have at them. Don't wait up!" Then he ran out the door.

The older landlady tsked at the man running down the stairs. "Look at him, dashing about! My husband was just the same." Mrs Hudson assured John.

John grimaced in discomfort. Danielle didn't understand why, until she realized Mrs Hudson still thought he and Sherlock were-ahem.

"But you're more the sitting-down type, I can tell." Mrs Hudson went on.

Both John and Danielle shifted nervously in their respective seats as Mrs Hudson went on.

"I'll make you and her those cuppas. You rest your leg." Mrs Hudson assured.

"Damn my leg!" John snapped. The two women jumped. "Sorry, I'm so sorry. It's just sometimes this bloody thing-" He apologized, face turning a pale pink as he avoided looking both women in the eyes.

"I understand, dear; I've got a hip." She made her way out the back.

"Cup of tea'd be lovely, thank you." John spoke, picking up the newspaper.

Danielle sat up on the couch, walking up to one of the many boxes Sherlock had. If he was gonna criticize her library, she was gonna criticize his! 'Ginger justice rules Baker Street!' She joked. She pulled out a book on the study of human bones.

"Just this once, dear. I'm not your housekeeper." Mrs Hudson reminded.

"Maybe some of those biscuits too." John went on. Danielle caught glance at the paper, seeing a photo of the man who'd just come in. DI Lestrade, the paper said.

"Not your housekeeper!" Mrs Hudson shouted over her shoulder. Danielle giggled "Danielle, you get him the biscuits!" She scolded.

"Yes ma'am." Danielle laughed. Though that meant going in the kitchen...which the eldest Nolan was in no hurry to do. "I'm not in a hurry to go in that kitchen. No kitchen should have a bunsen burner that's got scorch marks around it." She told John.

The doctor just smiled kindly at her. He glanced at the kitchen, seeing the virtual lab Sherlock had created. "It's alright, I'm not mad enough to go in their either."

"Sorry if I've been a bit quiet." She found herself saying. "It's just...I was a bit sidetracked by bull-head wearing headphones...and I'm pretty sure I see a crossbow in one of these boxes."

"'S a bit weird, yeah." John agreed. The two laughed. "You don't have to live with it."

"I live next to it. You only live on top of it, apparently." Danielle pointed out, with a giggle.

She stopped just as she put the book down, hearing Sherlock come back up the steps. He was being very quiet about it. Danielle always a sort of sixth sense (this morning excluded. No one ever came in her flat while she showered!) when someone came in a room.

"You're a doctor." Sherlock spoke, startling John in his chair. The consulting detective was putting his gloves on. "In fact you're an Army doctor."

"Yes." John answered, rising up to his feet.

"Any good?" Sherlock pressed.

It occurred to John and Danielle that he was being interviewed for more than just being a flatmate. "Very good." John stated.

"Seen a lot of injuries, then; violent deaths." Sherlock went on.

"Mmm, yes." John agreed.

"Bit of trouble too, I bet." Sherlock tested.

The next words were spoken quietly. Danielle strained to hear John speak of the harsh topics of his army days. "Of course, yes. Enough for a lifetime. Far too much."

"Wanna see some more?" Sherlock offered.

"Oh God, yes."

"And you?" He asked Danielle.

"What, you want me to see the fourth serial suicide?" Danielle asked. "Why? I'm not a doctor, or with the police."

"Exactly." Sherlock stated. "And I bet you're still smarter than any of that lot."

Danielle grinned a tongue on tooth smile. Oh now she was being given a challenge. She couldn't just mosey on down to her flat after this, could she? "I'll take that bet, yeah."

Sherlock smirked, smugly.

Again, Danielle had the urge to smack it off.

Again, witness.

Sherlock, Danielle, and John made their way down the stairs. It was exciting, Danielle thought. Yes also a mighty bit terrifying, but wasn't all the best stuff?

"Sorry, Mrs Hudson, we'll skip the tea. Off out." John called out.

Their landlady looked up at them, having just gotten to the bottom of the stairs herself. "All of you?" She asked as Danielle hopped down the last three steps.

Sherlock made a dramatic spin just as he reached the door. He went right up to Mrs Hudson, holding her shoulders in his hands. "Impossible suicides? Four of them? There's no point sitting at home when there's finally something fun going on!" He gave her a happy kiss on the cheek.

Mrs Hudson smiled. Danielle thought it was all so sweet and- oh my god could we get going please? "Look at you, all happy. It's not decent." Mrs Hudson chastised the lot of them.

Danielle realized that she was exciting to see a dead woman's body. A woman who, probably not even a day ago, had been alive and unknowingly living her last day. Danielle herself was wearing a bright sundress, with a beautiful curl in her hair and definitely some pink on her cheeks. Her mother would've slapped her arm for looking so happy while running to the police like this. Her mother would slap her for what happened that very morning!

Then, Sherlock zoomed past her, uttering words that Danielle knew she could never forget. "Who cares about decent? The game, Mrs Hudson, is on!"

Yeah. When had Danielle started to care about being decent? She was wearing a blue sundress in January in London!

So she followed Sherlock to the taxi.

 

Chapter Text

It would normally have been a tight fit. Sherlock was so slim anyway that it hardly mattered when all three crammed into the backseat. Danielle just rested her purse on her lap, crossing her legs so they wouldn’t bump into John’s cane.

It was awhile before Sherlock spoke up. The sun had set by then. Danielle was trying not to be nosy, but Sherlock had been on his phone the whole drive here. She wondered what he was doing. She had to repeatedly

“Okay, you’ve got questions.” Sherlock stated, after Danielle had been caught for the third time in a minute peaking at his phone screen.

“Yeah, where are we going?” Danielle asked as her cheeks went a bit pink.

“Crime scene. Next?”

“Who are you? What do you do?” John asked.

“What do you think?” Sherlock challenged. Danielle didn’t answer, he had already told her yesterday.

“I’d say private detective.” John began.

Sherlock tutored an eyebrow at his unfinished sentence. “But?”

The doctor sounded as if he were still figuring the answer out himself. “...but the police don’t go to private detectives.”

Sherlock actually looked proud at John’s answer. Danielle could understand why, if she didn’t have Sherlock’s bony elbow so close to her hip. This is why she hated sharing cabs. “I’m a consulting detective.” Sherlock helped John along. Most of the time he talked that way to everyone, Danielle noted. “Only one in the world. I invented the job.”

Danielle opened her mouth to ask her own questions. “What does that mean?” John asked.

“It means when the police are out of their depth, which is always, they consult me.” Sherlock explained with a roll of his eyes. Danielle figured that was more towards the police than towards her.

“The police don’t consult amateurs.” John noted with a laugh.

Danielle couldn’t help it. She laughed too. She tried to cover it up at Sherlock’s indignant stare, except...his own face was ridiculously petulant!

“When I met you for the first time yesterday, I said, ‘Afghanistan or Iraq?’ You looked surprised.” Sherlock took John down a different conversation point.

“Yes, how did you know?” John asked, curiosity peaked.

“I didn’t know, I saw.” Sherlock explained. “Your haircut, the way you hold yourself, says military. But your conversation as you entered the room, said trained at Bart’s, so Army doctor-obvious. Your face is tanned but no tan above the wrists. You’ve been abroad, but not sunbathing. Your limp’s really bad when you walk but you don’t ask for a chair when you stand, like you’ve forgotten about it, so it’s at least partly psychosomatic. That says the original circumstances of the injury were traumatic. Wounded in action, then. Wounded in action, suntan-Afghanistan or Ira q .”

Danielle would never be able to hear of Iraq again without associating with Sherlock’s voice.

“You said I had a therapist.” John reminded, softly.

“You’ve got a psychosomatic limp-of course you’ve got a therapist.” The detective scoffed. “Then there’s your brother.”

“Hmm?” John’s face twisted in actual confusion.

Sherlock pointed one of his long pale fingers at John’s phone. Danielle looked down at it, wondering what could possibly have been said about John’s brother from a phone.

“Your phone. It’s expensive, e-mail enabled, MP3 player, but you’re looking for a flatshare-you wouldn’t waste money on this. It’s a gift, then.” Sherlock reasoned.

John passed the phone to Danielle, who passed it along to Sherlock.

Sherlock pointed at the USB port. “Scratches. Not one, many over time. It’s been in the same pocket as keys and coins.” Sherlock looked up at Danielle. “The man sitting next to you wouldn’t treat his one luxury item like this, so it’s had a previous owner. Next bit’s easy. You know it already.”

“The engraving.” John revealed just as Sherlock flipped the phone over for Danielle.

Harry Watson From Clara xxx

Danielle made a small ‘aww’ noise. ‘It’s a bit sad that she put on the three kisses and his brother just gave it away. And this is the new one too. What happened to Harry and Clara? Bad break-up? One of them died? Clara regifted it to John because Harry didn’t like it?’

Danielle had barely managed to pay attention in time to hear Sherlock talking. “Harry Watson. Clearly a family member who’s given you his old phone. Not your father, this is a young man’s gadget. Could be a cousin, but you’re a war hero who can’t find a place to live. Unlikely you’ve got an extended family, certainly not one you’re close to, so brother it is.” Sherlock explained in rapidfire.

John and Danielle were both staring at Sherlock with matching dumbstruck faces. John had most certainly not thought his new roommate could have noticed all of that in the span of a few minutes.

“Now, Clara. Who’s Clara ? Three kisses says it’s a romantic attachment. The expense of the phone says wife, not girlfriend. She must have given it to him recently-this model’s only six months old. Marriage in trouble then-six months on he’s just given it away. If she’d left him, he would have kept it. People do-sentiment. But no, he wanted rid of it. He left her. He gave the phone to you. That says he wants you to stay in touch. You’re looking for cheap accommodation, but you’re not going to your brother for help. That says you’ve got problems with him. Maybe you liked his wife; maybe you don’t like his drinking.”

Danielle would have wolf whistled, but she suspected Sherlock wasn’t done yet.

“How can you possibly know about the drinking?” John asked, answering Sherlock’s unspoken question.

“Shot in the dark.” Sherlock admitted with a small smile. “Good one, though. Power connection. Tiny little scuff marks around the edge of it. Every night he goes to plug it in to charge but his hands are shaking. You never see those marks on a sober man’s phone; never see a drunk’s without them.”

Danielle was mystified. She turned to John, wondering if he had any sort of sense right now. He was looking down at his lap, to his apparently psychosomatic injury. She felt bad that now she knew so much about John’s personal life, something he might not have been entirely comfortable with, still he knew nothing of her.

“My turn.” Danielle cheered when she gave the phone back to John. She turned to the other person in the car. “When you met me, you knew everything about me. How? And I already know about the animal hair. So you can skip that.” Danielle added.

Sherlock didn’t even raise an eyebrow. “I know. You cleaned it off, but didn’t put on a new shirt.”

“Why should I? I was going back to them that night. Too much work.” Danielle admitted.

“You love your cat more, as was evident by the fur on your arms and chest. If you were close, your sister would know that and have gotten you another cat instead of the dog. A dog is more of a family oriented pet. Your sister wants you to start dating. You haven’t. You kept her around out of moral obligation, and you have since made an attachment. Even though you hate walking her and only do it as a last resort to avoid your neighbors.”

She felt herself smirked. Anyone would be attached to Erika if they knew her for five minutes. It was either that or admit undying devotion to Nightwing. The smug cat would love it.

“Then there was the fact about your many siblings. That came from the amount of biscuits. You were used to making large plates. You used a twelve pack, and took one before giving it to me.” Sherlock explained. Danielle bit back a sorry . “Suggests you are used to the action. With three siblings, I imagine normal families have strict guidelines on how many you were allowed to consume. No doubt as the eldest you took first pickings.”

“What about my job?” Danielle asked, mouth stretched out onto her cheek.

His face scrunched up. “I was wrong about the meaning behind it.”

“Tell me anyway.” She countered simply.

There was a pause, an actual pause. Danielle had a feeling Sherlock didn’t pause that often. Not when he was being asked to show off.

“I’m not going to hold it against you.” She immediately added. “You got it wrong, who cares? I get the date wrong so much I put three calendars in my flat. What right do I have laugh at you ?”

The man stared at the woman sharing his cab. Usually, people laughed at him for any reason, especially the idiots of Scotland Yard. Sherlock never paid them mind. Most of the time people laughed to shake him off his deductions.

Even John looked a bit surprised at her admission.

“Your keychain, and your shoes.” Sherlock stated in that same quickfire voice from earlier. “Comfortable, you weren’t walking far. So you must live nearby. You arrived less than an hour after I moved in officially, and I never met you so Mrs Hudson must have told you I was coming. Now, the keychain. There wasn’t a car key on the ring. Beyond that all of the keys were house keys, all the same brand. Take all of the facts together: Mrs Hudson, short walk, prior knowledge of my arrival, too many house keys. Conclusion? You were my neighbor, and you were a landlady.”

“But why was I unhappy with it?” Danielle pushed.

“What person is happy with their job?”

“That’s fair.” Danielle had to admit, there was a point. “Bit presumptuous. Not everyone’s unhappy with their job. You like what you do so much you made a job up for it!”

“You dislike it because of your mother.” Sherlock stated flatly.

“Ah...Mum.” She perked up. “That would do it. Yeah. Mum is good reason not to like things, yeah. I’ll give you that one.”

“She’s controlling. You had those frilly toys on your keychain to annoy her. She wanted you to have a more respectable job. Over trimming your nails, not enough layers for London weather, hair with split ends, all multiple mistakes that any mother should have corrected well before your childhood. Your father wouldn’t have cared for them, so this would imply a closer relationship to him rather than her. You can see how long ago your father’s death was by the year stamped onto your keys. He must have encouraged your odd career choice, but you refused his money, he died not long after you purchased the next door. Your mother disliked you showing your father more affection so she let your less than ideal habits go unchecked.”

Danielle felt herself smiling.

“Absent mindedness? You mentioned that too.”

“Yes, I was just getting to that.” Sherlock stated, sounding not at all like he was making that up. “You forgot to coordinate your nail color with your shirt. That and you made those rubbish biscuits, obviously a last minute decision because you forgot to prepare properly.” he gave her a look. “And of course, you’ve already mentioned the three calenders.”

Danielle looked down to her pale pink painted nails.

“There you go, you see-you were right.” Sherlock told John.

I was right ? Right about what?” John asked in surprise. He’d been respectfully quiet while Danielle’s whole life had been exposed like that. He wondered why she signed herself for it. Who wanted their entire life read out in front of stranger, by a stranger?

“The police don’t consult amateurs.” The consulting detective finished with a dramatic turn of his head to face the window. She could see a faint reflection of him biting his lip.

Now she let out the wolf whistle. That was actually impressive. The explanations, not the lip biting. She would be clapping and cheering if they weren’t in an enclosed space.

“That...was amazing.” John complimented.

“It was brilliant, yeah.” Danielle agreed, her tone matching John’s.

The curly haired detective looked round to them. He seemed genuinely surprised that they were still happy, that they hadn’t tried to stop the cab. “Do you think so?” He asked, cautious.

“Of course it was. It was extraordinary; it was quite extraordinary.” John noted.

Danielle nodded in agreement. “It was! I can see why you made yourself the only consulting detective. Bet the police love you for this!”

“That’s not what people normally say.” Sherlock mused, more to himself than to the others in the cab.

“Well what do normal people say?” Danielle asked.

Sherlock grinned. “ ‘Piss off’ !”

Danielle let out a bunch of giggles at that.

The two men just grinned.

Danielle stopped herself before she laughed any louder. She doubted the two men would mind at this point, but she knew the cabbie must mind. ‘No one pays attention to the cabbie. ’ She thought to herself.

She used to work retail before being a landlady, she remembered hating that no one had ever seen her as person rather than a talking nametag. She had a respect for retail workers after that.