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To Stumble Into Your Soulmate

Chapter Text

The stale hospital room was sickly when you woke up. A harsh fluorescent light flickered meekly overhead, the only light in the room besides your heart. That was the first thing you noticed upon waking up; your heart which usually glowed a faint white seemed more vibrant and brighter than usual. Dismissing this fact in favor of discerning why you were here, a wave of memories crashed around you.

The cab. The crash. The ambulance.

You remembered that you were a 22 year old college graduate, visiting England to investigate immigration and interview for a few jobs. You had been on the way from the airport to your hotel in a black cab and chatting with the kindly old driver when a car in front of you swerved into your lane, hitting you head on. You sat up, looking around. You were connected to an IV and instead of attempting to rip the needles out like you had seem in films, you pressed the nurse button gently, unsure about bothering someone when they were likely busy. After a moment, a plump nurse with a kind smile walked in.

“Well good morning, Sleeping Beauty! How are you feeling?” she asked sweetly as she wandered over to your monitor.

“Confused, honestly. Where am I?” upon seeing a look of concern on the nurse’s face, you quickly added, “I’m not amnesic. My name is Y/N L/N. I’m 22 and I’m American, but the last thing I remember is the crash. I have a bit of memory from getting from there to here, but not a lot.”

“Well of course you’re confused, flower,” she patted you on the arm and pulled a file from the foot of your bed, scanning through it. You noticed that her heart glowed golden. She had found her soulmate. “You were in an awful accident. Drunk driver hit you head on. Oh, I’m attending your driver too. Mr. Rickson. He’s over in 323, a few rooms down.”

“Is he okay?” You interrupted eager to know if the kind old man who had been so reassuring and sweet was recovering okay. The nurse smiled at you.

“He’s alright. A couple of fractured ribs, a broken arm, and a concussion, if I recall correctly. He’ll recover in no time. You managed to scrape by pretty well too. Pretty severe whiplash, mild head concussion, although you seem to be recovering fairly well, along with some major bruising. You’ll be just alright, doll. Oh, and you’re in St. Bartholomew Hospital. Room 319. London. My name is Nancy and you just call me if you need anything. Now get some rest.” Nancy returned the file to the bottom railing and left. You didn’t want to go to sleep. You were too anxious. You stood up from the bed, almost blacking out for a moment, and maneuvered you and your IV stand to the bathroom. In the mirror your white heart was almost bright enough that you could use it to see your reflection. You wondered if the trauma had made it glow so strangely. You flicked on the light and winced at your reflection. Your makeup from what must have been days ago ran down your face. Your hair was matted and greasy. Bruised littered your entire body and face in dark purple splotches. You thought that you might have lost some weight, as you looked gaunt and sickly. Turning on the tap, you did your best to scrub the filth from your face and hair using the washcloth and bar of soap left on the counter.

“Oh honey? I forgot that I needed to check your IV,” called Nancy. She joined your reflection in the mirror as she shook the plastic bag and examined the tubes. “Looks like you finished that one. You won’t need another one for a few hours,” she said, removing the needle from your arm.

“You don’t happen to know where my suitcase would have ended up, do you?” You pondered, feeling that you could definitely use a fresh bar of your own soap and a pair of pajamas. “It was in the back of the cab.”

“Oh of course, honey! It’s down the hall. I’ll take you-“ she paused as a pager started beeping from her hip. “Oh, that’ll be Mrs. Sanders. She always takes a while. I’ll be back in a bit and we can go to the Personal Possessions room.” With that she bustled out again.

Feeling more liberated after being freed from your IV, you paused for a moment before deciding to go find it yourself. Peering out from your room, the hallway was empty. Rationalizing that at the very least, you would do well to stretch your legs, you set off down the hall towards what looked like storage rooms. You wandered for a bit, peeking through the dark windows and looking for any signs. After a few minutes of searching, you noticed that one room up ahead had the lights on, so determined to try that one. You peered cautiously inside, but there was no one within the small view the sliver of a window would allow. Seeing no signs that would prohibit your entry, you tested the doorknob and found it to be unlocked. You pushed through into the room, finding first a multitude of shelves and racks, then lab tables, then two men who looked up upon you entering.

The light was blinding. Your heart beamed a brilliant golden as you laid your eyes on the gorgeous man whose heart did the same. He was stunning, tall with dark curls and brilliant eyes which gazed at you with such unabashed wonder that you felt like time stopped. After a moment the light seemed to dim, but there was no denying that the man before you was certainly your soulmate. Nobody spoke. You noticed that a shorter man with dirty blonde hair stood next to him, gaping between you.

After all the years of fantasizing about this moment, and dreaming up the perfect thing to say, all thoughts left your head and you stuttered out the only thing that came into your mind.

“…s-suitcase…” You blushed like mad.

Idiot! After twenty two years of waiting to meet this man you come up with ‘suitcase’.

He seemed equally confused. “Suitcase?” he queried and you noticed just how wonderful his voice was.

“I… I was looking for my suitcase. I was in a wreck coming from the airport…” you trailed off. The blonde man seemed to be half stunned and half amused. The dark haired one- your soulmate, appeared to be trying to read you. His eyes scanned every part of you. You suddenly felt extremely aware of the fact that you looked awful and had likely not showered for several days. You were absolutely mortified so, in a panic, you turned and fled from the room.

“So that’s her, huh?” mused John, giggling to himself. Sherlock was still trained intently on where she had stood, lost already is dissecting every detail about her and filing it away perfectly in his mind palace. He never wanted to forget just how wildly beautiful she had looked the first time he saw her. He replayed the short interaction in his head on loop as he distantly replied, “That’s her.”

John looked expectantly at Sherlock. He had seen a few couples meet for the first time. Usually they would run into each other’s arms, desperate to hold the person they were destined to be with. Sometimes they would awkwardly shake hands and introduce themselves, but never had he ever seen one of them freeze and the other run away, though he supposed he should have expected something like that from Sherlock. “Well?” John prompted. Sherlock still stood unmoving.

“Well what?” he absentmindedly replied. John scoffed.

“Well, aren’t you going to go after her?” he asked incredulously. Sherlock shook from his daze finally and looked at John, then back to the spot, then back to John.

“She ran away, what does that mean?” he asked, beginning to pace the floor.

John barked out laughing. “It means you froze solid for a half minute and she panicked and left!” Sherlock groaned in frustration. “She’s probably doing this exact thing Sherlock! Now bloody go after her you moron before either of you work yourselves up into a panic!” Sherlock nodded and fled from the room. As soon as he was gone he pulled his phone from his pocket.

“Greg? You’re never going to believe what just happened.”

Chapter Text

You had run from the room so fast that before you knew what happened, you were standing confusedly at an unfamiliar nurse’s station with no idea which room was yours.

“There you are, flower! I was looking for you! You aren’t supposed to go running off like that. Now let’s grab your bags!” Nancy hurried next to you and walked you to a room just a few doors down. You quickly found your suitcase and your backpack and brought them to your room.

“Are you all right, doll? You’ve been awfully quiet,” asked Nancy after helping you with your things.

“I… I uh…” you started before both of your attentions were attracted by a commotion outside your room.

“I’m looking for a girl. She should have passed this way,” spoke a deep voice.

“Do you have a name sir?” asked one of the nurses who you hadn’t spoken to. You clutched Nancy’s arm impulsively.

“Are you alright? Do you know him? You look white as a sheet!” she asked worriedly, though thankfully having the foresight of mind to speak quietly.

“That’s my… my soulmate.” Nancy lit up. “I just met him and I made a great fool of myself.”

“Oh that’s so exciting! I’ll go fetch him!”

“No!” you said panicked. “Just… uhh, tell him to come back later. Please. I want to get my head screwed on straight,” you quietly pleaded. “And maybe not look as disgusting,” you added remembering your reflection. Nancy nodded and left the room. You heard the man arguing with a nurse pause when Nancy told him that you had asked that he return in a little while. On the other side of the thin curtain, Sherlock was desperate to see you. He knew that he was only a few feet away from you, but after mumbling that he would be back in an hour, he slunk back the way he came.

 

One hour, one shower, one fresh set of clothes, one measly hospital meal barely touched, and three solid minutes of teeth-brushing later, you sat on the edge of your hospital bed nervously fiddling with the hem of your dress. Nancy had spent almost the whole hour with you helping you choose a dress and fix your hair as nicely as you could. You decided on a comfortable blue dress. You felt extremely awkward, as it was obvious that you were trying to look nice, but you reasoned that given how wretched you had looked during your first meeting, your pride could stand looking nicer. After realizing just how sore your face was, you put on as much makeup as you could stand, which turned out to only be a light layer of foundation, some eyeshadow and eyeliner, and some mascara. Your bruises still showed and a thin cut which ran from your brow bone to your cheekbone stood out starkly against your skin. After spending about 10 minutes trying to wrestle your hair into an attractive bun or style of some sort, you gave up and just pulled the front of it away from your face.

A knock sounded from the doorframe of your room, startling you from your nervous thoughts. You cleared your throat before calling out, “Come in.”

The man pulled aside the curtain separating you. It occurred to you again just how stunning he was. Now that he was only a few feet away you could get a better look at him. His cheekbones were perfect. You wanted to reach out and touch them, but didn’t dare. You watched as his eyes took in everything in the room in an instant.

“I’m Y/N,” you said, waiting for him to make a move. His eyes moved back to you and you felt like you would melt right there. He gave a miniscule smile.

“Hello Y/N. I’m Sherlock.” You just about exploded, but in reality, you just smiled and repeated him.

“Hello Sherlock.” His tiny smile grew ever so slightly, but he looked away.

“So you’re planning to move here. Do you have a place to go yet?” You looked at him in surprise.

“How did you…” you wondered. His smile shifted to more of a smirk.

“You’re about 22 years old, likely a recent graduate, and you are hoping to immigrate to England, although you have no job yet, you have come out here in search of one. You’re well-traveled, American, and likely from the east coast, probably the middle, judging by your accent and manner. You have a younger brother who you’re exceptionally close to and who isn’t pleased that you are considering moving and you love to read. Also a big fan of Harry Potter.” You sat staring at him in wonder.

He just read everything about me!

He looked nervous now, as though he was worried how you might react to him knowing all this information about you. He looked sheepishly as the ground as he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his long dark coat.

“That was incredible.” He looked up at you, bewildered. “That was absolute brilliant.” You were grinning widely, blown away by your soulmate’s display.

“Really?”

“Absolutely!” You shifted to sit on your knees like an eager child. “Might I deduce that you are a detective?”

“Consulting detective,” he added.

“Never heard of it.” He smirked.

“I don’t blame you. I’m the only one in the world. When the police can’t figure out what they’re doing, which is often, they call me.”

You were fascinated. You were about to launch a series of questions at him when the blonde man from earlier called out for your soulmate.

“Sherlock?” The consulting detective poked his head out of the room and a moment later the other man entered. “Lestrade’s looking for you. He wants to know what you found on the case. He’s in the lab.” Sherlock groaned.

“He couldn’t have just phoned me?” he asked frustrated.

“He did twelve times. You weren’t answering. Plus I’m sure there were… other matters he was curious about,” said the man strangely. Sherlock muttered something under his breath and turned to you.

“Please excuse me. I’ll be back in just a moment,” he mumbled before leaving in a whirr of dark coat and curls. The man paused, obviously unsure whether or not he should leave.

“I’m Y/N L/N,” you offered, standing and extending your hand. The man smiled and shook your proffered hand.

“Dr. John Watson,” he seemed quite nice. He was fairly handsome, with strong, stocky features, and his heart glowed a dim white. He hadn’t met his soulmate yet. “I must admit that I’m rather curious about you, Sherlock’s soulmate and all.” You smiled and gestured for him to sit, mostly because you didn’t feel strong enough to stand for long yet. John sat in the uncomfortable hospital chair and you perched ceremoniously at the foot of your bed.

“Well I’m not really special. Sherlock seems wicked clever. Is he always-“

“Is he always like that? Yeah. How bad was he?” John asked bemused.

“Bad? Not bad at all. He got everything right! He guessed my age, that I just graduated, that I have a brother, everything! Well, he missed one part, but he could hardly have guessed it,” you mused, momentarily distracted.

“What did he miss?” John asked eagerly. “Tell me! It so rarely happens that I know something he doesn’t.” You laughed and obliged.

“Well he guessed that I am a college graduate, which is true, but based on my age, he likely thinks that I just graduated with a Bachelor’s. I actually just graduated with my PhD in Psychology.” You delighted in the look of surprise on his face.

“You graduated with a PhD? How old are you?”

“I’m twenty-two,” you giggled. John’s jaw dropped. “I started college early.” The man was fascinated.

“That’s insane! You must be a genius!” You grinned. This routine never got old.

“Nooo, far from it. I just started early. It made more sense than wasting my time in high school.” John looked at you in wonderment.

“Well that all makes sense then. You and Sherlock will be great together. You’re both barking smart. I’ll end up feeling about as smart as a log around you two. I am a doctor too you know.” You both laughed as Sherlock walked in.

“What is it?” asked Sherlock.

“Nothing. Just getting to know Dr. L/N here,” John said smugly. Sherlock looked confused as John got up. “I’ll catch up with you two later. I’m going to go see if Lestrade’s still around.”

“It was lovely meeting you Dr. Watson,” you said, rising to shake his hand. He grinned and obliged.

“The pleasure was all mine, Dr. L/N,” he joked, and left the room. Sherlock observed the two strangely, and once John left, he spoke again.

“You never answered my question.”

“That being?” you asked, sitting back down on your bed. Sherlock stood unmoving a foot or two inside the door.

“Do you have a place to stay?”

“I was planning on spending my first day driving around different areas near London and getting a hotel outside of the city,” you said, though you supposed that all your plans had officially gone out the window, what with being in the wreck.

“No need. You can live with me,” he commented nonchalantly. You looked surprised. You had only just met the man and he was offering for you to move in with him. He hadn’t even touched you. “And John of course. He’s my flatmate, but there’s a spare bedroom that you can have.”

You were at a loss for words. You had spent years daydreaming about meeting your soulmate, sharing your first kiss with them and even getting married and having children, but you had never considered what you were supposed to do once you actually met them. “I don’t know. I don’t want to intrude or be bothersome.”

“It makes far more sense that you living anywhere else. It’s a nice place, safe area, cheap rent,” he seemed rather nervous that he had made the wrong move. “You don’t have to of course-“

“Okay,” you said suddenly.

A nurse bustled in shortly afterwards to check on you and after determining that the earliest you could be released would be late the following day, it was determined that Sherlock would come back tomorrow to fetch you and take you home.

Chapter Text

Stepping into the threshold, you immediately felt out of place. Sherlock had come to the hospital to pick you up as promised, and had insisted on carrying all your belongings, which at the present contained a suitcase and a backpack. It was clear that some haphazard attempts had been made to tidy up, but the flat was still dark and unfamiliar. You would never admit this out loud however, so you made your best effort at being as useful as Sherlock would allow in trying to bring in your things. After being directed to a sofa, with the idea that Sherlock was going to make tea, you took a moment to observe the place. On further inspection, it seemed lovely. It smelled of tobacco, spices, and old books. The layout looked nice, and the soft golden glow that indicated Sherlock was coming around the corner looked even nicer.

“How do you take your tea?” he asked. You smiled. This was going to be interesting. You were excited at the idea of getting to know everything about your soulmate, from how he liked his tea to what his favorite book is.

“Half a spoon of sugar,” you answered, wandering from your place on the couch to join him in the kitchen. “You?” Sherlock looked up from where he appeared to be struggling with the tea.

“Two sugars,” he replied, and refocused his attention to the tea. Observing the kitchen, you suddenly felt a burst of excitement.

“Is that a microscope?” you exclaimed, hurrying over to the machine. After fidgeting with a couple buttons, you managed to turn it on and focus it. “This one’s magnificent! It’s way nicer than mine.” You paused to focus the lens and observe the sample. “This is blood. Old blood. Nearly all the moisture is gone. Look at how perfectly the cells are stacked.” You turned to Sherlock to see him staring at you oddly. You sheepishly backed away from the equipment. “I’m sorry. I should have asked.” You blushed like mad.

“Not at all. Please feel free to use it whenever you like. Not many people find my microscope fascinating. In fact John usually describes it as ‘bothersome’ and ‘in the way’ of normal kitchen activities.” He passed you a cup of tea. “What do you usually look at?” You grinned.

“I collect blood samples from my friends. I used to at least. I was never smart enough to take many science classes, the ones I did take I barely passed, but I loved my biology class. One time I came into the lab while a higher level class was going on to use one of the microscopes and I loitered for an hour and a half because they were doing blood samples. I lurked long enough that my professor let me participate in their experiment and look at my blood sample.”

Sherlock was grinning. “Would you like to see some more? I keep them in the fridge to delay coagulation but I have some that contain diseases.”

“That’s amazing!”

When John came home an hour later, the kitchen table was littered with blood samples and both of the soulmates had matching bandages on their index fingers which they both explained by complaining that they had been out of lancets and so stabbed themselves with knives.

“It was just a little cut,” you argued.

“Did you sterilize the knife?” cried the doctor.

“…I’m not dead, which I think is the main point here.”

 

You and John were walking to the store when your phone started ringing. Seeing a blocked number, you swiped it away and returned it to your pocket. The phone began buzzing again and you hesitated before swiping it away.

“Do you need to get that?” asked John, noticing the calls.

“No. It’s a blocked number; probably a telemarketer or something,” you dismissed, not paying it any mind until it began to ring again.

“From a blocked number?” Realization seemed to dawn on John. “Oh, I know who it is,” he said cryptically. Your interest was piqued and you pressed further.

“Who?”

“Just answer it,” he said rolling his eyes. “And give him a hard time for me. At least he’s seemed to tone it down a bit with you.” John walked on ahead, leaving you confused on the sidewalk with your phone still ringing shrilly in your hand.

“Hello?” you asked tentatively.

“Ms. L/N. You finally deigned to answer. Get in the car,” demanded the voice on the other end coolly. A sleek black car pulled up along the curb and a man stepped out and opened the back door. You paused for a moment, unsure, before replying curtly.

“No.” You hung up the phone and continued walking.

After your unwilling meeting with Mycroft, you entered 221b to see Sherlock at the window with his violin and John on his computer.

“How did it go?” called John as you began shuffling about the kitchen making tea.

“Well, I think. He gave me a check for £10,000 to spy on Sherlock,” you answered unaffectedly. John scoffed.

“Ten thousand pounds?”

“Yep,” you replied, munching on some toast. “I’ve already come up with a great first entry. ‘Suspect sits in chair for an entire 6 hours. Suspect does not move at all. Suspect declines offer for beans on toast, but I’m not bothered by that because I didn’t know how to make it anyway.” You and John laughed and you even thought you saw Sherlock crack a smile.

“Stunning update! The subject smiled! I repeat: the subject has smiled!”

 

After a week of living with Sherlock and John, they were called for a case. You had noticed people would sometimes come into the living room to meet with the boys, but you usually tried to stay out of their way for that. You really didn’t want to bother them, after they were so kind in letting you live with them. One evening, while you were arranging a package worth of possessions your family had shipped to you, Sherlock entered.

“Go out with me tonight.” You were a bit taken aback, as Sherlock had thus far made no romantic movements towards you, but also mildly peeved at his tone.

“I don’t respond well to commands. You might receive better results if you asked,” you replied while hanging a picture of your family. Sherlock groaned, but complied.

“Would you like to go out with me tonight?”

“I’ll be ready in five.”

Five minutes and 33 seconds later, you emerged from your room wearing a pair of dark jeans and a white blouse. Sherlock waited by the door with your gloves and coat, which had found its own home on a hook between Sherlock’s and Mrs. Hudson’s. You slipped on your favorite red coat that went down to your knees and had a grand hood, and tugged on your black leather gloves as Sherlock hailed a cab.

“So where are we going?” you finally asked once you both were in a cab.

“Patience.”

Pulling up to the place, you immediately knew why Sherlock had conveniently left out the location of your date. It was the same place John was going.

“Sherlock!” You fussed as he swept towards the entrance, “We can’t go in there, John is having his date in there.”

“What, because he is on a date here, I can’t be?” he said, a little too planned.

“Sherlock, you’re planning something.”

“I’m sure I have no idea what you mean,” he said, placing a hand at the small of your back as he escorted you into the theatre. Sherlock found John quickly and soon the four of you were awkwardly standing in a room lit by candles that seemed like a romantic date-turned-satanic sacrifice. While Sherlock and John argued with each other in hushed voices, you did your best to make small talk with Sarah. A sudden drumming cut your awkward conversation short as a woman emerged dressed in an old Chinese headdress. Silently, she demonstrated a machine which released a powerful arrow with a feather-light trigger. As the escapology act proceeded, you and John made eye contact every time Sarah did anything flirty and it was incredibly hard not to burst out laughing. After the act, you noticed suddenly that Sherlock had gone.

Well, as he wasn’t touching me, I suppose that I wouldn’t have noticed when he left. You thought bitterly. If Sherlock had held your hand the way John was with Sarah, then perhaps you might have noticed. Sure that he was probably just running to the bathroom, you returned your attention to the acts. Though as more time passed, you grew worried. Anxiety built up in your gut so that you were sure that something was wrong. The curtains behind the stage began rustling violently and you thought you could hear grunting. Trying not to disturb anyone, you made your way around the circle just as Sherlock burst forth in a blur from the curtained, followed by a man in a mask who appeared to be wielding a sword. John ran forward, ramming into the attacker, but he shoved him to the side easily. Panicking, you grabbed one of the lit candles on the floor and lunged at the man, pressing it into his thinly covered side as Sarah ran forward with a pole and beat the man unconscious. Turning to Sherlock, you brushed the hair from his face, trying to see if he was okay. Ignoring you, in a moment he was on his feet, grabbing your hand.

“Come on. Let’s go!”

Chapter Text

After failing to gain support from Scotland Yard, the four of you were back at Baker Street. Awkward conversations sprung from whether or not Sarah should stay.

“Is it just me or is anyone else starving?” she asked hopefully.

“Oh go-ow,” Sherlock moaned, after a swift smack to his gut.

“Don’t be unkind,” you breathed standing close enough so Sarah wouldn’t hear. Your mind was also preoccupied with the fact that you had now indirectly touched him three times. Never before had he touched you, and even though your gloves prevented any skin contact, you were still giddy with the fact.

Joining John in the kitchen, you searched for something to make. Despite the fact that the pair of you had managed to stock the kitchen with more food than there had been when you first arrived, there wasn’t anything which went together or could be made quickly. Mrs. Hudson brought in a pitcher of punch and together the three of you started cobbling together a snack when Sherlock called out.

“John? John, come look at this. At the museum, Soo Lin started to translate the code for us. We just didn’t see it. Nine mill. It was right in front of us but we must have missed it,” Sherlock explained, hurrying about the room grabbing his coat and things.

“Where are you going?” you asked.

“The museum. The book that is the key to cracking the cipher it must be on her desk.”

“Would you like me to come?” you asked, eager to help, especially when it was obvious that John was determined to salvage his date with Sarah.

“No, stay here, I’ll be back soon,” he muttered, barely audible as he dashed off down the stairs.

You meandered over to the bookcase, trying to avoid third wheeling John’s date more than you already had. Perusing Sherlock’s collection, you selected an old copy of A to Z London. As you were flipping through the pages, you heard a knock at the door. Assuming it was probably just the takeout that John and Sarah had ordered, you didn’t bother to look up. A sudden force hit you on the back of the head and you saw nothing.

 

When you woke up, your head felt heavy and stuffy. You realized slowly that your hands were tied and that you were cold and wet. Opening your eyes cautiously, you saw that you were in a dark tunnel. It smelled awful and drips of moisture dangled precariously from the ceiling, occasionally dripping down much closer than you would have liked. It felt suffocating. You hadn’t the faintest idea of where you could possibly be and the thought made your stomach revolt. Rope bit harshly into your skin, providing an unwanted reminder of your vulnerability. The group of Chinese gangsters wandered about. Once they realized you were awake, they focused their attention to you. Not entirely sure what to do, you blurted out the first thing that came into your head.

“Well either I’ve either landed in a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey or I’m in a smidge of trouble here.”

They gagged you after that.

You promptly went to work gnawing away at your gag. Soon after, John began to wake up. You wondered what these people had done to Sarah, and where Sherlock was. Despite wanting to defy the whole damsel-in-distress cliché, you hoped that he was on his way. There was only so much you could do when you were tied and gagged.

“A book is like a magic garden carried in your pocket,” said the woman. John looked at you, confusion and terror filling his eyes. You dramatically glanced at the gang members and rolled your eyes. You thought that he didn’t look so scared after that. “Chinese proverb, Mr. Holmes.”

“I’m not Sherlock Holmes,” John mumbled.

“Forgive me if I do not take your word for it.” The woman pulled from John’s pocket a handful of items Sherlock had lent him recently, but you were distracted. They wanted Sherlock. These people were crazy and dangerous and they wanted something with your soulmate. You felt guilty about it, but now you were almost glad that it was you who these people had taken, and you wished that Sherlock was as far from here as possible.

The woman pulled a gun on John and you could see that he was panicking. You tried to comfort him, to tell him that everything would be okay and to stay calm, but the gag prevented any meaning from getting across.

The woman began making senseless demands, going on about some hairpin. John was scared and confused when the woman revealed the crossbow from the show earlier. Two men marched towards you and moved you so you were staring down the tip of the arrow. John began panicking, so with everything you had, you tried to remain calm. Every time you caught his eyes you did your best to try to convey that to him.

Stay calm, John. Everything will be all right.

You stared down the shaft of the arrow unwavering. You remained completely silent.

“Ladies and gentlemen, from the distant moonlit shores of NW1, we present for your pleasure, Sherlock Holmes’ pretty companion in a death defying act,” mocked the woman. John began to yell at them.

“Please! I’m not Sherlock Holmes!” he shouted, writhing in his bounds, desperately trying to free himself.

“I don’t believe you,” she monotoned.

“You should you know,” called out a familiar and lovely voice. All the fear released instantly, fully confident that now your soulmate was here, you were both going to be safe. “Sherlock Holmes is nothing at all like him.” The woman and her minions cocked their guns and trained them on the figure lurking in the shadows behind you. “How would you describe me, John? Resourceful? Dynamic? Enigmatic?”

“Late?”

“Hlade?” the two of you breathed.

Gorgeous… Brilliant... Mine…

You watched as the sandbag grew ever lighter and began to worry that you wouldn’t make it out of your bonds in time. With miniscule motions, you pushed your toes into the hard floor, tentatively tipping your chair backwards. Trying your best to focus on surviving past the sandbag running out, you tried to visualize whether tipping backwards in your chain would be enough to miss the path of the arrow. Suddenly you felt familiar gloved hands hurriedly working on the ropes that held you in place.

“Shherlog no!” you whispered. He needed to worry about getting him and John out of here safely, not about you. Your fears were realized as one of the men attacked Sherlock from behind. The weight grew closer and closer to the trigger and you knew that you needed to get ready to fall, but you could hear Sherlock wrestling with one of the men trying to get to you. You heard John grunting and turned to find him desperately trying to kick the crossbow down, but he seemed too far away. The weight lowered farther and just before it touched, you jerked suddenly to the left, turning to try to avoid hitting your head, as John kicked the crossbow, firing it into the man attacking Sherlock. You hit the ground and silence fell. Nothing could be heard but the heaving breaths of the three of you. In a moment, Sherlock was behind you, making quick work of the ropes that had dug into your skin and was turning you to face him.

“Are you alright?” he breathed panicked, removing your gag and holding your face so he could inspect you. Your heart glowed brighter at his touch. His magnificent eyes were filled with concern and his hands caressed your face with a touch so gentle you could barely feel it, if it weren’t for the fact that everywhere he touched seemed to blaze with electricity.

“Am I okay? Are you okay? Your neck…” you trailed off, pulling his blue scarf away and observing the area. A couple bruises already seemed to be forming and you gingerly trailed your icy fingers across them. You heard Sherlock take a sharp breath. Blushing like mad, you mumbled an apology and rose to run to John. You untied him as Sherlock surveyed the area.

“John? Are you okay?” you asked hurriedly, checking where his hands had been tied down. It seemed that all of you were a little worse for wear, John looked the worst as he had strained from the ropes so much that his wrists were raw and bruised. “John that looks awful! Let’s clean that up or that will heal terribly.” You breathed, occupying yourself with fussing too much over John and looking at the remains of the make-shift meeting room. In a few moments, the police arrived, and you three were soon allowed to go home.

Chapter Text

The following months saw you truly settle in at Baker Street. More of your things had been shipped over and had started making their way past the threshold of your room. A book that you left on the coffee table found a place on the bookshelf beside Sherlock’s vast collection. The sparse tea cabinet had become overflowing with all your additions. One day you even came home to find a third chair placed around the fireplace. The boys each sat in their respective chairs. John was grinning and peeking occasionally over the top of the book he was pretending to read. Sherlock sat perched on his with his eyes shut and his fingers steepled beneath his chin, but upon hearing you enter, peered at you. Positioned perfectly next to them was a gorgeous tufted grey comfy chair with a deliciously soft blanket and the Union Jack pillow which usually sat in John’s chair. The boys said nothing, but watched you excitedly, so, grinning ear to ear, you plucked a battered old book from the shelf and plopped down in your new chair. The boys looked at each other and smiled, pleased at the success of their mission. A few minutes later, Sherlock got up to go check on one of his experiments and you leaned over to John.

“Thank you John. This is incredibly sweet of you-“ you whispered gratefully to the doctor, but he cut you off before you could get very far.

“Oh, it wasn’t my idea. Sherlock came to me this morning and demanded we go out and get you a chair,” muttered John in a low tone as Sherlock began microwaving something. “Spent about four hours going to every shop in London until he found the right one. He would say how each one didn’t suit your personality or the way you sit or your eyes-“

“My eyes?” you asked in disbelief.

“Yeah, there was a sort of lilac colored one I thought would work. He said it would drown out the color of your eyes.” You blushed like mad, but grinned widely as you buried yourself back into your book.

 

Sherlock was away often. He would be out on cases all over the country and sometimes beyond. You always asked to go with him. Sometimes when he didn’t think it very dangerous he would allow it. You had begun to try learning how to think like him, and even one time managed to point out a detail that he hadn’t noticed.

“What about the sister?” you had asked, standing with John on the sidelines as Sherlock danced about the crime scene, plucking bits of information from the smallest details.

“What about the sister?” he repeated absentmindedly, paying attention to a desk drawer.

“I mean, could it have been the sister? You saw how fidgety she was when we spoke to her,” you crept closer to the body of the man sprawled on the floor. You heard the officers growing uncomfortable with you being so close, but no one moved to stop you as Sherlock joined you over the body.

“See there? Skin flakes. I have a bad habit of picking at my nails, and that looks awfully familiar. And his hands are nice and clean, so it didn’t come from him.” Sherlock gave an odd look before he took over from there.

You loved when you could go with him on his cases. You loved seeing him work, his mind working away at a puzzle, or his massive grin when he finally solved it. They all made your heart glow brighter, though as the weather turned colder it became easier to hide just how much you were falling for him under layers of sweaters and a coat.

You became good friends with Lestrade and Molly in particular. Together you and Lestrade would watch as Sherlock solved a case. You tried to bring him a coffee whenever you remembered and told no one of his love of sugary coffees. You and Molly had gotten along quite splendidly and would often dash off to a local café to get some food while Sherlock and John worked in the lab. Everyone you met mentioned that Sherlock had been far nicer since you showed up, but you didn’t understand what precisely they meant by that.

 

You had started a job at a local therapist office, which became difficult when Sherlock began requesting that you go dashing off on an adventure with him at a moment’s notice.

 

One evening you were hiding away in your room trying to work on a painting, though mostly trying to keep some distance from Sherlock, as he was without a case and bored out of his mind. On your way home from work, you had got him a Rubix Cube, but after five minutes with the thing, he threw it out the window.

All of a sudden, a shot rang out, causing you to jump. Another shot went off as adrenaline filled your system and you tore out of the room faster than you had ever run. A million thoughts of Sherlock and John lying hurt on the floor of your living room filled your head as you rounded the corner, terrified of what you would find. Instead of finding your flatmates dead on the carpet, you saw your soulmate lounging lazily in his chair with a gun pointed at the wall. A thunder of footsteps was heard coming up the stairs as John started shouting.

“What the hell is going on?” You crept tentatively into the room, making your way to Sherlock’s chair, not daring to touch him.

“Bored,” he intoned, his voice causing your heart to plummet into your stomach.

“What?” sputtered John.

“Bored!” Sherlock shouted as he jumped up from his chair and took aim. Trying to cover your ears from the noise, you hurried behind him, placing your hand over his hand that was holding the gun, stopping his shooting any further.

“So your solution is to shoot the wall?” you cried in disbelief. You wriggled the gun from his hand, ignoring the sparks which shot through as your skin touched, and handed the weapon to John.

“The wall had it coming. What do you care, you’re American aren’t you? Don’t you people shoot at things for fun? When you aren’t dumping tea in the harbor or ruining the world or whatever it is you do all day,” he mumbled as he wandered over to view his handiwork.

“No, why do people keep saying that?” you breathed, curling up into your chair. Sherlock slumped onto the sofa, flicking mindlessly through a magazine.

“I see you’ve written up the taxi driver case,” he called to John. “A Study in Pink. Nice.”

“Well, you know, pink lady, pink case, pink phone, there was a lot of pink. Did you like it?” John asked, having sat down in his chair.

“Erm…no,” he said shortly.

“Why not? I thought you’d be flattered.”

“Flattered? ‘Sherlock sees through everything and everyone in seconds. What’s incredible, though, is how spectacularly ignorant he is about some things.”

“Hang on, I didn’t mean-“

“Oh, you meant spectacularly ignorant in a nice way. Look it doesn’t matter to me who’s Prime Minister or who’s sleeping with who. Ordinary people fill their heads with all kind of rubbish and that makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters! Do you see? All that matters to me is the work. Put that in your blog, or better yet stop inflicting your opinions on the world,” Sherlock huffed, turning to face the wall. You looked at John. He seemed rather tired of Sherlock’s antics and rose to leave. Storming out of the room he called back to say that he was going out only after Sherlock queried him on where he was going. Your soulmate rose and looked out the window.

“What was all that about?” you asked evenly.

“Did you not hear me-“

“We all heard you plenty. I mean why were you so unkind to John? He is a saint for putting up with you and your moods and you just say such harsh things.”

“Why? Do you feel daunted?” he spat. He did not seem to be taking well to your train of thought, but after taking that tone, you weren’t going to step down.

“Daunted?”

“Yes, I am your soulmate after all. Wishing you could change fate after you’ve gotten a good look at just how unfeeling your partner is?” He whirled around to face you, face all too calm on the surface. He knew that he had hit a nerve. Sherlock had only intentionally touched you once in the weeks that you had known him, and as much as you didn’t want to admit it, you were starting to get impatient. You had waited your whole life to meet your soulmate and now that you had, he would barely look at you. But you felt that if you had waited this long, you could wait however long Sherlock needed until he was comfortable moving forward. Not that it hadn’t begun to take its toll on you. You were beginning to lose sleep wondering what about you wasn’t good enough for your brilliant soulmate.

“I’m not sure that anyone could call you a partner,” you spat back, getting to your feet. “I’ve never tried to force anything on you Sherlock so I’m not sure why you are getting frustrated at the people who care about you when all we’re trying to do is make you happy.”

“Well you aren’t sure about a lot of things, what’s one more added to the list? You aren’t sure why you’re here. You aren’t sure how you feel. You aren’t sure if you want to be here. There isn’t a lot that seems sure to you, is there?” he started raising his voice, his cool façade fading. You blushed with anger and opened your mouth to shout back at him when an explosion went off just outside the flat. Light so bright that it almost blinded you flashed and a wave of force blew out the windows and knocked you backwards. Your head pounded on the floor and you blacked out.

 

“Y/N?”

Only a moment had passed when you woke up. Glass crunched around you as you shifted.  “Don’t move. You’ve hit your head,” groaned a low voice. You opened your eyes to see Sherlock hovering over you, propped up by his forearms. Disobeying his orders immediately, you shifted upwards when you saw his forehead was bleeding. Bringing your fingers up to touch the wound, Sherlock’s eyes fluttered shut for a moment as you searched him for any other sign of injury.

“Sherlock, you’re hurt,” you whispered concernedly in the small space between you. His eyes opened and he peered down at you. Guilt lurked behind his gaze as he still searched you for any sign of injury.

“I’m fine. Small cut, but that’s all. You hit your head. Again.”

“Well I guess I should stop hanging around you. Since being in your company I’ve now had two near concussions. Three if you count the actual concussion from the wreck. It’s almost like you’re dangerous or something,” you breathed, quirking a smile. The worry and guilt in his eyes seemed to fade as he almost managed a smile.

“I regret to inform you that you are entirely correct,” he replied, his voice so low it almost sounded like a moan. You desperately wanted to close the small gap between you. Every part of you longed to close the final distance between you and your other half, screamed for him as though you needed him as much as you needed oxygen. The curse of having a soulmate is that once you find them, you never want to be without them. Though it isn’t usually regarded as a curse unless you were like you and were withholding from making any forward advances until your soulmate made it clear that that was something he was comfortable with.

For a moment, you thought he might, but then a very unlucky thought popped into your head and you jolted upright, avoiding a collision with Sherlock’s head only because of his quick reflexes.

“Mrs. Hudson!”

Chapter Text

In the following hours, police and ambulances showed up and attended to all the people affected and came to the conclusion that it had been a gas leak that caused the explosion. You and Sherlock attended to Mrs. Hudson until he was able to flag down a medical examiner and then you avoided all talk, contact, or proximity as much as possible. You went to bed after a few hours of trying to help and slept very little with all the noise from the policemen outside. When you woke, you showered and dressed, taking a bit longer than usual in hopes of delaying your having to speak to Sherlock. You were mortified at how you two had behaved last night. You had done such a good job of not mentioning anything about soulmates. Sherlock had made it perfectly clear to you that he only wanted you around as a companion. Yet in one night, you had spilled all your fears about it out into the open, not verbally, but it was Sherlock Holmes, after all. He could read you like a book and you were certain that he didn’t like what he’d seen. When you had finally procrastinated long enough, you went to the kitchen to start the kettle only to find that a cup of tea had already been made for you and Sherlock had a guest. You recognized the man as Mycroft as soon as you saw him, and were surprised you didn’t sense his superior attitude from the moment you woke up. Sipping your tea (made with only a half spoon of sugar) you wandered into the living room to greet your guest.

“Good morning Mycroft. Lovely to see you,” you greeted absentmindedly as you breezed to the window.

“Don’t lie, Y/N,” Sherlock commented, eyeing his brother with wary distaste. You turned to the pair and smiled, taking notice of the opportunity to annoy Sherlock by being polite to his brother.

“I’m southern, what do you want from me?” you joked, not bothering to look at your soulmate and focusing your attention on his brother. “Can I get you anything, Mycroft? Some breakfast? Coffee? Just got in some fruit.” Mycroft raised a brow, noticing how this made his little brother narrow his eyes and frown a touch more, and how intentionally neither of you looked at the other.

“A bit of fruit would be lovely, thank you,” he requested. You nodded your head and went to fetch some. While you were making some pancakes for yourself and washing the fruit you heard the men speaking, but couldn’t make out what they were saying.

“Having marital issues already? You two haven’t even started dating,” observed Mycroft coolly, low enough that you wouldn’t be able to hear.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean and furthermore I am certain it is none of your business,” retorted Sherlock, plucking the strings on his violin.

“Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock. If you insist on maintaining this relationship, you would do well to remember that. Though it appears that there isn’t really a relationship to maintain. Haven’t even kissed yet…” Mycroft tutted and Sherlock’s plucks became sharper. “She is quite pretty, if you go in for that sort of thing, and bright. Not everyone would keep her at the distance you insist upon, Sherlock.” Mycroft’s taunts ceased as you emerged with a bowl full of strawberries, blackberries, and some watermelon. “My humblest thanks, Dr. L/N.” As you turned to finish making your breakfast you heard the door slam and John’s footsteps come pounding up the stairs.

“Sherlock? Y/N?” he called out, freezing when he saw the unexpected guest.

At least now I’m not alone with the Holmes brothers.

 

“You like the funny cases, don’t you? The surprising ones,” asked Lestrade. After Mycroft left, Sherlock received a call from the detective inspector with the promise of an interesting case. The three of you piled into a cab and head for New Scotland Yard.

“Obviously,” Sherlock replied.

“You’ll love this. That explosion...”

“Gas leak, yes?”

“No, made to look like one. Hardly anything left of the place except a strong box, a very strong box, and inside it was this,” he gestured to a white envelope sitting on his desk as the four of you entered his office.

“You’ve not opened it?” asked Sherlock as you all observed it.

“It’s addressed to you,” you murmured.

“We’ve x-rayed it. It’s not booby-trapped.”

“How reassuring,” Sherlock droned with sarcasm. He picked up the envelope and moved towards the light, examining it from every angle. “Nice stationery. Bohemian.”

“What?” asked Lestrade.

“From the Czech Republic,” elaborated Sherlock. “No fingerprints?”

“No.”

“She used a fountain pen. A Parker Duofold. Iridium nib,” Sherlock contributed.

“She?” you asked.

“Obviously,” monotoned the consulting detective.

“Not necessarily,” you mumbled. Sherlock slit open the top of the envelope warily and pulled out a pink phone.

“But that’s the phone, the pink phone,” John said confused.

“What, from the Study in Pink?” It clicked in your mind why you might know of that phone. A few days after moving in you found out about John’s blog and had spent the following evening reading every one of his entries. The phone was exactly like the one John had described in his first case with Sherlock.

“Well, obviously it’s not the same phone but it’s supposed to look like...” Sherlock came to an abrupt stop and redirected his attention to Lestrade’s comment. “A Study in Pink? You read his blog?” John groaned as Sherlock looked affronted by this revelation.

“Of course I read his blog. We all do,” Lestrade replied, unaware of the mood this would surely put Sherlock in when you got home. Blind to his actions, Lestrade continued, “Do you really not know that the Earth goes round the Sun?” Sally Donovan, who had come in to get some papers, sniggered condescendingly. You whirled around to face the woman.

“You got something to say?” you seethed. The first time you had met the woman, you had been so infuriated by her superior attitude and rude comments towards Sherlock that you had shouted all her obvious insecurities at her in front of all the officers.

“That freak has a soulmate?” she had said upon first seeing your matching golden hearts. Sidling up to you, overflowing with a façade of sisterly affection, she continued, “Word of advice. Stay away from him. He’s a psychopath. Bloody nutter. One of these days it’ll be him who’s put a corpse on the floor.”

“If you don’t watch your language referring to Sherlock Holmes then it will be me that’s put a corpse on the floor,” you retorted, oozing bitter anger.

“I’m sorry?” she looked taken aback, but was apparently determined. “Look, don’t get angry at me for telling you what’s true. He’s a freak. Don’t trust him or he will only let you down.” You clenched your jaw as you whirled around to face her.

“While I am eternally grateful for your backhanded advice, you obviously didn’t hear mine. I’m sorry that Sherlock couldn’t be interested in you if you were the last woman to throw yourself at him without any regard for dignity, but I would never have expected you to downgrade so severely to that married greaseball you’re using to soothe your broken ego. How long did it take for you to get it into your head that he wasn’t interested? How many orchestrated suggestions did you have to proposition before you realized that no one with any dignity would desire a self-pitying, self-esteem-issues, low life that insults anyone that she doesn’t like and using thinly-veiled manipulation tactics to get what she wants? Now speak about him that way again, I dare you,” you finished ranting, replacing your hate-filled features with a copy of the sickly sweet smile she had used and stormed past the officers, John, and Sherlock who had all paused their conversations to listen to your venomous exchange.

Donovan glared at you and stormed silently out of the office.

“It isn’t the same phone. This one’s brand new,” Sherlock said, drawing your attention back to the case at hand. “Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to make it look like the same phone, which means your blog has a far wider readership,” he directed at John, who suddenly found the light fixture keenly interesting. Switching on the phone, an alert popped up.

“You have one new message,” monotoned the automated voice, followed by five strange beeps.

“Was that it?” asked John.

“No, that’s not it,” replied Sherlock, rotating the phone so you could all see. On the screen now was a picture of an empty and dingy living room.

“Well what the hell are we supposed to make of that? An estate agent’s photo and the bloody Greenwich pips,” griped Lestrade. Sherlock was already caught up in thought and it didn’t seem good.

“It’s a warning,” he muttered.

“A warning?” parroted John.

“Some secret societies used to send dried melon seeds, orange pips, things like that. Five pips,” he paused, tying up the loose threads of his thoughts before uttering them, “They’re warning us it’s going to happen again. Now I’ve seen this place before.” He walked out of the office, brow furrowed in thought but eyes bright with delight.

“What’s going to happen again?” asked John, the three of you following Sherlock out of room. The consulting detective turned back as he walked.

“Boom!”

When you arrived at the flat, everyone in the party besides Sherlock was confused. Instead of going up the stairs like you normally would though, he passed them to pause at the door under the steps that led to 221c. Mrs. Hudson was soon got and the keys were provided. The four of you trekked down the stairs into the basement. In the middle of the floor was a pair of sneakers, laid so perfectly that it almost looked like they had been waiting for you.

“Shoes…” murmured John.

“How did they get in the house?” you voiced worriedly. Both John’s and your statements were ignored as Sherlock moved towards the shoes.

“He’s a bomber, remember,” cautioned John, causing Sherlock to pause and for a lump of fear to root itself in your stomach. He proceeded slowly towards the sneakers, just about to touch them when the mobile rang shrilly, starling all of you. Pressing the phone to answer it, Sherlock hesitated before speaking.

“Hello?” he said in such a low voice that you could barely hear. Ragged breathing sounded from the phone now as a woman began to stutter a response.

“H-hello… sexy…” she whimpered, obviously trying to refrain from crying. You, John, and Lestrade all traded worried glances as the pit in your stomach deepened.

“Who’s this?” Sherlock asked. The woman continued to sob as she spoke.

“I’ve sent you… a little puzzle… just to say hi…” she cried, ignoring his question.

“Who’s talking? Why are you crying?” Sherlock asked again.

“I… I’m not crying… I’m typing. And this… stupid bitch… is reading it out.”

Sherlock seemed to be putting the pieces together as his look of confusion waned and he began to look resigned.

“The curtain rises,” he mumbled, barely audible.

“What?” said John.

“Nothing-“

“No, what did you mean?” he insisted.

“I’ve been expecting this for some time,” he answered cryptically. If he intended on elaborating, he didn’t have a chance, as the woman began speaking again.

“Twelve… hours… to solve my puzzle… Sherlock… or I’m going to be… so naughty.” The woman began crying in earnest again as the line went dead.

Chapter Text

An hour later saw Lestrade back at Scotland Yard and the Baker Street Trio at St. Bart’s Hospital. Sherlock was absorbed in the tests he was running on the shoes so you went to get some coffee. Molly wasn’t around the labs today so you fetched it yourself. Entering the lab with the carrier John looked up and smiled.

“Sorry miss. Suitcases are down the hall.” You laughed and rolled your eyes, but noticed that Sherlock only flicked his eyes to you for an instant before he was reabsorbed back into his work. John left for the bathroom as you began perusing the shelves full of samples, hearing a text tone going off every few seconds.

“Pass me my phone,” Sherlock said suddenly. You looked up, but he hadn’t moved an inch from where he sat hunched over his microscope.

“Where is it?” you asked, not seeing it on any of the counters.

“Jacket,” he stated bluntly. You were sure that you had misheard.

“I’m sorry?”

“Jacket pocket.” He still didn’t move. Blushing brightly, you moved over to Sherlock’s side, uncertainly reaching around his chest to feel in his inside pocket. Instead of offering any assistance, Sherlock remained frozen, barely breathing as you traced the inside panel with your fingers looking for any large enough pockets. Your heart glowed embarrassingly bright at your close proximity, your mortification only assuaged by the observation that his was doing precisely the same. You realized, as you finally found the target, that neither of you had breathed in a few seconds. He had stopped the minute movements of the microscope dials and his steady breathing had ceased. You pulled away hurriedly, turning on the phone to see eight texts from Mycroft and said so, without allowing yourself to dwell upon the fact that your soulmate had just asked you to touch him for the first time ever. Your heart only dimmed slightly as you distanced yourself from him, still reeling over the fact that his heart had brightened because of you.

“Delete them,” he ordered, voice cracking almost unperceivably.

“Really?”

“The plans are already out of the country, there’s nothing I can do about it,” he dismissed.

“He must think you can. He’s texted you eight times. It must be important.”

“Then why didn’t he cancel his dental appointment?” he replied, beginning to get annoyed.

“Dental appointment?” you parroted.

“Mycroft never texts if he can talk. Look, Andrew West stole the missile plans, tried to sell them, got his head smashed in for his pains. End of story. The only mystery is this: why is my brother so determined to bore me when somebody else is being so delightfully interesting?”

“Interesting?” you repeated again in disbelief.

“Are you just going to repeat me all day or do you actually have something to say?” he retorted. Bristling, you didn’t step down.

“Well that depends on how long you’re going to behave in such a callous fashion.” Sherlock finally looked up at you.

“I’m solving the case, aren’t I? Why should I care about the people it involves? This hospital is full of people hurting, Doctor,” he said with underlying frustration. “Why don’t you go cry by their bedsides and see what good it does them?” The computer started beeping just as the doors were thrown open. Expecting it to be John returning, you were surprised to see Molly.

“Any luck?” she called out cheerfully, hurrying round the counter to give you a hug.

“Oh yes!” Sherlock replied as you greeted Molly.

“How have you been? I was looking-“ your questions were cut off as a stranger entered the room.

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t-“ he mumbled nervously.

“Jim! Hi!” Molly chirped. “Come in, come in! Jim, this is Y/N and Sherlock Holmes.” You stepped forward to shake his hand but he seemed to be eyeing Sherlock.

“Oh, are you two married?” he asked in Sherlock’s direction. Your soulmate was eyeing the intruder skeptically, but his expression went funny when Jim asked about your relationship.

“No, not at all,” you clarified, blushing furiously as you regained his attention and reoffering your hand. “Y/N L/N. Lovely to meet you.” The man finally shook your hand, grinning awkwardly.

“So you’re Sherlock Holmes?” Jim asked, returning his attention to the disinterested detective. “Molly’s told me all about you. You on one of your cases?”

“Jim works in IT upstairs. That’s how we met! Office romance!” Molly informed eagerly. Sherlock glanced up at him and spoke before thinking.

“Gay.” Molly’s face fell.

“Sorry, what?” Glaring at Sherlock he smiled falsely and tried to cover his tracks.

“Hey.” Feeling an awkward silence coming on, you started in to speak, but got cut off soon into your statement.

“My dad worked in IT. What-“ A dish clattered loudly to the floor. As Jim bent down to get it, all three of you groaned internally.

“Oh! Sorry… well I’d better be off. I’ll see you at the Fox? About six-ish?” He paused for a long while, looking at Sherlock. “Bye. It was nice to meet you.” Sherlock ignored his long gaze, and it didn’t break until you reciprocated the sentiment and he left.

“What do you mean gay? We’re together.” Sherlock started to explain, but you cut him off before he could speak.

“Molly, hon, I’m really sorry, but he’s right.” Molly looked hurt and started to move backwards, but you ran forward and placed your hand on her arm as reassuringly as you could. “I am so proud of you for getting out there, but I don’t think that he would appreciate you as much as you deserve.” Molly nodded disappointedly and left with the promise to call you later.

“It was the underwear, right?” you asked as soon as she was gone.

“Of course it was the underwear,” he replied smirking, “The tinted eyelashes, the taurine cream, not to mention the extremely suggestive fact that he left his number under this dish,” he finished, producing a slip of paper. You burst out laughing, Sherlock even managing a small chuckle.

“That cheeky bastard!” you cried, Sherlock watching you as you giggled. “So,” you prefaced, placing your chin in your hand, “Are you going to call him?” you laughed again.

“No, I think not,” he replied, smiling.

“No?” you cried, feigning outrage.

“Not quite my type,” he said, turning to glance at you as he said so. He only broke his gaze after a moment when John entered.

“Where’ve you been?” you asked, moving away from Sherlock slightly, though you weren’t sure why. You were his soulmate, so theoretically it wasn’t at all risqué to be seen simply standing near him, but you felt as though you had been caught.

“I was on a hunt for a packet of crisps,” he said, holding up three bags and tossing two of them to you. “Oh rather, chips.” You stuck your tongue out childishly at him and he smirked. You had rather taken to John. He was like your older brother. You were an older sibling, having a younger brother, so you had never had a sibling-type person who was older than you.

He came around the counter to join you and Sherlock around the pair of shoes.

“Go on then,” Sherlock said, gesturing for John to examine the shoes. “You know what I do. Off you go.” John chuckled and denied. “An outside eye, a second opinion, it’s very useful to me.” John looked wary, but assented.

“Erm… they’re in good nick. I’d say they were pretty new... except the sole has been well-worn, so the owner must have had them for a while. Uh, they’re very eighties. Probably one of those retro designs,” John postulated apprehensively.

“You’re on sparkling form,” Sherlock mumbled while he tapped on his phone. “What else?”

“Well, they’re quite big, so a man’s.”

“But…”

“But there’s traces of a name inside in felt-tip. Adults don’t write their names inside their shoes, so these belonged to a kid,” John observed proudly.

“Excellent. What else?”

“Uh, that’s it,” John said, putting down the trainers.

“That’s it?” he clarified. John nodded and Sherlock turned to you. “Y/N?”

Raising your eyebrows, you questioned, “Me?” He nodded and you stepped tentatively forth. He had never asked for your help deducing anything before.

“Well, uh John got most of the major things,” you defended. Sherlock stared at you unwaveringly. Turning the shoes over in your hands you began voicing your stream of consciousness. “Well, they’re athletic shoes, sneakers, so an athletic kid. But if they were being used for actual sports they’d be in far worse condition, fraying around the seam or tearing, but they’re not. The wear is mostly on the heel and ball of the foot, so I doubt he did a lot of running in these or else the wear would be more evenly spaced,” glancing up at Sherlock, a grin hinted ever so slightly around his eyes. Examining closer, you noticed that there was a lot of dead skin around the laces and tongue. “There’s little flecks of skin around here, a lot of them. Dry hands that would rub off when he was tying his shoes. Maybe eczema? And the laces seem a bit oily, so residue from lotion, I guess,” you finished, putting down the shoes as you came to the end of your observations.

“How did we do?” asked John.

“Well, John,” said Sherlock. “Really well. I mean you missed almost everything of importance, but…” he trailed off, smirking. Picking up one of the shoes, he launched into his deductions. “The owner loved these. Scrubbed them clean, whitened them where they got discolored. Changed the laces three… no, four times. Even so, there are traces of his flaky skin where his fingers have come into contact with them, so he did suffer from eczema. Shoes are well-worn, more so on the inside, which means the owner had weak arches. British-made, twenty years old,” he said, stopping to do something on his phone.

“Twenty years?” John sputtered.

“They’re not retro, they’re original,” he turned his phone to show you both the picture he had found. “Limited edition, two blue stripes, nineteen eighty-nine.”

“But there’s still mud on them. They look new,” John argued. Sherlock looked thoughtfully at the shoes, still coming to conclusions in his head.

“Someone’s kept them that way. Quite a bit of mud caked on the soles. Analysis shows it’s from Sussex, with London mud overlaying it.”

“How did you get that? The color?” you asked.

“No, the pollen. Clear as a map reference to me,” he said, gesturing to the screen where two dots flashed on a map of England.

“You’re magic,” you mumbled, causing Sherlock to pause for an instant, and you thought you could see a bit of blush working its way onto his cheeks, but you were sure that it was just the lighting. He proceeded as though he hadn’t heard you.

“South of the river, too. So, the kid who owned these trainers came to London from Sussex twenty years ago and left them behind.”

“What happened to him?” asked John.

“Something bad. He loved those shoes, remember. He’d never leave them filthy or let them go unless he had to. So a child with big feet gets...” he trailed off, fixing on something unseen across the lab. “Oh…”

“Oh?” you questioned.

“What?” asked John.

“Carl Powers…” Sherlock trailed softly.

“Sorry, who?” said John still confused.

“The sixth power ranger!” you gasped jokingly.

No one laughed except you.

Chapter Text

In the cab on the way home Sherlock began explaining, “Nineteen eighty-nine, a young kid – champion swimmer – came up from Brighton for a school sports tournament; drowned in the pool. Tragic accident. You wouldn’t remember it John, why would you,” he directed to John.

“And I would?” you asked, confused by his singling John out. Turning to you, he elaborated.

“Well as you were a toddler in America at the time, I doubt that you were paying attention to British school-level swimming championships,” he monotoned. You blushed, reminded of the nearly 8 year age gap between you and your soulmate.

“But you remember?” you countered.

“Yes.”

“Something fishy about it?” queried John.

“Nobody thought so. Nobody except me. I was only a kid myself. I read about it in the papers,” he said.

“You started young, didn’t you,” you commented, almost proud, though you didn’t know why.

“The boy, Carl Powers, had some kind of fit in the water, but by the time they got him out it was too late. But there was something wrong. Something I couldn’t get out of my head,” he exasperated.

“That being?” you asked.

“His shoes.”

“His shoes?” repeated John. Realization dawned on you.

“They weren’t there.” you and Sherlock said simultaneously. He looked at you strangely, but went on. “I made a fuss. I tried to get the police interested, but nobody seemed to think it was important. He’d left all the rest of his clothes in his locker, but there was no sign of his shoes. Until now.”

 

The following morning saw the three of you back at New Scotland Yard. Sherlock solved the puzzle late last night and the woman had been found and saved.

“She lives in Cornwall. Two men broke in wearing masks, forced her to drive to the car park and decked her out in enough explosives to take down a house,” said Lestrade. “They told her to phone you. She had to read out from this.” He gestured to a small pager on his desk.

“And if she deviated by one word, the sniper would set her off,” added Sherlock, facing the window with his hands steepled, pressing gently against his lips. Thoughts entered your head of touching them yourself, brushing your thumb across his lips, or crashing your own against them. You were shaken from your thoughts by John’s comment.

“Or if you hadn’t solved the case,” John postulated.

“Oh… elegant,” Sherlock breathed.

I wonder if he will ever think of me like that.

“Elegant?” John groaned.

“But what was the point? Why would anyone do this?” Lestrade marveled.

“Oh, I can’t be the only person in the world that gets bored,” replied Sherlock lazily.

The mobile chirped suddenly. Everyone’s attention focused towards the phone as Sherlock opened the new notification.

“You have one new message.”

Four of the beeps sounded out as Sherlock turned to the desk around which you all sat.

“Four pips,” John commented.

“The first test has passed, so it would seem. Here’d the second,” Sherlock concluded. Turning the phone so you all could see, the image depicted an abandoned car.

“Abandoned, wouldn’t you say?” Sherlock speculated.

“I’ll see if it’s been reported,” conceded Lestrade as he sat down to his computer.

“Freak?” called a familiarly grating voice. Donovan entered, holding out a phone. “It’s for you.” She offered the phone to Sherlock, ignoring your glower.

The next couple of days, you were absorbed entirely into your work. You crammed a week’s worth of appointments into two days to try to keep your clients happy. You barely slept, between working from seven in the morning to eight at night, coming home, making something or other for the boys to eat whenever they got a chance, and doing paperwork until all hours of the night. You spoke to them as much as possible, but this case was bigger than anything they had ever handled before and was their sole focus for every hour of the day. By the time you managed to get ahead enough in your work to rejoin them, they were two cases down and Sherlock was trying to prove that the Lost Vermeer painting you had seen in the papers was a fake. Sherlock had just come home long enough to wash before he said he had to meet John. As he was putting on his gloves, you caught him.

“Sherlock! I’m so sorry I haven’t been helping with these cases, but I’m here now. Are you going out? Can I come?” you asked, grabbing up his scarf and coat for him. He considered for a moment.

“No,” he stated bluntly, reaching for his scarf. Defiantly you withheld it.

“What do you mean no? Why?” you demanded, your brow furrowed. Sherlock sighed and rolled his eyes.

“Because it’s dangerous. We’re dealing with one of the best assassins in the world right now, I don’t think it’s a good time for you to be tagging along.”

“You let John tag along,” you argued, hurt by the fact that he didn’t want you near him. “Why is it too dangerous for me but not him? Or you for that matter?” Sherlock groaned and paced to the window, checking to see if John was there yet.

“This isn’t a matter of your gender, L/N,” he said, turning back to face you. “John is a trained soldier and he can handle his safety all by himself.” You started in to argue but he cut you off. “After this, you can learn to defend yourself properly, but there is too much to worry about right now without you putting yourself in danger whilst trying to be heroic.”

Indignant at his solid refusal, you launched another argument. “Well, first off, I don’t try to be heroic. It comes naturally,” Sherlock groaned at your lame attempt at a joke, “and second off, my brother and I taught each other how to fight our entire lives. He is 180 pounds and I can still beat him. I may not be able to take down a trained killer but I’m willing to bet my life that I can hold my own.”

“You may be, but I’m not,” he shot. You would have paused to notice his admission, but you had made up your mind and you were not backing down.

“I’m quite determined.” He started in to argue but, for once, you cut him off. “If you don’t agree then I will just investigate this on my own and I’m sure you’ll agree that going about this on my own would be a million times worse.” Sherlock scowled and closed his eyes, exhaling frustratedly.

“Fine.” You smiled widely, giggling to yourself. Straightening out the scarf, you looped it around his neck, tugging him closer to you.

“Now was that so hard?” you teased. Sherlock opened his eyes and gave you a warning look. “I mean thank you.”

Outside, you met up with John as he hopped out of a cab and a moment later, you had all piled into it and were headed to an unknown location. The cab dropped you off to an alleyway you didn’t recognize. You watched as Sherlock reclined his head and admired open sky above him. Your heart glowed a little brighter.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he commented. Your heart clenched.

Yes, you are.

You were so caught up in your thoughts that you completely missed what the boys had said.

“Uh, any time you want to explain,” John invited as Sherlock led you down a dark and damp alley.

“Homeless Network. Really indispensable,” he supplied.

“Homeless network?” John questioned.

“My eyes and ears all over the city,” he elaborated.

“That’s clever. So you scratch their backs and…”

“And I disinfect myself.”

The three of you worked your way around the tunnel, trying to avoid stepping on any of the people sleeping on the ground. In the far tunnel, a strange humanoid shadow formed and John hushed a warning to you and Sherlock and you all hurried to hide behind the wall.

“What’s he doing sleeping rough?” John whispered.

“Well, he has a very distinctive look. He has to hide somewhere where tongues won’t wag. Much,” Sherlock breathed.

“Oh shi- I wish I’d brought my-“ John started, but Sherlock cut him off, handing him his gun.

“Don’t mention it,” he muttered. Feeling very bare, you reached into your pocket and pulled out your pocket knife. Suddenly Sherlock took off as the shadow of the man started running. Rounding the corner after him, the three of you just caught a glimpse of the assassin jumping in a car and speeding off down the road.

“No, no, no, no, no!” shouted Sherlock. “It’ll take us weeks to find him again!”

“Or not. I have an idea where he might be going,” murmured John.

The cab ride was painfully long as you head towards the college. Running into the planetarium, John had his gun at the ready as you entered the dimly lit room. A sharp familiar shadow of the monstrous man strangling someone was projected onto the wall. Sherlock shouted at him and John took aim, but the man didn’t stop. You rushed past them, flicking open your measly pocket knife as you bounded up the stairs. The killer saw you coming and moved, the buttons on the control panel being pressed so that the lights flickered in a blinding fashion. You heard John and Sherlock talking as you fell upon the woman that lay in the aisle. You searched the woman, checking for breathing before you heard Sherlock shout and then gasp. Standing up, your heart stopped as you saw the beast with his hands clamped over Sherlock’s face. Running towards them, John got there first. Hesitating as you watched to see if the man would back down, you heard John threaten the man.

“Let him go,” he monotoned calmly, “or I will kill you.”

In a moment the man easily kicked the gun out of John’s hand and moved to attack him next. Adrenaline coursing through your veins, you charged without thought at the man who towered more than two feet over you. Knife extended, you plunged your weapon into the man. The beast roared and released John. Retracting your knife, the man set his course for you. Standing your ground, you lunged blindly at his face, your knife dripping with his blood. The beast knocked your weapon to the floor as though he had just swatted a fly and suddenly you didn’t feel so powerful anymore. Reaching out for your neck with him slow movements, you plowed your shoulder into his stomach at full force and brought your knee up with as much force as possible, bringing it back down as hard as you could on the top of his foot. The man roared and began to run from the building. Shots followed him out the door and you dropped to the floor to avoid getting accidentally hit in the low light. The beast made it out however and you exhaled. Surveying the area, you saw Sherlock throw the gun down in anger and you ran to him in the continuing projection.

“Sherlock! Are you okay?” you gasped, collapsing beside his and yanking the scarf from around his neck. Sherlock looked up at you through your frenzy strangely. “You need to stop getting chocked out. For my sake, at least. You’re going to give me a heart attack,” you attempted, smiling down at him as you came to the conclusion that he was okay.

“For your sake, I shall give it my sincerest efforts. I would loathe to cause you any harm,” he croaked. Looking in his eyes, you noticed that his pupils seemed dilated.

Probably just the dark…

“I’m fine too, just in case you were wondering,” called out John from the darkness. Jolting from the trance his eyes had seemed to put you in, you hurried over to John.

“I’m sorry John! I’m the only well person out of three people,” you profused.

“Yeah, I know, I know. Just shows your priorities,” John teased.

Chapter Text

At the gallery, the three of you as well as Lestrade and the woman who owned the painting were all gathered around it as Sherlock protested that it was false.

The phone rang and Sherlock answered it immediately.

“The painting is a fake,” he announced.

There was no response.

“It’s a fake. That’s why Woodbridge and Cairns were killed.”

Still there was nothing.

“Oh, come on. Proving it’s just a detail. The painting is a fake. I’ve solved it. I’ve figured it out. It’s a fake! That’s the answer. That’s why they were killed.” Groaning, Sherlock relented. “Okay, I’ll prove it. Give me time. Will you give me time?”

The question hung in the air unanswered for a moment, before a child spoke.

“Ten.”

A sob ripped through you. A child. A little child had been caught up in all this. Sherlock glanced at you for an instant and turned to the painting, frantically trying to finish the puzzle.

“It’s a kid. Oh, God, it’s a kid!” cried Lestrade.

“What did he say?”

“Ten.”

“Nine...” counted the boy. Time seemed to slow down and speed up all at once. Your heart sputtered and dimmed in terror and Sherlock’s heart responded in kind.

“It’s a countdown. He’s giving me time.”

“Jesus!”

“The painting is a fake, but how can I prove it? How? How?”

“Eight...”

“This kid will die. Tell me why the painting is a fake. Tell me!” Sherlock shouted at the woman. She faltered and started to speak but he stopped her.

“Seven...”

“No, shut up. Don’t say anything. It only works if I figure it out.” John broke and turned away, starting to pace.

“Must be possible. Must be staring me in the face.”

“Six...”

“Woodbridge knew, but how?”

“Five...”

“It’s speeding up!” shouted Lestrade.

“Sherlock.”

“Sherlock please!” you sobbed, clutching your face as your mouth went dry and your eyes started to burn.

Sherlock gasped.

“Four...”

“In the planetarium! You heard it too. Oh, that is brilliant! That is gorgeous!” he shouted, pacing and typing rapidly on his phone.

“Three…”

“What’s brilliant? What it?”

“This is beautiful. I love this.”

“Two…

“Sherlock!” you shouted.

“The Van Buren Supernova!” Sherlock shouted into the phone.

That afternoon the boys went to investigate the case Mycroft had asked them about, but you wanted to head home. The day had drained you and you didn’t feel you had anything to contribute to it. You just wanted to be alone. Mumbling to John that you were going to go, you slipped outside into the cool January air. Inhaling deeply, you walked down the road to the main street when you felt something hit your head and then darkness.

 

Pleased with the success of the now complete Andrew West case, Sherlock and John exited the cab on the sidewalk outside 221b Baker Street. Walking up to the door, Sherlock paused. Something was wrong. Entering the building with caution, he noticed the signs of a stranger. A wrinkle in the carpet from an unfamiliar step. The hint of a cologne that no one in the house used. Moving up the stairs and into the flat, his heart dimmed as his stomach dropped.

“Sherlock? What is it?” John asked, bounding up the stairs after him. The doctor’s eyes landed on what had made the detective feel as though he would be sick and a similar feeling began to afflict him too. “Oh,” he said dumbly.

Lying as though it had been waiting for them, a bohemian envelope was propped perfectly on Y/N’s chair, which had been turned to face the door. Creeping slowly across the room, Sherlock picked up the envelope, so light that it seemed to be empty. Examining the stationary, it was the twin of the former in every aspect save its contents. Tearing open the end of it, his heart clenched as he emptied out the envelope’s only contents for John to see.

A single orange pip. It was the smallest threat Sherlock had ever seen.

“One pip. On Y/N’s chair…” John mumbled. Turning and shouting, the doctor ran to search the house for the girl, but Sherlock didn’t bother. The final test had been laid before him, and this time he knew who the hostage was. Foolishly, he tugged his coat and shirt aside so he could examine his chest, his glowing heart easing his mind with the knowledge that at the very least, she was still alive.

“Mrs. Hudson said she never came home,” John panted as he darted back up the stairs, but Sherlock ignored him. Staring at the orange pip, it all felt too much. Information and emotions descended on him in a flurry. Every mark she had left seemed to scream out at him. The stack of books which had intermingled with his on the shelf, so that he deleted which ones had originally belonged to whom and just considered them as theirs. The pair of boots by the door that you seemed to wear everywhere, but for some reason, hadn’t worn today. The hair pins you used to keep your locks from tumbling down into your face were scattered in pairs about the room. In the corner of the room lay your easel where you had begun a painting of the three chairs about a week ago, the paint on the pallet dried and beginning to collect dust. A cup of your favorite tea lay forgotten on the desk. Your smell which had seemed to blend so seamlessly with the scent of the flat. And your chair. He had spent a few hours examining the way you sat when you read, watching as you flopped and turned trying to find a comfortable position on the couch. The next day he had insisted that he and John acquire you one of your own. His heart, which had glowed so brightly upon first meeting you that it had felt like it would burst from his chest. During the months that followed that day, when he would allow himself to sleep, he would watch the gentle pulse of the light that he had watched all his life, now gold from being near you, as it beat in time with your heart.

Mycroft had always told him that sentiment was a bad thing. He had been so proud as a child that his heart didn’t glow, unlike all the other people he knew. Even Mycroft was weighed down by the fact that somewhere out there, he was attached to someone. Little Sherlock however was free, his bright mind independent of any connections besides his family. Until a few days before his 8th birthday; he had been playing with Redbeard when he noticed it. A tiny white glow beamed gently up at him, winking hello for the first time. His parents had been so excited, though perhaps a tad concerned about the age difference. Mycroft had been born with his glow, so they had no way of knowing how much older his soulmate would be. That night when Sherlock had gone to bed, he had stayed up for hours, watching as the little light flickered and beamed. He thought about his soulmate, only a few hours old. Although he didn’t want to, desperately wishing to adhere to his older brother’s advice about remaining distant, he thought about what they might be like when they were his age. He wondered if they would ever get the chance to meet Redbeard, or if they would like them. He wondered if they would like playing pirates too, or if they would think it boring. He thought about him as a grown up and wondered what kind of adventures they would go on together once they met. On danger nights when he had grown up, he would stare at his heart, watching as the now strong and beautiful light had beamed and danced in a way of its own. He thought sometimes that he had learned how to read the light, watching as a particularly strong beam would warm his stomach, and hoped that it meant that she was laughing.

Now he had met her. He had learned how she took her tea and which sections she would wander to when set loose in a book store. He had learned that she abhorred wearing socks to bed, but that whenever she was wearing them around the house she would slide around as though ice skating a few inches at a time, striking ridiculous poses when she thought no one could see her. He remembered the one time he had wandered into the living room one night to find her curled up and asleep in her chair with his coat tucked around her, presumably because he recalled it had been left on his chair the previous night.

His mind palace had been infiltrated by her, but then, it really always had been. The small corner of his mind that had once been dedicated to the study of the small spark in his heart had now expanded with every memory of her, every detail which he had sorted away so carefully. All his efforts at organizing them seemed to be fruitless now, as they all overwhelmed him, as though someone had upended every drawer and file about her all over his mind.

His thoughts were only snapped into focus as a pain struck him across the face.

“Sherlock! Can’t you hear me?” cried the doctor, smacking the overwhelmed detective. “She’s gone, she was never here and there is a bomber out there who is putting you through a game. She could have been taken, or hurt!”

“No she was definitely taken,” Sherlock mumbled, straightening his thoughts. No amount of details, no amount of memories of her laugh could erase the fact that she was gone. She was in danger and Sherlock needed to get his mind in order if he ever wanted to see her safely back in her chair with a book and a cup of tea with a half spoon of sugar. Slamming shut the doors to her wing in his mind palace, he turned all of his attention to the case at hand.

It’s just a case.

Whirling around to the computer on the desk, he typed a new post to the website.

Found. The Bruce-Partington plans. Please collect. The Pool. Midnight.

Chapter Text

A sickness stirred inside of you, deeper than any illness you had felt before. You had felt nausea before, that would sit in your gut like a weight, but this seemed to have infected your very soul. You wanted to cease existing. Perhaps then Sherlock would not be facing this psychotic monster. Maybe then you wouldn’t feel terrified because you knew he was coming for you and you wanted him as far away from this chlorinated hell you were in.

When you had woken, you were aware of being in a locker room. The scent of chlorine hung like mist in the air and no matter what you did you couldn’t seem to breathe from the stench of it. You were already strapped in the bombs when you woke up, odd packages sticking into you in methodical intervals, carefully calculated how best to tear you apart. An earpiece which had already been put in place crackled to life and you heard a voice that you could have sworn you had heard before ordered you to do exactly as he said or he would set off the explosives. You had barely paid attention, feeling as though you already had a fairly good understanding of how this particular routine went.

Now you stood by the door. From the thin panel of window you could see an abandoned swimming pool, but nothing else. Commanded to stand there until otherwise directed, you did so. The thought occurred to you that it would be the most heroic to disobey the man and blow up before Sherlock could reach you. You knew from the other case the boys solved that there were enough explosives to take down an entire house. If the bomber was nearby, your defiance could take him out as well, but there was no way to know, so you spent the next few minutes scolding yourself for your cowardice.

Then you heard him and it all got so much worse. Usually when you heard Sherlock enter a room, your heart would brighten and skip a beat, but this time, all the misery and fear you had been feeling doubled. Sherlock was in danger and it was your fault. You listened closely, trying to deduce the situation as much as possible, as he would have told you to.

“Brought you a little getting-to-know-you present. Oh, that’s what it’s all been for, hasn’t it? All your little puzzles. Making me dance. All to distract me from this,” called out Sherlock, his smooth voice ringing out clearly in the room not ten feet from you.

“Walk out and repeat exactly after me,” ordered the voice, practically dripping with glee. You were trapped now. Now any disobeyed order would mean certain death for you all. You stepped through the door. Sherlock turned toward you. You wanted to cry. Sherlock looked nearly as sick as you and his heart could barely be seen through his shirt it was so dim.

“EVENIN’!” effused the voice.

“Evening,” you monotoned, the only act of rebellion you could get away with. Sherlock’s eyes searched you, undoubtedly finding the protruding wires and extra bulk of the explosives under your coat.

“This is a turn-up, isn’t it, Sherlock?” you parroted upon being prompted.

“Y/N…” Sherlock moaned, his eyes betraying his fear. Seeing him so frightened made you want to scream with sadness and sob out every ounce of moisture you had, but you met his gaze, trying to look strong, and swallowed the stone in your throat.

“BETCHU never saw THIS COMING!”

“Bet you never saw this coming.”

“Now open your coat. Repeat. What would you like me to make her say next?”

You obeyed.

“I looooove you.” You blushed furiously, mortification and anger bubbling up inside of you so much that it almost overshadowed the sick fear.

“I love you,” you clipped, not meeting his eyes.

“Noo?? How about… toodle-de-doo…”

“No? How about, toodle-de-do.”

“Tooodley-daaah.”

“Toodley-da.”

“Frrreeedoom-muh.”

“Freedom.”

“Stop it,” Sherlock bit, pacing and surveying the area.

“Nice touch, this. The pool where little Carl died. I stopped him. I can stop Y/N L/N too,” a shudder ran down your spine as you repeated the words being fed to you, glancing at Sherlock’s dim heart before continuing. “Stop her heart.”

“Who are you?” called out the detective, trying to look in all directions at once, foresee every possibility. Behind you a door opened, and your blood ran like ice as the voice from your earpiece spoke out.

“I gave you my number. I thought you might call,” teased the voice, before you heard footsteps indicating that he was stepping into view. Sherlock watched him like a cat might watch its prey, fierce and unintimidated. “Is that a British Army Browning L9A1 in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?” Sherlock pulled John’s gun from his pocket and aimed it at the man.

“Both.”

The man’s footsteps stopped.

“Jim Moriarty… hi,” he sheepishly introduced. “Jim? Jim from the hospital? Oh. Did I really make such a fleeting impression? But then, I suppose, that was rather the point,” he cooed, as though he were talking about gardening. Sherlock glanced at you as you saw the tiny red dot flicker over your chest. “Don’t be silly. Someone else is holding the rifle. I don’t like getting my hands dirty. I’ve given you a glimpse, Sherlock, just a teensy glimpse of what I’ve got going on out there in the big bad world. I’m a specialist, you see... like you,” he explained cheerfully. Sherlock glowered at him, shifting the gun so it was always trained directly on its target.

“Dear Jim. Please will you fix it for me to get rid of my lover’s nasty sister? Dear Jim. Please will you fix it for me to disappear to South America?” Sherlock mocked.

“Just so.”

“Consulting criminal,” Sherlock muttered softly. “Brilliant.”

“Isn’t it? No one ever gets to me and no-one ever will.”

“I did,” chirped Sherlock, cocking the pistol.

“You’ve come the closest. Now you’re in my way,” drawled the voice.

“Thank you.”

“Didn’t mean it as a compliment.”

“Yes you did.”

“Yeah, okay, I did. But the flirting’s over, Sherlock. Daddy’s had enough now!” sang the madman. You listened as his footsteps drew ever closer. “I’ve shown you what I can do. I cut loose all those people, all those little problems, even thirty million quid just to get you to come out and play.” Sherlock’s eyes kept dashing to you, a hint of concern beginning to work its way back up through his calm demeanor. “So take this as a friendly warning, my dear. Back off. Although I have loved this. This little game of ours. Playing Jim from I.T. Playing gay. Did you like the little touch with the underwear?”

“People have died.”

“That’s what people DO!” he screamed out the last word, causing you to flinch, the brave façade you had been building crumbling to dust. Sherlock looked at you and you scolded yourself, putting the pieces of your calm demeanor back together.

“I will stop you,” Sherlock stated softly.

“No you won’t,” Jim said, calm again. Sherlock looked to you, seemingly breaking and allowing himself a couple of words to you.

“You all right?” You heard the mad man shuffle up next to you, standing not a foot away from you.

“You can talk, Y/N-dear. Go ahead,” he prompted. Loathing boiling inside you, your calm demeanor was regained. Arching an eyebrow, you slowly turned to look at the man next to you. Making eye contact, you feigned surprise.

“Oh, me?” you breathed softly. “Yes,” you breezed, glancing at Sherlock who seemed to have regained himself. You wanted to scream at him. You wanted to tell him to run as fast as he possibly could away from this terrible place and to never look back until he was safe beyond this criminal’s reach. But you didn’t. You were cowardly and breezed a stupid question because you wanted to speak but didn’t dare say anything. “Can I take this off now?” you gestured to the explosive vest you still wore. “It’s dreadfully uncomfortable,” you oozed, meeting the consulting criminal eye to eye, barely restraining yourself from gouging his eyes out.

“What? Oh yeah, if you like. Makes no difference, whether you wear it or sit on it, it could blow this entire building to dust,” he answered nonchalantly. You didn’t want to do anything besides contradict him, but you loathed the vest of destruction so much that you peeled it off quickly and gently slid it a few feet away as Sherlock stretched out his hand to Moriarty.

“Take it,” he grunted, holding out the memory stick that you had heard Mycroft talking about.

“Hmm? Oh! That! The missile plans,” he breathed intrigued as he took the stick from Sherlock. You wanted to tear him apart. You did not want him being close to Sherlock. “Boring!” he sang. “Could have got them anywhere!” he teased as he tossed the memory stick into the pool. You wanted to grab one of the bombs that lay not 10 feet from you and smash it into his head. You wanted to disobey him enough that one of the snipers would set off the jacket and you would both go up. But you stood there motionless. You weren’t stupid, and neither was Moriarty. If anything happened to the madman, you didn’t doubt in the slightest that Sherlock would be dead one way or the other before Jim’s body could hit the ground. “D’you know what happens if you don’t leave me alone, Sherlock, to you?”

“Let me guess, I get killed,” droned Sherlock.

“Kill you? No, don’t be obvious. I mean, I’m gonna kill you anyway. Some day. I don’t wanna rush it, though. I’m saving it up for something special. No, no, no, no, no. If you don’t stop prying, I’ll burn you.” The villain’s eyes raked up and down Sherlock. “I will burn the heart out of you,” he hissed viciously, but shifted again instantly, smirking and turning to you. “You’ve made it so easy to find. X marks the spot,” he drawled, reaching out to brush some of your hair away from your face, trailing his fingers down to your glowing heart. Seeing red, you forgot about the delicate dance of power you were in. You snatched the mad man by the throat and pushed him back to arm’s length, squeezing and digging your fingernails into the skin. The criminal shouted in surprise, but regained his maniac expression quickly.

“Oh! Hit a bit of a sensitive spot there, did I?” he laughed, seeming unfazed by the fact that you pressed down ever harder on his neck. You wanted to snap it. Out of the corner of your eye, you saw a red dot move to a new target. Whipping your head to Sherlock, a red dot found its way to his forehead. Fury nearly blinded you, but you released the man, backing up a few feet. Moriarty grunted indignantly and straightened out his suit. “She’s not the brightest one available, wouldn’t you say?” he said as though he were talking about a dog. “Well, I’d better be off. So nice to have a proper chat.” Sherlock moved the gun less than a foot away from the man’s head.

“What if I was to shoot you right now? Right now?” he asked.

“Then you could cherish the look of surprise on my face,” he gaped in dramatic shock. “’Cause I’d be surprised, Sherlock. Really I would. And just a teensy bit disappointed. And of course you wouldn’t be able to cherish it for very long.” Moriarty turned as if he were about to finally leave. “Ciao, Sherlock Holmes.” Following the criminal with his gun, Sherlock muttered.

“Catch you… later.”

“No you won’t!” sang back the voice.

Everything stood still for a moment. Sherlock continued to train his gun on the door and you continued to stand perfectly still. Then Sherlock’s gaze met yours and he broke. His façade crumpling, all the fear and worry surfaced as he ran at you. You felt him slink his arm around your waist and then all you knew was him crashing his lips to yours. You inhaled in surprise, your eyes still open enough to see the blinding light pulse from your hearts. Slipping your eyes closed, you finally allowed yourself to do everything you had dreamed about doing. You slid your hand up to his neck, pulling him closer as the other tugged at his hair. He moaned into you, pulling you so close to him that you felt you might be crushed. His lips were so soft and perfect as they worked in sync with yours. You desperately wanted him to make that delicious noise again, so tentatively you swiped your tongue along his bottom lip. He overtook you instantly when he realized what you wanted; his tongue working with yours so perfectly that you felt you might die. Not wanting to allow him victory, you drew his bottom lip between your teeth, making him moan. Even from behind your closed lids you could see the light which poured from your hearts. A small sigh slipped from your lips and Sherlock fell in love with the sound. He kissed you with everything he had, every moment he had watched the light in his heart in his whole life, every moment he ached to be near you, every moment he had wanted to sweep you up in his arms like he was finally doing now. The light from your hearts stained your eyelids, beaming brighter than they ever had. Your stomach soared so much that you would not have been surprised if you were told that you were floating a foot off the ground. Slowly and reluctantly, Sherlock pulled away, his pupils blown wide to match yours. You realized suddenly that you were still in the pool room, your mind having been so entirely focused on him that you had nearly forgotten the fear and sickness which had afflicted you so violently earlier. Opening your mouth to ask if he was alright, he blurted out first.

“I love you.”

You froze. Surely you hadn’t heard him right, but as though he had read your thought, he repeated himself.

“I love you, Y/N. I am enormously, fiercely, irreversibly in love with you,” he moaned, his eyes searching yours. Your voice seemed to be nonfunctioning in response to the kiss and the confession, so you did what you had wanted to be able to do for months. You pulled him down into a kiss. As words seemed to be failing you, you put all of yourself into the kiss, trying to convey to him just how much you loved him too. Pulling away after a moment, you said the only words that came to you, and yet, they still seemed about as perfect as they could be.

“I love you Sherlock,” you whispered to him, your voice laden with every time you had longed to say that.

“Well that was adorable!” shouted out the voice as a door at the end of the room burst open. Ice filled your lungs, looking up to see the red dots refocus on Sherlock’s face. He looked murderous as a dot landed on your lips, as though it were making fun of him. Straightening up, Sherlock released you from his arms and walked past you, standing between you and Moriarty. “You can’t be allowed to continue. You just can’t. I would try to convince you, but everything I have to say has already crossed your mind!” he sang. Sherlock turned his gaze to you. Unsure what it was exactly that he had in mind, you just gave a small nod. No matter what happened, the two of you would be okay. You knew it.

“Probably my answer has crossed yours,” he monotoned, aiming the gun at your discarded jacket, intertwined with explosives.

Chapter Text

Stepping back into 221B felt surreal. The moment Sherlock ushered you in cautiously through the door, John came thundering down the stairs, followed by Mrs. Hudson.

“Oh my god! Are you okay? Are you hurt?” John fussed, Mrs. Hudson checking you over for injuries and patting your face and shoulders reassuringly.

“I’m fine,” you croaked. Clearing your throat you continued. “Really, I’m not at all injured.”

“You must have been so scared. We should never have let you leave on your own,” John cursed as you all filed into the apartment. Sherlock followed you like a shadow, ignoring the concerned remarks of the other two and focusing solely on you.

“It doesn’t really matter. Sherlock got me out of there and we are both okay.” You felt the exhaustion sink in, but also you just wanted to be alone with Sherlock. “I’m so sorry to have worried you all, but I’m rather tired. I think I’m just going to sleep for a few dozen hours if that’s okay.” Mrs. Hudson murmured a well-wishing and meandered off downstairs while John persisted a bit more.

“Well, what happened? I mean, who took you? How did they do it?” Sherlock stepped forward now, stemming the doctor’s flow of questions.

“Really doctor, don’t you think this can wait?” John seemed reluctant, but he complied, wishing you a good night as you and the detective went down the hall. Turning away, he paused as he only heard one door close. Turning back, he saw that the light in your room was still off and unoccupied. Understanding dawned on him and he hurried off to bed, already thinking up all the ways to make fun of the couple come morning.

Sherlock insisted that you slept in his room that night under the pretense of observing you for injuries. You didn’t press it, grateful for his offer. Changing into one of Sherlock’s undershirts and a pair of pajama shorts, you burrowed into his bed while he changed. You had been in his room before, but you had never realized just how much it smelled like him, looked like him, emanated him. You watched as he stripped down to his boxers before pulling on some pajamas of his own. Any other night you might have been completely focused on him changing, but tonight you were too out of it to do anything but blush slightly. The man turned and slipped under the covers beside you, switching off the lamp on the nightstand. The light from the lampposts outside and the headlights from cars passing by lit the room, but nothing so much as the light from your two hearts. After a moment of watching him, you leaned forward, the sheets rustling as you pressed your lips to his. He seemed to break. All the stress and fear came out as he pulled you to him, wrapping his arms around your small frame and kissing you deeply. This wasn’t like your first kiss, which had been desperate and full of weeks of longing. This was vulnerable and comforting. This was home. The two of you lay there for a long time, simply breathing with your foreheads pressed together, occasionally sharing a kiss as you drifted off.

The detective marveled at you. From the day his heart had started glowing, he would use the steady beat to comfort him. It had stopped his from using on several occasions, his anger and fear and stresses all dissipating as he watched the light pulse gently, out of time with his own heart. For years he would fall asleep watching the little pulse beating, a reminder of the one person in the world who would love him completely one day, who he would share his life and his adventures with. The tiny little pulse had always soothed him. Now, it wasn’t just the light from his heart with cast shadows around his bedroom. It was her. It was her light. He tightened his hold on her, leaning down to kiss her again. He couldn’t believe that this was real. His soulmate lay curled into his chest, her nose nuzzling into his collar. Tentatively, he moved his hand from where it pressed into her back, trailing it slowly up to rest over her heart. Her sleepy eyes fluttered open, gazing up at him. He felt as though his stomach had just inverted. She smiled at her brilliant detective and moved her hand to mirror his. He smiled as he felt her heartrate increase as she looked up at him, both under his fingertips and in the gentle beating of the light.

“I am in love with you,” she whispered, as though she were divulging her greatest secret, as though she was offering him her life. His heartrate increased. He had been so conflicted when she stumbled into his life. He had been trained his entire life to believe that sentiment was a fault, a hindrance, a defect. But she had been taken and all of a sudden everything which had been so simple and easy before he knew her became important. The mark she had left of his heart was permanent and so unmistakably her. To ignore his attachment to her would be illogical and no doubt detrimental to his mind. In the past few weeks he had felt as though he was slower on cases as part of his mind always seemed to be devoted to watching her. The one day she had destroyed Donovan he had wanted to snog her until her knees gave out. Not even John had stood up the idiot detectives for him, but she tore them apart. It had caused him to take an entire extra minute to solve that case. Perhaps, he concluded, love might motivate, rather than hinder.

“I am entirely and utterly devoted to you.”

 

The next morning, John went downstairs to wake you up. As both the doctors had similar schedules, he often took it upon himself to knock on her door to make sure she hadn’t slept through her alarm and start the kettle, if nobody else had already. The rules of the flat had become that the first person up made the tea for the morning, and most often that was John or Y/N, seeing as Sherlock was often either asleep or thinking so early in the morning. Upon seeing her door still slightly ajar, John pressed forward down the hall, peering nosily into the room, just for a moment. The bed had not been slept in. John smirked as he filled the kettle. The door behind him opened, but he didn’t turn around as Sherlock’s footsteps padded quietly toward the living room. The doctor couldn’t help himself.

“Has Y/N run to the store?” he called out to the detective who flicked through yesterday’s newspaper lazily.

“Hm?” He didn’t look up.

“Y/N. She’s not in her bedroom.”

“You took it upon yourself to check? No, she’s asleep,” he responded, still refusing eye contact. John grinned.

“No, she wasn’t in her bedroom, and she isn’t out here,” he gestured dramatically to the woman’s empty chair.

“I’ll leave you to your deductions,” Sherlock murmured, flicking the newspaper to cover his face. John chuckled to himself, taking a long time with the tea in the hopes that he would catch you trying to sneak away from the detective’s room. To his surprise, just as he was pouring the water, you emerged as though nothing were amiss, even wearing one of Sherlock’s shirts. You yawned and fluffed your hair.

“Good morning John. Thank you for tea,” you chirped, wandering over to the proffered mug of tea. You preferred when Sherlock made it, as he always seemed to get it perfect, but John’s was good too. Sherlock narrowed his eyes over the top of his newspaper as he watched you make your way over to your chair, pulling up your laptop to do some work. John watched interested at the two of you. After a moment, Sherlock got up to fetch his own cup of tea, stopping in the way back to his chair to confirm John’s suspicions by pressing his lips to yours. John chuckled and muttered something about getting ready for work.

Chapter Text

The following weeks were utopian. You and the boys were always running off on one adventure or another. Sherlock was beginning to gain more attention in the papers and by virtue, so were you and John.  On night while leaving a theatre, a mob of press awaited the three of you outside. Sherlock retrieved a deerstalker and a pinch cap for him and John, pausing to pull the red hood of your coat low over your face and press a kiss to your lips. From the corner of your eye, you saw Donovan hand Lestrade a couple of bills. The flat erupted in laughter one night when you found an article about you and Sherlock in a trashy tabloid, reading from it dramatically while standing on your chair while the boys giggled.

“Has the heart of the famous icy detective been thawed? Mystery woman and Sherlock Holmes seen leaving crime scene together with joined hearts,” you read aloud. “Can Little Red tame this wild detective, or will Big Bad Holmes be too much to handle?” Sherlock chuckled as you and John burst out laughing.

“They didn’t even mention me, did they?” John asked, reaching for the magazine. Scanning through the article, you pointed out the last sentence at the bottom.

“Not true! It says here, ‘No word yet on how the detective’s previously favorite “companion” is handling this change in regime.’ See!” You all laughed, eventually burning the magazine with Sherlock’s blowtorch, much to Mrs. Hudson’s chagrin.

You stopped using your bedroom. One night you tried to sleep in your own room, worried about being too clingy, which resulted in Sherlock sulking until he scooped you up and brought you back to his room. He had become addicted to your kisses, becoming sullen and miserable if he ever went without them for too long, though this didn’t bother you in the slightest. He had laid off smoking almost entirely. After a couple months of your bedsheets gathering dust, you approached Sherlock with an idea.

“Maybe we should convert it?” you proposed while you and Sherlock were working with the microscope at the kitchen table. Mrs. Hudson and John had both complained about the lack of kitchen space in the last hour as Sherlock’s experiments began to take up more and more room. You never dared eat anything in the fridge for fear of anything having accidentally touched a body part. Sherlock grunted. “My old room I mean. We could turn it into a lab.” He looked up now, thinking. You got up from your seat and moved to stand next to him, smiling as he absentmindedly drew you closer. “We could get you your own little fridge to put your samples in. A couple of tables. Some bookshelves and cabinets for all your equipment.” You trailed off, worried that he might not like the idea of having to then share his bedroom with you.

“What about your stuff that’s in there?” he asked.

“Well I could just put it in the closet. There isn’t a lot of it. Only the really important stuff from when I was younger. A few paintings, my book collection, and a couple instruments but that’s about it.”

“You could put it out here, you know. You’re allowed to move your things around besides in that one room,” he suggested.

“So you like the idea?” you asked, deciding to voice your concerns. “I just don’t want you to feel-“

“Like I’m stuck with you?” he interrupted. You looked up at him and nodded slightly. He rolled his eyes and kissed you unexpectedly. “I’m certain it will likely be the other way round. Are you sure you’d be okay with giving up your room?”

“Yes.”

“Then of course I like the idea. I’m startled I didn’t think to do it myself.”

The next week consisted of your things making their way into the other parts of the house. Your guitar and ukulele were tucked into the corner next to Sherlock’s violin. One of your paintings that John particularly liked got hung up in the kitchen. Your toothbrush and soaps migrated to Sherlock’s bathroom and your clothes moved to the left half of his closet. A small refrigerator was bought for Sherlock’s specimens and soon enough, your old bedroom was a fully converted office and the kitchen was decluttered and disinfected.

One day, you and Sherlock were doing an experiment as you and John chatted. Hanging upside-down from the back of one of the chairs, you allowed Sherlock to take a blood sample as John was talking about a girl he wanted to ask out of a date. Suddenly a thud resonated from the kitchen followed by Mrs. Hudson calling out. Sherlock started, stabbing you with the lancet harder than necessary.

“Ah!” you retracted your hurt arm.

“Sorry darling,” he murmured, taking the sample quickly and kissing your arm where he had hurt it before helping you up to go see what Mrs. Hudson had yelled about.

The man who the three of you found in the living room did not exceed your notice more than any of the other hopeful clients that had sat in your living room. Sherlock deemed that the case wasn’t interesting enough so sent John to investigate further while you both stayed home.

Late that morning when John arrived at the scene, Sherlock tumbled from the shower bundled up in your sheets to video call with John. You didn’t bother feeling embarrassed for him as he trudged from the bedroom into the company of the client, barely looking up as you finished putting on your makeup for the day at the small vanity which had taken residence in the corner of your shared room. You heard the doorbell ring shrilly from where Sherlock had stashed it in the fridge but didn’t bother to go open the door as you finished your eyeliner, expecting that it was likely just a package. A few moments later you heard the bustling of footsteps and emerged into the hall to investigate as a man in a crisp suit headed your way.

“Dr. L/N, we were told to come collect you,” he explained absentmindedly as he let himself into your room. You flushed in embarrassment as he stepped past the piled of dirty laundry towards Sherlock’s dresser.

“I beg your pardon, but what can you possibly need out of there? Spare trousers?” you demanded, hurrying over to where he stacked a pile of folded clothes on top of the dresser.

“No, ma’am,” he monotoned, ignoring your tone. “Where you two are going, you’ll want to look nice.” He bustled past you toward the living room. You followed after him, pausing for only a moment to look in the mirror. Your makeup was done and your hair was almost dry. You wore a simple yellow sundress that the weather only just allowed. You grabbed a Burt’s Bees from the vanity and put it in your pocket, following the man out to the living room. Another suited stranger lurked in the room, Mrs. Hudson and the client shrinking into the background. Sherlock looked disdainfully at the men.

“Oh I know exactly where we’re going.”

Chapter Text

You must have been dreaming. You must have been drugged or be drunk because there was no logical reason you could fathom why the car you were in might pull into Buckingham Palace. Sherlock just brooded silently, obviously displeased that he was being dragged out of the flat, even having refused to dress, still wearing your bedsheets. You thanked god that at least they were fresh. The two of you were ushered into a great sitting room and Sherlock flopped on the sofa indelicately. You sat next to him and cursed yourself for not heading the other man’s advice and changing into something nicer. A few moments later, John wandered in, looking just as confused as you felt. Looking up at him, he gestured to the room bewilderedly. You just shrugged. The doctor wandered over to sit down on the other side of Sherlock. He glanced over at Sherlock, eyeing his attire.

“Are you wearing any pants?”

“No.”

“Okay”

You all burst out laughing.

“At Buckingham Palace, fine,” he murmured, trying to pull himself together. “I am seriously fighting an impulse to steal an ashtray.” Your chuckles intertwined, your bubbly one mixing with Sherlock’s baritone laughs. “What are we doing here? Sherlock, seriously, what?”

“I don’t know.”

“Here to see the Queen?” Footsteps sounded from one of the doorways and Mycroft rounded the corner.

“Oh, apparently yes.” The three of you couldn’t suppress your giggles as Mycroft glared disdainfully.

“Just once, can the three of you behave like grown-ups?” he sneered pompously.

“We solve crimes, I blog about, he forgets his pants and she’s American. I wouldn’t hold out too much hope,” John smirked.

“I was in the middle of a case, Mycroft,” Sherlock grumbled.

“What, the hiker and the backfire? I glanced at the police report. Bit obvious, surely,” Mycroft replied as he strode over.

“Transparent.” John seemed baffled by this, but didn’t speak.

“Time to move on then,” he coughed and held out the stack of clothes to his little brother. Sherlock only stared at them disinterested. Mycroft sighed and continued, “We are in Buckingham Palace, at the very heart of the British nation. Sherlock Holmes, put your trousers on.”

“What for?”

You leaned over to John and murmured under your breath, “I had almost this exact conversation with my little brother once.” You two chuckled as the boys continued and you briefly realized that of those present, Sherlock was the only little sibling.

“Your client.”

“And my client is?” he asked, standing up.

“Illustrious, in the extreme,” called out a voice from the opposite doorway. You turned to see a blonde suited man enter. John rose, so you did too. “And remaining, I have to inform you, completely anonymous.”

“Not exactly,” you muttered, drawing the attention of the men. “I mean with the location, I really don’t know if I could possibly guess who it is.” They ignored you.

“Mycroft!” the man regarded, shaking hands with the elder Holmes.

“Harry! May I just apologize for the state of my little brother?” they turned to regard Sherlock.

“A full time occupation, I imagine.” Sherlock noticed how your eyes narrowed, chuckling silently to himself as he felt your heartrate speed up with anger. “And this must be Doctor John Watson, formerly of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers.” John looked pleased to be recognized for his achievements before Sherlock, straightening up and shaking the man’s hand.

“Hello, yes.”

“My employer is a tremendous fan of your blog.” You thought that if you had to frame John Watson’s proudest moment it would be this one, when he found out that the queen read his blog.

“Your employer?” he stuttered.

“Particularly the one about the aluminum crutch.”

“Thank you.” The man turned from John to you.

“Dr. L/N. I’ve heard much of your academic accomplishments. Truly remarkable,” he esteemed as he shook your hand. You raised an eyebrow warily, still unsure of this man, but greeted him politely anyway.

“And Mr. Holmes, the younger. You look taller in your photographs.” You had to make an effort not to laugh.

“I take the precaution of a good coat and short friends. Mycroft, I don’t do anonymous clients. I’m used to mystery at one end of my cases, both ends is too much work.” He turned briefly to acknowledge the other man before turning to leave to room. Mycroft stepped on the sheet, pulling it away from Sherlock’s body, who only caught it in time to avoid flashing his entire ass to the room. As desperately as you wanted to be angry at Mycroft, you couldn’t help but start laughing, trying incredibly hard to remain silent.

“This is a matter of national importance. Grow up,” Mycroft demanded.

“Get off my sheet!” Sherlock hissed through gritted teeth. You felt his heartrate rising, likely with both fury and embarrassment but you still couldn’t stop giggling.

“Or what?”

“Or I’ll just walk away.” You gripped John’s arm to keep from losing it.

“I’ll let you.”

“Boys please,” John started, trying to diffuse the situation.

“Who is my client?” Sherlock seethed with rage.

“Take a look at where you’re standing and make a deduction,” Mycroft started coolly, “Now for God’s sake-“

“Mycroft!” you interrupted. “Stop instigating. You’re being a prick.” The Holmes brothers grew silent and Sherlock turned and snatched the clothes from the table, pausing only for Mycroft to lift his foot before storming out of the room long enough to change.

“You okay?” John mumbled to you as the other men called for tea.

“I just about bust an artery from trying not to laugh there,” you giggled. Looking down at your heart’s glow, you saw Sherlock’s heartrate beginning to slow. “He’s just about to rip someone’s head off, though.” John nodded understandingly.

“Well if he were a little less obstinate then he would have bothered to get dressed before he left. Why was he even walking around like that to begin with?” You blushed.

“Dunno,” you mumbled, not voicing your thoughts of how he had emerged from the bathroom with just his towel on. Sherlock had glanced at you from beneath his shaggy hair as he noticed his glow pulse quite fast suddenly. You supposed that at least the sheet had provided some more coverage. John raised his eyebrow, but didn’t push the subject.

The detective and the tea arrived about the same time. Sherlock remaining icily cool for the rest of the meeting. Mycroft poured the tea.

“I’ll be mother,” he joked pretentiously.

“And there is a whole childhood in a nutshell.” Mycroft glared at his little brother but ignored him.

“My employer has a problem,” the man broached.

“I’d have never guessed,” you muttered sarcastically, again going ignored by the men.

“A matter has come to light of an extremely delicate and potentially criminal nature and in this hour of need, dear brother, your name has arisen.”

“Why? You have a police force of sorts, even a marginally Secret Service. Why come to me?”

“People do come to you for help, don’t they, Mr. Holmes?”

“Not, to date, anyone with a Navy.”

“This is a matter of the highest security, and therefore of trust.”

“You don’t trust your own Secret Service?” John questioned.

“Naturally not. They all spy on people for money.” You and John smirked.

“I do think we have a time table,” reminded the man.

“Yes, of course,” Mycroft started, reaching in his briefcase and handing a few glossy photographs to Sherlock. “What do you know about this woman?” Sherlock took them and flicked through them. A beautiful woman with dark hair stared seductively at the camera.

“That she’s gorgeous and I’m in love with her!” you muttered, leaning forward to look at the photographs. Sherlock stared down at you. “What?”

“Nothing whatsoever,” he continued.

“Then you should be paying more attention. She’s been at the center of two political scandals in the last year, and recently ended the marriage of a prominent novelist by having an affair with both participants separately.”

“You know I don’t concern myself with trivia. Who is she?”

“Irene Adler, professionally known as The Woman.”

“Professionally?” John queried.

“There are many names for what she does. She prefers ‘dominatrix.’”

“Dominatrix?” Sherlock parroted.

“Don’t be alarmed. It’s to do with sex,” Mycroft commented, glaring at his brother smugly.

“Sex doesn’t alarm me,” Sherlock retorted. Mycroft chuckled, looking over the two of you.

“How would you know?” He might as well have punched you in the gut. You and Sherlock had taken to sharing a room but had yet to do anything intimate. As you always had, you refused to pressure him into anything he wasn’t ready for and you both had been so happy with how things had been and so busy with cases that you simply hadn’t. But when Mycroft said it, it made it feel wrong, as though you had failed in your role as Sherlock’s soulmate, as though your femininity had been called into question. You wanted to punch him in his smug face as he continued on. “She provides, shall we say, recreational scolding for those who enjoy that sort of thing and are prepared to pay for it. These are all from her website.”

“And I assume this Adler woman has some compromising photographs?”

“You’re very quick Mr. Holmes.”

“Hardly a difficult deduction. Photographs of whom?” The men across from you shifted uncomfortably.

“A person of significance to my employer. We’d prefer not to say any more at this time.” Sherlock seemed irate and smacked the photos down on the table.

“You can’t tell us anything?” John asked in disbelief.

“I can tell you it’s a young person. A young female person.”

“How many photographs?”

“A considerable number, apparently.”

“Do Miss Adler and this young female person appear in these photographs together?”

“Yes they do.”

“And I assume in a number of compromising scenarios.” Beside you, John held his teacup halfway between the saucer and his lips. Rolling your eyes, you pushed his hand down to replace it in the saucer.

“An imaginative range, we are assured.”

“Can you help us, Mr. Holmes?” the man asked hopefully.

“How?”

“Will you take the case?”

“What case? Pay her, now and in full. As Miss Adler remarks in her masthead, ‘Know when you are beaten.’” He turned to retrieve his coat from the back of the chair when Mycroft interjected once more.

“She doesn’t want anything. She got in touch. She informed us that the photographs existed, and she indicated that she had no intention of using them to extort either money or favor.” Sherlock’s eyes glinted for the first time since arriving.

“Oh, a power play. A power play with the most powerful family in Britain. Now that is a dominatrix. Ooh, this is getting rather fun, isn’t it?”

“Sherlock…” John warned.

“Where is she?” Sherlock asked, gathering his coat.

“In London currently. She’s staying-“

“Text me the details. I’ll be in touch by the end of the day,” he interrupted, getting up to leave the room. You and John rose to follow him.

“Do you really think you’ll have news by then?” questioned the man.

“No, I think I’ll have the photographs.”

“One can only hope you’re as good as you seem to think.” Sherlock turned to look at him, his gaze picking up bits and pieces of information here and there.

“I’ll need some equipment of course.”

“Anything you’ll require, I’ll have it sent-“

“Can I have a box of matches?” he asked, holding out his hand.

“I’m sorry?” the man stuttered.

“Or your cigarette lighter either will do.”

“I don’t smoke.”

“No I know you don’t but your employer does.” You and John exchanged confused looks as the man retrieved a lighter from his inner pocket begrudgingly.

“We have kept a lot of people successfully in the dark about this little fact, Mr. Holmes.”

“I’m not the Commonwealth,” he stated bluntly, turning to leave.

“And that’s about as modest as he gets. Pleasure to meet you,” John commented as the two of you trailed after Sherlock.

“La’ers!” he called out. You groaned.

“Nooo.”

Chapter Text

Back at the flat, the stolen ashtray found a place on the coffee table and Sherlock began tearing through the wardrobe, tossing clothes to the side that you hadn’t even realized were in there.

“Am I coming along on this one, Sherlock?” you asked, sitting on the bed and refolding the clothed he tossed aside. He paused as he tried on a police jacket.

“Of course, you’re not busy,” he affirmed, not looking up from his task. You grinned at his antics, but felt unsure nevertheless.

“You don’t have to, you know. I mean you don’t have to feel like-“

“Like I am required to take you?” he asked, looking up to where you sat. You slid your gaze from him and grunted your affirmation. “Some cases I don’t want you on,” he admitted, causing you to look up. “The dangerous ones I want you as far away from as possible but I’m not going to shunt you off into the corner. Besides, you often lend valuable input to cases and I can pay more attention to assure you’re safe.” Sherlock paused in his mission to walk over to you, bending over to press a kiss to your lips. You gripped the front of his shirt pulling him to sit down next to you, feeling him smirk against you. He broke apart and rested his forehead against yours. “I don’t ever want you to feel insecure. I love you and you don’t ever need to feel like a bother. Do you understand?” You kissed him again, relishing that you had free access to his intoxicating kisses whenever you wanted and feeling chills crawl up your spine as he kissed you back.

“Yes, I know. I will certainly endeavor to do so,” you agreed. You may feel insecure sometimes. You often felt like he was far too smart for you, far too incredible and wild and wonderful for someone like you, but he really did try to show you that you mattered to him in his own little ways. In the way he had carefully integrated your socks into his sock index, or set up your easel in the corner of the office so he could watch you while you painted and he worked, or how he had memorized the way you liked things, from your tea to your books. At night he would lavish promises of love over you until you fell asleep securely wrapped up in his arms. Through his kisses he wrote you sonnets, convincing you so sincerely that he loved you with every stroke of hair or kiss on the neck.

Sherlock kissed you once more before he leapt back up to finish finding the right “armor” as he had described it to John. After a moment he paused, pulling on the same shirt he had worn earlier and slipping a piece of paper underneath he collar. He looked like a friar. Observing himself in the mirror, he seemed to decide on it before turning to you.

“Now let’s find you something a bit frumpier.”

 

After the cabbie deposited you in an alley nearby The Woman’s home, Sherlock demanded that John punch him in the face. Sherlock sent the first punch at John and it only took an instant before John responded with vigor.

“Boys!” you shouted, tearing John away from Sherlock, checking both of them for injury, wincing at the blood which bloomed brightly against your soulmate’s pale skin, but didn’t do much to soothe him as he did also hit your best friend. He didn’t seem to mind, as he turned his attention to you, tugging your ponytail at odd angles and pulling pieces of hair from it. He runched up your coat and smeared your eyeliner under your right eye with his thumb. You allowed him to dishevel you as he liked, glancing at John nervously as he watched on amusedly. Sherlock looked over you and nodded, turning to move onwards, but paused for just a moment to plant a quick kiss on your lips. You started in surprise, but he soon continued forwards, leaving you and John to trail after him.

“How do I look?” you asked, framing your face with your hands.

“Bit wild, though I suppose that is the general point,” answered John bemusedly.

“It’s the latest fashion from Vogue,” you joked, causing John to giggle as you struck ridiculous poses, pausing only for a moment here and there as you both followed after the detective.

Sherlock ushered the two of you over to the door, and with one press of the doorbell transformed from the cool dark detective into a bumbling and cowardly vicar.

“Hello?”

“Oh! Um, I’m sorry to disturb you but, um my wife and I were just attacked,” he stuttered. You ignored the smug glance from John. “Um, I think they took my wallet, um, and our phones, um and her handbag. Please can you help us?”

“I can phone the police if you want,” the voice replied coolly.

“Thank you! Thank you, would you please? Um, would you mind if we just waited here, just until they come? Thank you, thank you so much,” he whimpered, pressing a handkerchief to his cut and turning to fuss over you, still in character. The door buzzed open and he nervously ushered you in, keeping his hand on your back or shoulder the whole time, while John ambled in behind you. The front room was grand and beautiful. A pretty red haired woman leaned against a small table as your group made their way inside.

“Thank you, oh!” Sherlock glanced around in mock surprise at the room. Not wanting to draw any attention lest you do something wrong, you did your best to just look scared and meek.

“I saw it all happen. It’s okay, I’m a doctor. Now, have you got a first aid kit?” John introduced.

“In the kitchen,” supplied the woman bemusedly, “please,” she added, gesturing to the hall. She showed you and Sherlock to the pristine sitting room and led John away. Sherlock sat down on the sofa, watching you as you sat down next to him.

“Are you ready?” he asked. You glanced at him, unsure why he felt the need to specify.

“Of course, why?” you queried.

“Well, this is a bit of a big one, the royal family has employed me to go after a sex worker. I just wanted to make sure that you were comfortable with all this,” he specified, looking at you in earnest. You grinned, touched that he would worry so.

“Let’s withhold judgment until after the case is finished. But this is your work, I’m not going to throw a fit just because you have to investigate a prostitute,” you assured, quickly continuing. “So long as everyone remains clothed,” you joked. Sherlock grinned, but the sound of footsteps down the hall ended your conversation. Sherlock pressed the handkerchief to his cut again and you assumed a worried stance.

“Hello, sorry to hear that you’ve been hurt. I don’t think Kate caught your name,” called a voice, before the owner entered the room. Sherlock began to reply as you looked up, but you both stopped short.

She was absolutely naked.

If you weren’t stunned you would have laughed at the irony, but as it happened, you just stared. She was perfect. Every flaw that you had, she didn’t. Smooth pale skin seemed to stretch on forever, exposed to the light streaming in from the windows. High heeled shoes stretched her legs gorgeously. Brown hair was swept up into an elegant series of twists, not allowing any of her to be covered. Her cheekbones were nearly as sharp as Sherlock’s and her lips were painted a perfect blood red. She was beautiful.

“Oh, it’s always hard to remember an alias when you’ve had a fright, isn’t it?” She strode over, ignoring your presence and stood directly in front of Sherlock, who watched her keenly. She pulled the paper from his collar. “There now, we’re both defrocked, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.”

“Miss Adler, I presume?” he monotoned. She ignored him.

“Oh, look at those cheekbones. I could cut myself slapping that face. Would you like me to try?” she enticed, gazing lustfully at your soulmate, biting down around the paper in an almost sexual way. You gaped between the pair, already wanting to drag your boys as far from this maniac as possible.

“Right, this should do it,” said John, rounding the corner with a bowl and cloth only to look up at the scene before him. A very naked woman stood too close to an annoyed Sherlock and you sat next to him looking traumatized. He warily glanced around. “I’ve missed something haven’t I?”

“Please, sit down,” she invited, somehow the vision of grace and sensuality, gesturing to the seats before sweeping over to a chair herself. “Or if you’d like some tea I can call the maid.”

“I had some at the palace,” Sherlock intoned.

“I know,” she replied smoothly, sitting and delicately positioning her limbs to cover her body.

“Clearly.” Sherlock seemed unfazed by her lack of apparel, staring at her with the same pensive stare he had when deducing anybody, but this time is irked you that he would look at her in such a state. You reasoned that he could hardly have known that she would pull such a stunt, but the discomfort resided in your stomach all the same. John said something, but you didn’t think that anybody paid attention. Sherlock’s brow furrowed.

He isn’t getting anything.

You rolled your eyes internally. You set to trying to observe the woman before you. Her skin was smooth and flawless; the only stretch marks to be found wrapping around her hips horizontally, so she had a sudden growth spurt growing up. There were no stretch marks around her stomach so she had never been pregnant. There were no scars in sight, so you supposed rather begrudgingly that she hadn’t had any major surgery. You noticed a small mark on the inside of her arm, indicating Nexplanon which you supposed explained her lack of pregnancies. C cup, completely hairless, so likely waxed often, slightly imperfect teeth suggesting that she never had braces. She was likely early 30’s as her face seemed slightly aged, but not enough that she had decided to do plastic surgery yet. Diamond earrings and matching ring likely cost thousands of pounds. That, coupled with the large and luxurious house, indicated an incredible fortune. Any normal prostitute would never make so much, but she apparently did, so something must set her apart from the rest. Likely catered only to those of a higher class, as evidenced by the fact that she serviced one of the royal family. Could that be all that she did in order to make so much? Though, you supposed that you really didn’t know how much services like that might cost, so you couldn’t judge too well.

“Do you know the big problem with a disguise, Mr. Holmes?” she asked, catching your attention. Sherlock quirked an eyebrow at her silently. “No matter how hard you try, it’s always a self-portrait.”

“You think I’m a vicar with a bleeding face?” he questioned.

“I think you’re damaged, delusional, and believe in a higher power. In your case, it’s yourself,” she appraised. You groaned and rolled your eyes. The woman’s eyes snapped to you, raking over your artfully frizzed hair and sweater dress that made your waist and bust seem nonexistent. “And you, Miss L/N,” she drawled, looking at you for the first time. “Frumpy, simple, and utterly devoted to something unattainable,” she smirked smugly. You raised an eyebrow, unwilling to rise to her bait and get angry, though her words lingered in your mind.

“Dr. L/N, Miss Adler,” you corrected, flaunting your title in comparison to hers.

John laughed suddenly and uncomfortably. “Could you put something on please? Anything at all, a napkin?” he gestured to the small cloth.

“Why? Are you feeling exposed?” she gloated, reveling in her ability to make him uncomfortable.

“I don’t think John knows where to look,” Sherlock said, standing up and shaking out his coat. The woman leapt past him.

“No, I think he knows exactly where,” she grinned, standing bare in front of an increasingly red John. “I’m not sure about you.” She took the coat from Sherlock, slipping it on. You groaned.

“That’s going to need to be washed now…” you mumbled. If anyone heard you, they ignored you.

Chapter Text

“Well, never mind. We have better things to talk about. Now, tell me, I need to know. How was it done?” she slinked over to the pristine couch where you sat, sitting next to you and slipping off her heels. You not-so-politely rose the moment she drew near you and moved to perch on the chair next to Sherlock. This woman irked you. First she appeared naked in front of the boys and now she donned Sherlock’s coat, the coat which you would find wrapped around you when you were cold or when you dozed off on a case, which would envelope you in the smell of your soulmate. Now it seemed sullied by another woman, a very nude woman.

“What?”

“The hiker, with the bashed in head, how was he killed?”

“That’s not why I’m here,” Sherlock said, seeming distracted. Your gut boiled.

“No, you’re here for the photographs, but that’s never going to happen and since we’re here just chatting anyway…”

“That story’s not been on the news yet. How do you know about it?” asked John, wandering further into the room.

“I know one of the policemen. Well, I know what he likes,” she answered coolly.

“Oh. And you like policemen?” John asked, sitting next to her. You wanted to smack him. Hard.

“I like detective stories, and detectives. Brainy is the new sexy.”

“Thpusitnnn-“ Sherlock stuttered, apparently distracted by the woman’s comment. You wanted to kill somebody. “The position of the car relative to the hiker at the time of the backfire and the fact that the death blow was to the back of the head, that’s all you need to know,” he finished, beginning to pace across the rug.

“Okay, tell me, how was he murdered?”

“He wasn’t.”

“You don’t think he was murdered?”

“I know he wasn’t.”

“How?”

“The same way I know the victim was an excellent sportsman recently returned from foreign travel and that the photographs I’m looking for are in this room,” Sherlock monotoned. You glanced up at the detective and smiled. His head was in the game now, and there wouldn’t be any more distractions until he had solved his puzzle.

“Okay, but how?”

“So they are in this room? Thank you,” he grinned. “John, man the door. Let no one in.” John rose amusedly and left the room, leaving just you, Sherlock and the woman in the room alone. This seemed to make her uncomfortable.

“Two men, alone in the countryside, several yards apart and one car,” Sherlock began, still pacing unaffectedly.

“Oh, I thought you were looking for the photos now,” she commented, her collected air beginning to fade.

“No, no, looking takes ages. I’m just going to find them and you’re moderately clever and we’ve got a moment, so let’s pass the time. Two men, a car and nobody else. Driver’s trying to fix his engine, getting nowhere. The hiker is taking a moment, looking at the sky. Watching the birds? Any minute now something is going to happen. What?” You grinned as Sherlock became engrossed in his mind, moving as though he was seeing something no one else could.

“The hiker’s going to die,” she answered.

No, something has to have happened between those two moments to cause his death.

“No, that’s the result. What’s going to happen?” Sherlock corrected, still pacing. The woman looked confused.

“I don’t understand.”

“Oh, well try to,” he bit back. You bit back a grin. You doubted that you had anything to worry about. Nothing irritates Sherlock more than stupid people claiming to be smart. The woman was clever, yes, but she was faltering. The cracks in her perfectly created act were beginning to show and Sherlock noticed every part of it.

“Why?” she challenged.

“Because you cater to the whims of the pathetic and take your clothes off to make an impression. Stop boring me and think. It’s the new sexy.” You wanted to kiss him.

“It’s always been my sexy,” you muttered. Sherlock’s eyes glanced to you for an instant, seeing the glint in your eyes. You knew the answer to his question, of course. Months of living with Sherlock had taught you what he looked for in answers and how to deduce on the most basic levels.

“The car is going to backfire.”

“There’s going to be a loud noise,” he continued, glancing at you as the pieces in your head began to shift into place.

What happens when there’s a loud noise? You look…

“So what?”

“Oh, noises are important. Noises can tell you everything. For instance…” Sherlock paused turning to the woman. A moment later, the fire alarm went off from somewhere in the house. You flicked your eyes up to Sherlock as she sat up to look. Her gaze shifted to the mirror behind Sherlock. He followed her gaze hungrily.

“Thank you,” he drawled, approaching the mirror with predatory steps. “On hearing a smoke alarm a mother would look toward her child. Amazing how fire exposes our priorities.” He ran a hand along the mantelpiece searching for a trigger of some kind, locating it and causing the mirror to glide upwards, exposing a safe. The woman rose, her cool face morphing into something like worry. Sherlock turned and glared. “I really hope you don’t have a baby in here. Alright John you can turn it off now. I said you can turn it off!” he shouted towards the hall.

“Give me a minute!” you heard John call, his voice muffled through the walls. You heard a small bang and the fire alarm stopped. Sherlock peered at the key pad thoughtfully.

“You should always wear gloves with these things, you know,” Sherlock mused. The woman’s worry seemed to wear away, and now she was almost grinning, as though she knew something no one else did. “Heaviest oil deposit is always on the first key used, that’s quite clearly a three but after that the sequence is almost impossible to read. I see from the make it’s a six digit code. It can’t be your birthday, no disrespect but clearly you were born in the 80’s and the 8’s barely used so…”

“I’d tell you the code right now,” she meandered over to the window and turned back to face Sherlock. He turned and quirked an eyebrow at her. “But you know what? I already have.” His face morphed into confusion. “Think.”

The door burst open, drawing everyone’s attention. A man with a gun strode in, another pair trailing behind with John in between them.

“Hands behind your head, on the floor. Keep it still!” he demanded. One man grabbed Irene and another shoved John to the floor. Sherlock’s hands tentatively rose to match that of John and the woman’s, his fingertips trailing the base of his skull.

“Sorry Sherlock,” he mumbled miserably. John’s captor strode over to you, grabbing you by the coat and shoving you to the floor. You jerked away, indignant at being touched and knelt, holding your hands up in the air where they could be seen. You scowled at the men, realizing as the ginger one spoke again that they were American.

“Miss Adler, on the floor,” he snarled.

“Did you want me on the floor too?” Sherlock asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“No, sir, I want you to open the safe.”

“American. Interesting. Why would you care?”

“Man, way to uphold national stereotypes,” you remarked, getting smacked it the back of the head for your efforts.

“Sir, the safe now, please,” the man seethed.

“I don’t know the code,” Sherlock countered.

“We’ve been listening, she said she told you.”

“Well, if you’ve been listening then you know she didn’t.”

“I’m assuming I missed something. From your reputation I’m assuming you didn’t, Mr. Holmes.” You looked to John. He seemed to be seething fury underneath his stony exterior. You wanted to assure him that everything would be fine, but didn’t dare move under the threat of the gun hovering inches above your head. The woman was staring at Sherlock, seemingly trying to convey something to him without moving.

“For God’s sake, she’s the one that knows the code, ask her!” John gritted.

“Yes, sir, she also knows the code that automatically calls the police and sets off the burglar alarm. I’ve learned not to trust this woman.” You giggled under your breath for just a moment.

And how did you get to know her, sir?

“Mr. Holmes doesn’t know the-“

“Shut up. One more word out of you, just one, and I will decorate that wall with the insides of your head. That for me, will not be a hardship,” he spat.

“Such violence,” you muttered.

“That goes for you too, missy.”

“They’re ‘sir’s and I’m ‘missy’?” you mumbled quietly. The man glared at you. You raised your hands higher. “Got it.”

The man turned to Sherlock, inclining his head to call to one of the men who loomed over you.

“Mr. Archer, on the count of three, shoot Ms. Y/N.” Your stomach dropped as the cold metal of the gun pressed into your neck, but you didn’t dare speak or look afraid. You ground your teeth together and squeezed your raised hands into fists, but didn’t budge. From under his shirt, Sherlock’s glow beat faster, advertising your fear, though through your coat no one else could see that yours reflected the same.

“What?” John sputtered.

“I don’t know the code,” Sherlock repeated hurriedly.

“One.”

“I don’t know the code,” he insisted.

“Two.”

“Sherlock,” John clamored.

“She didn’t tell me. I don’t know it!” he shouted.

“I’m prepared to believe you any second now. Three-“

“No, stop,” he barked. Your eyes flitted to Sherlock’s as he turned to face the safe. The gun pressed harder against your neck. Six tiny beeps sounded from the safe. A tiny affirmative sound chimed, signaling his success. Breathes of relief sounded from almost all of the occupants of the room.

“Thank you Mr. Holmes. Open it, please.”

Sherlock moved to open the door, but paused too long.

“Vatican cameos,” he said, swinging open the door and ducking out of the way of the shot. You and John recognized the code, dropping to the ground as the bullet ricocheted around the room before landing in John’s captor. You hit the ground on your side, kicking your legs out to trip the man who had held you and Irene hostage. His gun dropped and Irene picked it up, pointing it at his head.

“Do you mind?” Sherlock asked as you and John picked yourselves up off the floor.

“Not at all,” Irene replied, slamming the handle of the gun into the side of the man’s head, knocking him out.

“He’s dead,” John muttered, gesturing to his former captor.

“Thank you,” drawled the woman, “You were very… observant.”

“Observant?” John repeated.

“I’m flattered,” she preened.

“Don’t be,” Sherlock answered. “You’re the same.” He gestured between you and the woman. Her smirk slid away and your brow furrowed in confusion.

There’s certainly nothing similar between us!

“The same?” John parroted again.

“There’ll be more of them. They’ll be keeping an eye on the building,” Sherlock said, hurrying from the room. You and John followed him out the front door as Sherlock fired the gun into the air, though you barely paid attention to their bickering as you head back into the house, going with John to check the house with the gun that Sherlock quickly pressed into your hand. The weapon felt foreign to you. You had never held one except for John’s handgun, despising the violence that they brought. You smashed the dread in your gut and cocked it like you had seen John do before, dashing into the different rooms and looking for something amiss. You found nothing but perfectly polished and uninhabited rooms. From somewhere upstairs you heard John call out. You slowly navigated your way out of the basement up the stairs, following the sound of footsteps. You made your way up the main flight of stairs as John passed you.

“They’re down the hall. You might want to check on that before she rips his throat out,” he advised before heading off towards some unknown goal. You groaned and hurried down the hall.

“Well your booby trap did just kill a man,” you heard Sherlock’s voice echo down the hall. You quietly rounded the corner into the room.

“He would have killed me,” she slinked over to your soulmate, the glint of a syringe apparent in her hand. You dashed forward as she slid her hand over Sherlock’s arm, raising her other to jam the needle into his arm. You snatched the syringe from her hand.

“Excuse me, no.” Sherlock turned to see as you stepped on the tube, crushing the drug and vial underfoot.

“Fine then,” she said, snatching a whip off the table and smacking you across the face with it in one clean motion. Sherlock rushed to you, yanking the weapon from her grasp and tossing it aside. Sirens from outside grew louder. The woman seemed irate, but fled from the room out the window anyway, not willing to risk capture.

Chapter Text

That night, with the phone secure in the bedside table drawer, you curled into Sherlock’s side while his hand trailed through your hair. Even secure under the covers and wrapped in his arms, questions plagued you and kept you from sleep.

“What is it?” he asked, his voice low and groggy with exhaustion. It had been a very long day and Sherlock slept best after a good case. You looked up, only to see him gazing down at you. You didn’t notice how he took in every detail of you, the way your hair fell across the pillow, your heat seeping into him, the gentle pulse of your heartbeat. You didn’t want to voice your thoughts, but you figured it would be simpler that trying to conceal them.

“A couple of things. It’s been a long day,” you mumbled, the thoughts and questions from the day getting mixed up.

“Pick one and start from there,” he instructed, turning to his side so he could watch you. You chose the easiest of your questions.

“What did you mean when you said that we were the same?” you asked. Sherlock grinned.

“The code to the safe, 322434, it was her measurements,” he started. Your gut twisted.

“You must have been observing her very closely then,” you mumbled.

“You both have the same measurements,” he clarified. Your brow furrowed. Irene Adler was the image of sensuality and body ideals. You had never thought that your body was particularly sexy, certainly not like hers.

“I look nothing like her,” you voiced. Sherlock brushed the hair which had fallen into your face behind your ear.

“No you don’t. You look real…” he brought your hand to his lips, pressing a kiss on your wrist. “…and wildly beautiful,” he murmured as he pressed his lips to yours. You blushed. He hadn’t ever commented on your appearance before, certainly not appraisingly. He pulled away after only a moment, gesturing for you to continue. You swallowed, anxiety for you next question filling your stomach.

“Mycroft- he said that you wouldn’t know…” you trailed off as understanding crossed Sherlock’s face. You felt like you noticed the tips of his ears grow pink, but the room was lit only by your hearts and you couldn’t really tell.

“Ah, yes. My brother finds it amusing to tease me for my lack of experience in… that area.” Your brow furrowed.

“You’ve never…”

“Of course not,” he answered, certainly blushing now. “Until only recently all emotions of that type were regarded as abhorrent. I would never have acted upon them, what little there were.” You nodded, understanding what he meant. You had wondered about aspects of that nature, but you had never truly paused to consider whether he had a history, or lack thereof. “You… haven’t?” he asked, vulnerability apparent in his voice. You chuckled.

“No, of course not,” you soothed, bringing your hand up to run your fingers through his curls, his eyes slipping closed for a moment at the sensation. “I never saw the point in not waiting. If you have a soulmate I- I just always thought that I would wait for my soulmate.” You looked down, embarrassed by the topic. You had friends who had slept around, and you were always the first to sit them down with pamphlets and educational demonstrations, but the topic had always made you uneasy. You respected your friend’s choices, but you could never imagine sharing something so personal with anyone other than your soulmate. Sherlock’s fingers tipped your chin up to face him.

“And what he said bothered you?” he confirmed, speaking again about what Mycroft had said.

“It just felt like he was poking at me. As though I wasn’t doing my job as your soulmate, or lacking in some way or another. And I know I’ve said it before, but I don’t want to pressure you into anything before you’re ready. Especially that. I just don’t want you to do anything for any other reason than that you want to, not because you feel that you have to,” you gushed, spilling your thoughts into the cool air of the bedroom. Sherlock scanned your face, pressing his forehead to yours.

“I love you for that.” He pressed a kiss to your lips, your cheek, your throat, your lips again, as his fingers tangled in the roots of your hair. Electricity buzzed down your spine at his gentle touch, crying for more. A sigh escaped your lips. It seemed to spur him on as he kissed you again with more fervor. The familiar golden glow of your joined hearts brightened at the closeness of his actions and your heartbeat increased with every feather-light graze. He pulled away from you, his eyes darkened and his voice ragged. “And if I was ready now?” he breathed in the space between you.

 

Late that night after the case, John shut his laptop closed, pushing it aside. He was meant to spend that day getting some work done for his practice, but as they had been busy the whole day, he stayed up rather later than usual finishing it off. Stretching out his stiff muscles, he rose and left his room to fetch some water. He padded down the stairs as quietly as possible, not wanting to wake the sleeping couple below him. Sherlock used to sleep about once every few days, regardless of John’s constant arguments against such a custom but since Y/N had started sleeping in there Sherlock slept almost every night, except when he was on a case. He had become less irate, quicker on cases, and even more thoughtful around the flat. Once John saw him sweeping the living room, which he didn’t understand until he realized it was because Y/N seemed to be allergic to dust.

He was nearly unbearable when she wasn’t around. She had gone to France for a couple days for a conference about a month ago and Sherlock smoked an entire pack of cigarettes, a habit he had abandoned at her insistence, shot the wall again, and came home with a vile of what John hoped wasn’t human blood to test with a new kind of acid he had obtained. When she came home she was quickly smothered by the sleep-deprived detective in hugs and kisses. John had entered the living room to find both of the soulmates curled in Sherlock’s chair, their limbs overflowing as she laid horizontally across his lap with her knees hanging over the arm of the chair and her head resting on the other. She seemed fine though, as she leafed through a book and Sherlock shouted at the television, occasionally reading a few sentences from her book and commenting on it.

“Who is Elizabeth? Why doesn’t she like that Collins man?”

“You are joking, right?”

He hadn’t had one danger night either. Occasionally John would see Sherlock nearing his wit’s end with one frustration or the other and he would begin to be wary, worried about a possible relapse. Just when John was about to text Mycroft one evening, however, Sherlock stood and stormed into the office. A few minutes later John rose under the guise of making tea, but peered through the doorway of the office. Y/N was seated at her painting stool, leaning into Sherlock’s embrace, her arms twined around his neck, a paintbrush dangling from her fingers leaving unnoticed marks of yellow in his hair as they both seemed preoccupied with each other’s tongues. John decided that he didn’t need tea after all and retreated to his chair.

John paused as he stepped on the squeaky step, wincing at the loud sound. After a moment’s hesitation with no reaction, he proceeded onwards. As he rounded the corner into the kitchen, a golden flash went off from the direction of Sherlock’s bedroom. John froze.

He went back upstairs without water.

Chapter Text

In the early hours of the morning, the window of your bedroom opened silently. Neither of the sleeping couple stirred as the woman slipped in, searching the room as silent as mist for her possession. Her eyes glanced to the bedside table feet away from the unconscious detective lay with limbs intertwined with his soulmate’s. She scoffed at the sight, creeping over to the table and pulling out the drawer. Triumph glinted in her eyes as she retrieved her phone. Returning the drawer to its place, she shed the coat she had worn into the room, leaving it on the hook on the door. She had made sure to spray it with her perfume a couple times, just to spite the American. She chuckled at the surprise she left in his phone, thinking about how much better it would play off given the couple’s… recent development. Without another moment, she slipped from the room as silently as she came, leaving the window open and the scent of her perfume slowly blowing out into the night air.

The room was a hazy gold when you woke up. Sunlight streamed in through the curtains and dust danced on the beams. You could hear Sherlock’s breath in your hair and you turned to watch the sleeping detective, a smile growing on your face. His dark curls hung in his face. You reached forward to brush them away, his eyes fluttering as you did so. You pulled your hand away, not wanting to wake him. He groaned and pulled you tighter, burying his face in your neck. You chuckled at him, your laughter dying as he pressed kisses to your throat. You opened your mouth to speak, but you were distracted; not by Sherlock but something else.  A breeze floated through the room, carrying a sickly sweet perfume and you paused, sitting up. The sleep vanished from Sherlock’s mind as he sat up to match. The window hadn’t been open last night.

A moan sounded from the door and you both turned to look. Sherlock’s coat hung on the hook. The owner rose from the bed and strode over to it, digging in the pocket and fishing out his phone. Realization dawned on you.

The woman had Sherlock’s coat. She had been here.

“Oh for Christ sake,” you groaned flopping on the bed. You remembered the camera phone in the bedside table, the same moment as Sherlock must have as you both moved to the drawer, pulling it open. The phone wasn’t there. Sherlock glanced around the room, the story of the intruder seeming to scream out at him and he cursed that he hadn’t noticed it immediately upon waking up. Though he supposed that he had been a little bit distracted.

“What was that noise?” you asked, the phone seemingly eager to provide an example as it went off again. Sherlock showed it to you.

“Text. ‘Till the next time, Mr. Holmes.’ ‘Good morning, Mr. Holmes.’” He read. The moan sounded again and you glimpsed the newest text.

“Busy night?’” you read. You blushed furiously. “That’s comforting. Of bloody course she would choose that noise.” Sherlock typed on his phone.

“Mycroft will be here soon. He won’t be pleased that it’s gone,” Sherlock commented, moving to pull on a dressing gown from the bathroom door.

“Yes, but you like him best when he’s displeased,” you countered, grinning. Sherlock smirked and turned to you, leaving his phone on the bedside table.

“True,” he assented, pressing a kiss to your forehead. “And I like it best when you are.” He moved to your lips.

“Smooth. Did you plan that one?” you chuckled, begrudgingly pulling away from your soulmate. “I’m going to hop in the shower. Would you put the kettle on please?” Sherlock grabbed your arm, pulling you back to the bed as you tried to move away, pushing you down and rolling on top of you.

“Or we could stay here for a while,” he suggested, barely audible as he attacked your throat with his lips. You sighed, recalling the perfect memories of last night.

“Your brother will be here soon, Sherlock,” you tried to reason.

“So?” he mumbled, pressing against your pulse point.

“You’re really testing my self-control, darling,” you moaned. Sherlock chuckled, relishing in the noise, but pulled away reluctantly.

“Fine,” he relented, rolling away from you. You head towards the shower quickly after pressing a kiss to his sulking face. You glanced in the mirror as the water warmed and groaned at the single mark left at the base of your neck.

You were certain that it was intentional.

You showered and dressed, walking out to the kitchen to find your tea already made, courtesy of your soulmate who was still dressing. John lingered in the kitchen, still doctoring his tea with milk. He looked up as you entered, smirking as though he knew something.

“’Morning. Sleep well?” he greeted, mischief apparent in his eyes.

“Yes, thank you,” you replied warily. “You?” John’s eyes lit up at your question.

“Yeah, but I think there was an explosion last night,” he said, too planned.

“What?” You heard Sherlock’s footsteps pad from the bedroom behind you and John’s smile widened.

“Yeah, it was really weird. I saw this big flash of light but there wasn’t any sound,” he supplied, barely managing to keep a straight face.

“Don’t make jokes, John, it doesn’t suit you,” commented Sherlock without looking up as he retreated into the office. You blushed violently.

“Yeah John, don’t make jokes,” you choked out, sipping your tea. Over the rim of your mug, you grinned at John silently as he chuckled to himself. You passed by him to make some breakfast, slyly high-fiving him as you passed. You both had to try hard to refrain from laughing, but the pair of you made breakfast with the help of Mrs. Hudson while you waited for Mycroft. The three of you were chatting about an old television show that you all had seen when Mycroft entered, Sherlock emerging from the office to meet him.

Mycroft was not at all pleased to hear the news about the phone. His temper went from bad to worse within five minutes of occupying the flat and only improved upon quitting it.

“The photographs are perfectly safe,” assured Sherlock.

“In the hands of a fugitive sex worker?”

“She’s not interested in blackmail. She wants protection, for some reason. I take it you’ve stood down the police investigation into the shooting at her house?”

“How can we do anything while she has the photographs? Our hands are tied.”

“She’d applaud your choice of words. You see how this works, that camera phone is her get-out-of-jail-free card. You have to leave her alone. Treat her like royalty, Mycroft.”

“Though not the way she treats royalty,” John added, causing you to chuckle over your toast. The text alert from Sherlock’s phone interrupted you. Your stomach tightened at the noise. You wished that he would change it. It had only gone off a few times and it already made you want to tear your hair out.

“What was that?” John asked.

“Text,” Sherlock answered curtly. Mycroft raised an eyebrow in your direction.

“I didn’t expect you to advertise your development with such rapidity,” he oozed, causing your face to grow hot. You didn’t look up at him and suddenly held a fascination with your eggs. Sherlock glared at his brother, rising swiftly to attend to the message.

“Did you know there were other people after her too, Mycroft, before you sent us in there? CIA trained killers, I think is an excellent guess,” he goaded.

“Yeah thanks for that, Mycroft,” John added in between bites of cereal.

“Yeah, what do they want with her anyway?” you added, finally looking the man in the eye. “I mean, I would never doubt the lengths to which a redneck would go to get their hands on upscale Playboy, but seriously?” He smirked coolly.

“That is no concern of yours,” he replied with a smug look across his face.

“It’s a disgrace, sending your little brother into danger like that,” Mrs. Hudson chimed in. “Family is all we have in the end, Mycroft Holmes.”

“Oh shut up, Mrs. Hudson,” he exclaimed.

“Mycroft!”

“Hey!”

“Mycroft, don’t be a dick!” chimed the three voices at the table, though only you added the additional advice.

“Apologies,” he muttered. The phone went off again. You groaned and took your plate to the sink.

“It’s a bit rude, that noise, isn’t it?” Mrs. Hudson commented uncomfortably.

“Agreed, I can’t imagine where you might have gotten such a sound,” Mycroft monotoned. You flushed with embarrassment.

He thinks it’s me.

“There’s nothing you can do and nothing she will do as far as I can see,” Sherlock mumbled, ignoring his brother’s taunts. You rinsed your plate and retreated silently to the office, deciding to paint a bit since your reading chair was in the middle of a conversation you wanted no part of.

Chapter Text

Sherlock joined you in the office a short while after, fussing with his own projects. Sherlock observed some body part or other under his microscope while you worked on your canvas. You quickly became distracted from your tasks as you began chatting, Sherlock occasionally inserting a witty remark which would make you dissolve into laughter. There were no more text alerts, though you noticed that he had received a couple of texts when you ventured over to his side of the desk.

He must have disabled them.

You couldn’t remember how it began, though you suspected that it was likely an accident. You had absentmindedly twirled your paintbrush through your fingers, a small swipe of blue smearing on Sherlock’s shirt. He had responded in kind with dipping his thumb in yellow and swiping it on your cheek. By the time John wandered in looking for the two of you, you were wielding a brush dipped in red like a sword as Sherlock tried to smear the paint on his hand on any body part of yours that he could reach and laughter bubbled up from both of you. The doctor retreated from the room without being noticed by the warring couple and the fight only ended when John reentered to ask if one of you would go to the store while he was at work.

Sherlock had surprised both of you by offering to go along to the store, citing the fact that he needed more thumbs from St. Bart’s and could stop by the store on the way home.

“Umm, also cheese,” you called peering into the fridge.

“Text me the list,” Sherlock called back as he pulled on his coat. You picked up your phone and wandered over to him, writing down the list in a message.

“Can’t you just remember it?” you asked, sending the list to him.

“This way I’ll have it,” he reasoned, pulling out his phone. A text alert went off, but it was neither the moan of the woman’s texts or the normal ping of anyone else’s.

The text alert was a short 2 second clip of your laughter from earlier that day. It was from when he had left a series of green handprints down your waist as he pulled you in for a kiss, leaving smudges of paint everywhere your bodies touched. You had shrieked in laughter as you had been pulled in, the sound clip ending where you knew he had captured your lips and silenced you momentarily.

He smiled at you and turned to head for the door. He only made it to the landing before you caught up to him. He didn’t step foot on the street for another 20 minutes, looking far more disheveled than when he left the living room.

Chapter Text

“What are you two doing?” Sherlock’s voice called out from the living room. You and John sat giggling across from each other at the kitchen table, bent over your laptops.

“Can’t talk, busy!” you called, mumbling something to John causing him to wheeze a silent laugh. Your spine straightened suddenly and you grinned proudly at your screen as Sherlock wandered over to investigate your amusement. “Done. I haven’t hit go yet though,” you informed the doctor who sighed and clicked rapidly at his mouse. After a moment he sat up.

“Alright, you ready?” he asked and you both counted down from three before pressing decisively down on your keyboard. You gasped and squealed in delight at the image the screen showed you and John seemed thoughtful.

“I got a bloody hedgehog!” he declared, seemingly unsure of how he felt about that.

“Oh, I can see that. I think it suits. Besides, I love hedgehogs,” you assured, barely containing your excitement.

“What on earth are you two talking about? What the hell is a Patronus?” Sherlock asked, peering over your shoulder at what was making you giddy. You rounded on the man.

“Are you serious? I know you aren’t a massive Potterhead, but surely you know the basics?” you accosted. Sherlock raised his eyebrow and shook his head.

“I know it contains a wizard called Harry Potter and that you and John both claim to be Gryffindors, but the meaning of that word is lost on me,” he explained. You looked to John but he shrugged.

“30% Gryffindor 30% Ravenclaw 25% Slytherin and 15% Hufflepuff but that’s beside the point. You’ve never read the books? Seen the movies?”

“Why would I waste precious space in my mind palace categorizing miniscule details from a fictional school? Besides, what the hell is a patronus anyway?” he gestured again to the screen.

“It’s supposed to be the physical manifestation of your soul or your happiness.”

“And John’s is a hedgehog?” he chuckled. You smacked his arm as John slid his hand up his face.

“It’s a wonderful patronus,” you argued.

“What’d you get anyway? You’re excited,” John asked redrawing your attention to your own quiz results. You squealed as you remembered.

“So you know how I was thinking along the lines of housecat?” John nodded and you grinned. “I got a lioness!” You spun the laptop to show John the wispy lion which slunk across the screen in silvery smoke. He grinned.

“Yeah, definitely suits you,” he agreed.

“Well what does a lioness mean?” Sherlock prodded, disliking being ignorant about something his friends seemed so knowledgeable about. “I am your soulmate after all, I should be informed of that which regards your soul.” You chuckled at his scowl and stroked his hair into place.

“It means if you mess with my pride I will mess you up,” you chuckled. Sherlock’s eyebrow quirked.

“What’s mine?” he asked. You and John glanced at each other with triumph.

“You can’t take the quiz until you know the story,” you said, gleeful at the opportunity to convert your detective into a fan.

Four days, three sleepless nights, one series, one movie marathon, and 6 hours of Sherlock staring in shock at the wall later the three of you gathered around the computer as the now dutifully informed Sherlock took his Pottermore quizzes. It was a surprise to no one when he was sorted into the blue and bronze house. Diligently armed with paraphernalia from all four houses, you ran to fetch him a scarf for his new house which he barely noticed as he eagerly clicked to the patronus quiz. After the whirlwind of questions that the quiz entailed, Sherlock started at the result.

“An otter? What the hell?” he clicked frustratedly at the glistening otter that floated around as though the air were made of silkily flowing unseen water. John nearly keeled over laughing, but you smacked him hard enough that h swallowed his laughter.

“I think that actually suits you quite well. You even hold hands when you sleep,” you assured. John lost it and burst out laughing and no amount of smacks or demands from you assuaged him. Sherlock grumped and pushed the laptop across the table. “Darling, that’s a wonderful patronus. I love it! Did you know that otters are one of the cleverest animals? And they are incredibly loyal,” you persuaded, John’s laughter not helping your case.

By the time the weekend rolled around there were three new books on the shelf. One on hedgehogs, one on lions, and one on otters.

Chapter Text

The weather turned cooler as life continued at Baker Street. The windows of the flat were thrown open so as to air it out and life began to take a more domestic turn. You and John would go out when Sherlock was busy, visiting the places you both had wanted to go but Sherlock had made fun of. You would do the shopping in turns, sometimes going together and coming home with far too many sweets. Meals began being cooked at home. John slaved in the kitchen for hours one day to make recipe his mum used to make and he was quickly awarded the title of the best cook in the house. You obtained a copy from your brother of your father’s old cookbook and the following weeks entailed all the American recipes that you hadn’t been able to find. John took a fancy to your cheeseburgers and Sherlock especially liked your mothers chicken soup recipe. John never mentioned how you had suddenly become much more precise with your daily pill, lest you and Sherlock have a sudden surprise. He had learned not to comment on the occasional flashes which would erupt from Sherlock’s bedroom, rationalizing that at the very least it put the couple in a better mood for a day or so.

Soon snow began to fall outside the windows of the flat, seemingly having shooed the sun and warmth away overnight. You chatted to John one morning while making tea in the kitchen.

“I was thinking a shaving kit for Lestrade, that snuggly blanket Molly mentioned, since she’s always cold, and a new teapot for Mrs. Hudson, since she’s always complaining about her current one,” you listed off your ideas.

“Why the shaving kit?” he asked, adding a splash of milk to his tea.

“His old one must have broke. He keeps going days without shaving because the disposable razor he’s using keeps nicking him,” you explained. “What are you doing for Sherlock and Mycroft?”

“Oh, Sherlock is a hard one. Last year I got him a new cologne but that was about as good as I could come up with. I didn’t bother with Mycroft,” he voiced, groaning as he settled at his desk. Sherlock was out on a case for the day and wouldn’t be back until the evening. “I was thinking a pocket knife since he lost his old one on a case. One of those utility ones with the flashlight and the screwdrivers.” You groaned as you roamed about the room.

“I can’t think of anything. I had thought maybe a new microscope, but his is just fine. Or maybe a nicer violin but he likes this one a lot. Or maybe a book or a puzzle but that just seems condescending!” you flopped in your chair. John chuckled as he looked up.

“Well, he’s going to be out for the next few hours. Let’s go out and look around. I need to get some shopping done anyway,” he suggested, rising to the door and tossing you your coat.

The pair of you wandered around the shops of London for hours. You chatted about your siblings quite a bit, about what it was like growing up with a sibling in the house.

“Harry got away with so much that my parents would have killed me for!” he laughed out.

“Ronan was always fairly well behaved. Until he became a teenager, he became so violent! We used to wrestle all the time when he was little and I could win. I got pay back so bad when he hit his growth spurt. He would tackle me all the time. He got so strong overnight!”

“That happened with Harry too! She all of a sudden got so strong! She beat me up all the time!”

You eagerly told John of your brother’s relationship, practically squeezing as you explained that he had called you last week and told you that he would propose soon.

“They’ve been friends for 10 years. They’re a little young to be thinking about getting married, but honestly they’ve been like an old married couple since they were 10, at this point they’re just making it official. And Blair and I are so close, we’re like sisters already.”

“Harry told me when she proposed. I didn’t really think that Clara was right for her, she got upset really easily and honestly, I was kind of relieved when they split up. They’re better off apart and Harry is really getting better.”

You found Lestrade his shaving kit and purchased the fuzzy blanket that Molly had been eyeing. John got a couple bottles of whisky to give to Lestrade and Mycroft. Together you got Mrs. Hudson a set of wine glasses which you thought would make a lovely gift. John bought Sherlock a new scarf which was almost exactly like his current one, only a slightly more greenish shade and the exact pair of shoes he wore every day.

“He has those already,” you argued as John unearthed from the stacks of shoeboxes one which contained Sherlock’s precise brand and style.

“Exactly. His are getting a bit worn and he doesn’t like change,” he reasoned, adding them to the haul you two had obtained. “Really it’s about as thoughtful as it can get. You better come up with something good.” He chuckled as you two walked down the street. You sighed. You felt like you had thought of everything, yet nothing seemed good enough. Tendrils of warmth curled from your lips in the cool air, sending shivers down your spine. You two decided to go home for the day, the appeal of a cup of tea and your pajamas overwhelming you and you head toward the main street to hail a cab. You peered into the shops as you past. A clothes shop. An electronic store. Then a pet shelter.

“Hey John,” you called, gesturing to the shelter. The doctor grinned and followed you in. Inside was warm and chaotic, cats and dogs meandering about everywhere. A tired employee greeted you and gestured to a few side rooms, informing you of a few new batches of puppies. You and John pet a few of the animals that lay around the room and wandered over to look at the puppies. There was a litter of bulldogs and mutts in two of the rooms, but when you approached the third you stopped short. In the glass-paneled room there appeared to be a pack of wolves, the mother sleeping in a corner as the puppies romped about and played. The sign on the window described them as wolfdogs, a mix between German Shepards and wolves. Two wrestled in a corner while a third watched. Two others slept and one walked right up to the glass, pressing his paw to the glass where he had caught sight of your hand, trying to nip at it through the barrier. An employee was got and soon you and John sat with the pup jumping from your laps and rubbing your hands in a plea for pets.

“John we have to get him. Sherlock would love him!” you sighed, entranced with the small creature. “Probably more than me.” John chuckled and scooped up the dog. He checked his paws and in his ears and his fur.

“He’s healthy. No fleas or ticks that I can see. He’s going to be big though, look at the size of his paws,” he reasoned. The puppy began gnawing on John’s finger and whatever resolve he had melted. “I’ll go call Mrs. Hudson and see what her policy is on pets,” he commented decidedly, leaving the dog in your lap. You watched as it pounced around on you, then sitting and cocking its head to the side as though he was thinking. You burst out laughing.

“You are definitely the one for Sherlock.”

Christmas morning began with kisses and morning rolls as you and Sherlock rolled out of bed. As per your own family tradition, both the boys had received new pairs of pajamas last night, John receiving a cozy knit jumper and plaid pajama shorts and Sherlock’s having a skull pattern on them. You had got yourself a cozy pair of sweat pants and loose sweater to match, both of them black with a red pattern. The dough you had prepared last night was put in the oven and by the time all three of you were awake and had coffee, the fresh rolls were ready and delicious. You all scattered so as to obtain the gifts each of you had hidden around the apartment. Sherlock had apparently put his on top of the cabinets where no one else could reach, John’s in his closet, and yours in the bottom drawer under the pans that no one else used. The gifts for your other friends had already been placed under the tree as they had been obtained, though one gift for Sherlock was hidden in 221c and you went downstairs under the pretense of offering Mrs. Hudson breakfast to check on him.

After returning to the boys, double checking that not a single piece of dog hair lurked on your clothes, Sherlock and John swapped gifts around. John was quite pleased with the sweaters and jacket you had found for him and gratefully received a set of medical books from Sherlock. It was determined that you should go next as you had told John that you wanted Sherlock to receive his gifts last, and you eagerly tore open the tea sampler and tin of your favorite tea that John had gotten you from Fortnum & Mason. Sherlock handed you a simple envelope with a red ribbon around it and you tentatively opened it. You gasped as you read the files which came out.

“Oh my god,” you breathed as you flipped through the pages.

“Certificate of Naturalization,” boasted one, with your name printed on it.

“Petition for Dual Citizenship,” advertised another. From the envelope fell one more item and you nearly cried when you saw it. It was a burgundy passport with the British emblem emblazoned on it. You flipped it open to see all of your information already filled out. You nearly tackled Sherlock as you enveloped him in a hug, your paperwork still clutched in your hand.

“Is this it? Am I a dual citizen?” you breathed, pulling away to flip through the pages.

“All you have to do is sign. If you want, that is,” he explained. You shot from the room to find a pen. You were too preoccupied to hear the boys’ conversation.

“How did you manage that?” John muttered. Sherlock grinned as you beamed down at the paperwork, never letting go of your new treasured passport.

“Mycroft owed me a favor. Normally the process takes years, but seeing as he is the British government, he was able to hurry things along,” Sherlock explained, growing silent as you reentered the room, brandishing your finished paperwork.

“I’m a citizen?” you asked nervously.

“You’re a citizen,” Sherlock affirmed, beaming as you crashed into him again in a flurry of squeals and kisses.

“Can I vote? When’s the next election?”

“Well, I’m not sure how anyone’s going to top that one,” chuckled John. You suddenly remembered your surprise.

“Oh! You haven’t gone yet! I forgot!” You extracted yourself from his arms to sit anxiously in your chair as John passed over his gift for Sherlock. He was pleased with his shoes and scarf and thanked John politely for them. You rose from your chair when it was your turn, leaving with the excuse that you were going to go get his present. In the basement, which Mrs. Hudson had graciously allowed you to borrow, the hound waited eagerly, yapping at you as you entered the room. You scratched the eager dog behind his ears and scooped him up, feeling his tail thump against your ribs excitedly. You made your way into the flat where John and Sherlock were talking. Sherlock turned to see you walk in the door and his eyes lit up. The dog was squirming and trying to investigate the new person, so you set him down on the floor only for him to bound over to Sherlock eagerly, sniffing and licking his new owner’s hand. Sherlock’s face broke out into a rare smile as he greeted his new pet.

“He’s mine?” he voiced gently as the pup jumped up into his lap.

“He’s yours,” you affirmed, moving to sit in your chair, getting a high-five from John. Sherlock combed his fingers through the puppy’s silver fur, laughing as he nipped at his hand and pounced at his hand. “Do you like him?” you asked, eager for your soulmate’s opinion.

“He’s perfect,” Sherlock laughed as the dog barked at Mrs. Hudson who had just walked in.

“He’s a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog. He’s sweet as sugar and wicked clever. He learned how to sit in about 10 minutes,” you added. Sherlock put him on the floor, watching as he sniffed about the rug for a few moments.

“Does he have a name?” he asked.

“No, you can name him whatever you like.” Sherlock gazed at the dog thoughtfully for a moment.

“Clever you said?” he muttered, before grinning. “Conan,” he decided.

You smiled at your soulmate and his new dog.

“Conan it is.”

Chapter Text

The flat smelled of cakes and mulled wine as your friends came over. You had spent all day stringing up Christmas lights and baking cakes and cookies and sweets of all sorts. A couple of days ago you, Sherlock, and John went to a Christmas tree lot a few streets down to find a tree. Sherlock had taken a fancy to a particularly tall one, begrudgingly leaving it behind as he realized it would be too tall for the flat. John liked a stout one that was about 4 feet in height and just as much across, but there was nowhere to put one so big. You had burst out laughing as you came across a small lopsided tree about 2 feet tall. John and Sherlock liked it too, though the latter mostly liked how it made you laugh, and the aptly named Christmas bush came home with the three of you. It was decorated with lights and the few ornaments that could be found in the flat and was positioned on a stool in front of the window. The smell of the branches had infiltrated the flat and you chuckled every time you saw the small thing. Mycroft sent you a text thanking you for the cake you had sent to him yesterday and wishing you well for the holidays. Sherlock loitered in the kitchen while John called his sister, pressing quick kisses to your neck as you worked and commenting when you’d forget something. Conan slept on Sherlock’s chair, occasionally waking up long enough to beg him for pets or to be given treats. You found some bacon from a couple of days ago in the fridge and advised Sherlock to give it to him. By the time the bacon was gone Conan had learned sit and heel. Mrs. Hudson and John joined the three of you as you washed the dishes and put out the food for the party. John’s girlfriend was the first to make it over, followed by Lestrade. Lestrade was quite chuffed with the whiskey and the shaving kit and brought a couple of bottles of wine in return. Sherlock broke out his violin after much goading from Mrs. Hudson. Conan enjoyed all of the attention he was receiving from the guests, gobbling up any spare crumbs that people dropped on the floor. He eventually curled up by the fire and dozed off as he became stuffed with the scraps he had eaten throughout the day.

Molly soon joined the party, dressed in a sleek dress that she had texted you pictures of. You were trying to set her up with Lestrade and adviced her to wear something nice since it would be the first time she saw him away from work. You instructed her to go for something sleek, but not too fancy, so she wore her nice dress, but opted out of any accessories or hairstyle. In an effort to make her appearance blend more seamlessly with the Christmas jumpers the others wore you donned a tea length burgundy skirt and black jumper, going slightly nicer than the jeans and sweatshirt you would have normally worn. You nearly burst laughing at Greg’s reaction as his jaw actually dropped. You gushed over her appearance in a louder fashion than usual and eyed Sherlock in a way that told him not to say anything about it. He rolled his eyes, but didn’t speak, instead called Conan to him and played with him. Molly loved the blanket you got her and gave you a gift bag with a perfume that smelled like tea. You laughed in delight and hugged your friend tightly.

“Thank you Molly. This is perfect. And you really do look gorgeous.” You left her to talk to the others as you wandered over to Sherlock.

“So you’re setting them up then?” he asked, still looking at his dog.

“Yes. They may not be soulmates but I still think they’d work really well together,” you affirmed, resting your hand on his shoulder.

“Finding a soulmate is rare,” he commented, looking up at you. You grinned at him and kissed him softly, grateful beyond anything that you had found someone so wonderful.

“I love you,” you whispered down to him, as though you were confiding a great secret.

“Mhm, okay,” he replied, mischief twinkling in his eyes.

“Excuse you,” you questioned, false shock gracing your features. “Tell me you love me.”

“Don’t you know?” he still refrained, grinning at you.

“My faith is wavering.”

“I am enormously, fiercely, and irreversibly in love with you,” he moaned into the space between you. You flushed and pressed your lips to his, filled with promises of more to come later. A small chime came from his phone and you broke away to attend to your guests. You were chatting to Lestrade when you noticed Sherlock retreating to the bedroom. You saw John notice it as well and exchanged a glance, excusing yourself after a moment.

You walked towards the door of your bedroom, hesitating when you heard the low grumble of Sherlock’s voice. You tentatively crept to the door so as not to interrupt and caught what he was saying.

“I think you’re going to find Irene Adler tonight.” Your brow furrowed as you pushed into the doorframe. Sherlock paused as the person on the other end of the phone spoke. “No I mean you’re going to find her dead.”

Sherlock left soon afterwards, and Molly shortly after him. You and John both got texts from Mycroft warning you that it might be a danger night and you received a text an hour or so after they left from a very concerned Molly regarding Sherlock being able to recognize a corpse from her body rather than her face. Everyone left and you and John sat in your chairs by the fire, waiting for Sherlock to come home so that you could assess the danger. Surprisingly, when he finally made it home the only thing that seemed unsavory was that his kisses tasted like cigarette, a habit he had mostly abandoned since you expressed your severe distaste for it. He was deep in thought for the rest of the night and simply held you as you fell asleep, Conan curled in a ball between his feet.