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Big Fat River In Flood

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“Hello, freak,” a woman, about Sherlock’s age, said as they came upon the police tape. She was pretty, but something about her, or maybe about Sherlock, said ‘hands off’, so John didn’t try to flirt.

“Sally,” Sherlock said, and John thought there was a slight warmth in his voice. “This is John, my flat mate.”

“Oh, so you’re staying in Baker Street then. Think you’ll be able to keep this one then, freak?”

“John, this is Sergeant Sally Donovan,” Sherlock said, and he and Donovan shared a look that John couldn’t interpret.

“Nice to meet you,” John said as he shook hands with her. He had the feeling that he missed something important here, but he had no idea what.

***

Sherlock insulted people, even Lestrade and Donovan, who he seemed to like, at least a bit, and then he ran off. When John told Donovan she sighed and called him a cab, but not before sending a text to someone.

“You need to stand up to him,” she said. “He’ll walk all over you otherwise.”

“Ok...” John said, slightly confused over this unasked advice.

“And try not to let the apartment turn into a dump. His old one was a health hazard, and Mrs Hudson is a sweet old lady who shouldn’t have to put up with that.”

In the cab John was even more confused, because while Sherlock and Donovan interacted like work colleagues there was something more there. But surely it couldn’t be that?

***

“So you don’t have a girlfriend then?” John asked, rather curious as to what Sherlock would answer.

“Girlfriend,” Sherlock muttered. “Makes it sound like she’s 14.”

“So you’ve got a girlfriend, then?” John said. Sherlock looked out the window. “A partner? A female companion? A sweetheart?”

“A lover,” Sherlock said.

“Of the female sort?”

“Yes, a female lover.”

“Right. How come Angelo thinks I’m your date?” John asked, honestly curious.

“I might have given him the impression that I’m gay. Also, I’ve never brought her here,” Sherlock said, and John thought he looked a bit embarrassed.

“Ok, then,” John said. He looked at his food.

“Ok,” Sherlock said. He stole some of John’s salad and they ate in silence.

“Who is she?” John asked when the curiosity became too much for him.

“Sally,” Sherlock said, and there was something in his voice, a warmth which hadn’t been there before. Not something that would have been remarkable in anyone else, perhaps, but John was already starting to understand Sherlock.

“Sergeant Donovan? Oh, ok,” John said, and that was that, because then they went running after a cab instead.

*

There was a drugs bust, and Sherlock just stood and watched while the police tore their home apart. Lestrade looked mildly apologetic, but that was nothing compared to Sally. She didn’t try to speak to Sherlock, which John thought was wise, but she kept sending him looks.

They didn’t find anything, for which John was grateful.

*

John saw Sherlock from the other side of the police tape. He was wearing an orange shock blanket, and was sitting in the back of an ambulance. His left cheek was red, as if someone had slapped him hard, and John had a pretty good idea of who that someone was.

When he finally had permission to go in he went straight for Sherlock.

“You deserved that slap,” he said.

“Yes,” Sherlock agreed. “I won’t be going home with you.”

John couldn’t help but giggle at that, because of course Sherlock would consider getting slapped some sort of foreplay.

“Yeah, you should go home with her,” he said, and Sherlock looked at him.

“I will see you tomorrow,” he said, and then Sally came along, and they went together.

John thought he saw the man who had kidnapped him from the corner of his eye, but when he turned around the man wasn’t there.