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"Really Lestrade, do get your team into check." Sherlock snarled impatiently as he marched into the master bedroom. "I'm tired of explaining to several different officers that I am here to do their job, and I wou-"

The consulting detective stopped speaking, as his stormy eyes focused on Lestrade and Donovan; both were on their hands and knees looking under the large bed that was situated in the centre of the room. The dead couple atop the bloody sheets seemingly forgotten for the moment.

"What on earth are you doing?" Sherlock snapped, "There better not be some incriminating evidence under there. I don't want you mucking around with it like preschool toddlers before I've had a chance to inspect it."

Lestrade got up with a small grunt. "There's a puppy under there."

"...Puppy?" Sherlock repeated with a look of distaste. Tilting his head, he could hear the faint whimpering of a small animal.

The detective inspector nodded, choosing to ignore Sherlock's condescending tone. "Poor fella musta' scrambled under the bed when he heard the ruckus." He explained. "We were inspecting the scene when we heard it crying."

"Oh for godssake..." Sherlock growled, "JOHN!" He bellowed out toward the hall.

Sure enough, less than a minute later, Sherlock's faithful blogger was coming through the door. "Sorry, got chatting to Officer Whitmore. Said you're going to a match later in the week?" He asked, directing his question at Lestrade. "Could be fun. You've got an extra ticket, then?"

"Yeah, actually." Lestrade smiled. "If you're interested we c-"

"John doesn't have time to go to tedious sports events. I guarantee you, we're busy." The tall detective huffed. "Now if you don't mind, I would like to enlighten you as to the plot and blatantly obvious motive of this stereotypical massacre – since you are all so incapable of coherent thought."

The doctor tilted his head and quirked a brow, "We're busy?" He repeated. "Doing what?"

"While I would love to enlighten you, John, there are two bodies that require my attention." He teased, avoiding the question before moving over to inspect the ghastly scene.

Lestrade straightened up a bit, "Four, actually." He watched Sherlock visibly perk up. "Two kids down the hall, as well. Real shame." The detective inspector's tone was quite grim now that they were focused on the scene again.

"Interesting. Family murder." Sherlock mused, looking back toward the parents.

A small, pathetic whine was once more heard from beneath the bed.

John stopped moving, "What... was that?" He asked.

"Evidently, the family 'puppy' is hiding beneath the bed." Sherlock dismissed, inspecting the bodies closely. "Sally and Lestrade were attempting to coax it out in lieu of doing their job when I arrived."

Both Lestrade and Sally threw a glare in Sherlock's direction. The frizzy haired sergeant stood up. "Just because you don't have any compassion for animals, doesn't mean the rest of us can just ignore the poor frightened thing. Freak." She snapped, adding on her favorite nickname for a final dig.

"Alright, alright." John soothed, stepping forward toward the bed. Kneeling down, John peered under and sure enough, there was a trembling little puppy looking around uncertainly. Small whimpers continued to escape from it's trembling body. "...Hello." He coaxed, "Coast is clear now. You're safe."

Sherlock rolled his eyes as he inspected the defensive wounds on both victims. "Oh, speaking to a puppy rationally. I'm sure the animal appreciates the sentiment, John." He muttered sarcastically. "Now if you're quite finished, I need you to look at the bodies and tell me wh-"

For the second time since arriving, the dark-haired genius was stopped mid-sentence as he heard a few, quick eager yips from beneath the bed – followed by the sight of a tiny ball of anxious fluff barrelling out from beneath the bed and into John's arms.

"You got it out." Sally frowned, confused. "How come it came to you?"

John shrugged, "Got me." The doctor held the shivering puppy close to his chest. "Come on, you're alright." He soothed the dog, stroking it's head as it continued to whimper. While he was no veterinarian, John's instincts began to kick in, and he quickly gave the pup a once-over to make sure he wasn't injured. There were a few smears of blood on it's soft short fur, but other than that, the animal just appeared to be spooked.

"John!" Sherlock whined petulantly. "Leave the dog. You're here to help me, not comfort some pathetic mutt." He spat.

The doctor shot his flatmate an unimpressed glare, as he handed the puppy over to Sally – who seemed more than happy to hold and comfort it for the time being. "Right, sorry. I forgot how much you hate not being the center of attention." He teased, walking over to help inspect the bodies.

Sherlock didn't respond, but instead narrowed his eyes warningly at his partner.

The small group made their way through every room in the house. Granted, inspecting the kids room had been the darkest part of the endeavour. It was never easy when the victims were children, though Sherlock didn't seem to care either way. He was more focused on the work – and within an hour, had deduced that the killer was the jealous, female housekeeper, who had been having an affair with the man of the house. Further evidence was found to support his theory after snooping around in the basement laundry room – where they found some bloodied clothes mixed in (and crudely hidden) in the family's to-do laundry pile. After giving a lengthy lecture about the predictability and idiocy of 'today's criminals' – Sherlock led John back out of the house with nothing more than a slight, dismissive wave of his hand in farewell.

"Well, that was tedious." Sherlock complained as they stepped back out into the cool, London night. Brushing past other officers and inspectors, the consulting detective led the way to the street where he eagerly began searching for a cab. "Really. The criminals of late are so boring. Predictable neanderthals. When will Lestrade learn to stop calling me for crimes that mirror some awful made-for-telly film?"

Glancing back to his shorter companion, Sherlock's whole body tensed.


"Hm?" The doctor hummed in response.

"What is that in your arms?"

John smiled, and looked down to the content puppy, whose eyes were beginning to droop. "You're the consulting detective, you tell me." He teased.

"Don't be coy." Sherlock snarled, fixing his cold eyes on the 'cute' little bundle. "You can't possibly bring that uncontrollable terror into our flat. It will ruin my experiments, and only serve to distract you from me." He protested.

The army doctor couldn't help but smirk at the last part of Sherlock's protest. Leave it to him to already feel jealous of an orphaned puppy.

"It'll be fine." John soothed. "I'll take care of him, and keep 'im out of your way, alright?" He bargained. "You'll barely notice him around. Besides, it will only be until I can find him an owner."

Sherlock sighed, finally managing to flag down a cab and slip inside. "Come now, John, you know how this will go. You will delay finding an owner, thereby allowing yourself to grow more and more attached to the pointless animal. You'll end up naming it, and keeping it, and I'll be stuck with a slobbery terror."

"Aw, leave off." John frowned, cradling the puppy closer to his chest as it fell asleep.

The detective couldn't help sneaking looks at his blogger as he gazed down at the cute baby animal. "Had a puppy in your youth, then?" He mimicked childishly. "The way you gaze at it so tenderly tells me that holding the pup is nostalgic."

"Nah." John shrugged. "Always wanted one, but mum and da wouldn't let me. Harry was enough of a handful, and they barely had time for me... let alone a puppy."

Something in that statement struck a strange chord in Sherlock's heart. He wasn't sure why; but images of a small, cute, wide-eyed kid John began to flash through his mind: a boy who could take care of himself and his family when they were busy, or a bit absent-minded. He was undoubtedly a quiet, obedient child who was well liked by fellow students, teachers and adults alike. He could even picture little John bravely facing the alcoholism of his father and sister.

"If it pees on any of my experiments, I'm banishing it to 221c." Sherlock grumbled, pulling his coat tighter around his body, before turning to look out the window in a pout.

John couldn't help but smile, and steal a brief affectionate glance at his flatmate.

The next couple weeks were quite an event at 221b Baker Street. As Sherlock predicted, John began gathering bedding, toys and food for the adventurous little pup. Apparently, he'd taken Sherlock's reluctant agreement in the cab as consent to just KEEP the bloody thing.

Over it's initial shock, the puppy took to John instantly. It followed him around the flat as he went about his daily tasks, and would listen when John gave it a command to stop chewing on the furniture, or Sherlock's expensive leather shoes (John promised he'd replace them when he had the money). And while he would never admit it out loud, Sherlock had become accustomed to watching the more tender moments of his flatmate's growing bond with the dog. As much as he hated sentiment, he couldn't stop himself from grinning each time he returned home to find John asleep in his chair, or on the sofa, with the puppy dozing on his stomach.

The first time Sherlock was faced with interacting with the now-homeless mutt was when John returned to work at the clinic after taking almost two week off to settle in the puppy.

"What on earth am I supposed to do with it?" Sherlock whined, trailing behind John as he moved about the flat.

Between Sherlock and the puppy following him, John couldn't help but feel like mother hen. "Relax, it's easy. Gladstone is well trained and hardly barks." He listed. "Besides, think of it as an experiment. He's a smart little guy." He said, kneeling down to affectionately pet the eager pup.

"Gladstone?" Sherlock repeated, focusing on that. "Why on earth would you name it that?"

John shrugged, "Dunno. Had a nice ring to it."

"At least you didn't opt for the more popular 'Spot' or 'Rover' or ... 'Benedict'..." Sherlock grumbled.

The doctor tilted his head, "Hm... Benedict..." He repeated, looking at the dog as if considering changing it's name. Shaking his head, he decided against it. "You'll see. He's a good dog. Give him a chance, Sherlock."

Seeming to realize that John was leaving, Gladstone barked cutely as his tail began to wag. He trotted over to a small basket near the front door, and tugged out his leash amidst the other items. Sherlock quirked a brow, 'Interesting... the dog can already fetch his own leash, and is able to comprehend that when John puts on his coat, it could be time for a walk...' He mused.

John smiled sadly, and walked over to take it out of his teeth. "Good boy... but no. No walkies right now." He sighed. "I've got to go to work." He tucked the leash back inside the basket, only to have Gladstone begin to whimper; placing his small, front paws on John's legs as he knelt. "Now, now, don't be like that. It's hard enough leaving you with mean ol' Sherlock." He cooed.

"Mean ol' Sherlock?" His tall flatmate repeated. He would have continued to vent, but became distracted watching John soothe the puppy.

Leaning over, his sandy-haired partner placed a tender kiss atop Gladstone's head. "I'll be back before you know it. Look after Sherlock, will you?" He smiled.

Standing up, John adjusted his coat and looked back to Sherlock. He chuckled at the slightly bewildered and apprehensive look on his face that accompanied the idea of being left alone with the dog. "You'll be fine." He repeated warmly. "Or did you want a kiss goodbye, too?" He teased.

"I am more entitled than that dog to your parting affection. I've known you longer." Sherlock debated, crossing his arms with an angry pout.

John furrowed his brow, and tried to keep the smile on his face polite... instead of confused. Believing that Sherlock was just pulling his leg by trying to be cheeky, John walked over and clasped his hand around the back of the brunette's neck. He tugged Sherlock down, and placed a quick peck to the top of his head; his lips briefly disappearing into the thick of his flatmate's dark curls.

"There." He grinned, moving back toward the door. "Please take Gladstone for a walk some time today. Even if it's just around the block, the little guy needs to get out of the flat for a bit. And please, for godssake, don't put him in the microwave, or any other small, confined space." He warned.

Sherlock waved John off without a response – still feigning a pout, but more or less, too embarrassed to look at John with the small blush that was painting his well-defined cheeks. Had his flatmate really just kissed him on the top of the head? Yes. But it was not as repulsive or uncomfortable as Sherlock might have initially believed it would be. Instead, it made him feel a bit... good? Wanted? Loved?...

'Nonsense!' Sherlock cut off those thoughts quickly, and flopped onto the couch as John called out a final farewell, before shutting the door.

The flat was silent for a few minutes, and Sherlock took the time to arrange himself comfortably on the couch; placing his hands into their usual 'prayer position' under his chin. He was just starting to relax and let his mind take over... when he heard a small, heart-wrenching whine come from the puppy. Frowning, Sherlock sat up and looked over at the door. Gladstone was sitting in front of it, staring up dutifully.

It whined and whimpered again.

"He's gone." Sherlock snapped. "Watching the door won't make him return any quicker." He closed his eyes and began to lay back, when he heard the noise resume again. Cracking open one eye, he noticed Gladstone still pathetically whimpering, staring at the door, and gently scratching a paw against the bottom where he could reach.

Sherlock felt his heart lurch again. 'No. Don't get taken in by the useless beast.' He reprimanded himself.

"Gladstone." He warned sharply.

To his surprise, the puppy actually perked it's ears up, and turned to look at Sherlock. He was still rather impressed that John had the pup so well trained already after only two weeks. "Stop." He ordered, resting back onto the couch for the third time.

He didn't hear any further whining. Actually, he heard no other sound for the next few minutes. And while he shouldn't care, Sherlock found himself growing a bit anxious. Did the dog really listen? Was it so forlorn now that John had left for the day? He didn't WANT to care for a puppy... then again, the puppy was John's. And he cared about John. So by default, Sherlock knew he would have to care just a sliverabout the puppy. 'For John.' He reminded himself.

Opening his eyes, he was startled to see the puppy respectfully sitting right beside him in front of the couch. He was staring up at the consulting detective with a cute, curious, and somewhat sad gaze. Gladstone whimpered quietly again, but it seemed to mimic some sort of tentative greeting rather than begging for something.

"What?" Sherlock asked, choosing to ignore the fact that he had begun speaking to the animal like it could understand. The puppy didn't respond of course, and instead, stood on it's hind-legs before placing its paws on the side of the couch in the hopes of getting a better look at his second owner. It made another little noise. "...You've eaten, and John has provided you with a perfectly adequate level of affection before he left. I have nothing of value."

Gladstone simply tilted his fuzzy head, and gave a small, conversational bark. Rolling his eyes, Sherlock huffed, "Fine!" Picking the puppy up, he plopped the small thing on his stomach. "Cease your pathetic behaviour, you insufferable thing." He chastised. "I require peace and quiet."

Surprisingly, the puppy obediently settled on Sherlock's stomach, perfectly content to wait with Sherlock until John returned. The consulting detective figured Gladstone was just overly attached to the good doctor, undoubtedly grateful that John had rescued it. And Sherlock didn't want to even think about the number of times, he too, had sat in his chair, staring at the door after John left... anxious that his flatmate might not return. But John always came back.

Gladstone would learn. Sherlock certainly had.

When John finally came home, neither Sherlock nor Gladstone were in sight. 'Maybe he took him for a walk...' John thought hopefully.

"Hello?" He called, just to make sure. It was then that he heard the tragic sound of a puppy crying. John frowned and made his way into the kitchen. In the corner, there was the small cage he'd purchased to cart Gladstone around if he had to take him to the vet. But it's purpose now was more like a prison. The puppy's crying only got louder as it spotted John; it wagged it's tail with relief, and even stuck it's tiny paw and nose through the carrying-cage bars.

"Sherlock!" John shouted angrily. Kneeling down, John began to unlock the cage. "It's alright, you're ok." He spoke gently to the pup as it began circling within it's cage; eager for it's freedom.

He heard familiar footsteps come downstairs and into the kitchen. "Ah, John! You're back!" He exclaimed excitedly. "What are you doing?"

"What are YOU doing?" John snapped back. "Sherlock you can't just lock the poor thing in a cage all day. It's inhumane!"

Sherlock rolled his eyes, "Once again, John, you see but you don't observe. Does Gladstone appear to be in any uncomfortable distress?"

"He was whining." John reminded him.

"Yes, but his tail is wagging and it is an excited 'whine' as opposed to a 'hurt' one." Sherlock noted, stepping into the kitchen. Pushing John out of the way, Sherlock opened the cage door and Gladstone stumbled out, barking excitedly as it looked back and forth between his owners. Crouching down, Sherlock produced a small rag from his pocket. "I've decided to take your advice, and I've been conducting some experiments with the dog."

"Experiments?" John repeated tensely.

Sherlock paused and tilted his head, "Perhaps that's the wrong word. Training? ...Lessons?" He offered.

John groaned, "Safe ones, I hope?"

"Useful ones." Sherlock corrected. "Right then," He turned back to the puppy. "Get the scent, Gladstone." He instructed firmly.

Gladstone began to bark, and sniff at the ground. John watched in confusion as Sherlock closely observed the newest, little addition to the flat with genuine curiosity and intrigue. The puppy kept his nose to the ground and shuffled around, trying to follow some kind of scent. When John's eyes fell once more to the rag in Sherlock's hand, he noticed the red stain on it.

"Sherlock. Is that... blood?" John asked, following the pair.

The mad genius grinned, "Indeed. I've been teaching Gladstone to pull his weight. If he wants to remain in this flat, he must make himself useful and shape himself to fit our lifestyle. Our puppy is quickly learning how to track blood, urine, and drugs with my guidance."

"OUR puppy?" John repeated in disbelief.

"Of course." Sherlock pouted. "You left him in my care for the day, so he is now as much mine as he is yours."

John pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'll remember you said that when feedings, walking, and vet visits come about." He muttered. Pausing, John remembered the rest of Sherlock's statement. "Wait, you're teaching Gladstone to follow trails? Blood, urine and... drugs?"

"Still nothing wrong with your hearing, then?" Sherlock teased lazily, keeping his eyes on Gladstone as the small puppy began to heave itself awkwardly up each step.

His partner wasn't amused, "Drugs? Where did you get drugs?"

"Relax, John. I managed to acquire a small amount of marijuana from an old dealer of mine." Sherlock waved off.

John nodded, glancing around as he followed Sherlock and Gladstone up the steps. "Uh huh. And where is this marijuana now?" Sherlock glanced back at John and, instead of answering, provided him with a sly grin. The doctor groaned, "No wonder you seem to be in such a relaxed mood. No more, alright?" He reprimanded gently.

While Sherlock smoking weed wasn't ideal, it was certainly better than the alternative, which would be any number of the chemical drugs Sherlock used to partake in.

Yapping excitedly, Gladstone toddled into John's room – pushing the door open with it's paws and nose before scampering inside. "Remarkable." Sherlock smirked, watching as the puppy barked at John's bed. Which, coincidentally, was covered in bloody clothes.

"Sherlock!" John exclaimed in disbelief. "What... how did-" He stammered. "WHY did you have to spatter bloody clothes in MY room?"

The dark-haired detective shrugged, "It was the furthest distance from the kitchen. I had to make sure that Gladstone's senses were operating at their full potential. It took him a bit longer than I expected... but that could account for his young age." Reaching down, he scooped Gladstone up into his arms. "With time you'll get better, hm?" He spoke directly to the puppy, who wagged it's tail and licked the detective's fingers happily.

"As lovely as it is that you two have bonded," John began, tossing the bloody clothing off his bed, "My bed is now ruined! Look, the blood leaked into the mattress!" He complained.

Sherlock held Gladstone in the crook of his elbow and tilted his head, "Oh." He looked remorseful for about a split second, before waving John off. "No matter. Your mattress was terribly old anyway. It was affecting you ability to get a good night's sleep, judging by the recent stiffness you've acquired in your back and legs." He listed. "You can sleep in my room until we replace the mattress."

"In... your room?" John repeated slowly, gobsmacked. "And... you'll sleep where? The couch? Or..."

"Come Gladstone." Sherlock announced, ignoring John's question and sweeping back out of the room. "You've learned well. I owe you a walk." He chirped happily as he whisked the puppy back downstairs.

John stared at his soiled bed in disbelief.

Chapter Text

"Nice to see you've had a productive day so far." John muttered as he came into the flat. He had two Tesco bags in one hand, while the other was holding Gladstone's leash. Setting the shoppig aside, John took off the dog's leash with practised fingers. Gladstone was almost a year old now. The ex-army doctor was amazed at how quickly he grew from a lovable little scamp into a well-behaved companion.

Despite his initial reaction to the dog, Sherlock had grown just as accustomed to its presence as John had. He spent more time training Gladstone's honing and tracking skills, while John focused on the dog's overall behaviour. Turns out, the pup excelled at both, and was extremely obedient when it came to his two (rather diverse) masters and their teaching methods. They had discovered that Gladstone was a bit of a mutt in terms of his breeding. Sherlock deduced that his origins were a mix of a Great Pyrenees and a German Shepherd, which accounted for Gladstone's build and colouring. John was a bit worried about how BIG Gladstone might come to be, but Sherlock seemed confident that their dog would only grow to a medium, slender build provided they kept him active and not overfeed him.

"I say, could you pass me a pen?" Sherlock finally spoke from his languid position on the couch.

John picked up the shopping bags again, now that Gladstone's leash was off. The dog, meanwhile, picked up the disregarded leash in it's mouth, and dutifully put it back into the small 'miscellaneous items' basket that remained near the door. "Good boy." John praised before heading into the kitchen. "Get your own bloody pen, Sherlock." He called back.

Sherlock huffed an impatient breath.

"Gladstone." He called. The dog perked up its ears. "Fetch me a pen."

Hearing the command, John frowned, and stepped back to peer into the living room again. Sure enough, Gladstone wagged his tail and sniffed around... before finally locating a pen on an end-table. It trotted over toward Sherlock and waited patiently until its master claimed the pen.

"Sherlock." John groaned, turning back to continue restocking the fridge. "Don't train the dog to accommodate your laziness."

The lanky detective didn't answer, and instead removed the pen from the dog's mouth, and ruffled the soft spot between Gladstone's ears appreciatively. "Good dog." He smirked. Gladstone wagged his tail and took a moment to enjoy the oh-so-rare petting he was receiving from Sherlock, before trotting off to join John in the kitchen. "A case, John. Been thinking." He vaguely explained. Sherlock pulled himself up into a sitting position, and began scribbling notes on some case files that were littering their coffee table.

"Going to make a call to Lestrade, then?" His partner asked from the kitchen. Gladstone had laid down at the end of the table, content to simply watch John for the time being.

Sherlock stood, "No, this requires a personal visit. There's a lead I need to follow. Could be dangerous. Coming?" He asked as he carelessly shed his robe onto the floor en-route to his bedroom.

The doctor sighed as he held two mugs in hand. John knew it was best not to try and start some tea if Sherlock was just going to drag him out. "Can't." He answered finally.

"Can't..." Sherlock spat petulantly from his room. "I need you there. You must come. There's no other option. I was being polite when I asked if you were 'coming', expecting the answer to be a resounding yes. The answer is always 'yes' when it comes to me and the work, John."

John shook his head, "In the past, yes. But we've got Gladstone now. Can't just leave the poor thing cooped up in the flat while we go on one of your little jogs around London. There's never any telling how long we'll be out with the way you operate."

"Leave him with Ms. Hudson, she's watched him before." Sherlock noted, sweeping back into the room fully dressed. He grabbed his overcoat and turned his icy orbs toward John as he slipped it on.

His companion shook his head again, "Nope. Not here. She's gone to visit her sister, remember? A week?"

"For godssake." Sherlock hissed, looking around the flat impatiently for his scarf.

The sound of clicking animal nails against the hardwood floors caught Sherlock's attention; he stopped his search, and turned to see Gladstone standing before him – tail wagging, scarf in mouth. The detective nodded, and removed his scarf from Gladstone's teeth and slipped it around his neck. Gladstone barked quietly, lifting his chin a bit higher to gaze up at his master. John couldn't help but stare at the two curiously. It looked like they were having some sort of mental conversation... 'which is ridiculous in itself-' John thought, 'Sherlock might be smart, but he's not clever enough to communicate with animals, or s-'

"Fine." Sherlock announced smoothly, while keeping his eyes on their pet. "Then he'll accompany us."

"Sorry, who?" John asked.

"Gladstone." Nodding to the animal, Sherlock headed for the door. "Come on."

The dog obediently began to follow behind Sherlock's fluttering coat. "Hang on, you can't bring Gladstone on a case. That's ridiculous. You don't even have 'im on a leash..."

"I never use it when we go on walks; a leash is something you expect to need, but he stays close. A leash is pointless, isn't it Gladstone?" Sherlock asked the young dog, only to be answered with enthusiastic tail wagging. "He'll be fine. Might even come in useful. I've been training him too, you know."

"Oh I know." John grumbled, grabbing his own coat. By now, John was well aware of the arguments he could win against Sherlock... and when the 'game' was calling, those arguments of reason were almost non-existent.

They had split up in pursuit of the suspects.

After consulting Lestrade on his latest case, Sherlock led John, the Detective Inspector, and a few lackies from Scotland Yard to the location he believed was currently housing the suspects. A drug ring wasn't particularly interesting or out of the ordinary, but the more Sherlock had dug, the more connections he'd found. The trail led the small group to the 'Majestic Hotel' – a rather seedy place near Cromwell Hospital. They stormed the hotel lobby and fanned out to each floor. Sherlock had caught sight of the three men and gave an intensive pursuit which ended up leading him back out of the building and into the winding crooks and alleyways that littered the neighbouring surrounding streets.

Sherlock followed the criminals as best he could, and eventually, the chase led to a dead end. The three men (rather large men, upon closer inspection) turned to glare at him. Their breathing laboured, their bodies perspiring, a bit panicked and very, clearly angry.

"You meddlin' sod," One growled. "Couldn't just leave well enough alone, could you?"

The consulting detective smirked, "It wasn't that hard. Really." He baited. His stormy eyes quickly noted that the men were not as 'unarmed' as he previously suspected. One had a small metal pipe in hand, while the other two acquired their own makeshift weapons using the provisions the alley was providing: a beam of wood, and a brick.

"Well you're outnumbered now, mate, aren't ya?" Another sneered as they began to close in on him.

Sherlock sighed, "For the moment. It will only be a matter of minutes before the Yard arrives. You best save yourself the added years by tacking on assault to the charges, make it easy on yourself and behave properly." He warned, as if playing the part of a disappointed schoolmaster.

"If we're goin' away, then we might as well 'ave a bit of a kick-in now. Won't get another chance, will we..." The third snarled. "You've 'ad it comin', Holmes."

Sherlock knew he was outnumbered, and briefly regretted (for once) running off on his own. John and the others would be along shortly. But a lot could happen in the span of a 'shortly'. He tensed, and slid his right hand into his pocket. He knew he might be able to blind at least one, if not two of them with the WF-18LG pepper spray he had hidden in his coat, but the delay would only be temporary.

But before any of them could act, the sound of a deep, ferocious growl echoed through the alley. All eyes quickly turned to see a dog, slowly approaching - eyes focused, and fangs bared as it snarled.

A small smirk that tugged at the corner of Sherlock's mouth mouth.

"Ah... Gladstone." He mused, placing his hands casually behind his back as the dog moved forward with a quick charge; successfully causing the three assailants to back up.

The animal seemed incredibly ferocious as it passed Sherlock without a glance, and stood between him and the criminals. He growled consistently, low and menacing, before barking and charging forward again. The trio of men scampered back even further; their wooden beams, pipe and a single brick not seeming fit to defend themselves properly against a raging dog.

The others did soon catch up – rather gobsmacked to come across Sherlock, a snarling dog, and three cornered suspects. They were apprehended and led away while Sherlock provided his quick statement to Lestrade. John and Gladstone were patiently waiting off to the side.

John's arrival seemed to be the only thing that had broken the dog's protective, vicious demeanor. He had successfully warded off both criminals AND officers until John had spoken and called to it. Almost instantly, the dog's fur had unruffled, it's teeth sank behind it's lips and it calmed. John apologized to the officers, of course, and tried to assure them that Gladstone had never hurt anyone before, and wasn't likely to.

No one really seemed convinced.

As he finished speaking to Lestrade, Sherlock turned and looked back to his flatmate and their pet. John was kneeling, stroking a gentle and soothing hand down Gladstone's back and around his ears. The dog was looking right at John as it's tail twitched up and down against the pavement in random intervals; not wagging, but alert. Listening. The doctor appeared to be speaking to the animal in hushed tones.

The brunette frowned and walked over to the pair. John noticed his approach, and was quick to stand – offering a forced grin. "You got lucky this time." He reprimanded gently. "How many times will you need to be threatened before you realize that running off ALONE is not clever?"

"How did you find me?" Sherlock asked, his eyes still focused on Gladstone.

John grunted and reached into his pocket. He produced one of Sherlock's leather gloves. "I knew something was up when you chased them out of the building. You were gone by the time I got 'round the back... no lead... so I gave Gladstone a go. He took off running, I could barely keep up. I heard him barking, and we followed the sound. I knew he'd come through." He ruffled his hand between the dog's ears again.

Sherlock nodded, and reached down – cupping Gladstone's chin in his large hand. "Good boy." He muttered quietly. The dog's tail began to wag enthusiastically as it peered up at Sherlock, but didn't move its body; dutifully still as Sherlock withdrew his hand.

"Come on. Back to Baker Street, there's nothing more of interest here." Sherlock commanded, taking off toward the street corner in search of a cab.

John and Gladstone obediently followed.