John and Sherlock had received the call at around eleven pm and within twenty minutes they were down at the crime scene. The consulting detective had been moping around the house for days so John was glad of this distraction for everyones sake. Mainly his own if he were being honest. There were only so many times he could hear the word 'bored' and the various sounds of damage to his belongings before he could no longer keep his temper in check. The only problem he could foresee was that he was meant to work at the clinic starting at eight am tomorrow, but seeing as he most likely would have been kept awake by the screeching violin or pacing footsteps as he had been for most of this week so far, this was the preferred option by a long way.
Once they had arrived and dispensed with the usual exchanges with Donovan and Anderson, the two consultants walked over towards the body, having first made their way through a group of police and forensics specialists who watched them with the regular expressions of surprise, interest or annoyance.
As he passed the greying DI, Sherlock sniffed with exaggeration, a look of complete puzzlement came over his face which had John pausing and tilting his head to the side. He straightened to his full height and turned slightly as he breathed deeply through his nose. Most of the people standing around found other things to be doing and walked away from the strange man in the long coat who strode over to Lestrade in large strides. He came to a stop, breathing in with force as he sniffed the man from his shoulders to his knees, personal space seemingly didn't enter into the equation.
"What the hell, Sherlock! Get off me!" the Inspector cried out, shooing the other man off with outstretched arms, his long trench flapping softly in the wind.
The eccentric brunet was not to be deterred, however. "Lestrade. Why do you smell like that?" he demanded, brow furrowed.
"What?". Of the many questions he could have been presented with that was not the one he was expecting.
The great consulting detective rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Your cologne" he explained, the 'you idiot' was heavily implied.
A look of blank puzzlement washed over the older man's features. "What about it?"
Sherlock began to pace, waving an arm here and there for emphasis. "I've written up a little blog on the identification of perfumes, I've also noted some colognes. Wouldn't want to discriminate. It's on the website- you should look it up"
"What, on John's site?" he wonders, wanting clarification from the short blond. "I'm always up to date with that and didn't see anything there on perfume"
"What?" the pale man looks befuddled for a second which gives way to disgust and resentment. "Oh for- No! I have a website!"
They all look at the doctor for a moment who is gazing away to the side with his lips pursed, acting sheepishly. He's attempting to keep the attention away from himself. His flatmate was always touchy about his blog being so much more popular.
Lestrade brought the conversation back to focus. "Right, and that blog would tell me what exactly?"
"Well in this case" he smelled the DI with vigor even going to the trouble to lift one of the man's arms and running his nose from his shoulder to the ends of his fingers as the increasingly protesting man tried to step back to no avail. "By the way it's distributed, how it hasn't had much of a chance to meld to your own natural smells, you've had it on for only an hour at most. After your shower just before coming here actually. Retails at over 600 pounds a bottle. No offense but not something that a man of your statue and usual personal grooming standards is going to be able to afford or would buy for himself. But in this case it's not a gift, in fact it's not even yours".
"Sherlock" John warned with a sigh, rubbing at his forehead.
The greying man shook his head with a nervous looking smile as he looked around to see who was watching. "We have a body here, Sherlock. A little focus, yeah?"
"You've never worn this before" he said more to himself, then his smugness showed. "Didn't think I'd notice, did you? Me? You didn't think I'd notice?" he scoffed.
"What the hell are you on about?" the DI snapped with a hint of a snarl, patience almost at it's end.
"Isn't it obvious?" He asked with wide eyes and seemed disappointed when no one else had made the connections that he already had. He looked over to John who simply shrugged his shoulders. He turned back to Lestrade. "That's the type Mycroft keeps next to the basin in his personal bathroom but doesn't wear it often, in fact he's never worn it in front of me. He's been saving it" he stated as though everyone else should have realised that within the first thirty seconds of being there.
Silence rang out in the near vicinity. Many looked from one another with shock. "What? Your brother? Hang on, what are you trying to say-"
"-it's the only possible conclusion to make! You were over at his London residence, received a phone call to come down here. You only had the clothes that you had already worn today with you so you did the best you could with the time available. You had a shower lasting between two and five minutes, I mean look, you didn't even bother shampooing your hair! Then feeling self conscious about your pre-worn attire you grabbed the closest fragrance available, it just happened to be one so recognisable. Are you seriously telling me that no one else has brought this up with you yet? No one?"
"Sherlock, tact. Or timing. In fact, just stop" John muttered, running a hand through his hair.
"Right" Lestrade said with a blank expression. "Well as interesting as all that is we have a job to do". He looked over to a group that were muttering and laughing in their general direction. "You lot, breaks over" he growled. "Get on with what we're paying you to do. Anderson, try to make yourself useful". The forensics man seemed to swear, although they couldn't tell exactly what had been said from this distance, and made his way back over to the tent they had set up to protect themselves from the light drizzle. "And for the record, Sherlock" Lestrade said calmly, making sure all within earshot could hear "I did have a quick shower before coming here, spot on, and same clothes as today. But I'm wearing a sample I was handed at the department store".
"No, but that's…" he stopped, for the first time there was a little vulnerability in his tone. "But that's come from a larger bottle. I'm sure that…" but he really didn't sound so sure anymore.
"Come on" John encouraged, taking his friends forearm and steering him back towards the body. "Mystery solved. Greg says it's from a sample, so it's from a sample. They tried to hand me about three different things last time I was there". Sherlock was about to disagree when John continued in a lower voice after a quick nod at the grateful DI. "Do you really want to think about what you're suggesting is going on between the two of them?".
The consulting detective looked over to the familiar policeman who was giving him a tight lipped smile, teeth covered. "No" he said, seeming quite confused for a moment at what he'd implied "no, I guess you're right". At this he dusted the front of his coat, about to bend down and begin his examination of the victim after shaking off John's hand. But being him he had to get one parting shot in. In his lofty tone, he said "I'd go back to your cheap stuff, Lestrade, it suits you more".
"Yeah, thanks. Very kind of you, Mate" he replied, turning and walking away as he begins a text message.
A Sherlock and John-centric fic focusing on the situations surrounding the five times Sherlock nearly discovers his brother's relationship with DI Lestrade and the one time he does. Much Sherlock and John interaction, pre slash. 5plus1 Mystrade story with a lots of plot, dialogue and action surrounding the 'almost' discoveries, mostly from the eyes of our two Baker St residents.
A few weeks later John and Sherlock were staking out at an expensive hotel in London and had been there for the last hour or so. This case had been going on for the last four days and for most of it the doctor had been kept in the dark about what was going on but as always was assisting his colleague with a positive attitude, trusting that the man knew what he was doing.
They initially had a drink in the main bar area, well John had a beer. Apparently for Sherlock drinking on a case went under the same rules as eating on a case.
Having finished there they were now crouching between a wall of indoor plants and a see-through lattice wall divider which overlooks the main restaurant from upstairs.
The shorter man had been patient up until now but after nearly being caught again, and with his leg beginning to cramp, he really felt he had to say something. It really wouldn't be a good look to be caught here seeing as the space was so small and they were right up against each other side by side. "So," he began "anything yet?"
"Nothing" the man replied with a sharp tone, face bitter. He was hoping that this would have been wrapped up at least two days ago and frustrated at the fact that even though he had put his best efforts into it, the criminals were still out there. He took it personally.
"You do know that this would probably go more smoothly if you actually told me what it is we're looking for?"
"I've already told you, something out of the ordinary"
"Yes. You do realise that leaves quite a wide range of options? If you're more specific perhaps I'd be of more use to you. Or maybe I can go back and have another beer. One man found hiding by himself in a narrow, secluded spot sounds better than two men found together in a narrow, secluded spot".
Sherlock sighed and took his eyes off the crowd for a moment. "We know the importer has been targeting wealthy women, we don't know how he's selling the jewels off to them but they all had a link with the hospitality areas at this hotel. So far, simple".
Another ten minutes went by so the blond decided to start some conversation again. "To pass the time before I took a glance at the menu. If you include drinks, a dinner will set you back about a weeks wages". The detective ignored him, becoming frustrated at the lack of action, he kept moving his fingers in rhythmic movements. A few minutes later John kept talking as though he hadn't stopped. "Also I think I'd have trouble trying to get across what I wanted to eat here. Hopefully they accept orders by just pointing at the words. I think they were words, anyway. I've eaten at nice places before but there is usually some English to help-"
"-what is so important that you're interrupting me again?" he snapped, eyes quite wild.
The smaller man was patient. He'd be grumpy too if he hadn't eaten in days although his sympathy wasn't too high as it was completely self inflicted. "It's a lot of money".
The detective was looking at him, trying to understand. He was never this patient with anyone. "You're surprised that a smuggler who is selling stolen jewelry 10 000 pounds and up is targeting a destination of the affluent?"
"No, I'm surprised that a place like this doesn't have more security, Sherlock, that's what I'm getting at. You'd think we'd have been caught on camera sneaking behind here for a start!"
The brunet seemed to find a spot on one of his hands very interesting all of a sudden and even managed to look a little guilty. "I may have, ah, redirected a couple of them when you were having a drink before. They really shouldn't have the system hooked up on a wireless network, the password was child's play".
John nodded slowly, pursing his lips while clenching and unclenching his left hand. "Right. Any other laws you've broken tonight? Just so I can take notes for when we're arrested and I want to deny all knowledge? Who are you again?".
Sherlock rolled his eyes, then listened closely, brow furrowed. "Someone's coming" he whispered. "Quick, the cloak room we passed on the way in. We can watch the camera feed from in there".
Moving out from behind their cover they were able to sneak into the room and hide in the racks of coats and other personal belongings that patrons had checked in.
"You know, if we're caught in here you're explaining what's going on. I'll just be like 'Yes, sorry about that boys, we thought it would be ok to bury ourselves in other people's things and watch your security feed. Oh, don't be like that it's fine, we even turned some of them off for you'"
"Very amusing, John"
"Well you know me, amusing".
They spent the next twenty minutes watching the CCTV and holding their breath when the attendant came in to retrieve some belongings.
"Agh!" Sherlock groaned some time later, John bent forward and looked down the rack with mild concern.
"I moved and this" he held up a walking stick and threw it to the other side of the room where hit an umbrella and a blue overcoat "stabbed me in the...ohhh"
"Sherlock?" John questioned at the sound. The other had obviously had an epiphany and was inspecting the blue overcoat and black umbrella that he had hit from the other side of the room. It had been placed there around ten minutes earlier.
"Right, not getting this" the doctor was happy to admit.
The thin man shoved the jacket in the older man's face aggressively. "Familiar?"
It took John a moment to place it, then he wondered how he ever could have missed it. "Oh, right. Your-"
"-yes my brother! He could be here to find-no he wouldn't be here to solve this, this place is a favourite of his. Stupid!". At this Sherlock looked up to the monitor and pressed a couple of buttons to switch between cameras. It took at least a minute, the resolution wasn't that good either. He squinted then finally used the umbrella to tap a spot on the screen. "He's right up the back in the restaurant. He's sitting with someone with light hair, I can't make them out properly at this distance and with the quality. It doesn't help that they have their back to me. Hrm, maybe it's time I went for a walk?"
"Come on, the case remember? And you'd go dressed like that? He'll see you in a second!"
"No, dressed like this" at this he strides with purpose back over to where he had been standing moments ago and pulls out patterned black trousers, a half apron and the hotel issue white shirt with logo.
The ex-army medic stares in silence. "Dressing up and pretending to work here, isn't that a bit cliché?"
Sherlock paid him no mind, he was already taking off his jacket. "I'm lucky most of the waiters here are young and thin, I can't see one here that would fit you-"
"-yes, thank you-"
"-they'll be all too long in the legs for a start-"
"-great to know".
Sherlock began to remove his shirt, he's already made quick work of his blazer and shoes. "Go back to where we were before and wait for me, keep your eyes peeled. It's time I went down there anyway, we're getting no where up here like this". At that moment he removed his trousers in one swift movement leaving him only in a pair of dark briefs and black socks. John's eyes widened, lingered, then with a small cough he turned to face the rack to his left to give the other man some privacy.
"And if I'm found?" he questioned, trying to keep his voice an even tone.
"Well, I've heard that one man found hiding by himself in a narrow, secluded spot sounds better than two men found together in a narrow, secluded spot"
Sherlock was just giving his apron the finishing touches when they heard a noise approaching the doorway. The detective made eye contact with his companion and pointed to the hiding spot. John covered himself just in time.
The female attendant walked in moments later to find Sherlock holding his own blazer neatly folded in his arms, holding a ticket he'd found on the floor. "Umm..." he mumbled, a look of bumbling confusion on his features as he gazed around at the different holding bays. "Ahh..."
"What are you doing?" the woman asked loudly. Sherlock jumped, nearly dropping the jacket. "You can't be in here!"
"Hi, yes, sorry" he apologised looking younger than his years and also terrified. "One of the g-guests-he, well he-"
"He what? You know wait staff aren't allowed in here, things go missing!"
"Yes I'm sorry" he pleaded. John was amazed at how convincing he seemed and how he could easily pass as someone in his mid twenties. "He wanted, said he needed his jacket immediately and there was no one, no one there at the counter and-"
"-put that back where you found it, go back out, give him his ticket and get him to come and see me. What's your name?"
"Hopkins, Jamie Hopkins" Sherlock squeaked, not missing a beat.
"Well, Hopkins, your manager will hear about this. Where are you working tonight?"
"Main floor. Ah, restaurant"
"Well Mr. Fitzgerald isn't going to happy about this, is he? Put that back where you found it. Come on!" Sherlock did as he was told as she walked to the back of the room. The detective waved at John to move quickly and they slipped out of the room before she could see either of them leave.
The brunet walked with John, pretending to show him around until he left him in the smaller bar to watch from the area overlooking the main dining room. He kept walking and made his way to the large area where people were eating. He grabbed a tray and white napkin to drape over his arm after taking note of how the other staff held themselves. He began to walk around with purpose, slowly making his way over to his brother.
He noticed that a table near the pair was currently being cleared, the couple just leaving. Hrm, she didn't want to come here in the first place, he'd insisted, been married around three years. He wants children, she wants them too but is worried about what that will do to her career and her figure. She has skipped dessert and keeps adjusting the clothing around her midsection although it isn't tight, thinks she's larger than she is. He places a hand on her lower back to walk her out, she stiffens not wanting the close contact right now because she thinks it will lead to another argument about not being intimate as he'll insist they start a family that night and...FOCUS!
Sherlock walks over to a stand and selects all the knives, forks, spoons and anything else he'll need. He strides over and to the young woman stacking the plates. "Rushed off our feet again tonight" he complains with one of his best 'normal people' smiles.
"Matt's off sick, he-" she stopped talking. "Sorry, have we met?"
"Jamie" Sherlock says and quickly moves on. "I'll lay these out, we can get the next lot in quicker that way. Mr. Fitzgerald told me to"
"Sara. That's really nice of you, Jamie, thanks for that. Fitzgerald has been on my back all night. Thanks"
"Not a problem" he grins, he's tempted to drop the charade as soon as she's out of sight but he knows he must keep it up for a while longer. Taking his time he begins to straighten up the table cloth and lay out the utensils.
At this angle from Mycroft's table Sherlock's view is limited which means that there is a lot of information that he is missing out on, unable to deduce details from the table set up such as the way the men were sitting and the food they have ordered. He wasn't too worried about this at this point, although it was frustrating. At least he was able to hear them clearly and stay out of sight of The British Government.
He can now see who his brother is sitting with, strange, although the hair is similar he could have sworn that the person seemed shorter on the CCTV. No matter, he could hear what was being said clearly.
"...please, I need your help, Mycroft. The damage that could-" he stops suddenly as the elder Holmes raises a hand to silence him. A moment later a barman brings over a drink.
"Scotch on the rocks, Gentlemen?"
"Just there will be fine, thank you" Mycroft mutters, looking quite distracted. Sherlock narrows his eyes, he could feel the power and restlessness coming off his brother in waves, he usually didn't display it like this. He must have good reason to stake his place, although the person he was speaking with wouldn't pick it up like that, he would just feel intimidated. But Sherlock could pick up the different layers and the feeling of...disappointment?
"Excuse me?" the seated man asked but the waiter was already walking off. He was sitting there writhing his hands looking forlorn.
"Michael" Mycroft called out clearly while making a gesture, the employee turned and walked back over.
"Yes, Mr. Holmes?"
He raises his brows slightly. "The opposition leader has a question for you" he explains with seeming kindness.
Opposition leader. Sherlock noted. Interesting.
"Oh, Mr. Reynolds, Sir. Good evening" Michael greeted.
"Good evening, what time does the main bar close tonight?"
"In just over three hours. Will that be all, Sirs?"
"Yes, thank you". He waited until they were alone once more. "Mycroft, please, you know I wouldn't come to you if-"
"-Jeffery, now is not the time nor place to be discussing this. We could be easily overheard. If what you're saying is correct, the ramifications of this could resonate through all levels of parliament. It's not the sort of light conversation one should have in such an open area. You must understand that if you had admitted to this when I first brought the matter up with you weeks ago we wouldn't be in this situation now. You wouldn't be in this situation now. In fact you've made things rather difficult for many. Make an appointment with my assistant for first thing in the morning. From what you've told me it can wait until then".
"But" he again was silenced by the look he received. "Very well. I just don't want to lose my job, it means everything to me. I have at least 15 working years left in me. Now I know I shouldn't have lied to you". There was silence for a full minute in which Mycroft opened up his phone, read something then looked around the whole area with suspicion, eyeing off the waiters. The consulting detective turned his back on the table completely and polished a fork, holding a breath while he bent over to hide his hair. "On another note my wife and I are actually staying here tonight, the service is superb"
"Really?" the elder Holmes asked in what Sherlock knew to be a bored voice, he was just keeping up appearances. He needed to get out of here, the angle of the voice meant that it was likely the man was looking straight in his direction.
"Yes, the main bar or perhaps it was the shops. Said something about buying a pair of diamond earrings. You know what women are like"
"Quite" he replied shortly.
Bingo. Sherlock had heard all he had to, he sped away from the half finished table setting, placing the tray down on a divider and kept moving. This had gone better than expected. He quickly made his way back to John, missing the politician standing and saying. "Well thank you for your time, I'll make the appointment for tomorrow. Anyway, I've kept your guest's seat warm for long enough while he was taking that call"
"Yes, he should be back any moment, it seems for some of us the working day is never quite done" he gives a tight smile. "I'm hoping the drink I've ordered for him will ease the pain of having to work late. Well I won't keep you any longer, Jeffery" Mycroft states politely but his meaning is clear.
The addressed man stands, does an awkward half nod, half bow while clutching his jacket closely and makes his way back to his hotel room. He knows when he's being dismissed.
Sherlock thinks through what he'd heard before the details pertaining to the case came out. That's what was upsetting Mycroft, he'd seen this negative situation coming a while ago, he'd tried to prevent it but this man hadn't played along. By the sounds of it this Reynolds wouldn't be in his position for long. You only lasted for a short time if you've brought this sort of reaction from this certain Mr. Holmes.
"John!" Sherlock exclaims, sticking his head around the corner.
"Jesus, you nearly gave me a heart attack!" he cried, as he slowly stood up from his crouching position. He winced and shook his legs out.
"Come quickly, main bar! I need you to tell me what the opposition leader's wife looks like"
"I'm assuming these things are linked? Well she-"
"-no time! just point her out when we get there!".
As they run past a corridor which leads off to another, Greg Lestrade keeps walking and turns his head around the corner to see the tail end of the two men sprinting. They'd gone straight past this corridor and hadn't seen him. The DI would recognise them anywhere, although he wasn't even going to think about why Sherlock seemed to be dressed as a waiter. He considered following but then shrugged and began to walk back the other way to his table. He'd had a hell of a day and following that Holmes anywhere spelled trouble and a guaranteed headache.
He'd been looking forward to this dinner all week, the case he'd been working on for the last 6 days had kept in at the office late every night, in early every morning and he hadn't had a lot of free time in between. He'd just had to take a call from the Chief Superintendent who managed to time his call perfectly to ring about five minutes after he'd finally sat down at the dinner table. Truth be told he was also looking forward to another drink. He'd been cutting down and hadn't had one in days but he could really kill a scotch on the rocks right now, he realised.
Twenty minutes later the cuffs had been slapped on the gem smuggler's wrists, he'd been taken down to the station by a team of police who had been called by the hotel after they saw one of their employees dive on the man after he'd started running from him and a shorter blond. Turns out the man didn't even work there, something strange was going on.
DI Lestrade had arrived on the scene just after the first carload of uniformed officers, and after just finishing his drink, having received a call having stupidly told his superior where he was when he'd been on the phone minutes earlier about the separate case. There was no saying he wasn't in the area. He didn't have to stay long but he did hang around to hear the consulting detective's statement.
Sherlock had told John to meet him in the smaller bar that they'd been in earlier, he needed to speak with the police a little longer and then get changed.
When ex-soilder walked into the area he was surprised to find it empty and dimly lit. He stepped closer to find a familiar figure sitting more casually than he'd ever seen him up at the bar.
"John, what a pleasant surprise. Join me"
The doctor stepped forward and found that there was a bottle of an obviously expensive amber liquid sitting on the polished wood with a glass matching the one Mycroft was currently sipping out of. "We're celebrating?"
"Relaxing" he corrected.
"Before it comes"
"Before what comes, exactly?" John queried lightly with a small frown.
Mycroft gave one of his irritating little smiles and handed the other man a whiskey. "The inevitable".
The blond accepted the drink. "To the inevitable then?" he suggested as a toast. The minor government official's lips pulled tight and he held his drink up too. "Cheers". John took a sip and made a small noise. "Oh, that's good that". He smacks his lips. "Very good, in fact". The other man nodded and topped up both their glasses. John turned his head to the side and thought about what they'd just said. "Slightly morbid toast though. Next time we go for world peace, I think"
"Morbid? Heavens no. Just realistic" at this he sat up and John realised the man was practically sober, his face had cleared and this was the Mycroft he knew. This was perhaps his first drink of the night. "My apologies if you feel as though I am not myself. All that has happened is that my evening didn't go exactly to plan, but they never do, you understand I'm sure".
"Hrm, I know the feeling" John replied. These days a night out was never the evening that he'd planned, from dates getting interrupted by cases and 'emergencies' such as the time the fridge wasn't shut probably and was beeping. Sherlock hadn't been bothered to get up from the couch to fix it. He'd explained to John when he'd arrived back home panting after leaving Jennifer (or was it Josie? Janine? It doesn't matter he never saw her again) at Angelo's after receiving a text saying 'Dire situation. Come at once. Baker St. In peril- SH' then his friend explained that he'd tried shouting for Mrs. Hudson but she hadn't heard him and what was that infernal C sharp noise? It turned out a human foot had slipped off a plate and was keeping the door open, oh the row they'd had that night.
Then there were the nights he and his flatmate tried to go out for dinner, a walk or something and then suddenly they were chasing or being chased. Although, John realised, he wouldn't want it any other way.
Mycroft was watching him with great concentration, it wasn't the first time John felt as if his thoughts were being X-rayed and assessed. He looked away and said the first thing that came into this head. "Well, Jeremy Reynolds has had a big night"
"Hrm, yes. And he'll have a big week" he pauses as John doesn't follow. "He's about to retire" he states simply.
"Really? Wow" he rattles the ice around "Big week for him, Sherlock said he'd seen you talking with him and now this has happened with his wife. People are going to think the two matters are related"
"I can assure you they're not" he said, exuding satisfaction.
"He told you he's resigning tonight before his wife tried to buy those stolen earrings?"
The man weighed up reply options. "In a manner of speaking. Your discretion is expected, Doctor Watson"
John nodded and took another sip, missing a lot of Mycroft's meaning, not knowing that the other was ending the man's career due to his political sins. "Of course, of course. Listen Sherlock will be up here any minute now, the case has been going on for the last four days so don't think I'm being rude but as soon as he's ready we're leaving, as long as you don't have to say anything to him. It's just that I've got to get some food into him before he crashes, you know what he's like"
There was an odd gleam in the older man's eye. "Yes, I do". A pause, he is looking into his drink then over at the other side of the room. "He's very lucky to have someone like you to take his welfare to heart"
John chuckled. "Now whether I actually look after him or just try to is debatable. I can always try but it doesn't mean he'll listen to me"
"All the same it's the...sentiment" the word felt strange coming from his lips "that's appreciated"
John felt his mobile buzz in his pocket. "Oh, hello" he muttered, getting it out and reading the text while making sure he was the only one to see the screen.
Meet me out front.
Not in mood for
umbrella wielding morons.
"Don't keep him waiting. Good evening, Doctor Watson" he said, standing as John wondered how his flatmate had left without going past them.
"Ah, yeah, right. Good night" he extends his hand which the other man shakes after placing his drink down on the bench.
"There's a Mandarin restaurant around the corner, it would fall within your parameters".
"Ta" he nods, beginning to leave.
"Oh, and my umbrella is still in the room Sherlock just exited, not with me. He should be paying more attention"
John stops, turns, looks at his phone screen and realises that the man couldn't have possibly read anything on it at any time. Bloody Holmes' and their knowing everything. Before he could respond Mycroft just raised his glass in farewell. John took his cue and left.
After watching the ex-army man leave Mycroft reached over the bar and grabbed a new glass and filled it. Maybe now the two of them could finally have the relaxing night they had both been looking forward to, and unable to have, for the last week and a half.
Thanks for reading. Feedback is appreciated :)
A Sherlock and John-centric fic focusing on the situations surrounding the five times Sherlock nearly discovers his brother's relationship with DI Lestrade and the one time he does. Much Sherlock and John interaction, pre slash. 5plus1 Mystrade story with a lots of plot, dialogue and action surrounding the 'almost' discoveries, mostly from the eyes of our two Baker St residents.
"I don't see why we have to be here" Sherlock snapped as he dragged behind John. Usually with his long legs he was out in front so this was a testament to his current stroppy attitude.
"Because it's the right thing to do" the doctor explained simply with a bite of frustration as he checked his wallet to make sure he had enough money to cover their entry. They were only a block away now and were a little late due to the consulting detective throwing a tantrum and refusing to get himself ready. He also refused to hail them a taxi, John tried for five minutes with no luck as it seemed he didn't have the magic touch when it came to hailing a cab out of thin air. "I'd prefer a night in myself but like I said it's the right thing to do".
"But it doesn't mean that I have to be here, you could have come by yourself. I don't think my current experiment is going to take reliable notes on when it rises to an appropriate temperature for air bubbles to form, do you?"
The shorter man appeared to think this through and turned around to give eye contact. "It's only a matter of time until you create something that does have enough awareness to write up it's own lab notes. Make sure I'm out that day will you? I really don't want to see Frankenstein running around"
"Really, John, I shouldn't have to correct you to say that you mean Frankenstein's monster, Frankenstein was the doctor. It is a common mistake but one I wouldn't have expected from you"
The shorter man made a small chuckling sound. "No, I meant what I said, the monster I could handle it's the mad scientist I'm afraid of. The amount of body parts we have lying around from week to week means I've probably already met him, he just hasn't, you know, pulled himself together yet"
"Ha. Ha" the brunet deadpanned, considering making a run for it back home but his counterpart was still talking.
"He'd probably be tidier, have more respect for my sleeping patterns and be more conscientious in terms of my own belongings though. The monster that is"
"Well if you had any talent in the sciences I'd tell you to make him yourself, sounds like you'd be very happy together" he snarked, bitterly.
A few hours earlier they'd had the largest argument they'd had yet about what constituted good flatmate behavior after Sherlock had been displaying some particularly bad habits over the last couple of weeks. Worse than usual, that is, and this particular conversation had been coming for a while. John usually took the others habits as they were but recently it was really over and above what was acceptable.
When he first moved in and the younger man had given him the talk about 'Flatmates should know the worst about each other' and he'd seen what else would pass as normal such as the heads in the fridge, the violin at all hours and the experiments everywhere, the doctor realised that he could put up with all of this as he loved the excitement and he knew that he himself wasn't the easiest man to live with. What Sherlock should have brought up earlier today however was his increasing fear that John was going to leave him, for a woman most likely, but in essence he wouldn't be around forever.
John picked up the pace a bit after glancing at his watch. "I don't understand your problem, you never give up an opportunity to go to Bart's-"
"-well we're not going to Bart's are we? You've tricked me" he looked down at his friend then his eyes widened as though he was seeing him clearly for the first time. "I have underestimated your willingness to use underhanded methods, I must reassess this"
"Don't be so dramatic! It's just a fundraiser in partnership with the local emergency services who you know most of. I don't want to know the amount of them you've met over the years in different circumstances. You owe this to them, the amount of resources you must have taken up-"
"-is far outweighed by the good I've done for them in finding killers, preventing crimes and proving who is innocent and who is guilty when they are determined to be so blissfully idiotic".
"Yes, well we're nearly there now, let's give the name calling a miss for this evening, shall we?"
Sherlock seemed to mumble something along the lines of it only being the truth but he stayed quiet after that. He was in a fitted black suit with a deep blue button down shirt with highly polished dress shoes, not needing the coat this night. John paid their entry and they stepped into the function centre dining hall. The doctor looked up the seating plan and saw that they were placed on a table with a few of their Scotland Yard usuals but also surprisingly Mike Stamford, sometimes things just worked out.
"We're table thirteen, come on". At this they made their way over to their team for the evening.
"John, Sherlock, I was beginning to think you weren't coming" came a friendly greeting.
"Sorry about that Greg, got tied up at the flat" the blond explained lightly with an expressive turn of his head, trying to warn him what to expect from the man next to him. The elder one nodded his understanding. Before he could get another word in someone else spoke up.
"God, I don't want to know what you two freaks get up to in your spare time" Sally muttered behind her glass but everyone heard.
"Donovan" the DI warned. "Come on now, we need Sherlock in a good mood for the trivia section, I'm counting on him". He smiled over at the younger man. "Can I get you blokes a drink?". It was obvious he'd had had a few himself.
"Let's just hope the questions aren't on the solar system" Sally smirked, thinking of John's blog.
"Don't be ridiculous, he knows what the center of the universe is" a short haired lady next to Sally joked. They both giggled and took a sip of their wine.
John looked up with a furrowed brow, he'd seen that woman a couple of times down at Scotland Yard but they'd never been introduced. He may have been not so happy with his friend at the moment but she wasn't going to get away with saying those things about him. "Sorry, who are you?" he questioned a little too forcefully. Sherlock's eyes snapped over, seemingly surprised at John's protective outburst.
"Sergeant Joanne Thompkins, unlike Sally I haven't had the pleasure of working with your boyfriend but I've heard a lot about him".
"I'm John Watson, his colleague and friend" the man corrected with authority, they were only moments away from John's stance taking on a strong military edge.
At this Greg stepped in so nothing else could be said as the ex-army medic seemed to be ready for a verbal fight. "Next to Sally is PC Amy Matthews, Sherlock you sit with Amy, John you can squeeze yourself in between me and Sherlock. The person next to me is grabbing some drinks then there are a few people from the hospital and God help me if I can remember their names".
As if summoned the rest of the table joined them. "Mike!" John called out cheerfully, walking around and shaking his hand, he was willing to just ignore this Joanne person for the rest of the night. He was a bit disappointed in Sally though, she was usually better than this. But then he remembered at the last crime scene his flatmate loudly telling her that he knew about her recent pregnancy scare and how he was amazed that anything of Anderson's knew which way to swim. Ah, this explained the attitude then, maybe it was somewhat deserved.
"Hello John, hi Sherlock, haven't seen you around Bart's recently, boys!"
"My recent efforts have been based at the morgue" the consulting detective explained in a lazy drawl, earning a roll of the eyes from DS Donovan.
"Now that you say that Molly did mention that you'd been there Tuesday last"
"Is Molly here tonight?" John queried pleasantly while looking around.
"Oh no" the Bart's employee explained as he pushed his thick glasses up his nose as they started to slip "she was going to be on our table but she's got herself a date tonight, they're going to the theatre to see that play about the apple farm".
The consulting detective snorted to indicate how much interest he had in seeing that particular performance then diverted his attention to the tables around them as though nothing in front of him was worthy of his attention.
"She scrubs up alright in a dress that one" Greg said quietly whilst finishing off his pint. John glanced down with raised brows, that confirmed to him that this wasn't the first drink the man had had that night.
Mike put his arm around a woman next to him and smiled broadly. "This is my Genevieve, I don't think either of you have met her. Gen, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, you've heard all about them"
"I have, hello boys" the stockily built, homely looking woman greeted. Friendliness exuded from her very being from her thin but fluffy dyed amber hair to her sensible flat shoes.
"Hello, nice to meet you" John who was still standing near Mike leaned over to lightly shake her hand. "Mike and I first met years ago when we were training at Bart's"
"He mentioned you were a doctor. He missed you when you went to the Middle East, knew you'd be back though"
"Yeah, a little too soon, but that's ok" John commented and made his way back to his seat as they all sat down, including a younger man he hadn't met yet.
"So you're amateur detectives?" she queried politely.
"Consulting detectives. Well detective" Sherlock clarified, acting like a grounded sixteen year old.
Mike beamed and then introduced the man next to him. "Everyone this is Arnold, he's been assisting me in the labs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays".
There was a chime of greeting and the shy man in his early twenties waved. "I've-I've heard of you, Mr. Holmes. Your methods on determining the age of blood stains and your theory on the breakdown of haemoglobin are really inspiring".
Sherlock sat up straighter. "Ah, thank you" he replied hesitantly, looking between the student and John rapidly, not really knowing what to say and hoping to receive some social direction from his colleague. He smiled a little just in case that was what he should do but he didn't want to react too much in case the rug was pulled out from under him, that is, in case this was a joke to make fun of his ego.
"Also we were able to take a screen shot on your work on the different types of tobacco ash before you took it off your site. We" at this he gave a nervous laugh but carried on "we spent some time at student camp testing each other on it, you know, at night when we'd finished classes for the day".
The three female officers were talking amongst themselves and not paying attention so they missed the small, almost imperceptible emotions on the detective's face. His chest swelled with pride, his eyes became a little shinier and his lips tugged upwards just a little. This was squashed down within moments. When he spoke his voice was steady, but a little softer than usual. "Thank you, Arnold. I hope the results were most interesting".
The young man nodded and began to talk to Mike and his wife. Greg turned around to speak to the person who just walked up behind him. John leaned closer to his friend and patted his thigh. "Well done, mate" he encouraged warmly. The emotion was not lost on him, although most others probably wouldn't have picked up on it.
"Oh, you're here". A few people looked up to see DI Dimmock handing Lestrade another pint whilst looking at the pale brunet.
"Detective Inspector Dimmock" Sherlock acknowledged, he seemed to be back to himself now after the flattery and had seemed to have forgotten that he was meant to be sulking.
"Greg didn't mention you'd be here. Watson" he nodded at John.
"You could have read the seating arrangements yourself or do you handle your social engagements like you do your investigations? Letting others inform you of the salient facts as you are unlikely to discover them for yourself?"
"Oh God" John murmured as he ran a hand over his face.
"Alright, enough of that" Greg instructed, again taking up the mantle of peace keeper. He held up his fresh drink to the younger DI next to him. "Cheers".
At this the lights dim and there is a short welcome and introduction to the nights events. They discover that a trivia section followed by a light meal was to be had which will then lead into an auction. A DJ will be performing later most were glad to hear.
John ended up being the captain of the table for their round of trivia after Sherlock mentioned he really held that rank, his smirk told the ex-solider that this was to get back at him for making him attend. PC Amy suggested they call themselves 'Watson's Weapons' as they needed a name. When John said that was a great idea she blushed, the man in the middle of the two rolled his eyes at the attempted flirting.
They were up to round four, music, and were doing quite well. Up until now everyone had been able to answer at least a few questions each. Sherlock ranged from having outstanding knowledge to being frightfully ignorant about some topics. Music was one of these subjects where his personal knowledge bank was somewhat varied.
"What is a 'Fermata' when used in musical notation?"
The tall violinist leaned forward without missing a beat and regurgitated in a fast monotone "A fermata is an element of musical notation indicating that the note should be sustained for longer than its note value would indicate. Exactly how much longer it is held is up to the discretion of the performer or conductor, but twice as long is not unusual. The symbol appeared as early as the 15th century-".
"-got all that, Mr. Encyclopaedia. Is there a condensed version?" John asks with kind patience.
"It's also known as a hold or pause" he replied, sounding disappointed at having to tone down his answer.
"Perfect" the doctor encouraged, writing down the explanation only slightly faster than his computer typing.
"Next question, when The Beatles were turned down by their first record company what were they famously told?"
"Guitar groups are going out of style" Mike called out, after dipping his head down to hopefully prevent other tables from using their answer. "Love me some Beatles" he beamed, squeezing his wife's hand.
Sherlock pulled the answer sheet from John and looking at the messy scrawl he wanted to know whose idea it was to have a doctor do the note taking and expressed that it would lose them points in the long run. He turned down the offer that he should just do it himself if he didn't like it.
"What year did Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart pass away?"
"1791" Arnold and Sherlock announced at the same time. Sherlock almost scowled at him then he remembered what the student had said before about his website and work so he scowled at the stage instead until the next question was read out.
"Which artist performed the song 'Macarena'?"
"It's on the tip of my tongue! Umm" Joanne exclaimed, excitedly.
"Oh, it's Los...Los something something" Sally replied. "Anyone?"
"Come on, Sherlock!" Greg encouraged.
"What's it called again?" he asked in a bored voice.
"The Macarena" Amy supplied.
"Macarena? No, never heard of it, moving on"
"Seriously?" John exclaimed. "That thing was everywhere for at least a year in the nineties, had a dance that went with it. Would have played at all your school formals, you have to know it!"
"I must have deleted it"
"Can't blame him" Greg nodded with respect.
Dimmock muttered something.
"Sorry?" John asked, they were running out of time to answer the question.
"Los Del Rio" he said a little more loudly and quickly took a large sip of his beer, obviously embarrassed
"Final question for this round. What was the title of the much covered Sam Cooke song from 1961?"
"Cupid" Mrs. Stamford called out to everyone's surprise. "It's Mikey's favourite" she explained, her husband leant down and pecked her on the lips at this.
It went this for a few more rounds, they ended up coming third out of thirty nine tables. They did pretty well considering.
Soon after this the food arrived and the auction took place.
By this point Amy and John were openly flirting with each other across Sherlock whose mood began to sour dramatically. It was back to what it had been earlier, perhaps worse. John didn't really notice too much and thought it must be because they only came third in the trivia. His handwriting wasn't that illegible. Greg spent a lot of this time texting. He'd had quite a few drinks at this point and seemed to be in a great mood, often grinning at his phone once another message came through.
"You answered a lot of those questions, Amy" the ex-army doctor noted, in an impressed tone. "Got all of the tennis ones correct"
"I used to play, well I still do sometimes, you know socially. I used to play competition". She had green eyes and strawberry blonde hair, seemed to be in her twenties and was clearly loving this attention.
"I used to play rugby for Blackheath" John explained.
"Oh, rugby!" this seemed to get her to talk more openly. "Some of my guy friends play that still. I go and watch them sometimes when I'm not too busy. Was your team good?"
"Well, I don't like to boast" he sounded as though he letting her in on a great secret "but we won the championship three years in a row at one point".
Greg joined the conversation, locking his mobile and placing it down on the table in front of him. "Well my team won four seasons in a row at one point. They couldn't find a team better than us. Locally anyway. I wonder if we played against each other? May not've come to think of it, the timing's out"
"If we did you would have remembered me, Greg" John said with a cheeky wink and hopping into another pint that Dimmock had provided. "Don't want to talk myself up but, yeah..." he left it at that, apart from a raising of his brows with a smirk.
"Did you play any sport, Sherlock? You're being very quiet" Amy opened up the floor.
"I've always found boxing to be a satisfactory pastime".
"You?" Sally asked with a scoff, Joanne sticking her head around the policewoman to stare at him with interest. "You do boxing?" she indicated towards him with her glass. "With your build?"
"He's pretty muscular" John explained as he shoved a large piece of broccoli in his mouth then thought about what he said. "Well, you know, he is. He's strong, surprised you haven't worked that out. You can tell with his clothes on. I'm going to stop"
"Do you still box?" Amy asked, intrigued, ignoring the deepening hole the blond was trying to dig his way out of.
"No, he doesn't". They all looked to the greying DI who was watching Sherlock closely. "If he did then it would be in illegal competitions. So, considering half this table is of the constabulary, Sherlock?"
The brunet gave Amy his most fake smile. "What Lestrade said". From here the table broke down into groups again.
"You're pretty fit too, Amy" John said, conversationally, poking his fork her way as he chewed with his mouth open. "You know fit, muscular. You must keep yourself in shape"
"I have to for work" she said coyly as she blushed and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
"Well if there's a correlation between how fit you are and how good an officer you are then you must be great at your job" he said smoothly, turning the charm up to a new level which was very well received.
The PC giggled and the two of them had a moment as Sherlock groaned "Oh, please". Lestrade was watching the three of them closely with slightly narrowed eyes.
After their meal was finished and the auction was over the DJ started which led to the three female officers and Dimmock going off to dance while the three from the hospital turned their chairs around to the table behind them to chat to some of the people they work with but don't get a chance to speak with very often.
Sherlock went for a walk, Greg got another drink for him and John. Both of them had consumed a number of pints by now and the older man had a surprise in store.
"Try this one oh John of Blackheath, master rugby player"
"What is it, Lestrade of, whichever club you played for?"
The policeman chuckled as the music pumped loudly around them. "Some drink I had the other day. It's a gin thing, the cherry really makes it".
"Cherry?" the younger man questioned with a sceptical look. "This is a guys drink, yeah?"
"Just try it before you knock it, Blackheathan"
They sat there for a few minutes together. It had been a while since the two of them had sat down and had a proper chat. John found the drink to hit the spot and preceded to tell the other man that who just responded with a smug 'told you so'.
Greg's phone flashed, he read it and he looked around then sent a text back to the same mystery person he'd been in contact with all night. "So what's up with Sherlock tonight? You two had a barney or something?"
John's inhibitions were nonexistent, he was more than comfortable to talk about this. "Just had an argument about him being a bit more respectful about sleeping times, cleaning, experiments, loud sounds at 3am. You know"
"I do know" he then elaborated. "He lived with me very briefly a few years back. I won't go into detail unless he gives the okay but he was trying to get his life back on track so I gave him a place to stay when he needed it. Didn't exactly go down well with the wife having a drop in junkie, but I could see his potential...even if he couldn't"
"You're a good guy, Greg. He has a lot of people in his life that just want the best for him"
"You included". The officer was quite serious now. "He trusts you, John. In all the time I've known him, and according to his brother, he's never taken to anyone like he's taken to you"
"Right person at the right time I guess" the blond deflected. He seemed to need to get something off his chest. "People constantly say to me how lucky he is that I put up with him but a lot of the time I see it the other way around. I was, I was so lost when I met him". He paused as his throat constricted. "Everything was blank, bland, nothing exciting happened. Then he bursts in with his insane crime scenes and ridiculous cheekbones and suddenly I'm alive again. I don't think I've thanked him enough, I just wouldn't know how to tell him. You know what he's like with emotional things, I think this is just best left unsaid. He should have worked it out anyway, he knows everything about everyone already"
"I don't think it would hurt to tell him. Listen, I'll probably regret saying this to you tomorrow, and you've got to keep it to yourself, but there's a reason I have a bit of Holmes experience now. It's funny how it's happened but-"
"-that's a gin Last Word cocktail with a cherry" a loud voice said to them as the person strode up to their right hand side, although the effect was lessened without a big flapping trench coat.
"It's delicious, would you like a sip?" John offered, Sherlock took the drink, sniffed it and then with a sound of sudden understanding tipped the rest onto the table and slammed the glass down into the puddle. "Hey! What are you-"
He trailed off as Sherlock pointed a finger at Lestrade. "Tell me" he said. "This is an interesting choice of cocktail, Inspector. Hrm? Not a usual choice for a man of your tastes. Oh and there's the little matter of only one person I know drinking it in this exact manner"
"What now?" the older man groaned. "What is this meant to say about me? That I fancied post-punk indie when I was younger? That I had a collie called Billy until I was twelve?"
Sherlock looked at John. "That's a drink Mycroft favours" he explained with the air of revealing the big plot twist of an upcoming blockbuster.
"Anyone could drink that" the doctor shot down in a little as four words.
"Not with a cherry" the tall man continued, undeterred. "Mycroft makes it with a cherry, it appeals to his sweet tooth. He also likes oysters with a sprinkle of sugar and lemon juice, steak with caramelised onions with a dash of brandy and milk with vanilla essence when he can't sleep"
"Sounds delicious" Lestrade responded with a shrug of his shoulders.
"That's all you can say? Sounds delicious? This isn't the first time I've suspected something's going on, Greg". He still sounded suspicious about whether or not that was the other's real name.
At this Joanne and Sally returned to the table holding new drinks. "Greg! You've got a cherry in your drink too! They're putting them in everyones, yours is the sixth we've seen". At this they take a sip, then see John's and take another mouthful with a giggle. "We've made it into a drinking game, a sip for every one we see. They seem to have a lot of them!".
What they didn't know was the only reason the bar was putting them on all the cocktails now was because Greg's order made them open a can of the fruit and they didn't want them to go to waste. If the world's only consulting detective wasn't already so distracted he would have worked this out for himself.
"Well, Sherlock. You can apologise any time you like".
The detective barked a humourless 'ha' and scowls at the groups of people around them, suddenly there were little red shapes in glasses everywhere.
"Well, back to the meals you said your brother likes, I wouldn't turn that down if someone cooked it up for me" the doctor confessed.
"Yes, you should talk to him about food sometime, he'd find it riveting. Perhaps give you a Knighthood for Services to the Greater Public Interest"
"Maybe I'm living with the wrong Holmes?" John joked, trying to diffuse the situation with humour but going the wrong way about it. "Perhaps I can ask him to kidnap me to a nice restaurant next time, one with candles?" he flashed a grin to the greying DI who began to look increasingly uncomfortable.
"That's not even remotely funny, John" Sherlock snapped, looking strangely serious which was lost of the two who'd been drinking all night.
"No, sounds good to me" the shorter one continued, thinking the change in topic to something ludicrous would calm his flatmate down "I bet he'd keep the place tidy, there'd be good food and drink, no dead bodies in the fridge, wouldn't keep me up with playing violin-"
"-Mycroft plays a variety of music through his audiophile level speakers at all hours of the day. The rule is not to disturb him, even between movements. It's mostly what you would call 'Classical' but actually ranges over a number of different time periods. There basically isn't any food in the house, he relies on his assistant for most of his daily sustenance and most meals are taken 'out', so if you want 'good food and drink' you'd be up for a huge bill. He also ranges between feast and famine so you'll either be dragged to restaurants when you want a night in or have to find your own food and eat it away from him unless you want an argument on your hands. The place will be tidy but it's usually because his houses are under-used and also devoid of much personality so as to prevent people from deducing much about him. There are also constant security sweeps so the less bulk there the better. I've already mentioned that he is rarely at his premises but when he is he sleeps about as well as I do which seems at odds with his inherent laziness. I like to think that he sleeps less than average to leave time for being idle. So, in summary, you would be no better off spending time with Mycroft".
Greg and John sat in silence. The elder man's eyes were wide and he seemed to be running through each comment in his mind to test its validity. This went on until John said in a stunned tone. "Sherlock I was joking, just joking. Calm down. You know I'm kidding about Mycroft. There's no need to be, to sound so-"
"-well if it isn't Mycroft, maybe you'd prefer to go and live with 'Amy'?" he said the name as though it were an offensive swear word. On a roll, he was looking more and more like he did as he explained in front of the fireplace at the Cross Keys B&B that he had actually seen the hound of Baskerville. "Let's see, shall we? She's about nine years younger than you, despite her hinted promises she's quite sexually inexperienced. She lives with her engaged older sister in a small flat just outside Soho, been single for around three to four years with a penchant for older men. By the way she thinks you're a few years younger than you actually are, mistakenly determining you're around my age but 'hardened' from the war. Thinks she's up for 'it' tonight but would back out after some kissing and light touching, would want to keep up the association to get a relationship out of it. Doesn't understand that she is desperate to have the life her sister has. Well off you go, John. Go and get her. She's young and desperate, off you go. You were very interested before".
John sits without a word. After around a of minute of stunned silence he stands up and puts on his jacket. It shows how much this has shocked him that his temper lies dormant. Lost for words he nods then turns to his friend. "I think it's time to go home".
Sherlock snorts. "Off you go then".
John reaches out and grabs his forearm and quietly implores "Come and get a taxi with me and we can have a chat". He looks up to Sherlock and is surprised at the hurt he sees there that's quickly masked. "I was just joking..." John murmurs more to himself.
The taller brunet pulls his limb out of the other's grip. "I'm going to have another drink and then go for a walk. Goodnight, John".
Greg coughs, stands awkwardly and indicates to a spot away from them. "I'm going to, ah, night fellas".
Sherlock ignores this. "I said goodnight".
"I know you did. Just come outside with me for a minute then you can interrogate Lestrade. I know you want to".
"I don't know why I'm so angry, John" the younger one states, looking a little vulnerable. He wouldn't make eye contact, just watched out over the top of other man's head.
"I don't know either. I've had a bit too much to drink, I think. I didn't realise until now that I'm standing, I must have baited you too and gone too far without realising it. My fault. Let's go". John looks up to see Lestrade and Stamford facing them and talking at a distance, concern on their faces. The DI with his phone out texting again, this time with a serious expression.
"Get a taxi. I'll be home later" he instructs then a moment later he's turned on his heel and is moving away.
"Sherlock" the blond calls out after the man but he sweeps off into the crowd towards the bar.
"Hey, John. Are you going to come and have a dance?"
"What?" he turns to see Amy there. "Oh, it's you. Hi. No, listen I've got to head off. I'll probably see you at the station sometime". He begins to leave.
"Yeah, see you later". He turns a bit and sees her disappointed face, behind her he catches a glimpse of Greg and Mike watching him carefully and still obviously talking about the two of them.
John gets a taxi fairly easily, missing the black luxury car on the opposite side of the road pull up in case it's needed, and spends the next few hours staring at the telly not really paying too much attention. At around 1:30am he hears footsteps and from his armchair sees Sherlock come into his line of sight and stand awkwardly near the table.
"John I am going to speak and you need to...I would like you to listen" he was being formal, his speech carefully controlled. "Stamford and Lestrade informed me that I should have my say with no interruption and then you may do the same".
John nodded his agreement to the terms.
"Our discussion today involving how I was letting you down as a flatmate made me realise that I enjoy living with someone, more particularly I enjoy living with you, John, and that even though you intend to stay here for now it has remained fairly unspoken between us that this may not always be the case. You show an ongoing interest in developing relationships with women and I believe you will continue to do this as you have shown no inclination to stop these activities. Your blatant wooing of PC Amy Matthews, my apparent incorrect assumption about Lestrade and my brother and your words led me to acting out in a way that was not befitting of me or our relationship. So, I wish to apologise for the way in which I spoke to you and hope that this doesn't change anything between us. I have grown...accustomed to your presence and it would sadden me if you chose to end our association. I am not sure why I acted as I did, however both Stamford and Lestrade feel as though there is a variable which I do not yet fully comprehend that affected my judgement. They said perhaps time will assist in working out what that variable is. Again please take my apology with the heartfeltness in which I give it".
John looked shocked. "Oh God, Sherlock, look at us. I'm going nowhere. Of course I want to get married and have kids but that's not going to happen next week and it's not going to be with PC Matthews. Let's just say sorry and forget this ever happened, yeah? I'm a bit scared at how far this has gone. Who else knows?"
The brunet began to visibly relax. His shoulders lowered and he stopped tapping his fingers together by his sides. "Apology accepted. The only two that know have been mentioned already, the others didn't hear a thing. Lestrade and Stamford have been sworn to secrecy".
John stood and took a couple of steps towards his friend who took a half step forward when John opened his arms. The doctor gave Sherlock a stiff half hug, Sherlock patted the man on the shoulder then brought another arm around him lightly which he tightened after realising he enjoyed this physical contact. After a few moments John let go and walked to the kitchen to get a glass of water to take to bed. "But I still meant what I said about taking out the rubbish once in a while, just because we hugged doesn't mean what I said about being tidier doesn't count".
A small smirk flashed on the detective's face but was quickly smothered. "Well I suppose I could try to pick up after myself a little more. And keep the violin to daylight hours, not during cases though".
"Well I can live with some small improvements for now". The mood in the room had warmed and things seemed to be back to normal. "We're idiots, you know".
"Speak for yourself" Sherlock said, although John couldn't see his face as the man was starting up his laptop, he could hear the humour in his voice. All was well again.
A/N: This chapter ended up with more angst than was originally intended but I think it needs to go to that level for it to have its proper effect on the rest of the story. Also it's the longest so far, longer than the first two chapters combined.
The music facts for the trivia night were taken from Wikipedia as were the details for the Last Word gin cocktail. John playing for Blackheath is from his blog.
As always comments/feedback are greatly appreciated. This story is halfway through now and it would be great to hear what your thoughts are :)
It had been around two days since the charity night and now Mycroft was sitting in John's arm chair at Baker St. The brothers were staring at each other, daring the other to speak first. They both take turns sipping from their teacups which had been provided by John before he'd ducked down to Mrs. Hudson's to help her fix a leaking tap.
He returned ten minutes later just as the conversation was just getting started. He busied himself in the kitchen, keeping an eye on what was being said. It was never a good sign when the elder Holmes just dropped by and it usually meant that his flatmate would be in an atrocious mood for the rest of the day.
"Two pounds, Mycroft" Sherlock began, sounding like a parent just trying to understand their teen's poor behaviour. "Diet not going to plan?"
A pleasant smile. "Closer to two and a half actually, then again I've always been the one better with detail".
Sherlock's face soured a little. He'd been annoyed at his sibling since he'd spotted the black car outside the function venue the other night and had incorrectly assumed that it was sent for him and this man was trying to interfere again. With all that had happened that night the last thing that he wanted was his brother stepping in. His face was bitter until he spotted the plate of biscuits that John had prepared. Taking a chocolate one in hand and smiling smugly, he took a large bite and made a show of finishing the snack off enthusiastically.
Mycroft merely took a larger biscuit, dunked it in the tea and proceeded to munch on it politely whilst not even dropping a single crumb. Sherlock clearly heard 'check' in his brother's actions and eye contact. He needed to make his 'checkmate' move now. He leaned back with a predatory leer. "John? Do we still have that custard tart that Mrs. Hudson gave us this morning?"
Mycroft's icy eyes narrowed slightly but to his credit showed no other reaction.
"Yes, we do and I'm not getting it out so you can tease your brother"
"Mycroft's off his diet, can't you tell?" he added with relish. "I'm hungry, John" he continued, trying not to overplay the whine in his voice.
"I don't need Holmesian powers of deduction to know what you're doing. If you want something more to eat get it yourself"
"-look, Sherlock" the blond said, he had walked over now and was waving a hand at his flatmate as he clutched a tea towel, having been disrupted from some drying up. "When I brought it up this morning you said it looked like the bile from last month's Birmingham victim. You even told me to throw it out before you 'vomit in sympathy' for the table I'd put it on. No"
Admonished, Sherlock pouted his lips and turned his head a little towards the fireplace potraying defeat but in reality just planning his next move.
Once John had walked away Mycroft mentioned quietly "He can silence you? Domesticity suits you, Brother Dear"
"Yes well, anyone would think you've 'coupled-up' with the 'love-pudge' you've put on recently". He added to this by putting his cup and saucer down loudly on the table next to him, missing the small intake of breath of his conversation partner at his words.
The British Government thought through his options. He determined he had ten available to him but went with the first. "Asking you to keep your nose out of my business for your own sake isn't going to work, is it?"
Sherlock scoffed. "Like you do with me? Tell me, did you get my latest box of cameras in the mail? They were easy to find, you need to stop getting them placed in the bookshelf. It was far too simple"
"I'll keep that in mind"
"I should put cameras in your house, see how you like it"
Mycroft lent forward. "I'd like to see you get past security and be in there long enough to do it before you're arrested"
The thinner man leaned forward as well with a sparkly gleam in his eye. "Is that a challenge?"
Suddenly John was back, apparently they weren't being as quiet as they thought. "Sherlock, no, I'm not bailing you out of wherever the government puts you. And Mycroft, no cameras. I mean, seriously! I had to apologise to him, I didn't think you'd actually do it but there he was pulling these little things out all over the place. I should thank you that you didn't put one in the bathroom"
"You mean I haven't found it yet" Sherlock said quietly. The doctor seemed confused, as though he hadn't heard correctly.
Mycroft merely gave the tight grimace he usually gave before an apology but one didn't leave his mouth today. Instead he turned his attention to the man seated before him. "Sherlock I'm here because I received a call to say you've taken delivery of-"
"-Manchester Lane" Sherlock said suddenly.
Mycroft froze, the teacup held tightly. "Sorry?" he enquired calmly.
"The tip of your umbrella, that mud is a specific type from a park near Manchester Lane. More sand and a distinctive break down from that particular type of Oak which they favour in that part of town. That's a bit far out for you to be. You must have come straight from there, it's not like you to have any mud left on your belongings, not as you know exactly what it can give away. You rushed here when you heard about my delivery"
"And what does it give away about me?". This was a game they played when growing up as Mycroft helped his younger sibling to hone his skills but today it was being used to see how much the consulting detective had actually worked out.
He took this as an invitation and bent down to inspect the mud. He pulled his magnifying glass seemingly from nowhere and gave it his greatest attention. "Well it's odd that you'd be out that way midweek like this, it hasn't dried fully yet so you were just there. You? At a park? In full daylight? No, something's happening. Why would you be at a park in the middle of a work day? Your work meetings generally wouldn't be held in such an open place, you prefer somewhere either more intimidating or easy for you attend. Hence you generally meeting with John at the Diogenes these days rather than warehouses and the like but you started out seeing him in the usual places. No, this is a personal trip"
"Sherlock" Mycroft sighed, trying to bring this to an end.
"I'm here because some chemicals, more dangerous than your usual lot, arrived here yesterday. Let me bring some people in to dispose of them correctly"
"They're for an experiment. Go away"
Mycroft considered his options. "Doctor Watson? Could you come here for a moment?"
"You wouldn't!" Sherlock hissed.
"I would" the elder man confirmed. John stands before the two men with a hand on his hip, looking deeply unimpressed. "Ah, there you are. In regards to the box that arrived yesterday, my brother now has enough Sodium Cyanide, Batrachotoxin and Ethylene glycol to take out a small nation-"
"-that's more your area-"
"-and they're sitting less than a foot away from your fresh bread and muffins-"
"-they're in a box and original packaging, stop being inflammatory-"
"-what do you wish me to do?"
It showed how much John had to deal with on a daily basis that instead of shock he just said to his friend "Case or experiment?"
"Then no" he turned to the other man. "Please get them taken away. This isn't going to be like the Strychnine"
"That was kept away from food!" the youngest called out in his defence, balling his fists and slamming them into the arms of the chair as if having a tantrum.
"In an unmarked sugar holder! No, it's going". As he looked up Mycroft was placing his phone back in his pocket, moments later they heard footsteps up the stairs and a man wearing a protective suit picked up the box and left again without a word.
"Anything else I should know about?" he asked his brother as he stood, adjusting his waistcoat as he did.
"No. Good day" he dismissed with a wave of his hand.
He took in his brother's thoughtful expression. "Let it go, Sherlock"
As the consulting detective busied himself by looking at the mantle piece as it was in the opposite direction of where he didn't want to be looking, Mycroft took a moment to really look John up and down. He noted small things including the way he was holding himself, the body language towards his brother and the way his clothing was sitting. Understanding seeing to spread across his face and he looked a little shocked, it seemed. He took a moment to catalogue everything and then gave the doctor a nod and departed.
"Was he talking about the chemicals?" John asked, not really worrying about Mycroft's inspection. It was over and above his usual looks but it was just one of those Holmesian things that he'd somehow learned to live with.
"Chemicals? What? No, not those. No he meant the mud, the mud and finding out whatever he's hiding. Whatever it is it's big. What could it be?"
"Well, what's around that park? Any businesses? Politicians?"
"No, there's just housing. Real estate appointment? He has four houses around the country already, I don't know why he'd be looking to buy another. He-" he gasped. "Oh!"
"Sherlock?". That face of sudden understanding always seemed to get to John and he shuffled slightly on the spot.
"I'll do it"
"His challenge. He dared me to get cameras in his London house. I'll do it. It's linked, it has to be"
"Visitors. To the house. Need to see who. Yes"
John's face crumpled a bit as he tried to wrap his head around it. "Right. Hang on, this about him seeing someone?"
"Yes, someone. Someone in particular. Obviously."
"Always shown a general disinterest in relationships, although a slight predisposition to males, I suppose"
A strange blank look came over the doctor's face and then he casually asked "How about you, you know, predispositions. Would it be, would you want a…would they be a…"
Sherlock just watched him as he stumbled along but he eventually saved him. "I've been married to my work for a long time, John".
"And is your work male or female?". At this Sherlock gave his friend an intense look which seemed to unnerve the shorter man before he rose from his seat with vigur, pulling down his shirt and blazer. "Right. Ok. Well, I'm going for a walk. And a drink. Be back later".
Sherlock found his voice. "I'm going out too. First to Manchester Lane and then to organise supplies". He wasn't making any eye contact.
The blond called out after his flatmate as he disappeared into his bedroom. "Don't break into his house, I can't think of many more dangerous things you could do at the moment and for you that's something!".
Days later Sherlock had taken all the necessary precautions and was now ready to take his brother up on his challenge. He was prepared to find out what was going on, his sense that something big was coming hadn't diminished, in fact it had only grown.
His trip to the park hadn't told him anything major, there were some properties for sale in the area and there hadn't been any events on when Mycroft had been there, so either a work or social visit and work wasn't very likely. He'd tried to speak to a homeless man who'd taken up recedency on the bench but he said he hadn't seen anything. When he had moved his jacket Sherlock noticed a few notes sticking out of an inner pocket. Bribed then, paid to say he hadn't seen anyone, perhaps. But why? He could try to up the offer, speak to others in his network but he'd do better focussing his attentions on setting up the cameras.
Dressed in black and wearing a matching eye mask, he stood on a windowsill and within ten seconds he had jimmied it open and was inside. He started a stopwatch on his wrist and set to work. He'd need one above the back door and one above the front. He estimated it would take three minutes and six seconds in total to get in and out. He'd have to hurry, Mycroft had an extreme amount of security and he'd clashed with them before.
These skills which he had either been born with or had developed were really useful in these sort of situations. He always found it amusing to think he could always branch out into crime but he'd never pursued it any further. The Work was far more important at this stage. His heart beat with excitement and anticipation and for a moment he was sad that he wasn't sharing this with John. His shook this from his mind as he focussed.
He had set up the camera above the back door, that took around one minute and twelve seconds, he was moving towards the front when there was a gigantic crash and the front door flew open and seven armed guards, all wearing bullet proof jackets, raced in yelling for him to get on the ground with his hands on his head. He sighed as he raised his hands in the air and began to slowly kneel, there were four guns trained on him at close range, one of the men pushed him to his knees and suddenly there was a pressure on his back and he was pushed into floor, cuffed and subdued in record time. The other guards were searching the house.
"Well, I have to say you boys have done better than the last lot" he grunted a little as something was pushed into his ribs and he was searched. "They took thirty seconds longer to get me like this". He sounded throughly disinterested and not the least bit scared.
One of the men was relaying information through a headset. "Intruder subdued, uninjured. It's Person of Interest A01, has been weapons checked. Large screwdriver found-"
"-used to break in, can I get up now? You're creasing my shirt-"
"-subject vocal. Premises have been secured. Awaiting further orders".
Nothing happened for around three minutes which felt like a long time in this particular situation. He had a semi-automatic pressing into his back and five more still trained on him. The others wouldn't talk so he went back to examining traces of things in the carpet that he could see. That was when he saw a pair of women's heels come into his line of sight. He followed them up shapely legs to the slightly wavy brunette hair to a more than familiar face. He wondered what she was calling herself today.
"You've got yourself in a bit of trouble" she chided, sparing an occasional glance down at him from her Blackberry.
"How many different ways are you up to for subduing someone with a stiletto heel?"
"I'd say at least 17" she replied as though she found the whole exchange amusing.
Before he could answer Mycroft swept through the door and bellowed "What the hell were you thinking?".
"There's no need to yell-" Sherlock stopped as he was being raised to his feet, weapons still on him, arms tightly secured behind his back. This had happened by a wave of the elder Holmes' hand. "Mycroft, un-sic your gorillas, I'm not some member of the great unwashed. Get rid of the cuffs too"
"Why should I?" he snapped, nostrils flaring. "Do you have any idea how much this will cost? You cut an important phone meeting short as well. I thought you had more sense than this, obviously I gave you far more credit than I should have!"
"You're the one who dared me" the detective muttered, looking away. No one had bothered to remove the mask, with it on he bore a mild resemblance to a badger.
"Dared you? What is this childish nonsense? I should let them take you now. I thought you'd keep trying to get your nose into my business but I would have thought that you'd at least be a bit more subtle!"
"Don't see what all the fuss is, you weren't even here" he murmured in the same uncaring tone.
"If you weren't so caught up in being dramatic all the time perhaps people would feel comfortable in telling you what is going on in their lives!"
Sherlock took this in as he gazed around at the scene before him and said under his breath. "Yet I'm the dramatic one..."
Mycroft took a deep breath in through his nose and called off a couple of the gunmen. "Are you alone or is the doctor here too?"
His face turned bitter. "John couldn't make it. Something about not wanting to be dropped in the middle of a desert with no supplies or way home. Not sure, I wasn't really listening"
A snort of humour. "I'm beginning to question which one of the two of you possesses the intellect"
At this the younger man's head snapped around to make eye contact. "Childish insults"
"That's the best you can come up with?" he teased, some of the team that hadn't seen the Holmes' together before looked at each other, not knowing quite what to do. "Ok, to the door. You're leaving"
Sherlock pouted and raised his nose higher as he was shoved forward with a weapon. As he went past his brother's assistant he said "The offer's still there if you'd ever like to assist with any undercover cases. I'm sure Lestrade and John would welcome your presence, well any female presence"
"Not yours for hire" Mycroft said with a little too much force. He then spoke with a few of the security team, explaining what was to happen next.
"It would be pro-bono. Could be dangerous" he added, with a quirk of his head towards her. She merely raised her brows and smirked before returning her eyes to her phone with a slight shake of her head. The detective was a little disappointed, that line worked on others. He wasn't interested in her as a person but instead as someone that he could use on a case sometime as she could be very handy indeed. And it would annoy Mycroft, mainly that.
The elder Holmes finished filling in the team. "Sherlock, there's a car out the front for you, let me escort you. Unless you'd like security to?"
"I'll leave here as I chose to" the younger one explained defiantly. His hands were still bound and he didn't want to ask anyone to help him with the cloth covering half his face that was beginning to slip into his eyes.
"No, you're accepting the lift, I want to make sure you've left. Keep walking". At this he turned and said quietly to Anthea "My dear, would you please open the bottle of red on the kitchen bench? I expect my guest who is currently resting upstairs will want a drink after he hears what has happened today. That and to celebrate his new real estate purchase on Manchester Lane. One of the men is up there with him now to make sure he doesn't leave the room until this one has gone, but he can fetched in a moment".
"I'll prepare two glasses, Sir" she replied with a smile and left for the kitchen.
The eye mask and Sherlock's ideas of a criminal career are drawn from The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton from The Return of Sherlock Holmes. If you haven't read it or seen a version of it I highly recommend it. It has some fairly slashy moments which I won't spoil here...and it's canon!
Manchester Lane: I made this up as I didn't want to use a real part of London and risk getting the demographics of the area incorrect. Hopefully I've included as much information in here as is needed to get an idea of where I would see it placed. All that's important is that Lestrade has a new piece of real estate and that it wouldn't be the sort of place Mycroft would go without it being suspicious.
Thanks for reading :)