Sherlock hummed excitedly as he bent to examine the dead twins lying on the hardwood floor. The cause of death was relatively dull, a simple gunshot to the temple for each, but the case was an interesting one. The killer had posed the girls’ naked bodies in the shape of a yin yang, painting one of them with the blood of the other and cleaning her wound, the other was scrubbed clean, the only thing marring her perfect flesh being the hole in her skull. It had taken time and effort, but the murderer, no, artist had infiltrated the building, placed the bodies, and left in a span of mere minutes. He, and it was surely a male, must have killed the women elsewhere, probably drained and painted them in that other location as well. Sherlock stood quickly, walking away from the bodies and out the door. He walked out the rear service entrance to the museum and stepped carefully on the gravel, attempting to leave it as undisturbed as possible while he searched, bending occasionally to examine something only he could see. He came to a divot in the earth and crouched, practically lying on the ground to investigate. He plucked a small dark fiber from the rocks and squinted at it. His eyes widened in recognition and he jumped up.
“Oh, that’s brilliant,” he shouted. He almost ran over to John and Lestrade, metaphorically jumping for joy. “You guys are going to love this.”
A cough sounded off to the side, “Freak!”
Sherlock’s smile slid from his face and his eyes clouded.
"Hey kid! Want to play with us?”
Sherlock closed his book and turned towards the shouts, his eyes wide and inquiring. He blinked slowly at the group of boys who had spoken, the feeling of confusion an unfamiliar presence.
"Are you deaf?” the biggest boy asked, walking closer until he loomed over Sherlock where he sat.
Sherlock pointed at himself and shook his head.
'"Are you stupid, then? I asked you a question.”
Sherlock’s eyes got, if possible, even wider. He put his book down on the bench as he stood and turned.
“I’m not stupid,” he mumbled as he scuffed the toe of one shoe into the dirt.
"Well, then…?” the boy questioned, raising a skeptical eyebrow.
Sherlock straightened his shoulders and looked the boy in the eye. “You want to play with me? Erm… Okay then.” Sherlock smiled slightly, his facial muscles fighting the irregular use.
The boy raised himself to full height and sneered. The two in the back cracked their knuckles and grinned menacingly. Sherlock’s smile faltered. He stumbled back, and tripping over the corner of the bench, he fell into the dirt.
The boys laughed cruelly, advancing on Sherlock. He scurried backwards as the boys approached. They backed him into a tree. He cowered. The two lackeys grabbed Sherlock’s arms and hoisted him up, keeping his back to the tree. The first punch landed firmly in his gut. He doubled over in pain. One boy grabbed his hair and yanked him straight. The next punches weren’t so easy. They caught him in the face, from left and right. Sherlock felt the blood gush from his lip as it split. He felt his nose break. He felt the hands holding him release as he screamed out. He felt the kicks from all directions as he bled and cried into the dry earth. He felt the breath in his ear as the main thug bent to whisper.
"Like we’d really play with a freak like you.” They threw his book in the dust by his feet.
"I’m not a freak,” Sherlock murmured. He repeated it over and over again. The blood and tears stopped flowing. The pain lingered on. “I’m not a freak. I’m not a freak. I’m not a freak.”
“I’m not a freak,” Sherlock whispered to himself, fists clenching.
“Sherlock?” John’s hand was warm on his arm and the concern was evident in his face and voice. “Are you alright, love?”
Sherlock smiled, shaking the old memories from his mind and squaring his shoulders.
“It’s nothing, John. I’m fine.”