The first time John Watson met Sherlock Holmes, it didn’t register with him what the man truly was. In all fairness, he was still getting the hang of things. The sharper senses, the extra awareness of everything all at once, it was overwhelming.
Sherlock would tease him about it much later, with a glint in his eye and a smirk that would make John cuff him playfully and defend his honor.
But now, he was limping curiously around 221B Baker Street.
He looked around the sizable sitting room, took in the tall, double windows, cluttered mantle over the fireplace, chairs and boxes staggered haphazardly about on the slightly worn carpet.
“Oh this could be very nice. Very nice indeed,” he commented, hobbling toward the flat’s small kitchen for a better look.
The fact that the kitchen smelled more like a lab than a place where food could be safely stored and later eaten was a little concerning, but considering the somewhat eccentric personality Sherlock Holmes was proving himself to be, not entirely surprising.
“Yes,” Sherlock seemed pleased to hear him think so, “Yes, I think so. My thoughts precisely.”
John opened his mouth to speak at the same moment Sherlock added, “So I went straight ahead and moved in.”
“Soon as we get all this rubbish cleared up- Oh.”
Great. Just go and put your foot in your mouth, John, really. This isn’t a great flat or anything.
“So this is all, uh-“
“Well, obviously I can straighten things up… a bit,” Sherlock offered awkwardly, grabbing a couple stacks of papers and throwing them into a box, then pinning a few more to the top of the mantle with a pocket knife.
“That’s a skull,” John observed, pointing to it questioningly with his cane.
“Friend of mine,” Sherlock said, glancing at it, “Well, I say friend…”
“What do you think then, Doctor Watson?” Mrs. Hudson asked as Sherlock stepped away, pulling of his coat and scarf to lay them over a chair, “There’s another bedroom upstairs if you’ll be needing two bedrooms.”
“Of course we’ll be needing two,” John replied, taken aback.
“Oh don’t worry!” Mrs. Hudson was quick to reassure him, “There’s all sorts around here. Mrs. Turner, next door’s, got married ones,” she said in a loud whisper, as though it were a dramatic secret.
He looked questioningly at Sherlock, who didn’t comment, only went about shuffling papers and books to and from various locations.
“Oh Sherlock,” Mrs. Hudson scolded gently, stepping into the kitchen, “the mess you’ve made!”
John shook his head with a bemused grin, turning around and straightening the Union Jack pillow on the chair before sitting down heavily.
The chair gave a weary exhale as he sat, the air around him suddenly filled with Sherlock’s scent, a scent that hadn’t yet permeated the little flat, and he hadn’t really stepped close enough to take in from the man himself.
He gave a little startled gasp as his wolf leapt to the forefront of his mind, the realization hitting so hard it was like getting smacked square between the eyes. He could practically feel the excited quivering of his wolf inside him, curious and anxious at meeting another like them.
He screwed his eyes shut for a moment, focused entirely at keeping his wolf tucked away inside before opening them again, scrambling for something to say.
Sherlock gave him a small, knowing smile before turning to pull his laptop from a box and open it gently on the desk.
Say something Watson.
He glanced toward the kitchen and Mrs. Hudson’s bustling.
* * *
“That was ridiculous,” John panted, leaning heavily against the wall, heart racing, “That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.”
“You invaded Afghanistan,” Sherlock quipped, making them both giggle stupidly, adrenaline still pumping through them from the chase.
“That wasn’t just me,” John justified, tipping his head back against the wall, breathing deep; the scent of their sweat and adrenaline and endorphins thick in the air.
He looked over at Sherlock, plucked up the courage to ask, “How long did you know I was, you know…” he waved his hand imploringly, and Sherlock looked at him with a raised eyebrow, “I mean, how long did it take you to figure out?”
Sherlock smirked and chuckled, tilting his head back and letting his eyes slide shut, “Pretty much the moment you walked into the lab,” he confessed.
“Right,” John nodded, then frowned, “Is that why you asked me to see the flat literally five seconds after you met me?”
Sherlock laughed breathily again, looking at him with amusement, “Partially,” he admitted, “It would be nice to have a flatmate who understands why the dates of the full moon are circled on the calendar.”
John started laughing again and Sherlock joined him, the two of them still leaning shoulder to shoulder in the hallway as their hearts started to even out.
“Fair point,” John acknowledged, “Could have said so earlier, you know.”
“What a conversation starter, ‘I notice you’re a werewolf too, care to be flatmates?’”
They dissolved into breathless laughter again, and John commented, “Can you imagine what Mike’s face would have looked like?”
“Or poor Mrs. Hudson, the cab driver, Lestrade, the other dinner patrons…” Sherlock added.
John chuckled, nodded in agreement.
“Speaking of, why aren’t we back at the restaurant?” John suddenly wondered aloud.
“Oh, they can keep an eye out,” Sherlock waved dismissively, “It was a long shot anyway.”
“So what were we doing there?”
Sherlock gave a little grin as he shrugged with another little wave of his hand, “Oh, just passing the time. And making a point.”
“You,” Sherlock replied with a little grin before calling down the hall, “Mrs. Hudson! Doctor Watson will take the room upstairs!”
“Says who?” John couldn’t help but challenge, even though he knew, in every fiber of his being, that he was already doomed to stay with this impossible man.
Sherlock’s expression softened a little, and he gave a little smile, “Says the man at the door.”
John’s brows creased questioningly for a moment before there was a sharp knock on the door, and Sherlock nodded for him to get it.
“Sherlock texted me,” the man, Angelo, said as John stepped down onto the stoop, “said you’d forgotten this.”
John looked with surprise at his cane in the other man’s grasp. He looked briefly back over his shoulder at the grinning Sherlock before turning back with a smile of his own.
“Thank you,” he said earnestly, “Thank you!”
* * *
“So, dim sum?”
It should have been weird, walking down the street, talking about dinner after Sherlock had just nearly poisoned himself and John had just gunned down a serial killer cabbie.
Somehow, it was the best John had felt in a long time.
“Mm,” Sherlock replied, “I can always predict the fortune cookies.”
“No you can’t.”
“Almost can. You did get injured though.”
“In Afghanistan. There was an actual wound.”
“Oh. Yeah,” John replied, shoving his hands in his pockets. He hadn’t talked to anybody about this since it had happened.
“Good Lord,” Sherlock suddenly said, and John looked at him with surprise, “Afghanistan was where you were bitten. You really are new at this.”
“Yeah,” John said, frowning.
“Where were you bitten?”
“Shoulder! I thought so.”
“No you didn’t.”
“The left one.”
“I never guess.”
“Yes you do.”
“What’re you so happy about?”
Sherlock was smirking, his whole being seemingly alight with a secretive sort of glee and it was strange, compared to the sulking huff he had just been toward his brother.
“Moriarty,” Sherlock answered, his grin growing a bit wider.
“I have absolutely no idea,” Sherlock replied, and even John could tell he was absolutely thrilled at the prospect of finding out.
John was grinning too by now, he and Sherlock stepping in time toward the main road.
“What about you?” John asked, curious now.
“What about me?”
“When were you bitten, where, all that stuff?”
“Oh. I was born, not made.”
John stopped, surprised, but Sherlock kept walking.
“Wait, what?” he exclaimed, and Sherlock stopped, turned to look at him with raised eyebrows, “Really?”
“Yes,” Sherlock drawled, as if it should have been obvious, “My whole family, going back generations. There are dozens of packs all over the world.”
“You’re kidding,” John said, starting to walk again. Sherlock waited for him to catch up.
“Not at all. Lots of pomp and circumstance around it too, depending on the family line. Unfortunately,” he sighed, “my family is one of the higher-ranking ones. Hence Mycroft’s,” he sneered his brother’s name, jabbing a thumb back over his shoulder, “over-baring attitude toward me. I’m a disappointment to the family name, refusing to take a mate, refusing to take a position of power, like Mycroft, pulling away from the pack politics,” he popped the “p”s disdainfully, sighing again, “It’s all rubbish as far as I’m concerned.”
John’s head was reeling, trying to wrap his brain around all this new information.
“Wait, so Mycroft too? Wouldn’t that be, I dunno, noticed? He’s involved with the government… And why didn’t I smell it on him?”
Sherlock scoffed, throwing John a look that clearly said, Are you serious?
“Mycroft can manipulate every string in the web of the British government, you really think full moons are going to be a problem?”
“… yeah, fair point.”
"As for detecting it, Mycroft is very careful to mask that particular part of himself, you never know when you’ll run into another wolf, and doesn’t due to show his hand too soon, of course,” Sherlock scoffed, rolling his eyes, “Taxi!” he called out at the corner, raising his hand and waving down a black cab.
“Sure you don’t want to take the tube?” John asked with a little grin as Sherlock opened the door, “Haven’t you been ruined for cabs?”
Sherlock gave him a look as he slid into the backseat and John laughed, following close behind.
Any dialogue you recognize is from A Study in Pink, and as such, all the credit goes to Mark and Steven. All the werewolf-y bits are mine, of course.
The boy's first full moon together, as well as some rather helpful hints from Sherlock.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
John sighed heavily, looking up at the plain, white ceiling of his room.
He hated this. He had handled full moons before; he knew what was going to happen.
That didn’t make it any less distressing.
He could hear Sherlock bustling up the stairway to the flat, back from his visit to Scotland Yard because, according to the text John had been sent while he was food shopping, “Lestrade is missing the obvious on that bank job and there’s nothing better to do.”
He listened to his flatmate shuffling about the sitting room, could clearly picture Sherlock checking on his experiments, the sound of the test tubes and beakers clinking on the table and the click of the microwave door as he looked at the progress the eyeballs were making.
He was getting a bit better at this, learning to sort out sounds and smells from each other with his sharpened senses. He could concentrate his hearing better, could focus on Sherlock in the kitchen rather than hearing all the sounds of the neighborhood around them.
“John?” Sherlock called.
“Yeah!” John replied, then heard Sherlock coming up towards his room.
He knocked sharply twice before turning the handle to let himself in.
“You know you’re supposed to wait until the person tells you to come in before you actually do,” John said wryly to Sherlock, who was leaning against the doorframe with his hand still holding the doorknob.
“Oh, formalities,” Sherlock sighed, rolling his eyes, then frowned, looking at John with scrutiny, “You ok?”
John sat up with a heavy sigh, swinging his legs around to plant his feet on the floor. He rubbed his eyes wearily, nodding, “Yeah, I’ll live. How was Scotland Yard?”
“Productive, if dull,” Sherlock replied, coming into the room fully and standing in front of John with his hands in his pockets, “Set Lestrade straight and sorted a domestic case that was just brought in, just to annoy Donovan.”
John chuckled, imagined Sally fuming at him as he rattled off a string of deductions that explained, in detail, an entire crime.
“Bet she was fit to kill you,” John grinned, and Sherlock smirked.
“Of course. That was rather the point.”
There were a few moments of silence, John staring, unseeing, at the floor.
“Full moon tonight,” Sherlock finally commented, and John nodded.
“How many?” Sherlock asked, and John looked up, confused.
“How many full moons have you experienced?”
“Oh. Well…” John trailed off, rubbing a hand through his hair awkwardly, suddenly embarrassed for some reason, “I-uh-well, this one will be my… seventh,” he murmured.
He felt like an idiot, and he wasn’t exactly sure why. He guessed it was because, like with everything else, he felt so clueless next to Sherlock. Sherlock had grown up with this; he knew all the tricks, history, their limits and abilities… John knew next to nothing.
“I see,” Sherlock commented quietly, and John ground his eyes into the heels of his palms, elbows resting on his knees.
“It’s just- we shouldn’t exist,” John suddenly found himself saying, “It just shouldn’t be possible. Werewolves, full moons… myths and legends out of a horror story.”
“I see,” Sherlock said again, even quieter, then after a silent pause, “I suppose you agree with Sergeant Donovan then, regarding me.”
John looked up, Sherlock’s face carefully schooled into an unreadable expression, “She calls me ‘freak’ without even knowing the werewolf bit, can’t imagine what you must think. Something along the lines of ‘monster,’ I imagine.”
Sherlock turned on his heel to leave and John cursed at himself, scrambling up to grab his arm.
“No, Sherlock, come on, I didn’t mean it like that!”
“Of course you did,” Sherlock said tersely, shaking his arm loose from John’s grasp, “You’ve been fed all that rubbish all your life about wolfmen with demonic eyes and bloodlust, prowling the countryside for virgins and innocent children to slaughter and devour. Movies and ghost stories,” Sherlock sneered with distain, “Of course you’re going to think we’re monsters.”
John opened his mouth to say something, anything, but closed it again. He was right.
Sherlock was watching him with hard eyes, and John looked away, an apology about to leave his lips when Sherlock gripped his shoulder, the heel of his palm pressing where he had been bitten, where a faint scar still persistently remained.
“Those mongrels,” Sherlock said darkly, and John’s eyes snapped up to his, “are not only breaking every ancient law there is, but they are also misusing their lineage, their gift, to hurt humans who do not deserve it. Believe me, they are going to be dealt with, but that does not mean that what we are is evil, or unnatural, or makes us go to heaven or hell, if you believe in any of that. We’re not monsters, John.”
John swallowed, nodded, and Sherlock’s grip relaxed slightly.
“You’re right,” John said quietly, “about all of it, really. I’m sorry, that wasn’t fair of me to say.”
Sherlock took a deep breath, released it slowly through his nose and released John’s shoulder.
“As am I. I should not have been angry, this is still new to you; you don’t understand it all yet and it was not fair of me to snap at you,” Sherlock paused, looked at John steadily for a moment before asking, “Where were you, the last six full moons? When you shifted?”
“Locked in my flat, thankfully,” John replied, and Sherlock scoffed.
John raised his eyebrows questioningly.
“Why, what do you do?”
Sherlock gave a little smile, shrugging passively, “Oh, all of London open to me, why would I set myself to only one place?”
John gaped at him, flabbergasted.
“You can’t go running around London like that!” he finally exclaimed.
Sherlock frowned, brows drawn together confusedly, “Why not?”
“Because!” John gaped at him, “Because people will notice!”
Sherlock scoffed, rolling his eyes exasperatedly.
“People are stupid, John. They see something their ‘logical’ brains tell them simply cannot be true, and therefore, it isn’t. Two wolves? In London? Can’t be. Must be someone’s big dogs, gotten loose, that’s all. Someone else’s problem.”
Sherlock smirked at John’s disbelieving expression, then glanced at the clock.
“Almost moonrise,” he commented, walking out John’s bedroom door with his hands in his pockets.
John followed him down into the sitting room, still disbelieving.
“You must drive Mycroft mad when you do that,” John finally said, “He must go around erasing every building camera in the city you happen to be caught on.”
Sherlock laughed, lounged onto the sofa as John took one of the chairs, “Of course. Makes it all the more fun.”
John grinned, shaking his head.
“Where does he go for the full moon then?”
“Back home,” Sherlock sighed, tilting his head back to rest against the wall behind him, “The family makes a habit of being together for the full moon.”
“Every full moon?” John marveled.
“Told you, John, pack politics, pomp and circumstance, ancient traditions…” Sherlock sighed, “All the more reason I’m the black sheep of the family, I haven’t ran with them in years.”
“And you like it that way, I’m guessing,” John said with a smirk, could suddenly picture a teenage Sherlock, rebelling against his parents just to be difficult.
Sherlock chuckled, glancing out the window at the night sky as the moon was revealed.
“I love it,” he murmured, then stood, fingers sliding deftly over buttons as he began to undress.
John could feel it too, the pull of the moon in his chest that took his breath away.
He stood up clumsily, pulling his jumper over his head and fumbling with his belt.
“Relax,” Sherlock was sliding his pants down his legs as he toed off his shoes, voice low and husky, “You’re panicking already.”
He was, throat tight as he tried not to hyperventilate. Amazing how fast he could go from friendly banter to freaked out.
He jumped when he felt Sherlock’s hands near his ankles, opened eyes he hadn’t realized he’d closed to look at Sherlock unlacing his shoes for him.
“Thanks,” he managed to breathe, toeing them off as he pushed his jeans down his hips and to the floor, hooking his thumbs into his socks to peel them off as well.
He gulped for air as moonlight finally poured through the window, his vision starting to go fuzzy around the edges as he fought it. It was like trying to tie a ship down in a thunderstorm using nothing but dental floss.
He jumped when he felt Sherlock’s hands on either side of his head and his warm breath against his face.
“Don’t fight it,” he voice was strained, “It just hurts when you fight it, John.”
Sherlock’s hands slid away and John made a pained sound, doubling over as the floss snapped and his bones and joints broke and reknit in ways that should have been impossible.
* * *
Gentle snuffing at his face, hot breath that was strange, yet familiar and it pulled him awake. He opened his eyes, sniffed back, cataloguing the scent of the Other; the look of black fur and grey eyes and the sound of his breath and his heart.
The Other nudged him, butted his head gently against his and he got up, shaking ruffled, blond fur.
The Other went to the open door, looked back expectantly.
He followed instinctively, instantly, unquestioningly as the Other took off down the stairs, hooked his paws around the doorknob and set them free.
The cold night air never felt so good.
* * *
John woke up, disoriented.
He opened his eyes, blinking and squinting at the light coming through a gap in the curtains across the room.
He groaned, turned his head away from the light with the very firm intent to get several more hours of sleep when he suddenly became acutely aware of the fact that he wasn’t alone.
He jumped, tried to roll over but was stopped by an arm across his back, holding him in place stubbornly.
“Too early John,” Sherlock’s muffled voice grumbled from somewhere near John’s shoulder, “Go back to sleep.”
John froze, a laundry list of information suddenly hitting him all at once. Sherlock’s scent, thick and heavy in his nose- Sherlock’s bed- where were his clothes?- he was sore, entire body aching- he was on his stomach, arms tucked under the pillow-Sherlock was half on top of him, arm across his back and head pillowed on John’s shoulder, hair tickling his skin-
Sherlock sighed, his breath sliding along John’s spine, “Oh, let me guess. Your brain-washed sense of masculinity is hitting the panic button.”
The beginning of John’s freak-out was cut short by irritation at Sherlock’s disdainful comment.
With a huff of anger he pushed Sherlock off and got out of bed, suppressing a grunt of pain as his muscles protested.
Sherlock huffed, throwing him a glare before pulling the blankets over his head and going back to sleep.
John stumbled through the doorway and stubbornly forced himself up the stairs to his bedroom, collapsing immediately into bed and burying himself under the covers.
* * *
John wasn’t sure what to expect when he finally made it downstairs a few hours later.
He was slightly surprised to find Sherlock already showered and dressed, sitting at the desk with his laptop, firing off emails.
John didn’t bother to say any type of greeting, knowing that Sherlock would probably ignore him anyway, and instead went straight into the kitchen to make tea and toast.
“How much do you remember?” Sherlock suddenly asked about five minutes later, as John sat down in the sitting room with his breakfast, having thrown a depressed look at the cluttered kitchen table.
“Hm?” he asked, mouthful of toast and jam.
“Last night,” Sherlock clarified, “what do you remember?”
John chewed, raising his mug of tea to his lips thoughtfully.
“I remember you telling me to stop panicking,” John replied finally, after taking a few careful sips of the hot liquid, “then waking up this morning. Nothing in-between.”
“That’ll get better with time,” Sherlock said, hands still typing steadily on the keyboard, “you’re not balanced yet, it’ll take a bit of practice and effort.”
John nodded, “So, what I miss then?”
Sherlock gave a small smirk, “Nothing much. Might interest you to know that I managed to dissuade you from drinking from the Thames.”
“Oh God,” John groaned, pressing a hand over his eyes embarrassedly, “Um, thank you, I guess.”
There were a few moments of peaceful silence in which John finished his toast and nursed his tea as Sherlock typed.
“Pack dynamics are different than regular humans, you know,” Sherlock said after a few minutes, staring thoughtfully at the computer screen with his fingers steepled at his mouth and his elbows resting on the desk.
“Alright,” John said after a moment, waiting for him to elaborate.
“Physical closeness is commonplace; there are no double meanings to it, simply the satisfaction of touch.”
John sighed, rubbed his forehead as he started into his mug.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said, “Sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Sherlock waved it off, going back to his typing, “Want to investigate a rather curious jewelry theft?”
* * *
And it was fine, actually, once John got used to it.
And though he would never willingly admit it to Sherlock, he thought it was actually kind of nice.
The second time he woke up in Sherlock’s bed, after a full moon that he still couldn’t remember, (dammit), he determinedly replayed the conversation about pack dynamics and physicality in his head.
Instead of panicked awkwardness, he determinedly concentrated on relaxing, of breathing in all the scents on them, trying to figure out where they had gone the night before, what they had done. Concentrated on how brilliantly warm it was in the bed between the two of them (with a core body temperature averaging between 38°C to 39.2°C as opposed to a normal human’s 37°C*, it wasn’t surprising), letting that comfortable warmth lull him in and out of sleep.
And, if he was honest, it was actually rather… comforting, this cuddly-wolf-thing. Sherlock didn’t snore, and he didn’t steal the covers (John had expected him to, considering how demanding he was in pretty much every other aspect of his personality), and he had forgotten how nice it could be, sharing a bed with another person. It had been a long time since he had had the opportunity.
Much to his relief, though, Sherlock didn’t rub his nose in it, though John was sure he could read it in John’s face and his body language as easily as everybody else read road signs. Didn’t even mention it again, really, just mumbled into John’s shoulder that they should order some food around noon, and would you mind terribly if we ate in bed, because that was so much nicer of an idea than moving.
One of those things that should have been strange, but wasn’t, and that was occurring with startling frequency when it came to Sherlock.
* * *
To his credit, Sherlock was a surprisingly patient mentor, and John was often surprised by all the things he didn’t know. Having the capacity to shift on-demand was one of them. That particular lesson occurred during a rather frustrating case involving a highly organized drug ring.
“I can’t think!”
Sherlock was pacing around the flat agitatedly, fingers ruffling his hair in frustration.
John watched him from one of the chairs, up to his elbows on either side with newspapers, following Sherlock’s cipher to try to find the code in the crime reports. Sherlock was convinced that the head writer was using it to organize the drug trafficking.
“There’s something I’m missing, I just can’t find it!” the detective huffed, grinding the heels of his palms into his eyes, “I need some air, some space to clear my head. We’re going out.”
John put down the paper he was combing through, rubbing his eyes and stretching his back, “Good idea. I don’t know how much longer I could do this.”
When he looked back to Sherlock, he was surprised to find his flatmate pulling his clothes off instead of pulling his coat on.
“What’re you doing?” John asked, completely confused.
“Shifting,” Sherlock said, fingers flying down the buttons of his shirt, leaving it flapping open as he bent over to unlace his shoes, “It helps me stop thinking, well, slows me down a bit, at any rate. All the facts for this case, they’re all tangled up in my head, I can’t sort them out in a straight line,” Sherlock explained, toeing off his shoes as his hands worked his belt, “I need to shift, the wolf mind-set is easier, simpler; it’ll help me step back from the case so I can come back to it with a clear head.”
“Wait, hold on,” John said, “You can shift on demand? You don’t need the full moon?”
“Of course, John, we would not be having this conversation if I couldn’t,” Sherlock sighed, sounding exasperated at John’s utter inaptitude.
Sherlock folded his clothes, piling them all on the sofa as he nudged his shoes under the coffee table.
“Of course you can, John, we all can,” Sherlock sighed, looking at him with raised eyebrows.
It should have been weird, it occurred to John, being comfortable in the same room as his naked flatmate. But it wasn’t, and it had nothing to do with the fact that he was a doctor and a soldier, oddly enough. That was a different headspace, doctor-mode, soldier-mode…
Sherlock smirked like he could read the thoughts floating through John’s mind, (for all John knew, he could) and crossed his arms casually.
“It’s easy, stop over-thinking it.”
“It’s the middle of the day,” John offered weakly, staring at the determined look on his friend’s face.
“Wasn’t planning on running through any crowds.”
“What if I can’t figure out how to change back?”
“I’ll coach you.”
“What if I can’t figure out how to change in the first place?”
Sherlock sighed long-sufferingly, came to kneel next to John’s chair and stare intently at him, “John, you’re too attached to you. Your mind is still trying to keep you and your wolf completely separated, like dumping a solid cement dam into a stream. You’ve got to actively remove that wall; become one whole, fluid being. I could dazzle you with how fast I can shift back and forth, and it’s because I don’t have that wall.”
“How do you not, I dunno,” John fumbled, thinking how to put it, “get lost? Lose grip of who’s in control, you or your wolf?”
“That’s the point, John, it doesn’t have to be a battle. It’s almost like… deciding whether to pick something up with your left hand or your right. You just instinctively know which is appropriate, do you see?”
John frowned, mulling it over.
“I think so,” he finally sighed, and Sherlock surprised him by reaching up and cupping the side of his neck almost affectionately.
“Good man,” Sherlock said, with a little sideways smirk, “Now give it a go.”
John swallowed nervously, looking hard into Sherlock’s piercing gray eyes.
“If I botch it up and get stuck somewhere in between and have to give up my life in London to join a traveling freak show as their wolf-man attraction, it will be entirely your fault,” John informed him, and Sherlock’s grin only got wider.
“Noted,” he said, almost sweetly, and John took a deep breath, closed his eyes and reached inward.
“Good,” he heard Sherlock murmur, could feel Sherlock’s fingers undoing his clothes with the same perfect efficiency he used for his own, “Relax your hold on him, meet him half-way.”
John panicked when his wolf rose up so fast it was like being thrown into a strong undercurrent of a river, no control and no way to save yourself…
“Don’t fight him,” Sherlock’s voice pierced through, commanding and sure, “stay with him, don’t retreat and don’t try to force him back down.”
John took a deep gulp of air as he forced himself to follow Sherlock’s orders; to stop being afraid of this part of himself. He needed to do this, or he would never adjust, never be comfortable in his own skin; be it furry or human.
He fell forward off the chair and Sherlock guided him down, gently. Slowly he opened his eyes, was startled when the world looked… different.
He realized that Sherlock- who was still hovering over him, still human, wrong angle, his chin was definitely on the floor but Sherlock was clearly within his view- had managed to pull his shirt off and had unbuckled his pants.
“Brilliant, John,” Sherlock praised him, shifted before John’s eyes and suddenly wasn’t Sherlock anymore, but the Other.
He stood, realized that he had shifted, the uncomfortable tangle around his legs was in fact his loosened slacks, which he shook off easily.
This was… weird, and fascinating. He could see and hear and smell and feel everything around him, but almost like a third person perspective. He could influence the actions, but he wasn’t the one moving; almost like steering a car.
It suddenly clicked, what Sherlock meant. They didn’t need to be bisected, him and his wolf, they could work together, and wasn’t that novel. Sherlock yipped at him, moved toward the door and he followed, like always.
Maybe he could live with this.
*100.5°F to 102.5°F and 98.6°F, respectively.
Tempers flare, teeth are bared, and John learns a new lesson.
John Watson was pissed off. Scratch that, he was more than pissed off, he was furious, livid, so fucking angry lesser men would have coward before his ire.
Sherlock Holmes, on the other hand, was perfectly calm, in fact, the infuriating man was sitting there texting in the backseat of the cab, seemingly completely unfazed by the fact that he had nearly been killed by a deranged gunman not four hours prior.
“Never again,” John growled, and it wasn’t a request, it was a goddamn threat, “Do you hear me, Sherlock? Never. Again.”
“I assume,” Sherlock sighed, “that you’re referring to my reaction to Thomson’s attempt at holding us all hostage.”
“Yes I bloody well am,” John ground out, trying very hard not to shout in the back seat of a cab, “You are never throwing yourself into the line of fire like that ever again.”
“I wasn’t throwing myself into danger John, it was a perfectly reasonable step to ensure that the police were given proper time to gain an advantage.”
“You waltzed up to a gun-wielding madman, and proceeded to tell him all the reasons why he was doing it, while he was pointing a goddamn gun in your face!” John exclaimed, “He could have killed you!”
“Unlikely,” Sherlock brushed him off, his eyes never leaving the small, glowing screen of his mobile, “He was unstable, but frightened; he wouldn’t have pulled the trigger, he didn’t have the nerve.”
“You don’t know that,” John snapped.
“Honestly, John,” Sherlock interjected, irritated, opening the cab door and stepping out, and John realized they had pulled up to 221.
“‘Honestly’ nothing!” John said, once he was out through the other door, closing it probably a little harder than was necessary as Sherlock paid, “What if you were wrong? What if he did have the nerve, or someone startled him and the gun went off? You can’t account for everything Sherlock!”
Sherlock slid his coat off as they stepped into the sitting room, switching his mobile from hand to hand so that he didn’t have to stop reading whatever it was he had pulled up on the screen as he slid his arms out of the sleeves, then tossed his coat onto the sofa before plopping down into an armchair. John realized the detective was purposefully attempting to ignore him.
“Sherlock!” he finally did let himself shout, snatching the phone from Sherlock’s grasp and throwing it across the room.
“For God’s sake, John!” Sherlock stood up, anger finally peeking through, “Look at me, I’m fine! Why are you still on this?”
“Because I want you to take your own life seriously!” John burst out, “I want you to stop doing stupid things just because you think you’re clever enough to walk away from them!”
“I am clever enough,” Sherlock sneered, and something in John just snapped. He needed to knock that smug look off his face and make him just think.
He didn’t remember making the choice to shift, he didn’t think there was one, not consciously, anyway, but suddenly he was lunging for Sherlock with a growl.
Just as fast Sherlock shifted as well, rising to meet his attack head-on.
The fight itself was all a blur; just growling and biting and lunging, each trying to gain the advantage, each aiming to hurt, make the other submit to his will.
Stop stop stop stop!
He didn’t know what triggered the rational side of his brain, what made him see with sudden, blinding clarity, what exactly he was doing.
But suddenly Sherlock’s throat was between his jaws and his packmate was whimpering, a high, frightened sound with his tail between his legs as John pinned him down on his back.
In an instant he let him go, practically leaping away.
Sherlock didn’t move at first, eyes still wide, too much white. Slowly he rolled over, ears low and tail still between his legs, staying low to the ground, submissive, cautious.
It was wrong, all wrong and John fled, managed, somehow, to replicate Sherlock’s knack for getting doors open, and ran as fast and as hard as he could.
He didn’t know how long he ran, picking streets at random and trying to get lost.
He didn’t stop until he hit the edge of the city, crawled under a bench in a quiet park.
All told, it didn’t take Sherlock long to find him.
John tried to make himself as small as possible, turning his face away from Sherlock miserably. He was so ashamed. He couldn’t believe he has let his temper get the better of him like that.
Sherlock surprised him by sliding under the bench with him, pressing close as he could against him, face next to his.
John pressed back gratefully, glad for the warmth, and apparent forgiveness, of his friend.
It was roughly three hours until dawn when Sherlock nudged him, slid out from under the bench and looked at him expectantly.
John followed, and they made their long trip back to Baker Street.
* * *
“I’m sorry,” John said, leaning awkwardly against the doorframe of the kitchen.
Sherlock was sitting in the armchair with his back to the windows, plucking idly at the strings of his violin, staring into the fireplace.
“Hm?” Sherlock asked, pulled himself out of his thoughts to look at John.
John shifted a little, pushing his hands into his pockets uneasily.
“I’m sorry,” John repeated, “I can’t believe I lost my temper like that last night, that’s not like me.”
Sherlock waved him off impassively, “It’s nothing, John.”
“No, no it is something,” John insisted miserably, and Sherlock frowned at him, “I hurt you.”
“Hardly,” Sherlock brushed off, “Mycroft and I have had worse fights than that over more trivial things.”
John sighed heavily, and Sherlock paused his plucking, staring intently at him for a few moments.
Finally, his flatmate sighed and stood, setting his violin on the chair gently before brushing past John into the kitchen.
John turned at the sound of chair legs scraping the floor, and Sherlock indicated to the chair he had just pulled out, “Sit down John, honestly.”
John frowned, brow creasing, but he obeyed, sitting in the chair as Sherlock moved about the kitchen.
The detective had just filled the kettle and put it on to heat when John realized what he was doing.
“Are you making tea?” he asked incredulously, and Sherlock paused as he pulled two mugs out of the cabinet, looking at him with eyebrows raised.
“Yes,” he replied in that isn’t-it-obvious drawl of his, “That’s what one does when one wishes to be comforting, is it not?”
Sherlock sighed, continued what he was doing, “You’re upset,” he explained, “and you needn’t be. Hence, tea.”
“I attacked you!” John said, exasperated, “You should be throwing me out, not making me tea!”
Sherlock really frowned then, leaning against the counter and folding his arms.
“Do you want me to throw you out?”
“Well, no, of course not,” John balked, “But I imagine that’s what most people would do.”
“When have I ever, in all the time of our acquaintance, been prone to doing what ‘most people would do’?”
John sighed, rubbing his fingers over a scratch on the table, just to give him something to do, “Pretty much never.”
“There you are,” Sherlock said, finally pulling out the chair next to John and sitting down, as if that settled the matter, “Besides, you really think I would have followed you if I planned to throw you out by the morning?”
“I guess not.”
He looked up from where he was still rubbing his finger over the scratch in the table.
“Packmates fight,” Sherlock stated matter-of-factly, “it’s inevitable, just as humans fighting is inevitable. But it’s settled, it’s over, that’s it. I’m not angry, I understand that you were upset.”
“But do you understand why?” John interrupted, almost pleading. He was getting distressed again, he knew, but it wasn’t anger this time.
Sherlock regarded him for a moment, “It was a stressful situation, you were still on edge-“
“No, Sherlock,” John sighed, put his face in his hands, elbows on the table, though he imagined Sherlock was partially right, at least, “I was upset because you could have been killed, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything. I don’t want you to die, but you seem insistent on making that happen. You don’t care and you don’t think and it kills me to even imagine having to bury you because of your own stupidity. I’ve watched too many friends die in my life, Sherlock. I don’t want you to be one of them.”
Silence followed his little speech, and John was resolutely not looking at Sherlock, keeping his eyes pressed into the heels of his palms because that was definitely the most sentimentally that John had ever spoken to his flatmate.
He felt Sherlock’s fingers wrap gently around his wrists, pulling his hands away from his face. He startled slightly when Sherlock leaned forward, one hand wrapped around the back of his neck as he pressed their foreheads together, noses just touching.
“What’re you-“ John started, slightly alarmed.
“Pomp and circumstance comes with a lot of formalities and traditions, John,” Sherlock interrupted, like he was giving a lecture, “Actions and gestures that reflect relationships and attitudes are taught at a young age. This one,” Sherlock’s fingers pressed gently at the back of his neck, “Is indicative of…” he paused for a moment, searching for the right word, “well, intimacy, I suppose would be the word, but it’s more than that. Affection, companionship, feeling of family, comfort, love, apology, forgiveness… do you see?”
Sherlock’s grey eyes were slightly blurry this close up, and John could feel the taller man’s breath on his face. Yes, he could definitely see what Sherlock was saying.
“So,” John started, choosing his words carefully, “Right now, you’re meaning this to say, ‘Sorry I was an idiot yesterday, I’ll consider your desire for me not to die more heavily in the future’?”
Sherlock chuckled, and John grinned.
“More or less,” he said, and John gave a little nod, reaching up to hesitantly mirror him, fingers on the back of his neck, Sherlock’s shaggy hair brushing his fingertips.
The kettle started to whistle and Sherlock detached himself gently, finishing making the tea.
Considering the fact that John wasn’t even certain Sherlock knew how to make tea (he had certainly never seen the detective do it), it was actually, surprisingly, good.
John told him so, and Sherlock scoffed, “I am capable of domesticity, John, I just find it maddeningly dull.”
“In other words,” John smirked, “‘I like having everyone cater to me.’”
Sherlock grinned, took a sip of tea, “It does make things run more smoothly.”
“In other words,” John said again, “‘John, without you I’d get lost in my own clutter and starve to death.’”
Sherlock raised an eyebrow, “And you claim I’m dramatic?”
“Oh sod off,” John chuckled, and Sherlock smirked.
John looked into his mug for a few moments before saying quietly, “Can you promise me something though?”
Sherlock looked at him suspiciously, eyebrows furrowed, “That depends on what it is.”
“Can you please promise me you’ll try to live long enough to retire the consulting detective business?”
Sherlock sighed, rolled his eyes, “Dull.”
“Please,” John insisted, “for my sake.”
Sherlock looked at him thoughtfully for a moment, before venturing, “On one condition.”
John nodded for him to continue.
“You endeavor for the same longevity to retire with me.”
“Already planning on the longevity bit,” John assured him, “but I shudder to think what retirement with you would look like. Imagine,” John scoffed with amusement, “The two of us puttering around somewhere in the country? You’d set out to terrorizing the neighbors within the first hour. What on earth would we do to keep you busy?”
“Beekeeping,” Sherlock said, matter-of-factly, and John stared at him.
“Beekeeping?” he echoed.
“Yes, beekeeping, that’s what I intend to do to keep busy. You, I imagine, would become one of those cliché country doctors, ambling about diagnosing chickenpox and the occasional broken bone,” Sherlock snarked, but John could tell it was teasing, not mocking.
“Why bees, though?” John asked, and Sherlock shrugged.
“They’re fascinating. They have complex social structures very much like humans, you know.”
“So, what, you’ll be investigating little bee murders, will you?” John smirked, and Sherlock gave him a look.
John chortled into his tea and Sherlock rolled his eyes.
“Sounds brilliant,” John finally said, “Sure we can’t retire now?”
Sherlock smirked, “Not unless you wouldn’t mind me building a beehive for the flat.”
How does Moriarty match up to two shape-shifters?
Final part, and a bit shorter than the previous parts, sorry. I rather liked the idea that their ability is the reason they survive a bomb-blast.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Sorry boys! I’m so changeable! It is a weakness with me, but to be fair to myself, it is my only weakness. You can’t be allowed to continue. You just can’t. I would try to convince you, but everything I have to say has already crossed you mind!” Moriarty’s voice rose obscenely at the end, a teasing lilt that turned John’s stomach.
He looked at Sherlock, who was watching him steadily, the red laser dots dancing sickeningly across his chest.
Could they survive this? They were harder to kill than the average human, doubly so if they shifted, but did Moriarty know that? Had he accounted for that, made sure shifting wouldn’t save them? The snipers would definitely kill them. Direct shot to the head or heart and even shifting wouldn’t save them. Was it better to take their chances?
All this passed through John’s head in a flash, and just as fast he knew what his choice was.
He gave Sherlock a small nod, heart in his throat but head shockingly clear.
Sherlock’s gaze never left his as he replied, “Probably my answer has crossed yours.”
Sherlock turned slowly, finally breaking his gaze to level the gun at Moriarty. The madman smirked, and Sherlock slowly lowered the gun toward the vest- that damn vest he had just ripped off of John- and time seemed to stop, the three of them, locked in an eternal stalemate.
Until Sherlock pulled the trigger.
John leapt up almost instantaneously, throwing his arms around Sherlock as the momentum carried them side-ways. They had shifted before they even hit the water.
John was a soldier. He knew explosions, knew how the shockwave could feel like being in the middle of a thunderclap, leave you aching and your ears ringing.
But this. Nothing could have prepared him for this. He must have blacked out for a few moments because when he came to, he became aware of three things: one, he was laying on his side in only a couple centimeters of water (what was left of the pool), he ached, all over, in every way, and three, he couldn’t see Sherlock.
He found the strength to stagger upward, his fur uncomfortably matted, caked with the thick powder that filled the air, threatened to choke him along with the smoke and he realized his ears were ringing.
The debris shifted off him as he pushed himself upward, panting, as his body screamed in protest.
Even over the ringing in his ears and the crackling of fire he could hear his packmate’s whimper, found him trapped under debris too heavy for either of them to manage and John collapsed next to him, pressing their faces close and praying to be rescued.
* * *
John was warm. The kind of warm that made your limbs heavy with comfort and lazily objected to opening your eyes.
For several long minutes he let his sleep-fuzzy brain do just that, breathing in the comfortable smell of clean sheets and Sherlock; who smelled more like home to him now than anything else in his life.
Sherlock. Sherlock. The pool, the gun, Moriarty. It all came back in a flood of memory and he panicked for a moment, heart pounding as he opened his eyes, the light in the room blinding for a moment as he struggled to sit up. He grunted in pain as his body protested the sudden movement rather painfully.
“Easy John,” Sherlock’s low voice murmured gently, hand on his arm to press him back down.
John breathed a sigh of relief, seeing his packmate lying next to him in the bed as he settled back down.
“You’re ok,” he breathed, reaching out to touch his shoulder, running his hand over his arm, down his side, needing to feel for himself that Sherlock was alive, was ok.
“Yes, I’m fine,” Sherlock replied gently, “And so are you.”
John nodded, finally looked around, frowning at the unfamiliar room.
“Where are we?”
Sherlock huffed irritatedly, “Mycroft,” was all he had to explain.
John was quiet for a moment, looking interestedly around the room. That would explain the posh-ness then.
He looked back at Sherlock, almost dreading to ask, “And Moriarty?”
“Unknown,” Sherlock sighed, clearly annoyed.
John nodded again, swallowed uneasily.
“We’re safe for now,” Sherlock assured him, reaching out to take John’s hand gently in both of his long, slender ones, “Mycroft will make sure of that.”
John nodded, gripped Sherlock’s hand gently.
“Go back to sleep John.”
John chuckled, looked at him sternly, “You know, I’m the doctor here, shouldn’t I be telling you that?”
Sherlock grinned, squeezed John’s hand, “Quite right, Doctor Watson.”
John couldn’t help but laugh, sliding an arm around Sherlock’s thin shoulders, “Come here you cocky bastard,” he chuckled, and Sherlock laughed as they both simultaneously slid closer, Sherlock shuffling down slightly to tuck his head against John’s chest, forehead pressed against his collarbones to sleep.
* * *
When John Watson had stepped through the door of 221B Baker Street those months ago, he had no idea his life would lead to this point. He had been threatened by madmen, kidnapped, shot at, done some shooting of his own, nearly blown up, and, quite by accident, made a little pack, a little family, for himself in the process.
And he wouldn’t take back a single second of it. Not one. Not even that dark night in Afghanistan, when his life had changed forever.
Hooray! Once again, any dialogue you recognize is from "The Great Game", and therefore belongs to Mark and Steven.
I can tell you now that there is a sequel brewing in my head, and I'm set to sit down and start cracking soon. But being that I'm the type who needs to finish an entire story before I publish it (or else it doesn't get done), it make take a while.
There is also a small prequel to this, titled "Trust Issues." Please do check it out, and accept it as at least minor compensation for how long it's taking me to write the sequel!
Chapter 5: Sequel Preview
John Watson had seen blood before, he was an army doctor after all, but he had never seen anything like this.
Ok, so you guys have all been really patient waiting for this sequel! As proof that I really am working on it, here's an excerpt! Sorry it's taking so long, my muse doesn't always cooperate with what I want, but hopefully I'll be able to get rolling with this more fully now, and get this out, in full, to you all soon!
“I don’t know if I can handle this,” John said quietly to Sherlock, climbing the stairs with him as Detective Lestrade led them through the house to the murder scene, “I can smell the blood, even from here.”
“I know,” Sherlock replied just as quietly, “you can do it.”
It hadn’t even occurred to him before, this new sensitivity. He had been an army doctor, had seen litres upon litres of blood in his career, had seen death and pain in so many forms… but never had it affected him more than it was at this moment.
It was like… smelling a fine wine and pennies, and blood had never smelled like that to him before. It pulled at his senses, made him hungry and borderline aroused, which was frightening and freaky at the same time.
The other crime scenes he had gone to with Sherlock never smelled like this. Reflecting on that, he realized why. They had seen people who had been shot, or poisoned, strangled, the list went on. But by the time they had gotten to the scene, the blood had had time to cool and coagulate, turn the dark, muddy colour of time and oxidation; the body had started to decay, not perceivably, usually, but with their senses they could smell it, the tiny signs of decomposition.
This time though, the blood was frighteningly fresh, and to top it all off, nearly every drop of it seemed to have left the body, at least so far as John could tell by how strong the smell was from here.
Lestrade confirmed it as they climbed the stairs and drew closer to the crime scene, “Got to warn you, it’s pretty bad. Dismembered and gutted, I’ve never seen anything like it before. Not sure what they used yet to do it, Anderson’s having a look now.”
Sherlock snorted in disdain and John rolled his eyes.
“When were they found?” Sherlock asked, and Lestrade grimaced.
“Literally within ten minutes of death, and we got here and called you within half an hour. Name is Ginny Walker.”
“How was she found so soon?”
“Luck,” Lestrade said as they reached the landing, “the husband wasn’t supposed to be home for several more hours at least, but he decided to pop home on his lunch break. Come on, need to slip these on for this one, trust me,” he indicated to the crime scene suits.
John sighed as Sherlock frowningly condescended to at least putting the shoe-covers on and latex gloves, while John dutifully donned the complete suit. One of them had to be respectful of the Yard, and it certainly was never going to be Sherlock.
They then travelled down to the door at the end of the hallway, ominously closed with Sally Donovan standing outside it, looking pale and a bit shaken.
“Alright?” Lestrade asked her quietly, and she nodded minutely, eyes shifting to Sherlock.
John was expecting a snide remark, as was their usual conversation, but instead she only stepped aside to let Lestrade open the door.
“Christ,” John breathed as the door opened and the smell hit them dead-on.
Sherlock paused in the doorway, and John peered with dread around his shoulder.
The entire room had been slashed with red. The walls, which he could see had started off life as light yellow, were now splattered with blood on every wall.
John’s stomach twisted uncomfortably, seemingly waging war on itself trying to decide whether to feel nauseous, or… hungry.
Sherlock said nothing as he stepped into the room and John followed. The soft ‘squish’ of wet carpet made John halt in his tracks for a brief moment, eyes closing fleetingly in the instant that it took for the horrible realization to dawn on him.
John had been to war. He had seen men shot, had seen them blown up, had watched a young man, barely in his twenties, burn to death in an overturned Humvee that he couldn’t get to in time.
But he had never, ever , seen someone so brutally murdered as what he was seeing now.
Anderson stood up from where he had been kneeling down with several forensic tools, scowling at them, but surprisingly silent.
“Clear off Anderson,” Lestrade said, “you can finish in a minute.”
Anderson scowled, but, also surprisingly, said nothing as he left.
“How’s your stomach, Anderson?” Sherlock couldn’t help but jab as Anderson stalked pasted him, and John elbowed him with a glare.
“Up yours, Holmes,” Anderson snapped, and Sherlock snickered.
“I’m surprised he managed that much,” he said lowly to John, “he looked about to be sick at any moment, opening his mouth to talk was a risk.”
John just shook his head and rolled his eyes.
He watched Sherlock kneel carefully down, scooping up the ends of his coat as he went to keep them from the blood-soaked floor, the fabric pooled in his lap as he pulled out his magnifier and leaned carefully on his haunches over the body to do his usual, thorough inspection.
John swallowed hard, trying to decide which was worse, breathing out of his mouth or his nose; both carried the heavy scent of blood to his senses, leaving a thick taste in the back of his mouth and making his brain foggy.
“John,” Sherlock beckoned, motioning to John to come closer. John gave his head a little shake, stepping forward to kneel opposite Sherlock, the body between them.
“Alright?” Sherlock asked quietly enough that Lestrade couldn’t hear, and John nodded minutely.
“What do you see?” he asked then, indicating for John to take his turn examining. John leaned forward on his haunches, determinedly focusing.
The woman was in her late twenties to early thirties, by the look of her. And she had literally been ripped to pieces. Her abdominal cavity was completely ripped open, her internal organs pulled out; some scattered to other parts of the room, and some missing entirely from what John could see. Her limbs had been dislocated, but not removed, though she seemed to be missing several fingers from her right hand.
John delicately traced the ragged edge of flesh of her abdomen with a gloved finger, and Sherlock watched him intently. He swallowed hard when he came to a rather unpleasant conclusion.
She had been alive when they started ripping into her. Had remained conscious for most of the horrible process, slipping rapidly into shock until they had reached under her ribs to rip out her heart.
The visual was like a kick in the gut, desire and arousal and something else, something much darker seizing him for a moment and he clenched his jaw and fists tightly for a moment to quell it.
Sherlock was staring intently at him and John risked a glance up to meet his gaze. He had to suppress a gasp as he met his friend’s piercing stare. Sherlock’s pupils were dilated so wide only a sliver of ice grey remained. He imagined he must look much the same, and it was a small comfort to know this was affecting Sherlock as much as him.
He swallowed hard, refocusing his attention to the matter at hand. He reached out and gently lifted her bloodied hand delicately, looking at where her fingers had been taken off, when he noticed smaller, less brutal injuries along her arm, undoubtedly created in self-defence.
Teeth marks. Canine teeth marks, by the look of them. Huge and deep.
“I’ll take anything you’ve got, Sherlock,” Lestrade commented.
“Early thirties, no children but happily married for six years,” Sherlock rattled off, “works from home, something computer-programming related I’m assuming. Was just returning from visiting someone today when she was attacked, I’m assuming a relative, possibly one in poor health.”
Sherlock was leaning forward on his hands, staring intently at her wounds at a mere three inches away from the ragged flesh and slowly moving upward toward her face. John watched his intense scrutiny carefully, noticed the flare of his nostrils as he inhaled, no doubt cataloguing all the scents their finer senses could pick up.
“And the attack itself?”
“Care to take this one, John?” Sherlock offered, still looking.
“Er, yeah,” John stammered, giving his head a little shake and clearing his throat before turning to Lestrade to related everything he had observed already.
“Christ,” Lestrade grimaced, and John nodded in sympathy, “Can you tell what they used to do this to her?”
John and Sherlock exchanged a look, and Sherlock gave a small nod.
“Honestly… it looks like an animal attack,” John admitted, “They don’t look like knife wounds, electric or otherwise. Even if they used a serrated edge, the edges of the wounds would be neater, sharper. These…” he rubbed the back of his hand across his forehead wearily, “There are teeth marks, puncture wounds, this,” he pointed to the gaping abdominal cavity, “was made by ripping and tearing.”
“Christ,” Lestrade said again.
“I believe you’ll need a more thorough check by a pathologist to be sure, but I’m assuming something of the canine variety,” Sherlock sighed, standing up and looking thoughtfully around the scene, stepping around the body to examine the furniture, the walls, the window sill, door, and doorframe in his methodical way as John stood up from his kneeling position beside the body carefully.
“That’s it?” Lestrade asked, eyebrows raised when Sherlock was finished his examining and still hadn’t said anything further.
“Until I speak with the husband, yes,” Sherlock replied, peeling off his latex gloves with a snap.
Lestrade and John exchanged a look.
Sherlock huffed dramatically at their silence exchange, rounding on them squarely.
“Oh honestly ,” he said with a glare, “I’m not going to attack him, for god’s sake. I want to ask him about his wife.”
“That’s what we’re worried about,” John sighed, and Sherlock glared.
“That’s what you’re here for, is it not?” Sherlock said, eyebrows raised, “To ‘rein me in’?” he sneered, and it was John’s turn to glare.
“Alright, easy,” Lestrade interjected, looking sternly at Sherlock, “You’ve got five minutes with him Sherlock, but I swear to God I’m yanking you out of the room by your hair if you aggravate him, he’s in shock, his wife’s just been violently murdered, so remember that and try to dredge up some sympathy.”
“Yes, yes,” Sherlock sighed, leading the way out of the room, stripping his latex gloves off as he went.
John felt better, stripping off the crime scene suit and tossing it in the bin, away from the bloodied room, but the scent still clung to the air, sweet like molasses and he had to fight the continued pull of hunger and arousal it was causing in his gut uncomfortably.
“Nearly done,” Sherlock murmured quietly to him as he swept ahead of them downstairs, coat trailing out behind him.
Timothy Walker was a big, brawny man, light of complexion and close-cropped hair. John imagined that normally, he was an intimidating presence, but now the poor man was hunched over in an armchair in the house’s living room, mug of undrunk tea cradled in his big hands and an orange blanket wrapped around his shoulders.
He was staring unseeingly into the mug as they approached, and only looked up when Lestrade cleared his throat awkwardly.
“Mr Walker, this is Sherlock Holmes, a colleague of mine,” Lestrade said gently, indicating to Sherlock, “and his associate Dr John Watson. They have a couple questions for you, if you would be so kind.”
The big man looked at them owlishly, blinking slowly.
“Yes, of course,” he finally answered, and Sherlock took the liberty of inviting himself to sit opposite of him, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees as John took a seat to the side of them.
“Mr Walker,” Sherlock started, voice surprisingly gentle, “I am sorry for your loss. Do you know of anyone who would want to hurt your wife?”
Walker shook his head, staring back into his mug again, “No,” he replied, “No, not a soul. Didn’t quarrel with anyone, my Ginny. Gentle as you please.”
“No familial disagreements, even?” Sherlock pressed.
“No,” Walker said, shaking his head again, “No, not one. Called and talked to her mum every day, went to lunch with her dad at least once a week. Family was very important to her, and she was very close with them.”
“I see,” Sherlock said quietly, then asked, “Where did she go this morning? Who did she see?”
“My cousin Tara,” Walker said, looking surprised, “she’s been battling a bad bout of pneumonia, and Ginny’s been over to check on her.”
“And how long has that been going on?”
“Little over a week.”
“I see. Thank you Mr Walker,” Sherlock said, standing up swiftly and walking from the room.
John hastily followed, murmuring his thanks for the man’s time and his condolences.
“So?” Lestrade asked, once they were all in the hallway and out of the earshot of Timothy Walker, “What do you make of it? Do you think whoever murdered her used an animal as a sort of cover? Keep from getting their hands dirty?”
“Possibly,” Sherlock sighed, pushing his hands in his pockets, “Why, specifically, they chose to murder her is still beyond me as of yet. Try to find out more about her connections and background, see if she had her hand in anything that could make her a target.”
“Right, know that bit already thanks,” Lestrade sighed, “that’s all you’ve got?” he asked, with a down-trodden sense of hopefulness peeking through.
“Afraid so Lestrade,” Sherlock said, sidestepping the DI and heading for the door, “You’ll have to do some real detective work for once, instead of using me as a cheat-code.”
“Right, thanks, nice to see you too,” Lestrade said sarcastically to the empty air where Sherlock had been, and John clapped him on the shoulder apologetically before following Sherlock from the house.