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Holding on to Faith

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John woke up slowly from a rather nice dream of him and Sherlock naked and opened his eyes to find, for the first time outside of his fantasies, that Sherlock actually was in his bed. John was debating about whether to curl up behind Sherlock and hold him, or if it would be better just to pretend to still be asleep, when Sherlock's phone sounded with a text from Lestrade. So much for talking things over the next morning, as John had promised himself last night. They might have been leading up to this for a long time, but John was far from certain as to where they stood now.

"Come on, John, " Sherlock ordered as he scrambled out of bed. John shivered a bit, those were the same words from last night but in a completely different tone. He followed, as always.

This time he followed Sherlock into a small second story flat. An elderly woman lay sprawled next to her sitting room chair in what would have been an incredibly uncomfortable position had she still been alive. Lestrade and a forensics technician who thankfully wasn't Anderson were the only ones in the room. Lestrade greeted them and then filled them in on the basics.

"June Latimer , aged 82. Son and daughter-in-law were killed in a car crash three years ago, granddaughter Emily, age 23, is currently at university in the states. No other living relatives.  Downstairs neighbor, Sarah Marshall,  heard screaming and called the police. We broke in and found the scene like this. Front door was intact until we got here, no deadbolt, just two standard locks. All the windows except the one in the bedroom were closed and bolted shut from the inside. The one in the bedroom was broken from the inside judging from the way the glass fell and it's right above a closed dumpster. So we know how he or she got out, but that's about all we know. The rain will have washed away any footprints but we're checking it anyway."

John looked around the room. A few healthy looking plants, purple and blue knitted afghan tossed over the settee, small, old style television in the corner. There were several framed photos on the windowsill, most of a young ebony skinned woman through the years, including a graduation picture, one of her with an older man and woman who must have been her parents, and a wedding photo of the same couple.

John couldn't help a quick glance over to what he had so recently gotten back. John still vividly remembered the depths of his grief during the time Sherlock had been gone and he felt terrible for the girl having lost all of her family at such a young age. If Sherlock noticed John's shift in mood, he didn't say anything. In fact, he hadn't spoken to John at all since they'd left Baker Street.

Sherlock, having no doubt already taken in everything of interest in the room, was already crouching over the body. He carefully sniffed the overturned tea cup on the carpet,  its contents splashed nearby and then lifted the victim's hand to study her fingers.  

"Nothing's missing, her jewelry case is still closed and her purse is sitting on the sideboard, " Lestrade said from across the room.

"John?" Sherlock asked, not looking at him but not sounding any different than he usually did. John wanted to take that as a good sign, but he knew how good an actor Sherlock was.

John moved closer. He had been observing both the body and Sherlock from afar, the body because he was just as interested in crime scenes as Sherlock and Sherlock because he was always interested in Sherlock.  He just wished he had some way of knowing what Sherlock was thinking, or if he was even thinking about last night at all. Sherlock could have forgotten it already or simply decided to ignore it and move on.  John, on the other hand, couldn't stop thinking about it. He'd wanted Sherlock for so long, and now that he'd had him in his bed, felt his body next to his, he was terrified that he'd lose Sherlock after all.

Right then, deal with the body in front of him for now. Worry about his relationship with Sherlock later.

There were bruises on her upper arms and on her face, it looked like someone had tried to keep her quiet. None around her throat, she hadn't been strangled. Or stabbed or shot, obviously. No injection sites on either arm and John double checked the fingers. He looked between her toes and found a very small, very precise injection spot right between her big and second toe on her left foot.

"Sherlock," he said, showing him. "Judging from the way she fell and without having any toxicology reports, I'd guess it was an overdose of potassium chloride or something similar, designed to give her a heart attack very quickly. The injection was done well, either by an addict or someone with medical training, although I'd lean toward the latter. "

Sherlock nodded and announced. "I think you'll find it's the granddaughter's ex-boyfriend. He must have panicked when his victim screamed and rushed out the window. He didn't need to break in and he planned to take his time."

"How could you possibly know that?" Lestrade asked. John was wondering too, and looking forward to seeing Sherlock go into explanation mode.

"She told us. Clever woman, " Sherlock said, pointing to the King James bible lying on the floor next to her outstretched hand. "Her bible, it's open to the first page of First Timothy."

Lestrade quickly objected, "How do you know it didn't just fall that way?"

"Look at how worn it is, the spine, the pages. She read it every day, knew it almost by heart. She would have known exactly where each book started, it would be quite easy to open it to the first page of the letter to Timothy, and she would have had just enough time before the overdose took effect  to make sure the book stayed open to that page as it fell."

Sherlock then strode over to the windowsill, coat swirling behind him. "And this picture, you can see where the granddaughter's ex-boyfriend was cut out, leaving just her. Quite recently too, look at the windowsill. You can see the original color of the paint where the frame was covering it, the rest is faded in the sun. The picture wasn't put back in the exact same spot."

"And it' s obviously  not a paramour of the victim, she was widowed years ago but still wears her ring. She couldn't take it off if she wanted to, which clearly she never has."

"The boyfriend however, Emily finally had enough of his abuse and broke up with him long-distance. He couldn't easily get to her overseas, however, he could take away the one person she loved the most."

John felt his heart jump at Sherlock's words and he barely caught the almost unreadable look Sherlock gave him before turning back to the body. But he knew Sherlock well and knew that he carried his own grief from the time they were apart. It might not be on his face, but the sadness was still in Sherlock's eyes.

Lestrade looked up from his notes and said, "The boyfriend's name was Carlton. There's no Carlton in the bible." Sherlock made an impatient go on gesture and opened him mouth to say something no doubt disparaging. John hid a smile as Lestrade looked down at his notes again and then cut Sherlock off before he could say a word.

"Middle initial T, " Lestrade said with a small sigh.

"And I think you'll find that he's just gone on leave from his unit. And has a brother or another close relative who's a locksmith, " Sherlock said as a prelude to flouncing out of the room before Lestrade could question him on either point. This time John gave into the smile and with a quick "Later" to Lestrade, followed once again.

To his great surprise, he found Sherlock was waiting just outside the door. Sherlock shyly held out his hand and John took it, intertwining their fingers together.

Sherlock looked down at their hands. "John, I’m not… I don't know what's next or how to do this, but I'd like to try. With you."

John squeezed his hand and said, "We'll figure it out." It was enough for now to know that Sherlock was just as scared as he was. They could be scared together, they were good at that.