Tensions at 221B had been running on the high side lately. The cases had been pouring in, but the detective had refused to take on any of them, deeming them unworthy of his attention. John didn't understand Sherlock's rationale. If the entire point of solving cases was to distract himself, what should the caliber of the case matter? He could solve a quick succession of cases to distract himself if he needed to.
John just needed him to get out of the apartment. He'd walked inside the day before and was greeted with Sherlock sitting in his chair with his hands steepled under his chin, staring at the eviscerated pig intestines he'd smeared all over the floor. Sherlock was coated in blood from head to toe; it was even under his fingernails. John had been shocked and disgusted with the whole scene, but the nail in the coffin had come when John realized Sherlock was wearing one of John's favorite jumpers over his suit.
He'd been so galled at the sight of his jumper covered in blood that he swore with a ferocity that had made Ms. Hudson come up the stairs and shut the door. He'd told Sherlock that if he didn't choose a case to occupy himself before the next day, John would stop helping Sherlock on cases permanently.
John pulled the kettle off the stove and poured it into his mug. He stifled a yawn as he looked out into the living room at Sherlock. He didn't think Sherlock had slept at all last night, even after the exhausting task of cleaning up all the pig's blood. John had passed out at three in the morning and was practically dead on his feet. The man was a machine, plain and simple.
Said machine was standing in the corner of the room in his robe, eyes roving over the walls. Printouts of the different available cases were tacked to it; he was trying to pick one. He'd been there since the night before, in the exact same spot. John really hoped he picked one soon.
“Come on, does it really matter who's case you take on?” he finally demanded after twenty minutes of silence.
“It has to be a good one,” Sherlock shot back. “Nothing so ordinary. I'm bored, John, and I need a case to entice me.”
“Are there any good ones on the board?”
Sherlock's hand pointed to a few of the papers. “Killings that seem to follow the pattern laid out in the plot of old puppet shows. People falling asleep in their beds only to wake up driving cars. Man buried his wife two months ago and is convinced that she's not only come back, but is also stalking him.”
“Great,” deadpanned the doctor. “Then pick one and let's go. You've been there since last night. It's not that difficult.”
“It's not about a case, John, it's the case. Lately everything we've been taking on have started to blend. They're all the same. I need the case that breaks the pattern; a case to baffle me.” John rolled his eyes at Sherlock's dramatics. Just pick a damn case already, he thought. It wasn't worth all the angst.
“Sherlock, dear,” Ms. Hudson called up the stairs. “There's a young woman here for you.”
His hawkish eyes snapped forward in excitement. “Do we have a client?”
“Not sure about that,” she told him, climbing the stairs. “Seems a bit young to have a case.”
A second set of lithe footsteps followed Ms. Hudson's, bringing Sherlock's attention to the young woman. Ms. Hudson retreated back to her flat. The girl stepped into the flat and smiled at him. “Are you Sherlock Holmes?” she asked, her voice indicative of a Scottish accent.
She was a teenager, about sixteen or seventeen. Long black hair, blue eyes, dimple on the left when she smiled. She wore a threadbare striped jacket over a red cotton t-shirt that had a wilting lily painted onto it. Her jeans were too big for her, swallowing her willowy frame and billowing around her feet. She wore Oxfords.
Sherlock's mind did what it did best.
Oxfords; clearly dressed for comfort.
T-shirt is hand painted, perhaps a gift, more likely done herself. Artistic, judging from the callouses on her fingers and spots of paint on the jeans.
Frugal with money spent on clothing- that jacket is clearly too small and too old to be of much use. Sentimental?
Scottish accent gathered from time spent in Scotland, but not native.
Extreme sun exposure.
Fond of rabbits. Recently came to London. Alone. Intelligent. Calculating. Sexually active.
He snapped out of his whirlwind of deductions to give a mirthless grin to the girl. “I am. Come in.”
She stepped inside and ran her eyes over the flat in a very Sherlock-esque sort of way. Very quickly she noticed John in the kitchen. He gave a slight wave. “John Watson.”
She grinned. “I know. I've read your blog.”
Sherlock stepped across the room and gestured to the chair across from him. To his surprise, the girl shook her head. “If it's all the same to you, Mr. Holmes, I'll stand. I doubt this will take very long.”
Odd, thought Sherlock. Regardless of how long she imagined it would take, who would refuse a chair to stand?
“You have a case for us, then?” John asked, wandering into the room with his tea.
The girl smirked. “Three months ago I had a case. This is simply a means to an end.” John had no idea what that meant, and he wasn't yet awake enough to care.
Both men sat and the girl stood between them. She ran her eyes over both of them, opened her mouth to speak, and then closed it with a smile and a sigh.
“I'm not quite sure where to begin,” she admitted. “The situation is quite bizarre, and there's a good chance you won't believe me.”
Already Sherlock was beginning to become both impatient and excited. “Don't waste my time with nonsense. Be succinct; don't be boring.”
She didn't care for his attitude. Her eyes narrowed ever so slightly and she smirked. “The short version then? Lovely.”
She reached into her bag and rummaged around before pulling out a sealed manila folder. She held it out to Sherlock and said, “My name is Jacqueline Piper, but everyone calls me Jack. And according to my birth certificate, you are my biological father.”
Silence fell over the flat.
He blinked again.
Then he took the folder out of Jack's hands and slowly inspected the contents. He'd been right about her accent- she hadn't been born in Scotland. Her birth certificate stated that she had been born here in the heart of London, to a Mary-Lynn Piper and one Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
“You're....” he trailed off. He couldn't think of a single thing to say. John sat on the couch, so shocked at the news that he'd almost dropped his tea.
Jack laughed at his puzzled expression. “Oh, it gets better, Mr. Holmes. I'm filing a petition against the city of London for my immediate emancipation. I need either both parents' signatures, both parents' death certificates, or a combination of the two. Mum is quite dead, so that just leaves your signature.”
She pulled more papers out of her bag and handed them to him. His eyes roved over them and discovered that they were indeed emancipation forms, marked with large X's where he needed to sign his name. He still couldn't think of a single thing to say.
“Succinct enough for you?” Jack asked with a smirk and crossed arms.
“Are you serious? Your daughter? How is that possible? I thought you were...” John trailed off, immediately aware of how inappropriate this conversation was.
“I am.” Sherlock looked up at her. “This is not possible. I can assure you that I've never had physical relations with a woman. ”
“You may not have ever had sex, but you've certainly, er, donated your time before,” Jack said delicately.
“What does that mean?” John asked.
Sherlock breath a sharp intake. “Oh my. Oh no.”
“Sperm, John. I donated my sperm a long time ago.”
John was absolutely shocked. He couldn't even begin to conceive of Sherlock donating his time. “Oh, God, why?”
“I was doing an experiment,” he said, his eyes looking inwards as he regressed. “The sperm bank was adamant against letting me use their lab in the beginning, but they eventually agreed to let me use their equipment in exchange for....a donation.”
Silence bounced around the room. Nobody could think of anything to say. Jack swayed on the balls of her feet awkwardly. She hadn't meant to make the man this upset, and while it was funny, it wasn't getting her close to a signature. “So....”
Sherlock looked at the girl again and surveyed her from head to toe. A daughter? He had a daughter?
Well. He did say he wanted to be baffled.