John Watson POV
I am greeted with complete silence as I enter the London flat. That wasn’t a new scenario at 221B. My old friend Sherlock Holmes would often disappear on a case at the drop of a hat, but after the man had invited me to be here, I had assumed that this would be an exception. Although I had to admit, I wasn't surprised by the mans absence.
I walk over to the desk on which I used to place my computer. It is now overflowing with documents; so many that I don’t even bother trying to investigate or read of the many pieces of crumbled and notated papers. It would take me all day to read what I’m sure would take Sherlock just a few minutes.
I suddenly hear footsteps climbing up the wooden flight of stairs leading to my old flat, and realise rather quickly, and disappointingly, that it is not the sound of the detective.
“Oh! John dear, you gave me a fright!” Mrs Hudson exclaims with a laugh, clutching a hand over her heart. She smiles warmly at me, shaking her head at her own misplaced fear.
“Ah Mrs Hudson. Is erh … is Sherlock here?” I ask, watching as the woman almost sneaks into the all but destroyed kitchen.
She's always been a brave woman. I wouldn't go in there without a hazmat suit. She begins to move some of the used utensils into the sink, and I smile as I watch my old land lady begin to clear away Sherlock’s mess. ‘Not your Housekeeper’ indeed.
“I don’t know love. I’ve just come up to sort out this mess. It’s the only chance I get!” She laughs, but then grimaces as she looks more closely at the contents of what was no doubt a failed experiment of some kind. “I honestly thought he might have got better with the cleaning, now that he has more help you know, but look at this place!”
“Do you know where Sherlock’s gone?” I ask again, trying to gain the distracted woman’s attention from the war zone of a kitchen.
“I mean, even the fridge!" Mrs Hudson continues, apparently not hearing my question. "Oh … I don’t even want to know what’s in there altogether.”
She shakes her head as she closes the fridge door with her hip, whilst in the other hand she holds an old plastic bag as far away from herself as possible. I dread to think what it contains. Was it moving?
“Did he, pop out or something?”
Mrs Hudson turns to me after placing the bag and its contents in the bin, and runs her hands down her apron the clean them as best she can. The woman frowns then to herself.
“Well I did hear him on the phone this morning, talking with someone about ... Oh what was it? Well, it sounded important. But then, you know Sherlock. Always on that bloody phone. He was texting all morning, looking like he was about to shoot the wall again!"
“Texting who?” I ask, now much more curious.
The only people I knew to text Sherlock regularly were myself, his brother Mycroft and Lestrade. It definitely wasn’t me that he had been talking to, and I sincerely doubted it was his brother, as they barely really talked to each other these days. I can only assume that it means Sherlock must have picked up a new case from Lestrade.
Maybe that's why I had been summoned to 221B. It would make sense.
“I don’t know dear." Mrs Hudson continues with a shrug. "The man never tells me anything. Chance would be a fine thing!”
“Well if he does come back, let me know” I say, smiling warmly again at the woman, before turning to make my way towards the stairs.
I know now if I don’t leave in this window of silence, then lord knows how long I could be here. The woman talks as much as Sherlock doesn’t.
“Of course John.” Mrs Hudson smiles at me as I turn to walk away, but quickly catches up behind me before I can make it down the stairs. “And how’s Mary?”
“Yeah she’s … she’s good thanks” I respond, for once being completely honest about my heavily pregnant wife.
I nod at her response, before turning again to leave. “It’s a shame we don’t see more of you here, but I suppose that’s the way of things now. What with the baby coming soon …”
“I month and 13 days to be exact.” A voice calls from the stairs.
Sherlock comes bounding up the staircase quickly, seeming not at all shocked or even surprised to see Mrs Hudson and I in his living room.
“How did you … Oh never mind.” I say, instead of a greeting, seeing absolutely no point in asking how my friend could possibly know Mary’s due date that well. I dreaded to think how the detective have deduced that little piece of information.
“John.” Sherlock greets me with a small smile, as he peels off his leather gloves and places them down onto his desk.
“Where have you been?”
“Scotland Yard. Just finishing up a case with Lestrade.” Sherlock responds distractedly.
Distracted? Now that was strange. Sherlock is never really distracted. In thought yes, but not distracted. It’s an odd thing to witness, the great and focused detective peering out of the window onto the street, a slight frown on his face. He pulls his phone out of his coat pocket and begins to check something on it.
“Waiting for a call?” I ask, trying to peer over to see what had my friend so enamoured.
“What?” The man says, turning to me quickly. “Oh yes actually. I was trying to get in touch with someone.”
“Is she still not answering dear. Oh that is worrying.” Mrs Hudson says as she appears from the kitchen, drying a plate with a floral dish towel that I know for certain is not the property of Sherlock Holmes.
“Maybe you should go and see if she’s alright Sherlock?” Mrs Hudson comments kindly, ignoring my question.
I glance over at Sherlock as he furiously types a message, no doubt to whoever he was looking for. A female? Who did Sherlock know that was female? And why would he be looking for them? Surely it couldn't be ...
“Who are we looking for?” I ask again, stepping further into the room. "Is this for a case?"
“I don’t have the time to be running around London in search of a homeless woman. I’m far too busy.” Sherlock responds coldly to Mrs Hudson, pocketing his phone and picking up his violin bow.
At the word ‘homeless’ I immediately recognise who they are searching for. I can't help but breathe out a sigh of relief, but then frown. She was missing?
“How long have you been trying to reach her?” I ask, relatively concerned.
“Two days!” I exclaim, and Mrs Hudson looks as worried as I feel, as she continues to wash up some dishes, peering over her shoulder towards us.
“I’m sure everything’s alright. Just busy with a case.” Sherlock tries to reassure me, but I can tell he doesn’t really believe his own words. Even busy with a case, she would never actively ignore Sherlock's messages, and certainly not for two days.
“She’s not answering her phone?” I ask Sherlock.
“And … you’re not worried.”
Sherlock frowns, apparently confused by my comment “Worried, why would I be worried?”
“Well you seem - ” I pause, trying to find the right words. I couldn't remember I time when I had seen the detective appear so anxious. But I wasn't about to tell him that.
“Seem what?” Sherlock probes, and I clear my throat to fill the awkward silence.
“On edge … concerned … anxious”
“Yes thank you John, I think that’s enough synonyms for worried.” The detective answers as he rolls his eyes.
“Why don’t you try and call her one more time Sherlock, just to put us all at ease.” Mrs Hudson asks from the kitchen, nodding to where the man had just placed his mobile back in his pocket.
Sherlock presses a key and holds his phone to his ear. It does not escape my attention that the young lady in question is on Sherlock’s speed dial, along with myself and Lestrade. I can't help but wonder when that had happened. Perhaps when Mrs Hudson had gone missing?
Mrs Hudson remains in the doorway of the kitchen, watching intently for any signs that he has a response.
“No.” Sherlock grumbles, bringing his phone down, away from his ear.
“What about Mycroft, he could try? Surely she won't ignore him." I suggest, watching as Sherlock begins to shake his head as he checks his phone again.
“He did, yesterday. Had no luck either”
Well that definitely wasn’t good. If she was ignoring Sherlock for some reason, then at least that was understandable. But ignoring a phone call from Mycroft Holmes? There was no way that would happen. The man had access to military grade equipment to track people, and she knew that.
“Well now I am getting worried.” Mrs Hudson mutters, anxiously cleaning a plate with much more force than was necessary.
“Can we all stop saying worried. It’s not helping. And we're starting to sound like a broken record.” I say, trying not to sound too sharp. After all, everyone was clearly anxious and stressed, and the last thing I wanted was to cause any more drama.
“Someone should go find her.” Mrs Hudson muses from her place in the kitchen.
“John.” Sherlock says simply in his deep monotone, and Mrs Hudson is already nodding determinedly.
“What?” I turn to see Sherlock glancing at a way that leaves no room for argument. “No”
“I didn’t even suggest anything.” The man says innocently, placing his violin on his shoulder.
“I can’t Sherlock," I answer with a sigh "Mary's at home alone and I promised I wouldn’t be out late.”
“I’m sure this won’t take too long.” He says casually.
I turn and see Mrs Hudson’s worried expression, and glare and Sherlock’s smiling one. The bastard.
“When was she the last time you heard from her?” I ask, and Sherlock's face breaks out into a even wider smile.
“A week ago. Last time I heard, she was under The Docklands. But she could have moved on, to under The Arches. There are communities that are based there most of the time. I'm sure they’ll know where she is.”
I wasn’t fond of that particular area of London, less so now that I know that is where our lost friend was currently staying. It makes me uneasy, and my thoughts distract me.
“Yes?” I say, turning to Sherlock who is currently sat in his seat near the fire, his violin in his lap.
“Don’t be long.”
The comment startles me, as it doesn’t sound like a request. It sounds more like a plea.
“I’ll find her.” I answer seriously, and I mean it.
Sherlock doesn’t reply, but looks at his instrument like it is the most interesting thing in the room. I turn and leave the flat, zipping up my coat as I go.
“I do hope she’s ok.” Mrs Hudson murmurs, mostly to herself, clearly trying not to be overheard by the detective.
It doesn't work.
“Not to worry Mrs Hudson." Sherlock answers, and I can hear the forced smile on his face. "She is one of the more capable homeless people I have encountered.” Sherlock says, beginning to pluck at his violin.
“Oh, well ok then” Mrs Hudson says cheerily, and I can tell she is now beginning to rustle around in the kitchen sink.
Walking down the creaking stairs to the door, I hear as Mrs Hudson begins to ramble on about our lost companion. I can almost see Sherlock rolling his eyes.
“Tea?” I hear Sherlock grumpily request from his landlady, making me smile to myself as I depart from the flat in search of our mutual friend.
“So, I smack the knife out of his hand, and it falls to the floor ‘right. Clatters well loud, and we both stop dead. Thinking … oh bollocks!”
“That is not what happened, Wiggins.” You interrupt, sounding bored. The man could talk for England, which wouldn’t be that bad you suppose, if it wasn’t all complete bullshit. It could even be entertaining, if you didn't know for a fact that everything he was saying was wrong.
“’Ere shut it spoilsport. I’m telling the story.”
You sigh, sitting up in your sleeping bag to glare over into the darkness, where Billy Wiggins was currently sat with several companions.
“John sprained your arm, you cried like a baby and they gave you a lift to the hospital.” You state, holding up your hand and listing off each of the incidents on your fingers as you speak.
“I did not cry!” Wiggins whines, and it makes the two women he had been talking to burst out laughing.
“Did you meet ‘im though? Holmes?” A man from across you all says, as he warms his hands on an open fire pit.
“Yeah, of course! I’m the man’s protégée.” Wiggins says, far too smugly for your liking, turning to the man with an extremely annoying expression.
“Nope” You state quickly, not even bothering to look up to refute your argument. You were sure no one was actually going to buy this …
“I am!” Wiggins’ protests loudly, and his companions laugh once again.
“You’re his lackey.” You argue, trying not to roll your eyes "You just run around for him."
“No love, that’s your job.” Wiggins argues back, another smug look creeping onto his face.
“I am not his lackey. I’m his - ” You pause then, drawing out the word.
In the short time you had been working with Holmes, you had worked with his brother, his best friend and saved his land lady from certain death. You were therefore complete bemused as to what your relationship status was with the man. Surely, you wouldn’t be able to call him a friend. Could you?
“Yeah? What are ‘ya?” Wiggins insists, still be annoyingly conceited.
“His … assistant.” You supply, with a triumphant look on your face.
“Yeah right. I’ve helped him out more than you.”
“Well that’s definitely not true.” You reply,grunting as you move to stand up from your stained and ripped sleeping bag.
“Listen, we all know that I’m telling the truth …”
“Bolton!” You suddenly scream loudly, startling Wiggins as well as the few people that surround you.
“Yeah?” The man replies from a short distance away, sounding relatively sleepy but not apparently annoyed about being woken up.
“What did Wiggins tell you the other day?” Silence. “About the royal family …” You prompt, waiting for the man’s response from across the vast space.
“Nah wait …” Wiggins starts to protest, looking around to where Bolton lies, swaddled in old blankets. The two women that surround him start to giggle at his perplexed expression.
“Oh, that he helped them out” Bolton replies, and you see his swaddled form begin to turn towards you.
“With …” You prompt again, smiling to yourself as you hear Wiggins’ exasperated voice, denying everything.
“Their security systems.”
“Alright, I’ll admit that was bollocks, but this is true! I am the man’s protégé; even met his parents!”
“What? When?” Wiggins catches your genuine shock and surprise, which only moves to full the man's smug expression more so than before.
“A few months back, at Christmas.”
“Oh” You say, feeling rather defeated.
Sherlock had never even mentioned his parents in the few months you had been working for him. You had to admit that Wiggins won that round, although you really did think that Sherlock wouldn't agree with the idea that Wiggins was anything other than just another member of The Network. There were hundreds of you all around London afterall, all of whom would talk to Sherlock nearly every day.
You walk away from the group for a while, intent on warming yourself over the firepit, and listen to even more of Wiggins stories in the background. You made a mental note to question Sherlock about them next time you saw him. Or, as you then corrected yourself, if you saw him again.
“You alright over there?” The voice of Bolton startles you awake, and you open your eyes slowly, trying to get them to adjust to the dark.
“Yeah no problem.” Another voice replies.
“Is that John Watson?” You murmur to your neighbour, and Wiggins shoots up awake quickly.
“Who?” Someone else asks, and you are too busy trying to wake yourself up to respond.
“No doubt looking for me” Wiggins says smugly, sending you a wink. You laugh quietly at the man’s antics, and begin to rise from under your covers. Wiggins approaches the outline of a man, and you see him hold out his hand for a shake. “Mr Watson, pleasure as always.”
“Do I know you?” You bite your lip to stifle your laughter.
“Wiggins. Billy Wiggins …” The man says slowly, trying no doubt to jog John’s memory.
“You sprained my arm and I drugged your pregnant wife at Christmas last year.” Wiggins says quickly, and you wonder if the man was looking for John to sprain his other arm.
“Oh. Of course, Mr Wiggins. Pleasure as always.” John says, and you note the man’s famous sarcasm.
“John?” You call as you clamber over to him and Wiggins in the dark.
“Oh, thank god! Are you alright?”
“Well beside being stuck with this guy spouting absolute nonsense about a certain detective, I’m fine.” You point over to Wiggins, who crosses his arms defiantly.
“It’s not nonsense.” He grumbles, and you laugh.
“You should hope not.” You reply, raising your eyebrow in mocking. You would love to see Sherlock’s reaction to knowing that half of the population of homeless believed Wiggins was all but Sherlock’s best friend and adviser.
“We were all worried.” John says suddenly, drawing your attention back to him.
“We?” You ask, ignoring Wiggins who dejectedly slumps back over to his homemade bed, grumbling something about being underappreciated.
“Sherlock’s been trying to call you for two days. Even Mycroft tried to get hold of you apparently.” John says, shifting between his two feet and looking you’re your shoulder, no doubt investigating your sleeping companions.
“Really?” You ask, bemused. Getting a personal call from Mycroft was odd, and it definitely meant something important was going on. Either that or you were needed to pick up explosive bottles again.
“Yeah.” John says, before turning back to you with a smile. “Come on, you're needed.”
You smile, before turning back to your homemade bed quietly, trying carefully not to make too much noise and wake anyone. “Well I can’t argue against that can I?”
“Bring all your things” John says suddenly, looking as you had just picked up your rucksack and left your pillow and sleeping bag. You usually kept your collection of old magazines and newspapers as well. You tried not to draw attention to the fact that most of these newspapers had the words ‘Sherlock’ or ‘Holmes’ inscribed on the covers in huge block capitals.
“Why?” You whine childishly, eliciting another smile and chuckle from John, who moves to help you roll up your sleeping bag.
“Come on” John encourages when you finish gathering up all your belongings. You walk alongside the man quickly as he carries your carrier bag full of things you had collected. It was useless, but it felt nice for you to have possessions to your your own. “You’ll be the one explaining to Mrs Hudson that you had her worrying for no reason.”
You chuckle, before thinking honestly about forming some sort of apology. You and the woman had become close after working to rescue her. You hated the fact you had made her needlessly worry. Just as you exit the dark and begin walking along the streets of London, you remember your phone lying heavily in your coat pocket.
“Hang on, let me check my phone.”
“Problem …” John asks, watching as you frown at the device and struggle to turn it on.
“You’re kidding.” John deadpans, looking at you like you’re a complete fool.
“I’m so sorry John.” You reply with a smile, laughing at your own idiocy. Usually Mrs Green at the café you frequent lets you charge your phone when you visit. Obviously on your last trip you had been too busy drinking tea to remember.
John scoffs and you continue to walk together, enjoying the company and watching as other people walk around the buzzing city. “I can’t believe you were worried about me …” You muse, smiling shyly at nothing in particular.
“Well of course.”
You look over to your friend to send him a grateful smile, but notice that he is engrossed looking over his shoulder at where you had just come, a frown etched over his features. “You ok?”
“Yeah, sorry.” The man clears his throat, and you smile again. It was a habit of his that you had become familiar with.
“You been down there before?” You ask, gesturing with your head to your recent sleeping quarters.
“Once, a long time ago…” John trails off, stopping to check the traffic on a busy crossing.
“For a case?” You prompt, genuinely curious if you maybe had been present when John and Sherlock had investigated the place before you had met them.
“What else.” John replies, and you laugh together.
“So what did Sherlock want?”
“Just said he wanted to see you, and while you’re there you can charge your phone.” John replies gruffly, sending you a warning look which you now know is purely him teasing.
“Sounds like a plan” Suddenly remembering your other companion, you stop suddenly “Oh, but what about Wiggins?”
“He looked comfy, would be a shame to go back and wake him.”
“Agreed.” You say, catching up with John as he walks.
“Come on, we can get fish and chips on the way,”
“Dr Watson, you do know how to spoil a girl.” You tease, smiling warmly at your friend.
You roll your eyes, amused by the man’s humour. You had missed him terribly these past few weeks you realise. “And there’s the John Watson I know…” You laugh, which only becomes louder when you notice the man’s comically annoyed expression.
Your laughter trails off as you continue walking, wondering all the while what the great Sherlock Holmes could possibly want you for this time …
Climbing the creaking stairs up to 221b was always an experience in itself. Usually, you could tell the mood of the detective from the noises that descended from the upstairs rooms. A melodious violin performance, the sound of pacing on a wooden floor, even some rapidly fired gunshots. But what greeted you that evening as you entered the building unnerved you more so than the sound of gunfire. There was complete and utter silence.
“Mrs Hudson will be in bed no doubt” John says, noting probably your discomfort and questioning gaze.
“And Sherlock?” You ask, moving to allow John to walk up the stairs before you.
“Dunno” The man says, shaking his head quickly “Maybe he’s working …”
Upon entering the flat, you breathe a sigh of relief. Sherlock sits up stiffly on the end of the well-worn sofa, his long pale fingers caved under his chin.
“You’re alive I see” The detective says in his low timbre voice. He sounds neither angry nor annoyed you note, which could only be a good thing.
“I survived an escaped mountain puma … and your brother. Give me some credit.” You reply, handing your coat to John who moves to hang it on the hook. The action makes you smile, with the man’s chivalry not even allowing him to pause or make a comment on the state of your torn and dishevelled coat.
“Tea?” John asks kindly, sending Sherlock an odd look after the man makes a quick sound which sounded oddly like a laugh.
“Please.” You reply, before taking a seat in John’s chair near the fire. You’ve known Sherlock long enough by now to know that you even thinking about sitting in his chair would mean he would have to burn it.
You watch the detective for a few minutes, listening all the while to John who rattles around in the kitchen. It seems the man remains comfortable with 221b despite his new living arrangements. Suddenly, Sherlock’s eyes snap open and he sends you a cold look.
“You didn’t answer your phone” He drawls, before standing and moving over to his chair opposite you.
“Sorry, battery ran out. Plus I’ve been busy …” You reach into your pocket and pull out a scrap of paper that you had been keeping close for many days now. “Every single person I could find. There may be more, but this is it for now …” You hand the man the list of names, and he quickly checks it over before putting it in his suit pocket. He doesn’t utter a thank you, but at this point, you are very much use to it.
“Here” John’s voice startles you, and you smile gratefully as you take the cup the man hands you.
“So, what’s the case?” You ask Sherlock, cradling the warm cup in your ice cold hands. You blow on the steam that rises from the liquid, sending it swirling up into the dark flat.
Sherlock, ignoring your childish activities, reaches over towards John and his desk and pulls over a small file. “Mrs Gibson, found dead on Vauxhall Bridge two days ago.” He recites, handing you the file before quickly retracting his hand. You were surprised the man didn’t sanitize his hands right there and then.
Opening the file, you first see a picture of the dead women. She had clearly been shot in the head. Blood was all over the road and pavement. It was a total mess, almost making you relive the fish and chips John had so kindly purchased for you that evening. “Jesus … and in my neighbourhood to.”
“I didn’t know you lived under the arches?” John asks offhandedly, cradling his tea in his hands in a similar manner to you.
“I don’t usually, but sometimes it’s warmer down there. And drier …”
“Miss Grace Dunbar, the nanny.” Sherlock interrupts, noting that you had been studying another picture in the file closely. The woman was stunning, with long red hair and a young face.
“They had kids then?” You ask Sherlock, making an assumption. The man just rolls his eyes at your comment, before leaning over to gesture to another picture.
“Two.” The children are young, you guess no older than five years old.
“So they must have been happy then …” Sherlock frowns at that. “They were happy enough to make kids.” You supply, flicking through the file further to begin reading the post mortem report.
“Mr Gibson has contacted me, and has all but begged that I clear Miss Dunbar’s name from the murder.”
“The nanny? She’s a suspect?” You ask perplexed. The woman looked young and innocent, but as you very well knew, appearances could be deceptive.
“They both are, they were the last people to see Mrs Gibson alive.”
“Suicide?” John supplies from his spot near the desk. He opened Sherlock’s laptop in the time you had been reading, and you see that he is looking at a news report of the incident.
“No, no motivation that we know of. Plus the open location shows no planning or thought on the deceased’s mind …”
“You mean if she wanted to kill herself, why not just jump off the bridge?” You interrupt Sherlock, causing the man to roll his eyes again. He did that often in your presence you note.
“So what did the autopsy report show?” John asks you, looking over from an online news report in which the headline read ‘Murder on Vauxhall Bridge’. Original.
“One bullet wound to the side of the head, no other lacerations or wounds of the body. Would have been there around an hour before someone found it” Sherlock recites, his identic memory answering the question despite you having the report open on your lap.
“Sorry?” Sherlock frowns at your comment, and you look up from the open file to address him.
“It’s her Sherlock not it. She’s a person not a thing.”
“She’s a body in a morgue, don’t get sentimental.” He says coldly, avoiding your gaze and instead looking into the roaring fire.
“So why do you need me?” You ask, closing the file and placing it carefully on the table in front of you. You learnt to spare the detective from having to touch you when not necessary.
“The police have no other leads other than the husband and nanny, but can find no motivations for them wanting her dead. I needed an outside opinion” … other than John you add internally. Looking over to the man who gives you a small knowing smile.
“Suicide” Sherlock’s eyes widen at your answer, and before he can refute you continue, somewhat smoothly “…would be my first guess. I don’t know. It’s odd though.”
“What’s odd?” John asks, his attention returning to the laptop as he stills listens to your conversation.
“This man …”
“Neil Gibson.” Sherlock supplies, and you nod.
“Gibson, well he’s in the frame for killing her as well, but …”
“But here he is begging me to clear the nanny and not himself.” The detective states quickly, and you understand then the man’s dilemma.
“Do you think he did it?”
“Nope.” Sherlock pops the ‘p’ as he speaks, a habit your notice he had been doing recently. You blame the company of Wiggins for that particular habit.
“And the nanny?”
“Not her MO from what I can deduce. But I haven’t met her.”
“And that’s where I come in.” You say, smiling before taking a huge swig of now lukewarm tea.
“That’s where you come in.” The detective replies, smiling at you genuinely.
John clears his throat suddenly and the noise makes you startle. He begins to rise from this place by the desk, putting on his jacket as he stands. “Well I better be heading off. Mary will wonder where I’ve gotten to.”
“Nice to see you John.” You say to the man as he moves to put his used cup in the kitchen. A habit you wonder if Mary had anything to do with …
“You too sweetheart, make sure you have a hot shower and some food before you head out.”
“Will do …” You say quietly, before quickly looking over at Sherlock. This was no longer Johns house you remember, and you wondered if you were going to annoy the detective by helping yourself to his bathroom and a hot meal. Or more like a mixture of chemical waste you correct, remembering once when Sherlock had you venture into his ‘fridge’.
“Ah Mrs Hudson …” You turn from Sherlock to see the charming landlady enter the room with an enormous smile on her face, one you can’t help but return.
“Oh you’re here darling! Thank goodness!” She makes to move towards you for a hug, and you quickly rise to greet her.
“I wouldn’t do that Mrs Hudson, unless you want to be permanently scarred from the smell.” Sherlock drawls, and you childishly stick your tongue out at the detective you seemed to be enamoured by something in the file you had previously been reading.
Suddenly the man stands, moving to collect his coat and put it on before moving to collect your own, with only a small look of disgust as he investigates your battered jacket. Progress you think, as he hands it to you gingerly.
“Heading off then?” John asks from the doorway, you had stopped to greet Mrs Hudson and watch your interaction.
“Yes, we have interviews to conduct.”
“Now? It’s nearly midnight Sherlock!” Mrs Hudson exclaims as you begin to put on your coat.
“Is it?” Sherlock asks quietly, looking around the room for a clock.
“Sherlock, can’t this wait until tomorrow.” John asks reasonably, looking at his friend with an affectionate frown on his face.
“Grace won’t be available …” You suggest, trying not to make it too obvious that you would rather do anything else than conduct interviews at this time in the day.
“Fine.” Sherlock says after a moment, dejectivley pulling off his coat and putting it on the back of his chair, before all but falling into it. He closes his eyes and you know that that’s the last you will be hearing from him tonight. You watch as Mrs Hudson enters the kitchen with a determined look on her face, and take that as your cue.
“And where are you going?” John says as you move to follow him down the stairs and into the cold mist of London.
“Home. Well when I say home …” You trail off, trying to make light of your sleeping arrangements. “I’ll be back in the morning.” You call over your shoulder, not hoping for a reply but needing to have witnesses to prove that you did inform the man you were leaving.
“Hmmph.” The detective grumbles in response, surprising you enough that you turn to look at the man, your eyebrows raising in surprise that he was still paying attention.
“Wait, stay here tonight.” John whispers stopping you from walking any further down the hallway.
“What?” You pause your efforts to gather your belongings, looking at the man closely.
“Take my room upstairs. It’s the least we can do since we dragged you here so late.”
“But Sherlock …” You turn to where the man remains, sitting with his neck resting on the back of his leather chair, his head facing the ceiling and his pale blue eyes shut tightly.
“Will be like that for hours.” John says, a small knowing smile playing on his lips.
“Thank you John.” You say sincerely. The man truly was a true gentleman, not something you had come across that often during your time in London.
“No worries. See you tomorrow.”
John sweeps down the stairs quickly, no doubt eager to return to his very pregnant wife. You had never met Mary, and were interested to do so. Anyone who loved and married John must be good in your book.
“Night Mrs Hudson.” John calls to the woman from the bottom of the stairs, and she responds cheerily. You hear as John closes the door to the building loudly, and watch as Mrs Hudson finishes cleaning the kitchen.
You stand awkwardly for a few seconds. John had clearly given you permission to use his room, but you still felt awkward. You stand with your rucksack on your shoulder, your coat in your hand and a torn expression on your face. You turn to Mrs Hudson as she walks out of the kitchen into the hallway.
“Have a good night dear.” She says sweetly, before embracing you in a small but motherly hug. Too shocked to do anything else, you simply smile back, watching as the woman slowly retreats downstairs to 221a.
“Night Sherlock.” You say over your shoulder, watching as the man continues to sit in his obviously uncomfortable position by the fire.
The detective remains completely silent, but you do not try for a reply. Instead you slowly and quietly begin walking up the small staircase to John’s old room, careful not to disturb the thinking detective.
With your back turned to the man, you do not see Sherlock open his eyes, and send you a curious look, before closing his eyes again, and adding a new room to his ever expanding mind palace.
Lestrade and his team are already at the Gibson’s London townhouse when you arrive in the early hours of the morning. You had been unable to sleep, Johns amazingly comfortable bed being … just too comfy. You were not use to the luxury, and could not escape the feeling you were going to sink into the covers at any moment.
The Detective Inspector smiles warmly when he sees you and you resist the urge to give him a hug.
“You’re alive!” Sherlock rolls his eyes and you laugh “He found you then …”
“Wasn’t that hard …”
“John found me” You interrupt Sherlock before he has a chance to begin talking about patterns of movements and last known locations. “And he bought me fish and chips.”
“Good man, god knows you deserve it after putting up with this idiot.”
Sherlock scowls at Lestrade, and you hold back a laugh.
“Go ahead, we’re checking the upstairs rooms and talking to the husband, the Nanny’s all yours …”
Sherlock sweeps past him before he even finishes his sentence, looking determined and fierce as ever. Greg rolls his eyes as you pass him, and you send him a warm smile. You truly did like that man.
The woman waits for you in the living room as Lestrade had said, and rises and you both enter the room. She is beautiful, and you feel awkward in your faded jeans and own clean blouse that Molly had so kindly gifted to you. Sherlock had rolled his eyes after you had appeared wearing it this morning, claiming he was worried I was also going to ‘start dressing like a cross between a preschool teacher and a seven year old school girl’.
“Miss Dunbar, I am Sherlock Holmes and this is my companion …” Sherlock doesn’t say your full name, and you wonder in that moment if he had forgotten it or was trying to make you sound more qualified by introducing you using a honorific.
“Sherlock Holmes, ah yes” She shakes his hand quickly, before returning to her seat. “Heard all about you. So you’ll be interviewing me?”
“Actually, that job goes to my associate today.”
Even though you and Sherlock had discussed this, your heart still races a bit quicker when he says it. Sure you had interviewed people for him before, but never with him present. You were worried enough as it is about asking a stupid question.
Grace makes a motion for you to sit, and you pull out your small note pad. John had kindly given it to you a few months prior, and you loved it. It made you feel like a real detective.
“So Grace, is it alright if I call you that?”
“Absolutely.” The woman says, and you continue with a small smile.
“Grace, how long had you worked for Mr and Mrs Gibson?”
“Six years, I was hired whilst she was pregnant with her first child.” You make a note, still wondering whether Sherlock was about to jump into the conversation …
“When was the last time you saw Mrs Gibson.” It was a cliché question, but necessary.
“The evening before … she died. I went to bed as usual and when I woke up in the morning to get breakfast ready for everyone, Gib … I mean, Mr Gibson was sat at the table crying. He told me what had happened.” You note the use of a nickname, and the pause before she said ‘she died’. Making your quick notes, you try to ignore the presence of Sherlock Holmes sat next to you on the sofa.
“What did he say happened?”
“Exactly?” You shrug, not needing to get a direct quote “Well, he was really upset. All he kept saying was ‘she’s dead’ over and over again. I knew who he meant. It was heart breaking to watch.”
“We have to ask, but what exactly was your relationship with Mrs Gibson.”
“Civil” She says quickly, and you quirk a brow.
“Yes. I don’t think she liked me, but we both agreed to be friendly, especially around the kids.” She adds, almost as an afterthought.
“Why wouldn’t she like you?”
“Who knows, but she was a very mature woman. Never let it really show."
“Then how do you know she didn’t like you?”
“I overheard her on the phone a few times, talking to her friends. She called me some … colourful names.” Grace looks genuinely upset by this, and you don’t bother to ask her more details, you could guess the actual names.
“And Mr Gibson?”
“What about him?” Grace frowns slightly at your question. Bingo, now you were on to something.
“What was your relationship with him?”
“Oh! Sorry, I guess I got distracted.” You make a quick note, before looking back at the young woman with what you hope is a blank expression. “We were friends, good friends. He was a lovely man …” You note the use of ‘was’ and not ‘is’ and quickly jot that down, trying not to be too obvious about it.
You can feel more than see Sherlock look over your shoulder at your notes, but try to ignore him.
“Was there ever any issues when you were working here? Any bad days?”
“No. I love my job, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Sure the pay is good, but it’s more than that” Grace says with a sweet smile, looking over to a picture of two children on the coffee table.
“Is that them?” You ask, knowing the answer already.
“Yes” She says with a sigh “It’s so awful, to lose your mother at such a young age …”
You stiffen at the comment, before clearing your throat and trying to regain your composure before Sherlock could notice anything off.
“We’d like to take a look around your rooms if that’s ok. Nothing to worry about, just routine” Sherlock says after being mostly silent, He places the warrant from Lestrade down on the table for Grace to see.
“Of course” Grace says with a genuine smile, not even really reading the sheet of paper Sherlock had given her. “It’s the room downstairs, you’ll need this” She says, pulling out a small key from her jean pocket and handing it to Sherlock.
You mutter a thanks when Sherlock doesn’t and follow him from the room.
“Well?” You ask the detective, as you walk through a door to the downstairs quarters of the huge London town house.
“Well what?” He asks distracted, looking down at the key in his hand.
“What do you think about Grace?”
“Do you mean do I think she is capable of murder?” You roll your eyes at the man’s crassness, but by now you wonder if you had even expected another answer.
“No” The man says as he opens the door that is undoubtedly Grace’s private bedroom.
The room you enter is stunning. Pale creams and vintage furniture give the impression that you have travelled in time. It certainly is luxurious, and you have to concentrate before you fling yourself on the bed and cocoon yourself in the fur covers.
“Ok, where do we start?”
Sherlock just waves his hand, signalling one side of the room as he moves to begin exploring the other. He pulls out his favoured magnifying glass, beginning to look closely at the shelves that line the right side of the room.
After around an hour of searching, both of you had admittedly come up with nothing. The woman kept a meticulously clean room, and obviously had a passion for literature.
“Anything?” Lestrade says with a yawn, leaning on the open doorway. You assume he has now finished his sweep of the upstairs rooms.
“No” Sherlock says quickly, annoyance apparent in his expression.
“Us neither, absolutely nothing” Greg says, before covering his mouth again after another yawn.
“Tired Greg?” You ask Lestrade, as you sit on the bed looking at a photo album that had been resting on the top of Grace’s bedside table.
“Been on double shifts this week, not getting that much sleep …”
“That must suck.” You say sympathetically, still flicking through the pages of photographs.
“Should be used to it by now I suppose, comes with the job,” Lestrade stops after seeing you yawn, and chuckles once “Speak for yourself.”
“Sorry” You murmur, moving to stand and put the album back where you found it.
“Well we’re heading back to the Station, going to have a look at the post mortem again, see if we missed anything.
You look over to Sherlock after he gives no response, and notice the man is completely frozen.
Its then you notice what has captured Sherlock’s interest so intently. He turns slowly, holding something in his outstretched hand. Seeing it, you and Lestrade both stiffen, your mouths falling open in a matched look of shock.
“.20 calibre …” Sherlock states quietly, a look of confusion on his face.
“Is that …?” Lestrade asks from his spot in the doorway, appearing flustered. None of you had been expecting to find anything, let alone …
“The murder weapon.” Sherlock answers, pulling out a plastic bag from his coat pocket and carefully placing the gun inside.
“And in Grace’s private room. She has the only key …” You murmur, trying to find a reasonable explanation that doesn’t have the woman you had all but befriended appear guilty of murder.
Everyone is silent for a few seconds, watching as Sherlock carefully takes care of the gun.
“But you said, you said ... There was no motive! That it couldn’t have been Grace!”
Sherlock remains deadly silent; looking at the gun in his hand like it had personally done him wrong. You understood the man’s confusion. You had both all but agreed that Grace did not murder Mrs Gibson, but his … was irrefutable evidence.
“I’ll call it in” Lestrade says, holding out his hand for the gun. Sherlock doesn’t hand it over immediately, instead still staring at it intensively.
After gathering the weapon and sending you both a quick nod of thanks, Lestrade leaves the room quickly, radioing Sally as he does.
“Should we keep looking?” You ask the detective, who begins to pull off his gloves and place them in his pocket.
“No need. We’re done here.” Sherlock says coldly, sweeping from the room and leaving you standing with a perplexed expression on your face.
"Sherlock?" You are greeted with complete silence. The detective continues staring at the ceiling, his piercing blue eyes red and unblinking. "You haven't eaten since yesterday. Do you want me to get you anything?"
“It doesn’t fit.” Sherlock snaps quietly, and you know the harshness was not directed at you, but rather the annoyance of the case.
“Do you want me to call John?” You suggest, sure that he would know how to handle the dramatic detective right now.
“Why would a woman in good employment, who admittedly had a ‘civil’ relationship with her employee …”Suddenly Sherlock’s eyes grow wider and he stands in a fluid motion, startling you and you lean back in your chair as he moves.
“What is it?” You ask curiously, watching as Sherlock stretches his long pale hand in your direction.
“Your notes” He says quickly, thankfully you note, sounding much more like himself. You reach into your jacket pocket in the chair behind you, and pull out the notebook John had given you. You pause for a moment, wondering if he planned on ripping something out of it. Sherlock, noting your inner questioning rolls his eyes.
“I just need to read it.” You believe him, and hand it over quickly, ignoring his smug smile as he sees the small note John had left you on the first page. As he opens it to your entry you had written about Grace, he wrinkles his noise in apparent disgust. “Your handwriting is appalling.”
“I was in a rush. Besides, no one has neat handwriting when they take notes.”
“John does …”
“Of course he does.” You grumble, slinking further back into your chair and crossing your arms childishly. After a few seconds of silence, Sherlock thrusts the book back into your hands and sits back down in his chair.
“Read it.” He says quickly, closing his eyes as he speaks.
“Read it out loud, it’ll help me to think. Plus I cannot read that scrawl you call English.” You fight the urge to stick your tongue out, instead choosing to try and be mature. If John could put up with this man, so can you.
You clear your throat, before beginning to read from your short list of notes. “Ok … ‘Grace Dunbar, attractive young woman, clearly well educated …”
“Assumption.” Sherlock interjects, his eyes still closed.
“No, deduction.” You argue, noting amused how you could almost see Sherlock roll his eyes behind his eyelids. “It was the way she spoke … ‘whilst’ and introducing herself as ‘Miss’ but then letting me call her Grace …”
“Keep reading.” Sherlock interrupts, and you take the man not disagreeing with you to be a victory.
“Nervous, shifting uncomfortably, odd relationship with employer …” You stop reading then suddenly, remembering what you had written next. You wondered if Sherlock would think you had been an idiot for writing that …
“What?” The detective says, cracking one eye open to look at you curiously.
“I … may have made an assumption.” You reply, hoping Sherlock would be annoyed and ask you to stop reading.
“Out with it.” He says in his low timbre voice, leaning back and closing his eyes again.
“Having an affair with Mr Gibson.” You read quickly, and Sherlock’s eyes shoot open. “It was the nickname, she was going to say Gib or maybe even Gibson. She always called Mrs Gibson just that, but he had a nickname. Plus she seemed nervous when I asked about him …” You ramble, not wanting to sound like an idiot.
“How did I miss that?” The man says, surprisingly you note, sounding shocked.
“Don’t feel bad, emotions were never your forte.” You say deadpan, before breaking out into a smile when Sherlock scowls at you.
“So Miss Grace Dunbar was having an affair with her employer …” He murmurs, returning to his position.
“It fits Sherlock.” You reason, closing your notebook and putting it back into your pocket. “Mrs Gibson didn’t like her, and that would be an explanation. Plus …”
“Mr Gibson approached me about clearing her name. Clearly he cares for her.” Sherlock interrupts, finally understanding your reasoning.
“Clearly.” You agree, smiling at the detective fondly.
Sherlock scoffs however, and sits up quickly, appearing frustrated. He runs his hands through his hair, sending his ebony curls in all difference directions. A nervous habit you note. “But it’s not right … I’m missing something.”
“Woo hoo.” Mrs Hudson’s voice startles you, and you turn to smile at the woman.
“Evening Mrs Hudson.” You say, watching as the woman places down a bag of shopping on the kitchen table.
“Oh you’re still here dear? I thought you would have been in bed by now, what with them arresting that Nanny woman.” Mrs Hudson says, beginning to pack away various pieces of shopping into cupboards. She’s braver than me, you think, you wouldn’t dare venture into some of those cupboards.
“She’s innocent.” Sherlock declares suddenly, surprising you and his landlady,
“What?” Mrs Hudson asks, leaning around the door way.
“Sherlock.” You sigh, watching as the detective stands quickly and walks over to his coat.
“She cares about those children more than anything. She would not risk being taken from them for the sake of getting rid of the wife.” He grumbles as he puts on his long black coat in a flourish.
“But, it is a motive …” You say, trying to sound reasonable.
“A motive that doesn’t fit with anything. If you’re going to do this, do it right.” Sherlock snaps, shocking you into silence.
“You heading out then dear?” Mrs Hudson asks cheerily, having not heard Sherlock’s last comment.
“We both are, grab your jacket.” The detective says from the doorway, surprising you. You stand quickly, pulling on your coat as you march from the flat.
“Where we going?”
“To see Molly … and Mrs Gibson.”
“Hello Molly” You say on entering the morgue. Sherlock walks in behind you, a determined look on his face.
“Oh, thank God you’re alright!” Molly exclaims, getting up from her chair and giving you a quick hug. Like John, Molly never paused to hug or touch you, despite not knowing where you’d been …
“Was everyone looking for me? I was only gone three days!”
“Three days and ten hours …”Sherlock mumbles and you turn to look at the man with a perplexed look on your face.
“That was pretty precise …” You mumble quietly, noting Molly’s amused expression.
“Where is she?” Sherlock asks, pulling of his coat and gloves and placing them on a blank desk near the doorway.
“Table two, sign this …” She thrusts a piece of paper in Sherlock’s hand, and hands him a pen. The detective signs and puts the sheet back in Molly’s hand without stopping. You laugh quietly at the man’s antics, before turning back to Molly. You hadn’t seen her in a while, and were very fond of the woman.
“So, how are you?”
“I’m good thanks. Busy?” You ask, watching as the woman sits at her desk at the side of the room, a mountain of files and loose paper surrounding her.
“Very. It’s a shame I couldn’t spend more time on this, but I’ve got other things to worry about.”
“Well it seems to be pretty wrapped up …” You say, trying not to yawn out loud.
“That’s what I thought. He won’t find anything odd.”
“This the report?” You ask, pulling a document lying on the desk towards yourself so you can give it a quick read. Mostly to occupy yourself, you knew Sherlock could be working for a while now.
“Yep. One gunshot wound to the left side of the head, slight damage on knees and right arm and elbow when she hit the floor. It all looks …”
“Ah!” Sherlock shouts suddenly, causing you and Molly to jump.
“Jesus don’t do that … Especially not in a bloody morgue!” You growl, clutching your hand over your pounding heart.
“Gunpowder residue.” Sherlock murmurs, mostly to himself.
“What?” Molly asks politely, but she is completely ignored by the detective. As per usual you note.
You turn to face Sherlock, noting the gleeful expression on his face. “That’s impossible, that gun would have to be old. Like a pistol or something The one we found …”
“Was suitable to shoot .20 calibre rounds, but so could another gun. One that would leave residue after being fired.”
“Wait a minute what are you saying?” You ask the detective, trying to keep up with the man’s one hundred mile an hour brain.
“Someone planted that gun in Grace’s wardrobe, she’s innocent.”
“How is that possible? And if that’s true then who killed Grace?” Molly stutters, before looking at you for answers. You just shrug, before watching Sherlock with a frown on your face.
“No one.” Sherlock says, putting on his gloves and leaving the room with a smile on his face. “She killed herself. Night Molly”
“So Mrs Gibson shot herself, then had the gun planted in Grace’s room to frame her …” You explain to John, after hearing Sherlock’s explanation of what he had believed happened. Sherlock had remained silent throughout your speech, instead he was moving around the room in fast fluid motions, making a huge mess as he went.
“It doesn’t seem right Sherlock.”
“Whenever you ever eliminate the impossible, whatever remains no matter how improbable is the truth.” Sherlock grumbles, after what must have been an hour of silence.
“Ok, take us through it …” John says, as you watch Sherlock as he paces back and for. You have to look away after a while, the movements making you dizzy.
“Mrs Gibson knew that no matter what she did, her children would still care for Grace more than her, as did her husband. She needed to find a way to ruin her, to completely destroy her so that her family had no option but to shun her. To hate her”
“But kill herself?” John asks from his position by the fire.
Sherlock had requested you text John and ask him to meet you both before you had even fully left Barts. He had remained deadly silent throughout the journey home in the taxi, obviously thinking about the case, and you let him.
“It was drastic” Sherlock concedes, nodding his head at his old roommate “But Mrs Gibson had a known record of mental disorders. For someone like her it wouldn’t have been too hard …”
“But why did the police not see this? Why look at Grace and the husband?”
“Because it’s so ridiculous …” You say from your position on the floor. You preferred sitting on the hard wooden floor, with your back up against John’s legs and being in full view of the fire. You didn’t even think about sitting in Sherlock’s chair. With his distracted behaviour, it wouldn’t have surprised you if he had sat on you. “I agree with Sherlock” You continued “She was clearly struggling with some sort of mental disorder, to reason that killing herself would be the only solution.”
“She knew she could frame Grace, she would have a great motive. The nanny having an affair with the rich employer. She loves those kids, almost as if they were her own …”
“So she killed herself, and planned to set up Grace, making her husband think she was a murderer and her children hate her …” John reasons slowly from above you, trying to link all the evidence as Sherlock had taught you both.
“Exactly.” Sherlock replies, his back now facing you and looking at his impressive collection of documents of the wall above the sofa.
“Then what’s the problem?” John says to the detectives back.
“The gun.” You say quickly, picking up the picture of the gun Sherlock had found in Grace’s wardrobe.
“The gun we found in Graces wardrobe was admittedly her own. No one else had a way to get into that room apart from her, hence why she would be an obvious suspect with an illegal obtained weapon.” Sherlock murmurs, all the while typing a message on his phone.
“It wasn’t licenced, so the police can hold her.” John reasons again, nodding in understanding.
“And get a confession out of her …”
“But you said, you said it was the murder weapon.” John says, getting even more confused.
“Mrs Gibson purposely used a .20 calibre gun so that the bullets would match something that Graces’ gun could fire …”
“So?” John asks from his seat by the fire, watching as Sherlock manically paces up and down the living room.
“So how did Mrs Gibson know that she had that gun? And where is the weapon she used to kill herself?” You supply to John, showing the questions that currently had Sherlock marching around the flat trying to figure out.
“So where do you think the gun is? Somewhere in the house?”
Sherlock shakes his head, looking exhausted and not in the mood to be explaining anything further. But he does, because it’s John. “No, Lestrade would have found it. Plus someone would have had to move it from the murder scene. It’s most likely in the Thames …”
“Great.” You moan, rubbing your eyes to try and force yourself awake.
“By why couldn’t someone have moved it? She could have had an accomplice.”
“She didn’t” You say suddenly into the quiet room, surprising even yourself “She killed herself John, she obviously didn’t have anyone who cared enough to stop her, let alone someone she would have trusted enough to do that …”
“Good point.” Sherlock says quietly, looking at you closely and carefully. You try not to shift under his penetrating gaze.
“So, we need to find the gun? That’s going to be hard …”
“We have to prove that Mrs Gibson shot herself, attempted to frame Grace … all without the evidence of the murder weapon and a terrified Nanny who has already all but confessed to the crime.” Sherlock says quickly, before holding his hands under his chin in his now famous pose.
“Oh” John says, sounding extremely dejected.
“Well boys, let’s get to work” You say, trying to lighten the mood in the room.
John mumbles something about getting tea, and you let him go into the kitchen, instead you begin to lay out all of the documents on the floor around you. Sherlock looks at you closely, before turning back to the wall. You do not comment on the fact that he was about to ask you something, instead choosing to remain quiet, listening to John as he clatters around in the kitchen to make everyone a hot cup of tea.
“I need to go and check on Mary.”
“Of course.” Sherlock says, waving his hand in John’s direction, ultimately dismissing him.
John rolls his eyes at Sherlock, before moving over to the doorway and gathering his coat. He turns to you as you watch him leave, a small smile on his face that doesn’t quite hide his concern.
“if you need anything, call me.”
“Of course.” You reply with a smile, before turning back to the wall Sherlock was pacing in front of manically.
Suddenly the man claps his hands together loudly making you jump and almost drop the nearly empty mug you had in your hands.
“I’m going to the Nanny.” Sherlock says simply, talking of his dressing grown to display his shirt and suit trousers he worn underneath.
“What about me?” You ask, sensing immediately that you weren’t invited.
“Go to the homeless community, ask around.” Sherlock says as he turns to face you, quickly wrapping on his scarf, despite it being somewhat warm outside.
The detective moves to the door in superhuman speed, and before you know it, the man is already making his way down the wooden steps out of the flat.
“Ask around for what?” You shout back, moving to the doorway quickly to watch as Sherlock quickly descending down the stairs.
“A gun!” Sherlock yells, just before the door to the flat shuts with a thundering slam.
You notice the man just where the police report mentioned he made his official statement. You thought it would be a good idea to start with the man who found the body, who you noticed with some surprise, was an elderly homeless man.
“Hi.” You say simply, and the man turns and gives you a beaming smile.
“Evening sweetheart. Everything alright?”
“Yeah.” You say, walking towards him slowly, rubbing your arms to try and warm yourself up. You wondered if Sherlock knew it was going to become so cold. “I’m just wondering if I could ask you about that body you found.”
The man frowns then, “Not one of those weirdoes who gets off on that kind of thing are you?”
“What?” You scoff “No, I’m working with Sherlock Holmes.”
The man smiles then, before clapping his hands together. “Nice! One of The Network then huh?”
“Yep.” You reply with an equally wide smile.
“Ok, asks away chicken …”
You do not comment on the strange pet name, just instead try and channel Lestrade and Sherlock’s investigation stance.
“You were the one to find the body?” The man raises both eyebrows then, and smiles. “Weren’t you?” You continue, crossing your arms over your chest.
“Oh I was the one there when the police turned up; I wasn’t the first one there.”
“Then who …”
“A woman we call Dotty. She’s …” The man spins a finger around his temple and whistles.
“What happened?” You sigh, interested to know how Sherlock and Lestrade will react when they find out that they had the wrong information to begin with.
“Well I heard the shot, walked up the bridge, and Dotty was walking away, muttering to herself. She said she already called the police. Apparently the woman paid her to do it.”
“Paid her to do what?”
“Call the police.” The man says simply, putting his hands in his pockets. You rub your temples to try and ease away some pain, the case beginning to give you a migraine of epic proportions.
“Where can I find her?” You ask as the man begins to walk away from you casually.
“Docklands!” The man yells over his shoulder, and starts whistling.
The walk to the Docklands takes you over an hour, and in that moment you immensely envy John and Sherlock who use Taxis to get everywhere. The Docklands was always full with homeless people; you yourself stayed there often. It was dry and sheltered. You usually couldn’t ask for more. You ask around about Dotty, and most people smile at the mention of her name and tell you to watch out for an elderly woman with a huge amount of bin bags. You smirk and comment, but true to their word, you find the woman sat surrounded by at least twenty huge overflowing bin bags.
“Hey.” You say as you sit next to her, and the woman silently offers you some bread she had been eating. “No thanks” You reply, and the woman smiles.
“That woman you saw on the bridge, how much did she pay you?”
You whistle, and the older woman laughs, a huge smile lighting up her face. “That’s a lot of money just to call the police.”
“It wasn’t just that …” The woman responds automatically, before realising her mistake. You try not to outwardly smile, but feel like doing a victory punch in the air.
“Can I see it?” You ask, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible, and not like you’re asking a mad woman to see a murder weapon.
“NO!” The woman yells, and you raises your hands in surrender.
“Ok, jeez …” You breath out, trying to figure out another way to get the woman to hand over the gun. Usually, you would use money, but the woman just admitted she had £200 cash, and that was more than you usually saw in months. “Look, the truth is … that’s a bad gun.” You try lamely, although feel relieved when you see the old woman’s eyes widen.
“Bad?” She asks, turning to you with a worried expression.
“Yeah. It killed someone.” You reply simply, trying to get the woman to understand.
You watch perplexed as the woman stands quickly, much too quickly for a woman her age, and begins to rummage through her bags. Suddenly she stops, and turns slowly. You really can’t help the smile that breaks out onto your face when you notice what she was holding.
“Take it.” She says slowly, carefully placing the weapon into your hands.
“You sure?” You don’t really know why you ask the question, knowing that you’re going to take it either way. The elderly woman just nods frantically; gazing at the antique gun in your hands like it is a poisonous snake.
“I tried to stop her.” The woman begins, and you turn to look at her. “She was stood on the bridge, holding the gun …” The woman pauses then, before holding her hands up to the side of her head in the shape of a pistol. “I told her not to, but she said it would be ok. She said ‘here!’” The woman then mimics someone throwing her a wad of money, and you stand back frightened by her manic actions. “ … and gave me the cash. She told me to call the police, then take the gun. She said it was a present.”
“Thank you.” Is all you say in return, before walking away slowly.
You worried about the woman for a little while, before realising you had far bigger problems. Like how you were going to be able to walk through London as a homeless youth with a loaded murder weapon in your pocket. You pull out your phone to call John or Sherlock, but notice with some surprise that it wasn’t charged.
“Oh man, John’s going to kill me …”
Once back at 221B, you suddenly feel slightly awkward. The case was over, and you wondered if that was your cue to leave. However, you remember how adamant John had been about you staying for a while, and having a hot shower. Instead, you just place down you rucksack near the door, and stand awkwardly, watching as Sherlock strides over to his usual spot and all but falls into his chair.
“Tea?” John asks as he hangs up his coat on the pegs near the door, before moving over to the kitchen.
“Sure, thank you.” You respond, watching as John begins to open cupboards with a wary expression and gather supplies.
“Anything in here that’ll kill me Sherlock?” John asks the detective, who had somehow managed to change into his dressing gown in record time and was currently poking at the fire.
“Only if you ingest it.” The man replies, and you and John both look at him with equally worried looks before he smiles. “ Avoid the back cupboard …” Sherlock adds, resting down his fire poker and sitting in his chair.
“Always do.” John answers, and you walk away from the doorway to take your usual place sat on the floor by the Doctor’s chair.
“Did.” Sherlock mutters so quietly that you couldn’t even be sure that’s what he had said.
John had left his laptop on his chair, and you pull it towards you, knowing that the man never seemed to mind if you borrowed it. As you open it, a website springs to life automatically, and you smile as you read the title. You spend a few moments flicking through Sherlock’s website, before stopping to read some of the many comments left by eager enthusiasts, and even fans.
“Sherlock?” The detective remains silent, although part of you hadn’t really expected to get a response. “Who is theimprobleone?”
“Been on Sherlock’s website?” John asks from behind you, bringing you cup of tea and placing on the floor beside you.
“Yeah, but this guy …” You frown at John’s laptop that rested on your crossed legs. The comments were regular, obsessive … and somewhat unnerving.
“Girl.” Sherlock says suddenly in his monotone voice. John ignores him completely, moving to sit in his chair and just watches you both closely.
“Assumption?” You tease, picking up your black tea from the floor. You smile at the fact that the famous John Watson was making you tea, and that you were managing to tease the even more famous Sherlock Holmes.
“Deduction.” Sherlock snaps back, raising his head from where it rested on the back of his leather chair to glare at you.
“Ok, how do you know she’s a woman.” You refute, emphasising the word she and making John have to hide his smile behind his mug.
“End’s each comment with two kisses …”
“No, that’s the Anonymous commenter.” You interrupt, scrolling down to see the even stranger comments from someone who didn’t even have a name on the detectives website. “I meant …”
“Same person.” Sherlock interrupts, managing to look smug as he closed his eyes once more and went back to his usual position on his small box chair.
“Fine, just as long as you’re aware that you have a stalker.” You reply, closing the laptop and shifting closer to the fire. You couldn’t help but smile slightly at the fact you reminded yourself of a house cat.
“What?” John asks with a smile, noting your expression.
“Nothing.” You respond, looking into the roaring fire and nursing your tea. “Just amusing myself.”
A knock on the door grabs yours and John’s attention, and you turn to see Mrs Hudson stood at the entrance to the flat, a nervous look on her face that makes you frown.
“Hello dear.” She addresses you, walking further into the living room, and as she walks closer you can see that she is holding something in her arms. “Now, please don’t think me … awfully rude or anything …”
“Never.” You state with a smile, and you hear John chuckle slightly behind you.
“I’ve had these lying around for ages, there my nieces …” Mrs Hudson says, placing a pile of freshly washed clothes on the table in the centre of the flat. “I was going to donate them but I’ve never got round to it.”
Despite the fact that Mrs Hudson doesn’t explicitly say it, you know what she is doing, and rise clumsily from the floor to walk towards her and give her a quick hug.
“Thank you.” You say earnestly. “I’d been meaning to go shopping …”
John breaks out into laughter behind you, and Mrs Hudson smiles, no doubt pleased that you weren’t offended by her offering.
“John dear, can I borrow you for a minute downstairs.”
“Yeah sure.” The man places his now empty cup on the mantel piece, and rises to walk over to Mrs Hudson, and follow her out the flat. You take a seat in John’s chair, listening as Mrs Hudson began talking about leaking and new pipes.
“I sincerely hope she is talking about plumbing.” You mutter under your breath, before turning to look at Sherlock.
To your surprise, his eyes are wide open, and looking at you with a small frown.
“Stop it.” You say, and Sherlock raises an eyebrow in a silent question. You sigh, shifting in John’s chair awkwardly. “I know that face. That’s your deduction face.”
Sherlock cocks his head as he gazes at you, his frown becoming even deeper. “You do that a lot.”
“What?” You ask, matching his frown.
“Use humour as a defence mechanism.”
“Maybe.” You concede with a small smile. “Or maybe I’m just hilarious.”
“Definitely a defence mechanism.” Sherlock replies quickly, and you look at him questioningly for a few seconds, before the detective breaks out into a smile.
“Sherlock Holmes did you just make a joke?”
“It’s been known to happen.” The man replies, shifting around in his chair, almost you think, as if in a nervous gesture.
“Huh.” You both sit in silence for a few seconds, just watching each other. You can hear John and Mrs Hudson move things around downstairs and chatter to each other.
“You can stay.” Sherlock says suddenly, and you frown, not understanding … “I need an assistant, and you need a place to sleep that doesn’t have rats …”
“There’s no rats.” You defend, and Sherlock raises an eyebrow. “Not anymore.” You mutter, but then smile. “You sure?”
The detective just nods, and you both sit in silence then, basking in the warm heat of the fire and listening to the clatter from downstairs.
“Thank you.” You murmur quietly, drifting off as you sit in John’s comfortable chair by the roaring fire. Sherlock doesn’t respond, but you swear you see him smile as your eyes drift shut and you fall into a deep and much needed sleep