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Spring

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“I don’t see why they need us out here anyway,” Sherlock grumbled in his low baritone as they exited the taxi.

“Well I for one rather appreciate being called out on a beautiful day like this,” John replied, almost but not quite matching Sherlock’s long strides into the park.

“Mugging, stabbing in the park, booooring,” Sherlock replied, managing to make the final word last at least thirty seconds longer than it had needed to.

“Blue skies, new leaves on the trees, birds singing... not many days like this in London.” Nor in Afghanistan, of course. John had missed this.

“If the bird cries were in English they would be merely a cacophony of solicitations and threats, akin to what you would hear in certain London neighborhoods after nightfall.”

John smiled as he ducked under the crime scene tape. The weather was too good to be annoyed at anyone, even Sherlock. “You’re just annoyed it’s gotten too warm to wear your bloody coat.”

The jogger’s body lay splayed out on the ground, sprinkled with flowers from the nearby trees. It would have been almost beautiful, the way the white of the petals looked on the red background, if one ignored that the red came from a gaping abdominal wound staining the grey t-shirt.

“John, examine the body,” Sherlock ordered. John looked up at him, surprised, before kneeling down next to the corpse. Usually Sherlock preferred to start by checking the body himself. But today Sherlock seemed to be keeping a wary distance.

“Cause of death abdominal wound, of course, looks like an underhand thrust from something short like a switchblade...”

Sherlock snorted. “I could tell that from here, John, do try to be original.”

“If you fancy lending a hand I won’t stop you,” John countered. They both looked around to see the police had stopped their activities to watch.

Sherlock shot a quick glare at their audience, causing one or two of the younger patrol to take a step back reflexively. “Fine! Since a murderer will apparently be going free otherwise.” He pulled on latex gloves with enough force that it was a wonder they didn’t tear, then crouched down next to the corpse. Gingerly, he touched his fingertips to the back of the neck. He glared at everyone again for good measure, then slowly brought his fingers to his nose and sniffed.

He straightened and pulled the gloves back off with enough force that they did tear. “The pollen is from trees that don’t grow in this park, he was killed elsewhere, then moved here so the killer could pass it off as a mugging. Probably the business partner.”

John looked more closely at Sherlock, noticing the slightly reddened eyes and hint of pink on Sherlock’s otherwise pale nose. “You’ve allergies, haven’t you? That’s why you’re being a bigger prat than usual. And why you don’t want to get any closer.”

“Oh, well done, you.” Sherlock was about to say more when he was seized by a fit of sneezing for a good five minutes, during which everyone present learned that Holmes sneezed rather like a cat, emitting delicate “tchff!” noises. John was not the only one trying to suppress laughter by the time the fit was over.

“I hate springtime,” Sherlock muttered under his breath.

John grinned. “I think I rather enjoy it. The sights, the sounds...

“I hate you too.”