Sherlock doesn't do twitter, which is why he's already promised himself he's going to delete all knowledge of the site and is angrily muttering things at his laptop screen when John walks in from work. John barely has to glance at the open page before he realises what he’s doing, and looks at Sherlock like he’s very amused before setting down his coat.
“You searching yourself to see what people are saying? Greg told me the other day he found an account dedicated to your arse.” He tells him with a laugh.
“My what? No, of course not. It’s for a case,” Sherlock explains, turning the laptop so John can see it better. “The victim was posting strange tweets in the days leading up to his death."
"Are you signed into my account? Wait, of course you would be. Not like you're going to make your own, is it?" John reads a couple of the tweets, his eyes scanning the screen quickly and he nods. “Yeah, you’re right. I’ve got no clue what they mean though, ‘the boens tap at tje wi dopw false sun wh a t what do u wsnt from me key key ke’?
Sherlock simply says “I’ll work it out,” and smiles like he’s already nearly there (he isn’t, has only got the general details of it so far, but he’s still got time).
Later, when it’s evening (or maybe it’s early morning now - Sherlock doesn’t care enough to check) and John has since gone to bed, Sherlock finds himself still scrolling through the dead man’s tweets. He’s gone over all 1.8k twice already, the only relevant ones being around the last hundred, and boredom is kicking in again like an unsettling weight forming pools in his veins. He decides to search the victim’s username to see if there are any indirects that could offer any clues, when instead of typing in ‘arttoro’, he finds his fingers flying across the keys to spell out ‘Sherlock Holmes’ instead. He's reminded of what John had said about searching himself, and while he really doesn’t care about what people are saying, he decides that the results might be interesting to read anyway. The first thing Sherlock sees are some recommended accounts, and it doesn’t take him long to discover that the one John had joked about is definitely real. He looks through the names of a few more, deciding that he’ll look at some tweets afterwards, when he stops and sees one called @exclusiveSHvids. He clicks on it immediately, and reads the bio.
Inside anonymous source filming sometimes surprising videos of Sherlock Holmes for the nation’s viewing pleasure.
He has no idea why the account would possibly exist. He’s sure there can’t be any actual videos on it, he’d know if a stranger was shoving a camera in his face (of course he would). It’s only a second later that he sees that the account is private, and the only reason he’s able to look at it is because John is following the user. He remains calm as he scrolls down to read the most recent tweets, and when he notices that there are only 23 in total he finds himself relieved that it clearly hasn’t been around for very long. He scrolls through them blindly, only reading a few.
@exclusiveSHvids: sherlock likes to pretend he doesn’t watch trash tv but he actually loves it
@sydonovan: @exclusiveSHvids these videos are amazing. shows a whole new side to the freak. who r u anyway?
@exclusiveSHvids: @sydonovan thank you. i won’t reveal myself, but i am someone you know
@exclusiveSHvids: he’s a big cuddler, but only if he initiates and he knows you well enough. also usually has to be very sleepy/drunk first. proof to come
Sherlock can’t begin to process the fact that it’s someone he must know just get, so when he sees the words ‘proof to come’ he scrolls back up again and sees a tweet made right after the previous one, with a link to what he can only guess is a video of himself. He clicks on it without hesitation, and it takes him to another site where the video starts loading. It’s short – less than ten seconds long, and he clicks play as soon as it’s ready. The first thing he takes in is that it must have been filmed at John’s birthday party. He thinks that there might be talking going on as the camera moves closer to him, but the audio has been either removed or muted. Sherlock looks like he’s stupidly drunk in the video, and he’s sitting in his chair looking lazily at the person holding the offending phone. A hand reaches out, but Sherlock can barely see the person’s fingertips before video Sherlock frowns and says something that makes the other person laugh loudly (so there is sound, and Sherlock thinks that maybe they’re trying to be clever by not having their voice in the video, but it isn’t hard to recognise a laugh). He watches the video as he grabs hold of the hand and practically pulls whoever it is onto his lap, wrapping around them like he’s trying to form bonds of intermolecular forces. There’s laughter again, and the video cuts off.
There are more videos, and Sherlock finds himself watching every single one, even though he’s not sure that he wants to. The next one he clicks on is even shorter, a couple of seconds of him glaring at the camera with a ridiculous orange blanket around his shoulders. In the one after that he’s lying in a hospital bed, and he knows there’s a bullet wound hidden beneath the sheets. There’s one where he’s sitting on a bench, eyes closed (he’d had too many sleepless nights in a row trying to solve that case and coffee had only done so much). He’s crouching down to talk to a little girl, he smiles at her reassuringly, and when she hugs him he looks like he’s in shock. He’s dressed as Harry Potter because he has to go undercover to a Halloween party (the costume wasn’t his idea, probably never would have been in a million years). A puppy is trying to jump at him and he’s looking at it like he doesn’t mind, like he’s even a little bit fond. When Sherlock gets to the last one, he’s completely out of it, babbling nonsense and close to falling unconscious, and he realises it would have been filmed after the woman drugged him. Someone’s laughing again, and Sherlock knows that it’s the same laugh as the one in the first video.
Sherlock sits in silence staring at the screen for a moment after he’s done. He knows who it is, had known even before he’d clicked play on the first video, but they all serve as even more glaring proof. He’s sure that he knows whose hand, whose laugh it is in the first video. He knows that there’s really only one person aside from John who could’ve possibly been there for all events. He knows that the little girl he was talking to in the video was Lestrade’s daughter. He knows that when he'd woken up the day after he was drugged, John had warned him that Lestrade had filmed him on his phone. Sherlock knows who it is, he just can’t figure out why, and instead of dwelling on it any further, he quickly closes the open tab and thinks about the case instead.
(It’s around four am when he finishes working it out.
Killer will have the last name Key. Killed victim’s wife some time ago under the pretence of being their son, came back to finish things off. –SH
He types ‘We need to talk.’ after that, but immediately realises he’s being an idiot and deletes it.)
Sherlock’s sitting in Lestrade’s office, looking through the files spread in a mess across his desk to see if anything interesting has come up when the door opens. Lestrade looks at him and sighs like he’s annoyed, but there’s still the hint of a smile on his face.
“Found anything that takes your fancy?” he asks.
“Lestrade,” Sherlock replies. “Not yet. I solved three already, though; I made some notes for you.”
He gestures towards the pieces of paper that he’d scrawled the information on, and Lestrade nods. Sherlock is about to say something ridiculous like ‘I need to ask you something’, but he decides to just get straight to the point.
“I found your twitter account. @exclusiveSHvids, right?”
Lestrade opens his mouth like he’s about to say something, but then closes it again.
“It seems to have a good following; very trusted sources too. Why are you doing it? If it’s some sort of attempt to embarrass me-“
Lestrade cuts him off, an incredulous expression on his face. “Embarrass you? Why would I want to do that?”
“What other purpose could those videos serve? They all have a very specific theme, Lestrade.” Sherlock laughs dryly. “When I’m off guard, when I’m more vulnerable. Has the whole of Scotland Yard been laughing at me?”
There’s a frown on Lestrade’s face as he moves forward into the room.
“Oh, Sherlock, you bloody idiot. I didn’t- I’m not trying to embarrass you, of course I’m not.” he says.
Sherlock’s expression remains unchanged (despite this, he’s feeling both surprised and sceptical). “It won’t be too hard for you to explain what you’re actually doing, then.”
“This sounds stupid,” Lestrade says, rubbing at his forehead with his hand.
Sherlock stays silent.
“I wanted to show people that you’re not a machine, alright? I kept them to myself at first, but I thought that other people should see that side of you too. They’re not bad videos, Sherlock; they’re proof that you’re just as human as the rest of us.”
“I- you mean to say- you were trying to be kind?" he thinks that if that's the case then Lestrade has a very interesting way of going about it.
"I- yes? I'm sorry. Only for doing it without asking you first, though," and Sherlock can practically hear the '-but you never would've let me if I had.' that Lestrade leaves unsaid. "I've only let people who know you well enough follow me, you know, so you don't have to worry about your entire reputation being in tatters or something. I just thought-"
He cuts off faltering. "Thought what?" Sherlock asks.
"Never mind," he shakes his head. "It'll be deleted by tomorrow, alright?"
He decides very quickly that he's not going to let Lestrade off so easily.
"Despite what you've said to me I still feel as if your only intent was to make a mockery of my moments of," he pauses, searching for the right word, "weakness. What were you going to say?"
Lestrade is frowning again, like he can't quite believe he would even think that. "Sherlock, emotions aren't weakness. Pain isn't weakness. I know you think that people have to believe you're some sort of cold hearted emotionless thing and it'll be better for you, but that's not true. I know that you're not that and I- I like you better for it."
Sherlock believes him. He believes him despite the nagging doubt in his mind that whispers he's lying, he's laughing at you, don't believe him. When he looks at Lestrade he can't see anything but sincerity and something that looks a little like love in his expression, which isn't anything he thinks he deserves at all.
"Greg," he says quietly (because whatever people may think Sherlock does actually know his first name, only pretends he doesn't because it's sometimes amusing).
Sherlock starts moving to stand. "Yeah?" the other man asks.
"If you make any attempt to film what I'm about to do I assure you that I'll murder you myself."
"I- okay? I mean, I don't know what it is you're-"
Lestrade doesn't get the chance say anything else because Sherlock cuts him off mid sentence, kissing him like he's trying to thank him without saying the words. Lestrade makes a small, surprised sound and Sherlock realises that he's not kissing him back. For a moment the only thing he can think is I did this wrong, I miscalculated, how could I have been stupid enough to have make an error as big as this? Fuck, fuck, f- but then Lestrade is kissing him back and everything is a lot more than okay.