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A Study in Sherlock

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“You know Mycroft, I wouldn’t mind revisiting our conversation from a few months back” you stated, sitting across from him while reading over a file.

He looked up at you from over his tea cup with an interested smirk on his face, “And which conversation would that be?”

You shifted the papers in front of you before putting them in no particular order and banging them on the table to straighten the pile.

Slipping them into the manila folder, you smiled while saying, “Oh you know, the one where you offered me buckets of money to spy on your adorable little brother.”

He smirked while leaning forward as if to tell you a secret, “Sorry Y/N, but that offer is going to someone else in about, oh- two hours.”

You were slightly taken aback by this, “What? Who are you talking about? I’m the closest one to Sherlock, I mean, we live together.”

You gave him a suspicious look as you watched his face morph in amusement, “Mycroft, what aren’t you telling me?”

“As much as I love our little meetings, I believe it is time for me to go. Have those files read and marked before night’s end and give me a call when you’ve finished. Good evening, Y/N.”

He stood and picked up his umbrella as he rushed out of the room.

“Mycroft wait!”

It was no use though; he was gone before you finished. You sat there momentarily stunned, too confused to move. Something was up, but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it.

You took a deep breath looking at your things, This isn’t worth it, I mean, why do I have to look into this stupid case. Lestrade should be all over this. It’s just a couple of apparent suicides, not something the government should be worried about.

You put the file into your bag before making your way out of the room the same way Mycroft had moments before.

You stepped out onto the streets noting it had gotten dark at some point during your meeting with Mycroft.

It couldn’t have been too late though, but you checked the time nonetheless remembering that you need to stop and pick up some food for the next few days. You knew if you didn’t go now you wouldn’t want to later, and Sherlock sure as hell wasn’t gonna get it.

Making your way into the grocery store, you made a mental note of all the things you needed. You grabbed a basket and made your way through the isles grabbing things from milk and eggs to some meat and vegetables.

Before you left though, you called the local Chinese food place and placed an order for a bunch of different things, deciding to splurge a little because you had just gotten an advance and you knew that whatever wasn’t eaten could be saved as left overs.

You eventually made your way back to the apartment, juggling all of the grocery and takeout bags. When you finally got the door open, Mrs. Hudson saw you struggling and took some of the bags from your hands and helped you carry them up the stairs.

You placed all of the bags on the table then peeked out into the living room, seeing Sherlock laying on the couch with his eyes closed.

For some reason you didn’t expect to see him like that; you figured that Lestrade would have gotten to him about the “suicides” by then, so you half expected to see Sherlock with his fingers steepled, pressed into his chin. Instead, he appeared to be meditating and his face was visibly relaxed.

You turned back to Mrs. Hudson who was moving around you in an attempt to help put the groceries away, “Oh, you don’t have to do that Mrs. Hudson, I got it.”

“Don’t worry dear, I don’t mind. I know it must’ve been a long day for you.”

You smiled at her, “Actually, it wasn’t as long as you’d think. But would you like to join us for dinner?”

She turned to put the milk in the fridge and let out a startled cry, you ran over to her thinking she had gotten hurt, only to see what she saw.

There was an arm in the fridge. “Sherlock what the hell did I tell you about keeping god damn body parts where we keep our food?!”

He didn’t answer you and you let out an exasperated sigh in response.

“Sometimes, I don’t know how I put up with this crap.” Mrs. Hudson laughed from beside you and it forced you to crack a smile.

“Anyway Mrs. Hudson, will you be joining us?”

“No thank you, I’ve already eaten and I think we all deserve some time alone tonight.”

“Alright well, thanks for helping me with all the bags, I know I wouldn’t have gotten help otherwise.”

You said that last part rather loud in an effort to make it clear to Sherlock you were talking about him. You turned to face him to see if you got a reaction out of him, but his face was still as stony and placid as before.

“Night dear,” Mrs. Hudson said as she placed a hand on your shoulder before exiting.

You left the food in the bags on the table while you went down the hall to change out of your work clothes.

You had grabbed the first articles of clothing you’d seen, sweatpants and an oversized long sleeve shirt. Throwing them on, you left your makeup on and made your way back out to the living room.

Sherlock hadn’t moved, as far as you could tell, and you figured that he wouldn’t. So you went back into the kitchen to grab a few of the many takeout boxes before heading back out and making a point to settle into Sherlock’s chair.

You were halfway through your box of lo mein when you heard a door open and close downstairs. Sherlock opened his eyes then, letting out a long sigh.

A man entered the room then and addressed Sherlock before you had gotten the chance, “What are you doing?” the sandy haired man asked.

You were obviously confused and had a lot of questions, like, for one, who was this guy and why was he here?

“Nicotine patch. Helps me think. Impossible to sustain a smoking habit in London these days. Bad news for brain work,” Sherlock showed the man his left arm which had three patches in a triangle.

You watched the scene play out in front of you, now interested to see how long it would take for your presence to be noticed.

The blonde man answered Sherlock without skipping a beat, “It’s good news for breathing,” and Sherlock let out an annoyed groan in response, “Breathing! Breathing’s boring.”

“Is that three patches?”

“It’s a three-patch problem.”

Sherlock went back to the position he was in before he was interrupted, with his eyes closed and his hands steepled under his chin.

The other man, who had his back to you, looked out the window then, “Well, you asked me to come, I’m assuming it’s important.”

He slowly turned around, as though he was unsure he had seen anything out the corner of his eye, then jumped when he saw you.

“Hi,” you smiled at the man, waving slightly, “I’m Y/N.”

The man turned back to Sherlock then back to you, obviously confused, “I- I’m John… are you a friend of Sherlock’s?”

Your smile grew wider, “friend, colleague, roommate- sorry, flatmate, whatever label you’ve got that’s me.”

“So, you live here too?”

“Mhm, I’m guessing you moved in then?”

He slowly relaxed his face as he put the puzzle pieces together in his head, “Yeah, you know though, Sherlock never mentioned you or the fact that you lived here.”

“I’m not surprised, sometimes he gets so distracted he forgets significant details. But hey, where are you going to sleep then?”

The confused look was back on John’s face as he pointed at the ceiling, “upstairs, Mrs. Hudson said the room upstairs was free.”

It was your turn to be confused then, “Room upst- are you kidding me? I didn’t know there was a room upstairs!”

You chucked the pillow from your lap across the room hitting Sherlock square in the face; seconds later the pillow hit the ground.

He didn’t react at all, but you knew he was aware of everything that was happening.

“Son of a bitch told me there was only one room and told me we had to share” you grumbled.

John looked amused as he listened to you, “How could you not have known?”

“Well, I’m not here that much, I travel sometimes, but when I am here, I sleep on the couch, which, is where the asshole is currently laying. Oh, and as a side note, you’re one of the first ones who has yet to comment on me being American, I don’t know whether to be flattered or offended.”

You threw a warm smile his way, trying to make light of your sarcasm, before taking another bite of your food, which seemingly ended the current conversation with John. He smiled at you before turning back to Sherlock.

John repeated his words to him from before he got distracted with you, “You asked me to come, I’m assuming it’s important.”

Sherlock’s eyes shot open and he inhaled sharply, “Oh. Yeah, of course. Can I borrow your phone?”

You had to suppress a laugh, if he was asking what you thought he was, John was gonna get pissed any second now.

“My phone?”

“Don’t wanna use mine. Always a chance that my number will be recognized, it’s on the website.”

“Mrs. Hudson’s got a phone.”

John looked towards the door, and you waited for him to remember that it was more than likely you had a phone too.

“Yeah, she’s downstairs. I tried shouting but she didn’t hear.”

Realization crossed John’s face and he looked over his shoulder at you, who now had your phone in your hand.

“Y/N’s right there, why couldn’t you use hers?”

You went to answer, but Sherlock beat you to it, “She just recently got back, and I wasn’t entirely sure that she would be coming back tonight. As she told you moments ago, she’s not always here. I needed a sure thing, which is where you came in.”

John argued back, “I was on the other side of London,” but Sherlock was quick as ever to answer, “There was no hurry.”

John sighed before reluctantly offering Sherlock his phone. Once it was in his hand, you offered John some dinner, listing all of the things you picked up and telling him to help himself.

He made his way to the kitchen to take a look at his options while asking, “So what’s this about, the case?”

Sherlock whispered, “Her case…”

For some reason, you thought that he was talking about you, at the moment, that was the only thing that made sense to you.

It was obvious Sherlock would have known that you were working on something, so it was only logical to think that he meant you.

Simultaneously, you and John asked, “Her case?” though your tone was slightly more skeptical.

Sherlock hadn’t reacted, he just continued on, “Her suitcase, yes, obviously. The murderer took her suitcase, first big mistake.”

It was then images from the file you were looking over earlier in the evening with Mycroft came flooding back.

So he is working on this case, but how does he know about the suitcase? It was missing from the crime scene.

You continued to listen to the conversation between John and Sherlock, taking in any new information.

“It’s no use, there’s no other way, we’ll have to risk it. On my desk there’s a number. I want you to send a text.”

Sherlock held the phone out for John to take, but he simply stared at it. John had an annoyed smile on his face, you knew where this was going.

“You’ve brought me here to send a text.”

You weren’t sure if Sherlock just couldn’t tell when someone was annoyed with him, or if he was just able to ignore it, either way, you knew from your own experiences with Sherlock that his responses only made things worse.

“Text, yes. The number on my desk.”

John moved forward several moments later to take the phone from Sherlock, but you jumped up and beat him to it.

Neither of the men argued with you, so you made your way over to Sherlock’s desk, scanning for anything that would look familiar to you with regards to the case.

You saw John out the corner of your eye move over to the window and peak out, you saw Sherlock had noticed too, but you chose to hold your tongue.

“What’s wrong?”

Wow, you thought, Sherlock rarely even pretends to care about other people, this is new.

John straightened his back, still looking out the window, “Just met a friend of yours.”

You turned your head curiously, wanting to see Sherlock’s reaction.

His brow was furrowed and he looked appalled, “A friend?”

John corrected himself then, “An enemy.”

You saw Sherlock’s face relax and morph into understanding, “Oh. Which one?”

You had a list of names running through your head at this point, interested to find out who John had met.

“Well, your archenemy, according to him. Do people have archenemies?”

You were turned now, completely facing Sherlock. You seemed to have realized who it was at the same time he did because he was staring at you as he spoke to John, “Did he offer you money to spy on me?”

“Yes.”

“Did you take it?”

“No.”

“Pity, we could have split the fee. Think it through next time.”

Sherlock kept his eyes locked on yours as John asked, “Who is he?”

“The most dangerous man you’ve ever met, and not my problem right now. On my desk, the number!”

John moved over to you and you handed him his phone back so you could text Mycroft.

You made your way back over to Sherlock's chair and plopped down. You vaguely heard what Sherlock was telling John to text the random number, but you were too busy composing your own message,

So this John guy, is he the one you were going to replace me with? I hear he said no. And to think you were so confident he would take the money. 

Your handsome baby brother took on the case. I think he’s on to something. See? I’m useful. I’ll take my money now :)

You turned your attention back to John, who was clarifying the address that Sherlock had told him to send in the text.

Mycroft answered then,

Oh sweet girl, you must be blind to have an attraction to him, you know how it’ll go. As for the payment, you had your chance, I do believe you chose a side. But, we may be able to make an arrangement where I can see to it that a portion of your rent is covered each month.

Keep an eye on him, Y/N. 

Mycroft Holmes

Suddenly, Sherlock plopped himself down in his chair beside you, completely unfazed by the fact he almost sat directly on you.

You went to move over the best you could with one hand on Sherlock's back, the other on his leg, in an effort to push him to move over too. You stopped when you noticed what he brought over with him. You looked at what was in his hands curiously, it was a small, pink suitcase.

John noticed too and he breathed out, “That’s the pink lady’s case, that’s Jennifer Wilson’s case."

“Yes, obviously.” There was a long pause and you knew what John must have been thinking. You shook your head at him as Sherlock spoke, “Oh, perhaps I should mention, I didn’t kill her.”

“I never said you did.”

“Why not? Given that text I just had you send and the fact I have her case it’s a perfectly logical assumption.”

“Do people usually assume you’re the murderer?”

“Now and then, yes.”

Sherlock jumped up in the chair so that he was sitting on the back of it, you swatted his leg, “Ow man, what the hell? First you sit on me now you’re jumping on me? What’d I ever do to you?”

Sherlock looked down at you smirking, “Well, for starters, you're in my chair... And you didn’t take the money either, Y/N.”

“Yeah, but I have a job. I’m able to support us, I didn’t exactly think that betraying you for money was absolutely essential at the time. But don’t worry. I’ve been begging Myk to reconsider his offer, seeing as John here refused too.”

John took in the scene before him, confused about what the two of you we're talking about while silently wondering if the two of you were a couple or what, “Okay…” He smiled awkwardly, “How did you get this?”

“By looking,” Sherlock stated as though it were obvious.

John wasn’t letting it go, “where?”

“The killer must have driven her to Lauriston Gardens. He could only keep her case by accident if it was in the car. Nobody could be seen with this case without drawing attention to themselves, particularly a man, which is statistically more likely. So obviously he’d feel compelled to get rid of it the moment he noticed he still had it, wouldn’t have taken him more than five minutes to realize his mistake. I checked every backstreet wide enough for a car five minutes from Lauriston Gardens, and anywhere you could dispose of a bulky object without being observed. Took me less than an hour to find the right skip.”

You were back to lazily grazing your takeout, feeling a little out of place the only one eating, but you were starving. You wished Sherlock would stop showing off so that John could eat too, but at the moment he was too engulfed in what Sherlock was saying to think about anything else.

“Pink. You got all that because you realized the case would be pink?”

“Well it had to be pink, obviously.”

“Why didn’t I think of that?”

“Because you’re an idiot." John's face flashed hurt and Sherlock took notice, "No, no, no, don’t look like that; practically everyone is. Now look, do you see what’s missing?”

“From the case? How could I?”

You intervened then, “Yeah, I don’t see it either, what’s missing?”

Sherlock gave you a pointed look before continuing, “Her phone. Where’s her mobile phone? There was no phone on the body, there’s no phone in the case. We know she had one, that’s her number there, you just texted it.”

“Maybe she left it at home.”

Sherlock plopped back down into the seat, “She has a string of lovers and she’s careful about it. She never leaves her phone at home.”

Sherlock was practically sitting on you again, he was leaning forward a bit and was spread out. So, you grabbed your food and made your way back into the kitchen to put it in the fridge, along with the rest of the boxes that were still on the table.

As you were walking away though you asked, “So why’d you have John send that text then?”

“Well, the question is where is her phone now?”

John piped up, “She could have lost it.”

“Yes, or?”

You walked back over and took a seat beside Sherlock again, he gave you a look that said you were complaining not five seconds ago but you ignored him.

“So, the murderer… You think the murderer has the phone?”

Sherlock didn’t sound entirely sure of himself when he answered, or maybe it was just because he was trying to guide the information out of you and John, “Maybe she left it when she left her case. Maybe he took it from her for some reason. Either way, the balance of probability is the murderer has her phone.”

“Sorry, what are we doing? Did I just text a murderer? What good will that do?”

You were going to answer then, to tell John that by sending the text, it would prove whether or not the killer did in fact have the phone. But, before you could get the words out, John’s phone started to ring.

“A few hours after his last victim, and now he receives a text that can only be from her. If somebody had just found that phone they’d ignore a text like that, but the murderer… would panic.”

Sherlock startled you by slamming the suitcase shut and jumping out of the chair, he spun around grabbing his coat, leaving you and John confused as to what the plan was.

“Have you talked to the police?”

“Four people are dead, there isn’t time to talk to the police.”

“So why are you talking to us?”

“Mrs. Hudson took my skull.”

John's words were laced with sarcasm and amusement, “So I’m the fill in for your skull?”

“Relax, you’re doing fine. Well?”

“Well, what?” you and John said in unison.

“Well, you could just sit there and watch telly.”

Sherlock gave a look of pure disgust, and once again you had to cough to hide your laugh.

“What, you want me to come with you?” John sounded honored yet still slightly confused, it was cute.

“I like company when I go out, and I think better when I talk aloud. The skull just attracts attention, so… Problem?”

John smiled at Sherlock’s remark, you found it a little strange though ‘cause it’s been a while since Sherlock cracked a joke. You were smiling too, but when John mentioned Donovan your smile dropped.

Sherlock rolled his eyes, “What about her?”

“She said you get off on this, you enjoy it.“

“And I said “dangerous,” and here you are.” Sherlock left the room then, obviously intending for the two of you to follow.

You threw a look at John before darting down the hall to find some jeans or leggings and settled on the first one you touched, which happened to be the latter.

You were running down the hall shedding your sweatpants and jumping into your leggings as you slipped on a pair of sneakers and your coat.

John was watching with an amused smirk on his face, but you tore past him down the stairs yelling behind you, “I don’t know why you’re laughing! You should be running too! He’ll leave us if we aren’t out there when the cab pulls up!”

You heard his muttered, “Damn it!” followed by the door slamming and him hurrying down the stairs behind you after Sherlock.