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[personal profile] ellie_hell
Title: The Pull of One Magnet to Another - Part 3
Rating: R (Sexual activities)
Warnings: Mention of animal cruelty.
Beta: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] anarion who is always an inspiring plot consultant, and to [livejournal.com profile] omletlove who was an all-star beta, both for SPAG and plot; I couldn’t have hoped for a better beta, she’s amazing.
Pairing: Sherlock/John, with a tiny hint of Mycroft/Lestrade.
Word Count: 46 500 total, 7398 this part.
Summary: Mummy has arranged Mycroft’s marriage with an ex-army doctor. However, John meets Sherlock first, and sparks fly.
Disclaimer: The case was stolen from the movie Untraceable, and so was the computer speech. There's also a small wink to Dexter fans in there; obviously I don't own that either.
Notes: Written several months ago for a prompt on the kink meme, but I wasn’t happy with it at the time, so I gave it a huge makeover. If anyone from the meme is reading this, I want to thank you for your huge support. The title comes from the song I Was Married by Tegan and Sara.

Back to first chapter.
Previous chapter.

Chapter 4

The next morning, Sherlock made tea while hoping Mrs Hudson wouldn’t decide to come in. If she ever discovered he had the ability to make some, she would most likely stop making it for him. That would be unfortunate. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a hassle. He found himself wanting to be able to offer tea when John woke up, which would happen soon, considering he had every intention of waking him in the following minutes. There was something they needed to discuss. Sherlock’s mother had given him an ultimatum; John was supposed to join Mummy that very morning, and once again, Sherlock found he wasn’t ready.

On that calm day where the flat was quiet and just beginning to be bathed in morning light, Sherlock wondered if he would ever be willing to let John go. They could work well together. While Sherlock had been compared to a wildfire or a hurricane, John was like a fire ant: small, unthreatening-looking, but strong and dangerous. A whole army within one small body; he was fascinating.

He was shaken out of his reverie when the water boiled. He poured it into two mugs, threw a teabag in each, and brought them to the sitting room where John was still fast asleep under Sherlock’s heavy duvet. After setting the mugs on the small table, he kneeled beside the sofa and watched John’s sleeping form. He looked very peaceful, and a ray of sunshine was hitting his face, making his hair look more golden than brown. It was ruffled, but it still looked soft, and without thinking about what he was doing, Sherlock stretched a hand until he could catch a lock between his index and middle finger. It was even softer than it looked, and he was considering running his whole hand through John’s hair when his phone beeped, announcing a new text from Mycroft. Well done brother, he thought, and he lowered his hand to gently shake John’s shoulder.

He woke up with a start, and it took him a few seconds before he realised where he was. He blinked several times, yawned, and stretched his sore back and shoulders before smiling at Sherlock.

“Morning,” he said groggily, and Sherlock smiled back, offering a cup of tea.

“Good morning John, I’m sorry I woke you up, but the sun is up and we need to talk,” Sherlock said as he grabbed his own mug and sat on the table beside the sofa, facing John. Remembering the text message from Mycroft, he checked his phone.

Is John still alive?

Of course he is.


When John spotted the laptop on the coffee table beside Sherlock, he was reminded of the case and the poor man hanging from the ceiling somewhere in a London basement.

“How is he doing?” he asked, and Sherlock didn’t need to ask whom he was talking about.

“Still alive, but he fainted a few hours ago,” Sherlock answered, and John let out a sigh.

“At least he’s still alive, we have time to find him,” he said.

“That’s the plan, yes. But before we work on that, we need to discuss your involvement in the case,” Sherlock said, his voice solemn, before drinking a sip of tea. John’s face suddenly fell; he looked dejected, a big contrast with the way he had looked a few seconds before.

“I was in your way yesterday, wasn’t I?” John said in a voice that sounded a little off.

“John! No! Having you with me yesterday was…it was good, very good,” Sherlock answered while fidgeting a little on the table. “However, my mother expects you before lunch.”

“Oh,” was John’s only answer, and he looked down at his mug.

“Do you want to go to my mother’s house?” Sherlock asked, and it was John’s turn to fidget, twisting the duvet in his fist in the process.

“I don’t mean to sound ungrateful; your mother is very kind to offer one of her spare rooms, but since Mycroft is away until Sunday morning…. Perhaps, if you don’t mind…err, maybe I could stay here and help you. You know, in case you need a doctor,” John said, stuttering every few words.

It was a strangely endearing sight; John’s cheeks were flushed, and so were his ears. He was also licking his bottom lip even more than usual. Sherlock had to bite the inside of his cheeks to keep his smile from expanding up to his own ears; John wanted to stay with him! That plus a possible murderer meant his day was bound to be interesting.

“I would like you to stay. I appreciated your help yesterday, and that’s exactly what I’ll tell Mycroft,” he said as he started texting.

I have a case. John’s help is required; therefore, his arrival at Mummy’s house will be delayed.

Do I need to remind you that John is supposed to marry me?

He’s a doctor, he’s useful, and I need him. Tell Mummy to stop ringing; John won’t be back before we’re done with the case.

Has it crossed your mind that perhaps John isn’t interested in playing the role of your assistant?

He asked to stay
, Sherlock wrote, knowing full well that it would annoy his brother.

He was right; Mycroft didn’t answer, and Sherlock found the rush of superiority extremely rewarding. The feeling was familiar, he recognised it from all the other times he had had the upper hand on his brother. However, he didn’t have time to dwell on thoughts of Mycroft, there was a man being held against his will somewhere in London, and something had to be done about that.

Some movement on the laptop’s screen interrupted Sherlock’s thoughts. From behind the camera, a very long arrow was shot, and it went straight into Peter Howarth’s heart. John let out a shivering sigh, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the blood slowly saturating the dead man’s shirt. Soon, a new message appeared under the live feed, sliding across the screen in large letters.

Did you enjoy the show, Sherlock Holmes?

John’s eyes widened, and he looked at Sherlock expectantly, hoping to get an explanation. An explanation that didn’t come. Sherlock was just as puzzled as John was, and he frantically searched through his inner hard-drive, trying to list all the people he knew who could have potentially done this. For the first time in his life, he didn’t feel the faintest hint of amusement when he thought about his list of enemies, just annoyance. Why were there so many of them? His mental list-making activities were interrupted by a text from Lestrade.

We need to talk.

On our way, Sherlock answered before dragging John off the sofa and away from his comfortable spot under the extraordinarily warm duvet. They didn’t take time to change their clothes, shower, or have breakfast; there was a case on, someone had just been murdered, and the killer was reaching out to Sherlock. The game was on.

:::

They spent most of the day in Lestrade’s office. At first, the DI just yelled at Sherlock, demanding he shared the information he was obviously holding back. For John, it felt like watching a tennis set, the two men were bouncing insults, passive-aggressive comments, and a little bit of useful information off each other with the ease of two players who have been volleying together for years. Eventually, John had to put his foot down and ask them to settle down, because as entertaining as it was to watch them bicker, there was still a murderer to catch. A murdered who was bound to continue, since his first attempt on a human had been a success (from his point of view).

The video feed was gone from the website, the only thing left was the scrolling message inquiring about Sherlock’s amazement at the whole ordeal. The message was both a blessing and a curse; it had largely reduced the number of potential suspects, bringing it from anyone in Britain to someone who knew Sherlock. Unfortunately, it looked as though everyone who had been watching the Watch Me Kill website (and apparently, there had been a lot of people watching) had Googled Sherlock’s name, found his website, and discovered his forum.

Sherlock’s phone was now beeping at least once every minute. As tempting as it was to just turn the sound off, Lestrade insisted on reading through every single one of the messages in case there was a useful clue in one of them. Also, they couldn’t ignore the possibility that the man Lestrade called the Internet Killer would try to contact Sherlock personally. There were over a hundred new messages on Sherlock’s forum, and John offered to look through them while Sherlock and Lestrade examined the enlarged photos of the basement in which Peter Howarth had been detained.

John’s task took all morning. He worked as fast as he could, considering he was using an unfamiliar keyboard (Sally Donovan’s). He meticulously noted IPs and dubious messages, but new messages kept popping up, which considerably slowed down the process. From Sherlock’s point of view, it was all terribly distracting. Every time he looked up from the pictures, he got an eyeful of John licking his lips, or with his tongue poking out slightly. Sherlock had never seen such an unsettling organ in his entire life, and he had seen his fair share of organs. Had he been a less rational man, he would have suspected that John’s tongue was taunting him, enticing him.

Several hours later, Sherlock and Lestrade had concluded there was absolutely nothing useful they could use to track the Internet Killer. John had made a list of suspicious IP addresses, which had been faxed to PCeU so Jim could pursue the investigation; his department was much better equipped to do so. New messages were still being posted on the forum, but the flow had decreased now that the scrolling message had been up for a while. John continued to read them, but the task wasn’t as difficult as it had been earlier.

Sherlock, at Lestrade’s insistence, had made a list of everyone who had a reason to hate him. Unfortunately for Lestrade and his team who would have the pleasure of looking into the background of each and every one, the list was four pages long. Curious, John looked over Sherlock’s shoulder, and he spotted a name he had recently become acquainted with.

“Sherlock? Why is your brother’s name on that list?”

“Because Lestrade said I needed to write the name of everyone who had a reason to hate me. Whether that reason was good or not,” Sherlock answered matter-of-factly.

“Why does he hate you?” John asked.

“I’m afraid that list would be another four pages long and would take no less than an hour to make. Considering your stomach has been rumbling for the last forty-five minutes, and there is nothing else we can do while Scotland Yard’s finest do their work, why don’t I take you home?”

John agreed and got his coat, more than ready to leave, but Lestrade wouldn’t let them get out of his office until he cleared something up with Sherlock.

“This is not a game, Sherlock! Do we really need to look into your brother’s background? Because there’s a man killing people, and I would hate to lose precious time on unnecessary investigations!” Lestrade said, never raising his voice, but managing to sound threatening nonetheless.

“Alright,” Sherlock murmured, and he took his list back from Lestrade’s hands. Picking up a pen, he crossed out Mycroft’s name.

“It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any reason to hate me, but my brother is cleverer than any investigator you will put on the case. No one will ever find out anything about him, and since his current presence in Côte d’Ivoire makes it unlikely he’s the one killing people in London, I think your team’s time could be best used otherwise,” Sherlock said, and he turned to leave, but Lestrade stopped him again.

“Wait, who’s your brother? What does he do?”

“He’s the most dangerous man you could ever meet. Now come along John,” Sherlock said before stepping out of Lestrade’s office, John following in smaller, but eager strides.

:::

Back in Sherlock’s flat, John practically threw himself at the leftover curry chicken he had made the day before. He was about to take out a second plate, but Sherlock stopped him.

“Digestion slows me down, I rarely eat while on a case,” he said while shaking his head.

“That’s insane!” John exclaimed. “And completely unhealthy!”

“My body doesn’t need much,” Sherlock replied as he picked up his laptop to check on the macabre website. There was nothing new, just the familiar black background and the redundant message taunting him.

“You sure you don’t want some? I always find it’s better the next day,” John said before biting into another chicken piece.

Sherlock was about to refuse for the second time when John let out an exceptionally satisfied, almost obscene moan as he closed his eyes and swallowed. When he threw his head back, sunlight hit his throat and highlighted his Adam’s apple in such a way that Sherlock felt the urge to lick the tempting protrusion. And maybe suck a little bit. Nibble, too.

“Come on Sherlock, even if your body doesn’t need it, I’m sure it would appreciate it,” John said, his eyes twinkling with mischief as he offered Sherlock his fork.

Even if he had spent hours thinking about his phrasing, John couldn’t have come up with worse words; Sherlock’s body didn’t need it, but it sure wanted it. When Sherlock made no move to grab the offered fork, John shrugged and brought it to his own mouth, closing his eyes and sighing as if he had never tasted anything better. Perhaps if he had had the ability to move, Sherlock would’ve given in and taken a bite, but he felt paralysed.

He knew John was taunting him and mocking his eating habits. Still, he couldn’t help the rush of blood to his groin when he imagined what it would be like to be the one making John moan and sigh like that. He frowned at his delinquent thoughts; his libido was generally quite tame, but when he had a case, it was non-existent. That was unusual: wanting to climb on the table, grab a fistful of John’s hair, and kiss him until he forgot all about his chicken. The desire to drag John into his bedroom, to undress him, lick him, kiss him, and bite him, not only to study the sounds he would make, but to pleasure him relentlessly, that was new. Oh, he was in trouble, wasn’t he? But he wanted the trouble if it meant he could have John. Not only in his bed, but everywhere, in every single facet of his life.

“Sherlock!” John said, startling him. He had spoken loudly enough to suggest it wasn’t the first time he had tried catching the detective’s attention.

“What?” Sherlock asked, trying his best to sound annoyed, irritated, frustrated…anything other than aroused.

“I’m going up for a quick shower, do you need the bathroom first?”

Sherlock shook his head, and he watched John as he got out of the kitchen and climbed the steps leading to the bathroom. It wasn’t long before Sherlock heard the water running upstairs, and, sighing, he went to the sitting room to see whether there had been any changes on the website. When he hit refresh, the familiar black background appeared, but with a video feed positioned in the centre of the screen. Sherlock was surprised; he had thought he would have had more time before the next victim. However, the situation was different; there was no counter, and instead of a struggling man hanging from the ceiling, he was watching a building. Sherlock’s eyes widened in shock when he realised he was watching the façade of 221 Baker Street. Unplugging his computer, he brought it with him to the window. The video was live; he could see his silhouette in the window of 221B. The camera was clearly lower than he was, so not in a window of the opposite building. A car, then? He looked out the window again, but couldn’t locate the camera.

“John?” he cried, but got no response, so he tried again, louder.

“JOHN! Hurry up, we’re being watched!” he shouted, and he heard John shouting something back, but he couldn’t make out what he was saying.

He decided not to wait; this was too urgent to wait. He threw his computer onto the sofa and hurried outside to look for the camera.

:::

Inside the flat, John was coming out of the bathroom dressed only in his jeans and a t-shirt. He had heard Sherlock calling after him, had gotten out of the shower as quickly as possible, and had hurriedly put on clothes in case Sherlock had managed to get himself into trouble in the short time John had been in the shower.

“Sherlock?” John shouted as he limped down the stairs, his wet hair dripping onto his white shirt.

There was no trace of Sherlock in the kitchen, no trace of him in the sitting room, but John spotted the discarded laptop on the sofa, and he picked it up to see what website was opened. The building on the video feed seemed extremely familiar, but he only recognised it when he saw the tall, lanky man dressed in a suit standing in the street. Baker Street. Sherlock!

Immediately in combat mode, John ran up the stairs and picked up his service gun that he had hidden at the bottom of his suitcase, buried under all his clothes. He tucked the gun into the back of his jeans and hurried outside, shouting at Sherlock to “come back inside you idiot!” Sherlock turned around to look at John, who grabbed both his arms and looked at him, trying to determine whether he was hurt.

“I’m fine John, but the killer was here, there’s a camera on top of that car,” Sherlock said, pointing at the car in question.

John looked around, trying to see if the man who had put the camera there was still around, but he was distracted by the abundance of passers-by on the pavement. Then, a suspicious movement caught his eye; a man looked back, his eyes fixed on where John and Sherlock were standing, before turning around and disappearing in an alley.

“This way,” John said, and he started running towards the alley, Sherlock following.

It was thrilling. The rush of adrenalin wasn’t like anything he had experienced since he had been invalided home. He felt like the protagonist in a movie; running after a suspect, watching him disappear when he turned a corner, but always following not too far behind. He could hear his heart pounding, feel his lungs expanding, and his feet hitting the pavement in rhythmic thumps. The wind hitting his face was making him giddy with excitement, and Sherlock’s presence at his side rendered him invincible, unstoppable. It was incredible.

John and Sherlock chased the other man for what felt like hours before he disappeared into a black car. Then, Sherlock took the lead, and they zigzagged from one alley to another, using restaurants as shortcuts, climbing emergency staircases, and running across rooftops. Sherlock apparently had a map of London embedded into his brain; he knew which one-ways would slow down the black car, and which traffic lights would stop it completely. They managed to keep up for a while, sometimes catching a glimpse of the car around a corner, but eventually the vehicle ignored a red light, and they lost track of it.

Panting, John leaned against the closest brick wall and took several deep breaths that turned into giggles, and then into fits of genuine laughter. At first, Sherlock looked at him curiously, but he joined in, and soon enough they were leaning slightly towards each other, Sherlock’s right arm pressed against John’s left one. When he had enough breath to speak, John turned his head to look at Sherlock.

“That was ridiculous. The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.”

“You live a much too quiet life,” Sherlock answered, also turning to look at John with a bright smile illuminating his features.

Sherlock was right, his life was too quiet, and he was doing nothing to change that by marrying Mycroft Holmes. A long, quiet, and mundane life, that’s what awaited him, but he needed quiet, didn’t he? He had lived a more exciting life before, but that had only led to trouble, a bullet in his shoulder, some more trouble, and a heavy burden he could never forget for very long.

He had almost howled with laughter when he had read Mrs Holmes’ email, but after months of polite conversations (first by email, then on the phone), he had been forced to admit that the idea of an arranged marriage between himself and Mycroft Holmes had a lot of advantages. Other than it being an excuse to get away from Harry’s tiny flat, it was a way to put a very unpleasant part of his past behind. Also, the companionship, someone to share stories with at the end of the day, to prepare meals with, to laugh with, someone to fill the other cold half of the bed, those were all non-negligible bonuses.

Sherlock poking him violently in the ribs shook him out of his reverie.

“Ow! What was that for?” John asked.

“To bring you back to earth. Now hurry, I’ll race you to my flat, we need to check that car,” Sherlock said before winking at John and running off.

John laughed and ran after him, the chilly April wind cooling the sweat on his forehead. He followed as Sherlock twisted and turned in what seemed like random patterns. When they were back in Baker Street, the camera was still on top of the mysterious car. Sherlock grabbed it and unplugged it, but he put it back so it could be analysed by Jim or someone from his department.

“Do you know whose car it is?” John asked.

“I have a theory,” Sherlock answered as he picked the lock of the boot.

Inside was the body of Peter Howarth. Sherlock was smiling like a kid on Christmas morning, and he clasped his hands together, looking at the body with obvious enthusiasm. He announced that he wanted to have a look before texting Lestrade, and he ordered John to follow him inside so he could hide his gun while Sherlock got his tools. When John came down from the spare bedroom, Sherlock was waiting for him in the sitting room, twirling his cane around like a baton.

John stared, his mouth agape. He hadn’t been bothered by his leg since he had seen Sherlock outside the building on the ‘Watch Me Kill’ website.

:::

Chapter 5

On a normal day, the kitchen of 221B Baker Street looked like a fusion between a kitchen and a laboratory. On that night, the kitchen was barely visible under all the lab equipment Sherlock had managed to scatter on every surface. Lestrade’s team had left an hour before with Peter Howarth’s body, but Sherlock had had time to collect every bit of blood, fibre, hair, saliva, nail, and skin sample he needed. He was currently having the time of his life examining every piece of potential evidence closely, trying to find something – anything – that would lead them to the killer. John was sitting on a chair, watching Sherlock work with tired eyes, his head heavy on his forearm resting on the small table beside three beakers, a petri dish, and a couple of chopsticks.

Sherlock was aware that he was showing off a highly competent side of himself. Yes, he was doing the same thing Anderson would eventually do, but not only was he was doing it in a kitchen, he was also doing it quicker and better. John wasn’t watching, though, and that was unacceptable; it wasn’t everyday Sherlock had the opportunity to demonstrate how adept he was at things other than deductions, and John shouldn’t have missed any second of it. But John was exhausted, and it was a matter of minutes before he fell asleep at the table. Sherlock was tempted to shake his shoulder and suggest he went to bed, but he was almost done with the tox screen, and he wanted John to be there to hear the results.

“John?” he whispered when the test was done, but John didn’t move.

“John!” he repeated louder as he delicately put his hand on John’s arm.

With a groan, John opened his eyes and looked up at Sherlock with heavy, drooping eyelids.

“Did you really let me fall asleep in this position?” he asked, frowning.

“I have the blood test results,” Sherlock said, ignoring the question.

Suddenly, John was awake. He straightened up, ran a hand through his hair, and Sherlock waited until he had his full attention to show him what he had learned.

“I discovered traces of etorphine hydrochloride in his blood. I’m not surprised by his use of a sedative; we didn’t find any trace of struggle in our search yesterday night. Etorphine hydrochloride – or M99 – works so fast Howarth probably didn’t have time to struggle. Are you familiar with that particular sedative John?”

“Not really, no. I’ve heard of it, of course,” John said, and Sherlock could practically see the wheels slowly turning in the other man’s head. Sherlock willed John to reach the same conclusions, as parents will their child to talk. John hadn’t disappointed him yet, and he didn’t want it to happen now.

“Isn’t it used on animals?” John finally asked, and Sherlock nodded encouragingly.

“An animal sedative, that means only veterinarians can access it legally,” John said, his smile widening.

“Veterinarians, animal control, or circus workers, yes,” Sherlock confirmed, and John thought for a moment.

“So we’re looking for someone who has access to that drug, it should considerably shorten our list of suspects,” John said, sounding thrilled.

Sherlock wanted to kiss him. John had once again proved he was brilliant. Not as brilliant as Sherlock, very few were, but intelligent and perfectly capable of solving puzzles alone.

“You’re right John, the proverbial haystack has gotten considerably smaller,” Sherlock said as he texted Lestrade to tell him his team had to start searching in a new direction.

“You should go to bed, we may have a big day tomorrow, depending on Lestrade’s team’s ability to do proper research,” Sherlock said.

“Not if you need my help. Do you need my help?” John asked, and Sherlock wished there was something to do, anything.

“Nothing we can do until morning, get some sleep and I’ll wake you up if something happens,” Sherlock said.

“Aren’t you going to sleep?” John asked.

“Maybe.”

“Goodnight, then,” John said, and he got up the stairs to the room that was his for the time being.

It was pleasant to see him walking without limping. Sherlock didn’t know how long it would last, but he was ready to come up with other ways to get rid of the psychosomatic injury if it ever reappeared in the future. Except he wouldn’t be the one dealing with it by then, he thought as he slumped down on the sofa. He busied himself with the case for a while, but the chase across the city had been tiring, the part of the duvet his face was pressed against smelled like John, and he was quite comfortable, so it wasn’t too long before he fell asleep.

:::

When Sherlock woke up, sunlight was flooding the flat; from the look of the light, it was somewhere between seven and eight in the morning. There was an unusual noise coming from the kitchen, someone was handling the kettle and whistling a song he didn’t recognise. John was awake, then, and he sounded quite cheerful. Sherlock was surprised he had slept so late; he usually didn’t enjoy lazy mornings when he had a case. He blamed it on the duvet and its enticing aroma, which was unfortunately gone by then, and he got up to check his phone. Once he confirmed that he didn’t have any messages or missed calls, he made his way to the kitchen to see what John was up to.

There were two empty mugs on the worktop, two slices of bread in the toaster, and John was leaning against the fridge while waiting for the water to boil or the toast to be ready; whichever would come first. He was still in his sleeping attire (old grey sweatpants with a white cotton undershirt), his feet were bare, and his hair was tousled; he looked like someone who belonged right here, in 221B Baker Street. For a moment, Sherlock felt the pang of envy when he pictured John in Mycroft’s too large kitchen, followed by a rush of anger directed at his brother who probably wouldn’t be able to appreciate how unique and engaging John was. However, it all went away when John turned around, spotted him, and flashed him a wide smile that turned into soft laughter.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a suit so ruffled,” he said, and Sherlock laughed with him because it felt good, and because his suit did look awful.

After a cup of tea and a piece of toast that John practically had to force down his throat, saying he hadn’t eaten in over twenty-four hours and that he was being ridiculous, Sherlock had a quick shower. He changed into a pair of ironed trousers and a clean, blood coloured shirt. John was in the armchair of the sitting room when Sherlock came back down.

“That’s a good colour on you,” John said, and Sherlock felt himself flush slightly, but his skin was still red from the heat of the shower, so he was quite certain John couldn’t notice.

It was John’s turn to use the bathroom and get dressed, and while he was away, Sherlock received a text message from Lestrade.

Another victim.

On our way.


Sherlock bellowed for John to come down, and when he did, he still had shaving cream under his chin. With a smile pulling at one corner of his mouth, Sherlock got closer until he was standing well into John’s personal space. John looked up as Sherlock used one of his long index fingers to slowly, deliberately remove the excess cream. Before John could form a protest, Sherlock had disappeared into the kitchen to wipe his finger on a tea towel. Less than a minute later, they were catching a cab and heading to Scotland Yard.

When Sherlock and John arrived, Lestrade was speaking animatedly to Jim from PCeU. The DI’s computer was open on the desk, and the web browser showed the Internet Killer’s website. Sherlock ignored the two men in the office, and he sat on the other side of the desk, gesturing for John to take the seat beside him. Then, he turned the computer around so they could watch what was happening on screen.

The live feed was back, and a man was tied up by his ankles and hanging from the ceiling, with his hands tied to the floor. He looked distressed, but not as much as Peter Howarth had looked in the early stages of his kidnapping.

Eventually, Lestrade and Jim were done talking, and they turned to greet the two men who had arrived a few minutes earlier. The DI looked exhausted, but his voice was still warm, and Jim couldn’t seem to stop shooting not so subtle reverent gazes at Sherlock. They barely had time to greet Sherlock and John before Sally walked in. She said hello to her boss and Jim before turning to the pair of men sitting in front of the laptop.

“Hello Freak. Hello Freak’s…fan,” she said as a way of introduction.

John frowned and looked up to offer a forced smile, but Sherlock ignored her and continued to study Lestrade’s laptop, hoping to see something that hadn’t been there before. It didn’t look promising.

“Donovan, do you have any leads?” Lestrade asked.

“That’s why I was coming in, actually. We managed to track down everyone on the M99 authorized buyers list, except one Patrick Bateman.”

“Track him down, we need him. Anything else?”

“No sir,” she answered before leaving Lestrade’s office.

Sherlock was animatedly discussing Patrick Bateman with Lestrade, but John wasn’t paying attention anymore. He had his eyes fixed on the screen, as if hypnotised. It wasn’t long before Sherlock noticed, and he stopped listening to what the DI was saying to give his full attention to what John was doing. His lips were moving, his brows were furrowed; Sherlock had never seen him in such a state of concentration.

“Did you see something?” Sherlock asked.

“Can you zoom in on the eyes?” John asked, and Sherlock hit the CTRL and + keys on the keyboard until they had a better view of the man’s face.

His eyes never leaving the screen, John asked for a pen and a piece of paper, and, when Sherlock provided them, he seized them and started muttering unintelligibly.

“John, what is it?” Sherlock asked.

“Morse code. Right eye dots, left eye dashes,” he said, and he started writing, his eyes never leaving the screen.

Sherlock could see the man on the screen blinking feverishly, his left eye remaining closed significantly longer than the right one. To the untrained eye, it looked as though he was twisting in pain, but John had seen under the surface, he had spotted what Sherlock probably wouldn’t have recognised. For the next minutes, John kept muttering to himself while scribbling on the piece of paper, often crossing out a letter and replacing it with another one.

Sherlock watched, almost transfixed. He was utterly fascinated by the sight of that man who had looked so terribly ordinary only three days ago. Was it only three days? It felt much longer. So much had changed since he had first laid eyes on John at the train station, it felt as if his whole brain chemistry had been altered; he could barely think anymore. Usually, the cases occupied his whole mind; it was effortless, and everything disappeared to make way for the puzzle at hand. Now, obviously, there was the case at the front of his mind, but there was always a part of his brain thinking about John; about what he was doing, what he looked like, what he was thinking, and what to do to convince him that Mycroft wasn’t the best Holmes brother for him.

“It’s an address,” John said, and he handed the piece of paper to Sherlock.

Sirens blaring, Lestrade’s team drove off in the direction of the address, Sherlock and John following in a cab not too far behind. They were at least thirty minutes away, so Sherlock decided to use that time on something worthy: watching John. However, it wasn’t long before John noticed and turned to look at Sherlock with quizzical brows.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing is wrong,” Sherlock replied, and he paused before adding, “what you did in Lestrade’s office, that was good.”

“Part of military training,” John said, shrugging, before turning his attention back to the window, making it easier for Sherlock to observe him.

John was stressed, that was obvious. He kept tapping his fingers on his left knee, and he was licking his lips even more often than usual. He was so transparent, his emotions worn on his sleeve for the world to see. It should have been annoying; it was a flaw, a sign of weakness, but Sherlock was surprised to find that it only entranced him further.

When they arrived at the house, Sherlock immediately noticed that the year of construction seemed to fit. He and John dashed out of the cab, but were stopped by Lestrade who was briefing his team and sending them inside. He forbade them to enter the house until it had been secured, so Sherlock had a look around the lawn. There was a particularly flattened patch of grass in front of the house, and Sherlock recognised it as a sign of struggle; the man had been conscious when he had arrived, which explained why he had seen the address.

Sherlock waited nearly five minutes before disregarding the DI’s orders and entering the house, but that was only because there were things he needed to examine outside the house. John followed with a sigh and a roll of his eyes. The house was already swarming with Scotland Yard officers who were looking through doors, securing rooms, and making their way downstairs where, if they could trust the video feed, the murderer was. They immediately found the stairs, and they made their way down to the basement.

They were too late. The man was dead, and the murderer – whoever he was – had left the house. The dead man was still hanging from the ceiling, an arrow piercing his chest, and blood slowly dripping onto the floor. Sherlock didn’t waste any time, he pulled two pairs of latex gloves out of his pocket, handed one over to John, and got closer to the dead body. Anderson was on his way, so Sherlock had very little undisturbed time ahead of him, but he intended on taking advantage of every minute. With John’s help, he observed the dead man’s body, collected blood, saliva, skin, and hair samples, and dirt from under the nails to analyse later.

When Anderson arrived, they left him alone with the dead body, and Sherlock started exploring the crime scene. Evidence bags, tweezers, and a small magnifying glass came out of his suit pockets as naturally as if they were handkerchiefs. The basement was so large and was filled with so many things Sherlock wanted to examine more closely, he eventually ran out of pocket space, and he had to use John’s. However, John was rather reluctant to having what he described as gross stuff shoved down his coat pockets, so Sherlock had to be ingenious and act quickly when John was distracted. Before he knew it, John had three dead bugs, two different types of mould, and a bag filled with damp soil in his coat pockets. When Sherlock tried to sneak what looked like ashes down his back jean pocket, John really had to put his foot down, and he grabbed Sherlock’s right wrist.

“Don’t even think about putting that in there!” he said threateningly, but with playful sparks in his eyes.

Sherlock tossed the evidence bag in the air, caught it with his left hand, and successfully managed to shove it down John’s other back pocket. John’s clear laugh echoed through the basement, soon joined in by Sherlock’s deeper one. The policemen turned around to look at them, their disapproval clearly visible.

“Gentlemen, this is a crime scene for Christ’s sake!” Lestrade bellowed from across the room.

John apologised, and their laughter dissolved into quiet giggles while they continued to look for anything that could lead them to the Internet Killer.

:::

Later, back in his flat, Sherlock’s eyes were glued to his microscope. He was observing the mould he had collected earlier in the basement. The killer had obviously planted false evidence; everything Sherlock had collected came from a different part of London, and nothing could help him identify the person who had killed the two men. Meanwhile, John had ordered too much Chinese food for one person, and he occasionally tried to tempt Sherlock with pieces of delicious smelling pork that he refused every time, but not without a smile that only his microscope could see.

“Do you think he’ll do it again?” John asked.

“Of course he will,” Sherlock answered matter-of-factly.

“Why are you so sure? He can’t go back to that house.”

“I know because he’s brilliant. He’s doing this for me, he’s showing off, and he’s good at what he does. I don’t expect he’ll stop until I stop him, or until he achieves his goal,” Sherlock said, not looking up from his microscope.

John didn’t speak right away; he looked at Sherlock with disbelieving eyes until he couldn’t remain silent anymore.

“Well, that’s nice. I hope you two will be happy together.”

John’s voice was chilling, there was nothing left of the playfulness Sherlock had heard when John had tried to feed him some pork. He sounded angry, maybe even a little hurt. Sherlock finally looked up.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Two people have died, Sherlock! Do you care about that at all, or are you just interested in the killer’s ‘brilliant mind’,” John asked, marking his last words with angry air quotes.

“Caring about them won’t save them,” Sherlock said, slightly confused as to why John sounded so angry with him. Surely he didn’t care that much about the victims; he had never met them!

“Not directly no,” John said and he sounded more riled up with every word he spoke, “but caring drives you forward, it’s a motivation. Caring is human! Have you got no heart?”

So this was what it was all about. John was faced with an aspect of Sherlock’s personality that he didn’t like, and he was either mad at Sherlock for being a cold heartless bastard, or at himself for not noticing it earlier. Sherlock didn’t want John to be angry with him; he needed John to realise that not caring for the victims didn’t make him any less of a genius. In an attempt to make things right, he tried explaining.

“Don’t you see John? I concentrate only on the cases, on the puzzles, that’s how my mind works.”

“The human lives involved, you don’t care about them at all?” John asked.

“No, I don’t” Sherlock replied, glad that John finally seemed to understand what he was saying.

But apparently, John didn’t understand, and Sherlock was surprised when the smaller man got up from the chair he had been sitting on, grabbed his coat, and took a few steps towards the door.

“Where are you going?” Sherlock asked, confused.

“Out. I need some air, I can’t be with you,” John answered, and he left, closing the door with more force than was necessary.

For long minutes afterwards, Sherlock looked at the closed door. John was gone; he had left him. It wasn’t surprising; he wasn’t the first person to storm out of Sherlock’s life, nor was he the first one to call him heartless. The sinking heaviness in his stomach, the feeling that he would never be able to breathe properly, that was new. He had been doing so well, John had liked the case, he had been helpful and proud of himself, he had run for the first time in months, he had cooked for Sherlock, and had repeatedly called him brilliant. He had had fun, Sherlock was sure of that, they had laughed together so often, even at a crime scene, hadn’t that meant something special for John too?

Sherlock shook his head and tried to focus his attention back on his microscope. It was over now; there was no use wasting precious brainpower on John. After all, their story had been doomed from the start; John was marrying Mycroft, the only thing he had seen in Sherlock was a somewhat eccentric brother-in-law, an addition to his family. He had probably viewed him as someone who would come over for dinner, and would pretend not to notice the two hosts had a quickie before his arrival. Well, John was mistaken; Sherlock would never come over for dinner. It was better this way, he would see John at the wedding, and then never again, it was obviously the less painful solution.

Now, he needed to convince his body that it wasn’t hurting.

:::

Two men were waiting for John when he got out of 221 Baker Street. One who was vaguely familiar, and the other he had seen twice before in Lestrade’s office. Frowning, he looked at the familiar face of Jim Moriarty from PCeU.

“Hello,” John said, surprised to see him there.

“Doctor John Watson. Good to see you again,” Jim said, and before John could react, he felt the sting of a needle entering his neck. Then, everything went black.

:::

Next chapter.
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Ellie L.

December 2012

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