|A Study In Shapeshifting
Author: Mardy Lass PM
Sam and Dean track down what they think is a shapeshifter. Problem: it's now in London. Bigger problem: two strange but well-meaning gentlemen think they can help. Two strange but well-meaning gentlemen called Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. For those about to read, I salute you.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Supernatural - Chapters: 11 - Words: 48,110 - Reviews: 51 - Favs: 59 - Follows: 60 - Updated: 04-06-13 - Published: 02-14-13 - Status: Complete - id: 9008912
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I'm not telling you a damn thing till I get some coffee," Dean announced, folding his arms. Sam's right hand hammered into his arm. "What?" he protested. "We been here for nearly three hours and we still haven't seen a hot drink. It's gotta be against some Geneva Convention or something, right?"
Sam frowned at him, conveying to everyone in the room just how brainless he considered his brother to be.
John, still watching him, took a step forward. "Can you at least tell us about the passports? We just want to leave here, too," he said, with reasonable patience considering the day he was having.
Sam studied him for a long moment. "Yes, we are brothers. And we used the fake passports because we don't have our own and we needed to get here this year."
"Sam," Dean warned.
"Oh so it's 'Sam', is it?" Sherlock said.
"Yes sir," Sam admitted quietly. "Look… You're not the police, and we know you're not in charge here, so… what gives? Why aren't the police in here?"
Sherlock glanced at John before looking back at him. "I have considerable sway with the police." He heard John cough slightly. "Some members of the police."
"Great. Maybe you can get us some coffee then," Dean grunted.
"Aren't you bothered about being arrested?" John asked. "And you must have known you'd be spotted if you used our names on your fake passports."
"We didn't know they were yournames," Sam blurted. "We'd never heard the names before. So, ok, 'Sherlock' is a little weird, but compared to some of the names we've used? Really, we thought it would get in under the radar."
John looked at both of them for a long moment. Then he turned and found Sherlock watching them. He gestured to John with his head, and the two men left the room.
Sam looked at Dean. The two of them blew out identical sighs as they went back to interrogating the desk in front of them with matching unimpressed eyes. Sam leant forward to
The film screeched to a halt before the screen went black. Long white rents tore up and down the screen to the accompaniment of LP scratching noises.
"Woah, hey, what's going on?" Dean called out to the theatre at large. The dark rows of seats had nothing to say, but Sam began to twist in his seat to look back at the projector's room. Suddenly the film started up again, and Sam sat back round.
Sam and Dean watched as a different scene was paused on the big screen in front of them. Then it began to move, slowly at first, but speeding up. They blinked and then it was playing in real time again, showing them
Sherlock closing the door quietly, turning to John. "Interesting," he said.
"Sherlock, don't you dare," John warned. "Those two will get thrown on the next plane back to America and we'll go back to Baker Street."
"What's particularly interesting is the way Sam just talks to you," he mused, watching the rest of the immigration corridor from over John's head. "The other one doesn't seem to want to talk to anyone, but Sam…" He hissed in air before looking down at John. "There's something going on here. And you have to find out what it is."
"You are joking," John protested. "This is nothing to do with us."
"I think we've stumbled onto something. We were lucky they had our names on their fake passports, or we'd have missed this whole case."
"We don't have a case!" John hissed, trying to keep his voice down.
"The first thing we have to do is find out their real names - you ask Sam, he'll tell you outright. Then we have to-"
"Sherlock, you're not listening to me," John said. "They are not allowed to be in the country. They're going to be sent home, or imprisoned, or something. This is nothing to do with us."
Sherlock looked down at him. "Do you really want to just let them go without knowing what business it is they're here for? You heard Sam - they had to be here 'this year'. That means they didn't want to wait around getting real passports, if they even can. And his brother is afraid to fly, and he still came all this way. No no no," he said, turning back to the door. "We're finding out exactly what's going on here."
"Wait - stop," John said. "How do you know they're here on business? How do you know he's afraid of flying?"
"Neither of them has carry-on luggage and they've checked in a single duffle each; travelling light or they know exactly what they'll need. Look at the man's eyes, the man's hands - either he's been squeezing armrests on a plane for nearly eight hours, unable to even entertain the possibility of sleeping, or he's exhausted and down to his smallest fingernails for some other reason," Sherlock rattled off.
John sighed, scratching at his forehead. "You're not going to let this go, are you?"
Sherlock put his hand out
"Woah! Stop!" Dean called, his hand up. The film paused immediately. He turned in his seat and looked at Sam. "Do you remember these two?"
"I do now," Sam nodded.
"Me too. That's what bothers me," Dean said.
Sam watched him for a long moment. "You know what bothers me?" he asked.
"That this guy is some kind of genius-"
"Yeah - a regular Stephen Hawking. But that's not what bothers me," Dean muttered.
"Yeah, but this guy… I mean, if we had their names on our fake passports, then that's why he was called in, right? If he really does know the police?" Sam asked.
Sam watched his brother for a moment. "Ok, what bothers you?" he asked.
"Well… this is a memory, right? We're watching someone's memories," Dean said. He looked at Sam. "Somehow, we're sat here watching what happened. We only remember it when we see it, right?"
"Ye-eah," Sam hedged. "I don't think I like that. Why do we only remember it once we see it again? I mean, is this really what happened - do we remember what we see? Or do we see what we remember?"
"Exactly," Dean said, turning his head to look back up at the screen. "And another thing."
"If this is a memory, then whose is it?" Dean asked.
"Well, yours or mine, I guess," Sam shrugged. "How else would we know about what we were doing in line, before we got detained?"
"So how are we seeing these two talk about us in the corridor, Sam?" Dean asked. "We never saw them - at least, I don't think we did. And now I see it again, I still don't remember it. So how can one of us be remembering something we never saw in the first place? And if it is you, or me, then why is the other one of us here in this movie theatre?"
Sam chewed the side of his lip slowly, looking up at the screen. "Huh."
"Huh," Dean agreed. He sat back in the seat. It was quiet for a long moment.
Sam turned himself round and sat properly, waving a hand up. "Ok!" he called. "Roll it!"
and patted John's arm. "I knew you'd understand," Sherlock smiled. He opened the door to the office and went back in. He found the female immigration officer watching Sam with her arms folded. "How much trouble are these two in?" he asked imperiously.
The woman tore her eyes from the oblivious Sam. "Uhm… Failure to produce travel documents, for starters. Then there's-"
"What if they could show you their travel documents in… say… three days?" he interrupted.
The Winchesters blinked at him from the other side of the table. "What?" Dean asked.
"Maybe four," Sherlock went on. "John and I have no intention of pressing any charges over them attempting to impersonate us, so that leaves us with how put-out the British Government is feeling at the temporary loss of their passports. Their real ones, I mean," he said smoothly.
"Well…" She looked at the two men. "I'd have to find out, sir."
"Meanwhile," Sherlock said, as John came into the room, "they could be released to us until they produce their passports. Correct?"
"Uhm, no, sir, sorry," she said quickly. "They can't leave the-"
"Splendid. Thanks so much for your help," he said, his face twisted into what he considered a grateful smile. She blinked, nonplussed, as he turned to the desk. "Right then, you two. Come on. Let's go track down your passports."
Sam and Dean looked at each other. They didn't move.
"Any time, come on," he chivvied, clapping his hands together repeatedly.
"You got to be kidding me," Dean breathed. "There is no way I'm following some strange-"
"There's, um, coffee where we're going," John put in.
Dean stood immediately. "Let's go."
"There now, see?" Sherlock said with a smile.
"But sir-" the woman began.
"Be a dear and call Lestrade about it," Sherlock snapped, already ushering the two men out of the door.
"Who, sir?" she called.
"Scotland Yard - ask for Lestrade!" Sherlock called.
"That kind of rhymed," Dean said as he pushed Sam in front of him.
"But sir!" the woman protested.
"Lestrade!" was Sherlock's parting shot.
She looked around the empty room. " 'Spose I'll have to," she shrugged. She turned to
The film suddenly paused before speeding up. Sam and Dean, in their respective cinema seats, sat up and wondered where to start complaining, when suddenly the movie slowed. It paused, jumped a few frames, and then settled down.
The brothers exchanged a worried look, but then the sound of the film moving distracted them. They look up to see
the two Winchesters climbing out of the taxi to stand on the pavement of Baker Street. Sherlock and John leapt out after them, Sherlock tapping the roof of the black cab. It hared off down the street toward its next fare, ignoring the soft, early evening sun.
"Right," Dean said, shuffling the strap of his duffle higher up his shoulder, "thanks for getting us out of there, and getting our stuff. We'll take off. Be seeing you." He grabbed the sleeve over Sam's elbow and pulled.
"Are you sure you're not going to need help finding what you're after?" Sherlock called after them.
Dean stopped dead. He turned back and looked at him. "You know what? I been on a flight this morning, I been awake for nearly twenty hours, held by airport officials, and found out that your Starbuck's don't have the same coffee as back home. I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I just want to find a place to hole up and figure out our next move. Whatever that is, it is not going to include you up-your-ass poncy British types. See you 'round." He turned and began to walk down the street.
Sam looked from him back to the 'poncy British types'. He smiled apologetically. "Uhm… thanks for your help today," he said gingerly. "Sorry about my brother."
"Look - honestly - Sherlock can help you," John said with some urgency. "I know he's a pain the arse but he does actually get results."
Sherlock looked down at him in mild disapproval but John ignored him.
Sam shrugged. "I don't think you'll be able to help us with this one," he said. "It's not… kinda… the usual thing."
"Excellent," Sherlock said immediately, rubbing his hands.
Sam smiled, he couldn't help it. He looked at his feet, thinking.
"Saaaaaum!" came a shout.
He looked far to his left, finding Dean at the end of the block and wondering where to turn next. He looked back at the two men.
"Don't forget I can supply you with reliable passports to get you home," Sherlock said.
"Why would you do that for us?" Sam asked.
"Because he wants to know what you're really doing here. He's been going bonkers these last two weeks because nothing's been sufficiently 'entertaining'," John grumbled. "He set fire to the Cluedo board. Mrs Hudson went ballistic."
Sam failed to suppress a smile. "Yeah, but… this really isn't your kind of gig," he said. "Thanks, though. You've been really… um, helpful."
"Tell your brother the Atlantis Bookshop is a forty minute walk from here," Sherlock said.
"Thanks, I'll-. Wait, what?" Sam asked. "How did you know-"
"The biggest and best occult bookshop in London?" Sherlock interrupted, his tone very mild. "Obvious."
"Sam, please," John sighed. "Do us all a favour and get your brother back here. It'll be easier on everyone."
Sam bit his lip. He turned and found Dean still on the corner of the block, waiting with a patented look of annoyance on his face.
"Or I could just call the police and they could take you back to Immigration," Sherlock added slyly.
Sam looked back at him, appraising his face. "You would," he judged.
"Don't doubt it," Sherlock sniffed.
John looked from one to the other. He watched Sam's face go from undecided to resigned. Then the tall Winchester turned to look down the street.
"Dean!" he called. "Wait up!" He shouldered his duffle and jogged up to his brother.
"About time," Dean grumped. "C'mon Sammy, let's-"
"Wait," he said. "I think we're going to have to… stick with these two. Let them help. For now."
"Really, Sam? Look at them - not exactly super sleuths, are they? And this thing we're hunting, it's not going to be the kind of thing they know about. Let's just go." He turned and put a foot out into the road.
There was a blare of a car horn, coupled with some rather uncharitable vocabulary, and Sam yanked his brother back onto the kerb.
"Whoa - was that just really creative swearing or a whole new language?" Dean blurted, obviously shaken.
Sam let go of the jacket over his shoulder."Dude - wrong side of the road, remember?" he said.
"Oh. Yeah," Dean said uncomfortably. He shrugged deeper into his jacket before looking the other way down the road for traffic.
"Look - I don't want to involve these two. Believe me, I know it would be safer for them if we didn't. But look at the facts: these two are local. They know how this country works, they know where places like the Atlantis Bookshop are, and they seem to want to help - and if they call the cops on us we'll get arrested for not having passports. And if they find that knife on you-"
"Alright, Sam! I got it!"
"So look… we'll let them help - but just not tell them everything. We'll say it's a serial killer or something, not what we think it really is. Right?" he pressed.
Dean chewed on the side of his lip. "You sure about this?" he asked.
"Yes. Not to mention they said they can get us better forgeries to get us home again. Do you want to be stuck in a country with such bad coffee?" Sam asked with a wisp of a smile.
"Fine," Dean groused. "But I'm telling you, we take off the first chance we get. We can't get these two involved in the actual hunt and we can't let them get hurt because of us."
"I heard that," Sam nodded.
They turned and walked back up the street, finding the two men standing by an old black door. Dean's nose twitched however, and it took exactly three seconds for him to have noticed the pie shop to the right of it, scanned the menu through the window, and chosen what appeared to be normal-sounding food. He was drawn to his right as if on autopilot, his nose taking him straight up to the door.
"Dude," Sam warned.
"Food, Sam, food," Dean breathed.
Sam looked back at the other two and shrugged apologetically. Sherlock rolled his eyes, letting out the kind of huff that spoke volumes on irritating trivia, but John was smiling slightly.
"We can wait," he allowed. "Actually? I'll go and check the place is presentable," he sighed. He turned to the large black door to their left and let himself in. Sam and Sherlock looked at each other for a long moment. Then Sherlock's eyes widened in fear. Sam jumped slightly in fright as Sherlock twirled toward the black door.
"Joooooohn!" he roared. He leapt in through the front door. "Don't touch the fridge!"
Sam watched, unable to do much else, as the door swung shut to the accompaniment of Sherlock's shouting and pounding up some stairs. "Huh," Sam managed, shaking his head and turning to check his brother's progress in the shop. He squinted, finding Dean already in smiley talks with a young lady and the menu card in her hand. His eyes gave up their tenuous grasp on the waking hours and hurled themselves round his sockets as fast as they could.
He heard an unfamiliar chug-chug and looked left, turning to see a blue car, that his brain took to be of European design, by the kerb. The window rolled down and a friendly face looked out. "Alright, mate?" a man called.
Sam drifted toward the kerb. "Hey."
"You wouldn't know the way to the V and A, would you?" the young man in the car asked.
"Uhm, what's a veeyannay?" Sam asked, something that appeared to make the man
The film again jerked and sped up. Dean threw his hand out in protest, letting it hit the armrest of the cinema seat. "What now?" he demanded.
The two of them watched the movie zip forwards, skipping through entire minutes of events in one go.
"I think it's just missing out the boring parts," Sam shrugged.
The film stopped dead, and then a few frames crept by. Suddenly it stopped on
the front room of the flat at 221B Baker Street, pondering the weirdness of four men stationed in its various seats. The two guests were on the sofa, their duffles on the floor either side of the low coffee table in front, matching looks of wariness on their faces.
Sherlock was in his favourite chair, his shoes on the floor and his jacket tossed carelessly over the back. His feet were on the seat, his elbows resting on his bent up knees, both hands under his chin in a way that made him look like a hawk with an empty stomach. John was in his armchair, perched on the edge and watching the two men across the room.
"Here we are!" came a sing-song voice, and an older woman pottered into the room. She set down a small tray on the coffee table, standing back to clasp her hands together. "That's my best coffee, that is. The man next door knows someone at the market - it came straight from the USA," she said proudly.
"Sounds great," Sam said, with a smile full of appreciative teeth. "Thank you, Miss, uhm-"
"Mrs Hudson," she beamed. "But you can call me-"
"He can call you Mrs Hudson," Sherlock interrupted with an abruptness that took the front room by surprise.
Mrs Hudson looked at him. "Now you be good, Sherlock. Don't upset these nice men." She turned and offered Sam her best smile. "I'm sorry, love, I didn't get your names," she said brightly.
"Sam. And this is my brother Dean," he said politely.
Dean waved his fingers. "Hey."
"Brothers?" she smiled. "Ngaw, that's nice. So how long are you-"
"Yes, yes, you can go now," Sherlock snapped.
The Winchesters' eyes went to the detective, but Mrs Hudson didn't appear all that put-out.
"Well. If you want any biscuits with that coffee, you just let me know," she winked at Sam.
"Thanks. You've been more than kind," he smiled.
She sighed rather wistfully, waving air at her face as she turned and disappeared down the landing. Dean nudged his brother, his eyebrows yo-yo'ing up and down in some kind of smutty maliciousness, but Sam lifted his chin and instead looked at the two mugs of coffee. He picked up the one nearest him and smelt at the rim. Finding it unexpectedly good, he took a sip and confirmed his earlier suspicion that the only decent coffee in the country was what was smuggled in by people in the know.
"So," John said, a cup of tea in his hands as he sat forwards on his chair, "can you start at the beginning?"
"Fine," Sam said, clearing his throat. "So me and my brother, me and Dean. We do this… job. It's, uhm, a little odd. We find people, people that hurt others, and we, uhm, stop them." He paused, his face displaying exactly how awkward his words had sounded even to himself. Dean picked up his coffee, sipping it and making a face so exultantly ecstatic that John wondered if one of Sherlock's 'recreational' experiments had accidentally fallen in.
"Right," John managed, tearing his attention away from Dean and his mug. "And is this why you came to England in such a hurry?"
"Yes," Sam nodded.
Dean cleared his throat. "We spotted a pattern of murders and we think it has something to do with-. Someone we were tracking in the U.S."
"Murders?" Sherlock prompted, his eagle eyes on Sam's every muscle twitch. "What murders?" He looked at John with an accusatory stare. "Have you been hiding the good bits of the newspaper again?"
John ignored him. Instead he kept his eyes on Sam. "Can you tell us about these murders? We know a policeman quite high up in the homicide department. If there were anything they needed help with, they'd call us," he shrugged.
"You two work with the cops?" Dean asked suddenly. He tossed a rather damning look at Sam.
"When they can't solve something by themselves - which is any day with a 'y' in its name - they call on me," Sherlock said at speed.
"Do you work with the police? At home, I mean? In America?" John asked innocently.
"No. We're more… freelance," Dean said.
"Fascinating," Sherlock drawled with enough sarcasm to fill the boot of the sequestered Impala. "What about these murders?"
"Well, they seem solved, but they're anything but," Sam said. "In each case, a man in Illinois has been arrested for killing his wife. Concrete evidence, DNA tests, his fingerprints on her and the weapon, yadda yadda yadda. Except he was somewhere else at the time."
"Then it's an accomplice or he's been framed," Sherlock said.
"People have given eye witness accounts of the husband going to the house and him coming out later," Dean argued. "Except other people have also seen him across town at exactly the same time."
"Oh this is easy," Sherlock tutted. "It's a double."
"Wait, excuse me," John said politely. "How many murders are you talking about?"
"Three," Sam said.
"Then how can there be a double of three different men? It's impossible," John scoffed.
Sherlock's eyes went back to Dean. He watched him sink the entire mug without apparent effort, but Dean's left hand went out and slapped into Sam's arm. Sam just looked at him.
Dean set the mug down and blinked at him. "Show 'em the case so far," he said, surprised. Sam hesitated for a long moment. Dean frowned. "Hey, this whole 'join forces' thing was your idea. Show them what you got."
Sam huffed, then rifled through his duffle. He pulled out a notebook, bursting at the seams with scraps of newspaper, foreign notepaper and the odd paper clip. He paged through it until he stopped on something. He got up and took the book over to John, but Sherlock's hand shot out and snatched it.
Sam and John shared a long look. Then Sam went back to the sofa, picking up his coffee again. Sherlock's eyes were all over the writing and information as he devoured everything with voracious glee. He turned the book on its side to peer at newspaper photographs, then the right way up again to continue reading.
"Sam Winchester. Five different mobile phone numbers listed," he muttered. He put his hand out toward John and curled the fingers slightly.
John sipped his tea before Sherlock flapped his palm up and down impatiently. "What?" John asked, with burning innocence.
"My phone," Sherlock snapped.
Sam and Dean looked on, surprised, as John simply got up. He went to the table within easy reach of Sherlock's left hand and whisked up the mobile phone. He took very slow, deliberate steps back to his chair. Sherlock's hand kept twitching, but John cleared his throat, took as long as he could wiping his sleeve over the screen, and then, eventually, when he had exhausted all other avenues for delay, slapped the PDA into Sherlock's hand.
He grunted something unkind before unlocking the iPhone and tapping at it repeatedly with his thumb, his eyes still on the notebook. Then he read the results on the phone screen. "Waukegan, Illinois. Lake County. Founded 1829. Nearly twenty-four square miles. Population eighty-nine thousand. Ninth largest populace in Illinois. Three murders… solved. Police officers commended," he muttered. "Hmm." He left the phone on the arm of the chair. "You've seen one of these things before," he announced. "In somewhere called Canonsburg, Pennsylvania… but first in St. Louis," he added, the word coming out sounding like 'hooey', to the American's way of thinking.
"St. Lou-is," Dean corrected, using the 's' deliberately. "Yeah."
Sherlock didn't look away from the book. "Maybe these three new ones are just typical examples of bourgeois doppelgängers," he said clearly.
"Maybe your analysis is wrong," Dean shot back.
Sherlock raised his eyes over the book to study Dean in a way that John recognised as wishing for his riding crop.
"Anyway," John said firmly, "did you find the person responsible in St. L- um, America?"
"We did," Sam nodded.
Sherlock switched his attention to Sam. "Tell me, Sam… In each of these recent cases in Illinois, was it a married couple?"
"Yes. If you look at the notes underneath, you'll see-"
"Yes. It's all here. Not bad," he rattled off. "You've missed some of the details, but it's hardly surprising; you can't all be me," he said under his breath.
"Now there's another two fresh cases that fit the pattern, right here," Sam said.
"And you think the cases here in London are related to the murders in Illinois?" John asked.
"We think it's possible it's the same guy."
"What, he just ran from America and ended up here in England?" John asked.
Dean cleared his throat. Sam glanced at him before looking back at John. "Yes," he nodded. "Now, we know what to look for, but we're too late to get to the crime scenes. One was four days ago, one was two - when we saw the second one we got on a plane."
"So you just hopped continents and decided to police our country for us," Sherlock muttered, pre-occupied. "How very neighbourly of you."
"Look, pal - if you don't want us to get those three - soon to be five - innocent men out of jail, or catch this whacko before he does it again, then fine," Dean snapped.
"Wait, hang on," John said, spreading his hands. "Sherlock is an insufferable git but he can help."
"Thanks," Sherlock tutted.
"Helping," John protested, with rather deliberate firmness.
John turned and looked at the two men on the sofa. "So," he said with an effort to be cheerful, "where do we start?"
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