Summer should be made illegal, Sherlock figured. Surely Mycroft had some say in that. Because this dreadful heat had to stop.
Summers in London were rarely so bad, but this year, it seemed to be worse. Air conditioning was rare in homes, and even in public buildings, and Baker Street was no exception. John had already shot down an idea for experimental cooling on the basis that it was deadly. Frankly, at that point Sherlock didn't quite care.
But John had put his foot down, and that was that. Instead they had to lounge around the flat, doing nothing to conserve energy and reduce heat production. All of which was terribly boring.
He was thankful for cabs being air conditioned as they made their way to Scotland Yard. There was a suspect waiting there for them. (Well, not so much a suspect anymore as a criminal, since Sherlock had proven it, but they didn't have the body, and until then, nothing could be done.)
Nobody else had been able to get anything from him, so Lestrade had given in, and was allowing Sherlock to do the interrogation.
He left John to pay as he braved the stifling heat for the shade of the building.
He'd had to leave his coat at home, and was boiling even without it. John had told him not to wear pants and long sleeves, but Sherlock wasn't going to submit to the weather simply because it was a little warm.
He was beginning to regret that decision.
He could always roll his sleeves up, but he'd prefer not to, for reasons that soon became apparent.
It was no cooler inside the building, and at least at 221b there were windows and breezes. John looked about ready to die, even in his t-shirt, by the time they made it to Lestrade's office.
"I've got him in an interrogation room for you," he sighed, wiping his brow. "He's a right bastard, which I'm sure you know, what with the murder and all, but he's so irritating it makes you want to throttle him. Try not to, alright? It makes for too much paperwork."
Sherlock smiled. "I shall endeavour not to."
John raised an eyebrow. "I'll just watch then, shall I? And if Sherlock goes to strangle him perhaps I'll just... wander in. No rush."
Lestrade snorted. "Suit yourself. I've got to go talk to Anderson and Donovan, then we'll be over. They're going over the evidence again with a fine tooth comb."
"Won't help," Sherlock muttered.
Lestrade shrugged. "Can't hurt."
He left, and Sherlock and John headed to the interrogation room.
The man was handcuffed to the table, his legs bound as well. He'd already been searched, of course, but John couldn't help but worry. Sherlock had a way of picking fights with the most clever and ingenious criminals. He watched the proceedings with a wary eye from behind the glass.
Sherlock slid into a seat across the the man, Brian Knox. He was nothing special, he didn't look like a murderer, but then, no one ever really did. John just reminded himself of the photographs the family had been sent and the evidence that they had found, all proof of a horrendous struggle before a brutal death.
"Hello Mr Knox. I trust you remember me?"
The man narrowed his eyes at Sherlock. "You think you're going to get me to talk? That's funny."
"We're conversing, aren't we? I'd say that's a point in my favour," Sherlock smirked.
There was no reply from the man across from him.
Sherlock undid his hands from where they were clasped beneath his chin and laid them out on the table.
"It works like this," he said quietly. "We find Olivia Bishop's body and her family gets closure. Closure makes everyone happier. I will be happier, and certain parties will not be forced to get involved." He looked at Brian intensely. "I'm afraid that when I am not happy, sometimes things become... unfortunate for those involved. Do you understand?"
Brian eyed Sherlock's arms sprawled out on the table and his eyes lit up with glee.
"Oh, Mr Holmes," he said slowly. "What on earth are those?"
John's heart sank. He knew what the man was referring to. The scars that marched up and down Sherlock's forearms. The clearly self inflicted scars. He moved closer to the door, just in case.
"I think it's fairly obvious, Mr Knox," Sherlock replied smoothly. "But we're not here to talk about me. What did you do with Olivia's body?"
The man ignored his question entirely. "What, are you a teenage girl?"
Sherlock folded his arms against his chest.
"What did you do with the body?" he demanded.
Brian sneered at Sherlock.
"Was it for attention? That's what it was, wasn't it. Mummy didn't love you enough? Daddy leave?"
Sherlock only blinked.
"What did you do with her body Mr Knox? The body of Olivia. Where is she?"
His voice was tight, but John could still detect the hint of rage that Sherlock wasn't allowing to escape. And maybe even something else that he didn't want to think about. But he had to, because he'd heard it in his own voice far too many times, something that meant he was holding back tears that usually won, no matter how valiantly he fought.
He opened the door and took the few steps through the hallway to the adjacent room.
"Sherlock?" he asked, glaring at the man sitting opposite him.
"It's fine John," he replied quietly.
John nodded, and took up position in the corner of the room, sizing the man up.
He didn't seem at all bothered by John's appearance. He seemed more like a predator, fixated on his prey.
Sherlock was about to be eaten.
"Did you try to kill yourself?" he asked innocently. "Because you did a rubbish job. Imagine that, not even being good enough at anything to being able to off yourself, you probably woke up in the hospital, having failed yet again, only one more failure in a long life of-"
Lestrade arrived with Donovan and Anderson in tow just as John was hitting Brian Knox in the face.
"What the hell..." he muttered, taking in the scene.
"It's all very easily explained," Sherlock told him, his voice still tight, his arms now hanging in front of him as he leaned against the wall. His still bare arms.
Lestrade looked confused, but nodded, once, slowly. He knew about the scars.
"It's alright Greg. Everyone is fine now."
It was around then that Brian found his voice, along with a rapidly blackening eye.
"He assaulted me! I'm pressing charges!"
Lestrade raised an eyebrow. "I'm sorry, I didn't see anything of that sort. It was clearly in self defense."
Anderson nodded in agreement. "You were about to assault Doctor Watson. He was only defending himself."
Sally glared at him, daring the man to disagree.
Sherlock only stood by quietly, his arms still bare.
"Bastards," he hissed. There was rage evident in Brian's eyes, but Sherlock didn't give him the satisfaction of responding.
"We will find the body," Lestrade told him. "And there will be no lenience for you."
Sherlock's eyes sparkled for a moment. "Oh, that's quite alright," he said, his voice returning to normal. "He's already told me where she is."
Brian looked shocked. "I didn't say a bloody word-" he hissed, but Sherlock cut him off.
"You didn't need to," he smirked. "That's the problem with you criminals. You're all so stupid." He sighed, like their stupidity weighed heavily on him, which as John knew, it probably did.
Brian's eyes narrowed. "You can't prove anything. No one will believe someone who did that to himself." He jerked his head towards Sherlock's arms.
"I don't have to explain it to you," he said. "And you wouldn't understand even if I did, small mind and all, but these scars are not signs of weakness. Criminals," he sighed again. "They're all idiots."
And with that, he left the room, John trailing behind him, Lestrade after that, and two more in his wake. No one said anything until they were halfway down the hall to the elevators.
"I should have slapped him," Sally sighed. "It's probably the only time I could have gotten away with it."
"There's always next time," Sherlock remarked cheerfully.
John stopped walking. "No," he said abruptly. "There will not be a next time."
Sherlock sighed. "I don't mind John, really. That's hardly the worst I've ever heard. Down right unoriginal, in fact."
"Don't lie to me Sherlock. I'm sure that wasn't the worst you've heard, but don't tell me you don't mind. I can tell it hurts you. It certainly hurts more than those ever did," he added, gesturing to his arms.
Sherlock glanced at them. He tugged his sleeves down from above his elbows to cover the lines.
"Quite right," he said softly, thankful that Sally and Anderson had kept walking. "I suppose I should thank you, even though it doesn't seem proper practice."
"He deserved it," Lestrade muttered from behind him.
Sherlock sighed, turning round. "Of course he did. Although I'm a little surprised Anderson and Donovan agreed."
"Oi," Sally said, having apparently realized she'd lost some of her flock, and had circled back round. "You may be a freak... but you're ours."
She smiled at Sherlock before turning on her heel and stalking off.
Lestrade shrugged. "Thanks for coming in anyway. I assume that you'll-"
"I'll text you the details," Sherlock confirmed. "What are we doing now John?"
"Let's just ride around in a cab for the rest of the day. It's too hot to do anything."
"There's always that experiment with the-"
Sherlock sighed. "Fine."
Back at the flat, in the stifling heat, Sherlock changed into a t-shirt. His arms lay bared to the world for the rest of the day as he lounged around. And in the fading light of the evening, the sun shone off the paler scar tissue, and it made something in John's heart smile.
Not signs of weakness.