A/N: Finally, I've finished up the next installment of this story. You might want to read the short companion to this piece ("The Namesake"), before reading this chapter, although as long as you've read the first chapter to "Hamish," you should be able to follow along here. Enjoy!
Donovan paused, with a comical expression of surprise and confusion on her face, as she took in the scene:
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson walking together, and next to Sherlock, following closely on his heels—
"What is that?"
"Come now, Donovan, you are ostensibly an officer of the law. I would think even you might be able to identify a dog from less than ten feet away."
"But what are you doing with a dog?"
Yes, Sherlock was going to enjoy this very much. He was especially pleased that John had his mobile phone out, surreptitiously recording this scene for posterity.
What a wonderful evening this was shaping up to be. And he hadn't even gotten to the dead body yet!
But for now, Donovan was continuing to stare at him, as if she actually expected an answer to her dim-witted inquiry. Oh well, might as well try to humor her.
"Why would anyone have a dog? I decided I wanted a companion."
"But you're not anyone. You're a bloody psychopath."
Sherlock started to correct her—how many times did he have to repeat high functioning sociopath?—but then he decided not to bother, instead, he had to avert his eyes, because watching her cogitate was just so painful. The stupidity became even more oppressive when she opened her mouth again.
"Is this for one of your twisted experiments? Because if it is, I will have to notify—"
"Really, Sally, someone in your position should know better than to throw around such serious accusations!"
Sherlock added, indignantly, "I can't imagine why everyone jumps to that conclusion. Does this dog looks like he's been subjected to some nefarious scheme?"
He then turned to Hamish, who was investigating a nearby shrub, and called out, "Come!"
Hamish bounded over and came to heel at Sherlock's side, gazing up at his human excitedly, long tail wagging, tongue out, lightly panting.
"That's a good boy, Hamish."
"Hamish? What a weird name for a dog."
And then John relaxed. Of course, Donovan would have no reason to guess at the etymology of that particular name.
"Well, Sally, if you're finished with your commentary on my personal life, John, Hamish, and I really must be moving along. After all, we are here to do your job for you. Hamish, let's go!"
And with that, the puppy and his namesake followed Sherlock into the building.
Inside, they found Lestrade and a few other hapless Scotland Yarders staring in confusion at the crime scene.
"Hello, Geoffrey! What wonderfully gruesome crime do you have for me today?"
Lestrade started to respond, "It's Greg, you—"
But then he paused, mouth hanging slightly open.
Okay, now this was getting to be a bit tiresome.
"Yes, a dog. I've just been through this with your compatriot in idiocy outside."
With a long suffering sigh, Sherlock added, "Well, I suppose we should get the formal introductions out of the way. Gavin Lestrade, I'd like you to meet my new companion, Hamish."
Lestrade looked at John.
John looked away.
The dog in question wagged his tail, clearly pleased with all the excitement and attention.
When it seemed clear Sherlock would not be responding, John said, tersely, "It was Sherlock's idea. Please, just drop it."
Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. "Fine, just make sure Hamish doesn't do anything to compromise the integrity of the crime scene."
"Considering the fact that your lot has had their way with it for the last few hours, it's hard to imagine how Hamish could do anything to compound the damage. Now, tell me what little you know, and keep the stupid to a minimum."
"Only if you agree to keep the bastard to a minimum."
Sherlock opened his mouth to fire back a retort, but John intervened before the situation could escalate further.
"Okay, boys, let's drop the pissing match and focus on the dead body."
Sherlock rolled his eyes, while Lestrade just shook his head wearily and began his explanation of the case.
"Lisa Travers, female, mid thirties. Lived alone, dead approximately 12 hours when she was discovered by the landlady earlier this morning."
"Cause of death?"
"Blunt force trauma to the back of the head. Found a broken lamp on the scene that was likely used by the perpetrator."
"What else do you know?"
"Not much. According to the landlady, she's been living here for a little over two years. Never married, no children, as far as we can tell. We're working on tracking down any living relatives."
"Worked as an editor at a local newspaper."
John spoke first, once Lestrade finished his summary of the case details.
"That's not a lot to go on."
But Sherlock immediately contradicted him. "Oh, I think we have more than enough to work with."
And with that cryptic comment, Sherlock began his inspection.
Completely ignoring the body in the middle of the floor, he first worked his way around the periphery of the apartment, examining surfaces, opening and then quickly closing drawers, looking up, looking down, analyzing and absorbing every detail of the scene.
Then, finally, he stooped down and did a quick examination of the corpse, pulling back her hair to look at her neck, picking up her hand, checking under her fingernails.
Just as he was finishing up his inspection, Donovan entered the room.
"I still think it was a simple burglary gone wrong."
Sherlock replied, with obvious disdain, "Just because you're simple and boring, Sally, doesn't mean everything else in the world has to be. Anyone with even a modicum of sense could see the error in your assessment."
Donovan sneered in response. "Oh really?
"Obviously. For one, all of her valuables and her money were left behind."
At this point, John tried to chime in.
"Maybe the killer was interrupted, didn't have time—"
"Wrong, again. Are all of you blind? You do each have a set of functioning eyes, don't you?"
Sherlock sighed in exasperation before continuing.
"Look at her flat. Everything's organized, everything's where it's supposed to be. Her spices are even in alphabetical order, which seems rather unnecessary—"
"Says the man with a sock index."
Sherlock continued on as if he didn't hear John's remark.
"But if you open up the drawer where she keeps her jewelry, you'll see that it's all mixed together. She had a system—that much is clear—so whoever killed her must have disrupted it. Now, if they were a common thief, they would have dumped everything in a bag and been off. But the murderer, he was looking for something specific."
Sherlock paused for effect, before adding, "More to the point, while he was searching, she was still alive."
Lestrade seemed skeptical. "How do you figure that?"
"To start, the murderer is someone she already knew, which is why there are no signs of forced entry."
John chimed in again. "Well maybe she left her door unlocked accidentally?"
Poor, simple John.
"This is a woman with not one, but two deadbolts on her door, keeps all of her windows locked, and carries pepper spray in her purse, and again, there is the alphabetized spice rack. And did you hear her occupation? She's an editor, a job that relies on close attention to detail. Clearly she was the kind of person who takes safety seriously, not someone who would let that type of detail slip her mind."
"Okay, so she knew the murderer and willingly let them into the house. I still don't see how that tells you that she was alive when he looked through her jewelry drawer."
"No, Gary, it doesn't, but the conclusion is quite obvious to anyone with even the most elementary cognitive capabilities. If he planned out her murder in advance and then proceeded to kill her from the start, he could have easily searched her drawer without disturbing everything, or, if he was in a rush to escape the premises, he could have dumped all of it in a bag and walked away. After all, if he already killed a woman, it's hard to see why our murderous thief would be so discerning about what he did or didn't take."
"Now this leads us to our next deduction. Would anyone care to guess—"
Before Sherlock could finish, John cut in.
"Sherlock, this showing off thing. We've talked about it."
"No, you've talked about it, and I've pretended to listen."
That last comment seemed to go a little too far, because he could see John was starting to shift into "soldier" mode, as Sherlock had started to mentally reference it—quiet but deadly—so this seemed to be a good time to cut down on the theatrics, at least until John's blood pressure went back to normal.
"Very well. Clearly he didn't intend to kill her—"
Donovan—stupid, interfering Donovan—decided to interrupt. Again.
"So then what made him change his mind?"
"Four—no, five scenarios—"
Before Sherlock could finish, he was interrupted by someone from outside shouting to Lestrade.
"Sir, there's a dog out here digging around under the front porch."
Lestrade turned to Sherlock, but he was already headed out the door. John followed close behind.
"Hamish, no! Come!"
With only a few seconds pause, Hamish emerged from under the porch, tail wagging, looking very pleased with himself, despite the dirt on his nose and paws.
At first, Sherlock looked far less pleased, but then he noticed something in Hamish's mouth.
"Drop it," he commanded, and Hamish did so without hesitation. As soon as Sherlock kneeled down to pick the object up, his annoyance turned to approval.
"Hamish, you clever, clever dog!"
The hound wagged his tail even more, and gave Sherlock a quick lick of affection. John had to cover his mouth to keep any laughter from escaping.
Sherlock directed a warning glare at John, before getting up from the ground, dusting himself off, and returning to the entryway.
"So what did he find?"
"Oh, nothing of importance."
John didn't buy that, but Sherlock had already walked past him into the flat.
"Sherlock, I warned you about keeping that dog under control."
"No, you said that he shouldn't disturb the crime scene, and he did nothing of the sort."
"Anyway, back to the dead woman. So the murderer enters the home on some kind of pretense, with the goal of retrieving a particular piece of jewelry. But the question is why? What was his connection to the victim? And why this particular piece of jewelry?"
"How do you know he came for a specific piece of jewelry?"
Sherlock proceeded to ignore Lestrade's question, instead remaining silent. He started to pace back and forth as his brain began to weave together all the different threads of evidence. Hamish sat back to watch, his head moving back and forth to keep time with Sherlock, not that Sherlock noticed, absorbed as he was in his attempt to solve the crime.
John, who wanted to resent Hamish but could only too well understand the feeling of being ignored while Sherlock does his "brain work," kneeled down and began absentmindedly petting the dog, an action which Hamish rewarded with a friendly tail wag.
After a few more moments of silence, Sherlock stopped his pacing and began speaking in that quick, animated tone that shows he's close to a breakthrough.
"Here's what we know. The murderer enters the home with some kind of pretense, probably makes small talk for a few minutes, but he can't begin his search while she's in here with him. He must have come up with something to convince her to leave the room. Then, with her gone, he started searching through the drawer—clearly he was familiar enough with Ms. Travers flat to know where she keeps her valuables— but he couldn't find it, and then, then— he must have realized that she was wearing it!"
"It? What it?"
"It! The piece of jewelry! Whatever it was that he came here to find. You see, once he realized she was wearing it, he had to make a decision. He could try to come back later, but then what if she had it on the next time too? Likely he didn't have much time to make up his mind either. She must have come back into the room, forcing him to act. He grabbed the lamp from the table and knocked her unconscious while her back was turned. He probably didn't intend to kill her, and once he realized his mistake, he panicked."
"What makes you think that he panicked?"
"Presumably, once she was dead, he had all the time he needed to make a clean escape, but if you look closely at the back of her neck, you'll see tiny scratches and signs that some of her hair has been torn out. She must have been wearing it—the necklace that he came to retrieve—but it got tangled up in her hair, and in his haste he ripped it off her, and then ran out the front door."
John looked like he was prepared to throw in one of his typical "That's brilliant" remarks, but Lestrade responded first.
"Still doesn't give us much to go on."
With a sigh and a do I have to do everything? expression, Sherlock demanded, "Let me see her mobile phone."
"Her mobile phone?"
"Yes, her phone. Let me see it."
Lestrade shrugged and nodded to Donovan, who went and grabbed the phone from the evidence bag, handing it over with a disapproving look.
Sherlock silently flipped through the phone for a few seconds, before tossing it back to Lestrade.
"Find anything useful?"
"No, nothing of importance."
John knew Sherlock was lying, but apparently no one else caught on.
"I believe I've given you more than enough to go on for now. Let me know if there are any further developments."
Sherlock then turned and said, "Hamish, come."
And with that, the two men and the dog left the building.
"Sherlock, tell me again why we're hiding in the dead lady's bushes at midnight?"
"I told, you—we're here to catch the murderer."
"So you already know who killed her?"
"Yes, of course."
"But you told Lestrade that you didn't know yet."
"I like to keep him guessing. Besides, I didn't know for sure until I completed a few additional inquiries."
"Well, if you expect me to spend the rest of the night hiding in the shrubbery, you better at least tell me why we're here and who we're after."
With a long suffering sigh, Sherlock began to explain.
"The murderer was someone she knew, but not just anyone—they were lovers. He was married, although when they commenced their relationship, he was separated from his wife. Foolishly, he gave the victim a necklace that belonged to his wife—not a very bright move, but he's a politician so what can you expect? He—"
"How do you know he's a politician?"
Sherlock waved his hand dismissively.
"I'll get to that in a moment. Anyway, this man, her lover, must have been unaware of the value of the necklace—again not very bright. Even a cursory examination is enough to ascertain that it's an heirloom, probably worth a bit of money, one of a kind, and more importantly, of great sentimental value to the wife. Even more to the point, if Ms. Travers had been sighted wearing this necklace by anyone who knew its origins, he risked discovery."
"How do you know so much about this necklace?"
Without a word, Sherlock reached into his pocket and pulled out—
Incredulous, John asked, "How did you find it?"
"I didn't. Hamish did, when he was investigating under the house."
"Dogs don't investigate."
"Clever dogs do. And Hamish is a very clever dog."
As he spoke, Sherlock gave Hamish a fond pat on the head, and Hamish wagged his tail amiably.
John just rolled his eyes.
"You know, Lestrade's not going to be pleased when he finds out you're withholding evidence again."
"Oh, he'll get over it when we hand over the murderer."
"So you do actually know who the murderer is?"
"Then why didn't you just tell Lestrade that in the first place?"
"Because this is much more fun. We haven't done this nearly enough since you got married. And more to the point, I needed proof, although that wasn't too hard to come by. The perpetrator has made a number of foolish mistake."
"So how did the rest of this happen? He just decided he wanted the necklace back and then ended up accidentally killing her?"
"More or less. You see, Mr. Nigel Hughes—"
"Wait, I recognize that name. Isn't he running for—"
Sherlock interrupted impatiently before John could even finish.
"Yes, exactly! How would it look to be in the middle of divorce while campaigning for public office? Even worse, to have an affair come to light, especially after Ms. Travers's paper has been providing such complimentary news coverage. Of course, once he decided to break things off, he needed to retrieve that necklace."
"Couldn't he just ask her for it back?"
"That would seem the obvious course of action, yes. I suspect that Ms. Travers didn't know the origins of this particular piece of jewelry, and he was loathe to reveal the truth. Or maybe he asked and she refused. That small detail isn't important."
"But how were you able to figure out it was Hughes?"
"A quick perusal of her mobile phone gave me all the information I needed. A professional woman like Ms. Travers has a very comprehensive list of contacts, and yet, one number showed up repeatedly in her phone history without a name or contact information attached to it. Naturally, I committed the number to memory, got in touch with a few well-placed bureaucrats, which allowed me to trace the number to our Mr. Hughes. I made a few further inquiries—a homeless network really is indispensable—and stopped by Ms. Travers's workplace to catch up on a little gossip—"
"But why are we sitting in the bushes?"
Sherlock seemed undeterred by John's obvious frustration.
"Because Mr. Hughes will have realized that he dropped the necklace in his haste to flee the scene, but he'll only come to look search for it after nightfall. He may have already tried to find it last night, but clearly he didn't find what he was looking for, since Hamish discovered it earlier today. I expect he'll return again tonight, and when he comes, we'll be waiting."
It was only a little while later, right on cue, that a tall man, dressed casually but smartly, came around the corner and—after doing a cursory glance around the block—walked up the short path to the front porch of the dead woman's house. At that point he was so busy scanning the ground that he was completely oblivious to the two men and one dog who were looking on from only a few feet away.
Hamish watched the tall figure carefully, ears perked up at full attention. John had his hand on the gun in his coat pocket, ready, just in case. Sherlock was also watching carefully, until a moment later when, without explanation, he shoved Hamish's leash into John's hand, and jumped out of the bushes.
"Looking for this?"
The other man immediately turned around to see Sherlock there, holding the necklace in his hand, stone glimmering in the moonlight.
"Who the fuck are you?"
Sherlock took another step forward, and at the same moment, the man reached behind him—
With a muttered stay to Hamish, John dropped the leash and jumped out from behind the bushes, weapon in hand, but Hughes already had his gun leveled at Sherlock's head. To John, he said, "Drop it."
John hesitated, but when the man shouted again, "Drop it, now!" John carefully set his weapon down on the ground.
For his part, Sherlock did not seem particularly phased by the man aiming a gun at his head.
"So what are you going to do now? Kill us both? Haven't enough people died already, and all over a silly necklace?"
"I wasn't planning on killing her."
"Lesson learned, then. Don't bash people in the head with lamps if you intend for them to live. And don't bring a gun to a crime scene if you're not intending to shoot someone."
"What makes you think I won't shoot you?"
"To start, we are in a well-populated, respectable neighborhood. I can't imagine it will do great things for your political career if you're discovered threatening people at gun point. And you thought the affair would be bad for business—"
"Just shut up, shut up right now!"
The perpetrator had initially looked unsure, nervous, but now his body was tense, and he was clearly getting very close to some sort of limit.
John was starting to worry that Sherlock had pushed this man too far and began calculating whether he could get to his gun and fire off a round before Hughes could respond. Then John saw something change in the other man's expression. Hughes shifted from desperation to determination, and his finger started to move towards the trigger with purpose—
But Sherlock saw it too, and he shouted, loud enough to wake the whole neighborhood—
The man with the gun only had an instant to register a look of confusion on his face, because a moment later—in a blur of motion and brown fur—Hamish jumped out of the bushes and lunged at the man, grabbing his extended forearm and knocking the man to the ground.
What had only moments ago seemed like a dire situation had quickly turned around in their favor. The murderer found himself pinned to the ground by a suddenly very vicious looking hound, and Sherlock now had the gun in his hand.
"A word of warning. Hamish is a lot like a bear. As long as you play dead, he probably won't eat you."
Somehow that reassurance did little to ease the prone man's anxiety.
"Get this bloody terror off of me!"
In a bored tone, Sherlock said, "Ah, very well."
And then a bit more forcefully, he added "Hamish, off!
At that command, Hamish, backed away a few paces, although when the murderer started to scramble to his feet, he bared his teeth again, and began to inch forward—
"If you'd like your jugular to remain attached to your throat, I recommend you lie back down on the ground immediately and don't move."
Sherlock directed his next comment to John, who was steadily aiming his gun at the perpetrator's head.
"John, if you would be so kind, could you give our friends over at Scotland Yard a call? Let them know that we have the suspect in custody."
It didn't take very long for Lestrade to show up and arrest Hughes, although the Detective Inspector made a few choice comments about withholding evidence that Sherlock mostly chose to ignore.
After a little while, the excitement had settled down, and most of the officers had left the scene. For his part, Sherlock was in the middle of telling Hamish what a clever dog he was when John interrupted.
"Did you really train your dog to respond to Vatican Cameos?"
Sherlock shrugged in response.
"It only seemed fitting that our new partner in crime would follow the same code as us."
John looked thoughtful for a moment before following up.
"What other useful tricks have you taught that thing?"
"A fair number, but I think I'll save those for another time. Wouldn't do to spoil the surprise."
"Yes, well, this day certainly has been full of surprises."
Choosing to ignore John's tone of voice, Sherlock asked, "Hungry?"
"Would you care to join me for dinner at Angelo's?"
"Will it be joining us?"
"Of course. "
"And Angelo is okay with that?"
"Yes, he's been very welcoming to my new charge. In fact, Hamish is quite fond of Angelo, although I suspect that has a lot to do with the endless supply of meat that Angelo provides."
"Isn't that a little, you know, unhygienic? Bringing a dog around to a restaurant?"
"Clearly you've never spent much time in commercial kitchens."
"And you have?"
"Yes, in fact, for one case, I spent four days undercover, posing as a member of the wait staff at a small French Bistro."
John rolled his eyes, but he made no further objections as the three of them—two men and the one dog—made their way through the London streets on their way to celebrate the successful completion of another case.
A/N: This was my first attempt at a "case fic" so I hope it turned out okay. I usually prefer to focus on dialogue and character development, but I really wanted to do a story with Hamish helping solve a crime, so I did my best to come up with evidence, motive, etc. I also tried to balance humor with not being too ridiculous. I know there were parts of this story that were a little implausible, but my main goal was to try to come up with something that made for an enjoyable read, even if it wasn't necessarily an airtight mystery story.
I've got at least one more short installment planned, so stay tuned for that. I'm also open to continuing the story further, so if you have anything particular you'd like to see, let me know, and I'll see what I can do.
Again, thanks for reading, and if you have a moment to leave a review, I would love to hear what you thought of the story :)