"As opposed to the previously described pyramid of reason, the dark corners of experience are not unlike a labyrinth where all sensations, all feelings are enhanced, but where no overview is present to provide a clue about how to get out."
-Bernard Tschumi, the Architectural Paradox
Greg Lestrade would never tell anyone, especially his co-workers, that sometimes he really worried about Sherlock Holmes. In an older-brother sort of way. Not that Sherlock Holmes needed another person to worry about him, but still.
Even when Sherlock got on his nerves, or forgot his first name, or stole his badge, he was sort of fond of the younger man. He was more fond of him when he helped with cases, instead of being annoying prick, but it was all rolled together in one package.
May had started to turn into June, and Greg had started to worry about Sherlock. It's not that he thought the detective was in danger, because he knew well that the younger Holmes could certainly protect himself. It's just that it's been almost a month, and he hadn't seen Sherlock. Usually, the detective would be so stir-crazy that he would be bothering Greg every day if there was yet an interesting case.
As it was, Sherlock must have had something to keep him preoccupied during the last few weeks. This is what most worried Greg. He didn't think Sherlock would turn back to narcotics, but you just never know. He considered, once or twice, texting Mycroft Holmes, but decided that this would be a great betrayal in his and Sherlock's...professional relationship.
He did run into John Watson, and had no reservations about asking him. John however, wasn't in the least bit helpful. He smiled at Greg, and said verbatim:
"Maybe he found someone magical to occupy his time."
The implication was ludicrous. Sherlock didn't do that. He didn't know the detective's private life in intimate detail, but he knew for sure that he didn't do that. Even if he did, Lestrade thought there wasn't anyone magical enough in all of Great Britain to keep Sherlock occupied 24/7.
What Greg needed was a good case for Sherlock. A clever case, or a gory case, or something interesting. But that didn't seem forthcoming.
It was a very calm month. Even the weather seemed to agree, as the heat made everything hazy, and the people sluggish. Greg had been enjoying the warmth, but the nagging worry about the detective was still there.
He was almost ready to drop in on Sherlock, and visit his flat (and see if he was still in one piece, and more or less sober), when him and the boys were called to an empty warehouse. The body of young girl, was laying out on the dusty floor, and her eyes looked out, cold and empty. A jagged cut ran from her pelvis all the way to her throat.
Quickly, Greg took out his phone and sent Sherlock a short text.
"HM is back. Come directly."
Sherlock was all alone. How long had he been here? It seemed like it's been centuries since he's been trapped here, all alone, in this darkness. He was standing in a dark catacomb-like hallway, lit by torches. The ceiling was low and oppressive, and seemed to swallow the meager firelight. There were other passages twisting this way and that, and he had no idea which way he was supposed to go. There was no meaning to his existence here, but to to slowly wander around, trying to memorize the chaotic web of stone hallways. He slowly paced through the labyrinth, bemoaning his solitude with a deep, tenor 'Mooo.'
Suddenly, he heard footsteps just around the corner. How was this possible? No one ever came to his labyrinth. It had been his prison, no one else was supposed to be able to enter. That had been his curse, eternal loneliness in this stone cage. But, yes, around the corner, there was someone coming. He couldn't believe it. Someone was here, finally. His heart sped up. A torchlight was moving closer, and that someone was turning the corner. Sherlock tried to hide in the shadows. He was a monster, no one would want to meet him in this horrible maze. He didn't want to scare this stranger.
But the stranger ran right up to him, carrying a torch in one hand, with a long string coming out of his pocket, trailing behind him. Sherlock stood up. The stranger had black hair, and shining green eyes. He knew him, he thought. The stranger reached out his hand and his mouth blurred, as he spoke:
"We can make it out of here, come on. Let's go together."
The man motioned with his hand, and started running the opposite direction, down the long hallway. Sherlock didn't need telling twice, as he started to run after the man.
The man was fast, but Sherlock was even faster. His strong hooves made cacophonous sounds against the stone floor, as he ran after the man and his torchlight. He was gaining on the man, running so fast, his horns long and sharp, in front of him. They were reaching a wall, and Sherlock kept gaining on the man, unable to slow his pace. He knew what would happen, but he tried so hard to stop, slow down by any means.
The man suddenly stopped and turned, looking right at Sherlock. Sherlock couldn't stop though, and his horns were aimed right for the man, and he kept running. Stop, stop please, he pleaded with himself. It was to no avail. He kept moving forward, the momentum carrying him, and he felt the man's body make contact with the wall that was right behind them now. His sharp horn pierced the man's flesh, penetrating his ribcage. He felt warm organs make way, as his horn firmly lodged into the man's yielding body. The man cried out in pain, pinned to the stone behind him.
Sherlock reeled back, horrified by what he'd done. A dark stain began to spread on the man's chest, as he sagged against the wall. No, oh god no. What had he done? He tried to apologize, tried to tell the dark haired man how very, very sorry he was. But all that could come out of his mouth was a melancholy "Moooooo."
The man looked up at him. He was grimacing in pain, but he tried to smile. It was a crooked, jagged line of a smile.
"It's okay, I know." The man said before his eyes closed...
Sherlock woke up with a groan. It took him a few moments to try to dispel this strange dream from his waking mind. He really hated sleeping. Especially when his brain decided it was going to be stubborn and ridiculous, and not let him forget the dream as soon as he woke up. His heart was still thumping in his chest, and Sherlock tried to close his eyes, and stuff the dream somewhere far away, and forget it.
A part of his mind, the one that was trained in Jungian psychology and symbolism, sprang to work trying to dissect what the dream meant. Before it could sputter out the conclusion, the other parts of his brain simultaneously yelled at it to shut up. Great, now his own brain was having internal conflicts.
He looked over to his clock and the display read 6:17 am. The sun would just be coming up, and Sherlock noted the light glow behind the curtains of his windows. He'd only gone to sleep four hours ago.
Sherlock generally didn't sleep much, but in the recent week, he found that he could sleep even less. Every night, he would have these dreams that would leave him panting, drenched in sweat, and his heart hammering away against his ribcage. They were all slightly different, but certainly all centered around Potter. None of them were nightmares precisely. But they were growing more and more...Sherlock really didn't have a word for it. Persistent? Mystical? Obnoxious?
It seemed that he had dug a little too far into his subconscious that day after Diagon Alley, and it was now pouring out, hemorrhaging while he slept. Sherlock clearly remembered his momentary madness, when he almost reached out and petted the wizard's hair. That was the start of it. He wished he could say that the was the only instance, but Sherlock was now convinced that he was slowly going mad.
Just last evening, as he watched Harry drinking cup of tea, Sherlock noticed his Adam's apple, bob up and down. Again, the amazing need to reach out and put his hand against it almost overwhelmed Sherlock. Examining it later, Sherlock thought that perhaps he had a subconscious urge to choke the wizard? That explanation, however, didn't fit with the rest of the detective's insanity. Petting and strangling hardly went together.
Running his hands through his damp hair, Sherlock thought he might as well get on with the day. He staggered out of his bedroom, and into the shower, the dream still playing vividly through his mind.
When Sherlock entered the kitchen, he found that Harry was already up and happily munching on toast and marmalade. He was also reading a newspaper, that was floating in front of him, the pages lazily turning, and folding themselves. His wizard flatmate looked perfectly content, and this irritated Sherlock to the extreme. He hated mornings.
The detective flopped himself down with a groan, and shoveled some breakfast into his own plate, trying to ignore Harry's annoyingly chipper expression. As though whatever was in that paper was any reason to look happy, thought Sherlock. There wasn't even a single interesting homicide. Two bank robberies, and one jealous wife that poisoned her husband. That's all the City of London could provide for a nearly a month. Finally, the wizard that shared 221B with Sherlock had agreed to come with him, to assist on crime scenes, and it seemed that every bloodthirsty maniac in the United Kingdom simultaneously wanted a vacation.
He moodily stirred cream into his coffee, giving the wizard a dark look.
"How do you not get bored?" Sherlock's tone was bitter, as he felt. It really wasn't fair that he was simmering in frustration from not having any cases, and slowly going mad on top of that.
"With reading the paper? It changes every day, you know." The wizard answered lightly. He always answered things so lightly, Sherlock thought. One would think being a child soldier, and then a fugitive on the run, would have given Harry a bit more edge.
But Sherlock had found that Harry was always very amicable, and very mild mannered. Which might be a good thing, considering that Sherlock had a habit of getting on peoples nerves.
There was something wrong with the wizard.
Sherlock wanted to pin his personality as resembling Molly's, who was always letting people step all over her, and never got angry because of her passivity. But it wasn't exactly like that. It was like there were pieces of the wizard missing, Sherlock thought. Despite the fact that Harry seemed to get along fine, it was like he was hollow, his reactions to things completely subdued.
Harry looked up to find that Sherlock was intently staring at him. The wizard looked back in confusion.
"Something on my face?" He asked.
Sherlock snatched the morning's paper from mid air, where it was hovering, and growled 'No,' letting some of his frustration come out.
Harry however, kept going on with his breakfast, as though that was a perfectly normal thing. Sherlock recalled doing the exact same thing to John, and the doctor snapped at him, and gave him a 'you don't just grab things' lecture. Maybe John was just an angrier person, compared to Potter?
That might be it, Sherlock concluded. He was used to John, and maybe Harry's lack of outbursts seemed strange in comparison. He'd only ever had those two flatmates after all.
Breakfast was over, and Harry flicked his wand at the dishes. They flew into the sink, and commenced washing themselves. Indeed, the flat had looked marginally cleaner since the wizard moved in. There were a lot of perks to living with a wizard.
Sherlock might complain that his lack of cases was boring him, but he wasn't nearly as bad off as he would be Harry-less. True, he wanted a bit more action, a bit more running around London trying to catch someone with a loaded pistol. He didn't really mind research either, though. Specifically, research into magic. It was a good thing, that almost a month into their living arrangements, Potter was still willing to perform any spell, or explain any theory to Sherlock.
Sherlock's fingers found his phone in the pocket of his dressing gown. He took it out, seeing if perhaps there was any news from Lestrade. He looked through his inbox.
He saw again the text from Hermione Granger requesting his presence, that Sherlock had still not replied to. It was nearly a week since she'd sent it. Sherlock meant to reply, hovering over it numerous times. He knew that she must have found something out, and it would beneficial in helping him investigate Harry's case.
Every time he thought of replying however, he could see the conclusion of the case: Harry walking out of 221B in high spirits, able to walk the streets free, able to live in the wizarding world again, and leaving Sherlock. The detective just wasn't ready to relinquish his hold on the wizard yet. He could always get to his case later, he reasoned. It's been 15 years since he was charged with the crime, a couple more months wouldn't hurt him.
He was sure that if he made the appropriate excuse to Hermione, he could get back into her good graces. If she knew who he was, she knew he was a busy man. It was easy to put the case from his mind. Especially since Harry seemed to be perfectly content hiding out in Baker Street with him. In fact the wizard seemed just as content as Sherlock with not pursuing his innocence.
So Sherlock focused on studying magic, and casually glancing at his website, to see if any interesting cases would crop up. He had thought that it would be another slow day, where he would try to rationalize the chemistry behind Potions, and made notes about charming light bulbs, when his cell buzzed.
He quickly read the text from Lestrade, the meaning registering in less than a second, and his body automatically sprang him from the table.
Finally! He'd been waiting almost a year for this. He grinned at Potter, who was looking at him with mild alarm.
"There's a case, a really good one. We have to go as soon as possible." Not hearing Potter's reply, Sherlock dashed to his room and took out a paper bag. He ran back into the kitchen, and dumped the contents on the table.
There were a few wigs, glasses, and cosmetics. If he was going to go with a wanted criminal, he'd have to invest some time in disguising him. Sherlock surveyed the things in front of him, and looked back at Potter, assessing what would be the best fit. Potter was looking down at the table, his lips twitching upwards.
Sherlock grabbed a shaggy light-brown wig, and a mustache to start, with a little tube of costume glue. Armed with these things he made his way towards Potter. Well, jumped his way towards Potter, really. The wizard must have figured what was coming however, and expertly ducked out of the way, and dodged behind the table.
"What are you doing? What is that?" Harry pointed to the shaggy wig, with equal disgust and hilarity.
"Seeing as you're wanted, you can't exactly stroll around London sans disguise. Although, you're welcome to try. I haven't broken anyone out of jail in too long. Might be fun to try again." Sherlock explained, holding the contents of his hands out for Potter to examine. Harry approached cautiously and picked at the wig, holding it by one strand of hair.
"You expect me to wear this? It looks like something furry that expired ages ago. Is it muggle fashion now to put dead mammals on your head?"
"Strange, I didn't seem to hear your brilliant idea? Besides, your hair was even longer and messier than this when I first found you." Sherlock was becoming exasperated. It was a perfectly fine wig, one that he'd used a few times. Deciding he wasn't having more of Potter's nonsense, he deftly grabbed the mess of brown curls, and planted it on the wizard's head. Harry gave a squawk of indignation, and tried to bend away, but Sherlock's slight advantage in height was working for him.
Harry must have been curious now, as he took out his wand and gave a complicated twirl. A mirror appeared in front of them, and he examined himself. Just when Sherlock was about to get the mustache on, Harry began to laugh.
"This is ridiculous, nobody would be fooled by this." He said, plucking the brown curls off his head.
"That's because you have to adjust it first. We'll do that later. Come here, I have to glue this mustache on..."
The wizard immediately back away, his eyes widened with horror.
"No thank you! I'd rather not have another person's hair stuck to my face. Besides, I can do this myself." Harry said, then pointed his wand at his own chin. He squeezed his eyes in concentration, and after a few second, a magnificent handlebar mustache appeared on his face, along with a pointed beard that looked very stately.
Sherlock thought it looked very natural, sprouting from Harry's face as though it belonged there. It would be a very good disguise, if it weren't for the fact that the facial hair ensemble was a bright fire-engine red.
Harry noticed this too, looking in the mirror, and uttered a quiet curse. He began twirling his wand over his face, muttering spells. The mustache turned into an auburn, off-red color, that was more or less natural. The beard was more resilient though, and turned a deep shade of plum.
Sherlock remembered now that Harry had gone on a little excursion with John. All the details of their trip to the pub didn't seem significant that evening, as he had spent it panicking that Harry had been caught, and was being held in wizard prison. Then, analyzing why he did panic, because he almost certainly didn't care about Potter that much. Now, he realized that he must have had a way to alter his appearance, in order to accompany John.
"Hmph, you could have told me you could do it with magic." Sherlock dropped the costume pieces back onto the table, now closely examining Harry's progress.
"I would have. If you'd given me a chance, instead of chasing me around with bits of dead hair..." Harry was trying to get his now ginger beard to turn a natural auburn. He succeeded, but unfortunately the mustache also changed into a canary yellow.
"They're synthetic fibers, not 'dead hair'..." Sherlock was watching transfixed as Harry's beard wiggled rebelliously, and went back to it's original bright red.
"Oh sod this!" Harry muttered, and wiped the facial hair off, with a sharp jab of his wand.
He closed his eyes, and twirled his wand with what Sherlock noticed was more ease, as though he knew these movements by heart. Potter shrank a bit in height, and his hair became much shorter, and a bit balding, and gray. A beard appeared, but it was a very well-trimmed, professor type beard, that was silver. A few more flicks, and Potter now had more wrinkles around his eyes, and his face was rounder and flabbier. The only thing redeeming about his new appearance were the piercing blue eyes, Sherlock thought. His features were still there, and Sherlock thought he would be able to pick him out, but he knew for certain no one else could. No one ever really payed attention.
Potter now looked like a completely different person, true, but he also looked ancient, and well, boring. The red goatee might be a bit extreme, but it was much more exciting than this aging-dentist-look.
Harry looked in the mirror, and seemed satisfied with his work.
"I think I'm ready, then." He said, and Sherlock scoffed. He took out his phone and sent a text to Lestrade.
Will arrive in an hour or two. Try to keep forensics from completely destroying all the evidence, in the meantime. -SH
"Right," he turned back to old-dentist-Harry, who had an expectant look, as though he seriously thought he was going out like that.
"Can you change back to how you were before?" Harry did, appearing again as the skinny and handsome wizard that was now familiar to Sherlock. Wait no, not handsome. Rather worn looking, and bespectacled, Sherlock quickly reminded himself. Maybe pleasant looking, at most. Sherlock's perceptive eyes did pick something up, near Harry's forehead, as he changed back. Like a small jagged line that was there for the briefest moment.
"Why was it easier for you to turn into that old man, and not the previous alteration?" Sherlock asked, vaguely pointing at his own chin to remind Harry of the goatee he saw him attempt..
"The more you practice, the easier it becomes. It's hard to improvise a new appearance on the spot. I've been using that 'old man' pretty much anytime I had to leave my hideout." Harry explained.
"Well, that will not be happening again. I certainly won't be seen with someone who could pass as my father. Let's figure out a new look, shall we?" Sherlock said. This would be a fun start to the case. It wasn't everyday that you got to chose what your assistant looked like.
"I don't see why it matters. That disguise was good enough for John."
"Yes, and John wears hideous sweaters the color of oatmeal, so let's not defer to him on matters of style."
"I thought we were in a rush? Something about a really good case, and we had to go directly?"
"Not to worry," Sherlock pulled out his phone, and grinned at Harry, "they won't expect us for a few hours, at least."
Sherlock began to issue command after command, on what he wanted Potter to look like, starting with his height and eye color. Harry groaned, but did attempt to follow. It took him a few times to get the details right, and Sherlock could see that Harry wasn't finding this easy.
"...and do bring back that goatee, that was very fetching. Though perhaps not exactly in that palette of colors." Sherlock drawled, as Harry was transfiguring his hair to be wavy and reddish, under Sherlock's orders.
"Hold on! Human transfiguration is a difficult branch of magic..."
"You said the same thing about potions, and it couldn't be simpler." Sherlock replied.
"Just because not all of us are geniuses." Harry muttered under his breath. He did bring back the mustache and beard, though it was less flamboyant than the previous handlebar. The wizard then proceeded to add wrinkles to his eyes and around his mouth, though this was certainly not ordered by Sherlock.
"What are you doing? I thought I made my opinion on geriatrics quite clear." Sherlock said.
"Age is the best way to disguise yourself." Harry replied, as though it was an obvious fact.
Sherlock agreed, but they had magic!
"Fine, but can't you make yourself look younger instead?"
"Not with any ease. Subtracting is much harder than adding. I would need a potion most likely. To be honest, I've never attempted it." he said.
Sherlock narrowed his eyes, and critically appraised Harry's new appearance. He was certainly older than the actual Potter, but he supposed that was fine. If there was a risk of Harry turning into a teenager, he'd rather avoid it. The wizard was taller now, and was still very skinny. He had wavy auburn hair, and a beard. He had a thinner face now, and his nose was longer. He had blue eyes, and had transfigured his circular glasses into something more square and modern.
The wizard was looking at his reflection with amusement, and something that looked like melancholy. Sherlock quickly guessed at what he was thinking.
"Look like someone you know?" he asked.
"Yes. A bit. Not enough for anyone to make the connection, though." Harry flicked his wand at the mirror, and it popped out of existence.
"Are we all sorted then?" He asked.
"Nearly. The robes might draw some attention." Sherlock had a plan for this, and there was no way Harry was backing out. The wizard did attempt it, waving his wand over his clothes. They changed into a sad, gray jacket and jumper.
Sherlock scoffed, and shook his head. He pulled Harry along to his own room. Now that the wizard was slightly taller, he and Sherlock would be the exact same size. Which means he could fit into Sherlock's clothes and not have to wear those ridiculous tatters. Really, this was overdue.
Sherlock had been so preoccupied with magic, he forgot his earlier resolution to have Harry throw out, or possibly disintegrate, all his old wizard clothes.
He began searching through his drawers for something that would be appropriate. Harry stood behind him, staring around the room.
"You know, I imagined your bedroom would have way more...experiments." He said in an offhand way.
"I tend to keep those in kitchen, if you haven't noticed."
"Yes, I have." Harry chuckled.
Sherlock located the clothes he thought would be the best fit, and thrust them at Harry, telling him to go change. It was the detective's fault, but they were running late now. Not that tardiness bothered Sherlock in the slightest. Lestrade could wait. If Sherlock was lucky, they might have come up with some brilliantly wrong conclusions about the crime. Oh, how Sherlock loved those. Well, loved correcting them, really.
The wizard hardly argued with having to change his wardrobe. He was probably growing used to the detective's demanding nature, by this point.
Sherlock had the wizard apparate both of them onto the roof of a residential block. Roofs were nearly always empty, he reasoned. They were in Harlesden, about a half a mile from their destination. Just the simple ability to instantly transport themselves anywhere made the wizard an incredibly valuable assistant. It wasn't altogether pleasant, but so incredibly efficient. In current traffic, it would have taken them ages to get here.
They'd taken a staircase down to street level, and Sherlock began to quickly cover the distance to the crime scene. Harry was keeping up behind him, though not without some complaint.
"How do you breathe in this thing? It's ridiculously tight." He muttered, and tried to unfasten the topmost buttons of his gray tailored shirt. Sherlock promptly slapped his hand away. So what if his shirts were tight? It's not like he, as well as Harry, didn't have the figure for it.
"They're not tight, stop squirming."
"They are. Are you sure they're even men's?" Sherlock glowered at him, and decided to ignore that question.
They were nearing an old brick building, three stories tall, with yellow tape around its perimeter. The shops on the lower levels had been closed for several years, by Sherlock's estimation, and the building itself would soon be demolished. In short, abandoned. Perfect place for his killer to dump the body.
Sally was standing at the edge of the tape. As they approached her, her eyes narrowed spotting Sherlock. Then, just as suddenly, they widened when she saw Harry.
"Morning, Sally." Sherlock tried to keep as much bitterness out of his tone as possible. No use antagonizing her so early in the day.
"You're here, are you?" She said back to Sherlock, not trying to keep things civil on her end.
"It would appear so." Sometimes Sherlock liked to switch things around on her, and confuse her. Start out nice and polite, then mention that the man she was seeing actually had a wife and three children. Nothing got her going faster.
"And who's this?" She said, pointing at Harry. The wizard, who probably sensed the tension between them, attempted to be cordial as well.
"Allen Dore, pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss...?" He offered his hand and even gave her a little bow. Sherlock rolled his eyes. He could have come up with a more interesting name than that. Although he was pleased to note that Sally now looked flustered, not wanting to be outright rude to Sherlock, in front of his handsome new assistant.
He could certainly admit that disguised Harry was handsome, nothing wrong with that.
"Sgt Donovan." She blurted out, and shook his hand. "What's he, your new lab rat?" She turned to Sherlock again, with an accusing glare.
"Friend of mine, actually." Sherlock said, as Donovan scoffed. "Sally, you know very well you have orders to let me, and anyone with me, through. I don't appreciate you wasting my time."
She glared at him one more time, and wordlessly pulled up the tape. He hurried through, Harry behind him. Sherlock noted her bracelet, as it was revealed under her long sleeves, when she raised her arm. He quickly deduced it's origin. He hung back for a few seconds, standing near Sally. This was too good to pass up.
"You should know, he gave another woman that bracelet first. She rejected it, and you got landed with her gift." Sherlock said this quietly. Part of it was that he did like making her angry, and this was the sure fire way. There was another part, but he certainly would never admit it.
"Enjoy ogling the corpses, freak!" She spat after him. Yes, especially since this was usually her reaction.
Harry was looking between the two of them, with his eyebrows scrunched up. Sherlock ignored him, and made his way towards the building.
When they were out of the earshot of Sally Donovan, Harry stopped, and turned to him. Oh great, more distractions. Didn't anyone realize there was a case to be solved? A small part of Sherlock whispered that he'd just spent an hour making the wizard transfigure himself exactly to his liking, when it was just as practical for Harry to use the old man disguise. He promptly told that voice to stuff it.
"Why do you let that woman talk to you like that?" Harry asked. He still had a concerned expression, and his glare was something that Sherlock hadn't seen on Potter's face before.
"I don't let her do anything, she goes on without my permission" Perfectly true, thought Sherlock. Harry seemed to gather himself. He had a peculiar look to his face, one that didn't quite belong. Perhaps it was the magical disguise?
"Well, you're not a freak. You're a genius, and the only person in Great Britain that believes me." His tone was slightly raised, which once again, didn't seem like it belonged to Harry. It almost seemed like he was angry, but not exactly...
"I'm not sure how that disqualifies me." Answered Sherlock. He narrowed his eyes, and surveyed Potter. Yes, angry is what he seemed, considering the tone and the glare, and the furrowed eyebrows. But Sherlock was a good actor, and he knew acting when he saw it. And Potter was definitely acting. So why was Harry pretending to be outraged on his behalf?
If he were genuinely outraged, that would be understandable. John had been, on a few occasions. It was always nice when his doctor stood up for him. Not that he needed it, but still.
But the wizard wasn't truly angry, Sherlock could see that. His eyes were sad, maybe worried, but not angry. For some odd reason, Potter had the urge to act out his anger, when he didn't actually feel any. How odd.
Sherlock tilted his head and studied the wizard, with his penetrating gaze. He wasn't sure what to think of this. Should he be glad, that Harry wanted to 'defend his honor,' or whatever he was trying to do? Or irritated, since it was obvious the wizard was attempting to lie with his body language.
He wasn't lying about what he said though, which was comforting. Sherlock decided to dissect this matter later, when they were at Baker Street, and not in Harlesden on a case.
Lestrade was standing in the lower landing, giving orders to two of his 'forensics specialists.'
"Finally, I thought you weren't coming! Who's this?" He pointed at Harry, but then answered his own question.
"Oh, I remember, new assistant. You in medicine?" Before Harry could answer, Sherlock decided he would be the one making things up.
"Allen Dore," Sherlock introduced him with a drawl, wishing Harry had picked a better pseudonym, "Professor of Occult History at Cambridge." He distinctly saw Harry's lips twitch.
"Oh, right then." Lestrade looked confused, which was an expression he wore a lot, especially around Sherlock. His confusion cleared in a moment though, and he changed the subject.
"Alright Sherlock, I don't get the chance to say this often, so I'm really gonna enjoy this." Lestrade took a big breath, readying himself. "You were wrong." He said, with a note of something close to triumph.
"Hmmmm did you enjoy that?" Sherlock asked, humoring the DI.
"Yes." He replied, shamelessly.
"Good, because I'm not."
"You said he emigrated! This is the work of the Harlesden Maniac, for sure, and according to you, he left for greener pastures eight months ago."
"And he did." Sherlock wasn't 100% positive that this was the work of the infamous Harlesden Maniac, until Lestrade took him to the upper landing.
A girl, in her teens, was laying on the floor, with the familiar jagged cut reaching from her pelvis to her throat. She had dirty blonde hair, dyed from it's original brown, and wide blue eyes. Sherlock would guess that she was about fifteen, and lived somewhere in a 10 mile radius of here.
Yes, this was almost certainly the Harlesden maniac's work. Sherlock brain quickly recalled all the relevant data he gathered over the years.
Caucasian, about 5'4", in the habit of murdering young women, and dumping them in abandoned warehouses. His murders had been strung along several years now, and Sherlock truly admired him. He was cold, intelligent, and very hard to catch. But Sherlock had known, as well as he knew that June followed May, that another one was coming. He had a good feeling, almost intuitive, that it would be the last murder the man would commit. Sherlock had gotten so close to him, then. He didn't have a name or a face, but those were just details. As soon as he found out the man's identification, the rest of the evidence was there, waiting to put the lunatic behind bars.
Then, suddenly, his crime spree stopped. He was either dead, or had left the country, and Sherlock had good reason to believe it was the latter.
Upon entering the room, he noticed the wizard going completely pale, and scooting towards the edge of the room. Sherlock supposed it was natural reaction to the saw Harry's gaze flickering over the northeast corner of the room. Sherlock looked there himself, but saw that it was completely empty.
"So, if he emigrated, how come there's another victim?" Lestrade voice sounded behind him.
"Is it not possible that he could return to England?" Sherlock bent over the body, taking out his rectangular magnifying glass. He lifted her hand gingerly, and examined her fingers.
"But he did sell his home." Sherlock concluded. "He burnt off their fingerprints with chemicals, post mortem, when he was active before. This was done with...a hot plate, I think. No chance to store dangerous corrosives in a hotel, I suppose."
"You think he did this in a hotel room?" Lestrade asked, with disbelief.
Sherlock stood up, in irritation.
"Of course not, don't be daft!" He looked over at Potter, who was still staring at the same empty corner. Something clicked in Sherlock's head. If he was staring there, maybe he was seeing something that Sherlock wasn't.
"Right, I'm going to need some time alone here, if you please." He said to Lestrade, motioning towards the door.
"Now, hold on, I can't leave you in here alone..." The DI stammered.
"No, no of course the rules. I won't tell if you don't." Sherlock tried bodily forcing him from the room, but only got as far as the door.
"Sherlock, I can't..."
"Yes you can, Greg. I just need a few minutes. Thank you."
Probably surprised at the correct use of his first name, Lestrade relented, said 'five minutes,' and closed the door behind him.
Potter was looking between him and the corner. After a few long seconds, he took out his wand, and flicked it an arch across the room. All the noises from the police downstairs went mute. Silencing charm, Sherlock thought.
"What is it, what do you see there?" Sherlock asked, excitement leaking through his voice. They needed to make this quick, whatever it was. Lestrade would be come busting back through, whether they were ready or not, once the five minutes were over.
Harry opened his mouth a few times, then closed it. He was looking at the corner with pity etched on his face. His voice sounded hoarse, and very subdued, when he finally spoke, addressing the empty corner.
"I'm so sorry."
AN: What did you guys think? Was the dream too weird? It just sort of popped in my head like that, and wouldn't leave me alone.
All of you wonderful people who review are the best! As always, the more reviews I get, the more I have a burning need to get the next chapter out, quick as possible. I suppose it's kind of vain, but ah well.
Also, don't mind me stealing jokes from JK Rowling, I still don't own her wonderful characters.
Some of you guys have really good guesses about what has happened, or will happen next. Like scarily accurate guesses. I already have everything sort of planned out-ish, but I do love hearing your guys' ideas. They really inspire me sometimes!
Here are some people I couldn't reply to:
Pandaswearglass: Woops! Haha, I actually thought when I was writing that bit about Jane Eyre that I'm totally spoiling this for someone. And it was you! But, well, it wasn't really me, it was Sherlock.
On a side note: Apparently Jane Eyre is one of the books that is seen in his flat, in BBC Sherlock. Some nice person on the internet made a whole list of the books that can be found and identified in the show. I think it's kind of...telling that Jane Eyre was one of the novels.