AN: Here's a thanks to everyone who has reviewed, followed, or even just read this story! I hope you like this last chapter!
Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock, nor am I Sherlock, which is probably why my deductions leave something to be desired!
The manic grin that Sherlock had been repressing since he had heard this latest case was locked-door split his face. John, still down in the crowd (many of whom were now looking at him and whispering to each other) felt he should probably be more worried than he was about that grin. Honestly, the grin looked at home on the Consulting Detective's face.
"What are you waiting for? Come up here, John!" Sherlock ordered as if John should have been up in the crime scene with him the moment he arrived.
"But-" His objection went unheard as Sherlock snapped the window closed and disappeared from sight.
The crowd parted before him as if he were some kind of royalty.
Or a leper.
Probably the latter, based on how they saw Sherlock. He was "the freak's" friend after all.
John made his way up to the police tape and hesitated. Technically he could go in. He could pull rank as a doctor and soldier, and he had gotten permission from someone working the case. But the man apparently manning the tape was giving him a rather nasty glare.
"Only police allowed," the man sneered at him. John wondered if he was just naturally angry at people trying to break into crime scenes or if it was because he was associated with Sherlock. The genius was, after all, not exactly great with people. He had admitted that in his first letter and, while John personally thought his deductions were brilliant, he could see how they would alienate him from others.
"Sod off, Anderson," Sherlock snapped as he strode out of the house, "he's with me." Sherlock then lifted the police tape and stared at John until he had ducked under.
Ah, Anderson. John's smile, which he had maintained throughout the ordeal, became a mite less genuine. He had heard about Anderson from Sherlock. While he was certain the man was smarter and more competent than Sherlock made him out to be, John was also fairly certain that his spiteful behavior towards Sherlock had not been exaggerated and John, being a very loyal man who counted Sherlock as a friend, didn't appreciate that.
Seeing that Anderson was about to retort and Sherlock's friend had gotten slightly less friendly just with the mention of his name, Lestrade, who had followed Sherlock from the crime scene, decided not to risk a police assault.
"Mr. Watson, was it?" He asked carefully.
"Doctor, actually," John shrugged.
"Doctor?" Lestrade asked, eyebrow raised. It was obvious that everyone here was confused at the cheerful greeting he had received from Sherlock but, being too polite to ask right out, Lestrade had asked a different question.
"Captain John Watson, MD, recently returned from military service in Afghanistan with an honorable discharge on medical grounds after being shot in the shoulder. The limp is psychosomatic, yes?" Sherlock rattled off, finally getting the mild shock he had expected from the doctor before. John had never actually seen him on a roll before, merely hearing about his skills through their letters.
"Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant," he said after his moment of shock wore off, an easy smile lighting up his features. Sherlock positively preened at the praise. "Anyway, I'm assuming you're Detective Lestrade? Sherlock's mentioned you," John continued, turning to the detective and adding that last bit when Lestrade looked mildly alarmed.
"Assuming, John?" Sherlock scoffed, tone disparaging.
"Fine. I've deduced that you are Detective Lestrade."
"Yes yes, enough chat," Sherlock cut off any further conversation. He was getting bored with all this talking; there was a crime scene just one staircase away! "Come John, a crime scene! Two mutilated women in a locked room!" He swept back inside without another word, John following with an apologetic smile at Lestrade.
As they approached the room, Sally Donovan saw them coming. She had been listening to their conversation from the crime scene, and knew that Sherlock was planning on bringing John to the gruesome room. Always assuming the worst of Sherlock, and taking into account the fact that even Detective Lestrade (the most senior of them and usually able to ignore the gore of the job rather well) had balked at the carnage, Sally immediately thought that this was some twisted experiment of Sherlock's- subjecting this poor normal-looking man to the terror in that room.
Which, you know, it may have been a little bit, but mostly Sherlock was curious as to what John could make of the room itself rather than his initial reaction. He was willing to bet that the doctor would be able to make more headway in this case in the first minute than any of the Yarders had in hours.
"You don't want to go in there," Donovan said, stepping in front of John to stop him from walking into the room after Sherlock. Already he could smell the stench of blood, and see some seeping from under the door. "I don't know how you know the freak, but you should get away from him while you still can. Sherlock Holmes doesn't have friends, he's using you for something."
John regarded her with an unreadable expression for a few moments before giving her a razor-edged smile.
"Sally Donovan, I take it. Sherlock may not have friends, but I do, and I count him as one of them, so I would greatly appreciate if you would stop attacking the people helping society and begin searching for those who commit crimes such as the one in there," he said faux-pleasantly, gesturing to the room she was still blocking from his path. The whole statement was said in a deceptively mild voice; an average-sounding one. Not low, not high, not fast or slow. Unbelievably average, just like the man it belonged to. But, at the same time, it had an underlying current of authority; a promise that if Donovan continued to block his way or insult those he considered friends, something, something unspecified and somehow terrifying, would happen.
She stepped aside.
The other Yarders looked on in disbelief. Sally Donovan was courageous to the point of stupidity in that she never backed down from a verbal fight, even from Sherlock Holmes who had never lost one such fight (except to his brother, not that anyone else had to know about those times), and yet she had stepped aside for this man.
"Thank you," John said pleasantly, gracing her with one of those easy smiles as he walked past.
The room was worse than John had imagined, but his reaction was the second thing in only twenty seconds that clued Lestrade into the fact that John wasn't merely some army doctor. Several of his people had had to run out of the room to puke when they first saw the mess, and many still examining the crime scene still looked nauseous and uneasy.
John's nose scrunched as the full smell hit him, face showing shock, but he quickly recovered at looked around. At the blood coating nearly every surface a twinge of disgust was shown in his eyes; at the substance itself, but mostly at the monster who had done this. When his eyes settled upon the bodies, the prevailing emotion was not disgust or horror, as it had been with nearly every other person Lestrade had seen, but sadness; a deep, penetrating sadness that said John had seen things this bad and worse, and he could do nothing to reverse it, but if he could have stopped it he would have.
Even that didn't last long. It was quickly replaced by confusion, and Lestrade and the others mirrored the emotion as they watched John glance between the bodies and the blood.
"You've seen it, haven't you John?" Sherlock asked with a victorious gleam in his eye. He'd known John would have a brain; it was just so perfect that he could show the Yarders that he wasn't the only one in the world who wasn't an idiot like them.
"Are these the only bodies?" John asked, not answering Sherlock's question directly, but the Consulting Detective already knew the answer. He moved forward, examining the bodies a bit more closely.
"Yes... Why?" Lestrade asked, wondering vaguely if he should order everyone to continue with their jobs. Every Yarder was watching Sherlock and John, having stopped working completely, and Lestrade decided to allow it because it wasn't like they were getting anywhere anyway.
Sherlock sent John a look that boiled down to I told you they were idiots and John gave him one back that said Sherlock, be nice and clue them in while I examine the bodies.
"Obviously," Sherlock began in a most put-upon tone of voice, sounding as if he were talking to a college student who didn't know the alphabet, "the amount of blood outside of the bodies alone is equal to at least seventeen pints of blood. The average adult has roughly ten pints, so the blood could have been from them except they haven't been bled. This blood is someone else's; one to three more victims depending on the amount of blood the other two have lost and how much blood was taken from each." He looked to John again as if asking a question, though he didn't verbalize anything.
"Looks like around ten of the pints aren't theirs. They didn't bleed to death, they've lost about three pints each. The mutilation was post-mortem so they actually didn't bleed that much; they were poisoned."
"Poisoned?" Echoed several of the onlooking Yarders. Lestrade was not one of them; he was torn between irritation at Sherlock's smug satisfaction and almost effortless way of making his men look like fools and admiration for his deductive skill and John's expertise.
"Yes, as anyone who is not a complete and total idiot can see." John was unsure if he should be insulted that he was simply not a total idiot instead of smart, or flattered that Sherlock had ranked his mental faculties higher than every Yarder in the room. "The mutilation is extensive, yet the actual bloodpool is small and the bodies have obviously not been bled, therefore the injuries happened post-mortem to cover up the real means of murder. Smelling the mouth gives away the poison, and the rest is obvious!" Sherlock ended his explanation, already bored of spelling out each step of this simple case. "The landlady is a chemist, arrest her and her husband if he is a rock-climber and butcher."
Then Sherlock began walking out the door, not even waiting for John as the shorter man scrambled to keep up.
"Sherlock, what about the other victims?" Lestrade called after the infuriating man.
John looked at Sherlock in surprise. He was able to follow most of the man's deductions well enough, but he had no idea where that one had come from.
"How did you know it was pig's blood?"
"The blood was obviously spread purposely, therefore it was a distraction, not a boast of other unfound victims. There was also a distinct smell one would find in a butcher shop, and some of the blood was colder than room temperature, which means it had been stored in a refrigerator. That, along with the fact that the building the murder took place in is owned by a couple whose name is on the butcher shop a few blocks away and the most common animal in butcher shops are pigs means that the blood is most likely pig's blood." John regarded the consulting detective in surprise for a few moments before a smile spread across his features.
"Brilliant, Sherlock, bloody brilliant." Sherlock nodded as if to confirm John's assessment, a small smirk lighting his features.
Yes, this arrangement could definitely work out.