This is based on the Smallville episode, 8x05: "Committed", and Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure Of The Solitary Cyclist". Some slight Sherlock whump, drunk John, brief implication to sexual violence, and needless to say, boys kissing.
The woman could hear her fiancé's voice above the ringing in her ears. She carefully opened her eyes, lifting her head from where it was resting on her chin.
In the dim light of the room, she could barely make out her betrothed's face. "Gareth?" Melissa gasped, instinctively reaching for him, but found that she was bound down to the chair she was sitting in. Melissa began screaming.
"Dearly beloved," said a metallic voice, and the couple's heads turned to see a figure in black standing there, wearing a silver mask, behind a control panel. "We are gathered here today to find out if these two were truly meant to be."
A light clicked on, giving them just enough light to see that the chairs they were strapped to were electric chairs.
The happy couple continued to scream.
A pillow was chucked at John Watson's head.
"Get up. Lestrade has a new case for us."
John groaned. He'd had a late night out at the pub with Mike Stamford, and was now suffering the consequences. He rubbed his eyes. He was gonna kill that bloody flatmate of his, as soon as his head stopped pounding. "What time is it?" he mumbled.
"7:30. Come on, we can't be late. If you get up now, you have just enough time to shower."
John heard the sound of a glass being set upon his bedside table. He blinked his eyes open carefully to see a glass of orange juice, Alka-Seltzer, and a couple of painkillers sitting there.
John bit back a smile. He took it back. That flatmate of his was a saint, an angel-
"Tick tock, John!" John winced as Sherlock slammed his bedroom door shut. Git.
Approximately 30 minutes later, John and Sherlock were sitting side by side in a cab on their way to NSY. John felt mostly alert now that he was awake, but he was still going to be a little groggy for the rest of the day. What had happened when he'd come home last night anyway? He remembered Sherlock…and…Neil Diamond?
Something nudged at him internally as the taxi radio began cheerily crooning, "Where it began…I can't begin to knowin'…but then I know it's growin' strong…"
"Could you turn that off please?" Sherlock said to the cabbie flatly. "My compatriot is currently nursing a headache."
The cabbie grunted and switched off the radio. John blinked confusedly, but said nothing. Sherlock stared out the window. They thankfully rode the rest of the way in silence.
Upon arrival, Lestrade handed them some photographs of two dead bodies. "Gareth Ross and Melissa Edwards," he said. "They were found this morning outside the reception hall where they were celebrating their engagement last night, locked in their car."
"Cause of death?" Sherlock inquired.
"Electrocution," Lestrade answered.
"Obviously via 'ye olde' electric chair, going by the bruises found on their wrists and ankles," said Sherlock, looking over the crime scene photos.
"I didn't even think electric chairs were still around," commented John.
"Capital punishment is inflicted by lethal injection nowadays, electric chairs and the noose were found inhumane by the government. What's odd is that the electric chair is, or was used primarily in America."
"So our serial killer is American?" Lestrade asked.
"Possibly, but not relevant. Hang on, serial killer?" Sherlock asked.
Lestrade sighed. "This isn't the first case we've seen like this."
"For God's sake, why didn't you bring me in sooner?"
"Well you're here now, isn't that enough?!" Lestrade snapped. "I wanted to, believe me, but the guys upstairs said you weren't allowed on any more cases since that shocking affair with the S.S. Friesland-"
"Oh poo poo, so those stuffed shirt passengers got a little water around their ankles-"
"Sherlock, you sank a bloody cruise ship!"
Sherlock rolled his eyes, but said nothing, although John was sure Sherlock was biting back some remark about the "thoroughly incompetent Scotland Yard". Sherlock huffed. "Tell me about the other cases."
Lestrade brought out a stack of files. "Andrea Jacobs and Timothy Norton. Lester Colbert and Lindsey Mathers. Freema Lane and Rita Pashtee. All engaged couples, all electrocuted, all found dead in the last place they'd been seen."
"Their engagement celebrations," Sherlock inferred.
Lestrade nodded. "Right."
Sherlock broke into a wide grin. "So he's killing romantic partners, Romeo and Juliet style. A crime spree of passion. Excellent! Definitely not boring."
"Eight people are dead, Sherlock. Try not to look so mirthful about it," John scolded.
"I'll leave the reverence to you, Doctor, I'm here to solve murders," Sherlock said flippantly, pressing his hands together in a prayer position, resting his fingertips on his lips. "But what's the common denominator here? Besides the engagement? Lestrade, were the party venues the same?"
"No, all different, all completely different parts of London."
"What about catering? Flower delivery?"
"I…I dunno," said Lestrade. "Does that matter?"
"Of course it matters, Gerald, it all matters! Never mind, I'll find out myself. That's what John's for, after all. Be sure to email him all the victims' contact info. Come on!" Sherlock clicked his fingers, striding out, expecting John to follow after him.
Lestrade looked at John, shruggingly. "Something happen? He seems even worse today than usual."
John sighed, rubbing his eyes. "I…I dunno what to tell you, mate. It's Sherlock; who the hell knows?"
"Right. Well, I'll email you the information."
"JOHN!" the consulting detective shouted from down the corridor.
"COMING!" John shouted back, immediately regretting it as his headache came back at full force.
Melissa Edwards's sister dabbed at the corner of her eyes. "It was the perfect night, Dr. Watson. She was so happy. Both of them. They were…glowing. I was supposed to be the maid of honor at their wedding, did you know that?...I guess now I'm planning Mel's funeral." Cheryl broke down into tears. "I'm sorry, I-"
"It's alright," John consoled the crying woman, touching her shoulder. "I promise you, Sherlock Holmes and I are on the case, so this will never happen to anyone ever again."
Cheryl nodded, gratefully taking John's pro-offered Kleenex and wiping away her tears with it. "Thank you. You know, my sister and her fiancé read your blog. They were big fans. They were always reading about the two of you in the papers. They'd be right chuffed to know you were on the case. I know if anyone can solve their murder…" Cheryl looked deeply into John's eyes and said, "You guys can."
"We will," John promised.
"Yes, thank you very much, Ms. Edwards. My partner and I have to leave now. Come on, John," said Sherlock, heading for the door. John resignedly followed.
"She was flirting with you, you know," said Sherlock in the cab, matter-of-factly.
John blinked in surprise. "Was she? I didn't notice."
"Hmm..." Sherlock stared out the window, not uttering another word until they were back home.
Once they were back in Baker Street, Sherlock grunted frustratedly, throwing himself into his chair. "None of it makes sense, John! The party arrangements themselves have no correlation. There's nothing demographically linking the couples: three straight couples and one lesbian, a grab bag of races, all from differing socio-economical groups, so it's not a hate crime. Not even the time frame in which they were murdered is arranged: Jacobs and her fiancé were killed three weeks ago, Colbert and Mathers the following week, then Lane and Pashtee last week, and Ross and Edwards two days ago. So the murderer kills once a week, but not on a specific day. Most likely when he knows a couple will be vulnerable."
"Maybe you're overthinking it," said John. "Maybe his modus operandi is just engaged couples. Nothing fancy."
"But there is something, John," said Sherlock, peering at him sharply. "This killer is operating with his heart, not his brain. That's when people make their biggest mistakes."
"Boy, you said it," sighed John, sinking onto the sofa as Sherlock's phone rang.
Sherlock picked up. "Hello?"
He listened, then slowly, a smile spread onto his face. "Fabulous! Thank you, Sally! Goodbye." He ended the call.
John looked at him. "You? Happy about a call from Donovan?"
Sherlock grinned triumphantly at him. "I told you, John. Idiots who follow their hearts are bound to make mistakes."
"Something's turned up, then?"
"Not something, John. The thing! The link!"
"Okay, what is it?"
Sherlock displayed the back of his hand and tapped his third finger. "Rings!"
"All the 'brides' were wearing engagement rings, naturally, and all of them came from the same store in London: Morton Jewelers."
"So…you think the ring solicitor is the killer?" John guessed.
"Well, it's something to go on, at least," Sherlock said, pulling out John's laptop from underneath his chair and looking up the jewelry store.
"Boy, can't wait to blog about this one," said John. "I'll call it, 'Diamonds Are Forever'."
"You already have a blog post with that title, honestly, John, get some new material."
John studied Sherlock. He'd been snappish lately, more snappish than usually. "Listen, Sherlock, have I done or said anything to you in the past few days to make you so short with me?"
Sherlock's fingers froze on the keyboard. "Why…no. This is just who I am, John. You should know me by now."
"Yeah, I do, and you don't normally get so much glee out of a case. And that's saying something. It's like there's something personal about it for you. Did someone…" John took a deep breath. He was about to ask, "Did someone break your heart?" but just then, Mrs. Hudson came in.
"Woo-oo! I made some extra brownies, boys – don't worry, no special ingredients in these, I promise – thought you might like some."
"Thanks, Mrs. Hudson, that's awfully nice of you," said John, taking one. Mrs. Hudson tried to offer one to Sherlock, but as usual, the machine passed on food. "Oh here, dear, let me get you some milk to go with that," Mrs. Hudson offered John. "Just this once now, I'm not your housekeeper-"
"Of course you're not, Mrs. H," said John. "But I think all our milk went towards someone's science experiment."
"It was for a case, John!" Sherlock called, not even glancing away from the computer screen.
"That's alright, I bought a fresh carton this morning. I'll just kip down for a second." Mrs. Hudson headed for the door, idly whistling. John realized the tune was "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond. "Oh, darn you, John Watson. You've had that ruddy song stuck in my head ever since you came home singing it at the top of your lungs the other night." Mrs. Hudson chuckled, letting herself out.
John looked at Sherlock. "When was I singing 'Sweet Caroline'?" he asked.
Sherlock seemed…tense. "When you came home from cavorting with Stamford."
"Oh," said John. "I don't remember that."
"I certainly do," mumbled Sherlock.
John knew he tended to act one of two ways when he was smashed: super affectionate, or super angry. Frankly, John was worried he'd come home the latter, although if he was singing "Sweet Caroline", he couldn't have been too enraged. "Well, I hope I wasn't too much of a beast," he chuckled.
Sherlock's eyes bore into the computer screen. "Depends on who you ask."
John was about to ask what exactly that meant, but just then, Sherlock snarled and shut the laptop. "We have to infiltrate them! The only way we'll find out who's behind the killings is if we break into the inner circle!"
"So what? We apply for jobs at this jewelry store?" John asked.
"Or…" There was a twinkle in Sherlock's eye that John was immediately afraid of. Sherlock pinned him again with another piercing gaze. "We pretend to be customers."
"No," said John. "Sherlock, I know what you're thinking-!"
"Oh, come on, all the tabloids say we're secret lovers anyway, what'd be the difference, honestly?!"
"Sherlock, we couldn't possibly-!"
Sherlock dropped to one knee in front of him and grasped his hand. "John Hamish Watson," he said, just as Mrs. Hudson was reentering with John's milk. "Will you marry me?"
John was speechless. Mrs. Hudson burst into tears of joy.
Being the friend/sidekick of Sherlock Holmes had put John in some uncomfortable positions in the past, and at times had made him feel like a real horse's arse. No, literally. John thought back to the time Sherlock had forced him to be the back end of a two-man horse costume so they could sneak into a play to catch a jewel thief. John had had back pain for two days after that.
But he would gladly take that over this humiliation any day.
"Hello!" sang out Sherlock, as he pulled John into the jewelry store by force, under the guise of a man deliriously in love. "We're here for a ring. Who's the luckiest man in the world? I am!"
"Oh, um, you mean the second luckiest man in the world," John improvised, gazing up at Sherlock adoringly.
Sherlock imperceptibly nodded. Good one. "Isn't he the sweetest?" the detective simpered to the man behind the counter. "I'm lucky I nabbed him before some other handsome beau did."
"Or lady. Ladies are good too," John weakly added.
John could tell Sherlock was holding back an eyeroll. "Well, that hardly matters now, right, pumpkin?"
"Er, yeah! I mean, no! You're the only one for me...precious," John said.
"How sweet," said the jeweler. "I'm so pleased to see such a happy couple. I can tell you two really love each other."
The detective and the doctor laughed nervously.
"And what is the gentleman's price range?" the jeweler asked.
"Oh, something not too expensive," Sherlock said. "We're saving most of our money for the honeymoon." He winked at John. John certainly hoped his face wasn't as red as it felt.
Damn, Sherlock was so good at acting like he was in love. Acting. That was the keyword here. John felt his heart sink slightly at the thought.
The jeweler asked for Sherlock's ring size, and together Sherlock and John picked out a ring: simple, silver. Sherlock held out his hand expectantly. John shakily took it and carefully slid it onto his slender finger. His eyes flicked up to meet Sherlock's, and their gazes locked for a moment.
"Perfect!" said the man.
"Yeah," murmured John, his eyes still locked on Sherlock. "Perfect."
"Shall I ring you up? If you'll excuse the pun," chuckled the jeweler.
Sherlock pulled his gaze - and his hand - away. "Yes. This is the one. Thank you."
As John was paying for the ring, they suddenly heard a loud cacophony of piano notes upstairs. "Oh, I'm sorry. That's my daughter-in-law. Well, soon to be daughter-in-law. She's a piano teacher. I told her she could use the upstairs office to host her lessons," said the man.
"How nice," said Sherlock.
"My son, Cyrus - he's lucky to have found her. Such a sweet girl," said the jeweler. "Here, let me give you my card, just in case you change your mind or need rings for the wedding or...anything."
"Benjamin Morton," said John, reading from the business card. "Thank you. We'll keep you in mind."
"Come on, pookie. Lots of arrangements we have to make for tonight," said Sherlock.
John looked at him questioningly.
"Our engagement party? The one our friends are throwing us? Tonight, at 8 o'clock, at Angelo's on Northumberland Street?" Sherlock said.
"Oh, yeah! Right!" John said, blinking.
Sherlock turned back to smile at Mr. Morton. "Poor dear. He's so forgetful. He's just focused on wedding details. A true romantic, this one. Aren't I lucky?"
"Indeed, sir," said Mr. Morton.
Sherlock grinned one more time, then took John's hand, lacing their fingers together, and pulled him out of the store.
Once they were safely down the street, Sherlock let go of John's hand. "So you think it's him?" said John.
"Hold on," said Sherlock, typing away at his phone. "A-ha! Upon researching our kindly ring salesman, I just came to find out that his son Cyrus is an electrician."
"So it could be the son," said John.
"Perhaps. We'll find out tonight when we're taken."
John ground to a halt. "When we're what?!"
"Well we're bait, John, that's the whole point."
John made several inarticulate noises. "But - I thought we were going in there for recon, not as bait!"
"We went in to do both. You can say it, I'm clever." Sherlock grinned wryly.
"S-s-so now...a potential murderous psychopath knows exactly where we're going to be tonight and how to get us?!" John stammered.
"Don't worry, John, Scotland Yard will be there to apprehend Morton or his son before whichever of them is the killer can 'get us'," Sherlock reassured. "The whole engagement party's an ambush. Don't you get it?"
"O-oh," said John slowly. He still had trepidations, but with the presence of Lestrade and the Yarders... "Alright."
Sherlock chuckled. "Have some faith in me, John. Have I ever steered you wrong before? Don't answer that," he said as John opened his mouth to speak.
John shut up, then opened his mouth again. "You know, we're not actually getting married. You can take the ring off."
Sherlock blinked, then looked down at his hand in surprise. "Oh. Right. Of course," he said, slipping it off his finger and putting it in his pocket.
The only ones who knew the engagement was fake were the Yarders. Mrs. Hudson and Angelo thought it was real. "I can't believe it," said Angelo cheerfully, giving Sherlock a squeezing hug. "Seems like only yesterday the two of you were having your first date here. You two looked like Lady and the Tramp!"
"I'll bet Sherlock was the Tramp then," snorted Anderson.
"Oh no," said John, grinning, a flute of champagne in his hand. "He's definitely Lady."
"Oh, my John," Sherlock laughed tersely, squeezing him just a bit too hard. "What a kidder."
Suddenly, a flashbulb went off in their faces. "Just wanted to get a picture of you two turtledoves," said Sally, smirking. "So you'll always remember this night."
"Ooh, send me a copy of that," said Anderson, snickering.
"And me," said Lestrade. "I want to frame it and hang it over my desk."
"Maybe I'll start a Facebook page!" Sally laughed. "I'll send you a file, John, so you can put it on your blog. 'Sherlock Holmes Gets His Man'."
"Eh heh heh. You're hilarious, Sally. I think you've had enough to drink," John grimaced.
"D'ya have a caterer for the wedding yet, Sherlock?" Angelo inquired. "I could give you a very good deal."
"Er, well, we haven't quite thought that far ahead, but we'll definitely let you know, Angelo," said Sherlock.
John could tell Sherlock was tense, so he leaned over and murmured to him, "Just be glad Mycroft's not here to humiliate us even further."
"Oh thank God for small miracles," Sherlock mumbled back.
"Oh look at those two, exchanging little sweet nothings at their own party!" cooed Mrs. Hudson. "Aren't they the sweetest?" Sally took more pictures.
"Hello, everyone," chirped a small voice as Molly Hooper appeared. "Sorry I'm late. Greg invited me."
"Who's Greg?" said Sherlock, but everyone ignored him.
Molly came over to the "happy couple". "So, um...why didn't you tell me you two were dating?" she asked.
"Because if you were afraid to come out, you could have trusted me. I have loads of gay friends. There was Jim from IT - well, okay, he turned out to be Moriarty, but also there's-"
"Molly, we're not really together," John whispered.
Molly blinked. "What? But-"
"It's for a case. We're trying to catch a serial killer," said Sherlock.
"Oh. Oh!" Molly smiled. "Well that's...great! Okay! Um...hey, Sherlock, d'you want to come with me to get some punch?"
"Er, alright," said Sherlock, shrugging as Molly pulled him away by the cuff of his suit jacket.
John watched them go, a strange, acidic feeling rising up in his esophagus. Molly looked very pretty tonight, sort of like she had at their Christmas party that one time, all primped and preened up for the consulting detective. And Sherlock's attention seemed fully fixed on her...
John found Lestrade across the room and grabbed his shoulder forcefully. "Ow! Jesus Christ, what's got you so pissed?!" Lestrade exclaimed.
"Why the hell is Molly Hooper here?" John hissed.
"I dunno! Because she's sweet and she likes parties? What's your problem?"
"My problem is that she's flirting with Sherlock!" John groused.
"Well, why the hell do you care? You're not actually engaged, are you?" Lestrade pointed out jokingly.
"No! Of course not! We just...it could mess up the plan if Sherlock's distracted," John said.
Lestrade eyed him suspiciously. "Yeah. Alright. Do you want to go ahead with the plan, then?"
"Yes," nodded John.
"Alright. Give us five minutes. Get your betrothed into position," said Lestrade.
John nodded curtly, then marched over to where Sherlock was engrossed in conversation with Molly. Did she just touch his arm? Oh, that is it! John marched faster.
"Sherlock!" John barked in his Captain Watson voice. Sherlock's head popped up at once. "We have to go now."
"Yes, show time. Goodbye, Molly," said Sherlock as John dragged him away.
Their car was parked in the back of the building, where they thought the murderer would be most tempted to attack them, out of the public eye. Sherlock looked at John, who had steam pouring out of his ears. "Why are you so upset?"
"I'm fine. Love," John spat.
They had been standing at the back of Angelo's for a good ten minutes. John finally sighed. "He's not coming, Sherlock. We might as well go home."
"Yes...damn! I thought for sure Morton would take the bait." Sherlock sighed and pulled out his phone. He called Lestrade and canceled the plan. "Let's go home."
They rode around the block to Baker Street and got out of the car. "I just don't understand it," said Sherlock, climbing out of the car. "He had the perfect chance. Why didn't he-" Suddenly, Sherlock shut up, as a loud electronic chattering - a Taser - went off. Sherlock hit the ground.
"Sherlock!" John exclaimed, immediately going for him. But he suddenly felt something jabbed into the side of his neck. A wave of wooziness washed over him, and he collapsed as well. Damn it! Why didn't I bring my gun?!
"Don't fight it, Doctor Watson," said a metallic voice, as John resisted the urge to sleep. "You're going to need your strength. Wedding jitters can be so pesky, can't they?"
That was the last thing John remembered before falling unconscious.
"John!" A deep, smooth, beloved voice was calling to him. "John!" John slowly opened his eyes.
Sherlock was sitting across from him, strapped to an electric chair. "John, I'm so sorry. I've put you in danger again."
"Oh shit - Sherlock!" John exclaimed, but he couldn't move, bound too securely to his own seat.
"Dearly beloved," said the same metallic voice from before, and John and Sherlock could see a masked figure in black, standing behind a control panel. "We are gathered here today to find out if Sherlock Holmes and John Watson were truly meant to be."
"You know who we are?" Sherlock called to the figure.
"Of course, Mr. Holmes. I recognized you and your companion from the papers immediately, when you came into the jeweler's shop."
"Enough about me. Let's find out about you."
"Let John Watson go!" Sherlock bellowed. "He's nothing to do with this. We aren't even engaged!"
"You think I don't know that? I'm not a fool. You were trying to set me up. Men are constantly lying, Mr. Holmes. Especially to the ones they love."
As the masked figure raised a lever, a low hum of energy emanated from Sherlock's chair. "Let's see what you've been hiding, Dr. Watson."
"No! Please!" Sherlock exclaimed.
"Here's how the test works. I ask one of you a question. You are both hooked up to a polygraph. If you answer truthfully, we keep moving forward. If not...your partner receives an electric shock. Each time you lie, I increase the voltage. The third lie is fatal."
"Okay, fine, so we just tell the truth! That's easy enough," Sherlock panted.
"Dr. Watson...have you ever told your partner a lie?"
"Er...no!" John answered.
"I'm sorry. That was incorrect."
Sherlock cried out in agony as the chair flooded him with electricity. "Stop it, stop it!" John shouted.
"Lying hurts those you love, Dr. Watson! Tell the truth! Have you ever lied to Mr. Holmes?"
"Alright, yes!" John exclaimed.
Relievedly, the figure turned off the energy flow. Sherlock sagged in his chair. "Sherlock!" John screeched. "Are you alright?!"
"Tell him how you lied to him," the figure ordered.
John looked at Sherlock. "Alright, fine! I lied to you about Irene Adler. She's dead. She was executed by some terrorist cell. Mycroft and I didn't want to hurt you with the news."
"I know," panted Sherlock. "And she's not dead. I infiltrated the gang and saved her life. I'm sorry I had to fool you like that."
"Any more lies, Dr. Watson? Answer carefully."
John licked his lips. "One. You were right. The first night after we met, the Study in Pink case, when we were at Angelo's...I was hitting on you. I thought you were interesting and attractive and bloody amazing, so I wanted to know if you were single, but you turned me down and I wasn't quite out of the closet yet, so I pretended I was straight. I'm actually attracted to men and women."
Sherlock stared back at him, but was silent.
"How sweet. Now isn't the truth so much better than lies? I believe it is your turn, Mr. Holmes."
As Sherlock's chair powered down, John felt his begin to vibrate with energy. Sherlock's eyes widened to the size of dishes. "No, no!" the detective shouted.
"Mr. Holmes...do you love this man?"
"Of course I do, he's my best friend, don't be asinine!" Sherlock snapped.
"Allow me to clarify: are you in love with Dr. Watson?"
Sherlock's mouth fell open. "I...I..." He was shaking, actually shaking, John was amazed to see, with fear. "I..."
"We're waiting," said the masked figure.
Sherlock's eyes met John's, and in that instant before Sherlock answered, John felt like his heart had stopped beating altogether. He was about to either receive electric shock or have his heart irreparably broken.
A tear leaked down Sherlock's cheek. "Yes," he whispered, ashamed.
John clenched his eyes shut for the shock.
"That is correct."
John's chair shut off, and John's eyes popped open in shock.
"Now, Dr. Watson-"
"Police! Freeze!" Lestrade's voice rang out as a battalion of Yarders burst in. They surrounded the figure with guns, and a couple officers crowded around John and Sherlock to release them from their chairs.
John and Sherlock rushed toward each other. Sherlock near about collapsed in John's arms. "My God, Sherlock, are you alright?! For God's sakes, tell me you're alright!"
Sherlock nodded wearily. "It wasn't enough energy to kill any major brain cells. I'll be fine soon enough."
John nodded. "Okay. Let's get you out of here."
An hour later, after John had had EMTs check Sherlock out to make sure he was fine, they were sitting in an interrogation room with Lestrade and the murderer, who actually turned out to be a young blonde woman.
"My name is Violet Smith," she said. "I'm a piano teacher."
"Mr. Morton's daughter-in-law," Sherlock inferred. "That's how you knew about mine and John's engagement party. You were listening from upstairs."
"Most couples, you got to chat them up to get any info. But you two just announced it for free, for anyone to hear. That's how I knew you were up to something," Violet said. "Look at me. I outsmarted Sherlock Holmes." She smiled grimly.
"Yes, but not Scotland Yard," said Sherlock. "Which is a bit like taking one step forward and two steps back."
"Actually, your brother just happened to catch you two getting konked outside 221B on his surveillance cams and rang me up," Lestrade inserted. "Luckily ever since your little adventure at Baskerville, he's had a GPS tracker installed into your phone."
Sherlock sighed, pulling out his mobile. "Bugger. Shall have to get a new one now." He dumped it into the lukewarm cup of coffee Lestrade had brought him.
"Why were you killing couples?" John asked Violet.
She glared at him, then at her lap.
"Abused by a past lover, then," Sherlock deduced.
Violet's head snapped up, her gaze boring into him furiously. "You don't know anything about me or what I been through!" she hissed.
"Then by all means, tell us," Sherlock said placidly, bringing his prayer hands to his lips in consideration.
Violet looked down again. "I was bein' pursued. By these two blokes. They came off as real nice guys at first. Especially Eddie. Edwin Carruthers. A widower. His daughter Sara was a pupil of mine. I used to ride my bicycle to her house every Friday. Well one night, he and the other guy, Albert Woodley was his name, they had me over. I thought it was gonna be like a party, that sort of thing." Violet's eyes welled up with tears as she looked up at the others. "Edwin left me and Bert alone to get some more ice. Bert was...gettin' friendly. Drunk bastard. I told him to go fuck himself. He got pissed. Told me Eddie was only after me for my inheritance - my Uncle Ralph, a small businessman who worked in America, didn't have any children of his own - and that he and Eddie were in it together, one of them was gonna marry me and split my money with the other." Tears were running down her cheeks. "Then he got physical real fast. Ripped my clothes off me...then Eddie came back. I begged him to help me...but he...he...they both-"
"That's alright, Ms. Smith, you don't have to go into detail." Sherlock's voice was unusually comforting.
Violet glared at all of them. "I learned that day that love was a lie. So I decided to put a few of the idiots who fell into it out of their misery before they found out the cold hard truth. I didn't think I'd find a single one who was honest. I found Cyrus and got myself engaged to him. It was the perfect arrangement. He was an electrician, I could get supplies from him for my set up. He's an idiot, he don't know a thing about any of it. His dad sold rings to stupid couples, so I convinced him to let me use his upstairs for giving lessons."
"A clever little setup," Sherlock agreed. "I am gravely sorry for what those men did to you, Ms. Smith. But you have murdered eight people. You could have murdered a very dear friend of mine." His voice went a little sharp at that. "For that, you have to be punished. Lestrade, I have no more questions."
"Right. Come on, Miss." Lestrade took Violet Smith away.
John sighed. "Damn shame."
"Indeed," said Sherlock thoughtfully. "Well, John. It's been a long night. Let's go home."
Mrs. Hudson fussed over Sherlock once they were safely back at Baker Street, wrapping him up in blankets and bringing him cups of tea. "I just hate that some people's idea of love is so perverted," she tsked. "Good thing you boys aren't like that. Love as pure and simple as a daisy."
"Mrs. Hudson, we're not actually...ah, forget it," sighed John as Mrs. Hudson let herself out. He looked over at Sherlock tentatively. "You alright?" he asked quietly.
They hadn't talked about...the thing yet.
"Hmm? Oh yes, fine," Sherlock replied, seeming to be lost in thought.
John opened his mouth, then hesitated. "Sherlock...what you said-"
"Yes, it was certainly lucky that I've ascertained the skill to elude polygraphs over time. They merely measure one's heartrate. The average person's pulse accelerates when they're lying, which makes the needle on the graph go faster. I can easily keep my heartrate under control under interrogation and therefore, lie undetectably. I gave Smith the answer she wanted to hear, so you would not get shocked."
"Oh," said John. "So when you said you were...with me...it was a lie. Yeah. Of course."
Sherlock bit his lip.
"Good thing she didn't ask me that question," John said. "Dunno what the outcome might've been."
Sherlock peered at him curiously.
"If I had lied, you'd have gotten shocked again. If I'd told the truth, I'd be standing here feeling like a great big fool," John continued.
"...why?" Sherlock asked slowly.
"Because the truth is, I do love you, Sherlock," said John, breaking down all his carefully constructed walls, crouching beside his beloved's chair. "I am so love with you and...I think I have been since we first met. I definitely was by the night we faced off against Moriarty at the pool. You're so amazing and brilliant and wonderful and...you just don't know. There aren't words to describe how absolutely marvelous you are. Only a great ruddy fool could exist day in, day out, in such close proximity to you and not be consumed by you. I love you, I love you, I love you..."
Sherlock was staring at John, his mouth agape.
"...and if I'm embarrassing you, if you want me to move out now, if I've ruined our friendship, I'm sorry, because all this time I've been keeping it to myself because I was scared to lose you as a friend, but I just love you so much and I still want you in my life, even if you don't want me-"
"John, John!" Sherlock was crying. His large hands cupped John's face, pulling him closer. "Please...please kiss me. Please."
"What?" John was confused. "I don't-"
"Oh, you idiot, of course I love you!" Sherlock exclaimed. "And to hear that you love me too...no one's ever loved me. No one's ever even been my friend. Not until you. You're the bravest, the kindest...the most wonderful man I've had the good fortune of knowing. I didn't believe anyone like you would ever love someone like me. I'm grumpy and arrogant and unpleasant and I use up the milk with my experiments and, and, and-"
"Yes, love, yes, all those things. You're ridiculous and impossible, and that's why I love you," John sniffled. "I wouldn't love you if you were someone else. I love you because you're a dickhead know-it-all. But you're also extraordinary, and I'm just average-"
"No," said Sherlock stubbornly. "You are perfect, John Watson. Which is why I said I didn't love you, because I thought my feelings couldn't possibly be reciprocated."
John chuckled weakly. "I guess we've been pretty silly, eh?"
Sherlock nodded, smiling as John stroked his thumbs over his cheeks, gently brushing away his tears.
"I'm gonna kiss you now, Sherlock. Is that alright? Have you ever been kissed before?" John said.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Don't be ridiculous. Of course I've been kissed before. It was a week ago."
"What?" said John, rearing back. "Who kissed you?" he demanded to know.
Sherlock laughed shyly. "You did. When you came home drunk..."
John's voice reverberated in the stairwell as he ambled up the stairs. Intoxicated, Sherlock inferred, from the slurring and little giggles mid-verse.
"Touchin' me...tOUCHIN YOOOOOU!" John's voice went up about 5 decibels as he threw open the door to 221B's living room. His eyes landed immediately on the prone detective on the sofa. "Shehlock! Buddeee!" he exclaimed merrily.
"Nice night out with Stamford, then?" Sherlock inquired, in his usual pose on the couch, flat on his back, hands poised in prayer position under his chin.
"Oh yeh, yeh, goo' ol' Mikey!" John sighed, struggling out of his coat and depositing it onto the seat of his armchair. "Ploop!"
"I think you should drink some water," Sherlock advised.
"AH-pfbfbfbfbbbb." John flipped his hand. "I'll b'fine."
"You'll have a hangover tomorrow," Sherlock warned.
John hiccupped. "Really? How d'you know? Did you...deduce it?" John fell into a fit of giggles as if he'd just told the funniest joke in the world.
Sherlock sighed, sitting up. "I'll set out the Tylenol so you'll have it in the morning."
"Ah, you're sweet." John said, ruffling Sherlock's curls affectionately. Then, without warning, John bent down, cupped Sherlock's cheek, and swiftly kissed his lips. "G'night, Sh'lock," sighed John, turning and ambling toward the stairs to his room. "Sweeeet Caroline! Duh-duh-duh! Good times never seemed so good!..."
Sherlock sat on the sofa, mouth hanging open, frozen with shock.
"I thought you were making fun of me," Sherlock explained. "I should've known, you'd never do that to me."
"That's why you've been so short with me lately!" John said, relieved. "I'm sorry, Sherlock. Can we have a do-over? Please?"
Sherlock smiled. "I'd like that."
John smiled too. He closed his eyes and slowly leant in, bringing his and Sherlock's lips together.
When they pulled apart, Sherlock was blushing like mad, but glowing. "Take me to bed, John," he sighed. "Tonight and every night."
"It'd be my honor, love," said John, and practically picked the consulting detective up from the chair. "Say...you don't still have that ring, do you?"
Sherlock reached into his pocket. "Right here. Why?"
"Just was thinking...it might come in handy. Someday," said John, grinning.
Sherlock slowly grinned back. "It just might. Someday."
"Good times never seemed so good," John quoted, and Sherlock groaned.