It's ya girl back at it again. This one is less joanlock-y but the subtext is there cause I love my ship. MEanwhile, I started watching Killing Eve and that's what inspired this lil fic. Hope yall enjoy and I'm aiming to have the next Beautiful update up by this weekend but we'll see how that actually goes. I may do a second chapter for this but we'll see
The gifts begin coming shortly after her mother's call notifying her of her condition. At first Joan believes they're from Sherlock, a weird way of comforting her when words don't suit him. The first one comes in a neat black box with a red bow on top. When she opens it up she's shocked to find the pair of Valentino shoes she's been saving up for since May. How he found out about them she has no clue. Though to be fair this is the same man who sussed out that she was a surgeon within days of meeting.
When she gets dressed for the day she slips them on with a soft smile. She takes another appreciative look in the mirror before sliding out of the room to get to work for the day. She freezes as she sees a person that's not Sherlock gliding past her on the staircase.
"You must be Joan." She tenses eyeing the man up and down. Sherlock knew the boundaries and no guest was ever allowed upstairs. "Sherlock has told me so much about you." He gushes.
"Who are you?" Subconsciously her eyes make out the surroundings looking for either a quick escape or something to use as a makeshift weapon. Something about this man seemed… off.
"I'm so sorry." He laughs. "My name's Michael, I met Sherlock at a sobriety meeting." Recognition flashes in her brain at the name. He'd mentioned him in passing but honestly Sherlock mentioning anyone that isn't her, Gregson, or Bell is a compliment, even more so mentioning them by name.
She lets herself relax accepting his extended hand. "Michael of course." She laughs off the rest of the tension in her shoulders with a nod. "Sherlock's mentioned you too. Though I wish I could say he's said more."
"Don't expect him to." They share a laugh before he nods once more. "If you excuse me I have to…" He drones off pointing in the direction of the bathroom. Another question answered, she allows herself to breathe a little easier again.
"Right. It was nice meeting you." She offers a kind smile which he returns before retreating downstairs. She finds Sherlock surrounded by files in a circle, from what she can tell it looks like their most recent case. A serial killer has resurfaced in New York after a nearly six year absence with no indication of why he disappeared in the first place. He doesn't even lift his head noting her presence. "You know a little warning about the guest would've been nice."
"Michael?" Sherlock raises an eyebrow with a stretch. "You didn't think he broke in did you?" She knows he can read her expression so she disguises her actions walking towards the kitchen to make some tea. "You've nothing to worry about Watson. He's harmless."
The next gift comes a week later. Still they've made no progression in the case and it's only a matter of time before the next woman goes missing. She excuses herself to go fetch her charger from her bedroom only partly because she needed it. She just needed a second to rest her eyes. The same design of box from before rests neatly on her sheets as if perfectly placed for when she walks in. She can't help but feel the slight giddiness from another gift. It's quickly followed by annoyance that Sherlock would go so out of his way to get her something.
She takes her time unraveling the bow. When she finally lifts the lid the dress inside nearly takes her breath away. It's a sleek black dress by A.L.C. Harlow which she'd only seen once in a store window on their way to another case. It's in her size and knowing Sherlock she doesn't doubt that it'll be a perfect fit. At the bottom of the box is a note with neat handwriting scrawled on it, For good luck.
She snatches the charger off her nightstand before marching back downstairs. She calls his name before she even reaches the bottom step. "Sherlock?"
"Breakthrough?" He asks with maybe a little too much hope laced into his tone. Her heart sinks slightly that she has to let him down. He's already beating himself up thinking that he could solve this should he be healthy. Despite her encouragements she can tell his frustrations are mounting.
"No." She mutters. "But would you care to explain this?" She passes him the note with a raised eyebrow. "I appreciated the first one but really this is getting to be too much. I don't want you spending so much on me."
"I must say Watson I'm a little disappointed in your deductive skills." She rears back blinking at him in shock. Was he really insulting her? "This isn't even my handwriting."
"But the gift was on my bed." She stutters. Who the hell else would've put it there?
"That was me." He bounced on his toes for a second before fluttering over to complete the task. "The package was at our door this morning with your name addressed on it. I simply delivered it so no person would snatch it up."
"This is the second gift. First the heels and then the dress." She explains.
"Nope." He draws out the words shifting through papers. "Only the one time." His words don't help to soothe the anxiousness that's settled in the pit of his stomach. "Though it is quite possible that I did and forgot thanks to my…" He still hesitates in finding the correct word to call his PCS. "Condition."
"Right." She nods. Yet the worry doesn't fade. If it's not from Sherlock then who?
The precinct is quiet with tension. The body of Anne Crews was found in the woods by a jogger this morning. Everything in the MO points to it being the work of their serial killer again. Sherlock is more stoic than ever and it's the longest case they've had without finding a proper solution. Every suspect they've questioned thus far has a rock solid alibi. Watson can't help but feel a tiny bit better when Marcus walks into the room with a soft smile, holding a black box with a red bow.
"It's you?" She asks.
"Watson has been receiving gifts from an anonymous person. I suggested it may be an admirer attempting to woo her." Sherlock pitches in from the opposite side of the table. She shoots him a glare and she tries to shoot that down before Bell interrupts her.
"As much as I'd love to claim putting a smile on your face after the weeks we've been through I can't claim this. A man brought it here and it had your name on it. All I did was bring it to you."
"An admirer afterall." Sherlock smirks but it doesn't quite reach his eyes. She doesn't question the odd look. "Open it. You deserve a brief moment of relaxation."
"How kind of you." She teases taking the box from Marcus's hands. She unwraps it with the same care of the previous two. Inside carefully rests a bottle of the same perfume she wears. She was beginning to run low and loathed the idea of buying a new one when it is so expensive. It's a very personal gift. As she lifts the bottle she spies another notecard lying in the box.
Better luck next time.
She pushes her chair away in such a haste that the table jars spilling her coffee in the process. Her heart thunders in her chest as she stares at the note wide eyed. Sherlock swoops in taking the note from her shaking fingertips.
"Bell what did the man look like that delivered this?"
"About 6 foot, cleanly shaven, brown hair and blue eyes. Why'd you ask?" He makes his way over to read the note for himself.
"I believe the person who's been giving Watson gifts is our killer."
Watson is just coming back from a run when she spots a figure leaving their home. She recognizes Michael's form as she gets closer. She waves at him with a bright smile tugging the earbuds from her ears. "You're just leaving?" She asks semi sadly. Over time she's grown accustomed to having him lingering. He's been good for Sherlock especially since they still have made no progress on the case. The killer has fallen suspiciously quiet once more as none of their current cases match the MO.
"Yeah I just stopped in to say hello. I was on my way to lunch with a friend."
"Don't tell me you tried inviting Sherlock." She laughed. He rubs a hand behind his head with a sheepish smile. "I'm sorry."
"No it's fine. I figured what the answer would be." He shrugs. "Couldn't hurt to try."
"No I guess not." She smiles sadly. Just as she goes to walk past him he calls out to her again.
"I have to say thank you." She halts her step looking at him confused. "Without you I'd have never met Sherlock. I never would've gotten clean. Never would've gotten back to work."
"Really it was just my job." She shrugs it off. "That's what sober companions do."
"Still I appreciate it." He gives her another smile. "I gotta go. See you around?"
"Yeah." She waves him off before jogging up to the Brownstone. As she enters she tosses her phone on the desk by the door. She can't help the smile that plays at her lips. She spies Sherlock's hunched over form as she passes.
"You saw Michael?" She hums in affirmation glancing over his shoulder to see what he's working on. "He stopped in on his way to meet a friend."
"So I've heard."
"I ordered Thai while you were gone. Yours is on the table." She offers him a thankful smile as her stomach had been growling throughout the entirety of the last half of her jog. "Might as well eat now. I used all the hot water so you won't be able to shower for a while." And there's her Sherlock. She doesn't bother asking exactly what he used all the hot water on but rather slips into the kitchen to fetch her food and join him again on the couch.
She freezes as her eyes land on a box lying in the middle of the table. She's not sure if it's out of morbid curiosity or just shock but she doesn't call for Sherlock. Rather she approaches slowly tugging the bow off the box. Her heart thunders in her ears as she lifts the lid. Lying carefully inside is a perfectly folded white blouse. She moves the shirt out of the way finding a photograph lying underneath.
A woman, no older than 25, smiles up at her. She turns the photo over finding two simple words scrawled on the back.
She takes a heaving breath as realization settles into her bones. "Sherlock?"
"Was anyone here but Michael?"
"Only the delivery boy, why?" When she doesn't answer she hears the footsteps behind her. They halt as soon as he comes to the same conclusion. Something dark settles over his gaze tempting her to sweep him into her arms and comfort him from the world once more.
Michael is their killer.
They find Julia Foster in a storage containment belonging to a pseudonym. However, with the help of Everyone they're able to track the payments all the way back to Michael. She's bruised and battered but otherwise unharmed.
Michael is arrested within a few hours and they're on their way home once again. Yet even with this case solved tension still lingers in the air. It isn't until they're safely back in the Brownstone that Sherlock speaks up.
"I should've seen the signs." He shakes his head. "He was here when you received the first gift, he matched Bell's description. I should've seen…"
"You couldn't." She frowns. "You can't beat yourself up over this. Healthy or not you couldn't have seen it coming."
"You didn't and neither did I Sherlock." She lets out a sigh leaning against the railway of the stairs. "I'm perfectly fine I didn't see any signs to be suspicious of." He lays on the couch and she knows this conversation is far from over but quite frankly she's exhausted from the experience of the day. "I'm going up to bed. I think you should get some sleep too. We solved it. Relax."
With that she leaves him like that, staring pitifully up at the ceiling. As she reaches the safety of the top floor she tugs her hair loose of the tight ponytail, massaging the sore parts of her scalp as she walks. She can take a shower in the morning. Right now all she can think about is getting into bed.
As she steps inside her bedroom, however, the desire to sleep disappears almost instantaneously as she spies yet another box lying on her bed. She wants to believe it's some sick trick. They got the right man. The storage room was in his name and Foster confirmed that it was him. In her frustrations she rips open the box completely disregarding the creepily well thought out gift for the note that lies beneath.
Well done Joanie, I knew you could solve it. See you soon. -M