Honestly, I'm surprised by the amount of positive feedback I received for my first story. Thank you to everyone who read. Alight with inspiration, I am back with the start of a multi-chapter story. Again, feedback would be very helpful as I try to get a good feel for writing the theme and characters of Sherlock. I hope you enjoy!
Title: A Case of Momentum
Rating: T (will probably change due to graphic violence)
Pairings: None yet. Possible SH/JW
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: A sudden string of murders breaks up the monotonous, dull life that had plagued Sherlock and John for several weeks. The victims, brutally butchered and marred with a cryptic message, are all loved ones of someone in the law. Their investigation uncovers a puzzle that spells out a tale of loss, mourning and retribution. And as the pair get caught up in the rapidly moving case, they come to realize that they might not just be observers, but targets themselves.
Chapter I - From a Standstill
Silence hung heavy over the flat like a dark cloud. Silence and a godawful stench.
John Watson felt a growing sense of dread as he descended the stairs to enter the sitting room, where the smell only grew stronger. It was not unlike half-cooked flesh. It had first hit him when he had gotten out of the bathroom after a shower, and the steam no longer smothered it out. Apparently his flatmate was awake and keeping busy with something. He hated to investigate it, he really did. But curiosity never let him ignore such things.
Still buttoning up his shirt, he approached the entranceway into the kitchen. By now the smell was causing the muscles in his throat and stomach to clench in the beginnings of a gag. He had to breathe through his mouth just to keep from being ill. As expected, there was Sherlock, focused on something set on the counter in a deep tray. The sleeves of the detective's dress shirt were rolled up, and from his angle John could see the surgical gloves on his hands, covered in what looked like blood. And - was that the carving knife? He let out a sigh.
"Nothing on him yet?" he asked, still working on his buttons. "Had to steal something else from Bart's to keep busy?" It was alarming that he was becoming jaded to this sort of thing.
Sherlock grunted, his eyes flicking over to the doctor briefly. "No. They weren't willing to part with a human heart. The boys in stroke research have first pick. Got this from the butcher." he muttered, obviously still in a sour mood. John had noticed a pattern in his flatmate's moods in the past few months. After the encounter with Moriarty and their narrow escape, Sherlock became something of a determined hunter. For weeks he tracked any sign and hint, heeding the criminal's warning and being as careful as possible. However, as John observed his friend's growing frustration, it became apparent that it was like hunting a ghost. Moriarty left them nothing.
With Sherlock's frustration came attempts at keeping himself occupied. Experiments to let his mind 'rest'. In these times, he was in low spirits and difficult to talk to. He would be like this until either he recharged or he grew bored of the project, then he would jump right back into his hunt. John had watched this pattern, this fluctuation, occur for weeks. One could not help but feel a little helpless, like watching a friend battle depression. It was as close to such a mental state that Sherlock Holmes could reach.
"And I see they still won't let you leave with anything sharp? Which explains your need to use my late mother's carving knife?" Annoyance grew in John's voice as he watched Sherlock slice into whatever sat in the dissecting tray. However, he supposed it was indirect revenge. Sherlock had asked to borrow his old surgery kit from his service, but he had refused. It was for helping people; for medical service. Not for dissecting whatever struck someone's fancy. When Sherlock offered no response to his irritated questions, John deemed his knife lost and retired to the sitting room. He eased into his armchair and reached for the paper that had been dropped on the floor. There was already an expectation that there would be nothing notable in the news this morning. Otherwise his flatmate would be a little more cheery with the news of an odd, unsolved murder.
And so, the regular morning routine. John reading the paper, and Sherlock slicing up some organ in the kitchen in the name of science. When he wrote this sort of thing in his blog, people hardly believed him. Even his sister managed to leave snide comments, telling him he was full of it. Perhaps one day he should take a photograph of Sherlock in the midst of an experiment; it was rather amazing to see such focus in a man.
Such focus, in fact, that only John heard the sound alert on Sherlock's mobile phone. He listened, but only heard the continued scraping of a knife against metal and the sticky, wet sounds of tissue being pulled apart. Sherlock was ignoring his phone. That was a first.
"Sherlock?" He shifted to look back into the kitchen. God, that smell was terrible. It was a moment before he got a response.
"Hm? Right, it's been doing that all morning. I asked you earlier to get my phone out of my jacket." He did not even look away from his work.
"I was in the shower." John growled.
"No matter, you're here now."
Really, he did not know why he did this. Why he humoured Sherlock by crossing two rooms to pick up something that his flatmate could have reached by simply turning around. However, with nothing but an unheard sigh of annoyance, he did just that. He reached into the jacket that was draped over the back of a kitchen chair and pulled out the phone. While he was there, he took a quick glance over his shoulder to see what exactly required the other's full attention.
As expected, a heart lay in the tray. It had to be a pig's, judging by the size. He also caught a glimpse of what looked like an old pacemaker and a large battery. And, of course, more of his knives and a pair of tweezers that could only have come from the first aid kit under the bathroom sink.
"John." Sherlock's tone was impatient. With a simple shake of the head, the doctor turned his attention back to the phone. Much to his surprise, three missed texts were waiting to be read. He opened them in order.
Lestrade - 8:45am
32 Glenalmond Rd, Harrow. Need your help.
Lestrade - 9:30am
Cant keep them from cleaning up the scene forever.
Lestrade - 10:30am
Damnit Sherlock whatever you are dissecting/microwaving in your kitchen can wait but I cant
John could not help the chuckle that escaped him, and he looked to Sherlock. The taller man was still entirely focused on the heart, now peeling back layers of burnt tissue one at a time.
"Inspector Lestrade needs your help. And he's not happy about being ignored." he informed his flatmate, who finally put down the knife and the tweezers with a huff.
"And here I was hoping he developed some competence of his own." the detective grumbled, peeling off his gloves and taking the phone from John. His brow furrowed as he read the messages. "Hm. He always misses on proper punctuation when impatient. I suppose we should hurry." He unrolled his sleeves and buttoned the cuffs.
John looked between Sherlock and his experiment. "And the heart?"
"Throw it in the fridge, if you will." And with that, Sherlock grabbed his jacket and left the kitchen. John threw his hands up and cursed under his breath. Unbelievable. If it were not for Mrs. Hudson, he would have just left it there. But the last thing they needed was to give their poor landlady a terrible scare. She had only just cooled down after the damage Sherlock did to the wall and the inside of the microwave. So, begrudgingly, John picked up the tray and slid it into the fridge. Worse things had been kept in there, anyway.
As they grabbed their coats and headed down to the street, there was a significant change in Sherlock. His previous moodiness had dissolved under the boyish glee he usually showed in the face of a new problem. He was reserved, but it still bubbled under the surface like it always did. Cases had been almost nonexistent after Moriarty's appearance, so this opportunity was like throwing meat to a starving wolf.
"You missed this, didn't you?" John quipped as they hailed a cab and climbed into the back seat. The cold air made him wish he had dried his hair a little better, but his companion was forever unaffected as he gave the driver the address. "Getting involved in murder cases?"
"No, I was quite enjoying a stagnant existence. I looked forward to talking up knitting in the next few days." Sherlock's dull, detached tone was dripping with sarcasm, which sparked a snort from his flatmate.
"That is probably the most terrifying image someone can give me." The veteran smiled to himself, eyes fixed on watching the city pass by. Sherlock's gaze was on him, likely perplexed or unimpressed, but he ignored it. "Anyway, it's no use getting snippy with me. I'm the one who lets you play the violin at ungodly hours and keep heads in the fridge." He swore he felt the car swerve a few centimeters after saying those last words.
"Always with the complaints." Sherlock was now focused on his phone, texting Lestrade back to let him know they were on their way. "You would be just as bored as I if it were not for me keeping you on your toes. And I did get rid of the head."
"You tried to throw it in the trash!"
"Again, just contributing my share of excitement to the world." The detective grinned.