Author's Note: The concert in question is on 11th September, coincidently, that's my birthday! And no, I haven't got tickets, but I've got a telly and I think I'll have a nice big slice of chocolate cake sat on my sofa in my jammies while I watch.
My first 'Sherlock' fic.
I am an amateur author of false name,
I borrow worlds of another's fame.
I stake no claim on recognised locations,
Neither do I own canon situations.
I merely come here to spend a while,
Reading other's work; writing my own style.
I earn no money, no wage, no dosh.
I gain no finance, no revenue, no cash.
I do not mean to step on legal toes,
I mean no infringement, I'm friend not foe.
So please, do come in, relax, unwind.
I hope in my work, enjoyment you will find.
Detective Inspector Lestrade had been standing outside of 221B Baker Street for fifteen minutes, only the assurance that Dr. John Watson was on his way home from working at the GP surgery actually keeping him there. Sherlock Holmes, usually so gleefully happy to see him, wasn't opening his door and his mobile phone had been switched off.
Sherlock Holmes did not switch off his mobile phone for anybody.
"Sherlock gone out?" the doctor asked, climbing out of the taxi with a wince.
"No, just ignoring me." Lestrade said, watching as a confused facial expression came over the doctor's face.
"He hasn't got a case, unless one turned up between me leaving for work and coming back now. Though, I've seen him have three cases at once and solve the lot, so, even if he has got a case, I doubt he's ignoring you because of workload." John said, opening the door and shrugging out of his coat at the bottom of the stairs.
"Probably just being a pain in the arse; I called him out to a crime scene three hours ago, then someone phoned him and he dashed off - didn't say a thing other than 'Come on, isn't it obvious, do you really need me for this?'." Lestrade said, shaking his head.
"He's not intentionally a pain in the arse with you… with Anderson and Donavan - yeah, he goes out of his way to wind them up; but he actually quite likes you."
"Good for me." Lestrade said sarcastically.
John opened the door to be met with a shout of "SILENCE" from the kitchen. "Take your shoes off before you walk in, and please don't make any excessive noise." The other two men complied, tip-toeing into the flat in their socks, craning their necks to watch the detective. Said detective was wearing a towel wrapped about his hips and nothing else - obviously straight out of the shower.
Spread out on the spotless, gleaming, freshly-polished kitchen table were a collection of items. Two violins in their cases; a small, intricately carved mahogany box; a yellow duster and the skull. Hung on the handle of the fridge door was a dove-grey, monogrammed suit cover; the letters SH were embroidered in elaborate calligraphy where the breast pocket of the suit would be beneath it. A pair of polished shoes sat on top of the microwave.
"Give them here, and a duster, you've smudged them to Hell." John said, holding out his hand. Lestrade blinked as Sherlock passed the doctor his shoes and the duster from the table. Personally, the Detective Inspector couldn't see a problem; but then remembered that Watson had been an army doctor, and he'd apparently taken offence at Sherlock's shoe-polishing skills.
"This evening I have, what is usually termed by music professionals, a gig. Though, I don't like the term, performance is a much more pleasant word to use. Please remain silent, or as silent as you can be. Lestrade, you are breathing far too loudly. I will be setting off in an hour, and I will be late back this evening." Sherlock said, reaching carefully into the mahogany box.
Tenderly he extracted four tuning forks before closing the lid, gently tapping one by the prongs on the top of the skull, and then placing it on top of the closed box. Sherlock breathed and listened, grabbing the fork to silence it before repeating the process. Before the third strike of the fork, he reverently picked up a violin John hadn't seen before, plucking one of the strings before once again tapping the tuning fork onto the skull. The note was repeated over and over, the consulting detective making minute adjustments to the string.
John, having seen Sherlock tune his violin before (just not that violin) soon lost interest and settled himself down on the sofa to buff Sherlock's shoes to a fine shine. Lestrade sat fascinated, trying to breathe as quietly as he possibly could.
It took half an hour for Sherlock to be satisfied with the tuning. The other violin; the one that was so frequently the conduit of his thinking, was tuned in less than five minutes - without the use of the forks. Both were carefully packed into their cases, and then the cases were packed into black over-cases. Each had a five-digit combination lock on it.
"Erm, so, where's this… gig… of yours then?" Lestrade asked.
"Nothing you would be interested in, Lestrade. Oh, and surely you've already deduced that it was the brother that was the murderer - reasonably clever to injure himself to make it appear that he was also a victim. It is rather obvious. The direction of the incisions across the abdomen where the real victim was eviscerated are a mirror image and upside down comparedto the other brother. Stabbings are like artist's brushstrokes, unique to a person. I would personally examine their recently late Mother's will to determine motive - I believe the older brother inherited a larger share than the younger - and the younger saw murder as an appropriate way of gaining the full inheritance."
"How did… never mind, thanks Sherlock." Lestrade said, rising from the sofa and leaving the flat, his mobile already to his ear.
"Here, have your shoes back." John said, passing the gleaming footwear back.
"You spat on these, didn't you?" Sherlock moaned.
"You keep body parts in the fridge, and thought nothing of spending four hours going through a skip with Anderson last week in search of clues… and now you're whinging about a bit of spit and polish?" John said, shaking his head.
"Well, yes… keep an eye on my violins, guard them with your life - and I mean that." Sherlock said, passing John his army-issued Browning before picking up his suit and leaving to get dressed.
"They're bloody violins!" John muttered, noticing that the gun's safety was already off. "High-functioning Sociopath who takes more care of musical instruments than himself and the others around him." John touched the cases gingerly, and then pressed one hand flat to it. Kevlar. The violins were in bullet-proof cases; though, if Sherlock's boredom track-record with the walls was anything to go by, then having bullet-proof violin cases wasn't so shocking.
Sherlock was dressed in no time, a perfectly-pressed and brilliant white dress shirt was neatly tucked into a silk black cummerbund, the matching bow-tie had been tied to perfection. The trousers were perfectly pressed with a sharp crease down the front, and the matching jacket was still hanging from the coat hanger on his little finger. His hair wasn't in its usual 'I've-better-things-to-do' disarray, but instead styled into a more controlled look. Hooked over his arm was a soft black towel, a tiny SH embroidered onto one corner in silver.
"Somewhere fancy, then? A wedding reception or something?" John mused, putting the safety back on the gun, placing it down and then standing to help Sherlock shrug into the jacket. The suit fitted him perfectly, and as the stitches on the satin lining weren't quite perfectly even, John drew the conclusion that it had been bespoke tailored for Sherlock.
"Fancy, yes; a wedding, no. A reasonable guess, seeing as it is Saturday." Sherlock said, grabbing a different long black coat from the back of the kitchen door. John hadn't seen this item of clothing before, either. It looked to be of better quality than the one he usually dashed around London in.
"Nice suit, hand tailored?" John asked, watching with a smirk as Sherlock bent down and used the front of the microwave's reflective surface as a mirror to check his bowtie.
"Yes, thank goodness some of my little lessons in observation are sinking into your brain. Please pass what you're leaning your back on over."
What he was leaning on was a pure brilliant white silk evening scarf contained in a protective bag; John had to stop himself rubbing his fingers over the sinfully soft fringes at the end. He recognised the logo of an exclusive (and stupidly expensive) London men's boutique as he unzipped it and handed it over. Sherlock carefully knotted it around his neck before gently picking up both violins, the one he'd spent so long tuning in his right, dominant hand.
"Okay, wherever you're going is really posh and there are going to be a lot of eyes on you. You're making a lot of effort here." John said, not able to draw more conclusions.
"Oh! Bravo John! You're scratching the surface. Now, I must dash, Mrs. Hudson will be here in around seven minutes." And with that the detective was out of the door and bounding down the steps and into a waiting taxi.
There was a quiet beep from the table, and John realised it was Sherlock's phone.
'Only brother's fingerprints on knife. Will arrest brother when out of surgery. L.'
"He's left his phone at home?" John muttered, staring at the device as if he'd never seen one before.
"John! John! John! Oooh! Isn't it lovely!" Cried Mrs. Hudson as she rushed into the flat, still wearing her outdoor coat and carrying her weekly shopping.
"Pardon?" John asked, getting up to make a cup of tea for them both.
"He's got tickets! Oh, I've wanted to go for years!" she cried, her hand pressed over her heart as if to calm it.
"What are you on about, Mrs. Hudson?" John asked, confused.
"Tickets. Sherlock got two tickets for me to go to the Last Night of the Proms! And I've nobody to go with me, so, dig out your Sunday best! You've enough time to get in the bath and dressed! Oh, I've no idea where our seats are though…" she said, wandering off out of 221B, John standing there with two cups of tea and a bemused expression.
"Bloody Hell." John said, eying the gun and the tuning forks on the table. "I've nothing suitable to wear. Thanks Sherlock, for the warning." he muttered.
Just as he was about to go and run a bath, hoping Sherlock hadn't used all of the hot water, there was a knock at the door. As quick as a complaining leg would let him, John moved to open it - Mrs. Hudson stood there, holding a garment bag.
"Sherlock left this on my sofa, there's a little note on it for you, it doesn't make any sense to me." she said, giving him a beaming grin before going back down the stairs.
'Thought you might be needing this, consider it payment for services rendered. Holmes.'
The note was written in tidy handwriting on good quality paper… handwriting that definitely wasn't Sherlock's.
"Oh good, Big Brother is watching and giving fashion advice." John muttered, unzipping the bag and blinking a few times at what he saw. "Alright, I've got to admit that Mycroft's PA has an excellent taste in suits. There's no way a bloke who is apparently The British Government all by himself has time to pick out a suit for his little brother's flatmate."
"Oh John! Don't you look handsome!" Mrs. Hudson cried! Walking over to him and gently smoothing some imaginary speck of dust from the dark grey pinstripe suit he was wearing.
The pinstripes made him look taller, and the cut of the jacket highlighted that he was keeping himself in shape. The pastel-sage shade of green of the shirt suited his complexion perfectly (not to mention was actually the exact same colour as the pinstripes running through the suit); the wide grey-green silk tie matched everything perfectly. And his shoes gleamed.
Mrs. Hudson had dug out a lovely evening gown in the shade of dark purple that she was so fond of, as well as a little black cardigan that had sequins on. She smiled brightly, obviously excited about going to the Royal Albert Hall, she clutched the tickets in her hand.
"Can I see?" John asked, accepting the envelope and squinting at the tickets inside.
"Mrs. Hudson, do you realise where we're sat?" he whispered, glad he'd looked it up on the internet.
"No, I hope they're good seats, dear!"
"It's a box." John muttered, offering his arm to the older lady and escorting her down the stairs and to the taxi he'd ordered.
"What's in a box, John?" she asked.
"Us. The seats, it's a box." he said, watching as her jaw dropped.
"Are you sure? They cost a fortune!" she whispered, snatching the tickets back to stare at them by the little light in the taxi.
"Yes. it's a box." he said, blinking a few times himself.
"Oh John! Isn't it wonderful!" she said, sniffing just a little bit, "I've wanted to go for years and years - and to get a box seat… oh! John! It's so lovely of him!"
"Who've you pulled strings with to get this, Sherlock?" John muttered, shaking his head and smiling as Mrs. Hudson reached over and grasped his hand for a few seconds, the Landlady still grinning from ear to ear.
"My boys. One getting me tickets to a show I've wanted to go to for years, the other getting me moved up the waiting list for the hip operation… oh, aren't you both wonderful!" she cried, wiping a small tear from the corner of her eye.
"Mrs. Hudson, all I did was see if there was a shorter wait at a different hospital a bit further away, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary…" John began.
"No, but it's cut three months of my wait! Oh, my boys. My two special boys! You're so good to me, when Sherlock's not being a little bugger, that is - but I wouldn't have him any other way. You too, dearie, don't you go changing either!" she laughed, squeezing his hand again and starting up a conversation with the cabbie, stating how Sherlock and John were like the son's she'd never had.
It honestly wasn't John's sort of music, but he could appreciate the hard work that the musicians were putting in; he basked in the sheer glee on Mrs. Hudson's face as she watched, swaying in time to the pieces.
It had taken a little while to spot Sherlock. John had learnt the clarinet at school, but he couldn't tell you the difference between a violin and a viola - and he'd been looking in the wrong place for his friend. But he'd found him, sat on the back row of violins, third in from the right. The black towel was folded neatly and resting over his shoulder, the violin nestled into it.
John's eyes were glued to Sherlock, watching as his flatmate (for once) fitted in with the crowd. He was in his element, like a little fish swimming in a shoal of the same species, in a musical coral reef surrounded by an ecosystem of other harmonious fish shoals.
"Oh, he must be playing his other violin." Mrs. Hudson commented as she applauded. The lights rose for the interval
"Yeah, I've not seen that one before." John replied.
"Oh yes, the other violinis kept somewhere safe - in a safe for that matter. I saw the removal men carrying it into the flat when he moved in. I've no idea where he's stashed the safe - I've never found it, but that's where he keeps the other violin." she said, flicking through the program for a moment.
"I know he pays a small fortune in insurance for the violin he usually plays. When there was the explosion at the flat, he told me that he'd have been inconsolable had his violin been damaged… I think that one's worth about six or seven grand…" John trailed off. He knew where the safe was. Under the bath, behind the wooden panel on the side. John had found it when one of Sherlock's experiments had blocked the drain. He wasn't going to tell anyone - though, he wondered if the 'drugs squad' had thought to look there during the 'Study in Pink' case.
"Oh, I know they're both made by that famous person… the expensive one… what's he called… Strad-something?" she muttered. "Strad-stradi… Stradivarius - that's it! Stradivarius."
"Bloody Hell… that would explain him asking me to guard them with my life…" John muttered, not wanting to know just how much the other violin was worth. If Sherlock had it locked up, then it had to cost a pretty penny.
"The one he plays usually is a more modern one, though its still an antique. He was saying it wasn't in particularly good nick when he bought it; he bought it from someone who didn't know what it was worth for a fraction of its value…" she whispered. "I think the other one had been in the family for a long time."
"Good evening, John, a new suit, very expensive, not picked out by yourself..." Sherlock said, sneaking into the box, a violin case in one hand, two champagne flutes in the other. He sat down on one of the empty seats, carefully placing the violin on the floor between his feet.
"Yeah, present from someone you don't like very much." John said, chipping in before Sherlock could go off on a tangent.
"Mycroft does have his uses, I wonder where his little spy is looking at us from now… Mrs. Hudson, are you enjoying yourself?"
"Oh dearie! I am wonderfully happy! And look at you! All dressed up and looking so cheery!" she cried, standing and gently kissing him on both cheeks. "I'm just going to nip to the loo…"
"The Last Night of the Proms. Bloody Hell!" John said, shaking his head once she'd left.
"Yes?" Sherlock asked, examining his fingernails.
"The Bloody Last Night of the Bloody Proms! How'd you manage that?" John said, accepting the glass of champagne Sherlock passed to him.
"Drink that quickly, you're not supposed to have drinks in here. I don't want you getting me thrown out." Sherlock said, John ducked back into the shadows. "And the reason I'm here is because the person whose seat I'm sat in has been taken ill. Appendicitis. The organisers called in a favour this afternoon."
"Well, you're all sounding lovely. And you look to be playing well." John said.
"Its second violin. Not much of a stretch, I'd be happier playing the first part." he said, glancing down at the case between his feet.
"It's the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Last Night of the Proms! Sherlock, people would kill to sit where you're sitting tonight!" John said, watching as Sherlock's face became his 'thinking expression'.
"Do you think they'd kill a first violinist? There's a lovely concerto coming up after the interval." he said, conversationally.
"Sherlock! That's an awful thing to say!" John cried.
"I didn't ask for the soloist to be killed, just a first violinist." he said, quite unapologetic.
Sherlock reached into John's pocket and extracted his own mobile phone, turned it on, read the messages and then smiled softly. A smile John didn't think he was capable of. It made him look about twelve! Sherlock picked up his violin and left the box without a word, passing the other champagne flute to the doctor. "Sorry, I must get back. I'll meet you in the foyer after the performance."
John read the message just before Mrs. Hudson returned, smiling softly himself before he turned the phone off again and replaced it in his pocket. John didn't pretend to really understand Sherlock Holmes, though, he could understand the uncharacteristic soft smile.
'Mummy would have been so very proud of you.'