This is the Watson's Woes one year anniversary celebration fic I wrote off of this request.:
poeticmaiden: I'd love something where Watson takes care of a criminal/problem before Holmes is even aware of him/it. Holmes must be impressed (and maybe a little put-out). As much humor (without it being rude humor) is appreciated.
I wrote this and it got lost in a rush of fictions at the time, but I have since gone back and reviewed some fics I wrote that maybe did not see the light of day and found this one and liked it enough to post it here.
This entry is about co-dependancy, and how to be healthier. Holmes and Watson were always so insular and after the Police Surgeon series that had to change, but between here and there is a transition, and it is not always an easy one.
A Faulty Path…
Holmes leaned forward in the Hansom. "Can you go any faster? There's another pence in it," he called up the driver.
"Going as fast as I am going to go, if you want faster, feel free to find another cab," came his exasperated reply.
Holmes set back grumbling about the rude behavior of Cabbys these days, he had only been out of England for a couple of years, but manners had deteriorated in that interim it appeared, manners such as someone summoning him to a crime scene while it was fresh, or a Boswell who did not wait for him before departing.
He was especially upset about that last one!
Watson still stubbornly refused to move back into their old apartments, it had been weeks and the mulish fool was still in Kensington and still maintaining a relationship with Lestrade and the Yard which should have faded now that Holmes was back. He knew that Watson had chosen to forgive his time abroad and faked death, but a restoration of their old arrangement had not been forthcoming to date. Holmes idly wondered if Lazarus had this difficulty.
"You'd think that people would be happy that one has returned from the grave, as I recall, it worked out for the Jesus chap quite splendidly," he groused to himself.
He had received due recompense from the government for his activities in those years, so he no longer had to actively pursue a case if he was not inclined, but he needed excitement, vitality, purpose…being away from the work he loved was a kind of death of the intellect that he could not abide. Scotland Yard had yet to return to his door with any sort of frequency, they had become far to self sufficient in his absence, which was good for the populace at large but bad for Holmes and his engagement. It was a mixed blessing, he could no longer complain about the incompetence with as much self assurance because it was fairly obvious that the arrests were up and the prosecutions had been punctual, quite frankly Holmes wished for the old bumbling days.
He had this nagging feeling in the back of his mind that he had put himself out of a vocation by his "death" and he was feeling increasingly uncertain about his future prospects. Especially since Watson had stepped out from his shadow and revealed the closely guarded secret that the Sherlock Holmes of fiction was actually a duo, and had developed his own reputation in Holmes's absentia. It appeared now that his Boswell was now the Yard's consultant of choice and Holmes was struggling between the feelings of pride at his friend's change in fortune and his own fear of irrelevance.
Holmes was afraid his good will for Watson and the Yard was evidence that he might have somehow grown a conscious; he speculated that one of those must have gotten in through a nascent dampness in his psyche and set up like mold or a fungus. Then again perhaps Watson always was his conscious throughout their years together and to feel closer to his distant friend he had developed one out of nostalgia.
However he had acquired one, he found it to an entirely disagreeable sensation, one he wished he could excise. He had heard of this man in Austria that was developing fascinating theories on the workings of the mind, perhaps he had a method to divest oneself of this unwieldy self doubt? He would have to read the man's findings soon.
The way he had found out about this crime for which he was headed, was in and of itself an insult.
Details were overheard by one of his Irregulars and brought to his attention by their swift feet and not a runner from Lestrade. If one of his urchins had not been listening in to the local constabulary, by coincidence of course, then Holmes might not have discovered that a page in the House of Lords was discovered throat cut, in a disagreeable part of town, having been divested of most of his belongings. It was a high profile case which in the past had caused him to be sent for in all due haste.
He had sent a runner to Kensington to ask if Watson would accompany him only to be intercepted before he left Baker and informed that Lestrade had come by and acquired the doctor earlier that morning. It was hard not to see the implications, and Holmes was many things but self deluded was not one of them.
He had to get over to the crime scene before they packed the body away for a trip back to the dissection rooms. He was about to lean forward to ask for more speed when he smelled the air. He had arrived.
The Rookery of St. Giles had its own moue, a particular atmosphere of deteriorated hopes and shattered lives, persons eking out existence on the very edges of polite society. Dirty faced children playing among the tables of monte' and dice, prostitutes conversing and fighting over territory or trying to catch the eye of the well dressed Londoners who swing down this way for bawdy pursuits. If the City of London had a sewer this was the location. That a page from the House of Lords was found down here was a scandal in the making and Holmes did not want to miss out.
The cab pulled over. "You're getting out here; I don't go into the Rook, not even in full day light." The Cabby informed.
Holmes pressed the cash into his hand glaring at the man's impertinence, which his conveyor showed absolutely no affect as he counted out the bills and drove off.
Holmes made his way down the block ignoring any calls for services, some of which brought a blush to his cheeks; he grabbed one little hand that had slipped into his purse pocket extracting his livelihood from the grubby little fingers before the scamp got free. He finally made it to the alleyway in question and was stopped by a young constable.
"Where you think you're goin? Not from a paper arya?" the barrel-chested functionary bellowed.
Holmes removed the man's hand from his shoulder. "I am Sherlock Holmes, step aside, Lestrade will vouch for me."
The uncouth young policeman stopped him again with a big paw and bawed over his shoulder. "Chief Inspector, dis man says you know em. Says he's Sherlock 'olmes but 'olmes is bleeding dead aint 'e?"
Lestrade made his way through milling PC's to see what the ruckus. He saw Holmes standing there infuriated and his face went strangely blank.
"I have never seen this man before in my life, Barkley, show him the street."
The Constable reached for Holmes once again eagerly, but Holmes had had enough, he intercepted the hand and spun it under taking the constable down to his knees in pain. Other PC's nearby pulled weapons, truncheons and pistols.
"Whoa, hold it," Lestrade ordered, "I was just having Holmes on, put those guns away! What's wrong with ya?"
Holmes dropped the burly constable to the street so the man could nurse his damaged hand. "Hello, Lestrade, did you forget your way to Baker Street?" he inquired wiping his hand on a handkerchief.
"Of course not, all I have to do is head to the west end, I can see your ego from as far away as Chelsea," Lestrade replied to the delight and chuckles of his men.
After a silent battle of wills, Lestrade raised the barrier and permitted Holmes through.
"You are free to tell us what we've missed Holmes, but really you should not have put yourself out," Lestrade conversed in a dangerously smug tone.
Holmes did not bother answering the man as he made his way to the site of the murder, his eyes collecting data as he progressed.
Watson was writing down some notes kneeling by the body, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, but Holmes knew the man well enough to know that he was aware of Holmes as soon as he turned the corner.
"How has your morning been, Holmes? I can see you are subsisting on coffee and a pipe far too much these days, I'm sure Mrs. Hudson has had words about your drop in weight," Watson remarked as he took the blunt end of his pencil and checked something at the nap of the dead man's neck.
"Come back to Baker, and you can supervise me in person," Holmes batted back loudly as he checked the man's bare feet.
"Are you two still bantering about that?" Lestrade yelled with his frustration clear, "I swear I have never seen two more stubborn arses in my life!"
Holmes noticed Lestrade's quick glance and he murmured to Watson, "What's the book?"
"Another two weeks, I'll be ready to move and we'll be two-hundred pounds richer each," Watson remarked as he checked the corpse's fingers.
"I'll slip you another fifty just to raise the back end a bit," Holmes mumbled as he bent down closer to the other side checking the clothing for tell tale signs.
"Send it by courier, we're supposed to be estranged," Watson reminded him with a lopsided grin.
Lestrade edged closer and grumbled just loud enough for them to hear. "Stop talking about it you idiots, we've almost got the upper tier involved, that will buy me and Clea a trip to Versailles in the spring!"
Holmes went back to his observations but he said to Watson, "I do not care for the bet, if you wish to move back earlier."
Watson just answered with an irritated glance and bent back to his observation.
"I am done with the preliminary findings, I'll know more after the dissection…" he began.
Holmes called out. "Hold, Watson, not only can I tell you how he was killed, but why, and even whom, no more preliminaries necessary."
Lestrade was about to say something but he caught a warning look from Watson and stopped.
"Go on, Holmes, regale us with your tale," Watson said in a most encouraging way.
Holmes stood to straighten his suit back into place before beginning.
"This man was not killed by a slit throat, which was committed post-mortem by a left-handed man; he was dumped here in the Rook to make it look as if a man wandered in the wrong side of town and met with an unfortunate fate. You can see it was post-mortem by the lack of blood, and the blackness of the blood that exited the wound and the fact that there is no spatter, which would have happened if that wound were administered to a living man."
Lestrade looked amused; Watson nodded for Holmes to go on.
"This man was a page but the clothing he wears was custom made and very pricey, far beyond what should have been available for a man in such a position in life, even though his pockets have been emptied and he is stripped nearly down to his underclothes, the pants show the quality, he was drug into his alleyway without his shoes, someone got his socks but his heel is still skinned. So the actual murder occurred elsewhere, he has some foam around his lips, probably from cyanide." He paused. "Did you check the pupils?"
Watson nodded. Holmes was about to give more conclusions when he noticed that several of Lestrade's pet constables were not present, and that the scene was oddly deserted, the press should have been all over this scene.
His eyes met Watson's and he saw the truth there.
"Why did you not say something?" he asked trying to keep the wounded note out of his tone.
Watson sighed. "We did not call you to this scene, Holmes, because we felt it was beneath you. I was able to figure out all the salient facts in just a few moments. When you arrived, I was checking for any detail I might have missed, since we are going after a Lord for murder I felt it necessary."
Holmes felt crestfallen. "I guess there is nothing more to be done then."
Watson rolled his eyes. "I have not yet had time to break my fast, Lestrade and I were debating were we wanted to achieve that end, you are welcome to join us."
Lestrade checked his watch. "Watson, we will need to attend to the arrest, there is still the question of proving the motive, and all if this is still a bit speculatory."
Watson nodded. "Yes it would be good to follow the clues carefully on this one; we might need to call in the world's greatest detective to nail the coffin shut." His eyes settled on Holmes. "Oh wait, there he is. What say you Holmes, breakfast and a hunt?"
"You can tell me why you're sure that Lord Grimalkin is the culprit," Lestrade added, "compare notes, perhaps strategize how to proceed?"
Holmes felt that desire for separation rise within him, the urge to go his own way that had made him the singular individual he had been to this point. The singularly lonely and aloof person that is, so isolated he had only one friend on which to call, a burden no relationship was meant to carry.
The truly illogical action is to ignore the evidence and continue down a path that has proven faulty. Perhaps this new beginning he was being offered was the best course.
"As long as I am allowed to choose the establishment, left to your own devices both of you would have us eating at some dreadfully greasy establishment without a decent cup of tea available."
Watson and Lestrade exchanged a longsuffering glance, "Very well." Watson concluded.
The orders were given for the body to be transported and the three men made their way to the street to find a cab brave enough to travel the rook.
"Thanks for inviting me along, Watson," Holmes said to his once and future flat mate as soon as Lestrade stepped out of range to flash his badge at a passing hansom.
Watson caught his eye, saw more than Holmes would have liked, just as always. "You're not going to go all blubbery on me are you now? My handkerchief was just cleaned and pressed yesterday," Watson remarked with a grin.
In a lower voice he added. "Thanks for finally accepting."
The boarded the cab and began the trek back into the city, merrily squabbling as they passed the journey.
When I wrote Police Surgeon the challenge was to write a Holmesian story with Holmes being involved, however after One Last War Holmes is back and after three years of absence people adjust, things change. I felt this was a good fic to add to the canon in that universe. I hope you all agree.