The Writing on the Wall (Sherlock BBC Fanfic)
November 28th, 18:40
Current Mood: mellow
Current Music: spooky
AN - This is unconnected to my other works in this fandom.Warnings for horror, mild gore and swearing and slash***
Geoffrey Lestrade had been on the job long enough to have seen his fair share of 'occult' crimes. Everything from teenage pranksters making a drunken attempt to raise the devil, to poisoned tea leaves in a psychic convention to people who'd actually made a good faith effort to raise the dead. (That one had been particularly nasty as they'd dug up several corpses who hadn't been in the best condition to start with.)
While he never enjoyed walking into a space that had been used for 'magic' he'd never attended a crime scene that had raised the hairs on the back of his neck the way this one had. Even Anderson, the world's least empathic forensic scientist, had displayed unease as he'd moved around the scene, looking for evidence beyond the obvious. Of course, there was the dead body in the centre to process still, but she could wait a moment longer. Lestrade had called in the consulting nuisance from 221B Baker Street, and Sherlock Holmes would have the sociopathic equivalent of a tantrum if the scene was too badly disturbed. Not that it wasn't disturbing enough - whoever she'd been, she'd entered the ritual enacted here alive and died as a result of whatever had gone on.
"Freak and his shadow are here," Sally Donovan's voice crackled over the radio and even Anderson jumped and looked around nervously. Lestrade licked his lips and stuffed his hands in his pockets, hoping that his nervousness would not be too obvious when Sherlock arrived. He made a mental note to talk to Sally again about the way she addressed Dr Watson. Whatever Sherlock had done to annoy her should not wash over onto the civilian who had been a calming and moderating influence on the man that Geoff had such high hopes for. Since John Watson arrived on the scene, Geoff could now expect to call on Sherlock at any time of the day or night and find him sober. He'd seen the look on Sherlock's face when John had mistakenly defended him against that spurious drugs bust; the thin genius had clearly been embarrassed about the whole thing - already he'd been seeking the good opinion of his new flatmate, something that was positively unprecedented.
"Lestrade," Sherlock's voice was jarring in a scene that seemed to demand quiet and Geoff winced, noting that Sherlock did too, swallowing whatever he'd been about to say and advancing onto the scene carefully. Almost at once, Geoff noticed there was something wrong. It was as if the tense atmosphere was also affecting Sherlock because he seemed very... hesitant as he moved about, instead of his usual 'bull in a china shop' routine.
Lestrade looked back to see what John thought of all this and felt his scalp crawling when he realised the doctor was standing just inside the door, following something that didn't exist with his eyes. It was like watching someone trace lines that had been painted on the walls, floor and ceiling with their eyes - only Lestrade couldn't see what it was that John was tracing at all. Unable to take his eyes away, he watched in silent trepidation as John stepped slowly and carefully - like a man negotiating a mine field, and that little image just wouldn't quit once he'd thought of it - avoiding obstacles and spots that were invisible to Geoff. The atmosphere at the crime scene became quite oppressive and just as Geoff was about to declare some sort of emergency and evacuate everyone, John Watson stopped, reached out, and scuffed his toe in a straight line through nothing.
Instantly the atmosphere cleared. It was as if everyone had taken a deep breath simultaneously while the sun came out from behind the storm clouds hanging over them. Sherlock sped up suddenly in the corner of Lestrade's eye and he turned his head to check that the consulting detective was ok. When he glanced back at John the doctor was by the door again, hands in pockets, looking as if he hadn't moved. With a slight shock, Geoff realised that no one else had seen the man's actions - he was the only witness. John met his eyes with a silent 'yes? You ok?' look that the doctor used when assessing a potential patient and Lestrade nodded once before turning to watch Sherlock pour over the crime scene with his usual abandon.
"What I don't understand," John says as they plod up the stairs, Sherlock in the lead and Lestrade at his heels. Sherlock had collected several samples that had Anderson crying foul until John had made the suggestion that Lestrade maintain chain of custody by coming back to Baker Street with them, "Is why they left so much behind. There were a lot of objects there that would have been quite important as stage dressing if nothing else. If these guys want to repeat this ritual then they'll want to have the same props as before. I mean, they left the knife behind for heaven's sake! Of everything they should have taken, the knife was most important!"
"And you know this how?" Geoff asked, edging closer to Sherlock as he did, uneasy still with the doctor's actions at the crime scene.
"I watch telly, Inspector," the answer was almost believable if you hadn't seen the deliberate movements of only an hour ago, "And I'm not above reading trashy fiction either."
"That is true," Sherlock confirmed, "I make him keep it upstairs though. I wouldn't want anyone to think I read such things."
"Because you're not eccentric enough as it is," John agreed mildly and Geoff choked back a laugh. Whatever had happened back there, John was still John, able to put Sherlock into place with the mildest of reprimands.
"What are you doing here?" Sherlock's voice went from pleasant to razor sharp in a matter of seconds and Geoff found himself face to face with Mycroft Holmes - someone he'd only met once after digging the younger Holmes and his friend out of the rubble of the swimming pool. There was a woman with him, texting away on her phone. Geoff thought she might be beautiful if her face was anything other than blank. Upon their entry she glanced up and reached over, drawing Sherlock to her side with a slender hand. Sherlock seemed oddly unable to stop her, no matter that he'd squirmed in protest at first.
"I've packed your things, Watson. You are to leave this house at once and never return," Mycroft's announcement was shocking enough to silence Sherlock and Geoff gaped at him in surprise before turning to look at John who still stood at the door. There was a faintly cold expression on his face, completely out of place with the man Lestrade had thought he was beginning to know.
"Nonsense, John, you're staying here," Sherlock said, still within the woman's grip. His voice was shaking and Lestrade sent him a worried look, noting the pale complexion and drawn look on his face.
"Let him go," there was a definite tone of command in John's voice; "You're hurting him."
The woman with her hand around Sherlock's arm lets go abruptly, stepping back. Sherlock gasps and wobbles and Lestrade grabs for him, props him up, seeing the way colour flushes back into the hand of the arm that had been grabbed and realising her grip had been so tight that she had cut the blood flow off. John also moves forward to help but things take a turn from odd to outright bizarre when Mycroft leaps forward and attempts to bash John's head in with his umbrella. The former soldier catches it with both hands and holds it still, meeting Mycroft's gaze calmly.
"I would never hurt him," John says softly, "I want to check that she didn't pinch the nerve."
"Leave and never return," Mycroft replies, seeming not to hear when his brother actually whimpers the words 'no' and 'John, please'. John does though; Geoff can see it in his eyes. They flicker over the flat, its occupants and then over to Sherlock.
"You do realise you can't force me to leave," he tells Mycroft quietly, "If Sherlock wants me here, then here I stay."
"Stay," Sherlock echoes, unable, it seems to get his feet under him. His eyes are locked on John with the intensity that Geoff had once seen in a man begging his fatally injured wife to live. It seems that the events that led to the blown-up-swimming-pool had changed things between the two men.
"As you wish," John smiled over at them and took the umbrella from Mycroft's hands with all the effort one would expend on taking a toothpick from the packet. He propped it on the wall and took Sherlock from Geoff, or to be accurate, caught him when he used Geoff as a springboard, "Let me see that arm, Sherlock."
"Get out," Sherlock snarled at his brother, "Don't ever come back."
"Sherlock, you don't understand. Watson is a... magician, for want of a better description. He performed magic at that crime scene today - is in fact capable of recreating that very scene single handed. He's a danger to you," Mycroft's tone was condescending to say the least and even Lestrade knew that was not the way to get Sherlock to give in.
"Get out," Sherlock repeated, "Don't ever come back."
When the front door slammed behind the offended older brother and his arm pinching assistant, John sighed and lowered Sherlock into a chair.
"This needs a poultice to correct the nerve damage. She doesn't know her own strength," he complained. Sherlock shot him a dark look.
"After all this time, you insist on believing the best about him and his people," he retorted, raising his voice as John went into the kitchen, "She knew exactly what she was doing."
"So, the remarks about the crime scene weren't based on trashy fiction?" Lestrade asked as he sat in an empty armchair while John situated the herbal smelling poultice and Sherlock curled around the smaller man on the couch.
"Only partly," John replied with a smile, "You saw me cut the line at the crime scene, didn't you?"
"I did," Geoff replied, "I thought you were mad until the atmosphere improved. But what was the last few minutes in aid of?"
"People like me are classed as a danger to people like you," John sighed, "It's a hold over from the witch trials."
"You're a witch?" Geoff spluttered and John laughed while Sherlock glared at the DI. Whatever he'd said was apparently wrong and possibly rude if Sherlock's expression was anything to go by.
"No, I'm not," John replied, "I'm a mage. I'm much more powerful than a witch, or her male counterpart, a warlock. It's considered something of an insult to call a male a witch."
"Sorry," Geoff apologised at once, though he could tell John didn't mind the mistake, which had been based in ignorance, "So I'm guessing that there is some sort of society... an underground one... that practices magic in the area?"
"It's an international community," John agreed, "And we're not all benevolent. There are rogues, and I think we're dealing with one here."
"Because the crime scene had genuine magic attached to it," Geoff guessed and glanced at Sherlock who had been quiet for ages. The thin genius was deeply asleep, curled around John possessively. John grinned when Lestrade gave him a curious look. Sherlock Holmes didn't sleep in company, certainly not when there was an interesting conversation going on.
"Let me guess, the poultice makes him sleep?" Geoff nodded at the damp patch seeping through Sherlock's shirt. John nodded and nuzzled against the head on his shoulder.
"It's not supposed to - it's a side effect that I can't quite work out," John sighed, "And thank you for not accusing me of using a spell on him."
"That strikes me as... unethical behaviour for a doctor, and whatever else you can do, Dr Watson, I've always known how seriously you take your job," Geoff said it plainly, "Now, since he's asleep, I'll leave these samples on the kitchen bench and take my leave. Let me know what he finds if you would."
"Will do," John's voice was warm with gratitude and Geoff nodded to him, neither man needing to hear a promise about keeping this side of things on the quiet.
As he shut the front door behind him, Geoff mused that should Mrs Hudson suddenly be revealed as a master criminal he would chalk it down to no more than the address she lived at. There had always been something about 221B Baker Street that was a little... unusual. Now he had a clearer idea of what it was.
AN - to be continued? Let me know!
Disclaimer - characters and setting as depicted in the BBC series not mine. No money being made.