A/N: Ok, so you guys have all been really patient waiting for this sequel! As proof that I really am working on it, here's an excerpt! Sorry it's taking so long, my muse doesn't always cooperate with what I want, but hopefully I'll be able to get rolling with this more fully now, and get this out, in full, to you all soon!
"I don't know if I can handle this," John said quietly to Sherlock, climbing the stairs with him as Detective Lestrade led them through the house to the murder scene, "I can smell the blood, even from here."
"I know," Sherlock replied just as quietly, "you can do it."
It hadn't even occurred to him before, this new sensitivity. He had been an army doctor, had seen litres upon litres of blood in his career, had seen death and pain in so many forms… but never had it affected him more than it was at this moment.
It was like… smelling a fine wine and pennies, and blood had never smelled like that to him before. It pulled at his senses, made him hungry and borderline aroused, which was frightening and freaky at the same time.
The other crime scenes he had gone to with Sherlock never smelled like this. Reflecting on that, he realized why. They had seen people who had been shot, or poisoned, strangled, the list went on. But by the time they had gotten to the scene, the blood had had time to cool and coagulate, turn the dark, muddy colour of time and oxidation; the body had started to decay, not perceivably, usually, but with their senses they could smell it, the tiny signs of decomposition.
This time though, the blood was frighteningly fresh, and to top it all off, nearly every drop of it seemed to have left the body, at least so far as John could tell by how strong the smell was from here.
Lestrade confirmed it as they climbed the stairs and drew closer to the crime scene, "Got to warn you, it's pretty bad. Dismembered and gutted, I've never seen anything like it before. Not sure what they used yet to do it, Anderson's having a look now."
Sherlock snorted in disdain and John rolled his eyes.
"When were they found?" Sherlock asked, and Lestrade grimaced.
"Literally within ten minutes of death, and we got here and called you within half an hour. Name is Ginny Walker."
"How was she found so soon?"
"Luck," Lestrade said as they reached the landing, "the husband wasn't supposed to be home for several more hours at least, but he decided to pop home on his lunch break. Come on, need to slip these on for this one, trust me," he indicated to the crime scene suits.
John sighed as Sherlock frowningly condescended to at least putting the shoe-covers on and latex gloves, while John dutifully donned the complete suit. Oneof them had to be respectful of the Yard, and it certainly was never going to be Sherlock.
They then travelled down to the door at the end of the hallway, ominously closed with Sally Donovan standing outside it, looking pale and a bit shaken.
"Alright?" Lestrade asked her quietly, and she nodded minutely, eyes shifting to Sherlock.
John was expecting a snide remark, as was their usual conversation, but instead she only stepped aside to let Lestrade open the door.
"Christ," John breathed as the door opened and the smell hit them dead-on.
Sherlock paused in the doorway, and John peered with dread around his shoulder.
The entire room had been slashed with red. The walls, which he could see had started off life as light yellow, were now splattered with blood on every wall.
John's stomach twisted uncomfortably, seemingly waging war on itself trying to decide whether to feel nauseous, or… hungry.
Sherlock said nothing as he stepped into the room and John followed. The soft 'squish' of wet carpet made John halt in his tracks for a brief moment, eyes closing fleetingly in the instant that it took for the horrible realization to dawn on him.
John had been to war. He had seen men shot, had seen them blown up, had watched a young man, barely in his twenties, burn to death in an overturned Humvee that he couldn't get to in time.
But he had never, ever, seen someone so brutally murdered as what he was seeing now.
Anderson stood up from where he had been kneeling down with several forensic tools, scowling at them, but surprisingly silent.
"Clear off Anderson," Lestrade said, "you can finish in a minute."
Anderson scowled, but, also surprisingly, said nothing as he left.
"How's your stomach, Anderson?" Sherlock couldn't help but jab as Anderson stalked pasted him, and John elbowed him with a glare.
"Up yours, Holmes," Anderson snapped, and Sherlock snickered.
"I'm surprised he managed that much," he said lowly to John, "he looked about to be sick at any moment, opening his mouth to talk was a risk."
John just shook his head and rolled his eyes.
He watched Sherlock kneel carefully down, scooping up the ends of his coat as he went to keep them from the blood-soaked floor, the fabric pooled in his lap as he pulled out his magnifier and leaned carefully on his haunches over the body to do his usual, thorough inspection.
John swallowed hard, trying to decide which was worse, breathing out of his mouth or his nose; both carried the heavy scent of blood to his senses, leaving a thick taste in the back of his mouth and making his brain foggy.
"John," Sherlock beckoned, motioning to John to come closer. John gave his head a little shake, stepping forward to kneel opposite Sherlock, the body between them.
"Alright?" Sherlock asked quietly enough that Lestrade couldn't hear, and John nodded minutely.
"What do you see?" he asked then, indicating for John to take his turn examining. John leaned forward on his haunches, determinedly focusing.
The woman was in her late twenties to early thirties, by the look of her. And she had literally been ripped to pieces. Her abdominal cavity was completely ripped open, her internal organs pulled out; some scattered to other parts of the room, and some missing entirely from what John could see. Her limbs had been dislocated, but not removed, though she seemed to be missing several fingers from her right hand.
John delicately traced the ragged edge of flesh of her abdomen with a gloved finger, and Sherlock watched him intently. He swallowed hard when he came to a rather unpleasant conclusion.
She had been alive when they started ripping into her. Had remained conscious for most of the horrible process, slipping rapidly into shock until they had reached under her ribs to rip out her heart.
The visual was like a kick in the gut, desire and arousal and something else, something much darker seizing him for a moment and he clenched his jaw and fists tightly for a moment to quell it.
Sherlock was staring intently at him and John risked a glance up to meet his gaze. He had to suppress a gasp as he met his friend's piercing stare. Sherlock's pupils were dilated so wide only a sliver of ice grey remained. He imagined he must look much the same, and it was a small comfort to know this was affecting Sherlock as much as him.
He swallowed hard, refocusing his attention to the matter at hand. He reached out and gently lifted her bloodied hand delicately, looking at where her fingers had been taken off, when he noticed smaller, less brutal injuries along her arm, undoubtedly created in self-defence.
Teeth marks. Canineteeth marks, by the look of them. Huge and deep.
"I'll take anything you've got, Sherlock," Lestrade commented.
"Early thirties, no children but happily married for six years," Sherlock rattled off, "works from home, something computer-programming related I'm assuming. Was just returning from visiting someone today when she was attacked, I'm assuming a relative, possibly one in poor health."
Sherlock was leaning forward on his hands, staring intently at her wounds at a mere three inches away from the ragged flesh and slowly moving upward toward her face. John watched his intense scrutiny carefully, noticed the flare of his nostrils as he inhaled, no doubt cataloguing all the scents their finer senses could pick up.
"And the attack itself?"
"Care to take this one, John?" Sherlock offered, still looking.
"Er, yeah," John stammered, giving his head a little shake and clearing his throat before turning to Lestrade to related everything he had observed already.
"Christ," Lestrade grimaced, and John nodded in sympathy, "Can you tell what they used to do this to her?"
John and Sherlock exchanged a look, and Sherlock gave a small nod.
"Honestly… it looks like an animal attack," John admitted, "They don't look like knife wounds, electric or otherwise. Even if they used a serrated edge, the edges of the wounds would be neater, sharper. These…" he rubbed the back of his hand across his forehead wearily, "There are teeth marks, puncture wounds, this," he pointed to the gaping abdominal cavity, "was made by ripping and tearing."
"Christ," Lestrade said again.
"I believe you'll need a more thorough check by a pathologist to be sure, but I'm assuming something of the canine variety," Sherlock sighed, standing up and looking thoughtfully around the scene, stepping around the body to examine the furniture, the walls, the window sill, door, and doorframe in his methodical way as John stood up from his kneeling position beside the body carefully.
"That's it?" Lestrade asked, eyebrows raised when Sherlock was finished his examining and still hadn't said anything further.
"Until I speak with the husband, yes," Sherlock replied, peeling off his latex gloves with a snap.
Lestrade and John exchanged a look.
Sherlock huffed dramatically at their silence exchange, rounding on them squarely.
"Oh honestly," he said with a glare, "I'm not going to attack him, for god's sake. I want to ask him about his wife."
"That's what we're worried about," John sighed, and Sherlock glared.
"That's what you're here for, is it not?" Sherlock said, eyebrows raised, "To 'rein me in'?" he sneered, and it was John's turn to glare.
"Alright, easy," Lestrade interjected, looking sternly at Sherlock, "You've got five minutes with him Sherlock, but I swear to God I'm yanking you out of the room by your hair if you aggravate him, he's in shock, his wife's just been violently murdered, so remember that and try to dredge up some sympathy."
"Yes, yes," Sherlock sighed, leading the way out of the room, stripping his latex gloves off as he went.
John felt better, stripping off the crime scene suit and tossing it in the bin, away from the bloodied room, but the scent still clung to the air, sweet like molasses and he had to fight the continued pull of hunger and arousal it was causing in his gut uncomfortably.
"Nearly done," Sherlock murmured quietly to him as he swept ahead of them downstairs, coat trailing out behind him.
Timothy Walker was a big, brawny man, light of complexion and close-cropped hair. John imagined that normally, he was an intimidating presence, but now the poor man was hunched over in an armchair in the house's living room, mug of un-drank tea cradled in his big hands and an orange blanket wrapped around his shoulders.
He was staring unseeingly into the mug as they approached, and only looked up when Lestrade cleared his throat awkwardly.
"Mr Walker, this is Sherlock Holmes, a colleague of mine," Lestrade said gently, indicating to Sherlock, "and his associate Dr John Watson. They have a couple questions for you, if you would be so kind."
The big man looked at them owlishly, blinking slowly.
"Yes, of course," he finally answered, and Sherlock took the liberty of inviting himself to sit opposite of him, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees as John took a seat to the side of them.
"Mr Walker," Sherlock started, voice surprisingly gentle, "I am sorry for your loss. Do you know of anyone who would want to hurt your wife?"
Walker shook his head, staring back into his mug again, "No," he replied, "No, not a soul. Didn't quarrel with anyone, my Ginny. Gentle as you please."
"No familial disagreements, even?" Sherlock pressed.
"No," Walker said, shaking his head again, "No, not one. Called and talked to her mum every day, went to lunch with her dad at least once a week. Family was very important to her, and she was very close with them."
"I see," Sherlock said quietly, then asked, "Where did she go this morning? Who did she see?"
"My cousin Tara," Walker said, looking surprised, "she's been battling a bad bout of pneumonia, and Ginny's been over to check on her."
"And how long has that been going on?"
"Little over a week."
"I see. Thank you Mr Walker," Sherlock said, standing up swiftly and walking from the room.
John hastily followed, murmuring his thanks for the man's time and his condolences.
"So?" Lestrade asked, once they were all in the hallway and out of the earshot of Timothy Walker, "What do you make of it? Do you think whoever murdered her used an animal as a sort of cover? Keep from getting their hands dirty?"
"Possibly," Sherlock sighed, pushing his hands in his pockets, "Why, specifically, they chose to murder her is still beyond me as of yet. Try to find out more about her connections and background, see if she had her hand in anything that could make her a target."
"Right, know that bit already thanks," Lestrade sighed, "that's all you've got?" he asked, with a down-trodden sense of hopefulness peeking through.
"Afraid so Lestrade," Sherlock said, sidestepping the DI and heading for the door, "You'll have to do some real detective work for once, instead of using me as a cheat-code."
"Right, thanks, nice to see you too," Lestrade said sarcastically to the empty air where Sherlock had been, and John clapped him on the shoulder apologetically before following Sherlock from the house.