A/N: HEY BITCHES~ I know, it's been a while. I sorries. I still love you. Even though you put this shit on story alert and say jack SHIT. :P But yeah, I've been on restriction because of grades. Actually the only reason this is getting posted is because of my friend Leah, aka xRadioactiveRosex. So go give her loves. And you can follow me on twitter, I guess? That's a thing. NICOLIETHEFACE. So yes. Onto the fluffiness!

In eighteen years, Peri had only been on a handful of cases, and none by herself. John thought that she was ready, and Sherlock didn't want her to be any more at risk than she already was. Peri, on the other hand, was as hardheaded as her father.

She knew she was ready, and she thought she could take care of herself, which is why, in the weeks leading up to her graduation from secondary school, she had been taking cases. Just small ones, nothing too major. Miniscule, in fact, compared to that of her parents! She'd just tell them she was going out with Dexter (which wasn't a lie, he was accompanying her) and do what she had to. Fortunately, none of her cases were as dangerous as the ones she assisted on.

In those weeks, she was also preparing for prom. She hadn't planned on going, but a boy in her Drama class – one who she actually liked sometimes, one who was intelligent – said something about not having a date. After rolling her eyes at the not so subtle hint, she agreed to go. Besides, it was a masquerade. It was sure to have some entertainment value.

"Noah, you do know we'd just be going as friends, right?" Noah rolled his own eyes in response.

"Course, Hy." Peri wrinkled her nose at the nickname he insisted on using. "You and Lestrade are so hung up on each other that I didn't think anything else." Before she could stop it, Peri felt the blush rush to her cheeks. She smacked Noah hard on the arm and he laughed loudly, as he often did. Being American, he was a fair bit louder than some of his counterparts. He gathered his things and made for the door. "See you tomorrow, Holmes. Make sure you pick out a pretty mask now!"

Later, she was on her way to her Uncle Mycroft's house, as this had been a routine on Wednesdays for as long as she could remember, Rachel – or Anthe, or Venia, or whatever it was this week – noticed that Peri didn't look nearly as irritated as she usually did on the way to her Uncles house. Instead, she was looking down at her own phone, smiling absently.

"You seem to be in good spirits today, Miss Holmes-Watson." Rachel said. Peri nodded.

"Proms soon. It's a masquerade, so I'm looking for masks." She had also just gotten a text about a small case involving a girl in 10th year and her brothers gambling problem. But of course, she wouldn't be saying that out loud.

As she expected, when she got home the next day, there was a small box sitting on her desk with a note attached that read Subtle.-MH. She opened up the box to find sleek black mask, accented with gold patterns and, most noticeably, ears. She smirked. A cat. Okay. She could work with this.

Over the next few weekends, she pulled an outfit together from stuff she found in her closet and shops. The night finally came and Peri was, although she could scarcely believe it, excited. Sherlock could tell that Noah wasn't interested in her, so he avoided the worst of the parental storm and the two of them managed to get to the school before everyone started getting drunk.

One of the first things Peri noticed when they got there was that there was a severe lack of Dexter nearby. She knew he was here, somewhere, with Penelope Bloom. Why her, of all people, she'd never understand. She was nearly as bad as Britney Norwood as vapidity went, and not overly attractive. Of course, one could attribute her lack of personality to being a follower all her life, just following the leader.

The next thing she noticed, which she didn't until a while after arriving, was that there was something funny about the chaperone in the corner. He was just slightly too old to be a student, but too young to be a teacher. And his expression. He didn't look like he was chaperoning a school dance, he looked more like he was guarding the prime minister. Then it clicked.

"Oh I am going to kill Mycroft." She said, her voice inaudible over the music. She started walking over to him when she saw something that made her stop dead in her tracks: the indistinct outline of a handgun in his coat. She looked closer at the face under the mask and recognition hit her like a ton of bricks. Her legs must have given out from under her, because next thing she knew, Dexter was easing her into a nearby chair. "You alright?" he asks, the worry in his voice apparent even with the music nearly muting him. Peri shook her head, taking deep breaths.

"You see that man over there?" He nodded. "Last case I took with my parents, we got their boss jailed. I don't think they're very happy with my family." Dexter's eyes didn't break from the man

"I don't quite—"

"Dark gymnasium, everyone wearing masks? Masks make me indistinguishable, make him indistinguishable, it's the perfect environment for a kidnaping! Why else would they be here?" Dexter's jaw tightened and he shook his head.

"Well, that's not gonna happen, Peri. Where's our dates?" As if summoned, Noah and Penelope walked up.

"You can't run away like that, Hy!" Noah smirked.

"We figured that we'd find you lot together, so we teamed up. Hello Hyperion." Penelope's mouth was a thin line. She obviously wasn't happy that her date was standing there fussing over another girl, but Peri couldn't quite bring herself to care.

"I'm sorry guys, " Dexter began, but Penelope cut him off before he could say anything else.

"I should have known this was gonna happen. I don't see why you didn't just ask her in the first place!" She snapped, storming away. Noah rolled his eyes and turned back to the two.

"You were saying?"

Dexter explained what was going on quickly. "We need to go find some of the real chaperones and tell them about tall, dark, and stupid." Noah nodded.

"Alright, but there'll be questions later!" He walked away. Dexter had his hands on Peri's shoulders.

"Go dance. He can't get you if he can't pick you out of a crowd." Peri nodded and worked her way into the throng of her dancing peers. She danced, not wanting to stand out. She refused to let her guard down, but with the only light in the room flashing and flickering, it was hard to keep herself alert. Her heart was pounding, it felt like it was going to jump out of her chest. If Dexter didn't show up soon, she was going to go mental. She was in the midst of thinking this when a hand clapped over her mouth.

"You can come with me quietly, or I can carry you out of here kicking and screaming." The voice was low in her ear. Peri didn't move a muscle. "Alright, then!" he wrapped his arm around her waist and lifted her off of her feet. Her mind clicked into survival mode. She started thrashing around, trying to kick him in the shins and draw attention to them. She saw, to her horror, that people were pointing and laughing. Laughing. They thought this was a joke, a couple of friends screwing around.

Peri clawed at his arm – this was the exact reason she kept her nails long – and sunk her teeth into the flesh of his hand, she tasted the metallic tang of blood and felt the pressure on her mouth go away. She knew it wouldn't last, so while she could, she screamed bloody murder. The faces around her fell. Thanks to the scream and the blood, they were realizing that this was no joke. The music was cut – the DJ must have heard the scream – and some of the bigger guys in the crowd moved forward. However, this man was determined to get what he come for.

"Enough!" He roared, his bloodied hand going for the gun. This wasn't how his task was supposed to go. Snatching a little teen girl in a crowded room, how difficult could that be? Peri breathed heavily. There was no way she could die right now, she was going to die in a blaze of glory, not in the gymnasium in a bloody cat mask!

"Enough." he repeated, not quite as loud as last time. "Now, I'm gonna take the little lady, and you lot are gonna make sure her parents know she's gone. Go it?" Dexter had made it through the crowd by then. Peri locked eyes with him and made a nearly imperceptible gesture with her hands: the number thirteen.

"You know, you really could have chosen a better way to carry me." She brought her leg up hard and fast and he sank to his knees. Dexter took the gun from his hand before he could regain his bearings. He had dropped Peri when she kicked him, but, dumbly, she had stayed standing right where she was. She rushed behind Dexter and whispered a small 'thank you' in his ear.

A lot happened in the couple of minutes following. The man – Peri realized that she didn't know his name – was taken and restrained, and locked in an empty classroom until the police arrived. Someone accompanied her to the restroom – she wasn't quite sure who – so she could rinse her mouth out.

The prom was as good as over by the time she returned. The DJ was packing up and the police were starting to arrive, she saw a few taking statements. She sat in the corner with her mask pushed up onto her head, watching the people scramble around, until she saw Lestrade walking towards her.

"What are you doing here Detective Inspector? As I recall, this isn't your division."

"I knew you and Dex were here." He said with a small shrug. "Couldn't just sit in my office. Since I am here, could I take a statement?" Peri told him everything that happened quickly and concisely.

"And, um, Greg?" This caught his attention. She only ever called him Lestrade. "Could we not tell my parents about this?" He gave her a small smile.

"Fraid not, love. Even if I didn't, he would have been able to tell." Peri sighed. So he'd already told them.

"I figured as much." She stood up and walked into the hallway. It seemed as if every eye in the room was trained on her. It wasn't a feeling she was used to.

"Peri!" She turned toward Dexter, smiling slightly.

"I wondered when you were going to come find me."

"I'm so glad shit like that doesn't happen to you all the time."

"You and me both."

"No, really. That was terrifying."

"You weren't the one about to be carted out of here!"

"Yeah, but the thought of you dying? Just as scary as a gun to my head." Peri rolled her eyes.

"Don't be such a drama queen."

"I'm serious!"

"Clot." She shook her head grinning. The next thing she knew, his hands were cradling her face and his lips were on hers. This was definitely new. Not to say that kissing was an entirely new experience for her, she had done so on stage, but that was it. Besides, this was different. Dexter had been her best friend since she was seven years old. Did she really want to put that at risk? However, for worrying about that, she had certainly spent more time than she'd ever admit imagining how this would feel. His lips, just slightly chapped, on hers. His hands cradling her face. He pulled away and looked at her questioningly. She answered with a smile, and he pulled her close again.

"So does this mean that we're –" He gestured between them.

"Yeah, I think so." She smiled into the next kiss until she heard the unmistakable voice of Sherlock Holmes behind her.

"I beg to differ." Peri grimaced and turned to face her parents.

"Hello, Father. I was rather hoping I'd be able to tell you in a manner better than this, but I suppose that's gone out the window." They stared at her silently. "Surprise!" She laughed uncomfortably. She looked at Dexter. He looked just as uncomfortable, if not more. Peri felt horrible for him. He was going to be ambushed the next time he came over to the flat. John cleared his throat and spoke for the first time.

"Well, uh, we're going to have a talk when we get home, aren't we Hyperion? Come on." Peri frowned.

"Did you really have to come get me, like I'm a kid in pre-school?"

"Well," Sherlock chimed in, "Seeing as you were nearly just kidnapped, yes."

"Right," She muttered. She looked back at Dexter. "Well, I'll talk to you tomorrow, yeah?" She started leaning up to kiss him again, but kissed his cheek at the last second. Best not to push her luck.

Peri followed her parents out to the street while Sherlock hailed a taxi, she heard John chuckle under his breath.

"I knew it was only a matter of time," He muttered. Peri smiled, blissfully happy. She had been thinking much the same thing.