All of them. The entire bloody Scotland Yard.
They stared at him with those lifeless, hollow eyes, blinking like a deer caught in the headlights of a vehicle, too stupid to move, their mouths agape like codfish.
"Left-handed?" Anderson snivelled, his brow furrowing in a manner most unattractive. "You got all of that just from the man being left-handed? You're making that up!"
Sherlock made no attempt to suppress the scoff that echoes in his throat, or the roll of his eyes. Imagine the amount he could accomplish if he did not have to explain every obvious detail to the so-called detectives...
"Of course he's left-handed, Anderson, don't be an idiot. He wears his wristwatch on his right wrist, and there's a callous on the middle finger of his left hand, he obviously writes with his left. Arrest the mistress. I'll be at Baker Street if you need me."
Straightening his scarf, even in the warmer spring weather, Sherlock turned to leave, walking briskly towards the marble staircase.
"What mistress? How do you know there's a mistress? Sherlock? Sherlock!"
A wealthy older man with a posh, grandly decorated house? A wife, of the same age, who worked away for weeks at a time? Of course he was having an affair. The man also had his belt buckled two notches tighter than his usual, indicated by the well-worn leather. Losing weight? Why, after eighteen years of marriage, would he begin to care about his image now? Who was he trying to impress? Unless, of course, there was a new woman.
Removing the hand-written address from his coat, Sherlock slid the paper into the hand of the nearest hand of a blue-clad investigator.
"See that this gets to Lestrade."
A smile tugged at the corner of his lips - if he left briskly, he could avoid any boring paperwork.
Any smugness evaporated in an instant, his smirk of satisfaction turning into a grimace as Sally Donovan grabbed onto his arm with her long, sharp nails.
Immediately, Sherlock's eyes raked down her, taking only a moment, but she could see the gears rattling in his head, see his eyes flickering around at a startling quick pace. Had it been any other man, or had it been any normal man, really, Sally would have sworn he was eyeing her up. But this was not just any man. This was Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective and psychopath extrodinaire.
And in but a moment, his eyes snapped back to her face.
"So, I see you and Anderson aren't currently seeing each other. Dumped you, did he?"
Before she could even reply with disbelief, he launched into his deduction.
"Above-the-normal level of irritability says you haven't been having sex for, what, at least three weeks, shall we say? You've put a ridiculous amount of time and energy into your physical appearance this morning, hair curled, face caked in cosmetics; no one in a long-lasting relationship puts any effort into their appearance on a daily basis, look at Anderson, he's been married for years. So, you're trying to impress him. Why? Surely, there isn't anything he hasn't already seen, mmm?"
Sally fisted her hands, gritting her teeth. She had to be a professional, she couldn't, she told herself, slam her fist into her coworker's face.
"So, you're trying to make him jealous, perhaps? So he left you. Quite unfortunate, I suppose, my... condolences."
"Fuck you, Sherlock," she hissed. "I hope you do find someone that you love, and I hope they leave you."
For only a moment, his smile falters, but he managed to plaster it back onto his lips, though the flame in his eyes that lights with a successful deduction had disappeared.
Struck a nerve, did she? Oh, that was rich. Sally Donovan may not be able to identify twenty-five different poisons by smell alone like the psychopath across from her, but he sure as hell could throw a punch, verbal or otherwise.
"Or maybe they already did? Tell me, Sherlock, what was her name? How long did it take for your withering personality to send her running for her life? If I had made the mistake of fucking you, I'd be gone as fast as possible."
"Really, Sally," Sherlock scoffed half-heartedly. "For a member of the police force, your inability to make an accurate deduction astounds me."
Donovan grinned, her eyes narrowing. "Liar!" she hissed. "I just feel bad for the poor girl who caught your eye. Poor bastard..."
"Honestly, Donovan, your verbosity is exceeded only by your excessive stupidity."
Sherlock stormed passed her, ignoring the calls and shouts of Detective Inspector Lestrade behind him demands to return, and Donovan snarling with laughter at his back.
"Sherlock! For God's sake-"
Mycroft appeared before his younger brother, blocking his access to the stairs, his easiest escape route. The window was open: three floors down, mild winds. Result: major concussion, four fractured ribs; two broken, and the permanant loss of use of the lower half of his body.
Sherlock scanned his eyes over his older brother, judging the results of a confrontation with the "British Government". Which option would be more painful?
"Good afternoon, Sherlock."
Mycroft raised his brows and shot him the 'now, now, little brother' condescending look he had grown to despise over the years.
"Now, Sherlock, you're looking... dangerously thin. You know how Mummy worries..."
"Looks like you've been eating enough for the both of us. How is your diet?" He shot back, but Mycroft only smirked at his emotional flare-up.
Damn it. Sherlock may be able to tell an airplane pilot from his left thumb, but Mycroft could sense emotions buried just beneath the surface, and Sally Donovan had gouged deeply.
Mycroft quirked a brow at his last comment, however, as close to a blush as Sherlock would ever extract from his nearly decade-elder brother. "What do you want, Mycroft? I'm a busy man..."
"And what is it that is consuming so much of your time, Brother? Your rare and occasional cases are solved in minutes. You spend the rest of your life attached to the sofa, not eating and not sleeping. I know the cocaine is looking better and better to you, Brother, but if you even think about going down that path again, I'll-"
"You'll what, Mycroft?"
Sherlock heard as half of the Scotland Yard clambered up behind him, pausing at the sight of Mycroft.
"John would be most upset with you."
The younger Holmes snarled ferociously, his entire posture stiffening, his hair standing on end, like a feline preparing for attack.
"Sherlock?" Lestrade nearly whispered, more to those around him than to Sherlock specifically. "Who's John?"
"John is not here, Mycroft, and my actions are none of his concern. Speaking of which, nor are they any of yours. So, and I say this in the most respectful way possible, piss off."
"You know how much it hurt him to hear of your...addiction, Sherlock. Poor man..."
Sherlock growled. "Leave John out of this!"
"Who in God's name is John?"
The detectives at the Scotland Yard had known Sherlock for several years know, rather, they had been putting up with his behaviour for several years, and never had they heard the name John come across Sherlock's lips. But if there was yet another Holmes...
"Really, Sherlock, there's no need for that kind of language," Mycroft tutted. "Besides, just because John has left you is no reason to disregard your health. Look at you, you've lost nearly five kilograms in the last year, and you were startlingly thin to begin with. I texted you several times over the course of-"
"Yes, and I'm quite astounded that you were able to handle your phone, with pastries in both hands. Well done, Brother."
Sherlock can practically hear the smugness of Donovan behind him. Just because John has left you... Damn.
Sherlock moved to shove past the elder Holmes forcefully, pushing him away from the stairs, when he completely freezes. Through the heavy wooden doors of the victim's house hobbles a short-but-sturdy man leaning heavily upon his cane. In a swarm of blue-suited crime scene workers, he was a stark contrast, clad head-to-toe in beige camouflage, tanned darkly amongst the pale London-ers.
"When did he arrive?" Sherlock demanded after only a moment's hesitation, his back turned and shoulders tensed. "Why was I not informed?"
Completely bemused, Lestrade looked between the stiff detective and the small but postured man who shifted nervously on the lower floor of the house, staring around at the swarm of blue policemen, looking entirely lost.
"He arrived barely an hour ago, Sherlock, the first thing I did was bring him directly to you. Is this the thanks I receive? I sent my own personal plane to retrieve him, Brother, I assure you," Mycroft droned, raising a pale brow.
Sherlock spun on his heel, fire burning brightly in his eyes, his entire body trembling. His gaze shifted back to the soldier, still dressed in his sand-coloured army uniform.
Suddenly, like the bullet fired from a rifle, Sherlock's entire body seized, propelling him forward at a speed that Lestrade had never witnessed, hurtling down the stair, taking eight to a stride. Investigators were shoved aside in his attempts to reach the man, and the three detectives, as well as the elder Holmes, watched as he collapsed against the soldier, clutching the front of his uniform. The soldier's cane dropped, and the shorter man clutched Sherlock's elbows, keeping him upright as he shook.
"Who the hell is that?" Sally retorted behind the Chief Inspector, watching as Sherlock buried his face into the man's neck, his entire body trembling and quaking, his fingernails digging into the shorter man's back.
"That," Mycroft replied, "Is Dr. John Watson. He's been overseas for the last twenty-three months."
The three detectives nearly choked as the doctor stroked the self-diagnosed sociopath's cheeks, slipping his arms around Sherlock's neck, and dragging him forward, kissing him deeply.
"Good God..." Lestrade murmured. They all watched in awe, some with disgust, as the two men in a sea of blue broke apart at last, their foreheads pressed together, Sherlock's hands folded around the soldier.
Mycroft shrugged at the detectives and made his way down the marble stairs, his umbrella tapping the ground with every other step. The detectives followed close behind, Anderson snorting in disgust at the blinding smile on Sherlock's face.
On closer inspection, the man was hardly an impressive sight. Fairly short, though his military-straight posture seemed to make him somewhat taller. Disciplined, but not cold and emotionless like one would suspect Sherlock's...lover?... to be. Handsome, but not in a breathtaking, knee-weakening way. He looked... startling normal. But... he was with Sherlock. He had somehow caught the Sherlock's attention, the man who's only stimulation came from drugs and corpses.
So then, what was wrong with him?
"John," murmured Sherlock, his hands still clutched on the soldier's shoulders. "What are you doing here? I thought you weren't going to be home for months."
John smiled warmly, but upon the arrival of the men (and Sally), turned suprisingly shy, using Sherlock as an assist to take a step forward, his unsteady limp returning. He took Mycroft's hand, shaking it warmly, a relaxed smile on his face. "Thank you again, Mycroft, for all you've done for me. I don't know how I'll be able to make all of this up to you."
The elder man smiled back, the familiar grin forever-plastered on his face. "Keep him under control, John, or at least keep him alive."
Sherlock glared, only wrapping his arms around John from behind, resting his chin on John's shoulder, only to have the soldier wince.
"It's nothing Sherlock."
But it was too late. Sherlock had already undone the top button of John's uniform and jerked it back towards his shoulder, revealing a thick white bandage.
"John! What happened? Are you alright? John...?"
If not for the tortured expression on Sherlock's face, Greg Lestrade might have laughed at Sherlock's frantic state.
"Sherlock. I've spent twenty-three months in the desert getting shot at, what do you think happened? I got shot."
That did nothing to calm Sherlock down. "Shot? Then what happened to your leg? John?"
Clearing his throat, John tried to ignore his desperate state. He stuck a hand out to the three detectives, despite the fact the Sherlock was still wrapped around him. "John Watson. A pleasure to meet you all."
"Don't bother, John," Sherlock retorts, trying to casually to drop the frantic tone in his voice. "Look at the lot of them all, the blank look in their eyes. They don't have the brain capacity to respond."
"Sherlock! Don't talk like that," John scolded, though a smile quirked on his lips. And he does. For the first time in nearly two years, Sherlock does as he's told.
"Close your mouth, Anderson, you'll catch flies," he snapped.
John shook each hand, limp with shock, shifting uncomfortably as the three continued to stare at him with disbelief.
"Oh For God's sake!" Sherlock snorted, wrapping his arms around John's waist. "Lestrade," he pointed, "Anderson, Donovan."
"Oh!" John exclaimed, shock on his face, his eyes glowing with an unknown humour. "I've heard... So much about you. Sherlock's sent me letters..."
Lestrade is the first to recover, clearing his throat, and plastering a smile onto his weathered face. "None good, knowing Sherlock."
Ignoring the glare that he received from Sherlock, Gregory shook John's hand heartily.
"So, what exactly has Sherlock been spewing on about in those letters of his? Has he told you about-"
"Don't flatter yourself, Lestrade, I barely even mentioned you. I only got to talk to him every few months, I'm not about to rattle on about the insignificant twats in my life."
"Sherlock!" John warned again, and Sherlock only grinned from behind him and tightened his grip, resting his cheek on the top of the soldier's head after pressing his lips to the doctor's cropped hair. "It's bloody freezing here!" he joked. "Makes me wonder why I left the desert in the first place."
Immediately stripping his coat, the consulting detective drew his own long coat across John's shoulders, the tails of the jacket skimming the ground, and wrapped his arms across his chest. "Like hell I'm letting you go again, Watson."
"So," Donovan droned. "You're dating Freak? You?"
John cleared his throat nervously, raising a brow.
Anderson continued her thought. "But you're so..."
Lestrade elbowed the man in the ribs before he can finish his sentence. Normal?
"I hate to break this up, but we've got a lot of paperwork to do..." Lestrade said, taking on the fatherly, nearly chastising tone that Sherlock hated so much.
Sherlock growled, tugging John back into his chest. "That will take hours!"
"But," Lestrade finished, shoving his hands into his pockets casually, a smirk on his face. "I suppose that, just this once, I can let you go. You should introduce John to Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock, she's been trying to set you up with her nephew since you moved in."
"Has she?" John mused, looking up over his shoulder to the stone-faced consulting detective.
"He's a banker, he smokes, he's overweight and can barely tell the difference between a dead body and a live one. Honestly, when I met him, I was having difficulties telling if he had a pulse. Dull. I couldn't even bear to share a room with him," Sherlock sighed, resting his chin on the top of John's head. "Besides, he's not you. You know I don't like... people. Idiots, at least."
How odd, Lestrade noticed, how casual the whole ordeal was. Minutes ago, Greg could never have imagined Sherlock even having romantic interest in anyone, especially not a man. But now, with his arms draped around Dr. Watson, the relaxed, arrogant expression never leaving his face. John had been... absorbed. It was like he'd become a part of him. It was all so natural and easy, something that the Dectective never could have imagined for Sherlock.
John laughed, a warm, inviting laugh that made something in Sherlock's eyes spark and his arms tighen around John's waist.
"Nice to know I didn't have competition while I was away."
"Never," Sherlock mumured, closing his eyes for the briefest of moments, before he snapped them open once more and began to steer John towards the door.
The two men freeze, Sherlock wearing a murderous expression that would intimidate anyone but his own brother. "Can I speak to you for a moment?" Mycroft said calmly, his tone leaving no room for a rejection. He smirked as his brother stormed towards him, coattails flooding after him.
"Make it quick, Mycroft."
And John is left standing, leaning on his cane, by Donovan and Anderson, who appear to me examining him. He feels quite a bit like an insect under a microscope, or perhaps one of the corpses that the pair investigate.
"So..." he breathed, trying desperately to make conversation so perhaps they would stop staring at him like he was one of their cases.
Anderson spoke first, assessing John. "So, you're actually with Holmes? I mean, with him, with him."
While John had chastised Sherlock for calling them all idiots, he really was beginning to see the burden that he had to face by dealing with this man. How many times must he repeat himself?
"Yes, I am."
The two rock back on their heels, assessing him again.
"Why?" the woman, Donovan asked bluntly, crossing her arms over her chest. "No offense, Dr. Watson, but you don't really seem like his type."
John smirked. "I see. What would be Sherlock's 'type', then?"
"Psychotic," Anderson murmered under his breath. John frowned.
Sally cut in, trying to justify her rather intrusive statement. "He doesn't really have a type, Doctor, and that's why it's so surprising. I mean, the only things he shows interest in are dead bodies."
With a grin, the soldier shifted his cane to his other hand, and reached into the breast-pocket of his sand-coloured uniform. The army doctor pulled out a yellowing polaroid, one with the corners and edges shredded and worn. The image depicted two men, Sherlock and John, looking quite a few years younger, sitting side-by-side, John's arm thrown over Sherlock's shoulder, both boys smiling widely.
"Taken at the Holmes Manor, " John explained, shaking his head with a smile. "Met as teenagers, in school. I was the 'new kid', it was a nightmare. Sherlock was kind of the school's reject, and walked right up to me on my second day there and deduced all about my father's drinking problem, about what was going on at home."
The two detectives exchanged a glance.
"We've been close every since."
Anderson snorted. "You expected me to believe Sherlock showed his most annoying trait and outed all of your secrets in front of your school and you have been mates ever since?"
John smiled. "Took me to his house, helped me with my homework, let me wander around until it was dark. Gave me an out, a place to go to avoid my own house, my own family."
Shocked into silence, Donovan took the photo from the soldier's hands. Sherlock, the cold-hearted, cold-blooded, psychotic detective, was grinning wildly, his gaze turned to John instead of the camera, his eyes sparkling brightly. He looked... happy.
"Why you?" Sally murmured, running her fingers over the creased corners. "Why did he care for you so much?"
"Maybe he thought'd I'd understand. After spending every waking moment at his home, I started to realize that perhaps there were some things that were the same, or maybe even worse, than being beat down by my Father. At least my parents took notice of me. Least I existed, to them."
Sally suddenly felt a pang of sorrow, though she'd never admit it, to the sociopathic detective. Rejected by not only your entire school, but by your parents. Pity flooded her, and she tried desperately to suppress it.
Anderson snorted. "So, what? You're telling me that the two school rejects fell in love and suffered through the torment together? You expect me to believe that?"
Offended on behalf of the man she hated, for reasons she couldn't explain, Sally felt a surge of anger towards Anderson.
But John just chuckled, shaking his head. "No. I eventually joined the football team, got pretty good at it, too, finally had some mates other than Sherlock. Sherlock got left alone after a while, no one wanted to risk me finding out about it after I gave some poor kid a broken nose." The soldier took back the worn photograph, smiled warmly, and tucked it into his pocket, right above his heart.
"I've carried that photo around with me since the day it was taken. Kind of a nice reminder, of acceptance. No secrets, nothing to hide," John grinned. "Because you can't hide anything from Sherlock, I'm sure you two know that as well as I do."
Instinctively, Sally stepped away from her coworker, and watched as John raised a brow. Damn, were they really that obvious?
Anderson piped up once more, arrogance thick in his voice. "You seem pretty open about it. If I was shagging the Freak, I'd keep it under wraps. I suppose there's supposed to be a moral to this story?"
John frowned, his back stiffening in a way that made him seem to be looking down upon the detective. "I just spent twenty-three months in the desert, shooting and being shot at. I had a pretty sharp left-hook when I was in school, now I know how to use a gun. The moral of the story is never call him 'Freak' again."
They all turned in time to see Sherlock approach, wrapping his arm around John's waist, letting him ease his weight off of the cane.
"What did Mycroft want?"
"Wanted me to take a case. Suppose I owe him one, now. That's probably the whole reason he brought you here on his own, anyway." Sherlock huffed, rolling his eyes. "Ready to go?"
"God, yes." John smiled at the detectives. "Nice meeting you."
Sherlock stood taller, narrowing his eyes at his coworkers, before turning back to John.
"Chinese? You can always tell a good Chinese place by the bottom third of their door handle."
"I never lie!"
"Yes you do!"
Sally and Anderson watched as the two left, hand in hand, Sherlock holding the door open for the doctor like a perfect gentleman.
"Knew there had to be something wrong with him. He's just as crazy as Holmes!"
Sally smirked, shaking her head. "I dunno. I kind of liked him."
Pushing past Anderson, Sally made her way back to the yellow police tape, a smile on her face.
Has anyone ever watched those videos of soldiers coming back from their tours and suprising their family and friends? I have. Then one leads to another, and soon, you've been watching them for an hour, sobbing over your computer.
Anywho, these videos are what inspired me to write this. Hope you enjoy!