Twenty-Eight

Finally finished to The Hound case - thank God! Anyway, enjoy.

See you soon with the next chapter - the Jump!


Thea and John rounded behind Sherlock, reading over his shoulder at the information that Project H.O.U.N.D had to offer. Extreme suggestibility, dear and stimulus, conditioned terror, aerosol dispersal. There was a photo of the five leaders of the project.

Leonard Hansen

Jack O'Mara

Mary Uslowski

Rick Nadar

Elaine Dyson

Doctor Stapleton finally understand what was going on here. "HOUND." She said. Thea continued to scan the pages or text. Paranoia, severe frontal lobe damage, blood-brain, gross cranial trauma, dangerous acceleration, multiple homicide. Thea couldn't believe what she was reading. "Jesus." John said softly.

"Project HOUND: a new drug which rendered its users incredibly suggestible. They wanted to use it as an anti-personnel weapon to totally disorientate the enemy using fear and stimulus; but they shut it down and hid it away in nineteen eighty-six." Sherlock said. "Because of what it did to the subjects they tested it on." Stapleton said.

"And what they did to others. Prolonged exposure drove them insane - made them almost uncontrollably aggressive." Thea said. "So someone's been going it again - carrying on the experiments?" John asked.

"Attempting to refine it, perhaps, for the last twenty years." Sherlock said. "Doctor Stapleton, those names mean anything to you?" Thea asked.

"No, not a thing.

Sherlock sighed. "Five principal scientists, twenty years ago." Sherlock said. Sherlock zoomed in on the people in the photo. "Maybe our friend's somewhere in the back of the picture - someone who was old enough to be there at the time of the experiments in 1986-" He stopped for a moment, looking closer at one of the people. It clicked with Thea who it was.

"Or maybe someone who says 'cell phone' because of time spent in America. Like I did. You remember?" Thea smirked. "Mmm-hmm." John nodded.

"He gave us his number in case we needed him"

"Oh my God. Bob Frankland. But Bob doesn't even work on…I mean, he's a virologist. This was chemical warfare." Stapleton said. "It's where he started, though ... and he's never lost the certainty, the obsession that that drug really could work. Nice of him to give us his number. Let's arrange a little meeting." Sherlock said as John's phone rang.

"Hello? Who is this?" That grabbed Thea's attention. John turned towards her and Sherlock. "It's Louise Mortimer. Louise, what's wrong?" Thea didn't like that way John was talking. Something was seriously wrong.

"What?" Thea placed her hands on the desk, waiting for John to speak again. "Where-where are you?"

"Right, stay there. We'll get someone to you, okay?" John lowered the phone, looking at his friends. "Henry?" Sherlock asked.

"He's attacked her."

"Gone?"

"Mmm."

"There's only one place he'll go - back to where it all started." Sherlock said. Thea dialed Lestrade's number. "Lestrade, its Thea. Get to the Hollow."

"Dewer's Hollow?"

"Yes, Dewer's Hollow. Now. And bring a gun."

TKM

Thea was running down to the Hollow with Sherlock and John right behind her. She saw Henry bring the pistol to his mouth. "No!" She screamed, slipping down the slope. Henry turned towards her, stumbling backwards. He was waving the gun their direction. "Get back. Get-get away from me!" Henry yelled.

"Easy, Henry. Easy. Just relax." John said. "I know what I am. I know what I tried to do!" Henry yelled.

"Just put the gun down. It's okay."

"No, no, I know what I am!"

"Yes, I'm sure you do, Henry. It's all been explained to you, hasn't it - explained very carefully." Sherlock said. "What?" Henry asked.

"Someone needed to keep you quiet; needed to keep you as a child to reassert the dream that you'd both clung on to, because you had started to remember." Sherlock began to step closer to the young man. "Remember now, Henry. You've got to remember what happened here when you were a little boy." Sherlock said. Henry's hand with the gun lowered but he raised it again.

"I thought it had got my Dad - the hound. I thought…" Henry screamed in anguish. "Oh Jesus, I don't - I don't know any more!" He brought the gun back to his mouth again.

"No, Henry!" Thea rushed forward.

"Henry, remember. 'Liberty In.' Two words; two words a frightened little boy saw here twenty years ago." Sherlock said as Henry began to calm himself down but still had his gun to his mouth. "You'd started to piece things together, remember what really happened here that night. It wasn't an animal, was it, Henry?"

Henry blinked at him. "No a monster. A man." Henry thought back to that night when his father was killed. Henry looked at Sherlock. "You couldn't cope. You were just a child, so you rationalized it into something very different. But then you started to remember, so you had to be stopped; driven out of your mind so that no-one would believe a word that you said." Sherlock said.

John approached Henry, hand out for the gun. "Sherlock! Thea!" Thea turned to see Greg Lestrade coming down the slope to where they were.

"Okay, it's okay, mate." John took the pistol from Henry's hand.

"But we saw it: the hound, last night. We s- We-we-we did, we saw…" Henry said. "Yeah, but there was a dog, Henry, leaving footprints, scaring witnesses, but it was nothing more than an ordinary dog. We both saw it – saw it as our drugged minds wanted us to see it. Fear and stimulus; that's how it works." Sherlock said.

Henry just stared confused at Sherlock. "But there never was any monster." Sherlock said as a howl rang out in the woods above them. Everyone's heads snapped up as John and Lestrade shined their flashlights at the top of the Hollow. There was something coming right to them - something that was snarling at them. "Sherlock…" Thea whispered. Sherlock looked up at the Hollow in disbelief.

"No. No, no, no, no!" Henry began to panic. He backed away from Sherlock, trying to calm himself down. "Henry, Henry…"

"Sherlock!"

Henry began to scream no, trying not to look at the creature. "Henry!" John yelled. The hound turned towards them, snarling viciously. The eyes were glowing in the light of the flashlights. "Shit!" Lestrade hissed.

John shined the flashlight at Lestrade's face. "Greg, are you seeing this?" John asked. Thea grabbed Sherlock's arm with both hands. "Right, he is not drugged, same goes to Thea." John said.

"Okay, let me ask the next question: what the hell is that thing?!" Thea asked, trying to control herself. Sherlock shut his eyes for a moment then opened them again. "All right! It's still here…but it's just a dog. Henry! It's nothing more than an ordinary dog!" Sherlock said.

The hound raised its head and howled. "Oh my God." Lestrade stumbled backwards. "I don't think the hound like that Sherlock!" Thea hissed. The hound leapt down the slope, eyes flashing red.

"Oh, Christ!"

Thea held onto Sherlock tighter as the hound's eyes were clearly visible and its mouth was open with long pointed teeth. It snarled at them. Sherlock looked over his shoulder, seeing someone in a gas mask. He broke away from Thea, he rushed forward and ripped the mask off. "No!"

"Sherlock, what is it?"

"It's not you! You're not here!" Sherlock yelled. "Whatever it is, it's not here! Whoever it is, think of something else! Anything else! Look at me Sherlock." Thea said, pulling Sherlock to look at her. He wouldn't look at her, so she did the next best thing to get his attention. By kissing him - the worst time to kiss him but it would make him stop his mind block.

She looked him in the eyes after the kiss. "This isn't Moriarty, Sherlock. Its Frankland. Think about what's going on here." Thea said. "The fog." Sherlock said.

"What?"

"It's the fog! The drug, it's in the fog. Aerosol dispersal - that's what it said in those records. Project HOUND - it's the fog! A chemical minefield!" Sherlock rapped his scarf around Thea's mouth and nose, keeping her from breathing anymore in.

"For God's sake, kill it! Kill it!" Frankland yelled. The hound's movements looked like it was about to attack. Lestrade aimed his gun, firing three shots at hound. Thea squeezed her eyes shut, not wanting to seeing the hound to be dead even though it's vicious. More shots rang out from another gun. John. Thea opened her eyes, seeing the unmoving hound on the ground, she took a deep breath before taking the scarf off her nose. Sherlock ran over to Henry, pushing him towards the hound.

"Look at it, Henry."

"No, no, no!"

"Come on, look at it!"

Henry looked at the hound that was lying dead on the ground. All it was a huge dog. Thea took a deep breath before look at the dog that was dead. "It's just… You bastard." Henry lunged himself at Frankland. "You bastard!" Lestrade and John tried to pull Henry away from Frankland.

"Twenty years! Twenty years of my life making no sense! Why didn't you just kill me?!" Henry yelled.

"Because dead men get listened to. He needed to do more than kill you. He had to discredit every word you ever said about your father, and he had the means right at his feet – a chemical minefield, pressure pads in the ground dosing you up every time that you came back here." Sherlock said. He held his arms and spun slowly at the Hallow. "Murder weapon and scene of the crime all at once. Oh, this case, Henry! Thank you. It's been brilliant."

"Sherlock."

"What?"

"The worst timing ever."

"Not good?"

"No, no, it's-it's okay. It's fine, because this means…this means that my Dad was right." Henry said. Frankland stood up from the ground, Henry tried to move towards him but Lestrade and John placed their hands on Henry's shoulders. "He found something out, didn't he, and that's why you'd killed him – because he was right, and he'd found you right in the middle of an experiment."

Frankland was about to say something when a snarl came from behind them. Thea turned around slowly, seeing the hound was alive. The hound was whining in pain. John aimed and fired at the hound twice and this time it went down. Thea looked over her shoulder, seeing Frankland was gone. "Oh, bloody hell. Frankland!" She yelled, running after him. Sherlock and John yelled for her to stop but she didn't listen. "Frankland!" Thea yelled again with Sherlock and John right behind her. They were on hot pursuit after Frankland.

"It's no use!" Thea said, reaching the barded wire fence. Frankland kept going, tripping as he did. "No, Frankland!" He continued a few yards, his foot thumped down onto a mine. Sherlock quickly grabbed Thea, pulling her away from the wire. Everyone ducked down as the explosion happened. Thea looked at the mine after the explosion died down. Sherlock still had his arms around her, she looked at him but he was too interested in the minefield.


"Morning, Sherlock." Thea said, picking up a mug from the counter. She was smiling at him, Sherlock glanced at her before grabbing the other mugs from the counter. "You protected me."

"Pardon?"

"Last night, in the Hollow and the mine. You were looking out for me. You must like me." Thea smirked. "Respect. I respect you." Sherlock said.

"Yeah, yeah. Just admit it, Dr. Science of Deduction. You like me."

"Thea-"

"God, Sherlock. Are you such a robot?" Thea groaned, walking away. She never heard Sherlock placed the mugs onto the counter. She was pulled against him, kissing her. Thea quickly responded with a kiss or two back. Sherlock pulled away from with a smile - which he hardly ever did. Thea smiled back at him, raising the mug to her lips. They walked out of the Cross Key Inn and to where John was sitting. He had a full English breakfast in front of him. Thea sat down first, John noticed her cheeks.

"You okay?"

"I'm fine. Just the tea is a little hot, I guess." Thea said, sipping on her tea. Sherlock sat down across from her. He glanced at her before placing the mugs on the table.

"So they didn't have it put down, then - the dog." Sherlock said. "Obviously. Suppose they just couldn't bring themselves to do it." John said as he drank his coffee.

"I see.

"No, you don't."

"No, I don't. Sentiment?"

"Sentiment!"

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Oh."

"Listen, what happened to me in the lab?" John said. Sherlock and Thea looked away from him, Thea was more interested in her tea and Sherlock was looking through the box of sauces. "D'you want some sauce with that?" Sherlock asked.

"I mean, I hadn't been to the Hollow, so how come I heard those things in there? Fear and stimulus, you said." John said.

"You must have been dosed with it elsewhere, when you went to the lab, maybe. You saw those pipes – pretty ancient, leaky as a sieve; and they were carrying the gas, so... Um, ketchup, was it, or brown…?" Sherlock asked.

"Hang on, you thought it was the sugar." John said. Sherlock didn't respond. "You were convinced it was in the sugar." Thea gulped, looking at John.

"We better get going. There's a train that leaves in half and hour." Thea said. "Oh, God. It was you two. You two locked me in that bloody lab." John said.

"I had too. It was an experiment."

"AN experiment?!"

"John, hush." Thea hissed. "I was terrified, guys. I was scared to death." John said.

" I thought that the drug was in the sugar, so I put the sugar in your coffee, then I arranged everything with Major Barrymore." John sighed. "It was all totally scientific, laboratory conditions – well, literally." Sherlock said.

Thea and Sherlock were alone in a room where the could monitor the lab. Thea was sitting in a chair as Sherlock sat lazily with his feet up on the table. They were watching the screen. John was racing around in the darkened lab, trying to find a place to hide from the 'hound'.

"It's in here with me."

"All right. Keep talking. We'll find you." There was silence on the other end. "Keep talking!"

"I can't, it'll hear me."

"Tell me what you're seeing." Sherlock switched on the small recorder, the growls were filled the room.

"I don't know, but I can hear it now."

"Well, I knew what effect it had had on a superior mind, so I needed to try it on an average one." Sherlock said. John looked down at his plate. "You know what i mean."

"But it wasn't in the sugar."

"No, well, I wasn't to know you'd already been exposed to the gas." Sherlock said. "So you got it wrong." John said.

"No."

"Mmm. You were wrong. It wasn't in the sugar. You got it wrong." John said. Thea bit down on her lip so she didn't laugh. "A bit. It won't happen again." Sherlock said.

"Any long-term effects?"

"None at all. You'll be fine once you're excreted it. We all will." Sherlock said. "Think I might have taken care of that already." John said. Sherlock actually laughed for once, causing Gary to look over at him with the other customers. He smiled at them, apologetically. Sherlock stood up from the table.

"Where're you going?"

"Won't be a minute. Gotta see a man about a dog."

Thea watched him leave, smiling. John noticed, glancing her way. "What?" She asked. "What's going on with you and Sherlock?" He asked.

"Nothing to worry about John. Nothing at all." Thea smiled. She looked at Sherlock, who was asking someone about the dog. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. She really was in love with Sherlock after all.