A/N: I hate that I keep apologizing for taking so long to update, cause you guys shouldn't have to forgive me, and I shouldn't have to ask to be forgiven. . .I should however update this sooner for you fine Sherlockians to read! School has been haywire an one of my friends just moved away so I've been emotional and detracted and working on various other fics (which you should check out if you haven't already). Plus the holiday season is in full swing and I've been busy doing Xmas shopping. But enough with my poor excuses, here is the next chapter!
Detective Inspector Lestrade sat at his desk, feet perched on the smooth but messy surface, leaning back in his chair. It was starting to get dark out and the end of his workday was approaching. With his remote in his hand he scanned through the TV channels looking for something to spark his interest until the clock on his desk told him it was time to finally go home.
There was a slight commotion taking place outside his office but he continued to focus solely on the television on his wall.
"I told him he can't be here!" Donovan suddenly bust through his office door scowling. Sherlock and John where trailing behind her, and two others behind them. With the sudden change in occupants in the cramped office space, the inspector suddenly felt an alarming sense of claustrophobia creep up on him.
He stood up quickly hopping that by doing so he could dull the growing panic within him and addressed Donovan first.
"It's okay Sally, just go back to work." He motioned with a wave of his hand towards the door.
She left swiftly but not before giving both Sherlock and Holmes a long vicious glare. Lestrade sat back down feeling better as soon as she was out of the room.
"I need Nani Hanover's case file," Sherlock demanded leaning on Lestrade's desk, eyeing him intensely.
"I haven't finished all the paper work yet. . . "
Sherlock rolled his eyes and glowered. "Clearly, I'm not surprised."
The tall detective had no patience when it came to Lestrade's constant inability to finish paperwork promptly.
"Then perhaps you should give us what you have completed Inspector. Seems you persistently neglect your civil duties of this fine city, not only in this century but the last. " Holmes stated arrogantly. He placed himself beside his counterpart at Lestrade's desk and eyed him as well.
Sherlock rolled his eyes again and his scowl deepened. The Detective Inspector, however, looked more than a little confused. "That's the bloke that we arrested yesterday."
"Obviously." Sherlock was more annoyed than usual.
"Why is he here?" Lestrade asked. "And who is that?" He pointed to Watson who was leaning against the wall watching the whole ordeal.
John laughed humorlessly and stepped in front of his flatmate to explain briefly the past twenty four hours. "Sherlock claims that these men are ourselves from the 19th century."
"It's the only logical explanation!" Sherlock groaned growing tired of the senselessness of the current conversation. He seemed to be the only one, apart from possibly Holmes who was interested in getting the file he needed.
"Then how did they get here Sherlock?" Lestrade was skeptical.
"Tea!" Holmes shouted.
"Holmes. . ." his friend warned with a sigh.
"Watson and I ingested a very strong blend of tea that upon drinking sent he and I to this century."
Sherlock and John listened, this being the first they'd heard of the 'magical' tea.
"It was that Gypsy woman I tell you!" He pointed to Watson. "I thought there was something strange about her. She's to blame!"
Watson pinched the bridge of his nose, realizing how mad his friend sounded. He hoped that this century could handle him, where their own barley could.
"For whatever reason, they are here Inspector and your apparent interest in this case is waning." Sherlock droned. "Don't make me ask twice for the woman's' file." He held out his gloved hand, his cold eyes piercing the older inspector.
Hesitantly Lestrade stood glancing at each of the four men occupying his office. He sauntered over to a tan file cabinet and removed a single folder. Sherlock snatched it from him before the inspector could hand it to him. Sherlock's blue irises darted back and forth across the papers concealed within the folder mentally documenting what he needed to solve the case.
Holmes eagerly shoved John aside and rushed to peek at the evidence file lying open in the tall detective's hands. John and Watson shared a quick glance, as if to mentally apologize for each others flatmate and moved to stand close enough to read some of what Sherlock was documenting. Lestrade however stood behind his desk, hands firmly crossed against his chest marveling at the group. He had a difficult time not believing something Sherlock said even if the accusations sounded like incoherent ravings of a lunatic.
"Not sure the world can handle two of you," he mused setting back in his desk chair. "I can barely control one of you. I doubt very much if I can do it with both of you."
Sherlock frowned, narrowing his crystal blue eyes. "You do not control me."
He snapped the file shut and thrust it against Holmes's chest. "Since you have shown more intellectual emblems- apart from your lack of knowledge of technology- I want you to gather what you can on this Hanover girl. I'd usually send John on an errand like this but since you keep insisting that the only way you are going to remove yourself from both this century and my flat, I'll leave it to you."
John made a face, rising a brow at his flatmate's comment, as a one sided smirk shadowed his lips. Sherlock really couldn't wait to get rid of his counterpart, enough to the point he was letting him help with the case- which was very much against everything he knew about his flatmate.
"John and I are going to pay Bethany's boss a visit. Meet back at Baker Street when you think you've obtained all that you can. Then I'll decide if you actually are me or not."
Holmes gawked at the papers wide eyed and eager, like a child on Christmas morning, at the papers in his hands. Excitement was coursing through his blood stream at record breaking speed, the game was afoot and it thrilled him.
"Sherlock I can't let him take those files off of the premises."
"Fear not," Holmes chirped shutting the file and tossing it to Lestrade. "I've looked over all the information I need. Come along Watson, we have a case to solve."
The 19th century detective grinned smugly at Sherlock and Lestrade as he exited the office with Watson behind him.
John watched them get on the elevator, shaking his head. "Not your best idea letting him loose on London."
"Oh it's not London I'd be worried about." Sherlock grinned fiendishly.
Holmes and Watson stood at the door of a flat, near the Brompton district of London. The address had been listed in Ms. Hanover's file as an emergency contact and Holmes decided right away that it was the best place to start.
There was a light on and movement radiating from the window closest to the front door. The building itself wasn't in bad shape, Holmes guessed for the century, but it really wasn't grand either. The bricks where slightly faded, which meant the building wasn't old, however the number of replaced bricks indicated the structure was poorly built.
"Who are we talking to?" Watson asked while they waited for someone to answer the door.
"I believe their names are Levi and Paige, close friends of our first victim," Holmes stated.
The door suddenly opened, reviling a young man in his mid to late twenties, which Holmes greeted as Levi.
"Do I know you?" the man asked giving the detective a once over from head to toe.
"Not unless you are from the year 1886, otherwise I suspect not," Holmes chided broadly.
Watson sighed and held out his hand. "I'm Dr. John Watson. This is my friend Sherlock Holmes. We ah."
"We've come to question you about your dead friend so be a dear and let us in out of this blistery weather." Holmes finished giving Levi as superior grin.
Once the initial shock of the detective's presumptuous statement wore off, Levi stepped aside to let them in.
"Are you some kind of police officers?" he asked closing the door.
"No, no, heavens no." Holmes shook his head. "I refuse to be categorized with those imprudent municipal workers."
"He's a Private detective," Watson explained.
"Whatever. Anyway, we apologize for intruding, but we spotted your name in Nani Hanover's file as a friend so we'd like to ask you a few questions."
Levi lead the two men into a living area and motioned for them to set in individual chairs taking the sofa across from them. "Sure, anything to catch the killer."
Watson sat, removing his hat and placing it on the end of his cane which he propped against the side of the chair he was using.
"Okay," Watson started. "Could you tell us what kind of personality Ms. Hanover had?"
Although it seemed as though Holmes wasn't paying attention to the exchange taking place, he was busy with his own form of questioning. He looked at the walls for answers, at the pictures lining the mantel of the fireplace, the unfolded blanket on the floor, the empty tea cup on the table beside him, the stains and wrinkles on Levi's shirt he wore. It all spoke valuable words to him, silently giving him much of the answers he needed.
"Where is your fianceé? Paige?"
Levi stopped mid-sentence and looked to the detective with his mouth slightly agape. "Umm she's in class until almost 10:30."
"She comes straight back here I'm guessing?" Holmes steepled his fingers, raising his elbows on the wide arms of the chair. His brown eyes stared fiercely at the man he was speaking with, deducing everything he said and all of his body language.
"Well lately she's been staying later, working on her thesis and studying for her finals." Levi clarified.
"Must be lonely here by yourself," Holmes stated. Watson could sense something behind his friends' statement.
"Yes, well uh, I stay busy with work." Levi explained.
"I see." Holmes pursed his lips. "And what did you say your relationship with Ms. Hanover was." Again the detective's words seemed to imply something else.
"She was Paige's best friend-"
"Yes, you said that before Mr. Carter." Holmes interrupted. "I asked about your relation to Ms. Hanover, not your fiancée's"
Levi shifted uncomfortable where he was setting. He swallowed and directed his focus to his feet for a short moment than returned his gaze back to Holmes.
"What do you mean?"
Holmes smirked detecting the uneasiness in the man's voice. He eyed Levi for a long time, not answering his questions. Watson gave his friend a confused glance.
The detective perked up with raised eyebrows and turned to the doctor.
"I have what I need I think," the detective said as he stood. "Coming doctor?"
Without uttering another word to Levi, Holmes started sauntering towards the front door. Watson got to his feet quickly.
"We'll be in touch," he said to the man, and followed Holmes out the door.
"Why are we here?" John asked.
Sherlock had brought him to a classier district in the city that in comparison to the last home they visited made it look like a shack. The cars parked by the curb where elegant and sporty, unlike the mediocre ones from earlier. The structure was built with a sandy colored stone, with brass numbers on each of the doors. Even their own flat couldn't match the ones surrounding them.
His detective friend smiled at him, one of his smiles that meant he wasn't going to answer and instead would just have to wait to see. John, in response, scowled and folded his arms across his chest. Sherlock knocked twice on the door of flat number 15 and waited as patiently as he knew how.
The man that answered the door struck a nerve as soon as John laid eyes on him, and soon realized that the man in the doorway was the man in the pictures Sherlock had discovered earlier. Sherlock must have noticed the odd look on the shorter man's face which caused him to smirk.
"Can I help you?" the man sounded annoyed.
"Yes, one of your employees was found dead this morning," Sherlock stated. "We have some questions concerning your relationship to her."
"You're Sherlock Holmes and John Watson aren't you?" The man smiled slightly. "Bloody Hell. I thought that blog shit was fake."
Both John and Sherlock frowned. "Nope it's quite real. And what name should I call you? Or shall I just make one up since I don't exist?"
The smile faded quickly from the man's face. "Peter Eichert."
The man looked at both the detective and the doctor for a long time before a smug smile graced his thin lips. John could tell he already didn't care for the man's attitude.
"Don't suppose I have much of a choice do I?" he asked.
"I'm afraid not," Sherlock retorted.
Peter shrugged and walked back into his flat, leaving the door open for Sherlock and John to follow. The interior of the structure was much like the outside; well-kept and stylish. No traces of peeling wallpaper or chipping paint. Everything was how it was meant to be.
The man absentmindedly waved his guests into the living area and continued on into the open kitchen that adjoined the living space. He pulled a crystal glass from a well-stocked cupboard and popped the cork from a bottle of wine. Without offering any to John or Sherlock he poured his glass, and placed the bottled back once he'd finished.
"Yes," Mr. Eichert started before he entered where Sherlock and John were sitting. "Bethany and I shared a physical relationship, in secret of course. We couldn't have that loser fiancé of her's finding out. It was just for kicks at first. . ." the man sat down opposite the detective and the doctor sipping his wine. "But then it shifted into something more. For me at least."
"How long after you purposed to her did she turn you down and decide to kill her?" Sherlock probed, uninterested in the man's story.
Peter laughed humorlessly shaking his head. "You are good." He took another sip. "I was mad she'd rather be with that photographer than me," he confessed. "But I didn't kill her."
Sherlock's calculating glare didn't seem to faze the man. Instead he continued drinking, matching the detectives glare.
"Is there anything else you two need from me?" Peter asked with a sigh. "Because I have company coming over this evening and I don't want the both of you to ruin it."
"We were just about to leave," Sherlock stated looking to John.
"We were? But you did-"
"I have the information that I came for John. There isn't a need to be here any longer."
Sherlock stood giving Peter a repugnant smile and fastened the buttons on his long coat. John got up as well and followed his friend to the door. For once he didn't care that Sherlock didn't utter a goodbye, John could only handle one person with arrogant inflexible behavior and that was Sherlock. Superciliousness radiating off of any other being other than his flatmate was just rude.
"So what now?" John asked as they road back to Baker Street in a taxi. "You barely said anything to that jerk and yet somehow walked out of his flat with loads of information no doubt."
"Although Mr. Eichert has all the personality traits of a psychotic criminal, his ego makes it impossible for him to keep any exciting secrets to himself."
"So he's like you." John probed just to see what his friend would say.
Sherlock frowned but didn't deny it. "He was my first suspect initially. But before we left I found ticket stubs from a theater sticking out of his coat pocket that was dated for yesterday evening around the time of the murder."
"He's got an alibi." John sulked.
The pair road in silence a while longer and finally they were back home. Sherlock paid the cabby and got out with John right behind him. Mrs. Hudson greeted them as soon as they both entered 221 looking disgruntled.
"Sherlock, you've got to do something about your new friend. He keeps insisting he lives here and that I shouldn't keep the door locked." She paused. "He keeps calling me 'devil woman' I really do not want him here."
Irritation flashed across the detective's features. "Trust me Mrs. Hudson. I am doing all I can to make him leave."
John gave the landlady a sympathetic smile and followed Sherlock upstairs to make sure he wasn't going to murder his other self.
Holmes was seated at the small cluttered table with the laptop screen open and on. He wasn't doing anything to it; he was simply staring at the screen blankly, with a scowl across his brow. Watson on the other hand was in the kitchen making tea.
"If you plan on staying here any longer I think it best for you not to speak with my landlady at all." Sherlock commanded removing his coat and scarf.
In the kitchen Watson's snickers could be heard. Sherlock sat down and removed the lap top from in front of the shorter detective, who sneered and growled ever so slightly deep within his throat. Hearing the strange sound John's brows furrowed. "Did you just-"
"Growl?" Watson finished entering the room with a cup of tea in each hand. "Yeah, he does that occasionally." He paused to shake his head then handed his spare cup to John. "Here, this was originally for him, but he's more than capable of getting it himself."
Holmes shot his friend a look, somewhere between annoyance and disappointment, but soon returned to glowering at his counterpart.
"Thank you," John said taking a sip of the warm drink. "So, what did you guys find?"
"Something useful I hope." Sherlock droned.
The sour look on Holmes's face disappeared as he stood, and both John and Watson knew from the smirk on his lips they were in for a long deduction.
"First I must ask you," he pointed to Sherlock. "When you found our first victim, was she in fact wearing a deep red shade of lipstick? If I had this information prior to now I could go on with my finding, however I am confident that my theories are true. . ."
"Yes." Sherlock answered mechanically, eyeing the detective who was pacing the small living area.
A grin lit Holmes's entire face. "Superb. Levi is not our killer; however he was sleeping with Ms. Hanover despite being promised to his fianceé. My suspensions of such actions were first aroused when I saw the pictures on your err computer, I suspected that if in fact each murder was brought out by the same person, than perhaps adultery is a linking component to these ravenous murders. It wasn't until I caught site of the deep red shade of lipstick on young Levi's shirt collar that my suspensions were confirmed."
"How do you know it's not from his fianceé?" Watson pried- hearing this information for the first time.
"Did you not take notice of the pictures of her?" Holmes countered, with a smug smirk and raised brow. "She wears nothing of the sort. Plus the shirt Levi was wearing was from yesterday judging by the amount of wrinkles in it. The buttons were even fastened in the wrong holes which means he put it on quickly just before he answered the door."
He looked to Sherlock; waiting for the praise he thought would be awaiting him once he'd finished only to find the detective with the same expressionless composure.
"I suppose if that's all you could pick up it will have to do," he said broadly. "It's more than Lestrade would have been able to pick up." Sherlock stood from his seat, gabbing both his phone and his laptop and trudged off into his room shutting an locking the door behind him.
"That's about as close to a complement as you are going to get with Sherlock." John admitted seeing the look on Holmes's face.
"Lestrade is incapable of police work," Holmes stated hotly, ignoring the short doctor. He removed Sherlock's violin from the shelf and slumped across the sofa to pout.
John was completely overwhelmed having to deal with two versions of his flatmate and Watson took notice.
"I'll deal with him," he said with a meaningful smile. "Go and sleep. We'll survive right here."
Watson glanced at his friend. "Yes, he's put me through worse. Living arrangements I mean."
John could only guess what he meant but he decided not to ask. The day had been long and full of more odd situations than he could have imagined and right at that moment sleep sounded like a wonderful idea.
"Eh good night," he said awkwardly as he made his way to his own bed.