It started with the closing of a particularly exhausting case. John had spent the past thirteen hours chasing an escaped convict across the South East and all he wanted to do now was to collapse onto his bed and let the darkness engulf him into a dreamless sleep. In the taxi back to the flat he was already debating whether or not to have a soak in the tub, as it would mean extra effort in preparing the bath, but it would be incredibly relaxing, and that was what he needed.
John had this argument with himself silently as Sherlock sat beside him gazing out of the window. He, too, needed a rest, not that he would admit it. Maybe John would run a bath for Sherlock instead and force him to spend half an hour with a few candles, bubbles, and a good book. He would probably find a way of setting fire to the bubbles knowing him!
The taxi pulled up at 221b and John paid the driver as Sherlock trotted inside and up the stairs. John followed, only two or three seconds behind, and began to give Sherlock his domestic orders.
"Right you," he said to the figure stretched across the sofa as he went into the kitchen to put the kettle on, "I want you to have a bath tonight. The relaxing kind. We can put on some classical music, use the best bath soap, you can even have candles if you really want! I just think you need a little 'you time'."
"Sounds lovely," said a female voice. John jolted his head round and looked again at the figure lying quite still on the sofa. He realised now that it was not Sherlock lying there, although it was the spitting image of him. The hair was just as dark and curly, but it was longer, passing the shoulders and stopping at the breast pocket on the black blazer they were wearing. The eyes were the same colour, but the lashes were longer, and the lips were much more feminine and darkened with the addition of red lipstick. The clothing was dark and smart casual. The fitted blazer and skinny jeans accentuated their curves and the knee high laced boots were incredibly sexy.
"Who the hell are you?" John asked as he pulled the gun out of his back pocket and aimed it directly at her temple.
The woman stood up and faced John square in the face.
"I could you ask the same question."
There is the sound of footsteps and they both turn to see Sherlock appearing from the bedroom corridor.
"Sherlock?" They say in unison, which makes them look at each other again, staring daggers.
Sherlock stared at the woman.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Could you ask your buddy here to lower the gun? It's making me uncomfortable." It seemed these two knew each other rather well as there was a tone in her voice – almost mocking – that John did not understand, but Sherlock seemed to respond to it.
"John," he flicked his fingers as a signal for John to put the gun away, and reluctantly he did. "Again, I shall ask, what do you want?"
"Just dropping by to see how you are," she shrugged as she dropped back onto the sofa and crossed her legs.
"You never do that," Sherlock responded coldly.
"Well maybe I should," she replied equally cooly. "Who is this?" She nodded her head towards John, who was standing dumbfounded in the middle of the room.
"Dr John Watson. We live here together."
Her eyes open wide.
"Okay Sherlock, I don't expect a weekly newsletter but not telling me you had a boyfriend is-"
"No, no, I'm not- We're not- We are flatmates," John stumbled.
"He assists on my cases."
"Oh I see," she smirked, "mum will be interested to hear that!"
"So you are here to spy on me," Sherlock said unimpressed.
"Sorry, mum?" John tried to ask, but Sherlock and the woman were ignoring him now.
"You do realise Mycroft exists on this planet for that purpose?"
She pulled a face.
"You would be surprised how little Mycroft tells mum these days."
"No I'm sorry," John said, louder this time to ensure he was heard, "are you a Holmes?"
The stranger held out her hand and gave John an over friendly smile.
"Magenta Holmes, younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, nice to meet you. I take it Sherlock has never mentioned me."
"No he hasn't. Sherlock how could you not tell me you had a sister?"
"Didn't seem important," he shrugged.
"I take it you know about Mycroft? He makes it his business to know everything in our lives," she said sarcastically.
"Yes, he – er – kidnapped me the day after I met Sherlock." Magenta nodded to herself, apparently that was normal behaviour.
"So what can I do for you this time Magenta?" Sherlock asked with a sigh, giving the impression this wasn't the first time she had turned up on his doorstep.
"I am having problems with my case."
"Your case? Are you a detective too?"
"No, I am a defence attorney. One of the best in the business." Well, she certainly has the family humbleness, thought John to himself.
"Sherlock!" John began to defend the young lady with maybe a little too much enthusiasm. "At least hear her out; you might be able to help. She is your sister, how could you turn her down flat like th-"
"It's alright John," Magenta placed a calming hand on his arm, "he always says no at first. He doesn't approve of some of my cliental." John pulled her a questioning look. "Being the best in the business means I am expensive," she explained, "and the only people who can afford expensive lawyers-"
"-are criminals," Sherlock butted in. She glares at him.
"-are not always of a savoury nature. I never accept a case where I believe the defendant would be dangerous if not imprisoned. I would never let a murderer go free no matter how much they paid me!"
"Oh that's good of you," retorted Sherlock. Magenta shot him another murderous look.
"But if it is a petty crime or I believe them to be innocent, I will fight tooth and nail to get them off. It's rather fun really, and it always feels good to win." It's just another way to feed the Holmes ego isn't it? John thought, but he did not say so out loud. Magenta turned to her brother once more, placing her hands together as if she was unconsciously pleading with him. "Sherlock, I need you to prove my client innocent of murder."
"No, I will not help you set a guilty man free."
"Do you really think so little of me?"
"You are a Holmes, of course I do!"
"So are you," John interrupted. Sherlock's fingers curled into fists and his lip twitched. Out of the corner of his eye, John could have sworn he had seen Magenta shake her head ever so slightly, as if to say not to go there.
"What if I were to say he is innocent. I believe he is innocent."
Sherlock studied her intently, searching for something that could prove or disprove her statement. Apparently he found it.
"What is the case?" Magenta produced a thick beige file from the bag John had not noticed resting on the arm of the chair, and she slid it across the coffee table for Sherlock to read. "Tell me about the case." She rolled her eyes and took back the folder, opening it up and pulling out a series of photographs.
"Maria Thompson," she pointed to an image of a middle aged corpse, "was found murdered in her living room as her husband," she pointed to a second mug shot of a middle aged man, very professional looking, "was upstairs in the bath. No signs of forced entry."
"How did she die?" Sherlock tilted his head to the side to get a different perspective on the corpse photograph.
"Stabbed in the neck. The husband was arrested pretty much immediately."
"He was the only one in the house?"
"Yes. He claims he heard a knock at the door, but he wasn't sure and so he ignored it, assuming either his wife would answer it or he was mistaken. The neighbour who was mowing the lawn at the time, however, said that no one came up the drive.
"And what makes you think he is innocent?" asked John with the air of sympathy that Sherlock so often lacked.
"Because he is a professor who teaches biochemistry at an established university. If he were to kill his wife he would have planned it out meticulously, ensuring he had an alibi, probably making it look like an accident."
"I see. So how would you like us to help?"
"Us?" She raised her eyebrow. "Sorry, it's just I am used to my brother working alone. I need proof that Simon – the husband – didn't do it. Anything to put doubt into the jury's mind." John reached for the file.
"Well we can look through-"
"No need," interrupted Sherlock. Magenta smiled.
"You've done it haven't you, I knew I could count on you! Tell me."
"Isn't it obvious?" Blank faces were his only reply. "If your client is telling the truth, it means he did hear someone knocking on that door." Magenta's eyes lit up.
"Of course! Sherlock you are a genius!" She jumped up and wrapped her arms around him. Sherlock prized her off with a look of disgust and fear of the human contact.
"Would you care to explain to the lesser folk?" John asked timidly, always slightly embarrassed by his lesser intelligence.
"If someone knocked it means the neighbour is lying, and why would the neighbour lie? Because he had something to hide!" Magenta explained excitedly. She picked up her things and rammed them into her bag without the least bit of care. "I shall call my team and get them to investigate the neighbour. We are sure to find something. Thank you Sherlock." She placed a kiss on his cheek before saying very sincerely, "it was good to see you." John could not understand the sadness in her tone. "And it was good to meet you Dr John Watson; I do hope we meet again." She pushed out her lips in a pout very slightly and John was taken aback as the light danced in her dark hair and eyes.
"Itwasnicetomeetyoutoo," he blurted out, unable to take his eyes off her.
"Goodbye," she grinned, and with a delicate wave of the hand she disappeared down the stairs.
The two men sat in silence for some minutes before John broke the quiet.
"So that was your sister."
"Always the one to note the small details, aren't you John?"
"She's not much like you is she?" John said, ignoring Sherlock's sarcasm.
"Mycroft saw to that," he mumbled.
"She is the closest to a human we Holmes' get."
"You are human Sherlock," John stated matter-of-factly. "I just mean… she smiles, seems chirpier. She hugged and kissed you!" Sherlock pulled a face of disgust again. "How come you never mentioned her?"
"Have you ever needed to know about her in our time together?"
"Yes, ten minutes ago when I could have blown her head off!"
"That doesn't count."
"Why should it matter if it is relevant to a case or not anyway? You told me abut Mycroft didn't you?"
"No, Mycroft told you about Mycroft," Sherlock corrected, getting frustrated, but John wanted to know more about this new Holmes.
"So she is a lawyer."
"Again John you are a stickler for details."
"And you help her with cases?"
"Only when she asks and only when the defendant is wrongly accused."
"How can you be so sure that that Simon guy was innocent?" John asked.
"Because I trust her intelligence. If Magenta tells you someone is innocent, then they are innocent."
John was about to say how aesthetically pleasing she was, but he thought twice and decided against it. He wasn't sure how protective a brother Sherlock was with her and so mentioning how attractive she was was perhaps not the best thing to do. Instead he got up and ran the bath he had been looking forward to in the cab drive home.