Authors Note: Thank you for your feedback. I'm not sure why I'm leaving a note. I think I just like leaving notes. I hope this reads right. You'd tell me if it was starting to get confusing, right? Right? I hope so.
There has to be a way." Sherlock proclaimed into the quietness that had enveloped them.
"Well, there is."
"Oh, don't John. This isn't a film, this is reality, somehow. Though I can't understand how." Sherlock muttered, waving his hand dismissively. John rolled his eyes, sighing as he shut the laptop closed. Reality? They'd just woken up to be in one anothers bodies. How Sherlock could possibly try to figure out a realistic course of action was beyond him. Sherlock was pacing, his hands behind his back and his strides not nearly as long as normal. Though his strides weren't entirely his fault. After all, John's legs were considerably shorter than Sherlock's. John spread his legs out in front of him, smirking. Now it would be he who had to wait for Sherlock. Just the thought cause a small fit of glee.
"John, please stop looking so pleased. This is a serious situation." Sherlock said suddenly.
John looked to Sherlock. "My apologies. Lost in thought..." he replied quietly.
Another silence had come over them. Sherlock had continued pacing, his hands now steepling at his mouth. The mannerisms of Sherlock Holmes followed him, no matter which body he seemed to have. And, John noted with just a hint of jealousy, no matter which body he seemed to have, they always looked graceful.
He stood then, re-wrapping the dressing gown around his lean frame once again as he made his way to the window. London was characteristically gray, rain clouds hovering what seemed like just above their heads. He glanced downward, eying the cars that passed down Baker Street. Cabs, luxury cars, not-so-luxurious cars... his eyes stopped on one car—a police car. He watched it as it pulled up the street and made a final park, right in front of Speedy's.
And out from it popped Lestrade.
"Shit." John mumbled, another strange word coming from Sherlock's voice. He turned quickly. "Sherlock, company." he said quickly.
Sherlock dashed to the other window, throwing open the curtains and peering down at the street. He didn't speak, but John saw his eyes widen and his jaw clench. The sound of the doorbell caused both of them to turn toward the door. Then they looked at one another. "What do we do?" John asked. If Lestrade was there, he needed help with a case. As usual, he'd turn to Sherlock. But today was no good, today Sherlock wasn't Sherlock. Today John was Sherlock, and John couldn't even begin to make the leaps and bounds that Sherlock did.
He swallowed quietly.
They both listened to the sound of Mrs. Hudson answering the door. They could hear the casual exchange of greetings between the two, and the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs. Sherlock's jaw was still clenched tight. His eyes were fixed on the doorway. John knew that he was attempting to sort out a way to make it work, but his time was limited, and his ideas were few. He rushed over quite suddenly, his voice a quick whisper into John's face. "There's no other solution. You'll have to pretend to be me."
"Be you? How in the hell am I supposed to be you?" John hissed.
"Go on, do your best impersonation. However, speak little. Allow me to do the talking."
"But I don't do most of the talking around Lestrade."
"Well, today you will. Now hush, they're at the door."
Sure enough, just as John looked up to the door once again, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade both took their entrance. Mrs. Hudson instantly went for her normal route of clean-up while Lestrade turned to John. "Sherlock, got a minute?" he asked. Sherlock instinctively wheeled around, awaiting his explanation of the circumstances. John looked down at Sherlock. Both stood silently.
Lestrade's eyebrows furrowed. "Is... that a no?" he asked.
Click. The realization popped up once again. "Go on then." John said, attempting—and just very nearly failing—to impersonate Sherlock's easy arrogance. Sherlock turned his head slowly, his face slack of emotion but his eyes more than revealing. John had to suppress the smirk that begged to spread across his face.
Lestrade was staring. His eyes darted between the two men, a vague veil of suspicion covering them, before he spoke. "Erm... right. Well. Three people dead, right at the same time, according to forensics. At the exact same time. Three streets apart, each." he explained. Sherlock's eyebrow quirked, and so John made sure to mimic the look. "All three guns used were identical in every way they possibly could be."
"Any association between the victims?" Sherlock asked immediately.
The DI's semi-confused expression quickly became dumb-founded. He stared at Sherlock, there in John's body, blinking quickly as though attempting to right his vision. "Er... not... not to our knowledge. We're still investigating." he explained slowly.
"Three completely random acts of murder happening simultaneously? No. They've obviously got an association somewhere. Any witnesses? People who perhaps saw said murderers?" Sherlock asked quickly. John's jaw clenched as he subtly stomped over Sherlock's toes. He made a sound of protest, wheeling around to give John a piece of his mind, when he met his own neck. He looked up quickly, into John's face, with eyes widened.
He turned back to Lestrade wordlessly, who looked completely baffled by the entire exchange. For a moment, he simply stood with his jaw hanging. Then he recollected himself, looking between the two men quickly. "Er... yeah. Yeah, got statements from neighbors. All said the same thing. Male, mid-thirties, 'bout 5'10 they'd guess, dark, slicked hair, bit on the thin side, no distinguishing marks. Wore black jeans and a black jumper." he explained. He wasn't sure where to look. He settled on John's face, or—as he would've seen—Sherlock's. "As it happens, each one of the witnesses ended up describing the same man."
Both men were silent. John could see Sherlock's hands fidgeting. He knew, instantly, that Sherlock had a thought, an important one. If only John was able to delve into his head, for just a moment, to consider his thoughts. He took a long, hard moment to think it through.
Okay so... they all describe the same man. So... then... it can't be the same man, because it's impossible to be in the same place. He was trying, he was really trying to go through the process, something like Sherlock might do. Could be triplets? A family business of assassins? No, that's crap. John, come on. Think. How would people who hadn't seen the same murderer describe the exact same man? He took a deep breath. Lestrade was waiting, his eyebrows raised. Well, hold on then. 5'10, dark hair, thin, no distinguishing marks. Same dress. But that's pretty vague, isn't it? That could be... "Not the same man." he said suddenly.
Sherlock visibly relaxed.
"What?" Lestrade asked.
John cleared his throat. He would have to speak quickly to be Sherlock. He'd have to have a smooth train of thought, a stream of consciousness. He prepped his words quickly before he spoke, stepping forward. "The description of each murderer is assuredly the same. However, they're vague." he said. "You could look to the street now and catch a man who was of the exact same description. That doesn't necessarily mean you've caught any of the men involved."
"So... so the murderer, well. He probably wasn't actually there. He hires three men, all of which could be described in about the same way." John was failing at the quick deductions in which Sherlock was infamous for, but the thought was there. He glanced at Sherlock. His jaw was clenched, but his eyes were glittering. He gave a small, hardly-noticed nod. He looked back to Lestrade, feeling confident. "Each of the witnesses then give the exact same description, inevitably fooling those investigating into believing that someone could be in the same place at the same time."
"So... we're looking for three guys that fit that description?"
"We'll need to do some checking into the victim's backgrounds. They have to have a connection." John said confidently. Lestrade nodded, glancing between the two men once again before coming back to John. "You don't think it could've just been... I don't know, some kind of coincidence then? We've been checking for a bit. There's nothing we've seen so far."
John blanched. He racked his brain for an answer, one to Sherlock's standards, but it was still only half awake, and still a bit confused on why he was in Sherlock's body, and... Sherlock stepped in then. "Well, I mean, a guy doesn't go through all that work—getting three guys that can be described exactly alike—just for a couple of people on the street." Sherlock suggested.
"Right. So you think there's something we missed?" Lestrade asked.
John, in a truly Sherlock fashion, rolled his eyes. "Obviously." he replied simply.
Lestrade nodded, the bewilderment easing from his face. "So then you'll come round?" he asked.
John sniffed, looking uninterestedly from the detective inspector and glancing out the window. What would Sherlock be thinking at that point? He couldn't be certain. "Leave the address." he said finally. "I'll be round soon." He threw a glance at Lestrade, who nodded as he whipped out the small notebook from his breast pocket. He quickly jotted down the address and tore the page from the book. "Soon, yeah?" he asked.
"Within the hour." John assured him.
Lestrade nodded once more before turning and rushing from the flat. John glanced into the kitchen, making sure that Mrs. Hudson had taken her leave before finally exhaling with relief. His hands were shaking subtly, he realized this as he put them over his eyes. Sherlock released a laugh. John shook his head, giggling. "That wasn't so bad." he said.
"Certainly could've been worse." Sherlock replied, placing his hands over his hips. "However, there is now the problem of a case. We have a case. Or rather, you have a case." he went on, glancing up at John.
"I have a case." John repeated. Because he was Sherlock. He was the man with the sharp eyes and the sharper mind, apparently. John sighed then, weary at the thought of attempting to be Sherlock for any longer. "This is insane." he muttered.
"Should've told him you couldn't take it." Sherlock said.
"You wouldn't have said no to Lestrade." John replied.
"I might have. Given the circumstance. Though it is a curious case, three deaths, three identical men, three separate streets. Someone has an affinity for the number three." he said thoughtfully. He strode to the window once again, peering out and down the street. John did the same—both men watched as Lestrade's car finally pulled away from its parking spot and shot off down the street. Sherlock pulled his curtain closed. "Now, John. I'll need your assistance with this next part." he said, making his way toward the staircase.
John furrowed his eyebrows, "For what?"
"Dressing. You'll need to instruct me on an outfit you may put together."
"You couldn't just... guess?"
"The thought had also occurred to me that you may feel..." he paused, thoughtful. "Uncomfortable, with my obtaining the knowledge of your body." he said. His voice, John's voice, sounded strange carrying the lofty tone that Sherlock innately held. And for a split second, the idea was uncomfortable to John. But he was in the military. Loads of people had seen him down to nothing. But for Sherlock to see... he bit back the discomfort. "No. No, It's fine." John finally replied.
"Is it?" Sherlock asked.
John nodded. "If anything happens to my body, I'll know who did it. That'll be nice and easy."
Sherlock looked him over. Something told John that Sherlock—despite his easy demeanor—was still having difficulty accepting that he wasn't the man before him. Finally, Sherlock looked back to John's eyes. With his chin tilted upward, he turned, stepping upon the first step. "The day's suit is hanging behind the door." he mentioned.
"Right." John replied. He watched as Sherlock ascended the stairs.
"Oh, wait, Sherlock... I just had a thought!" he said suddenly, taking the stairs two at a time to catch up to him. Sherlock stopped, turning just as the two men became face to face. John grabbed hold of the banister as he asked, "Are you... erm, uncomfortable? Me seeing you? Just wondering."
Sherlock's eyes danced around the room momentarily before, finally, he looked back to John. "No. It's acceptable, in the given circumstance." he replied. John nodded, "Right. Just thought I'd ask. Just in case."
"We're both adults. I'm sure we can manage to dress without becoming too fascinated with one another's genitalia." Sherlock mused.
"Oh, and we should probably become re-acquainted with our names." he mentioned. John furrowed his eyebrows. Sherlock gave him a knowing look. His voice dropped down to a murmur, "After all, you are Sherlock, and I am John. And if someone were to hear us calling one another by the opposite names, say... Mrs. Hudson? They might ask questions. Ones to which we have no answer."
"Oh... right. Of course." John nodded. He'd have to make sure not to respond to John. Only to Sherlock. Only for now.
"Suits on the hook. Should be the black shirt today." he said as he turned back up the stairs.
"Right." John said absently, making his way back to Sherlock's—his room.