The Fleshy Menace
St. Anthan's Hotel, London: 13 December 2011
Sherlock stared with marked interest at the puddle on the floor.
"Curious. Some sort of pudding man. Doctor, I can tell by the way you're standing that you've encountered this before."
The Doctor nodded. Nothing the detective could infer surprised him any more. "Well, not exactly. I heard rumors. But this is wrong. This technology's all wrong for the 21st Century. You aren't supposed to have this yet."
"So I gathered. Then why. . ." Sherlock's eyes widened in comprehension. "Oh."
John Hart frowned. He was losing patience with the detective. "What is it, you ponce?"
Sherlock turned abruptly to Violet. "Where were you before you came here? What have you done?"
Violet thought back, unsure of what the man wanted from her. "Mira died again, and then we came here and kicked that American girl out of the room."
Hart stared at Susie, hoping she didn't start shooting again.
Susie stopped and turned slowly back towards Violet, her face a mask of stone. "She's dead?…Again?"
Watson seized Susie, holding her arms behind her back and pulling her gun from her grasp.
The Doctor looked at her, his face in anguish. He knew how close the time agents were.
Violet sighed. "Yes, she is dead again. There was nothing I could do to stop it. If I could have I would have. So don't be blaming me. Someone else killed her."
The Doctor's eyes were bright with compassion. "Permanently this time. I'm sorry. At least it was quick."
Susie twisted out of John's grip, nodding to him as if to say she wasn't going to get violent. "I'm all right, mate. Vi? Why did she die? What have you been doing?"
Romana looked from the Doctor to Violet, wondering what secrets they weren't telling. She knew there was something there…
Violet's voice cracked slightly as she spoke. "Stabbed. The Doctor tried to get her to regenerate. He really did try…"
Sherlock's eyes glowed. "Yes. Stabbed. Quick, close, unexpected. It's written all over your faces."
Hart frowned. "But why did they kill her?"
The Doctor thought for a moment. "I think. . . I think that he was trying to be a hero."
Sherlock scoffed at the word.
Susie looked around at everyone. They were all staring at her, different variations of wariness and fear on their faces. She turned back to Violet, rolling her eyes. "Goddammit! Stop looking at me as if I'll blow up at any moment! I said goodbye to Mira before she turned into that Asian chick, alright?" She whipped around and grabbed her gun from Watson before he had time to blink, then aimed it at the Doctor. "You, however, might like to explain what you were doing to get her killed!"
The Doctor held up his hands, his face unreadable. "We were trying to find the source of the problem, the three of us. Something very, very bad is happening. The fate of the universe might well depend on stopping it. We. . . we got set up. While we were investigating. Became London's most wanted overnight. We got too close to the truth. And we. . . Mira. . . paid for it. I'm so, so very sorry."
Susie tilted her head as she looked at him, then put her gun away with a sigh. "Know who killed her?"
Romana had other priorities. "So what did you discover? If it's that important, we all need to know."
With a groan, Jack shifted, attempting to stand up. "It doesn't help that I'm mortal, now, and I'm still bleeding! Damnit, people… What was that thing? I've never seen a person explode into goo… Oh." He grinned wickedly.
"Oh. . ." replied Faith.
"Oh!" gasped Sherlock, his eyes bright with recognition. "Finally, something I can legitimately whine to Lestrade about."
Faith's eyes went to Sherlock. They both knew. Everything made nodded. They'd best keep this to themselves.
Susie looked between Sherlock and Faith suspiciously. They knew something…
The Doctor abruptly cut into the awkward silence. "In any case, it doesn't matter. We have to stop this flesh before it takes over the city. Though I fear from all the destruction that it may already be too late. We need to find out who's pulling the strings. Anyone have any theories?"
Sherlock frowned. "We won't go. Not without my DI, we won't."
Watson nodded. He kind of wanted Lestrade there too. That didn't mean the statement didn't hurt slightly.
Sherlock took note of the look in his eyes, but continued. "We'll have to be stealthy. Can't have the idiot police trying to off you two."
Faith nodded. It was practical.
They hastily wrapped the Doctor and Violet in their coats. There is some protest from the Doctor as he tried to explain that he had a machine for that, but no one paid attention.
Watson sighed. "If we are ready…"
221b Baker Street, London: 13 December 2011
As the ragtag band crept in the back entrance of 221b Baker Street, Lestrade had finally managed to sober up. Donovan and Anderson had returned inside, confident that no threat was imminent. Lestrade waved Donovan off.
"Sally, I left my files at the office. Will you go get them?"
She sighed, muttering to herself about how much she's not his dog.
After she left, the team appeared. Jack is draped over Hart's shoulder, his leg hastily tourniquetted by Watson. He appeared annoyed and pained. Hart, naturally, was beaming.
The Doctor and Violet crept in behind, faces covered.
"How you feeling, Greg?" asked Watson cautiously.
"Fine," muttered Lestrade.
Romana frowned at Hart. "John, set him down gently, at least? I am sorry, Jack." She got a grunt in return, but then a quick smirk.
"It's alright," hissed Jack. "He'll get what's coming to him once I'm not mortal anymore… And this time, he won't enjoy it."
Al scowled at the Doctor and Vi. "What the hell are they doing here? They're the ones who broke into my room! Why are they here?"
Violet looked at Byrne and rolled her eyes. "Stupid American," she muttered under her breath.
The girl leapt at Violet, eyes aflame. "You wanna start something, bitch?"
"Get off me!" screamed the time agent. "If we didn't kick you out, you would have wished we did! Now back off before I get angry!"
Lestrade eyed them warily. "Sherlock, please tell me you didn't."
Sherlock shrugged. "Didn't what?"
In a flash, Lestrade was up with a gun to the Doctor's chest. "Didn't invite a fucking terror cell to tea!"
Susie followed behind the covered pair. At the sight of Lestrade's gun she moved in front of the Doctor, putting herself in the way. "Wanna shoot? Go ahead." She stared at him with calm, fearless eyes.
Faith made herself very small by Jack's side.
John helped Hart put Jack on the couch and turned to Lestrade, eyes pleading with him. "Don't get too hasty there, Greg."
Lestrade sighed, pulling the safety off his gun. "Explain. Explain to me why I can't kill the man who ruined my life. I'd be a hero."
"Because he's innocent," replied Sherlock. He walked calmly past Susie and eased Lestrade's gun hand down.
"And you can prove it?"
"Not yet. But I need your help to catch the person responsible for all this." He whispered softly, repeating himself. "I. Need. You."
Lestrade sighed, meeting John's gaze. He knew he was being played, but he trusted Sherlock's judgement. "Fine. Hey, Al?"
She stopped pulling Violet's hair and looked up at him inquisitively.
"Let her go."
Byrne got off her reluctantly. "Fine. I'll play nice. But only because you asked, Greg."
Sherlock raised an eyebrow. When did he become "Greg?"
Lestrade ignored him. "Al, here." He tossed her the gun. No words are needed. She nodded and went to guard the door.
Anderson walked in from the kitchen. When he spotted the two criminals surrounded by Sherlock and his menagerie his face turned deathly white. "YOU…YOU!" All reason out the window, he picked up the nearest object and ran, screaming in rage at the pair.
Susie aimed her gun at his forehead just as he reached them. "I'm guessing you're the one who killed Mira, yes?"
Sherlock smirked. "Called it."
Faith rolled her eyes. "It was kinda obvious."
Susie dug the gun into Anderson's forehead as she tilted her head in question. "How should I return the favour, hmmm? I can kill you fast or slow. Which would hurt more?"
Violet was shocked to see the one that killed Mira here. She ran at him, knocked him over, pulled out her gun, and pointed it to Anderson's face. He gulped in panic at suddenly being on the business end of two guns.
"Why?" she screamed.
Su stared at Vi in shock. She'd never actually seen her violent before…it was kinda interesting.
Lestrade slide up to them, panic in his eyes. He was unused to this much violence among friends. "May I kindly request that you not shoot my forensics officer?" He gulped. "...Please?"
Sherlock smirked. "Yes, it would be a shame to make a mess of the carpets. I've some poison if you'd like. . ."
Lestrade glared at him.
He threw his hands up in mock exasperation. "Just trying to help."
John rolled his eyes. "No poisoning Anderson, Sherlock. And no worms in the tub either."
Violet nodded. "Shooting is faster. Poison will take too long to kill this wretched murderer! Though maybe he would prefer to be stabbed like Mira was!"
Anderson stared up at the gun, then into the face of Violet. He laughed angrily."You're asking me why? When you've been murdering people all over London, you ask me why? Why shouldn't I kill the people who murdered my boss' daugher? Anderson's eyes filled with grief and fury and the madness of helplessness as he spit the words at her.
John's eyes misted. Faith lowered her head.
Lestrade looked away. He couldn't. He just couldn't.
The Doctor's eyes went wide. That explained everything. "Oh. Well. Oh."
Faith stared at him. "Misjudge a step, Doctor? You can't take it back."
Susie was shocked at this revalation. Another child?
Violet shook her head violently. "It wasn't us! We were set up! And just randomly killing without asking questions is wrong!"
"Since when?" Susie muttered under her breath.
Byrne ran back from the door. Her eyes were brimming with tears.
Sherlock sighed. Apparently they hadn't talked about Grace yet.
"Is it true?" she asked, her green eyes wide with concern. "Greg? Did they. . ."
He sighed. "Sherlock says they're innocent. I. . . I don't know what to believe. But will everyone just stop for a second! God's sakes! Anderson, apologize. Susie, put the gun down. Violet, just, stop. Please." He sank to his knees. This was all a bit much for him.
Violet stormed out of the room.
Faith walked over to the older man and knelt beside him. She rested a hand on his shoulder, tentatively. "She's at peace."
Lestrade stared up at Faith, tears in his eyes. "Faith, dear, sweet Faith. Do you really believe that, after what you've seen?" He couldn't stop thinking about watching her come back from the dead, how he wished he could bring back Grace the same way. But he couldn't. He knew it. He sighed.
Byrne threw her arms around him and hauled him onto the couch. After a minute of hesitation, he clung to her, sobbing.
Sherlock watched awkwardly before stalking out of the building, his coat flapping behind him.
Anderson sat up carefully, eyeing Susie apprehensively.
Susie holstered her gun and reached down to help him up. Hesitantly Anderson accepted the help. As soon as he was on his feet, Susie landed a punch that knocked him flat on his back again. She looked down at him with bleak eyes.
"Stay away from me. You won't always have your boss around to keep you alive."
Faith's eyes followed Sherlock as he left. John made a move to go after him, but Faith stopped him. "Let me."
John looked torn, but nodded. Faith followed Sherlock out the door. Feeling a bit useless, John walked to the kitchen to make tea.
The Doctor looked at Anderson awkwardly. "We didn't kill Lestrade's daughter, Henry."
Anderson stared at the doctor in disbelief. And he didn't even try to figure out how the man knew his first name. "Sure you didn't!" He exclaimed sarcastically. "It must of been someone else who just happened to look the spitting image of you, yes? Trying to set you up?"
The Doctor looked at him quizzically and bemusedly. "Wow. The stupid ape's actually got it."
Anderson glared at the doctor in confusion and anger. "What are you talking about?"
Romana had been quiet, tending to Jacks bullet wound. It had gone right through, and wasn't as bad as it had seemed at first. He was nearly unconscious though, and she'd given him a mild sedative out of Watson's store. She turned, standing up. "Doctor, really. Calling them that isn't polite. I think we need to figure out what makes the duplicates, like Hart's, different… and follow them. See what they're up to."
Violet came back in, calmed down. She looked at the scene before her and stalked to the Doctor's side. "Doctor? Are we doing any good here? Or is there something more useful we could be doing to stop whoever it is that's doing this?"
"Patience, Violet. For better or worse, we need these people. Wow. Never thought I'd say that. But there it is." He put an arm around her shoulder and pulled her to his side. "And there's something else we have to do first."
Anderson stared at him in shock. "Wait, wait just a minute! Are you trying to tell me there really IS someone out there pretending to be you? Please! That's the oldest excuse in the book!"
Violet looked in disbelief at the man. "You still don't believe us? Please do yourself a favor and say you do before I get bitchy again!"
Lestrade pulled away from Al, who smiled worriedly at him. "Ok. Anderson, I know. I know. But Sherlock said. . ."
"Show me the proof! Then I'll believe you. Until then stay the hell away from me! And what the hell makes you think I give a damn what Sherlock says, huh?!"
Lestrade's eyes snapped up angrily. "She was my daughter, Anderson! I get to decide who to trust! Now I'm still not sure. But I want to catch the bastards responsible. I want them to suffer. And if that means accidentally working with them until I know for sure, I will do it. I swear on Aster's grave, on the grave of my Grace, and on my own soul that I will not rest until justice has been served. So you are with me, or you are against me. But I trust Sherlock. Always have. Never won't."
As he returns from the kitchen, John's eyes narrowed dangerously at Anderson, The Soldier coming to the forefront: hands moving subconsciously behind his back, feet evenly spaced with his shoulders, chin up.
Anderson stared at his boss in shock and pain. Damn Sherlock and his interfering! He gave a grimace before speaking carefully, through a throat tight with suppressed emotions. "Fine. I'm with you. But only because I refuse to let you go anywhere with these bastards alone, got it?"
Byrne stood, her eyes never wavering from Lestrade. "Wherever you go. I didn't have much planned here anyway. Might as well help save the world."
Lestrade nodded at them both.
The Doctor sighed in relief. "Thank you."
Lestrade grimaced. "I'm not doing it for you, Doctor. It's all for her. She deserves justice. They all do."
John nodded in agreement. "For Grace."
"Where do we start to find them?" asked Violet.
The Doctor shot her his signature grin. "Fantastic! Yes, we should get going. But like I said, I need to do something first. Then we'll answer that."