Internet Killed The Video Star
Summary: The Yarders discover some old photographs while investigating a crime scene. "Good lord, he was in a band."
Pairings:Platonic John/Sherlock, mentions of past Young!Sherlock/some guy. (Completely ignoring ASiB as I find virginal Sherlock boring.)
A/N: Just a silly story inspired by a scene from a fic I read awhile ago where a teenaged Sherlock annoys Mycroft by learning the guitar. I figured the next logical step would be joining a band. Things sort of branched out from there.
Drop me a review if you have any feedback, and enjoy!
Following yet another row with Holmes, Sally found herself relegated to the distinctly uninspiring task of trawling through the victim's laptop for possible leads. The email and recent documents had all been useless- just the vapid conversations of a slightly chavvy photographer with a badly-concealed drug habit. Sally was clicking idly through the pictures folder now, which was enormous owing to the victim's profession. Photos of trees, parks, animals... she had to admit most of them were good, but boring. No possible leads and the latest picture was from over a month ago. She figured the more recent ones were still on the camera, which had disappeared along with the woman's body.
Sighing, Sally looked up from the screen and caught sight of Holmes haring around like usual, Watson and Lestrade watching him with identical bemused expressions as the freakishly tall man poked his head into spaces by the bookshelves and under tables and everywhere. She scoffed. What a lunatic. Turning her attention back to the laptop, Sally chose a random year from the collection of neatly catalogued photography folders and flicked through on slideshow mode.
The woman had to have been in her early twenties during the year these particular photos were dated. They were all shots of bars and uni kids and what looked like a friend's band. Sally scrolled through something like twenty candid shots of the backside of a tall boy with a guitar (nice arse, she found herself thinking idly) where the photographer had apparently been trying to get the lighting right. The musician had to have noticed her at some point and turned around, because the next shot was a closer frame of his scowling face and t-shirt clad torso. He had short, dark hair and the unnaturally dilated pupils of someone who spent a lot of time high. Prominent cheekbones stuck out starkly on a too-thin face, and he had his mouth open like he was about to say something scathing to the camera. Sally froze with her finger just about to hit the next button.
No, definitely not, she told herself. Couldn't be. Nevertheless, her gaze flicked up and found the 'consulting detective' in the other room. The only part of him currently visible were dark curls bobbing around near the television cabinet. Sally looked back down to the boy on the screen. The hair was exactly the same shade, just much shorter- barely long enough to start curling at the ends and get in his eyes. Eyes which, past the enormous pupils, were a slate grey-blue. She looked up at Holmes again, who had straightened up to his full height and was now staring around at the furniture like it owed him something. Eyes... yes, same indefinable shade. Last but not least, of course, those cheekbones. They seemed slightly less prominent now (Watson must be force-feeding him) but still...
Alright no it's definitely him.
Sally bit her lip with the realisation, not sure whether to be amused or horrified. On the one hand, Holmes had apparently once been a pissed-off kid with a coke habit and that was a terrifying thought. On the other, they had pictures. She decided that either way she should really let her boss know immediately.
"Um... sir?" she called quietly, gesturing Lestrade to come toward her. He said something along the lines of 'keep an eye on him' to Watson and ambled over.
"Yeah?" he asked. Sally said nothing, just pointed to the screen.
"What... wait, is that-?" Lestrade gaped, leaning over her shoulder to get a better look at the scowling boy in the photo. Like she'd done, he flicked his eyes from the computer to Holmes several times. "Are there any more?" he muttered after a moment, crouching down beside her.
"I'm not sure, found this one just now. It's from a folder marked '2005'," Sally said, and hit the right arrow key to advance the slideshow. The following shot was the same boy flipping off the camera, now with a lit cigarette in his mouth. Lestrade and Sally both snorted.
"Yeah, that's gotta be him," Lestrade muttered, smirking. "Early 20s I'd guess. Christ, he's thin. Looks like a skeleton."
"High on coke, obviously," Sally murmured back.
"Hmm, yeah. He was doing about five hits a day back when I met him," the DI replied, frowning at the memory. "What's he doing with a guitar, though?" He nodded to the guitar neck held loosely in the boy's left hand.
Sally flipped through some more shots of a stage, the pub it was in and an interesting lighting fixture before she stopped on another photo. This time it was of the band she'd seen earlier, apparently in the middle of a performance on the pub's small stage. A well-built boy with curly brown hair was singing into a microphone, a short blonde girl to his right held an electric bass and behind them was an overweight boy with a crewcut playing the drums. To their left was... Holmes. On lead guitar.
"What," Sally said flatly. She desperately tried not to notice how good the gangly young man looked in loose jeans and a t-shirt, guitar hanging lazily from its shoulder strap as he fixed the audience with a bored stare. She glanced sidelong at her boss and saw Lestrade's expression stuck somewhere between flabbergasted and amused.
"Good lord, he was in a band," the man near cackled. After a second though his more responsible instincts kicked in, and he reached forward to click a few shots back to one of the closer frames of Holmes' face. "Sherlock, over here," he called. Sally huffed in annoyance. "We er... found something you'll be interested in."
Holmes looked highly dubious of that, but sauntered over regardless. Watson was closer however- having been loitering in the doorframe between the sitting room and kitchen- and reached them first. Sally watched the doctor's eyebrows climb to his hairline as soon as he caught sight of the laptop screen. Holmes appeared next to him a second later and froze at the sight of his own face.
"Where did you get that?" he snapped, sounding startled and a little angry.
"Her laptop," Sally pointed out blandly, gesturing to the computer. Holmes glared at her.
"Is that you?" Watson broke in, turning his gaze to fix his partner with an incredulous stare. Holmes' eyes flicked from Watson's face to the screen and back as he opened his mouth, only to quickly shut it with a glower as he thought better of whatever he was going to say. He instead shoved past his assistant and leaned over Sally to get at the laptop.
"Oi!" she exclaimed, not at all pleased with her personal space being invaded by the Freak. He paid her no attention however and flipped rapidly forward through the slideshow viewer. Past the band on stage were various shots of the same young musicians in a shoddy backstage room, a closeup of the drummer talking to a supremely annoyed-looking Holmes, the singer hunched over a tattered notebook, and a few studio portraits of the blonde bassist. The very last image in the folder was a candid photo of a couple sitting side-by-side on a low wall. Sally realised with a start that the one with a lit cigarette dangling out of his mouth was Holmes. The other was a lean, athletic-looking boy with a light spattering of freckles and scruffy brown hair, wearing a school football shirt and fitted jeans. His mouth was open in a laugh as he reached out for the bottle of liquor being handed to him by his smirking companion. Sally noted their bodies were pressed much closer together than necessary in the wide space available. She felt her eyebrows lift as she shot Holmes a devious look.
"That your boyfriend?" she asked mockingly.
"At the time," Holmes muttered in a distracted voice. Sally balked, having expected a scathing retort or insult and absolutely not prepared to think of Holmes dating. She saw Watson crack a small smile and Lestrade grin wolfishly. Holmes withdrew abruptly from the computer (leaving it on the shot of him and his ex, Sally saw with despair; good lord now she couldn't stop imagining the two of them snogging) and rounded on Lestrade. He either didn't notice the lopsided smile on the DI's face or didn't care.
"You didn't tell me the victim had changed her name!" he barked impatiently.
"We didn't know," Lestrade replied, hands up in a placating gesture as his expression finally began to sober a bit. "Honestly, Sherlock we found out she was missing less than an hour ago. She's listed on the rent agreement as Ms. Gloria Harwood."
"Well her real name was Amanda Blake," Holmes insisted, grabbing at his hair. "Ugh! Mandy! Should have known from the wallpaper! Garish pattern, only a woman annoying as her could possibly stand it. Oh this widens the list of suspects immensely."
"Widens?" Watson interjected. "Shouldn't it narrow? If you knew her personally-"
"No, no, John! Weren't you listening!" Holmes burst out impatiently. "Amanda was the most annoying person I have ever met, which considering current company is impressive." He removed one hand from his untidy mop of hair to gesture vaguely in the direction of Anderson, who was working in the next room. Sally scowled. "Furthermore she was an avid photographer, as you can plainly see. Obviously took a photo she shouldn't have, explains the missing camera and why she was killed."
"You know we don't actually have proof she's dead yet," Lestrade put in helpfully. Holmes waved a hand dismissively.
"No, definitely dead. Far too much blood," he said without a hint of remorse. Sally rolled her eyes in disgust. Then accidentally caught sight of the photo of young Holmes and his (distressingly good-looking) boyfriend and found herself distracted again by unwanted images of snogging. How in the hell had Holmes even gotten a footballer interested in him?
"If it was a photo they wanted why didn't they just take the memory stick out of the camera? Why bother killing her?" Watson asked. He kept glancing at the image on the laptop with a strangely proud expression, like he was happy to know the Freak had once been human enough to date. Sally found it quite nauseating.
"That's it!" Holmes suddenly exclaimed, whipping around and grabbing Watson by the shoulders. "The perpetrator is a luddite! Older, probably late forties or early fifties, doesn't understand how digital cameras work but still fit enough to swing a crowbar. That's why he didn't take the laptop, wouldn't have known about backup files. He must have killed her because she knows who- oh! Yes, of course! Come along, John, we have to get to Brixton!"
Watson's face was a picture of amused confusion as he allowed the still-nattering detective to drag him off by the hand. The doctor shot an apologetic glance back at Sally and Lestrade.
"I'll, er... make sure he texts you," he offered with a helpless shrug.
"Sherlock, remember what I said about cornering suspects on your own!" the DI yelled after them exasperatedly. Holmes waved a dismissive hand over his shoulder and disappeared out the back entrance with his lackey in tow. Sally half expected Lestrade to give chase, but he just rolled his eyes and turned back to her instead.
"Donovan, I want every picture of Sherlock on a flashdrive. Wait, two flashdrives. Then I can hide one in case he tries to nick the other," her boss ordered. His voice sounded serious but his expression was coming scandalously close to gleeful. Sally found herself grinning too. As disconcerting as the Holmes-and-boyfriend photo was she couldn't deny the perverse pleasure in finding so much possible blackmail material.
She nodded her understanding, dug a pair of portable drives out of her police kit and set about copying everything she could find with Holmes' face in it (as well as the twenty-someodd shots of his rear, which she determinedly did not ogle). In total the haul was about fifty photos, most of which seemed to be from various band performances and the afterparties. The most scandalous shot she came across was of Holmes and his ex-boyfriend snogging (which was every bit as hot as she'd imagined- no no no shut up, that's still the Freak you idiot!) in the midst of a very crowded and noisy-looking pub. Both were clearly plastered. Holmes held a half-finished drink which was perilously close to spilling and his free hand gripped the bartop for stability as the unnamed footballer held his face in a sloppy kiss. They were grinning stupidly, probably laughing more than making out. Sally found herself thinking the scene would be heartbreakingly adorable if only it wasn't Holmes, of all people.
"Oh god, that's precious," Lestrade suddenly broke in from behind her, laughing. He'd left earlier to coordinate the investigation while she moved files, and had turned up again just now with Anderson. Sally looked back and was relieved to see a faintly sick expression on her on-again-off-again lover's face at the sight of the laptop screen.
"Is that Holmes?" he sputtered, sounding horrified.
"Apparently he knew the victim years ago." Lestrade smirked. "And she was an 'avid photographer.'"
"Videographer too, looks like," Sally put in, turning back to the computer to click on the folder she'd found a few minutes ago labelled 'VIDEOS'. "I haven't watched any of these yet but look at the thumbnail on this one here- it's the pub band."
"Oh good lord, play it," her boss ordered with a grin. She obligingly opened the file.
It was a shaky shot, but of decent quality. The girl must have had good equipment even before going professional. The scene was decently crowded for a dive bar and the audience seemed to be mostly uni kids with some older blokes scattered around. Up on the small stage the lead singer approached the microphone.
"Hey, fellow shitheads!" he bellowed into it. The room promptly exploded in cheers. Sally, Lestrade and Anderson's eyes were all fixed on the guitarist- Holmes. He looked utterly bored.
"You lot ready for some noise!" the singer yelled. The audience roared again. He looked to the side at his guitarist, who nodded once and plucked a string on his instrument. The note rang clearly through one of the speakers behind them. The bassist then followed suit, while the drummer fired off a quick roll. Apparently they were checking volume. After a pause the singer grinned and started tapping his foot, "one, two, three, go!" he counted.
Holmes started playing, body unnaturally still aside from a slight bobbing of his head and the rapid shifting of fingers. The bassist joined in a few bars later. She was much more enthusiastic in her movements, bouncing and swaying with the rhythm as her long blonde ponytail swung like a pendulum. Finally the drummer started up with a complicated intro pattern, and the singer's bold tenor rang out over the screaming crowd as he grabbed the mic stand dramatically.
The lyrics were hard to make out over the laptop's tinny speakers, but what few words Sally could catch were undeniably dirty. She saw Anderson's eyes widen out of the corner of her vision while Lestrade's grin just spread further.
Then suddenly the singer shifted sideways with the microphone stand, making room for backup vocals to come in on the chorus. Sally thought it would be the bassist. She nearly collapsed in shock when Holmes stepped forward instead. Behind her she heard Anderson mutter a 'dear lord' and their boss laughing in delight.
The chorus was easier to make out than the rest of the song, being sung in the dual tones of the singer's tenor and Holmes' deep baritone.
"You better run, run, run and tell someone
You found a wishing well, the bottom of a barrel of a gun
You better run, run, run and tell someone, tell someone-"
"It's catchy!" Lestrade exclaimed. Sally grudgingly agreed. Holmes' harmony was decidedly unemotional but he wasn't a bad singer at all, and the sombre tone of his voice offset the more passionate lead nicely. The instrumentals were good too- strong beat and balanced chord progressions with a smooth bass line tying everything together. It wasn't the style of music Sally generally preferred but she found her head bobbing along regardless.
"I thought Holmes played the violin," Anderson muttered with a sour face.
"You know how he is, probably picked up guitar in a week and deleted it later to make room for bee facts," her boss replied with a flippant wave of his hand. "Donovan, get as many copies as you can. Put one on my iPod, even. We can't let him erase this."
"Should I send one to Dr. Watson?" Sally offered with a devious smirk.
Lestrade laughed. "God yes. But first see if there's more. We'll make him a playlist if we can."
Sally nodded and began to scroll through the video folder, scanning the thumbnails. It looked like at least the next dozen files were all band-related.
"Oh this is going to be brilliant," she heard Lestrade mutter behind her.
"Which one should we watch, sir?" she asked.
Her boss grinned. "All of them."
Lyrics ripped from the song 'Swrdswllngwhr (Wishing Well)' by The Limousines, in case anyone was curious.