This is the story of Sherlock/Sally and it begins about three years before series one.
A/N: The first 12,500 words of this fic (American English version) comprised my final exam for College Creative Writing class for the spring 2012 semester. This is a fandom that I have tried to write in the past, many years before the wonderful BBC version brought it up to the present day, and swore that I would never try again, now it is vying for precious writing time with my other WIP's (and, I am now the official WIP queen, with seven works in progress in three different fandoms, but never fear, my Spuffy and Dru fans, updates are coming!)
Please note that I am completely onboard with the Johnlock ship, slashy or not, (even though I seek out Sherlock/Lestrade when I really need a porn fix,) but this is a pairing that needs more exploration and honestly Sherlock/Sally is the only het pairing in the fandom that I can stand to read.
Here is chapter one in it's Brit-picked incarnation, beta'd and Brit picked by the lovely ariana_paris and the wonderful purple snowball any remaining Americanisms and other errors are my own.
Expect the first part of chapter two in a few weeks, (sorry I am a slow writer who has a RL to deal with,) and the rest of chapter two (of at least five) by the end of May/ early June.
Part One: A Dubious Introduction:
"Who's that, "newly promoted Detective Sergeant Sally Donovan asked her boss as they entered the freshly renovated, still being stocked, boutique on Kensington High Street, "…and why is he here? He's not suited up. He shouldn't be here, this is a crime scene. Is he trained for this?"
Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade was already used to her persistent string of questions. He liked it - a lot; it confirmed he had made a good choice in requesting her for his team. Inquisitiveness; that was always a good quality in a detective.
"Is that him?" She asked referring back to their earlier conversation.
The half-nod he gave her was not really an answer. He gave the bodies a quick appraisal as he knelt down beside the young man who was examining them.
"Sherlock, this is Detective Sergeant Sally Donovan, she's new," Lestrade said by way of introduction "…don't break her," he added.
Sherlock glanced up, not actually looking at the new detective, but acknowledging her presence then rocked calmly back on his heels and began to rattle off all the reasons why this was not a double murder and suicide of the killer, as reported, but rather a triple murder, with the killer still at large.
"He's a smoker," the dark-haired figure crouched beside the bodies started. "There are nicotine stains on the fingers of his right hand, he smokes with his right hand – he is right handed. The knife was placed in his left, it was easier for the killer to put it there, he's not lying on it – plus, hard to shoot yourself with a knife in your other hand, normal reaction would be to drop it. There are no powder burns on said right hand, probably no powder burns at all except for right around the wound. The wound is close range, but directly into the chest, perpendicular, hard to get that angle if he shot himself and - where's the gun?" It was obviously a rhetorical question, it wasn't there. It was missing, that's precisely why the Yard had been called in – a gunshot suicide with a missing weapon.
Sally found his pronunciation and elocution crystal cut; his expressive baritone, quite pleasant; his deductions, if they proved true, were astounding, if only for his confidence in their certainty and the speed at which he came by them. She was fascinated and quite frankly, intrigued.
"The shot would have killed him in and the gun should be here - or at least, under where he fell. It's not. The killer took it with her. There is a little…puddle…of blood – from the knife, over there, where it landed when it was thrown. The killer stepped in it when retrieving the knife and before purposely putting it in the man's hand as a cover-up. "
"Jealous boyfriend scenario then," Lestrade asked.
"Girlfriend, more likely," He began again, continuing the summation.
"The killer accidentally stepped in the blood from the knife," he said again gesturing with a hand flutter at a nearly invisible trail of footprints, "… the heel marks - stiletto heels, roughly - size four, too small to be a man's, even if the killer was a transvestite of smallish build, that's still not enough mass for a male. No, the killer was a woman, petite, heel impressions are faint; the black light should still show a trail of them from there to here."
He observed the new sergeant standing on the extremely fragile blood trail left by the stiletto heels as he pointed it out to Lestrade and promptly shoed her off of it, slightly irritated at her inadvertent smudging of the evidence and also noticing that she was staring at him.
Grey eyes meet brown, momentarily; leaving no comment, Sherlock turned his attention back to the bodies, thinking a bit before continuing with the summary.
"Is he making this up or…" She trailed off quietly asking Lestrade and hoping that the man sitting on his heels with his fingers forming a steeple under his chin contemplating the three bodies sprawled about the boutique's floor could not hear her; she didn't want to be overtly rude. They'd only just met, after all.
Lestrade shook his head slightly; pulled chalk out of his pocket and carefully marked the areas Sherlock indicated. Sally took this all as a 'he's not making it up,' and continued her observation more attentively.
"The killer probably walked in on the brunette and the redhead having a row. Look at their clothes – expensive, probably from stock - they're the proprietors then - but disheveled, cat-fight most likely. She stabbed the brunette - that will be the brunette's blood on her hand…"
Sally noticed the smallest smudge of blood on the redhead's well-manicured fingertips. She cocked her head to listen more carefully to what the odd consultant was saying.
"…and then threw the knife in shock response to what she had done," he finished the thought, pausing a moment before he began again.
"The man walked in with the killer, or shortly thereafter, both probably seeking confrontations with their respective lovers only to find them otherwise engaged in a lover's spat of their own. The man - he was the redhead's lover and possibly the killer's as well – lipstick, faint, there," he motioned toward the man's right shirt cuff with a gloved hand, "…matches the color she's wearing. The lipstick on the collar is a different shade - not the brunette's, it's the killer's."
Donovan and Lestrade both followed his narrative through with their eyes.
" The man would have knelt by the brunette, probably checking the extent of her wounds - traces of blood on the left knee of this trousers, that will be the brunette's, she was already been stabbed - while asking the redhead what had happened."
"The killer, distraught at the sight of her lover, the brunette, bleeding and surrounded by the other two - fired at the redhead first - probably the newest and least liked of the group, the interloper in the relationship - killing her. The man moved to confront her; she fired reflexively, killing him, then not wanting her lover's, reputation to be tarnished by being caught in a lesbian relationship with the redhead, who was probably a business partner in this establishment and probably also a frequent lover of both the man and the brunette and also to protect her own reputation from tarnish, she tries to frame him for the stabbing, placing the knife in the man's hands."
"Be careful with the knife," he paused, looking up sharply at the DC who was about to bag the knife, "…there will be at least three sets of prints on it." Sherlock added with a glance to Lestrade who quickly shot look to the officer confirming the instruction. Sherlock nodded a faint acknowledgement then continued, "…then, stupidly, she forgets to leave the gun – that would have convinced you lot that this was a simple three person murder suicide; but no, she took it with her - find the gun and you find the killer of the man and the redhead. The redhead killed the brunette."
"Follow that Donovan?" Lestrade asked warily. He had barely followed the rapid succession himself, but it had sounded plausible to him, if even somewhat probable.
Sally's expression told him at a glance that she did not completely follow it. She had lost the trail somewhere around mention of the lipstick or the look into the eyes, she wasn't sure which.
"No matter, you will, in time." Lestrade also rose from his kneeling position. "See that forensics gets everything he said, and checks the heel trail." He added.
Sherlock rose from his crouch and wandered about, eyes swiftly surveying the room, up and down, left and right, for anything he may have missed. Satisfied he had culled everything pertinent to the crime; he grabbed his overcoat and headed for the door without as much as a parting gesture.
Lestrade and Sally both watched as Sherlock exchanged a few words with the forensics team, just now arriving with their equipment. He searched through his coat pockets absently for a cigarette and lighter.
"So, what's wrong with him?" Sally asked. "Well, other than…how the bleeding hell did he do that! He was here, what, two minutes, and he got all that?"
Lestrade's face lit up like a child with a barely kept secret. He gave a motion that indicated they would talk later and went to join the consulting detective outside. He left his own brief instructions with the forensics team on his way out.
Sally watched the unlikely pair; it is a friendly rapport, indicating a long association. She wondered how it came about.
DI Lestrade was a bit of an enigma. She had been extremely proud and flattered when she'd got word that Lestrade had personally requested her for his team and then was equally terrified that she would not measure up. His team had the best solved case record in the Yard, but also an in-house reputation for walking on the brink of the great proper-policy abyss as far as procedure went; one misstep on that razor-edged line and you would find yourself cut and bleeding in a heap at the bottom and she had been there, nursing her wounds and looking up, for most of the time she had spent on the force. It was not a place she either wanted or intended to go to again.
"Sergeant, the Inspector said that you had some specific evidence for us to collect first, before we begin standard procedures?"
"Oh, uh … yes. We need lipstick samples from both female victims with corresponding samples from the smudges on the male victim's collar and lower right shirt cuff." She glanced out the boutique front window to see Lestrade now leaning on the bicycle carriage outside the shop and begging a fag from the younger man. Not only a boy's club…thought he said he'd quit...random thoughtsinvaded her instructions.
"Blood samples, with PRC panels, from all the victims' hands and from the knee of the male's left trouser leg and anywhere else you might find them. There is a blood trail here, we'll need a PRC panel again and series of photographs under the light. Also, the knife might have layers of prints; take care to prevent further degradation of the bottom ones. Oh, and check the male for stray hairs and traces of makeup, particularly those not from the other two victims." She smiled at that last, her own contribution. She wanted some confirmation of the presence of a third female, the alleged killer.
Another glance out the window and she would swear by the way his lips were moving that Lestrade was saying...and Sherlock, clean it up a bit first... to the consulting detective as he walked off.
Shaking his head after the young man, Lestrade took one last hit off the fag, clearly savouring it before he snuffed it out and started back in.
"I think it's all covered here. You ready to head back?" Lestrade asked, working his way through the forensics team's equipment.
"I think I'll stay a bit, if I can?"
Lestrade shrugged; it was her break-in period, a practice he instituted for his team to allow observations on both sides before fully settling in on the job. He found that two weeks was sufficient to tell if someone was going to work out or if he needed to request someone else for the job. Sally Donovan was working out extremely well in all areas. She was proving to be a keeper.
"Think you can handle the report then," he asked holding out the clipboard.
"I got it," she said and took the clip board with a smile.
"Good. I'll take Jones back to the office then. Case is yours. You've got Thompson and Rihaj for leg work."
Sally jumped on that, "…as soon as we run contact information on the victims, I'll get them on it."
That was just what he was going to suggest. He nodded and headed out the door.
Sherlock didn't need a flat mate, especially not a young attractive female one, really not his area, and definitely not a police officer, not a detective - didn't really need that right now either. He suspected that Lestrade was trying to keep tabs on him, he gets more and more like Mycroft every day. I don't need a keeper. I'm clea… okay, well maybe, not so much. It's been so hatefully boring lately...Lestrade knows. How? How does Lestrade know? How does he know? I haven't even been looking at him, avoiding eye contact when possible; ah…I usually do look at him. That's it. Problem!
Problem...problem...problem! How to fix? Fix? FIX? Brilliant idea. Sherlock grabbed his coat and checked the skull for available cash as he headed out to find Raz.
It was already close to the end of shift when Sally got back to Scotland Yard: a suspect had been apprehended and was being questioned downstairs and the details of the case report still needed fine tuning. She had no idea how to handle the use of a 'consultant' when it came to the official paperwork, there wasn't a code for that. She did the only thing she could, she asked.
Detective Sergeant Jones was at his desk and a grin was already spreading across his face as she approached him.
"Questions about use of the Freak on official reports is it, Donovan?" He queried smugly.
She glared at him on the use of the word 'freak', she had already found out that Jones could be a bit of a bigoted arse at times, then conceded with a shrug that in fact, that was what she needed to know.
"Simple," he replied. "…anything he said pans out, you put it in as if he wasn't there."
"He doesn't get any credit?"
"He doesn't want any. That's not what he does it for."
"So, what does he do it for?"
"He does it for the kick, the thrill, and Donovan, you know what," he paused, putting on his best leer before he went on; "…he gets off on it." Jones finished with an obscene gesture for emphasis.
Sally was caught in Jones's jape, a furious blush rising on her face.
"The man's a psychopath." He finished, seriously.
Rihaj chuckled at the interchange, catching the last of it. "Sally, just write it up like he said, like the team came up with everything and don't worry, Lestrade will check it before it goes in, he always does."
Sally sat at her desk, shaking her head at being taken in by Jones, and started on the case notes.
Just after the end of the shift, the lab results had come back; Lestrade's odd colleague had been spot-on with the blood samples and the statements of the victim's acquaintances seemed to back up his proposed sequence of events rather accurately.
The alleged… well, by now, 'confessed', I guess… killer, one Victoria Reynolds, was the fiancé of the murdered man and was the former lover of the brunette woman, Estelle Johan. The three victims along with the murderer were partners in the boutique venture, with Ms. Reynolds and her fiancé being the major financial backers. Constance Perchance, the redheaded victim, was apparently having simultaneous affairs with the fiancé and Ms. Reynolds as well as being the live-in companion of the other partner, Ms. Johan. It had been one big boutique style clandestine orgy that had gone awry and the mysterious Mr Sherlock Holmes had deduced it all within two minutes of arriving at the crime scene.
The distraught Ms. Reynolds, all four foot ten inches of her, barely six and a half stone's worth of her, had been easily apprehended at her flat, having a nervous break-down with the murder weapon tucked neatly in her designer handbag and was, at the moment, confessing in the interrogation room in the presence of her solicitor and her psychiatrist. Case closed.
Two hours later, Sally had a suitable 'un-official draft' of the case printed out and placed neatly in the file folder for Lestrade's approval; then her mobile rang.
Raz was many things; drug pusher wasn't one of them. A man with connections, yes, he'd admit to that; but as far as Sherlock Holmes was concerned, primarily he was his laundry man.
A knock on his door from Sherlock meant a shopping trip: high-end electronics usually, or whatever the shiny new bling flavor was on that particular day, paid for with Sherlock's card.
Tonight, Sherlock's knock had them searching all the little custom computer shops for the best deal on expensive and ultra-powerful gaming systems: but only those with all components in stock, so it could be built, tested out and taken away before the metal security grates of the store front came down for the night. Raz had a standing buyer and cash in pocket to hand over to Sherlock once the transaction cleared the chip and PIN machine.
Raz toyed with one of the shop's specialty consoles as he eyed the man quietly pacing the length of the counter.
Sherlock was his best client; he had known him since he was just a kid and Sherlock a soon-to-be uni dropout. Sherlock was an easy mark ... well, only because he didn't care… He didn't care about anything or anyone when we'd first met, least of all, himself. Walking suicide, Raz had always called them; someone just waiting for their body to hit the floor. And looking at him now, over a decade later: he still was… pity that, because I will…miss him.
This was significant transaction, considerably more than the previous few had been. He knew Sherlock's preferences and his idiosyncrasies: Sherlock never procured more than two days' worth, three at the most and he generally didn't do street junk; strictly medical grade diacetylmorphine and liquid cocaine, specialty items and hard to get on a regular basis, but purer than street stuff.
Raz figured that was a toss-up: no risk of a bad cut if your dealer was honest, but then again, how honest could they be if they were skimming medical supplies from a hospital or the like, or take the chance of getting the mix wrong and injecting yourself with pure heroin or a toxic hit of cocaine accidentally.
He glanced at Sherlock again, seeing the slight jerk in his arms, the slight twitch in his face as he paced, and considered calling the whole deal off. This particular order had waited almost three years to get filled already.
The shop owner put the screwdriver down on the counter and slapped the side of the matte gunmetal housing. He asked Raz, "So, what do you want to test it out with?"
"Yes, Nan, I'm going to be home late. Just put him in my room. I'll make up the couch when I get home. I don't know, two…" She looked at the case file again and thought about the hour and a half drive to Nan's.
"No…probably be closer to three hours yet. I know, but I don't have a place to stay here yet, do I? I'm sorry, just get him cleaned up and make sure he goes to school tomorrow, okay. I'll take him to see Mum on Sunday, that'll calm him down a bit. Yeah, I know it's almost Thursday already. Well I can kip can't I? Yes, if I can. I don't know yet. Lestrade has this friend and… No, Nan, I have, I met him today. I know. I will. Nan, I got to go, okay, we'll talk later. Good night." She closed the mobile with a sigh and rubbed her temples.
Sally picked up the case file and checked it over again. How did he do that?
Who exactly are you, Sherlock Holmes? Sally looked at the computer terminal blinking absently at her on the desk. She could, yes, she would, run a check on him, which was well within her authority, no outside permissions needed.
"Let's see about you," she said out loud to no one in particular as she keyed the letters S-H-E-R-L-O-C-K–space-H-O- into the system and it auto-completed the rest.
She was expecting the usual minimal address and identification information page to come up; she wasn't expecting the twenty-plus pages of arrest records that followed behind it. That grabbed her attention and she bypassed the info page in favor of the arrest details.
Criminal history going back nearly ten years; drugs busts mostly, but also: trespassing, vagrancy, pick-pocketing, two minor assaults, non-sexual in nature. Not a perv then. A good portion of the arrests listed Gregory Lestrade as the arresting officer, interesting. Absolutely no convictions, no cautions of any kind and no record of any time served other that brief bouts in the cells while awaiting formal questioning. No recorded summonses to magistrate's court, let alone Crown Court; which by the appearance of the records, never came.
She continued scrolling down the page:
Locked file: 1987.
Locked file: 1984. Expunged? Juvenile incidents?
Some of the other records were incomplete, as if they had been at least partially expunged, others were locked, password protected. That was definitely non-standard though she had seen it before, usually under certain circumstances, such as a royal using an assumed name, national or international witness protection or diplomatic immunity. That would make it difficult to get any information of real value.
Who the bloody hell are you? She clicks back to the ID page.
Sherlock Holmes, 31, four years older than me, older than he looks. Picture's fairly recent, looks like it was taken here, and the background matches the paint.
Place of birth: York.
Date of Birth: 06 January, 1976.
Father: Sherrinford Holmes, deceased March, 1998: one time minor politician, short stint with security services, former CEO or Senior Board member of several large conglomerates covering a ridiculously wide area of interests. He's from a rich family, then, obviously.
Mother: Adeline Patrescu-Holmes, French national; Romanian/French ethnic origins; attained British citizenship, May 1967; PhD, Girton, 1971; Cambridge, 1973; currently residing in… Monaco…Monaco? Still maintains theYork address… and a residence in one of the oldest, poshest sections of the city. There's a picture of her…God! Beautiful, vaguely… familiar…clearly see where he gets it from.
Brother: Mycroft Holmes, contact information encrypted. Mycroft, unusual name, heard that one in the news, someone significant then.
Alternate emergency contact: Gregory Lestrade …most interesting… along with a departmental note affixed to contact him first. Quite adamant about that, by the wording of it, Lestrade's initials at the bottom.
Old money, with national and inter-national connections and a diverse financial base, she scoffed … explains some of it. She kept reading.
Harrow: standard student identification files, 1985 to 1994… public school boy then…cute kid.
Cambridge: student ID's 1995, 1996, attended two years, did not graduate…
Sally's curiosity piqued, a trip to the Cambridge data base indicated that grades were not an issue, some slight disciplinary issues, but it listed no reasons for dismissal …ah, he wasn't dismissed, simply didn't return for the third year of undergraduate studies. Financial records showed significant contributions by the family, both past and present, and a student status that, though inactive, was updated to cover at least an additional six years of tuition at the current rates. Filthy rich, that's more than I will make in a life time, sitting there in the uni coffers.
Current address: Old Montague Street, East London
Telephone number: indicating a mobile…he's had the same number for over two years, some stability then...
It was a respectable amount of information, none of which really helped in figuring out Sherlock Holmes. It alluded to a good amount of mystery too, and Sally was determined to solve this – this, Sherlock Holmes.
It was well after midnight when Sally gathered her belongings and headed for the exit, nearly bumping into Lestrade coming out of his office on her way.
"What are you still doing here? "
"Report on the boutique case is done, draft of it anyway." She went to reach for it on her desk but he waved it off.
"We'll go over that tomorrow, how we handle Sherlock…officially. That all?"
"Got a call from my Nan, took a bit and did a little research on the system." She did not elaborate the nature of the research.
"I'd offer my couch, but the head office frowns on that." He said jokingly. He wanted to ask if she found anything interesting about Sherlock; wondering if she would ask about the records discrepancies now or later, but she wasn't offering any tipoffs on her thoughts.
"So, what did you think of Sherlock?" Bluntness was always his preferred method of bridging a question.
"He's amazing, what he does, it's amazing. Is he always spot-on like that?"
"No, not always."
"You said he was a junkie"
"I worked drugs squad for five years, but you know that. There's really no such thing, only junkies that aren't using. Is he using?"
"Says he's not. Don't know."
"That's why you suggested this, innit? You want me to check up on him, don't you?"
"Astute observation, Detective. Look, you don't have to do this, if you've got any reservations about it."
Actually, she had a few, but she also needed a place to stay that was not an hour and a half out and not filled with a batch of younger siblings and nephews, and was not, as it usually ended up, her grandmother's couch.
"God knows," Lestrade went on. "It won't affect my opinion of your service here, well, except you might get a few points for good sense if you decide against it." He chuckled to lighten the mood.
"You said his flat's a studio, a loft?"
"But big, plenty of room for privacy," he wavered a bit and then added, "I'll stop by after you get settled. We'll fix something up."
"A studio, is it big enough for that, then?"
"Like I said, it's a renovation, kind of. About ten years ago, the owners got about half way through the building before the bottom fell out and never finished the top two floors. Kitchen's modern, bath too, but the rest… It's got a terrace on the roof. We really can fix something up. He's got his bed in the utilities box." He stopped there; any more along these lines would not be helping.
"Guess you figure I won't fall victim to his charms, then."
"I didn't know he had any. Usually he's… a bit of a dick."
"Anything else I should know?"
"He plays the violin," Lestrade did not mention Sherlock's usual timing for that, "… and well, he's kind of a slob. But if you keep at him, he'll pick up - a bit."
Sally couldn't help chuckle a little, she was, by nature, messy too, not that she would admit to it.
"And you will probably be accosted by his brother's people before a week is out, 'black sheep', and all that."
"Yeah, familiar with those," she said. "Is he okay with this arrangement?"
"Sherlock is rarely 'okay' with anything, but it is fine, it's all fine," his last words trailed off quietly. He sincerely hoped that it was going to be.
"He said he'd be home Friday night after shift."
"What's the address again?"
Morning was slowly turning the March sky over East London a slightly more luminous shade of grey and gooseflesh rose on Sherlock's arms as he stepped out onto the roof of the building in t-shirt and pajama pants. He held the needle up and flicked the last tiny bubble out of it as mist moved past the light outside the flat.
Popping it would do; he had a flat to straighten later and really didn't feel like calling Mycroft to send someone.
The London morning mist clung to everything as if unsure about deciding whether or not to rain today and strains of Grieg's sonata in G major met the chilly dawn.