This probably isn't my best story, but I wanted to write something for the masterpiece that is Sherlock.
It will probably be just five chapters or so, nothing too long. Still, I hope you enjoy!
Darkness. From the outside, she could tell it was a warehouse: from the inside, it seemed like a void.
Well, she reflected, of course there was no light: he wouldn't be trying to make her feel comfortable, would he?
She shivered; before taking another, hesitant step into the warehouse. Her footsteps were loud; echoing. No doubt as planned. Was he even here? Perhaps this was just an attempt at intimidation.
She held onto the knowledge that he wouldn't, couldn't do anything: she was here to make him an offer. He'd at least hear her out. Wouldn't he?
"You say you can steal the Turner?" the voice came out of the darkness.
"Yes," she said, after a moment's hesitation. She might have sounded calm on the surface, but beneath, she was anything but. There was something about this man's voice: something almost inhuman.
"So why are you coming to me?"
Good question. By now, she wished she could change her mind. Everything about this seemed designed to intimidate: perhaps it stopped people arriving with timewasting on their mind. Still, she was hardly a hardened criminal: but…
"I need the money," it took her two attempts to get the sentence out. "And it's probably worth a lot, to some people. I just- I don't know where to find those people."
"But I can," the voice sounded almost amused, pitch drifting ever higher.
She shivered, pulling her thin, torn coat further around herself. She wondered if she should say something: but the voice hadn't made it clear. So she waited; unable to tell how much time passed. It couldn't have been long. She hoped.
"If you take it, the theft will be in the papers by morning," he was speaking calmly again, now: calculating. "Buyers will contact me, to see if I'm behind it. There'll be a small auction: so, the day after the story appears in the papers, come here at eleven pm. Put Turner's painting in a safe location, and tell no one where it is; until I give you the money, then tell me. That will end our arrangement. Satisfactory?"
A moment's pause; she took in the few information. She had never done anything like this, and it scared her. The only thing that scared her more, was how bored the voice sounded. How routine must this be to him?
"Yes, Mr Moriarty," she spoke, still hesitant. Then, knowing what question she was meant to ask: "How much will it sell for?"
"Now, now; I can't tell you that," it was as if he were speaking to a child. "Yet. But remember, if you lie to me about where the painting is, it's very easy for me to find you again."
Life was calm at Baker Street; John typed away at his blog, idly finishing a post.
He winced at a sudden screech of frustration. Well, life was mostly calm.
There were few new cases. Most that had arrived, Sherlock had either ignored, insulted the client until they left, or he'd just solved them in scarcely an instant. John couldn't decide whether to feel impressed or exasperated.
Sherlock paced up and down the room, muttering to himself; indecipherable. At the sound of the door downstairs opening, he jumped up and, with unjustifiable excitement, ran out the door.
Quickly glancing, to make sure he'd left the room, John stood up and moved to pick up Sherlock's gun; he quickly fiddled with it, before removing the ammunition and pocketing it. Then, taking care to put it down exactly where it had been, he walked back to the computer.
It was only seconds later that Sherlock returned upstairs. He'd no doubt expected a case, or something. It wasn't unheard of for a client to come in with Mrs Hudson; even if unlikely. It said a lot about Sherlock's bored state of mind that he'd ignored deduced probability to look downstairs at the arrival of their landlady.
As soon as the detective re-entered the room, he picked up his revolver and made to shoot a hole in the spray-painted smiley face. A click; Sherlock groaned, dropping the weapon before turning towards John.
"Is there anything?" Holmes demanded, desperate. John rolled his eyes; quickly glancing back at his computer and opening Sherlock's website.
"Not unless you want to change your mind about that guy with the tattoos."
"The illustrated client John, really?" A sigh; "He accessed the Internet in an unexpected place. That's not even a crime, let alone an interesting one."
The detective returned to pacing, throwing the useless gun against the wall and ignoring it as it clattered loudly to the floor.
"What happened to that Ryder case?" Watson spoke up suddenly, frowning. Sherlock glanced sideways; for a moment he seemed either distracted or interested. Still, he remained silent; still pacing from wall to wall.
John exhaled, unable to bear Sherlock when he was like this. He was surprised there hadn't been any requests for cigarettes; or maybe Sherlock had already tried and failed to find them.
Moments later, with barely any transition, Holmes turned and strode out the door; John stared after him for a second or two, half expecting the detective to return, still bored and pacing. Instead, John blinked as he again heard the front door swing open and closed.
A bored Sherlock Holmes walking through the streets of London? John rolled his eyes, standing; he didn't follow, yet. There wasn't any need to. Still, he couldn't help but worry.
Then, with no other course of action, he again returned to the computer; rereading the blog post and debating whether or not to publish.
"Job interview, your father's coat. Too obvious," Sherlock mumbled to himself, pacing feverishly down the London streets. He turned his head from side to side, anxiously searching out some puzzle, no matter how trivial.
A man passing slowed, frowning sideways; Sherlock met his eyes.
"Oh, come on, can't you see?" he implored the stranger: "Look at your coat: frayed, obviously old. Then look at the rest of your clothes; smart, a suit. Evidently dressed for an interview, and everything else's new, so you can afford new things. Old coat? Implies sentiment; and judging by the age and size-you can't be more than twenty-a hand-me-down. Most likely, father's."
The stranger, apparently heading for a job interview, frowned; before quickly turning and walking off, pace sped up slightly.
Sherlock just rolled his eyes, continuing to walk the opposite way, murmuring under his breath.
"Judging from the tan, back from holiday: and heading for a haircut, judging by how much of the tan's covered. Boring. And you: new watch; no scratches, very loose. Stolen. Next; indentation on finger, ring removed. Divorced? No, too happy; and casual clothes, suggests affair. And the next; stained shirtsleeves but clean jacket, just had lunch. Took jacket off, and crease lines suggest hung up; friend's house. If at home, would have changed shirt. Oh, why is nothing challenging?"
Mumbling incessantly, he continued walking down the street. He had no destination in mind, beyond some distraction.
"Worn shirt, clean jumper, new watch. Frayed trousers: financial difficulties, old clothes, except for those that would be given as a present. Ah! But wears glasses; could be out of date, given the lack of money, but still worn. Worn while walking: short-sighted, but there's a bulge in their pocket for the case, so glasses not worn at work; must watch what's near. Wears a new watch out, despite financial trouble: can't be working in IT, then. Must read: judging from the direction they're walking, they work for a publisher, but not paid much." Sherlock inhaled; "Wonder if they've killed anyone? Nah, wrong shoes."
He turned around suddenly, heading the opposite way to the person who worked for a publisher's. Boring.
A ring; Sherlock halted swiftly, hand entering his pocket to anxiously search for his phone. An instant before it could ring a third time, he'd answered it.
"Hello, Sherlock? It's Lestrade," the Inspector's voice came through the phone; Holmes cut him off.
"Please tell me it's a case," the detective was almost breathless.
"I wouldn't call you for the fun of it," Lestrade said. "There's been a theft; that new JMW Turner painting at the gallery's been taken. It was due to be presented to the Queen: there's no way it could have been taken-"
"Evidently it was," Sherlock rolled his eyes. "On my way." He muttered a 'yes!' of triumph as he hung up.
Pocketing the phone again, he turned around; heading back for Baker Street. He took his time; walking rather than hailing a taxi. Time shouldn't change the crime scene. Where was the rush?
It was good to be at work again.
"John!" He called into the front door; not stepping inside. He stuck one arm out, thumb up; trying to find a taxi. "There's been a theft. Sounds like a good one. The new Turner painting."
Before Sherlock finished his sentence, John was hurrying down the stairs, pulling a jacket on. The detective smiled, stepping away from the door to see a taxi slow.
The journey to the gallery would take a fair few minutes. John sat beside Sherlock, mentally going over what little he knew of the case from Sherlock's introduction.
A new Turner painting had been stored in a London gallery, a present from somewhere abroad, and it was apparently to be gifted to the Queen. That probably meant it was guarded by more than the typical gallery security; government, perhaps. Made it harder for a thief to get in, much less get out carrying a piece of art about half their size.
"Lestrade," Sherlock was again on his phone, calling the police at the gallery while they were driven there. "I take it you have actually listened to me? Don't touch anything, especially if Anderson's there. Yes, ok, we're on our way."
John sighed at the detective's classic impatience. Sometimes he thought that, if the man were only slightly less clever, the police would refuse to have anything to do with him. Too much work.
Still, at least he made himself useful to them.
John found himself almost hoping the crime was a bad one. Though it felt wrong to support a criminal, he knew that very few would outdo Sherlock: and the more impressive the crime, the longer Sherlock would be sated.
Though it felt selfish, John couldn't help but think it.
As they arrived at the gallery, Sherlock pushed the driver's fee through, before leaping out and hurrying towards the crime scene. With much less vigour, John followed, catching up to the detective as he pressed a banknote into a homeless woman's hand.
Without turning, and still followed by John, Sherlock ducked below the police barrier and soon found his way to a relatively spacious room: the far wall was blank, with just a few marks on to show a painting had hung there.
"At last, Sherlock," Lestrade approached the detective; Holmes held out a hand, gesturing for quiet as he stopped barely a metre from the plain wall.
Sherlock tilted his head, frowned; leant closer before pulling back. Jerky. Two steps back; then he seemed almost to collapse, falling to the floor, and examining the thin carpet. Grey beads of fabric, barely ascending from the ground; yet he stared at them as if they were diamond.
"Step-ladder, or chair," Sherlock said, as he stood up; his eyes glanced around the room. "Well hurry up! Bring me one."
Blinking, Lestrade echoed the order. Holmes smiled, pacing with a little less frustration than before.
"Are there any officers outside?" Sherlock spoke again, tone demanding; as if he had a right to the answer.
"Doesn't matter," Holmes cut-off Lestrade, "Bring them in. All of them into this room; the painting can't have gone. Really, think about it: too big to conceal, and no one could walk around with it without raising suspicion. During the day, they couldn't have reached a car without being spotted: and a car's the only way to escape. Therefore, the painting must still be here. Where's that step-ladder?"
A police officer came into the room, dragging a chair. Holmes hopped on the spot, running over and snatching it from them. Then wordless, he moved to stand on it; arms reaching up for the ceiling.
The ceiling was made up of a series of boards; all balanced over a grid of metal. Above it there was no doubt the air conditioning system, but with a little effort, the boards resting on the metal frame could be pushed… up. Perfect. Making sure it was out the way, Sherlock gripped the metal outline of the board.
"Everyone in here? Good," he spoke as he pulled himself up, feet leaping from the back of the chair. "Check the walls, the carpet. Everything; I'm looking up here. The painting has to still be here."
And with that, Holmes vanished into the ceiling. Some of the police officers watched, almost bemused, as his feet were pulled in.
Trusting the detective's judgement, however, they got to work. Above them, there was a banging as Sherlock pulled himself over the boards. They could almost hear his progress; towards one wall. A scarping sound, and a cry, muffled by the roof.
One of the boards by that wall was lifted up by Sherlock, and the detective stuck his head through, looking around at the room, upside down.
"There's a hole in the wall, just here: the bricks have been cut away. Put back to avoid notice, but there are always signs, look," Holmes dropped a piece of stone down the back; composed of four bricks, all in a row. "That take care of things from the outside, and people don't generally look here from the inside. If the painting's snuck up here, they can slide it out the wall. That solves how they got it out the building." The detective dropped down, neatly landing on the floor. "Not the whole case, but I'm sure you can figure it out from there."
Straightening his coat collar, Sherlock turned and swiftly paced out of the room. Lestrade watched him, blinking; John turned and shrugged apologetically, before quickly following.
"Sherlock!" he hurried after the detective, catching him only as they reached the road. "Sherlock," he caught his breath; "What was that?"
"A boring case," the detective shrugged, "I'm not wasting my time on a theft as trivial as that. There has to be a nice murder somewhere." He ignored the first taxi that passed, before sticking out a thumb, looking up and down the road.
"Really Sherlock?" John spoke, "Someone's walked off with a great big painting in broad daylight, and you're not interested? I thought you wanted a case."
"Something this transparent isn't a case," the detective sighed; "It's pathetic, John. Even your limited intellect could probably solve it, given time. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to find a serial killer."
With that, the detective stepped into the next taxi; and almost immediately drove off, leaving John staring.