A/N: Thank you so much for your patience! This was a long time coming, but I hope it was worth the wait! I really hope the next chapter won't take so long.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Doctor Who, Torchwood, or Sherlock.
John rolled his eyes as Sherlock joined him outside, slamming the door to the first victim's house. "That was a complete waste of time."
"Well, you were the one who allowed Lestrade to pull you all across London." He pointed out as Sherlock once again exercised his preternatural ability to summon a cab.
"Well, he could have mentioned those idiots he calls 'forensic experts' ruined the whole crime scene before he bothered taking me there."
John didn't bother to reply. They were still eight streets or so from the flat when Sherlock suddenly ordered the taxi to stop, barely waiting for the driver to hit the brakes before he was out of the vehicle. After John paid the very confused man behind the wheel, he knew he'd have to do some searching to find Sherlock. He'd been examining the ground next to a police box. John barely spared a glance for it when, without any word of explanation, Sherlock stood, taking one last look before announcing they'd have to walk home, despite John's protests.
"So what now?" John asked after a few minutes.
"We wait for another victim." Sherlock replied curtly. He continued before John had a chance to object. "We need more evidence. What we have is useless. There's nothing to connect the crime scenes besides the puncture wounds." He paused. John waited expectantly. Sherlock shook his head ruefully. "No, nothing else."
There was the sound of laughter ahead. John spared a glance for the pair, walking arm-in-arm. The girl was smiling, trying to get her friend to laugh, based on the half-smile, half frown on his face. There was something about him that reminded John of Sherlock. It was more than the obvious, long coat, that almost purposeful mysterious persona, or the attempt to absolutely not enjoy himself. It was more the lonely look about him, the set of his shoulders, the unconscious swagger. John glanced at Sherlock, but he seemed too lost in his thoughts to pay them any attention.
As they passed each other, the girl bumped into Sherlock. "Oh, sorry." She smiled apologetically. He didn't even pause or acknowledge her. John gave her an awkward smile that mirrored hers. He took a moment to admire the view as she shrugged and caught up to her companion, who had stopped to wait for her.
Apparently, his own colleague hadn't noticed any of the exchange. "There has got to be something I'm missing." Sherlock mumbled.
"There has got to be some reason she brought us here." The Doctor muttered as Rose finally caught up with him.
It took Rose a second to realize that 'she' meant the TARDIS. She gave his shoulder a reassuring tap. "We'll figure it out. We always do." She put a finger to her lips, trying to puzzle it out. "You said this is where whatever got into the TARDIS went, right? Can't you follow the same trail to find it?"
He shook his head. "No, it's too faint. We're out of range for the TARDIS, anyway. I guess we'll have to do some old-fashioned detective work."
She grinned. "What, like Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson?"
"I am a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work." He admitted.
"So, what would Sherlock Holmes do, then?"
He shoved his hands into the pockets of his coat. "The devil's in the detail."
Well, that wasn't enigmatic at all. Rose was hesitant to bring it up, but she had a feeling that the crime scene had something to do with his current mood. Based on his earlier reaction, it probably wasn't wise to mention it just yet, so she decided to try and cheer him up.
"Does that make you Watson?"
The Doctor looked horrified. "What? Why am I the side-kick?"
"You're the Doctor!"
"Yeah, but not that kind," He sniffed disdainfully. "I'm always the center of attention. The whole universe revolves around me, remember? I am definitely Sherlock Holmes."
His words reminded her of another man, one who wore leather and had wrinkles around his eyes that deepened when he laughed, which had never been enough. Rose felt her smile slipping, and pushed those thoughts away, chastising herself. He was right here, her Doctor. "So does that make me the Doctor?" She teased.
"I guess it does." The Doctor laughed.
Rose stretched her arms above her head. "Well, no natural disasters, mysterious disappearances or cataclysmic events..." She held her hands before her as she ticked off all the avenues they'd already scoured. "The newspapers don't mention anything strange. I guess we'll just have to wait for another clue."
The Doctor finally smiled- a real smile. "I can think of worse places to spend a day or two." Rose linked arms with him.
"Could be worse. Could be Cardiff." At least here there weren't any black holes, green blobs or conniving former-humans to contend with here.
"Why do you want to see her? She has nothing to do with the investigation."
Sherlock glared at Lestrade. "She has everything to do with it. She was attacked by the same person. I'm sure of it. If I could just speak to her-"
The Detective Inspector sighed. "How's this then- Why should I subject a child recovering from Leukemia to your charming personality?"
"Because two people are dead and by next week it could be four if the trend continues."
"Oh, don't go on like you actually care!" Lestrade scoffed, leaning back in his chair. "We all know better."
A few tense moments passed with Sherlock staring at him intently, as if he might change his mind. When it was obvious that wasn't going to happen, he huffed indignantly. "Worth a try."
John sighed from his post by the door. This was getting them nowhere. Sherlock had been so engrossed in this case he'd even neglected to share his insights with him. All John knew for certain was that this eight year old girl reported being attacked by an animal- the next day, her cancer was simply gone. How Sherlock had heard of the incident, let alone enough to convince him it was related, was anyone's guess.
"Look, it can't hurt, can it?" John asked.
"You should know better than anyone what he's like! How you live with him is anyone's guess."
"The therapy helps." John replied, ignoring the look Sherlock gave him.
The DI leaned forward, making the wheels of his chair snap sharply on the linoleum. "Fine. All right, all right. Donovan will give you the details." The I-got-my-way-again smirk that crossed Sherlock's lips was only typical, and once again John gave Lestrade an apologetic glance as they turned to leave the room. "So help me, if I hear you've given her a heart attack I'm banning you from every public building in a five-mile radius!" He called after them.
"Bit of an overreaction," Sherlock muttered irritably.
John shrugged. "Bit, yeah." He paused. "A lifetime ban seems more realistic."
His flatmate simply scoffed and walked ahead, completely ignoring Donovan. John took the paper from her, ignored her usual insult, and prayed that Sherlock didn't get into the taxi without him this time.
"Did you see?"
"Nah, it can't be! I heard he has a bigger nose."
"Don't be silly, he's all over the papers these days."
"I heard it from my mate Ashley on the third floor. Saw him with her own eyes when he did that bombing case in Manchester."
The nurses jumped when John cleared his throat loudly. Almost identical expressions of shock and guilt sharpened when they got a good look at him. He decided it must have nothing to do with him.
"We're here to see Diana Morrison."
The older nurse's eyes widened. "I knew it! You're with that Sherlock Holmes, aren't you?"
Every instinct told him to lie. But with two possibly psychotic women staring him down, his lips moved before he could decide what to do. "Uh... yes. More or less." Feeling very suddenly like a small mammal before birds of prey he tried to backpedal. "Not... That is- I meant- We aren't-"
Sudden warmth at his back made him freeze. An all-too-familiar scoff filled his left ear and the rumble of Sherlock's voice did not help his sudden hyper-awareness. "They have no idea who she is, John. We should go to the other desk."
"Wait! Is it true, then? What they said about you two?"
"What did they say?"
The other nurse stepped forward. "Everyone's talking about it. Famous detective, living with his assistant, never goes out on dates-"
John wished he hadn't asked.
"Really, you're not hiding it very well. I mean, avoiding the topic only proves there's something you don't want to say-"
"Speaking of hiding things, have you told your fiance about your affair?" Sherlock cut in.
A moment of shocked silence followed, and the older nurse's left hand immediately went to her chest protectively. "You mean me?"
"It's been long enough, three to four years. He's going to wonder about the pay raises eventually. You're only putting off the inevitable. After all, even someone like you who fancies they're clever can't hide what's glaringly obvious, even from those idiots who claim to be private detectives."
"De- detectives? Did James-?"
"No, but it won't be long now. I can guarantee it."
The other nurse began to recover and jumped to her co-worker's defense. "It's rubbish, Ginny. He's all talk, some kind of publicity stunt."
The cold air on his neck made him turn. Sherlock was already halfway down the hall. "Tell you what, if her lover isn'tyour boyfriend, then I'll admit I'm a fraud." he called back.
John didn't take the time to see the nurses' reactions. The sound of yelling reached them when they entered the lift. Once the doors shut the silence was tense and uncomfortable. It was a relief when they opened again, revealing an open waiting room and hopefully far more hospitable people.
With the correct room number, they were finally back on track. John had only just convinced himself to focus on the problem at hand and not think about Sherlock's odd behavior downstairs when he was pushed into the wall.
"Oh! I'm so sorry. Are you okay?"
"Fine." John grunted. "It's nothing-"
"Honestly, I've been so clumsy today, nearly- Wait. It's you!"
They stared at each other for a moment, and sure enough, he knew her. Blonde, brown eyes, and walking around with someone with enough enigma to rival Sherlock's pride. John smiled pleasantly, an automatic reaction. "Right. What are the odds?" He took a second look. "Must be my lucky day." He added.
She paused as well, looking him up and down, smiling brilliantly, and tucked her hair behind her ear. "Right, it must be," she said, cheekily.
"Oh for God's sake-" Sherlock cut in.
"And who is this?" She asked, gesturing to Sherlock, who did not seem to appreciate the situation at all.
"Oh, don't mind him. You know- this might seem forward, but-"
Her companion from earlier was suddenly at her side, hand on her arm. "Put your eyes back in your head, soldier."
John's eyes finally left the woman to stare at the man in complete shock. "What? Sorry, how did you-"
"Don't mind him." She cut in.
"Well, your stature clearly reads military, for one-"
"Stop showing off. That was a joke, all right? You don't have to actually-"
He ignored her. "That's not to mention the way you walk, the haircut, the way you clearly ogled Rose-"
John turned back to her. "Rose. So, that's your name. I was wondering how long it would take me to find out."
"Well, that's not fair. I still don't know yours."
"Look, his name is-"
He held his hand out to Rose, ignoring her companion. "John. John Watson, at your service, Rose...?"
"Tyler." She supplied, shaking his hand. Her grip was firm.
"Pleased to meet you, Rose Tyler."
"Same to you, Mister... John Watson?" She blinked,as if realising something.
John really hoped she didn't read the papers. "Doctor, actually."
Her grin turned decidedly mischievous as she glanced not-so-subtly at her companion. "Uh-huh... The Doctor said you were in the army?"
He nodded, his back straightening of it's own accord. "Yes, 5th Northumberland Fusiliers."
The as-yet unnamed stranger crossed his arms. "Afganistan, was it?" he asked moodily.
"Yes. Yes, in fact. How did you- You know what? I'm not asking."
"That's probably for the best," Rose laughed. "He thrives off attention. So, what rank were you?"
Sherlock sighed, and it was more than easy for John to ignore him, as well. "I was a Captain. Still technically am, seven year reserve and all that."
Her friend was most definitely not happy with the playful tone she used next. "You must have some stories to tell... and I bet you've got the scars to prove it."
John jumped at the opening. "I suppose you'd want to see them?"
To his relief, she laughed. "I'm not that easy. But, I might make an exception for an officer."
His mouth opened to reply, but Sherlock cut him off, his tone cold. "John, if you would kindly remove your mind from your genital area, I need your assistance for a moment."
Rose glanced at them, then at her companion. "Oh." She said, her face falling a bit, "Are you two... together?"
John nearly panicked. "No!" Remembering where they were, he lowered his voice. "No. I mean, no. We live together, but we're not... together."
"Oh. That's great, then."
The man beside Rose scoffed. "Not for long."
The comment earned him a sharp jab in the ribs. "Shut it, you." Rose hissed.
"All right, that's enough. There's no time for this." Surely there could only be one Sherlock personality type in the world. Who would curse them with two? "I'm the Doctor. This is Rose Tyler. We're all introduced, now. Are you here to see Diana as well? Lovely girl, really. Doesn't like cats though, best not to bring them up in conversation."
"You'll have to wait until later to visit." Sherlock replied. "I'm here on behalf of Detective Inspector Lestrade-"
"Oh, what a coincidence! Me too!" Before anyone could demand it, he handed his papers out for Sherlock to inspect. He held them for a few scant seconds before returning them to the strange man.
"All the aliases in the world and you chose 'John Smith'?"
The Doctor blinked. "Excuse me?"
Sherlock dropped his pretense of boredom and scanned the newcomer carefully. "Lestrade wouldn't assign anyone else to this case. Besides, you're no detective. Not even a police officer. So, why are you here, really?"
Rose stepped in, looking a bit uneasy. "Oh, we were just leaving-"
"Press! Yes, that's it. And this is Rose Tyler, my assistant. Just wanted to talk to the 'Miracle Girl', that's all." The man interrupted.
There was that smirk again, saying loud and clear how much of a waste it is to try and fool Sherlock Holmes. "Clearly not."
The man barely got three words out. "How would you-"
"No self-respecting reporter would dare sneak into a hospital to interview an eight year old girl after the Leveson inquiry. Tell me, how did you find out about her whereabouts? Did you bug her mother's telephone? Bribe one of the nurses? I know reporters have a lapse attitude when it comes to the law." A small sound escaped John, and it was will alone that kept the words from leaving his throat. Still, Sherlock glared, as if he knew what he'd say anyway. "Besides the glaringly obvious, anyone with half a brain could tell just by looking at you lot." Sherlock took a step forward, his full attention on the strange pair. The girl looked nervously from her companion to the detective. "So, I'll ask you again. Why are you here?"
"That is a very good question," The group turned as one to see a squat woman glaring them down, fingers resting lightly on her glasses. Quickly (and likely accurately) identifying Sherlock as the troublemaker, she crossed her arms. "Well?"
Ignoring the pair, Sherlock handed the woman his pass. "I'm here on behalf of Detective Inspector Lestrade."
She raised an eyebrow, but gave the article back to him. "And what does he want with a sick girl?"
"She's not sick anymore, from what I've heard," he replied smoothly.
"Diana doesn't need any questioning. She needs rest."
A quick glance at her nametag had John stepping forward. "It's fine, Doctor Davies. We'll be quick. And as considerate as possible." He added with a significant look at Sherlock.
Davies looked past them. The man was already holding out the same papers as before. She squinted at them, then huffed indignantly. "Not sure why he needs half the circus. You have ten minutes. I suggest you get a move on."
John followed Sherlock into the small room, where Diana sat in her bed, coloring very carefully inside the lines of a coloring book. Before anyone could speak, Rose had stepped forward. She tilted her head to get a good look at the page.
"Oh, I loved this show!" she gushed. "Just look at you. Where'd you learn to colour that well? I still can't do that."
Diana paused, her hand still poised over the paper. She seemed to be deciding if this person was okay to talk to. She glanced nervously at the rest of the group. "Um, I don't know. Lots of time, I guess." She mumbled.
"Why have you coloured Blossom's dress yellow?" Rose asked.
"Because gingers shouldn't wear pink. That's what Mum says."
"Maybe some gingers-"
"Who's your favourite?" Rose interrupted the Doctor loudly. "I always liked Bubbles."
The little girl seemed to relax a bit. She pointed at the uncoloured character. "Buttercup."
Sherlock sighed heavily. "While this is absolutely fascinating, I think-"
He was cut off as well. "Why's that?"
"Because she doesn't need special powers, but she's still a hero."
"Yeah." Diana grinned.
The Doctor stepped forward. "I bet you do have special powers. You got better, didn't you?" Diana nodded, suddenly shy. "How'd that happen?"
Rose was looking at him like he was some kind of alien. Either he didn't notice, or he didn't care. Diana glanced back at the woman, who nodded encouragingly. "It was nighttime. I was scared, so I was awake. Then something jumped on the bed. I screamed, and it bit me. When I woke up, I felt better."
"Whatjumped on the bed?" Sherlock demanded. He received annoyed looks from everyone in the room. Diana's mouth clamped shut. "What did you see?" he pressed.
John shook his head. "Just... let them talk, will you?" he hissed.
If John had suggested he date Donovan, he probably wouldn't have gotten a more affronted look. "Are you-"
"Will you shut it?" Rose snapped.
"There's less than five minutes left. We don't have time to waste on-"
The glare she gave Sherlock was a very clear warning. "On what? Being nice?"
"Exactly. We all came here for answers and you're gossiping like schoolgirls. I need the facts."
"And does that include scaring her half to death?"
"Um, excuse me? Right. Argument, not helping." John interrupted, glancing between them.
Without comment, the Doctor turned back to Diana. "You were saying?"
His companion rolled her eyes. "It's okay. We want to help you, that's all."
Diana went from scared to angry in a second. She crossed her arms stubbornly. "No you don't. That's what the doctors said too, but they didn't help me. The bunny did."
They shared a shocked silence. "A... bunny?" John said slowly. "A bunny saved you?"
"Yeah. It jumped on the bed. I was scared, so I tried to get up. It bit me. Then the nurse came, and it ran away."
Rose's friend seemed totally unsurprised by this answer. He was the only one. "What did it look like?"
"You can't be serious," Sherlock glanced at his watch. "Let's go, John. Complete waste of time."
"What? But she said-"
"She said that a bunny attacked her and cured her cancer. I think we're done here."
John caught up to him at the door. "Look, you're the one that was absolutely convinced that this was related to the murder-"
"Even if it was, she's obviously completely useless as a witness."
"It's true!" Diana objected. "I saw it! It was all white, and had big, long feet. It was trying to get under the covers."
That caught the attention of both the detective and the mysterious pair. Sherlock opened his mouth to speak, and the man reached into his coat pocket. A loud voice made Rose jump.
"That's it. Time to go."
"What? Already?" The Doctor complained.
"Yep. Ten minutes, on the nose."
"Eight and forty-two seconds," he grumbled, but he got to his feet.
A few minutes later, they all stood outside the hospital. Sherlock seemed more than ready to leave, but Rose pulled John aside. "Here's my number," she handed him a small piece of folded paper. "Anything you find out, call me, yeah?"
"For crying out-"
"And if I don't find anything out?"
"Call anyway." She suggested.
"Bloody soldiers," the man pulled her away. She waved, and he could just hear him say, "Got a thing for Captains, do you?"
She froze, and from the look on the man's face, her expression was as cold as her voice. "Doctors, too."
There was something behind that, but before he could puzzle it out, the sound of a car door slamming broke his concentration. He looked just in time to see the cab pull away. His phone went off, and the text message read, Whenyou'rereadytowork, I'llbeattheflat. SH
John stood at the side of the road looking after him, wondering why he felt a bit guilty. He dared to glance one last time at Rose. It was the precise moment that she happened to look back, and she winked at him. Maybe it was worth the cab fare.