by Soledad

Episode 03 – A Study in Pink

Disclaimer: Both Dr. Who and Sherlock belong to the BBC. I'm just borrowing them to have some fun.

Author's note: As you can see, I use some lines from the unaired pilot and some from the actual episode, A Study in Pink. It's a fine line I have to walk here. *g* But it won't be much longer, I promise - soon we'll be venturing out to AU country.

Part 35 – Crime Scene Investigations

They followed the Detective Inspector up a circular staircase that, at least for John, seemed to have no end at all. Especially as he had to balance on the stairs with those stupid white cotton coverings over his shoes; as if his bad leg hadn't made his balance precarious already. Sherlock, of course, was bouncing up the stairs like a rubber ball, putting the latex gloves on as he went.

"I can give you two minutes," the Detective Inspector said as they reached the top of the stairs.

"May need longer," Sherlock replied casually. "What've you found out so far?"

"Footprint analysis says the only other person in the room during the last twelve hours was a man about five foot seven, and it seems he and the victim arrived together by car," Lestrade told them. "All identification is missing on the body, just like all the others. No idea who she is or where she's from."

He opened the door to a room two storeys above the ground floor. The room was empty of furniture except for a rocking horse in the far corner – could it once have been a nursery? The yellowed wallpaper hanging off the wall in strips showed faded characters from Disney cartoons, so yeah, it probably had. Emergency portable lighting had been set up, presumably by the police. Scaffolding poles held up part of the ceiling near where a couple of large holes had been knocked through one of the walls.

John had never thought that there could be any place more depressing than his little bed-sit – now he'd been taught better.

As a sharp contrast to the faded environment, a woman's body was lying face down on the bare floorboards in the middle of the room. She was wearing a bright pink overcoat and high-heeled pink shoes. Her hands were flat on the floor either side of her head; her face, strangely peaceful in death, was young, soft and framed by long blonde hair. John's heart filled with pain and sadness as he looked down at her body. She seemed to have been a nice woman; she didn't deserve to die like this, in some run-down building, alone. Nobody did.

Sherlock walked a few steps into the room ahead of them and then stopped, holding one hand out in front of himself as he focused on the corpse. The three of them stood there silently for several long seconds, then Sherlock glared across the room to Lestrade.

"Shut up," he growled.

The Detective Inspector stared at him in confusion. "I didn't say anything."

"You were thinking," Sherlock snapped. "It's annoying."

The Detective Inspector and John exchanged a slightly exasperated look, the former clearly used to such reactions. Ignoring them, Sherlock slowly approached the corpse from the side. His attention was immediately drawn to the fact that scratched into the floorboards by the woman's left hand was the word RACHE. His eyes flicked to her fingernails.

"The index and middle nails are broken and ragged at the ends with the nail polish chipped," he murmured. "The other nails are still immaculate; the index finger rests at the bottom of the 'e' as if she was still trying to carve into the floor when she died – left handed!"

He then squatted down beside the body, ran his gloved hand along the back of the pink coat, and looked at his fingers. "Wet."

He reached into the coat pockets and found a folding umbrella, in the same eye-biting shade of pink, in one of them. Running his fingers along the folds of the material, he inspected his glove again. "Hmm. Dry."

He put the umbrella back into her pocket, then moves up to the collar of the coat and ran his fingers underneath it before once again looking at his fingers. "Wet."

Reaching into his pocket he took out a small magnifier, clicked it open and closely inspects the delicate gold bracelet on her left wrist. "Clean," then the gold earring in her left ear, "clean," and then the gold chain around her neck, "clean again."

Finally, he moved on to look at her wedding ring. "This one's dirty, though… interesting," he carefully worked the ring off her finger and held it up to look at the inside. "But clean in the inside, so it's been regularly removed. Hmmm…"

He slid the ring back onto the woman's finger, nodded in satisfaction, pocketed the magnifier and the gloves and, getting out his phone, he began typing on it.

"Well, she's from out of town clearly," he muttered. "Planned to spend a single night in London before returning home, so far, so obvious."

"Obvious?" the Detective Inspector asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Yes, obvious. Back of the right leg," Sherlock replied impatiently, his eyes still fixed on his phone; then he grinned smugly as he clearly found the answer he was looking for. "And it's also glaringly obvious that she came from Cardiff."

That was a bit more than John could leave without comment. "Sorry – obvious?" he asked.

"What about the message, though?" Lestrade chimed in at the same time.

"She's German," Anderson commented from where he is leaning casually against the doorway. "Rache is German for revenge. She could be trying to tell us something …"

Sherlock walked up to the door while Anderson was still speaking and slammed it shut right in his face.

"Yes, thank you for your input," he said with biting sarcasm.

"So she's German?" the Detective Inspector asked in confusion.

"Of course she's not, don't be an idiot!" Sherlock snapped; then he looked at John. "Doctor Watson, what do you think?"

"Of the message?" John was every bit as confused as the Detective Inspector.

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Of the body. You're a medical man."

"Wait, no" the Detective Inspector protected. "We have a whole team right outside."

"They won't work with me," Sherlock hissed.

"I'm breaking every rule letting you in here," the Detective Inspector reminded him.

"Yes," Sherlock's face was frozen into an angry grimace, "because you need me."

The Detective Inspector glared at him for a moment, then lowered his eyes helplessly. "Yes, I do," he admitted in resignation. "God help me."

Sherlock no longer paid him any attention. "Doctor Watson."

"Hm?" John looks up from the body to Sherlock, then turned his head to the Detective Inspector, silently seeking his permission. The soldier in him wouldn't allow blundering into the scene the same way Sherlock did.

"Oh, do as he says," Lestrade said a little tetchily. "Help yourself." He turned and opened the door, going outside. "Anderson, keep everyone out for a couple of minutes."

Meanwhile Sherlock and John had walked over to the body. Sherlock squatted down on the right-hand side of it and John painfully lowered himself to one knee on the other side, leaning heavily on his cane to support himself. Putting his cane down, he leaned forward on one hand to look more closely at the body.

"Well?" Sherlock demanded impatiently.

John gave him a wary look. "What am I doing here?" he asked in a low voice.

"Helping me make a point," Sherlock replied in the same manner.

John raised an eyebrow. "I'm supposed to be helping you pay the rent."

"Yeah, well, this is more fun," Sherlock said with a grimace that wasn't funny at all. John still couldn't help taking offence.

"Fun?" he repeated in disapproval. "There's a woman lying dead."

"Perfectly sound analysis, but I was hoping you'd go deeper," Sherlock returned. "Two men and three women are lying dead already; keep talking and there will be more. Now: cause of death?"