Chapter 4: Elementary
Sherlock and John rode down to Scotland Yard to give their statements. The sight of Sherlock Holmes, alive and well, caused quite a sensation around the station. Any other occasion, Sherlock would have enjoyed seeing the looks on all of those faces, but he had other things on his mind at the moment.
"The media will have already got wind of the story by now," Sherlock said, sitting beside John with Lestrade in the latter's office.
"I'm sure everyone will be flocking to John's blog for details," said Lestrade.
"You think?" asked John, beginning to ponder over which parts of the tale would most intrigue the fans. The bit where he fainted, he decided, could probably be left out.
"Of course," said Sherlock. "And you'll probably focus on all of the unimportant components, just as before."
"Those are the parts people like to read, Sherlock," John told him. "They'll want to know what you've been doing all this time, how you tracked Moriarty's men, why you've dyed your hair ginger-"
"Auburn, actually," Sherlock explained. "I told you; it was a disguise."
"Yes," said John, "but eventually I'll need more details."
"Ditto on that," said Lestrade, leaning back in his chair. To be honest, Lestrade felt Sherlock did owe him an explanation due to the fact that he had a lot riding on the consulting detective and almost lost his shirt (and his respectability) when the man decided to take a nosedive off the roof of St. Bart's. But this was not the time; though, they would be sure to have a private talk before Lestrade lets him anywhere near any cases.
"Later," said Sherlock. "It's a long story, so once everything's settled, I promise. But I'd first like to examine the damage at Baker Street." He walked over to the door, making for a quick escape. "Coming, John?"
John and Lestrade exchanged glances as John arose from his seat. "Bye, Greg."
"So long," he called after the pair as they left his office.
John examined the life-sized mannequin, which sat in the nearby armchair with half of its head blown off. The Colonel happened to have very good aim, and so the doctor was very glad that the criminal's latest victim didn't have a skull to begin with. He tried not to imagine the flat pooled with blood- Sherlock's blood- congealing into a heavy river of scarlet, but he had seen the image in his dreams so many times before that on many occasions he would wake up in a cold sweat, afraid he had drowned in the thick red liquid.
He closed his eyes to recompose himself, then opened them a moment later, watching the very-much-alive Sherlock Holmes inspecting the broken shards of glass around the window.
"Look at this mess, Sherlock," Mrs. Hudson commented from beside him.
"I promise to pay for the repairs," he told her. "It's the least I can do for your courageous work last night."
"Oh," she beamed, while simultaneously waving him off. "I'll get the broom." She then walked downstairs to her flat in search of the necessary cleaning supplies.
Sherlock joined John by the chairs. "It's good to be home," Sherlock confessed to him.
John looked at his friend uneasily. "Sherlock..." he began. "It's been three years. I don't live here anymore, we don't live here anymore. I have a new flat; you were there already. Mrs. Hudson has a new tenant, and she's not going to kick her out just because you're back. That wouldn't be fair."
"I never said anything about kicking anybody out," said Sherlock, a bit peeved at the idea.
"So what do you think is going to happen?" asked John. "You can't just move back in here. That would never work. I can just imagine it." He paused. "Wait. Has anyone told you?"
Sherlock was about to respond, but, right on cue, they were interrupted by the sound of the front door being opened downstairs and the subsequent pounding of feet as they ran up the seventeen steps to the flat.
"Sherlock!" Molly exclaimed, out of breath and face glowing with joy.
She ran into his arms, pulling him into a hug. "Hello, Molly," he smiled, after she pulled back from him.
"I got your text," she informed him. "I left the flat right away, though I still think I should have stayed around to help."
"You've done more than your fair share," Sherlock told her.
"Molly," said John, trying to grab her attention.
"He's back, John," she said, unable to stop smiling.
"I know," he replied, and they both leaned in to share a kiss.
Sherlock watched them in shock. There was always one thing he missed, and he felt very silly for not knowing. Also, a bit uncomfortable. "Ahem," he cleared his throat, and the two turned to face him.
John answered for them. "Molly and I, well, we..."
"What? You two?" asked Sherlock, making a face.
"Do you find that so hard to believe?" asked Molly with an air of offense.
"Molly," he said, looking directly at her. "When I told you to take care of John, I didn't mean for you to shag him."
Molly's mouth just hung open, no words coming out. "Wait, what?" John spoke for her instead. "Molly..." he said, turning to her. "You knew?" She could see the hurt in his eyes, and she didn't know how to fix it.
"Of course, John!" Sherlock said. "Who do you think wrote up the paperwork for my autopsy?"
"I wanted to tell you-" she finally uttered, finding her voice, but he cut her off.
"You knew this entire time?" He backed away from them, and moved towards the door. "I need to go. I need to think." He practically ran out, slamming the door behind him.
"John, wait!" Molly called after him, but it was useless. He was already gone. Instead, she turned to Sherlock, boiling in anger."Why'd you have to come back if you were just going to ruin everything again?" She instantly covered her mouth with her hands, regretting her words. "Oh, Sherlock, I didn't mean it! I didn't!"
"Yes, Molly, you did," he said with a dark expression.
"I'm sorry." She felt like she was about to cry, but held the tears back.
"I'm the one who should apologize," he said, slowly and deliberately. "There was no reason for me to say anything; I should have given you the chance to tell him."
"Well, it's too late now," she said with sadness in her voice. She knew he was trying to be nice to her, but he had never been any good at it before; why should he now after so long out of practice?
"You're not the one with whom he's really angry," said Sherlock. "I'll go speak to him."
"You'd do that for me?" Molly asked.
"Well," he shrugged. "I do owe you one."
Whenever John was angry enough to need space to recompose, there were usually two destinations where he would end up: 1) his current girlfriend's residence, or 2) the park. As one of the people from whom he currently needed said space is his girlfriend, Sherlock knew exactly where to go to track his friend, and easily discovered John sitting sullenly on a bench by himself. Sherlock sat down beside him, but did not say a word.
"How'd you find me?" John asked, without looking at Sherlock. He then realized the stupidity of the question, and said, "Wait, don't answer that."
"John, I..." Sherlock began, struggling for the correct words, although he had rehearsed the scene in his head too often to count. He soon found his voice. "There were so many times over the last three years that I almost contacted you. I would have your number dialed into my mobile, and, at the last moment, I'd decide to abort the call. I wanted to speak to you so badly, even more than I've ever craved a cigarette, just so you'll fully realize the scope of my meaning." John snorted out a derisive laugh. "But I was afraid that if I made myself known to you that you wouldn't be able to keep my secret."
"Oh," said John. "Thanks."
"They were watching you," Sherlock explained. "If you believed, then they believed. Molly was practically invisible. If it wasn't for her help, I really would have died that day. She couldn't tell you. She was protecting both of us."
John let out a deep sigh. "I know. It's all just been a shock today. I haven't really had time to process any of it. You're alive, Sherlock. It took me so long to accept the fact that you were dead, and now you're here sitting beside me. I missed you."
"I missed you, too," he said.
"I need more time," John admitted. "You just need to bear with me for a bit."
"Anything," said Sherlock. "Just... forgive me."
John looked towards Sherlock and studied his face. It wasn't very often that the man wore his emotions so openly, and this more than anything helped reassure John that there was a living and breathing person sitting beside him right now. He felt just as raw as Sherlock, and he knew they both needed time for the emotional and psychological wounds to heal. He just hoped Sherlock wouldn't be as reckless with this as he usually is with physical bruising. Again, John wondered what his friend had gone through these past three years.
"Molly's probably worried sick," John said to him. "We should head back."
Douglas walked into the portacabin. Herc had talked Carolyn into a much needed holiday, and so she had reluctantly left Douglas in charge of any potential bookings. Arthur was there, too, trying to be of assistance.
"Arthur, where's today's paper?" the pilot asked, searching fruitlessly for the newspaper that he planned to read while having his coffee.
"Oh, can I take a look at it first, Douglas?" Arthur asked as he went to go fetch it from over by the door.
"Really, Arthur?" Douglas said with a great deal of surprise.
"Only, there's this girl who works at the zoo who's really, really brilliant, and she likes to talk about current events, but I don't know any. I want to be able to impress her next time I see her."
"Well, by all means," Douglas told him. "Who am I to stand in the way of love?"
"Thanks, Douglas," Arthur beamed, unfolding the paper.
"Douglas...?" Arthur said after a moment's silence.
"Yes, Arthur?" he responded, taking a sip from his coffee and leaning back in his seat.
"Why is there a picture of Skip on the cover?" he asked.
The pilot sat up in his chair and put the coffee on his desk, roused to attention by curiosity and something akin to dread. "Let me see that." Arthur handed him the newspaper and he read the title: "Detective Defies Death: Infamous Holmes faked suicide to prove innocence."
Below that was a photo of a man who looked a great deal like his former captain standing with two other men. The caption read: "Sherlock Holmes (center) shakes hands with Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade of Scotland Yard (left) with blogger Dr. John Watson (right)."
"Well," said Douglas. "At least we know what happened to him now."
Mrs. Hudson opened the door after she heard the knock. There were two men. One was a tall, middle-aged man, and the other was a boyish looking fellow with a wide grin.
"Hello, Madam," greeted the older man. "I'm Douglas. This is Arthur-"
"Hello!" said the younger one cheerfully.
"And we were wondering if we could speak with Mar- Mr. Holmes?"
"I'm sorry, no reporters," she told them, closing the door, but Douglas slid his foot in the way to block her.
"We're not reporters, actually," he explained. "I'm a pilot, and he is a steward. We're friends of Mr. Holmes."
Mrs. Hudson knew enough not to be taken in. "I think I'm aware of all of Sherlock's friends."
"Really?" responded Douglas. "And are you aware of all he's been up to these past three years?"
"Well, no," said Mrs. Hudson, pondering over the question. "Not exactly."
"Well, I am. And I'd be happy to share these amusing tales with you if I could just be allowed to speak with the man."
She looked the two men over; they seemed harmless enough. In any case, she would keep her eye on them until Sherlock could confirm their story. If not, he was more than capable of dealing with them. "The boys are out right now," she explained. "But they should be back any minute. Would you like some tea?"
Douglas smiled. "Tea would be most delightful."