After visiting Donna's grandfather and getting her set up in a room, they reconvened in the console room. "So, time to pick up Sherlock I guess," the Doctor commented.
Donna looked at him curiously. "Who's that then? You mentioned him before."
Molly hesitated, wondering how to describe the detective. "Er, another passenger," she finally said. "Only temporary."
"He's a friend of Molly's, needed somewhere to hide," the Doctor explained. "We dropped him off in London before going to check out the Adipose."
The new companion listened with interest. "And he's on temporary you say?" she asked. When Molly nodded, she shook her head. "Can't imagine going through trips like that and just leaving it behind."
Molly shrugged. "He's got his own life. It's almost as interesting at this one, actually. He gets in nearly as much trouble."
Donna grinned. "Sounds interesting."
"He is that," Molly agreed.
"Right then, let's pick him up then, so we can get to the interesting stuff," Donna urged, turning to glare impatiently at the Doctor. Molly held back a chuckle at the Time Lord's expression.
He blinked a few times, then turned to the console. "Right, to London then," he agreed. The Doctor started up the TARDIS, sending the ship into the usual shaking and convulsions. The Doctor and Molly were practiced enough to hold onto the console and keep their footing, but Donna was thrown to the ground, cursing loudly. The companion held back a chuckle at her expense; the redheaded companion looked irritated and embarrassed enough without Molly laughing at her.
As the ship stilled, Donna got to her feet, rubbing her arm and grumbling. "Bloody hell, I forgot what it's like in this thing." She threw a deadly glare at the Time Lord and demanded irritably, "Who in their right mind let you behind the wheel of this thing?"
The Doctor glared back, clearly irritated with the slight on his driving skills. Molly decided to intervene before he said something he'd regret. "So, I guess Sherlock's expecting us then. She hurried to the door, pulling it open, ignoring the irritated Time Lord and companion behind her.
They'd landed in a large, crowded street, full of people even at the late hour. Sherlock had given them very exact coordinates, and now Molly could see why. The TARDIS was parked directly under a roof that kept them from sight overhead. Though she wondered who exactly they were hiding from and where they were watching from, she couldn't help but be impressed that Sherlock had memorized the exact coordinates of a roof that was large enough to hide the TARDIS.
She peered out into the crowd, searching for the familiar form of the detective. For several moments, she saw nothing. There was a part of the crowd she almost didn't want to look at. It took a few moments to realize why; Sherlock must be wearing his TARDIS key, using the perception filter. It kept him from being noticed by most of the crowd, but Molly had used those keys for a year, and she knew how to see past the filter. Now that she knew what she was looking for, it only took a few moments to spot the detective. He was still in the brown coat and hat from earlier, the coat collar up and his gaze shifting around furtively as he made a bee-line for the TARDIS.
Molly waved him over, grinning as he got closer. "Good to see you're in one piece," she said cheerfully.
Sherlock just snorted. "Like there was any doubt," he said drily.
The companion sobered a little as she took in the dark, soft vulnerability in Sherlock's eyes. She was about to ask what had gone wrong when she realized – of course. He'd gone to visit John. The only other time she'd seen that look in his eyes was when John had died during the Year. He must have been dying to see John ever since the timeline was reestablished, but it had to be killing him that he couldn't tell John he was alive or even talk to him.
Of course, she was tactful enough not to bring it up. Instead she asked, "Everything got taken care of alright?"
Sherlock nodded tersely. "For now." With that, he pushed past Molly into the TARDIS. The companion followed him in, watching him curiously as he noticed Donna. The detective's eyes narrowed, gaze suddenly sharp and intelligent as he did his customary scan of the new companion.
The Doctor grinned as Sherlock walked in. "Ah, good to have you back on board. Sherlock, this is Donna Noble, she's gonna be traveling with us then."
The detective gave a little jerky nod, gaze still fixed on the temp. Donna looked a little uncomfortable with his intense stare, eyes narrowing irritably. After a few moments, she scoffed, "Sheesh, you're a quiet one then. Don't I at least get a name?"
Sherlock's lips quirked into a smirk, knowing almost vicious in its eagerness. Molly closed her eyes, fighting back a sigh. She knew what was going to come next, and based on the little she knew about Donna, it wasn't going to be pretty.
With the same smirk, Sherlock replied, "I assumed as an old friend of the Doctor's he would've already told you."
The Doctor seemed to have finally caught onto the danger of the situation. He gave a little warning, "Sherlock," but Donna spoke overtop of him.
"So the Doctor told you about me then?" she asked uncertainly, clearly getting creeped out by Sherlock's behavior.
Sherlock's smirk turned smug. "I'd hardly need him to," he said in a patronizing tone, "it's obvious. You're clearly not surprised by the state of the TARDIS, which suggests you're either used to such technology or you've been inside before. Since you're obviously just a human, that leaves the option of you being a former guest on the TARDIS. A child could figure it out."
Molly shot the detective a quick glare, hoping to head him off before it got worse, but Donna had already gotten ruffled by something he'd said. "What'dya mean, just human?" she snapped, looking offended.
The detective raised an eyebrow, someone looking even more patronizing than before. "Do I really have to spell it out?" he asked in a condescending tone.
"Sherlock," Molly warned in a low voice, using the I'm-in-charge-damnit-so-shut-the-hell-up tone she'd picked up over the Year.
He just rolled his eyes. "Oh, come on, I've been stuck here for two weeks, I haven't worked my mind like this in days." Ignoring Molly and the Doctor, he turned back to Donna, who looked like she wasn't sure how deadly a glare to throw at him just yet. In his rapid-fire, clinical tone, he began, "The outfit suggests a desk job, probably as a secretary of some kind judging by the mostly priced attire and the indents on your arms and hands, which suggest you spend a lot of time typing. They're fainter now, fading, which suggests you've been out of work for some time." The detective began moving, circling around Donna, looking her up and down like a particularly interesting bit of machinery to be picked apart by the eye. "Your age and your clothes suggest you've been working this job for some time, which suggests a low intelligence and an inability to move up in the world, clearly -"
There was a resounding crack as Donna slapped Sherlock full across the face. Molly's eyes widened, and she saw the Doctor wince in sympathy. The detective clearly hadn't been expecting it; he reeled back, eyes wide with surprise, hand rising unbidden to his cheek.
Donna's nostrils were flaring, cheeks burning with fury and embarrassment as she bellowed, "Listen up you stick insect, I don't know who the hell you are, but I don't need to stand here and be insulted by you!"
Sherlock's face worked quickly to regain it's cold indifference, though Molly noticed he took a slight shuffling step back from Donna. "You're the one who came on board," he pointed out stiffly. "It's hardly my fault what I can deduce."
"You prat," Donna growled, "that doesn't mean you need to go blurting out every bloody thing that comes to mind. What're you, five?" Sherlock managed to looked insulted on top of everything else, which made it all the harder for Molly to watch with a straight face. Suddenly, her eyes narrowed. "Hang on a tic, I know you! Knew I'd heard that name Sherlock before, you're that detective bloke that killed himself, right? I read it in the tabloids, they said you were a fake. How the hell're you walking around then?" She looked almost accusingly at the Doctor. "Is he your cousin or something? It'd fit, he's skinnier than you. So what, you Time whatsits can survive drops off three story buildings or something?"
"I'm not an alien," Sherlock said with growing annoyance.
"Yeah? Well you're sure acting like it mate," Donna threw right back at him.
"Just because I possess greater intelligence than you doesn't automatically make me non-human," he growled irritably. "The limits of human intelligence exceed quite beyond yours."
"No, but it does make you an ass," Donna retorted. She turned back to the Doctor, glare fierce enough to make even him back up a step. "How long did you say he was staying again?"
The Doctor struggled for an answer, throwing a quick, scared glance at Molly, which she returned. They both said the same unspoken thing; Oh god, what have we done?
Everyone, and I do mean *everyone* who commented seems to have been looking forward to this moment. I'm sorry it took so long to post, but have I mentioned how hard Sherlock's dialogue is to write? Even now I'm not sure whether I made him to mean or not, but I guess I'll leave that for you to judge. Plus I was working on some of my Lion King stuff between the last chapter and now.
I hope this lived up to everyone's expectations. I tried to make it as epic as possible, though I wish I'd added more Donna in there. Tell me what you think, and give suggestions, 'cause this is by no means the last time Donna Nobble and Sherlock Holmes will snark at each other.