Lady'-'Starry'-'Night: Thanks so much! I worry about the first chapter.
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It had been a week, and not much had been said between the detective duo and the newest lodger in 221b Baker Street.
Hermione had been very busy setting up her new shop down the road and there'd been an influx of cases for her sleuths apparently. It seemed almost like they were avoiding her, but that couldn't be right, could it?
Mrs Hudson had been kind enough to introduce her to life in London gently - having just come from two years working in Hogsmeade in Flourish and Blotts, the big city lifestyle was completely opposite to her usual weekends spent in her flat above the shop with her favourite book in hand.
Now she saw a different person everyday in her new job. The weather was so variable in London you never know whether it will be hot or cold, rainy or sunny from one day to the next, unlike in Scotland where it was always cold and never rained. London was everything Hogsmeade wasn't: busy, crowded, huge, difficult to get around and expensive.
The only time it got like that in Flourish and Blotts was when there was a visit from Hogwarts. Ron had grumbled, telling her it was cool, cosmopolitan and current and possibly the worst place for a 'homely' girl like her to move to, but so far, she'd only seen snug little cafés, delightful corner shops and cosy little pubs she'd pass on her way to work. Besides, she didn't want to get in the way of him and Luna now they were married.
She was happy here; she was settled. Plus, the other tenants seemed much too busy to notice all the magic crackling around in 221b.
Sherlock sighed as he heard the door of their flat slam closed again.
Each day, he woke on his sofa - neglecting the bed he was 'supposed' to sleep in, according to John, for a much more comfy place to sleep - and waited, eyes closed on his sofa for her to leave.
"John, she's gone," he called out.
They both got up, John coming out of his bedroom on Sherlock's command.
"I don't understand," he sighed, "Why are we hiding from her again?"
"She's new, John," he said as if it was obvious, "I don't like people in general, therefore why wouldn't I be opposed to her being here."
"She seems nice," he countered, walking over to the kitchen where a note was attached to a plate of pancakes, "Look she even made breakfast."
"John it'll be cold by now, she hasn't been in that kitchen for ten minutes," Sherlock rolled his eyes arriving in the kitchen, "What are you doing?"
"There still warm, so I'm eating them. We never get breakfast when we're on cases."
Instead of answering, John just shoved a post-it in his hand and started lavishing a pancake with sugar and lemon and taking a bite, "Yummy."
I don't know whether Sherlock will be up yet, but I just thought I'd do something nice as we haven't seen much of each other yet.
I made some pancakes and put out some of the regular toppings - sorry we don't have any chocolate sauce! It should still be warm by the time you get to it, I am magic like that,
God, is that woman ever going to make sense?
"Sorry John, we don't have time for this, thing. though you can thank the little girl later," Sherlock sighed, looking at his phone, "Lestrade has a case he needs help with."
"Where this time?"
"Ivor place, apparently."
"That's just five minutes walk from here," John said, finishing off his breakfast, "Are we walking?"
"John it's a murder, this is not the time for an early morning stroll."
"Alright, just thought I'd save the world some pollution, the body will still be dead when we get there," he said, grabbing his coat.
"Yes, but knowing Lestrade he's brought along Anderson, and the evidence will be buggered if we waste any more time."
"Oh, you're the girl who lives with Sherlock and John. Hermione isn't it?" Lestrade smiled, looking over to the woman he'd met earlier that week as she nodded, "Didn't expect to see you at a crime scene."
"Well neither did I, really," she said, looking awkwardly down to the person lying in front of her till in a pool of his own blood, "I'm not too sure why someone's been killed in my store. I mean, it's just a little book shop."
"I saw," he laughed, glancing around the room, "A Novel Idea, cute."
"Yeah, my friend Harry came up with it," she said, following his eyes.
Thousands of items were crammed onto the shelves that surrounded the little till, hosting everything from out-of-print dictionaries and long-forgotten bestsellers to leather bound collections of Shakespeare and popular children's books. It hadn't taken her long for her to sort the books she did have.
Hermione had always felt at home in that environment, a kind of paper mausoleum, piles of discarded books handy to flip through whenever the shop was empty and breathing in her favourite old dusty book smell as she served.
"So, how come you haven't started investigating yet?"
"We're waiting for Sherlock," he answered looking at his phone.
"Oh, how come?" she asked, intrigued, "I thought the stupid man said he was a sociopath."
"He's only an apathetic sociopath; he'd kill you if he cared enough to," he told her; she laughed at his dismissal, "He and John are our consultant detectives, but they do private work mostly."
"Oh, interesting," she smiled, "So you're with the police then?"
"I'm a DI with the forensics team, but we seem to specialise in murder," he chuckled.
"Oh, looks like he's here," Hermione told him, pointing to the window where a black cab rolling up to the bookshop turned crime scene, "Hopefully I'm not implicated in this."
"You won't be, I assure you," he soothed her, "We know you only found the body."
The two strolled into the room, the little bell above the door ringing as Sherlock swung the door open, John following.
"Detective, I think I've found some evidence," Anderson said, coming over to them.
"Thank you, Anderson. We're all refreshed and challenged by your uniquely moronic point of view. Now leave," Sherlock said, not even looking his way.
"Hermione, nice to see you," John said, waving to her.
"'lo. Did you get your pancakes alright?"
"I had one, but then this case came up so we had to leave them," he informed her, his personality reminding her of Harry, "Sorry, we can heat them up when we get back."
"There's another one you can't have," Sherlock interjected.
"Why? He's most certainly not gay," she said, winking at John who seemed a bit bewildered but managed to whisper finally, "Don't worry 'bout them, I can have them when I get back; doubt I'll be doing much work here anyway today. It's such a tragedy."
"They'll be freezing, though," John said confusedly.
"No, I mean, I'll warm them up," she muttered, her arm subconsciously feeling her arm where her wand was kept.
"Sherlock," John admonished him, "Don't."
"She's lying and she's at a crime scene John," he replied, staring intently at her, "Little girl's my domain now."
"I'm not little and I'm not lying," she gritted out, folding her arms, almost tempted to stomp her foot.
"You are such a little girl," he chuckled, "A clever little girl no doubt, but still little."
"Is that why you were perving on me this morning pretending to be asleep? Like a challenge?"
"It's only perverted if you really are a little girl," he smirked.
"Guys, there's kind of a dead body to be attended to," John waded in, only to be ignored again.
"I am not a little girl, Holmes," she ground out, looking up at him.
"No, you're a little girl with a bookshop, a dead body and a secret room behind your bookshelf," he said, walking closer to her, "The question is, what on that list is connected."
"Sherlock, she's obviously upset, just leave her be," Lestrade said, placing his hand on her shoulder, "We've got a job to do."
"Oh, that?" he said, pointing to the dead body they'd neglected to investigate, "Simple, the butcher across the road."
"What? How did you... you haven't even looked at it!"
"Show off," John muttered, getting a smile from Hermione who he grinned back to, "Finally someone agrees."
"Please, the only person on this street with the equipment to cause that much blood on a body is across the street. The chemist next door would've drugged him and poison is usually the weapon of choice for cafés like the one on other side of her - that's where he got his lunch. He was a regular in all four shops."
"Sorry, since when was I on the same level as your goldfish?"
"Just checking," Lestrade said calmly, holding his hands up, "Got the motive?"
"Gay lover who cheated on him," he said, before smirking, "Hey look Anderson, someone who's knees match Sally's."
"I won't even ask," he said, shaking his head and walking to his team to debrief.
"Why aren't you scared?"
"Sherlock, just leave it," John groaned, looking apologetically to her.
"Any normal little girl would be terrified by the sight of a little blood, never mind a whole dead body, but you seem perfectly at ease. Making conversation, flirting with a DI, arguing with me," he paused, "You've seen more than your fair share of dead bodies."
"Soldier to soldier, John, please stop him," she frowned, looking down and away from Sherlock's beady eye, "Skeletons found at war are almost always best left in the proverbial closet."
"Fine, but I will figure you out, Hermione Granger."
"Hermione, we're going to need to clear out in here," Lestrade said, coming over to her, "It'll be best if you just got out of the way for now. Go have some rest, get your mind off this mess."
"Thank you, detective inspector," she said, "Send the family my best, if you will. John, perhaps I'll see you when we get back."
"Yeah, maybe," he nodded, moving out of the way for her to go through.
"Holmes," she acknowledged, before leaving the two in the shop. Sherlock groaned, rubbing his hands against his face.
"She's a manipulative bitch," Sherlock countered angrily, "Did you not see the glint in her eyes."
"How are you?" John asked.
"Ever had a day where you want to set someone's face on fire and put it out with the sharp end of a fork?"
"Should I get Mycroft?"
"I want information, John, lots of information."
"Mycroft it is."