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The Devil Within

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John hummed happily as he followed Sherlock out of the cab. They’d just gotten into bed when Sherlock got a call. They were up and getting dressed, running out the door before Sherlock even texted back that they’d come. 

Lestrade raised an eyebrow as Sherlock stepped onto the crime scene, followed by a man he’d never seen before. “Sherlock, good to have you back. How was the case in Dublin? Took you quite a while.”  

"Irritating" Sherlock responded by the way of a greeting, as he removed his gloves. "I suggest we skip the pleasantries, Lestrade and get to the matter at hand.”

“Right. We have a murder suicide but it doesn’t feel right to me. Thought you’d want to take a look. Umm.. Who’s this?” Greg nodded to the other man. 

“John. John Watson.” John smiled and held out his hand to Greg for a shake, his accent thick.

"Dr. Watson is renowned in his field and a brilliant man, so I suggest you take him seriously” Sherlock supplied. “He's no Anderson."

The consulting detective then ducked under the police tape in the doorway and started up the staircase, impatient to get started. 

Only an experienced eye would have noticed the slight upward twitch of his lips when John had spoken.

“Uhh welcome I suppose.” Greg shook John’s hand politely. 

“We best be off after him. He gets impatient.” John chuckled, following after Sherlock. 

As he climbed the staircase, Sherlock was mentally assessing the place- which happened to be one of those abandoned buildings on the outskirts of the city, except it was in the very heart of it.

"Odd place for a murder suicide" Anderson was saying, his back to the stairs. "I'd say the location isn't the best-"

"Odd?" Sherlock cut in with pure venomous contempt in his voice. "A place like this is perfect for either crime, and if you had more than two brain cells inside that abnormally large head of yours, you'd have come to this conclusion first."

Anderson's lip curled in distaste, but Sherlock paid him no mind, shoving past to get to the actual crime scene.

John stood by the wall, giving Sherlock all the room he needed to work. “They make an odd pair.” He hummed, looking at the victims. “She’s dressed for a business meeting and he’s ready for a beach somewhere. Why’s that?”

Sherlock tuned out Anderson's threats and warnings not to contaminate the crime scene and leaned down, examining the bodies.

His keen eyes made out the lack of wedding rings on both victims, and the unusual amount of jewelry on the woman.

"Why would someone dressing to impress at a business meeting- her first business meeting in fact - wear so much jewellery?" He muttered to himself, 

"Women wear jewellery" Anderson cut in, looking pleased with himself. "Of course you wouldn't know that. Not your area, is it?"

"Don't be stupid, Anderson. Your first meeting as a business person, surely you wouldn't want to overdo it. Your employer is getting a first look at you in a different setting. Would you really want to come off as cheap and nervous? No. No, she didn't choose this jewellery..." He eyed it carefully.

Clean on the inside, clean on the outside. Plastic. Cheap. Why does this case reek of cheapness?

Sherlock pursed his lips, standing up to try and regard the first body, then the second, in a new light.

Marks of elastic trouser bands on the waist despite the bathing costume...small indentations on the bridge of his nose despite the lack of glasses... Cheap bathing shorts, no shoes. Plain white socks on both bodies. Lace fringing. 

And that was when he realised it.

"Lestrade, you're looking for a vengeful yet athletic young woman with a childlike mind and a fascination for dolls. You'll find her within running distance of this place, along with another two or three similar corpses, possibly sat up in her living room.”

“More bodies?” Lestrade frowned, pulling out his phone, starting to make calls. 

“Brilliant as ever, pet.” John smiled at Sherlock, absolutely beaming at him.

"I don't understand" Anderson complained. "What do dolls have to do with two clearly human bodies lying in a deserted apartment building?"

Sherlock set his jaw, the small smile on his lips at John's words disappearing quickly at the sound of Anderson's obnoxious voice. 

"Good lord, what must it be like in your funny little brains?" Sherlock muttered as he stood up, looking extremely irritated. "Look at them, Phillip, use your eyes instead of your blabbering mouth for once."

Anderson stared, one eyebrow raised in question as Sherlock set his jaw. 

"The woman is dressed in a business suit that doesn't have a single crease on it, doesn't have any mark of having been worn before. The skirt is fairly new as well, but it was clearly worn before. It doesn't match the suit jacket in anything but colour. Now look at her jewellery. Would any self-respecting woman allow herself to leave anywhere dripping with jewels? And such cheap jewels too... I'll bet you a fiver you'll find a recent Woolworth's receipt in her daughter's possession detailing these very same purchases."

"Her daughter?" 

"Of course."

"I don't understand." 

"Look at the ring fingers on both corpses. There's an indentation where a ring would have been, clearly for ten years or thereabouts. But no rings on either of them. Slight bruising, though. The rings were removed forcefully. She was unhappy with her parents’ marriage."

"What does that have to do with dolls? You're just making this up now." 

"Look at the man. The father. Marks where the elastic waistband of his trousers would have been, yet he's clearly in a cheap bathing suit. Both victims are dressed in a clumsy yet elegant fashion. No, as I should say, the murderer- the daughter dressed them up this way before she killed them and dragged them here."

"Before?" 

"She paralysed them first." He pointed to a mark of a hypodermic syringe on both the victim's necks. "Child's play, quite literally. A young woman with the twisted mind of a child... Oh this is brilliant.” 

John grinned as he gazed into Sherlock's eyes. “You are breathtaking.” 

Greg hung up the phone. “We have a positive ID on the woman. She does have a daughter who doesn’t live far from here. We’re going to go and pick her up now.”

Sherlock was practically grinning from ear to ear as he made his way towards John.

"Guesswork" Anderson spat. "That's all you ever d-"

He cut himself off in shock as Sherlock gripped John by the lapels of his jacket and kissed him deeply.

John pulled Sherlock closer and kissed him back deeply, his hands sinking into Sherlock’s curls. 

The whole crime scene came to a smashing halt, one of the younger assistants even dropping their clipboard

“Oi! Break it up before I have to give you to asbos.” Greg called out once the shock had worn off.

"I imagine you've spent countless hours you were supposed to be working doing a very different kind of work, Lestrade" Sherlock responded without even looking up. "I hear my brother is extremely well hung. Or at least, so he claims.”

“Oh Jesus Christ.” Greg rubbed his hand over his face. 

John chuckled. “Are we done now?” He asked Sherlock, smiling openly at him. 

"Yes, I believe we are." The detective's lips twitched up again as he took John's hand, leading them both out. "Give my love to Mycroft!" Sherlock yelled back as an afterthought. 

“Yeah yeah!” Greg called back, shaking his head. “Well? Get back to work!” He snapped at the crime scene workers who still stood there, mouths agape, still as statues. 

"I hate him" Anderson muttered to no one in particular.

“And you’re a twat. Get back to work.” Greg sighs and pulls out his phone, texting Mycroft. 

 

You didn’t tell me Sherlock has a boyfriend.

GL

 

The older Holmes texted back almost instantly. 

 

A boyfriend? Pity, I would have thought they would have been engaged by now. He never shuts up about him. 

MH

 

Never shuts up about him? Engaged! Sherlock was gone for two months and comes back with a man and you didn’t even tell me? What the hell Mycroft? 

GL 

 

Relax, Gregory, the man is harmless. If anything, he's perfect for him. My brother is volatile, reckless...Watson is good for him. He's sensible at least. 

MH

 

Fine fine. But why didn’t you tell me? I thought we were past the whole keeping secrets thing.

GL

 

I didn't think it was of any importance..at least not to either of us, but I'm truly sorry if it was. No more secrets then.

MH

 

Thank you. How’s work?

GL

 

Boring, of course. Not even a hint of anything different regarding the situation in Baltimore. Do come by later if you can. We have matters of a particular nature to...discuss. If of course you're willing. 

MH

 

I’m always willing to talk to you. I’ll be finished in a few hours and head over. 

GL

 

Mycroft's lips twitched up slightly as he clicked his phone shut.

 

----

 

John hummed happily as they stepped out into the cold night air. “You’re brilliant, ya know? Absolute genius. You have no idea how erotic it is watching you work.”

Sherlock smirked slightly. 

"Not what I expected to hear from you, John, but I must say, that definitely brings the stakes higher."

He paused when they were as far as possible from the old house, but not too far from the curb. 

"Dinner?" He mumbled, lips hovering inches from John's.

“Starving.” John smirked back, stealing a kiss.

"Perfect." Sherlock lightly bit John's lip, worrying it between his teeth before he pulled away, pupils dilated.

“Oh I’m so going to make you scream.” John licked his lips.

The soft sound that left Sherlock's throat sounded a lot like a suppressed moan as he turned to hail a cab, blushing deeply.

John chuckled and wrapped his arm around Sherlock inside Sherlock’s coat, holding him close. He let his hand drift down slowly before he squeezed Sherlock’s arse, completely hidden by the coat so any passerby wouldn’t be the wiser.

Sherlock muttered something that sounded suspiciously like a plea for John to do a very particular thing to him as a cab stopped for them. 

John chuckled and ushered Sherlock into the cab, giving the cabbie the address. He rested his hand on Sherlock’s thigh as they were driven. The consulting detective was very clearly flustered despite his casual air, but wisely kept his mouth shut.

John gently rubbed Sherlock’s thigh, relaxed as ever.

The younger Holmes was practically losing it now, partly due to how much dominance one simple gesture held, and partly due to the fact that this was John. 

That alone was enough to make him lightheaded.

John smirked and paid the cabbie, leading Sherlock up into their flat. 

Sherlock was clearly tense, but focused mainly on John, his heartbeat, his reflexes.

Are you as turned on as me? He wondered silently.

“Ah bloody hell.” John sighed as he opened 221B’s door, finding a client sitting waiting in the client chair.

"Not extremely surprising." Sherlock seemed to regain most of his composure.

“I’ll put the kettle on.” John hummed softly, making his way to the kitchen. 

“I’m sorry for bursting in like this. The woman downstairs took me up here and told me to wait. So I did.” The woman in the chair frowned, obviously having been waiting for some time. She was dressed and put together but her makeup hid the dark circles under her eyes from not sleeping.Sherlock eyed the woman curiously, taking in every detail.

"If this is about your girlfriend then I assure you that the best course of action is to end it with her" he said, a bored look coming over his features. "Unless of course you wish to indulge in a relationship without trust or stability.”

“It’s not her. I.. I think I’m being stalked? I don’t have any proof and I’ve never seen anyone. But whenever I’m out I can feel someone watching me.” The woman's frown increased 

"Paranoia, curious, is there a reason for it, have you any concrete proof of this or are you simply..chasing shadows? Your constant lack of sleep could be inducing hallucinations."

He sat down, hands steepled under his chin.

“I’ve fallen asleep at my desk three time this week alone from pure exhaustion. Then when someone wakes me up it sends me into a panic. I don’t have any proof. I’ve already been to the police. They suggested I got to the doctor and get myself some medicine and leave them alone.” She huffed.

Sherlock was about to tell her to go and do exactly that, but a small detail made him change his mind. He leaned forwards, pulse hammering in his throat. 

"Who woke you up? Every time you fell asleep, who was the person who woke you up?”

The woman blinked, taken aback by his sudden change. “M-my project assistant, Marie. She has a cubical right outside my office. She wakes me up and brings me tea.”

"And what's the usual course of your relationship with her? How did you meet?”

“She.. She came in for an interview even though there was no positions hiring. She said she loved the company and always wanted to work there. She didn’t care what the job was. She had amazing references so I took her on as my project assistant.”

"Did she ever try to sleep with you?" Sherlock asked bluntly. "And if so.. Did you reject her advances?”

The woman blushed and nodded. “She did and I did. Multiple times. I’d never cheat on Linda. I.. I did introduce them at the Christmas part though. My girlfriend and my assistant.”

"You've found your stalker. An obsessive...fan..of you as a person, someone who doesn't like being rebuffed. So her solution is to stalk you, monitor your every move. Classic. I suggest you report her as soon as possible, have a restraining order set in motion.”

Sherlock leaned back again, letting out a slow exhale as he watched her features relax. 

"Alright, bye, do remember to close the door on your way out."

He reached for his violin, no longer interested in the woman or her case.

The woman gaped for a moment before collecting herself and leaving. 

“Three minutes and twelve seconds.” John chuckled as he brought in their tea.

Sherlock's lips twitched up as he tested the violin under his jaw and met John's eyes with a fondness he reserved only for him. 

"A record, I believe.”

As he lifted the bow and gently began to play, his eyes closed, and he could feel his heartbeat match the rhythm of the melody.

Beyond the glass, snow fell, a flurry of flakes against the glowing light of dawn.