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Lestrade held the phone to his ear with nervous hands as he got into the driver’s seat.

“Hey, there’s been another one. Brixton, Lauriston Gardens. We haven’t been there yet, on our way right now. Will you meet us there?” Lestrade didn’t wait long for the reply, and smiled bitterly as he hung up the phone and started the car.

The decrepit house towered above Sherlock as he strode in just a bit ahead of Lestrade. The rest of the team followed, beginning to unpack their equipment.

“Where are we?” Sherlock asked, anxious to begin already.

“Upstairs. Got a call from a couple of teenagers, said they saw a body and ran.”

Sherlock didn’t answer and was about to rush up the ancient stairs when he was stopped by an authoritative hand from Lestrade.

“Hold it,” he ordered. “I’ll give you two minutes. You know you’re only here ‘cause we know this one’ll be like the rest.”

Sherlock tried to dash again, but the DI held him back.

“And wear one of these,” he said, holding out a pale blue forensics uniform.

Sherlock only rolled his eyes and tightened his gloves on his hand.

“What’s Anderson doing with that lamp?” He asked, pointing in a random direction.

Lestrade turned, and Sherlock grabbed one of the team’s lights and practically leapt up the stairs.

Lestrade let out a frustrated sigh and zipped up his blue plastic suit, following in Sherlock’s footsteps.

Sherlock entered the dilapidated room with a rush of adrenaline, high on the fact that he was the first on the scene, finally ahead of Anderson. He leaned the thin fluorescent lamp in the corner and flicked it on.

Right in the middle of the dusty wooden floors lay a shorter man, dressed in a casual jacket and jeans, sprawled out helplessly.  Sherlock knelt down by him immediately.

Sherlock could hear Lestrade’s exasperated footsteps slowly ascending the stairs, so he made his observations quick.

Victim is a man approaching middle age, recently returned from military service, Afghanistan or Iraq? Uncertain.

Sherlock took a closer look at the man’s shoes as well as the bottom of his jeans.

The wear on his shoes suggests he favors the left leg, most likely uses a cane. Wounded in action?

Lestrade’s footfalls were getting closer as Sherlock hobbled over to the man’s head to examine his coat collar. 

“Well, what’ve you got?” Lestrade asked as he stepped in, taking out a small Moleskine and pen.

Sherlock’s fingers were on the victim’s neck.

“Phone an ambulance," he said, panic laced in his voice.

“What? Why? Are you okay?”

“No. Yes. No. He’s alive!” He exclaimed, “There’s a pulse but it’s barely there; he’s hardly breathing.” Sherlock looked up to Lestrade. “What are you just standing there for? Get an ambulance!”

“Right, right,” Lestrade mumbled in disbelief. He got out his phone as quickly as he could and stepped out of the room.

Less than a minute later, the DI came back in the room and tucked his mobile away in his pocket.

“Medics are on their way, and no I didn’t tell them to speed," he said.

Sherlock was pacing around the man, examining him and breathing heavily. He looked to Lestrade.

“Well, where is it?” he asked.

“Where’s what? I just called for an ambulance, Sherlock, it’s not gonna teleport here if that’s what you—“

“No, not that! His cane!” Sherlock exclaimed, motioning towards the victim.

“Cane? What cane?”

Sherlock scoffed and rolled his eyes.

“Look at his shoes, Lestrade. Look at the tatters on the bottoms of his jeans. Look at the mud splatter on the back of his ankle. Come on man, open your eyes! Now, I’ll ask again, where is the cane?”

Lestrade just shrugged with his mouth open as Anderson and a few others shuffled in. Sherlock’s eyes widened and he stormed up to them.

“No, nope, not you, go, now! We don’t need you.” He shooed them away with the swat of his hand.

Sherlock,” Lestrade scolded like a father.

Anderson scowled, putting a hand in front of him to make his way through.

“Excuse you, but I’ll just be getting on with my job now, thank you.”

“No! He’s not dead!” Sherlock shouted, and the whole room seemed to go quiet.

Anderson turned to Lestrade for reassurance.

“He’s got a pulse, Anderson,” Lestrade said.

“And if you don’t leave now, I doubt you’ll have one,” Sherlock interrupted.

“Is he serious? Inspector!”

“Cut it out boys! Anderson, clear out. Tell the gang to pack it up. Ambulance is on its way.”

Sherlock went back to the man’s body as soon as Anderson and his crew left the room. He checked his pulse again. It was still thrumming, but just barely. His face was pale, grey and lifeless. It was no wonder those teenagers hadn’t even checked if he was still alive before they called the cops and booked.

“He still there?” Lestrade asked shakily.

“Yes, but he hasn’t got much time. The poison must take a certain while before it sets in. God, this is brilliant.” 

Brilliant? There’s a man lying half dead.”

“No, there’s a man half alive who’s got memories, and he can lead us right to the killer.”

“Killer? You think these were murders?”

“They all take the same poison Lestrade, it’s obvious! These are serial killings, I don’t know how, but it’s murder.”

The sound of sirens interrupted the conversation, and it was if the entire room let out a sigh of relief.

It didn’t take long for the shorter man to be ushered onto a stretcher with an oxygen mask practically glued to his face. Sherlock watched as he was rushed into an ambulance and taken away. He and Lestrade stood on the stoop of the house, watching the vehicle race down the street.

“God I hope he makes it,” Lestrade mused with his hands in his pockets.

“Yes. Now, once more, Inspector, the cane?”

He narrowed his eyes. “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. My guys did a sweep of the place while we were upstairs. There was nothing.”

“But there had to have been, there had to—oh!” Sherlock clasped his hands together in front of his face, suddenly looking eerily gleeful.  

“What? What is it?”

“Oh, I love this, they always make a mistake!”

“Who does?” But Sherlock already began to run off. “Sherlock! What mistake?” Lestrade yelled after him.

The detective stopped and turned around. “His cane!” He shouted, and dashed off again.

It took the better part of an hour of Sherlock digging through skips in the nearby area before he found a metal cane half buried atop a mountain of trash. He grinned wide, his breath coming out like smoke in front of him. He examined the cool metal with gloved hands, and smiled even more when he saw what he needed; fingerprints.

Sherlock arrived at the hospital the moment visiting hours began. He gave the description of the man; short, blond hair like sand, a light checkered shirt and dark blue jeans, and the woman at the front desk confirmed that he had been rushed in the night before. Sherlock was denied his name and access to his room, but all it took was a flash of Mycroft’s card, and before he knew it, Sherlock Holmes was on his way to see Doctor John Watson.

When he entered the small, pastel-colored room, Sherlock took in the sight of Dr. Watson, fast asleep and hooked up to a few whirring machines. He stepped closer to the cot, biting his lip in impatience. He stared at the man, as if he could mentally will him to wake up. Knowing that he couldn’t, and that the fingerprints were being taken care of at the lab, he pulled up a chair and sat himself down.

Sherlock had been told, in a plethora of unnecessary medical terms, that John had been in a terrible state, and was lucky to have gotten help when he did. They said he’d sustained no physical injuries, but he would be incredibly weak and would have to stay under observation for at least a few days. One of the nurses informed him that he should be waking up soon.

After only a half an hour of boredom, spent texting Lestrade details and going over notes from the other victims, Dr. Watson began to stir. Sherlock looked up in surprise, tucking his phone away. He stood, took off his Belstaff and laid it aside.

The doctor was murmuring something, his face twitching, brow furrowing, fists clenching.

“Dr. Watson? Wake up now.” Sherlock said, biting back the urge to yell.

“John?” He tried, feeling more comfortable on a first name basis. To his joy, the doctor opened his eyes, and stared with a confused expression at the tall man hovering over him.

“Ah, good!” Sherlock grinned. “I trust you know where you are, correct?”

“Er…hospital?” John rasped with a dry throat. Sherlock quickly handed him some water.

“And I’m sure you know your name and your address and the year and the Prime Minister?”

“Um…yes, but, who are y—“

“Right. Can I borrow your phone? Mine’s just died.” Sherlock said, frowning at his useless mobile.

“Uh, yeah. I guess it’s right there,” John mumbled, looking to where his phone rested on the small counter by his bed.

“Thank you,” Sherlock answered as he grabbed it, observed it a bit and sent off a quick text.

Man’s name is John Watson. He’s awake. I’ll be questioning him. SH

“So,” John started, looking around in a bit of a daze, “what’s, er—“

“Oh, don’t do that, let’s skip that. Right, so, how about we jump to the part where you took a deadly poison seemingly on your own volition even though you were found at the top floor of a house that had quite a set of stairs and considering your limp you would have never made it up without your cane which, as I proved, was not on your person at the time.”

Sherlock looked to John enthusiastically, but the look on John’s face was a combination of confusion, disbelief and absolute horror. For a moment, neither of them said anything. John’s mouth hung open a bit before he licked his lips in thought.

“Is this hell, then?” He asked.

“What?” Sherlock snapped.

“You…is this…am I—“

“No, you’re not dead, for Christ’s sake. Focus, John! What do you remember?”

John looked almost offended.

“What, that’s it then?”

“That’s what?”

“I don’t know who you are, I don’t know anything about you, I’ve just woken up in a hospital and you want me to talk to you?”

Sherlock took a deep breath and stood a bit taller. He looked John right in the eyes and began to speak.

“Well, I know you’re a military man, recently invalided home from, what, Afghanistan or Iraq?”

“Afghanistan, but how did you—“

“I know you’ve got a limp, rely on the use of a cane, most likely wounded in action. I know you’ve got a brother who’s worried about you but you won’t go to him for help, maybe because he’s an alcoholic, maybe because he’s just left his wife. And I know you’re an army doctor, trained at Bart’s.”

John swallowed thickly and pursed his lips.

“Okay, but how—“

“That’s enough to be going on with, don’t you think?”

“Alright, alright,” John sighed, resting his head back tiredly. He closed his eyes for a moment, still trying to adjust to the light. “Are you with the police, then?” he asked.

“Sort of.”

“Right. Listen, I’m sorry, I really am, but I honestly can’t remember much. If you’re looking to get a name or a face out of me, I’ve got nothing.”

“That’s hardly important. Any details you can give me will be of use, but you’re tired, I can tell. Sleep, get your rest, you’ll be here for a few days. I’ll go alert the nurses.” Sherlock gathered his coat and began to head to the door.

“Hey, wait,” John called weakly.

“Hm?” The detective turned.

“How will I contact you? I don’t even know your name.”

Heading back to the bed, Sherlock got out his tiny notepad and scribbled down his mobile number. He handed John the piece of paper and started walking again.

“Tell me when you’ve been discharged. I prefer to text.”

He opened the door and stepped halfway out, peering his head in.

“And the name’s Sherlock Holmes.” He gave a small wink and shut the door.

Sherlock pounded his palms heavily on the lab table and gritted his teeth.

“Damn it!” He shouted to no one. It had been two days, and the fingerprints had ended up being inconclusive. There had been two sets of fingerprints; one obviously from John and one from someone else, but there wasn’t enough information, and he couldn’t get a name for the mystery person.

Sherlock was about to dial Lestrade and shout abuse just for the hell of it, when his phone vibrated with a message.

Out of hospital. What now? –John Watson

Finally, after the terrible day he’d had, Sherlock smiled.

Meet me at my place. 7pm. The address is 221B Baker Street. SH

Sherlock grinned and steepled his fingers together. He knew John wasn’t able to remember much, but all he needed to know was that he remembered anything at all.

Seven o’clock couldn’t have come fast enough, and Sherlock was practically going stir crazy as he paced about the mess of his flat. His ears perked up when he heard the door open and close downstairs, and the cheery, high pitched voice of Mrs. Hudson welcoming in Dr. Watson.

Sherlock listened to the thumps of John coming up the steps. He had a new cane, his footfalls sounded slow and uneven, obviously an adverse effect of his near death experience.

When John walked into the room, he slowed to a stop and licked his lips, looking around.

“Well, this is very nice,” he said. “Very nice indeed.” 

Sherlock went and shut the door behind him, politely taking his coat.

“Mrs. Hudson, my landlady, she showed you in?”

“Ah, yes, offered me a cuppa too. She seems lovely.”

Sherlock nodded and motioned for John to take a seat in one of the armchairs. John winced a bit as he sat down, still looking around the place in wonder.

“So, what am I doing here?” he asked.

“Helping me solve the case,” Sherlock said simply as he sat down in the opposite chair with a manila folder in hand.

The windows were drawn and the sun was beginning to set outside, and Sherlock couldn’t help but suddenly feel at ease now that he had a prime witness to help him find the killer for these last three victims, in which John was intended to be the forth.

“I’ve told you, Mr. Holmes—“

“Sherlock, please.”

“Um, Sherlock, right. I’ve told you I don’t remember anything useful. I’m not gonna be much help. And I thought you said you weren’t with the police?”

“I’m not. Technically. I’m a consulting detective, only one in the world, I invented the job. Which means when the police are out of their depth, which is always, they consult me.”

“Huh.” John shrugged. “Right, so where do we start?”

“The night you were abducted. Or at least I assume you were taken. Tell me what happened.” The taller man leaned forward, put his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands below his chin, looking eager to listen. John took a moment to compose his thoughts.

“Okay, let’s see. I was on my way back from, er…from uh...”

“Your therapist?”

John’s eyes widened.

“How did you know that?”

“Your limp. I’ve just noticed, it’s obviously at least partly psychosomatic. So, a war veteran recently invalided home with a problem like that, of course you’ve got a therapist. You don’t seem the congenial type, no offense, and based off of my observations from your phone earlier I suspect you’re not close to your family. So then where else would you be going?”

“Is this what you do?” John suddenly asked, leaning back in his chair.

“What? Make deductions? Yes, it is my job. I make simple observations and draw logical conclusions from there.”

“Incredible,” John grinned.

Sherlock tried not to smile.

“Right, so, on with your story.”

“Oh, yes. So I’d just come from the therapist. I was in a right strop, you know. Can’t remember why, but that anger apparently guided me all the way to a pub. And…Jesus, I…” John trailed off, holding a hand to his face. He put his palm over his mouth as a worried look appeared in his eyes.

“You what?” Sherlock asked, leaning forward with his intrigue.

“God, I don’t even know how many pints I had. Why would I do that? I don’t drink, that’s Harry’s thing—“

“Ah, so I was right.”


“Never mind, go on.”

“I must have gotten at least a bit drunk.  I remember not being able to walk right. And I…I might have gotten a cab? No, I don’t know. The next thing I remember is being face down on a wooden floor, knowing I was about to die.” John’s voice had cracked a bit towards the end, and he brought his palm back to his face and stared at nothing in particular. His breathing was becoming a bit labored, and he began scratching nervously at his hair and tugging at his shirt sleeves.

“John? Are you alright?”

“Huh? Yeah. Fine," he answered quickly.

Without words, Sherlock sprang up from his chair and went into the kitchen. He filled a glass with water and set it down in front of John. He then took the afghan from the back of the armchair and started setting it on the doctor’s shoulders.

“What are you…?”

“You’re having a mild panic attack. Drink some water.”

“What? No, I don’t do that. I don’t have those. I don’t…oh god,” John scrunched his trembling left hand into a tight fist and shut his eyes tight. He was beginning to shake lightly and took a careful few sips of water. Sherlock still leaned over him and even started to rub his shoulders lightly in a borderline comforting gesture.

“Clearly you’re shaken. We’ll take a break from the story for now," he announced, trying to hide his disappointment.

“I’m really sorry. I normally don’t do this,” John tried to reassure, with his voice shaking a little.

“It’s quite alright,” Sherlock said as he stood to check his phone. He couldn’t help letting out a small gasp when he saw the message from Lestrade.

“Oh, looks like I’ll be heading out," he stated.

Sherlock grabbed his coat and scarf while John stared with his fist still clenched and lips still quivering uncontrollably.

“Sorry, what are you doing?” he asked.

“I’ve been summoned. Detective Inspector Lestrade seems to think he’s found a lead. I might be long; make yourself at home. And yes, I want you to stay here. I know you live alone and I don’t want you heading home in this state. Mrs. Hudson will be up; she’ll make you tea and stay with you.”

John didn’t look like he wanted to argue, so he pulled he blanket a bit tighter around his shoulders and sat back.

“You think she’s got any biscuits, too?” he asked.

Sherlock smirked as he pulled on his scarf.

“She’s not your housekeeper," he said, and was out the door not a second later.

When Sherlock returned about two hours later, he stopped in the foyer and listened closely. The flat was absolutely quiet. Normally there was the muffled, but incessant chatter of Mrs. Hudson’s television, or perhaps her radio as she hummed along. There were no kettles boiling or pans clinking. This struck Sherlock as strange, so he climbed the steps as slowly and carefully as he could.

When he crept open the door, he was greeted with one of the strangest sights he’d ever seen. The sitting room was dimly lit, now that the sun had long gone down. The yellowish glow gave the place an air of content and comfort. And there, just a few meters away, fast asleep on the sofa, was John Watson, tucked snugly under a blanket.

Sherlock felt an odd sense of warmth in his chest at the sight, though he couldn’t fathom why. He decided to back up quietly and use the other door to the kitchen, so he could set down the bag of takeaway he’d gotten.

Mrs. Hudson wasn’t in the kitchen, and before Sherlock could call for her, she was walking out of Sherlock’s bedroom. The detective said nothing, feeling a strange urge to keep quiet so that John could sleep.

“He’s all tuckered out, the poor love,” Mrs. Hudson whispered with a hand on Sherlock’s arm.

“Is he alright?” Sherlock asked in a hushed tone.

“Oh he’s fine, dear, just a bit shaken up it seems. Didn’t finish his tea…” Mrs. Hudson trailed off sadly.

“Right, and what were you doing in my—“

“Just dropping off your dry cleaning, don’t fuss. I’m not your housekeeper, mind you.” She smiled.

Sherlock smiled back.

“Thank you, Mrs. Hudson.” He gave her a small kiss on the cheek as she headed out the door.

Taking off his coat, Sherlock padded into the sitting room just as John began to wake up.

“Mmph..” he mumbled, burying his face into the pillow.

“Sleep well?” Sherlock asked.

“Oh, you’re back,” John said, looking up.

“And you’re awake.”

The doctor rubbed the sleep from his eyes and sat up a bit, the blanket pooling around his waist.

“Sorry,” he said. “Didn’t mean to have a kip on your sofa. I didn’t get much sleep last night, or the night before,”

“Or the night before that?” Sherlock asked as he reached for the case file and a pen and settled into his chair.

John laughed.

“You’re good. Good deductions.”

Sherlock hid his smile as he scribbled a few notes on the case file.

“I’ve brought some takeaway. Figured you would be hungry. Lestrade was useless as usual. A lead that led nowhere, what a surprise. Don’t be shy, help yourself," he said, pointing the pen towards the kitchen.

“Oh, ta,” John mumbled. He got himself up from the sofa and straightened his clothes.

Sherlock heard a small gasp from the kitchen and looked up in an instant. John was standing over a drawer, staring at something in disbelief.

“Forks are in the drawer to the left,” Sherlock told him. John pointed to the open drawer.

“Those are bones. Are these human—“

“Oh, experiment. Best leave those.”

John just shut the drawer and went back to his task. He came back into the sitting room a few moments later with a small plate and sat down in the opposite armchair.

“Didn’t you want any?” he asked.

“Hm? No. I don’t eat when I’m on a case, slows me down.”

“Ah, I see. You could have some water though? Or a fortune cookie,” John suggested.

Sherlock looked up from his work.

“Are you trying to get me to eat?”

“Well, I am a doctor, in case you forgot, and you have basically just told me you haven’t eaten in a number of hours. Forgive me if it’s my instinct to do something about that.”

Sherlock just let out a dry laugh and looked back at his notes. They sat in companionable silence for a while. John nibbled on his food and Sherlock scribbled on his papers and marked up crime scene photos. Eventually the doctor finished and went so far as to wash his dishes and set them to dry. Sherlock looked up at him when he sat back down again.

“I'm sorry, by the way, about earlier," John said. "I didn’t think talking about what happened would set me off like that. It’s just…”

“Just what?”

“Well, that’s the second near death experience I’ve had in the last two years.”

“What was the first?”

“You know what it was.”


John just nodded sullenly.

“There was an actual wound, then, to cause your limp? Must have been traumatic.”

“Mm. Got shot. In the shoulder. Almost bled out on top of a patient I was working on. Nasty business. Why am I telling you this? I can’t even talk to my therapist about anything.”

When Sherlock looked up at John he noticed that he still looked exhausted. An idea came into his head, and he quickly snapped the folder shut and went downstairs to Mrs. Hudson.

He was back upstairs within two minutes.

“John, there’s another bedroom upstairs," he said, still standing by the door.

“Oh?” John asked, turning to look at him.

“You seem a bit strung out yet, and considering I’ll need you tomorrow anyway, not to mention the late hour, it might make sense for you to stay the night.”

John bit his lip, thinking.

“I guess that makes sense. Sure. And I wasn’t so keen on heading out into the night by myself again just yet," he said.

“True, there is possibly a serial killer on your trail,” Sherlock said indifferently.

“Thank you for reminding me,” John quipped.

“Not a problem. The bed’s all made.”

John thanked him and picked up his cane. He was just at the landing when Sherlock called out to him.

“Oh, and John?”


“How do you feel about the violin?”

It was the middle of the night, sometime around three in the morning, and Sherlock had just finished one of his favorite pieces on his violin. He had needed to think, and the instrument was doing a wonderful job of clearing his head, of course until he heard what sounded like pained screaming from upstairs.

He set the violin down on his chair and flew through the house with his navy dressing gown billowing behind him.

The second bedroom was small, with a slanted ceiling and a window on two of the walls. It would have been pitch black if not for the silver moonlight coming in from outside. Sherlock could see the silhouette of John’s small frame, tossing and turning and wriggling in the sheets. Upon moving closer he noted that his brow was filmed with sweat while muttered curses and pleas were escaping his lips.

“John?” Sherlock asked carefully. He put a hand on his arm, trying to keep him still. “It’s alright, wake up,” he tried.

“Please, god,” John mumbled, “let me li—“

“John! Wake up!”

Finally the shorter man obliged, and awoke with a gasping breath. He sat up a bit and put a hand to his chest to calm himself.

“What the…hell? Sherlock? What’re you doing?” he asked, panting.

“You were recently in the throes of a night terror, so I woke you,” he stated simply.

“Oh, right.” John sat for a moment, staring into the dark. “Oh…right, oh god.” Suddenly John looked as if he were going to be ill.

“What is it?”

“I remember, Sherlock. Shit, I remember.”

"Oh, brilliant!" Sherlock exclaimed. "Tell me everything."

“What, now? It’s three in the bloody morning!”

“A sound observation indeed, but I want to get this information when it’s fresh in your mind. Now, tell me.”

John sighed in acquiescence and turned the small lamp on so they could both see properly. Sherlock looked like an eager child waiting to be told a bedtime story.

“I’ll make it quick, okay? So, the pub. I was definitely plastered at one point. Then I must’ve sobered up enough to remember to get a cab. I got into the cab, and…”

Sherlock narrowed his eyes, waiting.

“And…the cabbie. He was- he started driving the wrong way. I didn’t even notice at first ‘cause I was so out of my head. By the time I figured out how to form a sentence, we’d stopped in front of this disgusting house.”

“It had character.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Nothing. Go on.”

“He forced me in with a gun to my back. I don’t really remember the stairs. There was a lot of flailing, I think. He might’ve dragged me. We got to that tiny room. It was…dark. There was some light from a window. Then he—“

“You keep saying he. Who he? What did he look like? What was he wearing?”

John took a deep breath.

“Just give me a minute here, alright? This is all just coming back to me now. He was an older man, white hair, shabby hat. Glasses. I dunno what he was wearing, an old jumper, maybe?”

“Right, that’s quite enough. Now get to the important bit; how did he make you take the poison?” Sherlock asked.

John shifted under the duvet, gripping the sheet tightly. He looked as if he were getting lost in thought as he stared at a nondescript spot on the floor. Sherlock began to worry he’d set off another panic attack.

“Two pills,” John stated. 

“Two pills? What does that mean?”

“He gave me a choice,” John said with his voice beginning to shake. He was still looking off into the distance as he spoke. “There was a good pill, and a bad pill. I got to choose which to take. And whichever one I didn’t choose, he would take.”

“Oh, clever,” Sherlock breathed with an inappropriate smile on his face.

John looked a bit mortified from that response. He cleared his throat.

“Well, yes. So if I didn’t choose a pill, he’d just shoot me. And I—oh, I was such a bloody idiot!” He yelled, practically pulling his hair with both hands to the side of his head.

“John, I’m sure you were a spectacular idiot, but what did you do?”

“The gun wasn’t even real! Oh hell, I could’ve just ran out! I was so wasted I couldn’t even tell! I mean, me, of all people should damn well know what a real gun looks like!”

The flat got quiet for a moment after that.

“Have a lot of experience with pistols, do you?”

John stilled.

“Erm, never mind. As you can probably guess, I picked a damn pill.”

“Did you see him take the other one?”

“Well that’s where he broke the rules,” John said.

“He what?”

“I saw him put the pill in his mouth, but I think that’s all he did. He didn’t swallow it. I noticed that and I was about to spit mine out but then he shoved his hand over my mouth and forced my head back until I had to swallow it.”

“He cheated at his own game. Interesting. A bit psychotic. Still clever.”

“Yeah, well, there you go,” John finished sadly. Sherlock could tell he was verging on falling asleep again.

“Mm. Good. And I’m assuming you don’t remember anything after taking the pill.”

The doctor twitched a bit and bit his lip.

“I wish I didn’t,” he said.

“John, you should lie back down. You’re sounding a bit shaky.”

Jogn complied and slowly laid his head on the pillows, resting his hand on his stomach.

“It was like my veins were on fire or something. There was so much pain, I couldn’t see straight. Staying still hurt just as much as moving and I didn’t know what to do. Eventually I just couldn’t move at all. That’s when I knew I was dead as a doornail. And then I woke up to a condescending man with crazy hair and green eyes looming over me.” He smiled weakly.

Sherlock smiled back, putting away his notes for the night. He got up and tucked the blanket better around John.

“You hush,” he said, turning off the light, “I had to break several laws to come in and see you.”

John laughed in the dark.

“No, you didn’t.”

“No, I didn’t. Good night, John.”

The next morning, Sherlock wasn’t entirely sure what to do. He had been almost certain he was going to be spending most of the day trying to get John to tell his whole story without panicking or forgetting bits. He didn’t quite expect to have all the answers by daybreak. With this in mind, he allowed himself to lie in bed for a while, and actually managed to get in a few hours of sleep.

When he dragged his bare feet into the sitting room, he was almost startled to see John’s small frame resting in the armchair. The man was half asleep; head slumped over to where it was practically on the armrest.

Instead of gently waking the doctor, Sherlock got his violin and played a shrill set of notes that was vaguely akin to a cat scratching a chalk board.

John jostled in his seat as his eyes snapped open.

Jesus what the bleeding hell is wrong with you?” He snapped. “No, sorry, never mind, I’m just a little grumpy in the—“

“It’s fine John. You’re awake now. Which reminds me, why were you kipping in the chair?”

“Oh,” the doctor looked a bit embarrassed. “well I wasn’t much for sleep last night after, well you know. I got up early, figuring you would. I was just waiting to see if you still needed me. I didn’t want to just leave. Must’ve dozed off.”

“Hm. The one day I sleep in,” Sherlock mused.

He whipped his bow around for a little bit, flipping it in the air as he thought.

“John, how do you catch an invisible car?”

“I er, I don’t know.”

The detective smirked as he caught his bow again.

“Find out who’s driving," he said.

Sherlock and John had been in and out of three cabs before they hopped into this one. They had questioned the first cabbie on the way to John’s flat, where he had changed his clothes and mentioned having to pick something up. Now they were nestled in the back of another black cab, with Sherlock eyeing the driver suspiciously. He’d given him a random address to somewhere nearby.

“Excuse me,” Sherlock said, tapping on the divider. The cabbie turned around for a moment to address Sherlock. “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

Sherlock could see the man’s uncomfortable scowl in the rear view mirror, but he allowed them the questions nevertheless.

Sherlock described the cab driver that’d taken John. He was somehow positive that someone ought to know of him, insisting that he wasn’t stalling because he didn’t feel up to dealing with the police. To Sherlock, and John’s surprise, their cab driver made a face of realization and smiled.

“Oh yeah! That’s Jeff! I see ‘im everywhere; that man never stops working, I tell you. We were mates not too long ago, well, I s’pose it’s long ago now. He’s the one who got me into this dreadful business!”

Sherlock grinned like the Cheshire cat and John couldn’t hold back a laugh. The odds were never in their favor, but it appeared that some unseen force was granting them luck that day.

By the time they made it back to 221B, it was nearly evening. Sherlock hadn’t bothered to notice that they’d wasted half the day away chasing cabs and questioning drivers on a wild goose chase. Sherlock was planning on discussing the next plan of action to John as soon as they’d gotten back, but to the detective’s utmost dismay, an overly posh black car was parked outside Baker Street.

“That nosy little son of a—“

“Woah, slow down there. What’s going on? Who’s car is that?” John asked as they got out of the cab.

Sherlock stayed behind to pay the cabbie, and looked like he spoke to him for a bit before going back to join John on the steps.

“John, I need you stay with Mrs. Hudson for a moment,” Sherlock said as they walked into the foyer.

“I’m sorry, what? I thought I was supposed to be helping you with this case, not hiding in an old woman’s flat!” the doctor said in a terse whisper.

“Mrs. Hudson is not old. You take that back!”


“Never mind. Just stay there. There’s someone in the flat that I’d rather you not meet. Now go on, shoo,” Sherlock ushered John into Mrs. Hudson’s place, firing off a hurried explanation and quick apology to her.

Sherlock wrinkled his nose in disgust when he walked into the sitting room to find his brother reclining in the red armchair, twirling an umbrella on the rug.

“You’re going to burn a hole in the floor if you keep that up,” Sherlock drawled, taking off his coat but refusing to sit down.

“And won’t you be most disappointed. Sit down, Sherlock,” Mycroft ordered calmly.

“Piss off, Mycroft.”

Mycroft rolled his eyes. “He’s interesting, that soldier fellow.”

“No, you are not doing this right now. Why don’t you stop using your position in government to work your way around a diet and use it to accomplish something of importance?”

“And why don’t you stop flashing my card at every locked gate you encounter? My name is not a get out of jail free card, Sherlock.”

“Oh, is that right? Well in that case I’ve just bought Park Lane and Mayfair and you may not pass ‘Go’! Now get out of my flat!”

Mycroft shook his head minutely.

“Now Sherlock, we don’t want to be too loud, wouldn’t want to upset Dr. Watson.”

“He is none of your concern right now,” Sherlock spat, clenching his fists.

“Isn’t he?”

“He’s nobody. I’ve only just met him. He’s helping me solve this case and then he’s going home. Is that quite alright with you, Mother?”

Mycroft stood and tapped his umbrella on the floor.

“Fine, though I do find it rather odd that you’d allow a nobody to sleep in your flat, not to mention buy him dinner. Might we expect a happy announcement by the end of the week?”

“Don’t let the door hit you, Mycroft. And stop talking to Mrs. Hudson about my personal matters; she is not your informant.”

Mycroft slowly made his way to the door.

“I’ve just come to remind you, Sherlock, that caring is not—“

“Oh, I’ve heard it all before. Good evening, Mycroft.”


Sherlock waited until he saw the black car pull away to go and fetch John. When he came back up, the doctor hobbled right to his usual chair, and Sherlock absently noted it was becoming a sort of understanding that they sat in their respective spots. It was as if John belonged there, like he’d been there all along.

“So, was that your brother, then?” John asked as he stretched his bag leg out and tried not to look pained.

With a plop, Sherlock sank into his seat and looked to John in surprise.

“Mrs. Hudson told you?”

“Told me what? We talked about tea cozies for a good five minutes. I think my ears were ready to fall off.”

“She didn’t tell you that was my brother?”

“What? No, I’d just assumed.”


John shrugged.

“Well, when you saw the car you weren’t afraid, you looked more annoyed. So it wasn’t anyone threatening. Then you called whoever owned it nosy, and no offense but you sounded a bit childish. The fact that you didn’t want me to meet them, so, something personal. I could hear your muffled voices and then I knew it was a man, and to be quite frank it sounded like immature bickering. Also he’s got a fancy car, and by the way you dress you seem like you come from a pretty well off family, so yeah.”

“John Watson, I think I may very well love you. Now,” Sherlock shot up from his seat, “get your coat back on. We’re going to dinner.”

With wide eyes and a confused expression, John just nodded.

“Right, yeah, okay," he mumbled.

The duo arrived at Angelo’s just a few short minutes later and took the prime spot by the window. John set his cane down next to him, and so did Sherlock, as he had brought John’s old cane with him.

“Remind me again how you found that?” John asked, pointing to the dirty metal walking stick.

“Hm? Oh, didn’t take long. Once I narrowed down the area it’d be in it was simply a matter of hunting and pecking. An object like this, it’s small, barely noticeable, the cabbie wouldn’t waste time burying it because who’d be looking for it if you were dead?”


“Right, no one. Until now.”

Sherlock got up out of his seat and went outside. He looked around for a moment, then stood John’s old cane near the window so it’d be easy to spot. He brushed himself off and came back inside.

“What was all that about?” John asked.

“We’re fishing for a serial killer cabbie tonight. We can’t do it without any bait.”

“So, you think he’s gonna stop round here? You can’t know that.”

“I can when I got his card earlier today from our lovely cabbie friend and called him up,” Sherlock said.

“You what? You got his information and you didn’t go to the police? Why the hell would you do that?”

“This is more fun.”

John put his head in his hand.

“Unbelievable. And here I thought we’d just be going out for a nice meal.”

Sherlock just chuckled and continued to stare out the window.

“You go ahead and eat; I’ll be fine. The cab should be here in just under an hour,” he said.


It was silent for a while as John glossed over the menu and Sherlock went back and forth from texting and glancing out the window. Sherlock noticed that John was beginning to look around nervously, searching for something to say.

“So, um, what do you—”   

“Oh, none of that. I don’t need interesting conversation; I’m not your date. Here comes Angelo, just order tonight’s special since you can’t seem to decide, and it’ll all be on the house since he owes me a favor."

After a good forty-five minutes of spotty conversation and barely eaten alfredo pasta, Sherlock saw a black cab slow to a stop in front of the restaurant. His eyes widened, and John looked out the window behind him. They both tried not to stare at the cabbie at the same time.

“John, is that him? Is that him?” Sherlock asked anxiously.

“Yes, that’s him! Shit, what now?”

“Just wait." Sherlock held out a hand, trying to look away naturally but still keep an eye on him in his peripheral.

Sherlock watched as the cab driver glanced around, waiting for his passengers. Then he saw the cabbie spot the cane.

“If anyone else saw that cane,” Sherlock said, “they’d ignore it.” Suddenly that cabbie was getting out and heading towards the walking stick. “But the murderer,” The older man looked around frantically, and was just about to pick up the cane when Sherlock stood up lighting fast. “would panic," he said, tugging his coat on as he ran to the door.

John was close behind, sans cane as the two of them burst out of the restaurant.

“Stop right there!” Sherlock shouted.

The cab driver took one look up and decided to make a run for it. He dashed into the nearby alley and Sherlock and John didn’t hesitate to go right after him.

“This is ridiculous!” John shouted as he sprinted behind the detective. Somehow the cabbie was still a good few meters ahead of them, and Sherlock wasn’t about to stop any time soon.

“John!” He shouted over his shoulder.

“Yeah?” The doctor yelled, jumping over trash bins and discarded boxes.

“We’re going to split up, I’ll chase him to a certain point and you cut him off there, got it?”

“Right, where’m I going?”

Sherlock pointed ahead.

“This next turn, take the right, then left, and he should meet you there! We’ll have him boxed in!”

John didn’t hesitate. He followed Sherlock’s instructions exactly, and the detective smirked as he saw the cabbie turn the only corner that was available, and right into their trap.

Sherlock had slowed down a bit, knowing John would be on the other side, but when he turned the corner, the sight that awaited him was not what he expected.

The old cab driver stood stock still in the middle of the dank passageway, clearly out of breath. He held his hands up in front of him in surrender, because at the end of the alley was John, holding a pistol steadily with two hands. John had a stone cold look in his eyes, like if the cabbie were to take one half of a step closer, he’d shoot him without batting an eyelid.

“Please, please!” The man pleaded to John.

The doctor only smirked and flicked the safety off.

“Hey look,” he said, “now you finally know what a real gun looks like.”

The driver must have panicked, because he took that moment to turn and run the opposite way, right towards Sherlock. The man, however, didn’t get to run even halfway there before he was shot with undeniable precision right behind his knee. He fell like a ton of bricks and John wasted no time. He hurried over and immediately whacked the man on the back of the head with the pistol, knocking him out on contact.

Sherlock was still staring with his mouth wide open and John tucked his gun away in the back of his jeans. It took a moment to register that the shorter man was staring at him.

“Oh, right.” Sherlock croaked out. He took out his mobile and phoned Lestrade.

 After he hung up, he found that John was smiling at him, practically laughing.

“You’re right," he said, still panting a little. “This was more fun.”

Sherlock and John were laughing all the way up the steps to the flat, holding their Chinese takeaway and trying not to trip over themselves. They reached the sitting room and shrugged off their coats, flinging them carelessly onto the sofa.

“Oh, my god. That was…that was insane,” John chuckled. “This has honestly been the most interesting week of my life. Jeez, I actually…I actually think I want to write about this, in that god forsaken blog my therapist keeps ranting about.”

Sherlock held back his smile and opened up their dinners. They both sat down at the kitchen table and ate their food while going over the details of the case like excited children telling ghost stories at camp.

When everything was cleaned up and put away, Sherlock went to start up the fireplace. John went to the sofa and grabbed his coat to hang up properly.



“I believe you forgot something at the restaurant,” Sherlock said, standing by the mantle.

“What d’you mean? I’ve got my phone, and my jacket…”

“Come here for a moment, will you?”

John walked across the room.

“Exactly,” Sherlock said.

“I don’t follow.”

“You’ve just walked across the room. Unassisted.”

The look of realization that dawned on John’s face couldn’t do anything but make Sherlock smile. The detective insisted that he knew the limp was all in John’s head, and the doctor just laughed and sat in his armchair. Sherlock smiled at that too, seeing the shorter man’s hazel eyes light up as he rolled his head back in amusement. John Watson didn’t look like he wanted to leave any time soon, and Sherlock wasn’t sure he minded.

Instead of sitting down, or playing a celebratory tune on his violin, the taller man went to stand by the desk with his back to John, looking somewhat sheepish.

“It’s getting rather late, John,” he said, clasping his hands behind his back.

“Well, yes, but I’m not seven anymore; I don’t have a bedtime, you know. Or a…or a job,” John said sadly.

“You don’t want to go back to your bedsit, that’s obvious. So if you wanted to, you could erm, stay here tonight. And the night after that,” Sherlock turned to face him, “and the night after that. And, the night after that.” He finished quietly.

John thought for a moment.

“How do you mean?” He asked.

“I know you’ll be looking for a flat share. And I honestly wouldn’t mind a little help with the rent. Also, Mrs. Hudson does make biscuits from time to time.”

“That…that actually sounds good.”

“Though I’d like to mention it could be dangerous. I'm a bit of a nutter and yes those were human bones in that drawer. Sometimes I don't talk for days on end, other times I don't shut up. You'll be seeing a lot of blood, violent crimes; you'll be exposed to an incredible amount of violence and action. So, what do you say?”

John grinned.

“Oh, god yes.”