Favourite Experiment- Sherlock Holmes x Reader (Part 5)
"Come as a pair now, do you? John been sacked off?" Greg Lestrade spoke as you ducked under the police tape.
"Sherlock decided the prettier Watson looked better when the press snap pics for the papers; now tell me, do I capture the moonlight more on the left or right of my face?" You turned your head as you spoke, waltzing over to the front of the building.
"Highly inappropriate to be joking while a man lay dead, Y/N.." Sherlock tutted, shaking his head in feigned disappointment. "And the answer is your left- nicer eyebrow."
"Well consider my right eyebrow utterly offended, Mr Holmes.. A fine one to talk, too, considering your own."
"Utter rubbish, my eyebrows are perfectly symmetrical. And for shape and size they're identical."
"Precisely. Brows are meant to be sisters, not twins."
"When the two of you have finished your lover's tiff, a hand catching a killer would be lovely. Ta." Greg cut in, rolling his eyes hard enough his head lulled back, and headed into the pharmacy.
"Come along, Sherlock. We can pluck each other's eyebrows and paint our nails later, promise!" You gripped his sleeve and dragged.
"Oh you are a darling." Inside the little shop was nothing out of the ordinary (well, save the bloodied up shelves and corpse): no thrown shelves, no stolen items, no building damage.. "At least they were considerate." Lestrade frowned and looked back to the body of a man behind the counter. ".. Marginally consider- .. they didn't knick anything." Sherlock hummed in agreement, dramatically vaulting the till rather than just lifting the latch of the counter.
"Nothing except every bit of cash in the till.. Even took the pennies."
"And that means what, exactly? We ask around the area to see if somebody's been buying stuff with shrapnel? Check banks for people handing in a bag of coppers?" Lestrade's voice laced with sarcasm at Sherlock's meagre deductions. Gregory Lestrade didn't need the help of Sherlock Holmes to note that cash was stolen in the act of armed robbery, thank you very much.
"You do astound me, Graham, at how you rose to such a senior position- your way of catching criminals is appalling." Greg was about to speak up- whether it was to point out his sarcasm, the wrongness of his name, or to call Sherlock a dick, you didn't know- when Sherlock continued talking again. "So far, so bored. Why am I here? What haven't you told me?"
"Well if you'd given me a bloody chance to get a word in edgeways.." Lestrade rubbed his brow with his thumb and forefinger- record timing for a Holmesian Headache, you reckon. "Here we have Michael Chatterley, 64 years old, local chemist. Police were called to the scene after the sound of gunfire half an hour before the shop closed. CCTV was minimal." He nodded towards the laptop resting on a small table that housed multi-packs of mentos and Chupa Chups lollies- the English pharmacy staple. The footage was shown at the view of a camera from above the front door. Initially there was no sign of the suspect, the shop being entirely empty excluding Chatterley. With footage sped up, a minute or so in, a figure walks into the building, back to the camera. All that is seen is Chatterley smiling and beginning to talk to the figure before all goes black.
"This is the only footage? One camera?"
"It's a small shop, independent rather than chain. Been here since I was a kid and never had any trouble; if anything, I'm surprised there was a camera at all." Greg continued.
"But still, one camera? In London? And in the one spot where you can see nobody but the shopkeeper until somebody leaves? It's like people want to make life more difficult for themselves.. and for me." Sherlock moaned. "Still, this thirty seconds is enough to tell us two important things. Number one, the killer and Chatterley knew each other. Number two, there are two killers.. Don't look dumb, Lestrade. Surely you didn't think the CCTV magically stopped working out of the killer's luck."
"Could be a timer. Suspect knows the building well, sets a timer for the cameras to shut off at the right moment." Sherlock gave Greg a 'don't be a bloody idiot' glare that shut the DI up.
"And now for a reasonable explanation?" Holmes looked at you and you cracked your knuckles for emphasis as you went back to the body.
"The security system was weak and cheap, literally a tiny box outside of the building on the upper wall- I spotted it when we walked in, clearly been tampered with. Closed off area, no other important buildings around means no outside security footage either- leaving this place the perfect spot for a robbery. One person outside disarming the cameras while the other goes in and distracts the victim. Chatterley's reaction to the suspect was fond rather than polite- he knew them by name, so I'd wager a regular customer."
"Not a friend?"
"Not a friend. Watch his face in the footage, he smiles and talks to the person who walks in. It's a regular occurence, a practiced one by business owners to appear fond and friendly, but not attached. Had it been a friend, the victim would have a reaction akin to surprise, which clearly isn't evident.." You spoke, readying to answer Greg's next question before it left his lips. "Why 'surprise'? Indents of Chatterley's pockets show car keys- he's not local to the area and has to travel in. Too far away for the tube but he loves his shop and doesn't care about the journey to reach it. Houses in the local area, a bunch of flats, but why would Chatterley have friends in a location so far from his own and in an entirely different wealth divide? His shoes are a top brand, tan line on his wrist shows a watch was also stolen- clearly expensive. That's how else to know Chatterley is an outsider. Estates are small, an 'everybody knows everybody' area, so why would you risk killing a man that could be attached to the community? Answer is, you don't."
"And how does that help us?" Greg was scribbling notes onto a page.
"It doesn't. But it means you can cross Chatterley's poor wife and son off your list of bloody suspects since that's always a favourite of yours." He tried to give you an 'I knew that already' look but quickly gave up in favour of ripping out and screwing up a page a couple back from the one he was writing on.
"Of course I could have told you all of that already. Just ensuring that Y/N is a worthy apprentice." Sherlock mumbled, pulling out his little magnifying glass and scanning the hands of the corpse. "Black ink, clearly from today. I don't recall seeing him writing on the video." Sherlock stood hastily, scanning the floor, shelves and tables. "Paper, look for paper. There's got to be some somewhere." While Sherlock and Lestrade began to frantically search the area, you rolled your eyes and reached into the corpse's jacket pocket, producing a ripped receipt with numbers on the back.
"Sherlock, you're slacking." You called, waving the piece of paper in the air until it was snatched from your fingertips.
"Numbers? What numbers?" Greg asked, wandering over to you in hopes of a nicer response than Sherlock would give. "So, what? We've got a dead body of a man who lives nowhere near here, has no friends and wants to replace Carol Vorderman on Countdown?" He joked.
"Rachel Riley did that a while ago, actually." You quipped.
"Did she? I've not really bothered watching telly like that for a bit. Only the odd movie now and then with a, uh.. Mate of mine."
"Film noir, is it?" You winked, Greg's cheeks flushed a little.
"Yeah, actually.. How did you-?"
"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, and he walked into yours?" You twisted the famous Casablanca line and grinned. Sherlock was clearly in the dark about his brother's romantic life (or he just didn't care.. or both) but you couldn't help tease Greg a little with a reference that would go over the younger Holmes' head. "I'm smarter than that one." You pointed at Sherlock who had no cares in the world other than his little slip of paper.
"Yeah and you're stuck with him, I reckon. At least I got the better one. John's got himself some freedom now, though it's buggered my support group. Might just have to extend it to you. We've not known each other long but any Holmesian associates need a shoulder." You raised a brow as he took your phone and put in his number. "Life in close contact with a Holmes, it can be a pain in the arse. A 'running away even though I'm an adult just because you've been overly inconsiderate' pain in the arse. You get my sofa, I get yours and the host buys the one with the sore arse a pint." You smirked and opened your mouth to speak but he cut you off. "If that's going to be a 'sore arse' joke you can bugger off because John did it already." You closed your mouth and instead offered a hand to shake. Greg took it.
"Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"Offer is retracted if you continue quoting Casablanca. I have enough of that in my life already."
"If the two of you are quite done, I've worked it out." The pair of you walked round to Sherlock and hovered over his shoulder to look at the page. "Dead ones are always so clever." His fingers traced a line beneath the numbers as he spoke. "It's a code, of sorts. One Chatterley wanted us to know but one that wouldn't be as obvious as writing names in case it was found while he was being robbed. Look at the numbers again." You did.
"Very cliche, given his occupation, but simple enough." Sherlock spoke before he began to reel them off by number. "19-Potassium, 85- Astatine, 39- Yttrium." You caught on.
"Oh, Sherlock, you clever bastard." You grabbed a pen off the side and began to mark the abbreviations of the periodic elements as they were written down, the first revealing K/At/Y. "Next gives us Nitrogen, Cobalt, Lanthanum and Sulfur so.. Ni/Co/La/S.. The last gives us Hydrogen for H." You looked at the paper again. "Married couple, in here often enough to pick up prescriptions that the victim remembered their names. Check the records for any variations of the names Katy and Nicolas, surname beginning with H. Oh I love it when they're clever."
With the case now back into the hands of NSY, Sherlock and yourself hailed a cab to get home.
"I have to admit that I'm a little impressed at how quickly you picked up the elements thing." You said, nudging your elbow into Sherlock's arm to grab his attention. "Of course, I'd have picked that up immediately had you not taken the paper from my hand." His drawn 'obvisly' in response paired with a smirk. You looked at the screen of your phone: 20:34. "Though the night is young and I feel we should have a little celebration."
"I don't care for drinking, nor the social situation in which it is done."
"Neither do I. Got any board games? Scrabble? Monopoly?"
"I'll kick your arse."
Shifting to sit cross-legged rather than kneeling on the carpet, you rested your fist under your chin as you worked out the next move. The sound of 221B's door opening cut your train of thought and you rolled your eyes.
"Y/N? Sherlo- what the hell are you still doing up?" John's voice sounded in the room and you put your hands over your ears to shield them from it.
"Hush, John. Thinking." Though your brother paid no attention to your words and sat on the floor between you and Sherlock.
"Oh for God sake, is this Cluedo? Sherlock, you know this has been banned. I binned it months ago."
"Mycroft bought it at our last chat."
"Of course he did, brilliant. How long have you been at this now then?"
"Mmm, that depends. What's the time?" You gave up your attempt of focusing to focus on entertaining your brother for 5 minutes.
"It's half two in the bloody morning. I finished work, went out to dinner with.. somebody.. who failed to tell me she had a peanut allergy and I've been up at the sodding hospital for the last three hours while she gets pumped full of adrenaline for anaphylaxis!"
"Is she okay?"
"Yeah she's fine now bu-" John was cut off at the sound of you and Sherlock laughing. "It's hardly funny, is it? Meet her because she's got an earache and end up nearly killing her!"
"That's karma for breaking code and dating a patient, dear brother." You managed between breaths.
"Seriously, she took one bite of her curry and she couldn't breathe. Her face went all puffy and she'd left her epipen at home and-" John started to laugh with you. "No, you're terrible influences. I shouldn't laugh, I'm a doctor for crying out loud!" You twisted your body to click your back and stretched.
"Fancy a tea to wash away your guilt?"
"No. I'm going to go to bed and have a good, hard think about the consequences of my actions." John grinned, readying to stand.
"Don't want to help with Cluedo then?"
"Normal Cluedo? Yes." He pushed through the pile of handwritten cards and held a few up to read. "Cluedo where you've added extra locations, weapons and people? No. Playing with the pair of you? Certainly not."
"But, John, the original game is ridiculous and unrealistic." Sherlock added.
"Sherlock, you've added Mycroft's umbrella as a weapon."
"It has a sword AND a gun in it!" Yours and Sherlock's voice shouted as though John was the one being ridiculous.
"Yep, definitely not playing. I've got the next week off so I'll see you in the morning.. Well, later in the morning." John rounded to press a kiss to the side of your head and left the room. You walked back into the front room, two steaming mugs in hand and sat down.
"Right, now where were we?"
"Are you sure you're not tired yet?" Sherlock asked, looking at the coffee in your hand as the clear substitute for tonight's rest.
"Nah, I've had a comfortable couple nights. I'm good to go til Thursday I reckon." You answered, peering back over your cards. You looked back at the lanky man when you felt his eyes burning into your skull. "Honestly, I'm okay. But look at you getting all caring and considerate! I'm honoured." You waved your hand as a means of bowing. "Or is this just your way of trying to get rid of me?"
"No." Sherlock's answer cut before you could finish your question and you smiled.
"Such a sweetheart to be enjoying my company. Consider me flattered."
"Don't be. You're simply.. tolerable.. enough to occupy my usual free time."
"That's a win in my book, Holmes." You winked at him and looked back at the board, just missing the light dust of pink that spread over his cheekbones.
TAGLIST- @ask-the-elf-stuff, @momos-peaches
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