Prompt: Here. (Seems redundant to type the title out again.)
Word count: 1300
Warnings: Violence, death of named character
On a cloudy Monday morning when Sherlock was seventeen his father was found one day in the study with a neat bullet hole precisely between his eyes. Sherlock watched with cold interest as the police detective used a ruler to determine that the shooter had not been one millimetre off when the muzzle of the gun had been pressed against the kneeling man’s skin.
It was Mycroft – serious Mycroft who no one doubted would receive his Oxford First three months later – who held Mummy as she sobbed and screamed as if she had forgotten already all the bitter fights which buzzed which vicious, stinging words and accusations; who arranged endless cups of tea for the policemen; who arranged for the funeral; who vouched steadfastly how devoted to his family Dr Holmes had always been, and how much his family had loved him in return.
And it was Mycroft, too, who demanded evidence and motive over and over again and tried to keep them away from Sherlock, who hadn’t worked out yet how he should be acting.
“You think I did it!” Sherlock accused him furiously, when they were alone.
“Of course I don’t,” Mycroft said. “I know perfectly well you didn’t do it. But they think you did.”
But the investigation came to nothing and was quietly dropped. Later, Sherlock would realise how much of a farce it had been from the very start.
When Mycroft graduated he was immediately swallowed up into the secret service. They had already paid for his soul, after all.
Sherlock met Lestrade for the first time on Tuesday evening and woke up Wednesday in a police station holding cell. He was led into a sparse interrogation room and asked if he had been informed of his rights.
“I know them already. And I have no wish to remain silent, thank you.”
Lestrade sighed. Sherlock watched him with interest. He had slept at his desk and hadn’t had a chance to get to his morning coffee yet. He was popular and hardworking but had yet to do anything truly impressive. And it had never occurred to him that he could be read like a book. “So would you like to use your power of speech to confess and make this easier on both of us?” he asked.
Sherlock raised an eyebrow. “That would only make this easier for you, since I am completely innocent of murder.”
“So what were you doing in the victim’s flat?”
“You’re a journalist, are you, Mr Holmes?”
“Do I look like a journalist?” Sherlock asked impatiently. “Even someone like you should be able to realise that I am nothing of the sort.”
“Even someone like me?”
Sherlock cut him off. This was getting boring. “I was investigating the crime, of course. I can tell you exactly who killed Ms. White.”
Lestrade sighed again. “Since you’re currently my top suspect, I’m not surprised.”
Sherlock clasped his hands together on the metal table and began. He had nearly finished explaining each deduction when Lestrade was called out of the room to be given a report which corroborated Sherlock in every detail (although, in fact, with some quite important details left out).
The murder had been political and so was Big News; enough to earn Lestrade his place at New Scotland Yard.
A couple of weeks later Sherlock received a phone call. Lestrade had an interesting case, and was cautiously willing to see if a fresh pair of eyes would do any good. He recommended that Sherlock come up with a reasonable-sounding title for himself; it would look better in the reports, apparently.
The back alley was dark and slick with rain. Sherlock knew this place well.
“You murdered him,” Sally said, in a voice which was as cold and sharp as a sliver of ice.
“I didn’t,” Sherlock said. “Grief is making you irrational.”
“I think you should shut up,” Lestrade said quietly from just behind him.
“You threatened Richard,” Sally said. “I heard you. You told him that if he kept coming here to gamble he would be killed.”
“I was trying to warn him. The men here don’t take kindly to being cheated.”
“Men including you, you mean!” She was suddenly shouting. “And Richard wouldn’t do that!”
“Sally, I think you should try to calm down. I’m truly sorry that your fiancée wasn’t as good a man as you thought he was.”
Lestrade was suddenly between them. “Mr Holmes, I think you should go home now. We can solve this one on our own.”
Sally acted as if he hadn’t spoken. “I don’t care about your accusations of what sort of man he was! I loved him and he loved me. Do you even understand what that means, you psychopathic freak?”
Sherlock remembered his mother screaming in grief at her husband’s death, and how irrational that still seemed. He turned and walked away.
There was some not inconsiderable amusement to be derived from John’s obvious terror as Sgt. Andrews handcuffed the pair of them. “We didn’t do it!” he kept explaining.
“You’re just making it look worse,” Sherlock told him lazily. “Do you know Detective Lestrade?” he asked Andrews.
“Can’t say I do,” Andrews said tersely. “Friend of yours, is he?”
“I’m sure he’ll be showing up soon,” Sherlock said. “I’ve texted him, but he’s always late to parties. It’s a terribly annoying habit, and it’s not as if he has anything better to do on Friday afternoons.”
John glared at him. “Could you please try to take this at least a little bit seriously? We’re being arrested here!”
“It happens,” said Sherlock. “People keep assuming that I’m the murderer.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t be breaking into active crime scenes. Did you consider that? Or are you building up a reputation so that when you do actually murder someone no one’ll suspect you?”
“Most murders are a result of rage and a disregard of logic,” Sherlock told him. “I am never going to murder anyone.”
“You say that,” John muttered darkly.
Andrews looked somewhere between irritated and perplexed at their exchange. “Do you do this often?”
“Pretty often,” Sherlock said.
Lestrade had said, somewhere along that drive at break-neck speed, running traffic lights with the sirens blaring, that if anything had happened to John it would be Sherlock’s fault.
Sherlock hadn’t replied. His head was full of John screaming down the phone before being abruptly cut off.
And now… now his head was filled with nothing at all, a blank. “Tell me who did this to you, John,” he said, quite steadily, because that was more useful than Lestrade buzzing somewhere beside him, telling John to hold on, as if he wasn’t doing that already, and you’ll be okay when they all knew that that was a lie.
“Who did this?” he asked again as John’s blood pushed its way out of his chest, through the scarf Sherlock was pressing desperately against the wound.
John said a name, and then he died.
And Sherlock stayed there on the floor of the top level of the multi-storey car park and for the first time in his life fought against the evidence of his senses, trying to overcome a lifetime of practice to tell them that they were wrong, while Lestrade’s voice rang in the hollow inside him. Your fault…your fault…
He ignored the voices around him, the hands and blankets and more sirens and Lestrade.
John was dead.
On Sunday Sherlock went alone to find the man who had murdered John.
He left with blood on his hands which he washed in the Thames.
No one ever spoke to him about an investigation.