The Ninth Muse - Baker Street Series Book 1

Chapter 3

It was a strange transition for him though, out of a world of salacious murders, forensics, and implacable logical puzzles into a 9 to 5 job. It was throwing the brakes on a Mack truck. The next few hours were wholly devoid of crushed skulls, smugglers, wily serial killers, and high art thieves of any kind. What he did have was:

1 case of tonsillitis

1 torn ligament

2 allergic reactions

6 colds or running noses

1 case of tennis elbow

1 migraine

The office was secure and safe. It ran like a well-oiled machine. For example, the personnel were warm and welcoming. They treated incoming patients like coffee shop guests. Possibly because of the handling, the patients seemed like decent people under their aches and pains. He saw a couple of Sarah's patients when she fell behind on vaccinations. She had four year old twins tearing through her examination room. It was funny to hear Sarah's soothing voice amid the yells and cries. And he felt a twinge of empathy with the exasperated mother who stepped out into the hallway to lean on the door and puff air. She put a hand over her heart to steady herself. This was the normal world. Had Sherlock ever seen this?

As darkness settled in, the appointments grew further between.

John checked his phone for texts.

Sarah came to a stop beside him in the front room. She leaned over the counter and found the place empty. "I can't believe it."

"That you got those needles in the four year olds? Me neither."

"That I survived them. His mother warned me that one of them was a biter. She hadn't figured out which of them yet. I took that to mean both of them." She laughed and rubbed her eyes. "Anything from Sherlock?"

"No. He's probably home thinking." He texted 'Where are you', nonetheless. Sarah walked over to lock the front door and turn the placard over to 'CLOSED'. She started pulling blinds.

'Done at the office. Should I bring supper?' "Wouldn't want to forget the question mark," he muttered.

"Want some tea?"

John rubbed his face. "I'd love some. Had a lot of colds around today. I really could use something to head that off."

"Ginger tea," she said with a nod. "In my office." He walked in and hunted up the teabags, they soon had tea and shortbread cookies to themselves in the break room. It was a small room. There was a tiny cathode-ray television that had a handful of channels, all of which they ignored. The table was small and shoved in a corner. They sat shoulder to shoulder there, and speculated about passengers in the cars passing outside.

Sarah sighed. "You really believe you can tell that much about a person from their car?"

"Sarah… look who I live with. It's his bread and butter."

"It can't all be real though," she half-turned toward him. "I mean, it's guessing."

"He's not guessing." John shook his head. "Not usually. And if he is, it's a probability game. Sherlock is very good with math." John went for another shortbread cookie – his fifth.

"Don't eat all those," Sarah giggled. "Some are for him."

He dodged her hand and grabbed a cookie with the excuse, "He may not eat this week. And what he doesn't know won't hurt him."

Sarah had heated the cookies in the microwave and smeared them with cream cheese icing. In short, it was her fault for making them irresistible. They huddled there together. It was a simple, pleasant time of the night, this last hour they spent talking about nothing was part of the reason he loved his job.

"I made these," she said of the shortbread. "It's my grandmother's recipe. Not bad, yes?"

"You're a regular Nigella Lawson," John told her. "Only more attractive."

She looked down at the container and said, "Well, now I have to give you all of them." She pushed the Tupperware across to him.

John sipped his tea. "I'd rather share them anyway."

"With him?" she asked curiously. "Or with me?"

Thank God his phone gave a ping. John pushed aside his discomfort to fish in the pocket of the white medical coat he wore.

Sarah laughed, "Maybe he needs you to run home and cross his legs in the opposite direction." She'd heard the story about the pen. And the phone. And the notebook. Among other things.


"No he's here." John's brows went up. The doors were locked. They would have to go let him in. "Feel like a walk?"

They headed toward the front together.

Ping. The phone announced: 'Back door.'

John felt a sudden chill and stopped in the long hall between examination rooms.

From her position slightly behind him, Sarah frowned. "What's wrong, John?"

"Probably it's nothing." But he still wished he had his gun.

The way to the back door took them past examination rooms with open blinds. John turned out the lights and shut those doors for privacy. Then he arrived in the back. He gathered a breath and pushed the emergency door. Outside was darkness. The back of the building faced the back of another. The lone oxidized light sat a kilter at the top of the alley. Behind him, Sarah turned on a light above their door. Sherlock leaned on the wall opposite the stairs. His hands were in his coat pockets. He'd been looking curiously up at John, framed against the light from inside. John sighed in relief. "What are you doing out here? The front door wasn't exactly packed, Sherlock."

Sherlock tipped his dark head back against the wall. The light caught sweat on his pale skin. By the time he lurched from the bricks John was already in motion. He had that look of a man about to pass out. John caught Sherlock around the chest and, somehow, kept him upright. He could feel Sherlock's heart thudding against his shoulder.

"Sherlock, can you hear me?" He hoped, though his voice was muffled against the shoulder of the coat. It even smelled expensive, that thing.

"Of course." Sherlock said faintly. He wasn't sounding good. He folded a little, his scarf flattening against the side of John's head as he sagged.

Even as thin as he was, his tall frame was too much weight. He had to stay awake. "Sherlock!" John said sharply. "Focus!"

Sherlock returned to himself with a sudden twitch and deep breath. He'd been surprised.

"I need to get him up the stairs." John said breathlessly. Holmes was lanky, even if he didn't weigh as much as one would expect for a man his height, he was hard to move. Sarah barred the door open and caught hold of the front of Sherlock's coat.

"It's wool," Sherlock gasped. Sarah registered this, blinked at him, and yanked on the coat. She used it's snugness around his body to steady him, and guide him up the stairs into the clinic. It was actually a quite smart way to maximize her strength. Then she squeezed to the wall and let the men lumber pass.

"Damn! Your legs are like stilts," John grunted.

"Sorry John." Holmes sounded blurry.

The door shut behind them with a crack that made Sherlock flinch.

"Exam 1," Sarah zipped past and yanked the door open. "Inside. Now."

She seemed to be having a hard time believing Sherlock hadn't gone to a hospital. But John had no time for that. "Coat," John said. Sarah grappled with the thing and yanked it off Sherlock's shoulders. That caused Holmes to hiss with pain. It took coordination to get the coat off. All of it was too much for Sherlock, who couldn't keep his feet throughout. John got his jacket open as Sherlock slid to the floor beside the examination table. All of them lacked the power to get him up onto it.

"Sorry," Sherlock breathed. He didn't have the energy to spare to open his eyes.

"Please tell me you didn't shoot yourself playing with my gun." John said.

"Oh, it wasn't me," Sherlock held up a hand smeared with blood. In fact, there was a sticky red stain across the ribs of the chocolate shirt he wore.

John's heart leapt in his throat. He fairly tore at Sherlock's shirt. "Where?"

"Arm. Relax." Sherlock fumbled his top button open. John took over from there and Sherlock sat panting. He offered no resistance.

"Are you sure?" John peeled back his ruined shirt. It made a syrupy sound as the blood released its suction hold on his skin. He wiped away blood with a damp cloth Sarah handed him, but the flesh John could see was uniformly pale and unmarred. In fact, his skin was as pure as a girl's. Their eyes met. "We'll never discuss this again."

"Outstanding," Sherlock turned his head to watch the wound come out. It hurt, pulling the sleeve away from the injury. Sherlock had tied a scarf for pressure.

"Handy," John said nervously.

The bullet had passed through the inside of his upper arm. "It went clean through muscle."

Sarah sat down on Sherlock's other side, and laid a collection of medical supplies half in Sherlock's lap. "He's going to need a local." She reached down and took Sherlock's pulse. He watched her actions curiously. "Erratic pulse," she put the flat of her hand on his chest, "I can feel he's in tachycardia."

"Blood pressure cuff," John pulled the electronic unit from beside the bed and pushed it her way. He was already in 'bullet wound' mode. He'd seen so many of these by now that his responses were automatic. John spat out the cap for the needle and drew prilocaine into the syringe. He pressed a hand to the shoulder to keep Sherlock still and numbed the area.

"Try to breathe normally?" John said.

Sherlock panted, "Yes, all the time."

John couldn't help the smile that came. It gave way to a chill of fear. "Someone tried to kill you. You might have been killed."

"Or it was a warning. Inner left arm. Could have been a chest shot." Sherlock told him. He picked up the phial John had tossed in his lap. "Prilocaine. Good for three hours." The pain began to draw back and Sherlock's arm sank down to the floor as if the bottle had steadily grown in weight. He laid his head back against the slotted drawers of the examination table.

"Come on, Sherlock. Hold on to consciousness." John told him. "Come on."

Sarah reached up and pulled Sherlock's head toward them. "He's not quite out, John, I don't think. Is he squeamish?"

"God no." John actually laughed, but the sound came out ragged and a little deranged.

"Sherlock," she called his name and then put a cold pack she'd been squeezing to activate against the back of his neck. He snapped awake.

"You aren't done?" he asked. "What is the point of waking me… if you're not done?"

"Just stay here," John told him sharply. "Don't do that again."

Sherlock struggled for breath.

Sarah confirmed, "His blood pressure is low."

"Low dangerous, or low, but acceptable?" Amazing how calm he sounded.

"I think we can get him through, but he's been bleeding a while. If it doesn't stop soon we'll need to get him to hospital for a transfusion. I'll monitor." She sat back and looked into Sherlock's unfocussed green eyes. "He hasn't been eating."

"Hypoglycemia." John glared up at Sherlock.

"I need to get him something sugary." Sarah shot up and hurried out of the office. While she was gone, Sherlock's deep, panting breaths were nearly the only sound in the room. John worked silently, never taking his eyes from the wound as he cleaned it. On the first washing down, it had started bleeding all over again. He had the bleeding under control now, and had returned to cleaning it.

Sherlock shifted. John sat back from him a little.

"Are you comfortable?"

Holmes' eyes were closed again. "I want water."

"Not right now. Wait for Sarah." He washed the wound and willed it not to start bleeding again. The wound was very close to the Brachial Artery and Basilic Vein. It might have slid right through between them. John needed it to stop bleeding.

"I didn't leave the restaurant," Sherlock began, "I was thinking. Reading. It was well after dark. I didn't make it to the tube. No… I didn't even get my coat on out the door. I didn't hear the shot, I just felt it."

John's heart was galloping. He had to blink away a flood of images of sandy, dusty men, bleeding out as they rambled. They needed to – wanted to – explain how it happened, a last record for their unit and their families. John had done the same thing once, or so he'd been told. He'd hardly been conscious.

"I lost them in the streets," Sherlock said.

"You bled a lot during that time." The holes in Sherlock's knowledge could be daunting. "You know that's bad. You know you should have drawn attention to the fact you'd been shot. People would have helped you, Sherlock."

"I…. John there are two places I'd go for this. Molly Hooper, or you. If we're lucky, they're heading for Molly's lab. I've known her for longer. She would ask no questions if I showed up in this state."

"But you didn't go to Molly," John half-smiled wryly. "God knows what she'd have done to you if you'd passed out for any length of time."

"I don't follow."

It made John laugh in spite of himself.

Sarah settled down and tucked a straw into a small plastic container of orange juice. "Who's Molly? I think I've seen a Molly comment on your blog, John."

"The same." The bleeding had stopped. He would be able to bind the wound properly now. "Sherlock's chew-toy. Poor girl."

"Uncalled for." Sherlock said indistinctly. The discomfort of having his arm moved around to be surgically bandaged was causing his consciousness to fade.

Sarah glanced between the men and then shook herself back to the task at hand, "Your blood sugar will be very low right now, Sherlock."

"Why is she always trying to feed me?" Sherlock asked no one in particular.

John finished binding the wound and sat back. "No-no, like this, Sarah. Sherlock, the brain needs sugar to function. It uses fully one-half of the sugar in your body so you can think. That's amazing for something that weighs only about 2 percent of-"

Though Sarah held the container, Sherlock sucked the straw. His breathing began to slow and deepen. Sarah nodded and fastened the fingers of her other hand to his wrist. She watched the wall clock. "His colour is improving. Pulse is slowing." She glanced up as Sherlock finished the drink, and smiled. "Feel better?"

"We can't stay here. We need to get across town to the Met." He said.

John gawped at him. "You want to go there?"

"It's the safest place we can be, John." Sherlock wincingly sat up. "Ugh." He moaned. "Sweaty."

"You've just been shot." John waved his open shirt at him. "Look at all this blood, Sherlock. You need water and rest right now."

Sherlock plucked the sleeve from him, "I can't go home for a change of clothes either. You're good at laundry. Can you wet and wring this out?"

John put a hand up to cover his mouth lest he shout at the man.

"We'll need painkillers," Sarah pointed out. "I'll make a kit. You two, please work this out." As she rose, she gave John's shoulder – the one he'd been shot in, actually – a supportive squeeze.

"We can't take you to the Yard, Sherlock, someone there is trying to kill you. As you said, there could be any number of people involved in this."

"But only one killer," Sherlock wincingly pulled off his shirt. He turned it over in his hands to examine it.

Bullet entry high. Bullet exit low.

Shot fired from above.

He got unsteadily to his feet and crossed to the sink.

"Oh, give me that!" John snapped. Sherlock was still too woozy to think about using the muscles in his arm for something like scrubbing out a bloodstain. "Sit down. Take some Ibuprofen from the drug cabinet."

John rinsed out a surprising amount of blood drying the wet fabric as best he could with a white towel. When he glanced, he saw Sherlock leaned on the examination table, hunched, with his right hand wrapped around his left elbow. He was in pain.

"I thought I told you to grab some Ibuprofen. The cabinet's open."

Sherlock looked up. "I'll be fine."

John shook out the shirt as he considered Sherlock. Avoiding painkillers wasn't judicious. "It's Ibuprofen," John told him quietly.

Sherlock didn't look up. "I don't take those."

After a moment of silence, John said. "Then I'll carry some with me, just in case." He also slipped a few phials of prilocaine into his pocket. He'd explain to Sarah later, provided such an explanation would be required after a night like this one. Then he brought the shirt to Sherlock, who winced his way into it. He forewent the bloody jacket. It was designer, almost certainly. But then, Sherlock, when hired by private interests, could make tens of thousands in a few days. He could replace a jacket. Replacing Sherlock would be a lot a harder.

He minced into the shirt and got it closed. "Coat."

Watson had already thrown his own white coat onto a coat hook.

Sherlock's coat was still on the floor by the end of the medical bed. John snatched it up and handed it to Holmes. The scarf was beyond saving. It was soaked with blood. John winced at the splashes of red on the floor. More than he'd expected. It seemed to surprise Sherlock as well.

"Listen to me," John turned toward Sherlock. "If I tell you, tonight, that you need to get something in your system, if I tell you to rest, or get water, it's not a suggestion. Are you following that? We're about to go in the lion's den. I need to get you through that. It's my goal."


"What?" John blinked.

"Metaphorical lion's den," Sherlock finished with his buttons and looked up. "We need to go."

Sarah brought a medical kit into the room. It was a simple cloth grocery sack full of medical supplies. She gave Sherlock a quick glance-over and reached in the bag. "There are drinks in the bag." Her eyes dropped to the floor. "I'll need to get this cleaned up."

"You need to get out of here," John told her. "In fact, I'd prefer it if you waited at our flat."

"Why?" she asked.

"Because it's most likely monitored by MI6," Sherlock muttered as he buttoned the cuff of his sleeve carefully. His left hand was slow. It was going to hurt his texting.

Sarah's jaw dropped open. "He's not serious."

John put his keys into her hands. "We'll put you in a cab. Go directly to Baker's Street. Mrs. Hudson won't bother you."

"Who is that?"

"Our housekeeper. I suggest you don't eat anything on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Also, don't touch my skull," Sherlock flexed his left hand and nodded at her gravely. Muscles flickered in his face – a mix of irritation and tension from the pain.

She helped him on with his coat.

They walked through the back alley together and crossed the parallel street quickly. From there, they returned to the twists and turns of the alleys Sherlock knew so well. Finally, they pulled to a stop. At the end of the narrow street they stood in, cabs rolled by.

"He's better than GPS," Sarah marvelled.

"John," Sherlock motioned in the direction of the road that ran perpendicular. He sounded winded, which was out of character for him as he was exceedingly fit, even if his dietary habits were deplorable. He could honestly run for miles on those long legs. "Put her into a cab."

"I can do it for myself." Sarah replied and nodded her thanks.

"I know that," Sherlock told her breathlessly. "It wasn't suggested for your sake. John forms disproportionate attachments. Trust me, it's necessary."

"Keep him hydrated." Sarah told John before she turned and raced to the top of the alley. She hailed a cab in full sight of them and tossed them a look before she slipped into the back.

John leaned against the brick wall of a building with Sherlock. They looked at one another for a moment. "How are you holding up with all this running?"

"It hurts," Sherlock confirmed. "For future reference, it still hurts." He took out his phone and started texting at his normal speed. It had to hurt, but he gave no indication of it.

"So what's the plan?" John said, having caught his breath.

Sherlock glanced down at him, "Do you know where we are?"

"No," John laughed. "You've gotten me lost. Apparently, I'll follow you blindly."

Sherlock smiled and looked up at the wall across from him.

"Two floors up, window on the corner, with the light on low," he gestured with his good hand. "That is Sergeant Donovan's apartment."

"She'd as soon shoot you as say hello," John laughed.

The grin was back, "But would she miss the chance to see me shot? I assure you, if the tables were turned, I would climb over you and Mrs. Hudson for a look."

John shook his head. Sometimes there was no helping Sherlock, but even seconds after he thought this, the window Sherlock had indicated flew open. Sally Donovan leaned out, her hair bound up on top of her head. She looked back and forth. When she withdrew, Sherlock chuckled. "Predictable."

"But you just said that, if the tables were turned you'd do the same thing." John said.

"Please, John, I must do some things as the rest of you do them. Without that, I'd be a complete puzzle." He stepped away from the wall and started walking up to the street. Sally Donovan, looking relaxed in jeans, a charcoal tee, and a suede jacket came tearing around the corner in runners. She skidded to a sharp stop when Sherlock emerged from the blackness and came to a stop.

She looked furious. "You're a liar, Freak."

"He's not lying," John stepped into the watery light near the end of the alley. "Gunshot wound to the left arm."

Sherlock nodded, "The police are shooting at me. I'd like to file a report, preferably at the Yard."

"You have no evidence that the police did this." She snapped.

"I do have this." He pulled a misshapen slug out of his pocket. "I doubled back to get it." He tossed the thing to John. "I thought it might come in handy. Aside from which I wanted to keep it."

She brought them inside. It was a shock to John that she would allow Sherlock within feet of her apartment, given what he would know about her by the time he left.

"Shot," she paced in her spare, organized front room and spoke into her wireless phone. "Freak. Yes. He's sitting on my recliner right now." She stared at Sherlock and turned away. "Oh he's in pain all right. John Watson is swearing he's been shot."

She hung up the phone and pointed it at Sherlock. "Don't you budge from that chair, Freak." Then she withdrew into a hallway. John did a quick assessment and determined Sherlock didn't have the energy required to move from the chair, at that moment. Sherlock simply closed his eyes. John went to the kitchen and drew up a glass of water for Holmes. He brought it back, and was relieved when Sherlock drained it without any resistance. He seemed to have taken John's diatribe of earlier seriously.

Sally returned in dress pants, a tasteful shirt, and a trimming jacket. She had her gun, badge, and attitude in place. Her reappearance was enough to get Sherlock on his feet again.

The Sergeant said, "Lestrade's going to meet us. Freak has him in a pretty bad mood." She checked her wall clock and reached out to the collar of Sherlock's coat.

It was sudden and he pulled away from her fingers.

It made the Sergeant bare her teeth. "You can't actually think I'm going to hurt you." Her hand dropped down beside her. "You are unbalanced."

John bristled, reached over, and yanked Sherlock's coat aside. "You want to see? I wouldn't be so hasty to call him unbalanced, if you find this in any way-"

"It's bleeding," she said. "It's bleeding through his shirt."

John froze and looked. Sherlock pulled his coat closed and considered the time.

"Sherlock, I have to-"

"When we're there, John." Sherlock sounded slightly thready. "Lestrade's going to arrive very soon. I'd rather make this report once, and it's important that no one else know I'm injured. It's to our advantage that we keep this in confidence. My shooter should be hearing I'm in the building within minutes of my arrival. This is almost certainly our killer. He won't waste time getting over there. He'll need to know what I've figured out."

"Wonderful planning," John set his feet. "But last time I checked you had no medical degree. If you keep bleeding like this, you will need a transfusion in an actual hospital. Or you will go into shock. Again. It will be worse this time."

"Freak doesn't have a degree, does he?" she looked Sherlock over with a sneer. "You were too busy being a junkie, I thought."

The knock at the door startled everyone but Holmes.


Sherlock sighed, "We know."

Glaring at him, Sally Donovan opened the door and let in the Detective Inspector. Lestrade stepped in and closed the door behind him. "Shot?"

"Yes." Sherlock opened his arms and asked. "How can you be asking? On eight occasions Donovan mentioned I was shot. Honestly, Lestrade."

"Well pardon me for having a hard time believing it," Lestrade looked him over. "What are you on? What's keeping you upright, right now?"

"The case," Sherlock said harshly. "That's keeping me upright. Two dead bodies."

"He hasn't even taken a painkiller." John confirmed unhappily. "We need to get him over to Scotland Yard and see to him. He's bleeding again."

"That's true," Donovan confirmed.

"Then he needs a hospital." Lestrade stepped up and reached a hand for Sherlock.

Holmes backed up. "Lestrade, we have a narrow window during which we can use what we know to our advantage. Everything is useful, right now. Think of this: the only people who know about my injury are in this room – sans Watson's doctor-friend, who is at the apartment, currently. Pity she can't bring me a fresh shirt."

"You'd only bleed on it," Watson pointed out over his crossed arms.

"-and the shooter, who, I can safely say, isn't a trained sniper. We need to attack this now, while they're still divided. One of them – and from the lack of another body on the ground, no one knows which one of them this was – told the police psychologist everything. If we give them enough time, we'll either have another body, or we'll lose this advantage." He was tapping on his cell phone as he spoke. "And if you take me to hospital, I'll refuse treatment, leave, and cab over to New Scotland Yard myself."

Lestrade rubbed his eyes, already too tired to argue with Sherlock. "I don't get how the senselessness of this isn't occurring to you. You need a doctor."

"I do," Sherlock gave John a little push forward. "And I have a surgeon. Let's go. It was fine when they were following me. Now that they've lost me, we're giving them time to regroup."

"But I had people following you." Lestrade's brows drew down. "I had units tail you for your safety. You're sure that wasn't my people, you saw?"

"A list of names." Sherlock said. "And unless your people were on motorcycles and in plainclothes after dark, we're not talking about the same police."

"You must have so many enemies… it could have been anyone who shot at you," Donovan snickered at him. "Why blame us?" She escorted them into the hallway.

"Boots." Sherlock leaned his back against the wall beside her door, his eyes half-closed.

"What?" She asked, and when he didn't answer right away, she snapped her fingers in front of his face. "Wake up, Freak. Answer me."

"Hm. Sorry. Generally, answering you is a time sink. Pay attention. When I doubled back to pick the slug out of the brick at the restaurant I crossed over the trail of my pursuers twice," Sherlock motioned at the bullet that John held up. "I found several partial prints, all indicating police issue boots."

"Boots? How do you know they're not out of some surplus shop?"

Sherlock dismissed this. "Three different sizes. The probability of all of them choosing the same type from surplus is lower than the current probability they're police."

They swept down the stairs toward the cars outside and Sherlock winced. He wasn't feeling thrilled with riding in a police car. He got into the front seat, beside Lestrade, and pulled up his coat collar. John strongly suspected that Sherlock was only semi-conscious for the majority of the drive to Scotland Yard.

Once they got him inside, Watson took the medical supplies and brought Sherlock to a Men's bathroom that Sherlock checked – stall by stall – was empty. Lestrade stepped inside and told officers in the hall to keep everyone else out. He rolled the bullet in his hand as Sherlock sat on the counter, as directed, and John pulled the coat from his shoulders.

"I don't want to bleed into my coat, John," Sherlock said succinctly. His tone dropped to something quite modest, "If you could do something about that, it would be appreciated."

"I try, but you don't cooperate. And put down the phone. Don't look things up. I need your arm stationary for this." Really, all this blood was getting to be a sincere worry for John. He didn't know how to properly convey how dangerous this could be for Sherlock.

And it turned out that Sherlock could text almost as fast one handed. Astonishing. John got Sherlock's shirt buttons undone and frowned at the soaked bandages. There was a problem here. It could become serious. They needed him resting. Strenuous activity was out of the question – all of this advice was sure to be ignored.

"I was shot at shortly after dark from a 50 degree downward angle. Apartments across from the restaurant. There are two, perhaps three, apartments which would have afforded a good line. Two-ten reported a break-in. Nothing was taken. Nothing was disturbed apart from the window being opened. Risky. These people are desperate to stop me, meaning they've seen my work." He clucked his tongue as Watson cut the bandages away.

A fresh trickle of blood spilled down to his elbow and Sherlock eyed it disapprovingly before Watson could sop it up. He began measures to control the bleeding wishing there were measures to control Sherlock. John noticed that Holmes shivered under direct pressure, and the Men's Room wasn't cold enough to cause him discomfort. "You can feel that?"


This was only an hour and 25 minutes after a three hour dose of prilocaine. Odd. "Studies say individuals with ADHD are resistant to medicines like lidocaine and prilocaine. Have you ever been diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Dis-"

Sherlock squared on him. "It's not relevant, right now." He sat back and looked at the ceiling. "I should look at the apartment. It's likely there's something that they've missed, some evidence. However, leaving the Yard, at the moment, is begging for a shot between the eyes."

Lestrade set his hands on his hips. "You're not reassuring, Sherlock."

Hearing this, Sherlock's brows bounced up. "And you've only noticed this tonight?"

"I'm only saying it tonight. Difference," Lestrade told him, which, at the very least, made Sherlock lean back and listen. "What you're laying out is making me wonder about handing this slug over for analysis. The initial report on the crowbar isn't as promising as we'd have liked, either. Don't know if that's simply the killer being careful, or if we're facing some kind of cover-up here. Seems like, pulling this off in the Yard, there are more people than the killer involved."

Now Sherlock was genuinely pleased. "You are correct. Continue."

"The crowbar… firstly, we established that it's actual logged evidence from a cold case-"

Sherlock looked at John as if conveying some message. John utterly missed it, but then, his hands were full right then.

"-and it's hopelessly contaminated now. The blood checks out. The perp wore police issue gloves – very common around here as you'd imagine. The gloves were either new, or recently cleaned."

"A sign of premeditation."

"I agree. But we have nothing more to go on from the crowbar." Lestrade pointed out.

Now Sherlock began to smile a little. John glanced up at that. "What do you know?"

"The killer swung down. He's taller than the victim. Not terribly difficult as the psychologist was 5'10, but now we know that he had some involvement with the cold case that gave us the crowbar from this crime. He knew where to find it in a hurry. Even if there was an argument that sent him after it extemporaneously, he'd already thought to wear gloves that weren't contaminated by appreciable signs of his identity – his dog's or cat's fur, his saliva – et cetera. He knows processes well, he's methodical. This killer paused to clean and bag the crowbar after using it." Sherlock eyed Lestrade, who had resumed staring at the slug in his hand. "And now I need two lists."

"I understand that," Lestrade said. He held up the bullet. "I'll see this makes it through the lab without tampering, Sherlock. I think I'll have Anderson babysit it while it's there."

"I want it back."

"We wouldn't want to walk away with one of your toys."

"Naturally," Sherlock said in reply.

"Donovan's on the door. Stay here until I get back – should only be about ten or fifteen minutes." Lestrade walked out and paused to speak with Donovan, who, for her part, looked very irritated that she'd been drafted to guard the Freak.

Continued in Part 4.

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.