Cuts

Calliah Mullen is the sister to Irene Adler and has always been called the ugly sibling. After hearing it for so long, Calliah believes it and cuts her self to relieve the pain. When see meets Sherlock and John, her views on the world, herself, and her sister change. Will it be for the better or worse?

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36. Chapter 36

Thank you Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan on livejournal for the transcripts. They help so much.

Here is the first part of The Sign of Three

I own nothing, except Calliah and my ideas.

I was bored at home alone, so I had gone to Sherlock's flat to see that John's and Mary's wedding has taken over. Sherlock sees me and smiles. "Calliah! Where have you been?"

"Probably enjoying marriage life." Mary says. She was sitting at the dining table and John was sitting in his armchair, looking at me.

I shrug. No one needed to know that I had been alone since the honeymoon. "Oh yes. Sorry guys." I say and go sit down in Sherlock's armchair.

Sherlock follows me with his eyes, then goes back to looking at his information wall behind the sofa. "Need to work on your half of the church, Mary. Looking a bit thin."

Mary smiles. "Ah, orphan's lot. Friends – that's all I have. Lots of friends." She explains.

"Schedule the organ music to begin at precisely 11.48." Sherlock says.

"But the rehearsal's not for another two weeks. Just calm down." Mary says.

"Calm? I am calm. I'm extremely calm." Sherlock says. I chuckle slightly. I stop for a moment. That was the first time I had smiled or laughed since Mycroft and I got back.

"Let's get back to the reception, come on." Mary says. Sherlock walks to the table. Mary hands his an RSVP card. "John's cousin. Top table?"

Sherlock looks at the card. "Hmmm. Hates you. Can't even bear to think about you."

Mary looks up at Sherlock. "Seriously?"

"Second class post, cheap card…" Sherlock says and sniffs it, then grimaces. "…bought at a petrol station. Look at the stamp: three attempts at licking. She's obviously unconsciously retaining saliva."

"Ah." Mary says. She looks over her shoulder to John. "Let's stick her by the bogs."

"Oh yes." Sherlock says and sits down.

Mary leans closer to him. "Who else hates me?" She asks. Instantly Sherlock hands her a sheet of paper. I'm guessing that it the list of people who hate her. It's a long list. I giggle and Sherlock looks over at me. "Oh great – thanks."

"Priceless painting nicked. Looks interesting." John says. I look over and see he is on his phone.

"Calliah, do you want to sit at the top table?" Mary looks over at me.

I look at her. "Me?"

"Well, yes. You are like John's sister." Mary says and smiles.

I look round and see that they all are staring at me. I look down. "Um, no. I can just sit at the table that Molly is at. Put someone who is important up there."

"You are i-" John starts to say.

"Is Mycroft coming?" Sherlock asks, interrupting John.

"Probably not." I say softly and play with my wedding band.

"We'll leave a spot open for him, just in case." Mary says. I nod. She turns back to the table. "Table four…" She says softly. I knew I shouldn't have come over.

"Done." Sherlock says. I knew he was still looking at me.

John chuckles at something and I look over. He was looking at his phone. "'My husband is three people.'"

"Table five." Mary says.

I look over to them. Sherlock was looking at a list. "Major James Sholto. Who's he?"

"Oh, John's old commanding officer. I don't think he's coming." Mary says.

"He'll be there." John says.

"Well, he needs to RSVP, then." Mary says.

"He'll be there." John says firmly.

"Mmm…" Mary says.

"'My husband is three people.' It's interesting. Says he has three distinct patterns of moles on his skin." John says.

Sherlock stands up. "Identical triplets – one in half a million births. Solved it without leaving the flat. Now, serviettes." He squats down beside the coffee flat, reaches under it and pulls out a tray with two serviettes folded into different shapes. He gestures to them as he looks up at Mary. "Swan, or Sydney Opera House?"

"Where'd you learn to do that?" Mary asks.

Sherlock looks down. "Many unexpected skills required in the field of criminal investigation…"

"Fibbing, Sherlock." Mary says.

"I once broke an alibi by demonstrating the exact severity of…" Sherlock starts.

"I'm not John or Calliah. I can tell when you're fibbing." I chuckle. Good someone would be able to call him on his bullshit.

"Okay – I learned it on YouTube." Sherlock says exasperated. He was on YouTube. Oh God.

"Opera House, please." Mary says. She leans to one side and reaches into her trouser pocket. "Ooh, hang on. I'm buzzing." She takes out her phone and lifts it to her ear. "Hello?... Oh, hi, Beth!" She gets up and goes to the kitchen. "Yeah, yeah, don't see why not."

John stands up and looks at Sherlock. "Actually, if that's Beth, it's probably for me too. Hang on." Sherlock sits down on the floor cross-legged and faces the coffee table.

"Calliah, come help." He says.

"Oh, no. I'll be fine." I say. I would ruin it.

"Calliah. Come here. Please." Sherlock says. I sigh and go over to him and sit by him. He shows me how to do the folding. After a little, he slows down. "I don't want him to get married. It's going to change everything."

"No it won't." I say, concentrating on my work.

"It changed you." He says.

I stop and look at him. "It did?"

"Yes. This is the first time you have been since the wedding. Mycroft hasn't been home and yet you don't come over. It will happen to John too. I'll be alone again, Calliah." Sherlock explains.

I frown and hug him. "Oh, Sherlock. I'm sorry. I didn't think about other people. I've been selfish. I'll come over more. I promise." I say. I'll just have to fake my smile a little more.

He nods and we get back to work. We hear John come in. We turn around and he sees that there was ten serviettes on the table and twenty or more on the floor. "That just sort of… happened." Sherlock says.

John frowns, then smiles. Glancing back into the kitchen for a moment, John walks towards us. "Sherlock, Calliah, um…" Sherlock stands up and helps me. "…mates…" He frowns briefly. "I-I've…" He walks over to the dining table. Sherlock glances towards the kitchen where Mary was talking on the phone. Sherlock leads me to the table and he sits down. I stand by the end. "I've smelled eighteen different perfumes; I've sampled…" He stops. "…nine different slices of cake which all tasted identical;" Mycroft and I tasted twenty. I think Mycroft just wanted cake. "I like the bridesmaids in purple…"

"Lilac." Sherlock interrupts.

"…lilac. Um, there are no more decisions left to make. I don't even understand the decisions that we have made. I'm faking opinions and it's exhausting, so please, before she comes back…" John continues on and glances towards the kitchen, activates his phone, clears his throat and holds his phone across the table. "…pick something." I look down and see that it was Sherlock's 'Science of Deduction' website. Sherlock's eyes flicker down to the screen a couple of times. "Anything. Pick one."

"Pick what?" Sherlock asks.

John blinks a few times and then laughs. "A case. Your inbox is bursting. Just… get me out of here."

Sherlock kneels down. "You want to go out on a case? N-now?" Sherlock ask, speaking quietly.

"Please, Sherlock, for me." John says.

Sherlock takes the phone. "Don't you worry about a thing. I'll get you out of this." He starts to flick through messages on his website. After only a few seconds he finds something of interest. "Oh." Sherlock "Dear Mr Holmes, My name is Bainbridge. I'm a Private in Her Majesty's Household Guard. I'm writing to you about a personal matter, one I don't care to bring before my superiors – it would sound so trivial – but I think someone's stalking me. I'm used to tourists – it's part of the job – but this is different. Someone's watching me. He's taking pictures of me every day. Don't want to mention it to the major, but it's really preying on my mind." Sherlock reads off. "Uniform fetishist. 'All the nice girls like a soldier'."

"It's sailor." John corrects him. "And Bainbridge thinks his stalker is a bloke. Sherlock looks at the phone again. "Let's go and investigate. Please?"

Sherlock was reading still. "'Elite Guard'."

"Forty enlisted men and officers." John explains.

"Why this particular Grenadier? Curious." Sherlock says.

"Now you're talking." John says.

Sherlock hands John his phone back. "Okay." We stand up and start walking towards the door just as Mary comes back into the room with her phone at her ear.

"'Bye." Mary says into the phone.

"Er, we're just going to… I need, um, Sherlock and Calliah to help me choose some, er, socks." John lies.

"…ties." Sherlock says simultaneously.

Mary looks at them. "Why don't we go with socks?"

"Yeah." John say.

"I mean, you've got to get the right ones." Mary says.

"Exactly – to go with my…" John starts to say.

Sherlock says "…tie." The same time John says, "…outfit."

Mary looks at John. "That'll take a while, right?"

John points towards the kitchen. "My coat in there?"

"Yes!" Mary says.

He walks into the kitchen and Mary and Sherlock walk closer together. "Just going to take him out for a bit – run him." Sherlock tells her quietly.

"I know." Mary says. Sherlock smiles at her. "You said you'd find him a case!"

"Mm." Sherlock says.

"Come on, Sherlock and Calliah." John says from the kitchen.

"Coming." Sherlock says. He pulls me and goes to the living room door, then turns back to face Mary. I look at him as he does a double thumbs-up at her. I roll my eyes and go down the stairs. The boys follow me and we go out. Sherlock finishes putting his coat on and calls out to an approaching cab. "Taxi!"

We get to the gates of the barracks and see Bainbridge on duty. We go to a bench that is on the other side of the road and a few yards away.

"Do you think they give them classes?" Sherlock asks.

"Classes?" John asks.

"How to resist the temptation to scratch their behinds?" Sherlock asks. I giggle softly.

"Afferent neurons in the peripheral nervous system." John says. Sherlock and I turn our heads in John's direction. "Bum itch."

"Oh!" Sherlock says. We sit in silence. "So why don't you see him anymore?" At first I think he was asking me.

"Who?" John asks.

"Your previous commander, Sholto." Sherlock says and I take a deep breathe.

"'Previous commander'." John says.

Sherlock briefly closes his eyes awkwardly. "I meant 'ex'."

"'Previous' suggests that I currently have a commander." John says.

"Which you don't." Sherlock says.

"Which I don't." John says and smiles at me. I smile softly at him.

Sherlock smiles a little. "'Course you don't. He was decorated, wasn't he? A war hero."

"Not to everyone. He led a team of crows into battle." John explains.

"'Crows'?" Sherlock asks.

"New recruits. It's standard procedure; break the new boys in – but it went wrong. They all died; he was the only survivor. The press and the families gave him hell. He gets more death threats than you." John explains. I frown.

"Oh, I wouldn't count on that." Sherlock says. Sherlock gets death threats?

"Why have you suddenly taken an interest in another human being?" John asks.

"I'm…chatting." Sherlock says. John raises his eyebrows and look round at Sherlock. Sherlock half-turns his head and looks at him out of the corner of his eye. Sherlock turns his head back to the front. "Won't be trying that again."

"Changing the subject completely ..." John says and pulls in a breath through his nose, then looks at Sherlock again. "... you know it won't alter anything, right, me and Mary, getting married? We'll still be doing all this. I mean look at Calliah, she is still here."

I'm mostly here. Part of me was dead. "Oh, good." Sherlock says and looks at me.

"If you were worried." John says.

"Wasn't worried." Sherlock says.

John looks down and chuckles thoughtfully. Sherlock gets up and leave. I roll my eyes and stay where I was. "See, the thing about Mary – she has completely turned my life around; changed everything. But, for the record, over the last few years there are three people who have done that, Calliah and the other one is ..." He looks round and sees that Sherlock left. "…a complete dickhead." He looks at me and I smile softly at him. He sighs and gets up. I get up and we start walking into the building. We go to Major Reed's office. We sit down and John gives him his military ID.

"Can I ask what this is in connection with?" Major Reed asks.

"Private Bainbridge contacted us about a personal matter, sir." John says.

"Nothing's personal when it concerns my troops. What do you really want?" Reed asks.

"I'm here on a legitimate enquiry." John says.

"Press? Digging for some bloody Royal story or something?" Reed asks.

John points to his ID. "No, sir, I'm Captain John Watson, Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers."

"Retired. You could be a used car salesman now, for all I know." Reed says. Major Reed looks closely at John. "I know you, don't I?"

"Hmm?" John asks.

Reed tosses John's card across the table. John picks it up and puts it back into his wallet. "I've seen you two in the papers." John clears his throat uncomfortably and looks at me. "Hang around with that detective – the one with the silly hat. What the hell does Bainbridge want with a detective?"

"I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to say." John says.

"You're not at liberty to say?! He's a soldier in my regiment – I'll be damned if he's going to get up to cloak and dagger nonsense like this." Reed says.

The duty sergeant hurries into the room. " Sir ..." He stops when he realizes that Reed isn't alone in the room. "Sir."

"What's going on?" Reed asks.

"It's Bainbridge, sir. He's dead." The duty sergeant says. Looking horrified, Reed gets up and follows the sergeant out of the room. John looks at me and we hurry after them.

We go to the shower room. Bainbridge is lying face down on the floor on a great deal of broken glass. There is a lot of blood on his lower back. The duty sergeant leads us in, and Reed hurries over to the body staring at it in shock.

"My God!" Reed says.

John sighs deeply at the sight. John and I start walking towards Bainbridge, but Reed holds up a hand to stop him. "Ah, no, let us look, sir. We're doctors."

"What? Sergeant, arrest these two." The duty sergeant takes hold of John's left arm and my right arm.

"What? No-no! We're- we're doctors." John tries to explain.

"Oh, you're a doctor now, too. Sergeant." Reed says and jerks his head towards the door.

"Let us examine him, please!" John yells. The sergeant starts to pull us away but then another sergeant comes in, bundling Sherlock into the room. He has Sherlock's right arm twisted up behind his back.

"Sir, caught this one snooping around." The sergeant says.

Reed looks at John and me. "Is that what this what was about? Distracting me so that this man could get in here and kill Bainbridge?" He asks. I roll my eyes.

"Don't be…" John says.

Sherlock has pulled free of his sergeant and is walking forward to look more closely at the body. The sergeant follows him, taking hold of his arms and pulling him away again. "Kill him with what? Where's the weapon?"

"What?" Reed asks.

"Where's the weapon? Go on, search me." Sherlock says and holds his arms wide. "No weapon."

"Bainbridge was on parade. He came off duty five minute ago. When's this supposed to have happened?" John asks.

"You obviously stabbed him before he got into the shower." Reed says to Sherlock.

"No." Sherlock says.

"No?!" Reed asks.

"He's soaking wet and there's still shampoo in his hair. He got into the shower and then someone stabbed him." Sherlock explains.

"The cubicle was locked from the inside, sit. I had to break it open." The duty sergeant says.

"You must have climbed over the top." Reed says.

"Well then I'd be soaking wet too, wouldn't I?" Sherlock asks.

"Major, please. I'm John Watson, Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers. Three years in Afghanistan, a veteran of Kandahar, Helmand, and Bart's bloody Hospital. Let me and my associate examine this body." John says firmly. Reed looks down at the body for a long moment, then finally looks at the duty sergeant and nods sharply. The man releases John. "Thank you." He says and we go over, taking our jackets off. Walking forward, we put the jacket onto a bench and then go over to crouch down beside Bainbridge. We start looking at the body. After a second, Sherlock comes over and squats at Bainbridge's head. We were examining Bainbridge's lower back. "Hmm. There is a wound to the abdomen – incredibly fine."

"Man stabbed to death. No murder weapon. Door locked from the inside. Only one way in or out of here." Sherlock says.

I move to Bainbridge's head and peel one of his eyes open. "Sherlock." I say.

"Mmm?" Sherlock asks.

"He's still breathing." I say.

"Oh my God." The duty sergeant says behind us.

"What do we go?" Sherlock asks us.

"Give me your scarf." I command.

"What?" Sherlock asks.

"Quickly, now." I say louder. While Sherlock unwraps his scarf from his neck, I look up at Reed. "Call an ambulance."

"What?" The sergeant asks.

"Call an ambulance now." I commend them louder.

I go back to Bainbridge. "Listen to her! Now!" I hear John say. I press the scarf aginst the wound in Bainbridge's back.

I look at John. "Press here – hard." I tell him. He nods. "Keep pressure on it." I kneel down by Bainbridge's head. "Stephen. Stephen, honey. Stay with me."

"Private Bainbridge had just come off guard duty. He'd stood there for hours, plenty of people watching, nothing apparently wrong. He came off duty and within minutes was nearly dead from a wound in his stomach, but there was no weapon. Where did it go? Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to consider this: a murderer who can walk through walls, a weapon that can vanish – but in all of this there is only one element which can be said to be truly remarkable. Would anyone like to make a guess?" Sherlock explains, back at the reception. I was looking around at everyone. The guests fidget and look at each other. "Come on, come on, there is actually an element of Q and A to all of this." He clears his throat. Still the guests remain silent. "Scotland Yard." Greg lifts his head. "Have you got a theory?" Greg stares at him blankly. "Yeah, you. You're a detective – broadly speaking. Got a theory?"

"Er, um, if the, if-if-if, if the blade was, er, propelled through the, um ..." Greg says and stops to think for a moment. "... grating in the air vent ... maybe a-a ballista or a – or a – or a catapult. Erm, somebody tiny could-could crawl in there." He sucks in a breath. "So, yeah, we're loo... we're looking for a-a-a-a dwarf." I chuckle and roll my eyes.

Sherlock was staring at him blankly. "Brilliant."

"Really?" Greg asks.

"No." Sherlock says instantly.

Greg sighs and lowers his head.

"He stabbed himself." I hear Tom whisper to Molly. I roll my eyes.

"Hello? Who was that?" Sherlock asks. Tom looks round, wide-eyed. "Tom." Grimacing, Tom slowly stands up. I grin. This should be funny. I needed a good laugh. "Got a theory?"

Tom sways nervously from foot to foot for a moment. "Um ... attempted suicide, with a blade made of compacted blood and bone; broke after piercing his abdomen ... like a meat ... dagger." He says slowly and tentatively. I start laughing, and hear Mycroft laughing beside me. I look at Molly and see that her face was a picture of disbelief. She looks at me and rolls her eyes. I start laughing more.

"A meat dagger." Sherlock says precisely.

"Yes." Tom says awkwardly.

"Sit. Down." Molly whispers through gritted teeth.

"No." Sherlock says precisely. Tom sits down. There was one feature, and only one feature, of interest in the whole of this baffling case, and quite frankly it was the usual. John Watson – who, while I was trying to solve the murder, instead saved a life. Well, Calliah was helping John too, but this isn't her day." He says and smiles at me. I roll my eyes. "There are mysteries worth solving and stories worth telling." He looks down at John. "The best and bravest man I know – and on top of that he actually knows how to do stuff." John lowers his head and chuckles with embarrassment. "... except wedding planning and serviettes – he's rubbish at those."

"True!" John says. We all laugh.

"The case itself remains the most ingenious and brilliantly-planned murder – or attempted murder – I've ever had the pleasure to encounter; the most perfect locked-room mystery of which I am aware. However, I'm not just here to praise John – I'm also here to embarrass him, so let's move on to some ..." Sherlock says.

"No-no, wait, so how was it… how was it done?" Greg interrupts.

"How was what done?" Sherlock asks.

Sherlock looks down awkwardly for a few moments, then raises his head. "I'm afraid I don't know. I didn't solve that one. That's…" he pauses. "it can happen sometimes. It's very…very disappointing." He looks reflective for a second, then takes a breath and looks out to the guests again. "Embarrassment leads me on to the stag night. Of course there's hours of material here, but I've cut it down to the really good bits."

"Calliah, you have to come." Sherlock says to me as I was cooking dinner. "You are part of the team."

"I'm not a stag though." I say.

"You think we care?" Sherlock asks.

I sigh. "Fine. Let me get dressed." I go and get dressed.

We get to the first pub and John and I sit down on a table while Sherlock goes to the bar. "I'm glad you came Calliah. I haven't seen you in a while."

"Well, Sherlock practically begged me to. I couldn't say no." I tell him.

"Is everything okay Calliah?" He asks.

"Yup." I say as Sherlock brings over three cylinders. John and I look at them in disbelief. John sighs heavily while Sherlock takes out his phone, selects an app and puts it onto the bench. The phone's stopwatch starts up.

"What, are we on a schedule?" John asks.

"You'll thank me." Sherlock explains. We clink our cylinders and drink. We do this at the next four bars.

At the fifth bar, we finish out drinks. John turns and looks all-round the room. Sherlock points over John's shoulder. "Over there."

John leans closer, since the bar was playing loud music. "What?"

"Toilets. Any second now, you're going to…" Sherlock starts to explain.

John puts a hand on his arm. "Hang on. Tell me after – I need the loo." He gets up.

"Mmm, on schedule." Sherlock says and I giggle.

"Eh?" John asks, turning back.

"Nothing – go." Sherlock says.

John stumbles off, while Sherlock looks at his phone and pulls up his charts which will measure urine output against blood alcohol level. He updates the alcohol level chart and finishes it with a fancy flourish." You are having too much fun."

"Hmm?" Sherlock asks.

"Too much fun." I say and giggle.

A little while later John returns to the table. "How long?" Sherlock asks.

"Sorry?" John asks.

"Your visit." Sherlock explains. John sits down and gives him a quizzical look. Sherlock looks down at his chart. "Estimate approximate volume discharged…"

"Stop talking now." John says.

At the next bar, John and I go to the bar and get a shot of whiskey. "Ooh, er…" John says. He glances over his shoulder over his shoulder to where Sherlock was standing. "Quick, one more. He must'nt see." We drink our shot in one gulp. We grab the other shot and I pour mine into my cylinder. John pours his into one of them and we go back across towards Sherlock but then stops and looks at them, apparently unable to remember which one has the shot in it. Sniffing the left one and presumably thinking that that one contains only beer, he puts it on the table. "There you go." Sherlock turns and picks it up. "Cheers." We drink.

At the next bar, Sherlock is plastered. In the smoking area outside the pub, he is loudly and drunkenly gesticulating and sounding off to a male customer over the very loud music. " I know ash!" John is sitting at a nearby table, looking fairly legless himself. He covers his face with his hand. I was wasted and giggling at Sherlock. " Don't – Tell – Me – I – Don't!" On each word he pokes the man in the upper chest with one finger, and on the last word he puts his hand on the man's shoulder and pushes him. Sighing, John looks up as the man swings a punch at Sherlock's face. Sherlock sways back – possibly more by luck than judgment – and avoids it.

John jumps up. "Oh ..." Thrown off-balance by his swing, the man stumbles forward and almost falls onto a nearby table. One of his mates helps him up. John grabs Sherlock from behind and pulls him away while Sherlock flails wildly towards the man. " All right, enough! That's ..." Grunting with the effort and slurring the rest of his words, he drags Sherlock a few feet away, supporting most of his weight, before propping him onto his feet. "Stand up straight." I go over to them and giggle. Sherlock turns round towards him. John points towards the exit to Sherlock's left. " Yeah."

Sherlock points back towards the customer. "Ashtray. I know ashtray." Sherlock says slurring his words.

We go back to Sherlock's flat. The boys were lying on the steps. I was lying on the ground. We all have our eyes closed. "I have an international reputation." I hear Sherlock say. "Do you two have international reputations?"

"No, I don't have an international reputation." John says.

"No." I say.

"No." Sherlock says. "And I can't even remember what for." I laugh. "Sss…crime…something or other."

Mrs. Hudson comes of her house. "Ooh! What are you three doing back? I thought you were going to be out late."

"Ah, Hudders. What time is it?" Sherlock asks, slurring his words.

"You've only been out two hours." Mrs. Hudson says. I open eye and see the boys sitting up. They try to stand but to tightly wedge together. Sherlock falls off the step and thumps on his backside onto the next step down. I giggle at him and close my eyes.

We finally get upstairs. The boys were in their chairs, playing Rizla Game. I was laying on the couch.

"Am I a vegetable?" John asks.

Sherlock, holding a glass of whiskey in one hand, points at him. "You, or the thing?"

We all snigger. "Funny!"

Sherlock looks down. "Thank you." Sherlock says bashful.

"Come on." John says.

Sherlock raises his head again. "No, you're not a vegetable." He says slurring his words.

"It's your go." John says. He picks up his own glass and drinks.

"Errr ... am I human?" Sherlock asks.

"Sometimes." John says. They keep talking as I fall asleep.

I wake up later to Sherlock waking me up. "We have a casey thing." I nod and get up and go with them.

We go this woman's, Tessa I found out, boyfriend's house. Sherlock wobbles unsteadily in front of a large clear glass plate on a stand. It's a large apartment with bare brick walls and a very high ceiling. The room is decorated with several pieces of modern furniture and art. Sherlock grins drunkenly at the glass plate, then straightens up a bit and looks around the room. He is currently kneeling on the sofa with his arms braced on its back. John stands nearby, leaning against a supporting pillar in the middle of the room. I was standing by John, leaning on him. "Ohhh, it's nice!" Sherlock stands up off the sofa, and then promptly falls back onto it. John turns a little and braces his hand against the supporting column. Tessa is standing nearby, together with the landlord who is holding a set of keys and looking at the boys in confusion. She looks at me and frowns. I shrug. "Nice place."

The landlord sighs and crosses his arms. Sherlock gets up and totters around the living room. "See anything?" Tessa asks.

"Hmm?" Sherlock asks.

"Any clues, Mr. Holmes?" Tessa asks.

"Oh, errrrr…" Sherlock says and looks around. he wanders over to the chair and looks more closely at it, then twirls around and his eyes settle in a rather unfocused way on Tessa. Scratching his head, he suddenly looks inspired. He grins at Tessa. "I'm just gonna whip this out." He puts his hand in his coat pocket, then stumbles in circles across the room while he tugs at whatever he's trying to pull out. Eventually he manages to extract his pouch of equipment from the pocket, simultaneously shaking off his coat and dropping it to the floor. He blinks at the pouch, then unrolls it and takes out his magnifier. Tossing the pouch over his shoulder, he holds the magnifier up to show the others. "Mm-hmm?" He clicks it open. The landlord sighs again while Tessa smiles awkwardly. John is still half-asleep leaning against the pillar. Sherlock drops to his knees on a white rug, braces himself with his left hand and slowly wobbles forward onto his right elbow.

Tessa turns to John and gently pushes him upright from the pillar. "You all right?" Tessa asks, smiling at him.

"Hmm? Yeah. He's clueing." John explains.

"What?" Tessa asks.

"He's…hmm? He's clueing for looks." John says.

They look down at Sherlock, who has brought his face down to within about four inches of the rug. He is holding his magnifier to his eye and looking through it, then his eyes drift closed and he slowly topples forward and face-plants onto the rug. I start laughing. "Mr. Holmes?" Sherlock doesn't respond, still on his knees with his bum stuck up in the air. He snores noisily. Tessa looks nervously at the landlord and steps forward towards Sherlock. " Mr. Holmes?!"She says louder.

"I'm calling the police." The landlord says.

"Oh, no…" Tessa says.

The landlord walks across to the rug and hauls Sherlock up onto his knees. " Whoa, whoa, whoa!" The landlord steps back as John holds out a warning hand to him.

"This is a famous detective. It's Sherlock Holmes and his partners, John Hamish Watson and Calliah Adler." Tessa says.

John steps towards the landlord, attempting and failing to look threatening. "What d'you think you're doing? Don't compromise the integrity of the…" Sherlock starts to say.

He turns round, bends over and throws up on the rug. The landlord closes his eyes, and Tessa puts her hand across her mouth.

John's eyes drift upwards as he goes into full thinking mode again. Eventually he finds the words he needs to finish Sherlock's sentence for him. "…Crime scene!" He says loudly.

He grins triumphantly at Tessa and holds up his right palm for her to high-five. She doesn't take up the offer. Eventually he lowers his hand again, shaking his head. Sherlock coughs and straightens up onto his knees again. He gestures towards John with the magnifier. "Yeah, that" Looking up at the others, he holds up the magnifier and delicately clicks it closed, then wipes the vomit off his mouth.

I wake up in the holding cell and see the boys. I sit up and wipe my eyes. A door opens and Greg walks in. "Wakey-wakey!" He says cheerfully. I get up and go to him and rest my head on his shoulder. He pats my head.

"Oh my God!" John says grimacing. He peers towards us. "Greg. Is that Greg?"

"Get up. I'm gonna put you three in a taxi. Managed to square things with the desk sergeant." Greg explains. John painfully climbs to his feet. Greg laughs disparagingly. He looks at me and smiles. He looks back at the boys."What a couple of lightweights! You couldn't even make it to closing time!"

John walks slowly towards us. "Can you whisper?" He asks softly.

"NOT REALLY!" Greg yells in his ear as he walks past. (Sherlock flails upwards on the bench, his eyes wide and his mouth open in shock. He looks round the cell in bewilderment. John gives Greg a look of hurt betrayal, and then leaves the cell. Greg beckons to Sherlock. "Come on." He leads me out and we follow John.

We go to the front desk, so the boys can get their stuff. I didn't bring anything so I was standing by them. Grunting with the effort, Sherlock puts his coat back on. John tucks his wallet into his back pocket. " Well, thanks for a ... you know ..." John says as we turn and walk away from the desk. "... an evening."

"It was awful." Sherlock says.

"Yeah." John says. Sherlock groans and pinches the bridge of his nose. " I was gonna pretend, but it was, truly."

Sherlock lowers his head. "That woman, Tessa."

"What?" John asks.

"Dated a ghost. The most interesting case for months. What a wasted opportunity." Sherlock says.

"... Okay." John says.

 

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