gracie_musica: all fandom (insert spoiler here)
[personal profile] gracie_musica
Title: Third Time's the Charm
Date Written: 9/11/11
Rating: PG-13/T
Word Count: 1,151
Fandom: BBC's Sherlock
Disclaimer: Not mine, property of their respective owners
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, DI Lestrade, Sally Donovan, brief cameo by Anthea
Spoilers: For 'A Study in Pink'
Warnings: References to drug use
Author's Notes: I have got to stop watching the Investigation Discovery channel. It keeps giving me plot bunnies. Something for [personal profile] gingerlr, who needs a smile. Thanks to [personal profile] iki_teru for the flash night beta!


The first time Lestrade saw Sherlock Holmes, he was in handcuffs and was arguing with the bombshell that had come to pick him up.

It was back in the bad old days, when the younger man's demons were worn openly. Some people on the force would later say that there was little difference, but they didn't know the consultant the way the detective inspector did. Yes, Consulting Sherlock was still skinny but it was a "skipped a meal or two" type of lankiness, not the strung-out skinny that addicts are known for. Yes, Consulting Sherlock sometimes turned up unkempt and unwashed but it was because he'd been too busy with cases, not because he'd been laid out on the couch for a week. Yes, Consulting Sherlock didn't make sense half the time but it was because he was frustrated that everyone around him couldn't keep up, not because he was talking about things that only he could ever see. Even back then though, the man had an aura of self-important arrogance about him, observing and experimenting.

And even then, he'd had this strange ability to get out of almost anything. Sherlock had been caught breaking into a crime scene, a suspected prostitute found stabbed in a back alley in Whitechapel, Jack the Ripper territory. He'd barely been in the Met thirty minutes before the mystery woman had turned up to spring him after a three-minute conversation with the Commissioner.

"They have to see it," he was saying to the knockout as a PC uncuffed him.

"Of course," the woman replied, not looking up from her Blackberry. The tech wasn't quite brand new back then but still an expensive luxury.

"You have to see it. Even in there."

"Yes, yes." The tone was bored, disinterested. Lestrade's curiosity was instantly piqued. She obviously could care less if this Holmes junkie was behind bars or not. So who'd sent her?

"You wouldn't even be here if you hadn't been interfering with an investigation," the PC grumbled. It took Lestrade a moment to place a name to a face -- Donovan.

"I wouldn't be ‘interfering', as you call it, if you lot had been doing your job in the first place."

"What do you care? Did you know her?"

"No."

"Then go home. Sober up. Stop worrying over the dead hooker."

It was sound advice.

For a cop, who sees that sort of thing day in and day out.

-----

The second time Lestrade saw Sherlock Holmes, the man standing outside the Yard, in a heated discussion with PC Sally Donovan and was shaking some sort of suppressed emotion.

He was also sober, as far as Lestrade could tell. Three days had passed since his little visit, and this time he had come under his own power. His clothes hung a little loose on him, but were freshly laundered. And expensive. Rich kid with a habit, then. Some people were never satisfied.

Unsure what their conversation was about, but concerned about their body language -- Donovan was radiating rage, while Sherlock seemed desperate over something -- Lestrade casually made his way over towards them, acting as if he was passing them on his way home.

"How can you even -- "

"Look at her, Constable." Sherlock held out some printed papers. A picture of the victim from the murder scene he'd been breaking into smiled up from the page. "Her name was Jennifer Robinson. She was eighteen. She had a boyfriend named Eddie, worked part-time in a shop, and had just been kicked out of her house by her mother."

"I don't want --"

"And there's more." He shuffled through the papers again, revealing more women. "Susan Jennings, thirty-three, single mother of two small boys, unemployed for a year and a half. Elizabeth Clarke, single, twenty-one, moved to London from Bath three months ago, worked as a temp. Jessica Murray. Francine Moretti. Olga Larsen."

"That's one of mine." Letrade hadn't realized he'd spoken aloud until the younger man turned to look at him. "Olga Larsen. Illegal from Norway. Came over four years ago on a tourist visa. But we found her in SoHo." He raised his eyebrows at Sherlock. "Do you think these are all connected?"

"They were all murdered by a man approximately six feet in height, stabbed repeated times with a double-edged knife, all found within the past four months, and all from what is considered the lowest dregs of society. A society, I'd like to point out, that put them there -- unemployed and desperate, they did the only thing left to them to survive." He turned his attention to Donovan. "They're people, Constable. Not ‘just hookers'."

Donovan turned on her heel and walked away, face darkening with an embarrassed flush. Lestrade leafed through the papers Sherlock had brought with him, counting twelve women in total. "That's just from the past six months," the younger man said.

"How did you come across all this?"

"Online obituaries and this great new site called MySpace." Sherlock shoved his hands into his pockets and rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. "He covers his tracks by dumping in different sections of the city. He's also accelerating -- he's gone from two a month to four in the past three weeks."

Lestrade couldn't stop the question. "Did you know any of them?"

Sherlock shook his head. Now that Donovan was gone, so was whatever emotion it was he'd been suppressing. Or maybe he'd been faking all along?

"Then why do you care for strangers?"

"I don't." The words were flat and empty. "Neither, really does our good PC, but she cares what other people think about her. Me saying that she'd forgotten they were human hurt her pride. She'll work harder now. Might even get a promotion in a year or so."

Lestrade shook his head as Sherlock walked away. A psychopath who swore to no emotions but clearly exhibited them. He'd be one to watch.

-----

The third time Lestrade saw Sherlock Holmes, the latter was in a hospital bed and the former was offering him a job.

"Nothing big at first," Lestrade said. "I consult you, you do not interfere in an investigation without being contacted first. And you'll absolutely have to quit the drugs or I'll have you off cases and locked up so fast your head will spin."

Sherlock blinked at him. The morphine, thankfully, wasn't on a a drip. "Did we get him?"

"Evan Miles, twenty-nine, six-foot one, confessed to eighteen murders including Olga Larsen and Jennifer Robinson."

"Eighteen." The younger man made a face. "Always miss something."

"It was almost nineteen," the detective pointed out, motioning towards the younger man's professionally-wrapped knife wound, high on his upper right arm.

Sherlock gave a one-shouldered shrug. "He missed anything vital."

Lestrade sighed and wondered, for the first of countless times after, what he was actually getting himself into.
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