“I always imagined you have a secret lair beneath a volcano for such an occasion.” “There is only one thing that can guarantee peace – your head on a pike. Hypothetically speaking, of course.” “I’ve seen subtler displays of insensitivity. Do you attend the wakes of all your victims?” “Well, lack of imagination is an occupational hazard for an apex predator.” “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard you say. And I’ve known you for a long time.” “What does Buddhism have to do with erectile dysfunction?” “I don’t know what’s weirder … that I’m spending my Friday night with you or the Stanley freaking Cup.” “The great love of my life is a homicidal maniac. No one’s perfect.” “You think you broke us up with the power of your mind?” “I have what some might call a strong personality.” “After many, many hours, I’ve come to most wretched of realizations. One that might curdle your very blood. You are my friend.”
“You’re bad at this, ______. You’re exceptionally bad.”
“So now you have to have brain damage to want a baby?” “That’s the sex blanket.” “I’m not easily surprised but I do confess that I wasn’t expecting this.” “I think this is the Olympics of self-pity.” “Imagine sitting for a portrait today. Hubris practically leaks off the canvas.” “Meeting the parents. That’s an important milestone in the romantic passion play.” “Do you know what I haven’t said to anyone in a long time? I love you.” “You hurt yourself. Someone hurt me. You don’t know anything about how I’m feeling.” “I have allowed empathetic thoughts to clutter my mind and reduce my perception.” “You know better than to ask me a non-specific question.” “I abhor the dull routine of existence.” “You engaged in horizontal refreshment with ( them/______ ).” “You are something of a romantic terrorist.” “_____ seems adequately sexed.” “So, I walked all the way to the eastern edge of the property, and I did not find a thing. No dead bodies, no secret hideouts, no smoke monster. There’s plenty of mud, though.” “I’m quite certain they were staging a fake murder when they fell victim to two real ones.” “So they didn’t commit a murder so much as provide you with a murder-tunity.” “You named your killer robot ‘Gus’?” “So, your alibi is that you were oiling your chainsaw.” “We really are living in a golden age for perverts.” “Oh, and if you have any lingering doubts, here’s how you can be certain I’m not the one who tried to kill you – you’re alive!” “I was mistaken. You don’t know what my partner looks like naked.” “You do realize that pink coconuts do not occur in nature?” “Are you cooking, or did we get stampeded by a class of second graders?”
If this makes you imagine the red couch as a bit bigger or
smaller than it actually is, so be it. I have bad spatial memory/recognition.
The case was solved. They’d just returned from the precinct
and had settled down in the library with take away and ice cream and were now
sitting before a roaring fire that served as a barrier against the sub-zero
None of this was out of the ordinary for Sherlock. What was
out of the ordinary was Watson’s position.
It had started innocently enough. She had come to sit next
to him on the red couch to show him something on her phone—an article that
related to an old cold case they’d recently solved. After he’d skimmed the
article and handed her phone back to her, instead of getting up she’d stayed,
leaning back on the opposite arm of the couch, nearest the window, continuing
to read news and whatever else on her phone. She’d even pulled down the duvet
from the back of the couch to drape over her legs, already clad in warm pajamas,
her red cardigan wrapped securely around her.
Sherlock had no idea what possessed her to settle herself
thus, on the same couch as he was sitting, but he had no reason to protest. He
had nothing against Watson settling on the couch, but he wondered if he should
move. But he was not at all tired, and didn’t feel like changing into more
casual clothes—he still wore his trousers, shoes, and buttoned up shirt, only
his jacket taken off due to the large fire before them.
He got up to stoke the fire, as an excuse to move his
restless limbs. He took a book from one of the shelves, then a second, and
resumed his seat on the opposite end of the couch from Watson. She still was
reading something on her phone, her glasses a bit farther down her nose.
He set his books down and took off his shoes, in order to
more comfortably sit cross-legged, taking up slightly more room on the couch.
Watson didn’t even look at him. He took up a book and began to read, glancing
at her from time to time.
After his third glance she looked up from her phone over the
rim of her glasses. “Sherlock, what is it?” she said, her words careful, not
“Hmm?” He looked over to her with wide eyes, feigning
“You’ve glanced at me several times. What is it?” she
repeated, keeping her eyes still on him. He studied her expression. She was curious,
relaxed, the contentment derived from their recently solved case still
permeating her limbs.
He hesitated a full second, then held up one of the books he’d
retrieved, flashing the title in Watson’s direction. She didn’t blink, telling
him she’d caught it. “I wanted to show you something here that reminded me of
that cold case. Are you heavily occupied at present?”
She gave a small shake of her head, tucking her phone
between the back of the couch and the duvet, before coming up on her knees,
bracing herself on the back of the couch with one hand and reaching for the
book with the other.
Sherlock flipped to the appropriate page and held out the
book to her, watching closely as she adjusted her glasses and began to read.
She settled back on her heels, somewhat closer to him. He moved further over to
his end of the couch, leaning back against the arm and laying his legs straight
out in front of him. This caused his feet—clad in his “loud” socks, as Watson
referred to them—to brush against Watson’s calf, but she showed no reaction.
She did not move from her spot on the middle cushion, intent on the words
“You’re telling me this,” Watson held the book a few inches
in front of his face, tapping one paragraph with her index finger, “proves that
the science behind the forensics was wrong? How can that be possible?”
He slowly took the book from her hands, and she let him, her
hard stare pinning him with a demand for an explanation. She’d raised herself
up on her knees to hand him the book, and now seemed to tower over him without
meaning to, her high ponytail only making her look more austere. His mouth
“It’s a compliment to your attention to detail, Watson. You
noticed a flaw when I didn’t. This,” he closed the book with a snap, “only corroborates
Pursing her lips, Watson reached behind her to retrieve her
phone, then settled back on her heels to type something into Google no doubt.
As she typed, she settled more between him and the back of the couch, lifting
and then resting her feet flat on the other side of his calves. Her feet were
bare, and likely freezing. As she scrolled, Sherlock reached forward and caught
the edge of the duvet, pulling it over both of them. Out of the corner of his
eye he caught Watson’s smile.
“When was that book published?” she said, not taking her
eyes off her phone.
“2014,” he said, tucking one edge of the duvet under his
thigh in a motion he hoped Watson didn’t notice. A few seconds of silence
passed, before Watson thrust her phone in his face this time.
“Read this. The murder we solved happened in 2009. Proves
the science hadn’t yet caught up to prove Houser’s innocence.”
Sherlock dutifully read, drawing his brows close together as
he focused on the words. Watson was moving around again, this time leaning to
her left to pry the second book Sherlock had retrieved from between his arm and
the back of the couch. He barely shifted to accommodate her, so she had to lean
over to pull the book out. Her calf brushed his knee and lower thigh with her
movement, though he pretended that did not cause him to lose his place in his
“This is a book on traditional Chinese medicine,” Watson
announced, holding the book with one hand and pulling the duvet closer to her
with the other. Unconsciously, her ankles pushed back against his left calf as
she settled in.
That did cause him to lose his place. But he did not look up
from Watson’s phone. “I hadn’t noticed,” he said, keeping his expression his
stiff version of neutral.
“This has nothing to do with proving Houser’s innocence. When
did you buy this?” she said, not looking up as she flipped to the book’s table
He mirrored her and kept his eyes resolutely on the words in
front of him, though not a word registered. “While I was in London. It proved
useful on a case. And before you ask, Watson, it had nothing to do with corroborating
your claims about Chinese herbs’ abilities to contribute to longer-lasting, more vasodilated erections.”
He looked up to find
he had not mistaken the laughter in the two syllables of his name. Watson’s
eyes were still hard but she was all but smirking at him.
“You know you’re a
horrible liar,” she said, looking back to the book and turning to the first
“You think I was
trying to cause myself more vasodilated erections?” he asked, blinking once at
her. She lifted her chin without looking away from the page, her smile growing.
“You bought this
book because of me. After I moved back in. I know you did,” she stated.
“Then why did you
ask me when I bought it,” he said, no feigned question in his voice this time.
She finally looked
back up at him, her expression unchanging even at the sight of his frown. “To
prove how horrible a liar you are,” she said.
He simply looked at
her, his frown deepening.
“You can’t keep your
eyes still when you lie,” she added, tilting her head towards him, her stare
“I was reading,” he
said, holding up her phone. She shook her head once.
“Still lying.” And
she returned to her own reading, becoming fully engrossed within seconds, her
glasses sliding a bit further down her nose.
Sherlock gave her a
glare which she did not return, and looked back to the article she had given
him. The screen lit up and he found his place again, his scowl disappearing as
the old case once again took over his thoughts.
By the time he had
finished reading the article, Watson had more fully relaxed into the couch and
into…him. Her bent knees were now resting over his thighs, and she had the book
pulled closer toward her chest, likely to see better in the dim light.
Watson’s phone and was about to readjust himself when he made a realization.
Watson was not seeing anything in the dim light—her eyes were closed. Her head
was inches from resting on his arm, propped up on her hand instead, the book nearly
closed in the lax fingers of her right hand. Her glasses were now on the very
tip of her nose, inviting Sherlock to take them completely off, but he
By the rate of her
breathing he knew she was likely only dozing. Watson could doze anywhere, he’d
found. This was the first time she had chosen to do so on top of him, however.
whispered, her name almost coming out a hiss. She didn’t stir. He became more
aware of her weight on him, the way her loosening ponytail had caused her face
to turn downward in sleep. He reached in with his left hand and carefully pried
the book from her loose grip. She still didn’t stir.
repeated, changing to a stage whisper. He tapped the book against her right arm
that was within easy reach. “I can’t feel my legs, Watson,” he said, strangely
hesitant to raise his voice further. It had been far too long since he’d seen
Watson’s freckles so up close.
She only sighed in
her sleep. Sherlock dared not take any deep breaths, and so to distract himself
looked at the book in his hands to see where Watson had left off. The memory of
her smile when she had discovered the book kept him reading, and also kept his
fidgeting to a minimum as he let her sleep on.
“I wish people wouldn’t just see me as the Asian girl who beats everyone up, or the Asian girl with no emotion. People see Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock in a romantic comedy, but not me. You add race to it, and it became, ‘Well, she’s too Asian’, or, ‘She’s too American’. I kind of got pushed out of both categories. It’s a very strange place to be. You’re not Asian enough and then you’re not American enough, so it gets really frustrating.”
The Talbott referenced is the murder victim in 1x04. He died of a heroin overdose.
Sherlock came back from his meeting sometime near 10pm,
after picking up some Thai take away for both him and Watson. He was surprised
to see the library windows dark when he came upon the brownstone, and stepped
inside with cautious, soft steps.
The fire was dying in the grate, and he immediately noticed
Watson had pulled the red couch closer to it to utilize its warmth. But that
must’ve been well over an hour ago, judging from the embers barely glowing now.
Rounding the couch, he saw the floor still littered with the
case file she’d begun the night before, papers and photographs spread in an
organized chaos that only he and Watson could decipher. But in this light it
was impossible to tell what conclusions his partner had made.
Setting the take away on a side table, Sherlock stepped
closer to study Watson’s sleeping form. He could only see her forehead and the
bridge of her nose, beneath the cascade of her loose dark hair, now tangled
beneath her left hand she’d tucked under her head. She had curled herself in
the fetal position, the chill in the room attesting to the necessity of
conserving heat. The rest of her was covered securely by the duvet. She’d even
tucked the duvet underneath her arm and knee that touched the cushions as
further barrier against the cold. Against his will, his mouth twisted with
His eyes were drawn away from her tightly curled form by the
vibration and light from Watson’s phone—he silently gave thanks to Watson’s
past self for putting it on vibrate, and himself for keeping his own phone on silent
from the meeting. He’d checked his phone constantly while waiting for their
Thai dinner, but now he knew why Watson had been remiss in contacting him about
Watson’s phone was on the floor right in front of her,
conveniently face up so Sherlock only had to tilt his head a bit to read the
text that had come in. It was from Marcus.
Found perp @sister’s
like u said. Cpt calling it a night. wants u there for intergtn tmrw @8
There was a thumbs up emoji at the end of the last
statement, brown in color to match Marcus’s skin. Sherlock took it to mean “Good
job” or something of the sort. The detective had never sent him an emoji.
Sherlock crinkled his nose in displeasure, resolving to send
Marcus plenty of emojis the next time texting became necessary between them.
Maybe he would include that poop emoji just to annoy him.
Looking away from Watson’s phone just as it went dark again,
Sherlock slowly knelt down to look over the contents of the case file Watson
had put out. That she had fallen asleep with everything still spread in her
complex mosaic told him she had been waiting for Marcus’s reply before cleaning
up for the night.
He took out his own smartphone and turned on the flashlight
to see better, careful to keep the beam pointed away from Watson. It only took
him seconds to discern her train of thought, how she’d come to the conclusion
of the murderer’s whereabouts. It would have taken days for the police to
conclude what she had in less than twenty-four hours. He knew for a fact she
had slept less than five of those hours, the case having come to them late the
night before, and she the first to be at the scene with Marcus and the Captain.
When she had brought the case back to the brownstone, her
hesitancy around him had been immediately evident. It didn’t take long for
Sherlock to learn why. The murderer was a drug dealer that Sherlock was very
familiar with, from his months in New York before rehab, and the murder weapons
had been several syringes containing heroin forcefully inserted into the victim.
But unlike the Talbott murder from over four years ago, this case hit too close
to home. Sherlock had attended three meetings since that conversation between
him and Watson took place, leaving the case entirely to her and their
colleagues at the precinct.
Turning off the smartphone’s flashlight, Sherlock began to
clean up as quietly as he could, moving all the papers into a neat pile. After
setting the file aside in the lock room, he came back to build up the fire,
seeing Watson still sound asleep.
After the fire began crackling merrily before him, Sherlock
settled back on his heels, and looked again to Watson. She had shifted in her
sleep, and now had her torso twisted so her shoulders lay parallel to the
couch, but her knees were still bent to the side. He could barely discern her profile,
her head turned mostly away from him, both her hands cast on top of the duvet
over her stomach. She still wore her day clothes, her blouse half-unbuttoned,
one bra strap now revealed by her movements.
Sherlock debated whether he should try to pull the duvet
back up to her chin, but studying the position of her arms decided against it.
He didn’t want to risk waking her. Getting to his feet, he went to move past
the couch to retrieve his dinner and eat alone in the kitchen. But his last glance
at Watson’s profile made him stop next to her, the glance turning into an
unintentional focus on the events of the day, and Watson’s role in them.
Before he could analyze his actions, he reached down and
allowed his fingers the barest brush against the loose tendrils of hair around
“I don’t deserve you,” he breathed, his lungs suddenly
feeling tight inside his ribcage, something about the faded freckles on Watson’s
cheeks and the small wrinkles at the edge of her closed eyes pulling the words
out of him. His fingers strayed to almost touch her cheek, but then a log
snapped in the fireplace and the moment was broken. Sherlock took his hand away,
clenching it in a fist, and continued down to the kitchen.
Approximately four hours later, Joan woke up to a decent
sized fire in the grate before her, the case file gone, and an extra blanket
neatly folded at her feet. Disoriented, she blindly groped for her phone to
check the time. 2:28. Then how was the fire—?
Sherlock. Half raising herself on one elbow, Joan looked
around the dark library, but saw no one. Her mind was still half filled with
her recent dreams, and she was confused to feel disappointment rising in her
chest that he wasn’t there. He had appeared so close in her dream, she had
expected him to be standing over her when she opened her eyes.
Shaking her head, Joan looked back at her phone and noticed
Marcus’s text. A wide grin spread across her face.
If you don’t do your homework, you don’t get recess, so the
new kid hasn’t had recess since he transferred because he had stood up on his
second day in class and announced that homework was “busywork assigned by
lazy-minded adults to break the spirits of children and make us as dull as
When Ms. Hudson pulls Joan aside to assign Sherlock as Joan’s
new study buddy, the teacher just sighs. “Do the best you can. You’re the only
student we trust not to be distracted by him.”
Two weeks later, no one’s particular surprised when Johnny
the hall monitor catches Sherlock into the principal’s office. The fact that
Joan was the one picking the lock is a bit more alarming. When the assistant
principal presses her on why, Joan kicks her feet against the chair and raises
her little chin. “We’re investigating alleged wrongdoing,” she says, pronouncing
‘alleged’ the exact way you would if you’d only ever seen the word written
“What, kids?” says Assistant Principle Gregson wearily. “Someone
stole your gum in class? Teacher took your pencil and never gave it back?”
“The principal is embezzling money from our afterschool
programs and using the funds to pay off her debts with a local drug lord,”
“Oh,” says Assistant Principal Gregson.
Joan leans forward in her chair, and Assistant Principal has
seen her win just about every academic award the county can offer a second
grader, but he’s never seen her look as keen as she does now. “Ah-leg-ed-ly,”
Joan says. “We thought the office maybe would have proof.”
The office does, in fact, have proof, which is the only
reason that neither of them get in trouble. The same can’t be said for the
principal. The same day that the police come into the school to arrest him,
Sherlock for the first time gets to go out for recess. He and Joan had done
their homework together the night before, in a blanket fort in her basement.
Joan wouldn’t let Sherlock tell her about the suspicious death of the neighbor
down his street until he finished his spelling. Ms. Hudson, in an attempt to
encourage Sherlock to do literally any homework, was letting the two of them
pick whichever words they wanted to study.
With a purple pen, Ms. Hudson adds another s to asault,
crosses out the extra r in murrder, and wrote Well done! across the top of his worksheet. Out on the playground,
Joan and Sherlock crouch beneath the jungle gym and listen to a sixth grader
describe the circumstances of his missing backpack.
Joan’s clicking heels preceded her as she walked toward the
library, so she knew Sherlock wouldn’t be surprised by her approach. It was 2am
and they’d been on this case without any real sleep for over 30 hours. Sherlock
likely hadn’t slept for 48, and he was beginning to have delayed reactions to
everything she said or did. She’d had to forcefully take his fifth cup of
coffee out of his hands and tell him to take a nap about six hours ago. He’d
slept for 45 minutes.
The case was a triple murder, with severed limbs involved
and a partner to the murderer they couldn’t trace. Still at large. She had been
spending the last couple hours online looking for clues the partner may have
left behind on social media, and was coming to deliver her findings to
Instead of finding him poring over the photos from the case
file as she’d left him, she saw him crouched cross-legged on the floor over a
crime scene model of his own making. That in itself was nothing new. It was
the…contents of the model that gave her pause.
“Are those my gingerbread cookies?” she said,
stopping next to him, her eyes going from the mismatched crime scene model to
his fatigued yet determined expression.
“Yes,” he said, his tone clipped with tired
irritation. She stood patiently, waiting for him to elaborate. He glanced up to
her raised eyebrows and finally continued with a brief sigh. “I needed
models for the severed limbs, and I did not feel inclined to permanently damage
our dollhouse victims.”
“Ah, I see.” She had to hold back her smile,
knowing if she didn’t he’d be able to hear it in her voice and only become more
“The gingerbread people are very serious,
Watson!” he exclaimed suddenly, punctuating his words with sharp stabbing
motions of his hands toward the miniature crime scene before him. “I need
to know the placement of each limb to better determine how the accomplice moved
through the house.”
“I didn’t say anything,” she said, turning away to
settle on the couch so he wouldn’t see her smirk.
When she turned back to look at him, preparing to deliver
her findings, he was holding an intact gingerbread cookie out to her. She took
it with a smile that he barely looked at—his mind still nearly entirely absorbed
by the case—but she noticed in the tin next to him there were only three
gingerbread cookies left. She had made eight times that number only