Verse: Sherlock BBC fusion
Word Count: 22,582
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock/Irene (offscreen), John/Sherlock (pre)
Summary: John never would've suspected that there creatures out there in the world if he hadn't been shot. Of course, he never would've thought that knowing about those creatures would get him accused of murder either. And no one, absolutely no one, would ever have expected the Seer named Sherlock Holmes .
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3
A/N: This work was due to be posted for the holmes_big_bang on the 2nd, but I had a family emergency that pulled me out of town and away from my computer for the last week. My beloved artconserv and the mods let me get away with murder and push back my posting date. They were amazing, beautiful people to do this for me, taking a huge burden off my shoulders so I didn't have to worry while I tended to my family. Really, they should be fussed over in the extreme. I wouldn't have had anywhere near the patience if I'd been artconserv considering just how spectacular her art is, I would've demanded it be seen immediately. Go HERE, and make the biggest fuss that ever fussed, it's stunning, and striking, and perfect.
John never would've suspected that there creatures out there in the world if he hadn't been shot.
Even then, John probably would've found a way not to notice them if Murray hadn't sprouted bloody wings while he was pulling John's broken body behind a bombed out wall in the middle of Afghanistan.
John stared at the wings for a moment, then – because if John was going to die, he was going to die as British as possible – he just quirked an eyebrow and grunted, "I thought you chaps were supposed to have feathers?"
Because the wings were not feathered. Definitely not. They were thin and translucent, bug-like. There was a particular word for that kind of material that John vaguely recalled from a secondary school biology class, but John thought he could be forgiven for forgetting it since he was bleeding from a shoulder wound that would most likely kill him in the next few minutes. Murray gave a hysteric sort of giggle in reply, the kind that came when you couldn't properly breathe and it was either giggle or break down into sobs. "Not an angel, Doc."
"No? 'Cause I don't know if you've noticed this mate, but you've got wings."
Murray snorted out another laugh, and pressed his hands harder against the hole spidering out from the tip of John's collarbone. "I'm a Faerie, you daft sod."
John bit out a laugh that devolved into a sob when Murray increased the pressure to stop the spurts of blood that were slipping their way out between his fingers. John had been about to tease Murray about knowing that already, since not two weeks ago he'd walked in on Murray snogging a bloke from the Australian Special Forces in the field hospital's supply closet. But it was surprisingly difficult to mock when he couldn't breathe anymore.
Murray's wings fluttered in the air behind him, a hum of panic that he was trying to hide but couldn't quite manage. John thought that that was odd; Murray was usually the epitome of calm. John tried to reach up and pat Murray's hand, to tell him to take a deep breath because panic wasn't going to help anybody, but instead his arm just twitched, and he gurgled from the effort of trying to move. 'Ah,' John thought to himself, 'that would be why he's panicking then.'
"Doc!" Murray snapped, and John opened his eyes without realizing that he'd closed them. "Doc, they're not gonna be here in time."
John did his best to fix Murray with a look that said, 'you're not supposed to tell a patient on the battlefield that they're dying.'
Murray knew John well enough to know that look and said, "I can save you. It'll still be a hell of a wound, but it won't kill you."
Again, John refrained from wasting what little breath he had left on speaking and instead gave Murray an eyebrow quirk that he knew meant, 'Then why in the hell aren't you doing it?'
Murray let out another breathless sort of laugh replied, "It'll change things for you, Doc. You shouldn't be able to see my wings; I shouldn't be showing them to you. But if I go through with this, you can't go back to that. Can't go back to not seeing my wings. You'll see everybody's wings. Or their flippers. Or their magic. You won't be straight up human anymore, Doc."
John gave Murray the steadiest look he could and croaked out, "Won't be dead."
Murray gave John as steady a nod as he could while still being mostly terrified and pressed all his weight onto his palms spread across John's wound. Murray froze for a moment, then closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath, just the way John had taught him to when he was terrified but a patient needed him. Murray's wings stretched out behind him, a steady straight line that showed he was ready. When Murray opened his eyes John couldn't quite bring himself to be surprised that they were glowing.
Of course, all higher thought and analysis of the situation fled at the blinding rush of pain that came from having his shoulder bound back together by a power his body knew nothing about, and John slipped into unconsciousness.
Now, as John sat here, staring at the walls of the tiny room they'd stuck him in, vaguely listening to a young Sergeant tell him how she couldn't believe a doctor of all people would've murdered his patient, he thought that if this was how he was going to spend the next twenty years of his life he should've let Murray leave him to die instead.
Sherlock Holmes swept into the West London clinic with no thought for the police roaming haphazardly through the place, the useless lot of them obviously not looking too devoutly for the wealth of information that Sherlock could see scattered all over the building. Lestrade had texted Sherlock despite being already quite sure of his murderer, only wanting Sherlock's affirmation because the murderer in question had been particularly convincing about his innocence. If the evidence was clear enough that even this lot could understand it, then the whole affair was a waste of Sherlock's time and abilities, for which Sherlock was not amused and he planned on retaliating by making one of the lesser investigators cry before the night was out.
However, Sherlock took a quick look around the upscale clinic and saw one of the useless PCs escorting one of the clinic's many aides towards the exit now that she'd been thoroughly interviewed and all contact information obtained. The woman was obviously considered a witness to something judging by the wretchedly runny state of her mascara from fake tears and the smell of excitement pouring off her when Sherlock bumped into her.
But, more importantly, she was a Nymph. (Specifically nymphae naiades oceanides, presumably of the districtes species native to the Lake District of England, judging by the healthy solid line of blue scales arching across her cheek bones and down the column of her throat. If she had been native to the Thames then her scales would have likely been a dirty shade of green and present in a far narrower strip. And a Thames species was unlikely to be present at a clinic in this particular neighborhood.)
The officer, of course, had no idea about the Faerie Folk status of his useless witness, because no one on Lestrade's team had any of the Folk blood in them. Which meant that every last one of these useless investigators was seeing a lovely young woman with bright blue eyes (though they probably missed the eyes in favor of the breasts), and not an Oceanid.
With that in mind, Sherlock took in the careful selection of paintings that lined the walls, colors a touch too vibrant to be done by human hands, and the wards he could see humming along at all the doors and windows and knew this was a clinic for the Folk.
Which meant that there was a chance this case was potentially far more interesting than Lestrade's incompetence. Which Sherlock needed. He was getting bored of the increasingly simple cases that Lestrade called him out to consult on, like Sherlock was someone to be employed when a case got too hard for them rather than when it might be interesting to Sherlock. (He didn't like to listen to Irene's concerns about Lestrade, but the more mundane the cases the more Sherlock suspected her concerns about the restraints of the police force might be legitimate.)
But this, this seemed interesting.
Sherlock traced the ward laced around the outer edge of the clinic, tugging off one leather glove to run his fingers along the wall, getting a feel for the density and strength of the spells that they had protecting the clinic from the outside. He could sense the standard spells to protect the building from attack and disaster, extra protections on those inside the building, and some of the more unique medical wards that protected those inside each room from the spread of a disease that wasn't the one they had brought in with them, which would keep the patients from leaving more ill than they came and the healthy from getting sick at all. The wards surrounding the back entrance were undisturbed, and the windows were spelled to shriek when they were opened, meaning that whoever had committed the murder had either come in through the front door, or was very, very good. (Sherlock would have to check the monitoring spells the clinic had laced to their 'cameras' to be sure which.)
Lestrade came storming down the hall after Sherlock, irritation evident in every line of his stomp. "Sherlock, you're not supposed to go roaming around the scene on your own!"
Sherlock rolled his eyes at Lestrade's utter lack of common sense at the persistent assumption that Sherlock would ever go anywhere that Lestrade told him to. Sherlock pointed to the back door and replied, "No signs of forced entry. Your murderer likely came in the front door."
Lestrade actually had the gall to snort at Sherlock for that, replying, "We knew that one, Sherlock. We're not idiots. I called you in because I'm doing my due diligence and the murderer seemed a little too sincere for my tastes." Sherlock was ready to snap that there were so many things wrong with Lestrade's sentence that he didn't even know where to begin, starting with the fact that Lestrade contended he wasn't a fool but still felt the need to call in Sherlock to check on his work. Before Sherlock could snap off his reasons and storm out of the building, Lestrade headed down the hall in the direction of the crime scene.
Sherlock shoved his hands further into his pockets, utterly unmoved by Lestrade's little temper tantrum, and followed after him. He was more than willing to let the comments sit for a few minutes until he pointed out some Folk-related piece of evidence that changed the whole team's entire construction of the case. Lestrade would automatically think back to this moment and be embarrassed that he'd said they're weren't idiots. Just like what happened every time Lestrade tried to defend the intelligence of his team in comparison to Sherlock.
The crime scene in question was one of the clinic rooms, standard plastic waiting table with the horrid roll of crinkly paper spread out over the surface, a small suspension desk tucked into the corner with a computer above attached to a hinge so the doctor could twist it around to face the patient on the table, or to the two, mass-produced chairs lurking in the far corner beside a table of terrible, yet surprisingly in date, magazines. The singular window was tall and narrow, letting in natural light in the office's attempt to appear 'homey', but had no marks indicating that its solid, un-opening panes had been tampered with in any way. The carpet was high priced but short, and currently doing its best to avoid soaking up any of the blood that had been split by the corpse on the floor.
The murder victim was male, mid-sixties, having fallen with his back to the door and his pants around his ankles. He'd been in the midst of changing out of his medical gown and back into his three-piece suit when someone had surprised him from behind, strangling him with a plastic tourniquet. The body had been disturbed, turned over by someone to check for a pulse in an attempt to carry out CPR. In the garbage bin were several plastic tips from the office's thermometer and several wooden tabs from checking the throats of various patients, as well as the powdered residue of a the murdered weapon already taken from the trash and added to evidence.
Lestrade saw where Sherlock was looking and gestured to one of the techs standing terrified at the door for the evidence bag in question. The murder weapon was stretched at the ends, pulled apart by the tension needed to strangle a man. Sherlock could see the occasional smudge of a fingerprint in the dust lining the strip, and assumed there would be skin cells imbedded in the tears.
Anderson couldn't take the wait anymore and sprawled up against the door frame like he was the hero on one of the science fiction television shows that Irene's secretary was so fond of watching when she was irritated by Sherlock's presence. "The fingerprints match our murder suspect." Anderson sneered, like he should be praised for doing his job properly for once.
Sherlock was bored, and so didn't bother restraining himself; "I should certainly hope your suspect has their fingerprints on the murder weapon."
Before Anderson could snap back, Lestrade interrupted, "Fingerprints on the weapon, trace of the same kind of plastic found in the victim's neck, and the nurse said that the murderer never left the room."
"But the murderer is contending that he left the room to allow his patient the chance to change in private before returning to discuss his illness and finding the victim dead," Sherlock postulated.
"Yup. The nurse says she was at the desk outside the entire time, and didn't hear anything from the room until the doctor started calling for help. She came in, found our vic on the floor as you see him and the suspect administering mouth to mouth."
Sherlock 'hmmed,' then replied, "I'll have to see the murderer, of course."
Anderson snorted, "His confession is almost as useless as you are on this case."
Sherlock blew past Anderson, snapping "Not quite so useless as those blue pills you're taking, Anderson," in reply. Sherlock didn't need Lestrade to point him in the direction of the doctor's room where they had the suspect waiting; he could already hear Donovan scolding the man from here. (And really, to inflict Donovan on the man as his keeper was cruel punishment for anyone, even a murderer.)
Lestrade tried to grab Sherlock by the arm and stop him, to explain all the evidence that they had (like Sherlock might've missed any of it), to make sure that Sherlock was fully prepared when he went in to deal with this terrible killer who hadn't uttered a word the entire time Donovan had been telling him what deserved to happen to scum like him, who killed decent upstanding members of the community. Sherlock snorted that once again Donovan could have all the evidence laid out before her and still come to the wrong conclusion.
Their victim was an Ogre who'd taken great pains to keep his nature concealed at all times, obvious in the square nose and squinted eyebrows. The fact that he hadn't reverted to his true shape to Sherlock's eyes, even after death, meant that he'd been the subject of some particularly complicated spells in the effort to keep his true self hidden from his wife. The wife whom he regularly beat and treated with fertility potions in the attempt to get a part-human heir out of her.
As it was, Lestrade was obviously ready to scold Sherlock for all the terrible things he could possibly say, but Sherlock wasn't in the mood to endure Lestrade's fussing. Sherlock was bored with the pile of evidence and the utter lack of purpose to his presence here. Lestrade just wanted to satisfy his own conscience and had dragged Sherlock into one of the easier cases on record because he wanted heartless Sherlock to be the one to tell his suspect that he was going to prison for the rest of his life rather than have to do it himself. So he ignored Lestrade's grip and tossed open the waiting room door, only to be slammed into by his latent gift.
Which was… unexpected.
Sherlock kept unstinting control over his own Folk affliction, the cursed extra ability that came with his Fae blood and got in the way of his observations by making absolutely no rational sense. The gift hadn't stormed over the top of his mental blocks since the last time Sherlock relapsed, and the power was so pent up that it was beyond Sherlock's ability to cast aside, no matter how much he preferred to.
Sherlock's vision whited out for a split second before coming back into focus on the accused doctor before him. The world surrounding Sherlock was clean and defined in the way that he had grown accustomed to seeing only when high. He looked at the downtrodden Doctor, the man who all the evidence said was actually a cold-blooded killer. Sherlock's Sight agreed that the man was not nearly so harmless as he looked, but he was no killer. In fact, the man was so overwhelmingly innocent that Sherlock's gift had reared up its ugly head from Sherlock's subconscious and forced him to know it with all the certainty that came with having the Sight.
Contrary to Sherlock's most devout wish, Lestrade was neither a genius nor an idiot, and either would have been better than the semi-sense of awareness that kept him just clever enough to get in Sherlock's way but not smart enough to be of any use. Which meant that Lestrade was aware enough to know that Sherlock knew something, but not clever enough to know what it was. At least, he wasn't clever enough to know for certain, but Lestrade took one look at Sherlock and slouched against the wall beside him, murmuring, "Well, damn."
"Be grateful, Lestrade. This case just got interesting."
"I don't want an interesting case, Sherlock. I wanted a case where everything got wrapped up in one day without you bounding about the city doing terrible things to my blood pressure."
Donovan pounced to her feet before Sherlock even made it through the door and demanded, "What are you doing here freak? You're not wanted here." Sherlock dragged a long look down Donovan's front, slow enough that she shifted in her coat and pulled it tighter across her front like Sherlock was actually running his fingers over her skin. She snapped, "What are you doing?"
"Considering your taste in men Donovan, I consider it a compliment that you don't want me."
"I can't imagine anyone who could be simultaneously attracted to both Anderson and myself at the same time." Donovan had just enough time to draw a breath before Sherlock continued, "Of course, your attraction to Anderson has nothing to do with his own personality and everything to do with how your father was prone to cheat on your mother and in your effort to be as unlike her as possible you've become the one who does the cheating rather than the being cheated upon."
Donovan lunged forward to wrap her hands around Sherlock's throat, but Lestrade grabbed her by the shoulders and with a sharp whisper send her down the hall with orders to go check on the witnesses. Sherlock ignored the byplay between them, certain that Lestrade would handle his subordinate because no matter how much Lestrade wished Sherlock would take the first steps to making peace between them, he knew there was no way it was going to happen and the least Sherlock could do was defend himself. No, Sherlock's attention was off them and was on the doctor, who so obviously wanted to scold Sherlock for his harshness in dealing with Donovan, but couldn't quite summon up the will to care about her mistreatment when she'd spent the better part of the last twenty minutes being told he was a murderer.
Lestrade closed the door behind Donovan and paused for a moment to rest his forehead against the wood before he turned around and asked, "You really couldn't let it slide, just this once?"
"I'll be happy to let it slide the moment she does. Now, are you here to scold me for the lack of interpersonal skill that you knew I possessed when you called me, or would you like to progress to the reason that I'm here?"
Lestrade muttered something under his breath that Sherlock was content to ignore while he sat down in front of the doctor who was watching them both like he was unsure about whether or not he was allowed to laugh. "Afghanistan or Iraq?"
The doctor suddenly found the situation not quite as funny. "What?"
"Your tan lines indicate that you've been someplace with the sun, but not sunbathing. The lines were deep when you returned to London, too deep for your complexion to have picked up over one vacation. So, an extended amount of time in exceptionally harsh sunlight, but they've faded too much for you to be on leave. So, extended time in the sun, but not sunbathing, added to the very special requirements for working at this particular clinic, and that means Afghanistan or Iraq."
The doctor stifled a start at Sherlock's announcement about the clinic, and he fixed Sherlock with the sort of studious glare that meant he was wondering what he'd missed in his initial scan of both Sherlock and Lestrade for elements of the Folk. The little human would see nothing on either of them, but Sherlock's knowledge would lead him to guess that Sherlock was just another human lacking in the veil between him and magic, a presumption that Sherlock was content with.
Of course, rather than leave Sherlock to handle the questioning, Lestrade had to butt in and ask, "What's so special about this clinic, Sherlock?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes and replied, "Mycroft."
"My- you mean your bloody brother?"
Sherlock simply 'hmm-ed' and let Lestrade leap to his own conclusions about Mycroft's association with the clinic, but paused at how the doctor's eye's widened at the statement about Sherlock's family connections. "Ah, Mycroft hired you then."
"Hired isn't exactly the way I'd put it."
Sherlock flicked his gaze over the doctor again, taking in his stiffly folded arms and the determined set to his jaw to fight out his fate and replied, "You're not the kind of man to succumb to blackmail, so I assume he prevailed upon your sense of patriotism. That somehow removing yourself back to London would better serve your country and your fellow soldiers than actually being in the field."
The man snorted, "His secretary actually."
Sherlock gave a small tick of a smile, "She can be quite persuasive."
"Stop!" Lestrade shouted, waiving his arms to try and get them to cease speaking long enough that he could demand that they let him catch up. "What in the hell are you two talking about?"
"Do keep up, Lestrade. Your supposed murderer-"
"John Watson," the man interrupted.
Sherlock rolled his eyes, but continued, "John was a surgeon for Her Majesty's Royal Army until he was wounded in action. He was given the option to return to the war, but tragically enough for him he caught Mycroft's attention and was conscripted to this clinic. Which is another detail that renders his status as your strangler completely impossible."
Lestrade sighed and looked down at the ground, desperate to let the whole thing go without any probing questions, but he had to ask, "What in the hell are you talking about, Sherlock?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes, "Your victim was killed by strangulation-"
"With this man's prints on the murder weapon." Lestrade interrupted, catching the way John's eyes widened in honest surprise at that detail.
"Yes, but there are no traces of the murder weapon on him." Lestrade furrowed his brow and Sherlock grumbled about idiots before plowing on, "Look at his hands! There was powder on the surface of the tourniquet to prevent it from sticking. Powder which was present on the victim's neck, and present in the garbage can where the murder weapon was so carelessly and obviously thrown away. However there is no powder on John's hands."
"He could've washed it off." Lestrade shrugged.
"And yet, there was no powder on the victim's chest where John was found doing compressions by your witness who places him at the crime. Neither were there any watermarks on the victim's silk shirt from freshly washed hands, nor any paper towels in that same obvious garbage can to suggest that he'd dried his hands off after washing them. As for your witness, the first thing she did after calling the police was to post on Twitter that there'd been a murder at her office. Her Facebook page was similarly updated, and her phone history shows that she was examining photos of an ex-girlfriend with her new lover at the time when John supposedly never left the room."
"How did you-?" Lestrade asked, only to stop with a sigh when Sherlock pulled a yellow phone out of his pocket. "Sherlock, you can't just lift things from a witness's pocket."
"You neglected to examine her phone Lestrade, someone had to do it. Besides, it will add nicely to the excitement of her day, and the drama of being able to tell people that her phone was stolen will please her more than the irritation of having to retrieve it from Scotland Yard. Coincidently it was that same penchant for drama that got her dumped by the aforementioned ex-girlfriend."
"Brilliant." John accidentally interrupted, staring up at Sherlock in stunned disbelief. Silence hung in the room for a moment and John blushed a charming shade of pink at saying his praises out loud.
Sherlock puffed up ever so slightly but pressed on, "The lack of trace evidence on your murderer, coupled with the fact that your star witness in unreliable in the extreme, you have Mycroft, who keeps detailed records about the psychological profiles of all his employees, Lestrade. If someone has the penchant to snap and sell state secrets Mycroft likes to be warned beforehand."
Lestrade just stared at Sherlock for a moment before he muttered, "You want me to let him go."
Sherlock just quirked an eyebrow like that was the stupidest question he'd ever heard. "He's the only person who's going to know who went to such trouble to so thoroughly accuse a doctor of murdering one of his own patients."
"Sherlock," Lestrade groaned, "right now every last shred of evidence that those techs have brought me points to him as the murderer. All I've got against it is you saying so."
Sherlock stood up and flicked closed his jacket, doing up the buttons while he murmured, "It's entirely up to you Lestrade. If you're comfortable sending an innocent man to prison knowing full well that I've never been wrong about this kind of thing before--"
"Alright!" Lestrade snapped. "But I can't just let you run off with him, Sherlock."
Sherlock just snorted, "Please, Lestrade. Seventy-two hours and I'll have him and all the pertinent evidence proving him innocent back in your hands."
"Seventy-two? Sherlock you've got a day."
"Lestrade, you forget that not all of us have cars that light up and clear the way through London traffic. Forty-eight at least. Especially considering all the time other people spend sleeping."
Lestrade sighed and muttered obscenities under his breath before waiving Sherlock and the doctor towards the back door. "Fine Sherlock, but get the hell out of here before the others realize that I've let you go."
Sherlock slipped past Lestrade, not bothering to waste any time telling John to come along, and it was Lestrade who tipped his head towards Sherlock's retreating back and explained to the stunned doctor, "Go with him. If you try and escape he'll get pissed enough to capture you for proving him wrong about you and he'll do a hell of a lot worse than any of us would've done."
The doctor slipped past Lestrade in turn and replied, "Forty-eight hours and you'll know I didn't do it. No running away."
The doctor dashed out the door and after the man in the billowing coat who didn't seem to care at all that he'd just convinced a DI to release a supposed murderer on his own recognizance. John caught up to him just outside the door and muttered, "I get the feeling that you usually don't convince DIs to let murderers go."
"No. Often I put murderers in prison. You, however, are no murderer and your case is interesting, meaning I'll keep you out."
"So, are you saying that if my case wasn't interesting then you'd leave me in prison?"
"Wrongly accused people rarely have uninteresting cases." Sherlock replied, drolly.
"Well, that didn't answer my question at all. And how did you know about… the clinic?"
"Surely you didn't think you're the only person who's lost the veil that blocks out magic?"
"Is that how you knew all those things about the girl, and about me?" John asked hesitantly.
Sherlock stiffened at the accusation, "My ability to see the presence of magic is no different than yours, though undoubtedly far more refined, and it hasn't granted you any more observational skills than the average idiot."
John held up his hands placatingly, "I haven't met any other humans who're missing their veil, Sherlock. I don't have the data to know the difference."
Sherlock caught the slightly teasing note to John's voice and unclenched, putting aside his irritation at the automatic assumption so many had that Sherlock's deductions were the product of his Fae blood rather than his own thoughts, though there was no way John could know about the Sight. So instead of telling John everything he knew about the man's masturbatory habits, he explained, "Her phone. It was the latest model, but not well tended. She buys the latest in technology not because she needs it, or wants it, but because she wants to be seen having it. That means appearances are very important to her, being regarded well is very important to her. Where is it the people go to get seen today? The internet. Simple. From there it's easy. She's devoted to the internet but her computer screen is clearly visible to most of the room, that means she needs to do her surfing on her phone. I took her phone and checked the login history on the most likely apps."
"But how did you know about the ex-girlfriend?"
Sherlock paused and quickly replied, "That's the page her Facebook app opened up to."
John fell behind Sherlock half a step, unprepared for both the laundry list of details and the admission that he'd stumbled across something. John trotted for a moment to catch up and replied, "That. was. amazing."
Sherlock stuttered for a step after that, trying to pretend like he hadn't been thrown by the announcement and replied, "That's not what people usually say."
"Why? What do they usually say?"
John giggled at that, the sound of a little boy who was unsure whether or not he was allowed to laugh in this situation but unable to contain himself, and for the first time in more cases than even Sherlock could remember, he cracked an actual smile in reply. They stayed together, side by side keeping pace on their way to wherever it was that Sherlock was leading them. Together they made their way east in a cab through the city, both rather comfortable in the other's presence and neither really feeling the need to ramble to fill the silence.
Eventually they made their way to a small restaurant just off Northumberland, a little Italian place that had never crossed John's radar at any time he'd been in the city. Sherlock tossed open the door and waived John over to a bench beside the front window, ignoring the way John paused on the threshold to stare for a moment. Every employee in the store and half the restaurant's patrons were Folk. Sherlock smirked a little when John seemed to freeze, but he quickly got himself under control and slipped into the bench across from Sherlock. John rolled his eyes at the smirk on Sherlock's face and replied, "You could've warned me, you know."
"Given the amount of time you've been able to see the Folk you shouldn't need warning."
John leaned forward, elbows on the table and replied, "How did you know I could see?"
"You're a human working at one of the most exclusive Folk clinics in London." Sherlock replied like it was completely obvious.
"Yeah, but I might just be the token human on staff."
"The Folk don't care about token anyone. In fact, most of us find your species dreadfully dull and utterly incompetent."
John smirked, "So your disdain of people comes from being Folk, then? I can't see any magic on you."
"Have you encountered anyone who isn't entirely human that you haven't seen traces of Folk on?" Sherlock replied snidely.
"Just because I haven't seen it doesn't mean it's not possible. And your brother has Folk to him."
Sherlock snapped, "As a doctor you should know that the genetics of siblings are different."
Rather than get offended or quiet like so many people John just rolled his eyes and replied, "You don't have to answer any of my questions you know Sherlock. You can just say that you're uncomfortable."
"I'm not uncomfortable." Sherlock snapped.
John just gave him a look that declared Sherlock was a complete and utter idiot, which was honestly, not a look Sherlock got all that often. It was surprising enough that Sherlock didn't respond when one of the waiters handed them menus and John ordered a local brew for the both of them to drink. John sat there in amicable silence for several long moments, letting Sherlock's mind reboot from the wholly unexpected reply.
Sherlock had yet to recover convincingly enough for John by the time one of Angelo's more talented waiters realized that Sherlock was seated out front and informed the owner of that. Angelo came out balancing both of their plates (and how did John order for Sherlock without his noticing?), as well as a bottle of wine that suited the meal far better than the brew. To the human observer Angelo simply had them all balanced beautifully on the flat of his arm, but to the Folk in the room they could see the plates humming with a gentle spell designed to keep the dishes from spilling unless they were dropped with intention. When John didn't react to those particular spells Sherlock quirked an eyebrow and the doctor replied, "One of the nurses was a witch, she spelled the surgical trays with the same thing to keep them from overturning."
Angelo swept over to their table with a bright smile and a half-shouted, "Sherlock! My waitresses came to get me the moment you ordered, they thought you had to be dying since you've never done more than drink here." John paused, like he was going to apologize for being presumptuous, then he took one long look at Sherlock's weight compared to his height and decided that a plate of pasta was exactly what Sherlock needed. Angelo seemed to take that as a good sign and deposited each of their meals with a little grin, giving John a nudge as he went and stage whispering, "You know, this man got me off a murder charge."
Devious bastard that John was, he leaned closer and in just the same tone of voice replied, "Me too."
"I'm working on it." Sherlock mumbled.
"Sherlock, Sherlock, Sherlock," Angelo teased, "You can't let the poor chap go accused of murder. Otherwise you'll never get a second date."
Sherlock was un-amused by the accusation that they were on a date, while John just laughed. With pinched lips Sherlock replied, "Unlike your case where you were unable to commit your crime because you were housebreaking at the same time, John was not engaged in any such behavior during the murder he was accused of."
Angelo grinned, "That's what you get for being a responsible citizen, mate. But don't worry, Sherlock'll look after you."
"Actually, I could use with your assistance on this particular case." Sherlock interrupted.
"You need pasta?"
"You need me to boost a car?"
"No." Sherlock was un-amused.
"Ah, you need my other talents."
"Quickly as possible."
Angelo gave a brisk nod and picked the plates back up again, taking them with him towards the kitchen. John moved to object but Angelo replied, "Don't worry mate. I'll just put in in a to go box for you. You and Sherlock can still have your dinner while I take a look at things for you."
Sherlock tried to object to eating while on a case, but John stomped on his foot to shut him up before he could say it. The second Angelo made it out of hearing range Sherlock turned to glower at John but John scolded, "Have you tasted that pasta Sherlock? It's delicious."
Sherlock rolled his eyes, but held his tongue.
Life with the ability to see that magic that apparently had always been around him was practically just the same as before. Sure, he could see Murray's wings all the time now, and it turned out that pretty red-headed nurse he'd spent the last few weeks flirting with was really a Shifter (could change back and forth into a doe, which was simultaneously beautiful and boggled everything John thought he knew about the human body). For the first few weeks of John's recovery those were the only Faerie Folk he came across, but they were diligent in teaching John all the basics about the Fae so he wouldn't be too out of touch when he finally returned to England.
Patrick was the first Fae that John met after the veil was removed from his eyes. The boy was nineteen and part dwarf. He'd joined the military when after his father died his mum had realized that she'd spent her whole life married to a chap who wasn't just on the short side of things, he was a fairy tale creature. He was a good lad, sturdy and in a perpetual good humor, and despite the fact he wasn't technically John's patient, he quickly realized that the boy had an iron deficiency. Or, at least, he showed all the signs of one, but all his tests came back with his iron precisely where it should be. However, John figured that this might be a Folk thing, and a Dwarf might need a bit more iron than a human, so he had the Shifter nurse get Patrick on some supplements, and in turn the boy perked right up.
And that's where his reputation started.
Patrick went back out into the field, and every last one of the Folk he came across he said, "Next time you're at base you ought to get that looked at by Captain Watson." Then suddenly John Watson was the go to doctor for every Shifter, Mer, Were, Selkie, Goblin, and Vamp in Afghanistan (the Americans and Canadians included).
According to Murray there was an official doctor who'd been appointed to the base by some sort of council that was in charge of keeping the Folk safe and separate from the human world, but none of the soldiers liked him. He was a smug bastard (a natural state for Warlocks according to Murray), and he talked to the lads like they were beneath him, both because they couldn't do with magic what he could, and because none of them were officers. John didn't much concern himself with who they were supposed to be seeing, he always treated the soldier in front of him to the best of his ability, with as much respect as possible, and the lads appreciated it.
In the back of his mind John had assumed that the doctor they were all avoiding was no worse than any of the dozens of doctors that John had been subjected to in his time, with the self-importance that tended to come the better a surgeon you were. Of course, John learned better the moment the man stormed into John's medical tent and shoved a finger in his face, ranting about who in the hell this upstart thought he was. John let the man shout for a minute, just long enough to be sure what precisely it was he was in trouble for, before he grabbed the man's wrist and twisted him around, bending him over while he wrenched back the his arm at a painful angle. Then John leaned in a little closer and murmured, "Now, perhaps you and I ought to have this conversation someplace else. Like civilized people."
The man thrashed as much as possible in John's grip and shouted, "I'll have your license for this!"
"Yeah, mate," John snorted. "You can try, but I'm pretty sure all these lovely people are going to testify that you came after me. And I defended myself."
The man sputtered and growled in indignation, but it was difficult to give a formidable objection when you were being hauled out of the room by two of the Were lads who'd taken to fussing over John, trying to protect the singular human in their extraordinary company. John never asked what the boys said to the doctor after they dragged him out, but John assumed it was enough because he never saw a trace of the man again, and for a few months things went on as they had since John learned about this new aspect to his world.
Of course, that's when Mycroft turned up.
John steadily worked his way through the plastic container of pasta, seemingly unmoved by the situation before him. He was propped up on the secretary's desk at the front of the empty clinic where the murder had taken place, eating his spell-warmed meal while Angelo made a slow tour of the building, a branch of sage in his hand while he traced all the seams and windows of the establishment, tailed through the building by a pacing Sherlock. Every few minutes Sherlock couldn't take the monotony of something he couldn't participate in and strode up to John, who goaded Sherlock into taking a bite of pasta before he stormed off again to see what sort of progress Angelo had made. John let Sherlock fidget away all the calories he might've gained from any bites while he was wrapped up in his own meal, but when he set aside the empty container he started asking Sherlock questions, partly because he was curious and partly because he wanted to irritate Sherlock into staying in the room long enough to actually eat something. "So, Angelo's a Magician then?"
Sherlock snorted at the painfully obvious question, but John rolled his eyes in reply like the politically correct term for any of this was beyond him and it wasn't his fault he was trying to get it right. "And you're not a Magician," he continued.
"I'm not a Magician by blood, but I have some skill with their abilities. If I was a true Magician you would've been able to see the magic on me."
"If I was able to see all magic then I would be able to see whatever it is that Angelo is looking for, wouldn't I?"
"No." Sherlock paced, plucking out of John's hand the piece of garlic bread that he had patiently extended to Sherlock. "Your sight is the result of overexposure to magic, removing the veil that all humans have over their eyes blocking out the Folk world. Had you been born with the actual Sight then you might be able to determine the kind of spells that have been cast here, but all your sight does is make you normal for the Folk."
"But you can't 'see' the spells either."
"Typically I'm able to. The Magician at work here is one of the more skilled that I've ever come across."
"Better than you?" Sherlock flicked aside his barely touched piece of bread like he was disciplining John for asking by not eating. "I'm going to assume that refusing to answer means, 'Yes, John. The man who's framed you for murder is a better Magician than I am, but don't worry, Angelo is better than us both.'"
Sherlock's response was, of course, to snort and stomp down the hall to check on Angelo. John chucked at the tantrum, unwillingly amused by all of Sherlock's drama and impressed by his skills. He knew that logically he should be panicking, should be calling the emergency number that Mycroft had given him when he transferred John to London, but he trusted Sherlock. The man was detached from the world and unimpressed by anything that wasn't an intriguing case, but John trusted him anyway. Although, after several long minutes without Sherlock making another appearance at the front counter, John slipped in back past the police tape and went to see what Sherlock and Angelo were up to, only to find Angelo standing there alone, gathering up his gear.
Contrary to Sherlock's obvious opinion, John was not a stupid man, and one look at Angelo was enough for him to say, "Sherlock's run off, hasn't he?"
"Don't let it get to you, mate," Angelo comforted. "Sherlock's no good when he's on a case. Impossible for anyone to keep track of."
John puffed out a breath and reminded himself that it wasn't Angelo's fault that Sherlock apparently didn't find John as interesting as John found Sherlock. "Can I ask what you found?"
Angelo grinned, "Of course, mate. Usually Sherlock's good at this sort of thing, one of the best in the city. But he's weak in certain places. Sherlock's magic is organized, high class and whatnot, so it's harder for him to see the wild magic like I can."
John leaned against the wall, pretending like none of this was new and interesting information and asked, "So Sherlock is a Magician then?"
Angelo snorted, "Magician? No mate, Sherlock Holmes is a bloody Seer. Best rogue practitioner in London."
"Seers who don't work for the Crown. The government has plenty of Seers working for them, but none of them can hold a candle to Sherlock's Sight. They say the only Seer in the whole of bloody Europe who can keep up with him is the Oracle of London, but the people who know Sherlock would never in a million years get in to see her, so none of us common Folk know for sure. And the people who know her, Sherlock hates, so he'd never See for them."
"So all those deductions he makes, he's using his Sight?"
Angelo dropped his bag and checked over his shoulder, like he was nervous that Sherlock was going to come popping out of nowhere. "Never accuse Sherlock's deductions of being anything but observation, mate. If you say any of it comes from cheating with the Sight he'll make you pay for it."
John shouldered the bag for Angelo and guided him towards the door since the other man was obviously done with studying the location. "I don't think the Sight is cheating, Angelo. Everyone has talents and being able to See is no less a talent than being able to observe."
"Sherlock doesn't think so." Angelo snorted. "To Sherlock, the Sight is cheating. Especially considering lots of Seers rely wholly on what they See with that third eye and completely detach their brains. They foretell without any clue about what they're telling, and Sherlock despises them all for that."
"So he's a Seer who pretends like he's not a Seer?"
"Not like he's not, but like he's less than he is. He'll willingly 'see' spells, and he practices magic like he's nothing but a Magician. Well," Angelo grinned, "when I say 'nothing but' I mean one of the best Magicians in the city. Most Folk think his sight of spells and such came from being a Magician, not the other way around."
"And the reason he couldn't see this magic is because it's… wild?"
"Yup. There are two kinds of magic in the world John, the organized kind and the disorganized kind. Sherlock's magic, it's organized like the man's got OCD. His magic is well-behaved and structured, and he works best with Seeing magic that's organized. Since most people have organized magic, he's just fine. But the Magician who's setting you up, he's got wild magic, and Sherlock can't see that."
"So he called you."
"Yup. Though I wasn't much help."
"Howso? You looked pretty helpful to me."
"Nah, if this Magician wasn't quite so good I would've been able to remove the magic that he's got tying all the evidence to you."
"Wait, tied to me how?"
"This chap cast a spell that latched all the evidence he left behind to your magical signature. So any fingerprints will be your fingerprints, any DNA will be your DNA, and even the magical signature that a Folk copper would be able to pick up would be your magical signature. Even I'm seeing your magic all over the place. Honestly, the only thing that's saved you is, well…"
"Sherlock's got the Sight."
"Sherlock's got the Sight. Without him there's not a Magician in the city who'd think you were innocent."
"And now he's vanished into thin air."
Angelo clapped him on the back. "Don't let it get you down mate. Sherlock'll be wanting to know who in the world would go to the trouble of employing a Magician that good just to frame a doctor for murder. The case is too mad to leave you on your own."
John was tempted to snark something back about how none of Sherlock's skills meant a damn thing if the NSY found him roaming around the city all on his own after he'd been entrusted to Sherlock's care, but a posh black sedan interrupted the comment. Angelo and John exchanged a quiet look, like neither one of them was entirely sure who the car was there for, but then the door swung open to reveal Anthea's long legs, and that answered John's question. John heaved out a put-upon sigh and handed Angelo the bag of tricks that John had been carrying for him. Angelo stuck out his hand for a shake and replied, "Good luck, mate. Hope you live through it."
John shook back and replied, "It looks unlikely, but thanks for the sentiment," and climbed in to sit beside Anthea.