The Study of the Four 14

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By nightmares06
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Not long after, Sherlock was seated at the table in the main room, his fingers pressed together thoughtfully as he stared down at the newspaper clippings he'd arranged on the surface. He'd received an email from one Henry St. Simon, apparently the second son of a Duke that Sherlock had never heard of until he did a quick internet search. He was seeking help on a personal matter that had recently been made public, and that was all the email held.

Sherlock had dug through the pile of papers lying around the flat, finding and cutting out articles regarding St. Simon going as far back as the previous week and as recently as the day before. It all seemed rather boring at first, just a bunch of chatter about the nobleman's nuptials. He became engaged to an American woman named Meghan Collins, the daughter of a millionaire from San Francisco, California. Quite the fortune on both sides of the marriage. The detective perked up when he read yesterday's article.

The bride had vanished at the reception.

The clipping was woefully lacking in details, only mentioning that another woman tried to crash the party, causing a disturbance and declaring some claim on St. Simon. She was quickly ejected, and after the disappearance of St. Simon's new wife she was arrested by Scotland Yard as a suspect.

Sherlock resolved to talk to Lestrade about that later, but for now he was waiting on a phone call-- a very private phone call, as St. Simon's email had called it. He expected it at the top of the hour, and until then Sherlock was biding his time reviewing what little the papers could tell him.

While Sherlock bided his time waiting for the phone to ring, Dean did the same in much the same manner, watching from a shelf in the corner of the room. He didn’t bother with stealth this time, leaning casually against the ornate wallpaper that lined the walls. One boot was propped against the small corner of wallpaper that turned up at the edge, displaying an entrance into the wall he’d made himself, long before Sherlock put holes in the walls by shooting up the smiley face he’d painted there.

Though he put on an air of disinterest for the sake of appearances and to keep from looking eager, Dean was curious about the clippings Sherlock had spread out across the table. Normally he might wait until the night came and everyone retired to their beds for the day, but there wasn’t much point in hiding now that Sherlock and John both knew they were around. Dean was itching for a new puzzle to work on, and after spending time honing his knife and bugging Sam to hone his own, he was done with staying in. If he wasn’t watching Sherlock, he’d be checking the perimeter or scoping out some food.

Displaying a patience he wasn’t normally known for (at least as far as Sam was concerned), Dean watched and waited and stayed silent.

Right on time, Sherlock's phone rang. He snatched it up and answered promptly.

"Hello, Henry," greeted the detective. Rolling his eyes, he amended, "Right, Lord St. Simon. How improper of me."

After a pause, Sherlock interrupted his client. "Hang on a moment, I'm going to put you on speaker." Sherlock moved the phone away from his ear and pressed the button on the screen, ignoring the protests on the other end that continued after Sherlock had set the device aside.

--is meant to be completely private! ” came a high-strung voice, cutting through the silence of the flat.

"I assure you, your privacy is intact," Sherlock replied flatly. With John out of the flat and the other two occupants seemingly set on avoiding the detective, there was no worry of any information divulged to ever leave 221B Baker Street. "I simply need both hands to work my laptop. You sent me those photos, yes?"

Ah, that I did, sir. I felt it was most irregular, but I was assured by my dear friend that you worked under the promise of utmost discretion. Of course, I should think that you have not taken a client whose status quite matches my own--

"Oh, on the contrary," Sherlock cut in. "Only a few months ago, I was engaged by one of the residents of Buckingham Palace."

Wh-- Oh! Really? ” gasped St. Simon. “What sort of case did they hire you for?

Sherlock smirked. "As you said yourself, I apply a promise of discretion to all of my clients."

O-of course, yes…

"Now…" Sherlock laced his fingers. "Start from the beginning."

Dean slid down while the man talked, sitting so one leg was casually dangling off the edge of the shelf while his other was bent. He idly played with his silver knife while he listened to the phone call, pleased that Sherlock had put it on speaker. He wondered if Sherlock wanted them to hear, after finding out the help they’d given him on several of his cases that year.

He smiled to himself as he delicately slid the knife under one of his nails, picking at the skin. Sam would berate him if he saw Dean doing anything like that, and that was likely why he persisted. Hands covered in calluses from climbing and nails worn down almost to stubs, it was the only way he could hope to clean out any grime.

It sounded like the man on the other end of the telephone line could afford to suck up some of his pride, if he wanted help. Sometimes Dean wanted to slap some sense into these prim Englishmen. It’d make him feel better, if nothing else.

Listening to how Sherlock rebuffed the man’s attitude would have to be enough.

"Where and when did you meet Miss Collins?" Sherlock inquired, typing rapidly on his laptop.

Meghan. We met a year ago, I should think, in San Francisco,” answered St. Simon.

"What brought you to America?" The detective pulled up the email exchange between himself and St. Simon, opening the file of digital photographs from the wedding. He flipped through them as he listened to the telephone.

Ah, I was on sabbatical at the time. Her father was hosting a gathering, and I was encouraged to attend. Given his position, quite similar to that of my own family, I could hardly refuse.

"And I'm sure your amiable introduction to his daughter extended your holiday significantly," Sherlock surmised, finally landing on a closer picture of the bride. He'd seen quite a few pictures of St. Simon already in his research; early- to mid-forties, very clean in appearance, slight greyness cropping up in his black sideburns, and the constant presence of a hat that suggested either fixated attachment or balding.

His wife, on the other hand, was in her mid-twenties at least, fair skinned with fiery red hair that hung in neat curls. Her dark brown eyes were large, round, and all-around aesthetically pleasing even to Sherlock who prided himself on detaching himself from most of his human sensibilities. Given their stark age difference and the swiftness of their engagement subsequent wedding, it could be assumed that the match was considerably advantageous for both parties.

St. Simon chuckled. “You could say that, Mister Holmes. I enjoyed her company greatly, and she delighted in showing me around her hometown. I daresay I was quite delighted myself.

"But you weren't engaged when you returned to England."

No, unfortunately I was called home before our bond became strong enough for that sort of thing.

"Then she came to London a few months ago, and the romance was rekindled." Sherlock couldn't stop a snide hint to his tone, but luckily the client was too reminiscent to notice.

Why, yes, how did you know--?

"This process will go by so much quicker if you avoid that question for now," Sherlock interrupted. "Now that you ask, your affair with this woman was not exactly a secret from the tabloids."

A subdued pause from St. Simon. “Oh. Right, yes.

Despite himself, Dean found himself enjoying the discomfort in Henry’s tone of voice. Like Henry Gale in the Wizard of Oz, Dean amused himself, unconsciously leaning forward to see the picture Sherlock had of the bride. She definitely was easy on the eyes. He could see why any man might fall for her.

Hell, if Dean was into big chicks, he wouldn’t mind making a pass at her himself. That hair was something else. But, nice as it was to entertain the thought of a warm body next to him in his nest, he wasn’t about to go out with someone that could trap him in one hand. His adopted family was certainly unenthused by his habit of hitting on the neighbors when they came to visit from down the row of houses.

He forced himself to focus back on the case, pushing the thought of women out of his mind. If it was possible to get her back, Dean was determined to help. It was what he wanted to do most. Help some people, the way he and Sam had needed help so long ago, and found none until people their own size had adopted them.

"How would you describe your wife's personality?" queried the detective. He could only make assumptions based on her photographs.

A sigh came from the other end. “Well, you can imagine, Mister Holmes. She was already aged twenty when her father came into fortune. Her childhood was spent roaming her neighborhood woods, climbing trees and communing with nature. She's actually quite boyish, to put it plainly. And she is certainly opinionated, hardheaded, very quick to make up her mind and unafraid to do what she likes. A part of me truly admires that about her. Her mind is entirely her own. It's just difficult for me to fully understand it, and therefore her, at times.

"And how did she seem the day before the wedding? Excited? Hopeful?"

Oh yes, exceedingly! " exclaimed St. Simon, perking up significantly. "We had a long discourse over supper about our future endeavors; where we'd live, who would work, whether and when we'd like children--

"Interesting," Sherlock mused. His eyes became distant as he considered that fact.

Ah, forgive me Mister Holmes, but what exactly is interesting about that?

The detective rolled his eyes, comfortable in the knowledge that his client couldn't possibly be offended by a gesture he couldn't see. "It eliminates the possibility of runaway bride almost entirely. That's not exactly the behavior of someone who plans to flee from her own wedding reception."

Dean couldn’t stop himself from snorting at how obtuse the client was on the phone, likewise assured that he couldn’t be heard from his spot in the corner of the room. “She might flee from that attitude,” Dean muttered under his breath, rolling his own eyes in a tiny mimic of Sherlock’s, though he remained riveted on the details of the case.

The tiny voice would have been imperceptible to Sherlock before he'd met the Winchesters. Now that he was attuned to smaller voices, his ear perked up at Dean's comment. He couldn't tell what the smaller man had said, but he did glance in his direction. It didn't take him long to find Dean, out in the open as he was. Sherlock smirked approvingly at him, knowing a snarky remark when he heard one. Dean stiffened, then nodded back at Sherlock.

Sherlock had rather hoped at least one of the brothers would show up for this case. This was the most interesting potential non-murder he'd encountered in a long time, and it would be a shame for them to miss out on the fun just because he knew of their existence.

Sherlock carried on with St. Simon. "What of the other woman, the reception crasher. That was before Collins disappeared, yes?"

Oh, yes. Fiona Dunham. Poor lass. She and I had a casual affair long before I met Meghan. Well… Truthfully, it was only months before my trip to America. Evidently, we didn't leave off on the best of terms.

"Evidently not," Sherlock agreed. "Who is she?"

Now, let me see… She was a ballet dancer, taught classes in town. She didn't have much to her name, so eventually I began to question her intentions. But I simply cannot imagine that she could perpetrate foul play, even to Meghan.

"And yet she was arrested," Sherlock pointed out.

That was not my doing, Mister Holmes. We called Scotland Yard the second any of us realized Meghan was gone, and that was the conclusion they drew.

"Definitely wouldn't be the first time they got it wrong." Sherlock ran a frustrated hand through his curls. If they would just stop and think every once in a while, potential false arrests like that could be avoided.

Dean found himself sharing in Sherlock’s frustration at the police, a frustration he’d practically inherited from his father, John Winchester. Whenever there was a monster in town, the police could do more harm than good because they had no idea what was really going on. From arresting the innocent victims, framed by shapeshifters, to only being able to clean up the mess left behind by a werewolf, it was best for all if they just left the hunter to his work, yet John would be taken in as a suspect just as fast as the falsely accused shapeshifter victim.

He actually had something in common with Sherlock.

“One false arrest can change someone’s life forever,” Dean muttered. Sherlock might know he was in the room now, but Dean didn’t raise his voice any higher, avoiding the speaker picking up a small voice and arousing suspicions.

Sherlock covered the phone with his hand and leaned away from it, lowering his voice so the client couldn't hear but Dean easily could. "If you're going to comment, would you like to join us?"

Despite his normal, seemingly detached manner, this was a legitimate invitation. Sherlock was interested in Dean's input, given all the cases the smaller man had practically solved for him. This time, he had an opportunity to directly interact with the client without ever having to show himself.

Plus, hearing such a small voice muttering under his breath was starting to strain Sherlock's ear.

Heat rose to Dean’s face, and it was all he could do to stop from leaping to his feet to snap a defensive comeback at Sherlock. He forced himself to take a deep breath before reacting, having not expected Sherlock to call him out like that. No one was supposed to know Dean existed, and he took it as a blessing the human had muffled the phone before calling out to him.

Heart hammering, Dean got to his feet. What am I doing? He stared stubbornly across the gap at Sherlock. “This better not be some new way to lure me out where you can grab me,” he said, stabbing his knife in Sherlock’s direction. Yet deep inside, he really did want to help with the case, if only to find if that girl was safe, and the thought of actually working with Sherlock intrigued him. It was a huge change from how he normally got to assist.

Dean stowed his knife in his jacket and pulled his hook out. Going through the walls to Sherlock’s table would muffle the conversation so he might not hear what they were talking about, so he decided climbing would be his best bet. So long as no one tried to snatch him off his thread. He hooked the edge of the shelf, and swung down to climb hand over hand at his own steady pace, nothing like Sam’s devil-may-care attitude towards climbing.

Sherlock smirked. "Wouldn't dream of it," he murmured.

Ah, he-hello? Mister Holmes? ” St. Simon piped up.

Removing his hand, Sherlock resettled in his chair and carried on like nothing had happened. "Now, back to your wife. After the ceremony, how did she seem to you? What was her attitude like then?"

Well, er, I suppose she was a little… introspective. Perhaps temperamental would be a more appropriate term. As though the littlest thing could set her off.

"And was she?"

I… was she what?

"Set off," Sherlock emphasized.

“Oh! Well I'm afraid I'm not quite sure. All I heard was that she claimed to feel unwell and retired to her room, just before the incident with Fiona.”

Dean kept an ear cocked towards the conversation going on a few feet away as he climbed, but he knew better than to fully take his concentration away from his actions. Climbing didn’t come as natural to him as it did to Sam, and one mistaken glance at the ground could result in him clinging to the thread until he worked his courage up all over again.

Getting to the ground was an accomplishment, in Dean’s opinion, especially as it was the first time he’d attempted to climb down in a room with a human who knew where he was and, of course, could make a grab for him at any time. Yet Sherlock didn’t, and the conversation over the phone continued on with no break in the flow over Dean’s head as he hitched his duffel bag up and flicked the hook from the shelf, only to catch it in one smooth motion.

Actions like that had become ordinary for Dean after over a decade living under half a foot tall, and now he simply coiled up his thread, not bothering to stuff it back in his bag. He’d need it in no time at all, and as he turned towards the table, he tilted his head up to keep an eye on Sherlock the entire time he was walking. He hovered close to the wall, knowing better than to walk out in the open where humans were apt to tread. His legs, under two inches in length, just didn’t have the speed he would need to get out of the way if they didn’t spot him in time.

Sherlock watched Dean's every move in the corner of his eye. Not only was his trek fascinating to witness, but the detective was able to take note of a few interesting observations. The slight hesitation when the small man climbed, yet the ease with which he handled his rope. Well practiced, but likely acrophobic. Sherlock had noticed Dean's wariness for heights previously, but now he was certain that the smaller man forced himself to push past it in favor of survival.

None of this information was necessarily useful at the moment, but Sherlock couldn't help noticing details like those. He logged them away for now, in case they came in handy in the future.

"Did anyone see her leave the building?" he queried.

I don't believe so. Although her maid of honor believes she may have seen her on her way out!

Sherlock hummed thoughtfully, leaning an elbow on the table. He flipped through the photos of the wedding once again until he found one that had a good shot of the maid of honor. She was tall, well-tanned, black-haired and blue-eyed. "She knew the bride well, I'd imagine."

Better than anyone. But she wasn't certain it was Meghan leaving at first. She only saw a woman rushing toward the foyer, dress and face covered up. It was only after we were all certain Meghan was gone that she suspected it to be her.

While St. Simon talked, Dean sized up his next obstacle. The table.

From the corner of his eyes, he could see Sherlock’s long legs stretching up from the ground. Dean let his hook drop from his hand, dangling by the black thread he’d obtained for climbing. He started to swing it back and forth, falling into a familiar rhythm. Though Sam was the best climber, no contest, Dean never missed a shot, and had the eye for launching his hook from the ground. Sam’s three-pronged hook gave him more opportunities for it to catch, but Dean would never give up his single-prong hook for it. The weight and balance was perfect.

Releasing the hook on the upswing, Dean took a step back to watch it sail into the air. A proud grin crossed his face when it latched onto the edge of the table. One tug was all it took to make sure it was anchored securely into the wood grain.

Thus assured it wouldn’t slip free on him, Dean began to climb, his upwards journey somewhat speedier than his downwards.

"And that was the last Miss Collins was seen?" Sherlock pressed, tracking Dean's hook and his progress up the miniscule rope with gleaming eyes. The skill and enhanced strength (proportionally speaking) displayed was certainly a marvel. Dean easily caught his grapple on a surface that was the equivalent of several stories high. Whether that was a natural compensation for his size or an effect of the curse, which Sherlock was still reluctant to believe, would have to be a question for another day.

Actually, no,” replied St. Simon. “According to Scotland Yard, she was spotted further down the street, walking alongside Fiona. That, of course, greatly impacted their decision to arrest her.

"Yes…" Sherlock pressed his hands together and glanced at Dean, by then standing on the table and patiently coiling his rope around his arm. "Input?"

Ah, beg pardon, but are you asking for my input? Mister Holmes, I have called on you to solve this dilemma, not the other way round--

"Oh no, Lord St. Simon. I was addressing my associate."

An indignant noise crackled through the phone. “I thought you were alone--!

"I promised you privacy, and I have not violated that agreement," interrupted Sherlock. "Mr. Winchester is an American, much like your wife, and can provide insight on her potential state of mind and process of decision-making. He has also assisted me on numerous cases in the past. I trust his judgement, and I guarantee his discretion."
CHAPTER 14: And So It Begins...


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anonymous's avatar
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Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Dean was making snide comments, so now he's officially on the case! And Sherlock can definitely guarantee his discretion, as Dean has absolutely no intention of ever telling a human about these details, except Sherlock, who is already privy to them, and perhaps John, who Sherlock might tell anyway.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
That's what Dean gets for talking under his breath and making Sherlock strain to hear him XD

Dean definitely has no interest in talking about this to any other humans. He's already stuck with the craziest one.
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Though the first time Sherlock was like "I have no idea what you just said but I bet it was snarky, good for you."

Darn Sherlock!
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
Mr. Winchester is now on the case. XD Much to his displeasure, I'm sure. Sherlock somehow finds a way to make him unhappy no matter what the circumstances.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Dean is SO MAD at Sherlock right now. Help on a case? Sure. Get introduced to a client? NOPE
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
That's not how borrowers work, Sherlock. He's going to get bitched out about that later.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Dean is like you are dead to me
kopelowitz's avatar
kopelowitzHobbyist Digital Artist
Ok, let's solve a case! Smart of Sherlock to recruit an 'American Associate'... He may be on the short side... 

Also, Dean and Sherlock? Sam and John? Hm I sense some correlations.  
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Sherlock's just been itching to coax Dean out of the walls for a case, he couldn't miss this opportunity!

They're just naturally drawn to their counterparts...
kopelowitz's avatar
kopelowitzHobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, apparently so!
Weeglyfeesh's avatar
WeeglyfeeshHobbyist Writer
Okay, so Dean's probably more than a little ticked right now... Giggle

But hey, Sherlock's basically asking for his help -- he doesn't do that with most people. Dean probably doesn't know it, but he has Sherlock's respect and that's kinda rare. Nod

Though that won't matter if Dean murders him for putting him on the spot like that. :D (Big Grin)
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Just a little ticked.

XD Sherlock is terrible at people skills, and certainly bad at smol people skills, and Dean has more than a few choice words saved up for Sherlock.
gabimello's avatar
gabimelloHobbyist General Artist
Dammit Sherlock
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
^^; Dean is not amused

Secretgt's avatar
SecretgtHobbyist Digital Artist
Oh snap, that ending was unexpected! Dean is gonna be maaaaaaaaaaad (I hate being put on the spot like that, I would die)
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Dooom. Dooooom. If Dean was tol, he'd be more okay with things, but seriously sherlock? He's supposed to stay hidden!

TorchMLP's avatar
Oh boy, I can't imagine Dean is going to be very pleased about this, but it's so sweet that Sherlock values his input.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
He wants Dean's help, see? So considerate!

Meanwhile Dean is channeling Sam's bitchface to end all bitchfaces
AceTrainerHope's avatar
AceTrainerHopeHobbyist Digital Artist
Oh Sherlock, you of all people should know it's not a good idea to give out real names x'D
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Dean is IRATE
RandomArtHQ's avatar
RandomArtHQHobbyist Writer
Yass Dean and Sherlock on the case! He is gonna be so pissed about being mentioned in the conversation though... Sweating a little... 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Beyond pissed would be a good way of putting it.

He finally gets to the table, and the first thing that happens is he gets put on the spot.
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