The Study of the Four 15

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By nightmares06
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Dean had a very poignant glare reserved for Sherlock at being put on the spot, and he stared at the phone like it was a poisonous snake, very much cornered into helping. Thanks for your discrecion, he thought snippily up at Sherlock, praying he hadn’t made a very large mistake by agreeing to help the detective. If anyone ever wanted to meet ‘Mr. Winchester,’ they would be sorely disappointed.

Sounds like she had a pretty sweet set-up,” he said, this time speaking loud enough for the phone’s speaker to pick up his much softer-voice, and only able to hope that St. Simon would miss the importance of that fact. He paced along the table, giving Sherlock a wide berth while staring down at the photographs for a better look.

“If she was so excited for the wedding just the other day,” Dean said, thinking aloud so he could go through the facts for a closer look, much like he might use Sam to bounce ideas off of, “then somethin’ must have changed between then and her disappearance. Excited before the wedding, temperamental at the reception. Did anything strange happen at the ceremony?” Dean felt a chill up his spine, remembering his dad asking much the same, only bent towards the supernatural. Any cold spots? Did you smell anything strange when it happened?

The corner of Sherlock's lip quirked upward at Dean's analysis. "Excellent question," he commended, glad that he and the elder Winchester were on the same page.

For once, St. Simon was silent on the other end of the call as he considered his answer. “Oh! ” he cried after a few false starts. “There was a moment… But it can't mean anything, it was simply a--

"Answer the question," said Sherlock firmly, all formalities forgotten.

A few seconds of startled stammering later, St. Simon cleared his throat. “As Meghan was walking up the aisle, she… It's so trivial, honestly. She dropped her bouquet.

Sherlock frowned at the phone. "And then?"

And then someone picked it up for her. Gave it back without a word.

Dean’s pacing came to a halt, and he stared down at the phone, everything else forgotten with a case to focus on. “So she just drops her bouquet without a word? During what should be the most important ceremony of her life?” He shook his head, his voice full of sarcasm. “That seems normal. Right up there with pigs flying.”

He didn’t have any personal experience with marriage, but he’d watched television all throughout his youth, and every show at some point seemed to go into tying the knot between two characters, and the women always seemed to put all their effort into making it go flawlessly. It was hard to imagine someone so excited for the wedding simply dropping a bouquet of flowers during the main event, while all cameras were trained her way, and not even letting out a word of dismay.

Well, I say! ” exclaimed the client. “Of all the blunt--!

"What my colleague lacks in tact, he more than makes up for with a fine point." Sherlock's laser focus turned back to the pictures, flipping rapidly until photos of the ceremony came up. None of them depicted the incident in question, of course, being one of the less desirably remembered moments of the ceremony, but Sherlock scanned the pews for anyone close enough to pick up and hand the bride her dropped bouquet. "Who gave her the bouquet? Where were they seated?"

Ah, I believe it was the second to last pew. Or the third. Yes, the third sounds right. On the bride's side.

"Did you know him?" asked Sherlock, eyes narrowed on the people on the ends of the aforementioned pews, both men.

Not at all. Can't say I'd describe him as memorable, however. Quite a plain-looking chap.

Dean gave Sherlock’s hands a wary glance as he sidled closer to the picture, wanting to take a look of his own. He ignored the gaze coming from above as he knelt down on the newspaper clippings, running a hand over the picture of the man in question.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Dean quoted, a phrase from his past that had bearing on the present. He couldn’t recall its origin, but it certainly seemed to fit.

A ‘plain-looking chap’ in one person’s eye could be a multitude of things in another’s. A former rival, or a former lover. Someone she’d worked with, or someone from her childhood. A person that had garnered a seat on the bride’s side, but the groom had no knowledge of.

“How much do you know about her past?” Dean asked, slotting himself neatly into the conversation almost naturally now, his former life as a human coming back to him.

My knowledge there is… rather limited, I'm afraid. While my wife is energetic and passionate about her desires and future endeavors, she was always quite reticent when it came to her past. Though, she was rather selective as well. For instance, she could speak freely about her school years and childhood, but never about her late mother or matters similar to that.

"I see…" Sherlock slowly laced his fingers and brought them under his chin. "One last question: at the reception, were you in view of a window? Perhaps opening to a courtyard or street?"

St. Simon hummed thoughtfully. “I believe so, yes. The front gardens were quite visible from there. But the blinds were shut after Fiona's tantrum.

"No matter. Well, it was a pleasure speaking with you, Lord St. Simon, I think we have all we need."

Ah, very good. I wish you luck, Mister Holmes, on getting to the bottom of this matter.

Sherlock smirked. "Already done."

I-- What?

"I've solved it."

Then-- where is my wife??

"I'll have that information soon enough. I'll be in touch."

Sherlock Holmes, I--!

Sherlock reached across the table and hung up the phone, picking it up to review the notifications he'd missed during the call. "Impressive observations," he remarked with a brief glance at Dean.

Dean glared back, torn between reactions. Part of him wanted to bask in the praise, feeling for the first time in his life that he was doing the right thing, and he didn’t have to hide it anymore. After living in the flat so long, he knew that such praise from Sherlock came rarely, only given if truly believed.

The other part of him was still smarting over how he’d been cornered into talking to the client. After living in the walls for over a decade, tact was something he lacked.

“I know a thing or two,” Dean said, crossing his arms and stubbornly standing his ground as Sherlock moved about so close. After everything he’d been through in the last few weeks he wasn’t about to shy back from the human now. “But what’s the big idea with having me talk to him?”

Dean pointed at the newspaper clippings. “As far as the world knows, Dean and Sam Winchester are dead. Have been for years. The last thing we need is anyone figuring out what really happened, or putting up any red flags for that witch to come after.”

Sherlock scoffed. "Relax. No one but the three of us is ever going to know about this conversation, and only two of those three are aware of your stature."

Scrolling through the alerts displayed on his screen, Sherlock frowned even as he continued to explain himself to Dean. "This is perhaps the most private client I've ever worked for, and if he were to pop over to the flat anytime, it would be to beg for my help. Since he didn't even do that, and he has no idea what really happened to his vanished wife, he's ever on alert for potential assault. In addition, he has a public image, nearly everyone in London knows his face. A stroll through Central London would certainly lead to him being mobbed, even with a bodyguard or two hovering nearby.

"He has no idea who you are, and what little information I did give was not enough to reveal any illicit details. The name Winchester, while not exactly common, belongs to enough people to discourage anyone from drawing any conclusions, especially someone like him. He'd need it to be spelt out in tedious detail before he could begin to suspect anything. 'Yes, this is the tiny man who lives in my flat, he'd like to ask you a few questions.' Truly a moron of the highest degree."

“So long as we’re all on the same page about that,” Dean said, forcefully waving his hand for emphasis and refusing to budge on that point. “No one ever finds out about me or Sam unless we decide they can know.”

With the conversation going so well, Dean strolled over the rest of the newspaper clippings to take it all in, marveling about how different this was from how he normally worked on a case. Coming out in the middle of the night with Sam watching his back. Only able to use one or two words, carefully selected to give Sherlock the nudge in the direction he needed. Sometimes they had to wait for the right opportunity to come along. Time that might cost other people their lives, but the brothers had no other way to help.

“You hold him in such high regard,” Dean said dryly, his boot planted on an image of the bride and groom. “So, what’s the plan?”

"You'll find I don't hold many people in high regard," muttered Sherlock. Very few people had the heart to tolerate the detective's cold nature, and even fewer were able to chip their way into his heart. Those were the people Sherlock kept close and would fight to defend until his last breath.

Whether the Winchesters would end up falling into either of those categories remained to be seen.

Sherlock focused back on his phone. Two missed calls and a few texts from Inspector Lestrade, and one text from John containing a link to an up-to-the-minute news site. He clicked on the link first, eyes widening.

"Detective-Inspector Lestrade is on this case, too. And evidently he's stumbled upon something quite interesting." He angled the mobile toward Dean and held it at a comfortable distance, close enough for the small man to make out the article. Someone found Meghan Collins' wedding dress floating in the Serpentine in Hyde Park along with a few of her belongings, and they spent the morning dredging the lake for the woman's body. "And as usual, he has all the information yet comes to the completely wrong conclusion."

Dean took a step towards the phone, his eyes rapidly scanning through the words on the screen. So the police thought she was dead. Despite himself, his lips quirked up into a smile. Now this was fun.

“My dad taught me that all the police are good for is getting in the way, or locking up the wrong guy,” Dean said, stepping back again so he could meet Sherlock in the eye with less strain. “Sometimes going so far as to throw the wrong man in jail.” Like my dad.

More than once, Dean could remember the rush to get out of town before the police tracked John Winchester, in one of his many alias,’ down to the motel where his kids were staying. Hauled out of the room and dragged to the Impala, Sam would have no idea what was happening. Sometimes it happened in the middle of the night, and Dean would end up with his little brother sleeping in his lap.

“How long before you break the news to them?” Dean asked with a grin.

Sherlock took his phone back the second Dean was through looking at it, considering the notifications Lestrade had left. Voicemails for each of the attempts to call; Sherlock ignored those. The first of the texts from him read Fine. Your way, then. and the other two were photos. One was of the dress, recently pulled from the lake and laid out. While waterlogged and slightly muddy, it was otherwise untouched. No tears or rips, no blood.

The second photo put a gleam in Sherlock's eye. "Right now," he replied to Dean, dropping his phone onto the table. He stood to gather the necessary credentials and throw on his coat, leaving the image up for Dean's perusal: A simple note scribbled on the back of a receipt.

If you believe in true love, come with me when you see me. FMD

"The hunt is on!" exclaimed the detective excitedly, wrapping his favorite scarf around his neck with particular fervor. He returned to the table to retrieve his mobile, pausing when his eyes fell on Dean, out-of-place among the articles and pictures for the case. Then Sherlock hit upon a most novel idea.

"Want to come? This could very well prove to be most entertaining."
CHAPTER 15: An Offer That Can't Be Refused

After years of waiting for his chance to make a difference, Sherlock's offering for Dean to come along with him!

The case they're on is based on The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor!

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anonymous's avatar
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Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Upside: he gets to come along and solve a case with Sherlock.
Downside: Pocket Travel. Also letting Sherlock touch him.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Dean just can't say no to getting out of the flat for a bit
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
No he cannot. To alluring.
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
Hmmm, a tempting and likely dangerous offer. Sherlock isn't certain to be trustworthy, and Sam would definitely advise against it. Then again, we are talking about Dean here.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Headstrong to a fault, and currently both Dean and Sherlock are unsupervised by their calmer, reasonable halves XD
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
Which, naturally enough, is going to lead to some questionable decision making.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Never leave these two alone. Lessons will likely be learned
guildedParadox's avatar
Oh dean should go!!
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD How could he ever say no
smolstiel's avatar
Dean's going for a ride~ ^^
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD He just can't say no to this one. *Scowls at Sherlock*
JackieTheGiantessSav's avatar
JackieTheGiantessSavHobbyist Writer
hey ^^ its :icongigantagiantessa: here! this is my new account ^3^

still as usual LOVING ur stories! 

YAYYYYY maybe now he finally gets to hold em
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Good to see you!

XD Sherlock is still on probation as far as Dean is concerned
Weeglyfeesh's avatar
WeeglyfeeshHobbyist Writer
Finally! The game is on, people! :squee:

Wonder what John will have to say when he finds out? Besides accusing Sherlock of kidnapping Dean, that is. XD
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD The game is so on. But he's gotta bring his tiny Dean along for the fun! Dean can't miss out on the end of their case!
TorchMLP's avatar
Oh boy, I don't think Dean is going to pass up this opportunity, even if he and Sherlock didn't get off on the right foot. 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
How could he possibly turn down that offer? XD And yet he and Sherlock have so far to go in their interactions together. 
TorchMLP's avatar
XD I don't think Sammy will be very happy once he finds out. At least this is a possible Dean and Sherlock bonding moment.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
^^; Dean what the hell are you doing? You don't even have BACKUP!
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