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The Study of the Four 16

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Shocked didn’t adequately describe how Dean felt about Sherlock’s offer.

Stunned, aghast, flustered… None of them came close. Maybe appalled, at himself, for actually finding that he was considering it.

Sam would kill me!

And yet, his mind entertained the possibility of actually being able to see the end of the case for himself, and know that everything was put to rest. Then, there was Sherlock’s exclamation, The hunt is on! Those words tugged at Dean’s heart, reminding him of his determination as a kid to be a hunter like his dad. This wasn’t quite the same…

But maybe it would be close enough.

Before anything though, Dean came up short at the next thought. He’d have to go with Sherlock, and that meant he’d be putting his life in the hands of a man that just a week ago, he’d tormented endlessly with shoelaces. A week before that and Sherlock was putting him in a jar.

Not the best trust-building exercises.

Dean sized up Sherlock. “You know that means I’ll have to be on you somewhere, right?” he asked cautiously. “There’s not much chance I’ll be keepin’ up with you on foot.”

"Of course," Sherlock conceded, reviewing and eliminating their options before proceeding. Trouser pockets were out of the question; obviously too cramped for the smaller of the two, and traveling in that particular setup would undoubtedly be uncomfortable for both involved. The outside pockets of his coat were both occupied with various belongings. Sherlock could shift the items into one pocket, but then Dean would have to endure the trip in one of the least stable places in Sherlock's coat, flapping in the wind as the detective walked. That left two options.

"I have an inside pocket on the left side of my coat. It would be relatively stationary and would be the least likely place to cause you injury. If you don't find that to be agreeable, the remaining choice is to take my shoulder. There's plenty to hold on to, between my scarf and the collar, which is more than tall enough to keep you hidden from passersby. You'd have to be careful when I'm directly interacting with others, and, obviously, to not fall off. Should be easy to avoid, as long as you keep back far enough."

Dean crossed his arms as he sized up the options offered to him. Being stuck on the inside of Sherlock's coat sounded like the last place Dean wanted to be. The image of someone brushing up against the pocket came to him, and he wouldn’t see it coming. He'd spend the entire time wondering if each moment would be his last.

The shoulder had its own problems. Sherlock was the size of a friggin' building, and once again Dean found himself wondering if he'd left his mind behind in his nest that morning when he woke up.

Fear of heights aside, anchoring himself on the shoulder of a walking, talking building with a mind of its own sounded like no fun at all.

Yet being in the pocket was the less appealing option. If something was going to happen, Dean wanted to be able to react to it.

Helpless was not the way he wanted to do things.

"Shoulder," Dean accepted mulishly. "Just... No running anywhere," he said, his face a little white at the thought of what he was about to do.

Sherlock nodded. "Very well."

He pocketed his mobile, freeing his hand to approach Dean. It halted a few inches away, torn for a moment. While he trusted himself to be able to carefully handle the small man, it occurred to him that Dean might not be so confident.

In a rare moment of clarity, Sherlock changed his mind.

The hand turned and flattened itself against the table, forming a platform. Perhaps if Sherlock at least tried something different, he would be less likely to be sliced by that tiny knife of Dean's again.

Dean once again found himself eyeing something like it was a poisonous snake, coiled to strike. Yet it didn’t lash out, or make to grab at him. It sat there, almost taunting him.

Your move.

Dean Winchester was not about to back down after agreeing to go. He was a man of his word, and so he hitched up his duffel, gave one last glance to the flat around them, wondering if it would be his last, bade a silent farewell to Sam, and stepped onto the hand.

The surface was springy, and now that Dean wasn’t fighting for his life against Sherlock’s grip, he was able to take note of the strange, almost-leathery skin underneath his boots. He stumbled as he stepped over a wrinkle, faintly disturbed at how much detail he could see in a hand that he would never have noticed as a human, and couldn’t see in his own hands. That reminded him all over again that he was putting himself in the grasp of someone who could have absolute power over his life if he wanted it, and Dean had gone willingly.

Sam really was going kill him. If he made it back.

Dean turned in place once he reached the center of Sherlock’s palm, warily eyeing the huge fingers arrayed around him. Just one could pin him in place. He was smaller than a finger.

Taking a steeling breath, Dean put a hand on his duffel for an anchor, then looked up at Sherlock and nodded.

Sherlock's fingers stiffened from the sensation of tiny boots adding the faintest pressure to his palm. It was very different from the last time he'd held either brother. Then, the detective's brain had been going a mile a minute, trying to puzzle out exactly how people could function at that size. He'd also been trapping them, keeping his movements quick and effective to discourage escape.

Now, Sherlock needed to be slow and careful if he ever wanted this to happen again.

Acting on Dean's signal, Sherlock steadily lifted his hand up from the table, gaze unblinking as he kept an eye on his small passenger. His fingers remained still until he began the transition to his shoulder, curling to push back the tall, wool collar of his coat. This created a suitable gap between it and the deep blue scarf.

"Keep back from the edge," reiterated the detective, his voice low. "The coat will stop you from falling, and the more enclosed space might help alleviate your acrophobia."

“Oh man,” Dean breathed when he happened to catch a glimpse of the drop over the edge of Sherlock’s hand. He was suspended in midair, only a thin layer of skin, muscle and bone holding him up.

What was I thinking?

Before he could change his mind and demand to go back down to the nice, safe, stable surface of the table, Dean gripped his duffel tight and pushed off of the hand, thanking any god or minor deity that might be listening for the scarf and jacket that formed a barrier that would block the cliff-like view off the back of Sherlock’s jacket.

Dean landed on the curved surface of Sherlock’s shoulder, and found himself grabbing the scarf and pulling it around like a shawl as he backed against Sherlock’s neck, cornering himself in the most stable position he could find and trying to recreate a seatbelt with the blue fabric.

“Too high,” he declared. “Too, too high.”

Sherlock let out a measured sigh. "Like I said. Anchor yourself, keep hidden, and breathe. You'll be fine."

That said, he turned to face the mirror hanging above the fireplace mantel. One could hardly make Dean out from that distance, even though Sherlock remained acutely aware of the elder Winchester's tiniest shift. The detective reached up to straighten his collar, making sure it stood as tall as possible. Nodding resolutely to himself, Sherlock glanced through the mirror at the shoulder occupied by Dean.

"Shall we?"

“Easier said than done,” Dean griped to himself. He made a visible effort to relax, forcing his hands to unclench from the coarse fabric around him. Inanely, he found himself wishing that his clothing was better at blending into the deep blue folds arrayed around him, though that would only ever be useful in this unique situation, and would make him stand out like a sore thumb anywhere else.

That done, he spared a glance at his reflection, somewhat surprised to see how he faded into the background. If Dean didn't know what to look for, he’d miss the tiny leather jacket crouched in the crook of Sherlock's neck. He was small enough that the shadows and combination of the scarf folding around him helped him blend in.

Deep breath. He could do this. No problem.

Dean shifted one last time, taking advantage of the mirror to hide himself from view completely. Now all he needed to get used to was the fact that he was sitting on a giant and had handed control of his life over to him. A trip out of the flat was normal to Sherlock, but the last time Dean had safely walked along the streets, he'd been much bigger than now. Younger, but bigger.

“We've got this,” Dean said, his voice wound up with nerves he couldn't hide. “Nothin’ to it. Lead the way, Godzilla.”

Despite himself, Sherlock smirked at the nickname. Dean's continued references, including the time he called the detective King Kong weeks ago, certainly made Sherlock more inclined to believe that the brothers had once been human, but that was the last thought he wanted to consider at the moment.

Sherlock turned on his heel and walked smoothly out the door, closing it behind him.

"Stairs," he warned, attempting to descend the narrow staircase while jostling Dean as little as possible.

Dean found himself leaning against the high collar of Sherlock’s jacket. His stomach dropped out at the brief feeling of vertigo each short drop brought (a short drop that was actually deeper than he was tall), and he squinted his eyes shut until they reached the bottom.

Dean let out a breath in unison with Sherlock, the sound of his drowned out by the larger gust that the detective hadn’t even known he’d been holding in. “That wasn’t so bad,” he said, trying to encourage himself with a pep talk. He was suspended almost six feet up in the air on a shoulder with a blue scarf as his only safety harness, but he’d made it without faltering.

With the stairs of the flat behind them, Dean adjusted his position again so he was better hidden, leaning against Sherlock’s neck. He could feel the steady beat of a pulse underneath the firm skin, and tried to focus on it to the exclusion of everything else. It was easier to concentrate on the giant he was sitting on than the giants they might encounter on this spur of the moment trip.

With that obstacle overcome, Sherlock wasted no time in stepping out onto the street. His guard was immediately up, and he eyed each pedestrian that passed defensively. Perhaps this was what people referred to as having a chip on their shoulder.

In a way, Sherlock supposed he did have one.

He hailed a taxi with the arm opposite Dean's shoulder, and approached as soon as it stopped.

"Where to, mate?" asked the driver.

"Hyde Park," Sherlock replied as he slid into the back seat, carefully shutting the door. "Quick as you can."

While the cabbie pulled out, Sherlock settled in directly behind the driver's seat, relying on Dean to shift himself to avoid being seen in the rearview mirror. This mode of transportation wasn't ideal, considering the detective's passenger, but it was the quickest way to the crime scene. Lestrade had ensured that they would wait for the detective to weigh in on the matter, and Sherlock was not about to risk anyone getting impatient and ruining everything.

As the road began to flash by out the window, Dean found himself forgetting about the height and everything else it had taken to get to this point.

He was outside.

For the first time since his curse over a decade ago, Dean was willingly outside, far from the safety offered by the walls of a house or a ceiling over his head. It might not be ideal, since he needed to rely on transportation from a man who he still wasn’t completely sure about, but it was something.

Not even as a child had he ever seen the streets of London. They were transported in the dark, clinging to each other for reassurance. Both brothers had feared that if they let go of the other, they might never see their brother again, so complete was the darkness. Amplified sounds of people talking and cars driving and honking had intruded on them, driving home how little control they had over their lives in those days.

Dean’s eyes constantly scanned the outside, enthralled at the sight, Even if it wasn’t the Impala, he was back in a car, traveling like they once had. “If only Sam could see this,” he said in awe, his voice hushed.

Sherlock blinked, not used to hearing a small voice just behind his ear. He almost glanced to the side on reflex before he stopped himself, remembering that there was no one to look at. Only Dean, hidden on his shoulder.

Pulling out his mobile, Sherlock texted Lestrade that he was on his way and would be arriving in fifteen minutes. After he sent it, he opened up another message with no recipient and typed, Maybe he will one day. Then he held his phone where Dean would be able to see his comment. It was the best mode of communication he could think of without alerting the cabbie, short of pretending to have a phone call.

Dean saw the phone move into view out of the corner of his eye, still hungrily watching the street pass them by, and his eyebrows raised. He wouldn’t have pegged Sherlock as sentimental by any means. The message was something he’d expect out of John.

The means to communicate was innovative, though. Dean hadn’t expected a response to his comment, just saying what came to mind. He knew his voice was too soft for the driver to hear, just another part of his size that grated at times and came in useful at others.

Dean couldn’t quite hold in a scoff at the words on the screen. “Yeah, well, we’ll see what he thinks of all this when we get back,” he said, wondering what Sam was going to say. “He’s already got issues with being around two humans, nevermind more.”

The detective smirked and lowered the phone, deleting his previous message. When he lifted the mobile again, it read, Suppose I'm in trouble, then, aren't I?

Sherlock watched the buildings and cars become blurs as the cab passed by, considering the younger Winchester. While he had opened up more than Dean seemed willing to, it was also understandable that he would have reservations about John and Sherlock.

Mostly Sherlock, it seemed, seeing as clearly they were comfortable enough to speak with John on his own.

“Join the club,” Dean muttered, envisioning just how much trouble he was going to be in when they got back. If he’d gone to find Sam, who was working in their main room with his notes, Sherlock might have left. It would be at least a ten minute trek back to the room.

Unless Sherlock gave you a lift, a voice taunted Dean from inside his head.

Annoyed, Dean waved that off. Asking Sherlock for a lift back home was nothing like getting a hand to his shoulder. He’d have to reveal where they lived for that, and that wasn’t about to happen.

“I’ll never hear the end of this one,” Dean grumbled, but deep inside, he knew he’d do it all again if he got the chance.

Sherlock nodded in agreement, internally wincing at the thought of the flaying he was in for from John's end. Considering how protective the doctor immediately became of the Winchesters upon their discovery, it wasn't likely Sherlock would receive much sympathy, but he was confident in the fact that he didn't force Dean to come along. He’d merely invited him, and Dean had accepted.

His mobile buzzed and he briefly glanced at the text that popped up. Lestrade was warning Sherlock that their time was limited. Sherlock looked at the time, then messaged the Inspector back, insisting to wait for ten more minutes.

Knowing that even that request wouldn't be guaranteed, Sherlock dropped the phone into his lap with a huff, propping his chin on his knuckles. He was unable to stifle a few aggravated fidgets.

Dean clung to the scarf around him, finding Sherlock’s fidgets and movements more like an earthquake. His own personal earthquake, complete with annoyed huffs about the time. The meaning of the text messages wasn’t lost on Dean just because he could only catch brief glimpses of them past the dark curls and folds of fabric.

“Dude, we’re not getting there any faster if you twitch!” he griped in annoyance, shifting his spot again to try and keep from sliding into sight. He punched the neck he was sitting next to. “Quit movin!’ ”

Sherlock rolled his eyes as he faintly registered the tiny punch. It didn't come close to hurting, but the detective understood the gesture well enough. He supposed he should be more mindful of his passenger, especially if he wanted to continue their professional relationship.

With a deep breath, Sherlock crossed his arms and settled into the corner of the seat and the door, giving his shoulder one last deliberate roll before falling still. He scowled out the window; the longer he went without access to the evidence, the sooner Meghan Collins would disappear for good.

Dean was not amused by the way Sherlock’s shoulder bucked under him, sending him sprawling in the blue fabric with a strangled growl.

Swearing under his breath, Dean pointedly grabbed the scarf to bunch it up around his spot again, and then leaned against Sherlock’s neck, and jabbed said neck behind him in a very pointed elbow, though with less force than his punch.

Crossing his arms, Dean glared out the window in an unintentional mimic of Sherlock’s position.
CHAPTER 16: One Giant Leap

Sherlock's scarf is perfect for smols, and Dean agrees! If there were no heights to deal with, this would be a perfect arrangement.

These two just always find something to snip at each other over XD



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


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Comments26
anonymous's avatar
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Allycas2048's avatar
is it bad i already ship then platonically XD
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD It's okay, I ship them like that too, they're just too fun to put together
Allycas2048's avatar
haha yeah
guildedParadox's avatar
Oh man Sam and John are gonna freak
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
So much
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Alright, scarf travel rather than pocket travel. Sounds comfy.

They are both gonna be in so much trouble from their other two flatmates...
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
These two are excited to be out and on a case, but so doomed for not letting anyone know they were leaving...

Scarfs are the best for this XD Many folds to hide in
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Not even a headsup. How inconsiderate.
TorchMLP's avatar
Yay! Sherlock is learning how to properly handle smols. These two work surprisingly well with each other, despite such hardheaded personalities. Sam is totally going to be pissed, though 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
When he puts his mind to something, he really does make leaps and bounds!

Their personalities are so alike, and just different enough that when they click, they click XD And yet somehow sass each other into the ground at the same time and I love it.

Dean is dead to Sam.
Weeglyfeesh's avatar
WeeglyfeeshHobbyist Writer
Aww, look, they're copying each other! XD

Now we'd just better hope John isn't having one of his "bad days" when they get back. :D
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
One of those times when they're just so much alike XD

These two are sure in for something
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
They work together so well for people that really annoy each other. XD What a team. Lucky Sherlock's scarf is such a good hiding place.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD John and Sam certainly would never have predicted this outcome. Sherlock letting Dean pretty much get away with jabbing him and using him as a hammock at this point
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
He's getting a lot of scientific observation in return. XD And it's not the first time Sherlock has tolerated people showing their dislike for him.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Dean will just keep pushing those boundaries XD
Imperial-Radiance's avatar
Imperial-RadianceHobbyist General Artist
Oooh, the sassy duo on the outside world. This should be interesting. Gosh, I love their dynamic... and John and Sam's. I love it all. Love 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
They have escaped the confines of 221B Baker Street XD Next stop.. .the world!

Trouble's afoot, and no one remembered to tell Sam. Whoops!

( did you see the new pic on tumblr I got? :3 it's great brothersapart.tumblr.com/post/… )
Imperial-Radiance's avatar
Imperial-RadianceHobbyist General Artist
:)
(I did. I died. So much so that I actually forgot to like it upon viewing. Whoops. I fixed that. XD)
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Ever since I saw this pic ->  Sherlock's hands by nightmares06  it had to happen
Imperial-Radiance's avatar
Imperial-RadianceHobbyist General Artist
I'm glad it did. It's good reference material. Plus, I've got a kink for suits... and hands? IDK :3
I have so many references I can't wait/hope to use for myself. 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD I've been lucky ever since I got my current job, when it was at my last one anything like this (or the dream of eating more than mac and cheese dollar packs for food) was completely out of reach. Arts galore!
Imperial-Radiance's avatar
Imperial-RadianceHobbyist General Artist
Oh, you got this from your job and not a random Internet search? That must be quite the occupation. 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD I meant the money to afford commissions. Though i do browse tumblr when things get slow at work
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