The Study of the Four 3

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By nightmares06
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The corner of Sherlock's lip twitched upward to hear the little man snapping about personal space, and a comment about who exactly was clinging to whose finger was on the tip of his tongue. Before he could voice it, Dean lashed out, stinging Sherlock's index finger with the tiniest of knives to make a desperate leap.

"Ah!" Sherlock gasped as his injured hand reacted viscerally, retreating toward the larger man's core with his thumb pressed against the small cut. His dominant hand was still free, and it swooped down to catch Dean before he could land on the counter and either harm himself or get away. This time Sherlock curled his fingers around the tiny body, careful to keep a harmless yet sturdy grip.

He glanced between his occupied fist and the tiny slash across his finger, on some level impressed with the bravery it must take to fight back when Dean was clearly outmatched. Sherlock felt slow for not assuming they would be armed, because of course they would. The entire world posed a threat when one was four inches tall.

"You're certainly a crafty little thing," muttered Sherlock, shifting his grip to free Dean's arms. He managed to pinch two fingers around the knife, giving it a measured tug. It wouldn't do to break the man's possession, or his arm for that matter; that would be simply cruel. Even so, the knife had to go in order for anything productive to get done.

Dean fought back with everything he had. He grit his teeth, his face full of determination as he refused to relinquish his hold on his knife. His boots dug into Sherlock’s skin as he braced himself for tug-of-war with a giant.

The silver knives were everything to the brothers. One of their very few personal possessions left from their previous lives, the knives were the only real defense they had in a world that was too big for them. Dean’s amulet was the only other item that was cursed with them, and he never took it off his neck, afraid it would fall into a crack where he couldn’t reach it, no matter that his knack would tell him right where it was.

“Who asked you, tiny?” Dean snipped in annoyance, grunting at the effort required to just keep his blade in place. He didn’t want to risk breaking the hilt from the blade, but he sure as hell didn’t want to let some human take it. He’d never see it again.

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Very mature."

Brow pinching in concentration, the detective shifted the angle of his grip and added enough torque to slip the hilt out of the tiny hand. Before he even thought to worry about the damage that might have done to the fragile wrist, Sherlock moved Dean further away and dropped him into the prepared jar, releasing his grip as low as the glass would allow. The tiny man dropped to the bottom, catching himself in a squat and glaring up at his captor.

That done, Sherlock carefully placed the miniscule blade onto his freed palm. It was so small he had to squint to see any kind of detail in it, until he remembered the pocket magnifier he always kept on his person. He fished the little instrument out of his pocket and used his teeth to slide it open. The newly-uncovered lens offered a much better, if slightly distorted view of the miniscule weapon.

"Excellent workmanship," he murmured, taking note of how impossibly fine it was. Sherlock was making an honest effort to not underestimate these miniature men, but a silver knife of that caliber seemed well outside the resources of someone shorter than a finger.

Putting the magnifier away, Sherlock let the knife slide from his palm to the counter, a good deal away from the edge where it could get accidentally brushed away.

Sherlock's questions were ever mounting, and as he leaned down to scrutinize each of them in turn, he pondered over where to begin.

Dean stalked from side to side in his jar, every ounce of his small body just bleeding frustration. He didn’t take his eyes from Sherlock the entire time, resembling a cornered wolf more than a man with the matching snarl on his face.

Sam, on the other hand, had slumped against the glass wall behind him, staring up at the giant that had them trapped. He still had all his supplies and his knife, but so long as they were under such close scrutiny, none of it would do them any good. It was heartening to see Dean had escaped any damage, and still had his duffel slung over his shoulders, but that was the only good news. Any attempt at escape would be simple to counteract by just placing something over the top of their jars.

And they had no way to stop it.

Sam drew his knees close, remembering their time imprisoned as children. In a cage, with no way to stop the people from stuffing them into a suitcase and shipping them across the seas. The stifling heat in the bag came back to Sam, making his breathing quicken. He was trapped. He was trapped.

Dean punched the glass as he reached the side again, glaring up at Sherlock. “Alright, you’ve caught us!” he said angrily. The scrutiny made every second of their imprisonment draw out into a lifetime, made worse by the fact that Sam was so close, but Dean couldn’t help him. They might as well be on separate planets. “What the hell do you want from us?”

Sherlock's frown deepened at the demand. Unlike his more subdued counterpart, this one had angry energy to spare. It hardly seemed healthy, but Sherlock supposed he would be the last to know.

"Simply put, I want answers," he stated evenly, kneeling down to peer at them from a more level angle. "Do you not realize how impossible you two are? Considering your brain masses, you should only be able to function at the level of a rodent. Yet here you stand, fully sentient and as emotional as any human being."

A glance in Sam's direction was proof enough of that. Unlike Dean, he had curled into a miserable ball in the back of his container. Sherlock gave a sigh, running his hands through his dark curls before refocusing on Dean. "I can accept that you do exist, I can't exactly deny it at this point. But for starters, I need to know where you come from, since you're clearly not locals, whatever you are."

Dean bristled even more, irked by the insinuations that they should be closer to rats or mice. “The last time I checked,” he bit out in a tense voice, “we don’t owe you any answers!” He stared defiantly up at Sherlock, then started up his pacing again. He had too much bottled up adrenaline in him to stand still for too long without his arms starting to shake. The sheer amount of helplessness in him burned at his pride.

He clenched his fists, feeling a slight strain in his knife-wielding wrist. He needed that knife back. With it, he could fight. He cast a quick glance over where it was sitting on the counter, looking out of place and so small. They almost never left their knives out, unless they were in the small corner in the walls they’d portioned out for themselves, crafting a home out of the bits and pieces they could find and drag there.

Sam didn’t look up, and Dean could see a familiar tension in his younger brother. His shoulders were bunched up and one of Sam’s hands tightened into a fist. It was a long time since they’d been caught, but the memories were as fresh as if they’d happened the day before.

Dean pointed stubbornly up at Sherlock. “The next time I stick you in a jar, you can ask the questions!”

Sherlock let out a long breath, running a hand down his face. Rather than dignify any of that with a response, he rose to his full height and dragged over a chair from the nearby table, sitting backwards in it.

"Honestly, you two act as if you think I intend to keep you. Spoiler alert: I don't." He leaned his crossed arms over the back of the chair, his tone even and his expression neutral. "But the fact remains that you are a mystery that cannot go unsolved, and the longer you lean on your own stubbornness like the world's most unhealthy crutch, the longer you remain trapped. As it is, I alone hold control over your immediate freedom, so I suggest you either get talking or get comfortable--"

A door opened and closed downstairs, and the faint rustling of a plastic grocery bag could be heard swaying in time to the footsteps ascending the stairs. Sherlock gave an exasperated groan. "I stand corrected," he mumbled through grit teeth.

A moment later, the kitchen door that led to the landing swung open and John Watson entered. Sherlock waited until John froze at the scene he'd come home to, knowing how terrible it would look to him. The grocery bag dropping to the floor confirmed it.

"John," Sherlock greeted, sparing a glance in his flatmate's direction. That split second was more than enough for Sherlock to register the confusion, utter shock and disbelief fighting for attention on the doctor's face as he stared.

With a second human in the room, Dean backed himself against the far wall of the jar. He pulled out his hook, wielding it as a backup weapon and knowing it wouldn’t do much if he needed to defend himself. That didn’t matter; if he was going down, he was going down fighting. There was no way to know how this human would react. The first one’s reaction was bad enough, and this second one was a doctor, medically trained and equipped to dissect them.

Sam could feel the weight of the gaze on him double in intensity as the second human came into the room, and he tried to make himself smaller, curling more and pulling his legs up to his chest. He put his hand on his own weapon, using the feeling of the hilt in his hand as an anchor. If they tried anything, he would defend himself. It didn’t matter if it was a useless attempt, it was better than waiting for them to find a better cage to keep him in.

Dean jabbed his hook in Sherlock’s direction. “Just because we're trapped like rejects from Land of the Giants doesn't mean we'll answer your questions like good little captives,” he growled, refusing to show any weakness in front of the new giant. “Now let my brother go.”

John blinked hard, trying to force the hallucination out of his sight. It had to be that, or Sherlock drugged his tea again… But no. One of the little figures spoke quite harshly to Sherlock. At the mention of a brother, John's eyes darted to the large beaker. He'd almost missed the other person entirely, curled as he was into a ball of stress and fear.

"Oh God," he breathed. These were people. Much smaller than average, but people all the same.

He walked numbly forward, a million questions flying around his head at once. The most pressing one stuck out just as he came to stand next to the seated detective.

"Sherlock, what have you done?" he demanded, his attention split between his sociopathic friend and his captives.

Sherlock exhaled sharply, giving John that look he always gave when he thought the doctor wouldn't understand. "They were being uncooperative--"

"And you're being an arse!" John shot back, grabbing a fistful of Sherlock's dressing gown. Despite being shorter than the detective, John was strong enough to yank Sherlock to his feet and shove him out of the way. Other than an indignant glare, Sherlock offered no protest, but both of the small brothers flinched at the sight of such fast movements.

Moving carefully now that he was face to face with two unbelievably tiny but undeniably terrified men, John turned the chair the right way around and sank into it, leaning forward to peer through the glass. "Are you hurt?" he asked gently. At least he knew they could understand him and communicate.

Dean remained at the ready, his face distrustful as he stared up at the new human leaning in at them. John’s voice rumbled through the air much like Sherlock’s, but wasn’t as sharp or harsh. Dean caught sight of Sam out of the corner of his eye and the pain clouding Sam's expression. This close to humans and under this much scrutiny, Dean had no way of knowing if Sam was actually hurt or if it was caused by his knack, and that fact dug at him more every second.

He needed to get back to Sam so he could check him, and while he was stuck in a jar, that wasn't happening.

Dean scowled at the new giant. Though he appreciated the distance from Sherlock's cold demeanor, he had no intention of opening up to John. For all they knew, these two could be using the 'good cop, bad cop’ routine on them. The brothers had seen them act as a team plenty of times before while observing from the safety of the walls. “We're fine,” he said, his voice tightly wound. He continued to hold his hook defensively in front of his chest. “Just let us out of these jars and we'll go on our merry way. You'll never hear from us again.”

"Forgive me if I don't take your word for it," John said to Dean with a glance at the quieter of the two. The look on his face told a different story than his brother’s words.

It was hard to ignore how young they both looked, especially Sam. He couldn't be much older than twenty, and to see him in such a state… John would have to intervene eventually, but for now he made one more attempt at earning their consent.

"My name's John," he stated, speaking only to Sam. "I'm a doctor. And I'm afraid I can't let you out of my sight until I know for sure that neither of you needs medical attention. If you would let me examine you, then as long as you're alright I will let you go on your way."

“You’ll have to forgive me,” Dean said tartly, refusing to relent, “if I find that a little hard to believe while I’m stuck in a jar.” He shot a glare back at where Sherlock was standing behind his friend. “We were doing fine before a certain someone decided to go all King Kong on us and stuff us into jars!”

“Dean…” came a quiet voice from close by, almost too quiet to escape from one jar and make it into the second.

Dean looked at his little brother, the hard expression on his face softening at the sight of Sam curled into a ball. Sam was still trying his best to ignore John’s proximity. “Don’t worry, Sammy. I’ll take care of this,” Dean swore.

Sam nodded, taking heart from how Dean didn’t waver in his stance. He leaned his head against the curved glass wall, staring straight up and trying to take his mind off the burning tingle he could feel on his neck.

Dean rounded on John and Sherlock. Any compassion he had for Sam was washed away and the hard glint in his eyes returned. “Let us out, and I’ll take care of Sam,” he countered with determination. “You might be a doctor, but he’s too small. You might hurt him more!” He huffed in aggravation. “This is some thanks we get for helpin’ you solve that case, ain’t it?”

From where he'd settled leaning against the table, Sherlock perked up. "That was you! Of course, I've been blind. That circle was too uneven, too--!"

"Sherlock," John growled, cutting off the rapid-fire rant. "Not now."

Sherlock blinked at the interruption, but John was on a mission and there was no arguing with him. So with a huff he sat back and crossed his arms, all but pouting.

John considered Dean’s demand. The doctor trusted himself to avoid making Sam's potential injuries worse, but he had to admit that the kid's 100% safety was difficult to guarantee. In any case, he understood the deep-seated need Dean felt to take care of his younger brother.

"If he needs medical aid, please don't lie to me," John implored. That was his main concern, but he had no right to keep them apart for a moment longer. "I'm here to help."

Turning to Sam, he placed a hand on the counter near his beaker, seeing him flinch back and meet his eyes at last. John took a steadying breath to continue in spite of the startled hazels staring back at him.

"I'm gonna put the jar on its side now," he informed the little fellow, his bedside manner taking over. "I'll go slow so as not to exacerbate anything, but brace yourself." Only when he was certain Sam was prepared, the little guy scrambling to his feet with a pained grimace, did John begin tilting the glass container at a safe speed, holding his breath until the top touched the polished granite.

Sam braced his arms against the walls as they tilted around him, paying close attention to the floor as it moved. The slick surface was difficult to keep his footing on, but he persevered. Freedom was close as the opening of the vial touched against the solid counter. There was a jarring thump that traveled through the glass, but Sam was already moving for the exit.

Fresh air greeted him. I'm out, I'm out… repeated like a mantra in his mind, some of the internal panic caused by his entrapment fading. Not all, but enough that he could focus on other things.


Like the way his chest ached, and the burning on the back of his neck. I'm out.

First things first. Sam tried to ignore the giants looming over them in the room. John was at least treating them decently compared to Sherlock, and Sam distantly thought that most of the burning on his neck had to be coming from the detective and his unnerving stare. Sam rubbed distractedly at it, then wrapped his arm around his chest. He quickly darted over to Dean’s jar, his brother’s plight more important than anything else.

In a jar by nightmares06

Dean tried to give Sam a grin through the glass. “See Sammy? Told ya I'd take care of it. No more cages for us.” He put a hand against the inside of the jar, and Sam instinctively placed his own against it. Even standing on the bottom of the glass jar, Dean was the shorter brother.

“Not until you’re out here, too,” Sam said.

John set the empty beaker far to the side while the brothers reunited as closely as they could with Dean still trapped. He wasted no time in wrapping his hand around Dean's jar, mindful to avoid Sam.

"Here we go," he said for fair warning, making sure Sam wasn't too close to the moving jar. John was as careful with Dean as he was with Sam, but he felt comfortable speeding up a bit with the seemingly less-pained brother.

Seeing Sam so mobile gave John hope that the lad really wasn't so bad off after all. It was still hard to tell if he was simply pushing through for the sake of his brother, so even though John backed off once Dean was free and his jar discarded, he kept a close eye on the pair.

Unlike Sam, Dean practically hit the ground running to get out of the jar. The second it was flat, he ran out and straight to Sam, wrapping him in a protective hug while glaring all the while at Sherlock across the room.

Of course, like that, Sam couldn’t hide the gasp as he tried to soldier through the pain, his ribs scolding him for the extra pressure.

Dean pulled out of the hug. “He did hurt you, didn’t he?” he demanded, holding Sam at arm’s length. Nothing Sam did could dissuade his older brother from insistently pushing up the grey tee he was wearing under his tan jacket.

“It’s just bruises,” Sam hissed at Dean, trying to shove him away and cover his chest back up while his ears burned in embarrassment. The last thing he wanted to do was reveal an injury to a room full of humans that knew they were there.
CHAPTER 3: A Study in Small

Once again, what not to do with your Dean: 

1. Separate him from his little brother

2. Take away his knife

3. Tell him he's fine, he just needs to answer a few questions.

Sherlock strikes out. John swings a home run.

Artwork for the chapter by iamthetwickster! Much love for the amazing job! (and the several times I had it changed ^^; I was high maintenance)

In a jar by nightmares06 


John and Sherlock are written masterfully by Zepheera221b, this wouldn't exist without her! 


PL1 has offered us her help with beta reading this fun series! :heart:

FirstThe Study of the Four 1

Previous: The Study of the Four 2

Next: The Study of the Four 4

For all Supernatural stories by yours truly, please visit my Masterpost of Stories! If you still want more after that, the story tumblr is always open with fanart and you can ask about anything in the stories and see what we're currently up to! Visit Brothers Apart and give it a follow!

If you want to check out Zepheera221b's other stories, check out her websites at Archive of our Own and her story tumblr! They're a wonderful read for any Superwholock or gt fans! :love:


If you ever want to help us out with commissioning artwork for the stories, Buy Me a Coffee and we will put it towards new artwork! Feel free to request which AU the money goes to, we’re always open to suggestions.

We do not own Sam, Dean, Sherlock, or John, or any part of Supernatural or Sherlock Holmes. The storyline is the property of Zepheera221b and nightmares06. Please do not repost. :iconsambitchfaceplz:

© 2017 - 2020 nightmares06
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Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
"They were being uncooperative--"

"And you're being an arse!"

This made me laugh so hard that my roommate came over to see what was so funny! Yay John!! And the rest of John's interaction with them is also the best.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
John is just so good with the brothers, even though they're super suspicious and skittish around the humans. He does so well winning them over
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
It helps that his first action upon seeing them (besides dropping the groceries on the floor) was to scold Sherlock.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Scathing scolds, how dare the first thing Sherlock do to their bitty neighbors is trap them
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
How dare indeed. John lets them go immediately. Well, after a quick doctor's exam, of course.
Sherlock grabbed them both within five seconds and John... John has yet to even touch either of them.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
John is already breaking records in first encounters with smols. Even Bobby ended up holding Sam after their surprisingly chill first meeting in BA, and John's made it completely past his first encounter not once poking or grabbing them
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
I mean, he did hold the containers that the bros were in, but that's second-hand holding at most. And he was doing it to let them out, and he was super nice about it. And careful.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Making sure they didn't tumble over, especially since Sam might be hurt. Even offering a hands-off examination, letting Dean check Sam over himself. A good tol
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RandomArtHQ's avatar
RandomArtHQHobbyist Writer
Yay!! John you big saviour :D You guys have to stop doing this to me... I start reading Brother's Apart and then proceed to binge-watch ten seasons and counting of spn... Damn it now I reallly wanna watch Sherlock! I've seen the movie, but still! 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
John is the sweetest. (I did the same thing with Supernatural after I found fanfics by accident XD)

I have to say, if you want to watch Sherlock (the BBC series with martin freeman and Benedict), it's way better than the movie. I loved the movies too, but the series was just phenomenal. The actors are great, and the filmography has so many perspective shots. It's a g/t dream. I highly recommend, ten out of ten. Plus, unlike Supernatural, sherlock only has 3 episodes a season, so it's actually really easy to get through in comparison. Anytime we need inspiration or ideas, we just go watch the show because it's just perfect.
RandomArtHQ's avatar
RandomArtHQHobbyist Writer
Oohh I'll keep that in mind :) and 3 episodes a season would be a lot easier to handle hehe
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Once you start, there's no going back. It was worth every second. Even if you watch one episode over a weekend, it feels like it's gone too soon.
kimstaticchild's avatar
kimstaticchildHobbyist Writer
Ahhhh John's such a sweetie ;w; Wanting to make absolutely sure that neither of them are hurt :heart:
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
X3 I love John in this so much aaa
TorchMLP's avatar
I agree, John, Sherlock was being an arse. Good thing he was there to stop the situation from getting any worse.

Sherlock, why'd you have to hurt poor Sammy? Dean is NOT happy with you.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD oh my god is Dean not happy with him. Sherlock is on probation until the end of time if Dean has his way. He's pretty much claimed Sam, glaring at the hoomins. Mine. No touch.

John definitely saved the day
TorchMLP's avatar
XD John's gonna have a hard time convincing Dean to give Sammy up so he can check out his injuries
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Fretting older brother
TorchMLP's avatar
Perfect definition of Dean
Weeglyfeesh's avatar
WeeglyfeeshHobbyist Writer
Ah, John -- arriving home just in time and swooping in like a be-jumpered guardian angel. The brothers are now in good, if slightly overprotective, hands. :D

And then Sherlock, who's just pouting in the background. Giggle He took that man-handling pretty well, though.

I don't think I'm going to make it till Sunday. Remember me fondly.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
You can do it! Just think of the prize at the end! Much more John Watson and the bros for sure :la:
smolstiel's avatar
Bejumpered guardian angel. I'm done. XD
kopelowitz's avatar
kopelowitzHobbyist Digital Artist
OMG OMG OMG! WHAT A CHAPTER! Sherlock better get his shit together lol. And my bros are so cute imma cry.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
;w; Wee bros need nice tols, not tols that grab them and stick them in jars. XD This chapter was quite a ride from start to finish
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