The Study of the Four 8

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By nightmares06
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Sam waited close to the entrance into the walls, curiously listening as the two humans came back into the kitchen. He wanted to see Sherlock’s reaction to his not-so-subtle protest against the saucer of food meant to lure them out. Dean was going to throw a fit when he found out what Sherlock was up to.

Watching it all play out between Sherlock and John, Sam did have to smirk when he saw the saucer get tossed out. Gotcha, Sam thought in triumph. He’d have to tell Dean the whole story.

Before turning to go, Sam glanced at John and thought Thank you, wishing he’d had the opportunity before Sherlock woke. For the first time in their lives, they’d found a human that didn’t think they should be caged and trapped, and who actually cared.

The walk back to their home by the books went quick, and Sam clutched the warm food to his chest. He could hear Sherlock out in the main room, and silenced his footsteps. By the end of everything, they were going to be paranoid of being found out at all times. If he figured out their little home was next to John’s chair, they’d have no way to stop him from widening the entrance behind the books. The image of a hand snaking into the main room of their home was a terrifying thought to Sam.

All his meandering thoughts were cut off when he saw Dean burst out of their front entrance, shoving the block of wood that served them as a ‘door’ out of the way in a rush. Sam skid to a halt, then couldn’t stop from snickering at Dean’s disheveled appearance. Even the spike in his hair was crooked. Dean must have just woken up.

“Dude!” Dean hissed, just as aware of the humans sharing the room adjacent to them. “What the hell! Where’ve you--”

His eyes fell on the bundle of food Sam held to his chest, and Sam acted quick.

Grabbing one of Dean’s elbows, he steered his older brother back to the perceived safety of their home. “I can explain,” Sam insisted. “But first, it’s still warm. Eat.”

Before Dean could protest, Sam shoved the package into his arms. Dean’s eyes ballooned at the heat. “Eggs and bacon?” he asked, his eyes shining.

Sam nodded. Dean brought the food to their makeshift table, slowly peeling the cling wrap open. The aroma of eggs and bacon became more invasive, permeating their entire home. “Holy crap,” Dean whispered. “How? What did you do? ” The last part was more accusation than question.

Sam rolled his eyes. “Like you didn’t do the same yesterday,” he shot back defensively. “I went to grab some supplies, and John came into the kitchen. He didn’t spot me, and was cooking his breakfast, but Sherlock left a saucer of food out… I guess to lure us to him? and I just… asked John if he’s seriously expecting that to work.” The entire time Sam talked, Dean ate right through the food he’d brought. “Then he offered to share his breakfast. Said we earned it when we helped with all those cases, and as an apology for the other day.”

He’s not the one that has to apologize for that,” Dean said, spearing a piece of bacon with his silver knife to punctuate his words. “He didn’t do it.”

“Right.” Sam leaned back against the wall. “But I doubt Sherlock will be the one to say he’s sorry after all that. You know how he is.”

Dean scoffed. “A real people person.” He paused. “So you say he’s leaving out food in a saucer for us?”

“Yeah. I spelt out NO with the food in the hopes that he gets the point.”

Dean’s eyes gleamed. “I think we can do better than that…”

In spite of John's dissuasions, Sherlock had another saucer set up the next evening. The offered food items were different than before, but they were just as varied. Content that this was all Sherlock had planned-- regardless of his negative initial result-- and with no traps in sight, John finally retreated to his own bed upstairs that night. Sherlock knew better than to stake the smaller men out, certain that his presence would disrupt potential results, so he was in bed by late evening.

The detective was out of bed bright and early the next morning to check on the experiment. Completely ignoring the tray of tea and crumpets their landlady, Mrs. Hudson, had brought up, he practically flew to the kitchen counter.

Hours later, John slumped his way downstairs to find the detective hunched over the kitchen table staring at the small plate with laser-like focus, his chin resting on his folded hands. Biting back a yawn, John entered the kitchen and peered down at the saucer.

Another message had been left, only this time a single letter was sculpted out of the food:


John quirked an eyebrow at the strange note, glancing at Sherlock's deep frown. "Morning puzzle, then?" he quipped.

"It means something," the detective surmised, pressing his hands into a posture of prayer. "They're trying to communicate."

"Whatever you say, Spock," mumbled John, partaking in their landlady's kind treat.

He perused the morning paper for cases while he ate, absently wondering what exactly the brothers were playing at with the note.

As for the brothers in question, Dean was chuckling to himself at how effective his ploy was turning out to be. Sherlock was putting way too much faith in their ‘communication’ with him. If Dean wanted to deliver a message at this point, after being stuck in the jars, he’d do it in person. From well out of reach and close to an entrance into the walls he could escape into.

Sherlock wasn’t the only one who could run experiments, and Dean was keenly looking forward to when this one came to fruition.

He was still chuckling when he ran into Sam, and got a bitchface for it. Sam was used to Dean playing pranks on him. This was the first time they’d ever done anything the humans might notice.

“What?” Sam asked.

“Oh, nothin,’ just having some fun.”

Sam glanced behind Dean at the path he’d come from. “You were in the kitchen,” he stated flatly, giving Dean a scolding look. “What are you thinking? Sherlock’s there. We can’t have him finding our entrance.”

“Ah,” Dean held up a finger as he corrected Sam. “I was in the walls. Not the kitchen. I was checkin’ him out to see if he was still looking at the saucer.”

Not even Sam could hold in a huff of laughter at that. “I can’t believe he’s actually reading into this,” he said. “He should have gotten the hint the first time.” He clapped Dean on the back. “We’ve still got plenty of biscuits,” he offered. “Up for some breakfast?”

“Man I miss the bacon already…” Dean let Sam lead the way back home.

Though Sam and Dean kept away from Sherlock, wherever he was, they didn’t mind when John was in a room. Not anymore. They had a keen proprietary sense for the one human who’d helped them out, so John was shadowed from the walls from time to time throughout the day.

Silent shadows meant he was bound to get startled, like when Dean perched on one of the high shelves in the kitchen, enough out of reach so that Dean could control if he wanted to be grabbed or wanted to back off and get into the walls.

He stood there with his arms crossed, all casual swagger and sass. “What’s up, doc?”

The unforeseen greeting sent John’s heart leaping into his throat, sputtering in the middle of his sip of tea. Quickly transferring the cup to the counter before he lost his grip on it, he lightly coughed to keep the tea from going down the wrong way.

He glanced toward the main room to make sure he hadn't alerted Sherlock to his surprise. The detective had spent the better part of the morning dwelling on the letter left behind by Sam and Dean, speculating what it might mean or represent. When he'd spiraled into a maddening corner, Sherlock retreated inward and turned to his violin to help channel his thought process. Nothing could disturb him when he was like this, unless he wanted to be disturbed. In any case, the crooning strings would easily drown out hushed voices.

Once John had his breath back, his eyes darted around the kitchen. The voice sounded like it had come from higher up, so that narrowed down his search considerably, and he spotted Dean soon enough.

"Oh, you know. Same old," he croaked, trying to offer a grin as he cleared his throat one last time. "Ah. Is this gonna become a regular thing with you two? Materializing in the kitchen at odd times, giving my nerves a run for their money?"

Dean leaned against the side of the cupboard, kicking up a boot against the wall as he brushed a hand through his short, spiky blond hair. “Now that all depends on you,” he said as he rotated his shoulders and generally tried to look as big as he could, channeling some of the pride he felt at catching John off guard. It was one way to make sure he hadn’t lost his touch on sneaking around, since he didn’t have the useful tell that Sam did, letting him know when he was spotted. Dean’s skill lay in a different direction altogether, pairing with Sam’s to help them find what they needed for survival.

“If it’s dangerous for me an’ Sam here, we’ll find another place to live,” Dean noted. “You won’t see us around anymore. But you look like a stand up guy, and I have to tell ya, we could use a good break for once. Life can’t all be downs, now, can it?”

"No, I should hope not," John agreed as he considered what Dean was implying. He couldn't exactly argue with the smaller man's logic. Still, the thought of driving the brothers away, indirectly subjecting them to the dangers of emigrating through Central London, wasn't a pleasant thought at all.

The doctor let out a long breath. "Look, um. Whatever you guys do is obviously your decision. But… well, frankly, I'd feel terrible if we'd forced you to uproot your entire lives, all because he was an idiot." He nodded in Sherlock's direction, keeping his voice just loud enough to not be heard over the detective's violin.

Dean nodded, listening to John's words with a keen ear. “We're still here, ain't we?” he asked rhetorically. “There's no traps yet, and it'll take more than some food left out to chase us away.”

Kicking himself away from the wall, Dean brushed his hands off. “But that's not why I'm here now,” he said. “Seems every time I see ya I'm saying thanks for somethin’ or other. Like the bacon yesterday. Or makin’ sure my pain in the ass little brother don't get himself in more trouble when I'm not around, so… here.”

From behind himself on the shelf, Dean dragged some coins out to where John could reach. “You'd be amazed what some people drop.”

John's brow rose, and his eyes flashed between Dean and his offering before he tentatively stepped forward to accept it. He reached up haltingly, more than a little nervous about his hand being so close to the four inch tall man, but he managed to slide the coins into his palm without incident. The most Dean reacted was to step back and give his hand space to maneuver.

He marveled at the coins, turning them each over to see three images of the queen gleaming up at him. Two quid and a 20 pence piece. Strictly speaking, it wasn't worth much to the human. But considering that Dean had put in the effort to haul the coins all that way just to say thanks, it was quite a remarkable gesture.

"Thank you!" he whispered, pocketing the coins. "I-I don't really know what to say, other than… I'm glad I could be of help."

“Don't mention it,” Dean said. “In fact, it's better that you don't.” He hitched up his duffel. “I'm sure we'll be seeing you around.”

The converse of that, whether John would see them around was entirely a different dilemma that Dean didn't know how they'd approach. Sherlock was easy, as far as that went. There was no way they'd approach him willingly after being stuffed into jars. All Dean needed for a reminder was the memory of Sam curled up in captivity again. Just like when they were kids, but at least without people acting like they were animals, assuming that their words were mimicked like a parrot’s.

Not even Sherlock had gone that far, and the amount of interest he was putting into the letters Dean was leaving him was entertaining.

John smiled. "I'll keep that in mind," he promised with another furtive look toward the main room. Sherlock remained oblivious to Dean's presence, though John got the feeling that the smaller man's visit was coming to an end. He wasn't even sure if it could technically be called a visit if Dean and Sam technically lived there, too.

Did that make them flatmates?

Not wanting to open that can of worms right that second, John picked his teacup back up and tipped it toward Dean in a toast, leaning against the table. "You take care of yourself now."

“Always do.” Dean gave John a jaunty salute as he stepped away from the edge. The path through the walls was less precarious than scaling down the cabinet, and nowhere near as risky as climbing out in the open.

His mind was already on what he and Sam would do for food that night as he slipped into a crack hidden by the shadows. Staying focused on the future and every possible way things could go wrong was their best hope of survival.

That, and his plans for Sherlock's saucer of food the next day would be a great way to break the tedium.

John stood there for another moment after Dean left, chuckling to himself as he realized that he'd just had his third conversation with an absolutely tiny man who, along with his younger brother, lived somewhere in John and Sherlock's flat and used to be human.

"My life is insane," he concluded, downing the rest of his tea in one pull.
CHAPTER 8: A Morning Puzzle

What could Dean possibly have in mind........

Nothing but trouble brewing over here.

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anonymous's avatar
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RandomArtHQ's avatar
RandomArtHQHobbyist Writer
A large part of me thinks Dean will spell out BITCH for Sherlock XD 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Dean is a little shit, after all
RandomArtHQ's avatar
RandomArtHQHobbyist Writer
Hahaha called it! ;P Dean is the greatest
GigantaGiantessa's avatar
GigantaGiantessaHobbyist General Artist
Hahahahahaha im enjoying this, can't wait to see what happens next 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Oh, it just gets better from here
Weeglyfeesh's avatar
WeeglyfeeshHobbyist Writer
Smol angry Deans are easily placated with warm eggs and bacon. Giggle

And oh Lord, Dean, what have you done?

Strangely enough, I think I could see grudging respect coming from Sherlock when this little prank reaches its end, with the cleverness of it and all.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Always have eggs and bacon on hand, and if those are scarce, pie.

The war has just begun in the flat XD Will anyone be standing when it's over? These poor guys. Especially Sam, who's going to get dragged in somehow or other
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
I like how their chats with John are going. Too bad the doctor gets a jump startle every time, though.
And Sherlock. Dean's messing with his head so much...
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Every single time. John's gotta keep the possibility in mind that tiny bros may pop up at any time and startle him.

Dean has a plan, and he's going to stick with it
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Maybe if he's always expecting it, he'll be less surprised when it inevitably happens again. But then, he might be a bit... jumpy.

Of course he does. Gotta wonder, though, is he spelling something out, or grading Sherlock on something (in which case a B seems kinda high...), or just writing random letters...
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Whatever it is, Sherlock is riveted on it and must know. Guess he'll just have to leave out more food.
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Yup. Too curious. Dean did refer to it as an experiment... He's experimenting on the detective somehow. I'm curious too.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Poor Sherlock, having his own methods turned around on him
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Yes. Poor Sherlock, amused us.
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
Oh, it's definitely fun to see Dean pulling the pranks from this end! He's sure to get Sherlock into a tizzy. John's reacting to it all very well, of course- though it is pretty crazy!
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Poor Sherlock, thinking he has a puzzle to solve and clues fed to him from Dean. Never let Dean know he's getting to you!
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
That little titch will have Sherlock in a knot by the time he's done. XD Sherlock made a grave error.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD I love it. Never underestimate dean's inventive spirit
gabimello's avatar
gabimelloHobbyist General Artist
It would be perfect if Dean thought to rickroll Sherlock. RICKROLL 
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Never let Dean know he's getting to you. Lil shit
kopelowitz's avatar
kopelowitzHobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful chapter as always! I'm positive Sherlock will soon regret a couple choices he made with the boys!
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
He's so convinced he needs to decipher their messages
sapphirelink's avatar
I have a feeling this is what Dean will be spelling out B-I-T-C-H
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Dean's a lil shit, playing with Sherlock's feelings like this
anonymous's avatar
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