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The Study of the Four 9

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By nightmares06
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For the next few days, Sherlock remained fixated on the letters Sam and Dean were leaving on his saucers. He took a few deceptively open-and-shut cases, but his true focus remained on the puzzle he continued to wake up to.

After the second letter, I, appeared, John found Sherlock standing in front of the mirror above the fireplace. He had stuck post-it notes to the glass, two with the letters and several others with notes, possibilities for the message or word being spelled out, and general scribblings that made John shake his head at the detective.

When a T turned up the next day, things really escalated. The mirror was nearly obscured by post-it notes wondering if this was the beginning of a sentence or if the word would continue, and if the latter, what word?

Knowing Dean, John felt he had a fairly good idea of what was going on.

It didn't hit Sherlock until he was sticking the fourth letter, C, up next to the others and quickly filled in the final letter for himself. His intense focus drooped into a flat look, scolding himself for not seeing this coming.

"I applaud you for your maturity! " Sherlock called to the empty room, loud enough that the brothers were sure to hear it, wherever they were, and he immediately began to tear down the notes.

His tormentor wasn’t far from the scene of the crime, naturally, and could barely keep his breathing under control as he cracked up. Dean was watching the fun, the same as he’d done each day while Sherlock tried to divine the meaning behind the letters. He was almost wheezing with laughter as he peered out of the bullet hole in the wall he was standing close to, the best place to overlook the room.

“I applaud you for your tenacity! ” Dean hollered out the hole, glad he was nowhere near their home by the fireplace. If he was down there, he couldn’t take the risk of Sherlock figuring the location of their home. It was the one place they could feel truly safe. He tensed as his words died off, inwardly caught off guard by his own brash actions.

Sherlock's head snapped up at the sudden voice and he stared into the mirror, turning slowly to scrutinize the yellow smiley-face high on the opposite wall. The detective had spray-painted and shot at the face months ago when he was bored, and it was the only possible way for such a small voice-- obviously Dean's, he'd heard more than enough of that man's shout to recognize it-- to be heard so clearly from where Sherlock stood.

Smiley-face by nightmares06

Dropping the post-it notes for Dean's vulgar prank to the floor, Sherlock crossed the room with careful steps. He was well within arm's reach by the time the couch stopped him from approaching further. There were eight bullet holes in all, two directly in the eyes of the face, one on the nose, and the rest dotted along the smile. By now it was impossible to tell which one Dean was behind, the breaches too small to see through.

The detective delicately pressed his fingers to the wall, running them over each hole one by one with calculating focus. One thing he knew for sure, it was highly unlikely this was anywhere near Sam and Dean's home within the flat. He, of course, knew from the moment he saw the tiny men that they had lived in 221B Baker Street for quite some time. It was obvious, one look at their shoes told all. But these bullet holes were much too high up to be practical, the eye-holes even with Sherlock's intense blue-greens.

They were ideal windows for an outpost of some kind. A quick glance around told Sherlock that practically the entire room was visible from there, and some of the kitchen. The brothers couldn’t have asked for a more perfect observational point, and he'd created it himself.

The door downstairs opened and closed, pulling Sherlock out of his thoughts. Going by the weight of the footsteps ascending the stairs and the late-afternoon hour, John was home from his part-time job at a clinic in town. Removing his hand from the wall, Sherlock surveyed each hole one last time, straightened his suit jacket pointedly, and retreated into the kitchen. When John entered, he was in the middle of making a sandwich.

John's brow rose. Sherlock always refrained from eating when he was really focused on something, claiming that digestion slowed him down. Seeing his flatmate so despondent in his mess of a PB&J, John knew right away what had happened.

"Bitch, right?"

"Of course," Sherlock mumbled with his mouth full.

John chuckled. "Sorry, pal. I'd say 'better luck next time,’ but… well, y’know." Shaking his head, John removed his coat and hung it up on its hook behind the door in the main room.



With the culmination of Dean’s prank on Sherlock, it was no surprise that the saucers vanished from sight the next night. Dean had a whole slew of words planned out if he needed to keep going, BITCH being only the first of the bunch. With the removal of the food lure, he was left to come up with another way to make his point.

He had no shortage of ideas to use on Sherlock. After being stuffed in a jar, Dean was inclined to be inventive.

His next plan required Sam’s help, and a time at night when no one else was awake in the flat. This time, if they were caught out in the open, getting back into the walls would take too long.

They had to walk across the floor of the flat.

It wasn’t a place where either brother spent much time. Sam was the lookout, keeping an eye out for any waking humans. From down on the floor, even John would be a danger if he didn’t spot them. Their legs couldn’t be longer than two inches, at the most, and outrunning an oblivious human was a difficult proposition when humans measured their height in feet (or meters, here in England, but Dean had never paid much mind to that).

“This is a terrible idea,” Sam shot at Dean as he helped him pull the shoelaces free, slowly unlacing the huge shoes they were standing on. He was as alert for the feeling of John and Sherlock walking through the flat as he was for the tingle on the back of his neck, prepared to raise the alarm.

Dean smirked. “I dunno, I think it’ll be pretty effective,” he countered. “What would you do if you couldn’t find any shoelaces in the house?”

Sam scoffed. “Not much.” He held up his boot in a reminder that they were laceless slip-ons, unlike Dean’s.

“Well, lucky for us, Sherlock needs these.” Dean bundled up the first lace into his arms and they made their way over to the other shoe.

Not long after, all of Sherlock’s shoes mysteriously had no laces while John’s were left alone, and Sam and Dean’s storage room on the right side of the fireplace had a collection of laces taking up space.

Sherlock was unaware of their deed until he received an urgent call from Lestrade halfway through breakfast. A coat had washed up out of the Thames, one that belonged to a man who had been missing and presumed dead for the last six months. The pockets were stuffed with coins, makeshift weights to make it sink, and there was no sign of the man's body. Sherlock immediately abandoned his toast and jumped up to get dressed and fussed at John to do the same, eager for the most interesting case Scotland Yard had come up with in nearly a week. John finished his cereal quickly before getting ready himself.

"John!" Sherlock shouted two minutes later.

"Yeah, alright, I'm almost set!" John called back, retrieving his phone from the charger upstairs.

When he stepped back through the flat door to grab his coat, he found that the detective was nowhere near ready to go. He didn't even have his suit jacket on, and his white button-down was half-closed and disheveled. The fact that he was practically crawling around the living room, clawing desperately through everything on the floor, wasn't helping his appearance either.

"Erm… what are you doing?"

Sherlock emerged from behind his armchair with a pair of his shoes, examining them at every angle. With a frustrated growl, he tossed them aside, one landing on the couch and the other nearly hitting John.

"Hey! What's gotten into you?" John demanded.

"They've taken them," Sherlock growled, hopping over his chair to dig through the discarded papers by the trunk.

John frowned. "Taken what?"

"My shoelaces John!" He tossed the papers haphazardly and rounded on the doctor with a scathing look of pure impatience. "All of my shoes, useless. I don't have time for this! Lestrade won't be able to hold back Forensics for long!"

"Well, what do you expect me to do about it?" John shrugged helplessly. Apart from the ones he was wearing, John only owned one other pair of shoes, and those were buried in his belongings because he only wore them for formal occasions that never came up. If Sherlock was in such a hurry, those weren't even worth mentioning, never mind that it was unlikely they would fit.

Sherlock scowled at the smiley-face before grabbing the nearest pair of shoes and hurrying downstairs calling for Mrs. Hudson. When he returned, the shoes had been haphazardly laced with twine. Sherlock's face discouraged John from commenting, so he let it go as the detective fetched his jacket and put on his coat and scarf.

Before he followed after Sherlock, John glanced around the destroyed living room with a shake of his head.

"Shoelaces…" he muttered, shaking his head in amusement as he closed the door behind him.



With both humans out of the flat, and the room in complete disarray after Sherlock’s desperate scramble to find his shoelaces, Sam and Dean knew to take full advantage. It wasn’t often they got to go out and get supplies without worrying that everything was put back in its place. No one would be able to tell what was supposed to be there and what was missing after Sherlock’s rampage.

Sam shook his head in complete disbelief. “I can’t believe you and Sherlock,” he said to Dean. Not once, in all the years they’d been cursed, had either of them dared to do anything close to what Dean had done that day.

Purposely antagonizing someone big enough to snatch them both into one fist and stick them in a cage if he wanted.

“You’ve done a lot of stupid shit, Dean, but this takes the cake.”

Dean straightened his shoulders proudly. “I’m just getting warmed up,” he boasted as he slipped a discarded paper clip into his satchel to join the others, along with a forgotten thumb tack. He was doing the humans a favor by picking it up for them. The storage room was going to be bursting by the end of the day with all these new supplies and the shoelaces.

Aside from their quiet banter, the flat was completely silent. If they didn’t know that the two humans would be out for the next few hours, they never would have risked being out in the open like this, the floor stretching away under their boots. It would take too long to get to safety if anyone barged in.

Out of habit, Sam was bristled and ready to sound the alarm if he felt anyone looking at him, and he knew Dean was ready to run with him. It was their best shot.

Dean chortled as he kicked scattered papers out of his way to find a loose thread hidden underneath. “We should do this more often when we need to stock up,” he joked to Sam, stuffing the thread into his bag.
CHAPTER 9: Wayward Shoelaces

B--I--T--C--

So Dean's mission to spell out his tribulations to Sherlock has ended, and he's going to up the ante! Nothing can go wrong here, can it?


The excerpts from this part honestly had some of my favorite tags: 

Tags by nightmares06

Dean could antagonize a rock.

Sherlock's the rock.

More fun on the way.



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Comments36
anonymous's avatar
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HImitsuDetective's avatar
HImitsuDetectiveHobbyist General Artist
This whole chapter made me smile! I love how much Sherlock gets annoyed with Dean's pranks! And also that Dean only messes with Sherlock and not John.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Must treat the good tols good and get revenge on the tols that misbehave! Sherlock's certainly learning what it means to cross Dean.
HImitsuDetective's avatar
HImitsuDetectiveHobbyist General Artist
He sure is! :D
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
Dean certainly has guts, pranking Sherlock like that! Totally worth it though. I love that they thoroughly have John on board. Even better, he solved the word puzzle long before Sherlock did for once.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Poor sherlock wasn't thinking it would be so vulgar, how dare. John saw it coming from a mile away because he can get a much better read on people. Sherlock is just going to lose his mind, trying to figure Dean out like this
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
Dean is the biggest mystery of all time, if only because he's stubbornly like nobody Sherlock has ever associated with.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD So stubbornly. And so determined to be a thorn
LaEscritora's avatar
LaEscritoraHobbyist General Artist
Nothing will stop him from being a pain in the ass. XD
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Not Sam or John or the fires of hell
GigantaGiantessa's avatar
GigantaGiantessaHobbyist General Artist
Lol of course, Deans go-to word
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Ha! Always! That and son of a bitch!
GigantaGiantessa's avatar
GigantaGiantessaHobbyist General Artist
yes lol!
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
This is fantastic. And the word that first came to mind as what Dean might be spelling out turned out to be the correct one. And the shoelaces. Brilliant. I couldn't stop grinning. This makes for a pleasant ending to a very long day.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Dean is being such a shit, and Sherlock is learning what it means to piss the tiny guy off. He has ways, Sherlock. Ways of finding every last button to push and hitting them all at once. Gleefully.
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
This is what you get for stuffing them in jars and hurting Dean's little brother, Sherlock.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Right?! Dean figures he deserves to squirm for a bit
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
No shoelaces for the detective. John gets shoelaces though. He's nice.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
John always gets shoelaces. And change. And respect from smols
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Phoenix-FireMageHobbyist General Artist
Yep. As they say, respect is a two way street. John's street with the bros is practically a highway, with lots of respect going both ways. The street Sherlock shares with the brothers, however, is more like an alleyway, maybe with do not enter signs.
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD Dean will give Sherlock respect once he gets it in return, so this is going to take a while
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Weeglyfeesh's avatar
WeeglyfeeshHobbyist Writer
I can't believe you and Sherlock. Took the words right out of my mouth, Sam.

Though now I'm secretly rooting for Dean just to see how far he can push the great consulting detective. Sweating a little...
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
Lol! Dean is certainly not about to stop pushing buttons anytime soon! He's got a bone to pick with Sherlock, and considering how their face to face confrontation went last time, he's chosen a different path. Those poor shoelaces
CDupre's avatar
CDupreHobbyist Writer
I find this immensely amusing. XD
nightmares06's avatar
nightmares06Hobbyist Writer
XD I love the lengths these two will go to
anonymous's avatar
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