Title: Anime Murder
Author: Tiffany F
Pairing: Sherlock/Lestrade
Fandoms: Sherlock
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Don't own and claim nothing but the plot.
Warning(s): None
Summary: There's a murder at an anime convention and Lestrade calls Sherlock in to investigate it. John notices some odd happenings between the detectives, but can't work out what's going on.


Sherlock was in the kitchen sitting at his microscope working on some sort of analysis that John didn't understand, and didn't want to get close to. It made him nervous to think about some of the things that had gone through their kitchen, and it was one reason he mainly ate take away these days. He had the telly on watching the news, keeping an eye open for any case that might catch Sherlock's attention and save their flat from further remodeling. He still wasn't too sure how he felt about the dummy hanging between the kitchen and sitting room. Still, at least it wasn't a real body hanging up there. John wouldn't put it past Sherlock to try and do something like that, even with the suddenly frequent visits they were getting from the Yard. That was odd. Something had changed between Sherlock and Lestrade, but neither of them was willing to talk about it.

"Huh, the freaks don't just come out at night anymore," John muttered. On the screen was a picture of kids dressed up in colorful costumes at something called an anime convention. He had no idea what it was all about, and only hoped they would behave themselves. That many kids together usually just led to trouble.

"Of course not, John. We're out at all hours of the day," Sherlock said with a slightly cold tone in his voice.

John winced. He'd forgotten how good his flat-mate's hearing was, and that was the favorite nickname for Sherlock down at the Yard. "Sorry, didn't mean you. It's these kids at an anneyeme concert."

"That's horrible."

"What is?"

"Your pronunciation. Honestly John, Japanese isn't that hard to speak, they have fewer vowel sounds than we do, and the vowels always sound the same no matter what," Sherlock said. He sat back. "It's pronounced ann-e-may."

"How in the world do you know that?" John asked.

Sherlock smiled and stood, moving into the sitting room to look at the telly. "It's an annual event. I thought it would be interesting, so I went last year and had a look around. The attendees are really friendly and willing to talk for hours about their favorite shows and mangas. I learned a lot, and it helped me in the case you still insist on calling the Geek Interpreter."

"Okay, fine, so what is it?"

"Japanese cartoons," Sherlock replied. He clicked off the telly.

"Hey, I was watching that."

"If you're just going to sit there and be narrow minded and insult people you don't even know, then you don't deserve to have the telly on," Sherlock replied. "Look it up online if you want to know more. It's hardly a hidden topic."


The consulting detective was by the window looking out and had paused. John watched him, eyes narrow, as Sherlock reached for his phone a split second before it rang. It wasn't the first time it had happened, but John didn't know what to make of it. He had noticed the tendency for the first time about four months back, after Sherlock had had some sort of remarkable chemical experiment go horribly wrong at Bart's. John had been at the surgery when it happened, so he didn't know the details, but he had noticed that it was always Lestrade on the other end of the call when Sherlock anticipated it.

"Where?" Sherlock was saying into the phone. "Of course I know where that is. I'll be right there."

"What's going on?"

"That was Lestrade," Sherlock said. "If you think you can stand to be surrounded by freaks, you can come along."


"There's been a murder at the anime convention," Sherlock said. He picked up his scarf and coat. "If you're just going to say something to embarrass me, you stay here. These are people being themselves and enjoying something special to them. They do not need to hear more insults hurled their way."

"That's the pot calling the kettle black." John grabbed his coat and followed Sherlock out the door.

Lestrade was waiting by the curb for them when they arrived. "Here's the badge you asked for, Sherlock," he said. "I have to admit that I'm totally lost. None of this makes sense to me."

John watched the pair of them, not sure when Sherlock had asked for what looked to be a piece of plastic on a clip with the name of what he assumed the convention was called and some sort of cartoon on it. He glanced around at the crowd of, well, not kids now that he could see them a little more closely. Young adults, mostly, and saw that they were all wearing matching badges, so it had to be a pass of some kind for the event. He wondered why Sherlock only asked for the one.

"I told you last year that you should have come with me for one of the days I was here," Sherlock said. He clipped the badge to his coat and looked around. "Where is it?"

"Just inside. The kids thought it was a staged thing, I guess. Some sort of photo op. But when one of them went closer to take a look, they realized the guy was really dead and called us," Lestrade said. "I already sent Anderson and Donnovan back to the Yard."

Sherlock smirked. "I can only imagine their less than professional attitude towards the people here," he said. "Lead the way, Lestrade. Let's see if the one who disturbed the scene did so badly."

John followed in their wake, puzzled. Lestrade seemed a little more distracted than usual, and Sherlock more focused. Then his attention was caught by a couple of women in barely enough fabric to be called decent. John stopped cold and watched them walk by, mentally revising his opinion of this anime thing, if that was how the females dressed.

"Hey, come on," Lestrade said, back by his side. "Sherlock wants your opinion on how long the guy's been dead."

"Yeah, sure, be right there."

"Maybe I should mention that anyone who has a pink colored badge is underage," Lestrade said. "White means they're adults."

"Oh, sorry." Both of the girls he'd been looking at had pink badges pinned to their costumes.

"Can't arrest you for looking or thinking," Lestrade commented. "Sherlock's over there."

The victim was dressed in a very elaborate costume and, for a long moment, John couldn't even see Sherlock. Then the detective appeared from behind the large black wings. "John, where did you go?"

"I was looking around," John replied. He pulled on a pair of gloves and walked in carefully to join Sherlock. "Lestrade said you needed me?"

"How long has he been dead?"

"How did he die? I don't see any sort of wound at all."

"Scythe to the back," Sherlock replied. "Hit him directly between his wing joints and into the spine. Nasty way to die."

John sighed. "Okay, first of all, no one has wings," he said.

"Abel does," Sherlock said.


"The victim was dressed as Abel in his final form from Trinity Blood," Sherlock said. "This is a costume and character who requires a lot of work and attention to detail. This is a dedicated cosplayer, someone who likely travels a lot to go to many conventions, not just this one."

Lestrade sighed and looked at the body. Sherlock looked over. "It's make-up," he said. "How did anyone get in here with a metal scythe? It shouldn't have been possible."

"You sound like you know who killed him."


"Oh, come on," John said. "This isn't some biblical story, Sherlock."

Sherlock looked at him. "No, it isn't. Abel is the good brother, Cain is the bad. They both feed on vampire blood, thought Abel can control his need for blood with sweet tea and human food, though he has quite the appetite whenever he sits down to eat," he said. "Abel works with the church to try and help balance out the problems between vampires and humans, but he's different. He has to hide his past from everyone because, if the truth were to come out, he would be in trouble. He never goes into his final form when fighting, save once. That's when he's fighting Cain."

"Sherlock, how do you remember all this?" Lestrade asked.

John thought that was a silly question and looked over to see how Sherlock would answer it, and saw a smile flitter across Lestrade's face. Sherlock smiled and shook his head. "Have you seen anyone dressed in yellow, Lestrade?"


"Yes, yellow. A tennis outfit. She'll have blue hair and a headband on. I sent a text asking her to meet me here."

"Over there," John said, pointing. "Though I don't know that's a girl."

"Abby," Sherlock said with one of his rare true smiles.

"Sherlock," the girl replied. "I didn't think you were coming this year." To the shock of both John and Lestrade, Sherlock hugged her tightly. "It's good to see you. How have you been keeping?"

"Busy as ever. Abby, do you have your teams here with you?"

"Of course, we're staging a match later today. You going to come and watch?"

"If I have time. You're the one who called this in, aren't you?"

"Course. I know a dead body when I see one. Couldn't just leave him here."

Lestrade shook his head and walked over, John trailing not far behind. "Abby, is it? We didn't get a name for the person who called us. How'd you know he's dead?"

"I work as a paramedic," she replied. "I would have waited here to meet you, but I had something else come up that I had to take care of. Woman having breathing problems. My team stayed to make sure no one went near the crime scene until you arrived."

"Abby volunteers her services whenever she attends," Sherlock said. "Abby, I need your help. We're looking for a final form Cain, likely missing his scythe and maybe even with his wings damaged. Have you seen anyone?"

"No, but I haven't exactly been mingling. Let me go talk to my teams, see what they have to say. I'll text when I know more."

"Thank you." Sherlock hugged her again and turned back to the crime scene. "Where's his badge, Lestrade?"

"Missing, as are his personal effects."

"Costume like that, you don't carry a wallet with you. His badge would have been his ID for the convention, likely enough his wallet is in his hotel room," Sherlock said. He glanced at Lestrade. "He wouldn't have come alone, but if he doesn't have someone as Sister Ester or Sister Kate, I don't know who he might have in addition to Cain. We need to find Cain."

"Hang on, Sherlock," John said. "You keep talking about these characters as if they're real people."

"They are. When a cosplayer puts on their costume, they become the character they're playing. They bring them to life," Sherlock said. "It's a form of acting, and they select the character they're going to play very carefully. Very, very carefully, and a lot of the time, the character's attributes and characteristics match the player's closely. Take Abby, for instance, she's like Yukimura to a tee."

"Yes, about her, Sherlock. Why have you never mentioned her before?" John asked.


"You seem pretty friendly with her," John said. "You don't let just anyone get that close to you, and you never smile like that for anyone. So, who is she?"

"My guide to the world of anime," Sherlock replied.

Lestrade snorted and turned away quickly to hide the expression on his face. "Sherlock, if we could get back to the body."

John looked between them with the feeling that he was missing some sort of joke. "He's been dead for about two and a half hours, maybe three," he said. "But I can't tell anything more with all the make-up he has on."

"Yes, Abel in his final form is quite dramatic," Sherlock said. "Unless we can find the scythe that killed him, we may be in a bit of a bind."

"Never thought I'd see the day you gave up," Lestrade said.

Sherlock looked at him and tilted his head. Lestrade smiled and shook his. John looked between them, lost. "The body, Lestrade," Sherlock finally said.

"Yeah, right. All right, what happened?"

"Cain and Abel don't fight until the last episode of the anime," Sherlock started. "Both of them are in what can only be termed their final form. Both of them using all their powers in an attempt to destroy the other. Abel, if I recall, takes first injury, but the show ends with them locked in eternal battle over the earth."

"What sort of ending is that?"

"The sort you get when the creator is killed in a car accident and the series is unfinished," Sherlock said. "They did the best they could to tie the loose ends together in a coherent manner and ended it because there were no series notes to be found. Our Abel here chose the final form to play. First question is why he would choose such a complicated costume and character to play. He felt drawn to something with Abel that is only released in that final form. His desire to protect the humans and vampires of the earth? That's possible, but he might also have had some desire to do battle against the evil forces of the world. Those are embodied within Cain in the anime, but you know how many forms evil can take in this world. The other thing he would need to be able to play this character is a good friend, someone who would be willing to be his opposite. Someone who could play Cain, help make the convention fun for them both with staging battles between them. Maybe going a bit farther and creating their own end to the battle. Our Abel is serious about the role. Very serious. He grew his hair out and dyed it. He could have chosen to use a wig, like Abby and some of her teammates do, but no, he grew his out. Just dyed it recently too." Sherlock put on a pair of latex gloves and rubbed a strand of the dead man's hair between his fingers. "Spray dye, washes out in a week, easy to apply and match to character. He used gel and hair spray to hold his hair up in the position he needed, but also had a stick and band in there to help keep it upright."

Lestrade squatted next to him and looked. There was a rubber band around the top of the hair and a stick that had been spray-painted to match the hair color was just visible through the strands. Sherlock looked at him. "You're over-thinking, Lestrade. Hair-styles like this are common in anime, but hard to do in real life. People get creative when they want to play such a role. Gravity is sometimes optional when it comes to hair in anime."

"Okay, so we know he's serious about all this," John said. "That doesn't tell us who he is, Sherlock."

"No, but we know he frequents the shops where he buys his dye and make-up," Sherlock said. "He sews, quite well, though he needs a new leather needle, and he ran out of black thread near the end of this project. Made his own costume, that's not unusual for the more extreme characters, especially in more out of date anime shows. His boots though, those he bought and not online. They would have had to be fitted to him, so he had them made for him. There aren't many shops who would be able to do work like this. There's a lead for you, Lestrade."

"His boots."

"Yes, his boots." Sherlock picked up one of the body's hands and looked at it. "He's a teacher, new to his position, likely hired within the last year. He teaches language, probably Japanese, although there may be some others as well. Upper division teacher then, not at university though. Check the local schools, you might be able to get an ID from there." Sherlock paused. "You wanted me to help you, Lestrade. I'm not a miracle worker, I'm giving you everything I can."

John watched, stunned, as both men flushed red and looked away from each other. Lestrade stood up. "Your friend Abby is back, Sherlock."

Sherlock stood up and turned around. "Did you find him?"

"No, but we found his scythe out back," Abby said. "Come see? I left Atobe and Tezuka guarding it with Sanada close by. No one's going to be able to get near."


"I have to stay with the body until transport shows up. You done with him?"

"For now, yes. Send word I'll look again when he's been transformed back to his original self," Sherlock said. "John, you'll need a badge to get where I'm going."

"So why didn't you have Lestrade get me one?" John asked.


"He had one for you all ready when you got here. You could have asked him to get one for me as well."

"Oh, yes," Sherlock said. He glanced over at Lestrade.

"Yeah, he can have mine," Lestrade said. "I'll need it back though."

John took it and clipped it onto his coat. "I guess I'm ready."

Abby glanced up at Sherlock. "He has no clue, does he?"

"Not at all," Sherlock replied with a smile. "Stay close, John."

They walked into the main part of the convention center and John was stunned at not only the press of people, but the riot of color and noise that filled the room. He would have lost track of Sherlock if the other man hadn't been so tall with such a distinctive walk. Abby blended into the crowd, even with as much yellow as she had on and John could tell by the way she was moving that she was used to being in such a crowd. "Sherlock, who are we looking for, exactly?"

"Someone who looks almost identical to our victim downstairs, but colored differently," Sherlock replied, not looking around. "Without his scythe he won't stand out. He's probably changed costumes and is mingling."

"I have my teams out. Our match isn't until four," Abby said. "We actually get to win this year, Sherlock. You should come and watch, you really should. Bring your boyfriend with you."

John was about to reply when he caught the look on Sherlock's face. "I might just do that," Sherlock said with a small smile. "It all depends on the case. But I would enjoy seeing a win for Rikkai. It seems to be that Hyotei enjoyed winning far too much last year."

"We rotate through each year. With the three teams, it's once ever three years for a win," Abby said. "It's not easy to stage a tennis game, but we've gotten pretty good at it since we started doing this. There's Sanada."

"Buchou," a man in a yellow outfit that matched Abby's said. "No one has tried to come by here."

"Thank you, Sanada," Abby replied. "This is Sherlock Holmes and his friend, Dr. Watson. They're working with the Yard to solve the case. Will you keep everyone out unless they have ID, please?"

"Of course."

"Is Sanada his name or his character?" John asked.

"Character," Sherlock replied. "Their names will be on their badges, but it's considered more polite to use character name."

"And if I don't know character name?"

"You can ask. Just be polite about it. Ah, Atobe and Tezuka; how have you been?" Sherlock said with a smile. "Thank you for taking time away from your teams to help us out with this case."

"Of course," the man with brown hair replied. "It's the least we can do. Has there been any sign of the final form Cain?"

"No there hasn't, Tezuka," Sherlock said. "I fear he's a multi-player."

The young men nodded. "We'll go talk to our teams," the other one, Atobe, said. "There might be a couple of ways to recognize him."

"Thank you," Sherlock said with a smile.

Abby moved over next to John. "How long have you known Sherlock?" she asked.

"A little over a year," John replied. "We met when I came back into the country and needed a flat share. It hasn't been boring."

"I imagine not, though you look a little lost. You don't know anything about anime, do you?"

Sherlock tensed and John noticed. He bit back a sigh. "Not a thing. I didn't even know the convention existed until I saw a news report on it this morning," he said. "Sherlock was telling me a little about it when Lestrade called with the case."

"It isn't hard to pick up, if you apply yourself a little," Abby said. "In my case, I started reading manga at uni for my Japanese classes. Pictures helped me with the language, and it was a simple jump from there into the anime."

"How'd you get into this?" John asked.

"I have a stressful job that I need a way to get away from every so often. A lot of my co-workers have watched the same animes that I have, and we put together a cosplay group for a convention about four years ago," Abby said. "It took some doing because not every character we wanted or needed was there right away. It took work to find the right people for the characters, but we finally managed and put on our first staged match three years ago. It was popular enough that we've continued each year, letting each team win in turn."

"I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe there's a cartoon about tennis," John said. "Why would anyone want to watch it?"

"Because it's one of the most interesting and dynamic animes out there," Abby replied. "The characterizations are fantastic, the matches so engaging that you find yourself rooting for your favorite players, and there's enough to laugh at that it never gets boring. It's also one of the most popular series in Japan and has been for the past ten years."

Sherlock looked over from where he was examining the scythe. "John, take some pictures of this and we'll take it down to Lestrade. He'll be waiting for us in the lobby and you can go to Bart's to help with the autopsy."

"You know how Lestrade feels about you messing with evidence," John said.

"Yes, but he also wants to find the killer, so he won't mind. The photos, John?"

Abby shook her head. "Yes, Sanada?"

"Marui just came by. They think they've spotted a possible man for Cain, but they're not sure."


"I heard. Can you keep a guard on the scythe until I come back?" Sherlock asked.

"Of course, we'll be right here," Abby said.

"Thank you. Where's Marui, Sanada?"

"This way."

John sighed and followed Sherlock back out towards the main room of the convention. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he wanted to figure it out. There was something really different between Sherlock and Lestrade, something that was off and making them act oddly around each other. He blinked a few times when he found Sherlock talking to a woman - at least he thought it was a woman - wearing one of the yellow tennis outfits and a bright pink wig.

"Kiku-chan spotted him," the woman was saying. "He was walking around with Fuji and Oishi getting warmed up for his match when he saw the man and sent a text. They're still following him in the dealer room."

"Lead the way, Marui," Sherlock said.

"Dealer room, Sherlock?" John asked as softly as he could and still be heard as they walked through the crowd again.

"Yes, dealer room. It's the store or merchandise area for the convention," Sherlock replied. "A good place to hide because it's one of the most popular, if not the most popular places at the convention. That also works in our favor because it'll be harder for a person to notice they're being followed when everyone is shopping and the same people do turn up over and over again at the booths."

"You really did make a study of this, didn't you?"

"You know I never do anything half way."

"And you never once thought about deleting any of it?"

"Why would I?" Sherlock asked. "It's fascinating."

John looked around at the people in costume. "I suppose it is, in a way, but not the way that you seem to think."

"Behave yourself, John," Sherlock said. "Ah, Lestrade, good of you to join us."

"Good of you to call me," Lestrade said with a small smile. "You think this is our guy?"

"Haven't seen him yet. He's in there."

John really was puzzled. He had been with Sherlock the whole time, never once took his eyes off his friend, and Sherlock hadn't called Lestrade. His phone hadn't even made an appearance, and he hadn't asked Abby or one of her team to make the call. John also noticed that Lestrade had a new badge on his jacket. What the hell was going on. Getting answers from Sherlock was impossible. Maybe he should be working on Lestrade instead.

"How are we going to be sure he doesn't come out and get away?" Lestrade asked. "I can leave officers here, but they won't know who they're looking for."

"We do."

"Oshitari," Sherlock said with a smile. "How many of your team do you have with you?"

"Shishido, Kabaji, and Hiyoshi," the man said. "We'll be happy to stay here and follow the man if he does happen to get out of the dealer room before you have a chance to speak with him."

"Hang on, how do you know what he looks like?" Lestrade asked.

"Kiku-chan sent a picture."

"Let me see," Sherlock said. He took the phone and studied it closely for a moment. "I believe you're right. I'll have to see him in person to be sure, however."

Lestrade looked into the room. "How are you going to find him?"

Sherlock smiled. "I just have to find Kiku-chan, Lestrade," he said. "Come on."

He swept into the room with Lestrade and John behind him. "Hey, Lestrade, can I ask you a question?" John asked as they walked.


"What's going on with you and Sherlock?"

"What do you mean?" Lestrade asked.

"You guys have been acting weird every time you're together," John replied. "He anticipates your phone calls by a second or two and I know he didn't call or text you to get you up here for this."

"Maybe you just didn't see him on his phone. You know how he is."

"I never took my eyes off him," John said. "I was talking with Abby about the show she's playing from, but watching Sherlock with that scythe."

"It's the murder weapon then?"

"Of course it is," Sherlock said shortly. "If you could keep your voice down, I see Kiku-chan."

Lestrade grinned and fell silent. Sherlock glanced back at him and flashed him a smile. John sighed. It was like they were reading each other's minds and it was really annoying.

A young girl, probably the youngest they had come across yet, bounced over to them and grabbed Sherlock in a tight hug. "Nya, Sherlock, they said you were here!" she said. "It's good to see you again. How have you been?"

"Fine, Kitty," Sherlock replied. He eased the girl to the ground. "Where is he?"

"Next table looking at manga," she said. "Fujiko is with him. I wanted to make myself a little more obvious so you would be able to find us easily."

"You did fine, thank you for your help and your sharp eyes," Sherlock said. "Lestrade, John, wait here. Let me take a look first."

The pair hung back while Sherlock went over to a table covered in what looked like books to John. The girl, Kiku-chan, whoever that was in the cartoon, bounced over to her friends while Sherlock moved into position next to a man and picked up a book. "One thing puzzles me, Lestrade," John said.

"What's that?"

"When they came to tell us about this, they said that Kiku-chan was a boy, but that's a girl."

"They're just in character and all the tennis players are boys," Lestrade said. "I guess when they're here, gender is optional because everyone knows what they're talking about."

John looked at him. "You've studied this too?"

"Sherlock's told me about it," Lestrade said.



"When did he tell you about it?" John asked.

"Right after he came last year," Lestrade said. "He was just bursting to tell someone about everything he had learned and wanted to share it. I never know where I'm going to end up while I'm at work, so I was happy to listen to him talk. Just hoped it wouldn't come into play ever."

"That's our man, Lestrade," Sherlock said as he rejoined the group. "I don't know how you want to do this."

"We can't keep following him all day. But I'm afraid he'll hurt someone else if we confront him."

Sherlock fell silent and watched as their suspect moved onto the next booth in line. Lestrade didn't take his eyes off the other man either, but not exactly focused either. John started to get the feeling that he was being left out, even if it wasn't on purpose, and sighed. All he could do was wait and see what Sherlock came up with.

Lestrade finally sighed and handed Sherlock a pair of handcuffs. Sherlock smiled and walked down the row a little, approaching the man at the booth. "Excuse me, I do hate to presume, but I wondered if I could ask you a favor?"

"What's up?" the guy asked. He put down the book he was looking at and focused on Sherlock. "Hey, you're dressed as that detective guy who's been so popular lately. But you're missing the hat."

Much to John's surprise, and Lestrade's growing amusement, Sherlock pulled out the much hated deer stalker and put it on his head. "I'm worried about losing it, so I only put it on when someone asks for a picture," he said. "These two gentlemen back here have asked for my picture, but want me to have someone in custody. Would you be willing?"

"Sure," the guy grinned. He put his hands behind his back and turned so Sherlock could put the cuffs on him. "Fire away."

Sherlock leaned in so only the guy could hear him. "How appropriate a phrase," he whispered. "I'm not dressed as the detective, I am the detective and I know what you did to your friend in the lobby. Here's how it works. We walk out of here like we're going to a photo shoot and you don't put up a fuss. If you do, I'll make sure that you have to be carried out of here. Understand?"

"If I shout out?"

"You won't. I may have violated one of the unwritten codes of the convention, but I would be forgiven because I didn't kill my cosplay partner and leave him lying in the lobby for people to take photos of," Sherlock said with a smile. "See the man with silver hair? He's a Detective Inspector at Scotland Yard. You will go with him and answer all his questions truthfully. You may play as Cain, but you're not him. I don't know who you are deep in your soul, but you're a murderer and that is enough to be getting on with."

John was a little disturbed to see a number of camera flashes as Sherlock walked out of the dealer room with their suspect, Lestrade following closely behind. Down in the lobby, Sherlock turned the prisoner over to Lestrade and the man put up no fuss as he was placed in one of the police cars. Lestrade nodded to Sherlock and went with the officers. "Well, now what?" John asked.

"We need to get the scythe to the lab, of course, and then I think I'll come and watch the end of the matches Abby and her teams are playing," Sherlock said. "Oh, I guess Lestrade got the scythe so I'm free to enjoy the convention."

"Okay, Sherlock, what is going on with you and Lestrade. This is just getting creepy," John said.

"I don't see why, I forgot that Lestrade sent someone to get the scythe. Why don't we get something to eat and go watch the matches?" Sherlock asked, walking off. He took off the deer stalker and threw it into a trash bin. "Even staged, they'll be exciting to watch, and it'll be nice for Abby's team to finally get the win. Rikkai is the strongest team in the series, you know."

"No, Sherlock, I don't know," John sighed.

"Then I'll just have to explain it to you."

John left after the first staged match, in which Seigaku beat Hyotei, though Sherlock stayed until the end and they stayed to talk with Abby and the others until well after dark. Then he made his way to Lestrade's flat. "Greg."

"Come on in, I bought dinner," Lestrade replied. "John's getting suspicious. I don't think we're hiding this as well as we could be."

Sherlock sat down on the sofa and took the plate Lestrade held out. He was actually hungry and was happy to have food in front of him. "I'm not sure what else we're supposed to do, Greg," he said. "The doctors said there's no reversing this and it does come in handy, as we saw today. Is it such a bad thing?"

"No, but at the same time, we have to be a little more careful unless we want everyone to know that we have some sort of telepathy going on between us," Lestrade sighed. He sat down next to Sherlock and leaned over for a kiss. "It wasn't hard to hide our relationship from everyone, just because we've been doing that for so long, but this is weird, Sherlock. I never understood what it was like inside that brain of yours. I'm sorry for that."

"You don't have to be. No one but Mycroft really understands, and that's only because his mind is the same," Sherlock said. "We just have to try and be better about keeping our thoughts to ourselves when we're not alone."

"It's harder when we're next to each other though. It's like every shield I work to put up vanishes when I just think about you. What the hell was that damn chemical experiment anyway?"

"I was attempting to figure out a base agent in a drug one of my homeless network brought me," Sherlock said. "They weren't sure if it was illegal or not, and you know how they feel about the police. I still don't know what went wrong."

"I'm not mad, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "It scared me when we realized what was happening, it really did, but I'm not mad. In a way I like being this much closer to you. It feels like we're more of a couple now than we ever were before."

"I like knowing where you are and what you're doing," Sherlock said. "I like feeling like I'm not alone."

Lestrade put down his fork and wrapped an arm around his lover. "You haven't been alone in years, love, but I know how it had to have felt at times. But what the hell are we going to tell John? He's noticed and his observational powers have gotten better since he's been living with you."

"We could tell him part of the truth," Sherlock said. "He likes danger too much to leave."

"He'll think we're lying to him."

"We'll just have to prove it to him. We don't have to tell him the truth about our relationship, Greg. I don't want to share that with anyone, but if wondering about us is going to lead to him not paying attention when we're out working."

"But how can we prove it to him?" Lestrade asked.

"He was already noticing something today," Sherlock replied. "What if we had him write something down in the sitting room with one of us, probably me as he's more likely to expect me to cheat somehow, and I'll send it to you to write down in the kitchen or my bedroom."

Lestrade nodded. "That could work," he said. "There's no time like the present, you know."

Sherlock looked affronted. "At least let me finish my supper," he said.

John was watching the telly when Lestrade and Sherlock arrived at the flat. Sherlock took in the set of his shoulders and sighed. "Didn't enjoy the tennis match today, John?" he asked.

"Not really."

"Did Abby's team win, Sherlock?" Lestrade asked. "I kind of wanted to watch that once I realized who she was and who all was playing with her."

"You too, Lestrade?"

Sherlock smiled. "John, every one of those people in the tennis cosplay was either a member of Scotland Yard or in the London fire service," he said. "You're probably seen them at crime scenes and just didn't recognize them because they were in character. Kitty, for instance, works in the lab at Bart's with Molly."

"You're putting me on."

"Nope. Remind me next time we're down there and I'll officially introduce you," Sherlock said. "Lestrade and I can point them out at crime scenes too, if you want."

"John, we're really here to talk to you about what happened today, finally answer your question," Lestrade said.

He looked around. "So you were hiding something from me all day today," John said. He clicked off the TV and turned to face them. "Go on then."

Lestrade nodded and went back into Sherlock's bedroom. John blinked. "What was that all about?"

"We're going to prove something to you," Sherlock said. He tossed over a notepad and pen. "Write something down. I don't care what, just a sentence or two and hand it to me."


"Just do it, John."

"Fine." John thought for a minute and then wrote three sentences on the piece of paper. He handed it to Sherlock and leaned back in his chair. "Well?"

"Not exactly nice, John," Sherlock sighed. He read it silently a second time, slowly, to give Lestrade time to get the words on paper back in the other room. "Not nice at all, but I understand you're upset."

"What, exactly is this going to show?" John asked.

Lestrade came back in and handed John a piece of paper. He read it and dropped it on the floor. "How?"

"That chemical accident," Sherlock said. "Lestrade was there with me and we were both affected by it. This is the result."

"So you are reading each other's minds. I thought that would be impossible and totally dismissed the idea today while we were working," John said. "I didn't think there was any way that telepathy could exist."

"According to the doctors Mycroft had examine us, it shouldn't," Sherlock said. "No one can understand exactly what happened, but we have to go in for blood tests and question sessions monthly. The government is excited about this development and wants to see if they can turn it to their advantage."

"Bet that goes over well."

Lestrade laughed. "They've learned to watch what they say around both of us. Sherlock and I can shield a little, the farther apart we are, but when we're close, we're in the other's head no matter what."

"How's that work for you, Lestrade?" John asked. "I know how Sherlock likes his privacy. What sort of images does he send you?"

"He doesn't," Lestrade replied mildly. "We're there, we pick up on everything the other is thinking, but he never tries to hurt me for any reason."

Sherlock smiled and picked up his violin. "It does make solving cases a little easier," he said. "Plus it's an interesting effect of a random chemical accident. I can see why the scientists are excited about it."

"I can't believe you don't try to keep Lestrade out of your head," John said.

"Why should I waste energy and time to try to do something I know I can't do?" Sherlock asked. "He's already having enough problems at crime scene, why should I make them worse than they are?"

Lestrade grinned and looked down at his hands. Sherlock chuckled and put his violin down. "If you want to, Sherlock," Lestrade said.

"I'm going to have to get used to that, aren't I?" John asked, looking between them.

"Sorry," Lestrade said. "We try not to do it, especially when others are around, but it's hard to tell where one thought starts and the other stops."

"What did Sherlock want to do?"

"Show you why he doesn't try to keep me out. It's up to him."

Sherlock sat down next to Lestrade on the sofa. "John, I wasn't entirely truthful with you when we first met. You asked if I had a girlfriend or a boyfriend. I told you no, that I was married to my work," he said. "I am very much married to my work, but I have a lover. I consider that to be a much more intense relationship than a mere boy or girlfriend."

"So who is it?" John asked.

Lestrade took Sherlock's hand in his and pulled him in for a soft kiss. Sherlock responded and pulled back after a minute. "You see but you do not observe," Sherlock said softly.

"Really?" John asked.

"For almost seven years," Lestrade replied with a smile. "Does that bother you?"

"No more than the two of you suddenly being able to read each other's minds," John said. "It'll just take me a little while to get used to the idea."

"Thank you," Lestrade said softly. "Sherlock wasn't sure how you would take the fact that he's in a relationship."

"Like I told him, it's all fine," John said. "So, wait a second. When Abby said you should bring your boyfriend to watch the matches, she meant Lestrade didn't she?"

"Yes. She was one of the people who responded to the lab after the accident and found out the truth," Sherlock said. "She really is a most remarkable young woman. You should come with me to the convention tomorrow, John. I do think it would be a good experience for you."

Lestrade grinned. "Just make sure to watch out for the pink badges," he said.

John laughed. It looked like just another night with Sherlock Holmes around.