Characters: Sherlock, John, Lestrade, a tortoise
Warnings: brief language, tortoises in peril
Spoilers: Refers to an entry on John's blog, but no episode spoilers
Pairings: Mention of John/Sarah, otherwise Gen
Word count: Approx. 2000
Summary: Sherlock rescues a tortoise and John and Lestrade discuss leaving the country.
Author's notes: A prequel of sorts to Someone Else's Day Off. A few people asked for the explanation of the throwaway line about Sherlock rescuing a tortoise. So, I've written this. It is very silly.
EDIT: It has come to my attention that my previous use of 'turtle' here was a Britpicking error on my part. All instances of turtle have now been replaced with 'tortoise'. Apologies for any confusion.
“No, Sherlock, you cannot go in and get the tortoise,” Lestrade said, firmly. “You did notice, with your great powers of deduction, the rather large fire that was just put out? The one that burned most of the front of the building away?”
Sherlock's eyes widened, filled with the purest of intentions. “But Inspector, Katie loves that tortoise,” he said, passionately. “It's her best friend. She'll be devastated if anything happens to it.”
“That was beautiful, Sherlock, really,” Lestrade said, rolling his eyes. “But complete bollocks.”
Sherlock's innocence was gone in a moment as he dropped back to his usual persona. “It was worth a try. You’re very emotional about children. Who has a tortoise for a best friend, anyway? They don't even do anything.”
“Isn't your best friend a skull?” John asked, with a smirk. “I don't think you're one to judge.”
“Everyone keeps telling me you're my best friend,” Sherlock replied, with a matching smirk. “So perhaps you're right – my judgement is poor is that area. At least you're capable of more than eating and sleeping. In theory.”
“Cheers,” John said.
Sherlock turned his attention back to the matter-at-hand with his usual single-minded focus. “I need the tortoise,” he said.
“No, you want the tortoise,” Lestrade corrected. “We've had this discussion before, Sherlock. There is a difference between wanting and needing. And in this case, you do not need the tortoise. We can convict him without the tortoise. Not only for murder, but several other crimes as well. Starting with arson. I'm not going to let you walk into a burned out building just to satisfy your need to be right.”
“Need!” Sherlock said, jumping on the word. “See, I need the tortoise. I'm sure the building is structurally sound. The part where the tortoise is located wasn't touched at all.”
“There's no stairs,” John pointed out. “Look, you can see there's no stairs because there is also no front wall to block the view of the stairs that aren't there.”
Sherlock put his hand at the level of John's face, as though he were blocking him out. John had a very childish urge to bite his fingers. “What if I could find a way to get to the tortoise without going through the burned part of the building?” Sherlock asked.
Lestrade rolled his eyes. “Fine. If you can figure out how to get to the tortoise in the next fifteen minutes, be my guest. I'm clearing the area then.”
Sherlock grinned in triumph. John did not like the look in his eyes. That look always meant danger for one or the other or both of them. It was a look to run away from immediately. He suddenly realized the plan.
“No, no, no,” he said, holding up his hands. Sherlock just kept grinning. “No.”
“What?” Lestrade asked, looking between them. “What's he going to do?”
“You cannot climb the side of a building,” John said, in what he hoped was a convincing voice. It was certainly a reasonable voice, but reason didn't often work with Sherlock for all his advocation of logic.
“Your argument is flawed, John,” Sherlock replied, shrugging off his coat and handing it to a bewildered Lestrade. “As that is just what I'm going to do.”
“Sherlock!” John barked, using his best military voice. The one that sent junior officers scrambling to fulfil orders. The one that had no effect on Sherlock whatsoever.
John and Lestrade hurried after him as he marched around to the side of the building.
“Let me rephrase,” John said. “It is stupid to climb the side of a building. Stupid. It's not clever, Sherlock. It's not brave. It's just – oh, for Christ's–”
Sherlock was already scaling the wall. Really easily, in fact. Lestrade and John watched him with gaping expressions as he quickly found hand and foot holds in the old brickwork. Sherlock was climbing like a spider, with no hesitation or apparent difficultly. He just found the bricks sticking out of the wall and grabbed hold, like this was something he did everyday. He was soon halfway up and then all the way to the window. John winced as he slipped trying to open it from the outside, but he managed it and disappeared into the building.
“I sometimes wonder if he's human,” Lestrade said. “Or if he's an alien sent to study Earth and he hasn't quite got the hang of mimicking us yet.”
John nodded. “Suctions cups on his hands?” he suggested.
“Yeah, I'd say so,” Lestrade agreed.
They both started laughing in disbelief at the situation. Sherlock was gone for about a minute and then returned, holding a tortoise shell in his hands as he leaned out the window. “I'm going to have to throw it down,” he said. “I can't climb with it. Hold out my coat.”
“You can't throw a tortoise,” Lestrade objected.
“I believe I've just demonstrated that when you think I can't do something, it is very likely that I actually can,” Sherlock said, impatiently. “It has a shell to protect it. That's what it's for.”
“Sherlock, tortoises did not evolve shells so they could be tossed,” John said.
“I have absolutely no interest in whether or not this tortoise survives,” Sherlock said. “I don't need it alive to prove my theory. I suggest that if you want Katie to see her best friend again, you catch it. I'm going throw it either way.”
John and Lestrade sighed in unison, then stretched Sherlock's coat between them. A few seconds later, a very alarmed tortoise landed safely in it. It had pulled itself entirely into its shell. John felt bad for it. He supposed it was probably a very bad day in a tortoise's life when you become evidence in a murder investigation, you were removed from your habitat to a building that eventually burned down and then you were tossed out a window by a mad consulting detective.
“Bloody hell,” Lestrade muttered, as he retrieved the tortoise carefully. “He's right. Look.”
He held the shell for John to see. Just as Sherlock predicted, there were grooves in the shell that perfectly matched the murder weapon. Not enough to go through and harm the tortoise, he thought, but very distinctively there. There was also blood spatter in the right pattern and droplets of paint from the canvas the victim had been working on.
“Well, there will be no dealing with him now,” Lestrade said.
“Is there ever?” John asked.
Lestrade shook his head. “D'you suppose the mothership will come back for him soon?” he said.
“We can always hope,” John said, solemnly.
They both laughed again and then turned their attention to Sherlock, who was coming down the wall a little less gracefully than he'd gone up. He dropped the last little bit, landing in a crouch and popped back up, pulling down on his suit jacket to straighten it, like this was no big deal.
“You're manhandling the evidence,” he said, taking the tortoise from Lestrade with great care. He had on a pair of crime scene gloves. “I suppose we can't put it in a bag. Do you have some sort of box with holes or something?”
“Oh yeah, Sherlock, let me get the tortoise evidence box,” Lestrade said. “I always keep a few on hand just in case.”
“I'll have to poke holes in something,” Sherlock said, muttering to himself in a way suggesting he hadn't even been listening. “Anderson was wearing new shoes...”
He walked away, leaving John and Lestrade behind.
“Why d'you think Potts took the tortoise?” John asked. “The victim was tortoise sitting. She wasn't emotionally attached to it. He doesn't seem like a sentimental sort, what with the cold-blooded murder. Why keep something that can convict you?”
“I've seen serial killers cry because their puppies would have to live with someone else when they were going to prison,” Lestrade said, with a shrug. “People are weird.”
“Stop breathing on it, Anderson! Just give me the shoe box, you had clearly just bought those hideous things you're wearing directly before you came to the crime scene,” Sherlock's raised voice sounded from around the corner. “You must have the box in your car. Retrieve it.”
“Case in point,” Lestrade added.
They walked back around the building, where Anderson was just leaving to head off to his car. The tortoise was cautiously sticking its head out now. Sherlock held it out like he was slightly disgusted by it.
“You should photograph it well before giving it back to the girl,” he said. “It will be useful in court. I want to be able to reconstruct the scenario in a lab environment, too. I wonder where I can get a tortoise shell...there must be some place. I'm quite interested the shell's ability to stop the weapon. I'd like to know if it was a fluke or something to do with the structure of the shell.”
John nodded along, like he always did when Sherlock started speaking like a mad scientist. Lestrade just looked tired.
Anderson returned with the shoe box, shoving it at John and walking away without a word. There was a shuffling of objects as Sherlock passed the tortoise to Lestrade and poked holes in the shoe box with a pen. At John's objection that they couldn't just stuff a tortoise in there, Sherlock neatly pinched some gauze from one of the ambulances and made a bed for it, grumbling about John's bleeding heart the whole while. The tortoise was safely deposited and given to one of the SOCOs, who walked away muttering 'what the fuck am I supposed to do with a tortoise?'.
“I'll be at Barts if you need me,” Sherlock declared, taking his coat back from Lestrade and popping the collar. He was clearly very pleased with himself. He turned and walked away to hail a cab.
“I should probably go with him. Uh, this probably isn't the best time to tell you, but I'm going to New Zealand for a while. I'm leaving in a few days,” John told Lestrade. “Sort of a holiday. Sorry to duck out on you.”
“John, if anyone needs a holiday, it's you,” Lestrade said. “Plus, s'not really ducking out. You don't actually get paid for this.”
“I don't? Well, screw you then,” John said.
Lestrade laughed. “Have a good holiday,” he said. “I'll be here, figuring out how the hell to write a report on a tortoise rescue.”
“Can't be worse than the time he stole a zebra,” John pointed out.
“Actually, I think I made it quite clear in my report he borrowed a zebra,” Lestrade said. “He returned it safely and all charges from the zoo were dropped. The really hard one was the time you lot stole that tour bus.”
“Borrowed,” John objected. “We definitely borrowed it. Those tourists were really pleased about it, too. And Sherlock gave an excellent lecture while we careened through the streets like madmen. There were facts about London even I didn't know in there. You can't say they didn't get their money's worth.”
Lestrade nodded in a sort of tired agreement. “Can I come with you?” he asked.
“Uh, no,” John said. “I don't think Sarah would appreciate it.”
“Fair enough,” Lestrade said. “You better run, he's going to leave without you. And John? Turn off your mobile while you're gone.”
John laughed and nodded, then ran to catch up with Sherlock.