Characters: Basil, Dawson, Toby, John
Warnings: a bit of angst, some discussion of blood as part of an investigation
Spoilers: Heavy ones for "The Reichenbach Fall"
Word count: Approx. 3800
Summary: After the events of Reichenbach, the other tenants of 221 Baker Street decide to take matters into their own hands.
Author's notes: This is a crossover between Sherlock and The Great Mouse Detective. I don't even know what it qualifies as. It should be crack fic, but it got a little bittersweet and slightly angsty on me. Whatever it is, it is very silly and is entirely the fault of my flist. I blame you!
I've used a few Internet theories for how the 'magic trick' was accomplished and threw in some random thoughts of my own. It'll probably be nothing near the truth, but this is hardly canon anyway.
Dawson skid to a stop in the living room of 221, very out of breath from his mad dash.
Basil was draped over his armchair, idly throwing darts over his shoulder and hitting the bullseye on the wall every time. He barely seemed to notice Dawson at all.
“The problem with cases is that once you've solved one, it's solved and you can't solve it any more because it's solved,” he said, dejectedly. “And then you have to wait for a new one. What has you so excited?”
Dawson couldn't find the words to explain. “It's awful,” he said. “You have to see. It's awful.”
Basil stopped mid-throw, sending the dart in a nosedive to the floor. He sat up in the chair. “You're trembling,” he said. “Are you ill? Sit down.”
Dawson shook his head. “Please, just come,” he said.
He turned and scampered back the way he'd come. Basil threw on his coat and followed, hurrying to keep up with Dawson as he ran down to the newsstand on the corner. Dawson stopped him from entering the hole at the bottom and instead pointed to one of the Big papers.
“'Suicide of Fake Genius',” Basil read. “That looks like a picture of... no, that's impossible. He would never...”
Dawson made a warning sound as Basil climbed the newsstand to see the article up close. One of the humans snatched up a copy just as he arrived and he ducked back into the shadows, then came out again to read. Dawson could see his head moving back and forth. Then it stopped for several seconds and started again, a bit more frantic. It stopped once more and Basil seemed to be frozen in shock.
Dawson climbed up after him, cursing his shorter stature that made Basil's easy leaps of daring so much harder for him. He pulled Basil back into the shadows.“I'm sorry,” he said.
“It's nothing but lies!” Basil protested, angrily. “It's all lies! It says that Sherlock was a fake—that he committed all the crimes himself so that he could solve them. It says that Moriarty never existed. But we saw him Dawson, remember? He came to the big flat. We saw him.”
“You did,” Dawson said. “I was out of the hole.”
“Were you?” Basil said, vaguely.
“But I believe you,” Dawson assured him. “And there were those cameras we disabled, remember?”
“As many as we found,” Basil said. “I thought there might have been more.... There must be a mistake, Dawson. Come on. We'll go to the big flat and sort this out.”
He leapt down off the newsstand and Dawson followed at a less daredevil speed. He chased Basil back into the hole and up through the walls to Sherlock and John's flat. Basil stopped first at the spy hole into the kitchen, where Sherlock did his experiments. He quickly moved onward to the one in the living room. His face seemed to fall as he peered through. Dawson joined him.
“Oh, the poor fellow,” Dawson said, at the sight in front of him.
John was sitting in his armchair, staring at the one across. It was empty. There was no Sherlock. John looked devastated. Dawson felt awful for him.
“He... he really killed himself,” Basil murmured, as though realizing it for the first time. “Why would he do that? It was all lies, why wouldn't he have fought it? He couldn't have killed himself. He must have been pushed or... something. Moriarty must be involved somehow. He's even more dastardly than Ratigan.”
Dawson put a paw on Basil's shoulder. “I'm sorry,” he said. “I know you admired him very much.”
Basil shrugged the paw away. “We will investigate,” he announced, his paws clenched with fury. “We will get to the bottom of this. We'll mobilize the Holeless Network and find a way to prove that it wasn't true.”
“Basil—” Dawson tried.
“We'll start at the scene of the crime,” Basil said. “Are you coming?”
Dawson looked back through the hole at poor John. “Of course,” he said. “Of course I am.”
The area in front of St Bartholomew's was too crowded to investigate properly.There were people coming to gape and reporters and, even though the police had cordoned off the area, humans still seemed to manage to get through to leave cards and flowers. Even the mouse brigade was out, trying to help get patients into St Gertrude's Mouse Hospital underneath without them being trampled.
“We'll have to come back later, it's impossible to work with any sort of efficiency at the moment,” Basil complained. “We'll start on the roof.”
Dawson was not particularly fond of high places, not since the Flaversham case, but he dutifully scampered up the downspout to the roof of Barts. Basil walked along the ledge, looking down at the pavement below. Dawson followed him, keeping his eyes focussed in front, so he didn't have to see how far up they were.
“This would be where he was standing,” Basil murmured.
“Be careful!” Dawson warned, as Basil leaned far over the edge.
Basil came back into the centre of the ledge and made a motion of jumping, then stumbling, then turning backwards and reacting like he was pushed. Finally, he turned back around, put his arms out and leaned forward.
“That can't be right,” he said. He frowned and looked over the edge again.“Something's wrong...”
“What's wrong?” Dawson asked.
Basil pointed to the ground below them. “At a rough estimate of where he started and where he landed, it would seem that he didn't jump so much as... lean into it,” he explained. “There would be more distance if he jumped outwards, or if he were pushed or if he somehow tripped and fell. It suggests a more... voluntary action.”
Dawson tried to decide how best to respond. “Is it possible it... was voluntary?” he suggested, carefully. “Perhaps... perhaps he felt there was no other option.”
Basil shook his head with force. “Nonsense. Sherlock would never simply give up any more than I would,” he insisted. “He would have fought to prove his innocence. There must be more to the story.”
He hopped down from the ledge and walked around the roof, taking in the details carefully. Dawson followed, pleased to be on firmer ground. He took his notebook from his pocket and made some points, in case Basil needed referencing later. Also, he thought he might want to write about it in his blog. He could at least get the word out on the Mousernet, if not to the humans. Whatever had happened, Sherlock Holmes was a very great individual and deserved to be remembered properly by someone.
“There's blood here,” Basil announced, putting his nose to the ground. “There was, it's been cleaned very well. Someone else must have been up here with him and been hurt.”
Dawson came over to examine the spot. “Yes, I can see where they've cleaned,” he agreed. “That is quite a lot of blood, Basil. I'm not too familiar with human anatomy, but I suspect that would be a very severe wound.”
“There was no mention of another person in the article,” Basil mused. “And Sherlock wasn't injured before he fell. Something's not right about this.”
Dawson shrugged. Basil was usually right of course, and wasn't one to let his emotions cloud his judgement. But Dawson feared that in this case, he might be seeing things as he wished and not as they were.
“Perhaps there was a scuffle?” he suggested.
Basil wandered around some more, shaking his head. “No, there's no sign of that,” he said. “There's GSR, here, though. Do you smell it? Someone fired a gun. That wasn't reported either.” He put his paws together under his chin and looked thoughtful. “It's not consistent with the facts reported. Even giving the press' tendency for inaccuracy, it seems like a cover-up. There is some conspiracy here, Dawson, and I intend to get to the bottom of it.”
For the next few days, Basil barely slept or ate. He worked non-stop, sending out members of the Holeless Network in search of information and returning to Barts and Gerts time and time again to re-examine the scene. The walls of 221 were covered in notes and photos and evidence. Dawson did his best to help out, but Basil was so worked up that he could barely sit still long enough to give direction.
“If only we hadn't been out of the hole that night,” Dawson lamented. “We would have heard what was happening. We could have done something to help.”
“There's no use in saying that,” Basil snapped. “We were, we didn't and so we couldn't. Now we have to put our noses to the ground and do what we can do to help.”
Dawson nodded and left one of Mrs Judson's cheese crumpets on the workbench, hoping Basil might eat it if it was there to tempt him. “Is there anything you need?”
“Just some quiet, please,” Basil said.
Dawson left him alone.
They hadn't gone to the funeral for Sherlock. Basil wouldn't go and Dawson thought it was best to stay home and help him. It was for close friends and family only, anyway, and Dawson didn't count himself as either.
When he overheard John and Mrs Hudson making plans to visit the grave some days later, however, Dawson that might be an appropriate time to remember Sherlock properly. He couldn't convince Basil to come with him, though. He claimed he was too busy working on the case. Dawson thought it would be good for him to get some closure, but he knew he couldn't push Basil if he wasn't ready.
He scurried down from the taxi light and followed at a respectful distance at the cemetery. He stood back while John and Mrs Hudson said their piece. He didn't want to intrude on their privacy. While he was waiting his turn, he noticed a figure in the far distance. Someone was watching them!
Sensing danger, Dawson went over to investigate. Basil had said that if there was a conspiracy afoot, the other residents of 221 could be in danger. Dawson wouldn't stand by and let anyone hurt them, if he could help it.
As he approached, a familiar scent touched his nostrils. He couldn't quite place it at first and when he did, he stopped cold.
“That's quite impossible,” he told himself, firmly.
He moved closer and the figure moved slightly, his features a bit more recognizable in the new light.
“Great Scott,” Dawson murmured.
Dawson liked to think of himself as a sensible mouse, not prone to flights of fancy. But for several moments, he was very sure that he was staring at the ghost of Sherlock Holmes. He would never admit to it later, but he picked up a large stone and threw it at the figure. It bounced off the man's leg and he looked down in annoyance, shaking the leg out. Solid matter then.
Dawson tried to process this. He wished Basil were there. He would be able to tell if this was the real Sherlock Holmes or if someone was in disguise or had had surgery to look like him. He smelled right, at least, and that was hard to fake. Dawson also suspected that someone pretending to be him wouldn't look so affected while watching John. He looked very sad.
“You should!” Dawson told him, angrily. “You've caused quite a lot of fuss! John is very upset and Mrs H and Mrs J are beside themselves. And poor Basil is running himself ragged on your behalf. Why on Earth are you pretending to be dead?”
Sherlock's head turned and for a moment Dawson feared he had heard him. The man did have mouse-like hearing, after all. He realized he was watching John leave the grave. Sherlock nodded to himself, like something had been confirmed for him and turned to go. Dawson followed.
Sherlock slipped into a black car with heavily tinted windows. Dawson was too far behind to find a perch on it before it left. He wrote down the plate number, in case Basil could find a use for it.
Basil! He needed to be told immediately!
Dawson scurried to the Underground and headed for 221.
A curious thing happened when Dawson arrived home. Basil was pacing and he seemed as excited to see Dawson as Dawson was to see him.
“Sherlock isn't dead!” they exclaimed to each other, simultaneously.
“How do you know that?” they asked each other, simultaneously.
“I saw him—” Dawson said.
“My calculations—” Basil said.
They burst into happy laughter and hugged each other. Basil quickly grew embarrassed and stepped back, smoothing out his shirt.
“Where did you see him?” he asked, in a neutral tone.
Dawson explained his encounter at the cemetery. Basil listened, nodding along as though this wasn't unexpected news. “But what about your calculations?” Dawson asked, when he was done.
“It's simple physics and maths,” Basil said, pointing to the wall where he' d chalked a long series of numbers. Dawson was thankful he'd used something washable. Mrs J was in a state that time he used marker pens. “Plus a few inconsistencies. Once I talked to the witnesses at Gerts, there were some things that didn't make sense. His eyes were open, for example. Most people if falling, even voluntarily, would close their eyes. Furthermore, he ended up perpendicular to the angle he fell at. He fell straight off the ledge, but ended up landing on the pavement almost perfectly parallel to the hospital. That would imply he turned 90 degrees on the Z axis while in flight, which is impossible unless he threw himself off in some sort of cartwheel, which we know he didn't. That suggested that there was some sort of interception between him falling and him landing, during which he was forced to switch positions. The fact that he was able to switch positions and hold his eyes open suggests that he was alive once he hit the ground.”
“But what about the blood and—and I'm sure someone must have taken his pulse,” Dawson said. “How could he have faked that?”
“Take my pulse,” Basil said, holding out his paw.
Dawson frowned at him and pressed his fingers to Basil's wrist. He pressed harder and tried a few different places, but there was no discernible pulse.“How on Earth are you doing that?” he demanded.
Basil grinned and reached into his shirt, pulling a tennis ball out from under his arm. “Stops the blood flow to the arm, temporarily,” he said. “It's quite elementary, really. He'd only need to fool people for a few moments. Once you determine there isn't a pulse, you aren't likely to take it again. Especially if you have a broken body in front of you.”
“That's mad,” Dawson said. “It's truly mad. Only a mad person could have thought of that—or figured it out.”
Basil's grin remained in place. “I shall take that as a compliment, Dawson,” he said. “As for the blood, I took a few samples from various places that had been missed—including inside the mortuary at Barts. Two of the samples were human blood that matched Sherlock's blood type, but one was fake blood. My theory is that he donated blood prior to the incident and used that to make it seem like he was bleeding. However, he couldn't have donated too much without feeling woozy, so he had to have extra fake blood to make up the proper amount. That way, if anyone checked, they could confirm it was his blood, so long as they were directed to the right area to sample. However, I can't really prove that part. The crux of the matter is that you've seen him alive and I have evidence suggesting it's possible.”
Dawson took a seat in his armchair, feeling a bit overwhelmed. All this fuss and grief over something that turned out to be a magic trick. It was quite surreal!
“We could borrow Toby from 219,” he suggested. “And take him to the cemetery. He might be able to follow Sherlock's trail and show us what he's doing.”
Basil shook his head. “There's no need for that,” he said. “I think it is vital we go no further than we have. The less we know, the safer for us all—including the humans.”
“But John must be told, and Mrs Hudson,” Dawson objected. “They can't go on believing something that isn't true!”
“They must,” Basil said firmly. “I don't know all the details, but to have gone to such trouble to fake his death and not include his best friend in it, there must be a very important reason for it. I know you don't think him the nicest of men, but he is not that cold-hearted. Trust me.”
Dawson saw the reasoning in this, though he still felt rather indignant and angry at the whole situation. What a callous thing to do, no matter what the motive. “If you ever did such a thing to me, I would never forgive you,” he declared.
“Let's hope I never have to, then,” Basil replied. “Now, I don't see any reason why we can't go about clearing his name. There's no harm in that and will perhaps provide a bit of comfort. A little more investigation is required. Are you up to it?”
Dawson nodded. “Yes. You can count on me.”
Two weeks later, Dawson was hovering over the doorbell at John Watson's new flat. Below him, Basil was directing Toby to place the envelope on the doorstep, though Toby wasn't doing very well with the 'drop' command.
“I don't see why you understood the Flattersnood girl, but you can't understand me,” Basil complained. “My accent is far easier to understand. Drop. Drop. Put it down, you useless dog!”
Toby's mouth dropped open and the envelope fell to the doorstep, landing perfectly in the middle. Basil fussed and pushed the corner so it was a bit straighter. It had taken a good deal of work to get the letter printed up in a size that John could read. They'd sneaked into 221b and used Sherlock's laptop, Basil hopping from letter to letter while Dawson manned the shift key and space bar and backspace key. It took ages, but they had managed to print it out and put it in an envelope. It was too big to carry, so they'd had to employ Toby to get them across town to John's new place.
“All right, come along,” Basil said. “Come along. Good dog. Yes, you go hide over here with me. Good boy. All right, Dawson, go ahead.”
Dawson reached down and pushed hard on the buzzer for John's flat. It took all his effort, but he managed to depress it enough to make a noise. He scurried over to the shadows where Basil and Toby were hiding.
A few moments later, John opened the door and looked out. “Hello?” he called, turning his head back and forth. He leaned out a bit further and took a better look. “Someone else playing Knock Down Ginger, huh? Bloody—” he noticed the envelope and picked it up.
He frowned at it and turned it over, pausing at the “I Believe in Sherlock” sticker they'd affixed to the back. Dawson had found it on the street and thought it might make it look friendlier. John slid his finger underneath it, not tearing the sticker and pulled the letter out. He looked around one more time, then disappeared into the building with it.
Basil hurried around to the side of the building, where there was a window to John's flat. Dawson followed and they peered in. John entered the flat and sat down at a table, flattening the letter on it to read. His face was set hard, as though expecting bad news, but softened as he read. He read it several more times, his forehead in his hand and rubbed his eyes hard.
“Come on,” Basil encouraged. “Come on. Do something. Call the press. Call Scotland Yard. You know you want to.”
John reached into his pocket and pulled out his mobile, pressing a few buttons on it. He quickly hit one more button and set the phone down on the table.
“Come on!” Basil yelled.
John read over the letter again and his jaw set in a determined line. He picked up the mobile and made the call, his fingers tapping anxiously on the table. He said some words into it, but Dawson couldn't hear them.
“He's rung Lestrade,” Basil interpreted, elbowing Dawson in the stomach in excitement. “Excellent. Perfect!”
“Let's hope he listens,” Dawson said.
They waited while John made the call, his free hand making a variety of nervous gestures as he did so. Then he hung up and grabbed the letter and his coat, and exited the flat.
“There, we've done all we can do,” Basil said, sounding relieved. “Good work, Dawson.”
“You did all the work,” Dawson said.
“I suppose I did,” Basil agreed, modestly. He looked suddenly exhausted an gave a great yawn. Toby yawned back. “We best return Toby before his owners notice he's missing. We don't want to receive another lecture from Mrs Tinker about the state Mrs Turner's tenants are in.”
They climbed on Toby's back and headed for home.
Dawson sped into 221 the next evening, very out of breath from his mad dash.
“Basil, you have to—” he stopped.
Basil was fast asleep in his chair by the fireplace, his violin dangling from one hand. Dawson smiled and put the violin safely away, then tossed a blanket over him. He hadn't slept properly in weeks. He needed his rest.
Dawson put the folded up newspaper headline on the table next to Basil, so he'd see it when he woke up. He'd ripped it off one of the Big papers he'd found in a gutter
Dawson tip-toed quietly away, pausing only to admire the new artwork Basil had put up. A bright yellow 'I Believe In Sherlock' sticker had been pasted to the wall. He didn't think Mrs Judson would complain.