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Fic: RTL [BBC Sherlock]

Title: RTL
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Characters: John Watson, Sherlock Holmes
Length: 700
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes JWP Prompt #4: Walt Whitman poem. Unbeta'd. Set season 1.
Summary: This is actually a fairly typical morning for John.

John came downstairs to find Sherlock sitting on the floor, staring fixedly at a collection of short articles he'd apparently cut out of the papers that were scattered across the sofa.

"Obituaries," John saw as he walked by. "Anything interesting?"

"Yes," Sherlock said, blindly reaching out to grab John's hand and pulling him down beside him for a closer look. "I noticed these this morning," he said, gesturing to five in the bottom row, "and then got some back copies from Mr. Chatterjee. The first one was in last Thursday's paper," he added, pointing at the top row of his death pyramid, where a single obituary for a Mrs. Gladys Wendell presided over the rest. "What do you notice about them?" Sherlock asked intently, gaze moving from the obituaries to John's face.

"Let's see… " John muttered, looking them over, "different ages, different races. None of them appear to murders, or at all suspicious, at least not for those with a cause of death listed." He reconsidered. "Are they murders?"


"Alright then," John said, wishing he'd managed a cup of coffee first. "Some are holding memorials, some have listed charities … they do all have addresses in them."

"Yes!" Sherlock crowed. "That's it, John. And?" Sherlock was quivering with energy.

"And … I dunno," John said. "They're not the same address, or even in the same part of London. Is there some connection between them?"

Sherlock sank back down onto his heels, mouth curdled. "None of the street addresses are real. There is no Dunworth Street, it's Dunworth Mews. Brackenbury Road only goes up to the 2000's, and this charity claims a 4021 street address. That part of Park Royal doesn't have any residential housing, it's purely retail –"

"Sherlock, how the hell am I meant to notice any of that? You're the one with an A-Z in his head, not me."

"But we were on Brackenbury Road not two months ago, for the case with the contradictory ligature marks. How could you forget the street numbers?" Sherlock asked, disappointed as a kid who'd lost his Paddington bear. Or, more appropriately, like a mad scientist whose experiment on how human tissue might be dissolved using common household chemicals had been removed from the bathtub and binned without prior notice.

John turned his attention back to the obituaries. Perhaps … he reached out a hand to switch the order of two of the obituaries.

Sherlock slapped his hand away. "No, these are in the same order that they were on the page of the paper. The addresses only show up in the print editions – they only include emails and phone numbers in the online edition. Clever, that. It avoids Mycroft's pattern recognition software altogether."

John's hand stung. He bit his lip and closed his eyes for a moment, focusing on his breathing, so as to avoid rugby-tackling the berk all across his precious obituaries. When he opened his eyes again, Sherlock was still talking.

"- four different theories, but there were no obituaries fitting the criteria posted in the Sunday edition, and that doesn't match any of them. Oh, what is it, John, you look like you're waiting to use the loo."

John pointed at the two obituaries he'd wanted to move earlier. "I noticed that the ages of the victims –"

"They're not victims," Sherlock said witheringly, "it's a code. Do you listen to me, at all, when I'm speaking to you?"

John raised his voice over Sherlock's. "I noticed that the ages of the imaginary people are nearly in reverse order, so perhaps you should switch these two!"

"The skull was a more attentive conversationalist," Sherlock concluded, then blinked. "Wait. Not reverse numerical order, but reversed visually. That fits. Why does it fit? Oh!" His eyes went wide. "Hebrew! The missing Sunday postings are due to them not being called in during business hours on Saturday, and the phrasing here clearly indicates that English is not their native language. It's the Israelis, and since Hebrew is read right-to-left, that means … Hah!"

Sherlock gleefully rearranged all the clippings and stared at them raptly.

John stood up and dusted off his hands. "Right. My work here is done."

"Tea," Sherlock demanded.

"Nearly done," John conceded cheerfully, and headed into the kitchen to put the kettle on.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 4th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
I always love it when John is smart, too. Lovely fic.
Jul. 5th, 2014 08:43 am (UTC)
Me too, silver. Thank you for the comment!
Jul. 4th, 2014 10:24 pm (UTC)
Neat puzzle!
Jul. 5th, 2014 08:44 am (UTC)
Thank you, leone.
Jul. 5th, 2014 04:22 am (UTC)
Yay for clever John!
Jul. 5th, 2014 08:44 am (UTC)
Thank you, methyl!
Jul. 5th, 2014 04:55 am (UTC)
Smart!John will always be my favorite kind of John!
Jul. 5th, 2014 08:45 am (UTC)
He is fantastic, isn't he?
Jul. 6th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
Very clever. Well done John, and well done you!
Jul. 6th, 2014 06:57 am (UTC)
Why thank you, captain!
Jul. 6th, 2014 02:06 pm (UTC)
Good for John! Not only does he help crack the code and make tea, but he has near-inhuman patience evidenced by not tackling the berk across the room.
Jul. 6th, 2014 06:38 pm (UTC)
*chuckles* John is an excellent conductor of light, and hardly ever attacks Sherlock, no matter the subtext.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )