Pairings: But that would give it away right...
Summary: Written for a prompt at sherlockbbc_fic. "The reactions of five people who noticed Sherlock's hickey and the one person who gave it to him."
John's staring across the table, strewn with the debris of breakfast. Sherlock, oblivious, appears to be mentally filling in the Times crossword without actually writing in any of the answers. But it's not the silent moving of Sherlock's lips as he works methodically down the list of clues that's drawn his gaze. It's the lurid mark on Sherlock's neck.
Really? Him? Nah, can't be. Sherlock? And - who the hell?
Sherlock looks up suddenly and catches his gaze. Quirks an eyebrow enquiringly.
John coughs, embarrassed at being caught out.
"Uh, you've got a - a - "
Sherlock shakes his head slowly, indicating he hasn't got a clue what John's talking about.
John chickens out with a sigh. "You've um, got some toast - "
Sherlock wipes the side of his mouth with his thumb and John nods. "Yeah, that's it." Makes his escape hurriedly, muttering something about going to wash up.
Crashes the crockery together in the sink with rather more vehemence than is warranted, wondering why he suddenly feels - jealous?
Warned by the approaching thundering of feet, Mrs Hudson presses herself back against the hallway wall and clutches her mug of tea protectively to her breast. Sherlock swishes past her, all mad coat and hair, and she's not entirely sure he's even seen her.
"Morning Sherlock dear," she calls after him, and he checks at the door, turning with a bright grin of apology.
"And a very good morning to you! How's the hip this morning? I think the second cup of the day's always the best don't you?"
She smiles vaguely, used to his ways and aware that none of the quick-fire questions requires a response. Although she does wonder how he knows it's her second cup.
"Sherlock, come here." She beckons him back, and he complies with a docility that she suspects is entirely put on.
She reaches up and arranges the scarf around his neck, so that the folds hide the unsightly red blotch on his neck. Pats him on the chest. "There we go dear. Can't have you parading around the streets like a wanton can we now?"
He grins and delivers a fast peck on the cheek before turning to resume his dash out of the door.
The office could be anywhere in the City. The walls are lined with books, carefully dusted, the furniture is old-fashioned and elegant, the large wooden desk free from clutter and sweet-smelling from the beeswax polish. There are hints, however, that the office is not as archaic as it at first seems - the flat screen on the wall with its satellite connection to unexpected offices elsewhere in the world, the expensive laptop, the unassuming but up-to-the minute blackberry with its little hidden extras.
The door opens. The man at the desk doesn't look up, the cameras have told him already who it is.
A well manicured hand places a sheaf of black and white surveillance photographs in front of him. Some are close-ups. They are all of one man.
"It could be a bruise," Anthea comments, not caring one way or the other. "It probably isn't, but do you want them to - "
"Not necessary." Mycroft shakes his head and sweeps the photos into a drawer. "I already know where he got it. The man's not a threat. Not in that way, at least. Although I might have to have a word."
Anthea nods, already tapping out a summons for the car on her phone.
The doors to the morgue swing open so violently they bang against the stops, making Molly yelp in alarm.
When she sees who it is she flushes in annoyance, at the manner of his entrance, at the fact he's seen her alarmed reaction and most of all at the fact she cares one way or the other.
"I need to see the Carrington cadaver," he demands, already stripping off his coat and scarf and rolling up his sleeves.
"Good morning to you too Mr Holmes, why yes, thank you, I'm fine, how are you today?" she retorts and he stares at her, more in irritation than contrition.
"Yes, well, obviously, hello Molly, please may I see the remains of the gentleman in question?" he sighs. But Molly's eyes are fixed on his neck where the discarded scarf has revealed a huge and painful looking lovebite.
Her lips tighten. "No."
Sherlock blinks. "I'm sorry, what? He is still here isn't he?"
"Oh yes, It's just that there's procedures to be followed. I can't just let you have access to the people in here willy-nilly. You're not even supposed to be in here."
He gapes slightly. "You know full well Lestrade - "
She cuts him off with a waved hand. "You'll need to fill out the forms like everyone else. In triplicate," she adds maliciously.
The doors bang again to mark his exit.
Donovan looks up and rolls her eyes. "Oh God, that's all I need." She looks over her shoulder, raises her voice. "Freak's here!" Turns back to the clipboard she's studying.
"I take it I can go in then, if it's all the same to you?" he asks waspishly and she scowls.
"No, you're to wait for an escort." Her eyes narrow suspiciously. "What is that on your neck?"
"Hmmn?" Sherlock raises his eyebrows innocently and she makes a face of scornful disgust.
"Have you been at the bulldog clips again? Jeez, like anyone would want to get that close to your throat that didn't actually want to throttle you. Hey, Anderson, look at this!"
Anderson appears at her shoulder, swathed in a rustling soco suit. "What? Oh bloody hell, who did that? And did they get a vaccination?"
Donovan sniggers and Sherlock rocks back on his heels, staring at up the sky. "You know, while you're taking your pathetic little amusements there's probably a hoard of flat-footed constables trampling all over the evidence in there."
Anderson visibly bristles at these aspersions on his ability to run a crime scene, but his struggle to form a suitably witty comeback is fortunately interrupted by the arrival of a harassed looking Lestrade.
"Sorry I'm late," he mutters, "what have we got?"
"Where have you been?" Donovan demands, handing him her clipboard. "I thought you were leaving right after me?"
"Yeah, I got - detained. Family problems." He glares at Sherlock who affects innocence.
"Here, sir, guess what the Freak's been up to," Donovan smirks, handing him a bagged protective suit.
"Working harder than you lot by the looks of things," Lestrade retorts, wiping the smile off Donovan's face. "Or have we solved everything here and can go home for tea? No?"
Donovan and Anderson move off, faces like thunder.
Sherlock watches Lestrade struggle into the blue coverall thoughtfully.
"Don't feel you have to help at all, will you?" Lestrade mutters, throwing a spare pair of latex gloves at Sherlock irritably.
Sherlock snatches them out of the air and grins. "I was just reflecting on the fact that you're going to rather more effort not to leave any traces than you were last night."
Lestrade pauses and gives a short laugh that's slightly sheepish but mostly unrepentant. "All the most inventive criminals leave their signature on a crime scene, I've found."
They exchange an amused look, and walk into the house together.