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Sherlock Fic: One Step Ahead (3 of 3)


 “Let him go, Doctor Smith.”

“I don’t know how you’re not dead already, Holmes. But this here? This is the same virus I sent you. I may be done for, but I won’t go down alone. You’ll get to see! See this glorious weapon I’ve made! You all will. And it will be this poor fool…”

John had just noticed that Sherlock was looking behind Smith, not at him, when he felt a sudden fine spray of something warm on the back of his neck, and jumped forward as Smith crumpled to the floor with the syringe still grasped tightly in his hand.

“What just...”

“Are you alright, John? Did it touch you? I didn’t think it did. But it didn’t, did it?”

John looked at the dead man on the ground, and the living man standing a foot or two in front of him, and opened his mouth but couldn’t quite make a connection between it and his brain. At that moment Mycroft walked in.

“Ah, Sherlock! One of your best performances, I think. Congratulations are in order, and your country thanks you. A knighthood, perhaps at this...”

“Mycroft, you know I will not ever accept a knighthood. Your sniper has killed your rogue scientist, and I have avoided utter boredom for a few days. But now I want to eat.”

“Wh-what...” John was staring from one brother to the other, occasionally glancing back down at the corpse.

“Ah, yes.” Mycroft paused the never ending staring contest between himself and Sherlock to look at John. “I should explain.”

“Yes...” John wasn’t really sure of anything at the moment, but that sounded reasonable. 

“Not forgetting, of course, that I am in the room, Mycroft, and can hear you if you decide to utter some absurd falsehoods.”

“Thank you, Sherlock. I will bear that in mind. Several months ago, it was brought to the attention of the government that a British scientist was experimenting on the Ebola virus, and perhaps a new super-virus was about to be launched on the world. We had been able to track this criminal as far as a specific government-run facility that you need know nothing more about, but no further.”


“Sherlock, be quiet! I then called on Sherlock, who also was unable to identify the perpetrator.”

“I described him correctly.”

“‘A white male between the ages of twenty five and fifty-five with a doctoral degree in medicine or chemistry’ did not narrow the suspect list significantly, Sherlock.”

“It’s still more than...”

“Will you allow me to proceed?”

Sherlock folded his arms and rolled his eyes. But he did stop talking.

“We then decided that the only way to deal with this man was to draw him out. We calculated the amount of time he would take to respond to a clear threat, and then coordinated our actions so that his response would fall during the weekend in which you visited a Mr. Bill Murray, formerly of the Royal Army Medical Corps, in Cardiff, and went to a rugby match with him…”

“So I wouldn’t have to hear John talking about that wretched sport anymore...”

“Sherlock then made sure that all the possible suspects knew that he was trailing them, and waited for a response.”

“Which came in the form of a primitive box with a loaded spring contaminated with the virus. He must have thought I was very stupid to fall for something like that.”

“Sherlock, do not tempt me by saying things of that nature.   Sherlock feigned his illness. And here we are.

“We had calculated on your overly emotional reaction as another way of convincing the perpetrator that this was genuine. We had not--and I can admit my mistakes, John, even if my brother cannot--counted on your getting into the room this quickly, and thus creating a potential hostage for Doctor Culverton Smith to utilize when he revealed himself as our aspiring bioterrorist.”

“Smith came in to draw my blood, so he could test it. I suppose I was not dying fast enough for him. And I may have been his first human test case. But of course, once he was that close, he could see that I was perfectly healthy. And he brought out a vial of the virus. Then I fought him off, and Mycroft’s sniper killed him.”

John knew he would need a bit of time to process all this information. Somehow Sherlock’s “I fought him off” felt wrong, among other things. But his brain wasn’t running on all cylinders. He was fairly clear on the main point, though: Sherlock was not dead. He might be emaciated and weak. But he was not dead. He was not dying. John was so relieved that he walked forward, and for the first time in their long acquaintance, he threw his arms around his friend. When Sherlock immediately stiffened, and shoved him backwards...and John realized that Sherlock was not wasting away. And when he looked up at Sherlock’s I-just-sucked-on-a-lemon face, he realized it was...caked with makeup? 

That was when the truth of the situation hit him. 

“You...You complete bastard!” And one swift left hook had dropped Sherlock to the floor.

Mycroft looked at his unconscious brother as if he were an interesting work of modern art. “You should know, John, that for his own fantastic reasons, Sherlock has had a paternity test. He is our father’s son.”

John just stared. Then he sighed and crouched down next to Sherlock, who was waking up.

“You okay, Sherlock?   I didn’t think that would knock you out.”

“I haven’t eaten anything in four days. That’s quite a while--even for me, John.”




“I’ve had a paternity...”

“Yes, Mycroft just told me, you git!”

“John?” He reached an arm up, and John hoisted him back to his feet.


“Never, ever hug me again.”


A/N:  This was indeed my attempt to Sherlock-ify Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Dying Detective.” It’s an interesting story. I find it at least as frustrating as it is interesting, but that’s why I wanted to update it! I recommend giving it a read. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2347/2347-h/2347-h.htm


( 30 definitions — Define true madness )
Mar. 1st, 2011 05:14 am (UTC)
Good update! I knew where it was going, but I like the route you took to get there (the left hook was an extra special dded bonus ;) ) Thanks for posting this.
Mar. 1st, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
Thanks for reviewing! I figured a lot of people would pick up on where it was going...though I wanted to make it as difficult as possible. :-)

The left hook was as cathartic for me as it was for John. Sherlock deserved it.

Mar. 1st, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
O.o You soooooooo had me going there with the other parts. I'd have punched Sherlock as well.

Mar. 1st, 2011 06:49 am (UTC)
:-) I was hoping I would have some people going. And I'm with you on the punching Sherlock issue 100%.

Thanks for reviewing! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
Mar. 1st, 2011 06:23 am (UTC)
You bastard! You scared me off with the "character death" warning!

I've not been in the mood to read depressing stuff lately so I avoided reading this because of it.

But yay "The Dying Detective"! It's almost a prototype for h/c fic in some ways. I remember that aspect from when I first read it years and years ago.

You've done a nice job updating it. It Sherlockifies well. And I can see John Watson circa 2010 reacting with left hook that way. Although it would seem that Sherlock found the hug more tortuous.

Thanks for a fun read despite the scary warning.
Mar. 1st, 2011 06:38 am (UTC)

I had to decide whether it was worth it to get people all worked up and think maybe Sherlock would die and risk losing anyone who didn't want to read character death...and I went with being evil, because and hoped it wouldn't scare off too many potential readers. :-) I'm glad you decided to read it in the end.

I never thought of DYIN as particularly h/c because in the end the only person who gets hurt is Watson and the comfort is nowhere to be found, unless you count Holmes including him in his dinner plans...which I never thought was good enough. And Watson really needs to get some backbone in that story, too. *sigh* So John punching Sherlock was as cathartic for me as it was for him. Hehe.

Anyway, thanks so much for reviewing. I'm very glad you enjoyed the story.
(no subject) - derry667 - Mar. 2nd, 2011 08:19 am (UTC) - Expand
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Mar. 1st, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
Holy shit! I did NOT know where it was going, so I was angsting along with John... DAMN those Holmes brothers!!!
Mar. 1st, 2011 07:46 am (UTC)
I'm very pleased to hear that it wasn't obvious what I was doing.

And I hope that you enjoyed the roller coaster ride.

Mycroft and Sherlock have no sympathy, of course. But on the bright side, Sherlock has a very sore jaw.

Mar. 1st, 2011 11:45 am (UTC)
OMG! The Dying Detective! You genius, you! *hugs you tightly*
Mar. 1st, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
See, Sherlock is (pretty much) okay! His jaw might hurt for a bit... I don't think I could really kill him off, unless I were feeling exceptionally maudlin and wrote a retirement era death-fic. But I'm not sure that I could... Also, John would go first, because right now I am trying to keep my fic internally consistent.

Anyway. I'm glad you liked it. And I'm glad it surprised you. I was hoping it would suprise some readers. (Partly because I'm evil like Moriarty. :-P)

Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!
Mar. 1st, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
Cardiff + Dr Smith made me think something crossover-y was going on. But then I read it and was pleased to find it was just normal Sherlock :) This was brilliant! I particularly like the fact that the hug was so torturous for Sherlock - in my head!canon he needs some proper, firm touch but I think in actual!canon he'd react as he did in your fic.

Nicely realistic.
Mar. 1st, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Cardiff was chosen primarily as a place where there is rugby, but also as a nod to the fact that Moffat does a lot of work there, so your instincts were right! The Dr. Smith thing didn't even cross my mind, though. I don't think you should expect crossovers from me. I wrote one goofy crack!fic crossover with Jeeves and Wooster, but I don't think I'd ever write a serious one...

I'm glad you thought it was realistic. That's what I'm trying for. :-)

Thank you for reviewing!
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Mar. 1st, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
The Dying Detective is my FAVORITE Sherlock story of all time. I LOVE the Granada version of it with Jeremy Brett, his acting in it is amazing. I've been hoping the do it with the new series, it's such a great story and your take on it is PERFECT!!!

I was waiting for John to catch up, just being relieved wasn't going to do it, there had to be some ass kicking somewhere. *L* and the paternity test was a wonderful touch. =)
Mar. 1st, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm really glad you liked my updating. It strikes me as the sort of story they're unlikely to do in the new series, unless the series runs for a really long time..which is one reason I didn't mind writing it. (I wouldn't write my version of HOUN, for example, because I know they're going to write it, and I want my stories to fit into canon as much as possible, you know?)

One reason I get annoyed with DYIN is that Watson takes everything lying down, and I know John wouldn't. Hehe.

I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for taking the time to review!
Mar. 2nd, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
Yay. Sherlock isn't dying you tricked me. Bad, wonderful you, and total bastard Sherlock for letting John think he was dying, he really deserved that punch. I loved this.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
:-D I'm glad you liked it! (And I'm glad I tricked you...because that was my sekrit evol plan... :-P )

Thanks for reviewing!
Mar. 2nd, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
Tricksy author!! But well done.
Mar. 2nd, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)
Hehe. :-)

Thank you!
Jan. 25th, 2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
Haha, I laughed so much at the "paternity test" line, I almost fell off my chair. (Do you happen to know "The Big Bang Theory""? Even if not, you might enjoy this clip from one episode where a similar line comes up - this reminded me so much of it and that's a compliment!) ^^

Also, you are an evil and tricky writer. :-) Very well done and I loved the mad scientist taking John as hostage (I don't remember, does this happen in the story, too?).
Jan. 25th, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
:-D I've seen the Big Bang theory a few times.

I'm so glad you liked it. The evil scientist doesn't really interact with Watson much at all in the story. It's really frustrating because he's SUCH a doormat, really... ugh...
( 30 definitions — Define true madness )

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