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27 November 2012 @ 10:57 pm
Sherlock/Criminal Minds Fic - On The Case Again (2/?)  
Title: On The Case Again
Author: Ragna (scandalbaby)
Rating: PG
Fandoms: Sherlock/Criminal Minds.
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Greg Lestrade and Emily Prentiss in this part. Eventual Sherlock/Prentiss pairing.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters. I wish I did, but I don't.
Spoilers: Set after “The Reichenbach Fall” for Sherlock and “Hit”/”Run” for Criminal Minds.
Warnings: None
Summary: This case was a chance for both Sherlock and Prentiss to get back in the thick of things, back to solving the complicated and twisty cases, and maybe find a new friend as well.
Authors Notes: I’m not too happy with this part, but oh well.

---

He was not surprised the letters and photographs were delivered by Lestrade three hours later. He had expected that. What did surprise him was the company. Prentiss had joined him, carrying two cups of something warm in her hands. He had expected the drinks to be for herself and Lestrade, but she pressed a cup in his hands as soon as he had put the evidence down, saying it was fresh coffee to make up for his cup that morning getting cold. He took it and thanked her, and she smiled at him. There was something in her smile that seemed similar to Molly’s smiles, something heartfelt and genuine. He decided it was a nice smile.

“Well, if you two will excuse me, I have other leads to follow,” Lestrade said.

Sherlock nodded. “Thank you,” he said.

“Do you mind if I stay?” Emily asked Sherlock. “Greg mentioned something about how you usually have an assistant but he’s not around right now. I was thinking I might volunteer my services. For this case, at least.”

This was another surprise, he thought. But even though he and John were friendly again, John had not volunteered to help with this case. An assistant would be nice. “All right.” Then he turned to Lestrade. “Oh, you should know John and I are currently making amends.”

“That’s good,” Lestrade said with a nod. “I know you two are close. It’ll be good to see him accompanying you on your crime scenes again.”

“It won’t be as often, if at all. We haven’t talked about that yet,” Sherlock replied.

“Ah,” Lestrade said. “Didn’t know that.”

“Well, it’s to be expected. He has a new life now, as a husband and soon to be father.” He shrugged slightly. “I suppose with me it’s an urge that can’t be denied.”

“Sometimes I feel the same,” Lestrade said with a slight chuckle. “After everything I had the choice to retire gracefully. I told them no, I still wanted to solve cases.” He nodded to Prentiss. “I suppose I’ll leave you two to your work. Call me if you get a lead for me to chase down.” And with that he left.

Prentiss looked at Sherlock. “I get that urge, too. I like the help I can give with this job, but there’s times I miss being in the thick of things.”

“I can imagine. I looked you up this afternoon. You have been quite busy in your life.”

Emily grinned slightly. “I did my research on you too, Sherlock. Do you really think you’re a high functioning sociopath?”

He nodded. “It was something a doctor told me once. It’s stuck.”

“I think it’s bull,” she replied, and he blinked. Anyone else who heard the diagnosis left it alone, and she was refuting it? “I was a profiler. I’ve run into my fair share of sociopaths, and psychopaths too, along with all sorts of nasty people. Trust me, if you’re a high functioning anything it’s probably some form of autism. A sociopath wouldn’t have friends he’d fake his death for. He wouldn’t give up his freedom for anyone, wouldn’t let anyone get that close.”

“I suppose I shall have to defer to your expertise,” he murmured, moving over to the evidence bag.

“I will admit I’m not a doctor. That’s just how I see it,” she said with a shrug, following him. “Moriarty’s network of criminals popped up on our radar a few years back. I was still with the FBI when you started taking them down. Very few deaths were involved. That surprised Clyde an awful lot.”

“That I didn’t kill many people?” he asked, taking the photographs and letters out of the bag.

“Partly. But mostly because you managed to single handedly take down an entire criminal network with mostly intimidation and a few well-placed injuries. You accomplished in three years what Interpol had been trying to do for at least ten. Clyde asked me to keep tabs on your activities for him when he left.”

“I’m surprised you aren’t trying to get me arrested for my crimes,” he said, looking at her.

“I studied the killings. They were all deemed to be self-defense of an unknown victim. I thought we might have had a serial killer on the loose, and then Clyde told me he’d heard you’d faked your death from a reliable source and you were simply trying to get rid of the organization once and for all.”

“And who was his reliable source?”

“Your brother. That’s the other reason Interpol stayed out of your affairs. Your brother asked us to, and threw the weight of the government behind it. Said it was in the best interest of the United Kingdom.” She looked at him intently. “I personally think he was right. If that network had been allowed to function after Moriarty’s death, it would be a much worse world to live in.”

“You sound as if you’d had to make those kinds of decisions before,” he remarked.

“There was a man in my past that I hunted down, while I was with the FBI. I had to fake my death to escape him. I ended up coming out of hiding when his son was kidnapped. I cared about his son very much.”

“And the man?” Sherlock asked quietly.

“I suppose, deep down, I did care a little. He died in the end, but his son was safe. I think that was all he wanted. It was a very complicated relationship.”

“Ian Doyle, correct?”

She nodded slowly. “How did you know?”

“My brother was the person I talked to about you today. I like to say he is essentially the British government. It’s not that far off from the truth.”

“I see,” Prentiss said with a nod. “And what else did he tell you about me?”

“You worked at Interpol before the FBI, you made a name for yourself with Quantico’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which has only the brightest profilers in the FBI working for it, you faked your death after your Interpol team was killed while dealing with Ian Doyle and his escape from prison, you lived in Paris and Denmark for a time, you returned to the FBI but left again after a case involving a bank robbery gone wrong, and then you came back to Interpol, this time in a position of leadership and not as a field agent.”

“That’s a lot about my work history,” she said with a nod. “Anything else?”

“You were, until your return to Interpol, not in any exclusive relationships, and the one you started when you arrived here ended recently. You have a cat named Sergio which you brought from the United States. You’re an omniglot and fluent in at least three languages besides English, two of which are Russian and Spanish. You enjoy good books, mostly classic literature, and you have a hobby of collecting rare first editions of your favorite stories. He also told me that Ian Doyle’s son now lives with you, after having been placed into foster care in the state of Maryland. You got an expedited adoption before you left for London. He’s known as Declan Prentiss now.”

She chuckled slightly. “I’m impressed. Your brother has done his research.”

“I suppose.” He looked at the letters. “He approves of you, in your position. Says he likes working with you more than Easter.”

“Because I’m more likely to let him throw his weight around?” she said with a grin before taking a sip of her coffee.

“Because you know that sometimes sacrifices need to be made and rules need to be bent for the best interest of the world,” he said. “Plus, I believe he finds you more attractive than Easter.”

She nearly choked on her drink. “Your brother is so not my type,” she said, shaking her head.

“He realizes that, I assure you,” he said with a faint smile. “But if he has to be closeted in a room with you or Easter you are easier on the eyes.”

She smiled slightly. “That’s the best roundabout compliment I’ve gotten…well, ever. I’ll have to thank your brother for it the next time I see him.”

“Well, you are striking, I suppose, with your dark hair and dark eyes” he replied. “You’re shaped more like a classical beauty, though you’re more muscular. I think I prefer your hair curly as it is now, though. I saw pictures of you in your FBI days with straight hair and it looked more severe.”

She nodded slowly. “Thank you for your own compliment, Sherlock.”

“You’re welcome,” he said.

“If I didn’t actually know you and Mycroft were brothers I never would have guessed. There are similarities, but not many. He doesn’t have your eyes, for one. And I doubt his hair was ever as curly as yours.”

“He favors our father whereas I favor our mother,” he replied. “I suppose I was the luckier one.”

“Yeah, I think genetics definitely dealt you a better hand,” she said, her smile widening. “Enough personal talk. We should start working on trying to figure out the code.”

“Let’s move the photographs and letters to the table, so we can see everything better. The contents from his desk were delivered earlier in the day, and the books as well.” He gestured to the tubs piled up by the table. “I had just started to go through them when you arrived.”

“How about I take the books and you take the codes, see if any ciphers become apparent?” she suggested, moving over to the nearest unopened tub.

He nodded. “That sounds like a good plan. I’ll take the contents of the desk as well.” He took the letters and photographs and spread them across the table as she opened the tub and began going through the books. They worked well together, he realized after the first hour. She didn’t reply to every muttering or comment he made, and she sometimes did as well, which was the first time he’d run across someone else who did it while solving cases. It was unexpected but welcome, knowing that there was someone else who had similar methods as him.

Soon another hour passed, then a third, then a fourth. He might not have registered the time at all except his stomach started to growl. He had been eating better since his return, but when he was deep in thought he only ate when his stomach reminded him, and that was a habit that hadn’t changed much even all these years later. She set down her book, a slightly amused look on her face. “Maybe we should take a break and get something to eat. I know I skipped lunch today, and you probably did too.”

“That is true,” he said with a nod. “It’s nearly five now.”

“I’m surprised my stomach didn’t start growling first. I had breakfast at six thirty this morning with Declan and then nothing. Know any places that deliver?”

“There are a few, but there is also the deli next door.”

She shook her head. “I’m thinking Chinese. I’m in the mood for sweet and sour pork and some eggrolls.”

“I believe there is still a place nearby that delivers,” he said, going into the kitchen to look at the flyers that had come in the mail. Prentiss followed him and stood nearby as he went through the papers. Finally he pulled a flyer out and she stood next to him. “I haven’t tried it yet, but this is the closest.”

She took the flyer. “What do you want? My treat.”

“Cashew chicken and potstickers, with lo mein noodles.”

She nodded, reaching into her pants pocket for her phone. “I’ll go place the order.”

She dialed the number on her phone and Sherlock registered she was placing their order as he went back to the letters and photographs. He was almost sure that he was close to cracking it. He went back to work until he heard a knock on the door, but when he moved to go answer he saw Prentiss head that way first so he went back to work. It wasn’t until he could smell the food that he pulled himself away again. “Thank you, for this as well as the coffee.”

“No problem. You can make it up to me by buying me a meal next time we get too involved in work,” she said with a grin. “Where are the forks? All they gave were chopsticks.”

“I’ll get some,” he said, pulling himself away from the letters. He went into the kitchen and got her a fork before going to the food. She took the fork as she continued to open the cartons, placing some in front of her and others closer to him, careful not to put them near the evidence. Then she pulled up a chair and began to eat, and he did the same. It was strange to share a meal with someone after all this time of being alone. He had been unsure of what to talk about, and was saved from having to initiate conversation when she began to tell him about the books she had been going through. They stuck to talking about the case for a little while, and then a thought that had been nagging at him came to the surface. “Why did you leave the FBI?” he asked when they were nearly done.

She looked down at her carton of friend rice. “There are a lot of reasons,” she said. “The biggest was that DC didn’t feel like home anymore. I loved my team, and on the good days I loved my job, but I’d spent all that time living away from them, living a whole other life. And I guess going back to what I had been was harder than I’d thought it would be.”

“I feel that way myself, now,” he said with a slight nod.

“You would know how I felt, wouldn’t you?” she mused, looking at him and tilting her head slightly. “It’s not very often I meet someone else who had to fake their death to protect people.”

“I will admit I haven’t met anyone other than you,” he said. “It puts us in a rather unique club, so to speak.”

“The Death Fakers. Sort of like the Death Eaters, except we don’t have really cool tattoos,” she said with a smile. He must have looked confused because a chuckle escaped her lips a moment later. “It’s a Harry Potter thing.”

“Ah,” he said with a nod. “I don’t have much knowledge about that.”

“You must be one of the few in the world,” she replied. “The guy who was one of the Doctors on Doctor Who played a Death Eater in the fourth movie.”

Sherlock thought for a moment. “Not the one with the floppy hair and bowtie.”

This time her laugh was much heartier. “No the guy who played the Doctor before him, the one who wore the suits and the Chuck Taylors, David Tennant.” She looked at him. “You don’t know what a Death Eater is but you know who Matt Smith is?”

“John used to enjoy that show,” he said quietly. “I would usually ignore the episodes but he convinced me to watch one or two.”

“I’m surprised you did,” she said.

“I believe John was trying to broaden the scope of my life,” he said, looking down at the last of his lo mein. “I don’t think he was very successful.”

“Well, maybe someone will pick up where he left off,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt to do things for fun sometimes.”

“What do you do for fun?” he asked, looking at her.

“Sometimes I go to see plays on the West End,” she said. “Sometimes I go hunting for rare books at the local bookstores. And sometimes I just veg out and watch some familiar shows on DVD.”

“Those all seem like things you do alone,” he said.

“Sometimes Declan goes with me,” she replied. “But most of the time I’m alone. Like you said earlier, the relationship I got into when I got here ended recently.” She looked back at her food. “It wasn’t all that serious, but it was nice to go places with someone else.”

“I’ve thought about things like that while I was gone,” he said, more to himself than to her. She looked at him after a moment. “I spent a large amount of my life alone, and I had just started to make friends when I had to give them all up, I suppose. While I was gone I wondered what I might do if the opportunity presented itself to have real friendships with them, and with others I might meet.”

“It doesn’t hurt to have more friends,” she said, her mouth slowly inching up into a grin. “God knows I could use a few more myself.”

He smiled as well. “Then, perhaps, you wouldn’t think it too forward of me to ask for the opportunity to become a friend?”

“I think I would like you as a friend,” she said with a nod. “I’ll give you a chance.”

“Thank you, Emily.”

“You’re welcome, Sherlock.” She took one last forkful of food and set her carton down. “Let’s get back to work. Declan’s old enough to be home on his own but the later out I am the more he worries.”

“If you need to leave I can call you if I have a breakthrough,” he replied, setting aside his carton as well.

“It’s okay. I can spare a couple more hours.” She gave him a wide grin and then got up and headed back to the last tub of books. She opened the lid and pulled out a beat up older book. “This probably isn’t the best way to treat a Bible,” she said, turning it over.

“I suppose most Christians would look at it as sacrilege,” he said with a slight shrug.

She opened it and began flipping through it, and suddenly her eyes widened. “I think I might have found the cipher.”

He was over to her in an instant. She handed him the Bible, and he saw on the first page the code and a series of numbers. “These are all scripture passages.” He looked at the first piece of code and then flipped through to Genesis 3:15. The first letter of the scripture, N, was circled. He then went back to the first page and looked at it, then found the corresponding scripture, Esther 1:9. The first letter of that scripture, Q, was circled as well. “The first letter of each scripture corresponds to a piece of the code. There are thirty-six different pieces of code. Most should be letters, and some will be numbers, I’m assuming.”

“Using the New King James version was smart. Most people have access to that version,” Prentiss said with an approving nod. “You’ll crack the code in no time.”

“Hopefully I can decipher what everything on the back of the photographs and on the letters means,” he said, taking the book back to where he had been working. “Which are the photos you recognized?”

She began flipping the photographs over until she ran across one of them. “This one is Kristen Avanti.”

Sherlock looked at the code on the back of the photograph, then quickly began flipping through the Bible. He had pulled over a pad of paper and as he deciphered each letter and number he wrote them down. After twenty minutes he straightened up. “Kristen, New York City, 17, non-virgin, 16K, sent to Denmark, Mr. 12957” he read off his paper.

Prentiss had been nodding as he read off the translation. “She was 17 years old when she was abducted from Queens. 16K is probably how much she was sold for, and Mr. 12957 is probably the person who bought her.”

“Precisely,” Sherlock replied. “We’ve stumbled onto a sex trafficking ring, I believe.”

“But what was Berlanti’s part in it?” Prentiss asked.

“I’m not sure, but I intend to find out.” He was about to say more but he stopped as his phone went off. He pulled it out and pulled up a text message. “Perfect timing. Molly has finished the autopsy.” He turned to Emily. “Care to make a trip to the pathologist’s office?”

“Sure,” she said, going to the chair she had been sitting in and grabbing her trench coat before slipping it on. “Lead the way.”
 
 
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