In walked these three men, their loud voices cutting off my mentor as we went over data in the morgue hall. I could only blink at first, their harsh tones echoing against the pristine stainless steel.
"Sherlock, you can't just say something like that and storm off on your own!"
"Then please do keep up!"
I shook my head and watched them, noticing their patterns. The tallest one hunched over our newest victim, who was still awaiting an autopsy. His long dark coat swirled around him as he whipped out a miniature magnifying glass. The shortest man stood beside him, pinching the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut. The way he stood by the first man's shoulder reminded me of a superhero and his sidekick. The third man had given up hope of trying to stay in control, so instead just watched the first man intently and ran his fingers through his salt and pepper hair.
"It's not that I can't keep up Sherlock, it's the fact that what you're saying makes you sound insane."
"More insane than usual," The shortest added, releasing his nose and pacing around the room.
The morgue was a large room, laid out as an arena with viewing windows high above. Refrigerated stainless steel doors lined one wall, and matching tables littered the area. I had only been an intern there for about a monthworking diligently under my cousin, Molly Hooper as a silent extra hand. The men were clustered around our newest client. His identity had been determined a few hours ago as Joseph Batleton, the leading candidate for the new Parliament seat. It wasn't very often St. Bart's Hospital received such a celebrity. Rumor had it he had been murdered in the early hours of the morning, but the autopsy hadn't been preformed yet.
"What have you collected?"
I snapped to attention at the tall man's voice, "S-Sorry sir?"
He rolled his eyes, "The data, what have you found, what have you noticed?"
"I-I-I-I uh well I mean, h-he"
"That's enough of this."
We all turned to see another man stride in. He was lacking sufficient height and hair and he twirled an old fashioned black umbrella in one hand. He used the umbrella to point at the body. "Have him wrapped up. This is a case of the government."
"Piss off Mycroft, I'm onto something." The tall man didn't even bother to look up.
"Sherlock," the shortest man's voice was scolding, almost as if Sherlock was his responsibility.
"What are you talking about government issues Mycroft?" The man with the salt and pepper hair came around the table.
"Ah, Detective Inspector, I was hoping you would be here," Mycroft leaned his weight into the umbrella, "I have a warrant for the body of Joseph H. Batleton, I'll be taking him to a proper inspection establishment."
"Bart's is a proper inspection establishment." Sherlock muttered, still hunched over the body.
"That's not exactly for you to decide, is it Shirley?"
Sherlock glared up through his dark curls, "Why don't you go get yourself another piece of cake and call it a day?"
"Girls." The shortest man cut in, "Let's not have this today alright?"
I hid my smile behind my clipboard. Sherlock and Mycroft were brothers. The differences in the two were so blatantly obvious it was almost hard to believe. As an awkward silence elapsed, my mind wandered to what it would've been like growing up in a household with the two of them. Mycroft was obviously a very important man, I could see his ten year old figure dressed in fine clothes and acting the part of a grown up for the family. I also saw Sherlock hunting around in the back yard, digging up insects and looking at everything under that small magnifying glass of his. I wondered what happened between the two.
"John, come here."
I looked up to see the shortest man hesitate before walking over to Sherlock.
"You're a doctor, tell me what you see."
While John looked over the body, the Detective Inspector turned back to Mycroft, "Why is the government interfering with the autopsy?"
"Because it's a government related case." Mycroft stated; his beady black eyes defiant.
"Yeah, but what's so special about this one"
"Don't bother Lestrade," Sherlock cut in, "He wants it for himself and now he'll pout until he gets it."
Mycroft was unfazed, "Yes, so if you would please," he gestured to Molly and me, "Wrap him up."
"Stay where you are Molly," Sherlock said and my mentor stepped forward, "Mr. Batleton isn't even dead."
The room grew deathly silent.
Sherlock looked up through his dark curls, "Problem?"
"What do you mean he's not dead?" John asked, trying to see what Sherlock saw.
Sherlock rolled his eyes, "I mean that the victim hasn't crossed over into whatever silly little state you people believe comes after death."
"Impossible? Obviously not."
"Alright Sherlock," Mycroft said, any evidence of shock gone from his face, "What's your reasoning?"
"Just the small detail that he has no post mortem symptoms." He looked up at me, "What did the data say?"
I opened my mouth to answer, but he cut me off.
"Slight coloring, surprising lack of rigormortis, and that constant nag of the fact that he's breathing."
"We didn't do the initial review," Molly cut in, "His data was left for us to do the autopsy. We haven't had a proper look at him yet."
Sherlock didn't seem to care, "The real question is, why would he want to appear dead? Scandal? Pressure? Blackmail? The possibilities are endless."
Lestrade was shaking his head, "No no no, he was pronounced dead at the scenehe had no pulse Sherlock!"
"Brilliant isn't it?" A twisted smile crawled onto the consulting detective's face, "He must've taken something to dull the human functionswell dull them more than usual. Ingenious really."
"Dull the human senses?" Mycroft was aghast, "If any human senses are dulled here Sherlock, they're yours."
"Stop talking Mycroft," Sherlock barely paused for a breath, "Batleton must've felt the rising pressure of the politics and media, and who wouldn't? He was on the telly twenty-three out of twenty-four hours of the day." The man circled around the table and picked up a vial of fluid from the counter behind him, "He decides he wants out, but rather than eloquently dropping out or" His face lit up in realization, "Or the sister! He was pressured by his sister to stay in the running and therefore decided to end it at the source. But he was too much of a coward," Sherlock was talking so fast it was hard to keep up, "So he framed his own murder." A smug smile appeared on his face as he injected the vial's contents into the politician's arm.
"He faked his own murder?" John said after a second, "That's brilliant!"
"And unbelievable," Mycroft said, "he has a death certificate."
"A piece of paper doesn't mean anything." I cut in, startled by my own voice. Five pairs of eyes turned to me, all just as surprised as I was. "I-It's just words on a paper. If he says Mr. Batleton has vital signs then sh-shouldn't we believe him?"
Sherlock didn't say anythingonly kept his gaze locked on me.
"But a pulse is a vital sign," Lestrade said, crossing his arms over his chest, "And he didn't have one of those."
A heavy cough echoed through the room.
We all rushed to Batleton's side, Sherlock snapping back to attention and pressing his fingers into the coughing man's neck. "Well he has one now Lestrade, I don't know what you were smoking."
The politician gasped in a shallow breath and jerked awkwardly on the metal table. His eyes flicked open and he looked around at all of us with a wild look in his eye, "D-Don't touch me!" He sat up and started scrambling around the table, "Whatever you do don't touch" he let out a short scream as he lost his balance and nearly fell off the table. Lestrade and John caught hold of the naked man, holding him down so he wouldn't hurt himself.
Sherlock wrapped a scarf around his neck and started walking back to the door, "I'd say my work here is done, any other information you can get from the murder victim himself." He paused briefly by the door as he waited for John to catch up. As he turned his eye met mine and he held me in his gaze for a second. A small nod was the only recognition I got before he disappeared out the door.
A smile pulled at my lips, I was the only one who had believed in Sherlock Holmes.