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Title: The Butterfly's Return
Rating: T to almost-NC-17 (mostly for the epilogue)
Warnings: Er, mentions of murder? Oh, and the last bit of the epilogue might be slightly NSFW...
Setting: AU, in the world of BBC's epic version of Sherlock
Original Prompt: KuroFai-style BBC!Sherlock, with Kuro-Watson and Fai!Sherlock.



It was three a.m. in the middle of a dreary September when Kurogane heard the gunshot.

It took him a brief moment, in the transition from sleeping to waking, to realise that it had in fact been real, and not part of the reminisces of war that danced often through his dreams of late.

Realising that the situation was possibly quite serious, he launched out of bed and hurtled down the short flight of stairs, pausing outside of the study to assess his next move. This was not the first time that danger had come knocking to the rooms he shared at 221B Baker Street. A narrow crack of light escaped the door, partially open to afford him a view inside. It was his flatmate he was concerned for now, as he peeked inside the study, though his mood quickly swung from panic stations to something entirely different.

The man in question was sitting calmly in the armchair facing the door, neither injured nor distressed, gun pointed at the much-abused wall. My bloody gun, Kurogane thought, anger rising as he stepped into the room. Before his companion could fire again he rushed forwards, snatching the weapon from his hands and restoring the safety. Reassured that it wouldn’t blow off his backside, he stashed it in the waistband of his loose pyjama bottoms.

“Sleuth, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” Kurogane snapped as loud as he dared.

“Musing on a case, Kuro-elementary.” His tiresome cohabiter replied, pulling the dressing gown tighter around his skinny frame.

“It’s three in the morning. You fired a gun at the wall- can you even begin to understand what’s wrong with this situation, idiot detective? Mrs Hibiya is going to go mental when she sees that!”

“Nonsense, Kuro-sleep-deprived. I was merely aiding a police investigation; I’ve just stumbled upon the answer to a very clever riddle! No doubt she’ll thank me for being a great help to society!” His blonde flatmate replied cheerily; no doubt he’d been dosing himself up on nicotine patches and god knows what else whilst he’d been considering this very clever riddle.

Kurogane sighed. “Sometimes I forget that you don’t really get people.”

“But of course I get people, Kuro-nonsense! I get what people think when they’re driven to commit crime. I can dig out motives where there seem to be none; I understand exactly the nature of the human heart when it comes to its most base desires. What you’re referring to are the useless aspects of social interaction, the bits that I have no need of learning because they do not concern my line of work.”

“You mean like the solar system?” He grumbled, annoyed.

“For God’s sake, Kuro-tan, why must it always come back to that?”

“Because— No, nevermind. I’m not starting that again. And stop the nicknames.” Bidding his flatmate goodnight, with a growled threat not to do anything else stupid, he returned to his bed to get some rest...

... and was woken rudely again at six by a knock on the door and some clonking up the stairs. His military training had both blessed and cursed him to be a light sleeper, plus that shot still had him on edge. It was a wonder that Mrs Hibiya hadn’t heard it, though he suspected that she feigned a certain amount of ignorance towards his partner and his adventures; Kurogane had to admit that it was probably for the best. Getting involved could easily get you killed.
 
Judging from the whispered screeching from below, however, it appeared that she had just found the wall.
 
Unable to get back to sleep, and certain that he would be woken soon by the blonde anyway, he gave it up as a bad job and descended once more to the study, which adjoined onto a tiny kitchen. He was always wary about poking around (in his own kitchen, for God’s sake) in case there was another severed head in the fridge, but Mrs Hibiya seemed to pay no mind to any of the strange things adorning the countertops, including a rack of test tubes that gave off a pungent odour, as she busied about making tea and biscuits for themselves and the guest seated in the armchair facing the window.
 
As he entered the visitor stood, turning to greet him with a handshake, and Kurogane recognised him as a frequenter of the services of his often off-kilter friend.
 
Said friend was currently gazing out of the window into the foggy morning. It was at moments like these that he could really study his companion, when he wasn’t jumping around all excitedly over some clue he’d found or something he’d suddenly deducted. Fai D. Fluorite, a consulting detective, ready to tackle any mystery that piqued his interest. He was tall, though not as tall as Kurogane, with the physical consistency of a beanpole, though he was well aware that the man was skilled in both swordplay and some manner of fighting arts, which he had witnessed used against villains more than once, so there must be some decent muscle under that unnaturally smooth skin. His delicate yet strong fingers also put themselves to use on the violin, which would have been a talent to appreciate had Kurogane not been woken at ungodly hours by its melodies. It wasn’t, however, his body that fascinated Kurogane enough to watch him at times like this. It was his face. More specifically, it was his expression. Framed as it was by silken gold locks, which refused to appear as anything more than a great mess, the way his face twisted when he had his teeth into another case was a sight to behold. It was an expression where everything just seemed to open up, and an unmistakable glint of anticipation shone from those cerulean eyes.
 
Milliseconds had passed in his evaluation; turning back to their visitor, he returned the handshake and smiled politely in greeting.
 
“Dr. Suwa,” the man greeted him, “I was just telling your, er, companion here about a murder we picked up this morning. Seems right up your alley.”
 
Inspector Doumeki looked a little haggard in the early morning light, Kurogane observed as he took the chair opposite, but then he always looked a little haggard. In a city as big as London, murder was fairly frequent, and sometimes there were just no leads. That was about the time the police came to consult Fai, who could often, with a few milliseconds to consider, either point out something that had been overlooked, or instead (and this tended to happen more often than not) arrive at the culprit through a series of seemingly unconnected factors, which were “so obvious, don’t you see?.
 
“If you’d be happy to tell your story in full detail, Inspector,” the consulting detective said, “I know you’ve not slept since yesterday, and been stuck signing tedious paperwork for quite a long time before the incident occurred, no?”
 
Kurogane was surprised that Doumeki was still surprised at these little things, after all the time he had known the blonde man. Still, he couldn’t deny that he was still impressed every time Fai pointed out something that he shouldn’t possibly know, and then proceed to explain the bits of evidence that led to his conclusions, pieces that seemed so obvious once explained, but were an enigma to everyone but him.
 
“How—?”
 
“The fact that you haven’t changed your clothes since yesterday is fairly obvious to all of us, I expect, and the dark circles beneath your eyes. As for signing, you have distinct scuff-marks on your right sleeve, and an indent on your right ring finger, consistent with writing for a long period of time, along with ink stains on your fingers. Since no one does anything manually these days, I deduced that it was your signature that required you to use a pen for such a lengthy amount of time.”
 
The inspector chuckled a little, shaking his head in a resigned way. “You never fail to amuse me, Fai. Now, to the facts of the case:
 
“It occurred in the early hours of this morning, around half past two,” he started, “a body was found in a flat just south of the river, in Rotherhithe. Now, normally we wouldn’t bring a simple murder to you—”
 
Which means that it’s one of those strange cases that will excite Fai. No wonder he’s got that gleam in his eyes this morning. I can just sense the danger creeping up already...
 
“— but we’ve established links with two other cases, murders committed in other parts of the City.”
 
“But linked multiple murders aren’t something so uncommon for the metropolitan police, surely? Which means that there’s another element to them. Something fascinating, something that will draw my attention to them, right?” The gleam just grew as his blonde companion absorbed the words.
 
“Yeah. The victims didn’t appear to have any link at first, and stabbings are a pretty common way to go here, unfortunately. The reason we realised they’re linked is the signature left at the scenes.” He handed Kurogane a photograph.
 
It was a fairly simple signature, printed on white paper in black ink; a single swallowtail butterfly alone on the page.
 
“I do love someone who likes to sign their work.”
 
“Fai,” Kurogane broke in, “Try to remember, once again, that there are people who have died.”
 
“Why, will they mind that I’ve hurt their feelings?” His partner asked, blue eyes cool.
 
Kurogane sighed. He just doesn’t get it.
 
“Ahem, anyway,” the inspector continued, filling the frosty silence, “The signature points towards a serial killer, which might be enough to bring it to you, once we’d exhausted more leads. The problem is with the witnesses.”
 
“There were witnesses?”
 
“Yeah, those who heard noises or such during the first and third murders. There are three in total, and they all caught a glimpse of our killer as they fled the scene.”
 
“So what’s the problem? I mean, you’ve got people looking for them, right? Why come to us?” Kurogane asked, puzzled.
 
“Because, Kuro-confused, there is obviously something strange with what they saw.”
 
“Exactly. And the strange thing-” He pulled out a composite sketch of the murderer and held it up to the cold morning light streaming through the windows. “-is this. Recognise her?”
 
The composite sketch wasn’t really that great, Kurogane noted, but it did bear a striking resemblance to someone whose identity was niggling at the back of his brain. He raked his mind of people he’d seen on TV lately, whilst reading the additional info given by the witnesses, and then suddenly it hit him.
 
“But that- that’s impossible!”


Chapter 2...





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October 2012

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