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Sherlock Fanfic: Killer of the Countryside - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
Sherlock Fanfic: Killer of the Countryside
Title: Killer of the Countryside
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Rating/Content: PG-13. John whump. Wikipedia-based research.
Word Count: 1250-ish
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or their world.
A/N: Written for watsons_woes July Writing Prompt #28: Botany Bay - Make a plant a key element. Title from a related web article on biodiversity. May be revised without warning later. Cross-posted. [LJ-Only]

Summary: John takes a case in North Yorkshire that Sherlock won't bother getting off the sofa for. It doesn't go well.

Killer of the Countryside
by Caffienekitty

"You were right, Sherlock," John said from the Skype window, sipping at a steaming mug. "No case at all here."

"I did say there wasn't." Laying on the sofa, Sherlock huffed and looked up at the ceiling as though it was far more interesting than his laptop, which was sitting on the coffee table. "You're the one who insisted on traipsing off to Yorkshire."

"Yeah, well, the client was genuinely distraught and I needed a bit of a change from London for a day."

Sherlock rolled his eyes and sighed. "As demanded, I've removed the-"

"Stop," John held up a hand to block his webcam. "I don't want to hear about them, or think about them, or see them again. Ever."

"Really you should be far less squeamish, with your experiences."

John unblocked the camera and determinately took another sip from his mug. "Aside from the general hygiene and sanity of that sort of thing not belonging in a kitchen outside of Hell, I think I'm coming down with flu."

Sherlock looked over at the laptop screen, noting now that the paleness of his flatmate's face wasn't solely due to bad lighting at the Yorkshire coffee shop John was Skyping from.

"I've been nauseous for the past hour and it's just getting worse. The train home is going to be murder, so I've got some ginger tea," he raised the mug, "and something for the train." He patted his pocket, which rustled.

"Probably caught it from the 'client'. She emitted enough body fluids at that coffee shop interview to necessitate a windscreen wiper for your webcam, all the crying and snivelling."

"And whose fault was that?"

While still laying on the sofa, Sherlock executed an eloquent shrug.

John leveled a look at Sherlock before carrying on. "I don't know where she got the idea the man's wife had murdered him, but as the mistress whose bed he was found dead in, I can understand why she'd be willing to grasp at any straw."

"Coroner's report?" Sherlock asked, bored.

"Clear. The man'd had a heart condition for years. No foul play suspected, simple myocardial infarction." John covered his mouth and grimaced. "Ulp. Sorry. I talked to the medical staff at the hospital, seems they've had a minor spike in heart complaints in the area over the past two years. They'll be launching a healthy lifestyle campaign in the Autumn."

Sherlock grunted, sublimely uninterested in the health problems of North Yorkshire. "How did the interview go with the widow and her stunning lack of wifi?"

"Oh, brilliant. She showed me her prize rhododendrons."

Sherlock raised an eyebrow and smirked.

"Hundreds of them, and azaleas, if that's a different thing. Apparently aside from being a roaming Classics lecturer, she's won some local flower club's big Do the past few years running. To be honest, she seemed more worried about her prize Rhodos than her husband being found dead in the bed of his mistress, who incidentally she knew about beforehand." John coughed and swallowed hard, wavering a little in his seat with a frown. "She's got an enormous greenhouse out there, chock full of rhododendrons. Showed me all through it, felt like it went on for miles. It even has its own dedicated beehive inside, separate from the rest of the hives."

"The rest of the hives?"

"The dead man was a bee supplier for that Hire-a-Hive bunch, you know? They were on Dragon's De-" John covered his mouth and belched. "I'm sorry. Bloody baklava."

"Baklava?" While John had been speaking, something had started prickling the back of Sherlock's neck.

"She offered a plate of it with tea when we had our talk. Couldn't be rude."

"Even though you were feeling ill?"

"Wasn't feeling ill then." John smothered another belch. "Had a rather big piece, actually."

Sherlock rolled over and scrutinised John through the Skype window. If possible, John was even paler, and sweat beaded visibly on his brow. "John, this is important. Did she eat any of the baklava herself?"

John squinted at the screen. "What? No, I don't think so."

Sherlock sat up quickly. "She's a murderer."

"What? No! I mean, the woman weighed about twenty stone, I don't think avoiding pastry is a sign of-" John stopped speaking and folded down off the bottom of the Skype window with a groan.

"Get to A&E, John. Right now." Sherlock leapt off the sofa. "It takes effect over six hours; you'll be fine if you get to A&E as quickly as possible."

"What?" John groaned.

"Baklava," he shouted back towards the laptop as he grabbed his phone and coat.

"Baklava!?" John's tinny voice echoed, befuddled.

"Made with honey. Bees in the greenhouse. I wish she'd had wifi, but I'll wager the vents in that greenhouse were blocked with a fine mesh screen." He spun the laptop around on the coffee table and bent down to address the camera. "John?"

John peered back up over the bottom edge of the Skype window, blinking hard. "What? Ye-yes. She said it was to keep scavenging insects out."

"It was to keep the bees from that hive in. Rhododendrons, Azaleas. The bees were restricted to foraging solely from rhododendrons and azaleas. The widow would have been very aware as a Classics lecturer that according to Pliny Rhododendron ponticum and Rhododendron luteum were used by armies around the Black Sea in 401 BCE."

John's bafflement was palpable through the laptop screen. "Rhododendrons?"

"Andromedotoxin, John. You've been poisoned."

"God, what? By rhododendrons?"

"Bees concentrate the toxin in their honey. Harmless and even common in small amounts in all honey as rhododendrons are everywhere, but given no other sources to draw nectar from, that hive's honey is pure poison. She knew her husband had a mistress, yes, but she didn't like it. She's done this before too. If you looked at the roster of 'heart conditions' in the area, they'll likely cluster around flower shows. She has been using the honey from her rhododendron hive to poison her rivals. They'd pull through unless they had pre-existing conditions or had had a lot of the hon-"

Over the sound of his own voice, Sherlock barely heard the faint tinny thump. He grabbed the laptop, holding it in front of his face. The Skype window was empty save for tacky coffee shop art and alarmed voices in the background.

"John? John!" Shaking the laptop helped nothing.

A young woman with pink-streaked hair blurred into view, bent over where John must be laying on the floor.

"You! You, barista with the identity complex!"

The young woman peered into the webcam. "Oh, hello. Your mate's passed ou-"

"He's been poisoned."


Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Call 999, now. Tell them you've got a man in his late 30's with Andromedotoxin poisoning. He's had the nausea, the sweating, now he'll have low blood pressure, fainted, likely heading for sinus bradycardia. Do it now. I'd do it myself but the 999 routing will be far more efficient if you do it from there. If he rouses at all, do not let him stand. Keep him laying down flat, feet up until the ambulance arrives. I'll be there in-" Sherlock swallowed as he thought of the 3 hour train ride to Yorkshire. "I'll be there."

The young woman blinked wide eyes. "He's got andromeda poisoning?"

"CALL 999!" Sherlock bellowed.

"Right! Paul, call 999!" The bustle of the activity around John in the coffee shop obscured Sherlock's view. He grabbed his scarf from the hook and awkwardly wound it round his neck with one hand as he pelted down the stairs, still carrying the laptop.

Unless John's heart was as weak as the woman's philandering husband's had been, he would live.

John Watson's heart is the strongest heart I know.

Sherlock ran out the door and hailed a cab, heading for Yorkshire.

(that's it)

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Current Mood: anxious anxious
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18 comments or Leave a comment
donutsweeper From: donutsweeper Date: July 29th, 2013 02:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
EEEEEEEEE!!! What a brilliant use of plants! And poor John! Good thing he was skyping Sherlock when he passed out!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 30th, 2013 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm honestly surprised this prompt didn't end up with a lot more poisonings for John. It's why I went the honey route, I figured that would be a little different than straight poisoning. XD
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: July 29th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heart complaints in the area, you say?;) Brilliant (and poor, poor John).
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 30th, 2013 04:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Heart complaints just before the big Rhododendron Festival and just after afternoon tea at the honey farm.
arwen_kenobi From: arwen_kenobi Date: July 29th, 2013 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow, I love it! Great use of the prompt.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 30th, 2013 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm surprised how few poisonings there were for John as a result of this prompt. :-D
monkeybard From: monkeybard Date: July 29th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor John! Thank goodness for modern technology.

Excellent use of the prompt!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 30th, 2013 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Modern technology saves lives. *nods*
methylviolet10b From: methylviolet10b Date: July 30th, 2013 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Hurrah for toxic rhododendron honey! I was hoping someone would whump Watson with something plant-related. :-D This is great!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 30th, 2013 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
The fungi option I was looking at would have been faaaaaar whumpier, but a little too lethal, what with the whole major organ failure and no antidote features, and I didn't want this to be too dire in this. Besides, it's poison honey; Holmes would be all over it. :-D
gardnerhill From: gardnerhill Date: July 30th, 2013 06:20 am (UTC) (Link)
The second I read "rhododendron" the word "poison" popped up in my mind. The bees clinched it. Clever woman. But she's about to find out just what happens to people who hurt John Watson...
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 30th, 2013 06:56 am (UTC) (Link)
No one messes with a Watson (except his Holmes). :-)
capt_facepalm From: capt_facepalm Date: July 30th, 2013 08:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant case fic!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 30th, 2013 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
maestress83 From: maestress83 Date: July 30th, 2013 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yikes, great casefic (and poor John)!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: July 31st, 2013 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)
John needs a break. :-)
aelfgyfu_mead From: aelfgyfu_mead Date: July 31st, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
(that's it)

Obviously, I got a bit too much into the story. You built the tension quickly and well.

(More, please?)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: August 1st, 2013 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, the final prompt for the Watsons Woes is to write a continuation of something else I've written for the challenge, but I doubt I'm going to be able to get something knocked together in the next few hours. :-/
18 comments or Leave a comment