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Sherlock Fanfic: Criminal Floriography (JWP 2014 #6) - CaffieneKittySpace
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Sherlock Fanfic: Criminal Floriography (JWP 2014 #6)
Title: Criminal Floriography
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Alternate Postings: At AO3
Rating/Content: PG13, dating, murder, very dubious casework, expository monologging, overwrought, some humour
Warnings: none
Word Count: 1200
Disclaimer: Not my world.
Notes: Written for watsons_woes July Writing Prompt #6: For me?: A botanical gift (from someone known or unknown) I'm still clearing the 'partly-written' decks from earlier in the challenge. Most of this one was written in a two hour period on the 6th, but then it got complicated and then the ending wouldn't cooperate and then *pft* so here it is now.

Summary: Sherlock, arranging a lovely bouquet of flowers for John to give to his date? John really should have known better.

Criminal Floriography

"Sherlock, interrupting my dates is one thing," John seethed, clutching the bedraggled bouquet. "But attempting to poison my dates is simply not on."

"Didn't go over well, then?"

"No." John dumped the bundle of toxic yet beautiful vegetation in Sherlock's lap. "What the bloody hell, Sherlock? It's not like me going out on a date now and then is going to end the world, so why did you give me that bloody thing to give to Cerys?"

Sherlock looked down at the mostly pink and white toned bouquet wrapped in clear green cellophane, with its one spiky bright yellow orange flower stuck in the center like an exotic canary come to roost. "Recognised the plants I used, did she?"

"Yes. Yes Sherlock, as a matter of fact, she did." John listed them off one by one on his fingers. "Oleander, rhododendron, paradise plant, lily of the valley, bloody belladonna? All poisonous. Deadly!"

"I would have included autumn crocus as it is by far a more poisonous flower," Sherlock murmured, contemplatively steepling his hands at his lips, "but it's unfortunately too rare to acquire on short notice. Shame, as it would have blended much better with the overall colour palette than that garish paradise plant."

John paced in agitation. "So it's deliberate then, this attempt to poison my date?"

Sherlock raised an eyebrow. "Please. It would have only poisoned her if she'd eaten it, and while your choice of romantic partners is at times baffling, I doubt you'd be dating anyone inclined toward snacking on decorative floral arrangements."

"Fine." John crossed his arms and glared at Sherlock. "Still. Not on."

Sherlock leaned forward. "She did recognise them though?"


"All of them?"

"Yes. She listed them off in the restaurant, at rather high volume, actually."

Sherlock smirked. "Botanist, is she? Perhaps works in a flower shop? Green thumb at all?"

"No, she's a- well she was an administrative assistant once, but now she's independently wealthy."


"Yes. How did you-?"

"Widowed five times as a matter of fact." Sherlock tweaked the bouquet's ribbon. "One for every flower."

"Wait, what?" John sensed the beginnings of a conversational detour. "No, she's only been married once."

"The woman you were on a date with tonight is a Black Widow; Nadine Kinlan. Infamous, yet never proven. Disappeared in 2005 but I recognised her from her Facebook page despite the extensive dental work and tinted contact lenses."

Yes, there's the detour, John thought dizzily. Straight into a brick wall. "What do you mean Black Widow- Hold on. You looked her up on Facebook?"

"Of course."

"Do you look up all my dates on Facebook?"

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "That's what it's there for, John."

"...Not really." John sighed and gave up in light of bigger questions, still trying to recover from the abrupt ninety degree turn the conversation had taken. "Black Widow, though? As in you think she's murdered her-?"

"Certain of it." Sherlock launched himself from the chair directly into expository pacing, dangling the deadly bouquet oddly by the white cloth ribbon bow. "Cerys, or rather Nadine, has had five husbands, all far above median income, all died of sudden illnesses or heart problems within a year or two of marriage. Of course there were investigations, but she excels at emotional manipulation and the constabulary were fooled completely. When they finally started to get too curious about her spousal deaths, she disappeared. She's been clever, never using the same toxin twice - based on the dead men's symptoms and manner of death - and always chose methods that leave little to no trace for a standard autopsy to find. She's very very good." He smiled appreciatively.

"So... sorry, but-" John frowned, pointing at the bouquet. "Were you taunting her with that or courting her?"

Sherlock waved a hand dismissively. "At this stage of her hunting, neither of us are at risk of attracting her attention as a mate-slash-victim."


"My own assets are not fully under my own control," Sherlock said with a grimace, "and once she discovered you were a locum at a surgery and not a plastic surgeon or other high income medical professional, she'd have dropped you without a second thought."

"Oh," John said, uncertain how he felt about not being high enough in his profession to be tempting to a possible multiple murderess. He settled into a frown and slight slump of the shoulders.

Glancing over, Sherlock snorted and waved John's confused self-doubt away like a fly. "Don't be like that. She's a fool not to see that your worth has nothing to do with your bank account."

"I- ...what?" John blinked. "...thanks?"

Sherlock had disappeared into the kitchen with the bouquet. John followed him trying to keep up in every sense.

"So, okay, she's got a load of deceased husbands - assuming she is this Nadine person you think she is - and knows about poisonous plants." John shrugged. "Maybe she's just... tragically unlucky in love, trying to get a fresh start, and reads a lot of murder mysteries to escape?"

Placing the bouquet on the table, Sherlock raised a hand, palm toward John in an obvious 'shush' gesture. Taking out his magnifier with a snap he peered at the plastic sheet of cellophane wrapping the bundle, pulling at the ribbon to turn the bouquet side to side. "We shall have something in a moment, provided you didn't obliterate it."

"Ob-! Well if you'd told me I was a bloody honey trap for a potential spouse-murderer and I was carrying a bouquet of poison, I might have been more careful!"

"Ah hah!" With a quick tug, Sherlock untied the bow holding the bouquet together. Stalks of poisonous foliage showered their kitchen table as Sherlock whipped the freed cellophane sheet out and placed a section under his microscope.

"Found something, did you?" John said, trying not to wonder too hard about which of the pretty poisonous plants had just fallen in the butter dish.

"Yes! A clear fingerprint. We must take this to Lestrade immediately to be run against Nadine's from 2005. She may have changed her teeth but fingerprints are a different matter!" Grabbing the crinkling sheet by a corner, he brushed past John and ran down the stairs.

"Right, fantastic." John rattled down the stairs behind him. "Wait. How are you sure it's not my fingerprint?"

At the bottom of the stairs Sherlock shrugged into his coat one-handed, cellophane held gingerly in the other. "Don't be ridiculous, it's nothing at all like yours."

John smirked while pulling on his own jacket. "Oh yeah? We've been living together for less than a year and you have my fingerprints memorised?"

"Nonsense. Your fingertips are obviously conical, nearly square, and there is a narrow pointed print on this."


"Also, you have whorls, this has a loop." Sherlock grinned and ran out the door to hail a cab.

John opened his mouth but Sherlock was already out in the street. He shook his head and followed, silently hoping if he ever dated someone who could be considered a Black Widow again, it'd turn out to be Scarlett Johanssen.

(that's it)

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Current Mood: rushed rushed

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