A Study in Duets

BY : Lady_Laran
Category: S through Z > Sherlock (BBC) > Sherlock (BBC)
Dragon prints: 1538
Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock or make money from this story.

Author’s Note – I decided to draw from my roots on this one and create a case story that encompasses something dear to my heart.  I hope this turns out well and that everyone enjoys this.  So far, I’ve gotten fantastic responses on the first two stories in this series and it’s really boosted my confidence.  Especially since the amazing OleanderHoney has been following me on this journey and encouraging me with her reviews.  Her “Colors” series has been a huge inspiration for me and if you haven’t read it yet, go do so!  You will not regret it.

For those joining me on this journey for the first time, I suggest you start with the first story, “A Study in Partnership” and then “An Attempt at an Olive Branch.”  Otherwise, you might be lost on what’s going on and the history laid down in those two stories.  This tale takes place two weeks after “A Study in Partnership.”

Disclaimer – I do not own “Sherlock” nor do I make any money from this.  I just enjoy torturing the characters for my own amusement.

Chapter One – Prelude

The case had gone smoothly, and Johanna was rather pleased by that.  No injuries, the criminals had been captured with relative ease, and she was content with how everything had unfolded.  Her flatmate seemed to be happy as well, flagging down a cab after they had exited the headquarters for New Scotland Yard.  He held the door for her as she entered the vehicle, settling into the seat.

“Dine in or take out tonight,” she asked, knowing he would be famished due to his habit of not eating when he used more energy towards his thought processes than normal.  It was something Johanna was attempting to slowly correct, not liking how run down he could get during cases.  So far, she hadn’t been too successful but given they’d only been partners for two weeks, Johanna knew she would need more time to soften the habit.

“I’m thinking dine in, but I need to make a stop first,” Sherlock answered, giving instructions to the cabbie.  The physician didn’t recognize the address and quickly queried her friend about it.

“Where are we going?”

“Davenport’s,” he answered, tucking his mobile into his pocket.  “It’s a music shop I have frequented for a long time.  I need new strings and more rosin, and I also want to see if they have had any deliveries of new sheet music.  New material would be appreciated, and I am low on blank manuscript paper as well.”

Oh yes, she’d almost forgotten about that.  Sherlock had been playing the night before, and she’d been treated to the odd sight of her flatmate getting angry when the E string had broken.  The detective had been in a right strop when he’d realized that he didn’t have replacement strings, but that had died when the flash of inspiration he’d needed for the case had come.

“Make sure to get a few extra ones in case you snap another since you can be rather rough on the strings at times,” she recommended, knowing of his habit of playing aggressively in an annoying way when Mycroft happened to come by the flat.  “Is this shop a string instrument only type store?”

“Oh no, they offer almost any musical instrument you could think of but always of the higher quality.  They keep the strings I prefer in stock; most shops wouldn’t due to the expense of them.   Davenport’s is a favorite for most of the orchestra members to frequent.”

Given what little she knew about violins, Johanna couldn’t blame Sherlock for wanting the best quality of strings for his instrument.  She knew that Stradivarius was the top maker of violins in his day and that they were incredibly rare in this day and age.  That was one of the reasons she was careful whenever the instrument was out of its case.  Even though the two hadn’t been flatmates for long, she knew just how much he cherished his violin.

The drive to the shop wasn’t long, and she followed Sherlock into the building.  Johanna gave a small smile when the man behind the counter greeted her flatmate with a warm tone in his voice.

“Sherlock, it’s been a while.  How are you doing?”

“Tolerably well, Andrew.  I see that Daniel finally agreed to marry you,” Sherlock observed, leaning against the counter as he stripped his gloves off.

“He has, and we were hoping you’d play for us.  Daniel has this idea of you playing instead of a piano or organ,” the owner said to the detective, who gave the man a soft, crooked smile.

“It would be my pleasure,” the curly haired male.  “Just text me with the details and we’ll work something out.”

“Thank you,” he answered, then tilted his head.  “Who is this with you today?”

“This is my flatmate, Dr. Johanna Watson.  We finished up with a case, and I needed to stop by for a few things before enjoying a celebratory meal,” he told him.  “Johanna, this is Andrew Davenport.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” the owner said warmly, making Johanna give him a small smile in return.

“It’s nice to meet you too.  I like your shop, what I’ve seen of it so far.  You mind if I have a look around while you two discuss whatever it is Sherlock needs?”

“Not at all, Dr. Watson.  Explore to your heart’s content.”

She smiled again and wandered off, leaving them to chat.  The doctor passed the woodwinds section, recognizing a few of the brands of clarinets before heading towards the pianos.  Her eyes were drawn to a beautiful cherry finished grand piano, and she headed towards it.

“May I help you?”

Startled, she turned to face another young man as her fingers lightly touched the polished wood.  The grain was smooth under her fingertips and cool to touch.

“I’m looking around while my flatmate gets the items he needs for his violin, and I spotted this piano.  It’s absolutely gorgeous.  Does it sound as beautiful as it looks?”

“Better than,” he said with a chuckle.  “Do you play?”

“Some but I haven’t for a while,” she admitted, looking longingly at the instrument.  She was aching to play this magnificent looking piano and hear the tone of it for herself.

“You’re welcome to give it a try while you wait on your flatmate,” he offered, recognizing the look on her face.  It was obvious she was dying to try it out, and he knew the owner’s policy on these sort of things.  Andrew was very keen on allowing pianos to be played as it often lifted the spirits of the shoppers and invited them to purchase the instrument if they found it to be to their liking.

“Are you sure,” she asked, hoping he would confirm his answer. 

“You aren’t carrying food or drinks on you, right?”

Johanna shook her head, wincing at the question.  She would never dream of keeping something around that would damage such a beautiful instrument.

“God no, that’d be a horrible thing to keep around this beauty.”

“Then have fun,” he told her, walking away to leave her with the piano.

The doctor slid onto the bench, adjusting it for her height before sliding her coat off.  She laid it beside her before placing her fingers into position.  A soft sigh of pleasure was heard when a C major chord was played, showing her the quality of sound.

“Oh god, you do sound as gorgeous as you look,” she murmured reverently before diving into a piece that had been one of her favorites as a child.

The sounds of Holst’s “Planet Suite” filled the air, specifically the Jupiter portion.  She adored this song even now, and it flowed from her fingertips easily.  After she’d finished that, Johanna beamed a bit before dipping into her repertoire to play pieces she could remember.  She was rusty but found herself recalling more than she had thought she would.  Her hands were quickly remembering how to play, making fewer mistakes the more she played.

Sherlock had finished paying for his order, setting the bag with the strings and rosin into the bag with the sheet music and manuscript paper when the music pulled his attention away from the owner of the store.

“Someone is incredibly talented,” Andrew stated, coming out from behind the counter.  The consulting detective could only nod, his eyes gleaming with appreciation.  He followed the owner deeper into the store, nearly coming to a shocked halt when he spotted his flatmate playing what looked to be an expensive yet gorgeous piano.

Sherlock had known about her having played the clarinet during her school years, but she had not given any sign of being familiar with other instruments.  It amazed him to hear how much talent she had in regards to her piano playing, although the signs of her not having been able to practice were certainly noticeable, and it made him eager to experience just how deep the skills and talent for the instrument went.

Her blue eyes opened when she sensed someone near her and spotted both her flatmate and the store owner close by.  Johanna blushed a bit, ending the song before placing her hands in her lap.  For some reason, she was a bit embarrassed at having been caught off guard.  Usually, the physician always kept herself somewhat aware of her surroundings no matter what was keeping her occupied.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so caught up.  Have you been standing there long?”

“No, not long,” the shop owner replied, smiling at her.  “How long have you been playing the piano, Dr. Watson?”

“I started learning when I was three years old,” she answered, picking up her coat and rising to her feet.  “My father had an old piano that belonged to his mum, and he taught me how to play.  It was sold after he passed, and it’s rare I get the opportunity to play.  I’m afraid I’m horribly out of practice.”

“Difficult to tell from where I’m standing,” Andrew replied.  “There were hardly any serious mistakes at all, and you made this piano sing.”

“Easy thing to do with an instrument like this,” Johanna admitted.  “Thank you for allowing me to play.  Ready to go, Sherlock?”

“I am,” the detective replied.  “Andrew, text me the details for the wedding whenever the two of you are ready.”

With that, the two headed out of the shop and Sherlock flagged down a taxi to take them to get something to eat.  He slid his mobile out of his pocket, fingers moving agilely over the keys as he wrote the one person he rarely contacted.

~Is the piano Aunt Bronwyn left me still stored at your house?  SH~

~It is and was tuned last week.  I take it you are interested in having it moved?  MH~

For once, Sherlock bit down the urge to send a sarcastic reply.  This was a way for him to indulge his curiosity about his flatmate’s hidden talent, and he needed that piano because he knew Johanna would get into a strop if he tried to bring in a new one. 

~I am. SH~

~I will have it dropped off this evening while you are away from the flat.  MH~

He set the mobile back into his pocket, leaning back against the seat.  Hopefully, his curiosity would be whetted upon their arrival home and there was no way that his stubborn flatmate could object to the instrument’s arrival since it was an heirloom and not an expense.  The detective believed she would start to play it once she was relaxed enough to do so and truly believed that he would not raise any objection to her doing so.

In truth, Sherlock was looking forward to that and hoped that he would be able to hear her play in the future.  As much as he loved playing, he also enjoyed listening to others perform and had a feeling Johanna would be interesting in her performance once she shook off the effect of years of not playing.

The consulting detective smile as they arrived at their destination for dinner, looking forward to the surprise that would be awaiting his flatmate.

Author’s End Note – Well, here’s the first chapter of “A Study in Duets.”  In regards to the violin Sherlock owns, the story behind it will emerge in this tale.  I really hope everyone enjoys this, and please let me know what you guys think of it.  See everyone next chapter, Laran.

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