Zepheera-Vision Prologue: How Very Clever

“Why on Earth did you bring her here, Sherlock?”

“Where was I supposed to bring her, St. Bart’s? Parade her around, introduce her to Molly and shove her under a microscope? Dull. Messy. No, I needed a look for myself, in private.”

“No, I mean, why did you bring her anywhere at all?”

“Because she makes no sense!”

“She’s a person, she’s not yours to take! She had a life – it’s like that-that thing about how you shouldn’t pick up and move a snail, because you don’t know where it’s going.”

“Oi!” Zepheera protested. She’d been meaning to interrupt the humans’ arguing, but John Watson had been doing well on making her points for her up until that last addition. When he turned in reaction to her shout, he nearly flinched at the scathing indignation she shot his way.

“Sorry, no, I didn’t mean that you’re like–”

“‘Like’, she’s not like anything, certainly not a snail,” interrupted Sherlock as he strode across the kitchen toward Zepheera. “She’s not even like herself, if there’s even a self to be like.”

He dropped back into the chair still sitting by the counter where four-and-a-half inch tall Zepheera stood, leaning forward with his fingers steepled just under his chin. She took a couple wary steps back from his sudden proximity, enough for her to feel like she wasn’t looking straight up into those nebulaic eyes of his.

“I’ve always found the human mind problematic. So many emotions and concerns, not always simple to piece together, not for me anyways. I can, however, know a person’s entire life after seconds of observing them with near complete accuracy, but you. Setting aside that scientifically you shouldn’t be able to function as highly as you do at this size, you are positively full of contradictions. Everything about you clashes with the logic of something else, and I demand an explanation.”

“Sherlock,” John warned. He was ready to tear the detective a new one for continuing to treat Zepheera as a specimen. The one thing stopping him was Zepheera herself raising a hand to stop him.

“It’s okay, John,” she assured, to his confusion and Sherlock’s poorly hidden amusement. The black-haired human’s smirk was as infectious as it was unsettling, Zepheera found as she bit back a grin of her own. She pursed her lips and addressed Sherlock. “Please, enlighten me about these contradictions. What have you observed?”

“Here we go…” muttered John, leaning on the fridge with crossed arms.

“Your clothes were the biggest tip-off,” Sherlock began, his cool gaze jumping up and down Zepheera’s form with each observation. “Trousers and vest hand-made, but your long-sleeve looks factory-made and somehow shrunk down, unless you’ve got a tiny clothes maker hidden around somewhere which I highly doubt. Your boots, as well, are manufactured, but you’ve altered them to look plainer.

“You appear quite young, but your eyes, they tell a different story. And that’s saying nothing about their deep violet hue, but that’s irrelevant to your contradictions. Point being, they’re much older than the rest of you. Exactly how much older is hard to pinpoint, the biggest clue being, of course, your vest. You’ve stripped down and woven together several candy wrappers, easy enough for someone your size to procure. One of them is different, a particular style that would have been in circulation in the 80’s and 90’s. Now, it could be that the material was simply passed down by an elder, or even the vest itself, but not likely enough since the rest are modern sweets and the vest fits you so snugly and hasn’t been altered even once. You made it recently, no more than nine or ten months ago if the wear is any indication.

“Additionally, you’re rather clean despite the fact that I found you outside and your lifestyle of living dependant on humans. Oh, it’s obvious,” Sherlock scoffed at Zepheera’s surprised expression. “Given your size and evident resourcefulness, it can only be assumed that you rely on humans for food and materials and shelter, probably within walls or under the floors or whatever nooks you can find outside. In either case, you shoulf be sporting some kind of dust or dirt residue, but you’re not. I would also expect a scavenger shorter than a pencil to carry a bag of some sort, perhaps climbing tools and a weapon, all of which you lack. Another contradiction. That, and your short hair, indicates a life of ease.
Self-administered haircut, but such an even job along the back can’t be achieved on one’s own. Not without a series of mirrors or a friend…”

Sherlock trailed off, consumed with the implications of his last statement and observations overall. He’d suspected there could be more people her size despite the shrunken appearance of parts of her wardrobe, but he hadn’t considered the possibility of her having a companion. Maybe it was due to all his time spent around John, but something in him wrestled with the ethical dilemma before him on top of the scientific and logical dilemma of her very existence.

While he was silent and introspective, Zepheera looked down at herself and remarked on his observations. They were all correct, but she knew the reasons for her ‘contradictions’ that woulf clear up Sherlock’s confusions. The shrunken-looking pieces of her outfit were taken from the wardrobe in her room in the TARDIS, which had been downsized for her. She’d left her borrowing bag and tools behind because she’d thought she was in for a relaxing day with the Doctor. Now she was in some unknown flat with a pair of strange humans. Strange in every sense of the word.

“Impressive, I’ll admit,” she said st last, breaking both humans out of their swirling thoughts. “For a human, that’s quite extraordinary.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” John piped up, the corner of his mouth tugging up mirthfully.

Zepheera shrugged. “I’m sure Brainy here has already worked out that if I am to survive at this scale, I have to be fairly good at observations myself.”

What am I doing?

“Of course, Sherlock seethed. "Obviously.”

“Well then, what say we find out how much I can deduce about you two.”

John’s brow shot up and Sherlock frowned suspiciously. Meanwhile, Zepheera’s instincts were panicking. What am I saying? I don’t have time for these games, I have to get out of here! The longer I’m here, the higher the chances become that the Doctor will do something rash.

And yet here she was, challenging the human before her in his own field. Sherlock must have rubbed off on her more than she realized, because overriding every survival impulse she had was an increasing need to show off. She had to get it out of her system. And, she reasoned, she’d need to put herself even with Sherlock, or at least with a human being in his mind, before she could begin to negotiate her exit.

“If one of you could be kind enough to give me a lift to the other room, I’d be appreciative,” she smirked.

Sherlock stared her down for a moment, hesitant to take her bait. Eventually he gave up with a sigh. “John,” he ordered tersely as he stood from the chair and strode into the other room without either of them.

John blinked when he was left alone with Zepheera, who was looking expectantly up at him. “Erm. How-how should I…?” He still struggled with the idea of handling her, but he supposed if he had her permission it was alright.

“Actually…” she mused, peering down from the very edge of the counter at the dining chair. “I forgot about this. I might be able to see myself down after all.”

Before John could protest, she jumped off and landed expertly on the
seat of the chair, repeating the action down to the floor. He hurried forward
and leaned around the chair, half-expecting to see her limping body hobbling
along. He was more than a little surprised to find himself staring down at the
tiny woman practically unscathed, jogging across his floor. A jump like that
would have messed up any human being, proportionally speaking. Whoever she was,
this Zepheera was sturdier than she looked.

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