Happy Update day everyone.
Unfortunately this is the last chap i can guarantee will be uploaded with regularity, exam fun will be messing up my writing process and upload schedule from this point on. That being said, i will try not to leave you all on any BIG cliff hangers for too long if i can help it because that personally drives me insane.
This is the last of my exercise in descriptive writing for awhile, but i hope i gave a bit of life to John's drawings with my little attempts these past two chaps.
As always thanks for the follows, reviews and favourites! :) Your continued support is always uplifting.
Ever since Sherlock had shown him some of John's old artwork Greg had made it a point to see the man at least once every few days. Sherlock had not acknowledged the visits; he also hadn't done anything to dissuade them, so Greg figured he was okay with the unspoken arrangement.
Greg was pleasantly surprised to find that John continued to write him small letters as well as sending the occasional sketch or cartoon. In return Greg dutifully followed the rugby, at great personal cost of course, to provide John with the sacred information he requested. Despite the days and times of Greg's visits being relatively random on account of his somewhat unpredictable schedule, Sherlock somehow always managed to have his letter placed within plain sight on 221B's coffee table, should he have received one since his last visit.
Not bothering to knock, Greg walked into 221B, immediately spying the letter resting on top of Sherlock's typically chaotic pile of paperwork. Since Sherlock didn't appear to be around Greg settled himself on the sofa, scooping up the envelope ready to read his most recent letter.
Opening the envelope Greg realised it contained the standard letter and several pages of what experience had taught him was pieces of John's artwork. Opening the letter first, Greg scanned it, smiling at John's comments on their latest case and their now customary rugby banter slash rage vent. In short the letter was exactly what he expected at least until he neared the end.
So, two different little birdies told me that your birthday is August 6th. I'm hoping this letter will get to you in time, but years of experience with the army and her mail system tells me that I'm probably hoping in vein. If we did get lucky, Happy Birthday Greg! There's not exactly much opportunity for shopping here so I tried to draw a few things for you instead. Enjoy your birthday old man.
Greg's eyes widened in surprise it didn't take a genius to figure out who the 'little birdies' were. He knew the Holmes', particularly Sherlock, had come to like him that much was clear. Frankly however, he had never expected the Holmes' to care about his birthday. Not because they didn't care about him exactly, but because they themselves just didn't seem that concerned with birthdays in general.
Rather chuffed at the thought Greg tucked the letter into his inside jacket pocket. Sorting through the other pages, Greg selected one at random and began opening his birthday presents.
Opening the first page Greg found an exquisitely drawn landscape. Mountains bordered the far right hand side of the drawing with a valley filling the most of the rest of the page. The sun was setting behind the mountain face, bathing parts of the valley and sky in a warm orange hue, whilst also allowing for the creation of dark and dramatic looking shadows at the mountain base. In the foreground John had also painstakingly drawn two soldiers, presumably his brothers at arms, who were watching the sunset from the vantage point of their own considerably smaller hill.
Greg found the image to be quite beautiful, not just because of the quality, but because of the breath of life he had given to the otherwise washed out, and presumably war torn landscape. Touched John would go to so much effort for his birthday gift Greg placed the image carefully away with the letter before selecting another of the remaining two pages.
Opening his second page, Greg immediately recognised John's more cartoony style. Quickly, Greg realised the page featured a small comic strip. At the top of the small strip, Mycroft and Sherlock appear to be kidnapped by an unidentified shadowy figure. In the second square, the brothers were displayed smiling blithely as they accept a wad of money from their kidnapper. The third simply depicted the two brothers with linked hands leisurely skipping towards a mall. Greg snorted as he saw the forth square, which showed the brothers trying on some, interesting, articles of clothing. Sherlock appeared to be choosing between two equally garish dresses whereas Mycroft was admiring himself in an equally garish, half undone, tacky 'Hawaiian' shirt.
Greg would deny needing a moment to collect his thoughts after the images that particular detail conjured in his mind. He was fully grown man, not a hair triggered teenage freaking boy after all.
The final scene showed Sherlock in a pink floral monstrosity a tiara resting precariously on his curls, with Mycroft in the same garb as before with only the small addition of a crown atop of his head. The brothers were casually handing over the wad of money they had gotten from their kidnappers, to pay for their new outfits. To the back of the image a small window displayed a silhouette of London which appeared to be going up in flames.
The comic strip was amusing enough, but the best part for Greg was the images framing the strip. A cartoon John was literally face-palming to the left of the Holmes brothers and their impromptu shopping spree. To the right, a cartoon version of himself was looking on the scene incredulously. An expression he feared he wore often around the Holmes brothers. He wondered how many years it would take for him to get from his own disbelief to John's brand of resignation in the face of the brothers antics. Tucking the image away with the other pages, Greg retrieved his final present.
Unfolding his last gift, Greg's eyes widened in surprise as he saw what had been rendered inside. John had drawn him realistically, a headshot like the one that had made Greg pause when he was paging through John's old sketchbooks all those months ago.
Like that image, Greg's own portrait conveyed a message although he would be equally unable to tell you how or why. Instead of intimacy and love, this picture conveyed sentiments of strength, admiration and respect. Greg didn't know how long he sat there staring at his gift. What he did know was that various feelings of doubt, insecurity and general unhappiness, that had been born when he discovered his ex-wife's cheating or couldn't solve a case, were diminishing. Rationally Greg knew he wasn't a failure, but to see that someone else saw him like this in such a tangible fashion; it helped calm more of his lingering internal demons than he was honestly aware he possessed.
Handling the drawing, which had already became one of his most treasured possessions, reverently Greg tucked it in with the other works of art safely pressed against his chest. Clearing his throat, slightly worried that it may have grown hoarse, Greg finally looked up to see if his consultant was studying his reaction from somewhere in the room. Almost immediately Greg's thoughts were answered as he heard 221B's front door slam, followed by the sounds of his friend bounding up the stairs.
Utilising that long stride of his, Sherlock soon materialised in the doorway a largish cardboard box held in his hands. Spotting Lestrade on the sofa, his friend dumped the box on his lap, before swanning off in the direction of his room. Glancing down Greg realised the box was missing a lid. That fact allowed him to see the case file, make that case file's resting inside. Flipping open the top folder, Greg realised that this was the official police report for a cold case he had personally handled years ago; a case file which should not have found its way out of the yard.
"Sherlock!" he yelled, "Why do you have this?" Rooting through the box glancing at the titles of each file, Greg realised that each and every one was a cold case he had worked. The one notable exception was buried at the bottom of the box. That file contained a case he had been on when he was only a constable, the inspector running the scene had supposedly caught the Perp, but the 'facts' had never quite lined up for Greg.
"I solved them," Sherlock shouted back, "Isn't that the point, Inspector?"
Returning to the top file, Greg skimmed through the documents inside. At the back of the folder, Greg came across a sheaf of notes penned for the most part in his consultant's familiar scrawl. There were also small sections written in a much neater elegant hand, which Greg pondered over for a second. That thought was quickly overtaken as he realised what it was exactly that he held.
"Sherlock where did you get these?" he asked shakily. "Please tell me you didn't break into the Yard's highly monitored, off limits file room?"
"As if that could stop me," Sherlock said dismissively as he walked into his kitchen. "Relax Lestrade, Mycroft gave them to me," the man said waving a hand airily from his newfound position sat behind his microscope at the kitchen table.
"Mycroft gave them to you?" The inspector repeated blankly. Perhaps that explained the presence of the mysterious neater handwriting interloping in on Sherlock's notes.
From the kitchen Sherlock sighed no doubt thinking he considered this conversation to be a waste of his precious intellect, "he shoved the box in my arms, told me to get out of his office and stop complaining that I was bored."
"So, Mycroft Holmes just happens to have copies of almost every single case that still keeps me up at night, in his office. Cases which he then gave to you, because you were bored," Greg questioned sceptically.
"Do you need me to say it slower," Sherlock asked derogatory tone clearly indicating he was re-evaluating Greg's intelligence.
Looking at the pile of previously unsolvable cases, Greg thought of the nights these particular mystery's had left him unable to sleep, cursing at his inability to solve them. Putting the files back into the box, Greg placed it on the coffee table softly touching a hand to where the letter was still pressed to his chest. "Thank you Sherlock," he said sincerely, just once breaking all English rules of sentimentality, allowing the other detective to hear the emotion suffusing his tone.
As expected Sherlock did not reply, but Greg thought he saw the consultants mouth quirk up in a pleased grin, before his face evened out again.
"Chinese?" he suggested a suitable amount of time later. Taking the grunt he received as a yes, Greg ordered food and settled in to enjoy a quiet night with his somewhat eccentric friend.
Later when Greg had returned home, pleasantly full, he opened John's letter one more time before placing it with the others he had received from the man. Preparing for bed, Greg wondered how he was going to go about re-opening all of these old cases come morning; he also set about planning where he was going to place his new artwork. As his mind wound down in preparation for sleep, Greg wondered at their luck, for despite John's misgivings his letter had arrived exactly on time for his birthday.