herlock found tearing around London in a high-performance car at half two in the morning curiously invigorating. They had taken full advantage of Sherlock's memory map to avoid most CCTV cameras; luckily Gabe didn't think to ask why an agent who had been based in Budapest for the past three years had such a map in his head. Sherlock of course had a ready answer if need be—he'd learned them when he returned as a memory exercise—but it was just as well that it wasn't required.
Gabe, of course, had other things on his mind—things like whipping the exotic car down the quiet roads at twice or three times the legal limit, down-shifting madly, all while cackling with glee. "God, that's good," he suddenly said, as he pulled the car to a stop in a quiet industrial side street under a lone streetlight. "I'd forgotten what that felt like. Just gets the old testosterone pumping, donnit?" He beamed at Sherlock, who, if he didn't exactly beam, nonetheless found himself nodding slightly.
Gabe turned the engine off, reluctantly, and opened his door. "Do we really have to?" he whined, as Sherlock opened his own door and climbed out.
"Don't worry," Sherlock said soothingly. "We'll steal another tomorrow."
"That's right," Gabe gasped, as if he'd forgotten. He paused, then looked at Sherlock earnestly. "I love my job sometimes." Sherlock started to walk away, with Gabe reluctantly trailing behind, when the tall man suddenly stopped. "Wait," he said, catching at Sherlock's good arm. He trotted back to the car and, while Sherlock stared in perplexity, pulled out a pair of sunglasses and put them on, then leaned nonchalantly against the side of the car. "Take my photo."
Sherlock knew, just knew, that this was some sort of joke. "Why?" he said testily. "And why are you wearing sunglasses in the middle of the night?"
"Take the picture," Gabe insisted. "I always wanted to look like Miami Vice." He looked at Sherlock expectantly; Sherlock looked back blankly, just as perplexed as before Gabe had spoken. Gabe took a closer look (removing the sunglasses to do so), then heaved a massive sigh. "You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?"
Sherlock, once again irritated that popular culture was being referenced to his detriment, huffed a very cross "No."
Gabe put the sunglasses forlornly back into his pocket and walked away from the car. "I forgot," he said morosely. "You're 12."
They were up and out relatively early the next day, despite having only returned to the flat at 4 am. Gabe once again kipped on the couch; Sherlock noted, in a bemused fashion, that both of them seemed to just assume he would stay. Sherlock grumbled a bit but produced clean pants and socks for Gabe's use when asked. He did, however, snicker audibly when Gabe complained about how tight the pants were.
They decided to be law-abiding on the way to Dover, and so dutifully bought tickets for the train for the trip. Their abandoned joyride vehicle had certainly been either found or re-stolen by now, much though Gabe tried to convince Sherlock to go back and "just check".
The trip took roughly 2 hours; Sherlock concluded that Gabe had decided to be consciously annoying the entire way, burbling about scenery and spitting out random historical facts about Dover. As he used to do with John, Sherlock found himself only half-listening, so it was something of a shock to hear Gabe suddenly say "So I told Anthea we'd decided to live together forever." His head whipped around without any conscious volition on his part, only to see Gabe giving him a wicked grin.
"Knew that would catch your attention," Gabe chortled. "Tad predictable, aren't you?"
"I have always had a predictable response to idiocy," Sherlock huffed, in a most superior tone. But then he thought a bit. "Was there some reason you needed my attention?" he finally asked, just in case. Because there might well be, and Gabe was trying to be discreet, given their presence in a train carriage with 20 other people.
"Mmm," the older man hummed quietly. "I just realized I hadn't shared one of the really important bits about all of this. Getting the cars is the important part, sure. But we need a place to store them, and it needs to be perfectly clean—can't have any links to MI5, MI6, anything like that, even peripherally. I have absolutely no illusions about the quality of the background check Moran's people will do. I was planning to wait on this until we had more than the one car. But I took another look at that list you downloaded, and there are four more shipments in the next 5 days. We're going to be busy little bees, and we need to have this slick as a water slide—we take the cars, we drive them directly to our storage location, it's all good. My plan, such as it is, is to dump that aspect in Anthea's lap, and see if she can enlist her boss' help. I'd be willing to bet he's got all kinds of little clandestine hidey holes about, so he can damn well share."
Sherlock nodded, in a deceptively nonchalant fashion. He was going to have to accustom himself to these random mentions of his brother. "A warehouse of some kind would be the logical choice," he said thoughtfully. "Or there are a large number of abandoned factories south of the river. Anything we can jury-rig power for, with sliding doors big enough." He thought a bit. "Would you like me to contact Anthea? I suspect I've known her longer than you have. She's been my handler for several years." True enough, though certainly not in the sense that Gabe meant the word. And he suddenly felt the need to speak to her, if only to remind her that minimizing Mycroft's involvement was a necessity in this operation. Otherwise it was entirely too likely that they would encounter someone who had seen him with his brother, and would see through his disguise. None of them could afford for that to happen.
Gabe gave him a suspicious look. "That's out of character, my man. Or are you trying to cut me out with the lady? I have plans, you know." He waggled his eyebrows theatrically.
"Oh please," Sherlock snorted. "She thinks of me as a badly-behaved sibling, if anything." But he couldn't resist continuing. "She probably thinks of you as a badly-behaved uncle."
Gabe reeled in his seat and clutched his chest. "You are a cruel child. Go away. Call Anthea and tell her I miss her." Then he closed his eyes and leaned his head against the window.
Sherlock snickered and wandered off to the loo to make the call.
Anthea was somewhat pleased to hear from him, although she did make a point of telling him that Gabe had better manners than he did. "You say that like it matters," Sherlock sneered.
"You remember the Rule," she said serenely. "If you two ever have an argument and want me to mediate, guess who will get my vote, regardless of whether he's right or not?"
"I doubt it will ever come to that," Sherlock said. "But if it does, remember that I am not above bribery." And it was true, actually—there had been a time or two that Sherlock had actually paid a ransom of sorts to keep Anthea from disclosing one of his indiscretions (never drugs—that was one of her hard lines) to his nosy big brother.
"So to get back to the order of the day," Anthea said patiently, "I will send a list of possibilities to both of you within the hour. I will need roughly 30 minutes, once you've made a decision, to gain access and set up power service. Do NOT call me in a panic when you've arrived at your chosen location and expect any sympathy from me if you haven't let me know ahead of time."
"Yes, Mummy," Sherlock snarked, and hung up.
When he got back to their seats, Gabe appeared genuinely asleep. Sherlock debated waking him; while the older man could certainly be annoying, arguing with him was much more entertaining than looking out the window. In the end, though, he settled into his own seat and shut his eyes with a disgruntled sigh. It had, after all, been a very long night.
Sherlock was startled to find himself blinking awake as the train pulled into the station in Dover. Beside him, Gabe stretched and yawned widely, then stood and held out a hand to pull him up. "Come on, then," he said peaceably. "Let's go get lunch before we head for the docks. I'm in the mood for seafood."
"Seafood", in Gabe's parlance, clearly meant fish and chips. But as luck would have it, Sherlock knew an exceptional shop in Dover—his family went frequently before trips to France when he was a child. Sherlock was pleased, in an odd way, to find it still there, still in business, and still offering excellent food at its greasy best. Gabe, not much more concerned with propriety that Sherlock was, ate every bite and then scrupulously licked each finger clean. "You're a man of many talents," he said idly. "Computers, martial arts, and restaurant recommendations. What surprise will you come up with next?"
"Ventriloquism," Sherlock volleyed back instantly. "That way you may finally say something intelligent."
Gabe flipped him off over his shoulder and headed towards the street to hail a cab.
The docks were a madhouse. Sherlock loved it. Constant activity, some of it almost certainly illicit, although as usual no one noticed that but him. Ships big and small lined the docks, and huge loading cranes moved like giant stick insects, lifting immense containers off and onto decks and holds.
They drove along what seemed like miles of docks and warehouses, their cabbie thankfully as familiar with the docking area as he had claimed to be. Sherlock continued to entertain himself, deducing the loads, their sources and end destinations while Gabe stared out the windows in a distracted fashion. It wasn't until the cabbie made a vaguely complimentary noise that Sherlock realized he had been generating this monologue out loud. He closed his mouth with a snap, feeling the hateful heat in his cheeks as his color rose.
"Why did you stop?" Gabe said almost immediately. "That was fascinating. And a whole lot more entertaining than any guidebook I ever read."
Sherlock blinked. "I…really?" he said hesitantly.
Gabe nodded enthusiastically. "Hell, yeah. Anytime you want to tell me about stuff no one else sees, bring it on. Maybe you can teach me to do that sometime." He was sincere—Sherlock could tell, though it seemed unlikely. A little reminiscent of his first days with John, in fact. It was rare (and pleasant) to run across someone whose ego wasn't pinched by visibly not being the smartest person in the room. Well, car, in this case.
Just then they pulled up at their destination. It was one of the larger piers, with a spidery crane already winching great loads of material and containers off the deck. Parked on the far side of the docked ship from their cab was a car trailer attached to a lorry, with 5 exotic vehicles already loaded and a sixth being prepared for the trip by having light padding and protective tape added.
Gabe trundled quickly out of the cab, leaving Sherlock to pay. Sherlock realized John was right—that was indeed very annoying, especially since Gabe's account currently contained all of the operational funds Anthea had routed to them. (Of course Sherlock could always have Mycroft reimburse him, but the principle still stood. Annoying).
They both wore their carefully-crafted outfits, designed to look like those normally worn by the driving service. They hadn't tried to create patches or logos yet, though that should come next week. But for now they both wore mid-blue shiny bomber jackets ("Very Eighties," Gabe had said in amusement) and matching baseball caps. Gabe had also insisted they have matching sunglasses to "complete the look". Sherlock had a dark suspicion it had nothing to do with their own look, but rather the look of the television show Gabe had mentioned. Sherlock had made a point to Google it before they left this morning, catching Gabe looking over his shoulder with a smirk.
Gabe strode confidently over to the man managing the loading of the poison-green exotic car onto the transport trailer, waiting quietly until the loading was complete before sticking out his hand confidently. "Hi, I'm George Lester, with Quality Transport. I understand you have a car or two for us to drive out." He beamed expectantly while Sherlock came up and stood quietly next to him.
The man looked at Gabe, looked at Sherlock, observed the shiny jackets, then looked behind them as if expecting someone else to appear. "Where's Willie and Tam, then?" he finally said, in a thick Geordie accent.
"Off to Paris, lucky sods," Gabe replied, with an envious smile. "We had a big contract come in to shuttle cars for the Grand Prix, and they won the draw. They called me and Wills here" (indicating Sherlock by a backwards jerk of his thumb)"in from Birmingham to fill in." He nudged Sherlock with his elbow, which Sherlock assumed was his cue to present the clipboard holding the fake transport documents they'd created.
"Oh, aye," the man said absently, looking over the paperwork. He looked up and nodded his head towards a large shipping container just now being settled on the pavement behind them. "There's only the one, today. The black Lambo," he said. But then he took a closer look at the two of them. "Might be a bit of a problem though, mate." He cocked his head to one side. "Ever driven one of those before?"
"Sure," Gabe said confidently. "Handles like a dream, but a real bugger on sharp turns."
The agent still looked doubtful. "It's just, well, you and your mate are a mite, um, tall for it, aren't you? I think Lamborghini only rates this model to six foot even, you know?"
Sherlock just caught himself before giving Gabe an accusing look. He was supposed to be the car expert here—might it not have been important to share the fact that they MIGHT NOT FIT IN THE CAR?
Gabe wasn't concerned. "Not a problem. I just tilt the seat way back. Never had an issue," he said easily. At which point Sherlock realized that Gabe had never sat in a "Lambo" in his life.
Ten minutes later the car had been uncrated, all of the packing removed, and the tank filled with petrol. Gabe traded their set of counterfeit paperwork for a real set of transit documents, and signed for possession in an intentionally illegible scrawl, while Sherlock clamped the (also fake) set of temporary plates on front and back (something else that was both difficult and painful with a damaged arm. Next time this would be Gabe's job, even if Sherlock was supposed to be the "assistant" driver).
They waited while the rental company agent loaded up his co-worker and climbed into the cab of the car transport lorry, then waved as the large vehicle pulled away. Then Gabe took the keys and popped open the door of the low-slung black car, gesturing for Sherlock to do the same on his side. Sherlock managed, with some difficulty, to climb into the low-slung seat and shove his legs under the low dash. He quickly slid the seat as far back in the tracks as possible, but couldn't fail to notice that the car was a very tight fit—not uncomfortable, exactly, but nonetheless quite confining. And then he looked over at Gabe, and cracked out a burst of laughter.
Gabe looked like an adult crammed into a seat at a primary school. His legs fit, barely, with the seat slid back as far as Sherlock's. But even with the seat back tilted, the top of Gabe's head was pushed firmly against the underside of the roof, to the point where he clearly had to struggle to turn his head from side to side. A black scowl lay across his features. Without turning to look at Sherlock, he spoke in a stern tone. "Not one word. Not one. Single. Word." Sherlock made a zipping motion across his mouth, while not trying very hard to suppress the snicker that kept trying to bubble up. Gabe frowned harder, and jerked the car into gear. The massive engine howled, and they sped away, heading away from the docks and back towards London.
Once they got out on the open road, Gabe's mood lightened. The air was warm but not oppressively so, and the sunshine cast a pleasant glow over everything. After a bit, Gabe switched on the sound system, and then insisted on leaving the station on some sort of mindless pop drivel, ignoring Sherlock's huffs of displeasure and incipient pout.
After a few minutes of insulted silence, though, Sherlock was bored with looking out the window in high dudgeon. "Did you let Anthea know which location we're going to use?" he finally said, as a sort of peace offering.
Gabe jerked a bit at his side and forced his head over to look, scuffing his hair against the roof. "No," he said. "You were supposed to be in charge of that. You called Anthea to set it up. Didn't you two finish?"
And to his discomfort, Sherlock realized that, since Gabe was asleep when he returned to his seat on the train, he had never told him about the conversation. "She, erm, sent us a list of possibles. We just need to let her know which one we want. She just needs 30 minutes' lead time" (which thankfully they still had. He didn't want to think about the conversation they would have if they showed up at the chosen site and had to call her for help getting in).
"Oh," said Gabe, somewhat mollified. "Well, just pick one and let her know, then. Ideally something a little up-scale if possible—we want to impress these guys with our professionalism."
Sherlock snorted. "We are neither of us models of professional behavior."
"Speak for yourself, sonny," Gabe huffed. "I am an extremely capable, professional agent. I just choose to display that professionalism in unconventional ways." He smirked without trying to turn his head again. "Tell you the truth, though, in my experience a lot of people who try to toe the 'professional' line in this business manage to make themselves, and a lot of people around them, very dead. You need that whole 'making shit up on the fly' capability, you know?"
Sherlock couldn't disagree. Though he doubted his hidebound brother would share the sentiment.
Two hours later they pulled up to what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse in south London, not far from the river. The windows were swathed with graffiti-covered plywood, but the building itself was neither especially old nor decrepit. Sherlock had chosen this option because of the multiple bay doors and large open floor space. When he showed the photos to Gabe, the man agreed cheerfully. "It'll look like a private showroom," he said happily.
Sherlock pointed to the far right-hand bay door, with an obviously new touchpad mounted on the wall next to it. When Sherlock (with some difficulty) climbed out of the car and entered the code Anthea had forwarded, the bay door lifted smoothly with very little noise, and Gabe pulled the car in. He waited while Sherlock found a light switch, which illuminated a cavernous space with 30-foot ceilings. Gabe drove the car to the far side and parked, then climbed out and looked curiously around.
"Well. This will do very nicely. We'd have room for 20 cars if need be." He wandered around, poking into abandoned boxes and peering into the back offices along the far wall.
"Not interested in taking that long," Sherlock said firmly. "Once we have 5, we should set things in motion to contact Moran." He wanted, needed, to be quick—the sooner he worked his way through each of his assignments, the sooner he could go home. And he already knew that this process was going to be neither quick nor easy. It was unpleasant to realize that Mycroft's predictions would be proven correct.
Over the next seven days, they secured 4 more cars. Sherlock had to confess that the process was enjoyable—no real excitement involved, certainly, but the exhilaration of stealing a £100,000 vehicle with absolutely no difficulty never faded. And the road trips—to Dover again, then Cardiff twice, before picking the final one up from the London docks—were pleasant diversions. Sherlock had developed a secret attachment to fast cars, it seemed.
When they locked the last car in the warehouse and then walked out to the main road to catch a cab, Gabe turned to Sherlock and gave him a significant look. "So, you ready for the next step? Unless you can think of some reason why I shouldn't, I'm going to put out the feelers with some less-than-sterling individuals I know to leak information about our recent 'acquisitions'. I don't expect it'll take long after that—from what I hear, Moran's people haven't been exactly shy about being willing to buy."
Sherlock shook his head. "We're as ready as we're going to be, and there's no reason to delay. Make the calls—I'll let Anthea know." And by that, of course, he meant "let his brother know." Much though he hated it, Sherlock knew that keeping Mycroft out of the loop in this could prove dangerous for all involved.
As it happened, the contact came in a gratifyingly short period of time. Sherlock and Gabe were sitting in the flat that evening, having yet another argument about what type of takeout to order, when Gabe's burner phone, the one he was using solely for this part of the operation, suddenly rang. He picked it up (while continuing to wave the Indian takeout menu under Sherlock's nose) and answered. "This is George. What can I do for you?" he said, in a slightly-impatient tone. He listened briefly, his body language suddenly like that of a dog on point. He lifted his eyebrows at Sherlock, then spoke again. "I'm going to put you on speaker, yeah? My partner's right here." He hit the button and placed the phone down on the cheap coffee table.
"Right, then," said a confident, deep voice, with just a hint of a South African accent. "Stephen Montrose, as I said. Who else am I speaking to?"
Sherlock raised the pitch of his voice half an octave and blurred his vowels. "Will Hancock," he said. "I'm the technical side of the business—maintenance and computers."
"Cheers," said the voice breezily. "So, I understand that you have some merchandise I may be interested in. I'll not lie, I could use a bit of volume right now. But I'm going to need some assurance of your bona fides, and my people will need to do an inspection."
Before Sherlock could open his mouth, Gabe responded. "Not a problem. You'll understand that we'll have some restrictions on how that happens, though."
"Why don't you just give me the address of your…storage, and I'll have someone meet you there?" Montrose—Moran—said reasonably.
Gabe snorted. "Not bloody likely, mate. We'll meet your agent at a neutral site, and take them to the merchandise. Then we'll bring them back. Not negotiable."
"Trust is important between business partners," Moran said in a chiding tone. "How can we make a deal if we don't trust each other?"
Sherlock fielded that one. "Trust has to be earned, Mr. Montrose," he said primly. "All we know if that you're a supposedly-legitimate businessman proposing to buy stolen vehicles in bulk. You can see our dilemma. Contradictory evidence, so to speak."
There was a pause from the other end, but then Moran gave a short laugh. "Fair enough, I suppose. Text me the information—I can have my agent meet you at 10 tomorrow morning, if that will suit."
In the end, the "inspection" went smoothly. Gabe texted Montrose/Moran with the address of a cafe not far from the warehouse, and let Anthea know they would need the use of a car. He also brought in one of his "ringers" for the day—a large, imposing man, taller even than Gabe and carrying an additional 2 stone of solid muscle. He looked dangerous and stupid—the quintessential criminal lackey. But he was extremely competent with his weapon, and Gabe assured Sherlock that he was nowhere near as stupid as he looked.
Sherlock was relieved, when they arrived at the shop, to see that Moran himself had not come. As far as he knew, Moran had only seen him once in person—at the pool, since he had almost certainly been there. But he didn't want to spend any time close to the man if he could help it, just in case.
Moran's agents were much as Sherlock had expected—mid-level drones, neither mindless thugs nor criminal masterminds. The hired help, essentially. Once everyone had gone through their respective rituals—Gabe had described it as a "dick-measuring contest"—they took the two men out to the car and put blindfolds tightly over their eyes. The men protested but ultimately acquiesced, just as Sherlock knew they would. They had been told to view the merchandise, so they were willing to accept the constraints required to do so. The rest was just posturing.
They drove their blindfolded passengers around a bewildering route of streets large and small for a solid 20 minutes before finally heading back to the warehouse (which was, in reality, less than 5 minutes' walk from the cafe). The men inspected the cars (surprisingly carefully—regardless of how they looked, these two knew what they were doing), then they all loaded back in the car and drove aimlessly around again. Gabe finally asked the two where they wished to be taken, and then dropped them off in Piccadilly before heading gleefully back to the flat.
"We are IN," Gabe said happily. "Now all we need to do is convince them to let us into the organization for something more than just supply."
And indeed they were—Montrose/Moran called late that afternoon.
"My staff tells me your inventory is just as described," he said, in that smooth, business-like tone. "But I understand that you have expect to acquire additional units in the near future, perhaps on an ongoing basis."
Gabe raised his eyebrows at Sherlock before replying. "Yes," he said slowly, without offering any additional information.
There was a long pause, and then a deep chuckle from the other end. "So, let's accept that neither one of us are stupid," said Moran. "I believe we might both benefit from an arrangement extending past the units you currently have. But before I'm prepared to make that kind of decision, I'm going to need some additional assurance."
Sherlock took that one. "And what form would that assurance take?"
"I would like to send an observer along on your next acquisition. He won't take an active part—he will simply observe, to help me make sure that your setup is capable of delivering as promised," Moran said.
"Not happening," Gabe said instantly. "We have a sweet setup. We have no intention of giving you enough information to cut us out of the picture."
"You misunderstand the situation," Moran said soothingly. "I'm a distributor, pure and simple. I have no interest in getting involved in acquisition—too much trouble, far too much risk. This is simply a method of insuring that no action on your part is going to leave me open to blowback, either from your providing units which are too easily traced, or from leaving me without vehicles I have already promised to buyers. It's not unreasonable, I think."
And if you looked at it as if it were a legitimate business, thought Sherlock, it really wasn't. It just seemed odd to hear a master criminal and ex-Army sniper discuss distribution issues, somehow.
Gabe apparently felt much the same, but didn't want to give in too easily. "Let us discuss it," he said finally. "We'll be back to you within the hour."
"Acceptable," Moran said calmly. "One note—I will purchase the 5 units you have regardless, and at a fair price. Just let me know where to wire the funds."
Sherlock hurriedly texted Anthea, letting her know that clean accounts were needed instantly. She responded quickly in the affirmative, and he nodded at Gabe.
"All right," Gabe said amiably. "Text me the contact information, and I'll send the wire info. You should hear from us shortly on the other matter."
Gabe hung up and dropped the phone on the coffee table with a thump. "Well then," he said with a huff of relief. "I think that went well. But I'm a little queasy about the whole 'observer' bit."
Sherlock had been thinking, hard, during that part of the conversation. And he'd reached a conclusion. "We have to take the chance. Our interest here is not in selling stolen cars. We want to become a part of the organization, on a more-permanent basis. The only way we can find out what's truly going on is from the inside, and selling cars to them piecemeal isn't going to accomplish that. We need, for lack of a better term, an opportunity to show off. And this, dangerous though it may be, is probably it."
"But what can we offer, once we're in?" Gabe objected, though Sherlock suspected this was more a case of playing devil's advocate than any real concern.
"I've been thinking about that," Sherlock said. "I can set myself up as an expert on the cars' computer systems and repair. Anthea can easily supply me with the necessary information, and access to a real expert in the field—I should be ready within a day or so. And you can come in as both a driver and a strategist—this was your plan, after all, and it is, though I'm reluctant to give you that much praise, rather innovative thinking. Moran's not stupid—he'll recognize that as well."
Gabe grinned broadly. "I should have recorded that. Painful to say, wasn't it?"
"You have no idea," Sherlock said sourly. "Don't expect me to repeat it." But to himself, he thought that Gabe was a potentially valuable member of Mycroft's team. He would have to make a point, once this operation was over and he was ready to move on to his next target, to suggest that his brother move Gabe from under MI6's auspices permanently.
By that evening, it had been arranged. The next shipment was in five days, coming into Dover again. They would meet Moran's man at the train station in Dover—he was to make his own way back as well, once they picked up the car. (Sherlock pointed out snarkily to Gabe that it would have been rather difficult otherwise, since none of the cars had rear seats).
The intervening time was busy. A very impressive amount of money was wired into their new account the following day, and Gabe went to meet Moran's agent (with a transport lorry) three days later to take him, by the usual circuitous route, to the warehouse. In the meantime, Sherlock spent 14 hours memorizing computer and mechanical support manuals for a host of exotic vehicles, and spent a day getting practical experience with a professional technician. By the end of that period, he felt confident that he could evaluate (and if necessary subvert) the systems of any given vehicle, with the right equipment and time.
He and Gabe had also spent a day in the last car they stole, teaching Sherlock to drive the manual transmission vehicle at speed. That involved a great deal of profanity (on Gabe's part) and a great deal of frustration (on Sherlock's part. He hated not being able to pick up any skill quickly, and this was no exception. His casted arm ruined his coordination, and the constant movement on the lever meant that he spent the entire time in pain). By the end, though, both he and Gabe were confident he could handle any of the cars if need be.
The day of the observation dawned bright and sunny—as Gabe pointed out, "a beautiful day to go steal something." They boarded their usual train—this, their third trip, made this all seem very run-of-the-mill.
When they arrived at the station, a text popped up from Moran on Gabe's burner phone. "His name is Mustafa. He will be wearing a red jacket, and will meet you by the coffee shop." Gabe showed Sherlock the text as they headed away from the platforms toward the shops.
The open air around the shops was fairly busy. Sherlock scanned the area rapidly, searching for the noticeable blazer. He had rejected two other possibilities before he suddenly saw something that stopped him abruptly in his tracks, and caused Gabe to spin around in concern.
"What's wrong?" Gabe said quietly, looking intensely around for a visible threat.
And Sherlock had to tell him. But had to tell him in a way that wouldn't…that would…Sherlock wasn't sure if this could work.
He pointed carefully with his chin at the small, dark man lounging on a bench on the far side of the coffee shop. "His name isn't Mustafa," he said, very quietly. "That is Tarik Musa. He knows me, or at least he knows of me." Gabe clearly recognized that name. He stiffened, but didn't turn to look.
Because Tarik Musa was a name that Gabe would know, almost as well as Sherlock did. Former drug dealer, later Moriarty enforcer and lieutenant and, by all accounts, true believer.
But what Sherlock didn't, couldn't, tell Gabe was the most important part. Because Tarik Musa indeed used to be a major drug dealer, very prominent in the more raffish parts of London 7 or 8 years ago. And one of his best customers had been a wraith-thin, desperately unhappy post-grad student named Sherlock Holmes.
The bit with not fitting in the Lamborghini? Quite true. We recently bought my oldest son a 3-lap drive in one for his 20th birthday. He's just short of 6'4". And once he put the (mandatory) helmet on, the only way he could sit in it, with the top of his head wedged against the roof, was by tilting the seat so far back he could barely reach the steering wheel.