A Scandal In Belgravia: Crown Jewels
Buckingham Palace. John could not believe it. He was standing in Buckingham Palace. First the mess with Sherlock, bloody idiot not even aware that he had left Baker Street, let alone gone to Dublin, and having to take his laptop to a crime scene because Sherlock couldn't be bothered to leave the flat and definitely not to get started on what the hell he had been doing in the flat during John's absence, if that sheet was anything to go by.
Then the helicopter. A helicopter! Someone sent John a helicopter in place of a taxi and delivered him to what was essentially the back garden of Buckingham Palace. Once up in the air, John pinched himself. Hard.
All too quickly, John was startled from his musings when his guide stopped in the doorway to a grand room and gestured for John too take a seat on the equally-as-grand sofa, where Sherlock was already sitting, still wrapped in his home-made toga. Both men ignored the pile of clothes and pair of polished shoes neatly sitting on the round coffee table in front of them.
Nothing was said between them. Sherlock not interested and John too interested in looking around the room in wonder. One must never miss an opportunity to look around Buckingham Palace whilst they're there; at least John certainly wasn't.
"Are you wearing any pants?" John asked Sherlock once he had sat down next to the detective. John didn't really want to know the answer but curiosity killed the cat and John was running low on lives. Here Sherlock sat, in one of the nicest and fanciest rooms John has ever had the pleasure of being in, in a white sheet. It didn't have to be a bespoke suit or anything freshly laundered but definitely more than a bed sheet, what if Her Majesty walked past the room? Unlikely, but what if? Oh, it made John sick to even entertain the thought. Especially when Sherlock denied that he was wearing civvies underneath. John was going to drop that subject before it even started. "I am seriously fighting an impulse to steal an ashtray." John joked as a way to move the conversation onwards.
Eventually, the absurdity of the situation got to John, he needed to know what was happening because this is Buckingham Palace and not just anyone is allowed to be inside. "What are we doing here, Sherlock? Seriously, what?"
"I don't know." John assumed Sherlock actually did know but the explanation Sherlock would have to give would be too long winded and a waste of his time, hence the simple denial.
"Here to see the Queen?"
"Oh, apparently, yes." Perfectly timed, Queen Mycroft walked into the room and Sherlock and John could not laugh any harder.
"Just once," Mycroft drawled, unimpressed with the giggling. "Could you two act like grown-ups?" His question was answered with more laughter from the flatmates and there was nothing he was able to do to stop it.
John smirked, unable to not tempt the older Holmes with dry humour. "We solve crimes, I blog about it and he forgets his pants. I wouldn't hold out too much hope." Sherlock laughed once more before facing his brother with a scathing look that John noticed was matched on Mycroft's.
"I was in the middle of a case, Mycroft." Sherlock dryly stated, just looking at his brother caused annoyance to rear its head within Sherlock and he was trying very hard to sit and wait to meet his client out of pure curiosity instead of standing up and leaving out of boredom.
"What? The backfiring car and the hiker?" A female voice asked, John was certain it was Priscilla but couldn't be certain until she walked into the room from the same direction Mycroft had. "I thought you said he had already solved it, Mycroft?" John was used to seeing the Holmes brothers in their suits, he was just getting used to Sherlock wrapped in the sheet – in Buckingham Palace, no less – but this was the first time he had seen the woman in a suit. The times he had seen her before, she was wearing trainers, jeans and a coat or a some other combination of casual clothing. As she walked in the room, John could admit, as a hot-blooded man, that Mycroft had himself a beautiful wife, but also as a self-respecting gentleman, he did not ogle. Priscilla Holmes walked into the room with a smile as she looked at the occupants in turn, the heels of her polished black shoes not making any noise as they pressed into carpet. A floral patterned blouse tucked into a knee length skirt with a necklace hanging from her neck, visible to all as it sat on her chest. John was used to seeing Mycroft's wife with her hair tied back in an array of styles, never had he seen it kept loose as it was now. John flushed when Priscilla met his gaze before she moved over to Mycroft, the doctor embarrassed and ashamed that he had been even remotely attracted to another man's woman.
Sherlock had caught John out of the corner of his eye but faintly smiled at the doctor's honour when he turned away. He turned back to his sister-in-law as she stood next to her husband, her arm hooked on his gently. Sherlock watched as her eyes, framed by glasses, took in his state of dress before raising an eyebrow at him, "do I even want to know?"
Mycroft, instead of answering, curled his hand around hers on his arm, "I glanced at the police record," Mycroft began as way of explanation to his wife, referring back to her original question when she entered the room, before turning his attention to his younger brother, resting his other hand in his trouser pockets, "a bit obvious isn't it? Surely?"
"Not in the slightest." Priscilla drawled with a chuckle.
"Transparent." Was the dead reply Sherlock gave, startling John that he had to do all that work for Sherlock to have already solved it. John would have appreciated Sherlock actually telling him that he'd sorted it all out instead of just letting him run about on a goose chase.
"Time to move on, then." Mycroft announced as he released himself from his wife's hold and picked the pile of clothes and shoes up off of the table and held them out to his brother, who looked at them as if they were coated in maggots, rot and the nastiest looking grime anyone could imagine. "We are in Buckingham Palace, at the very heart of the British Nation. Sherlock Holmes, put your trousers on!" Mycroft demanded when he realised that Sherlock was refusing them.
"What for?" Sherlock rebutted, much like a young child would when asked to do their chores.
"Behave. The pair of you." Priscilla joked before turning to Sherlock, asking nicely, "would you please cover up a bit more? You are indecent and I don't want you to accidentally show me the Crown Jewels. That's not a collection I want to see."
Sherlock stood up, a show of intimidation towards Mycroft but accepting what Priscilla asked, a decent proposal. However, it doesn't have to be an immediate change, he could prolong his brother's suffering a little more. "Who is my client?"
"Illustrious, in the extreme." Another, smartly dressed man called, as he entered the room also. "Mycroft!" He greeted with a friendly smile and a firm handshake.
"Harry." Mycroft greeted, returning the handshake.
"And remaining, I have to inform you, entirely anonymous."
"May I just apologise for the state of my little brother?"
"A full-time occupation, I imagine. Lovely to see you again, Mrs Holmes. A Pleasure as always." Priscilla politely returned his smile, hooking her arm through Mycroft's once more as she leant against him, "and this must be Doctor John Watson, formerly of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers?" Harry asked as he moved onto to making the introductions with the others in the room, beginning with the good Doctor.
"Hello, yes." John greeted briskly, politely offering a very brief handshake towards the stranger. Overwhelmed and ridiculously uncomfortable.
"My employer is a tremendous fan of your blog."
Priscilla smiled, "As am I." Sherlock scoffed.
"Thank you." John faintly smiled towards Priscilla; ignoring Sherlock. "Sorry, your employer?" John questioned the strange man.
Although, Harry never gave anything away. "Particularly enjoyed the one with the aluminium crutch."
"Thank you." John turned to Sherlock to smugly smile at him. Their earlier conversations about his blog coming to mind.
Harry walked over to Sherlock, "Mr Holmes the younger," he began, "you look taller in your photographs." John caught Priscilla rolling her eyes at the blatant insult at Sherlock. John realised then that no matter how mad or upset Priscilla was with Sherlock, she wasn't one to hold a grudge. Unlike some of his ex-girlfriends.
"I take the precaution of a good coat and a short friend." Sherlock commented, not rising to the bait Harry threw him. "Mycroft, I don't do anonymous clients. I'm used to mystery at one end of my cases, both ends is too much work. Good morning."
Sherlock brushed past John and Mycroft as he moved to leave the room but didn't get very far as Mycroft lifted his foot and stepped onto the sheet trailing on the floor behind Sherlock, applying some of his weight, almost showing the whole room Sherlock's nakedness if not for his quick reaction and catching the sheet before too much was shown. "This is of national importance, grow up!" Mycroft snarled.
"Get off my sheet!" Sherlock growled in reply.
"BOYS!" Priscilla snapped. The gentlemen all jumped in fright from her shout but only two were feeling her wrath. She had turned her back on Sherlock to avoid seeing anything inappropriate of her brother-in-law. A hot blush coated her cheeks, rushing down her neck from the embarrassment her husband and his brother were causing in front of polite company, unable to comprehend that this was actually happening. Her husband had unashamedly tried to pants his little brother, in front of esteemed company, John and herself. Embarrassment wasn't the only emotion showing on her face. In a quiet voice, her own snarl in place, she harshly commanded the Holmes boys to do as she says. "Remove your foot, Mycroft, from Sherlock's sheet and move away from him. Sherlock, please cover yourself and make sure you are presentable before returning to your seat. You both will behave from now or so help me, I will give you both a time out and make it as humiliating for you as I possibly can!" Her voice had grown slightly louder towards the end of her commands, she had literally, not two minutes ago asked Sherlock to get changed, and he was going to do so but her husband, her middle-aged husband, had nearly de-robed his brother, in his wife's presence, without an ounce of remorse.
She refused to turn around and face the situation, "would you mind, John, passing Sherlock the clothes there, please?" John nodded and quickly gathered up the pile and handed them to Sherlock as quickly as he could. John was impressed, never had he seen Sherlock listen to someone ordering him around. He needed to know her secret so he could do it when Sherlock is being an arse back at Baker Street. "Now, seeing as the adults have returned to the room. Your client, Sherlock, has requested anonymity due to the status they hold within the location you are currently standing. If necessary, make a deduction, but keep it to yourself otherwise you will be at risk of imprisonment for breach of security. Am I understood?"
Sherlock nodded, his back also turned. "Didn't quite catch what you said, Sherlock." She mentioned. He vocally gave his affirmation before striding from the room and the situation.
Priscilla turned around to face Mycroft once she was certain Sherlock had walked away. "I asked Sherlock to go change, which he was going to do mind you, but you had to throw a tantrum and nearly exposed him to me, to us all." She took her glasses off her face in a huff, "do you not realise how disgusting that would have been?" She didn't let Mycroft get a word in, "no, you don't realise. Wait till I tell your mother."
~ Crown Jewels ~
Once Priscilla had defused the situation, apologised greatly to Harry and John, Sherlock returned to the room no sheet in sight and not complaining about the suit.
The detective took the remaining seat, where he had sat upon arrival, next to John, as his brother sat on the opposite sofa with Priscilla in between himself and Harry. He noted, uninterested, the tea set that sat on the coffee table between everyone.
"I'll be mother." Mycroft joked, more so to Priscilla and Harry but Sherlock and John heard him, as he poured his wife a cup of tea from the pot. Harry, John and Sherlock already had a cup of tea for themselves sat before them, Mycroft did not pour himself one so he sat back once he passed the recently filled cup to his wife. Sherlock and Harry not reaching for theirs.
Sherlock commented, "and there is a whole childhood in a nutshell."
"My employer has a problem." Harry began, getting down to the reason they were all gathered.
"A matter has come to light," Mycroft explained on Harry's behalf, "of an extremely delicate and potentially criminal nature and in this hour of need, dear brother, your name has arisen."
"Why?" Sherlock asked, "we have a police force of sorts, even a marginally secret service. Why come to me?"
"People do come to you for help, don't they, Mr Holmes?" Harry rhetorically asked, answering Sherlock's question.
"Not to date anyone with a navy." Sherlock rebutted. John nodded in agreement.
"This is a matter of the highest security and therefore of trust." Mycroft calmly stated.
John titled his head slightly, not hiding his confusion, "you don't trust your own secret service?"
"Naturally not," Priscilla chimed in, "they spy on people for money and I do believe we have a timetable to keep, Mycroft. We don't want to be keeping Harry too long, don't want to let him fall behind on his duties." Harry nodded his agreement to this.
Mycroft lifted a briefcase onto his lap, opened it and removed a photograph, "what do you know about this woman?" He asked Sherlock as he handed the image over.
"Nothing whatsoever." Sherlock said after scanning the woman's face.
Mycroft scoffed, "then you should be paying more attention."
Priscilla tapped his arm in warning before leaning forwards and handing her phone over to Sherlock for him to browse the information she had loaded for him to read, "she's been the centre of two political scandals in the last year and recently ended the marriage of a prominent novelist, by having an affair with both participants, separately." Priscilla listed the information for John's benefit as Sherlock was reading it from her phone.
Sherlock returned the phone to its owner, "you know I don't concern myself with trivia. Who is she?"
"Irene Adler." Mycroft stated, "professionally known as The Woman."
"Professionally?" John queried.
"There are many names for what she does," Mycroft answered, "she prefers dominatrix."
"Dominatrix." Sherlock whispered. His mind rolling with scenarios and possibilities about his client and what The Woman is demanding in ransom.
Mycroft, however, either misinterpreted his brother's repetition of the word for confusion of not understanding what it means, or just wanting to tease him, "don't be alarmed," he called, "it is to do with sex."
"Sex doesn't alarm me." Sherlock denied, frowning at Mycroft.
"She provides, shall we say, recreational scolding," The older Holmes continued, "for those who enjoy that sort of thing and are prepared to pay for it." He returned to his briefcase and removed several more pieces of paper for Sherlock. "These are all from her website."
After a brief moment for Sherlock to look at the information, he asked, "and I assume this Adler woman has some compromising photographs?"
"You're very quick, Mr Holmes." Harry commented, slightly impressed.
"Hardly a difficult deduction." Sherlock said. "Photographs of whom?"
"Person of significance to my employer. We'd prefer not to say any more at this time."
"You can't tell us anything?" John asked incredulously. What were they supposed to be working with?
Mycroft sighed, "I can tell you that it is a young person. A young female person."
"How many photographs?" Sherlock asked.
It was Priscilla's turn to sigh. "A considerable number, apparently."
"Do Miss Adler and this young female person appear in these photographs together?"
"Yes they do."
"And I assume in a number on compromising scenarios?"
"An imaginative range, we are assured."
"John," Sherlock addressed, "you might want to put that cup back on your saucer now."
"Can you help us, Mr Holmes?" Harry asked. Desperate for answers to assure his employer that the situation was being handled.
Though his hopes were horrendously dashed with Sherlock's simple, "How?"
"Will you take the case?" Harry asked once more.
"What case?" Sherlock questioned again. "Pay her, now and in full. As Miss Adler remarks in her masthead, know when you are beaten."
"She doesn't want anything." Mycroft clarified for his brother. "She got in touch, she informed us that the photographs existed, she indicated that she had no intention to use them to extort either money or favour."
"Oh," Sherlock whispered once the situation became clear to him, "a power play. A power play with the most powerful family in Britain. Now that is a dominatrix. Ooh, this is getting rather fun, isn't it?"
"Sherlock." John called. Trying, in vain, to stop his flatmate for being arrogant and a rude.
Sherlock, however, completely ignored John's warning. "Where is she?"
"In London, currently."
"Text me the details." Sherlock demanded as he grabbed his coat and walked out of the room. "I'll be in touch by the end of the day."
"Do you really think you'll have news by then?" Harry called after him before he could completely disappear from the room.
"No," Sherlock denied. "I think I'll have the photographs."
Priscilla raised her eyebrow at Sherlock incredulously, "check your ego, Sherlock." John noted that she had meant it in a way that Sherlock should not think so highly of himself considering that she knew more of Irene Adler than Sherlock did. Priscilla was trying to subtly warn him of what was to come should he face Miss Adler.
Harry, on the other hand, did not see it the same way. "One can only hope that you're as good as you seem to think."
Sherlock deduced Harry very quickly, Priscilla rolling her eyes at how obvious Sherlock was being at showcasing his ability to prove the man horrendously wrong. "I'll need some equipment, of course."
"Anything you require, I will have it sent over." Mycroft accepted.
"Can I have a box of matches?"
"Or your cigarette lighter, either will do." Sherlock asked specifically of Harry.
"I don't smoke." Was the answer he received.
"Sherlock." Priscilla stressed. Warning him from treading where he was on thin ice. She knew that he was baiting Harry to tell him who his latest client is.
Sherlock nodded his head at his sister before looking at Harry, "no, I know you don't, but your employer does."
"We have kept a lot of people successfully in the dark about this little fact, Mr Holmes." Harry explained as he reached into his pocket.
"I'm not the Commonwealth."
"And that's as modest as he gets." John said, following after Sherlock. "Pleasure to meet you." He politely said to Harry, seeing as Sherlock wasn't going to.
"Laters!" Sherlock called behind him.
Harry turned to Mycroft, stunned to silence. Mycroft, also, could not find the right words to make up for his brother's lackadaisical attitude. "Well," Priscilla's voice carried in the quiet of the room as she moved to collect the photographs from where Sherlock had just put them on the table, placing them back into the briefcase. "I apologise that that was your first introduction to Sherlock, Harry." Then moving on to tidying the tea tray.
Harry smiled towards Mycroft's wife, appreciating her kindness. "I must be returning to my duties once more, it was a pleasure to see you both again. I hope we will meet again in the future?" He politely asked as he held his hand out to Mycroft to shake before doing the same with Priscilla.
"We shall arrange something, Harry." Mycroft agreed. The couple watched Harry leave before turning around and heading back the way they came, Priscilla walking with her arm looped through her husband's as they walked the corridors of Buckingham Palace towards their destination. "I apologise for my behaviour earlier, my love. I hope you can forgive me." Mycroft softly said to his wife, lifting her right hand to his lips to bestow a kiss to her rings before lowering her hand back to his arm and covering it with his.
Priscilla smiled at the gesture, heart swelling with emotion, "you were already forgiven, Mycroft. But thank you for your apology anyway, I appreciate it. Just please," she emphasised her request, a shiver racking her spine, "don't ever pants your brother in front of me again."
~ End of Chapter ~
Part two to follow!
I want to thank everyone for following, listing this on their favourites and leaving a review. I get so excited when I see a new notification, it's a little embarrassing on my part – haha.
I know this isn't the best BBC Sherlock fanfiction floating around but I hope you all get just a little bit excited when I post a new chapter?
At any point, in this story, you find something you are unhappy with or unsure about, please do let me know and we'll discuss it. I hope I'm not leaving too many plot holes and that it is developing well enough?