Thanks to the number of private posts combined with a spell of rampaging insomnia, here are the TRUE events of what happened with Watson and Lestrade...
Mycroft Holmes disliked anything that pulled him out of his nice, neat lines of behavior. Had he known that his post with the government had required him to commence some sort of initiative more than thrice-yearly, he would have refused the 450l position.
On the other hand, it did give him the occasional piquancy such as the hastily-assembled report in his hands. Few things were capable of surprising the large man, but proof of conspiracy using ethnic patriotism was certainly up in that exclusive category. To be honest, this was one of the more entertaining reports he'd read in years. In the privacy of his office, he chuckled a few times, aware that his amusement translated terribly.
The third time he was relishing the report, the expected knock on the door occurred.
His little brother entered, one eyebrow already skyward. "Brother mine, you take for granted that your intruder is family."
"Granted, nothing." Mycroft had never risen to his precocious brother's bait; he was not about to now. "Your step is most distinctive, Sherlock. It reminds me of your handwriting; uneven and heedless."
Sherlock looked slightly insulted, which Mycroft had expected. As older brother, he knew Sherlock was never completely comfortable with being 'second best' in matters of intelligence. Nature had more than compensated for that with his boundless energy and willingness to seek out his thoughts on a physical level; Mycroft never quite fathomed why Sherlock would feel inadequate in comparison when he was quite gifted in matters he was notoriously deficient in.
Perhaps because he knows when in the field of talents we share, he is not as swift. It was an old preponderance, one Mycroft wished Sherlock could reconcile himself too, and yet Mycroft was actually powerless to remove that inadequacy. It was common enough for the younger brother to be compared to the older; but in cases of a genius born after another genius, the results were nothing less than brutal. If only their parents had had the sense to see that.
But they had not been in particular possessions of genius, and so they never did, and Sherlock would spend the rest of his life measuring himself up to standards set out by the dead.
"You are early, Sherlock." Mycroft changed the subject; he settled the report under its glass paperweight and made a weaving of his fat fingers. "Did you have another agenda?"
"Not so much, brother mine." Sherlock responded slowly. "To begin with, Dr. Watson will not accompany me today."
"I gathered as much, as you did not bring him." Mycroft realized that was slightly unctuous; he stroked his chins and permitted the emotion of puzzlement to seek forth. "Some social engagement, perhaps? Or duty? I had looked forward to meeting him."
Sherlock relaxed slightly, as he always did when he knew a bit more than his brother. It was a game Mycroft played that hurt no one. Sherlock admired him, but consistently set himself up for failure by comparison. "I would say duty, Mycroft. He was called in as locum to some wretched case off the Stepney, and will not return until it is concluded. We must wait for another time for your first meeting."
"All things come to those who wait, Sherlock." Mycroft checked his watch without needing to. "Shall we depart?"
"By all means." Sherlock looked oddly worried for a moment. "But I confess I do not understand your insistence for this endeavor. Do you not already have an agent within the halls of Scotland Yard?"
"As you have already induced that answer, I needn't answer." Mycroft permitted a smile to the smaller man. "But that agent is groomed for a separate purpose, and their work is exclusive. I will not ask much of your time, brother; merely be present as I meet the examples of British Law."
"Very well, then." Sherlock remained dubious for the record. "It is a bad lot, brother."
"That is a rather subjective term, Sherlock. If you feel my judgment is in error, I trust you to let me know."
Sherlock sighed slightly. "Ignorance and stupidity is as bad as corruption and greed." He said firmly. "There are a few who possess some capacity for your goal. I will not say they can fulfill them."
"Then I await our work today." Mycroft pulled his coat on slowly, resenting the departure of his warm office. He had no anger to Sherlock's rude and insulting assessment of Scotland Yard. A man who has no forgiveness of himself carries little for others. Frankly, it was a mark of the Yard's nobility that they seemed to recognize that. As his older brother, Mycroft could appreciate the superior quality of tolerance.
Inspector (A Division).G. Lestrade, reports that at 7:15(time), March 14, 1886 (date) int, while on duty was requested to take the testimony of Mrs. Patricia Kroger, (name) fishmonger, (occupation) for assault against her person by her common-law husband, Paul Webster (name). Said husband struck Mrs. Kroger repeatedly with his fists, causing extensive bruising on her face, neck, shoulders, abdomen and left hip. One kick left a bruise at the top of right thigh. Mrs. Kroger is willing to testify against her attacker in court, as her attending medical authority, Dr. John H. Watson of 221 B Baker Street ( locum tenum for Dr. Cornelius Springfield, Stepney Charity Practice)…
"Oh, eel be sorey, yew chust zee. Ai gots connegshuns, lykeyaznawt."
Dr. Watson's grim face flickered with genuine bewilderment, and as he rose to his feet, he flashed a look over the woman's head to Inspector Lestrade. The little man nodded and together they stepped aside to a discreet point against the slow lap of the river, letting the battered woman gather warmth inside the shelter of tightly-woven blankets.
"She just said, 'oh, he'll be sorry, you just see.'" Lestrade translated. "'I've got connexions, like as not.'"
"I am impressed." Watson admitted. "I'm never completely certain as to what she's saying…What kind of accent is that? I've been trying to fathom it since November!"
"Off the top of my head?" Lestrade lifted his dark eyebrows. "I call it the "missing tooth accent. Also, she talks as though the adults who raised her had fossy-jaw1. You catch on after a while." He tilted his head to one side; there was something about his personality that refused to lie completely idle, and combined with his peculiar boundless energy, gave the impression he was only partially bound to the earth. After three years of knowing him, Watson was used to it, but he suspected it was that slight atypical manner that wrangled confessions out of people; it unnerved the average man. It also irritated Holmes to no end, who seemed to feel all that energy should be going to Lestrade's brain in solving cases—as if bodily and mental energy could be diverted as easily as a plumbing job.
The doctor shook his head; he was as mysterious in his own way as his fellow lodger; Scotland Yard had seen many a unique specimen in their lives, but Watson was a soupcon of chivalry, silence, linguistic expression, patience, innocence, hardness and compassion. Being locum for the only doctor in England who was willing to take on the charity cases up the Thames was a case in point. The last locum had taken the job because they needed fresh corpses for their research in the collection of buoyant tissue gases.
"I'm rather surprised to find you here today, doctor," Lestrade admitted. "I thought you'd be with Mr. Holmes for sure."
Watson made a face. "I rather failed to see the glamour in joining Holmes on a tour of Scotland Yard with the…whoever that guest from the Home Office was…or was it Foreign Office?"
Lestrade made a tsking sound. "If it was the Foreign Office, you should have gone," he admonished with a grin. Despite the induction of some democracy, the fact was, only those of royal or supremely privileged connections were allowed even the smallest post in the Foreign Office. For that reason, they were the most pampered and fawned-over section of the government.
"I'm from Edinburgh, Lestrade, I'm already foreign!" The two men laughed, but softly in deference to the woman sitting off to the side by the (illegal) open fire inside a small pit made of broken clay roofing-tiles and chunks of ballast that had once been part of a Roman Road. "For that matter, why didn't you stay in Scotland Yard today, and catch a bit of the glory?"
Lestrade just looked at him. "No, thank you. My caseload is quite enough as it is. When someone important notices you, it always boils down to more work."
Watson sighed. "I agree. This is work enough."
"What a shame," Lestrade flipped over his notebook, peering thoughtfully at the pages of shorthand he had collected. "I'm willing to bet this is a typical common-law marriage off the river, Dr. Watson. If the husband—assuming we can find him—wants to make a royal ferment of the thing, he can protest he wasn't married to her in the first place, and that'll neatly distract the deciding authorities in the old 'chicken or egg first' bit."
"But why would he want to say he isn't married to the woman he attacked?" Watson wanted to know. Warm cognac-brown eyes flickered in bewilderment. "A woman can't testify against her husband; wouldn't he want to say they were married to counteract her testimony?" He pointed to the notebook in question.
Lestrade pondered that the big man before him had survived the worst war in British living memory thanks to a combination of tenacity and luck; yet he was still unversed at the true disgusting ways of his fellow man. No wonder Holmes keeps him around. He's a daily injection of sanity. "If they're not married, he can protest she attacked him first," he pointed out. "And then you're going to see a carnivale proceeding."
Watson couldn't help himself; he looked backwards to the woman inside her blankets. "Inspector," he spoke as gently as he could, "The woman's no bigger than a caddis. If he says she attacked him first, surely it won't hold up in court."
"Sometimes it does." Lestrade admitted. He couldn't help a chuckle. "Small" meant "victim" to so many people…even intelligent men like the chivalrous Watson.
"I've treated this woman off and on for half a year," Watson cleared his throat. "The injuries were getting worse; this is as bad as I've ever seen them. If he'd struck three inches higher, she'd be dead of her spleen now."
"Assault's a serious charge, I assure you." Lestrade said soberly. "Now if we could even find her husband—do you know if this is his actual name?"
Watson sighed and suddenly looked quite weary. "I didn't even know his name until this moment. She's ever referred to him as a string of increasingly vituperative euphemisms."
"Larruping." Lestrade began. "Well, let's finish this up so we can see her off to a warm bed and a hot meal."
"And I believe I owe you a hot meal myself," Watson confessed. "Why is it whenever I'm trying to find a policemen, you're never far behind?"
"I tend to spend as little time in my office as possible, that's why." Lestrade said ruefully. "You realize, statistically you have to encounter me with some degree of frequency."
"In a city of four million?"
"Dr. Watson, this isn't like it was forty years ago, when there was one policeman per 900 citizens of London—we have a bit of a bigger staff now, but it's all broken into Divisions. Your career simply takes you within or adjacent to my particular beat."
"I wouldn't think Stepney would be part of Whitehall." Watson protested.
"And it isn't." Lestrade countered. "But as far as policemen go, any port in a storm, correct? K Division is supposed to be caught up in a bit of a mess by the Old Bridge today…some sort of partial collision. Ergo, Stepney's spread thin and we're all keeping an eye out to help out."
"Your dedication to your duty has earned you dinner, Inspector." They began walking back as one. "But…Inspector…"
"What exactly defines a partial collision?"
"I have no idea. I wasn't in the Marine Police Force long enough to catch on to all the jargon…"
Mrs. Kroger watched their return. In the watery London light her bruises were settling into one even mass of violet. Eyes bright and blue looked up at them without the slightest bit of pity; there was even a bit of triumph in them—something that always created a sinking sensation in the Inspector's chest. Victims didn't look smug without a reason, and there were an infinite number of missing corpses in London to prove it.
"One last thing, Mrs…ah…" Lestrade made a show of looking at his notebook. "Mrs. Kroger?"
"Yes, I'm Mrs. Kroger." Mrs. Kroger supplied proudly.
"Forgive my puzzlement, but wouldn't your husband be Mr. Kroger, then?"
"Good Lord, no. I've always been a Kroger." She looked amazed at his rank stupidity. "My folks are Krogers, always have been Krogers. Mrs. Means I'm married, you know!"
"Oh." Long, long practice kept Lestrade even in composure. "Well, Mrs. Kroger, what again, is the name of your husband?"
"Is Mr. Webster nearby, Mr. Kroger?" Lestrade was thinking of the paperwork-bogles who would be wallowing in this one.
"Oh, he's around..." Mrs. Kroger's response was slow and somewhat shifty. Her eyes slid to the side, then to the other side. Lestrade's chest crimped inward.
"Mrs. Kroger, I do hope you didn't choose those words because he's…dispersed in simultaneous multiple locations."
She blinked up at him. "I wouldn't do anything violent," she protested as Watson shifted uneasily in his stance. "I got my connexions, I do."
"Connections, Mrs. Kroger?" Lestrade turned that over slowly. "Do you mean family, Mrs. Kroger?"
"Well, that too." She answered with the serene attitude of a person viewing a problem that is no longer hers. Lestrade's uneasy feeling was multiplying like a den of rabbits. 'Family' could mean either blood-kin, or a group of organized criminals.
"Who do you mean besides family, Mrs. Kroger?" He knew that sounded less professional and more desperate, but at this point, he was imagining a slaughtered man, carefully scattered across parts of London if not in sausage or feeding the fish in the bottom of the Thames.
"Oh, I have friends." Mrs. Kroger said calmly.
"Mrs. Kroger," Watson said slowly, "Who exactly are your friends?"
"The Daughters of the Iceni Revolution." Mrs. Kroger seemed to think they would be flattered to know her by association. The men could practically hear the "you may bow before me" in her voice.
"Iceni…why does that sound familiar?" Lestrade recalled a dusty memory in his tired braid, almost buried in the humdrum of everyday, but couldn't quite pull it out.
"Good heavens, Mrs. Kroger, you're shivering." Watson's medical pride rose to the fore. He went to the split barrel that was his makeshift field-table and found a second wrapper. "I'm sorry. I didn't think about this weather…"
Lestrade postponed what would soon be a very important thought as he waited politely for the doctor to perform his duties. Just as he was noting that their once-bustling and busy portion of the riverfront had suddenly emptied of humans, a blurry figure lurched with uneven gracelessness out of a ramshackle Cockney shelter withed-up between two crumbling buildings. Lestrade was just thinking the man was large enough to give his bully-great brothers in law a start when the man's eyes chose that moment to focus on Dr. Watson with his hands on Mrs. Kroger's shoulders.
"Hoi!" The voice could have blasted the soot right out of the clouds and spun black rain for a week. "That's my wife you (garbling mass of words Lestrade had never encountered before in such context). "You keep your (garble) hands off (garble) so help me I (unintelligible yet wholly understandable)!"
Watson had stepped to the side, but naturally, the gallant idiot wasn't about to leave a woman in distress, nor let a policeman do his job to protect the civilians. "Now see here, sir!" He protested loudly, his hands in the air to show he was no harm. "I would advise you to stop for a moment and reflect—"
As soon as Mr. Webster reached into his coat-pocket, Lestrade knew it was all over. I'm getting soft, he thought, knowing he should have been paranoid enough to have pulled out his own iron as soon as he slapped eyes on the Man Mountain. Luckily for him, the man was more busy with rushing the doctor; perhaps he wanted to club Watson with the gun a few times before he shot him? The little detective heard the click of metal.
Thank God for unprofessional thugs, Lestrade's private mantra and daily-to-nightly prayer sounded as he stepped inside Webster's line of advance and twisted on his good right foot. "Mr. Webster, I arrest you for assaultGodsavetheQueen—"His left foot might have that blooming inturn, but it was good enough for kicking.
Watson had seen Lestrade fight on rare occasions (Lestrade had the spirit of a prizefighter but had to be given someone to fight first). It was always an impressive sight as most people simply couldn't believe they were being waylaid by someone half their size. The doctor flinched at the sound of impact. The little man used his lack of size to great effect and precision in his blows. Webster stopped as if a brick wall had landed on him, and his eyes grew wide. He lost his momentum and stood in utter silence for a moment as Lestrade returned to his stance, hands up in boxing stance to protect his face and ready for the next blow.
The next blow would have been superfluous. Webster folded up, one section at a time, on the stinking surface of the riverwalk. Saliva ran out of his mouth.
"Blimey," Mrs. Kroger admired. "That was bluudy marvelous."
"Is this your husband, Mrs. Kroger?"
"It's Mr. Webster." (later, much later, Lestrade would regret that particular choice of phrase)
"May have to have you testify that in court." Lestrade took a deep breath.
"Good heavens," Watson rose and was kneeling at the prone behemoth. "Lestrade, was it necessary to strike him in the sternum?"
"I wouldn't have hit him there if he hadn't insisted on moving," Lestrade snapped. He lowered his hands. "I know that's not a place to strike!" And how very true. It could easily stop a man's heart with such an impact…
"You killed him!" Mrs. Kroger exclaimed. "My word, that's what I call performing in service to the Queen!" She smiled despite the pain of her bruises at the shocked little detective and stood, extending her hand like a man would in a rough fisherwoman's handshake. "So considerate of you! You just saved me a world of trouble! I must say, I know the Coppers have improved their lot these past few years, but that's just plain thoughtful!"
"Er, Lestrade, hand me my bag…" Watson's harassed voice was not a good indication of things to come. Lestrade fairly leaped to the barrel that was Watson's makeshift field-table and wrenched the fifteen-pound marvel of luggage to the doctor's side. He watched as Watson filled a chamber with something and ripped open the man's shirt.
Mrs. Kroger hadn't noticed. "You coppers aren't allowed presents are you?" She wondered; he shook his head no, violently. ""Well, that's a shame. Seems like proper thanks should be given." Abruptly, her green eyes glittered as she swept him up and down, and Lestrade had no doubts as to what kind of thanks she was considering.
The Official story, As It Went Several Hours Later:
"Hold it," Gregson had both hands in the air. "The patient's husband thought the worst, and he ran at you, doctor, planning to fill you with holes, and Lestrade kicked him and inadvertently caused his heart to stop, and then you were re-starting his heart? Is that what happened?"
There was a brief pause.
"Mostly…" Lestrade said slowly. Watson nodded his agreement.
"That's all the important details." The doctor said. Unspoken but loud between doctor and Yarder was the consequence of some particular details getting out. Especially to Mrs. Lestrade, who might yet fulfill her family's habit of letting their tempers give way to temporary government-paid self-improvement vacations behind bars.
"But…that still doesn't explain how you both wound up in the drink!" Gregson protested.
"At high tide." Baynes added. "And it's now low-tide."
"Because," Watson sighed for patience. "My patient's lover unfortunately chose that moment to show up."
1 Hazard in making matches; phosphorous caused a deterioration of the jawbone, made it almost melt. Workers didn't complain at the loss of their jawbones, but the safer standards that reduced that also cut their pay.