It had been five days since the case had come to a conclusion. After being treated by Samuel Mayhew, Holmes and I had made our way back to Baker Street. Although happy to be home, we were both thoroughly worn out by the investigation; the cost of discovery being far greater than either of us had planned.
Holmes was still in wretched condition and it was easy to see he was frustrated by it. He was not a man accustomed to being pent up by illness and so his sudden inability to function as he normally would, combined with finding himself more than once heaving into a basin, left him somewhat irritable. Presently, he was in his favorite armchair by the fire, knees tucked up under his chin and shrugging into his housecoat.
Lestrade, who was nursing a broken rib, had stopped by to update us on the search for Rutherford's accomplice, Warren Smith. The outlook was grim, for although they'd found that a man by that name had been in London, no one could tell us where he'd been or gone for the past week.
"Don't expect to find him, Lestrade. When one has such connections, it is quite possible to disappear," Holmes stated mysteriously, not bothering to explain.
"I'm starting to think you're right, Mr. Holmes. Lord knows we've combed every inch of the East End and have nothing to show for it but a name and blisters on our feet," Lestrade admitted.
"Cheer up, Lestrade. As we've already pointed out, the primary criminal had been apprehended, so there's no need to be so down on—"
Holmes hiss had cut short my sentence and we three sat in silence for a moment. There was a noise coming from the direction of Holmes's room. Lestrade looked to me with surprise, obviously sharing my thoughts: perhaps the villain had come back to finish the job.
Rising quietly, I retrieved my service revolver from Holmes's desk drawer, and we crept toward the closed door. Holmes wrapped his thin fingers around the handle, nodding to the both of us. In an instant, he'd thrown the door open and I aimed at whoever was in the room.
"Oy, oy, oy! Point that somewhere else, thank-you!"
Edward Mayhew stood with his arms raised up, his sister crawling through the open window. Holmes, Lestrade, and I shard a groan as we lowered any form of weapon we happened to be holding. Holmes leaned against the wall, pinching the bridge of his nose with a sigh.
"I don't recall giving either of you the invitation to use my bedroom window as you would," he grumbled.
"Then you shouldn't leave it unlocked," Edward snorted.
"You really didn't expect us to use the door, did you? It's frightfully conventional..." Emily insisted, holding onto a small bundle.
"May we at least ask what you're doing here?" I queried, following Lestrade as we retreated back to the sitting room, the twins at our heels.
"Well, mother's just been baking and we were going about London today anyway, so she insisted we should bring these shortbread biscuits and jam by," Edward clarified as Emily set the basket on the table.
"That's very kind of her," I replied.
"She's been in a bit of a baking frenzy since the case was resolved," Emily mentioned. "You'll find her Irish Soda Bread in there as well. She only uses gran's recipe on special occasions so you should consider yourselves honored."
"I'm sure it will be most enjoyable. It really is very thoughtful of you to bring it by," I assured the twins.
"We decided that since we would be working together in the future, it would be best to make ourselves familiar with your base of operations," Edward said decidedly.
Holmes's head shot up. "Working together?"
"Oh yes. You told father you might have use for us in the future," Emily answered.
"That wasn't an open invitation," Holmes corrected her.
"Dear, dear! Mr. Holmes, you really do not know us at all, do you?" Edward said with a knowing smile. "I'm afraid there's no ridding yourselves of us now."
Lestrade grinned from ear to ear as at Holmes's crestfallen expression. That is, before they turned on him.
"You either, Inspector," Emily hummed.
A rather uncomfortable silence filled the room as Holmes and Lestrade sat brooding over their fate, the twins sharing a gleeful look with a Cheshire Cat grin stretched across their faces.
"...Well, I for one think this will be a wonderful opportunity to—"
"Save your romanticist drivel for the masses, Watson."
Well, there you have it. It's about all my little imagination could come up with, but I suppose I'm somewhat proud of it. In a way... I hope you've enjoyed it or that it gave you something to do, in the very least. Thank-you once again for sticking with me and I hope to see you again soon!