Chapter Notes: Wow! Two in the can! I can scarcely believe it.
This chapter has an element that KCS requested, namely Mycroft and Doctor have that talk they've been needing to get around to. I have used a lot of the Yarders in this one, I'm not the Yard writer that Argonite (run...don't walk over to her Fang fic if you have not read it already!) is but I think I did okay. Just so she knows, I planned Doctor Watson's ability with a firearm before she posted her last chapter.
I could not resist adding my two coffee addicts once again, those two are a hoot to write!
There will be more of these, if the good Doctor would leave me alone I will update Albus Potter more often LOL! Oh well he's like a dear friend visiting, I will write as long as I can as there will come a day when he's not as clear in my head.
Lestrade is Lestrade, and he digs at scabs and sores and makes things worse, and is not always the best friend, but I guess that makes him more human, I hope you guys don't get too angry at the dear chap.
There is very little written about the immediate aftermath to Reichenbach Falls so I added my interpretation, I hope no cannon nuts are offended.
If you have not see the Russian Version of The Final Problem, Its called "The Deadly Fight" WATCH IT! The final battle is one of the most real and EPIC fight scenes I have ever seen in ANY movie or television, and Watson's reaction was amazingly acted! The vaguely over the top posturing from the Innkeeper I could do without however, I have not seen over acting like that since David Kelly CSI:Miami! (OMG did I just say that out loud grin)
I hate to say it, because of the hate mail headed to me...it was WAY better than Brett playing footsie with the old man he fought in the Granada version.
Also if you get the chance to see the Russian version of The Empty House, which is called "Hunt for the Tiger" do yourself a favor and WATCH IT!!! It is worth it if only for the Watson/Mrs. Hudson fainting scene which made me laugh my butt off!
Livanov even without English speaking is my ultimate Sherlock Holmes.
As for the creepy parts of this chapter, hey Arthur had his Hound of the Baskervilles right?
WARNING: The quote from Watson might be a tad risque' sorry.
I hope you enjoy this.
BTW These are Mister Doyles boys I just played with them for a while, Esmeralda is mine though!
Doctor John Watson, Police Surgeon: Scotland Yard 2
They all gathered in the sitting room of 221b. Bradstreet was leaning against the mantel, Hopkins had his pad out seated at Holmes old desk, Gregson and Lestrade sat in chairs pointed toward Watson who was resting on the couch.
He looked a little worse for the tribulation he had just gone through; Mrs. Hudson had insisted he lie down while he gave details of his ordeal with the false Holmes.
Lestrade was convinced that no one could make Doctor Watson take it easy against his will, but after an intense stare down with the little gray haired lady, the man had stretched out as he had been commanded, applying the pack she provided to his left cheek, which had started to swell. Lestrade was thinking about asking about her secret for subduing the bullpup so easily.
"Read back the salient points, Hopkins," Gregson requested solemnly.
Hopkins flipped back a few pages cleared his throat and began.
"A man suffering from a fractured identity, who was being brainwashed into believing he is actually Sherlock Holmes with amnesia, suddenly begins receiving communiqués allegedly from Mycroft Holmes. Before long, three other blokes showed up, claiming to be from the Diogenes Club to assist him in his endeavour to reclaim the Sherlock Holmes name. Soon he was traipsing all over London, solving crimes and doing his best Holmes impersonation. This morning, he received a further alleged letter from Mycroft informing him that it was time to take his name back, but it would necessitate eliminating all vestiges of his former life and starting fresh. He was to eliminate his Psychiatrist, which he chose to do by simulating an overdose, then see to Mrs. Hudson, and Doctor Watson here by means of a gas leak explosion. We have Mrs. Hudson's overheard conversation and a stick of dynamite attached to the gas meter to prove that. We also know that Lestrade was targeted as well by an assailant, who is also in custody."
Lestrade leaned forward. "Will the fake Holmes testify to Doctor Bedlow's involvement?"
Watson shook his head, his eyes flashed with anger. "There is not enough left of the former persona, he is for all intents and purposes Sherlock Holmes in his mind, he will remain so the rest of his days. Which will not be long, I wager, he is very instable at the moment."
"Poor devil," Bradstreet muttered.
Gregson straightened up in his seat. "Feel sorry for the bloke later, I want to know why Watson feels Mycroft is in danger, for all we know that fat manipulative bastard was behind all this."
Watson and Lestrade exchanged a considering look before Lestrade turned to Gregson. "Mycroft Holmes would never do something like this, he spent a lot of time seeing to Doctor Watson's health and well being, for reasons we don't yet know, he is not a man to waste resources or do something that he is going to undo later."
Watson nodded agreement. "This is all too sloppy for Mycroft, if he chose to act in this manner; there would be no trace of him anywhere on it." He pulled a card from his pocket. "The Fake Holmes was supposed to meet Mycroft later on tonight at The Diogenes Club, look at the invitation."
Gregson took the summons; he passed it to Hopkins and Bradstreet in turn. Lestrade had already seen it and he appeared grave.
Bradstreet looked up at the invitation through the gas light. "S' got tha Diagones watermark sure 'nuff. I've never seen one up close though."
"I have," Gregson remarked cryptically, "It's genuine Diagones stationary, I'd stake me life on it."
Hopkins shot up. "If Mycroft is not the author, and it is his stationary..."
"Then someone, exceptionally close to him, is operating in collusion with the ones behind this scheme," Watson finished. "I thought it might be a framing of Mycroft, at first, but the impostor was told to remove all trace of the letters Mycroft supposedly wrote, they lie burned to ash in the fireplace there."
Bradstreet's forehead wrinkled as he absorbed the implications. "So's this all comes back to da fake Holmes..."
"Which according to plan, would leave one man left who could dispute his identity, Mycroft Holmes, and the impostor was supposed to attend a meeting with that man," Gregson continued, "but the impostor thought he was Holmes, he wouldn't kill his own brother."
Watson nodded. "That means there is still an assassin at Diogenes, who is waiting to kill Mycroft Holmes as soon as he and his "brother" are in the same room, thus closing the circle."
"Leaving absolutely nothing of Holmes intact, not friend, family, or acquaintance or even his home," Lestrade interjected. "Even if Holmes was alive, he could never come back to England at that point, his name would be ruined."
"Deucedly clever," Hopkins confirmed.
Watson looked thoughtful. "If we attempt to send word to Diogenes, how can we be sure that the person delivering the note to Mycroft did not have his other hand on a weapon?"
Gregson stood. "There is only one thing to do."
Bradstreet's bushy beard was unable to conceal a broad smile. "We rush the doors."
Lestrade looked concerned. "You don't charge the doors at Diogenes, they have their own security, and they don't even acknowledge the Met."
Watson pulled himself painfully to a seated position. "Is there precedent in the law books we can use to protect you from political retribution if I am wrong?"
They all turned to Hopkins, who was the resident law expert. He looked thoughtful as he scratched his new patchy moustache. "We could say that we had reason to be concerned about a high government official's immediate welfare, and that we had to act before proper warrants could be issued, that would keep our careers at least, if Mycroft was proven to be in danger that would be even better."
Gregson nodded. "Let's get going. We have to get though the door first; we need a distraction so we can subdue the guards without a shot. Thing is, they are professionals, not much is going to dissuade them from their appointed task."
Lestrade got an evil smile on his face. "I know two blokes who can distract anyone living; they are probably starting their shift over Whitechapel way, hovering around a coffee pot at the station."
Bradstreet chuckled. "Now I don' like those Diogenes snobs either, but that is pure evil, Giles."
Watson stood painfully, hobbled over to his old cherry desk; he pulled a wood box out of a side drawer, and then extracted a Webley Bulldog revolver from its wrappings. "I think it's time for this old girl, if you don't mind me coming along," his words punctuated by a very professional display of breaking it and checking the cartridges, "I promise not to be a bother," he said slapping the break closed spinning the chambers and holstering his coat pocket in one smooth motion.
"By all means," Gregson managed to say.
The rest of the officers nodded eagerly, Lestrade included.
Lestrade and Watson watched from around the corner as the two constables, murmuring in quick exchanges between each other made their way up to the door of the characterless building.
"Hello there guv, ow is ya and yer associate?" called PC Tommy Parlier.
"I think they're busy Tommy, they look all serious like," replied his partner and fellow coffee addict PC Bobby Darling.
"Better them than me." Lestrade muttered to Watson, rewarded by a low snigger from the good doctor.
"Well we has to question tha man, Bobby, we cannot shirk duty, no matter who he is."
"Right you are, Tommy, sorry I expressed dissent, old boy."
"No worries, Bobby"
The two plain-clothes men, wearing overcoats with suspicious jacket bulges and who had quick furtive eyes seemed dazed by the sudden assault of verbiage. "Hold on now, what are you two going on about?"
"We is going on about a complaint filed against one Mister Mycroft Holmes, tell'em Bobby."
"This here lass we got in this report says, that Mister Holmes ran out on a tab at her restaurant."
"Ate his way through most of a buffet before he bolted, right Bobby?
"Right you are Tommy, she says she was out an entire roast duck before the man stopped eating."
"Now hold on," said one of the men, not noticing Gregson and Bradstreet creeping up from the sides, "Mister Holmes orders in all the time, he even lives here."
"So we can't get into see tha man?"
"That's bound to be illegal, harbouring a fugitive, Tommy."
Both guards seemed flabbergasted and irritated; suddenly Gregson and Bradstreet pounced, for all of their training, the two guards were completely unaware, it was over in seconds.
Lestrade and Watson followed by twelve of the Metropolitan Police Force's best, swept around the corner toward the door, it may have been the adrenaline but Watson was moving better than he had in Lestrade's presence these last few months.
"We'll secure the guards, you two go straight up to Holmes," Gregson ordered. Lestrade tried not to show his distaste when he agreed.
They hit the door and the officers poured in with guns drawn challenging anyone who milled about to drop weapons and get down on their knees, Lestrade and Watson ignored the pandemonium and made for the stairs.
They were halfway down the ornate hallway when Mycroft's assistant, posted in front of Mycroft's office, saw them coming, the man immediately made for the door, his hand stowing into his coat.
"Watson!" Lestrade bellowed.
"I see him," Watson replied calmly, he stopped and quickly adopted a one handed firing stance Lestrade had seen used by target shooters, his right arm extended, left arm draped across his lower back.
The Webley sounded like a cannon in the cavernous hall.
The assistant fell like a stone.
They rushed into the office, Watson holstered his revolver, bent down to check for a pulse, to Lestrade's relief there was a pistol in the dead man's hand. Watson shook his head solemnly.
"Was that entirely necessary?" Mycroft stated. He was wiping crumbs from a late dinner off his chin.
"We just saved your life, Mycroft," Lestrade spat, "the least you can do is be grateful.
"No, Lestrade, we did not save his life," Watson murmured. Lestrade looked down to where the man was still kneeling. The Doctor pointed under the body, which was now bleeding steadily on the floor. "He moved the carpet, you can see the seam of a trap door, very well hidden but it's there."
Lestrade saw where he was tracing, sure enough, nearly hidden by the tongue and grove planking, was a nearly invisible line.
"I was hoping to capture him alive," Mycroft explained, the bother tinting his voice.
Lestrade frowned. "You knew all along, you let us sprint all over London and you already knew what was transpiring."
Mycroft shrugged, he did not seem repentant in the slightest. "I suspected, I needed someone to trigger the events, you cannot watch the dominoes fall until someone tips the first one."
Watson stood; his eyes focused on the dead man.
Lestrade was infuriated on the Doctor's behalf, he knew Watson went against his oath on to save Mycroft and it would haunt him that it was not even necessary.
Mycroft took a sip of wine. "That was a capital shot by the way, Doctor Watson, my brother was not exaggerating about your ability with a firearm," he remarked in a gracious air.
Lestrade tried to salvage the situation. "Well, we have three men in custody, including the impostor; you'll be able to get information from them I'll wager."
"They will all be dead before the night is past," Mycroft stated studying the wine as if he were divining the future, "of that I am sure. All that I can salvage is that the instigator of this affair will most likely be floating in the Thames soon; from his identity, I can at least ascertain the area of high-society where I need to focus my efforts."
Watson walked to the desk. Placed his hands on the surface and leaned forward. Lestrade could not see the look he was giving Mycroft, but he was almost sure he saw a sudden bead of sweat roll down the big man's forehead.
"I am not a violent man, I am a doctor, and my oath to do no harm is my creed. This day you nearly cost two of my friends their lives, all because you chose to play your game rather than arm us to a possible threat. It was only by sheer chance, and some very clever lads I know, we prevailed."
Watson pointedly placed his gun on the desktop. "I have very little left in this world to entice me to stay in it, if I lose anyone else, and I do mean anyone, I may decide it is time to throw off this mortal coil. On that day, I promise to take you with me. I have killed someone that need not have died on your behalf this night, as I see it, you owe me a life, if you ever use me and my loved ones as pawns again, I will collect on that debt, on my honour."
He retrieved and holstered his weapon, then turned and left without another word.
Lestrade tried to think of something pithy to say, but he decided he could not add anything to that speech. Besides, it looked as if Mycroft was too deep in thought to notice.
Across town, in an equally opulent club, but one that had never accepted a name, were five men in a lavish study. An underling had just finished a report; now collapsed from nerves out in the hallway having just escaped with his life.
Moran was standing at the lavish marble fireplace mantel. He was staring at the trophy of a Siberian Tiger that had been one of his contributions. The ease at which he was standing was deceptive; the man wound as tight as his special air gun.
"That is all. Months of preparation on an operation, a once and a lifetime opportunity I was promised. A man so truly immersed in Sherlock Holmes that he could stand up to any test, or scrutiny. We will be rid of the spectre of Holmes forever. In the process we will destroy any vestiges of the man left in England."
He turned to the quiet assemblage, his yellow eyes sweeping them with disdain. None of them met his eyes, knowing his violent potential. "Who accepts responsibility? Or do I need to choose?"
One of them stood. "Give me until Midnight, that is all I ask, I will have my affairs in order by that time."
The man left without a backward glance.
Moran nodded to a dark figure in the corner. "You have work to do."
They all averted their eyes, knowing the first time they laid eyes on the being quietly making their way past, would be their last moments of life. They studied their shoes and the floor until the sound of expensive shoes and a clicking cane faded. One word echoed in their collective minds.
Moran turned back to the fireplace. "Doctor John Watson, you are rapidly reducing your usefulness to me."
It was two nights later.
Lestrade and the boys were all sitting around the dusty tavern table, Esmeralda was squeezing her accordion and belting away at Strike the Bell,
Strike the bell, second mate
Let us go below
Look away to windward
You can see it's going to blow
Look at the glass
You can see that it is fell
We wish the you would hurry up
And strike, strike the bell
She sang in her pretty contralto voice. Lestrade wondered often if Esmeralda had been born higher class and had been given the proper training, what she could have done with that talent. Of course, he always got introspective when he was a bit drunk.
They were betting on Bradsteet and Hopkins as they traded shots of Caribbean Rum. Lestrade had three P on Bradstreet, but it was not much of a bet, considering no one was on Hopkins at the moment.
He had invited the Doctor down, but the man had begged off having decided to take Mrs. Hudson to the opera that very night. He almost lost the dear lady, and he was not going to take her for granted again.
Watson had not been to the opera since Mary died, and it was time to begin the process of moving on. Lestrade was happy for him. There would be other nights for the Doctor to join the festivities.
Suddenly there was a commotion by the door. He glanced up to see Watson, shaking the hand of a weaving constable who was loudly thanking the man for seeing to his wife's lumbago. Watson just asked him some follow up questions and they parted
The Doctor waved at several Yarders as he made his way over to the little group. He was dressed far to fine for The Rusty Anchor, which Lestrade realized was not going unnoticed by the fairer inhabitants of the tavern.
"Doc," Bradstreet called, his voice slightly slurred, "come down to see me drink Stan'ly under tha table?"
Watson studied the two men, then Hopkins plate. "Sure...who's got the book?"
Gregson waved it. The Doctor made a bet for Hopkins, suddenly there was a flurry as several betters changed their minds, included in that number was Lestrade.
"I learned never to bet against you, Doctor," Lestrade commented leaning in close.
"Hopkins is thinner so he most likely has a higher metabolic rate, he also has eaten a steak and potato, which is a fatty food and a starchy food. Bradstreet, while larger has a slower metabolism, and has eaten the fish, no help in absorption there..." Watson murmured were only Lestrade could hear.
To prove his point, Bradstreet passed out and fell onto the tabletop like a toppling tree, sending shot glasses rolling, Hopkins raised his hands in victory, and jumped to his feet, promptly passing out hitting the floor with a thud.
The bet, since both where passed out, worked out in favour of Hopkins who was going home with a pocket full of money after a good-natured debate. Hopefully, that would buy a stay of execution from his sweet wife. They both were in the corner snoring, leaned on each other, propped up as a joke.
"I wish Rollins, our crime scene photographer was down here, this would be perfect black mail material," Gregson remarked to Inspector Altheny Jones, then he hastily added, "If black mail was legal of course."
They all had a laugh at that.
Esmeralda walked up, and saucily sat in Doctor Watson's lap. "What can I get you, handsome, besides a night with me that would leave you a shell of a man before morning light?"
Watson winked at her. "Your best Australian lager, and your forgiveness that I have to turn down such a earth-shattering offer, dear lady. I have far too many people relying on me for medical care to be left a shell of a man."
She gave him one good suggestive wiggle then hopped up to get his order. "Why can't the rest of you Yarder blokes be a gentleman like him, eh?" She goaded, playfully patting his cheek.
After she left, Watson leaned in his face showing some embarrassment. "I forgot how long it has been since I felt a feminine touch, if she had stayed much longer, a change in her opinion of my gentility would have been inevitable," he remarked with a shy smile. (5)
Lestrade choked on his beer.
Watson waited until he composed himself. "How is our Impostor?"
Lestrade suddenly felt like another beer, so he called for it. "Found him this morning, suicide, hung himself in his cell."
Watson slumped. "I know he was a killer, but I still felt for the chap. No one should ever go through what he endured. Do we even know who he was?"
Lestrade shrugged. "No records at the sanatorium, no missing persons matching his description anywhere. We will never know unless someone comes forward, he'll be buried by the government in Potter's Field, along with the other three."
Watson started. "Other three?" he inquired.
Lestrade nodded. "All three of his accomplices had capsules in their boots; St. Cloud determined it was cyanide."
Watson thought it for a moment. "What about a rich benefactor?"
Lestrade sipped his new beer. "None yet, but it's a matter of time."
Watson nodded as he sipped his own drink.
Lestrade had a question; he tried to formulate it in his head. He did not want to appear blunt, but he had to know. "That impostor, while portraying Doctor Bedlow, asked you why you refuse to believe any rumours about Sherlock being alive, even though there is no body; you lost control for the first time since I've known you. I would like to know why, if that is going to be an Achilles heel every time someone mentions it, it may affect our work."
Watson sighed, studying the glass. "I dived on the pool at the base of Reichenbach Falls for nearly an hour looking for his body, Lestrade. They had to drag me away suffering from hypothermia from the snowmelt, I nearly drowned. I lost my voice for two days from calling his name."
Lestrade felt concerned, even though it happened over two years past. "Did you see his body?"
Watson shook his head, his haunted eyes found Lestrade's with unerring accuracy. "I did see Moriarty's, he was most certainly dead, and it was not an easy passing I am happy to confirm."
Lestrade felt bad that he had brought the subject to light; he cursed himself for his invasive curiosity. "Yet another nightmare for you I suppose."
"One of many," Watson remarked quietly.
A lone gentleman looked out upon the Paris skyline twinkling from the deck of his ship crossing the Channel. In the last two days he had changed his appearance, his clothing, even used some acting skills to alter his accent and mannerisms. He moved through the underground like a wraith using connections that he had established years ago for this purpose. He was as safe as he could be, and yet he still felt apprehensive.
Charon has never missed. No matter how far they have roamed, he found them. He pondered. Once again reached into his coat to feel the comforting weight of the pistol concealed there. If he wants to come for me, he will not find easy prey.
There was a silent blanket of fog gently crossing the deck of the vessel. It enveloped him.
The steward found his dead body two hours later, his gun untouched, coin on his tongue.
Story Notes: Yes you will be seeing Charon again, or well not see Charon again. Nuff said :)
I know there are multiple ideas about what Watson actually carried around revolver wise, I used the most common.
Thanks for reading!
(5) Check my profile to see one embarrassed Doctor!