Chapter Notes: I cannot believe it! Yet another project is in the can!
I have to say that writing James Watson was such a challenge. My natural proclivity is to give even my villains some sense of depth, and yet James stubbornly refused to do even one decent thing! I mean I keep reading back to his words and I can not find the humanity. He was a pure sociopathic jerk.
In the same vein the more I write John Watson, the more layers of humanity I uncover. Throughout three projects I have yet to really get a sense of his totality. He is altruistic to a fault, and yet he could assign his brother to a life in limbo without any regrets. He saves lives and yet he is dangerous. He can talk to a patient or a corpse with equal amount of affection. He suffered thousands of cuts from his brother, and yet when he finally gives James the punch for which he was begging , he does to defend a little girls honor. I am going to write more of these, yes we must have more!
I think we fail sometimes to factor in Lestrade's tenacity and abilities as an investigator, me included, I hope I help restore some of the old boys honor in this chapter.
I also foreshadow the next two projects so stay tuned!
Once again, I'm playing with Art's boys! I don't own em.
Doctor John Watson, Police Surgeon: Scotland Yard 3
Esau have I hated
Lestrade was tired of being on the outside, of being the last to know, finding out the turn after it occurred. "Someone better explain what happened, or violence will ensue so help me!" he bellowed, "How can we get him to give us the name if he's in a penal colony!"
Seemingly unconcerned with Lestrade's outburst of temper, Watson and Mycroft exchanged a look, and then Watson indicated for him to go first.
"It concerns British Law, particularly law governing inheritance," Mycroft began.
"Ironic, really," Watson remarked, "the same laws that have haunted me my entire life, the very same edicts that James has used to maintain the upper hand."
Mycroft nodded in agreement. "The actions that placed James Watson on that ship began with a single question from Doctor Watson to me."
"Can a dead man maintain property, or does it all go to the living heir?" Watson interjected.
Mycroft actually smiled in a companionable manner, which stunned Lestrade. "As it happens, I have become quite the expert on law concerning men thought dead, and the resumption of their property rights as of late. There are four tasks that must be performed to sustain your standing as a citizen, once your return to living status has been established."
"Duties which my dear brother neglected, because of the ruse that had him declared dead," Watson finished.
Lestrade caught on. "So he lost all rights as a citizen?"
Watson nodded, "And as an heir."
Mycroft was about to explain further, but Watson laid a hand on the large man's arm. "Let Lestrade figure it out, we owe him that much."
Lestrade felt gratitude that Watson was treating him as an equal, but intimidated.
He worked through all the implications in his mind. "His property would revert to the living heir, that's Doctor Watson, which included his personal effects, and any property he maintained?"
Watson nodded while Mycroft studied his thick hands appearing bored by the proceedings.
"So James' trunk that we sent on to Kensington by the statutes of British Law belonged to you, John?" Lestrade finished timidly.
Watson nodded, "I recalled that my brother formerly kept a false bottom in his trunk for money and documents, and smuggling purposes. I passed that information onto Mycroft, along with my permission to search the trunk."
"There were documents fit to blackmail all those involved, which is why he knew the names of which he inferred, I'll wager. There were also false identities, foreign currencies and Passports for several different countries." Mycroft interposed, "revealing that James Watson intended to escape our custody as soon as he felt it prudent."
"After all you did to save him, John," Lestrade exclaimed, "he was going to make it all moot. What a bastard!"
"I believe that has been well established," Mycroft capitulated.
"So you've known the names he was using for his only leverage for the last two days, why not just take him into custody? Why let him believe he was getting away?" Lestrade inquired.
Mycroft turned to Watson, clearly indicating it was his question to answer.
Watson pulled a folded piece of paper out of his suit pocket and held it out to Lestrade. "If he had guessed, he would have found a way to disappear; he is quite talented at that. So, In the place of all that was in his secret compartment, which he is now finally reacquiring in a locked compartment on yon ship, I left a copy of this letter. I believe it explains all you need to know to answer your query."
Lestrade accepted the epistle. Watson nodded encouragement to go ahead and read. He opened it up upon it in Watson's neat script were these words:
In all of the years remaining to you, in the endless days of hard labour you face, I want you to remember.
J'ai été ton frère.
Vous avez fait de moi votre ennemi.
Cain rose up.
Abel was ready.
Lestrade folded the letter and handed it back to Watson. "That was very petty of you," he remarked.
Watson shrugged with a poorly disguised smile. "Yes...very."
"Gentlemen, I have other affairs that require my attention." Mycroft held a hand out to Watson. "I am hoping if we cannot be friends, Doctor, we can at least be allies. I have found being your enemy is not an appealing proposition."
Watson studied the hand for a moment before grasping it. "Alliances are peculiar affairs, Mycroft, you keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Suis-je comprendre?"
Mycroft agreed. "Oui je comprends."
Mycroft tipped his hat and departed in the sort of characterless carriage in frequent use by the Diogenes.
"Should we mention that the fact there is absolutely no markings on those carriages make them stick out more than if they were covered with feathers and gold leaf?" Lestrade remarked with a chuckle as they watched the carriage fade into the miasma.
"Shhhhhhh…They are being anonymous, Lestrade, try not to point them out," Watson chided.
He offered an arm to Lestrade, and they strolled toward the twinkling of gas lamps lit to offer beacons in the vapour. The grand lady, London, was putting on her jewelry, preparing for the coming night.
"The haze is finally lifting," Lestrade commented.
"The fog will return, these moments of clarity do not last," Watson replied.
Lestrade stopped him with a tug on his arm. "Is this dreariness going to persist all night, if so, I'd rather be having coffee with Tommy and Bobby?"
Watson laughed, and hailed a cab. "Dinner at Marcini's to celebrate, I insist, that is if Clea is not expecting you home."
Lestrade knew that his cheeks had a guilty flush. "I may have made mention to her, of a possible excursion for this evening."
Later, Lestrade could not help but feel somewhat self-conscious. Marcini's was an eatery for the disaffected gentlemen, not an illiterate Yarder. He had always secretly admired Doctor Watson's ability to move between the classes. Watson was showing the same comfort level in this environ as he had shown at The Rusty Anchor. Lestrade speculated that the other man's time in the service of the crown might have had a bearing.
Lestrade pulled out a cigarette, and Watson beat him to his lighter with an easy grin.
"You are in fine spirit, Doctor, I would ask a question, if I may be permitted," Lestrade inquired blowing out his first lung full.
Watson indicated for him to proceed, but he had a look of warning in his eyes.
Lestrade noted it and continued. "I realized at some point that you and James had a peculiar conversation of a caliber that I have only heard between you and Holmes. I was wondering if there were some similarities, between the two men."
"James was the most intelligent person I ever met before I was introduced to Holmes," Watson stated, his eyes distant. "In some ways they were comparable, I will grant you, but the way they were different was all that mattered."
"What difference?" Lestrade asked nonchalantly checking his menu to hide his eagerness.
Watson smiled with fondness. "Holmes endeavored to be a moral man, he did not understand the necessity, but he accepted the word of those around him that it was essential. It is that faith in others that allowed me to forgive him almost any slight."
Lestrade smirked. "Almost?"
"Nearly," Watson affirmed.
Lestrade changed the subject. "So, what on this menu is edible? I am finding almost indecipherable."
Watson's face went suspiciously vacant. "Well, I believe you should definitely try the Calamari."
Lestrade nodded. "That narrows my choices somewhat, now I know what not to choose. How is the wound in your side by the way?"
"My side is my concern," Watson informed in a warning tone.
"I need to know if it is well enough to attend a play," Lestrade stated.
Watson paused and stared at his companion his incredulity clear. "Did you, Chief Inspector Giles Lestrade of Scotland Yard, just ask me, Doctor John H. Watson late of Kensington, if I would like to attend a play?"
Lestrade sniffed as if affronted. "It was merely a question; I had no idea you were going to react in such an exaggerated manner."
"Which one did you have in mind?" Watson inquired, not bothering to hide his suspicion.
Lestrade smiled scooting closer leaning like a conspirator. "I believe you know my propensity for never letting things go. Clea laments it often enough. I wished to know the name of the Holmes impostor, so I revisited Nurse Burr with a bottle of aged Scotch, after my duty shift of course. Through her, I managed to acquire the information that there was a certain beautiful young lady who used to come by Carfax Sanatorium to visit her brother, until a certain Doctor Gustav Bedlow found a way to suspend her guardianship. I traced all of the civil court cases in which the good doctor was involved. I figured out that Bedlow could not have gone as far as he did, if there was someone advocating for the boy, so he must have somehow legally acquired custody. I noticed the same Judge involved in all of the proceedings. I know a clerk in his office who has an eye for the female figure. If she was as attractive as was implied, he would remember her, as it happens, he did. Her name is Carla Giordan, a French émigré of Waldensian heritage."
Watson gaped at the Inspector. "Even though the case was officially closed, you would not let it go, so you kept at it on your own time, and actually found the Holmes impostor's name?"
"Jeremiah Giordan, his sister never married. She is most eager to meet with us to talk of him," Lestrade finished with a florish, "I did not make Inspector by happenstance, dear Doctor."
Watson laughed and smacked Lestrade on the back. "You have the determination and persistence of a blood hound!"
Lestrade gave his companion a sly smile. "I am rather dogged in my pursuit."
Watson groaned at the pun. Then a realization reached his eyes. "Carla Giordan, she is the actress playing Yum-Yum in the Mikado. So that is why you agreed to go along the other evening."
"It was not as voluntary as I led you to believe," Lestrade admitted.
"She is eager to meet?" Watson remarked in a considering manner. "She is rather attractive, I am forced to admit.
Lestrade nodded. "I mentioned that you were the one that subdued Jeremiah, and you were the last to talk to him."
Watson eyed the other man with suspicion. "You are not attempting to do the work of Cupido are you, Inspector?"
Lestrade shrugged. "I might have made mention that the fairer sex does not find you extraordinarily hideous."
"Well now, thank you for putting it in those glowing terms…" Watson remarked. (5)
Lestrade was suddenly serious. "I know much of your heart resides in that graveyard two blocks from your practice, the good Lord only knows what I would do if I lost Clea. However, I would not be a proper friend to you if I did not at least point out that you are still among the living after all.
Watson studied the other man's face with an uncomfortable scrutiny. "I promise nothing."
Lestrade nodded his agreement. "I'll expect nothing."
The two men touched their glasses in a silent toast.
Across the restaurant, two piercing eyes so light brown as to appear yellow stared at the two men with the scrutiny of a trained hunter.
Colonel Moran's rare steak had barely been touched, but the man's bourbon and bitters glass sat empty, a young dark haired man with the air of a trained soldier joined him.
"It has been confirmed, Colonel, James Watson is no longer among the taxpayers," he remarked picking up a menu to order.
Moran grabbed it from his hands with a vicious pull. "Let us do the math, like Moriarty was fond of saying. One missing assassin, who has never failed to report in before, even when grievously wounded, one picture of the target in the police files showing the man he was after, fatally pierced through his right side. One train carrying one coffin headed North with a body in it that resembles the man aforementioned. One more dangerous twin brother seated over there celebrating, and yet the right handed man has offered a toast with his left hand indicating he has sustained some injury that disallows raising his right arm, say a cut on the ribs?"
The younger man began to get up from the table, but Moran stopped him with a gruff, "Remain seated."
"We need to terminate James Watson, you are aware of the knowledge he possessed," the soldier sputtered.
Moran rubbed his temples. "I am aware of many things, Pierson, for instance, the Diogenes now have the information to proceed with their dismantling of the Club, something that has already occurred worldwide, thanks to Mycroft's infernal brother. We are finished in England, so we must begin our relocation."
Pierson grumbled, "I do not like the thought of retreat, what of that Doctor Watson, and Sherlock Holmes? They should not be allowed to live."
Moran nodded. "Agreed, however, Holmes will be impossible to locate unless we control his movements, I previously left Watson alive for that purpose, but the infernal man has done me far more personal harm than Holmes did Moriarty. I feel it is time to put my plan into motion. I need a man who is a Diogenes member, who is naïve enough to not know he is surrounded by wolves, but who is sufficiently well placed that Watson will be called in to help with the investigation of his death. Once I am listed as a suspect, it should place him in enough jeopardy to recall Holmes."
Pierson smiled unpleasantly. "I know of such a man. He is the son of the Earl of Maynooth, and inherited his father's Diogenes seat. He is also a member of the Tankerville Club, and addicted to the card table."
" Ronald Adair."
Two Nights Later...On the East Side of London...
She was coughing again, a hacking noise that he knew was bring up more of her tubercular lungs. She wiped her mouth with embarrassment, gathered the things she had dropped and continued on her way home.
Even after the years the disease had taken from her, she was still the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
He watched her from the dark doorway where he secluded himself.
His lips tightened into a thin line of determination, her suffering ends tonight.
He stepped out to follow her through the clearing streets.
They would find her in the morning.
J'ai été ton frère.
Vous avez fait de moi votre ennemi.
Translation: I was your brother. You made me your enemy.
I think that sums this whole story up!
The Empty House project is after this next one, so stay patient. I think the next project is going to be a pleasant interim. It is more about the Police Surgeon part of John. I will probably have the first chapter out within the month.
(5) Check out this picture of John Watson. He still looks like James but I think the eyes tell the difference.