Chapter Notes: This was a difficult chapter to write because I wanted it to close out this installment in a good way.
It was remarked to me that Chief Inspector Lestrade in cannon never made Superintendent but Hopkins did, I decided that I would give a reason why. This is my foray into Victorian Age politics so I hope I did not write anything that does not ring true. I'm sure someone will tell me LOL!
Once again Watson and Lestrade surprised me...here I am trying to write this long dialogue creating this mutual admiration society but these two Victorian gentlemen refused every attempt at sentimentality exchanging looks of derision at my every attempt, so I put it down like they wanted it. It made for a far shorter scene but one more befitting them I believe, I just wish they would behave me on occasion! SIGH!
This has been the most exhausting of the installments, the most involved and complicated. I have had to research everything from Victorian Age antiseptic techniques to court procedures...I hope this journey has been worth it for you, because I have to say it has been rewarding for me.
As Watson and Lestrade would say: Enough with this chatter, let them read it already!
Once again these are Arthur's boys I just borrowed them.
Doctor John Watson, Police Surgeon: Scotland Yard 4
The Frozen Image
The tension in the room was palpable, but FitzRoy gave no sign of affectation. He was a consummate politician, and as such, Lestrade doubted that he would lose control of his countenance, even at the death of his dearest.
"I was just having a conversation with the Superintendant here on how busy you have been these last few days," FitzRoy explained with a cultured tenor purr.
"Oh?" Lestrade inquired crossing his legs in a matter he hoped insouciant.
"Yes," FitzRoy confirmed, "the matter with Judge Burkett for instance. We had a filing on behalf of Alister Eads for Judge Benedict in place before a criminal court case was even put forth; suddenly Benedict's clerk lost his head over an offer from a certain beautiful actress, one that has been spied in your company."
Lestrade weighed his options and decided on truth, "We had a meeting earlier this week."
FitzRoy nodded in an elegant, howbeit condescending manner, "Then there was this other matter of the hanging schedule being altered after it was locked into the Administrator's safe at Newgate by the Sheriff of London himself, I have no idea as to how that was accomplished."
"Really? I would rather think that impossible." Lestrade remarked trying to show just how shocked the news made him.
Superintendant Collins was sitting on the edge of his desk, arms crossed his face impassive, whatever peril was approaching he was playing the white hare hiding in a snow bank waiting for the wolf to pass. Lestrade sighed; he was on his own, once again.
"I rather think that unlikely since you sent summons out from this very office to family members concerning the earlier hanging time, something impossible without foreknowledge. You managed to remain behind the scene in this fray until that moment. I have to admire the mind at work behind these manoeuvrings, Chief Inspector, for a man of your level of education and refinement, they have been nothing short of astonishing," FitzRoy admitted with his warmest smile, one that showed his perfect teeth.
Lestrade felt icy fingers crawling up his back like a spider made of hoarfrost, his worst fear had just come to pass.
Years ago, Lestrade and his first partner, an older Yarder named Bartholomew, had witnessed a young man of noble birth pick an apple off a street vendor cart without paying. Lestrade made to confront the gentleman but caught a truncheon in the ribs from his partner. As Lestrade gasped for breath, Bartholomew tipped his hat as the well-dressed boy walked by with a sneer, crunching the purloined fruit. "What did you do that for?" Lestrade sputtered, "We are officers of the law, no one is supposed to be immune!" Bartholomew grabbed his lapels drug him into a nearby alleyway and slammed him against the wall. "There are fishes in this pond, Gilsey, and then there are Leviathans, you, are a small fish, they pick you out of their teeth and go on their way, you don't want them to ever see you. So, keep yer blasted yap shut, tip yer hat and wish them a good day, or yer career will be over before it starts. Don't be a fool, and you might just make it to retirement with your pension intact."
The irony nearly caused Lestrade to chuckle. Well, Barty old boy, after all these years of safe navigation, a Leviathan just smiled at me.
"In a way, I have nothing but admiration for you, Lestrade, although I suspect that Doctor John Watson might have had some level of involvement he is somewhat beyond my reach, so my negotiations must be constrained to us," FitzRoy explained in a conversational manner.
Lestrade saw the snare, but this was a path he had no choice but travel. "Negotiations, about what precisely?" he asked in his most innocuous tone.
FitzRoy checked his watch; it was a technique that Lestrade had seen Mycroft use to place him as so insignificant to the proceedings that his involvement was just an entry in a man's schedule. It was a gesture designed to show Lestrade his status as a minor task to deal with annoyance.
Lestrade felt that indignant passionate apolitical young PC rise within him, then again, it could have been Watson's bad influence finally taking hold. He would debate the culprit for years to come.
"Your watch is not something with which you can negotiate, sir, I am, and there is a question on the table yet to be answered," Lestrade informed FitzRoy through gritted teeth.
For the first time, FitzRoy looked nonplussed. "And so there is, Chief Inspector."
Collins stared at Lestrade aghast; the man was so used to political intrigues, to see someone actually speak to nobility in this manner was a jarring novelty to say the least.
"I am here to make an official request for all of the Red Tear files, including any photographs, and am asking for your silence concerning any of Gustave Bedlow's experimental activities as they fall within the realm of doctor patient confidentiality."
Lestrade tensed. He expected many tactics but this was so blatant that he had no immediate answer.
FitzRoy's eyes were cold. "If these requests are not honoured, then I will find other channels that are not so polite."
He gathered his hat and cane and began to leave.
"I thought you were here to negotiate," Lestrade remarked off hand.
FitzRoy paused a moment then with a smile like the one that surely must belong on the face of a shark, replied, "Perhaps negotiation was not the proper word. I apologize for that mistake in terminology. Good day Superintendant...Lestrade."
Upon his departure, Collins literally collapsed; he reached in his desk and poured himself a liberal glass of the cognac, drinking it with a shaky hand.
"Can you help me, Ronald?" Lestrade asked, knowing the answer beforehand.
"I just want you to know, "Collins began, "when I retire, you were going to be my choice..."
Lestrade held up a hand to the man, it was the first time he was ever openly rude to Collins, but he did not want to hear anymore hedging, he had taken all the excuses he could stomach.
"There is no need to explain, Superintendant, if anything this situation has proven to me that I do not have the skills necessary to do your job, after all."
He began to leave but he paused at the door, he turned back to Collins. "There was a time, in my naiveté; I would have given anything to have this office. I now realize that the price is just too high."
"It might cost me this position, Giles, but I will not demote you without cause, I give you my word on it," Collins replied with a spark of his old fire.
Lestrade nodded and left. There were no more words to speak. Something was broken between he and his superior, something that would never mend, further dialogue would only serve to widen the crevasse.
Lestrade sat in his office listening to the din in the common room outside, a sound brought a smile to his tired face.
After all, today marked the end of a long arduous journey with the death of their most diabolical opponent yet, the Yard had reason to celebrate and slap each other on the back.
His mind went back to the events of the last week.
He remembered how the Yard closed ranks and supported one another during this ordeal, how even with the apparent return of a monster who they thought was safely tucked away behind bars, they still found time and energy to place a bet on Lestrade's head.
He had to smile at that.
How Watson, ill in body but iron in spirit fought exhaustion, fever and his own rebelling body to stay on the scent and offer invaluable advice and heart. If it were possible, Lestrade found an even deeper admiration for his friend had taken root.
The events of the inquest, Hopkins and his unfailing logic, and pitch perfect dressing down of the barrister, even St. Cloud's able defence of the man who just months before so humiliated him upon their first meeting. Who knew the Frenchman had it in him, or that the foreign bastard had a pedigree that prestigious?
Lestrade felt a pang of sorrow over Harold Rollins, which was one arrest that would haunt him for some time. Harold was right, no one at the Yard saw him. He was there, a steady quiet young man with a gift, but no one that they talked to without business or invited down to the Rusty Anchor for a drink.
When Aldric Bisset and his family had visited Harold the night before, the young man would not look into their eyes, he just accepted their kind words and sat on his cot silently weeping. Lestrade remembered the elegant man sat down beside Harold put an arm around his shoulders and the rest of the family joined him in noiseless tears, sharing their grief, and what grace they had to offer. It was not hard to see that Genny had taken more than just dark curly hair from her father and family. It was heartening to see that their forgiveness had an effect on the young man. Lestrade was no longer worried about finding him hanging in his cell in the same manner the creature who had taken advantage of his sweet nature had met his end. However, his young life was inescapably detoured for the foreseeable future, clearly Harold Rollins was the last Alister Eads victim.
One might say, so also was Lestrade's career.
He remembered being that curly haired Police Constable with fire in his eyes but not enough body mass to take down a runaway prostitute, young, eager and ambitious. He never said it aloud but he always viewed an office upstairs as the pinnacle, his most fondly wished goal.
That goal remained ever on his mind, even after he accosted a young boy for crossing the street in a dangerous manner and received a bitingly accurate tongue-lashing by the young boy's diminutive older sister. Yes, it was safe to say Clea Ducard won his heart from the first moment he she backed him up against the wall in the middle of a busy Fleet with her temper alone. Together, they had raised children on a humble Met salary, as Lestrade worked his way up the hard way because he did not have the political mind to rise above his station.
Then he met Sherlock Holmes and found his edge, it was that man's intellect he used as an conveyance all the way to this humble office he now occupied.
How was he to know the silent, ill looking well-tanned moustached young veteran he first spied limping at Holmes's side would one day become his dearest friend and changed his entire way of viewing his lifelong vocation?
That morally upright bastard, John Watson, this is entirely your fault!
He had the files arranged on his desk along with the crime scene photos, he had tried to send them on to FitzRoy, but he found he could not. The master case file lay on the stack, it itemized the entire length and breadth of the Red Tear case, and without it, that stack of case files had no connection. That one sheet of manila contained the numbers, the evidence and its location, the crime scene photographs and the names of all involved. Without preamble, Lestrade pulled out his metal wastebasket, lit the file, and then used on a victory cigar someone had left on his desktop. It was not often a man had the opportunity to watch his career literally burn to ash before his eyes, so he puffed and watched as the file disintegrated.
The only thing he kept was a picture of Genny Bisset's body, he felt her family might want it; she was so beautiful and peaceful in that frozen image, captured for all time. Harold created his masterwork with that crime scene photo.
After the fired died, Lestrade pulled a black book out of a drawer.
When he searched for Jeremiah Giordan's identity, he borrowed Gustav Bedlow's private off the record notes about his most controversial experiments. That book did not officially exist so he did not violate any laws concerning confidentiality.
Lestrade made a decision; it was time to stop playing politics.
He walked out into the celebration trying not to let his mood show.
He was surprised to see Patterson among them; thankfully, he was not revealing more embarrassing facts about Lestrade's early career. He was already living down the revelation about the yellow dress!
They were toasting each other with their coffee cups, but he spied a bottle of Bradstreet's homemade currant wine, from the state of the jug, it was well aged.
Hopkins was the first to see him. "To Lestrade, Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard, sure to be Superintendant one day!" he called raising his cup. The others followed suit, Bradstreet poured him a generous portion and handed it over so he could join them.
He raised his cup, "To the best group of blokes a man could wish for," Lestrade toasted, his voice broke a bit. They all drank solemnly.
"However, I feel I must inform you, in light of that toast, that my chances for Superintendant have taken a significant blow," Lestrade remarked.
Hopkins read his expression, being the most politically astute he sussed out the implications. "The nobility found you out?" he inquired his features pinched in concern.
Lestrade nodded. "I'm afraid I was not as clever as I thought, but no matter. I do feel a need to inform my wife of this change in my future opportunities, so if you gentlemen will excuse me, I am leaving for the day."
They all looked grave, but Hopkins's eyes showed a bright determination.
"I am going to march right up those stairs and inform Collins of my culpability, you will not suffer this alone!" he declared as he moved to do just that.
"You most certainly will not!" Lestrade's voice rang out like a whip. He closed on the dazed inspector. "You will not throw your career away Hopkins, I knew the risks and I took them upon myself. That goes for anyone of you who has the foolish notion to partake of the cup that has passed to me."
He made sure they all felt the full force of his glare. "You were all under my orders at all times, gentlemen, including Doctor Watson if anyone dare ask."
Hopkins eyes were downcast; Lestrade clasped his shoulder as he passed. "You are our best hope for one of us to make the office, Stanley, one of our own, a Yarder, Superintendant. I will not allow you to endanger that on my behalf. Please, trust me, this is for the best."
Lestrade placed his hat on his head and made for the door so they would not see his glistening eyes.
"Attention, Scotland Yard!" Gregson bellowed.
Lestrade glanced back to see they were all saluting him, he nodded his thanks, "At ease, you pretentious idiots, drink your fill and get back to work, there is a city to protect!"
With that said, he made his exit.
As he reached the street, thankfully free of press vultures that had moved on to fresher carrion, he felt a hand on his shoulder.
He turned to see Patterson regarding him with kind eyes. "Can I have a word, Gilsey?"
"A brief one, please, I have business I need to attend to," Lestrade replied.
"It is worth it," Patterson replied cryptically.
Lestrade resigned himself to the conversation. "What is worth it, John?"
Patterson's gaze became distant. "Giving everything you dreamed of, everything you hoped, for the sake of what you know is right."
Lestrade realized that here was a man living under a death sentence, who gave up his career, his very lifestyle to prosecute the most dangerous gang in all of London. If anyone understood him, it was this very man. "I certainly hope so," Lestrade replied.
Patterson nodded his face showing raw emotion, he tipped his hat and made his way in the other direction, his shoulders slumped from the weight of burden renewed.
Lestrade watched him go realizing that he had given much, but certainly not all. He gained a fresh perspective in those moments as he watched his former mentor walk away.
With a greater sense of purpose, he continued on to complete his task.
Agatha Weems was packing her things into a box, her desk showing signs of an impending departure when Lestrade knocked on her door way.
She glanced up, he face immediately pinched in anger. "Chief Inspector Lestrade visiting the Times, have you come to gloat, Giles?"
He nodded toward the vacated desk, "Why, are you going somewhere?"
She sighed. "Being a woman in this business, I've had to work harder than the man next to me, be smarter, faster and willing to go further just to maintain the same level," she stated with a sigh. "When I refused to write about Alister Eads's hanging, seeing as I was the only member of the press there and had a scoop, my Editor summarily fired me." She slammed a book into the already full box with an unladylike growl. "I increased circulation, was consistently the most commented on in the letters to the editor, and more often than not found the story first, but one moment I show conscious, and he lets me go without another thought!"
Lestrade laid Gustave Bedlow's private notes on her desk.
Showing the curiosity that had made her such a formidable presence, she picked it up and read the first page. She slapped the book cover closed. "Do you have any idea what this is, Giles?"
He nodded, "The exclusive I promised, just in time for you to make the late edition."
She pursed her lips in thought. "This is privileged patient information; I could really get into trouble for this."
He gave her a letter, hastily written with a fluid flourishing hand. "This is the permission of the last living relative of Jeremiah Giordan, his sister Carla, she is willing to give any testimony to the contents anytime you want to interview her. Her brother was patient J, so if you restrain your efforts to his case alone, you should remain safe."
The glimmer that he used to fear but now was counting on lit up her eyes. "How high does this go?"
He smiled in what he hoped was an evil manner. "All the way to the House of Nobles, dear Missus Weems, it is the story of a lifetime; your editor might be inclined to give you your job back."
She smiled, and it was not a pleasant one. "My former editor can read this story in the Daily Mirror like anyone else, I intend on visiting them next."
Lestrade winced. "You and Benjamin Trollop on the same staff, what have I done?" he lamented.
Lestrade sat on a bench in Hyde Park, just off Westminster, listening to the bells.
After he left Agatha's office, he had wandered the streets for an hour or so, he needed to go home to Clea, she would welcome him with open arms, but before hand, he needed to shake the vestiges of his gloom. He would not carry this dire depression home to his dear wife if he could help it.
Seemingly, nothing he did improved his countenance, he had wandered his first beat as an over eager PC. He visited some of his biggest triumphs, most of them involving Sherlock Holmes. He thought of visiting Watson, who was his only true friend outside of the Yard, but decided that he did not want to darken that man's door with his mood.
Therefore, here he sat, in Hyde Park, at a place with some significance to him.
This bench was the place where he asked Clea for her hand in marriage on their second date. She gave him a look he came to know very well. Half incredulity, half affection with a hint of being appalled at his forward manner, but with a smile made his heart race.
"You wife knows you well."
Watson settled into a seat across from him crossing his legs in an insouciant manner.
Lestrade had to give Watson another look. His friend was dressed to the nines, obviously for a night out, complete with dinner attire. (10)
"Do you always attire for high society when you are hunting someone down?" Lestrade quipped.
Watson gave him that lopsided grin. "I intended to stay home this evening and catch up on patient files, but I was informed by a telegram from a certain Missus Giordan that someone had promised that I would accompany her to repay a favour. I found that this was news to me. Tell me, dear Lestrade, how many other eligible ladies have you bought favours from with promises of my patronage?"
Lestrade shrugged. "You use what is available to barter."
"Is trading your friend's services not a form of prostitution?" Watson remarked in a chiding tone.
"I apologize, I know escorting a beautiful lady for dinner and most likely some other artistic entertainment is such a vile chore for you!" Lestrade shot back.
Watson rolled his eyes as if it were a great imposition. "As long as you received proper compensation, I suppose I can stand one evening of such dreariness."
"I weep for your discomfort," Lestrade quoted with a grin.
Watson shot him the look he deserved.
They sat in a comfortable silence, one that had become unique to their association.
"I suppose I am called upon to say, "there, there," or some such rubbish," Watson remarked his voice tinted by bother.
Lestrade shook his head with a rueful expression. "Oh no, dear Doctor, I would not wish you to put yourself out."
Watson held out his hand to Lestrade, grasped without hesitation, their eyes met, brown into hazel. No words could have possibly given the comfort of seeing the respect in John Watson's eyes. With a silent nod, the man rose to leave.
"Get yourself home, Giles and stop being an imbecile, Clea's words, not mine." He remarked with a chuckle.
Lestrade nodded as he stood. "Is your escort taking the night off?"
Watson sighed, "Oh no, he is around here somewhere." Watson glanced over at a large tree just beyond them. "Are you going to skulk there all day, or come along?" he called.
Mayweather slipped out and tipped his hat to Lestrade as he followed Watson down the path.
Lestrade watched them go for a moment, then headed where he should have already been hours ago.
Two Weeks Later Humble Cottage South Side of London...
It was on the air tonight, John Patterson decided. He felt it in his bones.
He was flipping through his wifes's journal once again, feeling her presence in those carefully written pages. He glanced up at their portrait taken just before Sherlock Holmes came to his door informing him that the Milverton case was quite a bit more significant than he first believed.
He had both blessed and cursed that day many times over the intervening interval.
He still had a bullet lodged in his chest after an assassination attempt while he was out walking with his wife one evening, the grievous wound that retired him from the Yard. He enjoyed being with Lestrade and the boys one last time for that Eads case, it felt like old times.
He rested his head against the top slat of the rocking chair and closed his eyes; he could almost hear his Melanie calling for him.
A sudden noise in the back alley caused him to awake; he reached for his revolver, but stayed his hand.
It was time to let it go, his affairs were in order, his wife was waiting, he left it were it lay and went to the back door.
Later...Outside of the Diogenes Club
Guarding the door to the Diogenes Club was boring work, but they remained ever vigilant. They all felt it in their bones that there was a battle coming, accounts to settle, so they studied the foggy night with careful eyes.
There was an odd noise, similar to a wet rotting cantaloupe dropped on a sidewalk.
"Pierce, did you hear that?" said one of the guards.
Same Night...Tankerville Gentleman's Club
They all sat around the table, deep into their hands. Cards laid and picked up with little comment, this was no social event, this was gambling.
The youngest at the table, a man of obvious breeding and sophistication laid down his hand in triumph.
An old warhorse of a man leaned back and let out a sigh of exasperation. "I know you are cheating, Ronald Adair, but I cannot guess how."
Adair smiled, politely, as he did all things. "I apologize if I somehow seem duplicitous; I assure you I have never had a run of luck like this in my life to date."
They all laughed good-naturedly.
Into this frivolity walked Colonel Moran.
He sat and nodded at his erstwhile partner, Adair returned his acknowledgement with a warm smile.
"I am sorry gentlemen for my tardiness, I had some business, that I have been putting off far too long, to attend to."
The man who had accused is partner of cheating let out a snort. "You have not missed much; your partner in crime has continued his robbery."
Moran's yellow eyes sparkled with a hidden amusement. "Well let's hope his run of luck continues for a little while longer at least." He reached for the cards intending to deal; at the crook of his thumb was a small smear of machine oil.
He sat at the desk perusing the items, his sharp mind running through implications and connections at an astonishing speed, as he made plans in his notebook.
The first items where two newspaper articles.
Murder of Ex-Scotland Yard Inspector Patterson Still Unsolved
Diogenes Club Guard Assassinated By Method Unknown
The first shots, fired...
He circled one sentence that was in both articles, it would have seemed insignificant to any other man, but it had worlds of importance to this one.
"Chief Inspector Lestrade, and Police Surgeon Doctor John Watson were at both scenes, but refused comment at this time."
He read and reread those words with a bemused smile.
One other item on the desktop caught his eye. It was a well-crumpled telegram accidentally wadded in his excitement.
IT IS NEARLY TIME...STOP...PREPARE...STOP...M...STOP
He smoothed out an advertisement page from a local paper:
Musée de Cires de Paris
He made another notation in the cluttered notebook.
He had so much to accomplish in so little time, it was not everyday a man attempts resurrection after all.
To Be Concluded in Doctor John Watson, Police Surgeon: Scotland Yard 5
One Last War
Story Notes: For those of you who are wondering...yes that is Sherlock Holmes.
Musée de Cires de Paris: is The Waxwork Museum of Paris
Any other questions feel free to ask.
(10) Watson in the Park check it out in the profile, man I hope somebody is because I work hard on these screen caps!