"May I send a telegram?"
Holmes glanced over his shoulder at Jane, one eyebrow raised. "To whom?"
There was the slightest of changes to Jane's face, a twitch in her jaw, in her eyebrow. Holmes barely had a chance to notice the alteration in her countenance, so quick was the change. There was almost a hardening of her eyes, an intensity slipping into her unreadable gaze. For the first time since he had met her, Sherlock felt icy chills down his spine, instilled in him by the coldness in the brief second that Jane's eyes flickered in the late afternoon night.
"That is none of your concern," Jane replied. "Your brother wouldn't, perchance, have a telegraph, would he?"
Holmes shifted in his chair, the papers on his lap forgotten. "I believe there's one in the study."
Jane nodded and left the room, leaving behind a disturbed and ruffled Sherlock. Holmes watched her leave, his eyes lingering on the strange way Jane was carrying herself in regards to her frame. She turned around the corner, disappearing from view, this time leaving behind a curious, anxious Sherlock. Holmes glanced own at the mess of papers on his lap, his eyes tracing the scribbles that formed his trademark scrawl. They circled the page, forming intricate designs that only Holmes on cocaine could understand. Nevertheless, they seemed to come to a climax at the end of the top page, coming together to point in the direction Jane had gone. Sherlock's brow furrowed, eyebrows tightly knit together as he tried to pick up where he had left off – and yet, the arrow still beckoned, nagging at the back of his skull, bidding him to do what he did best: investigate.
Holmes found Jane in the study on the opposite end of the house, perched on the edge of a hardback chair handcrafted from the depths of the Horn. Holmes stayed outside the room, lingering on the other side of the door, straining to hear the characteristic taps and pauses of the telegraph. Morse code came readily to him, thus he needed only to hear the telegraph to decipher the message. At first, he heard nothing, only the slow pulse of his heartbeat and his restrained breathing. The chair creaked slightly as Jane repositioned herself. Silence descended, thicker than the quilt on Sherlock's bed, almost tangible to the point that any movement would receive resistance. A horse whinnied in the distance, causing Holmes's shoulders to tense, sending pricks of pain up into his skull as the tension that already resided between his shoulders intensified.
Holmes knew Jane was moving in there, doing something despite the eerie silence, but not a sound came from the telegraph, not a single letter forming in the air from any telegram Jane might've been sending. The silence was too thick, too convenient. Holmes shifted uncomfortably, still straining to hear anything – anything – that could indicate what Jane was writing in her telegram, but to no avail. Something clicked-tapped against wood, jolting Holmes. The chair scraped back a few inches on the floor, punctuated by the click of Jane's feet as she stood up and replaced the cover on the telegraph. Incoherent, mumbled words drifted out to Sherlock's ears, indistinguishable despite the silence. The chair scraped back into place, quietly tapping against the wooden desk as it was put back into its proper alcove beneath the desk. Using all the stealth he could muster, Holmes hurried back to the other room, cursing every floorboard that creaked, groaned, and moaned beneath his supposedly 'light' steps.
Jane found the infamous sleuth sprawled in a rather unnatural position in his chair, papers strewn about as though he had run into them unwittingly. She shook her head and took her place across from him, a certain solemnity descending on her face. Holmes observed her beneath half-lidded eyes, noting how she tucked her legs up beneath herself when she had settled comfortably in her chair, notebook opened across her knees, pencil in hand. She didn't so much as glance in his direction, and from the curve of her mouth – pulled into a thin, tight line – Holmes assumed she would be saying few words to him that night. For what reason, he hadn't a clue.
The silence that fell about them like a well-made blanket was laced with an underlying tension that Holmes felt but didn't understand. He frowned, the muscles in his neck beginning to throb. Although she was prone to long silences wherein she seemed to sulk about, the furrow in Jane's brow was completely uncharacteristic of her – or so Holmes gathered. He realized, quite unhappily, that he hadn't known the girl for that long – or properly, for that matter. Why he had ever offered her residence in his apartment was quite beyond him, but as to why Jane had accepted his proposition with hardly a second thought made him suddenly uneasy.
"My brother," Holmes said almost too loudly, the silence finally fractured, splintering into tiny cracks that brought down the quiet completely, "told me that a woman will come up from the house down the way to provide us with supper at six."
Jane nodded, her eyes glued to her notebook. "Good."
Holmes sat himself upright, unable to bear the painful contortionist act any longer. His frown deepened, as did the perplexity in his face. "Is there anything specific that you would like for supper?"
"No, thank you."
"Any beverage? Tea?"
"No, thank you."
Holmes pursed his lips in thought, his gaze focused intently on Jane's body language. "Any pastries or – "
Jane finally glanced up from her notebook, her eyes flinty – daggers to his soul, shredding at the thick walls that had been erected there so many years ago. Perhaps she would strike him to his very core with those daggers-for-eyes, cutting out his heart and slaughtering him right then and there, like some Aztec priest offering up a sacrifice to his Sun god.
"I said no, Holmes."
Sherlock, having unconsciously leaned forward with each question, slumped back against his seat, startled. Jane quickly returned to her work, the look he had seen in her eyes still lingering, even though she no longer looked at him. This wasn't the Jane Holmes had come to know in the weeks preceding that very moment. Perhaps her cycle had come around and the typical emotional imbalance, as Watson had often complained of in regards to Mary, was now exhibiting itself in Jane's normally docile personality – if docile was, indeed, her personality. At that point, Holmes wasn't sure anymore.
She had sent a telegram, not received one. Her actions were unprecedented, completely uncalled for in Holmes's mind. He picked up the nearest piece of paper that hadn't a scrap of writing on it and grabbed a pencil. Holmes wanted to pick up his violin and ruminate on Jane's anger but decided against it, knowing that the girl would recognize that he was ill at ease. No need for her to realize that he was on to her, if that's what he could believe, what with only knowing that she had been fine before sending the telegram. Left with nothing else to do, Holmes put the pencil to paper and scribbled out his thoughts on the matter, using cryptic shorthand that would take Jane at least an hour to decipher should she come across it and become intrigued.
It may have been hours to Holmes, but it had only been minutes. Jane snapped her notebook close and arranged her things in a shamble pile away from Sherlock's things so as not to inadvertently mix her work with his. Holmes glanced up, hoping somewhere deep in his core that Jane's mood had already improved and that the anger she had exhibited was nothing more than a passing phase, a fleeting moment in which she had not been herself at all. He was disappointed to see the same absentminded, distant look on the girl's face, her gaze hardly focusing on him as she spoke in clipped tones.
"I'm going for a stroll," she stated, getting up from her chair. "I'll be back before six."
"Would you like my company – "
"I'd rather be left alone."
She left the room before Holmes could say anything more. He peered down the hall as Jane slipped into her coat and went out into the country, striding by the window without so much as a flicker of the eyes to look inside. Holmes leapt from the chair and rushed to the very window, eyes on Jane's diminishing figure. He was sure she had never been to this side of the country, let alone near his brother's home; how on earth could she know where she was going? Holmes darted through the house to the window nearest to her, peering through the different panes to determine her direction.
I should follow, Holmes thought, squinting to see Jane top the hill. She doesn't want me to, but I should. She could get herself into trouble; danger is fond of young souls, especially women's. He bit his lip, glancing between the door and the last place he had seen Erin. Curse you, Watson, he cried to himself, snatching his coat off his bed. Curse you for not stopping me from getting into this mess.
The door banged shut behind him, left slightly ajar as the sleuth ran for the hills. Inside, the first of Jane's notebooks teetered off the pile, sliding into Holmes's work. It had opened to the first page in its stumble from above the floor; papers from Holmes's work covered most of the words, covered all but one.