A Scandal in Guildhall

MadiHolmes

Chapter One

Note: this is NOT slash. There are certain elements, but not real slash. Also. Public Domain!

"Mr. Holmes, this is a delicate matter. It must stay completely private. Only one other person knows of this circumstance."

Sherlock opened his eyes, chin down against his chest, his body slumped against the chair. "John will stay."

"I-I'd rather."

John shrugged, set about to stand, knowing an order to go bugger off when he heard it.

"You're a diplomat for the United States, have lived in six different countries around the eastern Mediterranean region, and are now in London for superfluous reasons. You prefer public transportation, bicycling, and hate cars. You want me to investigate something so private that you don't even want your family to know about it. You've also gained weight very quickly. You're aware of it, but haven't had the opportunity to lose it, but plan on doing so soon. John is staying."

"Oh." The man fidgeted, plucking at the buttons on his jacket cuff, readjusting his glasses, playing with his lapel.

John resettled back into his chair, trying to act as if it had been a natural movement, that he had merely readjusted his sitting position and failed miserably.

"My name is Jack Xavier, and I work for the State Department. Because my job involves moving quickly, I have very few longterm relationships. I often have to improvise. While stationed in another country, I made a new acquaintance that turned into something far more important than I first thought it would."

"And there is proof?"

"Texts."

"Faked."

"Email."

"Hacked."

"Letters."

"This relationship seems exceedingly verbose."

"Pictures."

"Airbrushed and photoshopped."

"Not these pictures."

"People don't care about pictures anymore. Pictures are boring."

"These could ruin my career."

"Ah, those kind of pictures. And who was the other person in the photographs?"

"Her name is Myra Alexandrei . She's American with Russian familial ties. When I met her, she was a cellist for the national symphony. We struck up a conversation and things moved quickly from there. It was very intense. Far more intense than I had ever experienced."

Sherlock pursed his lips. "Continue."

"I don't understand," John commented slowly.

"When I was first introduced to Myra, her name was Pietrich. It is quite understandable why she created the disguise, but it made things quite interesting at first. In several ways."

"Oh."

"I still love her, you must understand. But I have moved on, and am going to marry in about a month."

"And you think she will blackmail you with those pictures."

"She already has. Not with money, she cares nothing of that. But she wants to hurt me, you see. Embarrass me and destroy my career. You are right that nobody cares about the actual contents, but if some were released, it would prove difficult to explain to both fiancée and employers. It would tarnish my career in certain countries."

"And yet you are set to marry another."

"It's complicated."

"Why not marry Myra?"

"She is a very… passionate person. But not really my type."

Sherlock slipped his laptop into his lap and logged on. "And you need me to retrieve them? What methods have you tried so far?"

"The usual. I have a discreet friend who managed to delete them from her computer, but she has digital copies somewhere else. I can't find them. They're not on any flash drive, cd, or external hard drive. The original camera was long ago destroyed. But I occasionally get emails from public access places. Cyber cafes, libraries, universities, electronics stores. She's easy enough to find her location, but I can't figure out where they're stored. You have to understand. It's not stalking in the full sense. Things just… ended badly."

"This is her? " Sherlock had pulled up a grainy I-tube video shot from a cellphone. A woman with blue streaked hair deftly mixed vibrato with syncopated notes. The music was awful. The tone was off, the sound screechy, but the talent came through anyway. John could hear the music deep from within the muddled mess of background static and whitenoise.

Sherlock closed his eyes and listened.

"And she is here in London?"

"Yes. At Guildhall for the next week. Then she'll be in India and Nepal for a year."

"Then why not marry the fiancée after she leaves?"

"My… soon-to-be wife is rather skittish. She is perfect for me, but I don't want to take the chance of things going wrong. She has a certain sense of the world, and I would never take that away from her."

Sherlock pulled up another video of the cellist. This one was better. It was still grainy and the video shook, but the music came out nearly perfect. A war of a duet between cello and violin. A wave of low notes cresting with high until finally the cello overpowered the violin in both tone and ability. Finally, the two neared the conclusion- the violin three notes behind as Myra stood up still plucking away one handed, waiting for her partner to catch up, then ended on five quick notes. Slamming her bow down, she finally ended the song with. "And that's why you're my bitch!" She laughed, flinging her hair out of her eyes. The audience laughed too, applauding as the violinist smiled and giggled back. Showing that it had been a lark. A humorous snowball fight of music.

"She's… very good," Sherlock stated.

"Too good. That's why she dresses as a man and uses her father's Russian passport in certain countries. They wouldn't let her in to study and work otherwise. She well and truly has two distinct careers. It is just that not many people know that Pietrich is her as well. But I have to think of my future as well. I would have married her, but that is long since past."

"And you want a more public career. A high-profile political career."

"Yes."

"And your future depends on having zero ties to Pietrich."

"Exactly."

"We'll take the job."