Inspector Geoff Lestrade's POV
I get a call from John about two hours after I leave them in the cab. He speaks in short sentences.
"Geoff, call Billy, tell him to reveal the poisoned tin. Then call McKay. Get him to come over. He's solved it." I mumble something and he hangs up. I look at my phone and then at Art and the girls.
"He says he's solved it." I tell them, registering their looks of surprise and then I text Billy. I leave it ten minutes and then dial the number of the station.
"McKay." His voice is gruff, tired. I feel bad for him, slogging away at a case that it took Sherlock this long to solve. I wonder if people feel sorry for me sometimes. I sigh.
"Lestrade. Just had a call from Sherlock, can you come over? He's got some new leads." I don't just tell him the smart arse amateur from London has solved the case. He can work that bit out himself. He sighs again.
"I'm coming over. Just got to talk to labs first." That'll be Billy, I grin to myself.
"Ok. See you." I hang up. The rest of the gang look at me. None of us expected this to end tonight; this is how it always is with him. Fireworks, the big bang, sudden, crashing.
"Well," says Rose standing and walking to the drinks cabinet. "I need a whisky. Anyone?" There is a unanimous show of hands. She smiles.
Another hour later and McKay arrives with a couple of officers and he doesn't look too happy when he realises we're all waiting for Sherlock to arrive.
"Where is he?" He snaps, pale eyes searching the room like we've got Sherlock under the bed. I doubt he'd fit anyway.
"He's on his way." I nod, hoping I'm right. "Was the traffic bad?" I look at my watch to indicate that this looks like McKay took his time getting here. This must be why he's so annoyed, he's still waiting for Sherlock and he dawdled deliberately.
"No. I just came from the labs and had a call from the hospital on the way here. The lab geeks have worked out how the poison was administered. And Jennifer Samuel's has just been brought in, suspicion of tetrodotoxin ingestion but she'd been administered the antidote." He raises an eyebrow. "Would you know anything about this?" I shake my head and hope I look convincing.
At that moment the door is flung wide and Sherlock strides in, holding the porter by the arm. He lets go of him as we all step back. Behind him I see John; his face is ashen and drawn. It looks like he's had quite a night.
"Ah! Inspector McKay! A joy and pleasure as always. Right!" He rubs his hands and throws himself onto an armchair, long legs folded over the arm. "Shall we?" he gestures to the porter who is looking around like a trapped rat. Sherlock leans in his chair and pokes the wretched man with a pointed foot.
"Er, well. I er... turned off the electricity to the CCTV cameras on the night that bloke was killed. I didn't want to! I mean, that Miss Samuels made me do it! She said she'd get me fired. I can't afford to lose another job! Oh god." He puts his head in his hands and actually starts to cry. Sherlock sighs, it's more of a huff actually, and pokes the man again. I'm beginning to feel sorry for him.
"And... then she came and asked me what had been happening at the hotel and..." he breaks down. Mackay looks at one of the burly men who flank him and nods towards the door. They lead the sobbing man outside.
Sherlock throws himself out of the seat, nearly tipping the armchair over.
"Yes, yes! And then he told her what we'd found out and she started to follow Lestrade and John." he points to us, just in case McKay is unsure of our identities. It's like he took a course in 'getting up the nose of the Force 101'. I look at McKay and see a familiar expression on his face.
"I know I'm going to regret this Mr. Holmes, but, why would she follow these two?" McKay rolls his eyes at his remaining officer.
"Because she knew that I was on to her! This is the name of the woman who tampered with the tin of mints by the way," he hands McKay a note which the other man doesn't even bother to read. "And then tonight she tried to commit suicide just as her friend Sebastian Faulkes did only five days earlier." He ends with a flourish and flops back down.
"Hang on Sherlock." I can't help it, I have to ask. "Faulkes killed himself? Why? To frame Art?" Sherlock smiles a slow smile.
"Yes, but that was not his original plan Geoff." I frown.
"No? Enlighten us, I can see you're dying to anyway." His quirks up the side of his mouth, I watch his left eye nearly winking shut. He's a cocky bastard but he's usually right too.
"The poison was meant for you Geoff. Puffer fish to make it look like Art's work. But he couldn't do it and he couldn't live alone so he..." he mimes popping a pill, or a mint I suppose. I rub my hand over my face.
"Bloody hell." I sit down on the sofa next to Art, who strokes my hand.
"And Miss Samuels?" I can tell McKay doesn't want to ask the question but you can't help but be impressed with Sherlock's deductions. He is amazing even though he's bloody maddening.
"He phoned her when he was dying. Told her everything. She rushed here to save him, was too late, burn the note and talked that bloke," he gestures with his thumb to the open doorway through which the police have led the porter. "Into shutting down the cameras and wiping that night's recordings." He slaps his hands together and rubs them, grinning.
"My god." Art breathes to himself. Laura and Rose are holding hands, looking scared by this brush with murder which has come so close to us all. I can't begin to think about how close it came to me.
"Right. Well, obviously Miss Samuels, Miss..." McKay scans the paper. "Miss Peckham and the porter will have to corroborate this story but... well; it seems I have a busy night ahead." Sherlock holds out his hand. He's a good sport really; I assume it's what they teach them at public school.
McKay looks at the hand and then at Sherlock. I really think he doesn't want to even touch the lanky Englishman but then he smirks and shakes the long, bony hand.
"Next time you need a holiday Mr. Holmes..." he doesn't end the sentence. Sherlock nods.
"Wales. It'll be Wales next time." McKay chuckles wryly and leaves.
There is shouting on the corridor. It's a voice which makes us all go cold. I look at the others, all our faces are tight, nervous, especially Art's. Sherlock walks to the window and looks out into the street, he checks his watch and smiles to himself.
Dr John Watson's POV
The shouting gets louder and it's obvious who it is. Geoff stands up and positions himself between Art and the door and, without meaning to, I follow suit. Laura stands and grabs her bag, rummaging in the depths of the leather for something.
The door, already open, is pushed wide so that it bangs against the small wooden doorstop and nearly comes off its hinges. It's the Marquis, Art's dad. He's still in a kilt and he's still annoyed. I wonder if he has any other moods.
"So, they let you out Arthur! Jesus, boy you're a disgrace. Prison might have knocked some sense into you anyway!" He makes for Art but Geoff is in the way. He brings up an enormous hand to grab Geoff's shoulder.
"I wouldn't do that." Sherlock's voice is cold and impeccably posh. The Marquis looks up and for a brief second he has another expression, surprise. Then this is replaced again by the more familiar rage.
"What? Who the fuck are you? Another one of my son's queers? For Christ's sake!" He spits as he turns on Sherlock, Geoff narrowly escapes being knocked into the wall by the man's swinging frame.
Now the Marquis is rounding on Sherlock. Both his hands are out and I can't decide if he's going to grab or hit him. Reflexively I check for the nearest nerve centre to paralyse if he goes any nearer. I needn't bother.
"John?" There voice at the door has a note of polite enquiry. At first I think it means me and I turn to see Mycroft, wearing golfing trousers and a pale yellow jumper, standing in the doorway. "John." I realise he's talking to Art's dad. It takes a while to register that this man has such an ordinary first name. It's ahrd to imagine we have anything in common.
The big man actually looks scared. As he turns he catches Sherlock's eye. Sherlock winks. God. Before the Marquis can react, and no doubt pound Sherlock into next week, Mycroft speaks again.
"John, just a moment of your time, please." His voice is mild, quiet and could stop a charging rhino herd. Just as well really.
The Marquis is looking at Mycroft in horror. It's like a snake and mongoose, an elephant and a mouse. Only Mycroft is the most singularly scary mouse I have ever seen. His expression, head cocked, eyebrow raised inquisitively, is one which means you are going to get the kicking of your life. And not a physical one, not the sort the Marquis is used to handing out and could no doubt survive rather well. No, this kicking involves status, humiliation and downfall. For once I decide I love Sherlock's brother.
"Mycroft?" he sounds altogether different now, more cowed, sober. Mycroft smiles brightly and saunters into the room.
"Oh, I do apologise about the attire but I thought I'd get a spot of golf in while I was in the country. Marvellous course just up the road, you know. Devilish tenth hole, mind you." He stops talking and smiles again. The only other person smiling in the room is Sherlock. Laura looks nervous and the rest of them have no idea at all as to who is this man in golfing trousers. Lestrade is frowning, looking from Mycroft to the Marquis and back again like he's watching the most surreal tennis game ever. If it is a tennis game then Art's dad is playing a champ.
"Mycroft." The big man says it again, like it might be a charm that works to banish this evil fairy back to whence he came. No such luck mate, I think to myself. Mycroft's sauntering has taken him right over to the side of the Marquis. When he puts out his hand to touch the broad muscled shoulder the Marquis actually flinches. Mycroft smiles wider and I see that shark fin circling in the water. I start to actually feel sorry for Art's dad; whatever Mycroft has in store for him is going to be bloody. The Marquis' a bully and a thug but Mycroft's a surgeon with power.
"So, as I was in the area I thought I'd pop by and see how you were all getting on. John, always a delight to see you." He smiles at me warmly, the chilly mask of affability falling for a second as he looks genuinely pleased. "Sherlock, you look well. The Edinburgh air must agree with you. And this must be Lestrade, Art, Laura and Rose." He looks them over and they nod as though he's hypnotised them all. Only Geoff frowns, I can almost see his mind racing as to the identity of our new friend. Mycroft looks at Geoff intently.
"Inspector, I think you'll find your Super has a place for a certain Mr Pickin down at Scotland Yard, oh don't worry," he holds up a hand as Geoff is about to speak. "Mr Pickin has no roots in Edinburgh, I'm sure he'll be more than happy to come home. "He smiles benevolently and Geoff just stares back. Mycroft moves on to Art.
"Oh do keep this one!" He says in a camp tone which possibly has more menace than anything he's said yet. Art smiles a small smile, unsure of where to go with the comment.
"Lady Ashton, I saw your father only yesterday. He said to give you his love and remind you that the Audi will need a service soon, fathers eh? So terribly worrying." He glances at Sherlock and a cloud passes over both of their faces. "And Rose, have you been in contact with home recently? I think you sister has a happy announcement to make next time you call." He grins and his shoulders come up slightly as though he's excited for Rose's family news. He is terribly frightening like this. He turns back to the Marquis.
"Ah! John. Now, I saw a not too distant cousin of yours a few days ago and I was telling her about what's been going on up here..." Even though we have no idea who or what Mycroft is talking about we all see the threat, hanging in the air like poisoned honey. The Marquis swallows and his face goes a sickly yellow.
"Actually we talked a lot about you. Your family, your lovely ex wife, you know, that sort of thing." Mycroft wrinkles his nose to show how trivial the conversation is but we are all feeling the arctic chill sweeping the room.
"Anyway, your not too distant cousin asked to be reminded to you and asked me to give you this." He produces a heavy, expensive looking envelope. As he passes it to the Marquis I notice there is a coat of arms on the back. The hand which comes out to take the envelope is trembling and we all watch as the Marquis, now seemingly oblivious to our presence, slits the seal with his thumb nail. He looks like he might be sick.
There is a silence as he reads the letter. The clock on the mantelpiece ticks loudly reminding me of 221b. Suddenly I really miss home. I long to be back and tucked up on the sofa watching bad detective shows.
Even though all of us are absolutely dying to know what is in the letter it's as though we can divine its contents from the expression on the big man's face. Surprise, shock and then outright horror spill over his face. I look at Sherlock, he is grinning. I look at Art, he is smirking.
The Marquis folds the letter carefully, respectfully and tries to put it in the envelope but he's shaking so badly he ends up just holding it and looking defeated. Mycroft is still smiling that genial uncle/mass murderer smile he has.
"So, that's lovely then! John? I presume you'll be popping along with me? We can have a jaunt up to your cousin's holiday home later maybe? She's dying to talk to you about grandson's wedding, very excited. Been a while coming though if you ask me." He winks conspiratorially. I suddenly realise who they are talking about. No wonder Art's dad looks scared. She's the only person who can still have you legally beheaded. You don't want to piss her off.
Mycroft gives a little wave as he leads a destroyed Marquis away.
"Bye Sherlock! John! See you in London; Daddy wants us all to have tea soon!" I wave and then realise that Sherlock is scowling, my wave slows and stops, my hand still in the air. I look at it and put it in my pocket.
There is a long silence while everyone, in their own way, ingests what just happened. Art is the first to speak.
"Well, I'm packing! We're going home! Laura have you got the car?" Laura shakes her head.
"Flying darling, but there's room for you boys?" She includes us in her glance. I look at Sherlock. He nods.
The flight home is uneventful. Everyone is too shell shocked by the week's proceedings to talk much. Art sits with Geoff; I see their hands folded together on the arm rest. Laura and Rose discuss the pregnancy they've just discovered when Rose phoned her sister, Alice, at the airport. Sherlock sleeps.
He sprawls his long legs out across the gangway, snoring gently. When he wakes up I make him eat something, he must be exhausted. He smiles as he starts to eat one of the four yoghurts he has requested from the stewardess. Then there's a cheese sandwich which he divests of its lettuce before consuming it with a glee, then a bar of chocolate and a plate of scones.
"Who is Art's distant cousin Sherlock?" I ask him as he begins the scones. He looks up at me and raises his eyebrows. I don't ask again.
At the airport we promise to meet up later in the week to just catch up. We all just need some time alone I think and Laura and Rose talk about going to the States for a family visit.
"Don't forget you said you might want to avail yourself of the facilities at my house!" Art calls as he and Geoff get into the car. The facilities? Sherlock grins and waves.
"I'll call you about getting it set up!" he laughs. I look at him. The dungeon! Oh right. Oh god.
The drive through the London streets is reassuringly protracted. The dark sky is mirrored in the puddles and the slick shiny roads. The streetlights compete with each other as to which can be the gaudiest. People hurry along, all eager to be somewhere. The cafe downstairs still has its lights on; I glance inside and see that the small tables are packed with a throng of young women. I'm about to mention this to Sherlock but he's already unlocked the door and is running up the stairs.
At 221b Mrs. Hudson has lit a fire and put milk in the fridge. Sherlock phones the Chinese and I get the plates out.
"Right, back in a minute. Are you sure you don't want to go to Clara's?" he asks as he puts on his coat. I shake my head. I'm tired and I really just want us to be alone. He nods and I hear his footsteps as he runs down the stairs.
I sit on the green sofa and just relish being home. I need a holiday, I think to myself wryly. My life's been nonstop since I met him. And to think I said nothing happens to me.
He comes back, dishing the Chinese food out unequally onto the plates until I look at him and he reverses the process, giving me much more than I need. I take the spoon and redistribute until we each have half. He grins.
"So, what's this programme we're watching?" he throws himself on the sofa, plate held high so it doesn't spill.
"Spectre Inspector," I say glancing at him sideways. He frowns.
"About ghosts? A ghostly police officer?" he adds hopefully.
"No," I shake my head as I press the button and the credits begin. A woman, lit green by a night vision camera runs screaming silently into the screen; Sherlock turns to look at me. "It's a live ghost hunting programme." He shovels a forkful of food into his mouth; I watch his perfect lips slick back on the prongs. Still chewing he answers me.
"There's no such thing as ghost John, this is going to be very disappointing."
Well, here we are at the end! I really hope you enjoyed the mystery and I'm excited to start the next one. I might have a bit of a break between them, not long but enough to get my breath. I've got lots of exams to get my students through before the end of term. I also have a Dexter fic brewing in my head... but fear not, there will be another adventure for our boys! Thanks for your support and enthusiasm so far!
Oh and I know the death penalty was revoked in England but being beheaded is much more dramatic than being being banged up so I cheated!
Many thanks to the Baker Street Irregulars. It's been so much fun writing these stories with you. PrincessNala and Verityburns Darmed Clubba Bear, 2cajuman2,Aelfric's cat ,Mrs winny and Harpyquin and Jazzysatindoll, thegeekyprincess and Flabagash and new girls afrieal, Dead Air Space, Melissa Ivory, staceuo, foxfire222 and Sapphykins! You've made this such a great experience!
Love to Reggie for everything.