A/N – Well, here's part three of what started out as a way to alleviate insomnia. It's told in two parts, Sherlock's pov followed by John's. I have taken complete liberty with the character of Sebastian, the bank Shad Sanderson, and the financial/banking system of the UK and US (although not as much as you might think). I do know that using the FSA for the purposes of this story doesn't make sense as it will be disbanded next year, but it's all I got to work with. No beta so let me know if there are any glaring errors. And let me know what you think!
Warning – Spoilers for The Blind Banker probably a dirty word or two…
Disclaimer – I don't own these characters. I don't believe Shad Sanderson exists, but if it does in some remote corner of the world, the account of the banking practices in this story are completely made up. I'm not afraid of the BBC, I'm terrified of an angry bank.
"This is not that difficult to understand." I repeat to the third sales woman that the store has sent to help me. The first two were rude as well as stupid. This one appears to be suffering from some early onset senility, but at least she hasn't said much.
"Watch me, watch the buttons." She looks confused, but her eyes dart to my hands and watch as I push a button through the button hole for the fourth time. "Do you see? The fit is too tight. I need a pair of pyjamas where the button travels more smoothly through the hole."
Her brow furrows, at least she is trying to follow the thought process. If this wasn't John's favorite store I would have left 20 minutes ago.
After a moment, during which I must look exasperated, she mutters. "And you want them to have a drawstring that is smooth, and doesn't knot easily."
Finally, I think. "Yes, exactly," I read her name tag, "Becca."
She nods. "But these are the wrong size for you."
Rather observant of her given that she didn't manage to match her socks before leaving the house this morning. That, however, is another issue.
"Yes, I know. I am purchasing these for my husband. There was an incident involving hydrochloric acid and recently completed laundry and I need to replace several items, a pair of pyjamas being one of them."
She's nodding again, but looking vacant. She is young and clearly sexually active, I will try innuendo. "Should the need arise to get my husband out of them quickly…" I raise an eyebrow and understanding crosses her face.
"I'll be right back." She smiles and winks at me. I roll my eyes as soon as she turns her back.
My phone chirps with a text message just as Becca holds up a lime green monstrosity that is guaranteed to make John file for divorce if I even think of bringing it into the house. I wave her away and check my message. It's from Mycroft and if I wasn't starving for intelligence right now I'd ignore it.
I open it, the message is short. "Interesting. Wasn't this one of your university friends?" There is a link attached. I open it. Becca comes over with orange paisley. Apparently, I look like a man, who'd marry a man, who'd wear orange paisley. This is bordering on absurd now.
The link is to a Wall Street Journal story.
Washington D.C. – It is being reported that the British Financial Services Authority (FSA) is in the early stages of an investigation into the dealings of London based bank, Shad Sanderson. "Specifically, we are looking into the transactions that have occurred under one executive based out of the London office," confirms FSA spokesperson, Clara Cosgrove. "It is just a standard investigation, we have received several anonymous tips concerning some of the practices of this individual and there are questions that need to be answered. Up to this point both the bank and individual have cooperated fully."
The FSA refuses to comment on the identity of the person being investigated, but a source close to the investigation has confirmed that it is Vice-President Sebastian Wilkes. Mr. Wilkes was generally believed to be the top choice to take over New York operations of the bank as early as next year. This investigation will undoubtedly bring other contenders to the table.
Since Mr. Wilkes oversees the transactions of many US and China based accounts, it is believed that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the China Securities Regulatory Commission will also be opening investigations. The SEC refuses to comment on ongoing investigations and calls to the CSRC were unreturned. A representative for Shad Sanderson says they are cooperating fully and insist that all allegations will be proven false and the reputation of Shad Sanderson will remain untarnished.
I read the article quickly unable to keep a smile from crossing my face. Sebastian is not intelligent enough to orchestrate securities fraud; he would long ago have been caught. He is, however, stupid enough to be unaware that it is going on. It is amusing to know that he is being investigated, even if cleared, his career is essentially over. I wonder momentarily what he is accused of doing, but it really is irrelevant. Sebastian Wilkes has no bearing on my life now.
Yet, I'm oddly satisfied by the article and grateful that Mycroft has sent it to me. I shrug, searching the room for Becca. Perhaps my satisfaction lies solely in the fact that it momentarily alleviated the tedium of this shopping excursion.
"How about these?" I turn and am met with a cobalt blue silk set with oversized buttons and a satin drawstring. I reach out and easily push a button through its hole.
"Perfect." I offer, amazed that they truly are. John will look excellent in this color.
I contemplate forwarding the article to John as I follow Becca to the counter. Perhaps it will alleviate some of the anger he harbors towards Sebastian. For several days after our anniversary I was concerned that John might actually take violent action. I would catch him, fists clenched, staring at nothing. When he'd notice me he would force himself to calm and offer me an unconvincing smile. I had never encountered John like that before and was unaware of how to handle it. Frankly, I was quite alarmed. I was thankful when Harry came to us needing our help with…stop, pause, Harry.
Instantly, I become only vaguely aware of Becca at the cash register in front of me. An image of my sister-in-law swims around in my head and I can't place why she is important. The case she called us in for? I bring up the memory in a moment, it concerned a client of hers receiving death threats. He was a friend, a financial advisor that she'd met through… I pause, and close my eyes, trying to remember the conversation. That information had been unimportant. His name had been Owen; he had been a friend of Harry's ex-wife.
A puzzle piece falls into place in my head and my eyes snap open. I open the article again and read it over. The name is practically pulsating off the small screen at me. Clara Cosgrove. Clara Cosgrove. I recall looking up the court documents from their divorce, I'd been bored. Clara Cosgrove, no longer married to Harriet Watson. Clara Cosgrove who works for the FSA. Clara Cosgrove whose friend we helped. Clara Cosgrove who John was fond of, almost more so that his own sister.
I laugh an all encompassing uncontrollable laugh. I am truly surprised by what I have uncovered. Becca looks alarmed as she reaches to pull my receipt from her machine. I grab the counter to stabilize myself as the other patrons of the store begin to turn in my direction, but they are irrelevant.
"He's brilliant." I say to no one, gasping to regain control of my breathing. "Absolutely bloody brilliant."
Becca nods, handing me my bag and a somewhat frightened look. I offer her a genuine smile in return, feeling suddenly very happy, Because-of-John happy. A wave of affection for my husband sweeps over me, what an amazing little man I married.
I exit the store and hail a cab. A whirlwind of ideas are spinning around my head, as I begin to process the facts that I know with my working hypothesis. I will clearly need more data, but I have all afternoon to collect it. It can't be that difficult to hack into the FSA network.
"Bloody brilliant." I say again as my phone announces another text message. I smile as John's small picture appears next to the words he's typed to me.
"Staying late, probably 18:00. Can you pick up something for dinner please? Love you."
I respond immediately, "Will see." I smile as I hit send. Should my hypothesis prove correct, and I have little doubt that it will, Chinese takeaway will hardly be sufficient repayment.