"Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts."


"You were in the paper."

Lestrade chose to ignore the other Inspector and focused his attention on fixing himself a cup of tea. He wondered whether Gregson would likely continue blocking the door to their poor excuse for a kitchen or just follow him down the hall and to his office. He still had not decided which was worse.

"The Keifer case?" Gregson threw out, but Lestrade was not going to bite. He ducked under the much larger man and started toward his office, not surprised in the least to hear Gregson's footsteps coming after him.

"The brilliant Inspector Lestrade?" Lestrade assumed it was a quote; brilliant was not something Gregson would ever associate with the smaller man. "Devoted not just to his job, but to the people of London?" He heard Gregson scoff. "One of the city's best and brightest?"

Gregson entered the office behind Lestrade and helped himself to a seat. Lestrade sat at his desk and tried to look busy.

"Didn't Holmes solve that one for you?" Gregson asked. Lestrade shrugged, and Gregson did not press the matter. They all danced around the fact that the Yard had received a lot of the credit for Holmes work over the years. It was not something anyone ever discussed, and not something Lestrade cared to dwell on.

Gregson altered the direction of the conversation just enough that Lestrade could not justify throwing the man out of his office. "So you're the current favorite, Lestrade. I wonder what Hopkins did to upset them?"

Lestrade offered another shrug and and took a drink of his tea. "Give it a week." He offered, setting the cup back down. "Maybe less, and I'll be back to being the slowest Inspector in all of Britain."

"Three days." Gregson predicted.

Lestrade raised an eyebrow. "Do you know something I don't?" He asked. Gregson smirked.

There was a knock on the door frame and Constable Evans poked his head in through the open door. "Package for you, Inspector. Someone left it for you at the front desk."

Evans handed the package over to Lestrade and excused himself as quickly as possible. He knew the look on Inspector Gregson's face, and he knew the expression on Lestrade's, and he knew he did not want to stick around for the show.

Lestrade frowned at the package wrapped in plain brown paper. It was roughly the size of a cigar box, with no message or writing on it of any kind, which was reason to be suspicious. He had been a Yarder for a long time now, and had never known anything good to come of mysterious packages of unknown origin.

"Are you going to open it?" Gregson asked, eying the package apprehensively. The last time he had opened an unlabeled delivery he had unwrapped the parcel to reveal a huge, disease-ridden black rat. It had been a miracle no one had ended up with the plague.

Lestrade carefully removed the brown paper and set it aside. He considered the cigar box in his hands. He doubted very much that it contained cigars. One, he could not think of anyone who would actually send him a box of cigars. Two, the box did not feel right in his hands.

He had a bad feeling about this.

He lifted the lid and nearly dropped the box. As it was he did set it down on his desk rather hastily and took a step back, feeling slightly ill.

Gregson stared down into the box, his eyes wide, all the color drained from his face. "Holy..." He began, but could not finish. Lestrade ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath.

That turned out to be a mistake. It was all he could do not to react when the smell hit him. He fought back the nausea and turned to Gregson.

"Find Evans. I want to know everything about the drop-off. Send someone for Dr. Watson." He said. Gregson swallowed and nodded. "And keep this quiet for now. The last thing we need is a panic."

Gregson left, closing the door behind him. Lestrade sank into his chair.

"Mercy..." He breathed. He looked back down into the cigar box.

It was full of fingers.


Author's note: I know. The beginning is too short, and the title isn't very good. If I come up with a better title, I'll change it, I promise. The next chapter and all following should also be longer.

And I know I've been gone for too long, and without even school or work as an excuse. I crave your forgiveness, and beg that if you did miss me (sometimes I wonder if people even notice) you review, even if it's to tell me how bad the title is.

Thanks!