"The serial killer has struck again." Oh god. Greg didn't think the day could get any worse. The month actually, since this who serial killer thing started. At first, it had seemed innocent enough. A mugging gone wrong, then there were more in a fashion so similar they could only be connected. Then it got worse. Then it wasn't just dirt bags trying to make a buck, then it was innocent people dying just because he could.
"There's good news and bad news." Donavon said as if it would make his day a little better.
"The good news." Lestrade flinched regardless. 'Good' news was never really good news. It was just news that was slightly better than everything else that was happening.
"There were two witnesses." He sat up a little. That was good news. Perhaps he'd finally caught a break. It wasn't without its suspicions, though.
"And the bad news?"
"They're like fifteen."
"I'm five." The little curly headed child at her leg stated, an obvious insult to her intelligence.
"I'm seven." The second added in. Sally glanced down at them, who had followed her after she had clearly told them to stay put (for the third time), but otherwise ignored them.
"They claim they saw the murder."
"We did see the murder." The older boy insisted, his annoyance with the woman almost tangible. Lestrade dropped his head into his hand. This couldn't be happening.
"Yeah. Okay." He responded in near hysteria. "Things can't get any worse. Sit down, boys." Sally frowned, but didn't stop the two brothers from hurrying into the room. They both comfortable fit in one chair, and seem to prefer to sit in one chair. The older one turns his head back to stare down Donavon. To be honest, Lestrade didn't blame him. When she finally left, closing the door behind her, the two boys watch DI Lestrade expectantly.
"Well?" Greg scoffed. Both boys frowned.
"You're not a happy man, are you?" The little one said.
"Married, ten plus years," His brother continued.
"On a nicotine patch,"
"Who are you?" Greg demanded a little louder and caused both boys to reel back a little. Whoever had put them up to this, it wasn't funny.
"I'm Mycroft and this is my brother Sherlock."
"S-H-E-R-L-O-C-K." Sherlock spelled out more than pleased in himself. Mycroft was teaching him to spell everything.
"Those are your names?" The older man questioned with disbelief. Mycroft stared at him in a look Lestrade had seen many times before. The brat thought he was better than him!
"Obviously." Sherlock mimicked in a way that wasn't exactly mimicking. Greg pinched the bridge of his nose and tilted his head back as if to hold back a nose bleed or more likely to prevent any more anger to flood out of his face. They were just kids, he had to remind himself, young kids that thought they knew things they didn't.
"Okay," He said again. "Mycroft, Sherlock," Still with obvious disbelief. "Tell me exactly what you saw." Lestrade could only hope he could make something with it.
"We didn't see his face," Mycroft began. "He was six feet and one and half inches, not counting his shoes of course."
"He had black hair, like off black, though. Not gray."
"A-S-P-H-A-L-T." Sherlock spelled again. "His hair was medium length. Just past his neck and straight."
"He's not married. Definitely a man, if you hadn't realized already. Approximately one hundred and ninety six pounds."
"And he smelled like Hibiscus. H-I-B-I-S-C-U-S. And had pollen on his shoulder."
"He'd have to have gone through the flower shop. Hibiscus don't grow wild around here and I saw the lady tending to them when we went looking for Mummy's present."
"Where is you 'mummy'?" Lestrade, though well impressed by the boys' memory, wasn't sure exactly how much he could believe. Much of it sounded as if they were simply making things up. Most likely for attention.
"Mummy is-" Mycroft began, but didn't seem to have the words for it.
"Mummy isn't feeling well." Sherlock frowned.
"Back to the man. If you go to the flower shop, you can ask the woman working there what she saw? I doubt it was much."
"He probably ducked in only for a moment and he wouldn't have shown his face."
"There was a camera in the alley, but he never looked up, so I don't think you'll get a good view of his face." The older man was having a hard time keeping track of which one was speaking, though the older brother had more seniority and while Lestrade wasn't sure if he remembered more or simply had a better vocabulary, they both seemed set on what they were saying.
"So if I check this camera, I'm going to see a six foot man murder someone?"
"Six foot one and half and yes. Your victim was brutally stabbed,"
"Seven times. His sternum is broken, three ribs, and both lungs are collapsed." Mycroft stated plainly. His expression dared the detective to tell him he was wrong.
"C-O-L-L-A-P-S-E-D. He stayed alive about long enough to suffer through suffocating on his own blood, though I think the serial killer didn't do it on purpose. He didn't seem very smart."
"Sherlock," Mycroft said swiftly and sharply. That was a little bit creepy. Lestrade leaned over his desk a little and examined the two children up close. When neither of them became unnerved, he decided it was worth a shot.
"Donavon. Get me the video feed from,"
"Baker Street. South side. Two cameras in. I think it was 12346-"
"123461229-b." Sherlock smiled, looking toward the older man for a sign that he'd done well. The woman seemed to be a little put off by the children but with a nod from the DI, she went off. Sherlock frowned, but Mycroft gave his curly locks a small stroke and he returned to playing with the edge of his coat.
"How do you boys remember all of this? Or know all of this, actually." Greg questioned, trying to be a little more gentler but finding it a tad hard. He was not being intimidated by children! Sherlock looked at him in confusion.
"I don't understand." Didn't everyone see? Surely adults saw more than him.
"There is no how." Mycroft huffed. Everyone always wanted to 'how'. Why did there have to be a 'how'. Not everything had a how! Mycroft knew that best.
"We just do." To see everything and remember the vitals was simply natural in them. Mycroft had once been worried that his brother would be like everyone else and he wouldn't be able to teach and play with him. He was more than relieved to be able to teach him absolutely everything.
"Does your Mummy know you do this?" He made it sound like 'this' was a bad thing. Both brothers frowned again.
"Like I said, Mummy is very sick. It's best to leave her be." Mycroft repeated himself. He was use to repeating himself.
"How sick is she?"
"Lestrade. You have to come look at this." Sally insisted. Lestrade eyed the boys once more before leaving them alone in his office.
"The exact camera that the little freak said."
"Sally," Greg scolded.
"I'm just saying, it's a little weird. Look. This is from around the time of the murder." Sure enough, in the very same alley, a hooded man went walking after their victim.
"Pay attention, Sherlock." Mycroft drew his brother's attention away from the buttons he was enjoying so much. The young boy glanced to him curiously.
"What do you see?"
"Uh." Green grey eyes darted about the office for a moment. "His wife's doing naught things behind his back with the neighbor and the gym trainer. He knows about the neighbor, not the trainer."
"Good. How did you get there?"
"His planner's open. She goes to the gym every day, but from her picture, which was taken recently because the tree is in bloom and Lestrade still has the petals on the bottoms of his show, she's not losing any weight. It could be because she's still eating bad, but there's health food in his drawer that he keeps taking to work and pretending to eat. A lot of them."
"And the neighbor?"
"He has numbers written down, they're all times. Not work times and they're random. Red and black. He's keeping track of how many times his wife calls. And, um," Mycroft patiently waited for him to continue.
"Oh! There's long periods of blank spaces. He's put a dash next to the times he's called and she didn't answer. Did I get it?"
"Almost. He hasn't been calling. A man won't call his wife that often nor vice versa. It's a nanny cam. The user name and password is on his computer, you can see the reflection of it in the clock. He checks the tapes when he's not busy and marks down when his wife passes by. Considering the frequency of the numbers, it's most likely in the hall. Three way hall. The red numbers are when she leaves home and he doesn't know where she's going. The checks are when she calls about it later."
"So it's not the neighbor?"
"You were right. It's the neighbor. He has his name and number written down, as well as his address and car plates. He's suspicious, but won't confront either of them about it."
"But why is it the neighbor?" Sherlock questioned. Mycroft picked up the picture sitting on the desk top.
"That's Detective Inspector Lestrade." He pointed to the man wrapped around his wife and his younger brother nodded.
"That's his neighbor." He pointed to the reflection in the house window of the younger, obviously more muscular man taking the picture for them.
"I don't understand."
"It's okay, Sherlock. Grownups are strange."
"Hey. Put that down." Lestrade snatched up the photo quickly and returned it to where it was. He seated himself back behind his desk though look thoroughly unhappy about it.
"That was the exact camera." He stated with his evident doubt.
"They write the numbers on the side. I believe they're for tourist and it just happened to be in the right spot." Mycroft explained. The man didn't know very many things, it seemed. The two little boys were use to explaining things to adults.
"I know what it's for." The older man snapped. Both boys clammed up instantly.
"We're going to go to this flower shop and see what they have to say and then I'm taking you straight home." Greg explained and received blank stares of discontent.
"Come on." Neither boy budged. Lestrade had never been particularly good with kids. "You get to ride in a police car." He tried to bribe, but their expressions simply turned sour.
"Ice cream?" He continued. Sherlock seemed to falter for a moment, but one glance to his brother and he continued to mimic the older boy. Alright. This was getting ridiculous. Lestrade moved the chair and leaned down to be at the boy's height.
"I will carry you out of here."
"I'd like to see you try."
"Donavon. Come on." Lestrade instructed as he walked past her desk, one child tucked under each arm. Neither of them were throwing much of a fit but he could almost hear them thinking. They were too smart for their own good. Mycroft looked particularly annoyed. He was too old to be carried like this.
"Uh. Where are we going?"
"Baker Street." Lestrade opened the door with his back and trudged into the parking lot. Sally followed behind him.
"Open the door." He demanded and the woman picked up his steps to open the back seat door. He deposited both kids into the back.
"Put your seat belts on." Mycroft 'hrmped', crossing his arms over his chest indignantly and Sherlock did the same. Lestrade glared at the pair before leaning into the back and putting the seat belts on for them. He slammed the door closed.
"I hope we're taking them home."
"First we need to see how much truth they were telling." The look that came over her face made it obvious that she didn't approve.
"Meanie." Sherlock huffed.
"That's not a real word. Imbecile. I-M-B-E-C-I-L-E."
"Very good." Mycroft praised, dipping his hand into his pocket and retrieving the keys he had pick pocketed from the older man. Sherlock got his wallet. The two boys locked themselves in the car. The noises of the locks going down was more than enough to get Lestrade's attention again. He immediately attempted to open up the door again and Mycroft smirked at him.
"I will put you both in a cell. Open this door right now."
"Well you could do that, but it seems hard to explain how you managed to lock two children in your car. I'm also guessing you have spare keys as you very well should, but considering I can lock it just as fast as you can unlock it, the windows are unbreakable, and you'd need the jaws of life to get the door off, it seems we're at an impasse." Lestrade banged on the window. The boy was way too smart for his own good.
"You will open this door right now. Someone get me their parents on the phone! And someone get me the spare keys!"
"Mummy's sick and we don't have a father. I doubt that's going to get you anywhere." Mycroft assured him. Sherlock browsed through the wallet and Lestrade could only watch as the two boys emptied out his wallet and examined the contents.
"Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade of the Scotland Yard."
"Open the door!"
"You keep yelling at us like it's helping." Mycroft didn't even bother looking at him. Greg turned away from the car, taking a moment to calm himself down. No matter how intelligent they were, they were still kids, which was a hard thing to remember. He turned back again.
"Please open the door."
"Open the door!"
"You're yelling again." Mycroft scolded the same way he did his brother.
"What's an 'S and M Bondage Club'?" Sherlock examined the rather plain card curiously. He passed it to his brother, but the older male simply shrugged. Sherlock turned toward the window.
"What is it, then, DI Lestrade?" Oh god this was turning out to be awful. Donavon wasn't helping at all (though he didn't expect her to know anything about kids, either) and now thought he was some sort of pervert.
"That is not for little boys. That has to do with a case and you need to put it down right now and open this door."
"I hardly think we're your typical 'little boys'." Mycroft scoffed, examining the card further.
"It smells like latex."
"His wallet's leather."
"This code. It's to the bad part of town. Not many people go down there."
"There's no picture, so it must be something secret."
"S and M stands for something." The brother glanced to one another, running through what they knew.
"Could it be drugs? He said it had to do with a case."
"Bondage is the condition of being controlled by something that limits freedom. So it is possible." Mycroft mused.
"Alright. Fine. What do I have to do to get you to open this damn door?" Lestrade smacked the glass again with his palms as if it would magically open. Four eyes turned to him.
"Apologize." Mycroft demanded.
"We were trying to help and you yelled at us." Sherlock puffed his cheeks out.
"That was very rude." Mycroft followed up. Greg's forehead fell against the window with a 'thump'.
"I am sorry." He said slowly. "I did not mean to be rude or upset with you." It was painfully formal and stiff. Mycroft looked away with disinterest and Sherlock did the same.
"What else is in his wallet?"
"Debt card. Library card. Forty euro."
"That seems to be a lot for carrying around."
" That's it." The two brothers mulled over the business card with little more clues. Lestrade really hoped they wouldn't figure it out. He doubted they would, since they did seem to be clueless so far. Little boys, he kept tell himself. Just two bratty little boys.
"Could it be naughty words?"
"I don't see why not." More silences as they thoughts. Lestrade nearly snatched the keys away as they were brought out. He knew he should have taken the squad car. The little brats needed to be confined, just not like this. Sure enough, every time he unlocked it, Mycroft instantly hit the opposite button staring a war of clicking noises.
"Let go of the button!" The boy ignored him.
"It has to be natural occurrence to 'bondage'." Lestrade never thought he'd be in such a situation. Let alone listening to a pair of kids try to figure out a sex card. He knew he should clean his wallet out more often.
"Slavery and murder?"
"No. He wouldn't have kept it if it held bad memories and wouldn't be caught with it if it would get him into trouble." These kids were insane!
"If you open the door, I'll tell you." Again, he managed to capture their attention. Mycroft searched over his face, but turned away again.
"No he won't. He's lying."
"I am sorry, boys. I did not mean to snap at you. This case is very frustrating and you two are a pair of smart asses."
"Please stop cursing in front of Sherlock. He will repeat everything."
"Right. Open the door please. We'll see this flower shop, ask a few people, then I'll help you buy your Mummy a present and take you home, okay?" He said as calmly and as gently as he could. He'd given up. Completely. He heard the door unlock and swiftly opened it before the boy could change his mind.
"I still want ice cream." Sherlock murmured as the detective took his things back.
"Yeah. Sure. I'll get you some ice cream when we're done."
"Well you were right. She didn't see his face, either." Lestrade sat on the bench beside the two boys. Mycroft held a bundle of flowers in both hands, sitting as proper as could be as Sherlock made himself sticky with the strange combination of ice cream he had chosen.
"I suppose I should take you two home now. Your Mummy is probably going to worry." He helped Sherlock clean himself off. For such a young creature, he was surprisingly easy to take care of. They both were, really, when they weren't sulking.
"Are you going to tell me where you live?" Hopefully he wasn't going to make this any more difficult. Mycroft nodded simply.
"Come on, Sherlock. Let's go home." He took his brother's newly cleaned hand in his own and Lestrade followed them back to the car. The older male was just as good as giving directions as he seemed to be about everything else. The home was nice in size, though it didn't look well taken care of. Lestrade had to wonder how long their mother had been sick and even more so, if they were taking care of themselves. He followed them inside.
"The key's up there." Mycroft instructed, pointing toward the hanging lamp. "It's taped to the edge." Carefully, Lestrade fetched it. Mycroft took it from him before he could unlock the door though, and instead used the key to unlock a camouflage rock under a bush down the pathway. He returned with the key, unlocked the door and wiped his feet before entering. Sherlock and Lestrade did the same.
The older boy lit several candles, which Lestrade thought was quiet dangerous, and carried the flowers into the kitchen. A quick test of the lights assured him that they didn't work.
"You don't have electricity?"
"One day it just turned off." Sherlock shrugged. Mycroft returned, having placed the bouquet in a vase of water. He trotted up the stairs and Sherlock followed close behind. The detective was getting an awful feeling, but followed after them. The older of the brothers quietly entered one of the up stairs room and set the flowers on the bed side table.
"Is Mummy sleeping again?"
"Yes Sherlock. She's very tired." Lestrade took a step toward the covered bed. He parted the curtains even as Mycroft viciously glared at him. He was horrified to see that she was not sleeping and hadn't been for a very long time. By the way she looked, she had to have been here for weeks.
"Mycroft, how long has your Mummy been 'sleeping'?"
"Two and a half weeks." Lestrade had been expecting to be able to speak with the woman, to explain to her that her children would need to be kept safe and that they would probably need to be moved somewhere where they could be protected. He had not been expecting to find this. This horrible horrible thing. Mycroft frowned at him. The boy knew. For two and half weeks they'd been taking care of themselves.
"Come on, boys." He instructed, closing the curtain again. "I'll take care of you while your Mummy is sick."