Title: A Tall Ghost
Author: AnnieVH
Summary: Sherlock tells Mycroft a ghost story of sorts.
Rating: PG.
Genre: humor
Characters or Pairing: Mycroft, Sherlock, mentions Lestrade, John and Yarders.
Prompts: meredydd left me this one for my Bunny Meme: "Mycroft Holmes and haunted house". Such potential!
Notes: based on "The Adventure of the Tall Man", which was only sketched by Conan Doyle, but still has a funny premise nonetheless.
Warning: none.
Spoilers: The Adventure of the Tall Man.
Disclaimer: don't own, just take them out to play and then safely return them to BBC.


"It's complicated."

Mycroft's hands clenched the umbrella, making sure not to let go and fly to his little brother's neck for a fatal squeeze. "Then you better start at the beginning."

"The murder."


"Lestrade came by four days ago, suspicious about a suicide case that got to his hands. Charles Goodlin, a mildly successful business man locked himself in his bedroom and shot himself in the head, a suicide note printed off his laptop."

"Handwriting is a dying art," Mycroft sighed. "What sounded particularly fishy about that crime scene?"

"Nothing," Sherlock answered, "a typed down suicide note may not be perfect, but the room was locked from the inside and there was no sign of a struggle"

"And yet there you were," Mycroft said, making it clear that was not the best place for his brother to hang out.

"Lestrade had a hunch. And he may not be a brilliant detective, but he has good instincts. Don't let him know I said that the next time you kidnap him, by the way."

"So," Sherlock continued, "Lestrade took me to the crime scene and showed me the photographs, and finally I was able to point out something strange. Goodlin lived by himself, and his niece only visited about twice a month. Why would he lock himself in his bedroom if there was no one he wished to keep out?"

"Because whoever did it wanted desperately for it to look like suicide was the only reasonable explanation," Mycroft answered. Wasn't a difficult leap, but judging by the color on Sherlock's face it had taken him more than a few seconds to get to that conclusion.

"Obviously," he said, bitter. "Not much of a proof, but it was a start. And Lestrade had a suspect, Jack Morgan, who had had a nasty fight with Goodlin the week before the murder. Except, a small deduction was not enough to convict a man. He needed proves."

"So you played his bloodhound once again," Mycroft tutted, making his little brother frown. "You went after evidences, and what happened?"

"There was none. Lestrade did quite a thorough job - well, thorough for Lestrade and his clowns. But even after I examined the scene, and the suspect's house-"

"Which I'm assuming was done with a warrant and Lestrade's permission."

"... and learned all the facts I could, there was still nothing. It was truly a perfect crime." Sherlock had a little light in his eyes when he said that and Mycroft felt the urge to shoot him with the hidden gun embedded in his umbrella, just to see if Sherlock would eventually develop a negative reaction to the word crime.

Instead, Mycroft controlled himself and said, "At which point you should have excused yourself from the case and admitted defeat. But of course, you can't bear the thought of defeat, so you decided to resort to less conventional methods."

Sherlock smiled, "Unconventional, but still brilliant."


"It served its purpose."

"A little too well."

His little brother wanted to laugh, but he held it in, knowing Mycroft would not take it well. Instead, he explained, "As so it happens, I found out through my research that Morgan is a very superstitious man. So, I chose to play with his mind and get him to admit to the murder by-"

"By pretending to be a dead man walking," Mycroft cut in, displeased.


"The dead man said suspect had supposedly killed."


"What were you aiming for, exactly, dear brother?"

"A guilt trick. The fear for his eternal soul." Sherlock rolled his eyes, "Absurd, of course, but it worked to my advantage. The victim was a white male of my exact height and weight; with such little time to learn his traits and voice, that served me well. And so it happens I didn't have to be a convincing Charles Goodlin, all I had to present was what our suspect thought he'd see."

"Pale guy decomposing covered in white sheets and chains," Mycroft said, still sounding very much annoyed, though Sherlock wasn't sure if that was directed to him or to Morgan's lack of imagination.

"I could have done better, but why waste time on things that could not work."

"So you sneaked into Morgan's house dressed as a B movie zombie, moaning words of hellfire and threats of pulling him to Hades with you if he didn't confess to his crime."

"That is a simplification of my work, but yes."

"And he did admit to it."

"Quicker than you'd imagine," said Sherlock, proudly.

"And you didn't stop then because...?"

"Admitting it to me meant nothing legally. As soon as I revealed myself he'd have asked for a lawyer and denied the whole thing. If I got the police to hear his confession, the better the chances for Lestrade to put him away. Therefore, as I stall him, I sent John a sign and he called in Lestrade and his men."

"Sure. Makes perfect sense. Except, once the Scotland Yard got to his house, and entered the room after hearing the suspect screaming for help, finding you dressed as the dead man, and heard him screaming 'I killed him! I killed him! Please take me somewhere safe! Don't let him take me with him! Please, oh please! I killed him!', providing the police with enough evidence to put him away for life, you should have stopped."

"I should have, yes."

"However, you did not."



"Because if I had revealed myself, it would have looked like I was with the police."

"You were."

"But they didn't know it was me, nor what my plans were. If he knew I was collaborating, his lawyers would very likely say the police was using of coercive methods to get an innocent man to admit to a crime he didn't commit."

"And what was your plan, exactly?"

"To wait for Lestrade to take the man away and get out quietly as they left the house."

"Ah. That didn't happen, though."

"Not my fault Lestrade couldn't see it was me in the dark room and... you know... slightly panicked," Sherlock let out a chuckle, but got it under control when Mycroft gave him a deadly glare - one that seemed ready to challenge Mother's rage and seriously hurt his younger brother.

"Of course," Sherlock continued, "those idiots that work under him just followed his reaction and started screaming. The next thing I know, everybody's running around trying to find an exit. People screaming in terror and desperation."

"And at that point you didn't stop because...?"

"It just seemed pointless. I mean, they were leaving the house and taking the suspect with them."

"And John didn't try to stop you because...?"

"He was unable to move."

"Because he was laughing so hard."


"And so you decided to-"

"Chase them three blocks down with my chains in ghost disguise threatening to take them all to hell with me until I finally got bored."

"Which brings us back to the initial question: why?"

Sherlock tried, but could not repress a smile, "Honestly, at that point everything was very amusing."