"This... is a file?" Lestrade stared incredulously at the three large boxes on his desk.
"Alright," Barnhart conceeded, "It's decidedly a little more than just 'a file'. We've been on this man's tail for a while now since he first popped up on the police's radar in 1993. Hundreds of thefts make for hundreds of casefiles, you see." The large man shrugged helplessly.
Hundreds of thefts... Lestrade just smiled wincingly and resisted the urge to ask the Interpol agent why this thief hadn't been caught yet.
"You must be wondering why we haven't caught him yet." Barnhart said, causing Lestrade to look up at him, slightly guiltily, Barnhart pretended not to notice. "You must not look at his M.O and assume that he is an amateur, Inspector." he chided. "It is quite the opposite, in fact. He is too good of a thief to need sophisticated tools of trade. He likes playing with our agents, giving himself a disadvantage to make it easier for us to catch him. And yet, we never have. A fact that I am, quiet honestly, ashamed of."
"You been on this case for long?" Lestrade asked him as he began flipping through files.
"Interpol took an interest in the case in 2000 when he undertook his first heist in the United States." Barnhart shrugged his shoulders. "I was still just a probationary agent at the time, but it was passed down to me seven years later."
"Enlightening." Lestrade hummed into his file. Whether he was referring to something he read, or if he was still listening to Barnhart, the Interpol agent didn't know.
And Lestrade never told him.
"He doesn't stay in one place for too long after a heist." Lestrade said on the phone to Mycroft when he returned to his flat that day. "He's probably halfway to the Bahamas by now."
"Ah, unfortunate." Mycroft sighed back. "And, how far have you gotten with the murder case?"
"Still too little evidence to prove that our thief didn't do it, so we're not ruling the possibility out yet." Lestrade toed off his shoes in his bedroom and sat on his bed with a sigh of relief, thankful to finally be off his feet after a long day.
"Hm, well, I guess there is nothing to be done about it." Mycroft hummed. "Anyway, Anthea is telling me that I have an urgent call to take. Goodnight, Gregory."
"Night." Lestrade called back and hung up.
He tossed his phone onto the nightstand and changed into comfortable sweat pants and a loose T-shirt before wandering into the kitchen looking for something to eat.
Ten minutes later, he remembered about his dirty clothes, scattered messily on his bedroom floor and returned, half a ham sandwich in one hand, to retrieve them.
... He was not expecting to have a late night visitor creep into his house through his bedroom window.
Startled chocolate-brown eyes stared into equally startled grey-blue eyes.
Then, there was the sound of a taser crackling and Lestrade instinctively threw whatever he had on hand at the intruder... his sandwich.
"Oh, ew!" The intruder yelped, batting the hapless meal away in mid-air with the back of his free hand, a look of slight disapproval mixed with amusement glittering in his eyes.
Lestrade took that moment of distraction to land a hard punch to the man's face, followed by him grabbing the man's shoulders, pistoning his knee into the man's stomache, before he flung the man face-first into the wall.
There was a loud 'boom' and a pained 'Oof!' and the taser clattered to the ground.
Lestrade lunged after it but sinewy arms like iron bands clamped around his torso and upper arms from behind, holding him back, fingers scrabbling mid-air just a few inches short of the electronic.
"Inspector!" The intruder called laughingly against his back. "As unbelieveable as the circumstances are, I don't actually wish you any harm!"
Lestrade bucked and threw his head back, making violent contact with the man's nose. The man fell away with a pained grunt and Lestrade grasped the fallen taser.
He fumbled with it a little in his haste and pushed the button trigger.
Lestrade blinked and tried again. Still no response.
"It's fingerprint sensitive. It won't work unless you've got my fingerprints." The intruder ground out with a cough as he stumbled to his feet.
"That doesn't make any sense!" Lestrade said. "You're wearing gloves, it wouldn't pick up your fingerprints either." he pointed out.
"There's a fake latex fingerprint etched on my gloved trigger finger." The man sighed wearily, holding out his hand. "Give it here."
Lestrade held the stun gun away with a snort. "Uh-uh, not going to happen-..." He narrowed his eyes at the intruder's black, leather/latex suit. "...Catwoman." he blurted. "Er... man-... person." He recognized the physical profile that Barnhart had given him. "...Thief."
The man rolled his eyes up toward the ceiling with a heavy sigh. "Don't even start, Darling."
Lestrade scowled, still holding the thief's taser as if he was contemplating on bludgeoning him. "I'm only not going to say anything about this whole 'Darling' business because I'm trying to figure out how 'Not meaning me any harm' equates trying to taser me."
The thief slowly raised his hands to head level, fingers spread, showing empty palms. "If you must know, Inspector, you took me quite by surprise." he smiled in amusement.
"I took you by surprise?" Lestrade sqwawked indignantly. "You're the one who broke into my flat!"
"And for that, I apologize." The man said smoothly, not in the least deterred by Lestrade's outburst. "I wished to speak to you but, you must understand, I don't often feel comfortable in police stations."
"And you wanted to talk to me, why?" Lestrade asked cautiously.
"Well, there is that whole unfortunate business of someone being killed at the place of - on the night of - my heist." The thief shrugged his shoulders.
"And why is that your concern?" Lestrade frowned.
"I know that there is no way I can convince you of my innocence to the crime, but I didn't do it." The thief sighed.
"So why are you here?" Lestrade growled. "Mister Barnhart is the one who believes you are innocent, not me."
"Which is the precise reason I am here, and not there." The intruder chuckled lightly. "I was going to offer my assistance on the case, although..." And suddenly, he was no longer on the other side of the room. In a split second, he crossed the space between them and crowded Lestrade.
Lestrade jumped back in surprise, plastering himself against the wall suddenly with a yelp. Two latex-gloved hands planted themselves on the wall on both sides of Lestrade's head and the thief was suddenly. Right. There.
"...If I had known you were such an attractive man, I would've come and offered my... assistance... sooner." The thief almost purred inches from Lestrade's face. "It seems I have been remiss in my own investigations."
Lestrade blinked, stunned. "Uh..." Then he sensed movement to his right and lashed out at the thief but he was already dancing just out of reach. "Ah-hah! You were going for the taser, wern't you!" Lestrade accused, waving the taser aloft.
"Ugh, it was worth the shot, wasn't it?" The thief shot back with a slight grimace marring his smooth face, planting both hands on his hips. "I like that taser, it feels like letting another man drive my car. I'd like it back."
"You almost had me." Lestrade smirked.
Suddenly, a sly smile crept ghost-like across the thief's face. He lunged forward at the same moment Lestrade swung the taser at him like a club, blocked the blow with his arm, snatched the offending wrist, and shoved Lestrade back into the wall with a creak of protesting plaster.
"Or, maybe I just wanted to seduce you." was purred low and husky near Lestrade's ear.
Lestrade flinched and shuddered when he felt lips, soft and warm, press against his chapped ones. The thief pulled back with a triumphant smirk, toying his taser in his spidery fingers.
Only then did Lestrade notice that it was no longer in his hand.
"Oi, that's not fair...!" Lestrade protested when he shook himself out of his stunned state.
"Who said I played fair, gorgeous?" The man smiled coyly. He ran a latex covered thumb over his lower lip with a twinkle in his eye.
And then he was gone, slipping like a shadow out of Lestrade's window, his last words to the detective echoing like a ghost.
"Stealing, after all, is my speciality."
"Um-... j-just in case you care to know..." Lestrade stammered with a grimace at his empty flat. "...I have a boyfriend and I feel that the kiss was definitely uncalled for."
Not like the thief could hear him by that time.
And Lestrade had the sinking feeling that he wouldn't care, either.
He dropped his head in his hands.
How was this his life?