"Bunny, Raffles. Raffles, bunny." Lestrade introduced the thief to the squirming bundle of white in his arms.
The three Holmeses, John, and Lestrade were all gathered at Baker Street to welcome Sherrinford.
"Seriously?" Sherrinford asked without inflection.
"Thought he might make a good 'Welcome back to existance' gift." Lestrade shrugged.
"Seriously?" Sherrinford's right eyebrow twitched.
"He glows." Lestrade told him innocently.
"Seriously?" Sherrinford's eyes widened but he made no move to touch the rodent.
"Uh huh, Dr. Stapleton introduced me to the little guy." Lestrade grinned affectionately. He lifted the bunny and turned to the Baker Street Duo. "Say hi to Bluebell's boy!"
John looked up with a pleasant smile. "Oh, she gave birth? How lovely."
Sherlock rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath about 'fairies'.
Mycroft just shook his head and sighed. "I didn't know you were in contact with Dr. Stapleton."
"Oh, I'm not really." Lestrade shrugged. "She was a real help for the police after the Baskerville Case. Kept my number in her extensive list of contacts. It was coincidence, really. Apparently, my name was in her list right next to a friend that she was hoping would take this little guy in and she accidentally called me. Anyway, we got talking and I remembered Anthea saying something about 'Raffles's needing Bunny's'. So, here he is!"
"Seriously?" Sherrinford blinked, near uncomprehending.
"Well, whims are whims, and they need to be indulged." Lestrade shrugged back.
"...Seriously?" Sherrinford groaned, reluctantly taking the white rabbit off of Lestrade's hands.
"Stop saying 'seriously'." Sherlock growled. "It makes you sound like it's the only word you know."
Sherrinford regarded Sherlock with a look. "...Seriously?" He looked at Mycroft and shook his head. "Let me guess, grammar Nazi?"
"For as long as I've known him." John sighed.
Sherrinford snorted and lifted the bunny to eye level, staring at its twitching nose. "In honour of Inspector Lestrade's odd sense of humor, I think I'll call you Manders."
Unfortunately, the name Bunny stuck, Manders did not.
"At least it's a rabbit, not a cat." Lestrade teased, bouncing on the balls of his feet.
"I would've been perfectly happy to get a fox." Sherrinford smiled slyly. "A silver one, to be more precise."
"Oh, you should be so lucky." Lestrade returned good-naturedly.
"Shut up, Lestrade." Sherrinford said affably. "You foxy thing, you." he added more to irk Mycroft than anything.
Mycroft cleared his throat loudly and Sherlock smirked.
"Don't get so hot-headed, Mycroft." The youngest Holmes brother said. "I thought you were supposed to be the Iceman."
Sherrinford froze mid-pet, causing Bunny to squirm indignantly under his motionless fingers. "'Iceman'?" His eyes were wide. "You're the Iceman? But-... but that would make-..." He looked at Sherlock. "Oh- Oh, no way in Hell. You're the Virgin? Sherlock, you can't be a virgin! I refuse to accept that, you're thirty for God's sakes! Ack! Killing brain cells now-..."
Mycroft rolled his eyes. "Not everybody is a sexual fiend as you are, Sherrinford." he sneered, it was all very mature.
"No. No Holmes boy is allowed to not have tasted of female flesh beyond eighteen years. Not on my watch!" Sherrinford seemed genuinely appalled... and a little in awe, he looked at Sherlock like he was secretly a unicorn.
"He's not a virgin!" John blurted instinctively and choked when he realized what he just said. "I mean-... not anymore." he trailed off lamely. Silence reigned supreme. "Um... hi, I'm Sherlock's boyfriend, John Watson."
Sherrinford stared at the ex-army doctor for a long moment. "Well - one - I suppose I should congratulate you both. Two - if you hurt him, I'll kill you, blah, blah, blah. Three - thank God for you, Doctor Watson! I don't think I could go through the ordeal of explaining about the 'birds and the bees' to another Holmes."
There was a collective inhale from the rest of the room.
"Sherlock, don't you dare." Mycroft snapped pre-emptively, levelling a sharp look at the younger Holmes.
John bit his teeth into his bottom lip so hard that he drew blood, but he was grinning helplessly.
"Oh my God, Mycroft!" Lestrade wailed through uproarious laughter, completely disregarding every shred of common sense. "Sherrinford, where have you been all my life!"
"I'll bury you, Gregory." Mycroft seethed at his chortling boyfriend. "Bury. You. In paperwork. I'll do it. Don't tempt me."
"Christ." Lestrade wheezed. "This is gold. I gotta tell Anthea." And he whipped out his phone.
Mycroft sagged slightly and let out a groan.
Sherrinford's brow creased and he mouthed 'Anthea?' questioningly around Mycroft to Sherlock.
Sherlock nodded his head toward Mycroft and mouthed back 'PA'.
John joined in the silent conversation. 'BFFs' he added, gesturing toward Lestrade and Sherrinford grinned, nodding understandingly.
Mycroft wanted to throw his hands up, launching the whole insane situation into the Almighty's hands. He also wanted to cry. Just a little bit. He would've if he wasn't Mycroft Holmes.
He envied Lestrade who was freely shedding tears... of mirth.
Oh Lord, it was going to be one of those days...
"So." John prompted uneasily a few hours later while Sherlock and Mycroft were engaged in brotherly banter and Lestrade was downstairs talking with Mrs. Hudson about something or the other. "You're a thief."
Sherrinford glanced over at John, who was sitting in his usual armchair, fidgeting. The thief lounged, completely at ease, on Sherlock's couch, his boots elevated slightly, crossed at the ankles on the armrest. "Mhm, yeah. Does it bother you?" He shifted to slot the opposite armrest more comfortably on the curve of his neck and entwined his fingers on his stomache.
"Uh, no." John replied uneasily, thinking back on all the times he and Sherlock broke the law for a case. "I mean, that would be a little hypocritical, and all." he trailed off at Sherrinford's lazy, cat-like smile. "What?"
"You're adorable." Sherrinford grinned. "Like a constantly upset kitten, or a morose teddy bear. You look like you have very pinchable cheeks." He shook his head at John's baffled look. "I'm sorry, you were speaking, go on."
"It- um-..." John blinked confusedly and shook his head. "I don't-... sorry, I don't even remember what I was saying. Christ."
"Stealing. Hypocritical." Lestrade chimed in, having walked in on the last part of the conversation. "As a copper, I really don't want to know."
Sherrinford raised his eyebrows. "What? Are you playing favorites? Why does John get away with stealing, and not me?" Lestrade scowled. "And on that note, why does Sherlock get away with impersonating a police officer and not me?"
Lestrade raised his gaze to the ceiling. One the one hand, it would be better to explain the unique situations of those offences... But on the other hand... "Yeah." he said flatly. "Yeah, I play favorites and you're not one of them."
Sherlock glanced over and chuckled, smirking, and Mycroft looked honest-to-God proud. Sherrinford let out an indignant sqwawk.
"But seriously," Lestrade continued, not seeing the other two Holmes's looks behind him. "what did make you start stealing?"
Sherrinford shrugged. "I fell in love with a painted lady and so far, I've never failed to obtain anything I've ever wanted."
"Be it a portrait, gem, or a woman." Mycroft rolled his eyes.
"You say it like it's a bad thing." Sherrinford said with half a smile.
"Eton." Mycroft glared. "Don't think I've forgotton how you manipulated your way out of it."
"Again, not an entirely bad thing." Sherrinford chuckled proudly.
"You slept with your botany professor!" Mycroft groaned as Sherrinford's face broke out into a feral smirk. "And her husband!"
"Best thing I've ever experienced in Uni." Sherrinford sighed with obvious satisfaction.
"I hate you. I loathed to show my face at Eton even before they knew a Mycroft Holmes existed and that he was going to attend." Mycroft scowled.
"I'm sure you handled it." Sherrinford waved him off breezily.
"They wouldn't even glance in my direction for the first week." Mycroft shook his head.
"Only the first week?" John asked.
"I am Mycroft Holmes, after all." Mycroft said simply like that answered everything. And in a way, it did.
Bunny hopped out from under Sherrinford's couch and twitched his nose a few times. Then, he snorted softly in a ploy to gain pets and Sherrinford indulged him, grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and plopping him onto his stomache.
Bunny grunted once, twitched his ears, and hunkered down, back facing Mycroft.
"Sherrinford." Mycroft said, eyes on the insolent rodent. "I don't think your pet likes me."
Sherrinford just continued petting Bunny's fur. "Good boy." he cooed with a grin.
"So, you're Anthea." Sherrinford smiled charmingly at the lovely young lady who came to pick Mycroft up.
"So, you're Sherrinford." Anthea replied simply, in the exact same tone, not even sparing him a look.
"I've heard alot about you." Sherrinford said.
Anthea finally looked up from her Blackberry, eyebrows quirked a little in sympathetic amusement. "No you haven't."
"Being Mycroft's PA and Inspector Lestrade's confidant must be exhausting." Sherrinford continued in a friendly manner, not in the least deterred.
"They were insufferable before they got together." Anthea conceded. "And if you do anything to sabotage that, I'll rip out your intestines and strangle you with them." She said in a cordial tone that contrasted her words and smiled winningly. "Okay?" Then, she returned her gaze to her Blackberry.
Sherrinford looked at Lestrade and Mycroft with a mildly embarrassed expression. "I think I'm in love."
Interpol's International Art Theft Investigation Specialist, Agent Stephen Barnhart returned from work late that night and tossed his keys into a bowl on a counter in his meagre kitchen when he saw something out of place in his sitting room.
He blinked blankly, squashed the brewing feeling of trepidation with caution, and palmed a kitchen knife as he crept stealthily to his bedroom where he kept his gun as Interpol agents do not usually walk around armed like other police organizations.
When he was safe in his bedroom, he soundlessly lifted his gun out of his safe and flicked the safety off.
After he had secured the house and came up empty on suspects, he returned to his sitting room and flicked the lights on.
There was a long, cylinder tube standing, leaned on the back of his sofa. Agent Barnhart, ever careful for fingerprints, snapped on a pair of disposable gloves and carefully picked it up.
It was quite light, no signs of sabotage or foul play. There was a note stuck to it and Agent Barnhart peered at it curiously.
With love, from the wrong side of the Law. And a provocative red kiss mark.
The frantic hunt for the stolen painting subsided the next day.
A/N: Bunny and Raffles. It had to happen. For REASONS. Okay? And, to demonstrate my very long and complicated thought process, I will write it out for your viewing pleasure.
International career criminal/thief, at the time of creation, an unnamed charming middle-aged gentleman. - Charming gentleman thief, alias; Raffles, still not planned out to be Sherrinford Holmes. - Raffles = estranged Sherrinford Holmes? Instant headcannon! - Raffles needs a Bunny!sidekick. - Bunny = Bluebell? - Realization that Bluebell is BBC reference to 'Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle'. - In Hounds of Baskerville, accidental swapping a common rabbit for an identical, but much more valuable one, mirrors the accidental swapping of the two geese in the original story. - Bluebell = BLUE carBuncLE. - Blue Carbuncle = gem. - Gem = thief. - Thief = Raffles = Sherrinford. - Blue Carbuncle = Bluebell = Bunny.
IT. HAD. TO. HAPPEN.
Ahem, excuse the long rant. I had to get it out of my system.