The windows of the unmarked silver sedan were frosted over from the chill but the man inside paid no mind to the temperature. He had a phone gripped tightly in his hand and clutched to his chest like a protective charm.
Then, he heard the sound of wheels screeching in the underground parking garage and looked up to see headlights.
"Finally." The man inside the sedan grumbled to himself.
But something was wrong. Horribly wrong.
The newly arrived car didn't stop, didn't even slow down. In fact, it picked up speed and the man inside the sedan could only scream out curses a moment before the second vehicle rammed into the side of the sedan, crushing it under-tire.
A few moments later, the second vehicle inched backward off the sedan and a man stepped out of the shotgun seat.
The man inside the sedan was bloody and unconscious, but he let out a low moan of pain.
The man from the assaulting car pulled out a gun from the inside pocket of his jacket and fired three shots through the shattered sedan window, killing the man inside instantly.
Then he wrangled the phone out of the dead man's hands and returned to his own car before it let out a shrill screech and tore off out of the parking lot.
Lestrade yawned as he hurried into his office that morning, absently waving at the CCTV camera as he passed, it was more of a habit now than a salute to Mycroft or anybody else who might be watching.
His phone buzzed. Good morning. -MH
Morning to you too. -Lestrade
I'll be in Istanbul for the next few days for work. -MH
Okay. Have a safe trip. Call when you land. -Lestrade
Of course. -MH
"What's on our schedule today?" Lestrade grunted when he met up with Donovan after being called out to investigate a homicide.
"We've got a mortuary appointment for the autopsy report on an unidentified John Doe." Donovan grumbled. "And, just our luck, no witnesses."
Lestrade took a look around the relatively empty underground parking lot. "I can see that."
"We talked to the security for this place and they don't have CCTV." Donovan added.
"Outside? What about street cameras?"
"We've got people on it." Donovan nodded. Then she motioned to a silver sedan with a rather large dent in the driver's side. "Our victim was found here at six o'clock this morning. One of the reserved parkers came in early and found him, called the police the moment he saw blood."
"Seeing as we're here, I'm guessing this is leaning more toward murder than accident." Lestrade said as he approached the vehicle.
Donovan nodded. "Evidence of the crash is what we all saw first untill you see the victim."
Lestrade raised his eyebrows and peered into the shattered window. His expression turned grim the moment he saw the victim's head. He pulled back and frowned. "How many shots were fired?"
"The M.E. said three." Donovan replied sounding quite like she was struggling against the urge to vomit.
"Three shots... to the head." Lestrade grunted. "No wonder we can't identify him."
The man no longer had an identifiable face.
"We-..." Donovan swallowed thickly. "We're running his fingerprints right now."
"If you want to puke, go outside." Lestrade told her flatly.
"Nah, I'm good." Donovan forced out.
"Okay Donovan, when you're feeling up to it go and check up on where we are with the CCTV and reports on missing persons." Donovan nodded. "Oh, and the tire marks." Lestrade added.
Donovan grunted in reply and left.
Lestrade leaned back over his victim and checked the man's pockets for any personal effects that would tell him who he was. The victim's pockets were empty, no wallet, no spare change, no phone.
Lestrade pulled back and frowned. The victim's hands were frozen by rigor mortis, clasped to his chest like he was trying to protect something precious.
Lestrade searched the man's surroundings, under the dashboard, between the front seats, even the back seats but came up empty.
There was nothing. There was a high chance a vital piece of evidence had been stolen.
He hated cases like this.
Lestrade had just gotten back to his office from the morgue with the autopsy results when he had a visitor.
"Detective Inspector Lestrade?" Lestrade looked up to see a woman with flaxen hair and flawless skin enter his office.
Lestrade just knew that his day was about to get much worse. "Can I help you?" he asked warily as he sat down at his desk.
"My name is Alice Skardon, I'm from CTC." She introduced herself smartly and Lestrade inwardly groaned.
"And how may I help the Counter Terrorist Command?" he asked her as politely as possible.
"I've heard that a homicide case has crossed your desk this morning." Skardon said. "I believe that this man may be connected to an ongoing investigation of ours."
"Connected, how?" Lestrade asked curiously.
"We've been investigating potential acts of terrorism and one of those who we have been keeping under watch suddenly disappeared sometime last night." Skardon explained. "We have reason to believe that your victim is our man."
"Do you...?" Lestrade hummed thoughtfully. "Well, I'm afraid he won't be of much use to you. As you know, he's dead."
"And the people responsible for his death?" Skardon pointed out. "Look, I'm not asking you to hand over this case to the CTC, I'm asking that we work together to get to the bottom of this case."
Lestrade thought about it for a moment. "What's his name?" he asked, referring to the victim.
"William Klaus. He was a science professor." Skardon told him.
"Do you have any idea why he was murdered?" was Lestrade's next question.
"I believe he had caught wind of someone at his workplace planning a terrorist attack and was killed for attempting blackmail. Or perhaps our terrorist simply killed him to shut him up." Skardon hypothesized.
Lestrade nodded to himself as he wrote the victim's name down in his notebook. Then he tossed a file over the desk toward her. "That's his autopsy report." He said.
Skardon took it with a smile.
"William Klaus; aged forty-seven, university professor, no enemies, family, or close friends." Donovan sighed. "This guy was practically a hermit. He didn't exist outside his teaching job. Didn't even have a phone or a computer."
"This is looking less and less like a regular homicide case." Lestrade grunted around his cup of coffee. "The less people know about you, the less reason they have to kill you."
"Do you really think we're edging into the counter-terrorism category?" Donovan growled. She hated the thought of dealing with interdepartmental politics just as much as Lestrade did.
"I hope not." Lestrade groaned.
Surprisingly, Lestrade's next visitor on the case was not CTC Detective Skardon, but a man who introduced himself as Richard Peel of Her Majesty's Security Service.
"MI5..." Lestrade smiled stiffly. "Well, we are moving up the ladder, arn't we?" Donovan looked just as comfortable as he felt.
"Don't worry, I'm not trying to step on anybody's toes." Peel smiled sympathetically. "I was working the joint investigation with Detective Skardon when Professor Klaus was murdered..." He made a helpless gesture. "Her loss is my loss. If there's anything I can help with, don't be hesitant to ask."
Lestrade thought for a moment. "Detective Skardon mentioned that Professor Klaus may have been killed because he uncovered a potential terrorist attack. Do you have any idea as to who was behind the threat?"
Peel looked grim. "If we knew that, Detective Inspector Lestrade, we'd be out there arresting him."
"... Alright." Lestrade said slowly. "Well, if you do find anything out, you know where to find me."
"Of course." Peel smiled back. "I won't take anymore of your time." And he left.
Donovan stared after him for a moment or two. "Well that was weird." she remarked flatly.
"Yeah." Lestrade sighed, sinking into his seat. "Weird."
The next day, Lestrade and Donovan stopped by Professor Klaus's small flat near his university.
"Looks cheery." Donovan grumbled after the landlord let them in.
Lestrade poked a life-sized human anatomy model that was situated by the door. "What field of education did Professor Klaus specialize in, did you say?"
"Biology, I think." Donovan consulted her notes and nodded. "Yeah. Biology. Whatever that means." She resumed poking around inside the flat, randomly opening and shutting cupboards looking for something out of place. "Feels like Holmes's flat." she shuddered.
Lestrade gingerly picked up a small jar of questionable content and grimaced. "No kidding."
There was a faint rustle at the window and both coppers froze, exchanged glances, and Lestrade gestured that he'd take point. He gripped his baton and inched toward the window just as the smudgy outline of a shadow fell across the dirty pane.
The latch on the window rattled a few times and fell open. Then, the window jerked open an inch before two gloved hands wedged themselves in the open crack and pushed the window open the rest of the way.
Lestrade held his breath, raised his baton and...
"Sherlock!" Lestrade exclaimed with a huge exhale when the detective poked his head inside the window.
"Freak!" Donovan screeched, hand pressed to her chest. The exclamation was more out of habit and exasperation than insult.
"Christ!" John yelped at all the commotion, obviously not to be outdone in the competition for 'startled exclamations'.
"I only answer to one of those." Sherlock quipped glibly.
"Uh-..." Donovan looked to Lestrade for guidance.
"Mycroft." Sherlock threw back in explanation.
"Mum's the word." John added sheepishly.
"Lestrade is the only exception to that rule." Sherlock scowled at his flatmate.
"What's going on here?" Donovan asked suspiciously. "You two should be arrested for breaking and entering!"
Lestrade made an abortive gesture to cut through the noise. "Shut up!" He pointed at Sherlock. "Explain. Now."
"Mycroft blackmailed me into taking on a case for him." Sherlock said. "He seemed quite certain that Professor Klaus was murdered for something directly linked to MI5."
"Directly linked, how?" Lestrade asked suspiciously.
"CTC and MI5 were joint investigating a potential terrorist cell when the murder occurred." John explained, then he leaned close to Lestrade and lowered his voice so that Donovan did not overhear them. "He seems to think that Professor Klaus was murdered and that the agents and officers on watch-..." John trailed off uncomfortably. "He thinks either they've got a hand in it, or they just let it happen." he spat out. "He asked Sherlock to get to the bottom of this case because he doesn't know if he can trust an inside source."
Lestrade glanced at Donovan and frowned. "How sure is he?"
"Fifty-fifty." John shrugged. "It may be a regular homicide made possible by a lousy stake-out, or it's political in some way, we don't know yet."
Lestrade sighed. "This case can't get any worse, can it?"
Suddenly, Sherlock perked up like a hound, apparently sensing something, and he rushed into Professor Klaus's office, doing his usual detecting. Then he ran back to rejoin them. "It can." he said to Lestrade in passing. "Run!"
Lestrade and John didn't question it. They just did as Sherlock guided them. Donovan followed her superior, though a little baffled as they ran out of the flat like bats out of Hell on the consulting Satan's heels.
"What the Hell?" the woman shrieked.
"Sherlock, do you mind expla-..." Lestrade's complaint was cut short by a 'whump' and a heat wave knocked them over. Lestrade shielded his face and stared in shock at what remained of Professor Klaus's flat. Fire spewed out of the shattered windows and smoke mushroomed on its heels. "Ohhh, nevermind."
They just stood there and watched the flames lick the sky until the firemen arrived.