NOTE from Phoenix: I hope you have all enjoyed reading as much as I've enjoyed writing this! Hugs to all who commented, it keeps me writing.
Sherlock: Chasing the Dragon
Chapter Twenty-one, The Widow
"Sherlock, should we really be doing this?" John asked as they stood on the front step of the middle class house of Mr and Mrs. Fisher.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I think we should tell Lestrade about Shane Fisher and let him break the news."
"I don't understand."
"Don't be a twit." John snapped. "We are about to tell some poor woman that her husband isn't missing he's dead, more than that he was invovled in drug dealing."
"It's been almost two months since his disappearance, she must know by now that he's not coming back."
"People don't give up hope on their loved ones that easily, Sherlock."
"Either way, I have no intention of telling her that Fisher is dead." Sherlock shrugged as he knocked on the door. "I just want to see his house."
"So how are we going to introduce ourselves?"
"You ask the strangest questions."
John took a breath to protest but was interrupted as a well dressed woman in her upper thirties answered the door. Her deep red hair was tucked behind her ears and fell down her back in tight curls. Sherlock smiled brightly as the woman greeted them warily.
"Good morning, Mrs. Fisher. My name is Sherlock Holmes, this John Watson."
"Uh...Amanda." The woman automatically introduced herself. "Are you from the Yard?"
"In a manner of speaking." Sherlock nodded. "May we come in?"
Sherlock had posed the question as a polite request but he didn't wait for a true answer. Used to allowing guests inside Amanda had automatically stepped to the side slightly at the request. Sherlock had pounced on the opening and stepped inside. John could see the anxiety in the woman's face and instantly felt sorry for her. John was still standing outside. Amanda smiled shyly and blushed when John returned the smile.
"Please, come in." Amanda mummered. "Mr. Watson was it?"
"Doctor actually, but John will do."
"John." Amanda said warmly as she blushed again. "Come in."
John stepped into the small home and looked around at the neatly arranged clutter. The house was home to a vast collection of glass and ceramic trinkets. There were several cabinets full of the decorative items, they also lined the mantle and shelves. John was startled out of his observations as a tabby cat suddenly rubbed against his leg.
"Can I get you two anything? I don't have any tea ready, but I could put a kettle on."
Sherlock was standing behind Amanda, and even though she had opened the offer to both men she was looking at John. Sherlock looked at John and nodded to encourage him to accept the offer. John knew that Sherlock just wanted the poor woman to go into the kitchen so that he could more carefully inspect her living room. John suddenly felt tremendously guilty for even being in her house.
"No, thank you." John replied politely.
Sherlock glared at John in disgust for a moment.
"How can I help you? Is this about my husband? I told the inspectors everything I know."
"He worked at Valcom?" Sherlock asked.
"Yes. He was in sales, chemicals and such."
"Did he come home the night he disappeared?"
"No." Amanda shook her head. "The last people to see him were his coworkers. He didn't have a car, he took the tube, but the Yard says there is no way to know if he took it that night or not."
Sherlock didn't seem particularly interested in the woman's answer. He was more interested in the trinkets on the shelves. John shifted his weight uncomfortably as the encounter became more awkward. When Sherlock's eye fell on a small framed picture he paused.
"Is that a photo of your husband with Neville St. Claire?"
"Yes." Amanda replied simply. "They were old college buddies."
"The picture looks recent."
"They kept in touch." Amanda replied. "I only met him a few times..."
Amanda stopped when she saw that Sherlock had suddenly lost all interest in the conversation. He was drawn away as if under a trance. Sherlock crossed the room towards one of the many curio cabinet that was up against the far wall. Looking increasingly uncomfortable Amanda looked to John for help.
"I'm sorry." John said automatically. "Sherlock? Sherlock, what are you doing?"
"I...I think you should leave." Amanda stuttered. "Please."
"Sherlock, let's go."
Sherlock paid no attention to John. Standing in front of the display of ornaments, miniatures, and music boxes Sherlock reached out to pick one up. John cringed as Amanda began to fret.
"Please don't touch those." Amanda said with her voice raised in anxiety. "They're very precious to me."
"I bet they are." Sherlock replied calmly as he turned around with his prize. "You shouldn't have kept this one."
John's breath hissed across his teeth as Sherlock revealed the small blue glass dragon in his hand. It was identical to the one that Sherlock had recieved as a death threat. Amanda paled visibly upon seeing the tiny glass artwork.
"It..it's just a glass trinket, I got it ages ago." Amanda said unconvincingly.
"We both know that isn't true. This was sent to your husband as a warning, but you never let him see it."
"I don't know what you're talking about. Please, just leave...I...I'm going to call the police."
"Don't bother, we'll do that for you."
"You have no right to come into my house and accuse me of murder!" Amanda snarled in sudden fury.
"Murder?" John replied stunned.
"I didn't say anything about murder," Sherlock replied calmly "but now that you mention it why did you tell the cartel about your husband's side business of selling bash to Asia?"
"Bash?" John asked.
"Bash is the term used for legal cutting agents when sold to drug dealers. Shane was stealing it from his work and giving it to St. Claire who used his travel to Asia for film shoots to sell the benzocaine directly to the heroine exporters. They'd get a much higher price for it in Asia because then the exporters could sell their cut product to the West as pure. Then the local distributor cut it again with caffeine without even realizing that it had been cut already."
"But why did you tell them, you must have. Once St. Claire realized Shane was missing and most likely dead he tried to flee as well. But the got to him first. So, why? Why have your husband killed, what was your motivation?"
Amanda averted her hazel eyes away from Sherlock's intense stare, her cheeks blushing a brighter red than ever.
"Ah..." Sherlock smiled and stepped closer to his prey. "Shane and St. Claire were more than old college buddies, more than illegal business partners...they were lovers."
Amanda lashed out and slapped Sherlock hard across the cheek. Sherlock didn't retaliate, he remained calm as Amanda completely fell apart. Sitting down heavily on the couch the betrayed housewife broke down into bitter tears. Sherlock rolled his eyes at her emotional display and turned his attention to John.
"Why aren't you calling Lestrad?" Sherlock demanded.
"Don't tell me you were starting to fancy her. Your taste in women is appalling, John."
Sherlock chuckled as John pulled out his cell phone and called the inspector. After explaining the situation John hung up, the inspector and his men were on his way. John looked down on the still crying woman. He still couldn't help but pity her. After a moment he turned to Sherlock.
"How did you know she told the cartel? They could have just figured it out themselves." John demanded. "And how on Earth did you happen to spot that tiny dragon from across the room among all this stuff."
"It wasn't chance, I was looking for it."
"I suspected Mrs. Fisher as soon as she opened the door."
"She was headed for divorce before her husband disapperared, she hadn't worn her wedding ring in months, the indentation and tan line is completly gone. Shane was in the process of leaving her for St. Claire. Also her earrings and necklace are real diamonds, her fingernails have a top of the line manicure job, her blouse is silk, her shoes are new Italian, she looks about five years younger than her given age achieved by expensive make-up, she also has the scent of having been spending a lot of time at spa that offers mineral mud baths."
"What does any of that have to do with anything?"
"When you pair it up with the large coffee table book on abstract art you don't get the picture of a wife who's anxious about her missing spouse. It's the portrait of a scorned woman who has recently started to spend a heafty amount of money on herself. Specifically she spent money on making herself look and feel attractive, not a surprise after she had found out that her husband was sleeping with a man."
John looked over at the coffee table and spotted the book Sherlock was talking about. Another glance around and he realized that for a house so cluttered with knickknacks the walls were oddly bare. Shane Fisher had probably also been paid in art. Sherlock watched John catch up with a smug smile twitching the corner of his lips. John hated that look.
"So now what?" John asked.
"What do you mean? Now we find ourselves a new case."
"We caught our murderer. Mrs. Fisher fed her husband and St. Claire to the Dragon, that's important crime here."
"It is? Not stopping the drug lord behind all of this trouble?"
"No sense in wasting my talent on drug dealers."
"I'm surprised to hear you say that."
"I can't be bothered with impossible tasks." Sherlock shrugged.
"I can't believe what I'm hearing."
"No one catches the Dragon, John...not even us."