I've been a huge fan of BBCsherlock for awhile and I finally got around to reading Enola Holmes last week. I read them all in about a day because I found them absolutely riveting. I decided that I really wanted to do a fic with Enola in the BBCverse, and one that highlights the relationship between Enola and Sherlock (the best part of the books in my opinion)
The first chapter sticks fairly close to the plot of the first EH book. Once the story gets going I hope to separate slightly from the books and integrate Enola into the events of the TV show. It also shifts between first and third person which I did intentionally because I wanted different scenes to be from different perspectives. Enjoy!
February 10th 2010
Sherlock Holmes lay utterly still in his bed. In the darkened room with his eyes shut, the blinds drawn, and his shallow breaths causing his chest to rise and fall periodically, one could almost mistake Sherlock for being asleep. How completely wrong they would have been. Sherlock's mind was hyper-aware, his thoughts careening about and ideas proliferating in his head by the second. Sherlock's concentration was so deeply absorbed by the case running through his mind that, when his cellphone began making twittering noises on his bedside table, the sound barely entered his consciousness. Eventually the ringing petered out. Then, half a minute later, a single, prolonged, buzz.
In an instant, Sherlock was sitting bolt upright.
The buzz signaled a new email, and Sherlock was waiting on an email in order to complete the case.
Sherlock snatched at the phone on his nightstand and opened his inbox. His eyes flicked to the top of the page, and he blinked hard to confirm that he hadn't misread the heading. He clicked on the email hesitantly. It was not, as he had previously assumed, from Lestrade.
Father is dead. He suffered a brain aneurism early this morning and succumbed before the paramedics arrived. No foul play is suspected.
Please come to Ferndell Hall as soon as possible.
After pondering for a moment, Sherlock took measure quite unlike him; he voluntarily phoned his brother Mycroft.
Mycroft too had received an alarming message in the wee hours of the morning. His assistant, occasionally called Anthea, had entered his office unannounced bearing news of his father's passing. She had just gotten off the phone with a young girl claiming to be Mycroft's sister.
Sherlock and Mycroft spoke in grave tones. It was the first conversation they had had in years that was completely devoid of jeers and malice. They finally settled on a course of action and hung up so that Sherlock could type a response.
Mycroft and I are grieved to hear such tragic and unexpected news.
We will be on the first train out of London tomorrow morning. Expect to meet us at the station in Chaucerlea at 9:45 AM.
I did not sleep at all that fateful night. For how could I?
My father had, without warning, expired in the middle of the night. My home, the grand Ferndell Hall, had been filled with paramedics, police officers, and reporters for nearly 3 hours. And, although I could not quite place my finger upon why this bothered me to such a great degree, worst of all, my brothers were set to arrive at quarter to ten the following morning. Brothers who lived big important lives in central London. Brothers who had not seen me in nearly a decade. Brothers whom I did not know.
Having lain in bed for 2 hours with my staring eyes fixed on the ceiling (although I had assured the house keeper, Mrs. Lane, that I was retiring to my bedroom to sleep), I rose early in the morning to shower. As if this were a normal day. As if nothing had changed.
Although it felt odd and somehow irreverent to go about normal activities in the wake of my father's death, for some reason I thought it necessary to wash myself and appear moderately presentable when I met with my brothers at the train station. Concluding that the fastest way for me to reach the train station was on bike, I dressed myself in a pair of slim black running tights, a pale blue technical top, athletic socks, and my well worn runners. I tied my hair back in a high ponytail. It was still sopping wet, but I figured that the long bike ride would give it an opportunity to dry out.
As I biked I considered what I knew about my older brothers, anything to keep my mind off death.
They were not, strictly speaking, my brothers. Half brothers would be the correct term. After divorcing Sherlock and Mycroft's mum, my father had married a young and very wealthy American woman, my mother, who was the sole heiress to her family's vast reserves of money. A flamboyant and obstinate woman, she had died of melanoma when I was just 5 years old. Her funeral was the last time I had seen my brothers. Now, with my father dead, only "mummy Holmes" remained, and the woman utterly loathed me, which was to be expected, as I was the spawn of her ex-husband and her sworn enemy.
I had been born after both my brothers had left home to attend university, so I knew little of the two men from personal experience. Sure they had visited from time to time when I was a child, but my memories of those occasions were the hazy recollections of an infant. And after the funeral, the visits had stopped. I hadn't the faintest idea why. Therefore, what I knew of my brothers was mostly from secondhand information.
My oldest brother, Mycroft, was happily ensconced in the highest echelons of British government. I knew this because my father had mentioned it once in passing. His round face sporadically appeared in newspaper articles, next to the prime minister at a ribbon cutting ceremony, or deep in discussion with the heads of both Scotland Yard and the British navy at a government function. Whatever position Mycroft held, it was clear that he was incredibly powerful, and, whatever jobs he carried out, they were evidently quite secretive.
My second brother, Sherlock, was a reputable consulting detective (the only one of his kind I was impressed to learn) in London. Originally I had found Sherlock's name scattered across newspaper articles detailing the capture of criminals, and police reports, often associated with the name of Scotland Yard inspector Gregory Lestrade. More recently, Sherlock's new flatmate, John Watson, had begun to chronicle Sherlock's thrilling adventures in his blog. Sherlock had become quite the internet sensation nearly overnight when John Watson's story "A Study in Pink" hit the nets. Sometimes I checked up on his internet following; it made me proud to be related to such a well loved man. I had never been loved. My name was actually the word ALONE spelled backwards, as if my mother too had known what an unloved cast-off I'd become.
I stopped musing now, as I had reached the train station. I could see that I was late, as disembarked passengers were already milling about in front of the empty train. Scanning the crowd, it took me only a moment to pick out my brothers. They were not difficult to spot, as they towered over the crowd. Sherlock was as slender and tall as ever, dressed in a long black coat and a blue scarf, his signature outfit. Mycroft was just as tall as Sherlock but stouter. He wore a tasteful black suit, a red tie, and carried with him an umbrella. They were deep in conversation, but occasionally glanced up haughtily, their eyes darting about the crowd.
I took my time as I leaned my bike against the nearest fence and locked it up. Then, after a deep breath, I rushed towards my brothers.
"I'll leave the managing of father's estates completely up to you Mycroft. I simply don't have the time or the patience to deal with such tedious affairs."
"And I do, dear brother?"
"You have a head for such things Mycroft, and a bevy of assistants to help you with them. You've always preferred dull, sessile work such as this. I, on the other hand, need action and mental stimulation. Paperwork would take away time from solving my cases."
"But unlike you Sherlock, I actually have regular employment in the gov—"
"Sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering how you planned to get your bags back to Ferndell?"
"Enola?" Sherlock sputtered out.
In front of them stood a mess of a girl. She was tall and as skinny as a beanpole. Her dark auburn curls were still half damp, and the parts that had dried were escaping from her ponytail in ringletty wisps. She wore track pants and a worn blue running top, which were both completely soiled with mud. Her decrepit sneakers, although they had clearly started out as white, had darkened to a muggy grey colour. She had Sherlock's narrow face, sharp cheekbones and blue eyes, but Mycroft's protruding nose and thin lips. All these features combined to make for a very homely young lady.
"Yes. It's good to see y—"
"Enola why are you so filthy? You look homeless."
"Nonsense Mycroft. Just look at the pattern of the mud. She's obviously sordid from biking."
"Where's the chauffeur? You did bring a car didn't you?"
"No" Enola replied, a look of humiliation playing on her face, "As Sherlock said, I biked here. It was the fastest way I could think of. I assumed we could catch a bus back to Ferndell."
"A bus? What happened to the family chauffeur?"
"Um, we don't have a chauffeur. I suppose I could have had the housekeeper drive me."
"Never mind." Mycroft responded curtly, "We'll call a cab company, although it will mean a long wait, and in the rain no less." It had just started to drizzle, and Mycroft opened his umbrella against the droplets.
Sherlock sighed. "Let's wait inside then." He ushered the pair towards a nearby coffee shop as he pulled out his phone to call for a cab. Enola couldn't help but be impressed by the commanding way he spoke as he ordered the cab.
Mycroft was giving Enola a disapproving once over. "Where is your coat? And why are you not wearing a better pair of shoes? You are from a good family Enola, you can't be seen around looking so disheveled."
Sherlock, having hung up the phone, piped in, "By your age Enola, grubby is no longer cute. You're a young lady now, you should be dressing like one."
"I—" Enola stifled a sob. "Father is dead, and I don't know what to do with myself!" And with that, Enola burst into tears.
By the time we arrived back to Ferndell, I had finally calmed down enough to explain to Mycroft and Sherlock the events of the previous night.
"What, exactly, were father's symptoms?" Mycroft pressed me.
I sniveled slightly. The death was all too recent in my mind.
"Don't stress her too much Mycroft. You know how women are, too much emotion and sentiment. Besides, she's only a girl of 14, and she's always shown herself to be none too bright. She probably doesn't remember correctly anyways."
I was taken aback my brother's sexism and the frank words he spoke about me.
Mycroft and Sherlock concluded that our father's funeral should just be a small affair; it was no use bringing more attention to our family. It had been well over a decade since father had run off with my mother, and we were still trying to live down the scandal of that. Indeed, since all members of the family were rationalist atheists, there was no need for the religious aspects of a funeral either. We could have the funeral this afternoon without hiring a pastor and be done with it.
For the funeral, I dressed in the best black clothes I could find; I wore a bulky navy blue sweater and an ill-fitting, black pleated skirt. My dark tights were old, and there was a small run in the back that I hoped my brother's would not notice. On my feet I had black boots, which had recently been polished. I braided my russet hair into a loose plait down my back.
Even so, when I descended from my room, Mycroft gave me a disparaging look. Both of my brothers appeared incredibly smart in their well-tailored suits. Their expressions were cold and restrained, as if they were hardly affected by father's death at all.
At the graveyard, Mycroft spoke a few bland platitudes (he clearly didn't much care for our father) and the ceremony was over.
When we arrived back at the hall, I traded my boots for a comfortable pair of sneakers and bolted from the house. My eyes were overflowing with tears and I needed somewhere to think in peace.
I was angry with my father for dying and abandoning me.
I was angry with my brothers for the cold and condescending way they treated me. They were such remarkable men and I had so wanted them to like me, yet everything about me seemed to displease them.
I was angry at life for leaving me so completely and always alone.
Finding myself amongst my favourite grove of trees on the property, I slumped down into the dirt. I withdrew paper and a pencil from the pocket of my skirt and began to draw manically. I sketched grotesque caricatures of my father, of Sherlock, and of Mycroft, teardrops wetting the pages as I filled them. Drawing had always been cathartic to me and the more distorted the better.
I was so involved with my sketching that I didn't notice Sherlock sneak up behind me. I only heard him when he crouched in the mud to scoop up my drawings. My face burned as he looked them over. I half expected him to yell at me, reminding me what a disappointing sister I was. To my surprise the complete opposite happened. Sherlock Holmes, the famous and composed consulting detective, began to laugh.
"You are a true artist Enola. Although I'm not sure Mycroft would find your doodles as amusing as I do,"
"Um… Thank you."
"I came to find you because I'm about to leave. My former classmate, Sebastian Wilkes, has asked me to start on a new case, and I need to get back to London to help him out."
"Well…. Goodbye then." I replied quietly.
"Mycroft will stay on for a few days and sort out your affairs." Sherlock spoke gently as he stood up, brushing dirt off of his pant-leg and offering me his hand so that I too could climb to my feet. "I recommend that you clean that mud off yourself before he sees you this evening."
"Oh. And Enola?"
"It's been a pleasure to see you again,"
I came down to dinner in a baggy grey dress with a peter pan collar, which I had inherited from my mother. It hung on my body loosely, as I lacked the womanly figure that my mother had had. If my brother noticed that I was trying to dress more respectably he didn't say. I guessed that he liked my oversized dress no better than the casual clothing I had been wearing before.
Mycroft gazed into his bowl of stew rather than looking up at me as he spoke, "I have sent for a stylist from London to find you better clothing and help you to present yourself better."
"I can buy new clothing in town." I responded. While I would not mind a few new outfits, there was no need to hire someone all the way from London to assist me with it.
"Obviously. But a stylist from London will know exactly what is needed for boarding school."
"Boarding school?" I cried out in shock.
"Yes, boarding school. What else did you think you would do with yourself all alone in Ferndell?"
"Mrs Lane could take care of me, and I could continue to attend school in the village. She's been my housekeeper since I was born. Besides, I'm very advanced in school, and I'm capable of going off to university as early as next year."
"Enola, boarding school will help prepare you to be a proper lady. All girls from good families must cross that threshold at some point."
I simply gaped at him dumbly.
"I should be able to enroll you in one of the finest all-girls schools in England. I am looking at Cheltenham Ladies' College, Roedean School, and perhaps even Heathfield School. They are all excellent academic establishments, which will also give you opportunities to learn music, dance, and how to present yourself as a lady. And maybe they'll even introduce you to some genuinely feminine sports lest you continue to bike and run around everywhere you go."
I had heard of these ladies schools and knew them to be dismal places filled with catty girls, where young women were forced to conform to outdated gender stereotypes. The "ladies" who emerged from these institutions were destined to be the arm candy of wealthy, noble men. This was not the type of education I yearned to receive.
Seeing my distressed expression, Mycroft softened his tone. "Enola, with some polishing, I'm sure you will become something this family can be proud of."
"You will never be proud of me, and I'm not going!" I practically screamed at him.
"Yes you are." Mycroft stated forcefully, "Don't make me order you."
"You can't make me go."
"Yes I can." Mycroft responded with a sigh, "Not only are you now legally within my custody, but I have more than a few government personnel under my control and I am very much capable of forcing you."
I gave Mycroft my most disgusted glare, and then dropped my cutlery so that it clattered onto my plate and ran upstairs in a huff.
I barely said a word to Mycroft after that night, and he left three days later. A week after that, the stylist arrived to fit me for my uniform and "prepare" me for how I was to present myself at boarding school.
Squeezed into a stiff tartan skirt, a starched cotton blouse, a hideous purple sweater, high-heeled boots, and a heavy blazer, I could barely move. The straw hat and knee socks made me feel even more ridiculous. The stylist also insisted that I wear a thick and uncomfortable push-up bra under my clothing to give me the illusion of a figure. She slathered make-up on my unlovely face and spent nearly an hour attempting to tame and straighten my unruly curls. This, she informed me, I was expected to go through every morning. If I spent less than an hour before breakfast on my appearance it would be a disgrace. Somehow, she further told me, Mycroft would know if I didn't comply.
Little did everyone know that the three weeks between my brothers' visit and the day I was supposed to head off to boarding school were spent on more than just packing. I did not intend to ever show up to my new school, and I knew that I was more than capable of getting one up on my brothers. Before my mother had passed away when I was a child, she had left me her family's inheritance spread out amongst a number of bank accounts worldwide. While my "official" inheritance could not be withdrawn until I was an adult (and would, no doubt, be well guarded by my brother Mycroft), this money could be withdrawn by me at any time, and I was certain that my brothers weren't aware of it. In fact, I had previously withdrawn a chunk of it, and hidden it around my bedroom for safekeeping.
On the day of my enrollment at boarding school, I dutifully dressed myself in my restrictive school uniform and went through the monotonous process of fixing my appearance in the way the stylist had shown me. I carried with me, into the chauffeur's van, a medium sized trunk allegedly filled with materials and clothing I would need for school. As the car rolled away, I waved to Mrs. Lane and the house staff out the back window. It took all my self-control not to cry.
When we were a safe distance from the hall, I gasped, pretending as if a thought had just then popped into my head. "Sir, could we please stop at that graveyard up there? My father just recently passed away, and I want to say my final goodbyes to him before I head off to school."
The chauffeur grumbled an affirmative response.
"Thank you sir. If you like, you can go into town and get a cup of coffee. I may be awhile." With this, I faked wiping tears from my eyes, as if I was overcome by emotion.
When the van had dropped me at the graveyard and driven out of sight, I sprinted around the side of the graveyard's little chapel. Or at least, I hobbled as fast as I could in my absurd high-heels. Fastening my trunk to the back of the bike that I had stored there the previous night, I pulled from it a pair of sneakers and an athletic jacket. I wiggled out of my skirt and discarded it into the trunk, revealing a pair of biking shorts beneath it. I also discarded my sweater, blazer, hat, and boots. Quickly, as I had no idea when the driver would return, I dressed myself in biking gear, placed sunglasses on my face, and hid my hair in a bun under a sleek helmet. Then, I jumped onto my bike and rode off along a nearby biking trail. The hard ground, I presumed, would not show tracks where my bike had ridden.
I knew my brothers would assume that I would disguise myself as an athlete or a ruffian, but I had taken enough of my mother's clothing that I could pass myself off as a well bred lady instead. I also knew that they would expect me to head further into the countryside. They would expect me to travel into territory I was already familiar with and try to distance myself from London, where they resided. I would do the exact opposite of what they expected. I would head for London as fast as I could.