Greetings, my fellow detectives! Did you miss me? Well, I missed y'all. And I am pleased to announce the FOURTH INSTALLMENT (Take note if you are reading this as the first one, because it is NOT the first story!) of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Yes, it takes place during the movie. No, I am not quoting it word for word. Yes, I am adding my own scenes. Yes, I am continuing the case from the last story. No, I will not tell you what happens next.
PLEASE REVIEW! I would love to see a ton of reviews for the opening of this story. In fact, just to prove that you guys are reading this, I want you to post your favorite Sherlock Holmes quote in your review. I would love to see what everyone has to say. (:
MANY THANKS! And now… The show continues!
Embrace the shadows,
"Hello… I know that it's been quite some time since I've seen you. I wanted to apologize for that, because it wasn't my intention. You know that I would never abandon you without a reasonable purpose. It was because I was busy, but I'm sure you could see that. Every day, I-"
The crunching of leaves behind me caused my voice to freeze in its tracks. I wasn't alone anymore, and I had to keep myself from looking like a fool. It only took a minute for the footsteps to disappear to another area of the cemetery. The flowers in my hands were suffocating in my tight grasp, but I lowered my voice and continued on.
"Every day, I run around London pretending like I know what I'm doing. In all honesty…I don't. I feel the urge to give up my lifestyle for mother and for my own sanity. Yet, I can't. Something besides him pulls me closer to this profession. I think it's because I finally have a sense of purpose. I feel like I'm doing something good for the world in the tiniest way that I can."
My father's grave did not answer. It never did. In a way, it was similar to him. He would always listen to me without uttering a word. It was afterwards that he would offer his guidance, but all I got now was dust in my eyes.
"Well, father. I won't keep you anymore. I'm sure you're… tired." I struggled to find a suitable ending to our conversation. His name quietly stared back at me. "I'll just leave these here for you." I gently placed the daises on his tomb. "Got them at the flower place not too far from here. It's cozy and not too expensive. Besides, I know how much you like daises."
Silence. Eternal silence.
"Well, alright," I laughed as I brushed tears away from my eyes with the back of my hand. It wouldn't be a complete visit without a few moments of blubbering. "Mother is probably worried sick about me. Then again, when isn't she?"
Glancing around to make sure no one was around, I leaned down and pecked the cold stone near my father's birthdate. "I love you, papa." I muttered before quietly headed back the way I came.
The skies were grey as always and the soggy gravel squeaked beneath my boots. My feet hurt from the long walk outside of London, but I didn't mind. I took the walk monthly and was happy to do it. However, I had neglected my visit for quite some time.
The least I could do was have my feet hurt, while his body rotted away in the Earth.
Somehow, I was never bothered that my Father was fixated beneath the Earth. My father was a simple man who loved life, and he was at one with the world. He was buried in Mother Nature's loving arms; and there he would remain forever. If I kept looking at it that way, I didn't see it as such a miserable thing.
I burrowed my fingers further into my jacket pockets; my gloves were too torn and tattered to be of any service. One thing on my checklist was finished for the day and now I had to spend the rest of it speaking about bridal gowns, flowers, and petite fours.
A small smile appeared on my face as raindrops kissed my cheeks. It was going to be a good day.
Purple flowers. A lot of them. Lining the pages like an oath of beauty. Perfectly scrolled ink. Cramped hands. Stained fingers. Tired eyes. A sense of pride.
That was what I had been feeling for the past two days. Planning Mary's wedding wasn't easy, but I hadn't expected it to be. I was pre-writing thank you messages from the happy couple and I was more than pleased to do it. I had never noticed what fine penmanship I had before Mary pointed it out.
She had left me alone in her and John's new apartment to finish some things up. I was seated at his desk; surrounded by pocket watches, magnifying glasses, and personal memoirs. I couldn't help but get a tingle in my stomach when I noticed they were about our adventures.
Mary had run off to go speak to him about a few major questions involving food, the priest, etc. The flat was quiet and peaceful for me to work in and for the first time in months I felt totally relaxed.
I won't lie. The case had slipped my mind over the past two days. I hadn't even seen Sherlock, but he was constantly on my mind. What would he think of the wedding? Would he hate it? Of course he would, he doesn't want John to get married.
"Oh, Renadale?" Mary's voice called out after the front door had slammed shut. I glanced up from the desk, waiting for her to appear in the doorway of John's office. "I'm so sorry to have been gone so long, but… there seems to be a slight issue on Baker Street." The moment her face appeared in the doorway, laced with annoyance, I knew it had something to do with Sherlock.
"What's he done now?" I asked without looking up from the invitation.
"It's what he hasn't done," she laughed. "He's gone missing. His forest is growing every day and more animals seem to appear from every corner." She rubbed her dry hands against her forehead; the tiredness was evident in her green eyes. "I don't know how John puts up with him. I don't know how you put up with him."
I couldn't help but smile. "I'm afraid even I cannot give you a proper answer."
She laughed and flung herself down on a nearby chair. It creaked under her weight, but Mary simply flung her head back with a sigh. "Well, it's a good thing you care about him so much and that he cares about you. Or, soon enough, he won't have anyone left to rant to." That was true. John was not going to be around for much longer. Without him and without me, Sherlock would only have his brother and Missus Hudson to drive mad. And he had already pushed them past their limits. "So, how are the cards coming along?" She asked with her eyes still closed.
"Perfect," I answered. My lips blew a quick breath onto the wet ink, helping them to dry. "I only have two more left and I think we'll have more than enough. Did Gwendolen help you with the veil?"
"Oh, yes!" Mary sighed breathlessly. Her eyes cracked open with a sparkle. "It was so fortunate that you knew about her! She said she didn't remember you, but I mentioned that Irene woman, and she instantly gave me a discount. You know, I am so happy that I hired you!"
My cheeks began to turn rosy. I couldn't even recall the time when I had smiled so much. "You're very welcome, Mary. It was honestly my pleasure."
The soon-to-be-bride shut her eyes again and began to hum a happy tune. She was tired, and I left her to her daydreams while I finished up her cards. I thought about Gwendolen and the first time we had met. She knew I was a joke from the second I walked in, but Irene had persisted that I needed a hat. I ran out, embarrassed, never returning again.
But, her hats stuck in my memory. She could bend fabric like no other.
"Say, Renadale…" Mary's voice was quiet when she distracted my thoughts.
"Do you know how to dance?"
My head instantly lifted to view her face. My cheeks were on fire at the sound of the verb. The memory of Sherlock and I on the ship was too difficult to get out of my mind, and I wondered if I had accidentally been thinking aloud. "I suppose I know a little. What… What causes you to ask?"
She smiled towards me, her eyes crinkling into little dots. "I was just thinking about how your birthday is coming up and that you are truly becoming a woman. We all have to be sophisticated, you know? We have to know about certain things for men to really see us as a…. Well, a woman."
"I won't lie," I muttered. "I was never good at dancing until recently."
"I'm still not good at it, but I work at other things to make up for it!" She grinned once again. My quill pen drummed away at the desk as thoughts flickered through my mind. What did I know about being a female? Very little to say the least. "Tell me, what do you know about hair? And makeup?"
I gently touched my usual bun and remained quiet. I think the question answered itself.
"I don't want to be forward, but I thought I might be able to help you." Her voice was soft and hesitant. She was clearly embarrassed to be asking me this, but I saw no harm in it. "I'm just so grateful for you during this chaotic time and I thought I could give you some lessons in return. That is, if you would like me to."
"Lessons in feminine traits?" The idea sounded impossible when you threw me into the mix.
"Yes," she laughed. "I suppose you could call it that. I'm not saying that you need it, because, you're frankly handsome as it were." Too many compliments gave me the opposite effect; I was beginning to feel nauseas. "However, one can never know when things like a French braid or ornamental combs come in handy."
I wouldn't disagree with her on that. Especially since Sherlock's attraction to disguises was growing each day. "That's a very good point. Could we start right now with a small tip?"
Mary was surprised to see how willing I was. "Of course!" She said with a small chuckle. "We can go into my room and sit at my vanity, if you'd like."
I felt like I was going into operation. As she sat me down on the stool, and we both got a good look at my face, I noticed that it could use some work. I hadn't powered it in a week and my eyes were bare. My hair was in its tight bun, but the color looked pathetic and dusty. Mary was smiling, but I couldn't wipe the grimace from my face. "I can't remember when I last looked in a mirror," I muttered.
"Like I said, you're lovely enough that you don't have to. You have natural beauty. But, one can never be too sure." She began to pull my bun from its hold. As my curls fell out, a mane of hair surrounded my face. "My, my!" She gasped. "You have quite a lot of hair, don't you? Luckily your curls are perfect."
"Thank you," I mumbled, unsure of what else to say. My hair always looked so different when it was down. I looked younger and more carefree. Sherlock had said he liked it when I wore it down. That was after he taught me jiu-jitsu and my hair tumbled from its ribbon.
But, I just couldn't get used to it. It wasn't what people expected of me.
I knew I should have been paying attention to what Mary was doing, but her words were in the back of my mind as she worked. I was afraid to look up and see what I looked like. I was afraid of liking it.
"And, that's basically it." She said as she clipped something on the top of my head. "It's simple, but the braids end up making it look elegant. Don't you agree?" My eyes remained on the wood of the counter. "Renadale, are you alright?"
I quietly glanced up towards the mirror. The braided hairstyle made me look like a completely different person, but I didn't feel right. "It doesn't suit me," I mumbled. "People might find it odd that my style suddenly changed."
"Who would?" She scoffed, putting down her comb. "John? Sherlock? Men never notice anything. I think your mother would be quite pleased. It looks lovely on you in case you ever want to use it."
I offered a smile to show my appreciation. There was sadness in her eyes as she returned the gesture, and I couldn't help but think that it was out of pity. "Perhaps I'll style it like this for your wedding. Surely I must look presentable for that occasion!"
"Yes," She sighed as she placed her hand on my shoulder. "Only if you wanted to."
Tomorrow was the day we were supposed to meet up with Irene Adler. I was quite fearful of getting tangled up in the mess, and was making my way to Sherlock's house to beg for my retirement from the project. Unlike him, I was still caught up in the Illuminati killer. I wanted to know who wrote the symbols, even if he was dead.
I had just left Mary's flat and was pushing and shoving my way towards Baker Street. Construction oozed all around me as a railroad system was being set up across the city. Beggars gripped onto my arms, begging for anything, though I had as much money in my purse as them. Fruit stands shoved their apples in my face as I politely declined.
"Bombing in Strasbourg!" A voice screamed in the distance. "Anarchists bomb the great city! Big news! Read all about it!"
My feet froze in their tracks. Strasbourg? Bombing? It wasn't just a coincidence. I couldn't be! It had to be the same sort of bombings as the case presented. More had gone off in Germany, and now France? It looked like a set up. Ignoring the stench of the drunken men around me, I pushed my way to the other side of the street. "One, please," I muttered as I handed the boy a coin.
"Thanks, ma'am. Enjoy your read." He answered as he tossed the papers into my chilly hands.
Blowing on my fingers to warm them, I rushed towards Baker Street as fast as I could. Hopefully, Sherlock wouldn't be missing and we could read the story together. Though I had a sinking feeling he already knew all about it.
Thankfully, Watson's new residence wasn't too far away from Baker Street and I could rush towards the other neighborhood without getting too much attention. The dangling lantern on the porch blew with the gentle breeze, the "221b" on it staring me in the face. I quickly made my way inside, said my greeting to the landlady, and hurried up to his room.
"Sherlock," I said as my knuckles rapt on the doors. "I know you're in there. People say you're missing, but I'm not as easily fooled. Now, open the door." There was no answer. "Alright," I sighed casually. "I'm coming in."
I often had to let myself in, but it wasn't because I was unwelcome. Sherlock had better things to do than be a gentleman and open the door for me.
As soon as I entered the room, the usual branch went swinging towards my face. I caught it routinely and crisscrossed my way around the growing leaves. There was no sign of life anywhere in the apartment, except for the goat, vulture, frogs, and other creatures hiding about. Strangely, the animals' company was better than Sherlock's.
"You cannot hide forever," I said as I planted myself on the seat near the window. "Though, your mannequin is impressive…" I glanced towards the opposite side of the room, where a stuffed person was dressed in Sherlock's clothes. I noticed that some facial hair was drawn about his face, but all other features were ignored. "Sherlock, I've found something interesting!" I waved the newspaper temptingly above my head. "Don't you want to take a look at it?"
"Not particularly, no."
I tried to place where the voice was, but it faded before I could put my finger on it. "Well, that's an awful shame. So, you already know about the bombing in Strasbourg?"
"Well, I had assumed that some city was going to be reared from its hinges sooner or later. Naturally it would be France, because the last one was German. They'll soon be at each other's throats and England will be left out of the question."
"That's not my point."
"You have no point."
"True," I smirked, kicking my feet up on a table. I could sense him grimace from halfway across the room. My muddy shoes were disrupting his carefully designed biome. "However, aren't you at least curious as to what the imbecile newspaper publishers have to say?"
There was a long silence before I heard the floorboards creak. Out of the plants, Sherlock emerged wearing nothing but a white body suit. I couldn't stop myself from staring, but not in a romantic way. Not even remotely.
My body hung limp in the chair. The only motion I gave was a roll of my eyes. "Why on Earth are you wearing that?"
"I haven't finished yet," he muttered. "It's going to be a form of modern camouflage."
"For what purpose?"
"Any." The smile on his face gave me a shudder. He was really starting to lose his marbles. I knew that, however, and that was the reason I came to see him. Without another word, I stretched the newspaper towards him. He took it swiftly from my fingers and began to scan the front page. It took a minute for him to speak again. "So, Miss Adler was correct. We will be meeting tomorrow."
My eyes fell away from his face and turned to my boots. My shoes had been through so much and yet endured. I wondered if my brain was that lucky. "You're going to meet her at the auction, right?"
He simply nodded his head. I had no idea if he needed me to go; I was praying he didn't. Something about Irene and Sherlock distilled me. I could never feel properly comfortable around both of them together. Individually? Fine. Together? That required talent.
"Well, you'll have to tell me all about it." I faked a laugh as I gathered myself up from the chair. "Mary and I will be very busy finishing things up for the wed-"
"Mary? Mary doesn't need you tomorrow. I already told Watson that she needs to let you go for a day." His eyes never met mine as he spoke. Instead, he was preoccupied with a bald cap and fake beard he was working on.
"But, why? How can I possibly be of help to you? Surely you can snatch a package from Irene without me being there."
"Of course," he chuckled. "That is beyond comprehension. However, I need you to be in the auction house. You need to keep an eye on the Doctor and make sure he doesn't go anywhere. If something goes wrong, and I don't end up getting the package from Irene, it's your duty to be there and snatch it from her."
I was laughing inside of my head. My face was stern on the outside, but Sherlock took no notice of my clear frustration. "Me? Snatch it from her?" My voice dropped to a hush. "A bomb? You can't be serious, Sherlock! She triumphs me in many areas: persuasion, fighting skills, and appearance. Even if I did take the bomb, what would I do with it?"
His brows crunched together. "I hadn't gotten that far."
"Alright," I grumbled. "I'll be there. But, don't lose the bomb. Make my life easier and just get it from her, alright?"
Sherlock went back to picking at the fake, grey hair in his long beard. His smile was back on his face, but I felt unhappy about everything. Things were leaving a bitter taste in my mouth and nothing could wash it out.
"Renadale, you are the finest maid I have ever had."
"I'm the only maid you've ever had."
"I intend to keep it that way." A smile danced across my face for a brief moment, but I tried my hardest to hide it. His chocolate eyes flickered over his shoulder to look at me as I headed towards the door. My stomach couldn't help but flutter when I recalled the feeling of his lips on mine. "Oh, and Miss Adkins…" He called out. "Did you do something to your hair?"
"Oh," I muttered through a crack in the door. "Mary did it for me. I know it's foolish. We were just-"
"It's not foolish," he mumbled. "It's… nice." Clearly, complimenting me was the hardest thing he had done all afternoon. "It might come in handy some day."
"Thank… you?" My words couldn't help but sound like a question when I uttered them.
"You're welcome!" He sang out loudly as his back turned to me once again. "Shut the door on your way out; I'll see you tomorrow, bright and early at eight!"
I didn't even bother saying goodbye. The door closed behind me with a click. My back rested upon it as my lips let loose a heavy sigh. Something about the whole morning was making me sick. Mary was getting ready for her life to begin again, and what was I doing? I was babysitting a grown man who kept a turkey vulture as a pet.
It might have sounded humorous to those who didn't know him, but it was far from funny. I was also nervous about Irene. Naturally, I couldn't tell him that. The only person I could release my feelings to was John, and he was very much preoccupied. As I pulled myself away from the door, I just hoped that everything would go smoothly tomorrow.
Sherlock would get the package. I would get to go home. Irene would get punishment. All would be well with the world.
But, I had a feeling no one was listening to my prayers.
Do you love Renadale? Do you love Sherlock? Do you love John? Review and say your fav character- give me some feedback please!
Much love goin' round.
YAY FOR A NEW STORY :D