Disclaimer: See prologue chapter.
NOTE 5/5/2013: This chapter has been edited and is now chapter 4. Nothing major has changed, just has a new chapter number.
Background: See prologue chapter.
A/N: See prologue chapter.
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"Fine," said Sherlock after a moment. "Where would you like us to start?"
"The moment it became an official hostage situation," said Mycroft, as if it were the most obvious place to begin.
Sherlock, John and Lestrade thought for a moment before Sherlock leaned back in his chair and said, "Right then, here's what happened…"
"Wait a moment," said Mycroft as he searched his desk for something.
"What now?" asked Sherlock, sounding annoyed. "First you ask me to start and now you interrupt me right before I begin?"
Mycroft ignored him until he found what he was looking for, which happened to be a blank tablet and pen, and said, "I wish to take notes so I can compare."
"For when you watch the bank footage?" asked Sherlock sounding bored as if Mycroft were wasting his time.
"Yes, precisely," said Mycroft and he had his pen poised over the tablet.
"Does he even know how to take notes?" Lestrade asked John who snorted. Mycroft ignored them while Sherlock grinned. He knew there was a reason why he kept the inept Detective Inspector around.
"Whenever you are ready," said Mycroft, ignoring the childish behavior going on in his office with practiced ease as he looked at his brother with a straight face.
"Right," said Sherlock with a grin still on his face. "Here's what happened after Lestrade's very inept colleagues forced the bank robbers back into the bank…"
Twenty-five hours before…
The bank robbers - now hostage takers - pointed their guns at everyone in the bank and everyone instinctively raised their hands, even Sherlock who frowned slightly as he had never given into demands that weren't uttered before in his life, though the hostage takers were angry, it was practically palpable, and everyone could tell, so perhaps it was a good thing.
Sherlock, John and Lestrade could also tell they didn't plan for this eventuality. They actually believed they could come in the bank, get the money and get out without any problems and wasn't that just a recipe for disaster. Sherlock wanted to laugh at their stupidity but refrained himself, just barely.
"You three," said the suppose leader of the hostage takers to his companions, why else would he be giving instructions after all, "watch them for a minute while I think."
Sherlock, again, barely held in a snort at that but no sound escaped him and for that, he suspected, everyone in the bank, John and Lestrade especially, were grateful.
The leader, who was the tallest of the four hostage takers, started to pace and run his hand not holding the gun over his masked head as he talked to himself to work out a plan, not looking at the hostages, which could either be a good thing or a bad thing.
Sherlock also noticed a bulge on his left ear under his mask. What was that? Deformed ear? No. Not that kind of bulge. Headphones? No. No cord, though it could be hidden beneath his clothes, but Sherlock doubted it because who would use only one headphone, especially while robbing a bank? Bluetooth? Most probable. So who was he talking to? Because he was definitely talking to someone…You don't call yourself 'sir.' When did he make the call as well? When he was on his way back inside the bank? He needs more data.
'So not a complete idiot though obviously not the leader of this whole operation and that would explain where the guns came from as they aren't easily accessible. I wonder if the actual leader will do something about this whole thing as his employees got themselves into a right mess,' was Sherlock's conclusion and thought so far as he watched the leader pace and mutter to himself about what he planned to do to get himself and his companions out of this mess with his boss on the other end of the Bluetooth connection.
After a couple of minutes, the leader seemed to have a rough plan formed with his boss as he turned back to the hostages, who hadn't moved a muscle, and said, "All right. First things first. Mobiles, wallets, purses from everyone old enough to have one." He spared a disparaging look at the two children, one who was sniveling beside his mother and father, the other who looked petrified but was silent by the same woman though not too close. "Right now! Get them out and have them ready to give to me when I'm standing in front of you!"
'Definitely not an idiot or his boss isn't an idiot,' thought Sherlock as he reached into his pocket for his mobile.
"Don't think of sending out any text messages either or I will shoot you and you will be one less person I have to deal with," said the leader, as he pulled the hammer back on his gun and pointed at a random person to make his point, as everyone scrambled to do what they were told.
'Hmm… they're getting better with the threats though not as good as what Mummy can do. Granted Mummy doesn't use loaded weapons,' thought Sherlock as he put his mobile in his hand. He didn't grab his wallet before he left the flat as he didn't expect to pay for anything today since John was the one who had to deposit his money and that meant anything they did today that needed paying for was John's treat.
By sheer bad luck, at least according to Sherlock's standards, the leader didn't start with him but headed towards the tellers and bank manager first to get their things.
'Ah, obviously he wants to know who hit the alarm and caused this mess,' thought Sherlock and those four are the first obvious choices. 'Great, so I'm just supposed to stand here with my mobile looking like my companions, like an idiot? Why can't anyone be original?'
With the gun still in the ready to fire position, he walked up to one of the two tellers who went into the vault to give them the money and took the mobile and the wallet that was held out. He opened the wallet and ignored everything in there but the teller's identification card and closed the wallet again and tossed both the mobile and the wallet well away from everyone to the other side of the bank where they both hit the wall which the mobile didn't like very much as it ended up on the floor in two pieces with its battery out completely. The teller flinched quite noticeably at that.
"Tell me, Mr. Wall, did you happen to step on or push any silent alarms that would bring Scotland Yard to the bank?" asked the leader, softly, sounding deceptively calm.
Mr. Wall shook his head quite frantically and said, in case there was some doubt what the head shaking meant, "No."
The leader gave Mr. Wall a hard stare, gun still pointed at him, for a minute which made him and every one of the hostages, except for Sherlock who had an extremely bored look on his face as he held out his phone, nervous. John and Lestrade were used to this type of situation, who wouldn't be when in the company of one Sherlock Holmes and their professions, current or not, but they were nervous for Mr. Wall and the woman who did hit the alarm as they didn't know how the leader would react.
"I believe you," he said simply. "Don't do anything stupid though. I would hate to send you back to your family in a body bag."
Mr. Wall gulped rather audibly as the leader moved to the next teller who went into the vault with them to get the money. The leader held out his hand as he simultaneously pointed the gun at him and the teller handed over his mobile and wallet as well. Once again, the leader held the mobile while he opened the wallet, ignoring everything but the identification card before he closed the wallet and threw both items to the other side of the bank where they hit the wall and his mobile met the same fate as the first one.
"Mr. Jackson, did you happen to step on or push any silent alarms that would bring Scotland Yard to the bank?" he asked this teller, sounding yet again, deceptively calm, bringing the gun back up to point at him which he had lowered when he went through the man's wallet.
Mr. Jackson's reaction was very similar to Mr. Wall's. He shook his head and said, "No."
The leader, again, gave the teller a hard stare to determine how truthful he was being which made everyone, again, except for Sherlock, very nervous.
"I believe you," the leader repeated again and he repeated his warning about not doing anything stupid though he omitted the family part as Mr. Jackson didn't have one though Sherlock thought it was obvious from the lack of a wedding ring or pictures in the man's wallet, he after all wasn't that far from him, which is why it was incredibly frustrating that he wasn't next.
The leader moved on to the final bank teller who everyone knew, the hostages at least, hit the alarm. He pointed his gun at her and held his hand out for her mobile phone and her purse. She handed them over, arm shaking. The leader opened her purse, took out her wallet, opened it and looked at her identification card. Then he closed the wallet, put it back in the purse and then threw it along with the mobile phone to join the others across the room. Her mobile phone ended up in a similar state as the previous two; smashed.
"Tell me, Ms. Moore," said the leader conversationally bringing his weapon back up, as he again dropped it to go through her purse, to point at her, "If your fellow tellers, Mr. Wall and Mr. Jackson, didn't step on or push any silent alarms that all tellers have access to, does that mean you did?"
Sherlock, John and Lestrade all thought he sounded very, deceptively light.
Ms. Moore shook slightly but she didn't answer the question.
"I asked you a question!" shouted the leader sounding angry for the first time since the questioning started. "Did you hit the alarm or not?"
After a moment more of silence, Ms. Moore whispered, in petrified confirmation, "Yes, I hit the alarm."
There was a tense moment of silence from everyone in the bank, even Sherlock was tense as he couldn't turn his head to get a decent read on the leader, if Sherlock didn't know better he would say he was staying deliberately out of his range of vision for as long as possible, as they waited to see what he would do to the woman.
The leader moved his hand with the gun until it was level with the woman's face, as it was previously level with her chest, and he said to everyone in the room, "This is the one and only warning everyone else is going to get against doing something similarly stupid." He then pistol whipped the woman across the face and she dropped to the ground and didn't get up.
Everyone, except the only family, Sherlock and the hostage takers, made a movement towards the woman before there was a gunshot. The leader had shot the ground.
"What did I just say? Don't move! She's fine!" he shouted and he moved on to the next person as if he hadn't just pistol whipped someone and then shot the ground.
The leader now stood in front of the bank manager, with his gun pointed at the manager, and he handed over his mobile phone and wallet as soon as the leader held out his hand, his eyes shooting to his employee worriedly.
The leader opened his wallet, looked at his identification card and closed the wallet. Then he tossed the wallet and mobile phone across the room to join the others, the phone ending up like the others, in pieces.
"Tell me, Mr. Hunt. Did you hit a silent alarm also? I know there is one in your office as all bank managers have one, don't they?" said the leader.
Mr. Hunt, who perhaps was feeling rebellious in light of his employee's plight said, "How the hell am I suppose to know about other bank managers?"
The leader raised his gun so it was level with Mr. Hunt's face and said, very lightly as if they were only discussing the weather, "Attitude, Mr. Hunt. This is the one and only warning you and everyone will get about attitude. It was only a simple question."
"No, I didn't hit the alarm in my office," said Mr. Hunt and Sherlock could still detect a hint of attitude even if no one else could.
The leader stared at him, gun still raised, trying to ascertain if he was telling the truth.
There was a moment in which Mr. Hunt questioned whether he should have quit while he was ahead with the attitude in his responses as it could have possibly given the man doubt about whether he was telling the truth or not before the leader said, "It's good that everyone so far is telling the truth. I like that."
Sherlock really had to repress a snort at that. Like boring people are going to do something as much as lie when their lives are threatened? He rolled his eyes.
The leader moved on to one of the three other customers that were there before Sherlock, John and Lestrade walked in. Sherlock sighed. He was getting bored standing here, holding his phone. He wanted to be questioned already.
Sherlock glanced around to try to stave off some of his boredness, he doesn't care if it's not a proper word, before he got John in trouble because John would no doubt try to do something stupid if Sherlock were threatened. Lestrade, too, would try something stupid if he thought about it.
Sherlock took in the rather small bank he was in. As he already noted there was only one way in or out, no doubt when this was all over Mycroft would rectify that problem. The doors, which were to his right, into the bank were so far unlocked as one of the tellers, Mr. Jackson if Sherlock wasn't mistaken and he rarely was, and the bank manager were the only ones with a set of keys. Then there was the flight of steps and then the doors that led outside.
Inside the bank, Sherlock really had to question why people thought fake potted plants were good decorations. They serve no purpose except to provide good places for people to throw up in, or so he was told by his college acquaintances, so why this bank had one in each of the two corners that he could see and probably ones in the others that he couldn't see, was just ridiculous. The cameras in the corners were a good touch though maybe the plants were supposed to distract people from the fact that they were being recorded?
Then there was teller counter behind him and the bank manager's office to the side of the counter on the right with the vault to the left of the counter. Not much to say about those as they were pretty much self-explanatory at this point.
The windows, however, were the problem though for who was the question: The snipers outside, the bank robbers/hostage takers or the victims in this whole mess? The windows were high up on the wall and pretty normal as much as windows went in a bank and covered with blinds so probably not too good for the snipers outside, though if this ends in a bloodshed, Sherlock has no doubt Mycroft would rectify that problem as well and make a law against having blinds in a bank. In fact, this bank should just be ready for a whole new look when this whole thing is over and to be ready to lose John as their client as there is no way Mycroft is letting Sherlock come here again and there is no way Sherlock is letting John come here again without him. The solution and only possible outcome is this bank is losing John as a client.
The leader raised his gun and held out his hand, Sherlock barely contained a sigh – that's all that happened while he made all his observations? – and the young man handed over his mobile phone and his wallet. The leader opened the wallet and ignored everything, again, but the identification card in there.
"So how about you, Mr. Morgan. Did you call anyone or text?" asked the leader looking at the young man after he closed the wallet and threw both the phone and wallet across the room to join the others. His phone, again, meeting the same fate as the previous ones.
The young man shook his head and said, shakily and very simply, "No."
Sherlock could actually glance at this one and thought he was probably a university student by his age and the way he was dressed. No professional would dress like that. Those trousers did not match his trainers or his sweatshirt. In fact, Sherlock thought he, himself, was mildly offended by the young man's choice of clothes wear. His own Homeless Network can dress better than that and at least color coordinate.
The leader stared at him, like he did with all the others, until the young man looked like he wanted to shift in discomfort, before he said, "Another truth teller. Excellent."
Sherlock was getting antsy now. He couldn't deduce anything more right now especially since he couldn't move and all the bank robbers seemed to be staying out of his line of vision. He started to tap his fingers on his mobile, the only movement he could get away with at the moment. If he didn't have something to do soon, he was going to do something that John would say was a "bit not good."
The leader moved to one of the other customers who got to the bank before Sherlock, John and Lestrade and held out his hand while pointing the gun at him. The man handed over his mobile phone and his wallet, somewhat reluctantly, as if he was handing over his life. Sherlock deduced that he was a businessman and his life revolved around his mobile, especially since he was the boss.
The leader opened the man's wallet, looked at his identification card and then closed the wallet. He looked up at the man and said, "What about you, Mr. Davis? You call or text anyone or email them to inform them of this situation?"
Mr. Davis looked at him as if he wished the hostage taker nothing but pain as he watched the hostage taker throw his mobile, which broke into pieces, and wallet to join the others on the other side of the room and said, "No."
The leader, obviously seeing and sensing the hostility from the man, glared very heavily at the man which was very apparent even through the mask, as if he doubted him until the man shifted his weight from one leg to another, losing the hostile look, and then he said, "That's good. I would hate for something unfortunate to happen to you. How would your business continue if you died?"
Mr. Davis gulped and didn't answer, figuring it was a rhetorical question and he was right as the leader moved on to the next customer.
The leader stuck the gun and his hand in front of the man, who handed over his wallet and mobile phone. He opened the man's wallet, looked at his identification card and then closed the wallet. He looked up at the man said, "What about you Mr. Knight? You call or text anyone like your wife or children to let the know what was going on?"
Mr. Knight paled at the mention of his family, shook his head and said, "No. I didn't."
The leader stared at him for a moment longer before he said, "Let's see if the next person can keep this honesty streak going."
'Please be me, please be me, please be me,' thought Sherlock desperately. He was so bored now. His mind was stagnating. 'I can be honest! So please be me, please be me, please,' his thoughts continued as if the leader of the whole situation could hear his mental pleading.
As if to spite him, at least according to Sherlock, the leader moved to the family beside him. Hopefully, they don't suffocate the kid that was in their grasp.
The leader this time did it differentially when going about getting the mobiles and wallet/purse from the family. Instead of pointing the gun at the person in question, he pointed the gun at the child between the two parents and held out his hand.
Sherlock could see the man getting extremely red in the face; he didn't think it was possible for a man to get that red (and didn't that require further experimentation), and the woman let out a terrified high pitch shriek before they both complied in handing over the requested items rather quickly. The other boy was standing slightly away from them and seemed not to be noticed by the leader in that moment yet.
While the leader was looking through the wallet and purse, Sherlock couldn't help but notice how the man and woman were looking at the other boy, as if they were blaming him somehow for it, if the expressions on their faces were anything to go by. He was confused. They certainly couldn't be idiotic enough to be blaming a five-year-old for this, even Anderson was smarter than that and it pained Sherlock to admit that even to himself.
The leader looked up after going through both of their things to get their names and tossed the two mobiles – did they both need one if they were going to the same place as a family? – and purse and wallet across the room to join the others. The mobiles, of course, broke on contact like the others. The man's face got even redder.
"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, did you call or text anyone to let them know what was going on here?" asked the leader, keeping his gun pointed at the child.
"No, we ruddy well did not," said the man, angrily.
The leader made the facial motion of raising his eyebrows, since his face was covered with a mask, at the man and said, "I believe I gave you a warning already about attitude, Mr. Dursley, but as I can see how this situation is distressing with my holding a weapon on your son, I will let it slide. This time. Don't repeat it or I won't be so forgiving and it won't be you who feels my wrath. Understand?"
Sherlock wondered if someone was telling this leader what to say and how to control his temper through that Bluetooth on his ear… that sounded too smart for someone idiotic enough to rob a bank.
Mr. Dursley simply nodded his head, which Sherlock considered it to be the smartest thing that man did all day that he saw.
The leader turned to Mrs. Dursley and said, "Well, I've got your husband's answer. What about you? Did you call or text anyone to let them know what was going on here?"
Mrs. Dursley gripped her son tighter, shook her head and said, very simply, "No."
The leader stared at them for a minute before he said, "We still have a nice honesty streak going on. I like that. Let's keep it up."
He went to move on to the next person when he spotted the dark-haired boy who was standing slightly away from the family and he said to the woman, as he didn't seem to trust the man with the temper problem, "Is that one with you too?"
Mrs. Dursley nodded stiffly.
"Keep an eye on him then. You don't know what happens in dangerous situations like these. Anything could happen to brats that aren't being watched properly," he said before turning in John, Sherlock and Lestrade's direction.
Sherlock saw the woman grab the boy, none too gently, and pulled him slightly closer to her but not too close. He frowned slightly to himself. That's not normal socially accepted behavior. At least he did not think it was. Why did he care anyway and what was that unpleasant sensation starting in his gut?
Before he could think on it anymore, the leader was in front of John and had his gun pointed at him as he held out his hand. John handed over his wallet and mobile that he got from his sister – Sherlock wondered if Mycroft had a chance to bug it yet – and the leader opened his wallet.
He went through his wallet to look at his identification card and Sherlock saw the leader's eyes narrow on something else behind it. He must have seen John's Army identification card as well. He closed the wallet and tossed it and the mobile across the room where the mobile broke, like the others.
Then the leader moved his gun up to John's face and said, "What about you Mr. Army Doctor John Watson? Did you call or text anyone or are you waiting until you can act like a hero on your own?"
John's eyes widened slightly at how close the gun was to his face, but other than that, he didn't show any outward fear as to what was going on, despite knowing how trigger happy these robbers were. He shook his said and said, "No."
"To which part of the question, Doctor Watson?" asked the leader, not moving the gun an inch.
"Both. I didn't call or text anyone. Nor am I going to act like a hero," said John.
The leader looked at John long and hard, longer than anyone else in the bank, and finally, he said, "All right. I believe you, for now, and you better not cause any problems either or else I'll shoot you and save myself a headache. Got it?"
John nodded his head. Sherlock didn't like that. No one got away with threatening John and lived to tell the tale.
The leader moved to, finally, Sherlock thought he could jump for joy quite literally, himself. The leader pointed the gun at Sherlock's chest, really how boring, and held out his hand. Sherlock, with a little flourish, handed over his mobile phone.
The leader scowled at him behind his mask and said, "Where's your wallet?"
"I do not have it on me right now," said Sherlock, quite cheerfully. Finally, he wasn't bored in this thrilling situation.
The leader looked at him skeptically and John and Lestrade looked like they quite literally wanted to put their faces in their hands. How odd.
"Where is your wallet if you don't have it on you right now?" asked the leader, his eyes raking up and down Sherlock's body as if trying to decide if he could have hidden it in his suit somewhere.
"In my flat," said Sherlock as if the man were an idiot, which he was. Who robs banks anymore? Identity theft was the way to go!
Thinking of identity theft… No, John could still be in danger… but there is no real way to prove I wasn't who I said I was… John could still be in danger… What are you my conscience? Yes. Fine, I'll give my real name.
"Why would you come to a bank without your wallet?" asked the leader.
"I didn't have any business with this bank so why would I need my wallet?" questioned Sherlock back.
"Then why did you come?" asked the leader. He sounded frustrated and he forgot his own rules. Lestrade looked like he would sympathize with him if he wasn't a bank robber and hostage taker as Sherlock tended to do that to you.
"Didn't you ever just need to stretch your legs?" asked Sherlock.
The leader growled, actually growled, and pointed his gun at Sherlock's face and cocked back the hammer. "You want to try that again?"
Sherlock let out a long, suffering sigh before he said, "I came with my flatmate because he needed to go to the bank and I wanted to get away from an annoying person who happened to follow us here."
"Who is your flatmate?" asked the leader, still pointing the gun at him.
"Doctor John Watson," said Sherlock as if it were obvious and it should have been as he was standing right next to the man and Lestrade.
The leader scowled once more at Sherlock behind his mask before he turned his gun back to John and asked, "He telling the truth? He come here with you?"
John nodded his head and said, "Yes, he came here with me."
The leader turned his attention back to Sherlock but kept his gun pointed at John and said, "What's your name then and I better believe it's your real one or your mate here will get it."
Sherlock let out another sigh – really no new threats? – and said, "Sherlock Holmes."
The leader paused for a moment and said, with a question in his voice, "Sherlock Holmes."
"Yes," Sherlock said, almost snappishly. He hated repeating himself, after all, especially to people who had guns pointed at people he could tolerate.
The leader stared at him for a moment and then said, "All right Mr. Holmes, did you text or call anyone?"
"No," said Sherlock, still sounding snappish.
The leader's eyes narrowed behind his mask, then he threw Sherlock's mobile across the room where it broke in pieces and almost hollered, "This is the very last warning anyone is getting about attitude."
Sherlock opened his mouth to say something more but he got an elbow in each of his sides for his trouble.
"You've got a good mate there, Mr. Holmes, to stop you from getting shot," said the leader, the gun now pointing back at Sherlock which made Sherlock slightly happier as it was no longer pointed at John because of him, "and you are lucky I believe you about not texting or calling anyone. Now be quiet, as hard for you as that may be."
Sherlock kept his mouth closed and got what John and Lestrade knew as his thinking face on. Sherlock had obviously wound the leader up enough to warrant being shot so whoever was running the show was either trying not to make a mess too early on or knew who Sherlock was and didn't want to kill him yet, maybe his fan, Moriarty?
The leader was now in front of Lestrade, pointing his gun at him and holding his hand out for his wallet and mobile.
As Lestrade was handing over his mobile, it started to ring and everyone in the bank, bank robbers/hostage takers and hostages, except for the woman still on the ground unconscious from being pistol whipped, alike stared at the phone with a morbid fascination and wondered who on earth was calling.
Sherlock suddenly broke off as he started to cough and he reached for his cup so he could pour himself a cup of tea. Mycroft couldn't help but scowl at his brother.