Dedicated to all the delightful ladies I've met in this fandom (you know who you are!), many of whom are peppered throughout this story in various forms, and with various versions of their actual online ID's included. Whoever guesses the most correctly wins a Sherlolly short-short of their choice and gets announced as Da Winnah at the end of this, my first foray into crack!fic. Enjoy, take nothing seriously, and feel free to review!
Prologue: The Prophecy
"Are you sure?"
A regal nod greeted the excited question. "Absolutely. It's this solstice eve. The power released from the event will be enormous, like nothing else in a hundred years. We're the fortunate ones; of all our sisters, we get to be the ones to release and claim the power."
The first speaker, a dark blonde with a husky accent that identified her as being from the American south, frowned. "But the sacrifice...it has to be someone special. Not some sweet young thing who's barely left his mama's tit. Plus," she added practically, "we could get in real trouble if we tried it with a kid. Where are we going to find a full grown man who meets all the requirements on such short notice?"
The older woman smiled. "Oh, I have the perfect victim in mind," she said smugly. "The brother of an old...friend...of mine. Who happens to think sex is a waste of time, says the body is just transport and that only the mind matters. He's taken all that lovely energy of his and used it to hone his intellect. Aside from a bit of minor experimentation in uni, he's as pure as the driven snow."
The American grinned. "Awesome! So when do we grab him?"
Her enthusiastic words were met with a disapproving frown. "We don't 'grab' him, Queen of the Night," she said chastisingly, using the younger woman's cult title as per custom. "We get him to come to us willingly...at least, at first." A slow smile spread across her face, one that the other woman met. "The prophecy says that's the first step. No matter if he changes his mind, if he comes to us of his own volition and meets all other criteria, then the sacrifice can take place."
'Queen of the Night' laughed and clapped her hands. "Oh, Auntie Draco, I can hardly wait! I know you have some outstandingly clever plan in mind, right?"
"You have no idea," the older woman replied. The gleam in her eye did not bode well for her intended victim or his brother – her real target in all of this.
After all, no one dumped Auntie Draco and got away with it.
London – Six Months After Sherlock's Return
"Sherlock's been kidnapped."
Molly sighed and crossed her arms over her chest. "Again? How many times does this make?"
"Seven, but who's counting?" Mycroft Holmes offered her his usual reptilian smile, but this time there was something lurking behind his eyes, something that looked an awful lot like real concern.
"And you're telling me this because...?" Molly wasn't nearly as uncaring as she sounded, but honestly, these kidnappings were getting old. People who just wanted to prove they were smarter than the detective who'd faked his own death and returned to the world of the living in time to foil an assassination attempt by Jim Moriarty's last remaining lieutenant, Sebastian Moran. Sherlock had escaped each time within hours of his disappearance, and Molly just couldn't find it in her to worry any more when he thought it was funny.
Funny! The first time she'd nearly lost her mind when John had called her, frantic with worry, to warn her that Sherlock had been snatched away from their Baker Street flat by an armed gunman who'd threatened harm to anyone close to Sherlock if they tried to find him. Then the bloody prat had simply strolled into her morgue two hours later, nearly giving her a heart attack. She'd made a fool of herself, throwing herself into his arms and sobbing and coming very near to kissing him in her relief.
She'd been mortified when he explained the truth of the matter: he hadn't been taken by someone seeking revenge for Moriarty's death or to try and harm him, only by some idiot trying to show how smart he was. Sherlock had been smug and Molly had nearly slapped him for taking her concerns – and John's – so lightly.
The next time it happened she'd still been frantic, but when a chortling Sherlock entered the Path lab with John hard on his heels, she'd felt a combination of relief and fury to find it was just more of the same – and that he was treating it as lightly as the first time. "Really, Molly, I don't know why you're so upset," he'd had the nerve to drawl when she tried to express her feelings. "This one didn't even have a gun."
Now, this marked the seventh such ridiculous attempt and she was tired of it all. Sherlock, on the other hand, treated each kidnapping as a chance to exercise not only his brilliance but also his escape artists' abilities, and even John had started acting like it was all some great joke. She was a bit disappointed in him but would never say so aloud, especially since she still felt guilty about keeping Sherlock's secret the entire two years he'd been 'dead' to everyone but her and Mycroft.
And here it was, another ludicrous kidnapping, with the added bonus of Mycroft Holmes invading her lab to tell her about it...wait, that was wrong, why was Mycroft bothering to tell her about it? And why in person?
When she finally voiced those questions his gaze sharpened. "I was wondering how long it would take you to realize that this time is different, Dr. Hooper," he said. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a piece of paper and held it out to her. She moved close enough to take it, eyes automatically scanning the document before flying up to meet his in an expression of alarm.
"Oh, they – they've actually taken him, someone's actually taken him who means it? What's all this about a cult and a prophecy? I don't under...oh," she said, as sudden realization dawned.
"Yes, 'oh' indeed," was Mycroft's dry retort. "The very same cult that has been trying to recruit you into its ranks for the past six months is responsible for my brother's kidnapping. Which puts you in a very unique position, I'm afraid."
She gave him a blank stare as her mind raced, all humor gone at the thought of Sherlock in the hands of a bunch of fanatical female Bacchus-worshipers. "A unique position to do what?"
Mycroft's smile was back to its normal insincerity. "Why, to infiltrate them, of course. To find my brother, report on his whereabouts, and await extraction by me and my men."
With an audible gulp, Molly found herself agreeing to do just that. She also found herself agreeing to have a subcutaneous transponder implanted in her left buttock – sitting wouldn't activate it, she'd been assured, only a very firm squeeze, and really it was the safest, most logical place to have it, didn't she know – a passive device that wouldn't show up on scanners until activated.
"Why does it have to be passive?" she asked.
Mycroft's bureaucratic mask slipped just a bit; she stared, fascinated by the sight of Sherlock's elder brother actually looking...uncomfortable. She wished she had her phone handy, because no one would ever believe her without photographic evidence of some kind. "The cult does not allow personal electronics of any kind inside their hallowed walls," he finally replied. "No phones, no cameras, no camera phones, nothing. They scan all newcomers..."
"Wait," Molly interrupted him with her hand raised, palm out as if it was necessary to physically stop him. "How do you know all this?" She gulped. "Have you tried to infiltrate them before? What – what happened to your other spies?"
Mycroft sighed and rolled his eyes ceilingward. "Certainly nothing to dramatic as you are clearly imagining, Dr. Hooper. No one was killed, of that I can assure you."
"Then what?" Molly pressed, not really reassured by his words; there was an awful lot of ground that could be covered by 'not killed.'
He tried to stare her down, but she wasn't having any of it. "Look, Mr. Holmes, this is your brother's life we're talking about here. And mine, which may not mean very much to you but does to me. I can hardly help rescue him if I'm tortured or imprisoned myself, can I? I need to know exactly what I might be facing." She gave him her fiercest scowl, knowing it was about as effective as a child's pout by the way his lips twitched before settling back into a neutral expression.
"They weren't harmed," he finally replied, sounding a bit sulky in spite of his momentary (she believed) expression of humor. "They were simply returned to me." Molly raised an eyebrow, crossed her arms, and waited. "Fine," Mycroft said with a scowl of his own (much more effective than hers; the Holmes brothers certainly had that expression down to a science). "They were returned to me, erm, left on the steps of my office, actually. Tied and gagged, with 'Nice try, Mikie' inked on their foreheads."
Molly couldn't help the giggle that escaped her lips, not even when Mycroft's scowl deepened. "I can assure you, Dr. Hooper, it was no laughing matter." Face turning a bit pink, he mumbled: "They were also stark naked. My wife was...not amused."
"No, I imagine she wouldn't be," Molly managed to say with a straight face.
Of course, she once again dissolved into giggles when Mycroft added, somewhat pensively: "My sons, however, seemed to find the entire situation...rather intriguing. They're 12 and 14," he added when Molly appeared ready to collapse in laughter. "Not an appropriate age to be exposed to such things, I can assure you."
That did it; Molly actually did collapse onto her seat, burying her head on the counter as her shoulders shook with laughter. "Exposed is right!" she lifted her head to gasp out.
Mycroft's disapproving glare reminded her of the seriousness of the moment, and she was able to get herself back under control as she agreed to do as he'd asked and contact the woman who'd been pestering her via text message to join her esoteric little cult.