Okay, yes, I confess. ^^; I did not manage to finish this story until before the start of series 3 after all. But at least it's finished now. :) As I'm uploading this epilogue on the day of the airing of the second episode I realise that you might have completely different things on your mind than ATT right now. But anyway: Please have fun with the following bit and thanks for reading, mates!
"I will never be able to
Date: December 24th, 2016. 1210 hours.
Position: Shad Sanderson bank, Tower 42 ( 51° 30′ 55″ N, 0° 5′ 2″ W ) , 25 Old Broad Street, London, England.
On Christmas Eve, Greg Lestrade was standing near the polished reception desk of one of the biggest banking institutions in England, craving for a cigarette and watching Sherlock Holmes closing their latest case.
Corruption, blackmail, and cutting lots of honest people out of their savings. Apparently, it had been the chairman and his lawyer who had founded a bogus company, sold stocks, then manipulated the shares and made one of their own bankers the scapegoat. Suddenly, Sebastian Wilkes had to explain where 20.000.000 pounds had vanished to because it turned out that every transaction and even the bank accounts in Zürich had been ordered and signed by him. Being in financial trouble himself as his father recently had lost their entire family fortune; he had motive, opportunity and the necessary knowledge to pull this off.
Sherlock and John had been working in the background of this case for four days, following every paper and digitalised trace. And finally they'd discovered the storage room in which all the files about the bogus company were neatly stored away- effectively clearing Wilkes' name.
Currently, Sherlock was sitting in one of the posh lounge chairs across from the poor bastard, discussing the final course of action before NSY would take over (who would hopefully get the paper work done until Christmas Day, thank you very much) and turn this into some ironclad court case. One didn't need to be a consulting genius detective to see that those two had some kind of history together and that they were about to tear each other's throats out- without actually moving so much as a damn muscle.
"Uncle Greg!" came a high pitched voice from near the huge glass doors that made up the entrance to the foyer.
Greg turned and saw his three year old goddaughter running towards him with a speed that would make any elementary schoolkid two years her senior green with envy. Her longish, light brown, waved hair was flying back over her shoulders as she stormed towards him.
"Heeey..." Greg caught her swiftly and lifted her up, comfortably settling her against his hip. "And where are you up to, Little One?"
"Me and Daddy are going to visit Father," she whispered confidentially, dark blue eyes sparkling with equal measures of warmth and intelligence. "Daddy has to go to cure people. They called when we were playing Deductions. I answered the phone all by myself," she explained proudly.
Greg felt himself smiling at the small girl. "Wow, that's quite something!"
She beamed up at him.
"And are you going to spend Christmas at your grandma's place again this year? Do you think it might snow?" he asked, smirking when he saw her tiny features pull into a pout.
She crossed her arms and drew her small eyebrows together. "You shouldn't ask more than one question at once, Uncle Greg. Father says you'd solve more crimes if you'd organise your thoughts better," she chided with a serious expression.
Greg chuckled, just as John was approaching them from having paid the cabbie. "Young lady, what do we say about giving advice?" John asked upon reaching them.
The girl dropped her head guiltily. "It's important to be nice about it."
"And?" John had crossed his arms as well.
She sighed with an embarrassed little half-smile on her lips. "Only grown-ups lecture grown-ups."
John nodded. "Right you are." He cocked his head and smiled encouraging at her. "And didn't you forget something just now?"
"Oh!" she exclaimed and hit her own forehead with her palm, turning to face Greg once more. "Grandmummy and Uncle Mycroft are coming home to us this year! And it will snow, Uncle Greg, because Mrs Hudson's big toe is ticklish all of a sudden and the air outside smells curious," she said, practically brimming with anticipation again.
"Well, and you're not nervous about Santa finding you tonight?" Greg asked.
"No, he's Santa!" A smaller- and definitely cuter- version of Sherlock's 'you're an idiot-look' made an appearance. "He finds every child aaaall over the world," she emphasised excitedly. "And Uncle Mycroft promised that he talked to him. So he'll know."
Right then John seemed to have noticed the tension sparking between Sherlock and their client where they were still sitting on the other side of the room. He grinned and locked gazes with his daughter. "Go fetch your father, love. Daddy has to leave for work in a few minutes."
Greg was barely able to put the lively kid down before she was hurrying over to Sherlock. Slowly, John and Greg were walking after the little tomboy.
"So how's it going, then?" Greg asked his mate, watching on as his godchild reached the debating men and abruptly stopped, putting on quite a show of approaching her father in a normal walking pace like a perfect lady.
"Great." John grinned, watching the scene as well. "It's pure chaos, but we love it. She's already starting to discover her acting skills. Newest hobby. She resembles Sherlock more and more each day."
"She's going to be a good mix of both of you, John. She's a happy child."
"Feels like it," John agreed, smiling softly. "We certainly hope so."
"Any news from Magnussen?"
"No. Both, Mycroft and the Network are keeping an eye on him and his activities, of course. But so far he stayed silent," John replied with a serious look appearing on his face.
Greg nodded. "Well, that's good, then. Maybe he's going to stick to his promise to stay away from you guys."
John bared his teeth, reminding Greg of how dangerous the jumper clad man next to him could be when provoked. "Well, he'd regret not to. We definitely wouldn't let him pass out after just a few minutes."
Greg ordered himself to have not heard this.
By now, they were close enough to the lounge chairs to be able to listen to what was spoken over there. The Little One was standing near her father's chair, waiting impatiently to be noticed.
The next moment, Sherlock ignored what Wilkes was about to say and looked down to the little girl. "Hello there," he simply said, stretching his arm out and allowing the kid to climb onto his lap. She immediately snuggled close to his chest and Sherlock's arm was curving around her back to keep her from slipping off. She eyed Wilkes with suspicion from where she now sat safely in her father's arms.
Wilkes stared at the scene in front of him in shock and Greg couldn't help a gleeful smirk forming on his lips upon seeing this charmless character in his 2.000-pound suit so baffled.
"What is that?" Wilkes demanded to know with an air of someone who had just come across a cockroach in their bedroom.
Sherlock's features darkened for the blink of an eye. "This," he said, "is my daughter." Then his gaze turned into something mischievous as he addressed the Little One, "Say hi to Sebastian, love. You remember the two gentlemen who ruined Uncle Mycroft's birthday ball this summer?"
The girl nodded and sat up straight. "Hi, Mr Wilkes! Is your tummy feeling better?"
Sherlock grinned proudly as Wilkes was turning into something resembling the colour of a rotten apple- actually, his facial expression seemed as if he'd just bitten into one, too.
"Nicely played," Sherlock smiled at his daughter who now shrugged her tiny shoulders.
"Father, you know Daddy will be telling you off for being mean, don't you?" she asked. "And it's Christmas and I don't want Santa to throw your presents away," she pouted.
"'Daddy'?" Wilkes inquired.
"Hmm... it's important to put your insight to good use, though." Sherlock smiled, behaving as if the other man hadn't said anything at all.
"Being mean is no 'good use'," his daughter protested.
"I'm not being mean, I was... playing tricks."
"Like the Trickster God, Loki?"
"Like Loki, exactly."
She thought about this for a moment. "It's still mean," she finally decided.
Sherlock smiled. "Yes, very good. You're right and I apologise."
"What's going on here, Sherlock?" Wilkes asked, somewhere between panicky and unnerved by now.
"Oh, don't be daft, Seb. You're the convenient training object for my three year old," Sherlock deadpanned. "Obvious."
"Whose child is this?" Wilkes seemed to be rather worked up over this news, Greg thought.
"Ours," John stated. "Hello, Wilkes." He used Wilkes' horrified silence to step next to the chair his family was currently sitting in. Greg witnessed him leaning down in perfect calm- ever the odd mix of badass fighter and healer- softly laying a hand on his daughter's head and giving Sherlock a quick kiss.
Wilkes stared in silence as Sherlock lifted his head to welcome the loving gesture.
"Clinic?" Sherlock asked in greeting.
John nodded. "Yeah, A&E is short on doctors. I'll try to make it home till dinner, promised."
"Shall I organise something?"
"No, there's no need. I bet Mrs H and Evangeline are going to have our kitchen turned into a battlefield already by the time you'll get back," John chuckled and Greg couldn't help but marvel at the utter difference between this John and the one he'd tried to invite down to the pub for another helpless attempt to lighten his mood a bit until Sherlock had finally stumbled into their landlady's kitchen. Back from the dead, indeed.
And when he now saw Sherlock answering in kind to the good doctor, it was rather obvious, really, what those two meant to each other.
"Oh, don't worry, dear! We have everything under control," Lady Holmes suddenly called from behind them.
His goddaughter immediately jumped down and dashed towards her. "Grandmummy!"
"Oh, my baby!" she cooed, taking the Little One into her arms, hugging her tightly. "Look at you, you've grown so much!"
The girl snickered happily. "Grandmummy, you say that every time you see me!"
"Naturally!" Lady Holmes replied. "Because it's the truth every time I see you."
John embraced his mother-in-law in a half-hug and gave a quick kiss to her cheek. "You really shouldn't have to do this, though. I'm sorry."
"Oh, nonsense, John. I enjoy cooking for a change. It's certainly diverting."
"Then why are you here?" Sherlock asked, slightly miffed, from where he still sat in his lounge chair while Greg shook hands with the lady.
"We needed a few more supplies which I offered to get- I'll be much quicker with the Royce. Mrs Hudson is holding the fort. You're invited too, of course, Inspector. The more the merrier, n'est ce-pas?"
Greg couldn't think of a reason why, exactly, but suddenly John tensed up and Sherlock wordlessly stood and stepped next to him. They hid it perfectly from their daughter but Greg could see John leaning slightly into Sherlock in some kind of unvoiced distress, searching for the comfort the detective gave without questioning.
Another layer of something buried deep in their partnership, Greg assumed with slight worry.
He quickly shook himself when he realised that he hadn't given any answer yet. "Um, thank you but-" he cast a small glance over to his friends. John smiled and nodded. "Well," Greg heard himself say, "actually, I'd like to join you. Thanks."
The baroness clapped her hands together happily.
Wilkes, who apparently had just noticed the ring around Sherlock's finger, was visibly swallowing down a lump in his throat before he remembered his manners and hurried to stand, offering his hand in greeting. "Lady Holmes."
"Mr Wilkes the Younger," she said, instantly back to business. "Please send my regards to your father, would you? I regret the unfortunate circumstances which led to our rather abrupt parting last time."
Greg would have wondered about the quick switch from the loving grandma to the cold matriarch. But then again- where else would Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes have gotten their manipulative talents from?
"Well," Greg said, "I should probably go, then, and get the office stuff done before dinner. I'll see you all in Baker Street."
"Take care, mate," John grinned.
Greg had almost reached the exit when he heard his godchild calling after him. Upon turning back around, he saw her standing in the middle of Sherlock and John, waving at him. Giddy with all the excitement and happy anticipation so ridiculously normal for a child on Christmas. And yet she was anything but.
Nobody of them really was. But Greg couldn't help thinking that this was exactly how they should be. Not normal. Just them. Just Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. And little Jannah Watson-Holmes.
A few years ago, when John had started to write all of this down in his private blog, he'd told Greg about their story.
And about how Jannah had come to them.
Named as she was after the place where her fathers had first met- the garden in which their apple tree still stands to this day.
And after the patch of land where she'd been found- in a country once called The Gate to Eden.
XXX The End XXX
So this is the end of A Telling Touch. It's been quite a long journey as I originally started this as a 2012 Christmas present for the wonderful, unequalled, perfect JezebelGoldstone (if you haven't read her works yet, go do it NOW. They're gorgeous.) I enjoyed posting here and thank you all for your kind and motivating comments, for the kudos, and for the bookmarks. Every single reaction to this story, in whatever form it came along, lit up my day and helped me through the writer's block I experienced a few weeks into publishing. You're seriously the best, mates!
As promised, Jez and I will go over ATT and take care of the grammar and spelling problems still lurking around somewhere in there. I don't know when exactly this project will be completely finished. But we will finish it. :)
I'll now sit through series 3 and get normal life going again and then see if there'll be enough inspiration and time for another story about our Baker Street boys. Or, if you like, a sequel to ATT.
But for now let me say: Take care, mates! It's been a pleasure! X
(Also: 'Jannah' - Arabic female name, meaning 'garden', 'paradise')