Yogurt & Umbrella Wielding Stalkers
"Good evening Miss Rouge." She heard a man's voice greet her on the other end of the phone. Well that wasn't creepy at all.
"Who is this?" Louise asked. She was glad she managed to keep her nervousness out of her voice. The man ignored her question.
"Do you see the camera on your right?" He asked her. She watched as it turned away from her. "Now the one to your left." He told her. That one turned away too. Yeah, this was definitely not going to end well for her. "There's a car pulling up in front of you now. Get in." he told her. Yeah right, if she got in, there was probably no getting out.
"And if I refuse?" she asked.
"Don't be difficult. I'd hate to have to force you." He told her. He didn't sound like he'd regret it all. Louise decided she might as well go along with it. If she didn't return home, at least John would look for her, and Sherlock knew the relative area she would've been in before she went missing.
"Alright, have it your way." She told him grudgingly as she hung up on the man.
As she entered the car, she noticed a woman was already sitting in it, texting.
"Um, hi," Louise said to the woman, "Any chance you'll let me go or tell me where we're going?" The woman glanced up from her phone to look at Louise before resuming her texting.
"No, not really." She answered her with what almost looked like a smile. Well, you can't blame a girl for trying Louise thought. The car drove on for a while before pulling into what looked like an abandoned warehouse. Well that wasn't ominous.
Louise was escorted from the car to stand in front of a man, probably the one on the phone earlier. He was on the portly side, holding an umbrella, and wearing the stereotypical three-piece suit that most Americans would associate with British snobs. All he needed was the hat and monocle. Not that everyone who dressed like that was a snob.
"Have a seat, Miss Rouge." The man told her, motioning to a chair with his umbrella. Louise clenched her jaw. She was so over this.
"I'd rather stand, thanks." She said shortly. She said she'd come. She didn't say she'd be pleasant about it. "You know, if you just wanted to talk we could have talked on the phone. I know I don't have a cell, but I was at a perfectly good payphone before you abducted me. The camera hacking was clever and all, very intimidating, but a little over the top. Don't you think?" She told him. Sarcasm was great defense mechanism. The man just laughed and leaned on his umbrella.
"When one needs to avoid the attention of Sherlock Holmes, one learns to be discrete, hence this place. Why don't you sit down?" He told her.
"Because I don't want to." Louise told him defiantly. Really, couldn't he just get on with it?
"You don't seem very afraid." He observed.
"You don't seem very frightening. Your umbrella reminds me of a certain singing and dancing nanny with a magic umbrella, answers to the name Mary Poppins? Are you a relative of hers? Besides, panicking won't do me any good this late in the game." She replied.
"Ah, yes, the famed sarcasm of Americans. Sarcasm is by far the lowest form of whit, don't you think? Now, what is your connection to Sherlock Holmes?" He said.
"This is about Sherlock?" she asked. "I barely know him. I only met him just the other day. That's hardly enough time to get to know a person very well."
"Yet, you've moved in with him, and now you're solving crimes together. He even covered for you, despite your questionable origins. I researched you. The only Louise Rouge that lawfully exists is the stillborn child of Mary and Edward Rouge from New Orleans, Louisiana. You are not who you say you are, and you are certainly not in England legally. Don't bother trying to deny it. Is it possible you're hoping to find a way to stay here more permanently, a marriage visa perhaps? Might we expect a happy announcement at the end of the week?" He said to her.
"I wouldn't marry someone for such a petty reason," She replied angrily, "and Sherlock didn't really strike me as the marrying type. Although, I'm pretty sure he'd marry his work if he could. What does it matter to you anyway? Who are you?" She asked.
"Just an interested party." He told her
"Why are you 'interested' in Sherlock? I'm guessing you're not exactly friends." She asked. There was something vaguely familiar about this man's calculating and penetrating stare. It reminded her of someone. She really needed to wrap this up though. The yogurt was going to turn at this rate.
"Oh we've met," he drolled. "How many friends do you think he has? I'm the closest thing to a friend a man like Sherlock Holmes is capable of having."
"And that is?" Louise prodded him.
"An enemy, in his mind certainly. If you were to ask him, he'd probably say his archenemy. He does love to be dramatic…"
"Well, thank God you're above all that." She retorted.
"Do you plan to continue your association with Sherlock Holmes?" he questioned her.
"I don't see how that's any of your business." Louise told him.
"Well I think it is." He insisted.
"It really isn't." she retorted. Really, did the man think he was Sherlock's mother or something? What a stalker.
"If you do decide to be more forthcoming, I'd be happy to pay you a meaningful sum of money on a regular basis to ease your way. You won't be able to get a job with such a questionable background. You could even afford your own place." He told her.
"In exchange for what?" Louise asked.
"Information," the man said almost excitedly, "nothing indiscrete mind you, nothing you'd feel uncomfortable with. Just tell me what he's up to." Louise honestly didn't think this guy had the right to bribe himself into Sherlock's business. Couldn't he just do this himself? He had just proven earlier to Louise that he had vast resources.
"Why?" She asked.
"I worry about him, constantly." He told her.
"That's awfully nice of you, but I'm not interested." He did seem oddly concerned for Sherlock, despite how sinister this whole thing seemed. They way he looked at her was unnerving, almost like he was trying to unravel her deepest, darkest secrets. Good luck to him, seeing as how she didn't have any. Well, there was the being from another world thing.
""You're very loyal, very quickly," he observed. Louise didn't bother correcting him. It was true after all. "We'll see if you still feel that way once I mention a figure, and I would, for various reasons, have my concern go unmentioned. We have what you might call a… difficult… relationship," he reasoned. Oh. She suddenly remembered where she'd seen that stare.
"No, really why are you worried? Are you his big brother or something?" she asked. They didn't look a thing alike, but something about the way he had phrased his words and his concern over the possibility of her swindling Sherlock made her ask anyway. He blinked.
"He mentioned me? I didn't think he would tell anyone about me." he stated, genuinely surprised. Louise smirked. Score. It might have been a shot in the dark, but it was a good one.
"No, but you just did." She informed the man. He didn't look too pleased with his slip up, but he smiled slightly at her anyway.
"Well played 'Miss Rouge'." He said, "Now, about my offer?"
"I don't feel comfortable snitching on the man who's helping me, but since you're family, and you really are concerned…I'll consider it." she conceded. "Are we done? I think the yogurt's starting to turn." She said as she held up the grocery bag containing said yogurt.
"Fair enough." he murmured as Louise turned around to walk back to the car. "I should warn you though. To walk with Sherlock Holmes is to walk through the battlefield. You'd do well to tread cautiously my dear."
"I'll keep that in mind. Could I get a ride back to the flat?" she said, "I have absolutely no idea how to get back from here."
"You took your time." Sherlock told her as she walked into the flat. "John got worried and went to look for you." Bless you John Louise thought. It would have been nice if Sherlock had shown a little concern. He was just calmly sitting there reading a book, on the couch, but then, he wouldn't be Sherlock. It also made sense for one of them to stay behind incase she came back.
"Shouldn't we call him and let him know I'm okay then?" She asked. Poor John was running around London on a wild goose chase. Sherlock held his phone out to her, she took it and texted John to let him know she was okay and back at the flat. "I met your brother today." She told Sherlock as she handed his phone back to him. His face was almost comical.
"Mycroft actually told you who he was?" Sherlock asked her.
"Not exactly," she told him, "I sort of guessed, and he was so surprised, he confirmed it without meaning to." She shrugged. So, his name was Mycroft. Weird name. "You two look nothing alike though."
"Did he offer you money to spy on me?" He asked. He was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. This must happen a lot.
"I turned him down, but when I found out he was your brother and that his concern was genuine…I told him I'd think about it. I'll let you know what I decide though. You have a right to know when your privacy's being invaded." She told him.
"Oh good, you can go ahead and accept. We can split the fee, and you could use the money." He told her as he returned to his book.
"Your brother doesn't seem like the kind of person you want to play." She told him.
"No, but I'm sure he's expecting you tell me anyway, and I'm sure you were planning on telling him you got my permission too." He said absently while reading his book. Yeah that was exactly what she was going to do. She figured she might as well be upfront with a man who could probably have her crushed with a snap of his fingers.
"Well, okay then." she said as she slumped on to the couch next to Sherlock.
"Mind if I watch TV, I mean the tele?" she asked. The sound of someone running up the stairs was heard before John rushed into the room. He panted, trying to catch his breath as he searched the room for Louise. She was sitting on the couch with Sherlock, not a scratch on her. John was relieved, but a bit miffed he had gone on a wild goose chase.
"Good. You're alright then. Did you get lost?" John asked her as he relaxed into his chair. Louise felt bad for making John worry so much, but it was Mycroft's fault.
"I'm sorry I worried you," she told him, "but I wasn't lost. Mycroft decided he wanted to have a little chat with me." John nodded.
"He did the same thing to me when I first moved in with Sherlock, tried to bribe me to spy on him. Can you believe it?" He said.
"That's exactly what he did to Louise." Sherlock told him. "She almost flat out refused him like you did, but when she realized we were brothers, she told him she'd think it over. We're going to split the fee." Louise looked at John sheepishly and said,
"I hope you don't think any less of me, but I feel bad mooching off of you guys all the time, and Sherlock gave me permission so…"
"It's alright, I understand." John told her, " But how did you know they were brothers. They look nothing alike."
"I know," she said, "but they both have that same calculating stare when they're deducing you. It was a guess really, but it turned out to be a good one." Sherlock's phone rang, and he looked at the screen in disgust.
"It's for you." he said as he handed it to her.
"Hello?" she said as she answered it. It would've been nice if Sherlock told her who it was, but then again, judging by the look on Sherlock's face, it was probably Mycroft. They really didn't seem to get along.
"Hello, Miss Rouge." Mycroft greeted her. Wow, she was getting good at this. "Have you had enough time to think over my proposal?"
"Yes," she told him, " I discussed it with Sherlock actually, and he's given me permission to be your weasel." John and Sherlock looked a little amused at her choice of words, but hey, she called 'em as she saw 'em.
"Oh? You discussed it with him?" Mycroft asked her.
"Yes, but you probably already knew I would. You don't sound very surprised." She told him. Mycroft chuckled at that.
"You catch on rather quickly, don't you? Since I don't want to lose a valuable resource, I'll make sure you get the proper paper work to become a citizen here. The check will be in the mail, you should use it to buy yourself a phone. I'll expect to hear from you once a week. Goodbye Miss Rouge." Mycroft told her as he hung up. He could have at least waited until she said goodbye.
"Who was that?" asked john, "Mycroft?"
"Yes. Apparently I'm a 'valuable resource' now." She said, raising an eyebrow sarcastically, "He said he'd send me the necessary paper work I'd need in order to become a citizen, and the check's in the mail. At least I won't have to worry about being deported now, although, I don't know where they'd send me."
"Good to have that out of the way." Sherlock said, "I thought he would do something like that, but aren't you forgetting something Louise?" Louise looked at him. Was it possible that was part of his reason for going along with it? What did he mean she forgot something? She didn't forget – Oh. The yogurt. She quickly looked around the flat. Had she left it in the car? No, it was there by the door, good.
"I'm sorry," Louise said, handing both the yogurt and his card back to Sherlock, "I completely forgot. I hope it didn't spoil. It's been sitting out for a while now."
"Is that yogurt?" John asked.
"Yes, although I have no idea why he wanted it." Louise answered him as Sherlock opened it and sniffed it. He closed it and handed it back to her.
"It's fine, put it in the fridge." Sherlock told her. Louise took the yogurt and opened the fridge door to put it in. She slammed it shut again. This was becoming a habit. She exhaled before opening the fridge again and placing the yogurt in the fridge.
"Looks like it's take-out tonight John." Louise told him as she flopped back on to the couch.
"What?" John asked looking confused. Oh, right take-out was called something else here.
"Oh, sorry, I meant take-away. I'm not used to British slang yet." She told him.
No, I knew what you meant," John told her, "but I just bought more food on my way home. I put it in the fridge before I ran out to look for you."
"Not. Anymore." She told him giving a meaningful look at Sherlock. He's the only who could have possibly done that in such a short amount of time. John looked between her and Sherlock, who appeared to be absorbed in his book. John went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. This was ridiculous. In addition to the yogurt Louise had just put in there, there was some strange substance covering all of the groceries he had just bought. This gave a whole new meaning to "bio-hazard".
"Sherlock!" John shouted.
"Yes, John?" Sherlock said, completely unfazed.
"Why is our food covered in God knows what?" John seethed. He was beyond tired and hungry after his search for Louise and fresh out of patience.
"It's just a little experiment." He told John as he turned to the next page in the book.
"Little?" Louise asked. "It looks like a Katrina fridge." Both men looked at her.
"A what?" John asked. Her odd statement caught him off guard, and managed to take some of the edge off his anger.
"A Katrina fridge." She said, blinking and looking between the two men, "It's what we called all of the fridges that had still been full of food when people left to evacuate for Hurricane Katrina. Without any power, the food went bad. I swear, the military could have saved a whole lot of money on biochemical warfare if they had just kept a few of those fridges. Most people just duct-taped them shut and threw them away. Didn't Katrina happen, you know…here…in 2005?"
"Oh, that Katrina," John said, "Yes, it did happen, but to be honest, I had forgotten all about it." That's right, he had forgotten. Louise would have been living there at the time.
"It's alright," Louise said, "it didn't affect you, it's only natural you'd forget. So, Know any good take-away places?"