Copper Beaches

Danger, Lies, a Head

“Caught up in the middle of a headache and a heartbreak
just when I thought I was clear of the mistakes, no!” –Imagine Dragons, Working man

Finding the sitting room and getting inside unseen was not hard. Most of the servants were busy because of the party, and all guests were in the Green Room so that the corridor that led to the sitting room was empty. The door was not even locked. Not that this would have stopped the consulting detective. It would have only delayed his entrance to the room for a few moments.

Once inside his eyes scanned the room. It looked just like he had expected: three windows, a mantel piece, expensive furniture, painted portraits on the walls, ugly curtains, a brown Chesterfield couch, three armchairs around a marble coffee table, a wooden chest on the left side of the room and an expensive yet atrocious rug on the floor. Sherlock would have definitely decorated the room– maybe turn it into a room where he could play his violin and enjoy the scenery through the windows – and the first thing he would have thrown out were the marble coffee table. That was definitely too posh for Sherlock’s liking.

He went over to the window where a Victorian armchair stood – with its back turned towards the window. It was exactly how Miss Hunter had described it. He leaned down and inspected the piece of furniture and the floor beneath it. There was nothing unusual about it.

To see it from Miss Hunter’s point of view, he took a seat. He could survey the whole room from there, but that was not why the Rucastles had wanted Mister Toller and Miss Hunter to sit in the chair.

He drew his hand through his curls and sighed. Mister and Misses Rucastle hid something. And so did Mister Toller. They were all lying. Miss Hunter was right; something was off here. And it had nothing to do with his engagement to Molly.

He froze the moment he realized what he had been thinking. It was a fake engagement, he corrected himself. He had done it before – with Janine. Only that they had not really been engaged. She had not even answered him. Instead she had fainted. He still considered her behaviour a bit rude.

Sure, as it had turned out her unconscious state had had nothing to do with him proposing, but with her being knocked out. Still, he had to admit that it had hurt his pride a bit that she had not screamed “Yes” the moment he had asked her. Who would not want to marry him? Of course, no one would really want to marry him the way he usually was, but the way he had behaved with Janine and how well he had played the devoted boyfriend, he had been sure that she would accept. Molly would have. But then, the pathologist was probably the only person who would also marry him the way he really was. This was a disturbing and also comforting thought. He did not know if it was disturbing, because it was also comforting or the other way around.

He shook his head in order to get rid of this ridiculous way of thinking. He had to admit with Molly this whole being-together-thing was way easier than it had been with Janine. He did not mind touching Molly or being touched by her. They were… friends, and he knew he could trust her.

But whereas it was rather easy for him, he knew how hard it must be for her. Of course he did not know, since he had never let himself feel such devotion for someone, but he could imagine. He may not have known a lot about human nature, but as opposed to public belief he was no machine either. He was capable of empathy. It was just useless most of the times.

He knew it was wrong to treat Molly the way he had done since the last case. But he had deemed it necessary. In his eyes it had been self-preservation.

He had not let John see it, but just for a moment he had been worried that Molly would refuse him. He knew that she never would if he needed something vital from her, but maybe his dismissive attitude in the last few weeks had been too much for her and she had decided that two could play this game.

Luckily for him, Molly was still selfless, bordering on self-abandonment. He saw that Molly tried hard to act professional and play her part, but he knew that it hit a bit too close to home for her. He had always known she had fancied him – it did not take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that. But she had been the only one he could (and would) have asked to play his fiancée. She had been the rational choice, and he was nothing if not rational. That he also... cared... about her was just a bonus.

Yes, caring was a disadvantage – the Not-Moriarty case had proven it again – but it could also be helpful at times. Would Molly not care about him, she would not have helped him fake his death, or come tonight. Did John not care about him he would not have a... blogger. If only caring didn’t make things so complicated and complex. Yes, he loved a complex puzzle, but...

His thoughts were interrupted by a sound outside the door. He could hear a dog barking. Finally Mary and John were approaching. They would help him focus on the case again. He got up and walked over to the sofa again. He had the distinct feeling, the position of the chair by the window was important. It was no coincidence why the Rucastles wanted their servants to sit at that exact spot. He cocked his head to the side to get a different angle, when he heard the door behind him being opened. For a moment the dog barking was heard more clearly as well as the sound of someone entering.

Sherlock chided annoyed, not taking his eyes off the chair, “Don’t make so much noise! Even a deaf could hear you approaching.“

But when he turned around, it were not the familiar features of John and Mary Watson that greeted him, but a fist that collided with his face. Thrown off balance, he tumbled backwards and tried to catch something to keep himself from falling. But it was in vain. His head collided with the marble table, and then he was surrounded by darkness.

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