The Unseen Factor

Difficult Meetings

A continuation of the previous chapter.


Enola Holmes watched as her brothers exchanged witty cutting insults between them.

Sherlock was not happy with Mycroft's plan despite the difficult circumstance Mycroft found himself in, which he was unclear about. He was also upset that Enola had been to Britain several times without his knowledge. She thought it was mostly because she went to see Mycroft before himself, but with Sherlock one could never be sure.

Mycroft was growing annoyed at Sherlock's childishness and how he was treating Moriarty as just a game to be played. Moriarty was not just a simple puzzle to be solved.

Enola retreated into herself as she had often done in their youth. This scene was nothing new. The arguments between the Holmes boys increased in frequency since the death of their father. Enola was too young at the time to find a voice to speak her opinion to her overbearing and much older brothers, so she stopped using her voice altogether for a number of years.

But that was before and this was now and she had had enough. Now, she had a voice.

"If you two don't stop bickering, I swear I will steal the Crown Jewels again, and this time I will cause an international incident!" She practically shouted at them.

Mycroft and Sherlock looked at her, both wearing a surprised and confused expression. "Again?" They both asked at the same time without realizing it.

"Yes, again." Enola was annoyed, it had almost been almost seven years since all three Holmes children were in the same room together and nothing seemed to have change except for their ages. She then realized after a moment that she just gave her brothers a blatant example of her modus operandi and she was mentally slapping herself for it.

"Ok, even though this was a nice trip down memory lane," She started sarcastically but then got serious. "But I would really like to know if I have a job here. If so, I need a few tidbits of information from Sherlock before I can get started."

She got two very different yet equally vocal answers from her brothers, Mycroft being in the positive and Sherlock's being a vehement negative. If it had been any other situation and not involving the Holmes boys, their well timed opposite responses would have been considered comedic, but it only served to cause Mycroft and Sherlock to look at each other with annoyance.

"Sherlock, will you stop being so difficult?" Mycroft chided his younger brother after he had controled his frustration.

"This is ridiculous." Sherlock said glaring at his siblings. "There shouldn't even be a need for this sort of a plan."

"Well now there is because you had to go off and have a little fun with Jim Moriarty." Enola spoke through gritted teeth. She wondered how difficult it would be to get out through the window. "Plus I've always found having multiple identities useful."

"That's because you're nothing more than a common thief." Sherlock snapped at her. He was actually disappointed in her choice of career. "Why are you talking like an American?"

"A very accomplished thief." She also snapped and ignored his second question. "One that you could never catch."

"Is that a challenge?" Sherlock edged away from Mycroft to Enola, glaring at her.

"It's a fact, brother mine!" Enola also took a step towards him, also glaring. "You also wouldn't be able to tell the difference between my forgeries and the real thing!"

"It only further proves that you are incapable of doing anything proper the intellect for which you were genetically predisposed." Sherlock snapped taking a few more steps towards his wayward sister.

"Enough!" Mycroft physically put himself between his two younger siblings before they got any closer. "Sherlock, we need her help."

"No I don't." Sherlock hissed at Mycroft not taking his eyes off of Enola. She returned the glare with equal intensity. Enola would not dare let the hurt from Sherlock's previous remark show through her features.

"Of course the great Sherlock Holmes need no help from any mere mortal." Enola threw her hands in the air in frustration. "Mycroft, unless you're going to arrest me for something or other, I'll be on my way."

"Stay put." Mycroft pointed at her. Enola would have ignored the command and would have taken a drive out the window, but there was a pleading underneath his commanding tone that she could not take lightly. Mycroft never pleaded. "Sherlock, shut up."

Mycroft told them to sit down and try not to start any international incident while he was gone. His tone broached no argument from either of them. He had to go talk with his personal assistant, he had not picked up the name she was currently using, and tell her to reschedule his appointments, clear the rest of his day and to bring in some tea. It was going to be a long day with his siblings.

Sherlock and Enola sat in front of Mycroft's desk. Sherlock had his hands pressed together and eyes closed in thought and Enola clasped her hands together in her lap and eyes open observing.

"Yes," Enola said. "To answer the question."

Sherlock opened his eyes and looked over to her. "What question?"

"Yes, you and Mycroft were the reasons I left." She said, keeping her eyes forward. "Even Mummy to a certain extent. Are you upset that you couldn't find me?"

Sherlock humphed.

"Translation – yes." They fell into silence waiting for Mycroft to return. Enola never thought that her brothers would come to her for help. But with Jim Moriarty one learned to expected the unexpected. How she hated that man.

Sherlock would never admit to anyone that his younger sister had eluded him. Outwit him in her disappearance. When she left he looked all over Britain to find her, mostly for Mummy. Sherlock clearly remembered how their mother had become somewhat of a recluse and he thought the solution was to find his sister. The police were little help on the matter and the case grew cold after two years. But by that time it was less for Mummy's sake and more for Sherlock's own want for a challenge. Also for the fact that he was worried, not that he would admit that to anyone. He noticed that she had shifted in her seat and was giving him a curious look.

"Ask your question." He said allowing her the curtsey of giving her eye contact.

"Did you miss me?" She asked. Such an innocent question, one that caused Sherlock to lose the power of speech. The question was not one he expected.

When he did not answer Enola allowed a small sad smile to grace her features and turned away. His silence spoke volumes to her. By the time Sherlock found his voice to answer Mycroft entered the room and the chance to answer the question was gone.

They spent the good bit of the afternoon together and Enola collected information. She was very professional and gave little information herself, despite both Mycroft and Sherlock gently, or not so gently, prodding for answers about her line of work and who she works with.

"You've met Moriarty?" Sherlock was surprised by this revelation.

"It would be more correct to say that Moriarty has met Elle," Enola said as she wrote several notes down. They had move from planning the identity to trying to figure out what Moriarty had planned for Sherlock. "He doesn't know of my relation to you."

"So whatever he has planned, he's not considering you." Sherlock remarked, his mind now racing with new ideas and connections.

"Come again, brother mine." Enola prompted.

"Mycroft I now see why you to went to Enola." Sherlock got up and started pacing.

"Because I'm a thief who can forge very convincing vital documents." Enola said a bit confused. The lack of sleep was catching up with her from the week long con and she was not really in the mood to have her brothers plan something that involved her but did not inform her as such.

"You're the variable in the equation that Moriarty doesn't considered." Mycroft said taking a sip of his tea.

"The loophole he doesn't see." Sherlock added, still pacing.

"The unseen factor." Mycroft concluded.

"I see." Enola said after she took in what they said. For some reason she felt unsure of herself and she hated that. She put down her pen and walked to the window as she made connections in her mind from her childhood to now.

"Enola?" Sherlock asked when he noticed her sudden change in demeanor.

"I should get going," Enola returned to her chair to grab all her things. "I have things to get done, things to steal, people to see."

She started towards the office door, but she stop and turned around to face her brothers. Her lips were pressed together as she considered something, coming to a decision pulled out a card and handed it to Mycroft.

Then she ran like hell out of there.

Memories she kept down in the deepest part of her mind raced towards her consciousness bombarding her emotions. But she kept it together and signaled for a cab. Her mind was racing over what her brothers had told her and was so caught up in her thoughts that she did not notice Sherlock also getting in the cab close behind her until it was too late.

"What are – "

"Regency Park." Sherlock told the cabbie and the drive obliged. "We need to talk."

They rode in silence not wanting the cabbie to hear what they were to say. Enola gazed out the window and Sherlock would glance at her every so often as if to make sure she was actually there.

They got out of the cab and Enola paid. As soon as the cab was out of sight she felt Sherlock firmly, but gently, take hold of her elbow.

"Don't run away." He said or was it pleading, Enola could not tell which, but she hated how easily Sherlock could read her intentions. She nodded and they took a turn about in the park.

"Why here?" She asked dropping her American accent. The change in manner of speech earned a subtle surprised look from Sherlock, then she realized that her brothers never heard her speak without sounding American. She had only said a few things just before she disappeared so her native accent would be unfamiliar to them.

"You were coming here anyway." He stated.

"True," Enola agreed. "So what did you want to talk about?"

"You."

"That's a rather boring topic." Enola kept her eyes on the path before her. Another odd moment. Like with Mycroft earlier, she was a having a conversation with Sherlock. Enola began to wonder if the world was about to end or something just as drastic and dull, too many odd things were happening to her today.

"Not to me." Sherlock insisted.

Enola stopped walking and Sherlock did as well after taking a few more steps. "Why do you care?" She asked. "Dad always said, 'Caring isn't an advantage.'"

"I don't," He said. "Don't say 'dad', it sounds too American." He added with a bit of a sneer.

Enola could have pointed out that she spoke more in America than she ever did in Britain, thus spoke their euphemisms more readily. But that would open another avenue of conversation that she did not what to get into at the moment. So resisted the urge to roll her eyes or sigh and said nothing.

"I am worried. I looked for you, as often as I could, after you left." Sherlock continued.

"I know you looked. You have eyes and ears all over the place." She softly echoed the words she had once said to Mycroft so many years ago. She started walking again and Sherlock joined her when she reached him.

They walked without any real reason other than it was something to do. Each mind was occupied by different thoughts: Enola was wondering how to make a clean getaway, Sherlock was trying to decide which of his many question he wanted to ask next.

"Why Mycroft?" Sherlock finally asked that question because it annoyed him the most.

"Your ego is busied because I went to see Mycroft first?" Enola laughed mirthlessly. "I went to see him first because you would have been too gleeful with the information I had on Moriarty. Probably race off to meet him because he's interesting to you.

"It was shortly after I ran into him in Paris," She explained. "He was involved in some long term con that would have culminated in London. It involved a forgery of a painting done by a Dutch Master, I never learned which Master though. Moriarty wanted be to help forge the provenance of the painting. As a professional curtsey I don't do that."

"A thief with standards." Sherlock remarked sarcastically.

Enola did her best not to glare at Sherlock. "Yes, I have standards. Morals and ethics too."

"Sarcasm does not suit you." He said annoyed.

"And beating around the bush doesn't suit you." She said with equal annoyance. She stopped walking and grabbed his arm so he would stop too and be forced to face her. "Why follow me here, Sherlock?"

"Your behavior changed in Mycroft's office." Sherlock spoke low and quickly, a habit Enola remembered him developing when he was deducing but did not quite have all the pieces yet. "Why?"

"Because . . . despite what you claim, I'm still not a sister to you or Mycroft." It was difficult to get the words out, but she handled herself quite admirably.

Before Sherlock could respond Enola's phone rang. They looked at each other a moment longer before she broke eye contact and pulled out her phone to read the text.

"I have to go." She said pulling out another card and giving it to Sherlock.

Glancing at the card he saw that it was a phone number above which she wrote 'Call if you need me'. He looked back up to his sister, but she was gone. Sherlock cursed under his breath as he scanned the park looking for Enola amongst the other occupants of the park. After about thirty minutes of searching Sherlock was forced to admit that his sister had alluded him – again.

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