The Unseen Factor

Vermeer and Birthdays

This is set a year after 'New Name', and before 'Hello Again'.


Enola Holmes was enjoying the night summer air as she looked over the side of the building and sighed. Despite the pleasant evening and the fantastic view of the Sleepless City at night, Enola felt very bored on top of the sixty floor building. But a job was a job.

Giving another sigh she tightened her harness and jumped over.

Breaking into office buildings was not hard and rather mind numbing for Enola, but she had Wilhelm over the small radio in her ear to keep her company; Wilhelm also had one in his ear. Whenever they were on a job they wore the radio devices so they could stay in touch and keep each other update on their statuses. Hatch made them un-hackable and smaller than a hearing aid so that it was practically invisible once in place. Her descent slowed as she reached the desired floor. She hung there for a moment looking critically at the window frame.

"Something wrong?" Wilhelm asked over the radio comm when he saw that she had not moved. He was watching through binoculars from the building across the street keeping an eye on the security feed that they tapped into. He was always proud of Enola with how efficiently she worked.

"There's sensors on the windows." Enola explained. "If I try to cut the glass the alarm will sound. A silent alarm by the looks of it."

Wilhelm resisted the urge to say something impolite; he did not wish Enola to hear him say anything ungentlemanly. It was always best to remain a gentleman no matter the circumstances. Also, they had come too far to be stopped by a simple alarm. He walked away from the window where he was watching and went to his computer and proceeded to hack into the security system.

"Give me a second Elle." Wilhelm said as he typed away.

"Don't worry, I'm just hanging around." She said nonchalantly before thinking back on her words. "I can't believe I just said that."

"I, nonetheless, appreciate the inadvertent humor." Wilhelm smiled. He found a backdoor in the security program to bypass the sensors. "Your birthday is coming up."

"I know," Enola brushed the strands of hair that had escaped the confines of her snug hat. During her two years with the Lehrers she had became very adept at scaling buildings and breaking into any establishment. She had been taught by many friends of the Lehrers, who were considered some of the best thieves in the world and by other more legitimate people. She worked very hard and trained whenever she was not studying for whatever degree she was working on. Currently she and Wilhelm were stealing back plans and patents that belonged to an old friend of his who was a small time inventor.

The inventor had come up with a device that was on its way of becoming a breakthrough and a big money maker. Unfortunately the backer of the project stole the plans and left the inventor high and dry. The inventor cared little for the money and just wanted his intellectual property back in his hands.

"Anything you would like to get or do for your birthday?" Wilhelm asked as he finished his hack. He had asked the same question for the past two birthdays Enola was with him and Amelia. But he got the same answer.

"Not really." Enola examined her glass cutter as she waited for Wilhelm to give her the all clear.

"You have a go." He said as he returned to the window and watched Enola. She cut into the glass a hole just large enough for her to slip in. Double checking the ground below her Enola dropped the piece of glass and jumped in.

The office was very luxurious in a modern flair with an annoying pompous manner; a good clue that the occupant of the office was very full of himself. The conclusion was further supported by the art that was in the office. There was no real theme to the collection, but Enola could tell that each sculpture and painting was worth quite a bit and probably the only reason they were there.

"You have ten minutes before security reaches you." Wilhelm said.

"Hm." Enola was already at the computer downloading the documents along with other suspicious files she found. It was always useful to have a little extra information on one's mark, it might be the key in bring him down. Wilhelm was slightly surprised when he saw the files already being uploaded to his computer from Enola's phone.

"Wasn't that computer password protected?" Wilhelm asked as he reviewed the files.

"Took me thirty seconds to guess his password." Enola sighed. "Not exactly Fort Knox here."

"Did that once." Wilhelm remarked.

"Really?" Enola checked her time. Six and half minutes.

"Amelia had a blast." Wilhelm smiled at the memory. "Almost finished there?"

"Done." She announced as she shut down the computer. She looked at the collection of art and pondered. "Can I take the Vermeer?"

"Sure," Wilhelm shrugged. As soon as the files finished their transfer he began to shut down his station and erase his presence from the room. "It will be a nice red herring for the official police force to follow."

Enola smiled as she took the picture out of the frame. The task was made easier by the fact that there was no alarm on it; the owner of the office did not think anyone could get past the outer defenses and did brother with individual alarms for the artwork. With the painting safely tucked away Enola got out through the window with thirty seconds to spare. She returned to the roof and dismantled her harness equipment packing it away. She had fifteen minutes before security hit the roof. Ten if they noticed the hole in the window.

With everything safely packed away, she secured the backpack before taking a deep breath. Enola smiled mischievously as she began to run across the roof to get a running start before jumping on the roof of the neighboring building. She giggled as she somersaulted on the new roof easing her landing. It was hard to describe the exhilarating feeling of jumping over rooftops or the thrill of a con going smoothly. Amelia had taught her to enjoy what she was doing, life was too short not to enjoy the time given you.

"Have fun at life!" Amelia told Enola when she was giving her her first painting lesson.

At the time the remarked confused Enola. The Holmes household was strict in the sense of one does things because one must. There was very little fun in anything. But Amelia's playful spirit would not allow Enola not to smile and have fun in life.

"I give you an eight out of ten." Wilhelm remarked dryly, but Enola could hear the playful tone in his voice and almost hear a wry smile come across his features.

"Always shoot for the gold." Enola responded as she took off her hat and fluffed her hair. She took out a hair pin and pulled back her dark curls into a messy bun at the nape of her neck. She then took off her vest and her black top to reveal a dressy dark purple top and stuffed the clothing into her backpack. After Enola changed into dressier shoes she made her way to the building via the roof door.

Enola was now a nameless secretary working late into the night on some project her boss assigned to her. No one gave her a second glance as she made her way through the building; she even waved good-night to the security guards as she walked out.

"Have a good night." One of them said.

"You too." She replied giving the guards a tired but sweet smile. She even added a polite wave and no one thought twice about her.

Wilhelm pulled up to the curb just as Enola reached the street.

"Excellent." Wilhelm said as she entered the car. "You still haven't said what you would like for your birthday."

"There's nothing that I really want." Enola insisted as she peeked at the Vermeer. "Besides, you and Amelia have already given me so much already; it would be a bit pointless for me to ask for more."

Birthdays were never of great importance growing up for Enola; it was just another day in the house. Mycroft always did make it a point to say 'Happy Birthday' to her in the morning but that was about it. Sherlock and Violet never did anything out of the ordinary. So when Amelia and Wilhelm surprised Enola with a simple cake her first birthday with them she was understandably confused.

"Allow us the simple courtesy of spoiling you on your birthday." Wilhelm laughed as he made a turn. He still remembered when Enola questioned the reason behind the cake he and Amelia had given her on her sixteenth birthday. Since then it had become his wife mission to make up for the fifteenth other birthdays of Enola's that were not celebrated. The challenge was the fact that Enola never really asked for anything. She was always happy with whatever was given her and seemed quite content.

"If you insist." Enola said with resignation putting away the Vermeer.

"Amelia insists." Wilhelm quickly clarified. "I'm just along for the ride." But his smile was one of a co-conspirator than one of an unwilling participant.

-MHSHEH-

"You found something?" Sherlock glared at his contact from the Home Office as he entered his flat. He was more annoyed at the man's tardiness than his actually presence.

The man nodded and handed Sherlock the file he had in hand. "These were taken a month ago in Rotterdam; it took us this long because it took the facial recognition program to accommodate the computer aging done on the photograph you provided of her."

Sherlock grabbed the file and opened it. There were several pictures, all of the same person, his lost sister. She was standing in front of a bronze statue of a man holding a rather large book. It appeared that she was taking pictures of the statue with the camera in her hands, before something behind her caught her attention. The following pictures were of her walking away from the statue. It had been three years since Enola ran away and she looked older, but there was no mistake, it was her.

"Consider your favor paid in full." Sherlock remarked not looking up from the pictures.

"Until the next time Sherlock." The man nodded to Sherlock before leaving.

Sherlock did not even hear the door click closed, he was too busy trying to figure out the reason for Enola to be in Rotterdam. He did not note the contented happiness on her face as she walked away from the statue or the date printed on the corner of the pictures of when they were taken.

The pictures were taken on July 20th; Enola's birthday.

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