Shall We Talk
This is set about three months after 'Camera and Mirror'
Stumbling about the streets of Marseille was the last thing Sherlock thought he would be doing during his time hunting down the remnants of Moriarty's web. It was ironic how this was what he had wanted; to be a free agent, moving outside the constraints of society. Despite not making much progress as he had hoped for in the past three months, he was able to track down some members to the French sea side metropolis and was able to break down their operations.
Unfortunately he misjudged the situation and without the backup he had come to know and expect from John, Lestrade and even Mycroft, it was much more dangerous than he had originally anticipated. The result; Sherlock was badly injured with a stab wound in his abdomen. He was fortunate that the strike missed his vital organs but he was still bleeding quite a bit. He had already lost enough blood for him to feel lightheaded and a little disorientated. He was doing his best to keep pressure on the wound as John had shown him during their adventures. If his situation was less dire he would have smirked at his choice of words; he missed John so much that even he was referring to his work as 'adventures'.
He was, however, clear-headed enough to become annoyed when a laughing couple came into view. Sherlock did not want to deal with the locals; he needed to get away and somehow find one of Mycroft's contacts for medical treatment.
"Monsieur?" The man of the couple asked when he noticed Sherlock and his unsteady gait. The man motioned for his lady friend to wait a moment and came closer.
Sherlock cursed the betrayal of his body as he collapsed to ground, his breath becoming ragged.
"Vous avez besoin d'aide?"* The man asked rushing to Sherlock's side to help him.
"Est-ce qu'il est grièvement blessé?"^ The woman asked as she came towards the men.
The sound of the woman's voice made Sherlock want to focus on it; it sounded familiar. He tried to look at her as she approached but his eyes were intent on remaining unfocused. He suddenly felt his face cupped in a pair of very feminine hands.
"Arsène, I know him." The sudden use of English by the woman was unexpectant, but Sherlock could not really say anything as his mind slid into unconsciousness.
Sherlock awoke to find himself in a well furnish room with the sun shining through the window. It did not take him long to recall the events of the previous night and he instinctively reached for his wound. It was treated and dressed expertly. Again thoughts of John invaded his mind; closing his eyes, Sherlock pushed the memories back into the recesses of his mind. He could not afford to waste time dwelling on the past. There was too much to be done.
"About time you woke up," The woman's voice was sitting next to him; it was different from the woman's voice the night before. Sherlock towards the voice and found her sitting next to the bed with tired expression on her face. She had fair skin with dark hair that was kept pinned on top of her head and a mischievous glint in her eyes. He found her odd in the sense that there were five different possible deductions he could get from her and all of them were equally possible.
"You are the unexpected guest of M. Arsène Lupin in his home away from home in Marseille." The woman explained as she stood. "You really should have worn something warmer last night. Good news though, I think we got most of the blood out of your clothes; but if you don't like the result I'm sure Arsène can lend you something."
"American." Sherlock wanted to say more but the stabbing pain that manifested when he moved prevented him.
"For this week," She smiled. "Next week, I was thinking German. You can call me Tekla, and you're Will."
"You know me." Sherlock said; he was still trying to decipher the woman's motives, but that proved difficult because there were now seven possible deductions. Which could not possible; whatever medication he was given must have been convoluted his ability to process what he was seeing.
"No," She shook her head. "Never met or heard of you until I saw you laid out bleeding on the dining room table with Arsène stitching you up and Elle holding you down. Lost my appetite because of you."
The door suddenly open and, to Sherlock's great surprise, Amelia walked in.
"Good, you're awake Will." Amelia smiled as she closed the door behind her. She looked exhausted and had made not attempted to hide the fact. Aside from the tiredness she looked well put together. "You gave us quite a scare last night."
"You look awful." Sherlock stated. He then thought that his remarked would have prompted John to admonish him for being rude.
"That's what happens when the person who operated on you stays up all night making sure her patient doesn't go into septic shock on her." Tekla remarked with a bit of snark in her voice. It was a response Sherlock was use to from most people, yet, for some reason, on this occasion he still felt the admonishment.
"Tekla," Amelia spoke softly, but her tone was firm enough for Tekla's next remarks to died on her tongue. "I need you to go help Elle with the paintings."
Tekla looked at Amelia then Sherlock, then back to Amelia. She did not fully understanding what was going on, but she nodded and quickly left the room.
"How are you feeling?" Amelia asked when it was just the two of them. She thought back to when Elle burst the doors open with Arsène close behind supporting an injured Sherlock. Amelia had Arsène and Elle hold down the young man and she worked all the while wishing she had something stronger to give him. She had to admit he looked better now without the blood and the screaming.
"What are you doing in Marseille?" Sherlock asked trying to sit up with little success. His abdomen still felt very sore and he quickly lay back down.
"Still discovering that the body is not just an appendage to the brain?" Amelia laughed humorlessly as she went to the vanity that had all sorts of medical supplies scattered all over the surface and grabbed a pair of latex gloves. She put on the gloves as she walked to the bed. "To answer your question, stealing back paintings for a museum. I know, it sounds strange, but it's true. Now, I need to look at the dressings."
Sherlock grudgingly allowed Amelia to inspect the bandage; she was very professional in her manner and was very careful. Satisfied, Amelia pulled the blanket back up and gently sat on the edge of the bed.
"Wanna' talk about it?" She asked pulling off the gloves.
"About what?" Sherlock was really hoping that she would not attempt to instigate a heart to heart conversation. It was really the last thing he wanted to do with that woman.
"Don't be a jackass." Amelia reprimanded with little anger in her voice. There was actually no anger in her manner, her face displayed her exhaustion as did the rest of her body, but her eyes flashed with disappointment. Sherlock expected anger not disappointment. "I know that can be a little hard for you to act against your nature, but use that 'fantastic' intellect you're so proud of to rise above your baser instincts."
If looks could kill, Amelia would be injured on the floor for her remark towards Sherlock. But she was the type of person that it would take more than two people to take her down. She gave him a small tired smile.
"I recommend that you rest for the next week." Amelia looked away. "Fortunately, we finished our job here and I will be able to make sure you heal properly. No arguments; before you start interrogating me on my qualifications in medicine I want you to remember that you are still alive from a near fatal attack on your person."
Amelia gently removed herself from the bed so she would not disturb Sherlock too much, and left the room, tossing the gloves in a nearby wastebasket with perfect aim without so much as a look.
"And stay put!" She shouted back as she closed the door.
Sherlock recalled something Wilhelm had mentioned in passing to him about Amelia and how she could out-shoot the best sniper the world could find and that did not hesitate to use her gun as it suited her.
Sherlock decided in favor of not getting injured twice in just as many days and stayed in the bed trying not to get too bored out of his mind.
Sherlock did not know when he fell asleep, but the room had darkened with the lack of light shining through the windows. He estimated that is was late afternoon. He did not like that sensation of having information missing from his mind. He sighed in frustration.
"The pain killers will do that." He looked up to find his sister standing at the foot of the bed, her arms crossed with a solemn look on her face. Sherlock wondered how long she had been standing there watching him sleep. He was thankful that she was not using her American accent. "Plus I think Amelia gave you a slight sedative to help you sleep through the pain."
"What are you doing?" Sherlock demanded.
"Making small talk." Enola remarked lightly but her face held that grim expression. "But I could be truthful and say that I'm simply trying to alleviate my fear making sure that you are still alive and not dead. That the nightmare of you as a cold corpse that keeps pushing itself onto my conscious mind is still just a phantasm of my worried mind."
Sherlock gaped at her. She was one of the few people in the world that could make him speechless; something that annoyed him to no end.
"But as you have remarked many times before, brother mine, I am far too emotional." She continued, uncrossing her arms and putting her hands behind her back. They regarded each other a while before Enola turned away and headed to the door.
"Why did you leave?" Sherlock asked as she reached the door.
"You don't want to know." She insisted without turning around. Her body was tense as she spoke; she really did not wish to talk to Sherlock about when she left.
"Yes I do." Sherlock eased himself into a sitting position on the bed. "I need to know."
"No, you don't." She insisted again and left.
Sherlock leaned his head back and closed his eyes in thought; he did not miss the slight hitch in Enola's voice in her last remark. In every conversation that he had with Enola when they were alone there was a sense of fear underlining her words and behavior. He could not understand why his sister feared him; he could not recall a reason for such a reaction. Something happen, but what?
"My husband has the same look when he's thinking over something very complex." Amelia remarked; Sherlock had not notice her enter the room, he was too deep in his own thoughts.
But since his train of thought was broken he had no choice to pay attention to her so he could at least occupy his mind with something.
"So, how frustrated are you that you aren't as far along with taking down Moriarty's web of crime as you planned.?" She asked handing him a bowl of cut fruit. "Remember, I have no problem force feeding you if need be."
Even though he was not that hungry the prospect of being forced feed was unappealing. He grudgingly put a piece of fruit in his mouth and chewed. If anything it would aid in him not having to talk with Amelia.
"Ooh," Amelia smirked as she grabbed a chair and set it by the bed. Sherlock made note of the gun hosteled under her arm. "The silent treatment. For a man who is as smart as you claim, you are seriously childish. I think my ten year old nieces and nephews act more adult than you. The last remark is not to goad you into a response so you can wipe that look of disdain off your face; it's just a simple comparison."
"Why so interested in my work?" Sherlock asked after he swallowed.
"I'm interested in anything that affects my daughter." Amelia remarked. She noticed the slight pause in Sherlock's motions at her statement, but said nothing about it.
"She's not your daughter." Sherlock said glaring at Amelia.
"Why do you say that?"
"Because she isn't." Sherlock was annoyed by the question – the answer should have been obvious. This claim that the Lehrers had on Enola angered him and he did not know why. "My sister is not your daughter and it would be best if you stop perpetuating that lie."
"For the sake of this conversation I will simply refer to her as Elle." Amelia did not show if she was hurt by Sherlock's remark, instead she was infuriatingly calm. "I find the name 'Enola' ill-suited."
Sherlock said nothing as he popped another piece of fruit into his mouth.
"Will, you've barely made any progress in the past three months on your own." Amelia said earning her an annoyed glare from Sherlock. She couldn't help but smile, the glare was the same as when Enola would glare at her; the only difference was that Enola glare was not so hate filled. "Moriarty had about fifteen lieutenants in his organization and you have only taken down, what? Two?"
"Yes, thank you for pointing out the obvious." Sherlock snapped at her. "I don't need you to point out my mistakes!"
"So you admit to having mistakes." Amelia remarked unaffected by Sherlock's outburst. "Good."
Amelia then stood and left the room, leaving a very confused Sherlock behind.
Sherlock went over the conversation over in his head several times. He hated how the Lehrers could make him feel so confused, though his confusion could have been aided by the pain medication Amelia had given him earlier.
"How are you feeling?"
Sherlock opened his eyes and saw Enola poking her head through the door. The grim expression was not absent from her face, though she had a subtle hints of tiredness beginning to show.
"May we talk?" He asked. His question surprised Enola but she nodded entering the room further and closing the door behind her. She appeared to have just returned from a meeting, most likely another client who could not go to the official law enforcement, and immediately went to check on Sherlock without first changing into something more comfortable. In many ways, her current manner of dress allowed him to see their mother in her, especially Violet's flair for elegance. In some strange way it only confirmed to Sherlock that Enola was his sister, part of his family and nothing to do with the Lehrers.
"Do you always answer questions with another question?" Enola asked dryly echoing his words from when they last talked, as she sat in the chair that Amelia had earlier used. Her eyebrows quirked in a similar way to Mycroft's did when he was attempting to patronize Sherlock.
"If it's necessary." He said. "I find that there is something unsatisfactory in my knowledge in regards to you; and I would like to remedy that."
Enola did not say anything; she waited for Sherlock to continue as she did not know where he was headed.
"Why are you so afraid of me?" Sherlock asked.
"Sherlock, this isn't really the time -"
"If not now when, Enola?" Sherlock cut her off. They delayed long enough with this conversation.
"Elle." She corrected him looking at her feet. "Please don't call me 'Enola'."
"You don't want to be called by your name?"
"I don't want to be called 'alone'." She pointed out, still looking at her feet.
"Alright," He agreed; anything to get her to talk with him. "Elle, why are you so afraid of me?"
"How much do you want to know?" Enola asked as she began to fiddle with her necklace. Sherlock was confounded that she always fiddled with the necklace whenever they spoke. It was as if she sought comfort in the metal adornment.
They looked at each other; Sherlock watched as Enola repeatedly tried to get the words out of her mouth, but no sound came. He was about to say something when she stood, her hand still fiddling with her necklace.
"I'll be right back." She said quickly and dashed out.
Sherlock was sure that he had not said anything too offensive; he even acquiesced to her request of being called Elle. Slightly annoyed when some minutes passed, he attempted to get out of the bed but his body protested at the movement.
"Amelia said to stay put." Enola admonished. She had entered the room just as Sherlock was trying to swing his legs over the edge of the bed. In her hand she was holding a thick letter envelope that looked rumpled from repeated handling. "Let me help you."
She rushed over to him and propped his pillows so he could sit up properly. She then gently eased him back into the pillows, working efficiently and effectively. Once Enola was sure Sherlock was comfortably settled she sat back in her chair.
"Knowing me, I knew that I would fumble over my words if you ever asked me about why I left," She explained holding out the rumpled envelope to Sherlock. "And knowing your limited amount of patience and how you would push the point until you knew, I wrote this letter about a month after we dropped you off in Paris. It explains everything."
Sherlock took the letter from her and looked at as if it was an oddity before opening it.
"I'll leave you to it, then." Enola said quietly as she stood.
"Stay," Sherlock requested. He knew if she did leave, she would not come back and he would never understand everything. Not knowing why she did sit back down and watch her brother read her letter.
The letter was very detailed, concise with little flourish in her words as she described her reasons behind her actions since she was a child. Her silence was to not add to the yelling and arguing that seemed constant to her. The lack of display of her intelligence was because she found that no one would listen to due to her youth and inexperience. Her retreating to the stars was to remind her that there was more in the world than her troubles within her family and that beauty did exist despite her seeing so little of it.
Enola further explained in her letter that she cared deeply for her family even though Violet and Siger Holmes seemed to have little regard for her and both her brothers were involved in their own affairs which she understood because of the age gape they would not naturally be that close. But then she further said that she feared her family greatly. Describing them as extremely and heartlessly manipulative, citing examples that she saw as a child. She watched her parents manipulated each other, thinking that the other did not know. She watched Mycroft would use it in his government job and Sherlock when he was playing detective. All while they thought Enola was tucked away in her room reading. They underestimated her and she was use to it.
She brought up his drug use and it brought out the worst in her brother and how her fear grew as she watched her brothers become colder to each other. She admitted that she was afraid that Sherlock would end up dead from it and Mycroft would lose himself in grieve if Sherlock did die from drugs.
The only part of the letter she was rather vague about was the night before she left. Finding Sherlock particularly high that night, she had enough of that behavior. Ridding him of his supply he kept hidden from Violet and Mycroft, Sherlock reacted badly in his drug induced stupor. The night alternated between him yelling and being sick and Enola was with him through the night. When the morning came she put him to bed and left leaving notes for her family saying not to worry.
She signed it sincerely as his sister. No name.
Sherlock place the letter next to him and looked at Enola who had taken to examining her shoes.
"Did I physically hurt you?" he asked. The air gained an uncomfortable weight that made the room tense.
"Yes." Enola did not look up, but her eyes moved to the floor.
"Badly?" He watched her carefully. He did so without his previous bias in mind and looked at her afresh as he would with anyone new he met. That's when he saw the signs, the very subtle but there. The signs of verbal abuse were harder to see than those of physical abuse. Recalling all those times they talked with no one else around; her shrinking away at his words, her grimace when he raised his voice, the unconscious defensive moves when he appeared upset at her – it was all there and he did not see it.
It seems since his fall more and more flaws that he was unaware in himself kept surfaceing. He never connected his drug use of his youth to the disappearance of his sister because he thought he had it u der control.
"I'm . . . sorry." The words escaped Sherlock's mouth with a sigh, as if even now, they took effort to say.
She stood and finally looked at Sherlock. "I . . . "
Sherlock was surprised when he suddenly found himself in an embrace by Enola. They had never hugged as children; they were not really encouraged to do so. Her demeanor was that of a frightened child trying to calm down in the embrace of a parent; Sherlock had often seen that when he was at Scotland Yard working on a case.
Unlike those small children, Enola did not cry, she just clung to him.
Not knowing what else to do Sherlock placed his arms around her and just held her. He wondered if this is what normal siblings did.
"Are you off the drugs?" She asked after a while still holding on to him.
"I smoke," He offered.
Enola pulled away and looked at him with a smirk on her face.
"Wilhelm smokes a pipe," She said. "I guess I can survive with that little vice."
Sherlock smirked at her statement shaking his head. He wondered if normal brothers found their sisters this strange.
It was late into the night when Amelia's phone rang. She did not realize how late it was, as she got caught up in a good book. She also did not mind who was calling.
"Do you have any idea what time it is over here?" She asked with a wry smile.
"Yes," Wilhelm said. "I also know that you would be up reading."
"Guilty as charged." Amelia smirked as she placed a bookmark in the book before putting it away. "The job went without a hitch, though everyone did miss seeing you. We only had one surprise."
"Oh," Wilhelm was intrigued. "What was that?"
"Arsène and Elle ran into Will stumbling about in an alley with a stab wound." Amelia explained. She waited for Wilhelm to respond but nothing came; she even checked to make sure her phone did not drop the call. "Wilhelm?"
"He's still in France?" Wilhelm sounded a bit disappointed and surprise. "I thought he would have been further east by now."
"I was surprised too." Amelia agreed.
"How is he?"
"Signs of malnutrition, lack of sleep and that's before he survived a really bad attack." She explained. "No signs of drug use, which is good. I know you were worried about that when he left."
"Where are you guys now?"
"Arsène was nice enough to let us use his apartment until Will is more stable to move. Right now he's resting in bed talking with Elle."
"I've been surreptitiously checking on them to make sure everything's alright." Amelia kicked off her shoes and tucked her feet underneath her skirt. "They've been talking for hours now."
"You put cameras in the room." Wilhelm said dryly.
"And this surprises you?" Amelia replied with equal dryness. She glanced over to her computer on which had the feed from the cameras in the room watching Sherlock and Enola. They were still talking; Enola was sitting cross-legged at the end of the bed, telling her brother some story of a heist she did and Sherlock, fluffed up against the pillows, was making remarks here and there in the story.
"Not in the least my dear," He assured her. "We have been married far too long for us to be surprised by the other's actions."
"So I shouldn't be surprised that this crazy little plan of yours worked." She looked away from the monitor.
"Which crazy plan would that be?" He asked. "I have so many in motion right now."
Amelia laughed; Wilhelm could always make her laugh.
"Giving Enola back her family." Amelia said still smiling. "And giving them in a way that has allowed for some healing to be involved."
"Well, one down and two to go." Wilhelm responded. Amelia could hear the smile on her husband's face. "The other brother is almost there; the mother I'm not to sure about."
"Brother first, than the mother." Amelia said. "That way all the children are together when they go to the mother."
"Agreed; now off to bed with you!" Wilhelm demanded playfully. "You need sleep and make sure the children don't stay up all night."
"I'll go to bed," She stood and stretched out before grabbing her shoes and heading to her room. She smiled as she looked at the camera feed; Enola was smirking and Sherlock was pouting at something that had been said, yet both their eyes were filled with playful indignation. For the first time Amelia could recall, they looked like siblings. "But I make no promises for the Holmes children."
*'Do you need help?'
^'Is he badly hurt?'