To say Sherlock was surprised to receive a text from Wilhelm requesting that he and Enola come to New York City would be an understatement. Not that he would reveal that to anyone. He would have said no but when his sister caught sight for the text, the look of longing and homesickness in her eyes made it hard for Sherlock to deny her.
Enola, of course did not say anything except to ask that he would tell the Lehrers she said hello in his reply. Despite her best efforts in keeping her tone light and cheerful, Sherlock could detect the sadness in her manner knowing she would not see the Lehrers any time soon. She missed them.
Damning his growing sense of sentiment for Enola he texted Wilhelm.
Hatch and Tekla watched at a safe distance as Elle and her friend, Will, verbally duke it out in the middle of Lehrer's loft apartment. They had never seen two people argue the way Elle and Will did. Each had valid points but somehow made each other appear ridiculous in their points. Each side had a convincing argument but at the same time was torn down by the other methodically.
"I should have brought popcorn." Hatch whispered to Tekla who nodded in agreement.
"How long do you think they can keep this up?" Tekla whispered back.
"I don't see!" Elle said with her voice rising in volume but not quite shouting.
"You see, but you don't observe." Will clarified, his voice beginning to increase in volume as well.
"You get so caught up in the details that you can't step back and see the whole picture!"
"You miss the vital – "
"Enough!" Wilhelm shouted from the door of the apartment cutting off the argument from continuing. "I am certain that our neighbors would appreciate it if you two would hush. I could hear you before the elevator doors even opened."
Elle kept her eyes to the ground; she was still fuming but it was towards Will not Wilhelm. Will stared down Wilhelm, but took the admonishment with stride. It was not the first nor the last time he would feel the sting of admonishment; it had been part of life back home and he was used to it. Wilhelm's admonishments were, however, a little different in the sense Wilhelm got after Will in the tone of Will should know better, not from annoyance or frustration.
"I assume that you were too busy arguing to introduce yourself properly." Wilhelm remarked as he hung up his jacket and motioned to Hatch and Tekla who were still seated on the couch. They both gave a little wave to Will who briefly looked at them before looking back at Wilhelm.
"I have not." Will confessed grudgingly.
"Then allow me." Wilhelm shut the door behind him making it sure it was appropriately locked before dragging Will to his other guests. "This is Marcus Hatcherson, computer programmer and software designer by day and computer hacker of the best caliber by night. He goes by Hatch."
Hatch stood and offered his hand to Will who gave him a firm handshake. A good handshake was always a good sign for Hatch.
"This lovely lady, I believe you two have met briefly before, is Tekla Guensert, part time appraiser and full time grifter. Good luck trying to find out if that's her real nomenclature." Tekla smiled and gave a small nod to Will who returned it. "Hatch, Tekla, this is Vilhelm Sigerson, photographer and part-time detective. We call him Will."
"You're a detective?" Tekla asked, a bit surprised. "My dear Wilhelm, I know you rub elbows with people on both sides of the law, but do you have to bring us into such a practice?"
"He's not an official detective." Wilhelm explained. "And for this case we could use his expertise."
"Not wanting to sound rude, but why?" Hatch asked. "What makes this case any different?"
"We may be dealing with a potential unknown serial killer who is seems to be targeting our client's family, especially his children. Three of his four children died under unusual illnesses before they reach the age of six." Elle explained. She was busy closing the blinds so as to not have glare on the multiple computer screens that hung on the loft's walls they used to display plans for their cons and visual aids. "Will has aided in murder investigations, so he would know what to look for."
"Cool," Hatch said turning on the computer screens and plugged in his laptop. "About Will, not the killer."
"Nice save." Amelia called from the part of the loft that was partition off for her restoration studio. She was finishing a restoration order from a private collection in New York City that was going on loan to a museum. "I'm glad you two stop arguing." She remarked to Will and Elle. "It was damaging my calm."
Hatch snickered causing Will and Elle to glare at him. "What?" He could not help but be taken aback by how similar the two glares were but for the moment, with the job at hand, he left it to mull over in the back of his mind.
"Let's get started." Wilhelm announced motioning for Hatch to start and for Elle and Will to sit down.
The con played out in a week and it was impressive to see how the thieves worked together. Sherlock found them quite efficient. But that was overshadowed by the conclusion of the con.
It was discovered that the client's own wife was a heartless woman and the one behind the deaths of the children. The crew watched as the woman was taken away by the police in handcuffs; she had no remorse in her face, it only showed how upset she was at being caught.
Wilhelm was currently with the client offering comfort as best he could at that the time. The client held on to his youngest and only child as he watched emptily at his wife in the back of a police black and white. Hatch and Tekla were together standing a bit away with Hatch putting a comforting arm around Tekla which she readily accepted. Amelia stood by her husband not trusting herself to be alone at that moment, she was quite upset.
Sherlock found Enola standing the furthest away from the commotion of the arrest. They stood together in silence watching the police scramble about. They had often stood in silence together after they finished taking down another Moriarty connection; it was a habit they never quite lost from their childhood. Oddly enough they found some degree comfort knowing that the other was close by.
"They were her own children," Enola finally said as the police drove the woman away. She was using her American accent, which still irked him no end, but seeing the haunted look on Enola's face, he decided to let it go. "Why would a mother do that to her children?"
"The insurance on the children was rather substantial." Sherlock said. Cold hard logic was all Sherlock could muster at the moment, especially when he found himself so worried by the look of despair on Elle's face. He wondered if normal brothers felt the way he did when he wanted to removed that disheartening looks of despair from his sister's face.
"Which she set up herself." Enola countered, almost biting on her words. "She had children only to kill them for money and fooled the world with her sweet smiles. I don't know what's more disturbing; that woman or the fact you got so giddy when you figured out that the children didn't have a genetic disease but were poison."
"I was not giddy," Sherlock defended himself. He briefly recalled the Baskerville case when he solved it he was impressed that the weapon was the crime scene itself. John chided him on his timing.
"You were giddy." She stated again.
"It was kinda creepy." A new voice added.
Sherlock turned around to find Treasach Carleton standing behind them. A large man with a great amount of experience dealing with the more violent aspects of cons and heists. A native to New York City, he worked as a form of a hired hand to either send a message or retrieve an object, whatever he was requested to accomplish. Before he met the Lehrers he worked with many unpleasant people and never talked about them. He was Enola's first tutor in hand-to-hand combat and still continued to make sure she kept up with that field of study. Sherlock also noticed that the two had developed a very strong sibling relationship. Enola was the only one of the group who referred to him as Sach while everyone else called him Carleton.
Sherlock found he did not like their closeness; he would not say that he was jealous, just – he just did not like it. He especially did not like the way Enola's face lightened when Carelton was near.
"Even Sach agrees with me." Enola exclaimed. She looked immensely pleased all of a sudden and Sherlock found himself grinding his teeth again as he watched the two exchange a look.
"You two would agree that the sky was red just to annoy people." Sherlock shot back. He had observed the two to learn about their shared mischievous nature.
"No we wouldn't," Carleton protested. "We would say that it was green."
His remarked caused Enola quietly giggle. Sherlock looked at her and saw she was smiling; for some reason it annoyed him. John would have been able to tell him why he felt that way. The thought of John hit him hard in the gut, especially as looked back and forth between Carleton and Enola. Sherlock hated to admit that their relationship reminded him of his with John; the jesting and trust was all too similar.
Again, he was not one to get jealous.
Before the conversation could progress any further the others joined them.
"We need to go before the police begin to look too hard." Wilhelm said and they all disappeared into the gathering crowd.
The following morning Amelia descended the stairs and was not surprise to find that both Carleton and Hatch had fallen asleep in the sitting room and were still out like a light. Tekla had crashed in one of the guest rooms and was probably still asleep. What she was surprised to find was Enola and Sherlock sitting across from each other at the dining table playing chess. In her opinion it was too early to play chess; much better to wait for a more decent hour like one in the afternoon.
"What's bothering you?" Enola asked Sherlock; neither one had yet to notice Amelia. "And don't say that's it's nothing; I can tell when people lie to me."
"I find myself conflicted." Sherlock moved a piece and did not bother looking up from the board.
"Concerning what?" She moved a piece. "Check."
"You," He moved to protect his king. He looked up to Enola who was now gaping at him in surprise.
"Why are you conflicted over me?" She leaned back in her chair waiting for his answer.
"Are you happy here?" He asked. "With the Lehrers?"
"Yes." Enola replied, a smile catching her lips. She gestured to the bodies asleep on the couch. "I guess you could say that this here is my family." She gave him another smile before turning her attention back to the board, contemplating her next move.
"Alright then." Sherlock did not really seem happy with the answer but he did not try to counter it. He shifted his focus back on the game.
"Checkmate." Enola moved her finally piece and stood. "I'll go make coffee."
Enola did not see how sad Sherlock looked when she went to the kitchen. He waited for her to face away from him before he allowed his features to shift on his face. He also did not realize that he was being watched.
Amelia, not wanting to make things awkward, backed up a few steps and then proceeded, very loudly, to trip over Tekla's shoes she had already avoided.
"I'm going to kill whoever left these shoes in the middle of the floor!" She exclaimed tossing the shoes aside.
"Let me know if you need help with the body dump." Enola called from the kitchen.
"Cement shoes would be fitting," Amelia remarked as she sat at the table. Something was up with Sherlock; she and Wilhelm figured that out during the con. But now was not the time to discuss it – now, it was time for coffee.
The job was inspired by this line:
"I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance money..." – Sherlock Holmes, 'Sign of Four'