The Unseen Factor

Nine O'Clock

For the purpose of this story I'm making the Great Hiatus about three years, same as the original Holmes short stories.

This is set about two years after the Fall.

Greg Lestrade breathed in slowly and out again. Glancing at the clock on the wall he saw that it was not yet a quarter to nine and the day already felt long. Most days felt unbearably long.

It had been two years since Sherlock jumped and Lestrade was still under scrutiny by his superiors. For a short while it looked like he would lose his job due to his use of Sherlock on more cases than he originally reported. When he was called into the Commissioner's office he was certain that it was his last day at New Scotland Yard. To his great surprise he was just given a verbal slap on the wrist and a warning to be more careful in the future. He wondered if Mycroft had some part to play in that; a form of a thank you for all the time he had helped Sherlock when Mycroft's hands had been tied; it would not have surprised him. Since then he was given small cases that were easy to handle and quickly solved but were dull and had too much paperwork to fill out.

It was the paperwork that made Lestrade's days too long. There were many days that Lestrade just wanted to throw the paper in the air and be done with it. But he knew he was on thin ice and one wrong move could send him crashing through.

What happened to Sally Donovan was quite the opposite. When the scandal broke, she had managed to get on the good side of the higher-ups and came out smelling like a rose for seeing Sherlock for what he was, a fraud. Since then, anything that had involved Sherlock she was called in to give her opinion fast making her the Yard's expert on the 'Freak Fraud' as some had begun to call him. The only really surprising thing was the Donovan was never given a promotion for her efforts; Lestrade had expected her to get her own team to lead. But she still remained under his command to the wonderment of all around. Again Lestrade wondered if Mycroft might have had a hand in that.

Despite Anderson's intimate involvement in the incident not many things changed for him. Except for the fact that there was not someone call him out on some minor mistakes here or there, or just flat out calling him an idiot. He quite enjoyed that last bit. He went about his duties with a chipper attitude glad that no one, namely the Freak, was going to waltz and instantly ruin his day.

There was not a moment in which Lestrade wished that Sherlock had not jumped. If he had not Lestrade was sure over time Sherlock's name would have been cleared of all charges and things explained. But his death at his own hands firmly placed the seal of falsehood on all he had done and had given people the excuse not to look. It also made it difficult for Lestrade to even try to look for evidence clearing Sherlock's name. Also for the fact that he was directly ordered not to look.

He was surprise when he got a call from an Ivy Meshle, assistant to Leslie Ragostin, a private detective operating out of London, concerning Moriarty. Lestrade, even though he was very curious, try to direct the woman to Donovan as was the protocol for anything concerning Sherlock. But she explained that her employer would only allow the information to go to Lestrade and arrangements had been made.

The arrangements turned out to be that Donovan would be allowed at the interview with the understanding that the information was being given to Lestrade to do with as he wished. Lestrade half wondered how Ragostin arranged that with the Commissioner and the Chief.

Lestrade took another sip of coffee as he looked at the clock again – five til nine.

"Are you trying to get into trouble?" Donovan demanded as she burst into his office. Lestrade almost split his coffee.

"Easy!" He cried, thankful that the hot beverage landed only on his desk and not on his lap. "What are you going on about?"

"You know everything concerning the Freak comes to me." Donovan said with great authority as she closed the door behind her with a bit of a thud. She had felt no need to show Lestrade any respect since the Freak incident; she also knew she was not the only one to feel that way, some had even gone so far as to wonder had Lestrade been in cahoots with Sherlock all along. "Why are you going behind my back with this Ragostin?"

Lestrade had not even finished his first cup of bad coffee and he was already regretting getting out of bed. He considered his answer as he returned Donovan's glare as she stood in front of his desk waiting for an answer.

"He's not," A soft voice spoke from the door. The detectives turned to see a young blond woman with glasses perched on her nose holding a banker's box looking slightly nervous. "Dr. Ragostin called your Chief to make sure that you were to be at this meeting. Weren't you informed?"

"And you are?" Donovan asked with a patronizing tone.

"Ivy Meshle," She said making a move to offer her hand to shake only to realize at the last moment she was holding on to something heavy. She did not quite drop it, but it was close. "I'm Dr. Ragostin's assistant. He apologizes, Detective Inspector, for not being here but he was called away quite suddenly to Alaska for urgent business."

"Alaska?" Donovan was not expecting such a random place to go to for business.

"Alaska," Ivy repeated. "Shall we get started, or am I early?" She look to Lestrade; he could not help but feel a little sorry for the girl being under the overbearing glare of Donovan.

"You're right on time; please sit down Ms Meshle." He motioned to the seat in front of his desk. Donovan returned her glare to Lestrade who only looked pointedly at her. As far as he was concern he was in charged of this meeting and she was only there as a curtsey.

She sighed her disapproval be fore stepping out of Ivy's way. They both knew that their conversation was not over and that they would pick up right they had left off as soon as Ivy left.

"As I understand from out phone conversation Dr. Ragostin has information concerning Richard Brook," Lestrade said to get things rolling.

"No," Ivy said almost dropping her box as she was putting it down next to the seat. "Well, I mean – that is to say that Dr. Ragostin as information on James Moriarty, also known as Richard Brook."

"What's the difference?" Donovan was getting really tired these fans that had suddenly appeared after the Freak's death. All claimed his innocence and expressed it in fliers and graffiti all over the city; they, however, had little proof to support their claim.

"Moriarty is a person and Brook is a persona." Ivy said as she pushed up her glasses on her nose. She removed the lid from the box and pulled out several files. "Dr. Ragostin actually met Moriarty years ago when he was doing a case in Spain. That was before he hired me."

"When was that?" Lestrade asked eyeing the files in her hand.

"When he hired me or when he met Moriarty?" She asked stacking the files on Lestrade's desk.


"I became Dr. Ragostin's assistant about four years ago," She said after counting on her fingers. "I believe he met Moriarty about two and a half, maybe three years before that."

"The Freak was already consulting at that point." Donovan muttered not so subtlety under her breath as she stared down Lestrade hoping he would pick up on her point. The Freak could have been working on the Moriarty story for years before they picked up on the lie. Lestrade did indeed pick up on her point and stared at her to keep her mouth shut; not that she would.

"I'm sorry, who?" Ivy asked looking back and forth between the two.

"Please continue," Lestrade smiled at Ivy. For a moment he could have sworn that there was a flash in Ivy's eyes at Donovan's words. Maybe it was anger, maybe it was annoyance, but it happened so quickly that he might have been mistaken.

"Right, um," She open the top file. "Over the years since that meeting Dr. Ragostin began collecting as much information as he could; I took over that research when I was hired so he could focus on other things."

"Is this your research?" Lestrade motioned to the files and box.

"This is about a fourth of the collective research between myself and Dr. Ragostin." Ivy said looking at the box. She then pulled out a thick interoffice envelope and fiddled with the sting that held it close. "Mostly Moriarty's activities outside of Britain."

Ivy opened the envelope and pulled out pictures that were taken by a long-distance lense camera. They were taken at various locations and times of day of illicit looking meetings and shady affairs; they all contained a shot of a younger Moriarty. He was smiling, shaking hands, threatening, every position and expression was represented in the pictures that Ivy was putting on Lestrade's desk.

"Here is also some confessions of captured criminals who dealt with Moriarty that give explicit details of Moriarty's involvement in various crimes." Ivy pointed the the files. "I have a copy of the originals and translated transcribed copies."

The evidence was damning to say the least. Lestrade glanced through Ragostin's reports and the confessions; everything pointed to Moriarty being real.

"If this is all true why didn't you or Ragostin come forward with this before?" Donovan demanded as she went through the pictures. She was in a bit of a shock; she firmly believed that Moriarty was an invention of the Freaks mind for want of glory. But the verified copies of the confessions dealing with Moriarty predated the Freak's involvement with Scotland Yard.

"We were out of the country at the time of Sherlock Holmes' apparent suicide," Ivy explained shrinking away from Donovan slightly. "I found Kitty Riley article only about eight months ago. It took us this long to get everything together."

"Eight months?" Donovan looked at her credulously.

"Have you ever tried to get paperwork from the police in Moscow?" Ivy asked leaning as far away from Donovan as her chair would allow her. "Plus, I really don't read investigative news reports."

"Donovan, ease up on the girl." Lestrade said when seeing Ivy's discomfort at Donovan brusque manner. "Thank you for bringing this to our attention."

"Dr. Ragostin had all this information and he didn't know who to trust with it," Ivy said still looking cautiously at Donovan.

"That's not an excuse." Donovan shot back taking a step forward.

"Donovan! I said ease up on the girl!" Lestrade also stood just in case. He could see that Donovan was mad; most detectives would be upon learning that vital evidence was kept from them. He should have felt upset as well, but he was too elated to finally have actual physical evidence that lead to clearing Sherlock's name with regards to the Ambassador's children which would then lead to proving his legitimacy.

"Who does Ragostin think he is to decide what the police will or will not have?!" Donovan demanded practically looming over the girl. "We can arrest him and you for obstruction of justice."

"Donovan!" Lestrade snapped. Donovan glared at him. "Stop interrogating her. If you're going to get mad at someone be mad at Ragostin, not his assistant!"

"We could have used this information, if it's real, years ago when the case was fresh!" Donovan said. She was not quite yelling, she was gritting her teeth to keep from doing so. "Why did he keep this from us?"

"B-becuase you're bias." Ivy sputtered out when she found her voice.

"Excuse me?" Donovan asked when she returned her attention to Ivy. She crossed her arms and waited for Ivy to answer. Ivy looked between her and Lestrade. She swallowed before she sat a little straighter, bracing herself for whatever would happen next.

"Dr. Ragostin knew that a majority of Scotland Yard were negatively bias towards Sherlock Holmes, for one reason or another." Ivy explained keeping her eyes on Lestrade's desk. Looking at Donovan was the last thing Ivy wanted to do. "If he or I had presented this evidence at that time everyone would have dismissed it as fabricated, and no one would have ever given it a second glance."

"Why come to me?" Lestrade asked, sitting back down eying Donovan to do the same with the chair near the door. He looked kindly at Ivy hoping to put her at ease.

"Dr. Ragostin says you're an honest man," Ivy looked up to Lestrade giving him a small unsure smile. "An honest man who sees the facts before his bias. You're one of the few Detective Inspectors who wouldn't simple toss this aside."

"I will make sure that this is brought to light." He promised.

Donovan sat fuming; she was definitely mad. Mad for being duped, not only once but twice if what Ivy was saying was true. Ivy was nothing like the crazed fan that were going around London with fliers and graffiti declaring that they believed in Sherlock Holmes. She seemed to have a good head on her shoulders, abet very nervous and shy. There was no reason for the girl to concoct false evidence, especially to the extent that was presented on Lestrade's desk.

The more she listen to Ivy present the evidence collected by her employer to Lestrade the more she thought over the evidence at the time. While she was not ready to admit that she was completely wrong about the Freak, she was becoming willing to admit that she might have been led by her prejudice against him in this case. The confirmation that she had been right since the get-go about the Freak was just to tempting to pass up.

Suddenly Ivy's phone rang.

"Excuse me, I have to take this," She said apologetically before stepping out of the office.

When the office door closed Lestrade looked cautiously over to Donovan who as thinking over everything that Ivy had said and explained.

"You did what you thought was right," He said snapping Donovan from her thoughts. "Doing your job."

"I don't need you assure me." Donovan said without anger or resentment.

"I know," Lestrade looked back to the file he had in hand. "I just wanted you to know that I don't hold it against you."

That surprised Donovan. She had assumed that Lestrade had hated her since the Freak offed himself.

Before Donovan could remark, Ivy returned with a contrite expression.

"I'm very sorry but I have to ask to end the meeting a bit early." Ivy motioned to her phone. "That was Dr. Ragostin and he needs me in Alaska as soon as possible."

"I understand," Lestrade stood and walked to Ivy offering his hand. "Thank you."

"Thank you for listening." She smiled as she shook his hand. "Dr. Ragostin sends his regards and we will send the rest of what we have over to you."

"Your nine o'clock is here sir." Anetha said as soon as Mycroft returned. He looked at her questionably with a hint of confusion.

"My nine o'clock," He repeated as he closed the door behind him.

"Yes sir." She held out a small stack of files for him; an assortment of reports from the field and new legislation for him to look over.

Without another word Mycroft went to his office and opened the door. Seeing who was waiting for him he sighed.

"I should have known." He remarked as he made his way to his desk.

"You're getting a bit sloppy." Enola remarked with a Cheshire grin that Mycroft was growing familiar with.

"I learned a while ago that it would be futile to try to stop you from hacking into whatever system you set your mind to." Mycroft sat down and tossed the files to one side; he could look at those later.

"You're still sore that I bypassed all your security to get access to the London CCTV cameras." She playfully accused.

Enola had developed this habit of suddenly popping in to visit Mycroft; it began shortly after he received her letter. With every visit they talked, a lot. It was through these talks that Mycroft was able to see the influences of the Lehrers on his sister. Enola, like Wilhelm, was very knowledgeable in a variety of subjects with well developed opinions in each field. She also developed quite the eye for art under the guidance of Amelia. Mycroft remembered the very simple sketches that Enola did as a child, she often resorted to sketching when she was trying to figure something out. Like both Lehrers, Enola had become a bit of a scholar achieving the title 'Doctor' not just in one field but in several. Amelia once remarked that it was difficult to find tutors who could keep up with Enola's seemingly unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

"My tech department is still trying to find the backdoor you used to achieve that." Mycroft said as he leaned back in his chair.

"Six months and they still haven't found anything?" Enola look mildly surprised and little pleased with herself.

"Do try not to look so smug about it." He requested. Setting aside her criminal activities, Mycroft was actually quite proud in his sister's accomplishments. She had fallen into the academic's practice of publishing articles in their perspective fields and Mycroft took great pleasure in reading her work.

"Well, I'm not here to gloat over that; I'm just here to let you know that everything with the police went smoothly." She leaned forward a bit. "Beneath that cool exterior, Lestrade was as giddy as a school boy."

"Good," Mycroft remarked.

During one of Enola's visits she had discovered Mycorft's work on clearing Sherlock's name. She insisted on helping him, stating that she already had plenty of evidence of Moriarty's work. Plus there were places she could get to, whispers and rumours, where she could get more information and Mycroft would not be connected with it. No one could accuse him of being a desperate brother trying to clear Sherlock's name, instead the information would be looked on with a bit more objectivity.

"Most of what I used was before Sherlock consulted with the police and in countries that Sherlock hasn't visited." Enola continued. "I also took under consideration of the ones he has gone to under the guise of Vilhelm Sigerson."

"Very through."

"I try to be."

"You have succeeded." Mycroft took the file from the top of the pile and glanced at the first page. "What will you do if they try to contact this fictitious Dr. Leslie Ragostin to ask questions?"

"Dr. Ragostin is a bit of an extrinsic; all his calls goes through, his assistant, Ivy." Enola shrugged. "If push comes to shove I know someone who could play opposite me."

"I am concern that your alias will be exposed," Mycroft looked up from the file. "Thus causing the information you gave them to become questionable."

"Will you please stop worrying about that!" Enola exclaimed. "We've talked about this; My cover will not be blown and the detectives will not be able to connect Ivy Meshle to my person. Everything will be alright."

"I just – "

"Worry constantly," Enola finished for him causing him to smile a little. "I wouldn't expect anything less of you, brother mine."

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