The Unseen Factor

Hidden Meanings

This is set when Enola has been with the Lehrers for a few years and the last bit is set later.

Enola was pleased. Having just finished a job quite successfully, she was looking forward to just relaxing.

Since she had just earned her doctorate in philosophy both Wilhelm and Amelia encouraged her to write a series of articles expanding on her doctoral thesis for an academic quarterly magazine. It was one of those 'why not' moments in her life and she found that she quite enjoyed it. In a strange way, it was both therapeutic while giving her a sense of achievement.

There were several rooms reserved for students working on doctoral research on campus and Wilhelm was able to get Enola space in one room with three other graduate students. He thought it would be good for her to at least get some normal college experience under her belt. Two of the three were literature students and the third, history; they all got along rather well, and kept mostly to their work; they got along quite well, keeping mostly to their work, though they did enjoy the odd coffee morning and debating session together which many times ended with laughter. Coming from different backgrounds and different understandings gave many interesting and different perspectives which Enola could not help but enjoy.

Currently Enola was trying to focus on her writing as the two literature students were debating the effects of the secondary characters in 'Crime and Punishment' when a knock was heard.

"Elle Lehrer?" A teenage boy with a baseball cap stuck his head in the room. Enola looked up from her notes.

"Yes?" She was a bit surprised. She recognized the boy as the delivery boy from a florist near the campus, working to save money for school. She saw most often around February and Graduation. "Can I help you?"

"I have a delivery for you." He announced opening the door wider showing the bouquet of flowers.

"Secret admirer, Elle?" The history student asked with a smirk. Enola only gave him a half-serious glare as she walked to sign for the flowers and tip the boy.

The bouquet contained mostly white and pink flowers with hints of purple here and there. What immediately caught Enola's attention was the braided rye grass that bounded the flowers together.

"This will certainly brighten the room." She remarked brightly walking back to her desk.

Later when the rest of the students had gone for the day, Enola was still there. She now had her laptop and was surrounded by her old job notes. She found the flower choices for the bouquet were odd – some were from flowering trees and others from the desert, a combination that a professional florist would not likely do.

"That's a nice bouquet." Enola looked up to the speaker and groaned.

"I am so sorry Russell." Enola lightly banged her head against the desk. "I got caught up – "

"In another puzzle judging from the state of your desk." Mary Russell was a client of the Lehrers and one of Enola's earliest jobs. Losing her family, both her parents and younger brother, to tragedy, she was sent from San Francisco, California to Sussex, England to be in the care of a distant maternal aunt. Her father was rich and had left his daughter quite a bit that was put into a trust until she came of age. Russell knew that her aunt, who was the trustee, was stealing from the fund but she had little proof and none of the police would take her seriously. Following whispers of rumors she found the Lehrers and asked for their help.

Russell's aunt is currently serving time for violation of the terms of the trust. It was an impressive bit of work on the Lehrers' part.

With control of her money, Russell quickly left Sussex and moved to New York City where the Lehrers kept a friendly eye on her. An act that Russell was grateful for. After she had moved she and Enola became rather close sharing an interest in academia and a want to visit Jerusalem. Often when they both worked late, they would head to a small restaurant known only to the locals not far from campus for some food. There, they would enjoy long talks about a variety of subjects. Currently, Russell was trying to convince Elle to plan a trip to Jerusalem with her with the support of Amelia and Wilhelm.

Russell insisted on being called by her surname instead of her christened name. It was not because she disliked 'Mary', she was quite found of it, it was because when she moved to Sussex there seemed to be a plethora of 'Mary's running about that she did not to get lost in the crowd. The nickname stuck.

"Is it a good puzzle at least?" Russell smiled closing the door behind her. "I would hate to have our dinner plans usurped by a dull puzzle."

"It's an interesting one." Enola lifted her head before stretching out her arms. She was a little stiff from leaning over her notes.

"Next thing I know you'll tell me there's a hidden code." Russell sat down next to Enola and took the notebook she was writing in. "Allow me to eat my words, you are working on a code."

"I've already figured out the code." Enola remarked with a tired voice grabbing her notebook back. "Right now I'm trying to figure out who would have sent the flowers." She motioned to the bouquet and Russell looked at it carefully.

"Please explain for those who don't speak flower very well." Russell leaned back in her chair. "I only know that a rose is used to mean love."

"Glad you figured out that code." Enola smirked putting down her pen and pulled the vase closer. "Essentially this collection of flowers is saying that my work with my last job was ingenious and made the sender both fascinated and have great expectations."

"What was your last job?" Russell picked up a few scrapes of paper and balled them so she could juggle as she listened.

"I just went to Maurice 's house." Enola remarked with a shrug. Russell stopped juggling and thought over what her friend just said.

"Isn't that the museum were they keep that painting 'Girl with a pearl earring'?" Russell asked. "Your suddenly interest in Dutch Masters makes so much sense now. You didn't steal the entire – "

"Any way," Enola interrupted. "The tamarisk represents crime; the mock orange, counterfeit; acanthus, the arts as well as these clemates which also represent mental beauty. The white dianthus represent ingenious or talent; circaea, fascination and the zephyr flower, expectation. All of these are bounded together by this rye grass."

"Does that have a meaning as well?" Russell had resumed her juggling as Enola was explaining.

"Changeable disposition." Enola pushed the vase away. "Maybe they are impressed now, maybe they won't be later, maybe I'll disappoint, maybe they'll hug me one moment then shoot me the next …it could be anything."

"And you've spent all this time trying to figure out who sent it to you." Russell remarked catching all the paper balls.

"Whoever sent this had to know that I'm knowledgeable of the language of flowers." Enola leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. "And know that I would pick up on the message."

"The creepy factor just clicked in for me." Russell threw the paper balls in the trash before turning to Enola. "Have you told Wilhelm or Amelia about this?"

"Not yet," Enola confessed as she kept staring at the flowers.

"Why not?" Russell demanded.

"I just got it today," Enola defended herself to her friend. "Plus Wilhelm and Amelia have been in meetings all day."

"Fair point." Russell stood and grabbed her pocketbook. "Come on, the night is young and you owe me a story of this last job of your's."

"I found us a new place to try." Elle stood, pleased Russell was willing to let the situation rest. "A remarkable Italian a few blocks away."

"Go on then, how did you find this place?" Russell rolled her eyes with good humor as Elle grabbed her coat.

Fixing her scarf in place, Elle smiled back "Well, I looked at their bay leaves."

Wilhelm looked at the pictures that Enola had taken of the bouquet and her notes of the meanings. He sat at his desk resting his head in his hand and his spectacles threatened to slip off his nose.

He did not like what he was looking at.

"You have that face." Amelia remarked as she entered the study. They were both rather tired from the seemingly endless meeting with their respected heads of department.

"Which face is that?" He asked lifting his head to look at Amelia. He took off his spectacles and tossed him on top of the notes.

"Worry," She walked to stand behind him and began to rub the stress out of his shoulders. "I've never like that look."

"Rye grass, as Elle notes, represents changeable disposition." Wilhelm spoke solemnly. "I've only meet one man who described himself as such, and with vigor."

Amelia moved her arms around Wilhelm and rested her head next to his. "That wouldn't be that man who offered you a position on his crew about five years ago? Moriarty wasn't it? There's something not right with him."

"He certainly had an unsettling charisma about him." Wilhelm agreed. "The term he used was 'organization'; one small crew did not fit his ambition. Now he seems interested in Elle."

"What are we going to do about it?" Amelia asked. She was worried as well; anyone who could scary her husband was not to be taken lightly.

"Right now, we warn Elle about Moriarty." Wilhelm took Amelia's hand and kissed the back of it. "That's all we can really do. Unless he directly threatens her, we really can't do anything."

"The curse of our double life." Amelia laughed mirthlessly. She released her hold on Wilhelm as he stood from his desk. "Do you think he will try to contact her again?"

"Elle's very good at what she does." Wilhelm said. "We knew that people would take attention; much like when we came on the scene."

"We'll just have to be a bit more careful." Amelia nodded.

They smiled at each other before going off to find Enola, who was probably practicing picking locks with Russell.

"You always send such lovely flowers," Enola said holding up an iris with maidenhair ferns held together by braided rye grass to the person approaching her from behind the park bench. "Do you send flowers to all the thieves who impress you, Mr. Moriarty?"

"Not all of them are as pretty as you." Moriarty smirked as he came closer to the seated girl. Enola turned around and gave him a very polite smile.

"So you have a message for me to be given with discretion." Enola remarked as she stood. It had been years since that first bouquet and it certainly wasn't the last. They never came on a regular schedule, but always after a job and always said 'good job'. "How are you liking New York?"

"Noisy." Moriarty shrugged.

"It's called the Sleepless City for a reason." Enola gave a light laugh. Unlike the other floral arrangements Moriarty wanted to talk with her and it came with a card with longitude and latitude coordinates. Both she and Wilhelm were surprised to find the bouquet in his office. He was against Enola going, but she insisted. She wanted to find something out. "What message do you have for me, sir?"

"Always so formal," He took a few steps closer. He wore a smile that held little warmth: it took all the Lehrers had taught her for Enola to suppress the shudder that threatened to run down her spine. "Everyone calls me 'Jim'."

"As you know, I'm not like everyone else." She pointed out. As always with Moriarty she kept her guard up. The man before her was one of the few that unsettled Wilhelm. While Wilhelm had never worked with Moriarty, he had enough of a glimpse of the man's work to know to stay away. Strangely, Moriarty had an unusual respect for Wilhelm and never interfered with his work. "What did you want to tell me?"

"A warning my dear," Moriarty now stood in front of her, close enough for Enola to feel his breath. "Stay away from the Holmes boys."

Her mind flickered back to that meeting when she was in the same room as both her brothers for the first time in years. The meeting where Mycroft hired her to help hide Sherlock from the very man she was talking to at the moment.

If Enola was anyone else, she would have froze in shock and stared at Moriarty.

If she was anyone else, she would have demanded to know what he meant.

If she was anyone else, she would have feigned ignorance.

If she was anyone else, she would have questioned his sources.

But Enola was not anyone else – she smiled.

"So you came all the way to New York City and send a flower message to my father's office at the university. Concern with my well-being?" Enola said looking intently at Moriarty with a smile. She took a few steps back and began walking down the path. "I thought you were upset with me for not taking you up on your offer to join your organization."

"I am," Moriarty remarked humorlessly as he walked behind her. "And the offer is still on the table."

"I guess I should be flattered." Enola said lightly.

"You should." He suddenly grabbed her arm and pulled her to a stop. "I don't like repeating myself."

"But one should remember that there's only one spider in the middle of a web." Enola said turning to face Moriarty. "Let's keep this professional and stay out of each other's way."

"And the Holmes boys?" He asked staring intently at Enola. His grip tighten on her arm.

"Well if you want all the fun for yourself; I'm sure there's another person I can manipulate for fun." Enola said sighing hoping to hide her grimace; Moriarty's grip was getting uncomfortable. "Most ungentlemanly of you to take away my fun."

"I'll find a way to make it up to you." Moriarty's grim expression was replaced by his eerie smirk as he released her arm.

"How 'bout starting with your underlings?" She asked as he began to walk away. He paused in his step and turned back to her. "It's rather annoying to have my heist interrupted by amateur shots; especially the ones aimed at my head."

Moriarty laughed bearing all his teeth. "Maybe they can convince you where I can not."

"Will that be all Mr. Moriarty?" Enola asked with a smile adding her own mirthless laugh.

"For now, Miss Lehrer." Moriarty gave a little wave over his shoulder as the left.

Enola watched as Moriarty walked further and further away until it became difficult to see him in the distance. She never like dealing with Moriarty on anything. She still remembered the expression on Wilhelm's face as he described Moriarty to her; granted, it was a simple profile that Wilhelm had complied after a few brief meetings, but it was quite through.

Despite that and perhaps more than she cared to admit, Enola found that she enjoyed receiving flowers. Hatch and Carleton gave her flowers for her birthday and once in a while Wilhelm would give her a rose. But Moriarty held the distinction of being the first man to give her flowers. They were quite lovely even with the hidden messages.

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