The Unseen Factor


This is set several years after the chapter 'A Few Goodbyes'.

As Sherlock came into the house after school, he saw his sister running as fast as she could away from his brother.

Nothing new.

Enola, since the age of ten, had developed the ability to have heated arguments with her brothers without utter a word. That's all the Holmes children seem to do when together these days. Argue. Fight. But never yelling, oddly enough. When Sherlock and Mycroft fought there was a thin veneer of politeness that could easily be stripped away if one stepped too far. But that never happened. All three of them knew how far to take it before there was no turning back. They did not think it was worth anything to step too far past the point of no return.

The brothers had recently taking to arguing a lot about Enola, each with their own idea of what to do for her welfare. Any attempts of Enola's to stop her brothers were ignored or belittled.

There was no sound of a door slamming shut which informed Sherlock she was headed to the roof. He said nothing to Mycroft as he passed him. They barely spoke when Mycroft came home for a holiday. The brothers preferred it that way – the arguing and witty insults always made Mummy upset.

"Just make sure she doesn't fall off." Mycroft requested as Sherlock ascended the stairs. Sherlock did not give him the curtsey of pausing his pace to acknowledge he heard his brother.

Sherlock found Enola sitting on the edge of the roof with her legs hanging over the edge. She was gazing up at the stars that began to show in the sky, analyzing them as she did with everything.

Enola shifted away as he sat next to her not taking her eyes off the sky.

"Mycroft trying to send you off to a boarding school again?" he asked, though he did not need to so so, he already know the answer. For the past year Mycroft had thought it best, and Mummy agreed, that Enola should attend to some prestigious girls school. Something about it would be best for her development. But Enola, in her own stubborn way, fought the decision.

Enola nodded, looking away from the stars to Sherlock. To anyone else her expression would be considered unreadable, but Sherlock knew his sister well enough to see the questioning and pleading in her face. She felt out of place in her own home. Her relationship with her family was at best strained. Despite the fighting Enola learned from a young age that her brothers did care in their own non-normal way, but it always felt like a choking leash. Violet barely spoke to the girl and Enola never understood the reasoning behind that behavior.

"Why the stars?" Sherlock asked trying to lighten his sister's mood. He cared little for the celestial bodies that hung in the sky. But Enola had taken up the odd habit of watching them whenever she was upset or simply wanted to get away from the drama of the household. Sherlock had discovered this quite by accident and from time to time he would join her. Mostly to make sure she did not fall in the dark and to get her to talk. She was just a little over twelve years old and still hadn't uttered a word since she was five.

Enola shrugged her shoulders to indicate 'why not'. So they continued sitting in silence as they watched the stars not caring that they were suns burning thousands of light years away, but watched them for their beauty.

Years later Enola continued the habit of watching the stars, but now it was used to contemplate rather than getting away. Even in New York City where the lights of the sleepless city dimmed the stars. But on this particular night Enola was in Texas with the Lehrers visiting Amelia's parents and the rest of her family had come over. They were an overly jovial group and loud. When Amelia said she came from a big family Enola did not realize exactly how big. Plus with the additions of the children of Amelia's siblings and their spouses it was quite a full house. Enola went out into the night to have some silence as she thought and to escape the chaos of small children running about with their loud laughter.

The stars were brighter than anything that she could remember.

"My family would go camping every summer," Amelia said as she joined Enola also wanting to get away from her nieces and nephews for a bit. "I would stay up as late as I could just to watch the stars. My brother, the scientist, can tell you every story of every type of constellation up there and the science behind every burning light. Half of us would talk and talk until Dad told us to sleep."

Enola smiled. "I never bothered learning about astronomy growing up. I blame that on Sherlock's influence. But I would watch them on the roof whenever I got upset or needed to get away from family. Sometimes Sherlock would join me."

Amelia wrapped the blanket she had brought from the house around Enola to fight off the growing night chill.

"You miss them." Amelia stated, there was no question.

"My brothers? Quite a bit actually." Enola conceded holding the blanket close. She now gazed out into the night not really focusing on anything in particular, just the darkness. She had dropped the American accent without realizing it. "We didn't always fight. When I was much younger we had a lot of civil conversations, well … Sherlock and Mycroft did, I just sat and listened. And I enjoyed it. But after my father died, it fell to Mycroft to be the man of the house and I don't think Sherlock took too kindly to his attempts to run the household while being away at school. My mother withdrew herself from our lives essentially, and that's when the more intense fighting started.

"I think the problem was that Mycroft and Sherlock are so alike that they clash and everyone is effected by it." Enola smirked as she looked back up the stars. "You know, when Sherlock and I watched the stars we didn't fight. It was like an unspoken agreement not to fight as we watched the stars. Those nights it was like we were almost normal siblings."

It was rare for Enola to speak of the more fond memories of her brothers for they were rare in of themselves. It was in those moments in which the Lehrers could see the progress Enola had made under their care. It filled Wilhelm and Amelia with a strange mixture of happy and sad emotions. Happy because the child they took in and become their daughter had grown into her own person and sad that their daughter would soon be leaving the roost and going out into the world on her own.

Amelia wrapped an arm around Enola and joined her in stargazing with a smile spread across her face.

Wilhelm watched and listened to the two women from the porch. He had once told a class of his that stargazing was useful in that it prompted the human mind to think beyond its limits and into the unknown. Even if you did not care about the details of how the stars works, it sets the mind to wonder and one to admire it.

A similar thought passed through the mind of the world's only consulting detective as he stepped out of the cab into the chilly night hours later.

Looking up memories of time spent with his sister flicker briefly in his mind.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" Sherlock asked no one in particular as he button his jacket. John briefly glanced around before he realized where Sherlock was looking.

"I thought you didn't care about -" John began.

"Doesn't mean I can't appreciate it." Sherlock cut him off not wanting to restart their earlier conversation. As they walked down the alleyway he wondered if he should tell John about Enola, he already knew about Mycroft. But then the painful topic of her disappearance would come up.

Not today, Sherlock decided, the case had become too interesting to become distracted.

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