"The things you find on the internet." Dr. Wilhelm Lehrer said just above a whisper to no one in particular. "Elle?"
"Yes?" Elona called down from on top of a bookcase ladder in Wilhelm's study. They were both spending a restful Sunday afternoon as they always did, especially after a con: Wilhelm would look over his lessons plans for the week in his various philosophy classes as would Amelia for her art history and appreciation classes as they both taught at New York University.
Enola did little prepping for the week on Sundays; whether or not there was a con, heist or what-have-you, she always finished her homework assignments by Saturday evening, not that she went to a conventional school.
It would be obvious to say that she had an unconventional education under the Lehrers. She had a series of private tutors who taught her from the mundane – math, history, etc. - to the more unique – grifting, forging, hacking – and everything in between. Enola excelled at everything, throwing herself gleefully into her studies, blossoming in the care of the Lehrers, she was even very close to completing a doctorate despite her age, but never arrogant and always quiet. This Sunday was not different than any other with Wilhelm and Enola in the study in their posh Manhattan apartment. Out of the many apartments that the Lehrers had in the sleepless city they always ended up at the Manhattan apartment on Sunday.
"Didn't you say one of your brother's name was 'Sherlock'?" Wilhelm asked looking up from his laptop.
"My second eldest brother," She clarified before sliding down the ladder landing with a graceful thud. "Why?"
"If this is the same person, your brother has a website." He turned the computer slightly to allow Enola a better view of the screen as she came round the desk.
"'The Science of Deduction'," Enola read aloud before reading the rest to herself.
"Well, is it him?" He asked when she had finished.
"Yes," She sighed crossing her arms. "It sounds like he hasn't changed in the past few years."
"Except he's playing detective, and quite successful if one is to judge the list of cases on the site." Wilhelm appreciated the juxtaposition of the detective brother against the criminal sister. It was one of those odd things in life that would just happen without anyone realizing it. Seeing the thoughtful expression in Enola's face he sighed. "You still worry about him."
"That he'll turn up OD on some drug just so he can keep his mind stimulated. Sometimes I'm afraid that my brothers -" But stopped before going any further. She spoke in an even tone as though she was discussing a fact of life instead of one of her worst fears. "Despite our many disagreements I still love my idiotic brothers."
"Hopefully this detecting will keep him occupied." He ventured, standing from his chair. She had that look again. It was not a sad look, it was more of a haunting look in Enola's eyes. Even after all the years of working with Enola to grow beyond her doubt that haunted look never eased up on the intensity. Memories of her family were bittersweet to her.
"Only if the cases are interesting enough for him." Enola smirked hugging herself tighter without realizing it. Wilhelm placed a gentle hand on her shoulder in hopes to give some comfort. Then a thought occurred to Enola. "Why are you looking at his website?"
"We have a new client." Amelia came into the study excitedly. Enola's question went unanswered, but not forgotten.
"Speaking of cases." Wilhelm whispered as Amelia approached causing Enola to regain a cheerier disposition.
Amelia gave each of them a kiss on the cheek before proceeding. "Man was framed for a mob hit with the promise from the mobster that his family would be taken care of, but – surprise, surprise – no help came and the family is under financial stress and there's rumor of a shank going to happen soon on the man in question."
"Ok," Wilhelm looked at the file that Amelia gave him with all the information. "A jailbreak for an innocent jailbird and exposing an evil mob boss. This should be fun."
Whether or not the heist fits the general description of fun Enola enjoyed herself. She was very thankful that she had fallen into the hands of the Lehrers. She was not one to linger on the 'what if' questions that haunt the minds of so many people. But every so often she would wondered if she had stayed in Britain how her life would have turned out. With that line of thought she was only certain of one thing, she would not know how to pick a lock.
For this particular con the Lehrers called upon their friend Hatch, one of Enola's tutors who taught her the skill of computer hacking. Since the FBI was already conducting their own surveillance the mobster's house it made reconnaissance easier to just piggy back on their signal than try to create their own. Hatch, not being one to waste an opportunity, also hacked into their database mostly to see the current warrants and such. He found something that intrigued him and brought it to the attention of Wilhelm after the con.
There was much tears and rejoicing as the now exonerated man went to hug his children and wife after being so long denied the pleasure. The con artists slipped away during the happy reunion but not before Wilhelm left a large envelope containing the amount of money that was promised to the family by the mobster.
Wilhelm and Hatch met up in an old bar that was near the Lehrer's loft apartment in a more artist part of the city where the dark wooden walls were thick with history and the air filled with pipe smoke and soft music of a bygone era. Each man had a drink before Hatch began discussing his findings.
"Dr. Lehrer, I don't know who this Enola Holmes is or why you're interested in her, but you're not the only one looking for her." Hatch said pulling out printouts of his findings from a folder. 'Over the past three years about once every three to four months a missing person search is done on her conducted by two different sources."
"Do you know who?" Wilhelm looked over the papers, slowly taking a sip from his scotch.
"Just the IP addresses for now." Hatch pointed to the information. "One search is done in Boston and the other in London."
"How successful were the searches?"
"Every single search has turned up nothing. This girl effectively disappeared off the face of the earth, which is quite a feat in this day and age I might add. I would definitely want to meet her just to find out how she did that."
"Anything else you can tell me?"
"Yes – the way that the searches were done strikes me as odd." Hatch took a sip from his own drink, enjoying the smoky burn before continuing. "It was like these weren't official searches. I mean they were done legally, no doubt, but . . . well, let me put it like this: if I was a Fed and needed to do something that I didn't want my boss to find out, I do it like this." Hatch pointed to the papers on the table.
"Like paying back a favor to someone or a personal inquiry." Wilhelm mused.
"That's some possibility." Hatch agreed. "Another thing, one of my internet creeping programs picked up her name in a missing person database in Great Britain. Went missing from her home four years ago. Last person to see her was an older brother."
"She had any other family?"
"A mom and two brothers with quite an age gap between the three children." Hatch rifled through the papers and quickly found the printout he wanted to show Wilhelm. "The case went cold after seven months and five and half months after that she was officially declared dead."
"Did you find out how the family reacted to that?"
"Sorry, no. But I did find out that the searches started within the following month."
"So despite being declared dead there are at least two separate people who are looking for her. Obvious to say that these people believe her to be alive. This is wonderful work, Hatch." Wilhelm congratulated the hacker with a grateful smile.
"Who is she, Dr. Lehrer?" Hatch asked. He looked intently at Wilhelm, he wanted an answer. "Don't say it's not important. No one would put this effort into finding someone unless that person is important to them. And last time I checked everyone is important to someone."
Wilhelm looked at the computer hacker and thought. He found his first addition to the crew he was forming, a few more heists and Wilhelm will know for certain.
"I'm doing a favor for someone that involves the whereabouts of this girl." Wilhelm said only giving half of the truth with no lie. "This is really helpful Hatch."
Hatch seemed satisfied with the answer given him by the philosophic con artist and took another sip of his drink. Wilhelm picked up all the printouts and slipped into his briefcase. Hatch had given him quite a bit to think about; he had a mental note to call his contacts in Boston and London to see if they could find out anything in more detail.
The men finished their drinks and bid each other a good night.
Amelia was still up when Wilhelm came in, she was sitting at the dining room table reading.
"Good meeting?" She kissed her husband lightly on the lips.
"Very informative," he draped an arm around his wife's shoulders. "I think that we should look at Hatch as a more permanent addition for our crew."
"I like him," Amelia smiled. "He's very sweet and very good at what he does. What did he want to talk about?"
"Is Elle asleep?"
"Like she sleeps on a regular basis." Amelia pointed out. "She's on the roof with her camera. She wanted to do a series of photographs on the city at night."
"That's right," Wilhelm remembered that conversation that occurred from before their last con. "Well, Hatch wanted to talk about what he found on Enola Holmes."
He felt Amelia slightly stiffen next to him just before she stepped away to look at her husband.
"And how does he know of Enola Holmes?"
"I asked him to keep an eye out in his internet sweeps for the name Enola Holmes." Wilhelm explained. "Rest assured he does not know that Elle and Enola are one in the same."
Wilhelm sat at the table and Amelia returned to her seat. He then proceeded to tell his wife everything that Hatch had told him along with his plans for further investigations.
"Who do you suspect is looking for her?" Amelia asked when he was finished.
"Her brothers." Wilhelm shifted in his seat so he could lazily rest his head in his hand and to look at his wife.
"That makes sense," She mused also shifting to mirror Wilhelm. "Guilt can make people do strange things, even if they don't admit to the feeling. Should we tell Elle?"
"Not now, not until we have something more definitive." Wilhelm looked at his watch. "We must be abed for it is late."
To bed they went never realizing that the window was slightly ajar and, despite their best efforts, their voices carried upward to where Enola sat on the roof. She had finished taking pictures for a while and could not wait to develop the film using a new technique she just learned, but she heard Wilhelm and Amelia talking and stayed to listen.
The noises of the city would have usually made it difficult to hear such a soft conversation, but tonight was rather uncharacteristically quite and the open window aided in Enola's eavesdropping.
She did not know what to think when she heard that her brothers might be looking for her. On the one hand it did not surprise her that Mycroft and Sherlock would bend a few rules to find her, and on the other hand it surprised her that her brothers were even bothering looking for her. But as Amelia remarked, guilt makes people do strange things. She decided against acknowledging that she heard the conversation and would let the Lehrers tell her in their own good time.
Enola decided to call it a night when she heard several cars screeching to a stop then a minor crash, then yelling in several languages.
Ah, the sounds of New York City.