The Impossible Game

Chapter 11

It was a tense car ride to say the least. Emma sat numbly in the back of the cabbie next Sherlock, wishing that John was back there with her instead of the silent detective but he had insisted on sitting up front like usual. She fidgeted with the hem of her coat, trying to think of anything to say to the detective who sat still as a statue, while seeming to ignore her very existence. She had never felt so small in her entire life. Emma wanted to say sorry, she wanted to take it all back.

Well, most of it anyway.

Emma still felt that she was in the right even if it was just a tiny bit, but it shouldn’t have been at the expense of Sherlock’s feelings. He was just trying to do his job at keeping her alive and how did she thank him? By being a complete and utter asshole.

But why couldn’t Sherlock see how stressed out she was? The kind of pressure that she had endured? Over the course of the mere days she had been in England, she had been shot at, her life had been threatened at least three times, met a world-renown psychopath and she could scarcely imagine what lied ahead. And before she had to time realize Emma felt the tears on her cheeks which quickly turned into a sobs that she could not control no matter how hard she tried.

“Shit,” she said under her breath as she wiped the tears and snot away before anyone could see but it was too late; Sherlock had offered a napkin to her. Emma gingerly took it from him and as quietly as she could blew her nose. “Sorry.” And it was at that point Emma thought:

Maybe he can tell how stressed I am.

She was still too embarrassed to look at him in the eyes quite yet but she did mutter a ‘thank you’, which he grunted in reply. Possibly a ‘you’re welcome’, but Emma couldn’t tell. With Sherlock, one could never tell.

The three of them finally made their way to the National Gallery Museum. The cab drove up to what looked like a square to a massive domed building. It reminded Emma of a more refined version of the Capitol Building back in the U.S. There was a beautiful fountain in the center of the drive, although no water flowed through the marble statues that littered the dried up pool; it was far too chilly of a day for that. Emma although never visiting the museum before already felt at home, which gave her some comfort in all of this mess.

The cab stopped, John getting out first with Sherlock following behind but Emma grabbed his arm stopping him.

“Wait,” She started, the detective looking shocked. Emma turned to the cabbie, “I promise to pay a little extra. It’ll only take a moment. Or five. Keep the meter running.” The driver only nodded and closed the back window giving the two people some semblance of privacy. Emma took a deep breath and looked the detective in his eyes.

“Look. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I said. All that,” Emma said clumsily, “What I said earlier. About you not caring and whatnot? I wish I could take it back, but I can’t.”

“All I can do is say I was wrong. I was wrong for yelling at you for saving my life. I was wrong for blaming you for that asshole getting away. And that you were right, Sherlock. You always are.” Emma sighed. “Thank you for keeping me alive. You’re really doing a bang up job so far.” She laughed nervously, looking at him trying to see if he reacted in any sort of way but the only thing she saw was his mouth twitch ever so slightly upwards,then looked out the window and scowled.

“What the hell,” he said while rushing out of the car. Emma was left sitting alone, mouth agape and utterly confused.

What the hell indeed, Emma thought bitterly to herself as she paid the fare and followed after Sherlock who was bounding up the steps past John to a man carrying an umbrella as dark as the pin striped suit he wore. The smile on his face was full of contempt while looking down at both John and Sherlock, and then he moved his gaze over to Emma who finally caught up to the two of them. She wasn’t sure if the mystery man was a friend or not but Emma was getting tired of unexpected people just showing up.

“What are you doing here?” Sherlock demanded. The man merely rolled his eyes and then returned his steely gaze on Emma who shot a glare right back at him, her annoyance becoming almost palpable.

“What?” She asked, “Do I have something on my face? Because you staring like is both rude and starting to agitate me.”

“Meeting your friends like this getting really tiring, guys,” she finished to Sherlock and John while the other man smiled, almost approvingly so.

“She got quite the back bone Sherlock,” the pinstriped man mused loudly still not moving from his perch at the top of the stairs.

“So he speaks!” Emma exclaimed sarcastically then turning to Sherlock, “You know him too?”

“Unfortunately too well,” growled Sherlock through gritted teeth, “I should have known that he’d get involved.” Sherlock continued up the steps leaving John and a bewildered Emma behind.

“Who is he?” She finally asked John.

“Mycroft Holmes,” he replied groaning a bit. Emma’s mouth hung open slightly.

“That pudgy, balding man,” she replied pointing to said pudgy balding man, “Is Sherlock’s brother? They look nothing alike!” The only thing Emma could see that they shared was the fact they were both very tall, or at least comparatively to her 5′3” frame.

“I can understand that,” John replied back, “But he also does the annoying deduction game.” Now it was her turn to groan slightly.

“There’s two of them? Christ, I can barely handle the one,” she said half serious, half joking.

“You and me both,” he agreed with a smirk and a laugh. Emma smiled back. It was nice to be able to freely joke with someone. Emma sometimes wondered if Sherlock even remember how to joke.

“Are you two going to stand there giggling all day or are you coming with?” Sherlock asked. Emma and John looked at one another like two school children in trouble and laughed again as they followed him up the steps. The taller and slightly rounder of the two Holmes turned his attention to the petite woman with short, shaggy blonde hair in front of him.

“Not quite what I am imagined,” he stated, “You have got to be the smallest soprano I’ve ever seen.”

“And you’re not quite what I imagined,” she shot back, feeling a bit catty, “I thought the older of the Holmes brothers would be more like.. Oh. never mind.” Emma feigned a dramatic sigh, “I supposed everything is not what they appear to be, isn’t that correct Mr. Mycroft Holmes?” He raised an eyebrow at her.

“Hmm,” he mused, “Well then.” John snickered, and even Sherlock grinned at her comment despite him possibly being angry with her still.

“So what are you doing here, dear brother?” The younger Holmes asked of him, “You’ve never been much for art if I remember correctly.” Mycroft sighed, beckoning all of them to follow him into the museum. Emma could scarcely believe her eyes with all the hallways of artwork. It was was like heaven on Earth for her; the amount her hungry eyes saw was immeasurable. She could probably wander in awe for an entire day and still only see a tiny fraction of what the place had to offer.

Looking longing down each hallway as they walked in brisked silence, Emma caught Sherlock looking at her which surprised her a little bit.

'What?' she mouthed to him, but he only shrugged and turned his attention to what was in front of him.

They all had stopped finally in a wing that had been closed to the public, with tall dark colored oak doors graced with large, twisted brass handles. Mycroft pulled the heavy doors which emptied into a circular room with deep red walls, a high domed white ceiling littered with sky light windows and on the walls hung the portraits of old, distinguished English families, some dating back all the way back to the mid 12th century. Emma was already completely smitten with all of them, and only wanting to study all of the different art styles that lied in each painting; she could have cared less the families, though. Sadly she was awoken from her longing by Sherlock who dragged by her along by her arm. Emma’s face grew hot from embarrassment, giving him a sheepish look.

“Sorry,” she said, “I can’t help myself.”

“Thinking about stealing all this art work for yourself?” Sherlock asked. She rolled her eyes. She was still miffed at him for earlier.

“No,” she retorted, “I just really love art. I could spend all day in here.”

“Couldn’t tell,” he replied coolly but with the faintest of smiles again. Maybe he had forgiven her but again with Sherlock Holmes, one never knows.

They caught up with the rest of the party; John, Mycroft and two other men that Emma did not recognize. One was slim with a head full of dark hair, and small beady eyes that reminded Emma of a weasel. The other man was tall with a head of short and spiky peppered gray hair, and deep brown eyes that seemed to look annoyed or exasperated.

Mm,′ Emma thought to herself, mostly joking. She did have thing for silver foxes, so much that she instinctively looked down at his left hand. ′Damn. A wedding band.′ She giggled to herself.

“Ah,” exhaled the silver fox, “So glad you could join us!"

“Was it you who called my brother? And why the hell is Anderson here?” Sherlock asked in almost pain, gesturing to the rodent like man to Emma’s left.

“Good to see you too freak,” the man - Anderson - replied dryly, “Donovan couldn’t make it out, so I came along instead.” His nasal tone made Emma physical twitch out of sheer annoyance.

“Boring,” Sherlock said then turning to the silver fox again, “In any case, why did you call Mycroft?”

“Because for one thing, you mention him," replied the man who Emma assumed to be Detective- Inspector Lestrade. John scoffed.

"Oh come off it," he said, "You can say his name. It's not like he's 'Lord Voldemort'." John was joking but DI Lestrade only glared at him.

"Anyway," the DI continued, "We thougtht that Myscroft could aid in some extra protective measure for the girl. I'm going to assume that the blondie here is her?" Emma huffed slightly, crossing her arms across her chest.

"Correct," she replied flatly, "The name is Emma Rose." She took his and shook it. He grimaced.

"Strong grip," he said half-smiling, "You sure you need our protection? You seem pretty well off there."

"I mean you're not completely off but ya know, it's because of "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named," Emma joked making spooky like noises making John laugh again. He cleared his throat, trying to cover it up as a cough when he got glares from both Mycroft and Lestrade. He attempted to be serious again but he John was having giggle fits.

"Are you quite alright, Dr. Watson?" Mycroft inquired. John coughed again.

"Yeah, just something caught in my throat," he said.

"Yes with Moriarty now involved in all of this," the very much annoyed D.I. continued, "Things are going to get a bit hairy."

"And I also asked the Detective Inspector to call for him," a well dressed gentleman said, emerging from a pillar near all of them. Emma internally screamed; she was over meeting new people.

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