'Sherlock?' John asked, giving me a sideways glance.
'Mm?' He murmured.
I nodded at John to talk. It was the best response that he would get from my father.
'You need to tell me what's going on with Moriarty.'
Sherlock's head jerked up from its bent position over a collection of police reports. 'What do you know about Moriarty?' He asked sharply.
'He was at the pool.' John stated.
Sherlock nodded slowly, looking at me carefully.
'What have you said, Cameo?' Sherlock asked.
'I've said nothing. And so what if I did? You won't tell me about my mother and if I have to spread your secrets to get you to tell me, then so be it.'
Sherlock stood up and stomped out the flat in a strop. John and I stared after him for a moment. John gives me another sidelong glance.
'Where has he gone?' John asks me, as if I should know the answer.
'I don't know.' I say, even though I do know. 'Be right back.'
I follow my father's footsteps all the way outside of our flat on Baker Street. I glance in both directions before heading to the entrance to the river flats. I know that that is the place that he goes when he is upset or angry. Although, of course, he never admits if he is feeling particularly emotional. He says that it "humanises" him.
I spot the figure of my father leaning over the iron railings, staring into the water as if it held the answers to all life's questions.
'Hi dad.' I say.
He jumps when I speak. A very rare phenomena that clearly means that he is feeling particulary "human" today.
'Oh, hi Cameo.' He says dreamily.
'What's the matter?'
'Nothing.' Always the same answer.
'You know what? For once in your life, can you answer me truthfully?' I say angrily.
'That is the truth.' I raise my eyebrows at him. 'Fine. Come with me.'
He turns from the river and strides over to the side of the road. He waves an arm in the air and a taxi pulls up on the side of the road. My father beckons me over and we both climb in.
Fifteen minutes and thirty-two seconds later, the taxi pulls up outside the entrance to a graveyard. My father hands the driver some money before climbing out the taxi. I follow him out and stand next to him, staring at the entrance, as the taxi drives away. Sherlock doesn't look at me as he pushes the gate open. It squeaks on its hinges and flakes of paint fall to the ground at his touch, like leaves falling in autumn at the touch of a breeze. He holds it open for me and shuts it after I have passed through. He still doesn't look at me as he strides down the crumbling path, clearly knowing where he is going, even though I don't remember him coming here much. He makes an abrupt right turn to go down one of the paths leading off the main one. I am almost jogging to keep up with him and almost run into his back as he suddenly halts.
'God, couldn't you have warned me that you're putting the brakes on?!' I cry, stepping back from a face full of black trench coat.
Sherlock doesn't answer, but continues to stare at a grey tombstone in front of him. It is a fairly basic stone, slightly crumbly and decorated with patches of moss from age. A small collection of flowers lies at the base of the stone, but they are almost completely dead. The gentle mound of earth in front of the stone is covered in patches of grass and weeds. A vine snakes round the stone, wrapping it in a deadly embrace.
The tombstone reads:
Here lies Elizabeth Pevensie
Born 7th January 1970
Died 18th September 1995
'Who is it?' I say, looking away from the tombstone and up at my father, who has tears in his eyes. 'Are you crying?'
'She was your mother.' Sherlock wiped his hand across his eyes. 'She died five days after you were born.'
'My mother?' I repeat, my voice breaking slightly as I stare at the tombstone.
Sherlock doesn't answer and we both stare at the gravestone in silence. I keep my eyes fixed on the lettering engraved into the stone, willing for something to come into my brain. Who was she? What did she look like? Was she a nice person? Was she pretty? A hundred questions fly round my head like a cage of trapped butterflies.
I look up at my father, ready to have my questions answered, to see that he is not stood next to me. Panic takes over and I glance round the graveyard, my heartbeat increasing like a car gathering speed on the motorway.
I look down at the gravestone of my mother and see my father crouched by the side, head in his hands.
'Dad?' I say hesitantly.
'She was the only woman that I ever loved.' He mutters, half to me and half to the world around him.
I lower my head. I take after him and am not someone who deals well in these sorts of situation. 'What about Irene?' I ask quietly.
Sherlock shakes his head slowly. 'She was...' he pauses, searching for the right word, '...a passing fancy.'
'Molly?' I say. I don't know what else to do other than distract him with other people who may be good candidates for him.
'She's a good friend. I understand her feelings for me, but it could never work.'
'Because we're too different.' Sherlock lifts his finger and traces the engraving slowly.
'What about... that other woman that used to like you? Jasmine, or whatever her name was?' I ask, I don't remember many women that he's claimed that he liked.
'Jasmine was a beautifully interesting character. Again, it couldn't work.' Sherlock continues to trace the lettering, not looking at me.
'Well, maybe because she's moved to America to be with her long distance boyfriend?'
I suppress a slight laugh. 'Oh right. Definitely not her then.'
I spot a ghost of a smile pass over my father's lips, before it is gone as quickly as it came.
'John?' I suggest, giggling.
'No.' Sherlock says, too quickly.
'Hm, that was way too quick. Explain yourself. Do I have a gay father now?' I wink at him, turning it into a joke.
'No you do not. No matter what some people think, me and John are not gay together. John has had girlfriends and he knows that I'm not interested.'
Sherlock stands up and strolls over to a small wall a few metres away from the grave. I follow him and sit beside him on the wall. It is rather painful to sit on and the stone is extremely cold as it is October time.
'You do know that "Johnlock" is a thing?' I smile at the slight shock that passes over his face.
'Seriously?' He blinks and stares off into the distance. 'Wow. Humans really do make some strange assumptions.'
I fall into hysterical laughter at his response, and after watching me for a moment, Sherlock even cracks a smile.
'Sherlolly.' I say, smiling.
'What is that?'
'You and Molly Hooper.'
'Oh, God, really?' He shakes his head in disbelief. 'Will never happen.'
'Harmony ships that one. She reckons that you're going to get together at some point. She also feels sorry for Molly because Molly's liked you for years now.'
'That's what you call it. Seriously, dad, you need to catch up on modern language.' I say jokingly.
Sherlock raises his eyebrows at me, challenging me. 'So, what others are there?'
'Oooh... loads!' I pause, searching around for my favourite. 'I think Sheriarty is my favourite.'
'You and Moriarty.'
Sherlock lets out an exasperated sigh. 'Can we have one that doesn't involve me?'
I grin at him cheekily. 'What about... Lestrolly?'
'And that is...?'
'Lestrade and Molly.'
'Who? Oh, Gavin and Molly.'
'Greg.' I correct, smiling.
'Who's Greg?' He glances at me, confused.
'Greg Lestrade. Not Gavin or Graham. Greg.'
'The day you get that right will be the day that I get a boyfriend.'
I laugh nervously, but Sherlock does not.
'Why don't you have a boyfriend? You take after your mother and you're very pretty. You're clever and fun. A good, supportive person. So why don't you have anyone?' He asks me, genuine concern in his voice.
'Because...' I hesitate.
'Because you're my father.' I say, embarrassed.
'Why is that a problem?'
'Because everyone knows how... aggressive and mean you can be. Everyone at school either classes them as a fan of you or hates you and is terrified of you.' I look down, avoiding his gaze.
Sherlock doesn't say anything, but continues to stare at the sun setting behind the iron fence surrounding the graveyard. I, too, stay silent, feeling like the worst daughter in the world and still having none of my questions answered about my mother.