The door opened, and someone could be heard coming up the stairs. Laura set the paper down, pushing herself up from the chair. Sherlock was still having his nicotine patches on the couch, not bothering to move. The brunette was relieved to see John when he limped into the flat. At least he wasn’t dead; that was good. Of course, his gaze went straight to Sherlock. Right. He wasn’t used to all the odd things Sherlock Holmes did.
“What are you doing?” Dr. Watson questioned.
“Nicotine patch.” Sherlock answered, pulling up his sleeve to show off the three patches. “Helps me think. Impossible to sustain a smoking habit in London these days. Bad news for brain work,” he spoke in a flat tone.
“It’s good news for breathing,” the doctor stated.
Sherlock groaned, “Breathing! Breathing’s boring.”
“Is that three patches?” John hobbled into the room.
“It’s a three-patch problem.”
John’s face contorted in confusion, and he looked to Laura for an explanation. She simply shrugged her shoulders. After spending twenty-four years with him, nothing phased the schoolteacher. It was sad. She should be phased by more stuff. A normal human being would be phased by everything Sherlock dealt with.
“Well?” John looked down at the curly haired man.
Silence. “You asked me to come, I’m assuming it’s important.” Watson continued.
Sherlock’s eyes opened. “Oh. Yeah, of course. Can I borrow your phone?” He asked, glancing over at John.
“Don’t wanna use mine. Always a chance that my number will be recognized. It’s on the website. And if I asked Laura, she wouldn’t let me use her’s.”
“Mrs. Hudson’s got a phone.”
“Yeah, she’s downstairs. I tried shouting, but she didn’t hear.” Sherlock explained.
“I was on the other side of London…”
“There was no hurry.”
John Watson sighed as he dug in his jacket pocket for the phone. He pulled it out, handing it to Sherlock. The doctor looked very annoyed by the man. Laura recognized that face. She knew it all too well. She sat down on a chair, picking up the newspaper and flipping through it. Might as well. She had nothing better to do.
“So what’s this about. The case?” John asked as he stepped towards the chairs.
“Her case?” Watson raised his brows.
“Her suitcase, yes, obviously. The murderer took her suitcase, first big mistake.” Sherlock was contemplating the serial killer.
“Okay, he took her case. So?” John stared at the man.
Laura blocked out their conversation. Quite boring. The most boring part of solving cases was the solving part. Not a lot of action. Plus she always had to do the bland work. Better just do it. No use arguing with Sherlock.
“You’ve brought me here to send a text.” John sounded exasperated.
“Text, yes. The number of my desk.” Sherlock was still holding up the phone.
“Yeah, he makes you do all the boring stuff.” Laura added, “Because he’s a lazy prick.”
John nodded as he grabbed the phone. Instead of going straight to the desk, he walked towards the window. Both of the Holmes siblings looked directly at the Army detective. Had the same look. Confusion. Why was he at the window?
“Just met a friend of yours.” Dr. Watson said.
“A friend?” Both of the siblings’ voices were heard.
“An enemy.” John corrected himself.
“Oh. Which one?” Common for Sherlock to have enemies. Many enemies.
“Well, your arch-enemy,” John cleared his throat, “according to him. Do people have arch-enemies?”
“Did he offer you money to spy on me?” Sherlock gazed over at him.
“Did you take it?”
Laura knew who they were speaking of. Funny how he was just concerned with Sherlock. Mycroft knew she could look out for herself. Had a job. Had a life. Oi, he never offered her any money to keep an eye on Sherlock! Prick. It would have made her life more bearable, and she wouldn’t have frowned away from money.
“Who is he?” John asked, looking at both siblings.
“The most dangerous man you’ve ever met, and not my problem right now. On my desk, the number!” Sherlock raised his voice, side-glancing at John.
Laura grabbed out her phone, and she began texting her eldest brother. He was getting a piece of her mind. John began texting the number on the desk. Talking about the dead woman and blah, blah, blah. Nothing interesting to her.
‘Offering Sherlock’s new boyfriend money, huh? Could have done it myself.’ She sent the text to Mycroft.
‘I was under the impression that John Watson was his flatmate. And yes, but you would have not updated me at all, Laura. Plus you couldn’t possibly keep an eye on him every hour of each day.’ Mycroft sent a text back to his sister.
Laura made a face as she set her phone down, turning her attention back towards Sherlock and John just to be blinded by that blasted pink suitcase. Who even had a suitcase that pink? Unless the woman, or person, was a big fan of the color. She assumed it was a woman though. Just by the shade of pink.
“Is that Jennifer Wilson’s suitcase?” John asked.
John stared at Sherlock. Her brother added on, “Oh, perhaps I should mention, I didn’t kill her.”
“I never said you did.” John said.
“Why not? Given that text I just had you send and the fact I have her case it’s a perfectly logical assumption.” Sherlock explained as he studied the suitcase.
“Do people usually assume you’re the murderer?”
“Now and then, yes.”
Laura stood up, moving over to her brother and Watson as Sherlock explained how he got ahold of the case. Nevermind. It was time to solve a murder. The best part of following Sherlock around. Solving murders and crimes. All the footwork? Got old. A lot of walking and being treated like Sherlock’s assistant.
“Pink. You got all that because you realized the case would be pink?” John asked.
“Well, obviously.” Laura said, interrupting Sherlock.
“Why didn’t I think of that?” John glanced downwards.
“Because you’re an idiot.” Holmes said bluntly. John gave a look of offense and Sherlock shook his head, “No, no, no, don’t look like that. Practically everyone is.”
Her brother continued, “Now, look. Do you see what’s missing?”
“From the case? How could I?” John stated as he looked at Sherlock.
“Her phone. Where’s her mobile phone?” Sherlock gave him the answer.
“Can’t you just say cell phone. Literally everyone else says cell phone.” Laura groaned as she shook her head.
“There was no phone on the body, there’s no phone in the case.” Sherlock continued, ignoring her input, “We know she had one. That’s her number there. You just texted it.”
“Maybe she left it at home.” John suggested to him.
Laura shook her head. It was unlikely any person in the twenty-first century would leave their phone at home. She was fairly young, too. Sherlock was explaining to John that Jennifer would have been careful, never would have left her phone behind.
“Uh… Why did I just send that text?” John asked, furrowing his brows.
“The killer most likely has it.” Laura answered instead of her brother.
Sherlock gave her a disappointed look. He wanted John to figure it out himself. Laura shrugged her shoulders, grabbing out her phone once again. No new messages.
“The murderer… You think the murderer has the phone?” John asked the siblings.
“Maybe she left it when she left her case. Maybe he took it from her for some reason. Either way, the balance of probability is the murder has phone.” Sherlock explained to the doctor, keeping his gaze on the fair haired man.
“Sorry. What are we doing?” John shook his head. “Did I just text a murderer? What good will that do?”
The siblings stayed silent, and suddenly, the cell phone began ringing. Another slip up from the murderer. That is what they were waiting for. Ah, good times. Perhaps she wouldn’t quit the whole solving crimes thing. It was too much of an addiction at this point. And besides, it was more fun than correcting grammar and spelling in her students’ papers.
“A few hours after his last victim, and now he receives a text that can only be from her.” Sherlock stared at the ringing phone. “If somebody just found that phone they’d ignore a text like that, but the murderer… Would panic.” At that moment, Sherlock slammed the suitcase shut and practically jumped out of his chair.
“Have you talked to the police?” Dr. Watson asked.
“Four people are dead. There isn’t time to talk to the police.” Sherlock answered as he put his suit coat back on.
“So why are you talking to me?” John questioned, tilting his head to the side.
“Mrs. Hudson took my skull.” The consulting detective answered as he took his coat off the hook it was hanging on.
“So I’m basically filling in for your skull?”
“No, Laura fills in for the skull. You’re filling in for Laura. You’re doing fine.”
“Arsehole.” Laura shot a glare at her brother.
“Well?” Sherlock ignored her, looking towards John.
“Well, what?” John shook his head and looked at Sherlock.
“Well, you could just sit there and watch telly.” The dark haired man sneered at the very thought of watching television.
“What, you want me to come with you?” John inquired as he looked at Sherlock.
“I like company when I go out, and I think better when I talk aloud.” Sherlock explained as he began putting on his navy colored scarf. “The skull just attracts attention and Laura talks just as much as me, so… Problem?”
“Yeah, Sergeant Donovan.” John nodded as he looked at Sherlock.
“What about her?”
“She said… You get off on this. You enjoy it.” Watson explained to him and Laura.
Laura chuckled a bit as she stood up, fixing her coat. It was late. She was hungry, and she needed to focus on her own thing for a while. She listened to the exchange between her brother and the doctor. With a smile, she watched as Sherlock exited the flat. Her gaze went to John as he used his cane to help him out of the chair.
“You coming with?” The doctor looked towards Laura.
“Me? God, no. Go catch a killer. Have fun!” The brunette beamed as she exited the flat, walking past her brother to catch a taxi home.
As she entered her flat, Laura tossed her bag down on the chair and sighed. She took off her coat and scarf, hanging them up. A long day. Hadn’t even had dinner. Just tea and biscuits. The woman slipped out of her shoes, and she walked further into the flat. Laura reached over to turn on the light, and she gasped as she saw Mycroft sitting in her living room. Just once she’d like a ring before he did stuff like this!
“Hello, Laura.” Mycroft greeted her casually.
“Why can’t you call or text me before breaking into my flat?” The woman asked.
“I have my own key,” he shrugged his shoulders.
Laura rolled her eyes as she walked into the kitchen. Wine. She needed wine. She opened the top cupboards, grabbing out a bottle of wine and two glasses. Might as well offer some to her brother if he was here.
“You want some wine?” Her voice came from the kitchen. “Also, how’d you like John? I think he’s quite nice,” she made conversation.
“Wine sounds nice. John seems… loyal to Sherlock.” Mycroft answered her.
Laura hummed in response as she grabbed a corkscrew from her drawer. Opening the bottle, she set the cork down and poured red wine into the glasses. She picked up both, handing one to Mycroft as she entered the living room.
“He also misses the battle. You can see it on his face.” Mycroft said before taking a sip.
Laura nodded, “No better way to see the battle than with Sherlock Holmes.”
“Does our dear brother still think of me as his arch-enemy?” The eldest Holmes asked.
“He does, but I think you knew that.” The brunette rolled her eyes.
Laura sat down at the couch, raising her brow at her brother. What was this visit about? It wasn’t just about her texts from earlier. Or John. Mycroft was not a spontaneous person; there was always a reason behind everything he did.
“What?” Mycroft noticed her suspicious gaze.
“Why are you here, Mycroft?” She inquired, putting the glass down.
“Would you believe me if I would say I wanted to see my dear sister?”
“Not at all.”
“Just checking in. Keeping you and Sherlock safe.” Mycroft answered in an honest tone.
“Wait, why do I need a sitter, too?” Laura furrowed her brows and crossed her arms.
Mycroft did not answer, but he instead took a sip of his wine and stood from the chair. He paced around the flat, studying the potted plants and trinkets all over the place. Laura rolled her eyes, and she picked up her drink to take a large gulp.
“Not going to answer me, then?” She stated, leaning back on the sofa.
“Do I need to? Laura, as I recall, you nearly got yourself killed.” Mycroft said to her.
“One time. I was eighteen! Six years ago!” Laura scoffed, glaring at him.
“While you were across the pond,” her eldest brother remarked.
The youngest Holmes rolled her eyes, and she took another sip of her wine. It was one time. It’s not like it happened again, and it was over half a decade ago. She had gotten into some trouble. Her brother had to bail her out. It was wiped clean from her record, like it had never happened at all. He always brought it up. It was just between the two of them. Sherlock and their parents were to never find out.
“You haven’t told them, right?” She asked in a quiet voice, her gaze on the floor.
“Who?” Mycroft’s gaze rested on his sister.
“Mum, Dad. Sherlock. You didn’t tell them, right?” She repeated her question.
“No, I haven’t.”
“Thank you,” she sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose.
Mycroft nodded his head. He knew it was best not to tell their parents or Sherlock. They’d treat her like a child, even more so. It was just their little secret. A promise between two siblings. Of course, he still reminded her of it constantly.
“I will see you around, Laura.” Mycroft set down the glass and walked towards the door.
“Please try to call first.” The woman raised her voice enough for him to hear her.
No answer. Just the click of the lock, and the sound of the door opening, then closing. He was gone. Laura groaned, pushing herself up. He still saw that scared eighteen year old, tears staining her face and shaking in fear. Things changed since then. She wasn’t that same little girl. Just out of school and at her first year of college.