Calliah Mullen is the sister to Irene Adler and has always been called the ugly sibling. After hearing it for so long, Calliah believes it and cuts her self to relieve the pain. When see meets Sherlock and John, her views on the world, herself, and her sister change. Will it be for the better or worse?


32. Chapter 32

Thank you Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan on livejournal for the transcripts. They help so much.

Here is the first part of the Empty Hearse

I own nothing, except Calliah and my ideas.

Mycroft and I go to Baker Street the next morning. Mycroft and I were sitting in John’s chair, Mycroft in the chair and I was on the arm of the chair, and Sherlock was sitting in his. “All very interesting, Sherlock, but the terror alert has been raised to Critical.” Mycroft says as Sherlock sits back from taking his turn, his eyes locked onto Mycroft’s.

“Boring. Your move.” Sherlock says.

“We have solid information. An attack is coming.” Mycroft says and glances down to make his move.

“’Solid information.’ A secret terrorist organization’s planning an attack – that’s what secret terrorist organizations do, isn’t it? It’s their version of golf.” Sherlock says.

“An agent gave his life to tell us that.” Mycroft says.

“Oh, well, perhaps he shouldn’t have done. He was obviously just trying to show off.” Sherlock says. I chuckle and whisper help in Mycroft’s ear. “Hey no help from the gallery.” I stick my tongue out.

“None of these markers of yours is behaving in any way suspiciously?” Mycroft asks. He glances down again and makes a move. “You-r move.”

“No, Mycroft, but you have to trust me. I’ll find the answer. It’ll be in an odd phrase in an online blog, or an unexpected trip to the countryside, or a misplaced Lonely Hearts ad.” He had only glanced down briefly before speaking. “Your move.”

Mycroft glances down briefly before raising his eyes to Sherlock’s again. “I’ve given the Prime Minister my personal assurance you’re on the case.”

“I am on the case. We’re all on the case. Look at us right now.” Sherlock says.

There is a loud buzzing and a red light flashes. “Oh, bugger!” I chuckle as he angrily drops the small tweezers.

“Oopsie!” Sherlock says. Mycroft returns the piece to the board. Sherlock looks at the piece. “Can’t handle a broken heart – remember that big sis.” He looks up at me and sits back in his chair and crosses his legs. I wink at him.

“Don’t be smart.” Mycroft says and places a hand on my knee.

“That takes me back.” Sherlock says and takes on a little boy’s voice. “’Don’t be smart, Sherlock. I’m the smart one’.”

Mycroft glowers at him. “I am the smart one.”

Sherlock looks off the side. “I use to think I was an idiot.” Sherlock says.

“Both of us thought you were an idiot, Sherlock. We had nothing else to go on ‘til we met other children.” Mycroft explains.

“Oh, yes. That was a mistake.” Sherlock says.

“Ghastly. What were they thinking of?” Mycroft says.

“Probably something about trying to make friends.” Sherlock explains.

“Oh yes. Friends. Of course, you go in for that sort of thing now.” Mycroft says.

Sherlock looks at him closely. “You do too. You have Calliah.”

“Calliah is an exception to my rule. Others don’t. If you seem slow to me, Sherlock, can you imagine what real people are like? I’m living in a world of goldfish.” Mycroft says.

“Yes, but I’ve been away for two years.” Sherlock says.

“So?” Mycroft asks.

Sherlock shrugs. “Well… you did find yourself a… goldfish.”

“I am not a goldfish!” I yell at the same time Mycroft yells, “She is not a goldfish!” He moves me to his lap.

“Rest assured, Mycroft – whatever this underground network of yours is up to, the secret will reside in something seemingly insignificant or bizarre.” Sherlock says.

Mrs. Hudson walks in with a tray of tea things.

“Speaking of which…” Mycroft says. Sherlock smiles.

Mrs. Hudson puts the tray on the dining table. “I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it! Him – sitting in his chair again!” She looks at us. “Oh, isn’t it wonderful, Mr. Holmes and Mrs. Holmes?”

“Not Mrs. Holmes yet Mrs. Hudson.” I say.

“I can barely contain myself.” Mycroft says sarcastically. I slap his arm gently.

“Oh, he really can, you know.” Sherlock says.

“He’s secretly pleased to see you underneath all that…” Mrs. Hudson says. She pulls a sour face.

“Sorry – which of us?” Mycroft asks.

“Both of you.” Mrs. Hudson says and leaves the room.

“She called me Mrs. Holmes.” I say softly and grin up at Mycroft.

“Yes she did. And soon you will.” Mycroft says and kisses me softly.

“Gah, no more sentimental. Let’s play something different.” Sherlock says.

“Why are we playing games?” Mycroft asks with an exasperated sigh.

“Well, London’s terror alert has been raised to Critical.” Sherlock says and flails his legs over the table in front of him and stands up. “I’m just passing the time. Let’s do deductions.” He walks over to the dining table and picks up a woolen bobble hat which has earflaps with a dangly woolen pom pom hanging from each flap. “Client left this while I was out. What d’you reckon?” He tosses it to his brother.

Mycroft catches it. “I’m busy.”

“Oh, go on. It’s been an age.” Sherlock says.

Mycroft lifts the hat to his nose and sniffs, then looks at Sherlock. “I always win.”

“Which is why you can’t resist.” Sherlock says.

“I find nothing irresistible in the hat of a well-travelled anxious sentimental unfit creature of habit with appalling halitosis ...” Mycroft says, quick fire. He stops when he notices Sherlock’s widening smile. “Damn.” He throws the hat back to Sherlock.

“That was hot.” I whisper to him. He smirks at me and winks.

“Isolated, too, don’t you think?” Sherlock asks.

“Why would he be isolated?” Mycroft asks.

“’He’?” Sherlock asks.

“Obviously.” Mycroft says and places a kiss on my cheek.

“Why? Size of the hat?” Sherlock asks.

“Don’t be silly. Some women have large heads too.” Sherlock flinches slightly. “No – he’s recently had his hair cut. You can see the little hairs adhering to the perspiration stains on the inside.”

Sherlock looks down at the hat, pouting slightly. I chuckle as Mycroft places a kiss on my shoulder. “Some women have short hair, too.”

“Balance of probability.” Mycroft says.

“Not that you’ve ever spoken to a woman with short hair.” Sherlock says.

“No, he likes his girls to have long hair.” I add in.

“Stains show he’s out of condition, and he’s sentimental because the hat has been repaired three, four…” Mycroft starts to say.

“Five times.” Sherlock says and throws the hat back to Mycroft. “Very neatly. The cost of the repairs exceeds the cost of the hat, so he's mawkishly attached to it, but it’s more than that. One, perhaps two, patches would indicate sentimentality, but five? Five’s excessive behavior. Obsessive compulsive.”

“Hardly. Your client left it behind. What sort of an obsessive compulsive would do that?” Mycroft says. He throws the hat back to Sherlock, who grabs it with an exasperated grimace. “The earlier patches are extensively sun-bleached, so he’s worn it abroad – in Peru.”

“Peru?” Sherlock asks.

“This a chullo – the classic headgear of the Andes. It’s made of alpaca.” Mycroft explains.

“No.” Sherlock says smirking.

“No?” Mycroft asks.

“Icelandic sheep wool. Similar, but very distinctive if you know what you’re looking for. I’ve written a blog on the varying tensile strengths of different natural fibers.” Sherlock explains.

“I’m sure there’s a crying need for that.” Mrs. Hudson says as he comes back into the room with a teapot.

Sherlock pauses for a moment and then turns back to Mycroft. “You said he was anxious.”

“The bobble on the left side has been badly chewed, which shows he’s a man of a nervous disposition but…” Mycroft starts.

“…but also a creature of habit because he hasn’t chewed the bobble on the right.” Sherlock finishes.

“Precisely.” Mycroft says.

Sherlock lifts the hat and sniffs it before lowering it again, grimacing. “Brief sniff of the offending bobble tells us everything we need to know about the state of his breath.” He turns away. “Brilliant.” He says sarcastically.

“Elementary.” Mycroft says and kisses my neck softly. I giggle and roll my eyes.

“But you’ve missed his isolation.” Sherlock says.

“I don’t see it.” Mycroft says.

“Plain as day. If you weren’t flirting then you would have seen it.” Sherlock says and I blush.

“Where?” Mycroft asks.

“There for all to see.” Sherlock says.

“Tell me.” Mycroft demands.

“Plain as the nose on your...” Sherlock starts to say.

“Tell me.” Mycroft interrupt.

Sherlock turns back to us. “Well, anybody who wears a hat as stupid as this isn’t in the habit of handing around other people, is he?”

“Not at all. Maybe he just doesn’t mind being different. He doesn’t necessarily have to be isolated.” Mycroft says.

“Exactly.” Sherlock says. He looks down at the hat again.

Mycroft blinks several times, apparently confused. “I’m sorry?”

Sherlock looks at Mycroft. “He’s different – so what? Why would he mind? You’re quite right.” He lifts the hat and perches it on the top of his head, then looks pointedly at his brother. “Why would anyone mind?”

Mycroft opens his mouth but seems to struggle to speak for a moment. What was going on? “…I’m not lonely, Sherlock. I have Calliah.”

“But of course she isn’t always there. She is with me and John and Molly. She can’t give you her full attention.” Sherlock says.

I look at Mycroft and frown. Mycroft taps the side of my legs and I get down. Mycroft gets up and looks at Sherlock. “Yes. Back to work if you don’t mind. Good morning. Calliah. I will see you when I get home.” He walks to the door. I frown at him and look at Sherlock.

“Mycroft.” I call and chase after Mycroft. He stops at the end of the stairs and I run down them. “Croft. What was all that? Are you lonely?”

He looks at me. “Sometimes.”

“Why?” I ask and move up some steps so I was the same height.

“I have been lonely most of my life. Sherlock was younger and I couldn’t be seen with him at school, and so that made him ignore me at home and so I grew up lonely. Sherlock had Blackbeard and I had my books. When I met you, I finally had someone who I could talk to, but you have other things in your life. I can’t make you give up going on cases with Sherlock and John, lunches with John and Mary, or drinks after work with Molly, but sometimes when I’m not with you, I get lonely. I could be in a meeting and still be lonely. You are my everything.”

I teared up halfway through his little speech and hug him. “Oh love…” I say softly. He hugs back. I pulls back and place my hands on his shoulder. “When you get alone, text me and I will talk to you. If we can both call then we can talk on the phone. You are my everything too. Just talk to me okay?” I say. He nods and kisses me.

“Not on the stairs you two.” I hear behind me. I look back and see Mrs. Hudson coming down.

“Mrs. Hudson. Can’t two people in love show it with a simple kiss?” I ask.

“You two are so cute.” Mrs. Hudson says and goes into her flat.

“I do have to go to work love. I’ll call on my lunch break.” Mycroft says.

“Okay, maybe tonight we can start planning the wedding?” I ask.

“Sounds perfect. Love you.” Mycroft says and kisses me softly.

“Love you too. Now go be the government.” I say and smile. He rolls his eyes and leaves. I go up to the flat and see Sherlock is standing by the window. “Thanks for getting him to talk about that.”

Sherlock turns to me and smiles softly. “Of course. You too deserve the best and I want you two to be happy.”

“Aww thanks little bro.” I say and sit in John’s seat. “So any word from John?”

“No.” He says and frowns. “Want to do some cases?”

“I actually have to go do some things.” I say softly and bite my lip. I smile and grin.

“What?” Sherlock asks.

“Ask Molly.” I say.

“W-What?” Sherlock says.

“Call Molly to do the cases with you. You two would be great together.” I say.

Sherlock hesitates. “I- Okay.”

I walk over and hug him. “I’ll stop in later okay?”

“You don’t have to.” Sherlock says.

“I know. That’s what makes me so nice.” I say and walk out.

Later, I am walking to Sherlock’s when I see John. “John!” I say and run over.

“Calliah.” He greets me. “I’m sorry.”

I look at him in confusion. “You’re sorry? I should be the one begging at your feet to let me back into your life.”

“No, I talked with Mary. You didn’t know he was doing it. You found out my chance. I shouldn’t have turned on you like that.” John says.

“Well… You’re forgiven.” I say. John offers me his arm and I take it and grin. “Two of the trio back together.” I giggle.

We walk towards Sherlock’s flat and John stops a couple feet away, looking at the door thoughtfully. A man comes around the corner and walks along the road, barging past John and bumps roughly into his shoulder. John and I turn as the man continues onwards without speaking. “’Scuse you.” John says sarcastically. I roll my eyes. The man glances over his shoulder at us but doesn’t stop. I feel my wrist getting taken a needle in my neck. I look over and see the same thing happened to John. Three other people come out and lower us to the ground and then I black out.

I wake up later and John and I are lying on our backs side to side under some wood. We hear some kind of party going on around us. I open my mouth and try to cry out but all that comes out is a faint moan. I try to get up but can’t. I keep trying to talk but only get the moans. I feel John trying to do the same thing. I finally can talk and I start yelling. “Help!” I keep screaming it and hear John doing the same. It starts getting hotter and I scream “Help” more. I hear Sherlock, Mary, and Mycroft outside and I scream “Help” even more. I see someone moving the bonfire away, trying to get to me. One more piece moves and I see Mycroft. He pulls me out and I lay back. “J-John.” I croak out and try to get up.

“No love. Sherlock has him.” He says and helps me sit up. I nod and lean on him. He rubs my back and I smile softly.

“My p-prince.” I say and cough. Some smoke damage, I think.

“I don’t want a damsel in distress love.” He says and smile down at me. “I want you safe.”

The next day, I was at Sherlock’s flat. Mummy and daddy Holmes was visiting and I wanted to spend a lot of time with them. Sherlock sitting in his armchair with his eyes closed, sighing quietly and occasionally drumming his fingers on the arms of the chair. Mummy and daddy Holmes was sitting on the couch. I come into the kitchen with their teas and give it to them and sit in the middle of them. “... which wasn’t the way I’d put it at all. Silly woman. Anyway, it was then that I first noticed it was missing. I said, “Have you checked down the back of the sofa?”” Mummy Holmes says. Sherlock screws his face up, then tilts his head forward a little, almost nodding off to sleep until his head jerks back up again. He steeples his fingers in front of his face as Mummy Holmes look at me and Daddy Holmes. “He’s always losing things down the back of the sofa, aren’t you, dear?”

“’Fraid so.” Daddy Holmes says. I chuckle. Sherlock glares towards the kitchen.

“Keys, small change, sweeties. Especially his glasses.” Mummy Holmes says.

“Glasses.” Daddy Holmes agrees.

“Blooming things. I said, “Why don’t you get a chain – wear ’em round your neck?” And he says, “What – like Larry Grayson?”” Mummy Holmes says.

“Larry Grayson.” Daddy Holmes says almost at the same time.

Sherlock rises quickly to his feet, buttoning his jacket as he walks towards us. “So did you find it eventually, your lottery ticket?” he asks. He steps onto the coffee table and then onto the sofa between me and Daddy Holmes. Daddy Holmes stares up at him as he starts idly flicking through the paperwork stuck to the wall. I roll my eyes at Mummy Holmes.

“Well, yes, thank goodness. We caught the coach on time after all. We managed to see, er, St Paul’s, the Tower ... but they weren’t letting anyone in to Parliament.” Mummy Holmes explains. Sherlock frowns and looks down at her. “Some big debate going on.”

The living room door opens and John walks in. Sherlock looks round in surprise. “John!”

“Sorry – you’re busy.” John says.

Sherlock steps off the sofa and reaching down to pull Mummy Holmes to her feet. “Er, no-no-no, they were just leaving.”

“Oh, were we?” Mummy asks.

I frown. “No they weren’t.”

“Yes. “ Sherlock says.

“No, no, if you’ve got a case ...” John says. I chuckles.

“No, not a case, no-no-no.” Sherlock says and then turns to Mummy Holmes. “Go. ’Bye.”

“Yeah, well, we’re here ’til Saturday, remember. You too Calliah.” Mummy Holmes says.

“I will.” I say.

“Yes, great, wonderful. Just get out.” Sherlock says. He herds the couple towards the door.

“Well, give us a ring.” Mummy Holmes says.

“Very nice, yes, good. Get out.” Sherlock says.

“Calliah, see you tomorrow?” Mummy Holmes asks.

“Wouldn’t miss it.” I say. Bundling them onto the landing, he tries to close the door but the woman turns and sticks her heavy shoe into the doorway to stop the door from shutting.

“Oh, for God...” Sherlock says. He shoves the door closed and lets out a deep sigh before turning to John and me. “Sorry about that.”

“No, it’s fine. Clients?” John asks.

“... Just” Sherlock starts.

“His parents.” I finish.

“Your parents?” John asks.

“In town for a few days.” Sherlock explains.

“Which sucks.” I say and pout.

“Your parents?” John asks.

“Mycroft promised to take them to a matinee of “Les Mis”. Tried to talk me into doing it.” Sherlock says.

“Did he really? He knows how much I am looking forward to this.” I say.

“Those were your parents?” John asks. He goes to the window to look out.

“Yes.” Sherlock says.

“Well ...” John says and chuckles briefly. “That is not what I ...” He turns to look at Sherlock, then looks out of the window again.

“What?” Sherlock asks.

“I-I mean they’re just ... so ...” John says. He looks at Sherlock who directs a hard gaze at him, narrowing his eyes. “... ordinary.” He smiles.

Sherlock tuts disparagingly. “It’s a cross I have to bear.”

“Whatever, you love them.” I say and roll my eyes.

John chuckles, then slowly takes a few steps across the room before turning back. “Did they know, too?”

Sherlock won’t meet his eyes. “Hmm?”

“That you spent the last two years playing hide and seek.” John says.

Sherlock picks an imaginary piece of fluff off the keyboard of his laptop which is open on the dining table. “Maybe.”

“Ah! So that’s why they weren’t at the funeral.” John says.

“Sorry. Sorry again.” Sherlock says defensively.

“Mm.” John says cynically. He slowly steps towards the door.

Sherlock watches him go for a moment, then lowers his head. “Sorry.” He says softly. Drawing in a deep breath, John meets his eyes for a second and then looks down, breathing out slowly. “See you’ve shaved it off, then.”

“Yeah. Wasn’t working for me.” John says.

“Mm, I’m glad.” Sherlock says.

“What, you didn’t like it?” John jokes. I roll my eyes. My boys were back.

“No. I prefer my doctors clean-shaven.” Sherlock says smiling.

“That’s not a sentence you hear every day!” John says. He has been slowly walking across the room again and is now in front of his old chair. He sits down in it, grunting a little. I see that there are healing cuts and gashes on the side of his head where it was scratched by the foliage while he was thrashing about under the bonfire.

“How are you feeling?” I ask.

“Yeah, not bad. Bit ... smoked.” John jokes. “You?”

“I’ll be fine.” I say and shrug. My lungs hurt a little but I was fine.

John looks at Sherlock seriously. “Last night – who did that? And why did they target Calliah and me?”

“I don’t know.” Sherlock says.

“Is it someone trying to get to you through us? Is it something to do with this terrorist thing you talked about?” John asks.

“I don’t know. I can’t see the pattern. It’s too nebulous.” Sherlock says and walks towards his wall of information. “Why would an agent give his life to tell us something incredibly insignificant? That’s what’s strange.”

“’Give his life’?” John asks.

“According to Mycroft. There’s an underground network planning an attack on London – that’s all we know.” Sherlock explains. He looks down and frowns. He turns and gestures to the paperwork on the wall. “These are my rats, John.”

“Rats?” John asks.

“My markers: agents, low-lifes, people who might find themselves arrested or their diplomatic immunity suddenly rescinded. If one of them starts acting suspiciously, we know something’s up. Five of them are behaving perfectly normally, but the sixth ...” Sherlock explains and points to the relevant photograph.

John points to the photo. “I know him, don’t I?”

“Lord Moran, peer of the realm, Minister for Overseas Development. Pillar of the establishment.” Sherlock explains.

“Yes!” John says.

“He’s been working for North Korea since 1996.” Sherlock explains.

“What?” John asks.

“He’s the Big Rat. Rat Number One. And he’s just done something very suspicious indeed.” Sherlock says.


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