Rating: Gen (may change)
Warnings/Spoilers: None (likewise may change)
Pairings: Merlin/Arthur, Sherlock/John, Mycroft/Lestrade
Summary: Somehow a mysterious man giving Lestrade a bunch of flowers is not the worst part of Mycroft's week. Or that fic where Merlin is the baby of the Holmes family
A/n: Title from MacBeth and Arthur is 7th in the line of succession for those that are wondering.
Beta by thesmallhobbit
Sherlock was right, as usual. By the time they'd hailed a taxi John had seen three separate postmen on bicycles, four couriers delivering flowers and an inordinately high number of dog walkers. He didn’t even think that there were any cycling postmen left.
"The secret service in this country is not what it once was," Sherlock says loudly as the courier with the yellow roses walks 'nonchalantly' past them. "No wonder Mycroft never uses them."
"They do seem a bit…obvious," John says, trying to keep his voice down. He doesn't fancy being shot by a man with a poodle.
Sherlock snorts. "Come on John, get in," he says as the taxi pulls up, "Mycroft will be here soon and interrogation is so tedious." He glances into the taxi and sighs, "really, Mycroft? Planting an agent as a taxi driver?"
He slams the door and hails another one. This one is apparently MI5 free since Sherlock deigns to get in.
"Where are we going?"
"To the tower, like you said."
"Really? Spot of sightseeing?" John’s not terribly fond of sightseeing. He’s led too active a life to be comfortable wandering around historical places of note aimlessly.
"No, we're going to meet Emrys there. It is his idea."
"Well, at least one of you has a sense of humour." John wondered when he had communicated that to Sherlock. Privately John had suspected for some time that the Holmes' were like whales and could communicate at a level just beyond human hearing.
That and they were prats.
Sometimes he pictures a future where he and Greg will spend a lot of time drinking tea (and in an even more distant future alcoholic options) and generally commiserating with each other over their choice in partners. He supposes he can add Prince Arthur to their tea circle now.
Sherlock's eyeing him. "You're not having that ridiculous commiseration fantasy again are you?"
"No, Sherlock. Why would I need to be commiserated?"
"Have you deduced what the flowers mean then?" A change of topic is called for. He doesn’t want another argument in the back of a taxi over hypothetical commiserations.
"Of course." Of course he has.
"Well? What secret message lies in their polleny depth?"
Sherlock just smirks in that infuriating way of his. He’s feeling particularly smug since he doesn’t feel the need to sneer at the word ‘polleny’.
Mycroft is waiting for them when they get to the tower. There’s quite a few tourists milling about for a miserable morning this time of year but even with them John has no problem picking Mycroft out at a distance. The umbrella is always a giveaway.
John groans, "Should have known."
Mycroft smiles at him in that very Mycroft-ish way of his and tips his umbrella in greeting, doing a much better job at looking nonchalant than the flower bearing courier had. This makes John pause and consider his options, limited though they may be. Sherlock stops beside him, looking at him in a displeased manner. He’s not displeased with John though, it’s more like an overflow of his displeasure at seeing Mycroft and he’s having difficulty feeling anything else right now.
John thinks it’s no wonder Emrys never turned up before now. Of course, that isn’t strictly true. He doesn’t remember much from the time of the funeral but if he did he might have recalled the pale, drawn young man who held an umbrella over the crumpled looking older woman during the burial.
At any rate, there have been entirely too many Holmes' smiles directed at John for one day. Entirely too many Holmes for one day.
Much like alcohol, sugar and fat, there are daily consumption guidelines for the Holmes’ and John just reached his limit.
"I'm going to sit this one out, since it's more of a family matter anyway. I’ll see you back at the flat, whenever you get back," and he trots off in the direction of the nearest café with wifi before Sherlock can argue.
Not that Sherlock is going to argue since this is exactly what he wanted. Ever since his return he's been very careful to shield John from certain things. This would be one of them. Even though everyone assures him that it will never be the same as it once was, their relationship is slowly returning to the comfortableness of three years previous but Sherlock can't help feeling frustrated at the slow pace. Nevertheless, John willingly letting Sherlock out of his sight is a good sign. He’s finally beginning to trust him on his own for something longer than a milk run.
Mycroft says as much and receives a glare in return. This is ignored. Mycroft inclines his head towards the tower. “Shall we?”
Sherlock would say no just to spite Mycroft but his curiosity wins out.
The encoded message in the flowers was simple enough.
TOL. 17th. 2.30.
Inside the tower, Merlin is amusing himself by making the hidden room look as it once was hundreds of years ago. At the sound of footsteps (two, male, judging by gait) he drops the illusion and the room settles back to its original state, sparse furniture, worn carpet, dust.
Mycroft enters first and steps around the Farley’s Rusk stain on the carpet with an amused look on his face. This room had originally been rediscovered by Merlin and Mycroft when Merlin was nearly three. Mycroft had been fond of taking him out to see historical landmarks while Sherlock showed no interest in anything other than his experiments.
After 9 years of having the only person intellectually able to keep up with him unwilling to converse about anything it was nice when another option arrived, even if Mycroft did have to wait until he learned to talk. Sherlock showed no interest in the new baby and even went so far as to hide him occasionally when the noise was disrupting his experiments. But then Sherlock has middle child syndrome or so Mummy says. The discovery of this room was made on one of their last excursions before the Westminster Abbey incident, after which Mycroft wasn’t allowed to take Merlin anywhere until he was 10. Not that that incident was Mycroft’s fault, Mummy and the previous Earl of Wessex just felt it was imprudent to let such ideas get into Merlin’s, and to a lesser extent Arthur’s, heads. Again.
Mycroft’s game of ‘find the irregularity between the architectural structure and the inner decor’ had led to the finding of a misused hallway and a forgotten watchman’s room. Merlin, who had been getting bored with the tour had livened up considerably at his discovery, flailing about in his happy childish way which led to the well chewed, mushy rusk falling on the antique carpet.
It had proven useful on more than one occasion to have this room. Admittedly, it had been mostly used by Sherlock as a suitably refined place for indulging in his cocaine habit but it had other uses too. Like hiding from Mummy.
Merlin hops up from the floor when they enter and doesn’t bother to brush the dust from his trousers. He grins.
Sherlock scowls at him. “MI5 are interfering with my experiments as we speak.”
Merlin raises an eyebrow, “I think you’ll find that Mycroft is responsible for that and you knew it would happen when you agreed to hide me.”
Mycroft and he may be closer but Sherlock would hide him when Mycroft wouldn’t.
“How’s Mummy?” Mycroft asks, cutting into Sherlock’s sulking.
“Doesn’t send her love to either of you, you’ll need to visit if you want that. Her joints are sore but she’s hiding it .”
“What brought on this joint pain?”
“Mrs. Wilson’s jam. Apparently it’s better than hers so she needed to burgle her for the recipe. She's just not up to climbing through windows any more”
“I see. And father?”
“Tried to shoot the postman, thinks he’s a German spy in disguise. He’s not, he’s from Yorkshire.”
Mycroft sighs, “Same as usual then.”
Sherlock has cheered up immensely though. “How thoroughly did you investigate this postman?”
“Thoroughly enough to know that he’s not German and he’s not a postman. Given the fact he didn’t report the shooting, I’d say that Mycroft sent him to spy on Mummy and Daddy.”
“Did you?” Sherlock asks, trying not to look disappointed. He hasn’t had a case in a few weeks.
Mycroft adjusts his cuff, “Of course. They’re getting older now and the secret service need something to do. It’s good to have someone to look out for them and Mummy always spots the people I plant that have a great deal of contact with them. She spotted the various gardeners and maids for what they were. A postman seemed a good idea.”
Elsewhere in London...
“Oh!” says Mrs Turner on the news that Mrs Hudson had the honour of making tea for a member of the royal family, “What type of tea did you give him?”
Mrs Hudson’s eyes widened and she put her hand to her mouth, “I only had the ordinary type! You don’t think he’ll mind, do you? I should have used tea leaves!.”
“Tea leaves? You can't use any old tea leaves! You’ll be lucky if you’re not arrested for that.” Mrs Turner was prone to exaggeration. She waved a box of Twinings in front of Mrs Hudson’s face. “See what it says? ‘By appointment to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’ you know the royal family can’t drink anything else!”
Back at the tower...
Sherlock gets bored with the pleasantries quickly. “Why have you brought us here?” He has moulds that need observation, if M15 haven’t ruined them with their bungling.
Merlin laces his fingers together and puts them behind his head.
“That’s an undignified stance,” Mycroft observes. Merlin snorts.
He unlaces his fingers. “I’ve found Sebastian Moran.”