Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Mission: Enola Holmes - Sherlock Fanfiction (BBC Version)
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As some of you know, I am a great fan of Sherlock Holmes. I am also a great fan of Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes series, which I highly recommend to any Holmes fan, or mystery lover in general.
In the Enola Holmes series, Enola is Sherlock's younger sister, twenty years his junior. After her mother disappears, Enola runs away from home, horrified at the prospect of being sent to a ladies' finishing school. (Which, if you know nothing of Victorian fashion, were quite uncomfortable to attend. Corsets are not at all healthy for one's body). The rest of the series follows Enola as she sets herself up as a perditorian (seeker of missing persons), and Sherlock Holmes as he desperately searches to find his sister before any harm comes to her.
This fanfiction is set in the BBC Sherlock universe, which for those of you who don't know is basically Sherlock Holmes set in modern London. It's quite an interesting show, which I will review at a later time.
For this story, I adjusted their ages a bit, lessening the distance between the two siblings. You'll see.
This encounter is actually in the Enola Holmes books, though I've modified it slightly. I hope you enjoy it!
(DISCLAIMER: I do not own Enola Holmes, nor do I own Sherlock Holmes or the show Sherlock. All credit for Enola goes to Nancy Springer. All credit for the other characters goes to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. All credit for Sherlock goes to BBC)
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The cabbie stared at me for a minute, hesitating, then asked, “You planning on stayin', miss?”
I breathed deeply, my eyes fixed on the neat brick building in front of me. The fine, gold lettering on the door seemed to mock me, taunt me with its significance. 221B, Baker Street...
“Oh, yes... It's just... I'm not particularly keen on going in there. That's all.”
“Trouble wi' the family, miss?”
“You might say that.” I responded. Steeling myself once more, I forced a smile for the cabbie's sake, and exited the vehicle.
Still, even as he drove away, I'd half a mind to run after him and beg him to take me away. Nonetheless, I'd made up my mind, and I would finish this mission without acting as the coward I knew I was.
From my purse I withdrew my handkerchief, in which I had concealed a freshly-chopped onion. Making sure that my eyes were properly exposed, I waited for the tears to start flowing before knocking on the door.
A kindly looking woman answered the door. I immediately knew her to be Mrs. Hudson, whom John had occasionally spoken of in his blog posts. She smiled, and started to say hello, when she suddenly noticed my tear-stained face and red eyes.
“Good heavens, dear, whatever is the matter?” She exclaimed, her face full of pity.
Her eyes and hair, so beautifully combined, reminded me of my mother. All at once, the compounded stress of my impending mission, my missing mum, and the threat of my brothers, came crashing down on me, and I suddenly found that the onion-laced handkerchief was quite unnecessary.
“Oh Mrs. Hudson!” I cried, as real tears began rolling down my cheeks. Instantly I cursed myself; we'd never met before this moment, surely she would wonder how I knew her name? But there was no time to correct my mistake. My voice broke as I tried to continue. “Is M-Mr. Holmes i-in?”
The kindly landlady held out her hands and motioned for me to come in. “No, dear, he's just gone out, I'm afraid, but you may certainly come in and wait. Sherlock is such a kind boy, even if he is a strange one. He's sure to see you, even if you can't pay.”
“I'm ever so grateful to you. I'm in the most terrible trouble!” I wept as I followed her in the house.
Of course, I'd known that Sherlock wouldn't be in. I'd watched him go myself, and counted on it too. If he were to catch me in his home, I'd be shipped off to boarding school before I could say “Help!”
Still, I had to risk it. When I'd found out that he had my riddle book from Mum, I hadn't had a peaceful moment. Not only was it precious to me, being one of my few gifts from Mum, but if he managed to crack our flower-code, I might as well turn myself in.
Mrs. Hudson showed me up a set of stairs and into my brother's flat. As I entered the room, I glanced around in curiosity, despite my dangerous situation. It was different than I had expected. I did not know how to explain it... perhaps it was that I'd never seen a bachelor's house before. There was absolutely nothing feminine about the place. There was a yellow smiling face spray-painted to the wall, and bullet holes through the wallpaper. There was a shabby couch, a couple of chairs, and a clothing draped carelessly across the furniture. There was a smell of cologne in the air, mixed with several other scents that were strange to me. I noted the chemistry set shoved into a corner, and realized it must have been the source.
“Here you are, my girl. Take a seat right here, and make yourself comfortable. I'm sure that Sherlock will be along soon.” Mrs. Hudson said with an encouraging smile.
I started, pulling myself from my musings. “Thank you,” I said shakily. I wiped my eyes with my handkerchief and smiled gratefully at her.
“Is there anything I can get you?” Mrs. Hudson asked, “I'll have some tea up in a moment. Would you like cake? Biscuits?”
“Er... well, I...” I stuttered, trying to make it sound as though I was embarrassed to say it, “You wouldn't happen to have... that is, may I use the loo?”
Mrs. Hudson's eyebrows shot up as she understood. “Oh, of course! Just a moment...”
She bustled out of the room to make sure that it was suitably clean for a lady's use.
As soon as she was out of hearing range, I jumped up and shut the door. Now was my chance!
I did not know quite where to start looking, but I had to do my best. I checked the drawers first. They were locked of course, but fortunately I had become quite adept at lock-picking.
I did not find what I was looking for. There normal things stashed in the drawer... a wallet, notes, coinage, a couple of nicotine patches, and also a photograph of a rather beautiful woman. I did wonder about the photograph, for as far as I knew, my brother Sherlock was not particularly inclined toward romance.
Closing the drawer hurriedly, I glanced around the room, nearly frantic now. Time was running short, and I knew I would never have another opportunity to search for the book.
At that moment, I heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs. It was not Mrs. Hudson, for the steps were heavy, like those of a man.
My eyes widened as panic welled up in my heart. If it was Sherlock, I was doomed. I cast my eyes about for a way of escape, but the only way out was the door by which the man would enter. There was the windows behind me, but I wasn't willing to break my leg trying to get away. Besides, there was no time! The door was opening--!
John Watson sniffed and ran his hand through his hair as he entered the flat and pulled off his jacket. He whistled a tuneless melody, completely at ease. But then he caught sight of me and stopped short.
“Um... ha-hallo,” he stammered, furrowing his brow. He lifted a finger in my direction and swung it about in confusion. “Umm... who are you? Do I know you?”
I raised my eyebrows. I hadn't expected John. I had not planned for this situation. Quickly I tried to decide how to handle it. Rather rashly, I'm afraid, I decided to tell the truth.
Putting on a bright smile, and I walked toward him with my hand outstretched.
“No, you don't know me,” I said. “Terribly sorry to intrude. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Enola Holmes. I'm Sherlock's sister.” I smiled and shook his hand.
John balked. Then he seemed to realize how he must look. “And I'm John Watson.”
“Yes, I'm very pleased to meet you!” I said. Before he had a chance to reply, I rambled on, “I have been waiting to meet you for such a long time. I've been following your blog posts since you first started them. I really admire your writings style. You have quite the talent; in fact, I think you should publish a book. I guarantee it would be a bestseller. Do you know, if it weren't for your blog, my family and I would hardly know what goes on in Sherlock's life. I'm afraid he isn't very communicative.”
John blinked and nodded. “Ah, yes. Yes! I know. He isn't is he?” he fumbled for a moment. I let him collect his thoughts.
“I'm sorry...” he said, “Sherlock has a sister?”
“Yes!” I said brightly. “Surprising, isn't it? He never talks about us, does he?”
“No... he doesn't.” John paused for a moment.
From my purse, I pulled a picture of myself, Sherlock, and Mycroft, taken when I was only four years old. Still, despite the span of years, I was still recognizable as the lanky young woman I was today.
John looked at the photo and gave a surprised chuckle. “You look like him,” he told me.
“So I'm told.” I laughed. I had the same curling, dark hair, the same pale skin and high cheek bones, the same icy blue eyes.
“Are there any other Holmes I don't know about?” John asked.
“No, just out parents, Mycroft, Sherlock, and I.” I replied. “I'm much younger than either of my brothers, however. I came as a bit of a surprise to everyone.”
John nodded, still wrapping his mind around the revelation. “I see.”
I smiled again. “I say, I came here looking for something.” I was quickly spinning a lie in my mind, one that just might get me out of this situation. “Sherlock borrowed a book from me a while ago, and he never returned it. I wonder if you've seen it? It's small, handmade, with a cloth cover and flowers painted on it. It's a book of riddles.”
John thought for a moment. “Um... yes! Actually, I have seen it. Here...” He wandered off into the next room and opened a door which led to a bedroom. A moment later he emerged carrying the book.
“...Yes, Sherlock's been reading it rather obsessively. Must be some poser! He kept it on his pillow.”
I laughed, nervously, though I tried to cover it with good humor. “Is that so? Fancy that, I never thought it was too hard. At any rate, he'll have to puzzle over it for a few more days. I need it.”
“Ah. Right” John said, chuckling. He handed me the book.
As my hands clasped around it, I breathed an inward sigh of relief. My mission was almost complete!
“Thank you ever so much!” I said. “Now, I hate to run, but I've an appointment in, oh...” I glanced at my watch, “a half an hour! I really have to go.” I shook his hand again.
“So wonderful meeting you! Give Sherlock my best!” I said.
“Yes, glad to meet you too!” John said. “Have a nice day!”
I rushed down the stairs and made straight for the door. On my way out, I caught a glimpse of poor Mrs. Hudson, still worrying about the bathroom.
“JOHN,” she called up to her tenant, “Why on earth has Sherlock got a chemistry set set up on the loo?”
I felt a little badly about causing her unnecessary trouble. But I had not time to dally away with pity. I rushed from the flat and hailed the next cab. In a moment, I was far away from that place, and my flustered nerves completely collapsed.
It was over.
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Sherlock returned after dark and let himself in. He didn't bother waking Mrs. Hudson for dinner. Instead he trudged upstairs with a deep frown on his face.
Enola had not responded to the advert he had placed in the Agony Columns posing as their mother. After hours of waiting outside of the museum, He had finally given up.
Dejectedly entering the flat, He tore off his sandy-colored wig and washed his face, plucking off the fake mustache he had placed just above his upper lip.
That stubborn, foolhardy, underage girl. Ever since she'd run away months ago, he hadn't stopped blaming himself. What had he been thinking, leaving her alone with Mycroft? The girl had been distraught and emotional after their mother's disappearance. Mycroft had been determined to give Enola a decent education at a boarding school in Switzerland. Of course she had run!
Sherlock couldn't help but feel that if he'd been there, he would have been able to prevent the inevitable...
Normally, he wouldn't have been so emotional. He'd never felt this torn about anyone before. He felt so helpless when it came to this case... he'd solved cases in an afternoon that even Scotland Yard hadn't been able to crack. Why on earth couldn't he find his missing sister? Or mother, for that matter.
With a fierce sigh, Sherlock slammed his fists down on the table and hunched his shoulders. Shaking his head, he went into his bedroom and tore off his coat. Tossing it aside, he moved to take off his shirt, when his eyes suddenly fell upon his pillow.
The riddle book! It was missing!
Pouncing on the bed, Sherlock tore at the covers and shoved the pillows aside. Finding nothing, he moved to the floor, kicking clothing, papers, and other books aside in a frantic search for the riddle book.
“JOHN!” he shouted. “JOHN, where IS IT?”
John came stumbling out of his own bedroom, alarmed. “What? What's going on? Where is what?”
“The riddle book, John, the riddle book!” Sherlock hissed. He grasped John's shoulders and held him at arm's length. “A little handmade book with flowers on the cover. You've seen it. Where is it?”
John looked very confused and worried. “Well, I- I, you sister! She came by earlier today to pick it up! Said she needed it for something.”
Sherlock stared at him. “My sister?” He asked, his voice trembling, barely above a whisper.
John blinked and shook his head in confusion. “Yes-”
“She was here?”
Sherlock released John and took a stumbling step backward, running his hand through his hair in distress. Closing is eyes and spinning around, he muttered under his breath, cursing himself for a fool.
“Why, John, why?” he said suddenly. “Why did you let her take it? You should have called me. Texted! Anything!”
John frowned. “Now hang on! What's this all about? Look, I didn't even know you had a sister until today. You can't turn this on me!”
“You should have kept her here at any cost... handcuffed her if need be...”
“Handcuffed? Are you mad? Sherlock, tell me what's going on!” John exclaimed.
Sherlock pushed past him and strode with quick steps to the window in the living room. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he shook his head.
“I'm sorry... John. I shouldn't have shouted. You couldn't have known.”
John slowly followed him out and sat down in his armchair. Sherlock was silent for a moment, before he turned and came to sit across from his friend.
“I haven't spoken to you of Enola yet.” he said slowly. “The matter is very sensitive... very close to me. But now you must know.”
John nodded, waiting for more.
“You see, about three months ago, my sister ran away. She's much younger than she looks. She's only sixteen years old. Our mother had disappeared only three days before, and she was very distraught. I'm afraid my brother handled her grief poorly, and the two of us drove her away. I have been striving to locate her ever since....” Sherlock snorted in disgust, turning his head aside, “... but with no luck.”
He took a deep breath again. “That riddle book contains ciphers written by my mother, containing instructions to Enola. It is- it was- my only clue toward finding her.”
John gave a low whistle, shaking his head. “Sherlock... I'm sorry. I had no idea.”
The detective was silent.
“Do you want to talk about it?” John asked.
Sherlock sank down low into his chair and pressed his fingertips together. “Perhaps... perhaps I'd better.
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