Chapter Two: Irritating Brothers
Sherlock was practically giddy with joy, vibrating with excitement as Persephone matched him wit for wit. She poked and prodded at the various experiments, declaring them to be absolutely fascinating. What else would you expect from a child raised by Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort?
"Does your brother often stalk people?" Persephone's sudden question through him for a loop briefly. He narrowed his eyes, not liking where this conversation was going. He really didn't want to talk about his brother.
"Ah, not females, no." Persephone snorted. A sinking sensation hit his stomach.
"Oh, lucky me, I must be the exception. I actually moved here to stop him from stalking me. I figured that if anyone could stop or at least control it, it would be you. He keeps popping up, sticking his nose into my life. It is beyond annoying. He's evil I tell you, pure evil." Sherlock was nodding in agreement. Inwardly he was fuming. How dare Mycroft stalk his new experiment…err, neighbor, he meant neighbor.
"Oh, believe me I know how evil he is." Persephone smiled up at him, ice having melted in her gaze. He seemed tense, gritting out his words. Her eyes widened at the fury burning in his own eyes. Oh dear, his brother was a touchy subject then. She decided it was best to get his mind off of his brother before he began to sulk or something.
"Are you working on any cases right now?" His eyes sharpened, and a frown appeared on his face.
"No, most unfortunately." Persephone actually giggled, something she had never done before, his petulant pout far too adorable.
"Oh, well, I'm sure something will turn up sooner or later. Tell me about your previous cases." Sherlock grinned, happy to expound on the serial killers and sociopaths he had encountered.
Persephone's stomach growled, and she almost blushed. Damn her stomach. Sherlock had gone quite, eyeing her stomach like it was a strange beast. He better not be getting any ideas.
Sherlock glanced up at the shining green eyes of his new neighbor. "Why not just use my flat?" Persephone blinked, thrown by the random statement, then seemed to become lost in thought.
"Why would you ask someone you've only just met to share a flat with you?" Sherlock had a brief moment of déjà vu, remembering John wondering the same thing when he 'asked' him to share his flat.
A wry grin stretched his lips, yet a mischievous glint entered his eyes. "Oh, there are several good reasons. One is that you sharing my flat would drive Mycroft around the bend. Another is that it is more convenient and less expensive. Lastly, of the more important, I am bored." He gave her a triumphant and expectant look.
Persephone looked at him like he was insane. She twirled a lock of hair around her finger, thinking. He was most likely right about Mycroft being driven mad if she moved in with his younger brother. He was also right about it being more convenient and less expensive, though for whom that might be more convenient remained unknown. She didn't know what to make of him being bored. She eventually nodded.
"If you're sure..." He grinned like a kid in a candy store.
Sherlock rushed out of the room, grabbing his scarf and coat. Persephone followed him, giving him a blank look. He lunged forward, and promptly crashed into the wall when she stepped out of the way instinctively. He groaned, and Persephone helped him up, checking his face to make sure that nothing was broken. Luckily for Sherlock, he was fine.
"Right, first we need to change your place of residence, then off to lunch." With that, he grabbed her hand and dragged her out of the apartment and down the stairs. She muttered under her breath, thrown completely off balance. Sherlock barged into Mrs. Hudson's kitchen, startling the inhabitants.
"Persephone is taking John's room. We are using 221C for a lab." With that, he swept back out, ignoring the spluttering duo in the kitchen. Persephone allowed Sherlock to drag her to wherever it was that they were going. She wouldn't admit it, but she was starved for human contact.
"Here we are." Persephone looked around in curiosity, though to others, she was blank faced and appeared unruffled.
They had emerged from the cab at Angelo's, a restaurant that according to Sherlock was owned by Angelo. He had proved that Angelo was innocent of one crime by proving he was housebreaking at the time at a different location.
Persephone had snorted when he told her that. She had found that to be quite amusing. As they walked in, Sherlock once again dragging her along, Angelo shot over to them like a Niffler after gold.
"Sherlock! It has been too long my friend!" His loud and boisterous voice drew the attention of several people, even more so when he pulled Sherlock into a manly hug. Not once did Sherlock relinquish her hand.
"And who is the lovely lady?" Angelo had pulled away from Sherlock and was inspecting her. His eyes widened at the sight of their still joined hands. Persephone felt herself tensing, magic stirring as it prepared to lash out should she need it.
"I am his new flat mate, Persephone LeFay." Angelo's eyes widened further, and once they landed on her ear poking through her hair when she turned her head towards the sound of something falling, they nearly popped out of his head. Sherlock noticed this reaction and narrowed his own eyes.
Persephone, sensing their scrutiny, turned back to face them, arching a single brow. Angelo snapped out of his stunned surprise and ushered them over to a table. He handed them menus and scurried off to get water for them.
"He seems rather friendly." Sherlock stared at her, jealous of the menu she was giving her attention to. He pouted slightly.
"Hmm, yes." He glanced out the window, making sure that Mycroft wasn't about to pop in on them. He would hate to have to kill his brother in front of so many witnesses. He mentally frowned. Why did the thought of his brother stealing away Persephone incite murderous thoughts in him? He decided that this was a question best left unanswered for the time being.
"So, what should we do about your brother who has an unhealthy obsession with kidnapping and stalking people, not to mention his obsession with the CCTV cameras?" Sherlock pressed his fingertips together against his lips, thinking.
"I have been mostly unsuccessful preventing him from stalking me, though I can avoid the tails and at times the CCTVs. I tend to annoy him to the point where he stalks off in a huff though." Persephone finally looked up from her menu.
"You say that he leaves you alone if you annoy him enough?" Sherlock stared at her, then nodded his head.
"Hmm, so we need to really annoy him, or piss him off spectacularly." Sherlock drummed his fingers against the table. "His latest obsession would appear to be me. Tell me, do you two have an unhealthy sibling rivalry?"
"Yes, though he is overbearing as well." Sherlock lost himself to the numerous memories of his interactions with Mycroft over the years.
"Ah, I'll have the chicken pesto pasta please. Sherlock, are you going to order anything?" Sherlock snapped out of his thoughts and belatedly noticed that Angelo had come back to take their orders.
"No." Persephone rolled her eyes at his simple answer.
"So, as I was asking earlier about sibling rivalry, why don't we use that?" Sherlock, for the first time looked confused. "He is obsessed with me right now, so you pretend to date me." Sherlock actually gaped at her. It was no wonder he had been confused.
"When I say obsessed I mean more along the lines of being a creepy stalker who is trying to court me." Sherlock suddenly understood.
"So if we pretend to be dating while he is attempting to court you, then he will either be annoyed, or enraged." Persephone gave a shrug, not really caring about which feeling Mycroft would be feeling. The bastard shouldn't expect her to happily let him court her when he was practically breathing down her neck and not letting her have any space.
"That sounds about right."
"Why me?" Persephone gave him a look that clearly questioned his intelligence.
"You are the only one that could survive going up against Mycroft Holmes." Sherlock laughed, the puzzle fitting together nicely. He now knew the reason she had chosen him, and didn't he feel stupid for not seeing that. However, there was a much larger puzzle, possibly more than one about Persephone. Why was his brother trying to court Persephone, what triggered the desire to do so?
"We'll have to pretend that we've known each other for a while now. It won't be hard, considering that you are occasionally able to evade your brother." Sherlock grinned evilly, excited about tormenting his brother.
Persephone grimaced as she spotted one of Mycroft's tails. Sherlock had left to use the restroom only moments before. She waited, fidgeting as she watched the car out of the corner of her eye. She decided that she didn't want to risk Mycroft cornering her in a restaurant around innocent customers with his brother in the same building. Grabbing a napkin, she discreetly conjured a pen and scribbled a note for Sherlock. Slipping out of her chair, she calmly made her way out of the restaurant, giving a small incline of her head towards the table when Angelo caught her eye. The man gave her a confused look, but she was gone before he could ask her what was going on.
Sherlock came back to the table, only to find Persephone missing. He spotted the napkin that she had written a note on and snorted. Damn his brother, always interfering. He liked her plan, though it was a bit rushed. He couldn't exactly blame her, seeing as they hadn't been planning on enacting their plans for several days. Thanks to Mycroft, they would have to begin immediately.
Grumbling about idiot brothers, he rushed out of the restaurant, giving Angelo a quick farewell. John had been hammering some manners into him successfully.
Mycroft gave an almost imperceptible grin when he saw the object of his obsession gliding down the sidewalk. He was greatly pleased that she was out and about when he himself was. He asked the driver to pull over, and swiftly got out of the car. She didn't seem to realize that she was being followed, he didn't know how wrong that assessment was.
Mycroft groaned and spat the blood out of his mouth; his enemies had managed to capture him. It was rare that they managed to get their hands on him. He was eternally glad he'd had that dental procedure where they removed one of his molars and placed a fake tooth that had a tracking device in it. The ones under his skin where too easy to locate and were easy to remove. The one in his fake tooth was a different matter entirely.
A sudden movement out of the corner of his eyes had him stiffening slightly. His head snapped back and to the side when he was hit with a handgun. He gave the man a dark look, projecting his 'Ice Man' persona. The man flinched back, then cried out in surprise when the room went completely dark. His enemies were crying out in alarm, terror suddenly filling their voices. The temperature in the room dropped and ice crawled over the cement floor.
Mycroft's heart began pounding, as the screaming suddenly grew louder. There were wet squelching sounds and gunfire erupted, briefly illuminating a beautiful woman with silver hair and glowing green eyes. A sword glinted briefly, along with several knives slicing through the air. The man dropped to the floor lifelessly with a well-aimed knife to the heart. Then it was dark again, and the sounds of several bodies hit the floor echoed in the room.
It grew silent suddenly, then soft breathing brushed over his sweaty skin. A faint scent invaded his nose, fresh air and gardenia, two scents that strongly reminded him of home. Gentle hands began to free him, a sharp knife slicing through the ropes like butter. The woman slowly helped him bring his arms forward, bit by bit, not wanting to cause him undue pain. He began to turn his head, wanting to look at her.
"Thank you miss…"
Then she was gone; her heat and scent gone like she had never been there. Disappointment shot through Mycroft, but the sudden slamming of doors and shattering of glass distracted him. Leaping out of the chair, he crashed back to the floor, his legs still tied to the chair legs.
"Sir! Are you in need of medical attention?" Firm hands and a light assaulted him, and he squeezed his eyes shut.
"Bloody hell! What the fuck happened here!" The doctor helping Mycroft up went to yell at the agent, but the words got stuck in his throat. The captors had been just out of sight when the agents arrived, and the doctor they had brought with them had rushed in, completely ignoring any potential danger. Mycroft got his first good look at the carnage the woman had created when she took out his captors.
Blood spread out across the floor in a flood of crimson red. Bodies lay all over the place, some with body parts missing, though he wasn't sure how that was possible. Had the woman had a sword with her? Wait, yes she did! He didn't get a good look at it, but it she definitely had a sword, along with knives. One thing was wrong with what he was seeing: there were no weapons left behind. That should have been impossible given the amount of time there was between the silence and the woman freeing his arms.
Despite himself, Mycroft was impressed, though he wasn't pleased that she killed all of them. The woman's face flashed through his mind again, he vowed then and there that he would find her.
* Flashback End*
"Persephone!" Mycroft went rigid, his whole body freezing. How the hell did Sherlock know Persephone? Sherlock was waving madly, jogging to meet her from across the street.
"Sherlock, what are you doing wandering the streets of London?" Little did Mycroft know, was that the two had planned this as new way to torment him.
"Looking for you actually, you told me during lunch yesterday that you would be in the area." Persephone laughed, hugging him and pecking him on the cheek when he got close enough. Mycroft reached for his gun, seeing red. Oh hell no, his brother was not dating Persephone in this life! As if able to sense his impending doom, Sherlock suddenly looked up, and smiled a shark-like grin.
"Mycroft, a displeasure to see you as always." Mycroft glared at his brother, dearly wanting to throttle him, or shoot him, he wasn't picky at the moment.
"Oh, hello Mycroft." Sherlock had wrapped his arms around Persephone's waist, smirking at his older brother. Persephone reclined back against Sherlock, forcing herself not to burst out laughing as a tick developed under Mycroft's left eye. His face was beginning to turn red, fury rising. Sherlock stared in delighted fascination. He had never seen his older brother lose his composure or chase after a woman before.
Why would he…ah, stupid, so stupid, that explains it.
A long forgotten memory surfaced and he suddenly understood.
Henry Holmes stared at his two sons, clearly not wanting to give them the Talk. He had tried to explain to his wife that their two genius sons would already know all about sex. She had screamed at him and only desisted when her voice grew hoarse. The sound of a ticking clock was the only noise in the room, a noise that was quickly growing on everyone's nerves.
"Your mother wants me to give you the Talk." Horror briefly flashed across his sons' faces. Sherlock cocked his head to the side after several seconds of consideration.
"Father, why are you even bothering?" Sherlock might just be a young boy, but he was fully aware of what sex was, not that he had any interest in it. Mycroft shifted uncomfortably, and had it been anyone else, shifting would be squirming.
"Father please, Mummy does not need to know that you did not actually give us the Talk. We can stay in here for a suitable amount of time and then just tell her that you actually gave us the Talk." Their father blanched and his eyes focused on the door behind the sofa.
"Oh, is that so?" Mycroft stiffened, shoulders hunching as if to protect his neck from harm.
"Mummy! Really, we don't need—." Sherlock's voice was cut off.
"You will sit there and listen to your father or I will take away your chemistry set. Mycroft, your precious books might mysteriously disappear if you don't listen to your father as well. Henry, fail to give them the Talk and it's the couch for you…for a month. Oh, and the room is bugged." With that, she swept out of the room, heels clicking on the hard wood floor.
The three males shared a look of horror, faces pale, and palms sweating.
"Right, well…The Holmes men always know when they've found the right one, so long as they actually listen to their heart for once, rather than their brain. The moment I saw your mother, I knew she was the one. My father was rather hardheaded, believing that caring for someone was a weakness. It took months for him to even consider your grandmother as a romantic interest. Once he actually paused and let himself analyze his feelings, he knew then and there that she was the one. It has been like this as far back as the name Holmes exists. There hasn't been a single divorce in the Holmes family, and I expect you two to carry on that tradition." He gave his sons a hard look. The two brothers turned to look at each other in disgust, horror, and disbelief.
"Father, I am fairly certain that you are simply torturing us as a form of revenge for having to give us the Talk." Mycroft glared at his father, not at all pleased with the man. He was too old for the talk, and Sherlock too young. Clearly his parents didn't think this one through. Sherlock, for once, agreed with him, setting aside their infamous sibling rivalry in favor of joining forces against their parents' stupidity.
"I resent that Mycroft, I'm not at all torturing you two." The two boys rolled their eyes simultaneously.
"Henry! Give them the Talk!" Henry shrunk back from the image of his furious wife.
"How long have you two known each other?" He barely managed to get the words out of his mouth.
"Oh, about a day." It took every ounce of self-restraint Mycroft possessed to not attack his brother on the spot. He dearly wished to shoot him.
Lily paced back and forth in front of the fireplace in the floo room, her hair crackled with magic. There was a flare of green fire followed by a whoosh, announcing the arrival of Sirius Black. The man was a wreck, looking very much like Lily. Fresh tears spilled over from her eyes.
"Tell me Sirius, who is Voldemort's daughter?" She refused to use past tense, not able to accept that her daughter was truly dead.
"You already know the answer to that Lily." With a sob, Lily collapsed, burying her face in her hands. Her shoulders shook slightly, and her hair curtained her face. Sirius took a deep breath, fighting to hold back his own tears.
"How long? How long have you known, and who else knows?" Lily's voice was muffled, her hands still cupping her face.
"She went to Albus for help long before she killed Voldemort. Remus found out next. It was after the Battle of Hogsmeade that he realized that the scent on the cloak belonging to Voldemort's daughter had the same scent as Ivy's. Dumbledore confirmed his suspicions. I found out via the Black Family Tapestry not long after that."
*Flashback for Multiple People*
"No!" Lily shoved James aside, running for the cliff and casting an overpowered Accio. Arms wrapped around her, preventing her from going over the cliff. Lily frantically searched for a falling body, but saw none. Her eyes began to water, before tears began to pour from her eyes. She turned and buried her face in the broad chest of her husband, shaking and sobbing all over him.
James didn't know what to make of his wife's sudden breakdown, or her great distress over Voldemort's daughter falling over the edge of a cliff. He looked down at his sobbing wife, patting her gently on the back, and rubbing soothing circles there.
"You killed her!" Lily wailed and shoved her husband away, not wanting him to touch her anymore.
The Aurors and Hit wizards looked confused, not sure why the Queen was so distraught. Surely she should be celebrating the death of Voldemort's daughter?
Remus howled, his wolf howling for its cub, a cub he never got to see grow up. Tears streamed down his face, and he buried his face in his hands. Sirius was staring blankly at the frothing water, praying for a miracle. Albus Dumbledore discreetly left, a silent tear trickling from his eye, making his way directly back to his office in Hogwarts. He checked on the silver instruments lining the walls. He had managed to collect some of Persephone's blood and used it to monitor and track her, though he never breathed a word of it to anyone. He froze in disbelief, before laughing.
He laughed and laughed, tears streaming down his face. For there on one of the shelves, was the most important instrument of them all: the one that monitored her health. If it was black or gray, then she was dead, if it was a soft white-silver or gold, then she was alive. Yellow meant she was hurt or sick, but not too seriously. Orange was the next level, and meant that she had severe health issues. Red meant a life threatening injury or illness.
The monitor was somewhere between yellow and orange. She was alive.
Albus Dumbledore decided that he had best inform Sirius and Remus about Persephone's status. He sent off a Patronus, then sat back on his throne-like chair and waited. He didn't have to wait long before a flash of green fire announced the arrival of either Sirius or Remus. He groaned when he saw that in addition to Sirius, Lily was also coming through. He pasted on a fake smile, all the while dreading the coming conversation.
"Albus, you said you needed to talk to Remus and me about Persephone?" Sirius went straight to business for once. Lily looked desperate as she gazed at the Headmaster. Albus couldn't believe how horrible she looked. The last time she looked so bad was back when Ivy disappeared and was declared dead.
"Yes, I—." He cut himself off when the fire flashed green again, announcing the arrival of Remus Lupin. The Werewolf looked just as bad as Lily, though that was no surprise considering the Werewolf essentially just lost a child. He had the same desperate look on his face as Lily and Sirius. He couldn't bare it.
"She's alive." The other three froze. Lily fainted, while Remus practically flew across the room to grab him.
"How long have you known!" The man was snarling and reaching for him, claws and fangs springing forth. Fortunately, Dumbledore had put up a complex shield and that was all that was keeping him from being mauled.
"You fucking bastard!" Sirius joined Remus in trying to kill the Headmaster with his bare hands.
"A month." That didn't deflate their anger. "I wanted to make sure she wasn't going to die before alerting you." They calmed down only slightly.
"Where is she?"
"That I don't know." Dumbledore dove away from the blasting hexes that managed to smash through his shield, which was meant for physical attacks more so than magical.
"You're bloody Albus Dumbledore, how could you not know!" Ah, Lily had come too apparently.
Dumbledore miserably looked at the three enraged Magicals and prayed that he would escape their wrath unscathed.