After reading all the rumours about the Duchess of Cambridge looking at pink baby clothes and requesting pink items for her baby shower and the subsequent speculations in the tabloids that the new heir to the throne would be a girl, which was followed by some rather studious revisions to the Order of Succession law — which very nearly didn’t get passed in time, — only to have the baby be a new little prince after all, I couldn’t help but see a certain person’s hand in all of this…
A Succession of Events
By J.H. Watson
(~ 875 words)
Dr. John Watson accepted a glass of whiskey from a totally silent staff member of the Diogenes Club. The unsolicited scotch meant Mycroft Holmes wanted something from John Watson. John sipped his scotch and found it an extremely expensive, very old, and probably very rare single malt whiskey. Correction, Mycroft Holmes wanted something very big from John Watson.
Mycroft Holmes sat across from Dr. Watson speaking softly into his mobile phone, and it says a great deal about the man that, even though his CV would state Mycroft “held a minor position in the government,” he was talking with a Vice-Premier of China. Mycroft finished his call and slipped the phone into his suit breast pocket before offering a crocodile smile to John.
Mycroft said “I have need of someone who can pass for an army doctor.”
“I am an army doctor,” John replied.
“Then it should be a piece of cake for you.”
“What exactly should be a piece of cake?”
John’s therapist had put the phrase “trust issues” in her evaluation case notes. Mycroft knew this. John knew that Mycroft knew. It pretty much summed up their relationship.
“How’s the drink?”
“Excellent. Which is why I want to know exactly what you want me to do and why you need someone who can pass for an army doctor.”
Mycroft simply offered another smile. “There will be a car waiting for you when you leave here,” he began. There was always a car; sleek, black, sophisticated, expensive, like a first-class British brolly. It might even be the same one that had picked John up off of Gower Street and brought him to the Diogenes Club.
Mycroft’s phone must have vibrated because he stopped and pulled it out of his pocket with the faintest crease to his brow. He glanced at it and made a mild face of displeasure, setting the phone on the table beside him. Mycroft continued, “In the car you will find a uniform, identification, a phone, and everything else you will need.”
“Need for what exactly?” John asked.
The phone on the table gave a little shudder. Mycroft glanced at it, frowned slightly, and went on, “To fit in. To listen. To observe. To see what’s not right.”
“And if I find something isn’t right, what do I do then?”
The phone gave another shudder. Mycroft’s gaze slid towards it and this time he gave an exasperated sigh before rolling his eyes. At that moment, the door opened and one of the silent staff slipped beside Mycroft, handed him a folded note, and waited. As Mycroft read it, John looked towards the mobile. On it a string of texts read:
Congrats on Royal Success-ion! —S
When U C gr8-grandmama give my best. —S
You pushed hard. Hope labour wasn’t too painful or exhausting. How much w8 gain? —S Knitting booties? Still awaiting info. —S
Mycroft took out his pen and initialed something in the note before handing it back to the waiting staff member who promptly nodded and left with ghostly quiet. Mycroft continued talking as he put away his pen. “You are to do nothing that might in any way attract attention or draw suspicion.”
John nodded towards the phone. “I suppose you knew it was boy all along.”
“Yes? But the tabloids reported Kate— the Duchess of Cambridge was looking at pink baby clothes.”
“Can you think of a better way to suggest that the newest heir to throne would be a girl?”
“Why would you want everyone to think the baby was going to be a girl—“ John stopped and stared at the man across from him who simply raised an eyebrow and held the gaze. John made a face and then said, “You wanted the Order of Succession changed so that the crown went to the first born no matter the gender.” Mycroft merely gave John a small smile, so John asked, “Why? You’ve never struck me as a feminist.”
“Let’s just say it was the particular wish of an old friend.”
“Anyone I know?”
“You visited her home once. Although you didn’t actually meet her. She particularly liked you story about the aluminium crutch.”
There was a very pregnant pause. John finally broke the silence with a nod towards the phone and said, “So that’s not an ‘old friend’?”
“Hardly. Now, John, your car is waiting and I have another matter that needs attention.”
John drained his scotch, arose, and stepped quietly out the door. But he didn’t close it entirely. He stood on the other side and listened as Mycroft’s phone softly dialed a connection. The he heard Mycroft say, “You are supposed to keep discreetly silent. I had someone with me who should not have seen those texts…yes, precisely…well, I’m bored by all of this, too, Sigerson, but I’m not playing silly buggers on the phone. I’m working…”
John Watson turned away, nodded silently as another staff member approached, and stepped quietly outside. There was indeed a car at the curb, black, British, and expensively sophisticated. A group of rather tiddily American tourists walked in front of John. They waved little British flags; one of them hollered, “Congratulations on the new prince! What do you think they’ll name him?” John smiled and replied, “Siegerson?” The tipsy Americans laughed and stumbled down the street. When they had passed, John stepped into the waiting car thinking about names.
### End ###