On reading my stories, one might believe that Holmes and I have
always been as we became, co-conspirators in everything. This was not at
all the case. To begin with, I was a little in awe of him. Sherlock
Holmes is possessed of an abundant and even unreasonable vitality, while
I had entered upon our association in broken health. I was a young man,
then, but moved like an old one, having compounded the effects of fresh
war-wounds with the constitutional damage wrought by a dangerous fever,
contracted in the recovery wards of Peshawar. Upon my return to English
shores, amid the slow rebuilding of my strength–painful walks on
warmer days and silent nights at home, studying the medical advances
which I could not yet put into practice–stretching my shoulders and
shifting my hip against the aching trail of the Jezail bullets–I felt
my limits keenly. Holmes seemed limitless.
I had had enough of
human suffering by then to weary me deeply. I bore a kind of exhaustion
of the soul which put me in precisely the frame of mind to appreciate
Holmes’ endless speculative talk, his boundless enthusiasm. I listened,
first amused by the extravagance of his confident assertions, and then
astonished to find him capable of proving every one. He was more than
talk; he was action, decision, adventure. His singular spirit animated a
body which, slender, and used more to study than to sport, still seemed
capable of exceeding the energy of every criminal in London. When
presented with a question he could not solve by talk alone, he would
begin his own investigations; put on the clothes of a gentleman and
infiltrate glittering clubs and great men’s homes, or affect a workman’s
tongue, and go among builders and craftsmen in search of information.
As I went to my rest, I would see him just leaving, poorly dressed to
maintain his anonymity, for a sleepless night about in the vile miasmas
of the back alleys of London. He never seemed to suffer for it. Upon
conclusion of such a case he would sleep until noon for three days
running, and then return to an ordinary schedule, with the
constitutional elasticity of a boy in school. He delighted in the
demands of his work. I only saw him restless and worn under the pressure
of several weeks of perfect peace.
Warnings: violence, some sensuality, some language
A/N: This is a sequel to A Tangled Web to Weave so read that before you read this one.
There were no stars in the sky that fateful night. Amongst the sounds of couples laughing, drunks hollering, and whores cooing at potential customers was the sound of a pistol being beaten against a skinny black man’s head. It was a dark alley in London so no one would really pay it any mind—-especially when they noticed the two large black men in long wool gray coats standing at the entrance whilst Y/N and Octavian Y/L/N handled business.
The man cried out again as Y/N cracked a bone in his shoulder with her silver pistol. He covered his head with his blood-streaked hands and curled further into himself on the cold ground, but Y/N wasn’t going to let him get away that easily. She knelt down and grabbed him by the back of his shirt collar, glaring at the quivering man in front of her.
“Tell the Harpers this is what happens when you do business on the West End and don’t let them even think about the East End,” she hissed.
“P-p-please, let me go,” he sputtered in blood.
Y/N scoffed and dropped him back on the ground, pivoted, and walked over to Octavian, who was smoking a cigarette and looked dapper in his black tuxedo with his black trench coat draped over his shoulders. His brown eyes shimmered with mischief.
“Theo and Ron will haul him back over to the Harpers,” Octavian said, handing Y/N his handkerchief.
Y/N happily took it and wiped the blood off her pistol. “You would think the Harpers would know better to stay in the south. North, East, and West London are ours.”
“Can’t blame them for being ambitious. You did quite a number on him, Y/N.”
“Thanks, I learn from the best.” Y/N slipped her pistol back into her beaded silver clutch.
Though Octavian usually flexed his muscle when the twins had to handle business personally, sometimes Y/N would lash out on those who did them wrong herself. Usually, it was because she had some pent up aggression that wouldn’t be expressed the same way through dance. The Michael and Alfie situation had definitely fueled her with enough aggression to last for a while. A few months had passed since they both admitted their feelings for her and nothing had been quite the same since. Alfie was strictly business during their meetings and Michael gave her the cold shoulder. Y/N knew she was to blame, but she also knew that she cared for them both for different reasons and Octavian chastised her for not making up her mind. Rather than take her anger out on him, she took it out on junkies who hadn’t paid them or competition that was trying to move in on their territory. While it didn’t solve any real problems, it did satisfy Y/N’s bloodlust for a while.
Fifteen minutes later, Y/N and Octavian were strolling into their London town home. Olivia was waiting for the twins at the door, but she looked a lot more anxious than usual.
“Good evening, Olivia,” Y/N slipped off her brown mink coat and handed it to her, “we had a spectacular night at the club.”
“And the after show wasn’t that bad either,” Octavian said with a smirk.
“Well, you might want to put your coat back on, Miss Y/L/N, because Mr. Solomons just rang and said that you must go to the bakery immediately; it’s an emergency.” Olivia glanced at Octavian. “Both of you.”
“If it was really important, Alfie could’ve come to the club and told us himself,” Octavian said.
“This is Alfie we’re talking about—-he hates clubs and jazz and Sabini’s got men in the Onyx all the time.” Y/N prayed that she wasn’t shaking too much as Olivia put her coat on over her shoulders. “Thank you, Olivia. Please prepare some chamomile tea for our return.”
“Yes, Miss,” Olivia said.
“I won’t need the tea.”
“I’ll drink yours then.”
Y/N did her best not to show her apprehension during the drive to Alfie’s bakery. She had seen him a couple of days ago, but he hadn’t said much and barely looked at her. So why did she care if her burnt orange frock with the satin tie around the waist looked pristine or if her bob was still smooth? He never noticed the difference anyway, but she still wanted to look good for him. But she also liked looking good for Michael too.
Finally, they reached Alfie’s bakery and Octavian helped Y/N out of the car. They walked slowly side by side into the bakery, being greeted by the few men Alfie had working to near morning hours. They found themselves escorted into his office and the strong, cockney Jew was sitting at his desk, smoking a cigar. Two glass tumblers filled with rum were set on the desk in front of the two seats in front of his desk.
“Octavian, Y/N, I see you got my message,” Alfie said.
“Yes, what is the emergency?” Octavian asked.
Alfie stood. “We’ll get to that in a moment. No one took your coats? Bloody ‘ell, can’t fin’ good men anywhere anymore.” He walked around and took both of their coats off though the twins did protest. Then, he hung them up and had the twins sit.
Y/N narrowed her eyes at Alfie. He was more skittish than usual and something grave had occurred. “Alfie—”
“You want a smoke?” “Sure.”
Alfie handed her one of his and lit it. Y/N took a long drag before blowing a puff of smoke towards the ceiling. It helped her relax a little more but didn’t curb her suspicions of her Jewish business partner.
“And have some rum, please,” Alfie said as he sat back down.
Octavian sipped his first and nodded. “It’s good, but we all know you didn’t call us here on an emergency just for a smoke and a drink.”
“I figured it’d help soften the blow.” Alfie folded his hands on his desk. “There’s no easy to say it, but, earlier today, Tommy gave his family up to the police.”
Alfie’s words echoed in her ears but Y/N wasn’t quite making the connection. Tommy Shelby, the same man who managed to screw over the IRA and get out from under the Russians for his family had handed them over to the police? The same police that were in his pocket? That made no sense. But if Tommy got them put in prison, that meant that Michael was in prison.
Y/N gritted her teeth at the thought and took a large hit off of her cigarette. For the first time in a long time, she wished it was stronger because she could feel the panic begin to rise inside of her. It started from her hips and was working its way up. If it got to her heart, she might snap.
“Why would he do that? Tommy’s family is everything to him,” Octavian said.
“He got into some trouble with a priest and there was an issue with his son—-”
“When did you find out about this?” Y/N interrupted.
“Excuse me?” Alfie asked.
“You heard me.”
“I found out about a minute before I called your house, thought you two should know ‘bout our partner.”
“If nine tenths of the Shelbys are in prison, the Blinders are screwed, which means we’re all screwed,” Octavian said in a level tone.
“No, the Shelbys may be the core of the Blinders but the Blinders are made up of several men loyal to their family. However, they could be paranoid since they could be next,” Y/N said.
“As long as I still ‘ave my business, I can loan a few men to help you,” Alfie said.
“Thank you, Alfie, for telling us.” Octavian stood. “We should be on our way.”
“I’ll leave when I finish my rum,” Y/N said, her eyes trained on Alfie.
The older man looked concerned and it was appropriate.
“It would be rude for me not to. Besides, I have some things I want to discuss with Mr. Solomons. He’ll get me a car home or you can wait here, your call.”
Octavian hesitated. “Very well then, I’ll be waiting outside.”
When Octavian left, the panic within Y/N was right at her ribs and the cigarette was shaking in her hand.
“Y/N, ‘m sorry about Michael. ‘m sure e’ll be out in no time, you know Tommy.”
“That’s the problem, I don’t know Tommy.” Y/N grabbed the rum and downed it in a gulp. “Pour some more.”
Alfie sighed before filling her tumbler again and Y/N held it in one hand and her cigarette in the other.
“Did Tommy get his son back just for selling out the rest of his family? Oh, but he probably has a clever idea to get them all back, doesn’t he?” Y/N spat. “It might not work this time though and if it doesn’t then…then the whole family could be taken advantage of in prison. You know how criminals are treated by the guards, imagine having the bloody Shelbys in your block. What’ll they do to poor Ada, Polly, Finn, John, Arthur…”
“Michael.” His name came out in a dead pan fashion from Alfie and his eyes seemed to darken at the name. “That’s the one you really care about anyways, innit?”
Y/N took another drag. “I care about all the Shelbys.”
“But not in the same way as you care about Michael. I’ve seen the way you two look at each other—-looks right disgusting some times. He looks at you like he hasn’t seen the sun in days and you’re it and you look at him and…and you would look happy.”
Y/N sighed. “Trust me, Alfie, he hasn’t been looking at me like that lately and neither have you.”
Alfie banged his fist on the desk. “You’re so frustrating! Of course I ain’t lookin at you the way that boy does because I ain’t no boy! I’m a man and I take what I want! Even if I’m angry.”
His nostrils were flaring and his face was beginning to redden. Y/N had definitely touched a spot with him and she thought she liked the reaction. As she downed the rest of the rum, she could feel it shoving the panic back to the pit of her stomach. She took one last drag of her cigarette before putting it out in Alfie’s ash tray.
“Really, because you haven’t taken what you want in months, barely even spoke to me,” Y/N said.
Alfie groaned. “Because I was mad at ya! But unfortunately for the both of us, you stay stuck in my mind, like the pain my arse you are.”
“But you still thought you should tell me about Tommy and…and Michael.”
“Because I knew you’d be pissed if I didn’t and because I care about yeh.” Alfie relaxed back into his seat and it seemed like he got most of what he wanted off of his broad chest.
“Oh please, you’re probably grateful that your only competition is rotting in a jail cell right now!”
Alfie slowly stood in his feet. “Be careful how you speak to me.”
“Or what? You’ll hit me, beat me like one of your men who fell out of line?” Y/N taunted.
The rum and nicotine had put her in a provocative mood and being provocative was better than panicking. Alfie slowly walked around the desk, like a lion stalking its prey. He grabbed Y/N by the shoulders and yanked her out of her seat. She tried hitting him and scratching him, but it was though she was trying to harm a boulder since he didn’t react at all. Alfie kept staring into her dark eyes as he carefully backed her into the wall. Y/N went to hit him again but Alfie grabbed her wrists and pinned them to each side of her head.
“I told you to watch your mouth,” Alfie whispered in that rough Cockney accent.
“Why don’t you watch it for me?”
Alfie closed the little distance between the two of them, pressing his mouth against hers. As Y/N kissed back, she felt the familiar burn of his beard around her mouth and smirked into it. When she tried to lean into him more, Alfie pushed her back against the wall before kissing her more aggressively. She kissed back with just enough passion and soon, Alfie released one of her hands to lock the door without breaking their intense embrace. Y/N took advantage and trailed that hand across his shoulder and Alfie growled as he grabbed her right leg and wrapped it around his hip, pushing them closer together. The heat seemed to have gotten the best of them and soon, Y/N’s hands were clawing at Alfie’s hair while Alfie was holding himself back from ripping off her dress. When he began kissing down her neck, Y/N huffed and smiled at the feeling of his facial hair tickling her neck. With her eyes closed she was able to focus on the feeling and the feeling brought her to a different memory.
It had happened a couple of weeks after Y/N met Michael. It was late and she had come to Birmingham to check on the Blinders spreading hers and Octavian’s product around the area. She ended up running into Michael at the Garrison and they played several hands of poker with Arthur, John, and Isaiah over bourbons. After several drinks and hands, the Brummies realized just how good at cards Y/N was.
“Bloody ‘ell, she took all my money!” Arthur announced angrily.
“’s not my fault that the cards favored me,” Y/N grinned. “I’d like to collect my three hundred pounds now.”
All three of the men muttered curses at her as they gave her their money, but Michael couldn’t help but laugh.
“How did you get so good at poker?” Michael asked.
“Years and years of practice, Shelby.”
“Makes no difference ‘round here, really, but Gray works better with your name.”
Y/N caught the cheeky looks that Isaiah, Arthur, and John shot Michael as they left, but she pretended not to as she shuffled some cards and sipped some more bourbon.
“I can’t believe you and your brother are related, you’re like two different people,” Michael said.
“We only share half of the same genes and it would be so boring being like Octavian. Micromanaging the books, micromanaging the men, and micromanaging me must get old.” Y/N smirked. “But I do envy how much he gets to use his fists.”
“If he’s the smarts and the muscle, what’s your role, if you don’t mind me asking,” Michael said.
Y/N smirked. “Exactly that: I’m charming and people—-especially men—-underestimate me, so they wouldn’t be surprised if I drugged them or they wouldn’t question me if I lured them into getting jumped.”
Michael raised his eyebrows. “Impressive.”
“And what’s your role in Shelby Brothers Limited?”
“I’m a manager.”
“So you don’t get your hands dirty.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” Y/N chuckled as she took another swig. “You’re full of surprises, Michael Gray, and I like that.”
After countless drinks, Michael had Y/N pressed against the wall of a secret passageway in the back of the Garrison. They had started out making out passionately before Michael began trailing his mouth down the side of her neck. Y/N had to bite her plump bottom lip to keep herself from moaning. It wasn’t until Michael’s hands began scrunching up the sides of her dress, that she found herself sobering up.
“Michael, stop,” Y/N said. “I’m not that kind of girl.”
Slowly Michael let go of her dress and looked into her eyes. Though they were slightly bloodshot, they seemed serious when he said, “Fine, I’ll wait for you then.”
Y/N blinked and realized that the scratching on her neck was because of Alfie and that she was in Alfie’s office still. She shouldn’t be doing this, not now. She slowly grabbed his hands and pushed him away. He frowned at her.
“What’s the problem?” Alfie asked.
“I can’t do this. I’m only doing this to try to forget about Michael and I can’t. I’m so sorry, Alfie,” Y/N said.
Alfie stepped away from her and it was obvious that he was mad and hurt. “So, you were just going to screw me until he came back?”
“No, I…I can’t do that; I couldn’t do that.” Y/N ran a hand through her hair. “You deserve so much better than this.”
Alfie shook his head. “Save the speech and leave ‘fore your brother thinks we did something we haven’t.”
Y/N moved slowly as she grabbed her hat from the floor and slipped on her coat. She really cared about Alfie, but not in the way he wanted her to. He would find someone else someday, but it wasn’t Y/N. She would’ve told him that if she didn’t think it might break him in some way. So, she quietly slipped out of his office, fixed her hat on her head, fixed her lipstick in the reflection of a picture hanging on the wall, and strolled outside.
“Must’ve been some important discussion,” Octavian said when Nathan, their driver, closed the car door behind Y/N.
“It was extremely eye opening. I’m going to Birmingham tomorrow, Octavian, and you can either join me or stay here.”
Octavian wound up tagging along with Y/N to Birmingham, the prison to be more specific. It was weird for both of them since they knew that it could’ve easily been them holed up in the large, gray building with barely bread and water for food and drink. Plus, the guards would love to break in their new batons on the twins who ran a lucrative drug ring. However, he did make his presence useful by helping Y/N persuade a guard that the Shelbys once had in their pocket to sneak Y/N into the prison. After a promise of an eight ball of coke, Lieutenant Pendleton happily led Y/N into Michael’s cell block.
Most of the prisoners moaned or catcalled when she passed, but Y/N blocked it all out. All she knew was that she was going to see Michael again and it was the only thing that mattered. Surprisingly, she didn’t feel nervous or anxious about talking to Michael, but she felt calm instead. She didn’t feel like shouting it from the rooftops unlike some girls, but telling Michael to his face was close enough.
Finally, they reached Michael’s cell and the guard blocked Y/N’s view as he unlocked it. “You’ve got five minutes.”
“Thank you, Lietutenant.”
“Just make it quick. They’ll rotate in six so I’ve got to get you out of here in a minute.”
Y/N nodded and walked into the large, but sad cell. It was four dark gray walls of nothing. There was nothing to lie on and no sort of bathroom. Off to the far left, Michael was laying down on the cold floor, wearing a white t-shirt and black suit pants. He was still toned but slimmer than the last time Y/N saw him. Part of her wanted to beat the men that had done this to him and the other part just wanted to hold him.
“Michael?” she called.
He didn’t move nor respond.
“Michael, we haven’t got a lot of time,” she said as she walked closer to him before kneeling down behind him. “Michael.”
Y/N slowly reached her hand out to touch him but before she could, Michael slowly sat up and looked at her. He looked upset, pale, and bruised. He narrowed his eyes at her.
“What are you doing here?” Michael asked.
“I heard what Tommy did and I had to see you. Are you all right?”
“Did you talk to Tommy?”
“Briefly. It is much more complicated than you think, but, Octavian and I are helping him get you and the rest of your family out.” Y/N ran her hand through his hair but he flinched. “Someone hurt you.”
“Happens when you’re a Blinder and you get thrown in prison. How are you here anyway?” Michael’s eyes widened and he stood, bringing Y/N up with him. “You’re mad to be here. A guard could see us any second–”
“I bought us some time, Michael. My brother and I have a little pull with the coppers here.” Y/N hesitated at she looked up into his light eyes. “When I was told about you being in prison, I panicked because I thought I would never see you again. You’re the finest drinking buddy a girl could ask for and you have this beautiful way of being polished and put together but also tough and scrappy. You’re corrupted but pure at the same time. You’re so sweet to me and you shouldn’t be. I’m so not worth your time and you never pushed me to do anything more than I wanted.”
“Is that all you have to say?” Michael asked.
“No, I am so sorry for what I put you through with Alfie. I never thought that two men would be interested in me and gangsters nonetheless. For a while, I thought that I was dividing my attention equally between the two of you, but then I realized that it’s wrong not to give someone you love all your attention and that I was giving one of you more attention than the other because I cared about them differently,” Y/N said. “I love you, Michael Gray, and I cannot lose you.”
Michael slowly cupped Y/N’s face and stared intently at her. “Do you know how much you drive me mad? Even when I was furious with you, I still thought about you constantly. I wanted to talk to you, but I wouldn’t let myself out of pride.” He kissed her sweetly. “You will never slip through my fingers again.”
“Never,” Y/N whispered before kissing him back.
For once in her life, Y/N was truly happy. In the back of her mind, she knew they only had a few minutes left before Y/N had to leave, but she cherished it. Michael, Polly, Arthur, Finn, John, and Ada would be out of prison if it was the last thing she did.
(This was interesting to read about. Faoladhs are Irish werewolves. They are more helpful and and protective than they are compared to other werewolves in mythology, protecting the children and the wounded.)
[Name] sat on the floor, propped up against the wall next to their McCree, staring boredly out the window as he looked over a new mission briefing. They always got so bored when he was doing work. All they could do was gaze into space and daydream. But suddenly they felt Jesse’s rough hands on their head, stroking their hair as his hand moved down and gave them a scratch behind the ear. That got their leg thumping.
“J-Jesse!” they blushed, “No fair!”
“Haha!” McCree chuckled, “Sorry, darlin’, you just looked so down.”
“I’m just bored is all,” they pouted.
He moved his hand down more, giving them a satisfying scratch to their neck and chin. They could feel their leg start thumping harder and they even let out a little doggy whine.
“Ya don’t have to sit around with me,” he shrugged, “I’m gonna be sittin’ here for a lil’ while more. This briefing gonna be a long one.”
[Name] groaned, finally pushing his hand away from them, sighing in relief as their leg slowly stopped pumping up and down.
“I have to stick with you,” they sassed, “I have to make sure you’re safe,”
“What could possibly happen while I’m sitting here readin’?” McCree laughed, “A papercut?”
They just crossed their arms with a huff and leaned more into him, nestling their head onto his chest.
“My kind doesn’t leave their loved ones…” they mumbled, “Besides, what if someone else comes by and tries to rub their scent on you?”
McCree smiled lazily, letting a relaxing sigh out as his s/o wrapped their arms around him. Sometimes he felt like they were more of a love puppy than a werewolf.
If anyone got the short end of the stick on missions…it was the healers. But when the healers had a good day, it tended to be the defense units who got the brunt of the force. And today was one of those days as Hanzo half ran half limped through the back alleys of London, hearing the skirmishes rage around him. Backup was supposed to have shown up a long time ago, but since they didn’t, he had to leave his post to escape fire.
His heavy breathing filled the alley as he trudged along, his one, dislocated shoulder hanging by his side uselessly. At this point, he couldn’t even loose an arrow. All he knew was that he had to keep moving, or the bots that displaced him earlier would find him. But eventually, the alleyway came to an end, and he was caught at a dead end, the sound of an eradicator slowly stalking closer and closer.
Desperately, he tried to lift his wounded arm one last time to ready his bow, but like before, he couldn’t. The eradicator came to stand in front of him, staring him down with its one, menacing eye. Hanzo just faced it with a menacing glare, daring it to finish him off. If he was going out, he might as well face his opponent with honor. The bot, raised its canon, just about to fire. But suddenly a howl and a snarl came from behind the omnic, and a large, gangly wolf flung itself to the back of the bot.
It dug its claws into its circuits and plunged its fangs into the innards of the robot, tearing out wires and bits of metals. The eradicator stumbled and flailed around in an attempt to throw the wolf off it. But it held on tight, ripping and tearing away until the omnic eventually collapsed to the ground. The wolf was left in the wreckage of the eradicator, its shoulders heaving up and down as it tried to catch its breath.
It looked up with its [eye color] eyes worriedly and bounded over to Hanzo. He chuckled as it licked his injured arm, whining like a concerned pack leader.
“My love, that will not fix it,” he smiled and shook his head.
The wolf stopped and slowly pulled away. Wolf skin fell to the cement as [Name] came out of their wolf form, looking at Hanzo breathlessly like someone had punched them in the stomach. He could barely say anything before they flung their arms around his waist and gave him a big hug, nestling lovingly into his neck.
“Fucking assholes,” they whispered, “Why did they leave you like that?”
“It’s alright,” Hanzo whispered back, stroking their back with his good hand, “I don’t need them when I know you will protect me.”
Half of me wants to spend my days brunching and shopping in high end stores and getting my hair done and drinking artisanal cappuccinos but the other half wants to live in a small dark room with all wooden future in a dingy London alley and own a collection of guns and coat my face with the blood of people I brutally stab to death
We’re going to be tabling at MCM London Comic Con from the 26th to the 28th of May! We will be at table location CR7, which we’d show you if we would have been provided a map, but unfortunately we haven’t!