"Oh, don't look at me like that," Lin said. Swaddled up in one of his robes, she made a face at his disapproving expression. "It needed to be done."
"Needed to be?" he echoed. "And just where'd you get an idea like that? Don't tell m that bloody hairpin is yours."
She smirked. "No. Not that I recall at any rate. I had business with them which needed concluding." And that was not something he truly wanted to know. She'd made up a fine story for Sherlock's benefit and was likely making up one for him now. Lin moved as easily from one role to another as he did socks. Damned annoying, that.
"It was a risk," he insisted, staring at her in utter astonishment. She was sitting there, curled up in his favorite chair, with a mug of tea and grinning at him like the goddamn Cheshire cat. "Sherlock might've -- just how old are you again? Really?" At the moment, he might've been inclined to guess teenager. World's oldest then, but a teenager nonetheless.
Sipping her tea, she chuckled. "Old enough you shouldn't ask that question." Lin stretched out one leg and then the other. Stretched them out and wiggled one bare foot and then the other. Enough that he could see the telltale tattoo had long since been washed away. Temporary ink gone, likely, down the drain and taking the identity of Soo Lin Yao with it. She'd have another name by morning, if not prepared already, and be in a new flat in a different part of the city by dinner. Continuing on as if Soo Lin had never been, easily avoiding Sherlock and anyone who might have known her. The only connection, of course, being her new name would still contain some variation on Lin.
All the centuries he'd known her, he still wasn't sure if it was her real name, some variation thereof, or just something she'd picked up and decided she liked. It was all the same to most of them it seemed. He'd been Lestrade so long now, it was his real name if not the one he'd been born with.
"You took too long in coming to get me," she said, putting down her tea to stretch properly. "Those drawers are so crampt. I'll be working out the kinks for days."
"Yes, well, if you hadn't gotten yourself shot, you wouldn't have ended up in one." He didn't shudder, but it was a near thing. He hadn't landed himself in one yet, but with Sherlock's penchant for endangerment, it was only a matter of time he did. If only to save the boy from himself. "It's not as if they have Immortals and their ill-timed resurrections in mind when they designed the bloody things."
"They should have," she said. "It was likely one of us that did it anyway."
He closed his eyes. Right. Immortals did seem to turn up everywhere and anywhere these days. So much for the 'preferring Paris' bollocks some of them got up to. "Yes, well, since that little mystery will forever elude us, how about we get back to the part where a four thousand year old Immortal decided to play cat and mouse with -- " he bit his tongue. With his luck, saying any variation on 'greatest consulting detective' would have Sherlock banging down the door and catching him in the act of aiding and abetting a corpse stealing itself. "It was a risk, don't care how good an actor you are, it was."
Lestrade pinched the bridge of his nose. Immortality. He'd decided, all things being equal, he wasn't that chuffed about the whole thing. The not dying part had it's advantages. The Game did not and his fellow Immortals most certainly did not.
"Stop that," Lin said, laughing. " Gregory Lestrade and Soo Lin Yao have no connections whatsoever, it's not as if he'll find you out through me."
"Sprang you, didn't I?" he shot back. "Someone will have noticed I was there." By now Donovan would've taken care of the paperwork surrounding Soo Lin's supposed remains and hushed up any chances of them going missing. The woman was a frighteningly good accomplice for a Watcher.
"Hmm, true, but you only provided clothing," she said, perfectly logical. "I walked out of my own free will." She wrinkled her nose. "Still, you might have come sooner. I was scheduled for autopsy and you know they're utterly are dreadful things."
"I should take you back for this one," he muttered. "Sherlock might've sussed you out."
"No, I don't think so," Lin said. She worked fingers through her wet hair, sipping at the mug held in the other hand. "He's quite bright as you say, but no, I don't think so." She cocked a brow at him. "Hasn't figured you out yet, has he?"
"He will," Lestrade said, sitting down. "It's not really a fair test of his abilities, is it? Knows nothing of the Game or us." Mercifully. He can just imagine what kind of disaster Sherlock would land himself in if he did.
"Mm, no, but he should have suspected something. How many years has it been?"
"Five." That they've been working together. Longer than that he's been with the Yard and, yes, he wasn't unaware of the subtle point she was making.
Soon, but not yet. Not when things were just getting fun.
"Hm, he should have," she said, "but you have time yet, I think. He did fail to notice some things which he shouldn't have missed." Sipping her tea again, she leaned her head back against the chair and closed her eyes. Was a bit odd, the whole thing. He'd always thought he'd be used to it by now. Few centuries under his belt. Few hundred years of seeing the same face in the mirror - or whatever reflective surface was handy - and knowing the years behind it.
Still, that Lin was ancient and showed not a day of those thousands of years didn't make much sense at all.
Bloody bizarre the works of it.
"All right, for my own satisfaction, what did he miss?"
"Just a few little things, easily overlooked I suppose." Opening her eyes, she clarified. "To be so clear, a tattoo on the foot must be reapplied after some time has passed. If Soo Lin had ended her associations -- "
"Right," he nodded. "She wouldn't have cared to see it touched up."
"Rather, she would've been only too happy to see it fade," Lin agreed. Finishing her tea, she leaned forward to put the mug down and then shifted her legs. They were bare beneath his robe, lean and strong. He let himself look and she grinned. Right then, a night in for all concerned.
"What else?" he asked.
Another little grin. "Supposedly, Soo Lin had fled her flat, yes? She'd not been back for days. Yet, when they found me, I wore clean clothes and make up. While one could explain such away, he did not even question me on the matter. Given all that you have said about him, he should have." She waved a hand. "I am being overly critical, I suppose, but still, I believe you've time to you yet."
"So, all this was about me then?" he asked. This time, he grinned. "Worrying after me are we?"
"Someone has to," she replied. "Your career choices make it difficult to do otherwise."
Carrying no gun, no sword save the one in the boot of his car, it did make things somewhat dangerous, but he rather liked the challenge of it. "You're a fine one to talk about unnecessary risks."
She laughed, getting up. "Well, I'm older and wiser, it's par for the course that I should act out."
"I'm hardly a child," he said, dry.
"Not compared to them, no," she said and helped herself to his lap. The robe slipped just enough and he took advantage, pressing kisses along the curve of her collar bone. "But -- " she gasped when he nipped at the skin, sucking a mark into it brief though it would be.
"Probably for the best you not finish that sentence," he said, putting his own mug down. "Elsewise, this'd be more than a little perverted."
She hummed a laugh and let the robe fall away. Willing, it seemed, to let him change the subject temporarily. It'd cycle back sooner or later, Lin pragmatically pointing out he'd stayed in one place, one job, for too long and someone would notice.
Sherlock would notice.
Picking her up, Lestrade put the thought out of his mind. He had time. It was one thing Immortals were so rarely short on.