The man in front of Sherlock makes no sense.
Aside from the fact that Mycroft never brings anyone over for Sherlock to meet.
The man is perfectly ordinary, aside from a pair of rather ridiculously thick eyebrows over a pair of serious green eyes. He is as average of an Englishman one could ever hope to see, right down to his tweed coat. Tall, but with a somewhat stocky build, sandy blond hair almost a match for John's own.
It is wrong.
He is young, early twenties, too young for the gravity or the weight he appears to carry. He holds himself like an old man, one who had seen many things, carried the scars from battles fought, both won and lost.
There is the sombre, sincere air in how the man had greeted John, thanking him for his service abroad. There was a gravity to it, one soldier to another.
But the man is not a soldier. Despite calluses on his hands, the fading marks of wielding a sword, and fainter, newer ones from handling a gun. Strong calluses on the index finger from holding a needle, writing.
The remains of mud on his shoes and trouser cuffs, there were traces of London, directly outside of Sherlock's own flat, but also Hadrian's Wall, Liverpool, Plymouth and the pale chalky dirt of Uffington. All of which were approximately the same age, as if he'd managed to walk across all of Britain at the exact same instant.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Then there is Mycroft, who is obviously uneasy with Sherlock meeting the man, but brought them anyway on their request. His employer, from the strange slightly differential way Mycroft treats the blond man. Curiosity on his boss’ part? Sherlock and John have been in the papers lately more often than Sherlock would care.
"I'm sorry." Sherlock smiles, faking absent-minded sincerity. "Who did you say you were again?”
Mycroft shoots him a dirty look and John looks confused. It is a standard state of affairs and Sherlock ignores them. The man smiles politely, as false a facade as Sherlock's own.
The accent, the sound of the words drive Sherlock insane. He can identify at least fifteen accents, three of which are distinctly London, intertwined with Berwick, Scouse, Gordie, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and what Sherlock is pretty sure the correct accent that Shakespeare spoke with 400 years ago.
And underneath it it all is the slight hesitation that while English may be Kirkland’s primary language, it is not his first.
Sherlock raises an eyebrow at Kirkland. “I suppose the correct question then is ‘what’ are you?”
John sputters, but Kirkland smiles at Sherlock, as if he’s a favoured child that has just performed a trick.
“May I introduce my employer." Mycroft sighs, confirming at least part of Sherlock's suspicions. "You may also know him as ‘England’.”
“The country?” John not-quite sputters. “Our country?!”
“Precisely.” Kirkland, England says. “Mycroft is my aide-de-camp, I find it useful to have someone who knows what is going on and can take action to prevent catastrophe. Politics change so rapidly these days.”
... If one were truly a several hundred year old country, yearly elections could seem as ‘rapid’. Having someone who could take action to preserve the country for the longer view makes sense.
Mycroft smiles at Sherlock, pleased and smug. It’s a look Sherlock despises, and one of the reasons why Mycroft is his Arch Enemy. It just makes Mycroft preen further.
“I told you.” Mycroft says with a shrug and a spreading of his hands that usually would denote honesty.
“I am merely a simple man who works for England.”