The Bruce-Parlington Plans

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When they got back to the flat, John checked his little sister over. Alex didn't seem to have anything wrong with her, but John still didn't want her to go to bed. Sherlock helped her clean the wound.

"You're lucky you only escaped with that much." He said.

"I know." Alex nodded. 

"You were very brave. Foolish, but brave all the same." Sherlock said.

"Thanks." Alex said. "When do we talk to the gallery?"

"I was thinking right now." Sherlock said. "John doesn't want you to sleep at all if you have a concussion."

"But I'm so tired!" Alex said.

"I know." Sherlock sighed. "But that'll keep you awake. Then we can go to St. Barts and get you checked out."

"Fine." Alex sighed. "I'm going to be irritable, so I think it would be best if you and John didn't talk to me. I don't want to hurt anyone."

"Alright." Sherlock said. 

They went back out and got a cab. They called Lestrade and went into the gallery when he got there. They went up to the floor that the painting was on.

"It's a fake, it has to be." Sherlock said.

"That painting has been subjected to every test known to science." Miss Wenceslas said.

"Well, it's a very good fake then!" Sherlock said. He turned to look at her. "You know about this, don't you? This is you, isn't it?"

"Inspector, my time is being wasted." Miss Wenceslas said. "Would you mind showing yourself, and your friends, out?" 

The pink phone rang. Sherlock answered it. Alex watched nervously, fearing what could happen to who it was or to her brother and best friend if they didn't solve this.

"The painting's a fake! It's a fake, that's why Woodbridge and Cairns were killed!" Sherlock said. The person on the other line didn't say anything. "Oh, come on! Proving it's just a detail. The painting is a fake! I've solved it, I've figured it out! It's a fake, that's the answer, that's why they were killed!" 

The other line was still silent. Sherlock inhaled deeply. "All right, I'll prove it! Give me time, will you give me time?"

"Ten..." A young child's fearful voice said. Alex cupped her hands over her mouth.

"Oh my God!" She said. "That's a kid! He's got a kid!"

"It's a kid! Oh, God, it's a kid!" Lestrade said.

"Sherlock, solve it! Solve it now!" Alex said.

"What did he say?" John asked.

"Ten. It's a countdown, he's giving me time." Sherlock said, starting to look at the painting.

"Nine..." The kid said.

"Jesus!" Lestrade said.

"It's a fake, but how can I prove it?" Sherlock muttered to himself. "How, how?"

"Eight..." The kid said. Alex turned to Miss Wenceslas.

"This kid will die!" She said. "Tell us why the painting's a fake! Tell us!" 

"Seven..." The kid said.

"No, shut up! It only works if I figure it out!" Sherlock said. "Don't say anything!"

Sherlock went back to looking at the paiting and mumbling to himself as words flew around his brain. "Must be staring me in the face."

"Six..." The kid said.

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