Siger Holmes was a man of good fortune in all aspects of his life. He had retired from a lifetime of service at a career that both challenged him and brought him joy. He had a wife and two children who would want for nothing. And he had friends he was still very close to, although the number dwindled as years progressed.
These were not those friends. After he had retired from the code breakers, he and the rest of the code breakers would get together every year and play nine rounds of golf. Each year their numbers tapered off as their members moved away, fell out with someone or the other in group, or simply passed away.
Siger was getting too old for this sort of thing, but still he came out because being a code breaker was the best job he could have asked for. He was too young to have been at Bletchley Park and seen Alan Turing, but old enough to have the Crown still need human code breakers. It was ironic that the man who started the code breakers was also the man who created the device that ultimately made them obsolete.
Siger had a talent for seeing patterns and numbers in a way that had kept him valuable long after computers had replaced human code breakers, a talent he had passed on to his two children.
He stood in front of the golf course waiting for the remaining three to arrive. The first to do so was a tall weasel of a man. He had salt and pepper hair that was receding rapidly and a look of disdain for everything and everyone. But when Edmund Wilkes was with the code breakers, he was one of the best analysts that Siger had ever seen. He could see patterns in numbers and financial records with such speed that left the best financial minds of their generation in the dust.
He greeted Siger with a warm handshake and his lopsided grin. Soon they were joined by Siger's favorite member of the old lads. Conway Trevor was a man of Indian descent, and while the years hadn't been kind, he still cut a handsome figure. He was a judge and was a top-notch polyglot, who could pick up any language enough to be passable and if he really tried, he could speak it with such fluency that even a native would have a hard time discerning any trace of a foreign accent.
Conway teased them by greeting them in four different languages, Mandarin, Samoan, Hindi, and finally English. Edmund grunted his disapproval, but Siger laughed and greeted his former colleague in French, Russian, and Gaelic.
"Ah, the language of my home," the last and final member of their group drawled in his smooth brogue.
Ciarán Moriarty was a slim man with dark features. His eyes could almost be called black, his hair which was once jet, now grey. He stood with his hands in his pockets, bouncing on the balls of his feet as he sneered at them.
A cold shiver lanced down Siger's spine. This man was crazier than a bag of cats, but wicked smart. There had been rivalry between him and Siger at Vauxhall Cross and from the look in Ciarán's eyes, that rivalry had not lessened over time. At least not as far as Ciarán was concerned.
Conway and Edmund greeted the new arrival warmly and Siger was forced to do the same. Getting on Moriarty's bad side was not to be recommended at any price.
"I believe it's my turn to pay," Siger said once everyone had said their hellos.
Ciarán frowned, "I thought it was Conway's turn to pay."
Conway shook his head, "I paid last time."
"And I paid the time before," Edmund added, somewhat unnecessarily.
Ciarán's frown deepened, "I was quite sure it was Conway's turn. But if you gentlemen insist, I must be wrong. The old memory isn't what it use to be."
The other men nodded and commiserated with their Irish fellow code breaker. Old age had done a number on them all.
Ciarán, Conway, and Edmund gathered up their golf bags and moved on to the first hole as Siger paid.
Siger arrived just as Conway and Edmund were flipping a coin to see who would go first. He laughed out loud as he watched Ciarán take out his driver and tee up. Conway and Edmund turned to the sound of the golf club striking the ball.
The two men threw up their hands in frustration as Ciarán had outsmarted them both. They did, however, use the results of the coin toss to determine who went second. Edmund cheered as he won the coin toss and went to take his turn.
Conway turned to Siger, "You want to go next, Sig?"
Siger shook his head, "I arrived last, it's only fair I go last, too."
Conway squeezed Siger's shoulder and went to take his turn to tee up. Siger focused on picking out his driver. He took his turn and they all strolled down the fairway to the green.
Edmund was up first as his ball had landed in the rough. As he lined up his shot he said, "Did I tell you about my son, Sebastian?"
Everyone groaned. They had, in fact, listened to him drone on about Seb every year.
"Of course!" Siger enthused. "How is dear Seb this year?"
Conway elbowed him, but Siger just grinned.
"He was made head of the international division at Shad Sanderson a couple months back. As you know, Shad Sanderson is the biggest bank in London. He started at the bank a lowly teller and now look at him. He is so rich and influential that he recently bought the top of the line Aston Martin for his best friend. I really couldn't have been prouder."
Edmund hit the ball and grunted at where it landed.
Conway came up to hit his ball, "If we're talking about being proud of our sons, I, of course, have to bring up Victor."
Ciarán rolled his eyes and Edmund glowered.
"He had always wanted to be a pilot and of course he achieved his dreams, but he couldn't just leave it at flying. No, my boy had to know the ins and outs of the machines he flew. He became an aerospace engineer and he now co-owns one of the biggest manufacturers of air craft in Britain. In fact, he designed and built a private plane for his best friend. He gave it to him just a couple weeks ago."
And while he talked, they played the hole.
Edmund was indignant that Conway had tried to one-up him and began arguing with him over who was more important.
They stopped when Ciarán chuckled darkly. "Have I told you about my son, Jim?"
They all turned to look at the Irishman.
"Would this be James the elder or the younger?" Siger asked, gently ribbing his former colleague for naming both of his sons James.
"Jamie is a good lad with a solid job at the railway, but no. This is Jim, the youngest. He is a technological genius. He started his first company in my basement and now owns one of the largest tech companies in the world. I'm proud of both of my sons, but Jim is my pride and joy."
All three men turned to Siger expectantly.
Siger chuckled. "I, too, am proud of both of my boys. Mycroft achieves everything he sets his mind on and is a raising star in the British government. Sherlock, on the other hand, is a stripper at London's premier gay gentleman's club."
The other men rushed to offer their condolences on Sherlock's profession.
Siger laughed and shook his head. "No, no. The lad does well for himself. In fact, on his birthday a couple of weeks ago, he had gotten an Aston Martin, a jet, and a mansion from three of his most ardent suitors."
The three other men were shocked to silence as they did the math in their heads. Suddenly all of them were talking at once and demanding to know the names of Sherlock's suitors.
Siger laughed again. "I honestly don't know. It could be a coincidence after all."
They finished their nine holes and Siger watched them go with the biggest smile on his face. If he was lucky, there wouldn't be another one of these. Or at least not one that he was invited to.
"Shite!" he cursed and dug out his mobile. He dialed Sherlock.
"Hello, Father," Sherlock greeted, picking up almost immediately.
"Hello, Lockie," Siger replied, unable to keep the smile off his face when talking to his younger son.
"You wouldn't believe what happened today," Sherlock enthused.
"What?" Siger asked.
"We got a new bouncer at work and he is very interesting," Sherlock went on excitedly. "He's an army surgeon. He's a fighter and healer!"
Siger chuckled. "They do exist, Lockie."
"I know, I've met some, but never one so perfectly balanced between the two extremes, and–and he liked my deductions," Sherlock explained.
Siger's heart melted. "Oh, Lockie, that's wonderful." His son had a habit of running off his deductions without thought to the other person's feelings, and to find someone that wasn't offended and liked them was a rare feat indeed.
"Why did you call?" Sherlock asked.
"Oh," Siger said, starting out of his reverie. "I met with the old code breaking lads for our yearly game."
Sherlock squealed in delight, "Please tell me you told them all of their precious boys are hella gay for a high-end stripper."
Siger felt the knot in his chest lessen. He was glad that Sherlock wasn't upset about his little indiscretion. "Well, I may have broadly hinted to that fact after they had spent so long going on and on about how marvelous their sons were."
Sherlock laughed. "Oh my God! I wonder what they'll do."
"You'll have to tell me the reactions of your suitors, after all, that's how we'll know how well daddy took it," Siger reminded him.
"Indeed," Sherlock agreed, "and of course I'll tell you all about it when I find out."
Siger smiled. "I look forward to it," he said earnestly. "And I want to hear about your soldier boy, too."
Siger could feel the epic blush his son was sporting through the phone as Sherlock protested, "Father!"
"He's not mine," Sherlock muttered.
"Not yet," Siger said with a teasing grin. "But I'm sure you'll have him charmed in no time at all."
"I've got to go," Sherlock murmured. "I'll talk to you later."
"Good-bye, Lockie," Siger replied and rang off.
He looked up at the sky and smiled. It had been a great day and he couldn't wait to tell Margaret all about it when he got home.