Alone at Last

by Trynia (tryniamerin at yahoo.com)
(3/4/04)

General Disclaimer

Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock Holmes, who is out of the mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is the property of DIC. This story is PG, for a bit of language, but is generally clean and in good spirits. This is an H/L fic, just to let you know, and even though I'm writing the other story right now, I suddenly wrote it down over the last few lunch breaks at work, and I thought I'd love to share it with all you lovers of H/L vignettes. Please R and R, and let me know if I should include it as a later scene in my first story I posted? Thanks!
She turned from the cell window, her arms folded across her chest. Mainly aware that they were likely to be watched, the duo kept their distance from one another. Just what these sickos wanted by interring them in this featureless box of metal with a two-way mirror and nobody to watch them was unclear. It was a subject upon which her male companion was cogitating. As she turned she felt a dozen invisible eyes that she was sure that must be trained on them from some camera somewhere unseen. Slowly she orbited the room, chewing her lips and searching again with her fingertips for any crack or hidden door, glancing only occasionally at her cellmate.
"My dear Lestrade, it may benefit you to desist in pacing the room like a perishing panther," Holmes suggested. He had sat down against the wall, with his legs stretched before him. Out of his Inverness he fished his 19th century notebook and pencil. Licking the tip he started to jot his thoughts down.
"How can you just sit there, knowing those zed heads are watching us, like we're in some zoo?" she demanded, whirling on her heel to face him.
"Zoo it may be, but we do not benefit by wasting what energy we have upon idle and nonproductive movements...."
"There has to be a way out... I mean they put us IN here...." Lestrade mumbled. Before Holmes could stop her, she backed up for enough running room and charged toward the glass window. Hurling her body against it, she hoped to somehow break the plastic with her shoulder. Unfortunately her body glanced off with a thud and she landed in an undignified heap on the floor next to the detective.
"Lestrade... are you all right?" Holmes asked as he put down his notebook and pencil, and moved over to her. Shaking her head, she mumbled.
"At least ONE of us is doing SOMETHING to find a way out of here!" Lestrade grumbled.
"Correction, both of us, although the way I am pursuing is less violent, and more fruitful in the long run," Holmes said as he held out a hand to help her up.
Lestrade knocked his hand away sullenly and snapped, "What are your precious eyes and brains telling you now? Unless you're some zedding psychic you could at least HELP me."
"Well, perhaps we start by asking why we are here?" Holmes suggested, still offering her his hand. Glaring at him, she grudgingly took it and let him pull her to a sitting position.
"Why, I'll tell you," Lestrade growled. "Because these zed for brains get their kicks out of seeing their captives sweat it out, and don't even BOTHER to tell us WHY they're holding us. If it were Moriarty, you can bet he'd have given us his grand speech by now!"
"Well, that may be one reason, but it is a hasty conclusion," Holmes corrected her.
"Why else?" she asked. "I mean they said nothing about ransom, and nobody grilled us, and..." Lestrade started, and then tapered off as her eyes fell upon a small crack or seam in the wall near to where Holmes had sat moments before with his back propped against it. Maybe that was why she hadn't noticed it before.
"We may be part of some intelligence test... our captors may by their silence be expecting to test us to see how intelligent we are... since there is no obvious means of escape," Holmes mumbled, tapping his lip with his pencil as he picked up his notebook again. "Perhaps a behavioral experiment."
"You mean like rats in a maze?" Lestrade asked, incredulous. "I'm surprised. I mean the people captured before were not let go, and I saw nothing about any of these guys having any psych decree...."
"Precisely, but they may have sold us to some interested parties," Holmes suggested. "So perhaps we could best sit down calmly and figure out what we're dealing with, since there is no means of escape... instead of blindly searching the walls."
"For one thing, the floor's cold as absolute zero, and it's hard as asphalt," she complained. She rubbed her bruised backside and nursed her shoulder. Her wristcom was dead, and they had knocked her ionizer out of her hand in the fight, and confiscated Holmes' cane. Both of them had been passed through a scanner that detected any electronic devices. Interestingly enough, they'd found nothing interesting on Holmes, so who knew what low-tech nineteenth century items he might have on his person to help them escape?, she hoped.
"Easily remedied, my dear Lestrade," Holmes said as he got to his feet, and unfastened the clasp at his throat. Stripping off his Inverness, he flipped it out and tossed it down to make a sizeable mat on the floor. Indicating it with his hand, he motioned for her to sit on it next to him. Lestrade grudgingly let him help her to sit on it; and they propped her backs against the wall, which wasn't as cold as the floor, oddly enough, both facing the window to the empty room.
"Mind your boots," Holmes said as Lestrade shifted to sit down. Mumbling, she put her legs straight out in front of her as Holmes did. Without the voluminous coat, he was in vest, shirt sleeves, and she could more clearly see how well his anachronistic clothes conformed to his slender and athletic body.
"I'll try to behave," Lestrade mumbled.
"Stiff upper lip," Holmes said, folding his arms across his chest and glancing at her. "Now, let's make a list of the relevant facts...."
"Humph," Lestrade mumbled. Her eyes drifted to the handwriting on his paper, and she noticed what he was writing. How odd it was to see him scribbling away on its lined surface when few would write things down this way anymore.
"You see that there are some interesting details...." Holmes whispered as he leaned over to her. His breath tickled her ear, and she realized he must have been writing something down he didn't want their captors to possibly overhear.
She peered over his shoulder and read from his scribbles, "Air for breathing must come from some aperture."
"What now?" she scribbled, taking the pencil from him. "I saw a line near where you sat... it could be a door? I mean they HAD to get us in here somehow..."
"Likely, so we sit and wait to see if they will provide nourishment by that entrance," Holmes scribbled, taking the pencil back from her.
"Oh great, just what we need, more waiting," Lestrade sighed. Licking her lips she patted her pockets and belt to see what they had missed. Her belt pack had several compartments. While they had taken most of her secret devices, she realized they had left her emergency food concentrate rations. Unlike Holmes who seemed content to wait, she was starving.
"Maybe you can wait till feeding time, but I'm starved," Lestrade mumbled as she tore open the foil package. Pushing the open package toward Holmes, she nodded for him to take one. He wrinkled his nose, but reached for one all the same.
"I suppose this must suffice, for we should retain our nourishment... in case they don't feed us," he muttered. As he took a bite, he made a face, and winced at how dry the confound thing was. "You neglected something to wash this down with...."
"Hey, so sue me," Lestrade mumbled through a mouth full of food concentrate.
"I have the solution," he said, reaching into his vest, and she saw his suspenders as he unbuttoned it momentarily and pulled something that flashed silver in the light that shone down from above. It lay its strange and harsh light against them, but the source seemed hard to determine. It came from the ceiling panels itself. Unscrewing the top of the old fashioned silver hip flask, he held it toward her, and Lestrade took it, sniffing. A pungent whiff of alcohol hit her nose, and it was her turn to wince.
"Brandy?" she queried, lifting an eyebrow. "Won't that make us thirstier?"
"Be as it may, it is liquid, and it should suffice to relax you," Holmes shrugged. Lestrade sighed and took a small sip, opening her mouth as it burned on the way down, and a warm tingling shot up from her toes. She handed it back to Holmes, who wiped off the mouth with his handkerchief before taking a swig himself.
"So, here we are," she said. "In a damn box, waiting for feeding time at the zoo... what next, play some lame game?"
"Perhaps... such as 'what have we observed?'"
"Light and air has to come from somewhere," Lestrade said through a mouthful of concentrate. Holmes again offered her the flask, and she sipped it, making another face before handing it back for him to sip. Both leaned their heads close to one another, keeping their tones in a whisper. "WE had best be on our guard so as not to miss it," Holmes said.
"Funny they didn't take this away, it could be used as a weapon... alcohol IS flammable," Lestrade whispered.
"I do have my matches," Holmes nodded. "But our captors figure that it is a feeble means of escape, since these walls appear to be some sort of polymer coating a rather strong alloy which is heat- and inspector-resistant."
"Zed, if only they hadn't taken my nitroOX," she mumbled. "I hate this... I can't do a zedding thing."
"WE can wait, and observe," Holmes said.
"Do you have an answer to everything?" Lestrade snapped, folding her arms across her chest.
"Only when asked the proper question, " he bantered back with a slight twinkle in his eyes.
"If you mention eyes and brains again, I'll pound you," she whispered frustratedly, grabbing a fold of his Inverness in her fist at her side and pulling at it.
"It's simply a matter of...."
"Oh, save it," Lestrade cut him off rudely. "If there is one thing I hate MORE than waiting it's waiting with a KNOW-it-all."
"Lestrade, your negative attitude HARDLY..."
"You're right, Mr. Spock," she shot back. "At least trying to bust out of here gave me something less boring than hearing youLECTURE me!"
"Now hang about," Holmes said, annoyance in his voice. "I am attempting to think productively how to use my energy, and I suggest you do the same, that's all."
"Oh, shut up," she snarled. "I'm SICK of you always CORRECTING me."
"Lestrade..." Holmes sighed. "This is hardly the time for...."
"Did you hear me, just don't say ANTHING!"
"Lestrade, enough!" Holmes said sharply. "This is getting us nowhere!"
"Great, we just sit here and admit we're stuck, right?" she laughed sarcastically, throwing up her hands. "That there is nothing that even YOU can do... apart from...."
"Apart from waiting, which CAN be fruitful," Holmes cut in.
"And then what?" she asked. "You know I think you actually think this is a game! You're enjoying seeing what they are about to do."
"There is nothing more satisfying than solving a mystery," Holmes said brightly, trying to bait her so she would snap out of her sudden funk. A black cloud hung over Lestrade, and he could tell she was nervous, and anxious, perhaps bordering on fear.
"Well, I have a mystery for you, Holmes," she said. "Why is it you never seem to get that some of us get a bit TIRED of your advice and being corrected? That you're a big arrogant ponce sometimes when you get in your detective mode?"
"Lestrade, I'm surprised at you!"
"Well, that's new," Lestrade snapped. "I am willing to bet credits to crackers that if me or Watson ended up caught or worse, you'd be analyzing it to death and getting your kicks."
"That's uncalled for!" he said angrily, his gray eyes sparkling. "If you are as familiar with my exploits as you say, you must know that I try to keep a lid on unproductive emotions. And I...."
"You don't feel anything most of the time, is that it?" she asked bitterly. "So like you to be so focussed on analyzing stuff to death you forget the rest of us have feelings!"
"I understand that, but to be a good detective one must not be burdened with emotions... they cloud your objectivity...."
"Does that mean you feel nothing, that you don't let yourself enjoy something ELSE besides work?" Lestrade challenged. "I guess so. Zed, it's a wonder that Watson is more human than you are sometimes, and he's a zedding robot!"
"Lestrade, what is bothering you, really?" Holmes asked. "Obviously you're agitated about something that goes beyond our predicament as now..."
"Why don't you figure it out, if you're so zedding smart?" she said, turning from him and folding her legs Indian style, and huddling with her chin resting in her hands on her lap.
"Lestrade," Holmes sighed deeply as he drew his shoes onto his Inverness and sat much as she did. "I do have feelings, and I do realize others do as well. What I meant to say is that emotions can cloud your thinking when...."
"I know that, Holmes," she growled. "But I can't turn them off... when I ... I mean when I am in a place where I can't DO anything...,"
"There is no shame in admitting you're afraid," he said softly, resting his hand on her shoulder.
"Don't patronize me, Holmes," she bit back. "That's NOT what I'm talking about!"
"Then what do you mean, precisely?" Holmes asked, turning her shoulder so she faced him. "Something other than your inability to act physically is troubling you. And as your colleague I simply wish to know why, so that I may possibly be of help."
"Ask the right questions," she snapped back.
"Are you afraid?" Holmes asked, voice softer.
"Yes, and no," she answered after a minute. Her eyes were vacant, and held fear, and she huddled over like a small lost child for a moment.
"Is it perhaps our present predicament warrants temporary relinquishment of control, till a more opportune time, and you simply loathe inaction?"
"Yes and no... zed, do you always seem so on top of things?" she glanced up at the ceiling. "Nothing phases you... you can handle it... and me... me... I just..."
"Go on," Holmes urged. Slowly he brought up his hand and rested it on hers. Very gently he took that hand in his own, and began to stroke the back of her gloved hand. Lestrade shivered a bit, though she was wearing gloves, at this sudden, very personal gesture. "I do believe we are finally getting somewhere at last..."
"Did you ever meet Sigmund Freud?" she asked accusingly.
"On a few occasions, yes," he admitted with a slight smile. "Now as you were saying..."
"You're always in control," Lestrade said more softly, looking at the far wall. "And all I ever... you can't even always do as you're told!"

"You know I don't always conform to the rules. But my general approach seems to cause you distress and yet you admire me. Why?"
"Because you're what I always wanted to be," she said in a whisper, glancing at him. "Something I'll never be..."
"Lestrade," he sighed, as she turned away again. "It was not my intention to cause you emotional distress..."
"Then why am I always getting chewed up and spit out?"
"If you're referring to Grayson, he seems equally dissatisfied with the pair of us," Holmes chuckled.
"Not just that," she sighed. "But something else. You're the person that we all try to be, a role model."
"If you try that, then what can you hope to accomplish?" Holmes asked. "Perhaps it's the method and not the man you should emulate. What I am trying to convey to you and Watson is not how to be a facsimile of me, but how to think... after all, there is only one Sherlock Holmes."
"Thank God for that," she laughed. "One dead detective is enough."
"Amen, my dear Lestrade," he smiled, relieved to see her laugh. "Don't fret. You are learning quite well what it is to be a good detective. And so is Watson. As you know, even if you are sometimes incorrect, your feedback is valuable."
"Why?"
"By assisting with your questions. It benefits me to hear possibilities, to bounce things off as it were, and you know well that I employ the assistance of others in solving my cases...."
"That's true, but there's still the thing about feelings; when does the detective become a man?"
And when does the inspector become a woman?" he countered, as he brushed his hand over the back of hers soothingly. "I have rarely seen you out of uniform, Lestrade."
"Maybe that's a good thing," she said.
"I find it odd that you do not have a husband or a suitor...." Holmes said.
"Some of us are married to our work, and find romance gets in the way, like you do," Lestrade answered.
"True, some of us are not like most men who would marry,..."
"Baker Street has no queen," Lestrade nodded.
"Indeed, but even my friend Watson found time for the fair sex."
"And what makes you think I am to be lumped in with the rest of everyone else? What makes you special?"
"Er, well." He rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand.
"Maybe I'm just like you, Holmes," she answered. "When it comes to men."
"Absurd," he laughed.
"Can go both ways, you know. This isn't the nineteenth century... maybe I consider men to be a waste of time... like you consider women."
"Not you, Lestrade, surely," Holmes said slowly.
"Don't jump to conclusions without knowing the facts," she parroted him.
"There are logical conclusions to derive from this line of questioning."
"Such as...."
"I am obsessed to an extent, like you with work... and secondly you may have had a past traumatic experience with a man that puts you off... thirdly, it is possible for your base needs to be along the lines of seeking companionship with women...."
"'Maybe' to one and two, but 'no' to three," Lestrade laughed.
"Or there is another possibility," Holmes said. "Maybe you have not found the right gentleman yet."
"Maybe," she said, as she looked back at him. "And maybe the same applies to you."
"There are few coincidences, my dear Lestrade," Holmes said, as he caught her blue gaze for a thoughtful moment, and her heart sped up.
"Uh huh," she said.
"Hem, well, there is a logical explanation, nonetheless. And I think the answer is quite apparent."
"Is it?" she asked.
"I would be a poor detective indeed not to see the evidence before me," Holmes said, as his hand slowly tightened on hers. She could feel it trembling in her fingers, and she felt her own heart and nerves tensing for what could either break her heart or set it free.
"I...." Lestrade stammered, the words choking in her throat as she glanced earnestly at him for a long time.
"Well, am I not accurate in guessing why you are unattached?" Holmes asked, voice in a whisper now.
"It's the same reason you are," she said finally, as time stopped and his gray gaze met hers.
"Ah," Holmes said, and cleared his throat again.
"I don't know what you mean," she said, pulling her hand away as she broke their gaze.
"On the contrary, I'd say the import of my words and my assessment is quite correct, and yet a certain awkwardness and the ramifications prevent you from expressing your affirmation."
"If that's the case and we're on the same page... I can tell you why. Because the person I'd chose doesn't think that such a relationship is possible."
"Ah," Holmes nodded. "An excellent observation."
"So why even try?" Lestrade asked glumly. "Except to dream because it wouldn't happen. And even if it did, maybe it would mess up a good thing...."
"Another valid point," Holmes sighed as he took her hand and rested it on his lap.
"And I suspect the people in question having not had the desire to have a relationship would be... afraid or... uncomfortable if they crossed the line...." she choked, her eyes filling with tears.
"Indeed," Holmes nodded. "Because the parties involved have good reservations."
"Yes," Lestrade sniffled.
"I must apologize," Holmes said as he raised her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss to the back. "To have intruded upon your private thoughts...."
"It's okay," Lestrade sighed. "I know it's a bad idea... forget it...."
"Which could leave us in a vulnerable situation," Holmes agreed, with a sad nod. Lestrade could feel her chest tightening as her vision of his clear eyes blurred, and she wanted to bury herself as her face flushed hot.
"I don't want to be the reason..." she choked, and wiped her eyes violently. "That you'd use to stop from doing your job... or be the reason your enemy... uses against you."
"A noble sentiment," Holmes observed, as he again kissed her hand softly. "And a prudent measure indeed."
"Yeah... lucky me," Lestrade sniffled.
"However," Holmes said as he reached for his pocket handkerchief, and gently raised it to dry her tears. "There is a certain strength in such close associations..."
"What?" Lestrade asked, not believing what he'd said.
"The only problem... is that the person in question... is unaccustomed to how to proceed... considering the circumstances... and the likeliness of this having happened... when it seemed impossible before...."
Her heart pounded quickly, and a strange giddiness came over her as she leaned close, and he did too, his eyes tracking over the curves of her face. Raising her hand to her cheek, he pressed it there, and wiped away a fresh crop of tears with his other hand.
Lestrade felt her reserve crumple, and she shut her eyes as her wall came crumbling down. "Sometimes... it's better... to say nothing...." she sniffled, tugging off her gloves and tossing them down. She raised her hand to finger his cheek with the back of her hand, and he lay his hand on top, their skin finally touching with a tingling between them. The warmth passed from his skin to hers, and she shivered in strange anticipation and fear. There was only one first kiss, and she wanted to impress this moment for all time in her mind. His skin trembled as she leaned forwards and touched her lips to his. He stiffened at first as she kept her lips closed and simply let her mouth make small presses as she fingered his blonde sideburns. A jolt of adrenaline surged through her, and she felt her heart in her throat. Time stopped and she felt him relax and press his lips more firmly, his hand reaching around her neck as his arm settled around her shoulder.
"Very... intriguing," he gasped as they parted, panting and staring at one another in wide-eyed wonder.
"Wow," Lestrade whispered, feeling shy and strange like a teenager. Holmes this time pulled her to him and turned his head to the side to deposit a soft caress of his lips onto hers, a chaste touch of the lips that was followed with soft kisses to her forehead and then back to her lips. Tears welled up again at the innocence and sincerity in that chaste yet emotion-filled kiss. His fingers felt the texture of her hair and smoothed over her cheek. When they parted again, he was gazing intently at her face as if gazing at a work of art. Lestrade couldn't halt her tears, for the gentleness and simplicity of the kiss went right to her heart. She felt her chin wobbling as he pressed his brow to hers, and folded her in an embrace.
"Brave heart, my dear Lestrade," he whispered, taking her hand and squeezing it. "Trust me when I say we WILL get out of this fix... together."
"What now?" she asked him.
"That remains to be seen... we had best... restrain ourselves if we are to continue... for I want this... to be...."
"What do you mean?" she asked, pulling away.
"Since this is... progressing... we must proceed with the utmost care... and this is hardly the appropriate place, for something that is so significant," he said with a lump in his throat "Please understand, I want to follow the proper methods... so both of us will gain the best from this."
"I'm not a bottle of wine!" she groaned.
"No, but this is a rare opportunity and I want it to be perfect, and after all... I want it to be as meaningful and respectful to your dignity, as someone that I have come... to be quite fond of...."
"Victorian formality?" she winced. "Should I drop my handkerchief for you to pick up?"
"Not quite THAT literally, but yes that's the idea," Holmes nodded, fingering her cheek and memorizing her face with his eyes and fingertips. "Please bear with me -- I hope you don't take offense to me wanting to have things on my terms."
"Always in control?" she asked.
"Well..." he chuckled. "I want... what is best for this situation -- and I don't want to see you in an uncomfortable situation, if we are to proceed -- and well...I am very fond of you."
"I don't know whether to kill you or kiss you," she laughed.
"I'd prefer the latter," he chuckled as he slid his arm around her, and she rested her head against his chest to hear his heartbeat. He kept her close, and she felt hope return as they waited to see what their captor's next move was. Whatever it was, they would face it together.

THE END
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