Bedbugs and Broomsticks

Part Two

by Jaka Ray
(8/27/03 - 9/14/03)

General Disclaimer

PART TWO - dRuNkEn VaMpIrEs

CHAPTER ONE - A Pitstop in London

Lestrade suggested that they first make a 'pitstop' back to New London to check up on how things were going during their absence. They could also pick up items they now knew they needed, like American clothes, disguises, and such. And the two could use a bit of New London fog, anyway... and so Holmes soon had them in front of Lestrade's flats. Holmes dropped her off and headed for Baker Street. His close robot friend Watson was overjoyed to see him, having been forced into a melancholy boredom when his only companion and his favorite Scotland Yard Inspector left for a trip together.
"Holmes! My good chap! How are you? And Inspector Lestrade?" The robot immediately brightened up at the sound of Holmes' voice again speaking in that suave, well-mannered tone.
Watson received a short summary of the adventures, and Holmes, being at least half Victorian gentleman, left out a few parts. But Watson still heard of Fenwick's involvement, and announced with firmness, "Holmes, you and the Inspector are too valuable to me for me to sit here while the two of you put yourself in danger continuously. Tell me what I can do to help you!"
Sherlock smiled when he heard of the robot's boredom and sudden emotion. And John Watson thought I was without feeling, he thought to himself.
Holmes patted Watson on the back, assuring him friendlily that he would be called when the two detectives needed him. The robot cheered up immensely, but soon realized that Holmes' pledge meant that he and Lestrade would be heading out again. He gave a noticeable sigh, but helped Holmes pack in silence.
Watson broke the stillness again, "I say, Holmes! It seems like your trip was an extremely exciting one. But I do believe you left some parts out of your story."
Sherlock flushed at the ears, and asked softly why Watson would think that.
Watson, who greatly enjoyed a chance to improve his observation skills, proceeded with a lecture of his own. "Well, you aren't the only one with deductive powers, Holmes! When you arrived at the part in your tale about how the errant robot captured you, you did not go into detail about how you 'cleverly escaped'. I know from experience that you enjoy above all things to tell your stories with specific detail, since you pride yourself in your quick mind. And, I might add, your ears turned a deep shade of red, just as they are doing now."
Sherlock Holmes' face colored this time. He sighed with a shrug of his thin shoulders. "Watson, I have often told how I felt about giving explanations of things; it quite gives away the majesty of the whole thing, and a magician without tricks is no magician at all. 'Omne ignotum pro magnifico.' What you have said is true, and I hope that you will accept my humble apology. It seems that I can no longer lie - well, I mean, ah...that I can no longer twist the truth effectively."
Watson, being a robot and a gentleman, accepted Holmes' apology (he knew how hard it was for him to do it) and listened to the part Holmes had conveniently left out when he and Lestrade had escaped the robot. When he finished, Watson laughed heartily and Holmes smiled weakly.
"Bet you enjoyed that, eh, old fellow?" Watson grinned knowingly and before Holmes could stop himself he grinned back. Although he and the John Watson of old had been roommates and friends for life, they had never delved deeply into the subject of 'the fair sex'. It was strange that they should do so now, when the time period was so different but everything else the same as before. But it was about time anyway.
Beth Lestrade met up with Sherlock at the only Scotland Yard office in New London, as they had arranged before parting. The other offices were being rebuilt, and recruitment officers were scouting the population for new, eligible inspectors. It was hard, since news of what happened to erstwhile officers had spread quickly, and the Yard's Academy had had huge drops of applications. But there were still people eager to be a Yardie, and Greyson had to make media appearances every day to promote being one.
Lestrade shook her head; it was a rough time for the Yard, and she wasn't there to help. It was nice not too have too much on your mind like Greyson and her other coworkers, but she felt guilty for not being there. As she spotted the two friends in the office, Lestrade was curiously interested to see Holmes and Watson laughing heartily with a kind of masculine secrecy crossing their face when they saw her. Making a mental note of asking Holmes about it afterwards, they continued on together to Grayson's office. The trio found the Chief in conversation with a beautiful young lady.
She had brownish blonde hair tied back in a haphazard way, as if not for style but to keep the hair out of her face. Around her straightly poised neck there hung a thin chain of silver with an angel charm, which rested on her chest peacefully. She had naturally pink lips, which matched the flush on cheeks that were dotted with freckles. She sat straight and proud in a queenly sort of pose, but her gaze was unbiased and innocent. Her eyes were a strange color - they were bluish, but not quite, for there were bits of green as well. You couldn't decide on a color after just a glance, and you had to stare at the eyes for quite some time, trying to figure out the puzzle behind them. Holmes, Watson, and even Lestrade found herself looking into the woman's eyes, and Sherlock cleared his throat for an introduction.
Greyson picked up the signal and announced crisply, "This is Ms. Melanie Dawson - she came in just now to tell me that she was at one of the Scotland Yard offices which were. in the accident. Ahem, she has just started her story, and if you care to join us I'm sure she wouldn't mind." Grayson looked with discomfiture at the three, for there weren't any chairs to seat them, and Melanie Dawson seemed to fidget uncomfortably after the Great Detective's arrival. Nonetheless, she told her story from the beginning.

CHAPTER 2 - An Interesting New Quarry and Some Roses

It turned out that Ms. Melanie Dawson had been visiting her boyfriend on the day of the explosions, and had left after promising that the two of them would meet for dinner at a romantic restaurant. Watson sent a wink at Holmes, who coughed, being careful to turn his rosy face away from Lestrade, who started asking a few questions of her own. Ms. Dawson had walked but a few blocks before being knocked down by a powerful gust - the aftermath of the explosions. She had rushed back to the office and then wandered about aimlessly after realizing her darling was gone. Melanie Dawson ended her story with a sniffle, which made Holmes raise his eyebrows.
He asked if she had noticed anything mysterious about her boyfriend (a Mr. Dylan Scott), his colleagues, or the general emotional atmosphere of the office. The lady pondered the question for a moment, before saying slowly in a composed voice, "Well, Dylan and his chums were very relaxed and joking around, so I don't think they were expecting any. disaster. But -- I did see one of Dylan's friends receive a package, which the delivery woman said was from his wife, and so he placed it on his own desk. You don't think...that the package was actually a bomb?" Her eyes widened and her fingers twitched uncontrollably, although it was evident to Lestrade that Ms. Dawson was trying to hide her hands. After a few more questions about her relationship with her boyfriend, Holmes thanked the woman and left with Lestrade and Watson on his heels.
"What'd you think about her, Holmes?" Lestrade and Watson asked simultaneously. Sherlock smiled at the two and told them what he thought. (Thanks to the Inspector's painful noggin-slapping he'd decided to give up on his dramatic pauses.) "Well, it seems strange that, although they have been together for 'a couple' years, Ms. Dawson didn't seemed too grieved."
"Well, it has been a while since the explosions, Holmes." Watson pointed out.
But Holmes again showed off his mind-reading skills when he retorted that Lestrade hadn't recovered much from the explosions, apparent by the black band she wore on her uniform in mourning.
Beth looked at her Scotland Yard clothes, and was surprised that she still had the band on. Every officer had been issued one, but she hadn't taken the time to take it off. She was about to tell Holmes that before he went on, "Watson, search the Scotland Yard archives for an officer named Dylan Scott, please." When the robot had finished and reported with a start that he couldn't find anybody by that name at all, Holmes nodded thoughtfully.
"Our good friend Chief Greyson took this young lady for granted, which I'm sure many people have made the mistake of doing. He assumed that she was an innocent little girl, seeing how beautiful she is, and therefore incapable of lying. Such is the curse of all lovely faces." Lestrade snapped her head toward Holmes in alarm. Did he just say a woman was lovely? And that she was beautiful? She raised her eyebrows with an amused look at Sherlock, who ignored her and continued, "But Watson's researches show that he was very wrong, and that Melanie Dawson is lying. Why she is doing so is a mystery, but it won't be so for long." His eyes had the suppressed twinkle in them that marked his eagerness to begin investigating but also his need to keep up an air of nonchalance.
Holmes bid a quick farewell to his friends, and headed off into the depths of Scotland Yard HQ, telling Watson to escort Lestrade back. He always seemed to make sure they wouldn't follow him. It's a bit like that dramatic pause, but, luckily for him, with no Lestrade to smack him.
When Holmes returned to Baker Street later that day, Lestrade and Watson were having tea and biscuits, Watson's specialty. Holmes realized with a nostalgic thrill that he had missed Watson's cooking very much; Beth Lestrade wasn't the best cook and so the two often had to eat those nasty pellet chunks of food. Yuck. He grabbed a biscuit from Beth's plate with dexterity, and plopped himself down in his usual armchair with a contented sigh as he crammed the biscuit into his mouth. Lestrade and Watson looked at each other with that look which said, "Yup, he's at it again. Whoop-dee-do."
After finishing his biscuit so fast he almost choked, Sherlock Holmes reached for another. Lestrade gave him a frown but didn't stop him. When he finished his second one, he finally spoke up. "Well, it seems that my afternoon wasn't wasted after all." She glared at Holmes again and Watson glanced at her face with amusement. "When I left the two of you I doubled back to Grayson's office and followed Ms. Dawson at a distance. She is a very careful young woman, but then again, my skills as a shadow are even more so. Ms. Dawson arrived at an apartment, hers, I assume, and after waiting for a moment I knocked on the door. She didn't seem surprised to see me, and I had a nice chat with her; it was very informative indeed." This time, Watson fixed Holmes with a look as well, and Holmes' brow furrowed. Having finished all the biscuits, he was sitting in his chair empty-handed.
Sherlock looked like he could use a smoke, even though he had gradually weaned himself off tobacco, which was illegal in 2103. He flinched slightly as if longing for another day of lounging in his flat in the smoky atmosphere of a three-pipe problem. But he could do nothing against the law when people could snitch on him (except when he was breaking into somebody's home. Hum Dee Dum.) And now Beth Lestrade was taking away his dramatic pauses.
He sunk limply in his chair, and continued reluctantly, "I won't waste your time with explanations. She would neither confirm nor deny anything. But now we know that Ms. Dawson was lying, but this is suspicious, nothing more. We don't have enough evidence that she's entirely on the wrong side of the law." Lestrade hardly seemed satisfied with this, and was about to tell Holmes so when Watson, sensing an upcoming dispute, changed the subject.
"Why, Holmes! You never had a chance to put those lovely roses Lestrade gave you into a vase!" Watson moved toward the table where Lestrade's flowers lay, still in bloom (22nd century technology made for longer lasting flowers!), and picked them up. Holmes, picking up Watson's cue, moved to get a vase and placed the flowers in water. The roses seemed to brighten considerably after that. Lestrade smiled dreamily at the roses, remembering the monologue Holmes gave in John H. Watson's "The Naval Treaty": "What a lovely thing a rose is!"
And so they moved onto topics of lesser importance. Soon, Beth Lestrade left and - Holmes ignored the wink Watson sent him - wished Holmes a good night. He smiled back charmingly and reminded her to meet him at Baker Street the next morning. Their next stop would be the United States of America.

CHAPTER THREE - Mr. William Bern

Thanks for all your reviews!!!!! *Mwah*
PSE: Mysha: good luck on your boook!!!! sure email me go ahead! Now I feel special!!! :D Nice going Nightmare.. I haven't heard of that one yet.. but I'll read your fic, don't hurt me! Ok now I'm talking to guardians.. freaky....

Texas
USA

Holmes checked the list from Paris one last time. The United States of the 22nd century was very up to date. Being a large continent, they had opened wormholes in the air, which allowed speedy interstate travel to states of the highest populations. Only small countryside residents needed to go a long way to the nearest hole. So it was only a short amount of time before Holmes and Lestrade arrived in Texas. Holmes glanced at Lestrade, but her face seemed impassive and she didn't seem at all excited at returning to her hometown. "Does it feel good to be back home, Beth?" he asked quietly.
Lestrade's lips compressed into a tight line and there was no emotion in her voice when she replied curtly, "New London is my real home now, Sherlock."
They found their way to the Customs counter, and after much shuffling of paperwork and glances at the clock, they were done and headed quickly back to their hovercraft. Holmes could make himself inconspicuous in a crowd, but he also observed their habits and deduced their person accordingly. But Beth Lestrade didn't have that skill (not many people do) and as they left the Immigration building a large man jostled her roughly. "Hey, watch it, buster!" she hissed angrily, massaging her arm. Holmes turned at the commotion in time to see the color drain from Lestrade's face as she studied the man's face, a hint of recognition and fear sweeping her features.
The man was burly and large; but his bulk wasn't made up of fat, but of muscle, evident by the way he moved. He seemed of average height (but was actually quite tall), wore fancy clothing, and on the fingers of both his hands many rings glistened. Curly red hair slicked down with some mousse, sideburns, and an unkempt beard made his features rough but 'cultured'. Cold black eyes stared at Lestrade and the man's smile revealed yellow and crooked teeth. Bodyguards who weren't afraid to show off their brawn (though I'm sure they didn't have much brain to show) stood behind him in a sinister way.
"Well, what do we got here, boys? If it isn't little Ms. Beth Lestrade! Where have you been, Betty? We missed you so much back here in Texas!" His eyes rolled up and down across Beth's features, and he walked in a slow circle around her, but Lestrade didn't bother to turn with him. She just stood there, lip quivering.
Bern stopped behind Holmes, and then his eyes flicked over in Holmes' direction. He glared at the Englishman and removed his jacket, tossed it to one of his men, then rolled up his sleeves to subtly reveal his huge biceps and tattoos. Lestrade breathed in short little gasps and instinctively grabbed Holmes' arm in a tight, panicked grip. She could've broken the arm if she squeezed any harder, but Holmes calmly removed his arm from her grasp and positioned her behind him. He turned to the huge man, and calmly spoke to him, "My dear Mr. William Bern -"
William Bern gave a start and squinted at Holmes with an angry suspicion in his eyes. "Here, how'd you do that?"
Holmes smiled suavely and his keen blue eyes flitted back to the personalized label on the back of Bern's coat. Then he went on, "As I was saying, Mr. Bern, INSPECTOR Lestrade and I are in quite a bit of a hurry, so if you would please step aside and let us pass..." He stood unworriedly, twirling his cane and cocking his head to one side. At his full height his head was about level with that of the huge man's.
Bern laughed a belly laugh and cracked his knuckles. "I don't think so, Mr. Whoever You Are. But I do think that I shall take my Betty home with me; show her around." He grinned evilly and Lestrade seemed as pale as a sheet while Holmes again asked Bern to move with an edge in his voice. But Bern soon lost his short temper and made a lunge for Lestrade. Holmes again moved his body slightly so that he stood in the way. When he almost crashed into the detective, Bern let out a strangled roar and gave Holmes a backhanded punch in the face.
Sherlock staggered back and Bern's guards, obviously used to this sort of row, cleared out a circle in the gathering crowd. Lestrade's face was as white as her blouse, but Holmes rubbed his cheek briskly, and thrust her to one side, where she would be safe. But before he could follow her himself he was dragged back by a guard and shoved at William Bern's knuckle.
But, knowing the Japanese art of baritsu, Holmes dodged Bern's fist, swung up behind the giant, and began a series of sidesteps to avoid blows. He did this until he was quite impatient to leave, although Mr. Bern wouldn't stop trying to pulverize him. Occasionally, even a guard would attempt to push Holmes closer to the fiend, and Sherlock would expertly twist away. The crowd was becoming quite excited when he declared, "Mr. Bern! I am eager to depart and I must ask you to desist!" But when he narrowly escaped getting the wind knocked out of him, he grimaced and said, "Very well, I shall put an end to this at once - and everybody here shall be witness to the fact that it was he who first raised his hand." After his short talk Holmes raised his fists and prepared for a rapid succession of punches at William Bern, who wouldn't even know what hit him.

CHAPTER FOUR: A Hint to the Title

Wiggins, the third of Holmes' Irregular friends, was an able boxer, and had once given Holmes a quick lesson on 22nd century boxing. Wiggins' tutorial came in handy even though Holmes was "the best boxer of his weight" according to John Watson's description. Holmes knocked Bern out cold faster than the blink of an eye, or had at least stunned him and the other guard who had rushed in to 'even up' the fight. Unchallenged for the time, Holmes was about to follow Lestrade again when yet another of Bern's lackeys pulled out a strange gun with a curse. But a security guard on the scene stopped him from shooting and broke up the crowd, hauling Bern up to stand.
Assuming he left the gang in good hands, Holmes left without a word, taking Beth by the arm. He had wanted to begin a search for Moriarty, but Lestrade was in no condition to join him. But when they got to their room, Lestrade insisted on helping Holmes about the blackened bruise he received from the fight. The bruise formed on Holmes' right cheekbone and reached his right temple, although it didn't cover his eye.
Beth Lestrade fetched an ice pack from the hotel room fridge and held it tenderly to Holmes' face. "Does it hurt?" she inquired with concern before he shook his head with a wince. Holmes took the ice into his own hand and Lestrade sat down on one of the two beds in the room. Taking the pack away from his face so that he could look Lestrade straight in the eye, Holmes carefully asked her why she had been so terrified of William Bern. It was Lestrade's turn to wince as she explained with downcast face.
"William Bern's dad was the mayor of this city when I lived here, until a scandal drove him away. Will is the manager of the City Bank, now, and even before he got the job he was the richest kid in town. Everybody - all the girls at least - loved him and doted upon him, but his eye rested on...." Lestrade paused with a shudder. "Well, I didn't return the feeling, and he knew it, but one time he -- he and that gang of his -- they threatened me real bad. They said if I didn't go with him I'd regret it and when I told them to go to hell they...." Beth stopped and bit her lip with tears in her eyes.
Holmes stopped her right there by putting a finger to her lips. "Shall we discuss this over dinner, Beth?"
Lestrade looked at him blankly and then stood, but she sat down again with a vigorous shake of her head. "No, I haven't finished! I've never told anybody, Holmes. I can't stop now. It might be good to let it out -- I - I just -- it's just that remembering -- it's... so painful." Beth Lestrade went on with a shaky voice. "One night they broke into the house and waited for me. When I got home Bern -- jumped out at me with a knife and -- slashed me with it and -- after they tied me up so I couldn't move they -- left me to bleed in Bern's trunk. It stank so bad and I couldn't breathe and it was. awful and...."
Lestrade choked on her words and didn't go on anymore. She had been set free by a passerby hours later. And she was unconscious as well, having lost a dangerously large amount of blood. Holmes sat in silence, not knowing what to do or say.
"Well, it's all right now, Lestrade. That gang is in the hands of the law now. I'm certain somebody will testify to the fact that they started a row," Holmes smiled reassuringly, but Lestrade wasn't so certain.
She told him how Mayor Bern had bribed the policemen so his son wouldn't ever be responsible for whatever deeds the boy had really done. And why should William Bern change his father's convenient ways? Tears rolled down Lestrade's cheeks like rain down a window on an April day. Sherlock Holmes wiped them away with the back of his hand. There was silence except for the final unstopped tear dropping to the carpet.
Holmes broke the silence, saying he'd go out and order food for them. He left the room and took a quick walk for air outside the building while waiting. Lestrade's story was piteous and terrible but he didn't know what he could do to help her. He felt like it was his story as well as hers, and that he too was running from Bern. Holmes shook his head at himself and got back to Lestrade with their dinner.
When Sherlock Holmes returned to the hotel room, he found Beth sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, swallowing some kind of liquid from a colored glass pipette. She looked languidly at him, tossed the pipette aside and reached for another one from the open fridge. Holmes was aghast at Lestrade's lack of self-control, threw his overcoat aside and moved to close the fridge. Lestrade waved him off fiercely and showed him a pipette. "Is just beer, Holmes! 22nd century beer -- no zedding side effects like vomiting or sh** like that! Sure, slightly hangyover but nothing I can't handle, eh, Holmsy?" She smiled sickly and continued downing the pipettes with amazing speed. Luckily for her (and Holmes, who fronted the bill.) the hotel charged a high room price and so everything in the fridge was complimentary, not to mention that newly filled pipettes were conveyed to empty fridges by a mini-wormhole.
"Ruffian Americans," Holmes muttered darkly as he reached down to help Lestrade up.
But she waved him aside with a hiccup. "Zed off, you English ponce!" Lestrade chucked a glass at him limply and went back to her drinks. Sherlock dodged the pipette and caught it with his smooth reflexes, examining it tentatively. There were many different shades of pipettes, and a marble-like stone stuck in the top below the pipette's rim kept the drink from spilling. Lestrade had picked up a small device like a corkscrew and Holmes observed how she placed the bottom part of the "T" on the marble and pressed down hard, pushing the stone into the drink, which dissolved it.
Holmes eyed the alcoholic beverage with a critical eye, but something took him over and he swigged it in one gulp. It actually tasted rather good, a mix of orange and raspberry with a crisp tang to it. Wondering if the different colors meant different flavors, Sherlock Holmes felt himself reaching for another pipette, and another and another until he lost track of the number of pipettes he added to Lestrade's scattered pile. And so the two detectives sat there in silence, drinking glass after glass and getting drunker and drunker.

Chapter 5: Those Darned Pipettes

Authorís note: ok since ff.net doesnít make the italics show up, and since Iím sure youíre all jumping up and down to read this here it is...
OK, so the symbol I wanted to use actually make the text enclosed in them to disappear (damn webpage things!) But I discovered how to make the italics show up!! YES!
And I always forget those disclaimers too...
Disclaimer: SH22 isnít mine. I donít know who it belongs to but it sure as heck isnít mine... Awe... The little beer pipettes are from "Miss Congeniality" I love those little multicolored pipettes! Yay! Ahem, on with the motley....
When Beth Lestrade said "slight hangover" she only meant for people who werenít newbies at the beer downing. Like she was. A consistent panging woke her up, and it made her head throb and her insides thrash. Her stomach felt like it was inside out; she wanted to throw up but nothing came out. What a scam.... Lestrade thought as she tried to raise her head. But she felt a weight against her stomach. Great, now I canít even move. I am suing that beer company.... But looking down, she was shocked and horrified to see Sherlock Holmesí sandy-haired head resting against her front.
The bottom few buttons of her shirt were undone, leaving her stomach uncovered, and Holmesí cheek leaned against it, rising and falling peacefully with her breathing. With a gasp Lestrade straightened up and rolled out of the bed. Holmes groaned and turned over as well, but didnít wake. Lestrade looked down at herself as if she had become a different person without knowing it. Besides the buttons on her shirt she was (to her unutterable relief) fully clothed. She exhaled sharply with a hiss of disbelief, regained her reason, and looked around. Strewn amongst the numerous glass pipettes were Holmesí tie, vest, and belt. Lestrade lifted the blankets slowly: The Great Detectiveís shirt was completely unbuttoned in the front and at the cuffs, and he lay with one of his lanky arms hanging over the side of the bed and the other draped across his flat chest. A glass pipette was still in the hand that lay limply upturned over the bedside. Bethís drunken mind went into a panic.
Calming herself and distractedly picking up pipettes and tossing them into the fridge, Lestrade thought about her situation. Okay, so she had spent one night with the greatest detective in the world after they both got dead drunk off complimentary beer in pipettes that were now spread across the floor like it was an abandoned laboratory. Not to mention that the greatest detective in the world, who was at the moment lying half naked in her bed, didnít know it and would go crazy if he did. So far so good....
She picked up Holmesí crumpled tie, vest, and belt and placed them on the chair with his Inverness cape as if he had done it himself. Holmes would probably never remember the night before, except for the drinks. Even she herself could only draw a blank on what happened, seeing as they were both so zedding drunk... Lestrade twitched at the thought. She didnít have to tell him -- he didnít have to find out. It would only scare him out of his wits, anyway... if she tried to explain how drunk they were and the stupid things drunken people did, he still wouldnít understand -- he wasnít ready yet. She had resolved not to tell Holmes anything about it when she heard him stir.
The great sleuth sat up with a pained groan and tried to retch over the side of the bed in vain. A cough-slash-choke emitted from his throat as he lay back down onto the sheets. Holmes lay wilted and Lestrade committed the mental picture to memory before drawing the covers over Holmes again and taking the last glass pipette away. Then she went to sleep in the other bed; to make the impression that she had slept there, instead of... the other there.
Sherlock Holmes spent the day sleeping in the room, too sick to move. Lestrade, who was clueless as to what to do, and afraid of leaving a groggy Holmes alone and in a hangover, stayed with him. Finally, he was able to at least get up to go to the bathroom or to eat -- necessities like that. A few mumbled words escaped his lips, although he hardly spoke to Lestrade. But his "supervising officer" decided they had better stay in the room a little longer after taking him to the downstairs restaurant of the hotel and seeing him vomit all of his dinner under the tablecloth. Naturally, they had to depart to their room after that, anyways.
When Holmes insisted he was feeling better the day after, Lestrade wouldnít believe him, seeing as he was still in the same arrangement as the day before. Moriarty could wait, she said, because you canít stop him in a hangover. But it was too late, because they soon heard of a series of bank robberies in the immediate area, and the robber had escaped with a rented car. When Lestrade told this to him, Holmes nodded, tried to vomit again, but instead fell asleep lightly with a moan. Lestrade, having gotten over her hangover, moved to help him, when the room was shook as the door burst open with a bang to reveal William Bern, breathing huffily and with a ominous look in his eye.
"HOLMES!" he roared, shaking the Great Detective roughly, who sat up with a quizzical look. Sherlock was confused for a moment, seeing this big chunk of a man standing over him. But he comprehended soon, as the banker spoke, "I know youíre Sherlock Holmes: the detective -- donít you deny it! And I want you to find out where my money went and youíre going to do it now! Yíall hear me? Just say the word and Iíll pay you 20% of that stolen money! Well, say something!" Lestrade was too busy wondering about Holmes' refusal to this plea to fear Bern. Bern suddenly realized with a double take that Lestrade was in the room, but he remembered his precious money, and turned to await Holmesí response. Sherlockís hand stole to his bruised cheek, which made him flinch, and looked at Bern with clear blue eyes, then stared at the ceiling with his fingers in a steeple.
"My dear Mr. Bern - let me assure you that I do the work for the workís sake, and if I choose to ask for a fee it remains fixed, and I add to it any money I mightíve spent in order to solve the problem. As for your problem, please donít bother me with anything besides the facts if I am to accept it. Which I... will not." Holmes decided the question with a nod to himself and Bern was dumbfounded -- nobody ever refused him anything, and now was not the time to start.
Lestrade was far from satisfied with this refusal -- Bern deserved some butt-whooping. The large manís eyes turned bloodshot as he screamed at the two of them: threats, pleas, bribes, and such vulgarism as would make Fenwick blush. Lestrade was beginning to get annoyed, even though she still feared Bern immensely. Holmes also seemed to be impatient with the man, and he drummed his fingers rapidly while his limbs, including the muscle underneath the lightened bruise, twitched constantly.
William Bern was just about to get rough with Holmes when the detective went into a spasm. Both Bern and Lestrade looked at Sherlock with raised eyebrows and confusion in their eyes. Beth was alarmed because she knew it could be a side effect of the beer, although it had never happened to her before; but then again, Holmes had a sensitive mind and system.
Her alarm grew when the detective groaned in pain and curled himself up, arms wrapped around his knees and rocking back and forth, muttering undiscernibly. She was about to speak up when Holmes lifted his face and displayed a totally different faÁade then before the seizure. It was contorted into an evil grin that gave Lestrade the willies, since the only place she ever saw that grin was on the face of Holmesí wicked nemesis, Moriarty himself. And Holmes fixed his grin on Bern, and with a tiger spring he had the man by the throat. Bern was lifted an inch -- two inches! - off the ground with amazing strength. Sherlock gnashed his teeth with a breathless, undertone snarl. "Get... out... now! Or Iíll ...come after you... and you never... know what accident ...might happen then...." Holmes tightened his hold on Bern, who choked and clawed at his assailantís iron grip, which was slowly squeezing the life out of him! The feat was revolting to look at and Lestrade almost felt sorry for Bern as she tried to calm Holmes down. He had never acted like this before! What was going on?
But, irritated more than ever, Holmes shoved Lestrade into a table with a shout and Bern, taking the chance Lestradeís unintentional distraction gave him, scampered (like a bat out of hell) away from the room. Seeing that his quarry had escaped, the monster formerly known as Sherlock Holmes turned on Beth Lestrade, an almost cannibalistic look in his eye.
When he dashed away, William Bern had thoughtlessly and without a doubt, left the defenseless inspector alone in the room with a madman. A madman who had now, by some strange power, become a vampire.
Authorís note: Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds a bit corny but I tried my best to make it plausible and it is MUCH better than the original, trust me... Does it sound like the episode where Lestrade "and Holmes" went mad? I tried to not make it sound like Iím copying them... *grin. Anyway, Read and Review!

CHAPTER 6: dracula!

Authorís note: Ok I admit the "drunken vampires" thing was kind of a fluke. But then I realized Jeremy Brett played Dracula on stage and referred to my websites on him. Sure enough there was a few well- needed "suggestions" from his play. So this chapter is dedicated to him, Peter Jeremy William Huggins, who died eight years ago this September 12th. Do the math as you read this chapter. Read and review! And so, on with the motley!
Holmes crept nearer and nearer towards Lestrade, cornering her and pushing her up against the wall with his knee. He bared his teeth and he licked his lips like a beast thirsty for blood. I am so suing that beer company if I get out of this.... she thought to herself as sweat dripped down her back. Lestrade couldnít find the voice to scream with, since she had never screamed in her life. (Well, maybe that one time when Holmes and Watson dressed up as bogey monsters and -- well, thatís another story....)
She called his name out and implored him to stop the joke, which only made the fiend laugh. Holmesí teeth got closer to Lestradeís neck, and the bristles on the back of it seemed to stand on end as his mouth touched her skin. Lestrade shut her eyes tight and waited for Holmes to suck her blood.
Beth Lestrade had read Doctor John H. Watsonís journals numerous times. They were a family treasure and so she had to read them eventually. She remembered the countless times Watson, Holmesí closest friend, had been fooled by an act of flawless performing when Holmes wanted something done 'the dramatic way'.
So, her mind went off. That was the only explanation! As she waited for the teeth in her neck she could see the next few moments in her head. Because suddenly Holmesí mouth wasnít like that of a vampire, and his jaws werenít out for blood.
His blood-sucking lips became tender and affectionate, and he planted a kiss on Lestradeís neck before lifting his head and turning away. His amused voice called back to her from over his shoulder. "Itís all right, Lestrade. You can stop acting so scared now... I must admit your skills as an actress are immense. I couldnít have gotten rid of Bern without you." Holmes turned back to her and his blue eyes twinkled at her. Lestrade knew she would feel speechless; she didnít know whether to be angry or... not angry.
And then, the tomfoolery of the whole thing became evident when the left side of her brain continued on. Sherlock Holmes leaned his mouth to Lestradeís ear and mumbled, "Watson will tell you I canít resist a bit of dramatics. But what he wonít be able to tell is that I canít resist you, Beth Lestrade." Lestrade groaned to herself. Holmes? Say that? No way.
And of course, it never did happen. But who says the left side of your brain listens to your right side when the latter tells the former to stop? Lestrade was disgusted and dizzy as she felt the scene run through her head.
Dream-Lestrade decided to take the peacekeeping plan and stay calm after Holmesí mischief. Her own voice was but a whisper. "Holmes, you scared the living daylights out of me." He blinked with a hint of confusion before stepping towards her again. Cocking his head to one side, a muscle in his face twitched and a shudder passed through him. Lestrade, too confused and frightened to move, could only whisper her last sentence over and over again. A drum sounded somewhere in her ears: her heart pounded like a huge gong against her chest, ready to burst any second. Holmesí whole demeanor had changed again, and his blue eyes burned like the hottest part of a flame as he hissed, "Vampires hate light, you little witch." Fear surged through the girl, but soon the vampireís voice was as soft as silk again. "But of course, my darling, I can forgive you...." Yuck, he was close to her again. Beth Lestrade suddenly felt a power from the vampire: she felt so peaceful and... seductive....
YUCK! The right side of her brain took control again. With a cry she squeezed out of the manís arms but 'gracefully' tripped over a chair in her escape. A cold laugh emitted from a cold, pale, face as a cold, pale hand pulled her closer and closer... She could feel wetness all over her lips and neck! Pushing away was no use against that iron strength that used to amaze her. Lestrade shut her eyes with a scream.
"Lestrade! Lestrade, are you all right?" The New Scotland Yard Inspector regained her senses and found Holmes standing over her, splashing water on her face.
She sat up with a gasp. "Zed, what happened?" was all she could ask him. Had he really hit on her? Holmes did seem a bit sheepish, because he mumbled something that Lestrade couldnít catch. Then he said it a bit louder. "My apologies, Lestrade, youíve been the victim of a cruel joke of mine to get rid of Mr. Bern." He helped her up, still dazed and sat her down in a chair. "Well it did seem to work, but what happened was that you believed it as well (I guess), and well, you fainted just as our Mr. Bern fled like a mouse."
Holmes handed Lestrade a glass of water, which she gulped down gratefully. When she finished she played with the cup in her hands, a bit sheepish herself, she finally admitted, "I thought you were a vampire...."
Holmes mustíve thought she had gone loony. He did feel her forehead with his forearm, which she could feel twitching underneath the sleeve, but he took it away and looked at her in a funny way as a request for an explanation. But, using his better judgment to decide that she wasnít in need of those white men in lab coats, he blushed with a laugh and said honestly, "Donít be silly -- vampires are one of the things that scare me...."
Lestrade, surprised that the Great Detective could be scared of anything, stared blankly at him. That was a little more than she wanted to know.... Of course, Sherlock seemed to regret that he had confided one of his rare phobias in her, and so Lestrade decided to lighten the mood a bit. Holmes stood and helped her up, and she laughed and teased back, "You? You, who torture and beat small animals until they die a sad death, are afraid of vampires?"
Putting on a hurt face, Holmes fired back, "I do not torture small animals!" Then he added under his breath, "Theyíre already dead small animals."
Lestrade stared at him in horror. "What?"
He snorted indignantly, "Itís for science!"
Lestrade shook her head sadly as she began to pack. "You definitely need lots of medical attention." Holmes grinned as if he had known that remark was coming and wasnít disappointed at all.
Authorís Note (yes, yes, I know... I canít help it!): Californiaís next! Lo and behold, holy land of surfing, surfing, and Hollywood. And surfing. And beaches. But Lestrade canít surf (please donít even think about Holmes surfing...) says me because that would be a bit sidetracking. And I donít surf even though I live in California... But itís hopefully going to be easy to write....

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