The Adventure of the Cat's Eye

Part 1

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
9/14/01
Here is yet another beginning to a story that the plot bunnies won't leave me alone about. Usually I ignore them and run away but they kept at me until I gave in and put this down in words.
Inspector Beth Lestrade smiled as she walked into her flat. She had two whole weeks of vacation, and she planned to make the most of it... by reading. Closing the door behind her she quickly made her way to her room where she changed from her crisp uniform to a baggy T-shirt and a pair of shorts, which was infinitely more comfortable. She strode out of the bedroom and over to her bookcase, where she ran a finger over each of the spines, loving the smell and feel of the old books. They were all a little ragged around the edges, but what was a book for if not to read, at least once if not more? Then after choosing one, she curled up on the couch and began to read.
It wasn't really the one she wanted to read, but she had let Holmes borrow that one the other day. Why he wanted something that dealt in fantasy and not scientific fact, she had no way of knowing. She pushed those thoughts aside, as she got caught up in a world of Orcs, wizards, swords that glowed when an enemy was near, and of good vs evil.
So caught up was she in this fantasy world, that she jumped at the knock on her door. Grumbling to herself, she stood up and laid the careworn book aside as she walked to the door.
"Who is it?" she growled.
"Well, Lestrade," Holmes' voice answered back through the wood and plastic, "someone is in a testy mood tonight."
Sighing to herself, Lestrade reluctantly opened the door. She had actually wanted this time off, and she knew that the detective's arrival could only mean one thing: her vacation was over.
"Well?" she demanded once he had stepped inside, "What brings you here?"
Holmes raised one elegant eyebrow and smiled. "A bit impatient as well. I have come to return your book," he said as he pulled it out from its hiding place in his Inverness, "And also to ask for a favor."
It was Lestrade's turn to raise her eyebrows. "A favor? That's it? No going on some wild chase or some such?"
"I thought you liked that sort of thing," Holmes replied without answering, and Lestrade got a bad feeling about what that 'favor' was going to be.
"You know quite a bit about this fantasy stuff, don't you?" he asked after a few seconds had passed.
"Of course," she agreed, "I studied all the books I read. That was the best way to get involved in them. Why?" She was getting more suspicious the more he delayed.
"A friend of mine has asked me to meet him at a..." He paused at this point and scowled, "..Fantasy Fair. He said that it was a matter of grave importance."
Lestrade wasn't impressed. "And? What do you need me for?"
At this point, Holmes looked a bit uncomfortable. "It seems that I must go in disguise, as an Elf, with a name from that book you learnt me. I only learned today that it was a couples' Fair that he asked me to go to."
"No."
"Lestrade, it is a matter of grave importance. My friend would not have called unless it were so." Holmes' eyes bored into hers, and she sighed.
"Fine," she reluctantly agreed, "When do we leave?"
"Tonight. We will go to Baker Street and change into our disguises and then head out for the fairgrounds. We will check in with our Elven names, and no one will bother to find out who we really are."
Lestrade nodded. She had been to a couple of those fairs when she was a girl. Which brought up another question. "Why do we have to choose names from that particular book? In my experience, none of the other Fair-goers, or even the staff have ever known about actual written works of fantasy. It would just go right over their heads."
"Ah, but my friend is an avid fan of this trilogy, and since we will be in disguise the names are merely for him to find us," Holmes responded, "However, I will explain more to you once we get there. It will take a while to get the costumes ready, and even longer to get to the fair. We have to go on foot, any other way and we'd be identified immediately."
So, Lestrade followed Holmes out into the night and wondered if she would ever be able to get back to reading, or if this little adventure was going to take the entire two weeks.

On to Part 2!
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