The Adventure of the Cat's Eye

Part 10

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
10/10/01

Watson blinked against the bright sunlight, his sensors being too slow to adjust themselves. He searched through his memory archives, and found that a section had been tampered with, but not erased. It would take a few hours for him to repair them and retrieve the files, so he decided to try and find out where he was.
He sat up and noted that he was sitting in the middle of a clearing. His peripheral sensors picked up a movement and he turned his head that way. Two boys were looking at him as though he were some sort of monster. They held swords that were pointed at him. As they neared, Watson realized that they weren't children at all, but short men.
He quickly put his hand up to his face, and was relieved to find the special mask still in place. He wasn't sure where he was, but he did know that those two would probably be more frightened of his robotic appearance than of his appearance now. He gingerly smiled, and the taller of the two stepped up.
"Well," the man said, "who are you, and why have you attacked us?"
"Attacked!" Watson exclaimed, "Oh my! Did I really? I have no memory of it."
His obvious confusion and dismay seemed to relax them, and the one who had spoken first was quick to reassure him. "No, you didn't. We simply assumed that since you were with those that did, you were in league with them." He paused thoughtfully, "You wouldn't by any chance go by the name Watson, would you?"
Watson nodded. "Why yes, but how the deuce did you..."
"Oh, well," the man said with a smile, "we found two children, a girl and a boy, and they said something about someone matching your description, and also something about another boy who had been with him."
"Wiggins, Diedre and Tennyson?" Watson asked eagerly. He hoped so.
"Yes," the other man said. "They also mentioned a couple other names, a Mr. Holmes and Inspector....Lestrade?"
Watson took note of the hesitation, and wondered at the odd look that passed over the first man's face, and why he would change the subject so quickly.
"Please forgive us," he said. "I'm Merry, and this is Pippin. Follow us and we'll take you to your friends."
Watson shrugged, and stood up to follow them. He still had a while to go before his memory returned.
Lestrade grimaced in anger as she realized that in her haste she had forgotten food. She sat in a small thicket of trees, where she could keep an eye on the two travelers in front of her while they wouldn't be able to see her. They had stopped to investigate something on the road, and she had decided it was a good time to see to her grumbling stomach.
A delightful smell drifted to her on a light breeze. She peered through the trees and saw that they were eating with a third person who had joined them. She sat for a few minutes in indecision, then she grabbed the pony's lead and walked quickly up to them.
Lestrade was gratified by the startled surprise and guilty look she saw on Sam's face. If Frodo felt either of those emotions, he hid it well behind a slight smile of amusement that reminded her all too much of Holmes. She looked away from him and over at the third person. She opened her mouth in surprise and recognition. It was Tennyson! The boy caught her look and frowned in puzzlement.
"Sit down," Frodo said softly, "I am certain you are hungry as well. No doubt you had little time to pack. We weren't leaving you behind. I believe that before this is over you will be needed."
Sam nodded in compliance. "That's right, Beth. We were just going to Mirkwood to get some help, and then coming back to the Shire as we don't have enough supplies to go all the way to Gondor yet."
She glared at them in suspicion, then turned her look on Tennyson. He had been nodding along with Sam. He blinked at her. "D...Do I know you?" he asked.
She opened her mouth to reply, then shut it with a snap as she remembered she couldn't speak. She shook her head in exasperation. It would take too long to explain things, and she wasn't sure she wanted Frodo and Sam to know. Besides, the kid might act differently than he usually did if he didn't know it was her. Although, the difference would probably be more notable if it had been Deidre in his place.
Lestrade looked back over at Frodo, who had a frown on his features. When he caught her staring at him, he forced a smile and suggested they all start eating. They all immediately tackled their meal. When they were finished, Sam asked if Tennyson would tell how he had come to be in the middle of the road, tied up and blindfolded.
"Well, sir," Tennyson began, "I'm not exactly certain. I was kidnapped by these ruffians, and then...well maybe it would make more sense if I told my life story and other things...."
When he had finished, Lestrade was seething. So, Toutarienhad planned on all this happening, and had used herself and Holmes as pawns for...well she still didn't know that but that didn't excuse the fact that Toutarien had known about the perils of this gem and had placed three kids in danger. Now, she would be worried about Deidre and Wiggins as well as Holmes. And what about Watson? She absently readied her pony as they prepared to travel on, and missed the concerned look Frodo gave her.

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