The Adventure of the Cat's Eye

Part 7

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
9/27/01

Lestrade smiled as she held little Elanor. She had always had a soft spot for children, especially the very young ones. Not that she'd ever let the Irregulars know that, of course. She reluctantly handed her to her mother. Rosie smiled at the reluctance.
"Now, a pretty girl like you will have no trouble finding a nice young man and having one of your own one day. In fact, there's sure to be plenty of those at the picnic tomorrow."
Lestrade blushed, not just because of the words, but out of guilt. She had scheduled the picnic for the next day, so that she could escape without being noticed. Merry, Rosie, and even the very annoying Pippin had been very nice to her, and here she was betraying their trust. It couldn't be helped, though; she had to find Holmes.
She had spent the better part of two weeks recuperating and studying maps of the Shire and surrounding areas. Poor Merry thought that she was just interested in learning. And she was. She just wanted to put that learning to practical use.
She sighed, and signed that she was ready for bed. Rosie nodded with a smile. "You go on to sleep then, Beth. And remember, if you ever want to talk about those dreams you have, I'm here for you." She left the room holding Elanor close.
Lestrade wrinkled her nose at the mention of the dreams. Ever since that first night they had become more strange. They all had the same themes in various orders: Holmes forgetting her, and her not being able to tell him anything; a dark something keeping her from something; and finally, a very vague vision of someone in a white dress telling her not to worry, that she was where she was supposed to be at the moment.
She shook her head and started to turn down the lamp, when she heard a noise that sounded like laughter outside. Cautiously she walked over to the window and looked out. Standing in front of the door were two hobbits, one with dark brown curly hair and the other with a slightly lighter shade. The light brown one said something that made the other one laugh. Then he knocked on the door, and Lestrade gasped. Whoever they were, they should certainly know better than to come visiting this late at night.
She waited with bated breath as the door was jerked open by Merry. Then to her astonishment, he yelled out in joyful excitement and hugged the darkhaired hobbit. The other stranger looked up at her window suddenly and she jerked back. Knowing that she had been found out, she quickly dressed and walked downstairs. Pippin had been awakened by something as well, and he met her at the bottom of the stairs with a smile. She rolled her eyes. He flirted a lot, but she could tell he wasn't serious.
The three other hobbits had by that time come in. Merry looked at her and shook his head. He had appointed himself her guardian, and he could be very overprotective. She folded her arms across her chest and glared at him. He sighed and nodded. She looked over at Pippin, who was usually laughing uproariously by now. He was staring at the darkhaired stranger as though he were seeing a ghost, then he gave a yelp and pulled him into a bonecrushing hug.
"Easy there, Pippin," the stranger said, "I can break, you know."
"Oh, Frodo," Pippin said, "I don't care. If that's what it'll take to keep you here this time."
Lestrade stared in confusion, which, had she remembered, was the expression she would normally wear. However, she was too shocked to think of that. For one thing, Frodo -- if this hobbit was indeed Frodo Baggins -- was supposed to be in Eressea.
Merry noticed her expression and smiled. "This is Frodo, Beth," he said, "And this, Frodo, is Beth."
"That's right, Beth," Sam began, "He's Frodo of the Nine Fingers, only he's got all ten again." Sam had been with Rosie the last time she had visited and had eagerly told of his adventures with Mr. Frodo.
Lestrade looked down at Frodo's right hand, and sure enough there were all five. She gave him a small, shy smile. He really was handsome, and if she were really a hobbit-maid she would certainly be interested. He smiled back, then turned to his friends.
"I suppose you both want to know how I came to be here? Well, come on then, and I'll tell you."
Lestrade watched as the four of them walked towards Merry's study, then turned and walked slowly up the stairs. She wanted to know also, but she knew she needed to prepare for tomorrow. Finding Holmes was more important than her curiosity.

On to Part 8!
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