The Case of the Blown-Up Cottage

Part 5

by Cyberwolf (wolf at mydestiny.net)
8/19/02
AN: Re: 'Simpson trial': if anyone out there knows of a case wherein a one-year-old child was a witness, couldja tell me?

0230 hours, November 1, 2103,

"Material witness my bloody a -- foot!" snapped Holmes as he and Lestrade emerged from New Scotland Yard into the darkness of the mostly-deserted New London streets. "Grayson just wanted to foist off this...child onto somebody not inside the Yard’s building!" The child in question was at the moment half-slung onto Holmes’ shoulder, gleefully chewing on a corner of his Inverness.
"Come on, Holmes," Lestrade teased as they slipped into her cruiser’s interior. "The kid was the only living creature at the scene of the crime. He might react or something and give us a clue."
"It didn’t work in Simpson’s trial -- although that was a dog, not a person...."
Lestrade didn’t bother to try and place Holmes’ off-hand reference. In whatever century he lived in, be it twenty-second or nineteenth, Sherlock Holmes was sure to have an encyclopedic knowledge of sensational criminal cases and trials.
She glanced at her two passengers. Baby Henry was currently standing on the detective’s lap, cooing and babbling and trying to get Holmes’ cap. Holmes moved his head back, straining his neck to its utmost as he tried to put maximum distance in between himself and Henry. Henry seemed to regard this as an invitation to play, and he began to giggle as he continued to try for Holmes’ deerstalker.
Lestrade watched them out of the corner of her eye. She was smiling unconsciously -- there was just something so cute about the scene. By they reached the station, Henry had managed to get at Holmes’ deerstalker and had set it on his head, giggling even more as the too-large hat slid down his head.
'Sure is a happy baby....'
They walked into the train-station, Henry still wearing Holmes’ cap as the detective carried him through the deserted King’s Cross. Near Platform 9, they saw a man in a non-descript, slightly rumpled business suit. He approached them and, as soon as he was near enough, quietly said, "Flight."
"Eagles," Lestrade replied just as quietly, watching the man’s slightly tensed shoulders as he relaxed. Grayson’s words echoed in her head. ‘God save me from Intelligence and their little spy- games!’ She had to stifle a grin.
"Nice to meet you," the man said. He shook hands with the two detectives. "I’m Agent Franklin Willis. And you are, of course, the famous Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Elizabeth Lestrade." He smiled amiably, with just a tinge of awe in his expression.
Franklin Willis, MI5 agent, was a short man, his height a few inches less than Lestrade’s, with broad shoulders and a wide, genial face. His skin and buzz-cut hair were dark, making his pale gray eyes seem quite startling. He looked curiously at the baby on Holmes’ shoulder. "Your son, Mr Holmes?" he inquired.
"No!" Holmes replied quickly, only just managing to keep from snapping it out. "The child is the only survivor of the explosion we were sent to investigate. The Yard felt that the chance that his reactions to the scene would be valuable was enough to justify his being brought along."
"Cute little feller." Franklin patted the baby on the head. Lestrade almost shook hers; this Franklin Willis seemed awfully laid-back and sociable for a secret agent.
"Shouldn’t we be leaving for the explosion by now?" she asked.
"Right you are, Inspector." Franklin began to walk away; Lestrade and Holmes followed. "We’ll be taking a special express train," the agent explained as they walked. "That’s why we made the meeting-place at King’s Cross. It’ll have us out to Godric’s Hollow in half-an-hour."
"Godric’s Hollow?" repeated Lestrade as they boarded a maglev train painted a bright scarlet. "Is that the name of the town where the explosion took place?"
"Yeah. Nice little place, typical small-town community, with farming and a small chapel and everything. You’d think you were in the twentieth century or something."
"That will be pleasant," smiled Holmes as they sat down in the first compartment of the train. Henry, seeing the man holding him smile, smiled as well.
"Yes, well, it was much more pleasant before all this happened," Franklin said, beginning to look a little grimmer. "We’ve been evacuating the town, due to the risk of nuclear fallout or something. I mean, the counters don’t go off, but something that strong...? You never know. Godric’s Hollow should be completely empty by now." He looked at Henry, who was seated quietly on Holmes’ lap. "Are you taking the baby to the site?"
"That’s what we brought him for," Lestrade answered.
"I better phone ahead and have them ready a baby-sized radiation suit."

On to Part 6!
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