Follow the Leader

Part 3

by Ann (redwaller at msn.com)
1/29 - 2/2/2002

She froze; fear crossed her face as the driver's eyes bored into hers. His mouth twisted into a grin. But suddenly she wasn't there; she was beside it all, watching in horror as the hovercraft sped by. The wind in its wake blew at her face. It was then that she realized someone had their arms around her waist, and that she was half-kneeling, half-collapsed on the ground.

She ignored the crowd's excited conversations and looked up into the face of her rescuer. It was the agent that hadn't spoken in Grayson's office -- but there was something familiar about him.

"Lestrade! You nearly had yourself killed!! What were you thinking, running off into the street like that?!?!", Grayson screamed as Lestrade shakily got to her feet.

"I- I didn't run into the street, I was pushed!" she retorted, keeping her calm. The agent put his arm on her shoulders to help her balance. She pushed his arm off roughly.

"Excuse me, Ms, but if it weren't for our agent here you would b-"

"Even if he were an agent!!" Lestrade shouted, cutting off Agent Cummings.

He raised his eyebrows. "What do you mean?"

Lestrade looked straight into the eyes of her mystery rescuer and said defiantly, "He isn't from the FBI. Holmes, you might be the master of disguise, but maybe you should alter your eyes before going undercover. It seems no one can forget your eyes."

Grayson, the crowd and the two real FBI agents looked at Holmes in his realistic FBI suit. Holmes smiled one of those rare smiles and shook his head.

Lestrade walked off as the crowd went their separate directions. She hid in the alley of the closest building, Grayson, the FBI, and no doubt Holmes would want to question her. She looked down the alley. There were a number of old-looking garbage compactors, and a maimed alley cat here and there. But one thing Lestrade saw that made her literally see red: walking a good distance a head of her was a short bald man in an outdated overcoat. Silently she crept forward, dodging cats and compactors, and then breaking into a run when he turned from the alley.

"How come I didn't see it before?" she thought, nearly tripping over a box that lay strewn over the ground. She slowed to a stop when she reached where the alley ended and the next street began, and looked around the corners. She saw the short bald (and unnamed at the moment) man round another street. Lestrade followed him.

"And so begins a nice little game of follow the leader," she muttered under her breath, watching him from behind a parked hovercraft.

This went on for another dozen blocks, until finally a worn-out Lestrade watched him go into a slummy apartment with a hovercraft parked on the side. She waited until he had entered the house, and took some minutes to gather her courage before she progressed to the flat. She slunk into the shadows next to the hovercraft, which was parked next to a high window in the second story. Lestrade had started to come up with possibilities as to how to peek into the window when her memory took hold of her. Her eyes widened. The hovercraft! It was the one that nearly ran her over, which means, she concluded in her mind, that Tyler is here!

All plots to simply eavesdrop fell from her mind. Now she had a chance at revenge! She climbed on top of the hovercar's hood and stood on tiptoe to peer into the window. It was cracked at the bottom and Lestrade could hear voices from the inside; she strained her ears but only caught snatches of the conversation.

"....had her this time, if not for the interference....." said a cold hard voice.

"....it wasn't my fault...could go after him too...was the cause of this mess...." whined another.

"....pushed her harder you know...gotten them both and...two birds with one stone," replied the first.

"Or car, in this case...found her address today...followed the guy and got it...his too..." said the other in a clear sulk.

"...anyway, wouldn't be able to do much for a week or two."

The voices became clearer as they started to enter the room. Lestrade realized this a little too late; the bald man caught a glimpse of her as she jumped off the hood. She ran out of sight down an alley and didn't stop, not for traffic, people or when her legs nearly gave way. Finally, under the cover of darkness, she collapsed on her front stairs. But she never rested long; she quickly jumped up and dashed into her apartment, locking each door securely. When she got to her apartment she ran around, locked each window, and pulled the blinds down securely.

Then when this was all done, she pulled a timeworn volume, one of many, from her bookcase and sat down on her couch. She flipped through the pages, fondly reading the tidy penmanship of the real Dr. John Watson, saying to herself in wonder, "All the corruption... for these?!"

******

"Holmes, there is no need for doing this -- treating her as a common criminal. I do agree she knows something, but it shouldn't result in this," said Watson to Holmes as they sat in a hovercraft down the street, with a clear view of Lestrade's apartment.

Holmes chewed the end of his empty pipe, watching as Lestrade dashed to her apartment. His hand went for the ionizer that lay next to him, but no one followed. Lestrade ran into the apartment building and slammed the door.

"Someone's following her," Holmes muttered, pipe in his mouth. His eyes darted back and forth, never blinking as he searched for someone pursuing her.

Watson tensed up, but after a full five minutes of nervous waiting, he relaxed. "Holmes, she's just being paranoid. All of the general public is out after Tyler Lestrade, and he can't just waltz right down the street without being noticed."

Holmes gave Watson a sideways glance that darted back to the street in front of them, as he muttered softly under his breath, "Just because she's paranoid doesn't mean that no one is out to get her."

Short but almost done, but that almost only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes -- not in horseshoes anymore, though.

-Ann

TO BE CONTINUED

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