House Guest

Chapter 2

by Jen (dragonriderjenner at yahoo.com)
6/26/04

Whoopdeedoo. Chapter Two.

And I added the A/N because it's kind of important, but not really, but you might want to read it, but you don't have to.

Alas, Chapter 2
Introducing the Opposing Team

Tennyson Barrister was having a good dream. He was floating on cotton candy canes and dancing in a light drizzle of cat and dog jellybeans while basking in the sun of the giant Oreo in the sky. Little graham cracker zeros and ones fluttered around the background with little lollipop wings and a river of hot chocolate with marshmallows flowed through the Nerds forest on its way to the gummy worm sea. He flopped onto the powdered sugar snow and sank slowly, the images becoming hazier and hazier as he slowly regained consciousness. Tennyson slowly stirred, trying to recapture the sugary goodness of his sweet dreams. The young boy snuggled deeper into his covers, contented. Today was a Saturday, and he’d finished all of his schoolwork the night before. Unworried and contented, he fell back into a fuzzy doze.

Deidre Anne Carlson was not dreaming. Nor was she asleep. She was traversing the New London slums, carefully picking her way through the alleyways, praying to any and all that she wouldn’t get lost. She had memorized the list of directions last night, but held no faith in her memory. Too many times had it let her down, and too many times had she paid for it. The dim May sunlight lit the dirty maze of alleyways as she paused at a crossing. She ran through her mental list, hoping and praying that she hadn’t missed a turn. If she had, and she was lost, then she was as good as dead. They had threatened her, and threatened her thoroughly. Too many times had she been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. By both gangs. Luckily for her, she had one more chance. One last chance to get on the good side of both groups. And it was sitting in her pocket. All she had to do was follow the boundary line, to the drop-off point, then the threat would be lifted and she would be home free. Then she could leave the gang war altogether.

Wiggins Masters was up early, thinking deeply. Their last argument had been an extreme one. She’d even thrown her favorite book at him. They’d been having arguments for a while, but they’d both thought it just a rough patch in their relationship. Now he wasn’t so sure. Everything seemed to be going downhill in their relationship. They no longer talked as easily as they could, and with Wiggins’ duties to Mr. Holmes, he didn’t have any free time to see her. And it seemed that every time they did meet, they would have another argument. Perhaps... Perhaps it would be better for them to part ways. Then they would both be free to do the things they wanted to do. Maybe they could go back to being friends. Just friends. Now he just had to work up the courage to dial and call her. Surely it couldn’t be that hard.

Watson never truly slept, but the state of electronic ‘limbo’ that he achieved while recharging was remarkably close. And every morning, he ‘awoke’ completely and fully recharged and ready for the day’s tasks. Every morning he would make a simple breakfast for his companion, then he would check the mail. Sometimes the Inspector would call them, sometimes she wouldn’t. Today appeared to be one of those days that Inspector Lestrade would leave them to their devices. Logging into the computer via cable, he downloaded the latest news and went through it piece by piece. There were no significant happenings, but three men were found in an alley unconscious with minor burns.

Tennyson slowly stirred, not willing to relinquish his lazy grasp on sleep. But, the day was progressing and there were things to do and people to see. Well, now that he thought about it, there were a couple of things that he wanted to get done. There was that new shop downtown that was selling computer equipment. He’d only glimpsed it the week before, and hoped fervently that it would be open. Maybe later he’d go see if Mr. Holmes had anything that needed doing or any codes that needed cracking. Then he’d see if the Inspector was on. She usually was, and she was always glad to share her knowledge of code with him.

Deidre paused, confused. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, calming her on-edge nerves. Time was running out, but there was still plenty left. She had left early enough to ensure that. In her mind she saw the directions. With a mental pen, she crossed each one off as she remembered turning corners and counting blocks and windows and the occasional stray man. The directions led straight to a dead end. She returned to awareness, wary. With a critical eye, she examined the shadows of the dim alley. She saw and heard no one, but kept her guard up and her senses roving. She moved to an especially dark corner and touched the wall, feeling for anything unusual. Her fingertips trailed along the filthy wall, then dipped inwards to a dull, rusty surface. Goldmine. Finding no panel on the wall, she clasped the round knob protruding from the rusty door and twisted it, and was surprised when the door opened smoothly and soundlessly. She slipped inside, shutting the door gently behind her.

Wiggins’ hand was merely centimeters away from the number pad when his computer beeped, announcing new mail. Relieved beyond belief, he got up and crossed the room to his computer and sank into the chair. With a lazy hand, he accessed his mail and went through old junk, deleting and saving, until he came to the newest item. Finding that it was a letter from his girlfriend, he hesitantly opened it, reluctant to know what it contained. He skimmed it quickly, once, then read through it in detail, searching for any and every nuance. Then he read it again. Then again. Then he set his elbows on the table and leaned his face into his palms and sighed.

Watson cleared the table and washed the dishes with mechanical precision as his companion watched the news. Saturdays were always such slow days. It was often on slow days that Watson remembered the busyness of New Scotland Yard and its constant influx of new cases. Logging into the Yard database, he checked on the Inspector’s case inbox and found it full. After some snooping, he discovered that the Inspector had not entered or exited the Yard building since the evening prior. It was unusual for the Inspector to not work on Saturdays, even if it was just to check in with the Chief Inspector. Watson composed a quick message to the Chief Inspector noting the Inspector’s absence and sent it on its way. The Chief Inspector had explicitly instructed to keep track of the Inspector’s actions and safety, and Watson had no plans to disobey the Chief Inspector’s orders.

A/N: Alas, another short chapter. For those who’re wondering about what Holmes is thinking, I won’t be telling. My plan is to portray his character through his actions and words, not his thoughts and emotions. Also, Greyson will be playing a role in this, but I won’t say whose side he’ll take.

On to Part 3!

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