Sherlock Holmes and The Incredible Hulk

Part 2

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
6/26/04

General Disclaimer

David Banner closed his eyes and rested as the hover-truck full of chickens made its way south of Sacramento. While he had enough creds to take a transport, he didnít know exactly where he was going and there were few job prospects for someone with basic identification. He needed to make what he had withdrawn last as long as could, because he certainly couldnít take any more. He had been pushing it as it was. Hopefully though, his bank in New London would think it was just a robbery or a systems error. Thatís why had waited so long to get it.

A sigh escaped him. Even if he could find a way to cure the mutation, a way to stop that creature from ever reappearing, heíd still have to remain in hiding. At least heíd be able to stay in one place though, without fear of the creature. He could start over, begin anew. Either way, his life as he knew it was over.

Heíd never be able to see Beth again, to apologize to her.

He smiled sadly. He could almost hear her speaking, telling him, "I told you so." His little sister could be so exasperating sometimes, but he loved her. If only he hadnít let his anger and frustration at Carolís death and his own inability to save her overcome his good sense. No, instead heíd let it create a monster. Literally.

All he had wanted was an explanation. Something to absolve the guilt. Now, Elena was dead too, even if it wasnít exactly his fault. The explosion was an accident. She wouldnít have been there, however, if he hadnít taken an overdose of gamma radiation, if she hadnít been trying to help him find a cure.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself, David. Whatís past is passed, he thought to himself. Depression certainly wasnít going to help him.

The hover-truck abruptly came to a halt, and David had to grab on to the dash in front of him to keep from being thrown forward.

"Sorry, fella," the old man who was driving said, "but I forgot somethiní back at the ranch I came from. I gotta let you out here."

"Thatís all right," David said with a smile, "Thank you for the ride."

The old man nodded and landed the truck. David got out and waved as the truck took off once more. Almost immediately a hover- caróa rental by looks of the tagsólanded nearby. David tensed. Was it that reporter? Had he somehow figured out what was going on and had followed? The passenger side door opened, and he cautiously peered inside. The pilot was a young woman with bright red hair sitting in the driverís seat, and he sighed in relief.

"Hey, mister? You need a ride?" Her voice was strangely accented.

David nodded and walked closer. "Where are you headed?"

"Where you looking to go?" the redhead responded.

"Not sure. Iím just looking for some work."

The woman nodded sagely. "Well, címon, get in. I gotta get to San Francisco for a convention, but I know a small town between here and there where you could get something. Donít pay much, but then I donít expect you care much." She cackled.

"Youíre right," David agreed as he slid into the seat, "I donít care much." He smiled wearily and settled back for the ride.

Beth glanced surreptitiously at her passenger. He seemed to be lost in thought, so she decided not to bother him. She had followed him from the small town just north of Sacramento that had been home to the laboratory that had exploded. She had switched cars in the state capitol when he had stopped at a bank and found a used costume shop that carried the garish wig she was now wearing.

She was now glad that she had, since she hadnít planned on meeting with him so soon. She had hoped to have a little more time to come up with a reasonable (reasonable as in non-threatening) argument as to why she should be let in on whatever was going on with him before confronting him. Since she didnít yet, sheíd settle for keeping him within reach.

"So, where are you from, exactly?" David asked.

The question startled her, and she glanced over at him. Putting on a cheesy grin, she said, "New London. Been living there since I was fifteen."

"Ah, that would explain your accent then." He smiled brightly, and she fought the urge to roll her eyes. That was her big brother, always friendly even to total strangers.

"Iím Irene Norton, by the way," she said with a perfectly straight face. While she had been obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, David had merely tolerated it.

"Nice to meet you, Irene. Iím David Bannister."

Once again, they settled into a comfortable silence. It reminded Beth of a much earlier time, when the two of them were working on much different things, both lost in thought. A time when David had trusted her with all his secrets, just as she had trusted him with hers. A time when the two of them had been so close they knew pretty much what the other was thinking.

Of course, she had been the first to break that pattern, when she had decided to move to New London and become a cop. He hadnít approved, but he had moved with her and gotten a job with a New London chemical company. Then, when she had achieved her goal, he had moved back to the states to marry his old high school sweetheart. Things had never really been the same between them.

Watson smiled at Deidre as the girl chattered on about the things they were going to get to see in the States once they got there. Wiggins and Tennyson were doing their level best to ignore her by playing a card game. The older boy was doing surprisingly well against the genius.

They were on a case, though Holmes hadnít said much about it. The detective had been in a peculiar mood all day. And it seemed to get worse after he had quickly solved the bank robbery. Now another case had been presented and Holmes refused to tell any of them what it was, or even how he had come by it.

"Itís because the Inspectorís gone," Deidre said sagely.

"What?" Watson hadnít been paying much attention, but this caught his, "What are you talking about?"

"The reason Mister ĎOlmes is in such a bad mood," the girl whispered, "is because Inspector Lestrade ainít around. ĎEís sweet on Ďer, you know."

Watson, in the act of denying this, found himself thinking. Holmesí mood had seemed to change once he had found out Lestrade had taken a rare leave. He nodded. "However, that does not mean he is Ďsweetí on her, as you put it. Why, he would be as concerned about you if you suddenly did something you werenít prone to."

Deidre smiled knowingly. "Whatever you say, Watson. Whatever you say."

On to part 3!

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