by Liz de Jong (corellian_whiskey at hotmail.com)
Pieces of a long forgotten puzzle suddenly came into half-view, as
though Liz were chasing them through the deep London fog but could not
quite catch them, yet could still see them ahead, taunting her.
She stood and began to pace the wooden floors, hands clasped behind
her back, eyes focused on nothing. Memories raced furiously in and out of
Liz turned to face Holmes, about to ask him if he knew anything
more, when a heart-stopping crash, followed by the shattering of glass,
filled the air. It had come from the front room, where her Tarot shop
Leaping to his feet, Holmes dashed in front of Liz, cut her off,
and headed into the room himself, effectively blocking the door and
keeping Liz from any further preventable harm. He had already caused
From the tenseness she sensed from Holmes and his reluctance to
move from the doorway, Liz knew things were not good. She began to push
her way into the doorframe as well, panic lending her momentary strength.
That strength was again totally drained from her when she finally made it
Liz was immeadiately aware of the smell of smoke, the bright orange
of flames, and the wave of heat that all washed over her as she pushed
past the protective barrier that Holmes had provided. She stopped dead in
her tracks, her eyes widening to an almost comical size, her mouth hanging
agape at the sight. Her livelihood was on fire.
More by instinct than anything else, she dashed forward towards the
round table she and Holmes had occupied earlier, not even noticing the
flames now licking the edges of the silk cloth draped over its surface
with obvious intent. She had to recover her cards.
"No!" Holmes yelled, spotting her tense and then fly into the
flaming room. What is she doing? he pondered angrily to himself,
dashing forward quickly after her, and grabbing hold of her to stop her
foolishness. No cards are worth a life.
He staggered backwards in surprise when she retaliated with a great
two-handed thrust to his gut, only barely resisting the urge to bend
double in pain. Horrified, he saw her stop in the middle of the flaming
room, having finally noticed that her cards were now at a total loss. But
instead of turning back, she quickly ran off in the other direction,
grabbing for a relic Holmes had not noticed before, as it had been tucked
between two bookshelves.
He grabbed her again, only just as her hand closed around what she
had risked her life for the second time, and physically dragged her back
through the doorframe, which was by now also engulfed in flames.
"This entire house will be up in smoke, and we with it, if we don't
hurry!" he shouted into her ear, over the roaring of the flames, which
were now consuming the dry floorboards like they were candy.
Liz nodded once, and, with a sob, stopped fighting and started
running. Holmes was close behind, also heading for the only other door
out. But when they reached it, he pulled her hand back from the doorknob
"Look... smoke from under the door. Someone has started a fire on
Just as he finished his warning, another loud crack was heard, as
parts of the ceiling let go where the flames had licked away their
moorings. One large beam cracked Holmes right across his back, sending
him sprawling across the floor with a pained yelp. He did, however,
manage to avoid being trapped under it only narrowly, and stood again,
Liz ran to his side and immeadiately threw his arm over her shoulder.
"Lean on me... there is still one way out." she instructed him,
and, much to her surprise, he did. She had half expected him to resist as
she had, to be too proud for help. She was wrong.
Gaining speed with each step, they approached the long bay windows
of her living room, and, with a leap, put their shoulders to the glass,
bursting through. They landed rather roughly amid shattered glass on the
other side, the soft ground providing slight breakage of their fall.
Holmes leapt to his feet, intending on chasing after whomever had
started this, but fell to his knees again, coughing loudly. He swore to
himself several times, cursing his lack of immunity to smoke. He also
cursed the route he had taken on this case... his slowness had almost
gotten Liz, and himself, killed.
Liz, however, stayed on her back on the grass, eyes closed, hands
gripped tightly around what had nearly cost both their lives. She wondered
if it were really worth it, and felt immediately terrible for what she
Holmes knelt next to her, and she opened her eyes. Much to his
relief, she had only been resting. This relief, however, he did not show...
a stern look crossed his face.
"What on earth could have possibly been so important?" he demanded
of her, in a not-so-characteristic outburst. Liz flinched, and he was
immediately sorry. This was, after all, a great deal his fault.
Liz handed him the object in question, which he was really seeing
clearly for the first time. An odd look crossed his face, then.
"I... came accross it when I was searching for some of my favorite
old books, from back home. I liked it at the time, and bought it for a
mere pittance. I thought it was just a regular old relic... but then I
saw the name carved into it." Liz explained quickly.
Holmes turned the violin over and over in his hands, shaking his
head in disbelief. He had searched for it himself, but had never found
it... never even dared to dream that it would still be in such good
condition. He continued to shake his head and stare at it for quite some
This was what she had risked her life for. Such a trivial thing,
and yet it meant so much. With a shaky hand, he took the bow from the
case, tightened the hairs accross it, and began to play.
The sound it evoked was nothing like any violinist she had ever
heard, Liz thought dully, as Holmes ironically played a tune of reunion
that was sad, yet sweet. The notes soared high, and sung low, his fingers
remembering the pattern as though it were only yesterday that he had
performed it for Watson upon his return from his long absence.
He played on for quite some time, and Liz couldn't help but smile,
even with the dull crackling of the fire behind her, and of the high
screaming of the sirens now nearby... I have never seen anyone so happy
as he is now. Perhaps... perhaps it was worth the loss of my home for the
return of his happiness, she thought, still watching in silence.
Perhaps, by bringing home closer to his heart, I have brought it
closer to my heart, as well.
On to Part 4!
Back to Part 2.
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