Relentless Past

Part 5

by Liz de Jong (corellian_whiskey at hotmail.com)

Many hours later, Holmes awoke to the sound of Watson clanking as lightly as he possibly could around the flat, going about his usual morning preparations and about to embark on the requested trip to New Scotland Yard.

With a slight yawn he stirred himself, stood, and stretched; it was a new day, and he had many things he wanted to do before Liz awakened. He cast a quick glance to the couch where she slept, and felt fairly safe that he still had a few hours of time left to complete his errands.

"Watson," Holmes intoned, slipping on his coat a little drowsily, "hurry about the trip quickly, would you? I don't know exactly how long I will be, but I would very much like someone to stay behind and keep an eye on our guest."

Watson nodded, and headed off to his business for the morning. Holmes followed him down the stairs to the street after a quick sip of tea, then they both turned their separate ways, Watson taking the coachcraft and Holmes proceeding on foot.

There is no doubt that Moriarty was behind that fire last night , Holmes thought to himself, as he walked down the streets towards the more business-oriented section of the city. A tiny ball of worry formed itself in his gut, much to his surprise, as he thought that to himself. He cast a glance back towards Baker Street.

I only hope she is all right, and that this will work out as planned. He continued, walking into a little shop on a small sidestreet, tipping his hat slightly to the lady for whom he held the door. She was far from grateful, however; she stuck her nose up in the air and wandered off as though she had just encountered the lowest of the low. Holmes smirked despite himself.

This was hardly the type of shop he would have ever wandered into, and still was not entirely sure what he was doing here. Mystical symbols and bowls full of focusing crystals and other stones were everywhere, as were snatches of silky cloths and shiny papers from every surface. Bookshelves lined almost every wall. A smoky haze helped contribute to the mysterious atmosphere, and Holmes quickly noted that the smell that hit him like a heavy brick wall as he stepped inside, as well as the smoke, were due to the incense burning everywhere.

He wandered about the murky little shop for only a few minutes before finding what he had come for; the tarot section. He picked up a few books, but they were of no real interest to him. He resisted the great urge to stick his own nose into the air at the... logic behind all this nonsense.

Holmes had half a mind to just pick up the first thing he saw and get out, feeling most stifled in a place full of people whom would totally discount his knowledge of deductive reasoning in a second for the hands of fate, but knew that this would definitely be only a one-time visit, and managed to keep himself from bolting. He promised himself he would buy a paper and a nice crossword puzzle once he left to make up for it.

He leaned closer to a highly decorated bookcase that was stacked with something other than books; they were cards. Finally! he thought happily, picking up a deck for further investigation. It was a very fine looking deck of cards, as they were rich in very lovingly detailed illustrations, which seemed to follow Greek mythology. This mildly piqued his interest, but he did not investigate further, as his need for escape greatly overpowered his sense of curiosity right about now.

Holmes quickly grabbed the cards, along with a swath of pleasant looking sky-blue silk to cover them, and headed to the counter and cash register, where a turbaned woman was standing. She smiled at him largely... Holmes just handed her the deck in a rather stiff gesture, and made for his wallet.

The woman seemed to sense his discomfort, smiling even larger, and quickly rang up the purchase, placing it all into a neat little black bag, which Holmes then thrust into his coat. He delayed no longer, and was gone, headed to the nearest news stand for a good old fashioned newspaper.

Liz awoke shortly after Holmes and Watson had left, feeling rested and calm. Her thought continually slid back to the incident last night; she could still hear the crackling of the fire and the song of the violin. But somehow, Liz wasn't as sad as she thought she'd be... The image of Holmes comforting her came back to mind again, and she suddenly remembered why.

She stood, and neatly folded up the blankets she had used that night, placing them in a careful pile on one of the couch cushions, to be put away later.

A teapot stood on the nearby table, along with a clean empty cup. Liz sat down and poured herself some, gulping the still hot tea down greatfully, then pouring herself another cup, just holding it for warmth this time. It was then that she noticed the note on the table.

'Dear Liz,' it read,

My apologies for not being here when you awoke, but there were a few errands I had to run. Should be back shortly.

- Sherlock Holmes

She smiled to herself as she finished the note, finding it slightly funny, yet touching at the same time. She noted the 'Dear Liz' at the beginning, and closed her eyes, sipping her tea around an even bigger smile.

Just as she was wondering what she would do to occupy herself untill he returned, she heard the sounds of someone approaching the front door, and turned to look. It made her wonder exactly what time it was, as she no longer had her watch, and couldn't spot a clock anywhere. How long had she been sleeping?

Liz watched the doorknob turn, and stood to greet Holmes upon his entry... and dropped her coffee cup with a shattering crash to the floor when she saw who had dashed inside instead.

Professor Moriarty stood there in the doorway, a self-satisfied smirk on his face as he let someone else in behind him, then closed the door. He made a slight bow to Liz, who was frozen in place.

He looked exactly the same as he had way back then... when he had been business partners with her father. He had the same air about his, as well, which made Liz's skin crawl. Here was the man that had killed her once.... was he here to do it again?

"Ah, Elizabeth. How very nice to see you again," he stated, with that same horrible smile. He took a few steps further into the room, Liz taking a few more steps backwards. "What, aren't you happy to see me?"

Liz continued backing up as he continued to advance on her, untill her back bumped into the mantel of the fireplace. She was trapped. Her panicky hands reached behind her back for anything she could find, anything that would serve as a weapon. They closed around the handle of a brass stoker, and she hefted it carefully out of sight, waiting for her moment to strike.

"You did that to my house." Liz spat acidly, glaring at him though eyes tearing with anger. "You killed my father... you killed me!" With that, she let out an angry cry and dashed forwards, the poker high above her head.

Moriarty was expecting an angry retaliation, however, and casually sidestepped out of her way, grabbing her wrist as it sliced through the air where he was standing. Squeezing tightly, he forced her to drop the poker, then spun her into a more firm grasp. "Tut, tut, my dear. Is that any way to treat an old family friend?"

His ugly little henchman laughed, the sound grating on Liz's ears. He watched them both intently, his beady eyes darting from one to the other. Liz was almost sick, just looking at him.

"Come, my dear, we have much to talk about." Moriarty said casually, as if they were old friends catching up on old times. He pushed her towards the doorway. Sniffling, yet stubborn, Liz refused to move.

"Do not test my patience, Elizabeth... you will find me most displeased." Making a gesture for assistance, Moriarty then, with the aid of his ugly little companion, hoisted Liz up so that she could no longer resist, and began carrying her down the stairs. She squirmed and made as much noise as possible, but could not manage to break free.

"Feisty little one, no?" The homely henchman asked in a French accent, snickering again. Moriarty only remained expressionless.

"Hurry up to the truck, Holmes will be back at any..." He trailed off, catching sight of Holmes, who was only two blocks away on his return, but had not yet spotted them, his face in the paper. They began to run towards their hovertruck, but Liz had spotted him too, and let out as loud a yell as she could.

"HOLMES!"

His head snapped up from the paper he was reading and focused immediately on the spectacle in the street before his flat. He threw down the paper and reached into his coat, drawing the extendable cane he always kept with him. His feet pelting heavily on the paved street, he struggled to reach them in time, seeing them push Liz into the hovertruck, then leap in themselves, taking to the air for a quick getaway.

Holmes stopped dead in his tracks, watching as the hovertruck sideswiped a familiar coachcraft just as it was making it's landing run. They missed each other narrowly, the hovertruck speeding off into the busy flow of traffic overhead, the coachcraft settling gently on the curbside.

"Watson, after that hovertruck! Quickly!" Holmes shouted as he bounded inside the coachcraft, buckling himself in for what he expected to be a fast and furious ride. A rather confused Watson complied, expertly accelerating to a closer distance of the hovertruck, with only a mild "I say, Holmes!" in complaint.

The two vehicles chased each other in and out of traffic patterns for almost an hour, untill a near miss with a skyscraper caused the hovertruck to careen off its path, sparks flying around it. Watson had to initiate some fancy flying to avoid a head-on collision with the spinning vehicle, forcing him to turn away. The hovertruck recovered and sped off again before Holmes could catch sight of it.

"Drat!" Watson exclaimed, dashing his fist upon the coachcraft's console. "That blasted building came out of nowhere!"

Holmes, despite the feeling of a pit growing deeper inside his stomach, remained calm. "There, Watson, on that ledge. Let me have a closer look." Watson complied, piloting the vehicle as near to the building as possible.

Holmes opened his door and leaned out, examining the ledge. A black substance had splattered all over it where the hovertruck had collided, causing, Holmes was happy to report, a unilube leak. He smiled to himself, feeling great relief.

"You see, Watson?" he said, pointing out the blots of oil that trailed after the truck. "All we have to do is follow the trail, and we will find what we seek."

"Brilliant observation, Holmes," Watson said cheerily, adding a rather sulky 'I could have told you that' under his robotic voice. Holmes heard it; however, he only smiled. He was content... they were on their way after the woman who, he could now admit to himself, he could not do without.

On to Part 6!

Back to Part 4.

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