MST: Uh Oh...Not Again....

Chapter 4

by Maureen S. O'Brien (mobrien at
9/15 - 9/16/02

Chapter Four: Just Thinking

>It kept Ginny's mind on...kept her professional. Besides, it was more fun. But she supposed it would be too noticeable for whatever Harry had in mind. Going undercover, maybe?

Ginny: Maybe you'll get to infiltrate the lair of a dark wizard!

Lestrade: Only if it's as something embarrassing.

>She unlocked the door of 221 and walked up the seventeen steps to 221B with unusual restraint, but Harry opened the door to her before she could reach for the knob.

Lestrade: Good eeeeevening.

Ginny, Harry and Holmes: (don't get it)

Lestrade: (rolls eyes) One too old, one too young, and one's who's never watched TV. I'm in pop culture hell.

A note dropped into Lestrade's hands.

Lestrade: (reading) It says, 'I got it.'
(crumples note) Well, I'm not here to entertain you!

Holmes: (smirks) Well, actually....

Lestrade: (sighs) No zed, Sherlock. Keep reading.

>He'd either heard her or had been watching out the windows, so he really was eager to get moving with whatever he had in mind. "Ah, finally," he said, and took in her clothes. "Quite suitable."

Ginny: (giggles) You sound like Professor Dumbledore.

Holmes: (ignores her and goes on)

>"So what's all the mystery?" Ginny asked.

Harry: Maybe it's a mystery story, after all.

Lestrade: What color is the sky in your world, kid?

>"In a, Tennyson, you were saying?" he added over his shoulder.

>Tennyson could have had a voice synth like anyone else's, one which spoke ordinary English and sounded exactly like a human voice. She'd never figured out exactly what zedding system his synth did use, but sometimes she could almost understand him. Not tonight.

Ginny: What the he....

Holmes: Watch your language, miss.

Ginny: (blushes) ...heck is a voice synth?
(A note drops into her lap. She reads:) 'A way to save money on voice actors'?

Holmes, Lestrade and Harry: (look at each other) What does that mean?

Ginny: (shakes her head) This Muggle stuff is very confusing.

Harry: No, this Maureen person is just mad.

Ginny: So who is this Tennyson person?

Holmes: A young friend of mine. If you like, we can change the name to one of your friends'.

Harry: Let's call him Fred!

Ginny: Or George.

Holmes: (docilely) All right.

Lestrade: (looks at him suspiciously)

>"So you can still penetrate the County of Sussex's security? And make a specific record only appear when requested in a specific coded way."

>She could understand that amused affirmative.

Harry: I'm glad someone can.

>"Excellent," said Harry, and clapped his hands together with satisfaction. "Then you shall accompany us, and create the record when I tell you."

>"Tell him what?" she questioned. Harry didn't reply.

Ginny: More mystery! Why doesn't she just tell us what's going on?

Lestrade: (grins) Yeah, sad the way some people like to keep secrets.

Holmes: (keeps reading)

>"'Ey! What about us, Mr. 'Olmes?" Deidre and Wiggins were standing around demolishing the last of a plate of fresh-baked biscuits. She could smell them, as well as something else sweet, and her tummy rumbled.

Holmes: (in a Cockney accent) Hsst! The Hand Gang's plannin' to crack a crib tonight, copper!

Ginny, Harry and Lestrade: (look at him oddly)

Holmes: Some people have no sense of humor.

>"What do we do?" said Deidre.

Ginny: There's that Deidre again, and a Wiggins person... Should I even ask who these people are?

Harry: (shrugs) I remember a Wiggins, but there's noone named Deidre in the book.

Holmes: I suppose I could call them something else. Deidre can be Miss Granger, and Wiggins can be Oliver Wood.

Lestrade: (laughs) Not without a personality transplant.

>Harry looked speculative. "I suppose you would do for witnesses. You're both of age for these purposes, and it's less likely that Moriarty would aim at you...yes, I suppose you should go as well."

Lestrade: Sure! Let's involve a bunch of minors in a dangerous undercover operation! Why not? (drops sarcasm) At least nobody from your world is this stupid, Harry.

Holmes: That's not true. Young people do important work in Harry's world.

Ginny: What, like Voldemort used me?

Holmes: (embarrassed) That wasn't what I meant.

Harry: Well, actually, I've done a bit of....

Lestrade: Yeah, and your teachers keep trying to keep you out of it, too, don't they?

Harry: (reddens)

>"Witnesses!" Ginny's mind churned out scenarios, each worse than the last. "What are you planning, Harry?" she demanded.

>"You still haven't said what's going on, Mr. Potter," Wood pointed out.

>"Indeed," Weasley agreed, emerging from the kitchen in bare metal, his robotic equivalent of shirtsleeves. "You've been most mysterious."

Harry: That's what Ginny just said.

>"Well, I could hardly inform you before the Auror arrived," Harry returned patiently. "First I need to obtain her consent, after all."

>"My consent for what?" Ginny put her hands on her hips. "Computer records? Witnesses? White civilian formalwear for me and you're wearing...." She boggled. "Where did you find a top hat?"

Holmes: (stops reading) Oh.

Lestrade: (groans) No.

Ginny: (looks puzzled)

Harry: You're going undercover as magicians?

>"A theatrical costuming shop." His eyes twinkled. "Has none of you deduced it? Perhaps this will help." He uncovered a box on the table. A wreath of flowers lay inside. "Does that help?"

>He obviously expected some reaction. Lestrade shrugged. "Nope."

>Harry frowned and looked around. "Weasley?"

>"Analysis indicates orange blossoms, but how does that help?"

Lestrade: (outraged) Hey! I'd recognize orange blossoms! I would!

Holmes: Probably, yes. But why are you getting upset about such a small matter?

Lestrade: Because I can't wring this Maureen's neck from here.

>Harry sighed. "Well, I suppose I shall just have to get to it. Come, Ginny. I'd rather have no audience for this."

Lestrade: Yeah, right. You always want an audience, Holmes.

Holmes: (keeps reading)

>Ginny pretended shock. "It must be a felony at least!"

Ginny: (giggles) So, Harry, can you go to Azkaban for sneaking out of Hogwarts?

Harry: Your brothers better hope not....

>Harry's eyes got that amused look. "It does involve a certain restriction of freedom...."

Lestrade: (makes gagging noise)

Ginny: (eyes widen with sudden realization)

>He led her into the kitchen and closed the door behind them, but she could still hear the Irregulars out in the sitting room. She started to speak, but Harry shushed her to silence. With those long ears of his, he loved to eavesdrop.

Harry: Makes me sound like a house elf!

Ginny: Or a hare.

Lestrade: At least one part of this story is in character, eh, Holmes?

Holmes: (keeps reading)

>"There they go, flirting again," said Hermione.

Harry and Ginny: (laugh)

Holmes and Lestrade: (try to ignore them)

>Ginny felt the blood rise to her cheeks. Harry's face remained impassive.

Harry and Ginny: (laugh again)

Holmes and Lestrade: (try to ignore them again)

>"The Auror and Mr. Potter? You're spacehappy," Wood said scornfully. "They don't do anything but argue."

>"That's a sign of passion," Hermione declared. "You see it all the time on the netsoaps. Like when Storm Azul and Genji Nyota...."

Ginny: Muggles see things in soap?!

Harry: Er, no. It's just an expression.

>Fred or George interrupted with a burst of tones.

Ginny, Harry and Lestrade: (laugh)

Ginny: Ooooh, they'd kill you if they knew, Mr. Holmes. They hate being confused for each other.

Holmes: (smiles) I think I'm safe enough.

Harry: (darkly) That's what they all think.

>"See! See! I told you!"

>"No way," Wood said numbly.

>"It is a reasonable hypothesis," Weasley agreed. "And Fred or George, before you attempt electronic surveillance on the kitchen, be aware that this flat is fully provided with state-of- the-art jamming equipment. Hermione, go any closer to the door with that water glass and I will ruin your coiffure."

>"Not my hair!"

Ginny: (virtuously refrains from saying anything about a friend's hair)

>"Then leave them alone." Weasley turned on the console, which was almost on the other side of the rooms, and turned the volume up loud.

Ginny: Just like at home, till Mum makes him turn it down.

>Ginny turned to Harry. "All right, so I'm the last to know again. Spill it, Harry."

>"Fred or George's deductive skills are coming along nicely," he said smugly. "Although I suspect he was considerably assisted by the nature of the records in question."

Harry: That's not an answer.

>"That's not the answer, Harry."

Harry: That's what I said!

>His long face sobered. "You are the only one who knows the answer," he said. With his usual grace, he knelt down before her, and he hesitated slightly as he spoke.

Ginny: And?

Holmes: (puts story down and gets up) And that's all I feel like reading. This is even worse than Mary's story.

Harry: (smirking) It's just a story, sir.

Holmes: (coldly) Then why don't you read it?

Harry: All right, I will!

>"My dear Au-- Ginny, will you do me the honor of giving me your hand?"

Ginny: (blushes so hard that little sparks stand out around her. Her hair catches on fire.)

Holmes: Quick, Lestrade! The teapot!

Lestrade: (grabs the now-cool tea water and dumps it over her head)

Harry: (pointing his wand at Ginny) Frigidus!

Ginny: (dismayed) My hair! It's all over ice!

Lestrade: It's better than burning to death.

Ginny: Witches don't burn! I....

Harry: (looking at the mess) You know, I don't think I should read this, either.

Lestrade: (grabs story) Here. (kindly) And we'll stop using the search-and-replace. At least I can't die of embarrassment.
(glances at Holmes) I hope.

>She stared blankly at the appendage in question. "What for?"

Everyone: (laughs nervously)

Lestrade: Appendages...oh, the jokes I could make right here.

Holmes: (hopefully) But not around children?

Lestrade: Of course not! What do you think I am?
(grins) But that doesn't keep me from coming up with punchlines.

Holmes: Fine. But do read, or we'll be here till next Michaelmas.

Lestrade: (carolling) And what's wrong with that?

Ginny, Harry, and Holmes: (stare at her)

Lestrade: We could go on strike. Bore them. Give them writer's block or something.
(brandishes story) They'd have to let us go!

Harry: They could quit feeding us.

Ginny: Besides, we'd get bored faster than they would.

Holmes: (sits back down next to Lestrade and takes the story from her) Eyes and brains, my dear Inspector. We're very nearly to the end of the story. When that's over, they'll surely let us go. (hands it back)

Lestrade: (takes story in hand) They didn't last time. (sighs and looks at him) Not that I mind the company, but we need to get back. We have places to go, evil to fight....

Holmes: ...Moriarty on the loose...

Harry: (unhappily) And Voldemort.

Ginny: (pats his arm) Then we've got to keep going. (extends her hand) As long as my name's not in it, I'm willing to read.

Lestrade: (hesitates) Well...better you than me, I guess. (gives Ginny the story)

>"I knew I should have used the other speech," he muttered to himself.

Harry: (as Holmes) 'The one about the importance of free trade.'

>"Your hand in marriage," he clarified in a louder voice.

Ginny: (giggling) Only her hand?

Lestrade: Oh, what jokes I could make.

Harry: (reddens)

Holmes: Lestrade!

Lestrade: I can't help it. Maureen left it wide open!

Ginny: (hurriedly reads on)

>"I asked Watson. There's nothing in Yard regulations against it,

Lestrade: (snickers)

Holmes: (sighs)

>as long as we comply with the guidelines and refrain from...harassment,"

Lestrade: You mean HaRASSmint.

Holmes: Hair-iss-ment, Lestrade. We're speaking English.

Lestrade: Yeah, but the author's American.

Ginny: You know, Harry, I don't think they want me to finish the story.

Harry: I think you're right. Why would that be?

Ginny and Harry: Hmmmmm.

Lestrade: Fine! Keep reading! It's your funeral.

>he added quickly, looking down and conspicuously leaving out the adjective.

Holmes: Oh, come now. When have I not called a crime a crime?

Harry: P'raps when you're proposing it's an exception.

Holmes: (rolls eyes)

>"But I suspect it would be best if Moriarty remained unaware that we had...joined our families. He has entirely too much interest in you, and has already shown too much disregard of your status with the police for my comfort."

Lestrade: Ewwww! Not the Moriarty thing-for-me thing again!

Holmes: (shrugs) I suppose it's possible.

Lestrade: Yeah, like it's possible that he's in love with you. I mean, you're the one he's really fixated on.

Holmes: (looks deeply pained)

Ginny: Ew, that fairy godmother person? Oo! Ick!

Harry: I'll never see Reichenbach Falls the same way again.

>Lestrade tried to swallow and found her mouth dry as a bone. Talking to Holmes from up here was going to give her a crick in the neck, so she stepped back and knelt down too.

Ginny: Oh, that's so sweet!

Holmes and Lestrade: (look balefully at her)

Harry: (grins)

Ginny: (giggles) I'll keep reading then, shall I?

>"What are you up to? You don't have some weird plan to try to protect me or leave me your money tax-free or something, do you?"

Harry: Isn't it a bad sign when romancing a girl makes her think about the Inland Revenue?

>He looked away, his jaw setting. "I am quite aware that I cannot protect you," he said, his voice tight. "That was why I followed your wishes the other night when Moriarty took you hostage."

Ginny: Which we know nothing about, of course. Anyone care to fill us in?

Holmes: No.

>"All right, all right," she soothed. "And that was great. You took me seriously and didn't treat me like a civilian."

Ginny: I suppose that's a good thing?

Lestrade: Just keep reading.

>"Ah, but afterward I had no right to...." Unexpectedly, Holmes' ears turned red.

Harry: Oh, come off it. Holmes' ears wouldn't turn red.

Ginny: But they do! Look!

Harry and Ginny: (stare at Holmes)

Holmes: (stares back at them. His ears are in fact red.)

Lestrade: Stop staring and keep reading!

Harry: Maybe they do want to finish the story after all.

Harry and Ginny: (laugh)

Lestrade: Laugh it up now, kids. You just wait till it's your turn again.

>Lestrade took it in with fascination. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" Part of her was screaming with happiness, while part of her just wanted to scream.

Lestrade: Aaaaaah! Let me out of this story!

Holmes: (looks at her and laughs soundlessly)

Lestrade: (looks at Holmes) What?

Holmes: No power on Earth could make me say what I'm thinking. But oh, the jokes I could make....

Harry: (looks at Lestrade, then turns to Ginny) Better read quick.

>"Are you sure?"

>"Beth," Holmes said, his eyes meeting hers slowly, "if young Deidre is aware of the state of things between us, I could hardly remain oblivious -- any more than you did," he added. "I will spare you the list of occasions upon which we behaved anomalously, as I am certain you know it nearly as well as I."

Holmes and Lestrade: (trade glances)

Ginny: But we'd like to hear it, wouldn't we, Harry?

Harry: Sure!

Holmes and Lestrade: (stony silence)

>"I thought so," she said slowly, "but it didn't seem professional to bring it up. Especially when you were so new to our world. I didn't want to take advantage." She put out her hand and tentatively traced his jawline. "I could have been imagining things. Sherlock," she added. It seemed as strange as hearing him call her Beth.

Lestrade: It wouldn't, if he'd zedding well use my first name.

Holmes: But then you'd want to use my Christian name, too. Which I loathe and abominate.

Harry: Really?

Holmes: Oh, yes. My brothers' names, too.
(makes a face) parents were sadists.

Lestrade: But...I like your name!

Holmes: I know. (buries his face in his hands)

Ginny: Then why don't you use one of your other names?

Holmes: They're worse. I refuse to admit to any of them.

Lestrade: So they're not...?

Holmes: No. That Baring-Gould made up the William part. It was a nice deduction, but it presupposed that my parents were sane.

Harry: Surely they couldn't be that bad.

Holmes: How do you feel about Aloysius? Or Jean-Marie Vernet?

Ginny: (shakes her head) You poor thing.

Harry: Yep, they hated you.

Lestrade: Oh, I don't know.

Ginny, Harry and Holmes: (stare at her)

Lestrade: I could get used to Jean-Marie. Or Vernet...Vern for short....

Harry: (whispers to Ginny) She has it bad.

>He captured her hand in one of his own and fervently pressed it against his cheek, as if testing its reality.

Ginny: Fwoar!

Harry: (stares at Ginny) What'd you say?

Ginny: Nothing.... (reads on hurriedly)

>"Your observations were entirely accurate. As were mine, I trust."

>Except for the number of bristles, his cheek had the texture of a teenager's.

Harry: It had pimples?

>She mentally noted that he'd probably skipped pimples too,

Harry: Not fair.

>and wondered if that one book'd been right about genetic engineering and time travel. He leaned into the heel of her hand, and she felt the pulse in his neck beating as wildly as her own.

>They knelt there on the kitchen tile, surrounded by cabinets, and she said yes and leaned forward and kissed him. She didn't know what the hell she thought she was doing. Cultural differences were bad enough and time differences had to be a marriage killer. But her gut told her it was going to be all right and that was good enough for her.

Ginny: Awwwwwww.

Holmes and Lestrade: (looking at each other)

Holmes: It's nonsense. Wildly irresponsible behavior.

Lestrade: Yeah, nobody'd really throw everything to the wind that way.

Harry and Ginny: (look frustrated)

>"That was different," he said quietly after they'd pulled apart and were unnecessarily helping each other up.


>"Kissing on stage, or as part of a cover," he said absently, looking into her eyes as if they were some precious clue. "Putting some feeling behind it seems to improve the sensation markedly."

Harry and Ginny: (snicker)

Holmes: Is that the snicker of experience?

Ginny: (reads on hurriedly)

>"I should hope so!" she said, and kissed him again just because she could. "So what's the hurry?

Lestrade: Maureen wants to end the story quickly?

Holmes: So do we.

Lestrade: Oh, right.

>Why get married tonight, and what's all the rigmarole about the records?"

>"As for the latter, Moriarty is considerably distracted at present, the church is available, and with luck the marriage can remain private until such time as we choose to make its existence known. As for the former...." He kissed her with considerable passion, but she noticed dimly that his hands trembled with something that was not.

>"Scared of losing me?" she inquired gently.

>"There must be a reason that I'm alive," he tried to joke, "and I've already caught Moriarty once. But I almost forgot." He removed a box from a pocket and opened it. An emerald ring glittered greenly. "It was a gift from a certain gracious lady, as you know. Considering the lecture she once gave me on my duty to marry, I'm certain she'd be pleased to see it on your hand."

Lestrade: Shyeah, right!

>"Yeah, but would she really approve of me?"

Ginny: That was eerie.

Harry: You'd almost think this was in character....

Holmes and Lestrade: (say nothing)

>"She had certain theories about the identity of the Ripper and rather definite opinions about everything...."

Holmes: (chuckles)

>She snorted. "We'd better go rescue Deidre from all the suspense." She turned for the door, then stopped in her tracks and turned back. "Hey, just for the record...I love you."

Harry: Oh, that's romantic.

Lestrade: (glares)

Holmes: (looks at Lestrade with a rather silly smile)

Ginny: (sees Holmes' expression and sighs)

>He endorsed her sentiment and kissed her again, and this time she almost decided to leave Deidre in suspense. But there'd be plenty of time for that. So out they went.

>Deidre had changed.

Ginny: Into a mouse.

Harry: What? Not again!

Holmes: Another author obsessed with rodents?

Lestrade: (groans)

Ginny: No, just winding you up. (reads on)

>Her new outfit was cut in a formal style Lestrade wouldn't have minded wearing herself, if it hadn't been quite so violent a yellow.

Harry: It had graduated from the St. Brutus School for Wayward Hues.

>"Took you long enough," said Deidre. "I made it home and back before you two even got ready. You know," she added, "- normal- people do some of that kissing stuff -before- they propose."

Ginny and Harry: (look at Holmes and Lestrade expectantly)

Holmes and Lestrade: (look expressionless)

>Holmes looked at Tennyson suspiciously. Tennyson looked innocent. But then, he always looked innocent, which he found highly useful.

Holmes: So do I, actually.

Lestrade: What, look innocent? (grins)

>First thing we do tonight, Lestrade decided, is sweep for bugs. More data, that boy doesn't need....

Lestrade: (laughs)

Holmes: (tries not to)

>Speaking of data, she'd have to remember to ask Watson to file a vacation request for her. Zed, Grayson was gonna chew her a new one when she came back from this vacation.

Lestrade: (chuckles)

>Not that she cared, you know. She was just thinking.


Harry: Finally!

Suddenly, Harry and Ginny disappeared from the blue room. Lestrade and Holmes looked at each other uncertainly.

"Well, that wasn't as bad as it could've been," Lestrade said uncertainly.

"No, not entirely...." Holmes said, just as hesitantly.

They felt something expectant in the air.

Holmes' face darkened. He stared up at the ceiling defiantly. "If you're waiting for us to do something while you're watching..."

"'ll be waiting an awful long time," Lestrade finished, folding her arms. "So you may as well send us home!"

After a moment, they heard a sound like a sigh. In an instant, the blue room disappeared and they were back in New London.

But as Lestrade went home to her flat, and Holmes busied himself around 221B, they both found themselves...thinking. Just thinking.

On to part Cyberwolf!

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