Promises Kept, Promises Broken

Part 2

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
2/16/03

The storm still hadn’t abated by the next day, and since Lestrade was there she was the perfect patsy to go take care of the animals. Laurie had made the excuse that she needed to be there when Daron brought the kids, even though Artemis, C.C.’s mother, was perfectly capable of dealing with the man. Will and Laken were in jail after getting into a barfight the night before. Lestrade didn’t mind, though. It gave her ample opportunity to lock herself in the barn and check up on the local criminal activity without fear of being interrupted. No one would expect her to be back for a couple of hours, because she often stayed and spoke with Raven after her chores were done.

She decided to feed the goats first, since they were closer to the main house, and had smaller barns scattered throughout their pasture that they could get out of the rain in. Once she had finished that, she went to the barn where the three pigs and the sixteen horses of the ranch were kept. All three pigs were show quality, and belonged to Katy, Colin and C.C. C.C., of course, never spent time with hers, as she was terrified it would bite her. A valid fear considering what it had done to Laurie’s jeans, and almost done to Katy’s hand.

Lestrade smirked to herself. Meanie had never once snapped at her. Of course, that probably had something to do with the fact that she had been the only one to feed the pig once they had gotten her. The other two, Scribbles -- because his markings looked like a child’s scribbling -- and Miss Piggy -- Katy thought she was being funny -- were quite docile and loved everyone who would give them a good scratch behind the ears.

"Hello, ladies," Lestrade called out. Instantly three large pigs came scrambling up out of the straw they had been curled up under, grunting and squealing. Lestrade grinned and poured the slop into the trough and made sure the water bucket was still full and mostly clean. "Eat hearty, my lovelies, so we can have some yummy bacon." Meanie glared up at her with her beady piggy eyes. "Aw, you know I’m just kidding." She reached down and scratched the pig behind the ears as she returned to eating.

After making sure everyone had fresh water and enough hay to last the day, Lestrade climbed up onto the door to Raven’s stall and leaned back against the supporting post.

"Boy, Raven," she told the horse, braiding his forelock as he rested his head on her thigh, "I haven’t been out here to talk to you like this since I got here. Guess I’m gonna have to make it up to you, but not right now. I’ve got to make sure my niece isn’t in any kind of legal trouble. Or any other kind of trouble." She sighed as she turned on her comlink and began scrolling through the databases. "Why does Katy listen to me? It’s not like I’ve been around to be much of a role model."

Raven sneezed and nudged her leg. "Oh, yes that makes a lot of sense," Lestrade agreed, laughing. She paused thoughtfully, "I wonder if I could get away with smuggling you into New London and keeping you at a one of those fancy riding stables. No, you’d hate it there. Besides, I might not could afford it on my salary, and then I’d have to rent you out for some little brat to ride."

Raven snorted at this and shook his head emphatically. Lestrade laughed again. "Okay, okay, so I guess you have to stay here. I’ll just have to come visit more often." Though how she’d manage that without letting the others on to her secret, she didn’t know. She shook her head and continued scrolling through the information. A little while later she gave up in exasperation. There was nothing, not a thing, on the regular channels that anyone with the proper documents could get a hold of, on the crime wave that the media was constantly going on about in the state.

"Zed! I do not want to get involved in a government coverup... not when I’m way out of my jurisdiction," she muttered. That was rather an impulsive assumption, but she liked to think of the worst case scenarios so that she’d be pleasantly surprised by her overestimation of the case, rather than unpleasantly.

A voice that sounded quite remarkably like Holmes chided her on making an assumption in the first place. She ignored it. Her niece might be involved, and where family was involved, it paid to be cautious. What she needed to do now was see if she could get any more information out of C.C.

******

Sherlock Holmes stepped into the crowded and noisy bar, surprised at the amount of smoke that filled the air. Of course, it had been rather presumptuous of him to assume that every country had a ban on tobacco. His nose twitched slightly, but he shoved down his discomfort and concentrated on his mission. He intended to get arrested, as that was the best way to see the local sheriff without anyone knowing who he was or why he was there.

Dressed in a black Stetson, a denim shirt, blue jeans and faux snakeskin boots, he fit right in with the crowd. It was early yet, so he walked to the bar and ordered a long-neck beer. He supposed little had changed here since the twentieth century, and wondered if that might not change what he’d have to do to succeed in his present situation. It made it a bit of a challenge.

After a few minutes and a few drinks, a tall, portly man wandered in. He had long black hair that fell into his eyes, and from the way he swaggered, Holmes surmised he was already drunk or high. He wore a black tee-shirt with a strange logo on it and baggy black jeans. Just behind him, a petite blond girl wearing similar clothing followed. To others without a trained eye, she would appear perfectly sober, but Holmes could tell she was at least as stoned as her friend, if not more so. They were perfect to pick a fight with.

He discreetly followed them and sat in a table near theirs, listening to their conversation.

"Can you believe Beth?" the girl giggled, "She, like, came in all soaking wet and stuff."

Holmes filed the name away in his lumberyard of a brain, just in case this was useful in the future.

The man laughed. "Yeah, she’s a dope. She thinks she knows everything, but she doesn’t even know when to come in outta the rain. She talks to those animals as if they could actually respond."

"What’s wrong with that?" the girl asked, pretending to be hurt.

Nothing," the man was quick to respond, "’sperfectly nat... natu...um is good. ‘Sides, she’s my sister and all."

Holmes saw, out of the corner of his eye, the deputy walk in. He caught the man’s eye and they both nodded. It was time to make his move.

Holmes stood up and walked over to the man and woman, lightly placing his hand on the girl’s shoulder. He slurred drunkenly, "Hey, darlin’ how ‘bout comin’ along with a real man...."

Her boyfriend instantly jumped up despite being sloggered himself, his hands clenched into fists. "Hey, you stay away, $#%$!"

Holmes blinked uncomprehendingly at him and chuckled. "How come? Your sister Beth didn’t seem to mind...."

That completely took whatever self-control the man had, and the next thing Holmes knew, his plan had succeeded and he was sitting before the sheriff.

"Interestin’ plan, Mister Holmes," Johnson said, "I been lookin’ an’ lookin’ for somethin’ to get on them two. Don’ trust ‘em further’n I can throw ‘em. S’pect they’re smuggling drugs or somethin’ but can’t prove it. Now at least they’re off the street for a bit."

Holmes waved this by impatiently. "I am not here on something as trivial as drug smuggling." The sheriff’s eyebrows disappeared into his hair, but he didn’t say a word. "I am here because you believe Moriarty has taken control of the city council."

"Wha? How the Sam Hill did you...?" The sheriff shook his head. "Never mind, you’re right. Okay, here’s what I think’s been happenin’."

On to Part 3!

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