Bedbugs and Broomsticks

Part 3B

by Jaka Ray
(10/20/03 - 11/27/03)

General Disclaimer

CHAPTER FOUR - Breathe in, breathe out

YAY! I got my own.. er.. black ball of fluff! (See Myshawolf's chap. 13 of "Masquerade" for details)

JR: Not only do I have my very own Tickle Me Nightmare, but I've decided to take a bite out of Mysha's ficcys! Well, at least until I can figure out something to do. No, I'm not dead. I'm very much alive. I was just busy. Sorry it took so long, but at least I updated TWO fics at a time, right? Right. On with the motley!

P.S. My Tickle Me Nightmare blob has taken on the shape of Arnold Schwartzenegger. Gee, where did that come from?

Ahnold: I'll be bahk. Hey Cahlifohnians- I'm yor new Gubinator. Yor clothes - gib dem to me.

JR: -_-;;

Holmes jumped up and grabbed Fred's collar. "Don't go after her," he hissed, "And I promise the man's word will not be broken. He is but a pawn in a cunning scheme."
Lestrade raised her eyebrows, asking how it was certain that the antagonist was a male.
Sherlock shrugged. "Surely, even in the heat of the battle, you noticed the creature's extraordinary height, which he tried to conceal. It was in vain, of course, to my eyes and ears."
Lestrade groaned. "Of course! I should have seen it! But then that means that- "
"What'd we miss?" The man and his dog took that moment to walk into the mist of things.
"Where have you two BEEN!" Velma shouted with her arms in the air.
Scooby burped and Shaggy grinned. "Like, did you have ask?"
Velma rolled her eyes and brought both rascals up to date. Scooby whimpered when he fount out Daphne was gone.
"Roe roar ruby rags." ("No more Scooby Snacks.")
Shag snickered at his pup's ill timing, but became more serious when he saw Freddy's gaunt face. He coughed, nudging his fellow guy in the foot. But it was no use. Fred's bottom lip pouted out in a frown, and he was silent as ever. Shaggy turned to the others with a sigh and a shrug.
Holmes' face was just as serious. "We have no time to lose. We need a plan." His eyes flickered past Fred, who was busy bemoaning himself, and rested on Velma.
"Me?" She piped. Holmes nodded, and Lestrade followed his lead, prompting the girl helpfully, and "Looks like we're going to have to stick with the four S's, like Scooby said."
Right on cue, the dog recited, "Suspects, split up, scramble, secure. Meet the suspects, split up, scramble from the monster, and secure (trap) the monster. Then, last but not least, unmask the villain!"
"OK, next plan. Scooby, do you think you could sniff Daphne out?"
An hour had already passed, spent in fruitless pursuit of a place to set a good trap. Holmes was skeptical of the stability of the plan, and wasn't so sure of the girl's next plan either. But he had followed with a thoughtful expression on his face, his cane at the ready. Big surprise: it hadn't worked. Without Fred to plan it all like he usually did, the arrangement was a fluke. And now Velma was about to show she had more up her sleeve. Lestrade almost groaned out loud.
"Rye run roe." ("I don't know" - he says that a lot, doesn't he?)
Holmes twitched. "Um, yes well, TRY."
Scooby's tongue lolled out and he nodded with a yip. Pressing his huge black nose to the ground, the doggy began to sniff out the beast's scent, which would've been hard to miss. It wasn't a stinky smell like skunk or sweat: it was a strange, refreshing sort of smell.
"He's actually smelling!" The remaining teenage girl ran after Scooby the Great Dane as Lestrade tried not to feel worried at Velma's excited tone of voice. Sherlock restrained himself from slapping his forehead with a groan. It wouldn't have been very polite.
Beth Lestrade had never laughed so hard in her life. It didn't matter that Holmes was trying frantically to shut her up and reassure Scooby, who had his tail between his hind legs in depression, that it was OK and that everybody makes mistakes. "Why, if it was me I your - er, shoes? -" Sherlock tried to cheer the poor pup up, "I probably would've made the same error! It just goes to show that we are dealing with a sharp, prepared criminal!"
Scooby had led the group into a janitor's closet full of air freshener bottles.
Her breath having caught in her throat and almost suffocated her, Lestrade stopped laughing and sank to her knees weakly. Velma and Shaggy were trying to comfort Scooby as well, but Freddy was looking around in wonder. He seemed to have regained his wits, because he spoke up next. "I guess you're right, Mr. Holmes: the perpetrator must've disguised his scent with air freshener. That means that he knew we were coming and that sooner or later Scooby would try to sniff him out."
Shaggy looked confused. "So our bad guy is the janitor?" Lestrade looked like she was about to pop again, but Holmes was smart enough to keep his hand tightly over her mouth. Of course, that didn't stop her body from shaking with laughter as she shook her head violently. She knew who it was; at least, she thought she did. Holmes hadn't taken the time to confirm her suspicions. He was too busy a) keeping his hand over her mouth while at the same time making sure he didn't suffocate her; b) trying to calm the gang down; and c) trying to think up what they were to do next. Oh well, that was his problem. Meanwhile, Beth Lestrade couldn't help laughing out loud again.
Author's note: Well, I'm not sure how to use my newly obtained ball of fluff, but I've lost my notes on the next chapter, which was as good as done until I lost my notes. Cross your fingers and hope I find it. Meanwhile, read and review, mis amis!

CHAPTER FIVE: Oh God, not spandex

Author’s note: In case you’re wondering, I never found my notes so I’m trying to wing it as far as I can. I can’t even remember what was on that piece of paper, so I don’t know how bad it is yet...
Being not only a hopeless romantic but also a big Monty Python fan, I’m naming my little shadow demon "Monty". *Pats Monty on head* And Romeo’s first name was Montague.... ;)

j.r.: Heh heh. You want to say it, monty?

M: On with the monty.

j.r.: Motley.

M: Same difference.... :P

j.r.: Not really.

m: Oh, hush.

In other news, Monty (previously nicknamed Tickle Me Nightmare) is trying to memorize the manual himself because I told him I had homework to do. *Pats Monty on "head"* Well, not really homework, I guess, but...ficcys are good, right? : D
Actually he just looks like a ball of fluff when he isn't shadowed. Right now he's shadowed into Einstein. Go figure; Nightmare, that book would make War and Peace look like a Dick and Jane book!!]
Sherlock Holmes massaged his temples: what a day! But he kept his energetic face on as he examined the janitor’s room they stood in. It was normal enough: shelves full of air freshener bottles and other cleaning supplies filled up the wall to his right; to his left were the maintenance robots; and directly behind him loomed the main control system for all the cleaning machines. And the door was straight ahead, a large vent right above it....
"Of course!" Holmes cried out, rushing under the vent and trying to reach it, stretching his long thin arms up as high as possible. The vent, which looked big enough for him and maybe the Inspector (if she ever stopped laughing) to crawl through on all fours, was still too far away. Groaning as he scrunched his body back up again, Holmes turned to Lestrade, who had miraculously shut up but did not appear to be ashamed of her outburst. Her auburn eyes had followed Holmes’ movements curiously, and, registering comprehension, she bid the gang of recreated teenagers to listen up.
The great detective had to grin; it was nice having Lestrade as a 'partner' after all... He cleared his throat and held his hand out for Scooby to sniff, and motioned for his colleague to do the same. Once Scooby was sure to have their scent in his mind, however dim it might’ve been, Holmes nodded and indicated the air vents.
"The Inspector and I will crawl through the vents and try to see if we can locate the room in which Daphne is being held. I know it sounds old fashioned," he grinned again at Lestrade’s crestfallen face, "but I must remind you that this is California, the land of Hollywood and cliché movies... When in Rome, do as the Romans-" Sure enough, he was interrupted by Beth’s scowl and reluctant voice, which finished his sentence slowly and in a monotone tone [no pun intended].
Fred, who seemed to have brightened considerably, took control immediately. "You’re the man, Mr. Holmes! I’ll...err... bring you a chair?" He strode out the room, Velma and Scooby following, but Shaggy trailed behind and only dashed out after giving Holmes and Lestrade a wink. Both chose to pretend they hadn’t seen the lecherous wink in case the other had.
"So where do we start?" Lestrade always plunged straight into battle; why stop now? Looking around for something to stand on, Lestrade grabbed the tallest shelf of air fresheners she could reach and hoisted herself onto it. Holmes watched in amusement as she climbed up each shelf like a ladder until she got to the tallest one. Next she stretched her arm out toward the vent. Her fingertips were only an inch away from it. Pivoting her toes little by little, she was able to move closer in the direction of the door. But then the shelf collapsed.
With a yell she landed on her rump, rolling away just in time to keep the shelf from squashing her. As she stood, evidently disgusted, Sherlock spoke up teasingly, "Elementary Physics, my dear Lestrade. I do believe you went to school, did you not?" His silver eyes shone apologetically the next instant so she decided not to make them black and blue. But she did cross her arms and challenge him to think of something great. And he did so, of course, very quickly. Not that it was great in her favor, though.
Scooby’s stomach rumbled loudly as the whole gang stood outside the door waiting for Holmes’ signal: three metallic pangs which were supposed to come from somewhere above their heads. They didn’t want to get in the way of "whatever was going on in there," Shaggy mentioned casually, especially if it was important detective work that they couldn’t possibly follow. But, since they were still detectives in some way and still held onto a shred of pride, Fred and Velma went over the clues, bouncing theories off each other while Shaggy and Scooby simply daydreamed of other things like food.
"I think Squaw did it; you remember how he knew the Inspector was from Scotland Yard without us or his boss telling him?" Fred protested.
"Yes, but we should still keep an open mind. Remember when you used to think Red Herring was behind every little mystery? You had proof most of the time, but sometimes it still turned out to be somebody else!" Velma pointed out innocently, making her friend turn Red.
"Well this time it couldn’t BE anyone else!" He defended arrogantly.
"There are a lot of suspects whether we like it or not. Even Mr. Lou can’t be ruled out! Insurance gives a lot these days! There’s Mr. Lucas, the guard who stopped us: his boss told him about us coming (a fact I verified when we were talking to Mr. Lou), but he still refused to let us in. Arnold Trojan, another scientist, was really nervous during our talk, and the Asian, however eager she was to cooperate, can’t be ruled out either."
"You’ve forgotten Seth Pratt." Fred taunted smugly. "Just because he’s a ‘cutie’ doesn’t mean he isn’t a criminal." Velma looked hurt. She muttered something about having gotten his autograph but then trailed off. Lucky for her she was saved from further embarrassment by the three sharp clangs that sounded from inside the room....
"I do hope you didn’t step in dog poo today, Inspector."
"Oh I don’t know, Holmes; Scooby eats a lot for one pup."
It was a comedic sight to see Sherlock Holmes standing nonchalantly but with his arms grasped firmly around Beth Lestrade’s calves. She was standing on his shoulders, wavering slightly and unsteadily, and together they measured at least 11 feet. But it was no use; she needed to be just a little higher... Conveying her thoughts to the person below her, she felt Holmes’ arms shoot up and found herself in a sitting position, perched atop a Victorian gentleman’s palms.
Restraining herself from issuing another vicious snarl, Lestrade reached up. Her hand touched the vent easily. So it did work.... she thought privately, and she proceeded to unscrew the fastenings of the metal window, trying not to be distracting by the fact that her uniform was made of Spandex.
"If I catch you looking up, Sherlock Holmes, I will personally make sure you won’t live to see New London again."
[So read and review! Flames welcome since I have my own Nightmare now... * cough * HMM that movie Texas Chain Saw Massacre could be remade if something else like that happened... *cough*

monty: * sneers and turns to cowering readers (yea right) * she’s only joking – she wouldn’t be able to hurt a fly if she tried...

j.r. * Grins evilly *: Oh but you would... if you were a flyswatter... * gets ideas * pwahaha.]

CHAPTER SIX: Up the Vent and On the Scent

[Author’s note:

Jaka ray steps out humming linkin park and Simon & Garfunkel songs:

Ok, first of all, the new Simon & Garfunkel tour is the bomb, and I got to see it on Art’s birthday (November 5th), which was really special! I had the time of my life!
Sorry about the slow updates....]
Sherlock Holmes [Do I really start every chapter with "Sherlock Holmes"? Well, just goes to show how loved he is.... ;)] shifted his weight hesitantly. He was careful not to drop the Inspector, even if she made no effort to catch the screws that she removed. Luckily they were far from hitting him, but it was unnerving because if he moved too much he would slip immediately on the circular bolts. Yes, he thought to himself, it was the wrong day to wear those slippery brown loafer shoes.
Finally he heard a creak and knew Lestrade had gotten the shaft open. What a relief! Slowly but surely she lifted off of his palms and pulled herself into the vent. With a few shuffles and scuffles and groans, Beth was able to squeeze in.
"I told you not to eat those cream puffs, Inspector!" Holmes called out from below, fully aware that she could do nothing to hurt him from her position. However, Lestrade quickly sent her spare screwdriver rolling toward the open vent and it hit the man smack on the forehead. Rubbing the mark, which he felt was bruising already, Holmes jeered, "Well, ex-cuuuse me, Britney Spears..." A horrified squeak and tugging of Spandex uniform told the detective that his jest had hit its mark.
Smirking gleefully, Sherlock crossed his arms and waited for her to help him up. Instead, however, the female was still. I do hope she isn’t stuck, he thought privately. What an inconvenience that would be!
"Uh, Holmes?" Lestrade’s voice was tentative and muffled. "I’m facing the wrong direction: my head is facing away from the hole..." Breathing a sigh of relief but muttering to himself, the detective instructed her slowly to back up over the gap.
"Ohhh...." Lestrade cursed her own stupidity, growling to nobody in particular, "No shit, Sherlock."
"Oops. Sorry Holmes. Oof."
"You should’ve done those sit-ups like I asked you to, too, Inspector."
"Shut it, Sherlock."
Outside, the gang was about to start following Holmes and Lestrade’s scent from the ventilation system when Scooby started to growl. And I don’t mean his stomach: I mean a rumbling growl from deep within the throat that signaled the dog’s unhappiness. Turning to see what the fuss was about, every member tried to look casual when they saw Timothy Squaw approaching.
Shaggy smiled weakly and waved, but the man’s eyebrows narrowed and the boy noticed his teeth were pointed as he said, "Well look-y here! If it ain’t the Ghostbusters from the beaches of hell! Where’s the crappie chappie from across the pond?" [As in, across the Atlantic Ocean]
Even while the rest of his friends cowered, Freddy took the bull by the horns and stepped forward pompously. Which isn’t always the smartest thing to do. "How’d you know Mr. Holmes was from New London? And how’d you know the Inspector was from Scotland Yard? Is it because you’re the one behind all this? Huh?"
For a moment, surprise seemed to flicker in Squaw’s eyes, but in the next moment they were hard again. In a mockingly British drawl he exulted slyly, "Eyes and brains, you little hippie. Isn’t that what your ol’ detective used to say?" He stopped a minute to give a cruel smile. "And as for the broad, I could read that ID tag from a mile away." Fred’s hands were clenched as tightly as his jaw, so Shaggy stepped into his place.
"Don’t you have some crimes to commit?" The man looked like he was about to tear Shaggy apart with his blazing eyes alone, but Velma placed herself between the two, shooing Squaw away with a silent glare. Then she turned on Shaggy.
"You know better than to put yourself in danger like that!" she snapped angrily. Shaggy looked confused; hadn’t he just stood up for their leader? And now the brain of the gang was mad at him? At least food doesn’t talk back to you, a voice in his head said. This time, however, it was Fred who broke it up, again reprimanding both sides of the battle for their immaturity but still being fair. He made the two of them shake hands good-naturedly, but of course, when he and Velma turned their backs, Shaggy stuck out his tongue at both of them.
Trying to figure out how to get her companion up the eleven feet that separated them, Beth Lestrade could find no other way but to hang upside down from the vent as far as she could go and instruct Holmes to jump. And when he did grab onto her arms she had her legs locked into position and didn’t fall. Holmes awkwardly tried to climb up, but found it increasingly embarrassing, as there was nothing to hold onto once he got past her shoulders. And he was too much of a gentleman to... Well I’ll leave it at that. [*Grin mischievously *]
"Couldn’t you try and swing yourself up?" Lestrade growled, trying to hide her face, which was beet red from hanging upside down so long (and from realizing the handhold-foothold situation, too). He tried to do so, but ended up grabbing her belt instead. Luckily for both of them the belt was enough for the incredibly lean detective to scramble into the shaft. Lestrade followed suit and soon found the Great Detective’s ass in her face.
"Please don’t fart," she muttered to herself. Holmes pretended he hadn’t heard her. Clearing his throat crisply, he lead the way as quietly as possible through the metal duct, making sure to tap loudly when they were over the rest of the group. When he was sure that Scooby was on their scent Sherlock continued on, Lestrade right behind him by a few inches, careful to stay just the right amount of distance away from him but still keeping up with his swift movements. Every so often they came across a vent like the one they had removed in the janitor’s closet, which showed a room filled with scientific junk, and soon even Lestrade had a mental map of the building. She could hear Holmes mumbling to himself as well.
"First laboratory, second, right turn, empty office, left, left, another lab..." But pretty soon the crawling was become monotonous and mechanical. Lestrade’s limbs moved rhythmically and predictably, following Holmes’ Inverness-covered bottom. That was until that bottom stopped with a halt and she crashed right into it. Springing back as quickly and gracefully as she could, Lestrade babbled an apology but was shushed by Holmes, whose hand was waving frantically for quiet.
"What is it?" Lestrade hissed between her teeth. His reply was so low she could barely make out [*Getting ideas? Jk *] the words. Nevertheless, any stranger would’ve been able to hear the thrill in his voice as he whispered, "We’ve found her."
Shaggy held his dog’s leash tightly in his hand, in case he zoned out and got separated from the gang like always, at least he’d have Scooby. Not much help, I know, but you must remember they were best buds. The perky pup yelped at every indication of a refreshed scent, meaning that they were still on the detectives’ trail. Velma and Fred jogged behind the two, minds still pondering who was the real culprit behind this puzzling mess that became a ficcy. Their thoughts, however, were interrupted by Scooby’s interruption: he careened to a stop just outside a closed door, waddling around in circles, whimpering sadly.
"Aw, Scoob’! You didn’t lose their smell, didja?" Shaggy whined. His dog looked up at the master dejectedly, but Freddy solved the problem.
"Don’t be so pessimistic, you guys! Maybe Mr. H and the Inspector stopped as well. Or they’ve found Daphne!" This last statement was more to himself than the rest of his friends, and his voice was tinted with steady hope.
[Author’s note: As always, read and review, and I’ll be sure to finish up the story in the next one or two chapters... Maybe three chapters if you’re lucky/unlucky. If that’s the case, I’ll be sure to make it a cliffy... ;) Hey! This wasn’t a cliffy!]

CHAPTER SEVEN: Realization

[Author's note: !!! I completely forgot Moriarty!! *Think hard * Well, I've already got this plot figured out, and none of it is Moriarty, sorry! But I promise the next one will be! I'm more of a romantic than a mystery writer...he he. And I'll be working on the sequel to THIS FICCY very soon. (Give me a break, you say? Pwahaha! Never!) And now that I've updated so fast, let's all point our fingers at Nightmare and laugh! pwahaha!

monty: boy was that a mistake.. She'll be coming after YOU soon! pwahaha!

jr.: Well I've got an excuse! It's a bit pathetic but that's the way it is with excuses, right? Ahem: I'm watching Chinese Soap Operas. Set in the Imperial periods of China. With Shaolin kung-fu-ists, evil empresses and a dowager empress that ticks me off so bad, and of course, (you knew this was coming, right?) cute princes + rebellious princesses. Oh, and the Eunuchs. -___-;; Now that's what I call dedication.

monty: please don't go there. Please.]

Sherlock Holmes, working quickly as he spoke, was able to remove the ventilation cover without difficulty. "According to my calculations, we should be right above...." The Great Detective started muttering to himself again, going over their crawling. Lestrade tried her best as well, but it made her head hurt, so instead she took the easy road; she peered into the room itself. And what she saw made her gasp.
"Lou's office!"
After spinning around in so many circles that his head hurt, Scooby Doo sat down with a "Rumph" and inspired so much sympathy in his owners that Freddie was compelled to give him a Scooby snack.
"Hey, Daph', don't you think now would be a good time for a Sc-" Reality hit him a second too late. Oh, yeah. She wasn't there. He kind've missed the fashion-obsessed girl. Velma patted his shoulder in a friendly fashion and then patted Scooby and was about to pat Shaggy too, but realized he was too tall for her so she gave up. Looking around to avoid making eye contact with Shaggy [Yeah, I gotta poke romance into SOMETHING], she noticed they were in a very familiar area of the building. She tugged on Fred's sleeve. He noticed it too. Only Scooby, who was illiterate, obviously, couldn't read the sign outside the big brass door they had been standing in front of just hours ago. It was the door to the office of the very man who had summoned them to the case in the first place.
Shaggy was confused. "But why would Mr. Neebin even summon us here if he's the guy we're trying to find?"
Fred was furious. "Because he's been playing us for dupes, that's why! Now let's go in there and save Daphne!" And before he could take in the warnings from Velma, the true brains of the group, Freddie and Shaggy had put their shoulders to the cheap machinery device locking the door, broke it, and rushed in to find the surprised eyes of Lou Neebin and the girl of Fred's dreams tied up in a chair.
If you think Fred was furious, you should've seen Beth Lestrade. After uttering a bucket worth of the most unprintable words ever, she shoved Holmes out the vent and followed after him in a less graceful plop. But the Academy training was sinking in at last, because she was up on one knee in a flash, ionizer and the ready, shrill voice snarling, "Inspector Lestrade, New Scotland-" Beth's usual introductions were interrupted by a hard kick to her ribs. As she hit the wall hard, raising a bump on the back of her head, Lestrade's brain was in chaos mode. She had had her eyes glued on Lou Neebin, just like the handbook said. She had been ready to respond to any flicker of a muscle, any attempt to escape. Of course, Daphne had been tied in a chair, so it couldn't have been-
Lestrade's eyes flew open. And then it hit her: why wasn't Lou Neebin moving at all?
Both she and Sherlock Holmes noticed the trickle of blood coming from a bullet wound in the manager's chest at the same time. His once hard and cold eyes were lifelessly frozen in a look of terror and shock. Lou Neebin had been murdered.
A light, sardonic applause came from the other corner of the room. "Brava, Inspector, Brava. Although I hardly think you would've been expecting to receive a hard kick in your side?" A man stepped out of the shadows, dark bangs covering his dark glasses, which in turn covered those sinister, fiery eyes. With a snap of his fingers, the lights brightened, allowing the detectives' eyes to wander into the dark corner, only to see the limp body of Timothy Squaw, and the two other scientists standing over him with guilty looks in their grim faces.
On another snap from the malicious actor, Trojan and Annie, in movements to fast for the naked eye, had pinned Sherlock Holmes down and administered a sedative. His struggling was no use against the force of two, and with a cry Holmes went limp as well. Which left only Beth Lestrade to be dealt with....
[Author's note: Read and Review, that's all I've got to say. I would also love suggestions on how to end this as well, please. Don't worry, all you impatient ones ;): the first chapter of the next ficcy will be up the same time the last chapter to this one is posted. So keep your pants on.

monty: hehe.]

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