The Adventure of the Mysterious Benefactor

Part 24

by Stacey (SST205 at
There was silence for a moment. Watson, Deidre and Wiggins glanced at Holmes. Tennyson's eyes were fixed on his keyboard.
Holmes had his eyes on Tennyson's mother, his chin resting on his thumb. After a moment of silence, he put his hand down and said, "Mrs. Fayre, may I speak with you in private a moment?"
The woman looked at him quizzically, then stood up. "Of course."
Holmes led the way to the hall entrance. He stepped aside to let Mrs. Fayre in first, then followed.
Tennyson's mother took five or six steps down the hall, then stopped and turned around. "What is it, Mister Holmes?"
The dectective folded his arms and looked her in the eye. "Frankly, madam, something bothers me about the story you've just told."
"I swear to you, it is the truth!" the woman said in a loud whisper, her eyes widening.
"Of which I have no doubt." Holmes assured her, raising a hand. "It is not the content of your story that bothers me, madam, it is the manner in which you have told it."
"You have related to us what happened the morning Tennyson was banished from the house--of your anger toward you husband, of your relief at finding your boy safe; us, as in Watson, Deidre, Wiggins, Miss Fayre and I. You have not said word one to your son."
Mrs. Fayre dropped her head. When she lifted it again, a tear was running down her cheek. "Oh, Mister Holmes...."
"I understand that you wanted to keep your boy safe from his father. However, he could have done nothing to harm your son even if he followed you here on a visit -- not without being sorely penalized by the law."
"I fear you've let your husband's talk of society being on his side sink in too much. I know of several people -- even at New Scotland Yard -- who would frown severely on attitudes such as your husband's."
Holmes found it hard to restrain a grin at the thought of Inspector Beth Lestrade, who was largely responsible for having Holmes 're-animated' in the twenty-second century. Lestrade was very gruff, and often grumbled about the Irregulars being "in the way". She had also snapped at Holmes about "putting the kids in danger", so he knew that in her way she cared.
Mrs. Fayre wiped away the tear with the back of her hand. "Oh, sir -- what have I done?"
"Things that are now in the past, Madam," Holmes said, stepping aside and gesturing toward the front room. "Go -- talk to your son."
Mrs. Fayre pursed her lips a moment, then slowly walked past Holmes to the end of the hall.
In the other room, Deidre had moved to Tennyson's other side. When Mrs. Fayre returned, the two older Irregulars stood firmly by him. Even when Tennyson's mother made her way over to stand in front of her son, neither teen moved an inch.
"Tennyson--"Mrs. Fayre began, when Holmes cleared his throat. She looked over at him, and he lowered his hand with his palm to the floor. Turning back to the boy in the hoverchair, Mrs. Fayre got down on both knees so that she could be eye to eye with him.
"Tennyson, dear lad--" she began again, "When I first saw you, you were the most handsome thing I had ever seen. I was so proud of you."
Her son blinked slowly.
"I-I was disappointed when all your test results came back, but -- it was for you--I thought of how hard your life would be as you grew up--" she choked back a sob, "--In this day and age."
Tennyson pursed his lips and looked down at his keyboard.
"As you grew up, I could see that your -- differences -- were in no way as much of a bother to you as they were to your father. Later still, when you began to go on excursions out of the house--" she grinned slightly, "--I could see how exhilarated you were upon your return, and I wondered if you wouldn't be content just the way you were."
Wiggins and Deidre smiled at each other. They knew for afact their young friend was content.
"Some time before your thirteenth birthday, I -- began to ask your father if -- if we couldn't skip sending you to the medical center for surgery. At first he'd laugh as if I were joking. As I pressed and he realized I meant it, he became infuriated. He'd say that no son of his was going to be a freak--" She scowled. "--and I told him that no son ofmine ever was a freak."
Holmes saw Tennyson sit up a bit and his eyes become more focused on his mother.
The woman in front of Tennyson started, then looked in despair at her son's two friends. "I'm sorry."
"He asked why you never came to see him," Deidre interpreted. "Seeing as how you knew he was here and all."
Mrs. Fayre frowned sadly. "I am so sorry, my precious boy. I wanted to -- but I was afraid. If ever your father found out I was coming to see you -- he'd know I lied about not being able to find you. After finding out where you were, I feared in his rage he may have--"
She looked at the floor. There was silence for a moment, then Watson spoke up.
"Madam, there is something I fail to understand."
Tennyson's mother looked at him. "Yes?"
"Weren't you afraid of what your husband might do if he found out you were taking his money?"
"Well, I did come in something of a disguise." Mrs. Fayre said, tugging at the cloak she wore, "--hoping no one would recognize me leaving the money. As for taking funds that were my husband's...."
She grinned slightly. Before she was able to finish her sentence, however--
"Caroline, open this door! I know Lynette's in there!"
Mrs. Fayre stood. "Ashton!"

On to Part 25
Part 1,Part 2,Part 3,Part 4,Part 5,Part 6,Part 7,Part 8,Part 9,Part 10,Part 11,Part 12,Part 13,Part 14,Part 15,Part 16,Part 17,Part 18,Part 19,Part 20,Part 21,Part 22, andPart 23.
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