Part 3

by Kestrel Akira (K_Akira at juno.com)

(I'm leaving clues here. Can you guess who she is?)

Tory came to a halt a few blocks away from Baker Street, but as she made a sharp turn on the sidewalk, her foot slipped off of the edge and landed flat on its edge, with her entire weight on it. She winced. "Zed it. That screwed up my ankle." She removed the heavy boot that encased her foot. She winced again when her rain-soaked hands touched the swelling area, the ice cold skin of her hand contacting the fiery heat of rushing blood and pain. "Great, now I have to get a first aid kit for this." Tory leaned up against the cold wall of a building and sighed. "I also have to find a place to stay, get some food, and more clothes. I stick out like a sore thumb in this outfit."

She struggled to replace her boot, but the swelling had made it much harder. She finally had it on, though it had caused her much pain. "I wonder how many credits I have on me?" Tory looked at her assets. "I think I have enough for a few changes of clothes, some food, and a hotel room, but not much else."

Tory looked up and down the street, searching for something familiar to her. "I was told that New London did not change much by the way of businesses. If thatís the case, then there should be a Carlsonís just a few blocks down where I can buy some threads." She started on her way, but as soon as she put weight on her right foot, she collapsed to the ground in pain.

"Zed!" she winced. "My ankle just buckled." She looked back in the direction of Baker Street. Tory groaned. "Iím not going to get anywhere very fast on this injury, and knowing Holmes and Lestrade, Iím going to be found soon if I donít get going."

Once again standing up on her feet, favoring her right side, Tory limped down the sidewalk toward the clothing store, gritting her teeth the entire way. As luck would have it, just as she was entering the store, Deidre and her mother were exiting and they smacked into her, knocking Tory to the ground.

"My goodness, miss. Are you all right?" Miss Harris asked frantically. "Iím so sorry. I didnít see you there." She and Deidre helped her up off of the ground. Deidre noticed that she was favoring her right foot.

"Are you Ďright?" she asked. "You look like you Ďurt your ankle."

"Oh, did I do that? Iím so sorry," Miss Harris exclaimed.

Tory looked up at them and inwardly groaned. One of the Irregulars. Iím in trouble if she tells Holmes. "No, you didnít do anything," she reassured. "I slipped and sprained my ankle a few blocks back."

"Oh dear. Do you need any help?"

"Iím fine. I was just going to do some shopping, then find myself a hotel to stay in for a few days."

Deidreís mother looked at her long and hard. "You will not be staying in a hotel, but with my daughter and myself."

"Thatís not necessary, miss. I donít want to inconvenience you."

"Itís no problem, and besides, you need someone to take a look at that ankle. Come now, I insist."

Tory groaned once again. "Very well, miss, but Iím afraid that I donít have much in the way of clothes at the moment. That was what I was planning to shop for." She looked to the ground shyly. "All I have at the moment is what Iím wearing. I had no plans to be in New London, I kinda got dropped off."

"Itís no problem... uh, what is your name again?"

"Itís Doyle, Tory Doyle, and you are?"

"My name is Madeline Harris, and this is my daughter Deidre."

"Itís a pleasure to meet you."

Miss Harris smiled at her, then turned to Deidre. "Why donít you help Miss Doyle into the store while I put these packages in the car?"

"OK, mum. Come along, Miss Doyle; you can lean on me." She came to Toryís right side and wrapped her arms around her waist.

"Please, call me Tory. Miss Doyle makes me sound old."

Deidre laughed. "Then call me Deidre." They started walking into the store, Tory hobbling on the toes of her right foot. They came to a motorized cart in which Tory quickly and gratefully sat down in. "Um, not to be rude," Deidre started, "but how old are you? You donít look much older than 25."

Tory laughed. "I donít think you're rude at all, but you must work on your observation skills. Iím not even twenty. Try eighteen -- almost nineteen. Iíve always looked older than I am."

Deidreís eyes widened. "Iím so sorry." All she got was laughter. "I guess that Iíll have to work with Mr. ĎOlmes some more."

Tory stopped laughing and looked at the younger girl. "Mr. Holmes? As in detective Sherlock Holmes?" Deidre nodded. "I would love to meet the guy. Iím a huge fan, but I donít think heíll have time to see me, him being so busy solving cases and chasing this guy Moriarty around."

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Why donít you just tell her everything, then walk up to 221b and ask to be arrested.

"He makes time. In fact, he may let you join in on a few cases with the rest of us, if you like."

Tory looked at her in mock horror. "Are you kidding? Iím more of a hindrance. Iím a walking disaster, and an accident looking to happen. I did this," she pointed down to her foot, "by walking on the sidewalk, and my foot slipped off of the edge and landed wrong. Do you really think that heíll let me anywhere near a case when I would most likely screw it up in one way or another?" Great acting, Tory. Now I think youíve done it. Heíll definitely want to meet you now, knowing him. Might as well dig yourself a grave now because youíll need it soon.

"Heís not like that; in fact, heíll probably insist on your helping. He enjoys teaching others how to be good detectives. Iíll introduce you to him sometime, if you would like."

Tory laughed. "Yes, please, but not until the pain in my ankle diminishes to a dull throb." And Iíll personally hand him the ammo for the firing squad.

By this time, Miss Harris had joined them. "Now letís see what you need to get."

For an hour, they went around the store, picking out clothes and other essentials that Tory would need. When they left, she had three pairs of blue pants, four shirts, two pairs of shoes, nightwear, a pair of dresses and several pairs of undergarments. Tory paid for them and was helped outside into the waiting car. The ride to the home was quiet and uneventful. Tory spent the entire time thinking.

I know where I am and when I am; now what am I going to do about it? I need to get Moriarty back where he belongs along with myself. I canít ask Holmes and Lestrade for help because theyíll ask questions that I canít answer. I canít ask the Irregulars because itís way too dangerous, and I canít do it by myself, especially on this injury. Why is everything against me today? They pulled up to the flat, and Tory once again groaned. Baker Street. Why did she have to live on Baker Street? This is just a few flats away from 221.

On to Part 4!

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