Relentless Past

Part 4

by Liz de Jong (corellian_whiskey at

When the fire brigade finally arrived, complete with flashing hovertruck lights, that was how they were found; Holmes oblivious to nearly everything else in a most uncharacteristic fashion, playing away the night, and Liz watching on with a silent tear in her eye, the music touching her heart and almost seeming to provide a background soundtrack for the burning of her home, which she watched.

Her hopes rose slightly when the firemen attempted to quell the blaze with countless streams of water, but fell again when the water did nothing for the already destroyed home. Her heart felt as though someone were stepping on it, crushing it into the stony ground below, as the whole situation finally burned its way past her shock-dulled senses.

She began sobbing uncontrollably, her mind racing. All of the few ties that existed between her time and herself were in that house, all of the antiques she had collected. Her cards, too, were now gone, as well as all her other worldly possessions. Now she truly felt alone.

Holmes finally stopped playing, setting the violin down with loving care into its case once more. He turned back to the real world, and to Liz, finally noticing her crying. A sudden wave of guilt crossed over him again, as he realized that this was quite his fault. Instead of saving something of her own, she saved something of his, something she knew would bring him great happiness... and in return, she had nothing left in the world.

He stood, dusted himself off, and offered her a hand, rather awkwardly. He did not know if she would slap it away in anger or take it. To his relief, she took it. And, oddly enough, he thought to himself, he was hoping she would. Liz stood with the aid of Holmes, but was rather shaky on her feet, almost tripping back down again once she was again in the throes of gravity. Holmes caught her, however, and Liz buried her face in his shoulder without even thinking, still sobbing.

Holmes was a bit taken aback by this, at first not really knowing what he should do. He was, after all, not really used to comforting females in distress. But after his initial panic had subsided, he placed an arm around her, and gently lay a hand on her head, brushing back some of her hair that had become slightly singed on top by the heat.

It suddenly occurred to him that she had been right, again, with the tarot reading she had done... the Tower had indeed played havoc in his life... as, he suspected, had the two of hearts.

Liz tensed up at first, her wild thoughts confused and registered -- attack! run! It's happening all over again! -- but managed to stop herself before she slammed him another good one in the gut, realizing what was actually happening. Instead of feeling fear and uncertainty about the future, she felt security and reassurance so close to Holmes. And also, she noticed, the strong feeling that he was very sorry for something. She may have lost her cards, but she could still use her senses.

Wiping away a tear, Liz looked up into Holmes' face, which was peering down at her with a comical mixture of fear at what he was doing and remorse for what he had done.

"What is it?" Liz asked, noting a little bit of confusion on his face, which was then quickly hidden again, his features forced back into a neutral expression by himself.

Holmes looked towards what was left of the house, thinking before he made his answer. All that was left were smouldering ruins, charred planks, and glowing embers.

How much should she know? he puzzled to himself, thinking that if he told her everything, she might be in constant fear of her safety. He inwardly shook his head, immediately receiving his answer. She should know all. After all, it was my keeping the knowledge to myself that caused this fire. At least if I voice my suspicions, she can have a little more control of this situation.

"This is all my fault." Holmes started off, continuing hurriedly when he saw the 'No, it isn't' expression Liz's face was taking on. "I had the suspicion that Moriarty was behind this, and have been watching your house closely for a while, in case he were to make a move towards you. But I hadn't seen anything for at least two weeks, and I suppose I thought that.. I could handle it alone. That nothing would happen. How wrong I was..."

Liz looked a bit worried, and a little suspicious.

"You've.. been watching me?"

"Yes, from a distance. In my research I had come across your name and your location, but also had found some of your father's records, and was taking precautions against..."

Holmes was interrupted by a paramedic, whom had pushed his way over to them through the crowd that had now gathered, as crowds always do at such events. He had a very stern look about his face, as he examined their clothing, noting the black smudges and singed clothing.

"'Ere, then, this your house?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

"It is the lady's," Holmes replied, looking momentarily down at Liz again, whom was still looking very dazed, very confused. "And I will thank you not to speak so gruffly. She is suffering from shock."

"That she is, sir, An' is exactly who we've been lookin' for for the last half hour. Thought she was dead, no one had noticed you two." He eyed them both for a moment, as if expecting something, then continued. "Was there anyone else inside?"

"No." Holmes replied, with a dismissive air. The paramedic, however, was not so easily dispatched.

"Come with me, you two. Get checked out for smoke inhalation and the like before you leave, and you, ma'am," he said, pointing to Liz. "Should leave a statement with New Scotland Yard before you go anywhere."

Liz only looked at him dumbly, his words not registering at all. She was indeed suffering from shock, and nothing much was making sense to her. All she could hear was Holmes' voice, repeating "I had the suspicion Moriarty was behind this," over and over again.

Moriarty... alive... but how? And why? What's going on? Confusion reigned now, making her feel like a helpless child, which, in turn, made her begin to cry again. She had never liked to have things so out of her hands, but now she felt there was nothing she could do. She had nothing, and couldn't do anything to fix it.

Holmes looked coldly at the paramedic.

"She is in no condition for questioning. We will seek treatment, but nothing else."

The paramedic looked less than pleased.

"And who are you to say so?" he questioned, looking pleased with himself for what he felt was the ability to pull rank on a civilian. Holmes continued to look on coldly.

"I am Sherlock Holmes, with New Scotland Yard." The guard's eyes widened in recognition. "Any statement she wishes to give can be issued directly to me. Now about that treatment?"

The paramedic grudgingly accepted Holmes' obviously higher rank, and led them over to one of the sleek hovertrucks that had arrived, where they received quick care from him. He constantly eyed the two of them, almost pouting at the obvious loss of opportunity for a nice write-up for his boss on how he handled the situation.

"Don't mention my name when you're getting in trouble at the Yard," the guard stated sulkily.

Holmes smiled slightly then, more with hilarity, than anything else, at this situation. "Don't worry, my good man. You were only doing your job, and I, mine. Thank you." And with that, they were off to his coachcraft.

Once in the hovercraft and in the air, it was Holmes' intention to describe to Liz exactly why he had been following her, and the exact situation she was now in. But he was too late; she had fallen asleep immediately after seating herself, and remained in a deep sleep once they had arrived at Baker Street.

Again, Holmes momentarily panicked, wondering if she were all right, if he should wake her, and a million other things, all at once. He eventually pulled himself together, however, and lifted her gently from the passenger seat, braving the stairs to the rooms of 221B with her in his arms. She still did not stir, but Holmes noted that her breathing was still existent, and regular.

As he awkwardly pushed open the door to his flat, he heard a familiar cheery voice welcome him back.

"Hello, Holmes! I made you some... Oh, dear!" Watson exclaimed, as he clanked into view of the door and Holmes, complete with his charge. "I knew I should have followed you! These things always happen when I'm not around..." He trailed on, following after Holmes as he advanced to one of the small couches in their quarters, gently setting her down onto it, then arranging some pillows beneath her head and neck for comfort.

"Get some blankets, Watson. Our guest will be staying the night," Holmes stated simply, placing his singed cap and coat on the coatrack near the door. Watson nearly shut himself down with worry and with the amount of questions burning across his receptors.

"But Holmes..."

"All will be explained in due time, Watson. I am fine, as is she...the blankets, please." Watson ambled off, quickly returning with the requested materials, placing them lightly over the figure of Liz, who then shifted a little, then fell to rest once more.

Holmes plopped himself down into his favorite armchair, closing his eyes and rubbing the bridge of his nose in an attempt to relieve some of the tension. Watson clanked in front of him, looking down expectantly.

Again, Holmes felt horribly responsible for what had happened tonight, and, after telling Watson the entire story of this night's happenings, voiced that feeling to his companion. Watson shook his head vehemently.

"You mustn't think that way, Holmes," he replied, offering his friend a warm cup of honey-sweetened tea. "In fact, things may have turned out worse if you had not been there today, and waited as you did. You would never have learned all you have today from the young woman herself, nor would you have been there to help her."

"But Watson, if I hadn't waited so long in the first place..." Holmes trailed off, passing another glance at Liz, who was still sleeping soundly on the couch.

Watson watched his friend with growing curiosity. He had never seen Holmes take something this hard, nor doubt himself so much. This was definitely a turn he did not like in his companion's behaviour. But Watson also spotted a change, whenever he saw Holmes glance at this girl who slept on their couch, and it was all he could do to resist smiling knowingly.

"Not at all, Holmes. Everyone makes mistakes, some less often than others... even you. It is a human attribute. Just be thankful that things weren't worse."

Holmes nodded, finally seeing the whole situation in Watson's light. He suddenly felt horribly tired himself, but fought to stay awake a moment longer.

"Tomorrow, Watson, I want you to go to the Yard, first thing in the morning, and leave a report with Greyson."

"Wouldn't you rather do that in person, Holmes?"

"No..." he answered, distantly. "I have something else I need to do, aside from making sure nothing else happens to Liz. It won't take me long, but it is something I feel I must do..." Holmes trailed off.

Watson looked at his companion, waved a hand in front of his face... and smiled slightly as his friend slumped forward slightly in his chair, his nose inches from the tea in his cup. Watson took the cup and set it on the nearby end table, then grabbed an extra blanket, draping it over his sleeping friend.

On to Part 5!

Back to Part 3.

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