|Flushed Away: Where There's Smoke
Author: moonliteshdow PM
Roddy saved the City just last week. To his chagrin, he finds out that his problems are far from over when he receives a letter from a mystery rat... Roddy/RitaRated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Humor - Chapters: 9 - Words: 17,637 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 08-31-07 - Published: 08-09-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3713021
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The final chapter. In which several other people get knocked out. (Why break the habit of a lifetime?) LOL
Chapter Nine – A Well Deserved Party
They didn't have to walk far to reach the Town Hall and it was apparent that everyone was inside it judging by the tumult of voices echoing behind the doors.
'Right then here we are,' announced Stevens suddenly as they reached the doors, turning around and facing them as though she was a tour guide, 'as I speak there is a little... surprise being prepared inside...'
'What do you mean?' The Mayor trembled.
As if to answer the question, there were the sudden sounds of screaming from inside the hall. She grabbed Rita and dragged her over to the doors, addressing Roddy.
'It was a rather magnificent fire last time wasn't it St. James?'
'So it was you!'
Roddy remembered the woman who was fleeing from the Cheshire Cheese the moment he and Rita arrived there - no wonder she'd looked familiar.
'And your girlfriend survived because she was stupid enough to fling herself out of the first floor window - well not this time Roddy...' and she opened the door of the Town Hall as though to push Rita in there.
But several things suddenly happened together. Rats began jumping on their assailants from behind... Karl Gregory released Roddy and started fighting. The sounds of kicks and bites, scuffles and punching were coming from every direction as the windows of the Town Hall suddenly shattered with the pressure of a fire that was now snaking its way out of the building and up the wall.
'Get her in there!' roared Stevens as she tried to fight off the rat attacking her, pushing Rita through the main doors.
'No!' Roddy realised this just a moment too late and made to run at the doors, but Gregory knocked him aside and Stevens locked them.
Roddy turned from this sight to find the source of the commotion and was surprised to see at least 20 rats from the grounds of the Cheshire Cheese, all fighting Stevens' men.
'Was you was it!' Roared the former barman, pointing at Stevens as the rats closed in on her, 'Lost everything I owned that night including all my business! Good thing we turned up late for the party tonight lads or it looks like we'd have been in another fire!'
Patricia Stevens began to laugh maniacally 'You're too late! None of them will escape, there's nothing you can do! The Toad! He was right to plan their demise!'
Roddy had no time to watch her fate. He scrabbled off the floor and without really thinking where he was going, mounted the corrugated steps on the wall at the side of the Town Hall and tried to ignore the sound of the fire crackling.
He had reached the roof and was looking down through the long pyramid windows into the hall below... or what he could see of it. Smoke was rapidly filling the room and it was impossible to see how far the fire had spread... all he could hear was screaming.
Smashing the window would be a stupid thing to do; the extra oxygen would fuel the fire.
What to do...
'Roddy!' shouted a voice from below, 'Looking for this mate?'
The barman of the Cheshire Cheese held the key to the Town Hall in his hand and gestured to Roddy to follow him, disappearing around the corner on the ground.
Roddy made to go down the steps but a rough hand on his shoulder pulled him back around. Karl Gregory punched him in the face and knocked him to the floor.
'Come on everyone, let's have you out!' the barman was shouting below as Roddy staggered back onto his feet in time to see Gregory attempting to jump over onto the roof of the next building.
But Roddy St. James had finally lost his temper.
'Come on then Gregory!' He shouted, 'Can't you even beat up a grown man after working for a raving lunatic, kidnapping a lady and setting fire to the Town Hall with the entire population of the city inside?'
And he laughed, 'you spineless coward! Come back here and face me... no guns...'
Gregory looked at Roddy from behind his dark glasses and advanced slowly towards him, dropping his gun on the floor.
'That's right,' Roddy said; no trace of a smile on his handsome face.
And then they were facing one another, eyes narrowed.
Gregory raised his fist but Roddy was quicker - he grabbed it, twisted his arm and turned him so that he was facing the other way, half kneeling on the floor.
They struggled for a moment, and Gregory broke free hesitating just a moment to long - Roddy's fist connected with his jaw and he was out cold, landing on the concrete floor.
Roddy stood breathing heavily, pain radiating through his fist trying to understand what on Earth he'd just done.
'Couldn't have done that better myself...'
He turned to see Rita, leaning against the railings at the top of the corrugated steps and grinning broadly covered in soot for the third time that week.
'Rita!' He exclaimed and took a step forward eagerly.
'You're not going to knock me over again are you?' She raised an eyebrow.
'No... no...' He scanned her happily, quickly turning his sudden movement into rocking on the balls of his feet.
'I thought I told you to leave that sort of stuff to me?' She grinned.
'Well… you weren't here, and somebody had to teach him a lesson!' He grinned back.
She smiled but suddenly, her face changed and she pushed him aside as Gregory, having newly gained consciousness, pointed a gun in her face that had been intended for Roddy's back.
'No!' He cried.
As they braced themselves for the bullet, Gregory slumped face-first onto the floor to reveal the Mayor holding a large metal pipe.
'I've just decided,' He said loudly, as though they were continuing a previous conversation in a cosy living room, and not on top of a blazing building with weapon-wielding rat surrounding a lifeless body, 'you can sail wherever you want because I've just about had enough of all these mad people you and your friend are attracting…'
'Are you two in on this scene together?' Rita looked in an amused way from Roddy to the Mayor, then at Gregory with a giant bruise on his cheek and a blow to his head, 'Colonel Mustard with the lead piping on the roof?'
The Mayor seemed to realise he was still holding the metal piping in mid air like a baseball bat and lowered it, quickly.
'Come on,' Rita said urgently, 'we need to get downstairs and make sure everyone's alright!'
As they ran down the stairs, Roddy gasped,
'I think the lads from the Cheshire saw to her,' Rita answered back, between breaths, 'but last I saw, she was wrestling a policeman.'
Trying to imagine tiny Patricia Stevens wrestling someone like Colin was a little unbelievable, thought Roddy, but then again so was her real personality.
'Can't... tell... you what a surprise that was,' The Mayor said from behind, trying to catch his breath, 'All this time, the old girl was plotting against me, I never...'
'Yeah well maybe next time you'll be keeping an eye on your own employees instead of trying to arrest me,' Rita retorted as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
Everyone had been evacuated from the Town Hall which was still ablaze and being tackled by fire fighters. They were surrounded by screaming children, the buzzing of people's voices and medics running through the crowds looking for casualties. The Mayor quickly ran off in the direction of the police vehicle for an update.
Recognising the pair, the barman of the Cheshire Cheese came running up to them, cutting his way through the rats and addressing Roddy.
'What happened mate? I thought you was gonna follow me?' He was still clutching the key to the Town Hall tightly, as though everyone would be sucked back inside if he let it go.
'I had a run in with Karl Gregory,' Roddy indicated his bloody lip.
'I hope you gave him one back,' the barman replied as though they were talking about a matter of fighting in the playground.
Roddy opened his mouth to speak but Rita was faster.
'Course he did. Our Rod's no wimp you know!'
Surveying Roddy doubtfully, he blew air from his mouth as though stressed and rubbed the back of his head.
'I can't believe we got 'em all out,' He gestured towards the crowds, 'I managed to unlock the doors while the lads sorted her flunkies out. I don't think anyone's hurt, not that they've said about anyway…'
'Thank God. Have you seen my mum and dad?' Rita asked.
As if to answer the question, a crutch was being held aloft over the crowd like a sword as its owner was pushed aside by an unknown source.
'Get off me you stupid old bat – he won't want you jumping all over him that's for sure!'
Then an old woman wearing curlers leapt on Roddy, hugging him.
'Ooooh, we thought for sure you'd been dead Tom!'
Humouring her, Roddy answered 'No Grandma I'm quite alright,'
'Mother get off him – and stop calling him Tom!' Rita's mum dragged her mother away from Roddy.
The barman, who experienced enough insanity in his pub to consider this sort of behaviour normal, restarted the conversation unphased.
'Anyway Rod – name's Rich. When I get my pub rebuilt – anytime you wanna come 'round – you can have one on the house mate,' He shook Roddy's hand amiably.
'Thank you,' Roddy smiled – though the view looked rather strange considering one of the kids was already trying to sit on his shoulders and several others were tentatively examining his trousers as though considering how safe they were to climb.
'Roddy my son!' Dad was saying...
'Oh you're both alright... you're both alright,' fussed Mum, grabbing her daughter into a hug.
'Yeah we're alright mum... never been better...' She smiled at Roddy.
PC Colin came wobbling towards them, out of breath and followed by half a dozen other officers sporting black eyes and limps. The source of these injuries was being dragged towards the police boat, screaming.
'How dare you! Get your filthy hands off me you scum!'
'Delightful woman,' Roddy commented as PC Colin addressed him.
'He's on the roof…' Roddy began.
'Knocked out cold by Rod,' Rita said proudly.
Abashed, Roddy smiled and nervously shifted his weight from one foot to the other and back.
'Come on then lads!' Colin bellowed in their ears and they winced as the policemen mounted the steps to the roof.
She and Roddy shared a smile and his gaze moved from one of her eyes to the other. Then realising he was staring, he looked at the floor.
'You alright Roddy?'
'Yes I'm fine. What with one thing and another I've never had the chance to say… you look beautiful tonight Rita.'
She smiled genuinely, 'Thanks Roddy – you're a gent. You look don't look half bad yourself… although since we're both covered in dust and blood I'm not quite sure how flattering that is.'
He smiled broadly as the Mayor came bumbling out of the crowd and clapped his hand on Roddy's back. As he winced, the older rat barked,
'Well Roddy St. James! Shall we get this party going then?'
'Well why not? The fire's tackled, nobody's hurt, the loony's gone to the bin and everything's still set up!'
Rita actually laughed.
'Who cares if everyone's a bit covered in dust?'
'But don't you think you need to sort out the Town H….'
'That can wait till tomorrow my boy!' said the Mayor, waving aside the charred remains of the Town Hall 'can't let her win can we? That is exactly what she wanted...'
A whole host of chanting began 'Roddy! Roddy! Roddy!' and Rita pushed him on the back gently as the Mayor wended his way through the crowd in front of him.
Roddy tried to turn around and see where she'd gone as he followed, but she merely smiled and was obscured from his view quickly by chanting rats.
On the dance floor at the front of the stage, Roddy was greeted enthusiastically by Rita's family again, and Roddy addressed her mother 'I've lost Rita,'
'Don't panic Roddy – she's right behind you...'
He turned and froze. She had removed her hair from the ponytail and shrugged her shoulders as she walked up to him.
'It does my head in but I thought seens as how you liked my dress, you might like to see the full effect,'
He smiled slowly and took her hands, unable to speak.
The Mayor grinned knowingly, and much to their chagrin, wedged a rather large gap between them and placed his arms around their shoulders.
Another rat placed a microphone in front of him and he began talking pompously,
'Tonight,' He said, 'we honour one of the bravest rats in this City. A young man, who selflessly returned from his old home to rescue a million others – and then tonight, has played a big part in averting the same kind of disaster. These kinds of acts, as I think you will all agree, deserve recognition. And so – it is with great pleasure that I, Mayor Gilford award you, Roderick St. James,' He removed his arms from their shoulders and placed his hand on an object on the inside pocket of his jacket 'with the highest medal in my power.'
He placed the medal around Roddy's neck, shook his hand and the crowd clapped appreciatively, cheering.
The Mayor smiled and raised his hands into the air to indicate silence.
'But… there is someone else here tonight who demonstrated the same kind of bravery and helped Mr. St. James to stop these events from occurring. I am talking of course – about our very own Rita Malone.' Rita gasped, 'Who incidentally – should never be known as Ri…'
Everyone laughed, including Rita.
'Rita – would you accept both my apologies for the way in which I have treated you… and the very same medal?'
Rita couldn't speak – she simply stood in the same spot with her mouth wide open. Then finding her voice, she replied in an awestruck manner.
'Yes… thank you,'
The Mayor laughed and addressed the crowd 'she looks so surprised!'
'We're so proud of you!' Her mum shouted as the Mayor placed the Medal around her neck.
Rita sniffed and for the first time ever, Roddy saw that she was actually blushing as she stared silently down at the medal.
'You deserve that you know…' He appeared at her shoulder and said quietly in her ear.
She whipped around 'you really think so?'
'How can you even ask, all the things you've done?'
She turned away.
'Rita….' He said, 'I'd be nowhere without you…'
Rita turned, staring at him, and seemed to be contemplating something.
'Oh… come here you drip...' She laughed, holding her arms outstretched.
Roddy looked taken aback for a moment, but then went over and hugged her.
'Well...' He pulled away and cleared his throat 'I'm glad you're alright Rita.'
'Me too,' She raised her eyebrows at him, amused.
'Yes,' He rubbed the back of his head, 'Well do you suppose we'll ever have a week when something doesn't go hideously wrong?'
'Nope, probably not...' She answered.
'It's just that... in case we ever do and... you ever find yourself kidnapped again... or indeed I find myself kidnapped...'
Rita looked amused as Roddy fumbled with his words.
'Well I think you should know how I...' he looked up at her nervously and her grin faded as she realised what he might say.
'...feel. When... when you're parents realised you'd gone missing they told me I couldn't understand how they felt because I'd never loved anyone.'
Rita looked at him curiously.
'But they were wrong,' he said, 'because I love you...'
'Please believe me Rita it's true...'
'If you're sure... because I reckon I definitely love you.'
Now it was Roddy's turn to look shocked.
'Me? But what good am I to you?' he said stupidly.
'Well if you don't want me to...' she smiled.
'Don't be ridiculous...'
'Always remember Rod, there's only one person around here that's ridiculous and I'm looking at him.' She grinned.
'Are you sure you want me?'
'Roddy – we can have this conversation till the cows come home – yes, just accept that.'
He smiled nervously, 'Well then... er... I'd better...'
Rita stepped closer to him, 'Yes you had better.'
Roddy had been talking about carrying on with the celebrations but Rita's reply didn't seem to fit that.
She was leaning towards him... and he found himself copying her until he could feel her lips on his. Blushing, he pulled away gently and Rita smiled at him, for once as red as he was.
'Are we gonna have some music on then?' shouted Rita's Dad, interrupting their moment and nearly knocking several rats out with his crutch as he pointed it at Gilford.
'Roddy loves Rita! Roddy loves Rita!' the kids chanted.
'Not that sort of music!' Roddy said in a panicked sort of way, ushering them away.
'Take it away boys!' the Mayor suddenly boomed and music from the stage blasted in their ears making everyone jump.
The crowd began to dance excitedly and Roddy noticed what the Mayor was about to do. Quickly, he grabbed the cigar from the Mayor's fingers and squashed it on the floor.
'Sorry Sir, but with all due respect, I've had about enough smoke and fire to last me a lifetime.'
The Mayor stared for a moment then let out a booming laugh.
And as Roddy danced with Rita, the well deserved party went on through the night.
I really hope you liked this story. If you did, please leave me a review!