"Why did you stop, Noddy?"
"Well, this is the worst part. Oh, Jack, how can you ever forgive me?"
"I told you before. I already have forgiven you, Noddy. Now go on. It is still part of the story—and you said you'd tell me the whole thing. It comes out alright in the end!"
Noddy hopped out of the room and nearly bumped into Jack. "Hello, Jack! You were quite a sport last night."
"Oh, thank you Mr. Sherlock. And thank you so much for saving my life."
"It was nothing! I'd do it for any rabbit from the office."
"Well, I'm so glad you did it for me. Do you think we will be able to go on more missions together, since we are such great friends? That one nearly ended in disaster, but it worked out fine in the end. And we got to be such good friends!" Jack lowered his voice to a whisper. "And you even told me the secret. You trust me—we'll do great together."
Noddy pulled all his self-possession together. "I told you about my name, because you weren't feeling well. I wanted you to feel better. We are not great friends. I would do that for anyone in the office—I just said so. Now I don't think we will work together at all if it brings such wild notions into your head. I have to go home now. Bye!"
Noddy ran off as quickly as possible. He could not watch the hurt in the little rabbit's eyes for a moment longer. He hoped that Jack would continue working with him, but Jack had to understand. If he acted like that Noddy would grow to love him, and then…well, his experience with Keane taught him not to open himself to such torture. He would not do it—ever.
Noddy was met at his cage by Kaitlyn. She was in a tizzy. "Oh, Noddy—I'm so glad you're back, little baby. What were you doing? Imagine if anything had got you! What would I do?"
Noddy smiled inwardly—if she only knew.
At night, Noddy could not sleep. He needed it; he was exhausted. But the look on Jack's face as he had said those horrible words haunted him. He would get over it. "Just don't go back to the office for a few days," he told himself.
"Well, Noddy, I guess I could finish the story myself. You came later that day and apologized for what you said. I was so glad you didn't mean it—well, I guess I knew that you didn't mean it. I was so glad that you had the nerve to tell me you didn't mean it, that I had to cry. What made you decide to come?"
"Oh, just a book Kaitlyn was reading. It was about someone entirely different from me—back then. You know—he had a friend that he cared about very much, and he was able to overcome nearly insurmountable odds because he loved him. I think it was one of Kaitlyn's favorite books. I only read a tiny bit. But I understood why she liked it so much. It was so inspiring! It showed me that love will make you strong, not vulnerable. So I decided I would go find you and tell you that I loved you."
"Well, I'm glad you did. Because now I feel at liberty to tell you to stop thinking about the past, and start thinking about my clue. Do you realize how much time you have wasted?"
"Hey! I wasn't the one who asked to hear the story!"
"Well, whose idea was it?"
"Stop that! Stop tickling me!" And the two rabbits rolled around in the grass. The dignified detective and his shrewd companion were nowhere to be found.