Jimmy staggered in with a very tipsy Yves, draped across on shoulder.
Frohike stared at them as he stood aside to let them in.
“She’s drunk!” he said incredulously.
Ignoring him, Yves stood up straight and announced very slowly and loudly, “I’m pissed.”
Frohike and Langly took two large, hasty steps away from her, having experienced her temper too often.
“Err, it’s nothing we’ve done is it?” Langly asked cautiously.
Yves wagged a finger at him. “Not pissed off pissed. Pissed pissed. Plastered, pie-eyed, bladdered.”
Byers stared at her, then glanced sideways at the other two, who were still watching from a safe distance. “Um…”
Yves took several steps towards him and waved her finger under his nose.
“Well pissed off pissed too. Had it up to here—” She stopped pointing, to wave her hand vaguely above her head. “—with this Home Counties routine.”
“Yves, I think maybe you should sit down.” Byers caught her shoulders gently to guide her to the couch. He realised suddenly that it was more than the drunken slur that was making her voice sound different. There was a distinct inflection and pace to it, quite unlike her normal accent.
She continued to mumble to herself in snatches as Byers led her to the couch.
“All this bloody faffing about trying to talk tidy.”
As she sat down she grabbed Langly’s jacket from the armrest.
“Whose coat is this jacket?” she demanded, waving it. “It’s hideous.” She flung it with enough force to reach Langly on the other side of the room who just managed to catch it before it hit him in the face.
“Could have guessed you were an anorak without it anyway.”
She flopped bodily onto the couch and started giggling.
The three Gunmen looked at each other, then at Jimmy.
“Jimmy what’d’you bring her here for?” Frohike demanded. “What are we supposed to do with her?”
Yves roused momentarily from where she was slumped on the couch.
“Don’t you go having a pop at him. Jimmy’s a good bloke, he is. You three—” The slow, careful pronunciation was back. “You three,” she repeated, “are a pair of prats.”
While Jimmy frowned over the mathematics of that one, Byers rolled his eyes and Frohike muttered, “Oh brother.”
Langly looked thoughtful.
“This is the most talkative I’ve ever seen her. Good time to get some answers.”
“Langly!” Jimmy protested immediately.
“What?” Langly spread his hands, his face all innocence.
“Good grief, Langly. You can’t take advantage of the woman while she’s um… indisposed.” Byers agreed with Jimmy.
“Well why not? Dragonlady here takes advantage of us often enough.”
“He’s got a point,” Frohike conceded.
“Frohike!” Jimmy almost wailed.
Langly strode over the couch. Tact was not his strong point.
“Hey, Yves. Wake up. Tell us about the people you’re working for.”
“Them? Bollocks to the lot of them. Nothing but a bunch of ringleaders.”
The ridiculousness of the situation had gotten to Byers who gave an unexpected snort of amusement.
“Out of the mouths of drunks… You’re wasting your time, Langly. She’s well past coherent.”
Langly pulled a face but was forced to agree. “So what we going to do with her?”
Byers looked at Yves, already half dozing again. “We’d better let her sleep there tonight. In the morning Jimmy can take her home.”
“Yeah, and explain to her how she spent the night,” Frohike added.“Night night. Time for bed said Zebedee,” murmured Yves from the couch.
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