Maddox and Bookworm lead Arnold into the asylum, just as Canergak and Lisa were coming down the stairs. Lisa brightened, crying out his name, while the dwarf simply said, “It’s back, then?”
“Yes, and *he* is tired,” Maddox replied. “I will be caring for him as well.”
“As you wish,” Canergak said as he made his way to the stairs leading down to his laboratory. “He’s your property, as far as I’m concerned.”
Maddox shook her head. “Horrid little man.”
Lisa rushed to Arnold’s side, kneeling down by the wheelchair, just glad he was back. “Arnold, how are you?”
Arnold looked down at her and became even more upset that he would have to once again say, “I’m… sorry…. do I know you?”
“I’m… I’m Lisa…” Lisa looked from Miss Bookworm to Dr. Maddox, distress clear on her face.
Maddox shook her head. “Lisa, dear, his memory will be spotty for a while. It’s an aftereffect common with this kind of trauma. Please don’t take it personally.”
“Oh.” She looked back at Arnold, confusion and sympathy in her eyes.
Dr. Maddox asked softly, “Lisa, is my father awake?”
“He was asleep when Mr. Canergak came to talk to me.” She looked around, making sure Canergak wasn’t nearby. Then she whispered, “Mr. Canergak wanted to know if the raven was captured. I told him it was destroyed.” Lisa also told them what else he asked of her, and Book and Maddox both burst out into laughter. Arnold was left to look between all of them, wondering what was going on.
Bookworm choked back her laughter. “Those two *deserve* each other,” she said softly, with amusement clear in her voice. Dr. Maddox laughed throatily, with almost wicked glee, in agreement. Lisa stood up and headed for the door, remembering her errand, while Maddox looked back to Arnold and asked if he would come with her into the office.
Arnold followed her in and she went right for one of the bookcases and reached behind the corner. She handed him a case for an instrument and set it in his lap. “Do you know what this is?”
Arnold opened it and looked inside. It was a violin. He stared at it for a long time, and then at Maddox’s insistence, he picked it up. He held it in his hands and placed it where it felt like it should go.
“Play something,” she encouraged, hoping that this might help him. The cat played for a few seconds and then he just let the song flow as he remembered without remembering. He played a soft dirge.
Bookworm stared at him in surprise, and Maddox smiled with relief. This proved that there was some way to get the rest of his memories back, even if Arnold himself had changed fundamentally. After he was done with the dirge Arnold played another song, and another.
Maddox was crying now, but they were happy tears. “All is not lost then…”
“Maddox?” Arnold said finally as he looked at her. “I’m sorry I scared you…”
“Yes! Yes it’s me!” Maddox yelled. “Oh Arnold, I’m just happy you’re safe. I can’t tell you how happy I am that we saved you.”
“Arnold…” The cat frowned as he played the dirge one more time, without thinking about it. “I don’t know who that is. But it’s not me.”
“Oh…” Maddox frowned, but nodded encouragingly. “What would you like to be called, dear heart?”
Arnold frowned, and then shrugged, as he continued to play songs he knew without knowing. “If Arnold was my name…just call me that for now. I wouldn’t know who I’d want to be called.”
“I will call you whatever your heart desires.”
Arnold thought for a moment. “I guess Arnold will do…for now. But it just doesn’t feel right.”
“Would you like to rest now? You don’t have to lie down or sleep, but Bookworm and I can give you your space, if it makes you feel better.” Bookworm nodded agreement with that.
“Yes… that would make me feel a little better.” Arnold looked through the open doorway, and saw Lisa there, still panting from her run to City Hall and back. “Though I do want to speak to… Lisa,” he said.
Dr. Maddox nodded. “Thank you for coming back to me. Miss Book, shall we?”
“Of course.” Bookworm followed Dr. Maddox outside. Maddox bent down to Lisa. “Lisa, dear, Arnold would like to talk to you. But try not to push him too hard, all right? His recovery will be slow.”
As Lisa entered the office, Dr. Maddox said to Bookworm, “I’ll go up to check on Father, and possibly fall asleep in the chair next to him.” She paused. “Miss Book, I can’t thank you enough for all of your help.”
Bookworm nodded. “Of course. Do send me word if you need anything else.”
“I will.” Tentatively, she reached out to hug Bookworm, who smiled and returned the embrace.
“I’ll never forget this,” Maddox continued, stepping back and smiling. “Good night.”
“Good night.” Bookworm handed her Arnold’s keys, winked, and left. She knew she was skirting the edge of curfew, but she was too glad about Arnold’s recovery, partial though it was for now, to care about Underby’s goons. She made a mental note, though, to visit Militia headquarters first thing in the morning. Seeing Hoyt’s ghost had made her realize that something in Weston’s story about Hoyt’s death wasn’t right.