ccarlet: photo of contessa fire eating in her white corset and checkered headband ([ea] i'm not mad)
[personal profile] ccarlet
Rating: PG
Character/Pairing: Holmes/Watson
Warnings: Kissing, mild language
Author's Note: A silly little one-shot I wrote for [livejournal.com profile] ivyelevast's birthday, which she so nicely drew gorgeous fanart for, so now it's illustrated! No, the 'mystery' itself, for what it is, is not the important bit. Edit: She also wrote a 700 word, slightly more risque epilogue, which you can also read!
Summary: Watson is giving Holmes the silent treatment, the detective isn't sure why, but life and work go on as usual at Baker Street.


“Watson!” Holmes hollered enthusiastically up the stairs, as he burst in through the street door of their Baker Street abode, “I am just making sure that you are, indeed, still giving me the silent treatment?”

A door slammed on the upper level of the house in response.

Mrs. Hudson, who was going a bit deaf, helpfully yelled from her kitchen, “YES, HE IS!”

The detective sighed. “Thank you, Mrs. Hudson, now I know.”

Although a bit hard-of-hearing, she still bustled across the floor in her multitude of skirts and petticoats with ease, and was at his elbow in an instant.

“I think you should try speaking with him,” she nodded eagerly.

“Should I?”

“Oh, absolutely.” Holmes gave her an odd look. Not even he could deduce how much or how little Mrs. Hudson understood about his and Watson’s relationship, but in any case, she seemed very invested in their reconciling, which was rather endearing, in its way.

“Watson, I’m coming up!” He tried to take revenge for the slammed door by thundering up the steps. At least he was giving fair warning. Entering their shared apartment, Watson was making himself scarce, although Holmes thought he could hear him in the bedroom. Attempts at burying the hatchet were rudely interrupted by a knock at the door, and Mrs. Hudson’s eager squeal: “Coming!” Holmes thoughtfully considered whether he should attempt to engage Watson, but decided there wouldn’t be enough time as his potential client was already ascending the lower staircase, so he turned abruptly towards the door, waiting expectantly.

“A Mrs. Limberg to see you, Mr. Holmes.” Mrs. Hudson popped her white-haired head in through the door, bearing a calling card on a tray.

“Nothing out of the ordinary,” she whispered conspiratorially in his ear as he leaned down to accept it, “Just another one of those mysterious ladies in veils, with incriminating handkerchiefs what have their initials on them.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Hudson, please show Mrs. Limberg up.” Holmes saw many such ladies. As Mrs. Hudson disappeared once again behind the door, Holmes turned sharply to yell towards the bedroom.

“Watson! I realize you are refusing to speak with me, but you do not need to speak with me to sit in the parlor and take notes on a client, so unless you want to miss this case, perhaps we can put aside our current differences and at the very least act professionally!” This was a long spiel to be shouted through a closed door, but it took even longer for Holmes to hear the faintest rustling of preparation, as his lover (hopefully, not his ex-lover) was not granting him a spoken response.

Watson had not yet arrived when Mrs. Hudson kindly ushered the wilting, veiled lady in. Just as the landlady had said, she had a very thick and expensive lace veil, but was wringing an equally lacy handkerchief in her hands, with a John Hancock-sized monogram. If she was indeed worried about being recognized on her jaunt to Baker Street, Holmes hoped she had not been waving it around.

“Mrs. Limberg,” Holmes bowed gallantly, offering her a chair and fully aware that Mrs. Hudson was hovering behind the door. Let the old dear hover.

“Great heavens, this is stifling,” gasped the lady, flinging the veil up away from her face and over her hat, which was of considerable proportions, topped with a taxidermy pheasant and what seemed like an entire bouquet. She bestowed a worried but gracious smile on Holmes as she settled down.

“Thank you, Mr. Holmes, it is most kind of you to see me.”

“Oh, I do beg your pardon.” Holmes, who had been leaning forward with one foot on the ottoman, elbow resting on his knee like some sort of conqueror, actually jumped at hearing the voice that had been silent and sulky to him for so long. He casually glanced in Watson’s direction- the doctor was discreetly closing the hall door behind him and nodding deep in apology.

“This is my business associate, Dr. Watson,” Holmes dug in, without looking back.

“I am most charmed,” said Watson to the lady, making a big show of taking her hand and lightly kissing it.

“Watson, this is Mrs. Limberg.” The military doctor settled on the couch next to the standing man, across from their client. As they could not glare at each other, they had to settle for glaring at the drapes and the grand piano, respectively.

“Well, Mrs. Limberg-” Holmes began, instantly interrupted.

“So, my dear lady,” said Watson, with extra genteel, “What is troubling you?”

“Oh, Mr. Holmes…” Mrs. Limberg sniffed, dabbing at her reddened eyes with her highly conspicuous handkerchief, “Dr. Watson… It is my son. I am so worried for him, as I fear someone is trying to kill him!”

--

For whatever reason, the Limbergs did not see fit to keep the room that housed their art collection heated. Perhaps this was due to the delicate nature of the pieces, or perhaps this just made logistical sense because nobody was going to be spending the night in the company of one of Boticelli’s figure studies, as comely as she was. Either way, the detective duo were indoors and bundled in mufflers and scarves. Squatting on a cold, marble floor in the farthest, darkest corner of the room, hidden behind the musty drapes so as to avoid detection did not add to their comfort, or their tempers.

Holmes wondered if Watson was as frustrated as he was at being trapped in such close quarters. Despite being shoulder-to-shoulder, hip-to-hip, the doctor stubbornly refused to speak to the detective, even to ask him to move over an inch.

A scuttling noise across the floor put both of their tensed-up and secretly enraged nerves on edge. Instinctively, they got into defensive positions while aiming every weapon and lantern they had in the direction of the noise. Shouting was not actually their initial reaction, but both were greatly concerned it would be the first response of the other, so the aiming of pistols and beams of light was greatly complicated as they both tried to reach over and clamp a hand over the other man’s mouth.

The unfortunate kitchen mouse, blinded by light and dazzled by glints off their firearms, squeaked in fright and shock, dashing back to her substantial family under the floorboards in tears.

“Rat,” Watson sniffed through Holmes’ hand, doing her a disservice. Holmes coughed something even ruder.

“How sloppy are we?” hissed Watson in annoyance as he slumped back against the wall. In his defense, this was not directly aimed at Holmes- it was a general complaint to the entire room.

“Move your foot, it is sticking out from under the drape and you look like a corpse somebody is trying to hide,” Holmes snapped under his breath, secretly happy to break the silence.

“Do you really think that the murderess will not notice the giant lump that is us behind this curtain?” Watson retorted, trying to tuck his knees up none-the-less.

“Murderer, Watson, not murderess,” Holmes whispered with exasperation, “Obviously, the would-be murderer is the uncle- I just need solid evidence for it.”

Watson stared at him in surprise, for the moment more shocked than he was bitter.

“But, the niece-”

“If I was in such a position as the uncle, and planning such a devious attempt at the boys’ life for the sake of a painting, I would certainly try and frame the niece- she is a rather easy target.”

“I suppose you’ll explain it all to me later,” Watson huffed, sounding a bit rueful.

“It is quite evident,” Holmes jabbed.

They sat in frosty silence for a moment. Holmes was actually surprised when Watson spoke up, sounding almost conciliatory.

“Look, the way we are sitting is really most conspicuous- perhaps it would be better if we stood up.”

“Ah, you are always the realist,” Holmes sighed- it was something like a tentative offering. They got to their feet painfully, having been crouched for a good two hours.

“Is this, indeed, less conspicuous?” Holmes asked, palms raised flat, trying to back away from the curtain.

“Perhaps,” Watson frowned, trying to press himself against the wall, “If you backed into the window a little more… I could come forward a bit… Hmm, maybe if we turned sideways-”

They both quickly turned to the side, facing each other, and abruptly found themselves closer than they had intended, only a nose-width apart. Holmes’ hands were still raised, and as Watson leaned forward with one leg on the windowsill, the tableau had the unfortunate appearance that Holmes was trying to fend an unwanted advance off. It made them both more uncomfortable than the stone floor, but the drapes were the smoothest and most undisturbed-looking they had been all night.

“So,” Holmes began to inquire, because refusing to speak with their gazes that close would be absolutely ridiculous. They had a clear view of each other in the full moonlight, and frogs could be heard croaking just outside the window, searching for their mates. The moonbeams lent a soft glow to the fabric and the stones.

“Why are you angry with me?” Holmes asked, trying to look as innocent as possible. It didn’t work, as Watson retorted cockily, “It is quite evident.”

“Touché,” Holmes winced, giving him that one. Without thinking, he shifted forward, finding the window trim against his back uncomfortable. With nowhere else to go, his hands rested on Watson’s chest, and he had to tilt his head up to look into the doctor’s face.

“Watson,” he implored, catching the collar of his jacket, “As I said, you are the realist, the sensible one, the… ‘people-person’… please, illuminate the socially inept one as to what he’s done wrong.” Was he really giving up? It must have been the irritating brightness of the moon, or those blasted frogs. In all honesty, there was not much to be lost by asking Watson upfront what was bothering him- if he opened up, things could only improve, if he remained silent, then Holmes was only back to where he had started.

His admittance of defeat, if it could be called that, did have some effect on Dr. Watson, if not enough to get him talking. He sighed loudly- whether this was out of exasperation or because they were now pressed very, very close together was difficult to tell.

Very cautiously, Holmes leaned in even closer so that they were cheek-to-cheek.

“I’m not even sure how I could have done anything wrong… I haven’t even been home for the past month.” He had been in Constantinople.

He felt Watson stiffen. “That is precisely what I am irritated about-”

“Are you angry because I left?” Holmes frowned, pausing in kissing Watson’s jaw. Quite frankly, that was just ridiculous, and melodramatic to boot. If that was true, then Watson deserved to be thrust back against the window edge- like so.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Watson snapped between kisses Holmes was trying to butter him up with.

“Then what?” Holmes had missed him so much, first away on business in Turkey, followed by a week of passive-aggressive fighting, he almost didn’t realize that he had started to undo Watson’s starched collar.

“Oh, for God’s sake Holmes!” Watson caught him by the shoulder, pulling him back just to keep him from going any further, “I didn’t hear from you in a month, and you didn’t think I would be just a little peeved?”

Holmes frowned, slightly perplexed. “But, you knew I was away on ‘business’…”

“I wasn’t asking for love-letters, Holmes, but a brief telegram assuring me you were still alive might have been appreciated!”

As evident as it seemed to Watson, Holmes was still trying to make sense of it.

“You were… worrying about me?”

“One does worry when one’s lover is facing off with a major crime syndicate, yes!” Watson snapped, raising his voice a little louder than they had originally agreed on and yanking Holmes forward, arms caught around his waist in the process.

“Watson, don’t be ridiculous- no, I won’t be so ridiculous-” Holmes tried to balance them by hooking an arm around the back of Watson’s neck and reaching out to catch the wall, but this didn’t work.

Then, three things happened in succession. First, the cramped confines of the window were unable to sustain Watson and Holmes’ sudden shift, and the two men slipped on the flimsy trim. Watson, going down with Holmes on top of him, couldn’t even stop himself from painfully hitting the floor (Holmes was more fortunate, finding himself comfortably straddling Watson’s waist).

Secondly, another thing that could not accommodate their shift was the curtain, which went taut, clung to it’s bronze rings desperately for a second, then fell to the floor around them.

Lastly, their lamp, which Dr. Watson had shaded after the mouse incident, was caught up in this flurry of movement and also keeled over, dropping its shade to shoot an accusing beam of light at a bulky figure in the center of the room, who froze, caught completely red-handed, his worst intentions fully illuminated.



‘Uncle Limberg’ halted in an awkward pose, as did the two men hunting him, one on top of the other, the two sides staring at each other in surprise.

“Oh, son of a bitch,” Uncle Limberg cussed, which was echoed quickly by the two detectives as they tried to disentangle themselves to leap up and block his getaway.

--

“Oh, Franklin, how could you?” Mrs. Limberg wailed, hugging a small, curly-haired boy around the shoulders- the subject, along with the Botticelli girl, of the mystery, “Your own nephew!”

The boy and the suspect niece watched the handcuffed man hustled down the hall with righteous indignation, ignoring the mother’s sobs. Holmes and Watson leaned against the other wall, having silently agreed to pretend the mouse, the curtain, the lantern, and the terribly sloppy and unprofessional conduct had never happened to blemish their record.

“Answer me one thing, will you?” the almost murderer-thief prompted them as two constables dragged him roughly by. Holmes shrugged.

“ ‘How did I know?’ ” he voiced.

“No, what the hell were you two blokes doing before you caught me?” the villain blinked stupidly.

“Clearly, I was helping Dr. Watson adjust his crooked collar,” Holmes sniffed disdainfully. This was not untrue- he just hadn’t meant to put the collar back on, was all. “What a thing to waste your last few minutes of freedom on.”

--

Leaving the thankful and teary Mrs. Limberg and her remaining family, the duo walked silently back through deserted London streets until the voices and lights of the arrest had died away. Finding that they were alone, Holmes linked his arm companionably with Watson’s. Encouraged when Watson patted his hand affectionately, he leaned his cheek on the other’s warm shoulder, finding it not nearly so cold as it had seemed in the art gallery.

“You’re collar’s a bit crooked,” he admonished, reaching up to adjust it while nuzzling the doctor’s neck.

Even in the dark, he could tell Watson was smiling.

“Thank you, Holmes.”

Date: 2010-10-25 05:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ivyelevast.livejournal.com
Ah excellent, you put the pic in the middle of the text! BAHAHAHA one of those rare moments when Holmes /and/ Watson totally fail. <3 <3 <3 Love it!

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