Author: Ariane DeVere
Word count: 1179
Warnings: Mild bad language, a tiny bit of not-very-bad violence, but otherwise nothing to cause any upset, and an adorable video if you stick it out to the end. (How’s that for emotional blackmail?!) (conveniently ignoring the fact that you could simply jump straight to the end ...)
Disclaimer: Sherlock belongs to way more powerful and wealthy people than me.
A party for John and Sherlock. Anderson and alcohol. What could possibly go wrong?
“I heard they first met in a lab at Bart’s.”
I looked around at the man who had been standing beside me for some time but who – until now – hadn’t spoken since we had been introduced. Like me, he had been watching Sherlock and John across the room as they stood side by side and talked with other guests. Sherlock, not surprisingly, looked utterly uncomfortable with the entire proceedings but John was grinning and happily accepting all the handshakes and hugs, chatting with everyone who approached them and flirting outrageously with some of the female guests.
I hadn’t been sure whether to accept John’s invitation to this party. I knew that Sherlock wouldn’t care less whether I attended or not, but John had told me on the phone that he would be personally insulted if I didn’t show. Now I stood at the bar trying to be unobtrusive while the man beside me took another long pull on his pint. The way that his teeth clashed against the glass as he raised it to his mouth suggested that he had already had too much to drink and his coordination was suffering as a consequence.
“Yes, they did, Mr Anderson,” I replied. “Sherlock used to spend a great deal of his time at Bart’s and as time went by it became obvious to me that – even though he didn’t actually want to speak with anyone – he just wanted some company. So when John arrived on the scene and was looking for some cheap accommodation just as Sherlock decided to move to Baker Street, I was delighted that they were able to get together.”
“So you’re the one who’s most responsible for getting them together in the first place, are you, Mike?”
I grimaced. “Well, there were several people and circumstances involved in the two of them becoming flatmates, but I like to think that I played a part in it, yes.”
“Holmes was an annoying sod before he met John,” Anderson told me confidentially. “Well, he’s still an annoying sod, but at least he’s not quite as annoying a sod as he used to be, and even when he is a sannoying odd, he’s not as, umm ...” He trailed off, looking confused, then took another long drink. “Anyway, he’s annoying but not as annoying as he was when he was really annoying. And a sod.” He nodded vigorously to me as if sure that I would understand.
I smiled politely. “Sherlock certainly has some ... unusual character traits,” I agreed, “but John seems to have been a good influence on him.”
“Yeah, and at least Holmes has become a bit more civil since he met Doctor Watson,” said Anderson, still nodding as if he couldn’t work out how to make his head stop moving. “It’s done him good not spending all his time on his own, and he’s obviously got the doctor on the brain these days ...”
He paused momentarily, then began to cackle hysterically.
“Oh, that’s a good one! Doctor on the brain, geddit! Doctor ... on the Brain! The doctor ... is on ... the Brain, Mike! Oh, I crack myself up sometimes!”
As he continued giggling I wondered what percentage of British judges would accept a plea of justifiable manslaughter and whether it was worth the risk, and it was with the utmost relief that I saw Inspector Lestrade approaching us. Anderson almost overbalanced as he turned towards him and beamed cheerfully.
“I was just talking with Mike here. He’s one of the reasons that Holmes and Watson are together now, you know!”
Lestrade looked at me anxiously for a moment, then turned back to his colleague who was swaying dangerously from foot to foot. He leaned closer to him and said soothingly, “Yeah, shush now, Steve.”
“Steve?! I’m not Steve!” Anderson protested.
Lestrade rolled his eyes. “You’re a bloody idiot is what you are,” he told him. “How can you work at the Yard and not pick up on any of the standing jokes?”
Smiling apologetically at me, he took Anderson’s arm and attempted to steer him away but the inebriated man simply pulled his arm away and turned back towards me, stepping into my personal space and gazing vaguely in the direction of my eyes. “Not Steve,” he told me, nodding reassuringly. “I’m not Steve, OK, Mike?” He burped into my face.
“God almighty,” Lestrade grumbled. “How you ever managed to pull your wife or Donovan is a mystery to me. Given the choice, I would imagine that for most women you’d be a long shot against the low frequency vibrating of a loose radiator.”
Again he tried to tug Anderson away but again the other man resisted him, protesting, “Leave off, guv! I’m talking to Mike!”
Lestrade sighed heavily. “Anderson, I’m trying really hard to resist the temptation to set fire to your face and then put the fire out with a shovel, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. Come with me, you stupid git!”
Anderson scowled at him. “’m gonna go and talk to John and Holmes,” he slurred, “and you should come with me, Mike, ’cause you’re their mate, so you must be my mate. And neither of us is an annoying sod.” He grinned inanely at me for a moment, then his face became serious as he looked down and concentrated, apparently trying to remind his feet how to walk.
Just as he decided that his left foot was going to lead and therefore he should sway a little to the right and then wobble precariously, I took hold of his arm and murmured into his ear, “If you do anything to ruin this party, Mr Anderson, I will ensure that your career is abruptly and permanently ended.” I leaned closer to him as he raised his head and stared at me wide-eyed. “And I have enough influence that I can ensure it, believe me.”
For a moment he looked at me anxiously but then the belligerence of the drunk began to take hold and he scowled, attempted to draw himself up to his full height and poked at my shoulder with a finger. “Now look here, Mike ...” he began.
Finally losing my patience, I seized his finger and pulled it downwards, twisting it firmly until he whined in pain, tears springing to his eyes as his knees half-buckled under him. I looked across to Lestrade who bit back a smile before casually turning away and looking in any direction but mine. Releasing the obnoxious oaf’s hand, I bent down to him as he doubled over clutching at his finger and whimpering. Putting my hand firmly on his shoulder, I kept my voice low but injected as much ferocity into it as I could muster.
“And if you ever use that form of address in my presence again, it will be my utmost pleasure to end you.”
Nodding politely to him, I released him and straightened up, directed a smile at a grinning Inspector Lestrade and then turned and walked across the room towards Sherlock and my future brother-in-law.
Author’s Note: Why is it now so ingrained in my mind to write 221Bs that even when I don’t, I still have to end my story with a word beginning with ‘b’?
The “Yeah, shush now, Steve” line comes from this video. Even if you can’t stand cute kittens, you should watch it for the dialogue, which is some of the most brilliantly inventive stuff I’ve ever heard. (Thanks to Marielikestodraw for flagging up this series of vids!)
The “doctor on the brain – geddit?!” line is the second one that anarion, atlinmerrick, mirith and I each agreed to crowbar into a story by any means possible after we met up in London. We’re still
arguing debating about what the third line was!
And by the way, girls, I’ve done my one, so over to you.
Also, will everyone please note that I have now redeemed myself by no longer redeeming Anderson!