Author: Ariane DeVere
Word count: 221 (+ a 221B Author’s Note)
Warnings/Tags: Humour. Smut. Language misunderstandings.
Summary: The difference between the English language and the American language can sometimes cause confusing misunderstandings. Thankfully this particular difference leads to a satisfactory ending.
Prompted by a Tumblr post entitled John Watson Shaggy Bangs Appreciation Post which – once I’d almost choked to death laughing with utter delight – I couldn’t reblog fast enough. Then the plotbunny woke up for the first time in ages and said, “Oooh, if ever there was a prompt for a 221B fic ...”
“You have the best shaggy bangs.”
John had faced death many times in his life but he had never imagined that he would die in his own living room while choking on a mouthful of tea.
Their American client, who had arrived drunk and had been rambling incoherently ever since then, blinked at John while he coughed convulsively and tried to clear the blockage in his throat. Sherlock initially just rolled his eyes but when John’s eyes bulged and his face turned red he got to his feet, walked over to stand beside John and thumped him hard on the back a couple of times.
“What happened?” the woman asked. “I only said ...”
“Yes,” John wheezed quickly, desperate to stop her from saying the phrase again. He gestured towards his forehead. “Sorry, but in England we call this a ‘fringe,’ not ‘b...’” He broke off, fearful of saying the word in case it set him off again.
“Miss Andrews,” Sherlock interrupted. “I suggest you come back tomorrow when you’re less inebriated.”
Grumbling, the woman left and John wiped the tears of effort from his eyes. “Sorry about that ...” he began, but stopped at the sight of Sherlock’s gaze.
“Bedroom, now,” Sherlock told him, stepping closer and staring at him intensely. “I have a sudden need for a shaggy bang.”
The 221B Author’s Note:
Oh dear. Like John, I never expected to die somewhere as undangerous as my own office. Maybe that’ll teach me never to follow the Sherlock tag on Tumblr. Usually I only follow my dashboard but it was a fairly quiet day at work and so I went a-wandering. Never again! Coming across the post that I’ve linked to above and seeing the title “John Watson Shaggy Bangs Appreciation Post” set me off on a coughing fit from which I thought I might never recover.
Ah, the joys of English-English vs American-English! And at least this was a joy, unlike the many times that I have gritted my teeth through an otherwise readable and enjoyable fanfic because Sherlock, John and other Brits are saying “gotten” all the time. Note to fanfic writers: Brits never, ever, ever say, “gotten,” only “got.” It’s possibly the only American word that has never made it across the Atlantic. (And long may that continue.)
But on this occasion I couldn’t stop giggling. It was bad enough with the difference between ‘bangs’ and ‘fringe’ (and I already knew that some Murricans use the term ‘bangs’), but the fact that in English slang both ‘bang’ and ‘shag’ can also mean ‘have sex’ just sent me into hysterics.
And, for the record, I too appreciate John’s fluffy fringe