Creepy Crawlies

A/N This is a reply to the phobia challenge on the Yahoo group Holmesslash. It is a parody, written for a bit of fun. Please don't take it seriously. (No slash)

It all started one cold winter's night just as we were getting ready to retire for the night. Holmes had already gone to his room and I was just finishing my cigarette. Sleepily taking a last long puff on it I wasn't prepared for the loud clatter that followed.

A tremendous crash - and Holmes came careering back out of his bedroom - I was so surprised that I dropped my cigarette in my lap, burning a nice hole through the fabric of my trousers. Angrily, I picked the offending object and tossed it into the grate.

'What the devil...' I began but broke off in amazement at the spectacle in front of me.

Holmes stood shuddering in his nightshirt clawing at himself. The look upon his face was most new to me; he looked like he'd rather be dangling from a cliff than stand in this very house, how curious...

'Oh Watson, I pulled back the sheet...and oh it was huge.' I watched concernedly as he shivered in disgust. What monstrous creature could reside in Holmes's bed that would cause such anxiety?

'What? What is it?' I asked worriedly moving to stand nearer to his shaking form.

He seemed to take comfort in my apprehension, for he held my arm and whispered conspiratorially -

'A spider Watson.'

I stared stupidly at him for a moment in disbelief. I had burned myself with a cigarette all for a spider? I think Holmes was waiting for me to break down in hysterics at this solemn revelation of the fiend that stalked his bed. Instead, I looked at him with wonder.

'A spider Holmes? This is what has got you all in a tizzy?' I prayed to God that the smile threatening to break out wouldn't be seen.

His face instantly took on the mask of indignation.

'I am not in a tizzy,' he spat haughtily. The effect was ruined however, when his expression fell, and the lament 'it was so horrible' fell from his lips, coupled with another shiver.

He collapsed onto the settee and put his head into his hands. I stood still in surprise at this contrast in my friend's behaviour, all because of an arachnid, scores of times smaller than he was himself.

'Watson, you shall go in there and remove it. Now if you please, before it escapes. Oh to think, I might have lain down with that thing in there, crawling all over me,' he whimpered.

I shook my head in astonishment, many people were afraid of spiders, but my stoic friend Holmes? The man who hunted down murderers and other distasteful criminals. I entered his room leaving him muttering to himself.

'Great fires of London! I might have swallowed it... good God...crawling inside me!'

The sheet was pulled back but there was no sign of the spider. Damn, he would be up all night if I didn't find it. Picking up the pillows I found nothing. Next was the crumpled sheet, which I somewhat gingerly approached. After all, I was not overly fond of large spiders, but what had to be done, would be done. I pulled the corner of the cover, a tad too hard in hindsight. Maybe if Holmes hadn't exaggerated so much I would have taken more care.

As it was, the force with which I tugged the sheet sent the unfortunate spider (which was hardly huge) soaring onto the floor and scampering into the living room.

Oh, damn.

I followed its progress till it stopped near the chemical table, and also, just behind the settee. I had hoped I could pick it up without Holmes knowing, but whenever I took a step, it would scurry further. So much so, that I had to cease, lest it scurry up Holmes's leg.

I cleared my throat - 'Holmes,' I ventured. He turned to me with a hopeful expression, which rapidly faded, when he saw my predatory gaze was concentrated on the floor.

'Don't move.'

'You let it out, Watson!' he shrieked leaping onto the settee in fright and peering about the floor like a madman.

At the sudden commotion though, the spider scuttled towards my chair and disappeared.

'I said "don't move", not "leap onto the settee like a woman and scare it away" Holmes,' I stated dryly.

'What did you say!' he growled, glaring at me.

Perhaps I should have taken more pity on him, but I found the situation rather funny. I had discoveredthe little weakness that he scorned in everyone else - harmless spiders. He took plenty of chances to point out my deficiencies, who could deny me a little poke at his expense now?

I shrugged my shoulders.

'You've scared it away, I'll never find it now. Night old fellow,' I called as I made my way towards my room. I was aching to laugh at the stricken look on his face as he perched on the settee.

'Watson! If you leave this room tonight, you are never coming back!' he hissed angrily.

'It's a deal!' I cried, still walking.

'Watson?' his voice was high with confusion.

This time however I could not hide a smile and he saw it.

'Stop teasing me, you old fool, and get rid of that bloody spider!' he demanded imperiously.

'As you wish,' I murmured chuckling. I approached my chair and began peering through a pile of newspapers on the floor. A quick glance at Holmes showed him watching nervously, flinching every time I opened a paper. It was as if he were expecting it to fly at him and attack him. At last, after a tense silence broken only by rustling paper, the spider made it's encore appearance.

I nearly fell in the fire at Holmes's loud 'There Watson, there! Get it!'

'All right, all right, calm down,' I muttered as I scooped the creature into my hand. Looking back I think it was that last glass of port that forced me to hold it out to Holmes and remark 'There now, perfectly harmless.'

I hurriedly moved to dispose of it when he drew back in horror and almost swooned over the back of the settee - I didn't need to stay up further and nurse a head wound after all.

Once the window was closed I observed Holmes move back onto the floor, surreptitiously searching for any more lurking creepy crawlies.

'Well, Watson,' he sniffed disdainfully. 'I shan't thank you, for I feel you enjoyed my discomfort far too much.'

'Oh come now Holmes. Surely you admit your reaction was a bit extreme? I've seen bigger ants roaming on the pavements than that spider!'

I probably should have omitted that last bit, but alas, I still couldn't grasp that my great friend Holmes was afraid of something so mundane as a spider. He really was human to me in that moment, not an unfeeling great brain, but a humble human being like everyone else.

I smiled gently, despite the incredibly hostile glare directed at my person.

'Apologies, my dear friend. I should not tease you so. Next time, I shall swiftly remove it without a peep, I assure you.' I patted his arm softly. He gave a slightly uneasy look at the thought that there may be more Huge Spiders, awaiting him. 'I trust you shall sleep well now?'

He nodded stiffly.

'Watson,' he queried. 'Why on earth do you have a hole in your trouser leg?'

It was a couple of days later and we had not mentioned the incident once. Holmes forgave my teasing of him and we carried on as normal, that is until one morning. The night before I had stormed to bed fuming as Holmes had thought it a ripe time to start picking holes in my writings again.

So, when he motioned for me to open a letter from a potential client and read it to him, I took my chance.

'Well Holmes,' I said. 'The long and short of it, is that she wants you to locate her collection of pet tarantulas for her, which have been stolen. She will not accept 'no' for an answer.' (This part I said over the sound of Holmes choking violently on his tea).

'What say you?' I asked innocently.

Suffice it to say, Mrs Hudson was not pleased when she witnessed the many rashers of bacon that flew past my head. Neither was I come to mention it, they'd looked particularly inviting that morning.

'Mister Holmes!' she shrieked. 'I cook breakfast for you to eat, not to launch missiles at Doctor Watson!'

He didn't talk to me for a whole day after that episode.