a/n: this was written originally for the prompt "three fandoms walk into a bar" by Capt. Facepalm, but fitted this genre as well.
Holmes and companions do not belong to me.
I may have borrowed a couple of other characters, too...
Three Moor Brothers
An old country tavern, alone on the highway
An old painted sign at the door
A faded depiction of hounds hunting foxes;
A background of marshland and moor.
Inside: old oak beams; simple well-crafted furniture;
Benches set round a warm fire;
A genial landlord; indeed all a traveler
In search of some peace could desire.
One customer sitting alone in a corner;
A newspaper propped on crossed knees.
A pint of real ale on the table before him;
Some biscuits and Wensleydale cheese.
He shakes a wry head at the racier headlines;
Events are quite different down south.
A wealth of emotion expressed in one eyebrow;
He has no real use for a mouth.
He glances, askance, at a noisier patron,
Who's making a fuss by the fire.
A hassled young barmaid, assembling a sandwich
Is asked to stack higher and higher.
A loaf, maybe two is employed as she works
She appears to be feeling the strain;
But pleasing the client is part of her nature;
Yes, even a greedy Great Dane.
Her customer pauses, aware of the scorn
Which is headed his way from afar;
He giggles and waves at the judgmental figure
Then buys him a drink at the bar.
Two drinks and his sandwich are carefully balanced;
He heads for his critic, unfazed
Then cheerfully sits by his side, uninvited;
Two mystified eyebrows are raised.
A shrug and a crackle as papers are folded;
A nod to acknowledge his drink.
Resigned to small talk and inane conversation
He struggles to hear himself think.
Despite his misgivings, he's quickly absorbed
In stories of fairgrounds and ghosts;
Of vampires and werewolves and old haunted houses,
And villains disguised as kind hosts.
The favour's returned with the tale of a penguin,
Shorn sheep, and a trip to the moon;
A rabbit turned monstrous, mechanical trousers;
The evening flies by, all too soon.
Another round ordered, more exploits recounted
Of lighthouses, knitting, and more;
Then, in one split second, all eyes in the tavern
Are fixed on the ancient front door...
The door opens slowly, the atmosphere changes;
There's moorland and menace and mire
And in stalks a wanderer fresh from his hunting
His eyes mirror coals in the fire.
He glares at the bar and the genial landlord
Who moves to respond in a trice;
With hands slightly shaking, he pours out his order;
A triple malt whisky; no ice.
One gulp and it's gone, so a second is poured,
All drinks, it appears, on the house.
And even the talkative, cheerful Great Dane
Is sitting as still as a mouse.
The newcomer shakes off the fog of the hollows
And phosphorus burns in the air
He prowls through the tavern towards the two heroes...
And pulls up a large oaken chair.
He rests his front paws on the well-polished table
And sips from his glass and looks round
A sigh of contentment, a stretch of his haunches;
Gigantic wet prints on the ground.
The tavern relaxes, the tension is broken
And everyone's breathing again.
The hound eyes the stack of improbable sandwich
And grins at the nervous Great Dane.
The Dane isn't stupid, responds in an instant
And offers the snack to his guest.
Pastrami, tomato and onion rings vanish
The others are clearly impressed.
The barmaid approaches, quite heavily laden
With two further platters piled high
The smallest reflects on the whole situation,
Both eyebrows now raised to the sky.
The hound starts to talk, but no tales of adventure
Like those they'd recounted before,
Instead, bitter words of betrayal and murder
And fog rolling in from the moor,
And a lonely existence, apart from all others;
Chained up; always hungry; alone.
No eccentric companion, no scruffy young sidekick;
Just day after day on his own.
He knows that his life on the vastness of Dartmoor
Is nearing a terrible end;
He'd hoped for a glimpse of a kindlier world
And the chance of a drink with a friend.
The others join in, and the mood starts to lighten;
They tell of the things they have seen;
Of rabbit removal and cyber dog terror;
A sidecar, a mystery machine.
Of sheep which can balance in perfect formation
And mummies which rise from the dead,
And shops which sell wool and look pleasant and harmless
But hide dreadful secrets instead
The drink flows quite freely, the hound simply listens;
Each tale more bizarre than the last
And laughter and banter and cheer fill the tavern
As hours of enjoyment fly past.
Then faint comes a call from a far distant farmhouse;
The hound knows the voice, turns his head;
He sighs; his brief respite from shadows is over,
Bleak destiny claims him instead.
His hackles rise slowly, his coal black eyes smoulder.
He heads for the main tavern door,
One glance in farewell; then he's gone in an instant;
Returned to the fog-shrouded moor...
His friends, somewhat stunned by this sudden departure,
Are suddenly sobered and stilled
As tendrils of mist spread throughout the old tavern
And all becomes silent and chilled.
A low mournful howling distorted by fog banks
A stark scream of terror, a shout;
Then, freezing the blood, comes a pitiful whimper
As several sharp gun shots ring out...
An old country tavern, surrounded by moorland,
A year has gone past in a trice
Two friends, with a stacked up, improbable sandwich;
And two double whiskies; no ice.
A warm conversation, a quizzical eyebrow;
Tall tales of adventure abound;
And glasses are raised in an ancient tradition;
A toast to their lost brother hound.