Muppets In Baker Street
Part two of the Plato cycle. I'm not sure about this bit, I'm still working it out, so I would love your comments. The aim is to put over their fondness for one another. Many thanks to everyone who reviewed 'In Praise of Plato', the previous story in what I think will end up being a quartet. You are all wonderful and you made my day.
It started with a kiss and ended with Lestrade snorting coffee out of his nose, which even Sherlock had to admit must have hurt.
They were watching 'The Godfather' on the sofa and eating popcorn. Just popcorn. Nothing special. A boys' night in. Sherlock hadn't seen Coppola's masterpiece, so John decided to educate him, as he had in so many other matters of popular culture.
About a fortnight had passed since their delicate discussion of their feelings for one another, and in that time a great deal of subtle renegotiation had gone on about how they related to one another. About what could be regarded as acceptable Platonic behaviour and where the lines were to be drawn. Which was how they came to be snuggled up on the sofa together. Snuggling is apparently perfectly innocent Platonic behaviour for two straight men in love with one another. So John was propped in the corner of the couch, with Sherlock leaning back against his chest, legs outstretched, one of John's arms slung loosely around his shoulders. Sherlock had the popcorn on his lap, and John would reach over him and delve about in the bowl every now and again, scoop out a handful and force the whole lot into his mouth with his palm.
'Lovely manners,' Sherlock muttered.
'Shut up and watch,' John told him, spitting fragments of corn down the back of his love's neck, his cheeks bulging like a hamster's.
Sherlock crunched for a while, and then pointed to the screen, a few kernels pinched in his long fingers. 'This has to be the longest wedding in human history,' he said.
James Caan started shagging the pretty bridesmaid up against the bathroom door.
'The book goes on about Sonny having an elephantine penis at this point,' John remarked, then immediately regretted his off the cuff remark. He was feeling very slightly discomfited at watching a sex scene with Sherlock. As it turns out, sex is a very difficult subject to talk about with a man with whom you are in love but not shagging. They were still working on how to deal with such sensitive territory, but up to this point, their general approach had been to avoid all references where possible. John was not sure why this was.
'This was originally a book?'
'A very highly acclaimed one.'
'Which you've read, of course.'
'It went round the class at school when I was about 14. Everyone reckoned it had lots of sex in it.'
John wrinkled his nose in reply and took another handful of popcorn. 'Not enough for a fourteen-year-old boy.'
When they got to the part with Marlon Brando buying oranges, Sherlock was so involved that he squeaked as the gunfire broke out. It never ceased to amaze John how Sherlock's usually uncanny powers of deduction entirely deserted him when it came to watching a film. Except for Agatha Christie, of course – he'd watched one episode of Poirot and groaned all the way through at the obviousness of the plot, and then refused point blank to watch any more. Police Procedurals in general also wound him up, leaving him shouting at the telly about the rules of detection and proper forensic collection of evidence. But gangster movies he loved. 'Goodfellas' had turned out to be his favourite so far, but as the famous assassination scene in the restaurant proceeded, John took a glance at his love and wondered if perhaps Scorsese's reign was over.
Then, during the tense part when Michael is trying to stop his wife starting the car outside the Sicilian villa, John made the mistake of reaching out for another handful of corn. And crunching. The bomb went off but the moment was ruined. Sherlock scowled and threw a kernel at him. John threw one back, and suddenly a popcorn fight broke out, and then the bowl got spilt on the floor and they were wrestling, rather more earnestly than John might have admitted to, because Sherlock was clearly annoyed at his viewing pleasure being ruined. However, the detective should have known better than to try and force his army doctor into submission. Unsurprisingly, he ended up on his back, with John straddling him triumphantly, holding his wrists down.
'I was watching that,' Sherlock pouted. 'And you ruined it.'
'You should know never to come between a Watson and his popcorn.' It was a reasonable thing to say as far as John was concerned. He liked food. Sherlock knew he liked food. Sherlock was being annoying.
'You were crunching. It's highly distracting,' Sherlock told him, exerting some effort to escape John's grip and failing.
'Sorry, wrong angle. The leverage is to my advantage. You're stuck until you apologise.'
'You'll be waiting a long time then,' said the man between his legs, 'since I am in the right.'
John laughed and let him go. Sherlock sat up and they were suddenly very close, John resting back on his heels, and his love's long face turned up to his, so pale and beautiful it took John's breath away for a moment. A soft smile stole over Sherlock's lips as he sensed John's sudden emotion.
John looked down at him, and couldn't help lifting a hand, a hand that only a moment before had held Sherlock down, to stroke along one perfect cheekbone.
'I wish it hadn't taken me so long to find you,' he said.
'You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome prince,' Sherlock said softly. 'Everybody knows that.'
'So if I kiss you...?'
'Why don't you try it? I might turn into Al Pacino.'
'I think I like my frog the way he is, actually.'
'Are you sure? He's very appealing. Better looking than me. And less of a height difference.'
'I think I'll stick with my rapier-witted, six-foot genius frog, if its alright with you.'
'No harm in trying though?' Sherlock's voice had faded to barely a whisper as John craned his head down, helpless against those storm grey eyes, those sensually curved lips. Every nerve in his body was screaming his need for Sherlock's mouth.
'No,' he breathed. 'No harm at all…..'
It was a gentle pressure of lip on lip, no tongues, no licking or nipping, no delving, or groping or slobbering, barely any movement at all in fact. It was as brief as two heartbeats. And it was utterly perfect.
John drew his head back and looked into Sherlock's eyes. The detective seemed a little dazed.
'Nope. You're still a frog,' John smiled.
'Maybe you didn't try hard enough,' his love whispered, and just before their mouths met a second time, a final word slipped from those magnificent lips.
'Shut up, Kermit,' John whispered back.
When John came home from work the next day, he found Sherlock with a felt collar around his neck, a green one with points. He demonstrated the Kermit the Frog impression that he had spent the entire afternoon perfecting.
After John had picked himself up off the floor and wiped the hysterical tears from his eyes, he fell about again at the bizarreness of Sherlock actually doing impressions. Never mind that it was an impression of a Muppet, for God's sake. Before yesterday, Sherlock hadn't even known what a Muppet was, except as a term of abuse. After they had finished their second kiss, which was as brief as the first, John had been required to explain the Kermit reference. They never got to watch the end of 'The Godfather', because 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' immediately became a more pressing priority. And of course, once you had Kermit, you had to have Miss Piggy and John knew, just knew he had no chance after that. By the end of the evening, Sherlock had rechristened him, and that was the end of the discussion.
So Kermit and Piggy they became. At least, inside the flat, when no one else was present.
Until the murder in the fountain.
Hyde Park. A bright spring morning. Birds singing and the flower borders crammed with brilliant red tulips and glowing blue irises. The trees were heavy with pink blossom, a snowfall of petals strewing the manicured lawns. Blue and white police tape snapping in the breeze was the only sign that anything was wrong.
'She was found in the fountain,' Lestrade told them.
'Why isn't she still there then?'
'It's a public place, Sherlock, have some respect!'
'For the body or the park?'
'Oh, Christ.' Lestrade rubbed his face with his palm. 'Coffee. I need coffee.'
A blackbird was trilling on a nearby branch. John felt full of the joys of spring. The sun was warm on his back and Sherlock's brain was fizzing like Moet. Life could not have been better. That was until Sherlock climbed into the fountain and started wading around.
'I thought you were worried about the crime scene being contaminated?' John put his hands on his hips and watched. Sherlock bent at the waist to an angle of ninety degrees and started shuffling around the pool clockwise in a spiral, up to his knees in water of a suspicious cleanliness, and frowning.
'God alone knows what kind of shit is floating around in there,' John growled, thinking about the ruined shoes squelching across the carpet when they got home.
'Probably,' Sherlock said.
Which made very little sense unless you knew, as John did, the way the Great Detective's mind worked. A crowd had gathered at the edge of the police tape, and John eyed them with concern. They didn't look happy about what his love was doing. Neither did Lestrade, who had found a poly cup of coffee from somewhere and was striding back towards the fountain with a face like thunder. He was obviously more concerned about the integrity of what little evidence was left than Sherlock.
'What the fuck is he doing?' he growled at John. Then called out: 'What the fuck do you think you are doing, Holmes?'
'How old was she?'
'Cause of death?'
'Drowning, of course.'
'No 'of course' about it. Until you have done the autopsy and seen whether there is foam and fluid in the lungs and trachea, I would suggest your conclusion is somewhat previous. I imagine she had bruises on her neck?'
'How the hell did you know that?'
'Simple deduction.' He disappeared behind the statue of Eros on the plinth in the middle of the pond, and then swished out the other side.
John, having glanced at Lestrade's reddening face, realised he was going to have to take steps to diffuse the situation, otherwise the teenager wasn't going to be the only one drowned in the fountain that day.
'Get out and let Lestrade do his thing.' When this made no impact, he decided to be underhand. 'Come on, Kermit, it's not a lily pond.
He said it in as a loud a voice as he could muster without shouting – parade ground volume, in other words.
That was the point at which the detective inspector, who had just taken a slurp of java, managed to snort the whole lot down his fresh white shirt.
Donovan's eyes went wide. Several of the bobbies who were lining the tape suddenly seemed to be struggling to stay upright. Even John started to lose it.
Sherlock froze. And focussed. John was sure he detected a smirk on those sensual lips. He delved in the water and pulled something out, dripping.
'Au contraire, Piggy,' he cried, triumphant. 'Kermit wins the day again – your killer is the victim's best friend! A strangling. The body was dumped in the pool afterwards.'
Tears were running down Lestrade's cheeks, but he did his best to straighten his face and squint at the little scrap of purple silicone that Sherlock was holding up between his fingertips. It gleamed in the sunshine. The detective leapt out of the water and onto the path, sploshing water everywhere.
'To whit: one false nail, broken. Match that with your victim's best friend and I think you will find she isn't a best friend at all. Now, come Piggy, we have other lily pads to tend!'
How to be outed as a Muppet to Scotland Yard, John thought as he scurried after Sherlock through the crowd. One of the bobbies hooted 'Piiiigs Iiiiin Spaaaace!' after him.
'Sherlock, I'm going to kill you,' he growled when he caught up.
'You started it.'
'Don't think being cute is going to make me forgive you.'
At this point, you may be wondering if Sherlock and John have actually looked up the word Platonic. Perhaps they are deluding themselves. It is perfectly possible you may find out tomorrow...