Title: Whiskers on Kittens
Genera: humor, drama
Rating: T (mentions of animal cruelty and sexual situations)
Characters: Gregory Lestrade, Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and the Yarders
Source: Inspired by the story "Cats" by bittergrapes.
A/N: I have no idea where this scene is set. I imagine it to be some sort of parking lot near a waterfront, or something like that.
It is dark, raining, bitterly cold, and Lestrade is not having a good night. He is just winding down the latest (and, dear God, hopefully last) grisly crime scene in a chain of murders that have hopscotched their way across London in the last week. Sherlock and John have long since taken off after the serial killer, and Lestrade can only hope that they don't end up in the hospital again, or force him to fudge yet another ballistics report—because despite what Sherlock and, apparently, John think, he is not oblivious, and most certainly not of that-gun-which-citizens-(even ex-army ones)-should-not-have-and-of-which-he-will-never-speak-to-John-about. He runs a hand over his aching eyes and sighs wearily. Let me just finish this up and go to bed with no more problems tonight, he thinks to the deity that he sort-of-perhaps-believes-in, is that too much to ask?
Apparently it is, because at that precise moment he hears a great deal of commotion followed by a high pitch shriek from the direction where he'd left Anderson and Donavan. With great resignation, he turns around in time to see the detective duo's silhouettes emerge from the fog. The cold, damp air is suppressive enough that it takes a moment before he catches the thread of their conversation. Within seconds, he sincerely decides that he does not want to know what they are talking about.
"Sherlock, you can't keep that," John's voice sounds for all the world like he is an exasperated parent addressing a child.
"Why not?" Sherlock demands in return, "Especially something with such an impeccable taste in character."
"That's an awful pun, and besides, just because it hissed at Donavan and clawed Anderson does not mean it has a good sense of character!"
"I think it was an excellent judgment. After all, he has yet to claw either you or me." Lestrade can practically hear the sneer in Sherlock's voice. He really, really does not want to know what they are discussing.
"Look, that's not the issue here," John makes an impressive turnabout back to his original point, which, when one is arguing with Sherlock, is a remarkable thing to be able to do. "Point of fact: you can't even be bothered to remember to eat most of the time; there's no way you can keep a pet alive. Hello Inspector. Speaking of which, Sherlock, when was the last time you ate anything?"
Sherlock dutifully ignores the doctor and seizes upon the distraction of having finally reached the DI.
"It isn't the car dealer," he exclaims, hands waving dramatically, "It's his cousin. You've locked up the wrong man, Lestrade, it's a wonder you manage to solve any crimes if you're going to ignore details that are this obvious. The dealer isn't guilty—well, he isn't guilty of committing murder; he has been running a rather extensive counterfeit ring, not to mention cheating on his wife, bank fraud, identity theft—"
"Sherlock," John intones with an eye roll.
"Right, well, it's obvious his cousin is the serial killer you're looking for. His shoe tread…"
At this point, Lestrade begins to tune him out. To be honest, he is far, far too tired to follow one of Sherlock's deductive rants, and as long as the right person ends up behind bars and the killings stop, he can afford to put off the exact details until later. Instead, he focuses on more immediate concerns, such as why the world's only consulting detective's shoulder seems to be misshapen and moving around with a mind of its own.
After several moments, filled with Sherlock's non-stop verbal deductions, Lestrade is finally rewarded for his dutiful observation when he notices that the 'lump' appears to have a tail.
"Sherlock, is that a cat?" he interrupts the detective mid-sentence with his disbelieving exclamation.
"A kitten, actually," Sherlock informs him icily, clearly annoyed at the abrupt change in topic, "Now, as I was sayin—"
"Where did…how did you get…?" as exhausted as he is, Lestrade can only focus his mind on the most immediate cause for concern—which at this precise moment happens to be that, while chasing a serial killer, Sherlock Holmes managed to acquire a kitten which even now is determinedly clinging to its high perch on the detective's shoulder. Sherlock appears to realize that the DI has been tuning out his entire explanation, because he throws his hands up in the air with an exasperated sigh and storms off to the other side of the crime scene to look at the corpse again. John, taking pity on the overworked Inspector, explains.
"This serial killer is a bit sicker than any of us expected. We managed to track down one of his holdouts, he wasn't there, but what we did find…well…look, this is…I…" he pauses, draws a deep breath, and then continues on in a tone probably reminiscent of debriefings in Afghanistan. "Part of the basement was dedicated to various forms of animal torture. All small animals: dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels; and all dead and in various states of decay. The smell alone…" he pauses again and swallows. Lestrade feels sick to his stomach. "It was awful, and Sherlock—God Lestrade—Sherlock was livid. More so than I've ever seen him before. And then, and then just as I was turning around to leave, he froze and knelt down on the floor. I had absolutely no idea what he was doing, especially when he held out his hand to the far corner and twitched his fingers. It was so quiet, and then there was this little noise and a tiny black blur shot out of the corner and raced up Sherlock's arm and clawed its way up to his shoulder." John shoots an indulgent, fond look at the detective. "I guess it recognized its protector when it saw him."
Lestrade is silent for a moment. The story is both touching and horrifying in turn, and he supposes that it isn't such a great shock that Sherlock Holmes is an avid protector of animals. Just because he doesn't care for humans that much doesn't mean that he dislikes other forms of life—and he certainly does not wish them harm. Still, avid animal protector or not, that hadn't solved the problem of…
"You're going to let him have a pet?" Lestrade exclaims in wary disbelief.
"I figure if worse comes to worse, I can just give it to Mrs. Hudson to look after," John replies in an undertone, as if in hopes that Sherlock won't hear him. No such luck.
"You most certainly will not," the affronted detective snaps sulkily from across the way.
At that moment, Anderson storms in from wherever he'd been off grumbling with Donavan. Even in the dim light, it is easy to spot the two parallel claw marks that run out from his nose and down his cheek. It does not improve his looks in the slightest.
"Inspector, that beast attacked—"
Sherlock cuts him off.
"Oh dear, Anderson, upset that a kitten got the better of you? Or is it perhaps that Sergeant Donavan is unwilling to return your amorous advances tonight after witnessing you shriek louder and higher than a six year old girl?"
As Anderson wheels around on the detective in unspeakable, flailing rage, John intones from the sidelines:
"Sherlock, be nice," though his tone indicates he is speaking up merely because someone has too, as opposed to any hope that Sherlock will oblige (or, for that matter, that Sherlock should).
As if on cue, the kitten leaps off of Sherlock's shoulder and onto the roof of one of the Yard's cars—making it by barely a paw-hold and dragging itself up onto the top in a series of claws-grating-on-painted-metal scrambles, and successfully knocking over three stacks of paperwork and two cups of coffee (one lukewarm, the other hot) in the process. In the utter silence that follows this move, it perches proudly for a moment, then bends down to lick its side in such a lack-of-care-for-the-world's-opinion-of-its-actions that it reminds Lestrade vividly of Sherlock. The detective in question chooses this moment to respond to John's comment as if nothing had happened.
"Well, it's hardly my fault if Catastrophe doesn't like him."
"Yes, well…Catastrophe? You named that poor thing Catastrophe?"
"It certainly fits, doesn't it?" Sherlock replies with a, dare Lestrade say it, proud nod at the disaster the tiny animal has managed to create.
"That's a horrid pun, Sherlock," John mutters in an undertone after a second, clearly unable to come up with anything to dissuade the detective.
"Lestrade, what about…!" Anderson interrupts, a gesture to his slightly bloody features indicating what he was protesting this time.
"Oh please, Anderson, it's no wonder Donavan's refusing to go down on you if you're whining about a kitten's scratch!" Sherlock shoot back at him.
"Sherlock!" John's gritted-teeth exclamation rings out across the crime scene, in more of a protest against too-much-info-about-sort-of-colleagues'-sex-lives than one of shock and propriety.
As the group descends once more into endless squabbling, Lestrade covers his face with his hands and sighs. No rest for the weary tonight.
A/N: Alright, not much to say here except to credit some ideas.
Title comes from "These are a few of my Favorite Things", a song in The Sound of Music. Specifically, the line goes: "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…"
The name Catastrophe for a cat isn't mine. I sincerely wish it was, because it's one of the most fantastic cat-names I've come across and has inspired my own one of 'cataclysm'. The credit for this idea goes to Snape's Nightie in her fic "Study Sessions".