A Study in Whinging
"I blame you for this, Watson."
It was a warm summer evening at 221b Baker Street. Holmes was in a foul mood that was completely out of character for a man of his normally cool temperament.
"Of course I'm out of character, Watson!" Holmes complained as he fidgeted in his armchair. "We're in another amateur fan fiction!"
"Holmes, please!" I protested from my own easy chair. "It's bad form to break my inner monologue."
"I'm sorry old man I'm just put out by the missing fourth wall here," Holmes sighed as he gestures at you. "I'm a private man by nature and I can't think straight with all of these people staring at us."
"Just try to ignore them Holmes and it will all be over with soon," I suggested.
"Very well," the great detective glares at you sullenly before picking up a newspaper to hide behind it. "I'm not as comfortable with the media as you are my fine loquacious Boswell. The ability for the fandom to twist and pervert our characters is simply staggering. This is a direct result of your romantic treatment of what should have been scientific treatises of the practical applications of observation and analysis."
"So is the practice of modern forensics," I muttered defensively, my pride stung by his criticism of my literary work. "You have to admit it made great advertising, what? Brought you some business that helped us with the rent more than once, didn't it?"
"Yes but it also brought a swarm of admirers to our door," Holmes continued testily.
"Yes but most of those admirers were female admirers," I said, unable to keep the enthusiasm out of my voice. I must have been smiling like a simpleton. I could tell from the dark look he gave me that he did not agree with my assessment of the situation in the slightest.
"Almost half of those girls were underage," Holmes grumbled. "Even the ones who were of age acted like they had never been cut from their nannies' apron strings! It was deplorable! I shudder to think of what Mrs. Hudson thought of us, constantly being pestered by screaming schoolgirls."
"Yes the two of you looked positively darling as you went out that evening," Holmes muttered. "Looked like a doting daughter entertaining her protective father I should say. How can a man get any work done with that kind of nonsense going on?"
"You don't work unless you're on a case, Holmes," I retorted, "or engaged in some strange experiment."
"Don't those girls read what you've written?" he continued as if he hadn't heard me. "It should be obvious to the careful observer that I'm a man who's best enjoyed from a distance. I suppose people could want to read about me, but only a masochist would want to meet me."
"Or live with you," I muttered. "Sorry Holmes, it just slipped out."
"Don't worry about it, my dear fellow," my companion chuckled. "I was just admitting myself how difficult it would be for the layman to get on with me, let along dwell with me for any length of time. You have the patience of a saint Watson, and I thank you for it."
"Thank you," I blushed at the unexpected praise.
"Even if your romantic account of our cases has led to our current predicament," he added with a trace of bitterness.
"Such is the price of immortality," I shrugged with as good of grace as I could muster.
"Speaking of our public, how long are they going to be staring at us anyway?" Holmes asked as he glares at you. "I hope they don't expect us to juggle or perform magic tricks or something."
"You know darn well what they want you to do Holmes," I sighed.
"Very well," he sighed melodramatically. "I love you Watson and want to have your babies," he announced before hiding behind his newspaper.
"What?" I was utterly appalled.
"That's what they want, isn't it?" Holmes asked in mock innocence. "They want us to bare our souls to each other, preferably in the manner of Oscar Wilde. I just hoped if we gave them what they wanted they'd go away."
"Holmes, speaking as a writer, you just can't blurt out a revelation like that," I scolded. "You've got to work up to it. Establish some kind of tension. You have a flair for the dramatic, you're just not trying!"
"Very well," he muttered as he eyed you with resentment, "but why do we always have to be so maudlin? And why are we romantic nearly fifty percent of the time? You know my policy towards romance, Watson! That kind of emotion if the worst kind of grit in the finely honed lens that is the analytical mind! It causes men to see what they desire instead of what is there. For me a romantic yearning for anyone would be fatal to my analytical process, and would make observation impossible. For our public to have that perception of me is unthinkable!"
"But Holmes, look at it from their point of view," I pleaded. "The mystery that intrigues our public the most is the mystery that intrigued me at our first meeting: The mystery of Sherlock Holmes. You never let on what's inside; you don't have any girlfriends. I appear to be your only link to the bulk of humanity. If you ever had a romantic, er… inclination, surely it's within the realm of possibility that it might fall my way. No man is an island you know."
"It's the worst kind of forbidden romantic twaddle I've ever heard of," he argued. "It's ridiculous, simply ridiculous! But if I was to feel a romantic urge towards one of my fellow human beings, it would be impossible to find a better partner than you I suppose."
"Er, thank you Holmes," I said as I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. "That means a lot, coming from you old boy."
"Think nothing of it Watson," he shrugged. "I've lived with you for years, and you haven't covered the flat in lace doilies. You've been a model tenant, a valued confidant and a good friend. But if we are that kind of couple, I'd prefer to skip the passionate romance and get to the old married couple bit."
"We've got to find you a woman Holmes," I sighed. "It's not healthy for you to talk like this you know."
"Honestly, it's ludicrous," Holmes scoffed. "Just imagine how strange it would be if we did… fancy each other…" Soft music played as I found myself lost in his beautiful grey eyes. Holmes stared at me in wonder before tearing his eyes way, causing the music to stop immediately. "Blasted fan fiction writers! They can never resist playing with our heart strings!"
"At least this one isn't injuring me to show how much you care!" I gasped in relief.
"Watson! Look out!" Faster than a cat, Holmes sprung out of his chair to knock me out of mine. The light fixture from the ceiling fell, impaling the cushion of the chair I had been sitting in only instants before! "That was a close shave old fellow!" Holmes breathed. "Are you all right?"
"Yes," I nodded before I became aware that Holmes and I were on the floor hugging each other. "Thanks to you."
Holmes noticed that he was practically lying on top of me. "Blasted fan fiction writers!" he growled as he pulled himself off me and dusted himself off. "Does their depravity know no bounds? Quickly, before the author pokes out your eye or something. We better go to the back room and start kissing."
"Holmes, you are being ridiculous!" I scolded as I rose to my feet. "We've been through worse stories before and you can take this one! Now pull yourself together man and find us a way out of this mess!"
"This mess that you have put us in!"
"Yes," I snapped. "This mess that I have put us in!"
Holmes had the decency to appear contrite. "Sorry about that Watson. You're absolutely right of course. I'm a dispassionate analyzer who can shame Poe's Dupin. I should act like it, no matter how poorly this work is written." He cleared his throat awkwardly and placed his hand on his chin. "We shouldn't have mentioned Oscar Wilde. The law of conservation of detail almost demands that the narrative head in that direction. Data, data. I must have more data. It is impossible to make bricks without clay. Watson," he said in a louder voice as he addressed me. "Why do you suppose that so many of these aspiring authors think of us as a romantic couple?"
"Because you have no women in your life," I shrugged. "You never met Irene Adler when you weren't in disguise. You completely lost interest in Violet Hunter after the business at the Copper Beeches was complete."
"Aren't you tarred with the same brush old boy?" he asked me.
"Ah, I got married," I winked mischievously. "I moved out. Out of the two of us, which of us makes the greatest flaming whoopsie?"
Holmes frowned at me, but I could see the wheels turning in his head. "There might be one female in my life they haven't considered…"
"Oh really?" I asked skeptically. "Who?"
"Mrs. Hudson?" I scratched my head. "I'm sorry old boy; that near miss must have affected my hearing. I thought that you said 'Mrs. Hudson' just now."
"I did," he nodded. "Think about it. She's my landlady. We live under the same roof. She puts up with my eccentric habits. I smell the place up with tobacco and my chemical experiments. I shoot holes in the wall with my pistol. Who else but a paramour would tolerate that kind of abuse?"
"Not to mention playing your music at odd hours in the night," I added as my ears burned pink at the insinuation. "But that's the kind of talk they use to imply that we're a couple Holmes," I pointed out.
"Yes but you don't own the building," he insisted. "My behavior risks bringing the property values down, yet still she tolerates me. For all anyone knows we could've been seeing each other without your notice, or more likely, without your comment. Don't you see? It all fits!"
"But Holmes!" I protested. "Not to put too fine a point on it, but isn't Mrs. Hudson, I don't know, rather old for you? She's depicted in the visual media as being rather matronly you know."
"Nonsense she doesn't have to be," he purred. "You never mentioned how old she was in any of your narratives. As a matter of fact you declined to describe her at all. For all we know she could be my age, or even younger. All we know is that she's a widow and that you once mentioned that she has a 'queenly tread.' That implies grace, which implies beauty. You also portrayed her as very good cook, and the old adage says that there is no faster way to a man's heart than his stomach. After you moved out, I could have taken her dancing every Friday night without your knowledge. Don't you see, it all fits!"
"So," I nodded in resignation. "That's your position is it? For the purposes of this tale the old and matronly Mrs. Hudson is really the comely and buxom Mrs. Hudson and the two of you have been seeing each other on the sly?"
"A crass description but if will do if it gets us out of each other's trousers my dear fellow," Holmes nodded before grinning in triumph. "Now we both get a happy ending of sorts. You have your Mrs. Watson, and I have my Mrs. Hudson."
"Just wanted to hear you say it old boy," I grinned with a triumph of my own. I went to the door and opened it. "Mrs. Hudson!" I called. "He bought it!"
"Oh thank you Doctor Watson!" gushed the buxom and lavishly dressed Mrs. Hudson as she trotted into our flat. "Your plan worked perfectly! Hello there Mr. Holmes!" Her adorable face lit up as she spied the object of her affections. "Where will you be taking me tonight? London is full of romantic places and I can't wait to begin our evening!"
Holmes face darkened as he regarded me. "I blame you for this, Watson."