Author's note: Written for the johnlockchallenges gift exchange based on a prompt from odetoacumberbatch (now pocketgingerbatch) over on Tumblr. The prompt was "John and Sherlock fly MJN air (cabinlock). What happens?" Special thanks to my wonderful beta Kat (consultingsupremecommander)! Any mistakes remaining are entirely my own. Have fun reading, I certainly had fun writing it!
Procedures? What Procedures?
'Morning, Douglas! You'll never guess who we're flying today!'
'Arthur, you insult me. How can I forget that today we fly one of the most illustrious men in Britain, and by that I mean to say a loaded, pompous old git from Wales, to Italy!'
'Mmm, I can almost smell the tips...'
'It's going to be absolutely brilliant! I wonder what he's going for...'
'Arthur, even you couldn't have forgotten that. It's the same thing every year!'
'Wow! We fly him to Italy every year?'
'I suddenly get the feeling that we are talking about two different people.'
'Who are you talking about?'
'Mr Birling, obviously! We're still flying him to Italy for the six nations final aren't we?'
'Well... yeah, but I wasn't talking about him!'
'Well who were you talking about, then?'
'But Carolyn, I should have been informed about this earlier. Why was I not informed?'
'Martin, do shut up and stop waving your hands about. You remind me of GERTI on that infernal trip to Chicago.'
'Dreadfully "flappy" flight... Old girl was impersonating an overgrown pigeon with Tourette's.'
'Douglas - you too. I didn't know about the additional passengers until about two hours ago, when some guy from the MoD called saying he needed MJN to fly Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson to Italy.'
'Well... what about Mr Birling?'
'What about him?'
'He was here first, wasn't he? And he always flies alone and he... he doesn't like... he wants his trip to be perfect, alright?! And as the captain it is my duty to ensure that everything goes smoothly.'
'And yet, you insist on operating the landing...'
'Martin, are you seriously concerned about Mr. Birling liking his flight?'
'Actually Carolyn, I think Martin is more worried about how it may affect the quality of Mr. Birling's famously loose and mythically deep pockets.'
'I don't care what Mr. Birling thinks about this whole thing, the Government is paying us three times the regular booking price to fly Scully and Mulder to Italy; therefore, we shall. Oh, and Douglas? If you manage to sneak the Talisker this time, without Sherlock Holmes noticing, then I shall personally buy you another.'
'Oh, two for the price of one? Nice touch!'
'This way, gentlemen.'
'I do believe we are able to find our way around an empty airfield, Ms. Knapp-Shappey.'
'He means "thank you." Don't you, Sherlock?'
'What on earth possessed Mycroft to book us this pitiful excuse of a jet?'
'You didn't exactly give him much time to figure out something else, did you?'
'He's the bloody Government, he has resources.'
'Yes, which you vehemently denied, and I quote: "not one of your flashy jets, you overgrown magpie. It's a stealth operation, not a parade."'
'Besides, I'm sure it's perfectly fine. Just because you're scared of flying-'
'I am not scared, John. Does this abomination appear in any way safe to you?'
'I've flown worse...'
'John, look at it, it's practically-'
'And here we are, gentlemen. As I can see it would be both unnecessary and uncomfortable for me to escort you to your seats, I leave you in the capable hands of the crew.'
'Good morning, sir- sirs- Mr Sherlock- I mean Holmes, Sherlock Holmes, and John- Doctor Watson-'
'Good morning, I am first-'
'First officer, married three- now four times, don't get on with previous wives, probably because of your compulsive lying and cheating behaviour, also your professional status: pretending to be a captain now and again, always works, but you were a captain with Air England, competent but reckless, fired for misconduct, MJN was the only airline desperate enough to fly with you, repeatedly. Former alcohol addict, but now your interest in alcohol is of a different sort, judging by the way you were eyeing that bottle of Talisker...'
'Wow! You're almost as good as Miss Marple! Now do Skipper!'
'Sherlock, perhaps you shouldn't-'
'You are the captain, obviously-'
'Yes, if not by the number of stripes on your sleeve or the frankly ridiculous hat, then by the simple deduction that it was obviously not the first officer and definitely not him.'
'Yeah, I look nothing like a captain...'
'Naturally, look at your left thumb. This man, however, is a young captain, I'd say no more than two years of practical experience but a great deal more time spent on simulators than a captain his age would have. No hobbies outside flying, yet not getting paid for it. Interesting. Failed the exam at least five times, probably more. Various sorts of manual labour to generate income, lives with several younger people- students, three male, two female, agricultural college?'
'Sherlock, that's enough. Sorry, he gets like that sometimes. I'm-'
'Doctor John Watson, I read your blog! Brilliant! I'm Arthur, the steward, and these are Douglas Richardson and Martin Crieff. And that, over there, is Mr. Birling. He's really nice, but try not to bother him, otherwise we won't get any tips.'
'Arthur! Sorry, I apologize, that was entirely unprofessional but I assure you, as the commander of this aircraft-'
'Boring! Come John, let's sit somewhere before my brain or this plane disintegrates. I wonder which would come first...'
'Sherlock, I think you may have made the captain cry.'
'Ugh, people are so tedious John, I don't know how you can put up with them every day.'
'I put up with you every day.'
'Yes, but I'm special.'
'Yes, especially infuriating.'
'Hmm, I seem to recall something along the lines of "brilliant" and "amazing" and "so hot"-'
'Yes! Y-yes, the tea is very hot, I told you to be more careful! Arthur! Could you bring me another cup, please?'
'Oh, did you scald your tongue with the tea, Mr Holmes? I used to do that all the time, now I can barely feel anything! I wonder why...'
'Another cup of tea, Arthur?'
'Yeah, sure, coming right up, Doctor Watson!'
'Sherlock, stop smiling like that.'
'I mean it.'
'John, I'm bored!'
'You can't just lash out to people because you can think of nothing better to do!'
'Oh, I can think of several other things-'
'I'm serious. Until we land, you cannot say or do anything that would offend the crew. If you behave... I'll think of a reward.'
'An exercise in restraint. Very well. But I should let you know that my abstinence might not be in the best interest of Mr. Birling or Ms. Knapp-Shappey.'
'What on earth are you talking about?'
'My lips are sealed, John, as per your command. Unless you have another use for them...'
'How did he- how could he know so much about me, Douglas?'
'It appears to be "his thing", so to speak. He was surprisingly accurate, I'll give him that. Uncanny.'
'He even called me the captain! Me!'
'I would expect the master of observation to notice who was what, even in the most complete of disguises.'
'What's that supposed to mean?'
'Well, he noticed you were the captain, although you look nothing like a captain-'
'That's not true; I look like a perfectly normal captain!'
'-and he noticed that I was not the captain, although I look every bit the way a captain should.'
'Why can't you just accept that maybe I am a proper captain!'
'I never said you weren't. I merely said you don't look like one.'
'Oh, so just because I'm not tall and imposing and my name doesn't go "duh-duh-DUH-duh-duh"...'
'And you don't get paid to do the job...'
'How would anyone know that at a glance?'
'The question is not "how would anyone", but "how would Sherlock Holmes", in which case the answer is "because he is Sherlock Holmes."'
'Fine, he would know, but anyone else-'
'His name sounds like yours too, by the way. "Duh-duh-duhhh."'
'Yes, but his is posh and weird, but not too weird, just enough to make it fascinating, whereas mine is more like a cross between a teddy bear and a soufflé. And anyway, mine goes "duh-duh-dhffff."'
'He also doesn't actually get paid for some of the cases he takes. It's just about the excitement of the puzzle for him, apparently. John was complaining about his disinterest in paying the bills in one of his blog entries.'
'So - so he doesn't get paid?'
'No, he's a consultant. The police consult him; he does the job for them and doesn't get paid to do it.'
'That's very charitable of him...'
'I think it's more to do with the fact that no-one would pay an obnoxious git to prance around crime scenes, making everyone look bad and not bothering with the paperwork.'
'He probably doesn't need it anyway. The MoD booked their flight at triple price and frankly his suit doesn't say "I live on bagged tea and soggy pasta in my dingy flat."'
'The way most detectives' do.'
'Was there a point to all this, Douglas?'
'Yes. Sherlock Holmes also doesn't look like a proper detective.'
'A-are you saying... That I'm like that- like him? A "Sherlock Holmes" among airline captains?'
'Well you certainly have a capable "Doctor Watson" to get you out of a tight spot now and then... sir.'
'Stop it. You never even finished med school.'
'Is something wrong, Mr. Richardson?'
'No, Doctor Watson, not at all. Enjoying your flight?'
'Um... I was just concerned; you've been up and down the plane three times already. I thought maybe there was a problem of some sort.'
'Oh no, everything's fine! I was just looking for something... Mr. Holmes, are you feeling quite well? You seem a bit... well, green, to be honest.'
'He's fine, he just doesn't like planes that much. Scared of flying...'
'Oh for God's sake, John! I am not scared of flying, but this incompetent-'
'Sherlock, you promised!'
'Fine. Apologies. Turbulences make me... uneasy.'
'Apology accepted, and may I assure you that the constant rattling is unlikely to stop, even in the event of clear skies.'
'How reassuring. The lemon is under John's seat.'
'What? What lemon?'
'Ah. Thank you.'
'Sherlock, I don't think this is such a good idea...'
'Shut up, John. This is a brilliant idea.'
'But what if someone needs to come in?'
'Mr. Birling is sound asleep and the crew are unlikely to need the toilet for at least another hour or so.'
'John, I am bored out of my skull and am likely to start insulting people unless you manage to successfully distract me. Now unless you would rather be doing this in our seats, with the steward asking if we want to stop for tea every ten minutes, I suggest you stop complaining and kiss me.'
'Mmm, this really is awfully cliché, don't you think?'
'Really, John, shut up.'
'Ahh, right there!... Ouch, a bit cramped in here, though...'
'Lift up on the sink. I can't believe you've never done this before.'
'Wha-a-at, oh yeah, what sex on a plane?'
'Mmm... Three Continents Watson?'
'Well- Jesus fuck! Never- never had the chance... God... If you don't stop I'll-'
'Oh, wouldn't want that, would we?'
'Do you h-have any...'
'I didn't think to bring lubricant on a plane, because despite what you think, I really did not plan for this.'
'I hate it when you're spontaneous.'
'Oh fuck, do that again! No- no don't, don't, I... God, your tongue...'
'I think it has been established the first time we met that you find me irresistible especially because I'm so unpredictable.'
'Yeah, yeah, just shut up and fuck me!
'I don't want to hurt you, John...'
'There's a bottle of hand cream in the corner... Hang on... This isn't hand cream, what is this?!'
'Yes, twenty-five year old single malt Talisker. Hang on- aha!'
'Shut up and lift your arse.'
'What? Sher- Ohhh, yeah! More!'
'Knew it had to be here somewhere... Child's play.'
'Ahhh, I'm ready, come on!'
'You make the most delicious noises when I do this...'
'As you command... captain.'
'Martin, have you landed?'
'Just now, and Mr. Holmes and Doctor Watson are here too.'
'What about Douglas, is he there? Is he gloating?'
'Carolyn, I do believe you owe me an extra bottle of Talisker.'
'You managed to steal it? But how?! I asked Sherlock Holmes to make sure you don't come near it!'
'Nevertheless, I am currently in the possession of one single malt whiskey, and was promised an additional bottle.'
'But, Mr. Holmes, I thought you could handle it! You said it would keep you entertained for the duration of the flight to keep the first officer from stealing my whiskey!'
'Indeed, I agreed to keep Mr. Richardson away from the Talisker. However, I promised John I would not say or do anything to offend the crew until we landed. Exposing Mr. Richardson's little scheme seemed quite offensive.'
'So you do know how he did it?'
'But he does have it?'
'Evidently not. I did manage to keep both promises, Ms. Knapp-Shappey, and I resent any implications otherwise. I said I would not say or do anything offensive until we land. As we have already landed, I have no qualms about returning the Talisker to you.'
'But I have it!'
'No, Mr. Richardson, you hit it. Quite the rudimentary switching routine, I might add. You were, of course, unaware of my presence aboard your flight until a couple of hours prior to take off, therefore you had no time to alter your plan accordingly. Had I not been on the case, you would have most certainly fooled your simple-minded colleagues.'
'I'm sorry, but I still don't understand. Douglas stole the whiskey, but not really, you found it, but not really, and mum owes Douglas another bottle, but not really? How does that work?'
'It was the whiskey in the hand lotion bottle!'
'Very astute, John. Yes, Mr. Richardson placed a rather large bottle of hand cream in the toilet before take-off, invoking some absurd reason, no doubt, which evidently fooled you lot. Then, while pretending to seek for the hidden lemon, he proceeded to empty the cream bottle into the soap dispenser, on top of the soap, which made it undetectable for a mildly curious eye. He then filled the cream bottle with the Talisker, filled the Talisker bottle with your usual cheap whiskey, and filled the regular whiskey bottle with water from the tap.'
'But I didn't see him with any whiskey bottle!'
'Because, John, you're an idiot. Also, you were rather distracted at the time, it was when I was running my hand down your-'
'Yes, yes, OK, I'm an idiot, we're all idiots except for you.'
'Thank you, Mr. Holmes! So, Douglas, I owe you nothing!'
'It would appear that way...'
'Wow, Douglas, it must be the first time you don't manage to steal Mr. Birling's whiskey!'
'Technically, Arthur, I did steal it. I just wasn't allowed to keep it.'
'Well, thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Holmes, Doctor Watson! I hope you have enjoyed flying MJN Air!'
'Oh, yes. It has been most... exciting.'