A/N: This was a collaborated fic worked on by both myself and AWNE (found on this website here: /~AWNEver )!
Disclaimer: We own nothing. Nada!
We dedicate this to you, our Coat Turner Uppers! KEEP TURNING YOUR COLLARS UP! :D
"Would you stop."
"Playing that infernal instrument." Mycroft dragged a weary hand across his face, leaning heavily against his umbrella whilst he sat in Sherlock's armchair. It was obvious he hadn't slept properly in days.
"It's my flat, I can do as I wish. "Sherlock stated simply, drawing several sharp, high notes in quick succession. The abrupt manifestation of sound roused the flock of pigeons, currently lined on the windowsill, their beaks tapping against the window and wings flapping disapprovingly. Sherlock snarled loudly, earning himself another glare from his flatmate, John.
"Sherlock," Mycroft hissed, the tone conveying his urgency. The Consulting Detective sighed, folding his violin down and looking pointedly at his brother, trying to ignore the shrieking chatter of the birds outside.
"She can't be that hard to buy for, just take some money out of my wallet and go."
"No!" The government official took a controlled breath. "No." He repeated again. "We can't just get anything. It has to be completely accurate." Sherlock rolled his eyes, placing the instrument on the coffee table and strolling to the window, looking down to the waterlogged street.
"Have you spoken to her about it?" Sherlock asked, eyes narrowing at the government issued car below.
"Do you really think she would appreciate that? You know she likes to guess what it is before she opens it, and if she knows what it is she's not going to be happy on the day." The Consulting Detective nodded in agreement, smoothing out a crease in his dressing gown.
"It seems as though we have a bit of a predicament," Sherlock stated, looking to his older brother.
"No shit, Sherlock," Mycroft remarked sourly. "The fact is, there will be serious consequences if we get this wrong."
"I know, I know," Sherlock sighed, locking eyes with another pigeon that landed on the window ledge outside.
"It is vital to our existence that we buy Mummy the right Christmas present, Sherlock!" Mycroft practically whined. There was a loud snort, quickly covered up by some fake coughing and throat clearing. Both Holmes' turned to glower at John Watson, who appeared to be nonchalantly typing on his laptop, pausing every now and then to sip his cup of tea.
"Something the matter?" Mycroft asked, expectantly. John looked up, a look of pure innocence on his features. He shrugged his shoulders, the corners of his mouth pulled down in a humorous frown as if to say, 'Why are you asking me?'Sherlock, ignoring his flat-share, turned to his brother again.
"Tell me the list," the younger man instructed. Mycroft nodded and took a breath.
"Necklace, spa kit, book, coat, pearls, earrings, book, shoes, book, scarf, perfume, watch, book, handbag, dressing gown, bracelet and a book. Those were our last attempts to please her."
"Book," they realised in discordant unison, a slight horror apparent on their faces.
"Damn," Mycroft muttered. Sherlock closed his eyes and leant his forehead against the cool glass of the window, hoping it would clear his mind ready for the arduous task ahead. Tap. The consulting detective gritted his teeth. Tap. Taptaptaptap. Sherlock slammed his hand against the window, eyes flying open. Several more fowls had decided Sherlock's window was the best place to spend their free afternoon, driving the Consulting Detective crazy.
"Go-a-way!" Sherlock shouted, the glass receiving a new blow with each syllable.
"Ignore them." Mycroft said coolly, checking his watch.
"No," Sherlock was trembling with exasperation, "You don't understand! I can't!" His older brother looked at him with a peculiar expression, obviously not understanding why a flock of birds should upset his sibling so much.
"These awful creatures have been tormenting me since five o'clock this morning!"
"Yes, that's true. But you were awake." John remarked dryly from behind his laptop.
"I was in my mind palace. I rearrange my mind palace every morning, and these" - Sherlock gesticulated wildly towards the window, too unsettled to find the proper words - "things were messing it up!"
"By what? Leaving their droppings behind?" John smirked ironically. He got up and walked into the kitchen to pour himself another cup of Earl Grey. "Tea, Mycroft?" he asked the British Government while passing the armchair.
"No, thank you. Sherlock, can we just continue? We simply have to find the right gift. Otherwise, we will be condemned forever." Sherlock's eyes narrowed, watching John on his journey back to the table. Then, without a word, he threw himself on the sofa, turning his back and sulking.
"Sherlock. The present. Now." Mycroft was losing his temper. "Don't make me order you." At that moment the feathered creatures outside started missing their Consulting companion. The window began to rattle with the unexpected rustling of wings and beaks. Abruptly, the only Consulting Detective in the world jumped off the sofa, rushed to the window, opened it and started shouting, waving hands and shooing the pigeons away angrily. However, the flock was not impressed in the slightest. All their little red eyes were eagerly watching Sherlock, trying to deduce the purpose of his actions. Seeing that all his exploits were proving useless, Holmes exhaled angrily and slammed the lower sash of the window down in the hopes of frightening the birds away. Unsurprisingly, it didn't have the desired effect.
Suddenly John pushed himself up from the desk, sighing loudly with the effort, and moved across the room.
"Sorry, are we interrupting something? Perhaps your favourite reality TV show, or your afternoon nap?" Mycroft sneered. John smiled a little, reaching out to the window latch.
"Sorry Sherlock, it needs to stay open. I have to let some of this ego out of the room; otherwise, we would drown in it." The army doctor said with a smirk, opening the latch and drawing the lower sash up. The government official looked rather affronted, whilst Sherlock turned away to hide his grin. However his smile was soon replaced by a murderous scowl. The damn birds were cawing louder and louder, taunting the consulting detective. He couldn't take it anymore, he wouldn't!
"That's it!" Sherlock stormed to the offending fowls, grabbing the nearest long object he could find. This, unfortunately for Mycroft, was his umbrella. The consulting detective snatched it from his sibling's hands, ignoring his cries of anguish. He stalked to the window, brolly outstretched, waving it around wildly. "Go! Away!" He swooped the umbrella around with terrifying force, knocking over a pile of books and nearly taking John's eye out in the process. Sherlock drew the umbrella back, preparing for the killing blow. He lunged forwards, putting every ounce of his strength behind the manoeuvre. What the detective hadn't considered was the metal grate placed outside the window. The wooden point of the umbrella slammed into it, jarring the consulting detective's arm and releasing the handle from his slender fingers. They watched on in horror as the umbrella flew out of Sherlock's hand.
Ever since the umbrella had been unceremoniously ripped from his hands, Mycroft's world had turned into a slow motion film. All the sounds around him has dulled; the only noise the government official heard clearly was his rapidly beating heart, and the blood roaring through his ears. He saw Sherlock draw his arm back. Ba bump. His arm tensed up, eyes narrowing with grim determination. Ba bump. He lunged. Ba bump. The umbrella hit the grate, its handle loosening from the detective's grip. Ba bump.Then the world sped up.
Mycroft jumped up from his chair in an attempt to retrieve the falling brolly, pushing Sherlock away roughly. The consulting detective was flung backwards, crashing into an unsuspecting John. They whacked into each other face first; Sherlock's shoulder connecting with the army doctor's nose, and army doctor's elbow connecting with Sherlock's groin. There was a series of pained grunts as they tried to keep balance, however they failed miserably. They collapsed backwards, flipping over Sherlock's armchair and landing in a heap of tangled limbs. Meanwhile, the government official had reached his arm through the open window, his index finger just grazing the handle. But it was all in vain. Mycroft watched in horror as the umbrella tumbled away from him, down to the ground. It seemed like an eternity for the brolly to hit the floor, but in reality it only took a few seconds. It clattered onto the main road with a sickening thud, rolling through several puddles. The rain was lashing down hard.
"Oh thank God." Mycroft released a breath he didn't know he was holding and dragged a weary hand down his face.
In the meantime, Sherlock pushed himself from the floor, burying his knee into John's back whilst scrambling up. He fastened the tie of his dressing gown and turned as an afterthought to give his flatmate a hand in getting up.
"It's okay," Mycroft shouted in victory, speaking mainly for his own benefit, "it didn't break! I knew she was a good choice, I just knew i-"
"Two minutes." Sherlock mentioned, casually adjusting his pyjamas.
"What?" Mycroft paled at his brother's tone.
"You have two minutes."
"For what?!" Dread ruled Mycroft's features.
"Until the next bus arrives. Actually, now it's only a minute to go."
"Fifty-six seconds. And counting." Mycroft didn't need telling thrice. He was at a full on sprint within mere seconds.
Rain soaked through Mycroft's recently acquired £800 suit, but he didn't care. He knelt at the curb, slowly reaching a shaking hand to the handle of his brolly. The government official picked it up gently, the rest of the umbrella dragging along the ground with it; the whole thing was held together by a fine sinewy thread. He laid the brolly softly down to his right-hand side, picking up a large piece of its fluttering fabric that had ripped off and was now stuck to a used piece of chewing gum. Mycroft gasped inaudibly as he pulled the material away; the pattern was ruined. A horrid pink stain was left on the fabric, covering over the red and white pattern of Victoria Sponge cakes. It had been his favourite umbrella of the week. Horror was frozen on Mycroft's face, his eyes almost popping out of their sockets as he realised the worst. It was irreparable.
Sherlock stood behind his older brother, his dressing gown billowing around in the wind. The consulting detective looked down at the ruins of the umbrella, and then to his grief-stricken sibling. "Shame, that was a good bird scarer."
"Don't be so insensitive Sherlock!" John scolded him as he exited the flat holding another brolly up, "he's just lost his...umbrella." John finished slowly, biting his lip to refrain from laughing.
"Yes, well it's hardly my fault, is it." Sherlock countered, stepping under the brolly. John paused, looking at his friend as if he was stupid.
"How can this not be your fault?!" John asked incredulously.
"It's not my fault that the bus was running early. If it had been on time this whole thing could have been avoided. Besides, you're the one who opened the window." Sherlock stated simply. John looked flabbergasted.
"Sherlock, you're the one who threw it on the road! What did you think would happen?!"
"Like I said, the bus was early. And Mycroft isn't exactly Usain Bolt, is he?" John looked dubious, and was quiet for a few seconds.
"So you noticed the bus hadn't been yet?"
"So, technically you would have known that there was a possibility of the bus coming down the road at that precise second, early or late?" he paused to let the information sink in.
"And that would mean there was a very small window of opportunity for Mycroft to save the umbrella." John continued, looking pleased with himself.
"Well yes, there's that." John raised an eyebrow at the revelation. "I'd say it was a 7.3% chance Mycroft could have saved it. It was a chance I was willing to take." Sherlock explained.
Mycroft stood up suddenly, waving his empty hand to the government issued limousine; then he fixed a glare of absolute loathing on his sibling. "A chance you were willing... to take? A chance you were willing to take?!" His face reddened as he clutched the broken pieces of umbrella to his rain-soaked chest, eyes bulging. "How could you even think that, you selfish, ignorant little child! How could you!" Mycroft didn't bother about the rain soaking his head, nor the raindrops dripping off the edge of his nose. He just didn't care anymore.
"Quite easily." Sherlock replied dryly.
Mycroft made a face, not unlike that of Jim Moriarty's 'surprised expression'. His eyes widened uncharacteristically, whilst his jaw dropped extensively. The government official was, quite simply, gobsmacked. He couldn't believe that his brother was even able to speak those words, let alone think them.
"I'll never forget this, Sherlock. You will never forget this." Mycroft trembled in a quiet rage, voice brimming with vengeance.
"You. Will. Pay!" Mycroft thundered, yanking the door of the idling car open and getting in, fury evident in his jerky movements.
"Becky's, now!" he barked at the driver, as his hand moved to close the door.
"The bakery, sir?" driver asked politely.
"Of course 'the bakery'. It's not as if 'Becky's' nightclub has the comfort he needs right now." Sherlock raised his voice deliberately, gaining several curious looks from passers-by. If looks could kill, Sherlock would be stone dead from the glower he received from his older sibling. Mycroft slammed the door of the limousine furiously; there was some muffled yelling before a frightened looking chauffeur took off from the curb at a dizzying speed. Before swiftly grinding to a halt, a mere 5 metres away; they were stuck in the peak hour traffic.
A smile tore at the Consulting Detective's lips. He took a few paces forward, grabbing the sleeve of John's blue jumper and towing him along since the army doctor was the one carrying their brolly. He reached the government limousine and bent down, knocking slowly three times on the window. Mycroft was beetroot. He looked like he was going to explode any second. The window began sliding down, much to Mycroft's revulsion.
"London traffic, such a killer these days, isn't it, Mycroft?" Sherlock said, teasing the older Holmes brother with his false expression of pity. The government official stared straight ahead, silently fuming. He would not acknowledge the Detective if his life depended on it. If his umbrella hadn't been crushed to pieces, he would have smashed the driver's head with it for opening the window.
"Code Victoria!" Mycroft ordered, voice straining in rage. The driver nodded quickly, reaching into the door compartment and retrieving a Police issued siren.
"Sponge, of course." Sherlock interjected slyly. A splutter of laughter burst from behind the Consulting Detective, the umbrella shaking as John tried to contain himself. If it was actually possible, Mycroft grew an even darker shade of purple. The window closed painstakingly unhurried and the siren started; then the limousine finally found its way through the jam.
John watched the rapidly departing car in controlled mirth. He turned to Sherlock, then his eyes slid back to the limousine, now turning the corner out of Baker Street.
"Well, that went better than I expected," he remarked.
Before you say anything, we are working on chapter 1! :D Honestly, so much has happened in the past year that we've found it near impossible to arrange online meet up sessions to write the fic. We've got at least 2,000 words down for the next chapter but we still haven't finished it, it seems to be getting longer and longer! To give it to you straight, I still don't know when we will manage to get together online, but hopefully we will have the next chapter with you soon, we can only apologise for your wait. (We'll try not to hit the two year mark, eh? Don't want another series 3 on our hands.)
Peace out, Holmies!