It's not only fine feathers that make fine birds


It was a housewarming party for the newly married Watsons. They had gathered their friends and loved ones for drinks and nibbles. It was a very successful gathering thus far, despite the tall, dark and scowling Sherlock in the corner. He was not happy about being here, but he was trying. For John's sake. Because he liked Mary. Because Mrs. Hudson threatened to throw away his spleen chilling in the fridge if he didn't escort her to the party. So he did, and she promptly abandoned him to chat up Mary's Uncle Edward in the kitchen. So he stood, alone, staring out the window into the garden, frowning, deducing all the secrets, naughty or otherwise, and little habits of the party guests. Harry Watson was on the sauce again, even if she was trying to fool everyone by drinking only ginger ale at the party. Her new girlfriend wasn't going to last either—she was making plans to move out any day now. Fed up with Harry's drinking most likely. There was Lestrade, rubbing the back of his neck, smiling nervously and nodding as he listened to one of Mary's bridesmaids chatter animatedly—ah! He'd slept with her after the reception! Wasn't expecting to see her again—well, isn't that awkward. Sherlock smirked humorlesssly.

"Having fun?" John asked at his elbow, nearly empty glass in his hand.

"It's a rollicking good time, John." Intoned Sherlock drily, "I can't thank you enough for inviting me."

He sighed and fiddled with the buttons on his cuffs. It was a warm evening, and he was impeccably dressed, as usual. Coat and scarf had been abandoned, but he was still effortlessly chic in his well cut suit, soft leather shoes. The man did have style.

"Well, you could mingle, you git. Go talk to people. Have a drink?" John waved his glass under Sherlock's nose. He moved his head away in irritation.

"I'm sure the conversation would be riveting, John, especially since I thought I was instructed to say something nice or say nothing at all. I am merely following orders." He pushed his bottom lip out into a pout.

Mary wandered over to them, fresh drink in hand for John. "I know someone who would like to talk to you!" she grinned at Sherlock. "Janine thinks you're positively dishy. She'd probably forgive any unfortunate deductions if she had a chance to have your full attention." She waggled her eyebrows at Sherlock suggestively.

"I wouldn't be so sure about that!" muttered John. Sherlock groaned.

"Oh, please. Another admirer. Just what I need. Just give her the fan club information."

"I cannot believe I'm talking to a man with a literal fan club, "giggled Mary.

"Oh, shut up—"

"Oi! That's my wife, watch yourself" John threatened shaking a surprisingly aggressive finger in Sherlock's face.

"I beg your pardon, Mary. " Sherlock seemed genuinely chastised. " Anyway it's John's fault that I have a fan club. It's his blog—perhaps you can exercise your wifely influence and make him leave off with it."

"You love the attention!" John retorted, "Now, go talk to someone! Eat something. Pretend you're human for just an hour. The little lemon tarts are nice." Sherlock heaved a heavy sigh.

"C'mon! I'll reintroduce you to Janine!" Mary said holding out her hand to Sherlock who stared at it as if were a rather uninteresting specimen.


John rolled his eyes, "So go talk to someone you know, who won't call you an ass and throw a drink on you if you insult them. Lestrade's out in the garden, and there's Molly! Talking to Janine, in fact." Sherlock glanced out the window again.

"Oh, poor Molly," sighed Mary, peeking out the window into the garden where Molly stood chatting, bright smile on her face, large pink rose tucked into the top of her ponytail. The lacy peter-pan collar of her pink cotton dress moved in the slight breeze. She giggled at something Janine said and sipped her wine.

Sherlock turned sharply to Mary, "Why?" he asked brusquely.

"Why, what?" she asked in surprise.

"Why, Poor Molly?" The full force of his blue-eyed gaze was on Mary. She wasn't afraid of Sherlock Holmes one bit, but she faltered just a moment before answering. John's gaze swung between them.

"Poor Molly? Well…just look at her!" Mary gestured to Molly who was dabbing at the bodice of her dress with a napkin—spilled wine it looked like. "Does she intentionally dress like a 12-year-old? Honestly, she's wearing mary-janes."

"What are you implying? Her clothing is clearly an adult size. Molly is petite, but she's hardly able to shop in children's wear." Sherlock was sharp with Mary, staring her down.

"It's not the size of her clothes, Sherlock. It's the style. I would think you'd be more sensitive to that fact considering the way you dress." She gestured widely, encompassing Sherlock's person.

Sherlock looked bewildered as he looked down at himself. "The way I dress? What's wrong with the way I dress?"

Marry laughed, "You are joking, right? There's nothing wrong with the way you dress. You are a walking advertisement for various design houses! You do realize that don't you?"

John snorted. "Shall I tell her, Sherlock?"

The tall man rolled his eyes, "It is of supreme indifference to me, John. I could care less about such mundane things."

"Mycroft hires a personal shopper for him once a year. They take his sizes and buy everything from suits to socks. He never shops for himself. It's a wonder that he remembers to dress himself most mornings." John was laughing. Mary twinkled at Sherlock.

"Hmm. Maybe so, but I don't buy that a man so skilled in the art of observation doesn't know he looks good in the mirror, " winked Mary. "And poor Molly could use a personal shopper. Maybe she could borrow yours?"

"Poor Molly, again! I fail to see anything wrong with what she is wearing. It's a cotton dress on a warm night. Completely serviceable." Sherlock was utterly indignant. He turned the full force of his observational powers on Molly who seemed to be telling Janine about the time the head popped of Mrs. Caldwell's corpse, at least, he thought so, judging from the gestures and facial expressions. Now that was a good story! Janine seemed a bit…disturbed. Sherlock couldn't imagine why. She was participating in the only interesting conversation at the entire event.

"And the big flower?" Mary pointed toward the rose tucked into Molly's shining hair.

"It matches the dress. Women have decorated themselves with flowers for centuries. Is it suddenly not the thing? Trends come and go, don't they." Sherlock continued his study of Molly as she chattered happily to a distinctly queasy looking Janine.

"What about that yellow ribbon in her hair—what she had on at the wedding?" Mary pressed.

"Floral headpieces are completely appropriate at such events, are they not? I saw an array of silly hats at your wedding. Again, flowers are a classic feminine adornment." Sherlock seemed genuinely bewildered, "Do people no longer find a woman wearing flowers comely?"

"The silver bow at Christmas?" John was offering evidence now.

"Again, festive. Ribbons are hardly an outrageous item for a woman to wear in her hair, especially when you consider the abundance of Molly's hair. Very practical." His eyes fixed on Molly's ponytail.

"What about that cardigan she wears all the time—the one she wore over here tonight, in fact, with the cherries?"

"It's warm and comfortable. Again, quite feminine, isn't it? It's got nice buttons…" he trailed off staring out at Molly, "This is stupid. Are we going to tear apart Molly's wardrobe piece by piece? Tell me the flaw in the fit of the trousers she wore last week? Complain that she wears cotton socks and not wool when she's at work? How about the fit of her brassiere—not supportive enough?" Mary and John listened to Sherlock's rant with wide eyes.

Sherlock continued, he was winding himself up now, " Molly is perfectly womanly and feminine. How would you prefer her? Tarted up in black lace and spangles, skin tight denim like your friend there? Oh, yes, that's classy. Really, Mary, I didn't think you had so much of the cat in you, and John, I though you said Molly was pretty?"

"Oh, she is! She is, we just meant…"

"She is a professional woman. A highly respected pathologist, one of the finest, if not THE finest in the city. And you're judging her for her clothing, her completely modest, comfortable clothing, which is, unless you are utterly lacking in taste, very attractive. Excuse me."

Sherlock roughly stepped past them both, heading outside, and as they watched through the window, they saw him approach Molly. Saying something undoubtedly rude to Janine, he drew Molly over to a bower where soon Molly's rose bedecked ponytail and his dark curly head were together in a lively conversation.

"They're probably talking about dead people, you know," laughed John.

"I hope so! They are absolutely made for each other, and doesn't Molly look lovely tonight. That color suits her perfectly. She looks like a blooming rose herself." Mary beamed.

Lestrade came in from outside, grabbing a cold drink before joining Mary and John at the window.

"Whew, narrowly avoided a situation out there! Sherlock finally came out to play, I see. Figures Molly would be the one to draw him out, eh?" Mary and John agreed. Lestrade took a sip of his beer, looking out into the garden with the others. "Out of that lab coat, Molly's got a nice little figure, doesn't she?"

The three stood a moment watching the detective and pathologist, still gesticulating and animatedly discussing something likely disgusting to the general populace, retreat to a more private corner of the garden.

"And that technique has never failed before, but with the new equipment…" Molly was vibrant as she spoke about her day at work. Sherlock stopped her chatter by reaching up and brushing her rose with a fingertip.

"Do you know you are the most beautiful woman here?" he asked abruptly. She halted her speech, her mouth open ever so slightly. With a charming little quiver of her bottom lip, she breathed "oh! Well…I'm glad you think so." Her mouth turned up into a seductive smile, "and I'm quite sure you know you are the most attractive man."

The his lips turned up in a small, pleased smile as he leaned down to brush a kiss on the corner of her mouth, "Well, fine feathers, you know."