Yeah, He's Always Like That
He was two weeks late this time. Two. Last time he'd got the kids' essays back just six days after deadline and that was bad enough, now he'd gone and doubled his record for all-time worst tutor in the history of—
Michael Heston Stamford stopped frowning at his own fast-walking feet. He looked up, squinted at a limping man coming around the park's splashing fountain.
"Sherlock," said the man, pointing to his own chest. "You helped me with the tox during the McCann poisonings."
"Oh right, Sherlock Holmes!" Mike grinned, glanced down reflexively.
Sherlock scowled at the walking stick in his hand. "Tripped in an alley behind the Savoy. Caught the arsonist though."
Mike laughed, lead them both to a bench. "Getting a lot of cases then?"
Sherlock's stiff-backed silence said more than words. Mike chuffed out a breath, nodded at nothing. "Well it was good, the McCann case. Everyone at Bart's was glad to help. I was glad."
Sherlock said more nothing.
"Did she…the poisoner…?"
"Yes. Prison. Twenty-three years."
"Wow, that's great."
Mike nodded, reflected that it was odd to say 'great' when talking about a killer, but that was Sherlock Holmes for you. He hadn't known the man long, but the poisoning case had gone on for weeks and they'd ended up sitting around a lab, talking into a few long nights, waiting for test results. He was a rare bird, this Holmes, a good heart in there, underneath the scowling armour.
Sherlock stood, leaned heavily on his stick. He was frowning at the fountain and Mike was no fool, he knew there was something the man was trying to say.
"What do you—"
"Mike, I need—"
They both stopped. Then Mike stood, winked at Sherlock, and started walking. "Let's get a coffee."
Sherlock frowned at the fountain harder. Then Sherlock followed.
"Mike, can I borrow your stethoscope?"
Stamford stopped next to a St. Bart's cafeteria table, arms crossed. "And what's wrong with yours, Dr. Watson?"
John Watson put his actually-pretty-good hospital coffee down, grinned up, "Abby peed on mine."
"Again? Your girlfriend's a menace."
A man limped up beside Mike. "Your girlfriend urinated on your stethoscope?"
John looked the tall, pretty bloke over slowly, grinned, licked his lips. "My very ex-girlfriend."
Mike laughed. "His ex-girlfriend's dog. Of which she's got five. One pees on everything—that'd be Abby—one chews everything, that'd—"
"She's a vet, Mike." John gave Sherlock a leisurely once over again. "And you're a…?"
"Oh, right." Mike gestured as they sat. "John Watson, Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock's a detective. Looking for a flat share. Since we were just talking about that this morning I thought I'd bring him by."
"Well lucky me," This time John's grin showed teeth. "I'm thinking of a place in central London. Got a great deal on it because the landlady's daughter is an old army mate of mine. Sound good?"
Sherlock pretended a disinterest he didn't feel. Central London would put him much closer to Scotland Yard than Mycroft's ridiculous Kew Gardens 'bungalow,' and he'd stop feeling like he owed his brother something. Before Sherlock could drop his indifference in the form of a flood of questions, the cocky little doctor continued.
"Mind you I do a lot of locum work on the side, so I keep odd hours. I like a pint now and again, too. And I do date a fair bit." John took the stethoscope Mike had finally dug from his cavernous bag, donned it in a way that could only be described as show-offy. Then with no coyness whatsoever he leaned over, pressed it to Sherlock's chest and listened carefully.
After a few long moments John looked up through eyelashes and "Hmmm"ed.
Sherlock blinked down as the good doctor moved the stethoscope slowly lower, making more inquisitive noises. Finally, with a lick of the lips, John sat up, looked at Stamford. "Just as I thought."
Mike rolled his eyes; he'd seen this flirty performance before. Sherlock narrowed his; he had not.
Sherlock frowned, clueless. Mike grinned. "He's not that type of guy, John."
Dr. Watson widened his eyes, scandalised. "Michael Heston Stamford, where did you find this man?"
"I was in Russell Square with—"
"—because Mr. Holmes, you may be the only living Englishman who doesn't know what a Time Lord is. I'm really going to have to rectify that." John stood, draped the stethoscope over his shoulders, then rested a hand on Sherlock's, gave it a squeeze. "I may have to, uh, rectify a lot of things."
Stamford covered his eyes with his hands, which did nothing to hide his laughter-shaking shoulders.
"See you at seven. Mike'll bring you round?" Mike nodded and with that John Watson swaggered away. Sherlock blinked, jaw slightly unhinged. He had the distinct feeling he'd been standing in a very small, very sexy hurricane.
He blinked at Mike. Mike grinned at him. "Yeah, he's always like that."
When they arrived at seven sharp, John asked the good doctor to stay for a cuppa, but Michael Stamford's no fool. He doesn't need a stethoscope to know when two hearts are beating fast.
Besides, Mike still had some papers to mark.
Remember just outside 221B, in 'Scandal in Belgravia', when John hits hard on Irene's assistant within two seconds of laying eyes on her? Yeah. That unsubtle John inspired this one.