“John, I am not doing this.”
“We both know you are doing this, Sherlock, so you can just stop protesting.”
“Ridiculous sham…” Sherlock continued to grumble assorted phrases of annoyance and resigned discontent as he straightened his cuffs. Nimble fingers arranged the black silk bowtie with the practiced ease of one raised among frequent dinner parties, and if there was an undercurrent of barely-contained violence of those small movements, John was certainly not one to notice.
“It’s Greg, Sherlock, it’s the least you could do.”
The gaze that settled on John’s face was of thinly veiled irritation.
“John, it’s bad enough that I have to attend this… thing.” Sherlock’s hand waved dismissively as he paced. “But to actually preside as a Master of Ceremonies? It’s preposterous. Clearly there are others better suited and more amenable than myself.”
John tried not to look as gleeful as he felt, knowing that Sherlock’s grumbling only meant he was certainly not backing out now.
“Here, have a bit of a drink. It will calm your nerves.” A glass of amber liquid pressed itself into Sherlock’s hand.
“I don’t need a drink, John. I’m fine. I just…”
“Drink it, Sherlock.”
“But John I…”
With a huff, Sherlock knocked back the entire contents of the glass, causing John’s eyebrows to shoot up.
“What? No use in wasting time if you’re going to glower at me like that. Give me another.”
At John’s uncertain pause Sherlock rolled his eyes. “I can certainly handle two drinks, John, don’t be ridiculous.”
John figured he’d better go ahead and pour one for himself while he was at it.
And that, dear friends, is how Sherlock Holmes came to be on a low stage in front of half of Scotland Yard, bowtie dangling, brandishing a cane stolen from the lobby coatcheck (look John, it’s a skull!), discussing with more than usual vigor his affection for Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade, who is not a complete idiot if he puts his mind to it, and looking remarkably similar to a man who has had far too much to drink and is quite enjoying himself.
And if you listened closely, you would have heard a certain esteemed Dr. John Watson giggling in the wings, imparting a not-so-delicate snort of utter joy at the expressions on the faces of the Yarders that would never, ever look at Sherlock the same way again.
I need of this.