Pairing: Holmes / Watson / Gladstone
Word count: ~1200
Warnings: Dog biting, fainting, hurt/comfort.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: A romantic afternoon, a meeting with geese and a fainting dog.
A/N: For the fainting!challenge on worth_the_wounds. For Lisa. An official Thank You goes to nodbear . She suggested the bad geese.
It was a fresh April afternoon, although the sun was shining brightly, bumblebees hummed through the breeze searching for their lunch, the sky was blue and London’s only consulting detective, Mr Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend Dr John Watson were taking a walk in Regent’s Park, not far away from Baker Street. They walked along slowly, arm in arm, on a short leash behind them Gladstone. The poor bull-dog his tongue lolling, tried to keep the space between himself and his owners as small as possible not to choke himself on the leash.
Holmes all dressed in black, hat in hand, listened to Dr Watson, who, head inclined towards Holmes, spoke insistently about the soprano who had given the Rebekka, one of the most favoured roles Watson had ever had the joy to listen to. He was dressed in his bowler, a long brown coat and brown trousers, and a white shirt. They were deep into a discussion about Ivanhoe, the famous opera of Gilbert and Sullivan they had seen the previous evening.
“Yes, my dear Watson” said Holmes, who saw every little movement along the way, observing the passers-by, noticing every shout and joyful cry of the children and their nannies; hat in hand he fanned himself, feeling the sun hot on his black hair, “With its numerous Korngoldian fanfares and stirring, very nationalistic choruses it is a masterpiece, no doubt of that. The long drinking scene in Act I, with its 'Glory to those who fight for the true Cross', and the 'Ho, Jolly Jenkin' ensemble with Friar Tuck, also referring to drinking, are the most exciting things in the opera. Sadly, the dramatic arias required for an opera to achieve universal popularity are largely absent... And you have to confess, that in the aria she was too shrill in the high notes and her tremolo made me shiver.”
“Me too, dear friend, me too.” answered Watson enthusiastically, missing the sarcasm on Holmes’ remark.
“Rebecca's prayer does have a certain Near Eastern aroma…” Holmes went on when certainly a loud noise behind them made them turn round on their heels.
Followed by four large geese they only saw a white and brown blur passing by. Before Watson could prevent it Gladstone ripped the leash from out of his hand and ran like mad to escape the wild beasts.
“Gladstone. No!” Some of the other people enjoying the sun turned their heads, trying to figure out where the tumult came from.
“Oh my God!” Said Holmes. “Watson – do you have your pistol with you?”
“What for? Certainly you are not going to shot the geese... Holmes?” But Holmes had donned his hat and was off running after Gladstone. The dog was all exhausted by now. He ran fast for his short legs and Holmes had to hurry to follow him. In the meanwhile Watson defended himself with his cane he was now glad to have taken with him. A man looking like a lawyer, stepped by and used his umbrella as a weapon. Finally the goose admitted defeat and still trumpeting vanished in some bushes. Watson nodded a thanks and followed Holmes.
The geese, half running, half flying, had managed to get between Holmes and Gladstone. Holmes found himself in need to fight with one of them to get his jacket back, tossing at one sleeve with the big bird at the other sleeve, trying to rip a piece out of his beloved corduroy jacket. Gladstone was followed by two of the big white birds, he made a last desperate effort to escape, stumbled and fell onto his side, the only thing moving was his pink tongue. With wild eyes, wings spread, heads lowered and making a terrible noise the geese started attacking the lifeless body, but like a hurricane Holmes was all over them. Gladstone’s yelp had made him run even faster. When he reached the place, he shushed and attacked them with his jacket like a torero did with a bull; his hat he lost in the battle, but triumphed eventually when the geese retreated ground and, still upset, fled into the water. Damp and with tousled hair he ran to Gladstone.
“Watson! Quick!” Holmes cried and slumped down beside the dog, desperately searching his hat to fan air in Gladstone’s direction. Watson followed a moment later. He too kneeled beside Gladstone and made a worried face. He felt for the pet’s heart beat than looked at Holmes.
“What is it, Watson? Is he okay?”
“He fainted, Holmes. Running so fast and so long with high speed in this heat... I fear, we must set him on a diet. The poor dog...”
“Gladdy?” Said Holmes. “My nuppy-puppy... Come on, boy. Don’t do anything... you will regret later! Gladstone...” He caressed the motionless body and kissed Gladstone’s head.
“Holmes? Have you actually kissed the dog?” Watson looked puzzled. “I’ve never thought... You like him?” The look in Holmes’ eyes when he looked up at him again told him everything. The detective loved Gladstone as much as... With a yelp Gladstone sprang up again, wagging his tail, looking a bit dazzled, swaying on his short legs.
“Gladdy! My boy, oh, come here. I knew you would do it. You are my nupsie, are you not?” And again Holmes poured all his emotions over the dog’s head, who licked his hands and face. Watson could hardly believe his eyes. He stood up, cleaned his trousers and looked down like a proud father whose child has made the first steps down on Holmes cuddling Gladstone. Who would have thought that after all the great detective had used Gladstone as his personal guinea pig. He smiled and helped Holmes up.
“Where is your jacket?”
“Who cares for a jacket, hm, Gladdy? The bad, bad geese. To frighten my nuppy-pup…” Gladstone winced, his tail went fast like a metronome.
“Holmes,” cried Watson grabbing Holmes’ hand. “Is this blood? Let me see.”
“Ah, it’s nothing. I hurt myself when I tried to keep the balance and scratched myself…” But he didn’t try to draw his hand out of Watson’s. They shared a look and a smile. Gladstone, sitting at their feet, looked up to them lovingly, if ever a dog could give a loving glance he did so. Without a word Watson drew his handkerchief and wrapped it around the small wound.
“Thanks.” Said Holmes.
“Where did they came from?”
“The geese are in their breeding season, Watson. We stepped a bit too near.” Without a second look he linked arms with Watson’s and as if nothing unusual had happened continued:
“Forget it, Watson. It was worth the wound. As I said, Rebecca's prayer does have a certain Near Eastern aroma, but the baritone…” Watson smirked, he had picked up Holmes’ jacket from the lawn and now with it over his shoulder, cane in his grip, he listened to his friend’s complaints. More slowly and arm in arm they continued their interrupted walk. With Gladstone in their midst they enjoyed the last rays of the slowly setting sun. It was a nice afternoon, after all.