Character(s): John, Sherlock
Summary: Animals like John. They like him a lot. Lestrade is confused, John is pragmatic, and Sherlock feels like he's in a Disney movie.
Author's Notes: Remember when that cat was all over John in TGG? And then I saw this prompt - I always imagine that John is the sort of person animals just [i]like[/i]. To levels disney princesses can only dream of. The sort of person whom, if he stands still long enough, an animal WILL come up to him, even birds of prey. And then. Yeah.
I regret nothing.
In Which John Is A Disney Princess
The first time, it’s a dog.
“You can’t possibly be out here because you want to make my job easier,” Sherlock says by way of greeting. “Why aren’t you inside already?”
Lestrade nods half-heartedly to him. Donovan scowls. Anderson takes an unconscious step away from her, as if trying not to draw attention to their proximity. John nods to them politely.
“Angry dog,” Lestrade says. As if in punctuation, a volley of furious barking is emitted from within the house. Low and resonant. Large, territorial dog. “We’re waiting on the RSPCA. Should be here in half an hour.”
“And in the meantime, the dog will no doubt destroy valuable evidence,” Sherlock says.
“Nothing we can do about it,” Lestrade says pragmatically. “Can’t risk anyone getting hurt.”
Sherlock growls quietly, sounding remarkably like the dog for a moment. “John,” he commands. “Go get the dog out of there.”
John blinks in bemusement.
“Hold on,” Donovan says. “Are you serious? You can’t just send him in to get chewed up!”
“I’ve never been around animals with you,” John says in consternation. “How did you know?”
Sherlock raises an eyebrow.
“Never mind,” John says with a sigh. “You don’t mind if I lean up against the door?”
“A moment,” Sherlock says, and strides over. He inspects the door thoroughly while the dog howls and scrabbles on the other side. Finally, satisfied, he steps well back and folds himself in his coat, watching John expectantly.
John ambles up to the door and stands there for a minute.
The dog keeps barking.
John steps up closer and leans against the door, right where there’s a small gap between door and frame.
The dog barks. And barks. And stops.
There’s a low whine from the other side of the door. John turns his back to the door. “I don’t suppose anyone’s got a key,” he asks curiously.
Lestrade holds the key up mutely.
“Toss it over,” John says.
Lestrade hesitates. Sherlock snatches the key from him and throws it to John, who catches it easily.
John waits another minute, humming quietly under his breath. On the other side of the door, everything is quiet. Then John turns the key in the lock and pushes the door open.
The mastiff is lying down on the ground, tongue lolling out as it looks up at John.
“Come on, mate,” John says amiably, patting his thigh. The mastiff lumbers to its feet and pads over. John pushes away from the door, tucking his hands in his pockets and trundling over to Sherlock. The mastiff obediently follows.
“How,” Lestrade says, but doesn’t manage anything else.
“I’ll wait out here with him,” John tells Sherlock. “You know what he’ll get like if I’m not with him.”
“Right back to what he was before,” Sherlock says, inclining his head slightly. “Keep your phone on you.”
John smiles at him as Sherlock heads into the house.
“What,” Lestrade says.
“He’s going to get there before any of you do,” John points out.
Lestrade recovers his words in a beautiful stream of curses, and hurries off after Sherlock.
John scratches the mastiff behind the ears as he pulls out his phone. Sherlock will no doubt be texting him pictures and commentary about the crime scene within. He will also probably text John uncomplimentary statements about Anderson. John flips the phone around in his hands, waiting for the first text to buzz through.
The mastiff looks up at John with adoring, soulful eyes.
The second time, it’s a cat.
“Here, now,” John says, reaching up. “Jump.”
Molly stares at him. “I don’t think that will work,” she begins to say. She gets out the first three words.
Then Toby leaps off the pipes and lands neatly in John’s arms.
“Oh,” Molly says.
“Bit of an adventurous spirit,” John says with a smile. Toby purrs. Then John hands him over to Molly, and Toby stops purring.
“Be nice,” John says. “Don’t worry Molly like that.”
Toby mews abashedly and lets Molly cuddle him close.
“Come on, John,” Sherlock calls impatiently from the door. “There’s work to be done!”
“Yeah, coming,” John grouses. He gives Toby a quick scratch and Molly a quicker smile, then vanishes out the door after Sherlock.
Toby potters about sadly the rest of the afternoon.
The third time, it’s a bird.
“So it’s not just domestic animals, then,” Sherlock says. “I did wonder.”
John holds the injured hawk close to his body. Despite the obvious pain it must be in – the barbed wire has gone straight through its wing, and Sherlock thinks that the bone is probably broken – it makes no move to hurt John. It doesn’t even dig its claws in, trusting John to keep it steady and upright.
“I’ve never tried it with the larger wild animals,” John admits. “But, well.” He smooths down the feathers on the unfortunate animal’s head. “We do need to get this lovely lady to a vet.”
“There’s one not far from here,” Sherlock says, his face taking on that abstract look which means he’s doing his impersonation of a GPS. “Large enough, might know what to do with a wild bird, though you might still need to stay to keep it calm. I’ll call Gregson.”
John pats his pocket to make sure that the stolen jewellery the bird had been trained to make off with is still there. “I have to say,” he comments. “This was pretty innovative.”
The hawk chirrups.
Then it starts to get ridiculous.
“For God’s sake,” Sherlock says, watching as the red fox abandons its meal (might be the leg of the dismembered victim, hard to tell from this distance) and happily trots over to John. “I feel like I’m in a Disney movie.”
John gives him an unimpressed look. “Try living it.”
“How did you ever manage?” Sherlock asks, trudging over to the possible leg.
“I was blond-haired and blue-eyed as a kid,” John says. “I had sparrows and hares, kittens and puppies following me around everywhere I went. I didn’t manage, I got beaten up every day for being a Disney princess.”
Sherlock frowns slightly. It’s a human leg, all right. Probably their victim’s, based on the relative skin and colouration. If it isn’t – well, they’ve got another body on their hands. He snaps a series of photographs to document the scene.
“I wouldn’t have,” he says. John looks up from where he’s playing with the fox. “Beaten you up,” Sherlock clarifies.
“I know,” John says, and goes back to playing with the fox.
Eventually, Sherlock gets used to it.
Mrs Hudson doesn’t quite like the adder, but John pacifies her by telling her he’d release it just as soon as it’s healthy. Anderson likes the adder even less, especially when he comes across it during a “drugs bust” while innocently inspecting a box of sand.
Sherlock’s sympathies are with the snake.
The miscellaneous amphibians are easy enough to deal with. The stray cats and dogs are even easier. John slips them food and treats occasionally, enough to tide them through difficult times. He patches up those of them that get injured, and brings those who are beyond his help to the vet’s. In return, they take to shadowing John whenever he’s out and about. Sherlock had complained until the first time a cat launched itself at the face of the criminal they’d been pursuing at the time.
After that, Sherlock adopts John’s habit of carrying a packet each of dog and cat treats in his pocket at all times.
It is a little traumatising when they get a case that takes them to the zoo, and each and every animal follows John around as far as their enclosures allow them. All the same, John’s gift does come in handy when the murderer they’re pursuing gets the drop on them – and drops John straight into the lion enclosure.
Sherlock is going to have Words with the management about their safety features.
He can’t look. Instead, he grapples with the desperate criminal, visitors shrieking around them but not a one attempting to help. Finally, he gets the upper hand, knocks the man out, and whirls to face the lion enclosure.
John looks rather dazed. It might be from the fall he’s taken, or it might be from the rather large lion currently snuggling up to him. Really, it’s hard to tell.
“Disney movie,” he calls down to John, and if his knees are weak with relief, no one needs to know.
“Shut up,” John calls back, and then despondently adds, “Oh, god, this is going on Youtube, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” the woman next to Sherlock tells him, and continues filming on her phone.
But other than the sporadic attack cat or tracking dog, John’s gift is not what you would call useful, exactly (except in the case of calming large predators that might otherwise eat him). Animals like him. In fact, animals adore him. Animals follow him around and attempt to get as close to him as possible, unless he puts his foot down about it (and even then, sometimes they’re stubborn). Outside of a Disney movie (or getting an aggressive dog/hawk/fox away from a crime scene), John’s gift cannot be put to practical purposes. If it is not useful, Sherlock has told John repeatedly, it is of no importance to him, and the cat fur all over his coat is reason enough to loathe John’s furry compatriots.
Sherlock takes back every uncharitable thing he has ever thought about John’s self-appointed animal protectors, one evening at a darkened swimming pool, in the company of an indecisive madman and his army of snipers.
“Disney movie,” John chokes out through giggles. “The animal sidekicks always have their moment to shine.”
The lasers have disappeared from their chests again. Moriarty looks genuinely outraged. There’s a round of authoritative barking coming from a distance.
Sherlock merrily shoots Moriarty in the shoulder (the look of surprise on his face really is quite gratifying). Then he helps a still-giggling John up, and between the two of them, they manage to get Moriarty out of the pool.
They’re greeted by Mycroft and what looks like an army of detectives.
“How did they –” John begins.
“I posted the location to my website,” Sherlock says. “I have to admit, I thought they’d be a bit quicker about things.”
“It’s all right,” John says. “My back-up was on time.”
That sets them both off laughing again.
Moriarty mumbles something uncomplimentary. He’s fast losing consciousness. He might not hold on long enough for the paramedics to save him. Sherlock isn’t quite bothered by the thought.
They gladly hand Moriarty off to Mycroft’s people. Then Sherlock wraps his hand around John’s wrist as Mycroft and Lestrade both head over at a determined clip.
“Of all the reckless stunts you’ve engaged in, Sherlock,” Mycroft says. “This is one of the worst yet.”
“What the fuck were you thinking?” Lestrade yells over Mycroft. “Are you out of your goddamn mind?”
“I had every faith back-up would arrive punctually,” Sherlock says smoothly.
John can’t quite hold back another giggle.
“Clearly, we’ve arrived just in time,” Mycroft says.
“Not you,” Sherlock says. “If it were up to you lot, John and I would already have gone up with the bomb. Or been shot by those snipers. Either way.”
“You organised another team?” Mycroft asks sharply.
John pats his leg, and a stray dog comes loping out of the darkness, straight up to him. Its tail is wagging furiously.
“Yeah, you did good,” John says, and pats his leg again. The dog leans in and closes its eyes in bliss as John rubs deep into its scalp.
“In a manner of speaking,” Sherlock says.
“Ah,” Mycroft says, staring at John. “Your gift with animals. I wasn’t aware you could… control them.”
“I can’t,” John says. “Even if I could, I wouldn’t.”
“I suspect,” Sherlock adds, “that that’s why they’ve taken it on themselves to help him.”
Mycroft opens his mouth to say something, but is interrupted by his phone. He takes the call; Lestrade takes over remonstrations. Finally, Mycroft hangs up and looks speculatively at John.
“Apparently, my men have found a number of snipers on the second floor,” he says. “All have sustained serious dog bites, and were being held by the throat by various dogs when found. Those dogs fled once my people appeared on the scene. Two of the snipers have died, apparently because they would not cease fighting.”
John sobers up in a hurry at that. “They won’t be put down, will they?” he asks anxiously. “They’d never try and deliberately kill someone.”
Mycroft smiles. “I’m sure we can work something out,” he says.
“Do not force me to involve Mummy,” Sherlock hisses. “You do remember her opinion on animals and the manner in which people treat them.”
Mycroft’s smile slips somewhat.
“Lestrade, we’ll give you a report tomorrow,” Sherlock says. “Tomorrow,” he repeats firmly when it looks like Lestrade will protest. “In the meantime, someone should ensure that bomb vest is safely disarmed.”
John rubs his chest absently.
“I see,” Mycroft says slowly. “I thought at first that Sherlock had brought you with him. But that’s not the case, is it?”
“Fifth pip,” Sherlock says shortly. “We’re going home. Don’t bother us.”
He tugs John after him. John goes willingly enough, tucking up next to Sherlock. It makes walking a little difficult, the way they’re pressed together, but Sherlock doesn’t mind. The dog follows a few steps behind them. If he listens, Sherlock thinks he can hear the clacking of nails in the darkness around them. It’s oddly comforting.
“Remind me to buy some dog food tomorrow,” he tells John.
John nods and burrows a little closer. They’ve left the lights and noise of the pool far behind them when, all of a sudden, John giggles.
“What?” Sherlock asks.
“At least,” John laughs, “it wasn’t the lion.”