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Title: There and Back Again: A Detective's Tale
Rating: PG
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Word Count: 3,673
Disclaimer: Sherlock belongs to Auntie Beeb and Uncle Moff; Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world. The Hobbit and its world belong to JRR Tolkien.
Spoilers: Maybe a bit for The Blind Banker, if you squint.
Warnings: Obscene abuse of the Tolkien canon.
Summary: John and Sherlock visit a film set.
Notes: Spot the RP cameos (four altogether).

Fill for this Make Me a Monday prompt, asking for John and Sherlock causing trouble on the set of The Hobbit.


I'M NOT SORRY



Take a walk, John had said. It’s not every day we’re in New Zealand…why don’t you get out and see a bit of the country while we’re here? Boring. Friendly locals and beautiful landscapes were overrated. Sherlock found a good mystery infinitely more fascinating. Such as, for example, following John to the secret location Sherlock had discovered when hacking into John’s email that morning. A secret location which John hadn’t bothered to tell him about.

The building looked nondescript enough. Fairly average hotel. John wasn’t at the bar, in the restaurant or in the lounge. The next best place to hold a clandestine meeting would be in one of the conference rooms. Sherlock gave the boy at the front desk an excellent impersonation of a businessman seeking available space for an important corporate powwow, and soon they were off exploring the facilities.

“What about that room there?” Sherlock could hear voices inside.

“Sorry, sir, that one’s occupied at the moment.”

“My employer is very thorough. Surely it won’t hurt to interrupt them for a moment just to have a look round.”

But at that moment he heard something that drove all thoughts of politeness and asking for things from his mind: John’s voice. Raised in alarm.

“Help!”

Sherlock burst through the door. A group of people sat in chairs all along the walls of the massive room. In the centre, where the conference table should have been, was a clear space in which three very tall men had John surrounded. One of them had John by the hair. The fellow was gargantuan, nearly super-human in size. Sherlock had only ever seen one person that tall in his entire life.

“Golem!!”


Sherlock charged forward, blind to everything but John. Help John. Protect John. He barrelled into the spindly giant and tackled him to the ground, pinning his arms behind his back with surprising ease. It took a moment for Sherlock to register the confused voices chattering around him through his adrenaline rush, until John’s worried yelp finally cut through the noise.

“Sherlock! I’m okay, look! For God’s sake, Sherlock, get off him! He’s an actor!”

Sherlock looked up. No one was moving to attack them. Everyone in the chairs along the wall had risen to their feet in alarm, but there was no threat on their faces, only stunned confusion.

The faint notion that he had just done something A Bit Not Good descended upon Sherlock. He abruptly released the tall man on the floor and helped him to his feet, feeling the eyes of every person in the room upon him.

“Um. This is my partner, Sherlock,” John finally explained to the stricken ensemble. “Well. Not partner partner. Work partner. He’s harmless, normally. No need to call Security.” This last bit was addressed to two frightened-looking young people with walkie-talkies up to their mouths. “He just…he thought Paul was attacking me. Happens sometimes in our, um. Work.” When no one said anything, John leaned up towards Sherlock in a stage whisper. “Say you’re sorry to the nice people, Sherlock.”

London’s only consulting detective smoothed out his ruffled coat an attempted to salvage his dignity. “Sorry,” he said finally. He still wasn’t entirely convinced the crowd surrounding them weren’t concealing weapons in their Bermuda shorts and flip-flops.

Finally, a shortish, bearded dark-haired man stepped forward and broke the silence. “Well, thank God for that. For a moment there I thought he was a disgruntled fan.”

“A…a fan? Sherlock?” John grinned incredulously.

“He shouted ‘Gollum’ right before he ran in.” The beardy man pointed out.

“…Ah.” It took a moment for John to piece it together. “Right. Sorry. No, that was just - different Golem. Someone else, from one of our cases. I seriously doubt this man’s ever read Tolkien in his life.”

“Ah. Well then. Now that’s settled. Shall we continue?”

“So, you’re not going to arrest him, right?” John asked nervously.

The beardy man, who seemed to be in charge of whatever was going on here, favoured Sherlock with a searching look.

“No, not arrest him.” He said, and a playful smile brushed the corners of his mouth. “But I might do something worse. I think I might have a job for him.”

******

“Honestly, John. The time and trouble it would have saved…not to mention the humiliation! If you just tell me where you’re going and why it always works out for the best.”

“I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d take the mickey out of me!”

“And quite rightly so! Really, John…acting? Most people stopped playing movie stars when they left nursery school.”

“They’re in a pinch! They’re already behind schedule, they’re having to recast a role, and now the lead actor’s gone down with the sniffles. Apparently I’m a ringer for him, so they asked if I could fill in for some wide shots until he gets better.”

“Which actor?”

“What?”

“Movie stars are by necessity generally very good-looking. What famous actor looks like you?”

“Oi! Three continents, remember? I ain’t exactly dogmeat, you know.” John huffed. “Anyway, I don’t remember his name. Morgan somebody, I think. Morgan Freeman. Never heard of him, to be honest. Listen, Sherlock, there’s million of pounds riding on this thing. I’d really like to help them out if I can.”

Sherlock snorted. “Vanity.”

“Helping.”
John repeated. “You know, that thing decent people do for each other? You should try it sometime.” John kicked at a stone on the pavement. “Anyway, you can talk. Didn’t hear you complaining when he offered you a part, did I?”

“Clearly I’ve got to hang around and keep an eye on you. Best possible way to keep you from getting into even more trouble.”

Sherlock expected a hot retort about how John didn’t need a bloody wet-nurse. What he got instead was a tired chuckle. “What??”

“You should have seen yourself. Charging in, all guns blazing…poor Paul must have seen his life flash before him. You really are an idiot.” When Sherlock tucked his chin into his coat and didn’t reply, John added, “but a rather marvellous one.”

Sherlock rallied a little from the fondness in his voice. “I don’t like other people touching you.”

John made a face. “Well, we’re doing a scene tomorrow where my character gets nabbed by trolls. Try not to eviscerate anyone, won’t you?”

Sherlock wrinkled his nose. “No promises.”

There was a pause. Then he and John both looked at each other and smiled.

******

“Where the devil is he??”

“He’ll be here. Soon. I hope.” John scratched the back of his head. His wig itched. His toes were getting sweaty inside the giant latex galoshes that served as his character’s feet. For the first time, he wished that What’s-his-name with the sniffles would get better fast.

At last, a harried-looking young PA with a walkie-talkie appeared with a rather sulky Sherlock in tow. “Thank God!” John stepped forward. “Where the hell have you been??”

“Your friend’s made quite the impression,” the young woman told him. “He’s only been here an hour and he’s spawned a civil war among the crew. Half of them want him thrown out, and the other half want to make him Head of Production.”

John narrowed his eyes at his flatmate. “What did you do?”

“I was only making suggestions!” Sherlock pouted. “I simply pointed out that if they infused their rendering software with a highly specialised computer worm which I could design for them, it would animate the motion capture sequences automatically, with only the tiniest side risk of it re-writing their entire network. And the special effects here are rubbish! Clearly fake. Anyone who’s spent even half an hour in a London mortuary could tell you that once a severed limb advances past the second rigor mortis - “

“ - it immediately becomes something your average eight-year-old has never seen in their lives. Kids’ movie, remember Sherlock? Thank you for fetching him,” John added to the young PA, who nodded and hopped out the door to tend to her other duties. John herded Sherlock inside the soundstage, hissing at him in a vicious stage whisper.

“A lot of very busy people are spending quite a lot of money on this film, Sherlock. They don’t need a couple of half-arsed punters from London coming in and wasting their time by showing o - what??”

Sherlock was looking at John, really looking at him for the first time since he’d come in. Sherlock hadn’t yet seen John in his costume: the big hairy feet; the long curly wig…a slow, crooked smile spread across the detective’s face.

“Yeah, yeah, okay. Get it over with. Fill your boots.” John fidgeted and fiddled with the hilt of his sword. Damn thing kept bumping him in the leg whenever he walked.

Sherlock hopped around him, grinning, viewing him from every angle. John had no doubt that he was recording absolutely every detail in his hard drive, filed under “blackmail material”, never to be deleted. “Well,” he said finally. “I confess it, you make quite a convincing cherub. Albeit one with serious genetic abnormalities.”

John breathed out through his nose. “I’m not a cherub! My character’s the star of the fucking show. And keep your voice down; they could be filming in there.” Several people with badges and walkie-talkies were giving them sideways glances.

Sherlock’s smile died abruptly as a thought suddenly dawned on him. “Wait a moment. You’re in a costume. If they think for one moment they’re putting me into one of those - “

“Ah, Mr. Holmes! Sherlock, isn’t it? Right this way.” A man with dark curly hair ushered them both into the soundstage: a massive room designed to look like the interior of a cave, with jewels and riches and treasures (clearly fake) strewn all across its cavernous floor.

Five minutes later, Sherlock was lain across a pile of jewels, with a large “X” secured to his head in da-glo sticky tape. He did not look amused.

John did.

“This isn’t funny, John.”

“Yes it is.”

“I’m hardly the same size as a dragon! Besides, they’ll be dubbing in a different voice and replacing me with CGI anyway! Why do I need to be here again?”

“To give me something to react to. And the tennis-ball-on-a-stick has the day off.” John folded his arms and favoured Sherlock with a smug grin. “But don’t feel bad…at least you’re not filling in for a skull.”

Sherlock grunted...which, he belatedly realised, was probably entirely too fitting for someone playing a dragon. Right then. The sooner they got on with this, the sooner they could both go home.

The man with the dark curly hair finished whatever he’d been saying to someone behind the camera, then stepped forward. “Okay guys, whenever you’re ready.” The man was wearing a skin-tight one-piece outfit with little green dots affixed to it at various points. The suit clung to his startlingly solid frame, and left very little to the imagination. Sherlock wasn’t certain if such bizarre attire meant he was a scuba-diver or a professional fetishist.

On the man’s cue, they began the scene. In it, John was playing a little man who had come with a party of dwarves to steal the dragon’s treasure, and had in fact already stolen one piece of it.

“Well, Thief! I smell you and I feel your air. Come along! Help yourself again, there is plenty and to spare!” Sherlock read the line absolutely straight - no script; he had already memorised it - only lowering his voice slightly to indicate the dragon’s massively superior bulk. The effect was chilling. John inwardly shook his head - was there anything his irritatingly brilliant flatmate wasn’t good at? - but on the plus side, the rumbling venom in Sherlock’s voice made slipping into the nervous fear of his character a very easy thing to do.

“N-no thank you, O Smaug the Tremendous!” he stammered.

Sherlock gave a low, throaty chuckle that made the hairs on the back of John’s neck stand on end. “You have nice manners for a thief and a liar. I will give you one piece of advice for your good: don’t have more to do with dwarves than you can help.” There was a pause. “Or bacon and eggs. That extra weight can’t be doing you any favours; waddling around with all that armour on your back…”

John looked genuinely offended. “It’s a fat suit! Like you couldn’t deduce that yourself!”

“Cut!” The curly-haired man stepped forward. “Sorry guys, I know this is just for the long shots, but could you try not to improvise? We want to be able to match the scenes up later.”

“Right. Sorry. Right.” John looked abashed at having risen to Sherlock’s obvious bait. “Shall we go again?”

“Right. Pick up where you left off. ‘Don’t have more to do with dwarves that you can help’.” The man stepped back behind the camera.

“Okay.” John cleared his throat, and took a moment to get back into character. Then… “D-dwarves?” He squeaked, pretending to be surprised by the dragon’s insight.

Sherlock - who, by all appearances, had never dropped character - scoffed. “I know the smell and taste of dwarf. No one better. Don’t tell me that I can eat a dwarf-ridden pony and not know it. Plus that chain mail under your jacket is obviously dwarvish construction.”

“Cut; cut!” The curly-haired man stopped them. The line about the chain mail wasn’t in the script. John frowned at Sherlock.

“You’ve read the book! You bloody liar, you said you never - ”

“No, I’ve just been to the props room.” Sherlock answered cooly. “All the dwarvish armour is clearly based on designs from roughly the same dynasty in ancient - “

“Okay, okay!” John put his face in his hand. “Listen, Sherlock, the man said no improvising. Or deductions,” he added quickly, seeing Sherlock start to open his mouth to argue semantics. “Deductions count as ad-libbing. Just stick to script, okay?”

Sherlock stared at him for a long time, then huffed. “Fine.”

“Right then.” The curly-haired man gestured for them to continue. Sherlock picked up where he’d left off, with the dragon trying to get John’s little burglar to betray his dwarvish companions.

“You’ll come to a bad end, if you go with such friends,” he drawled, his voice as silky as a velvet mace. “I suppose they gave you a fair price for that cup you stole, did they? No? Well, that’s just like them. And I suppose your job is to do all the dangerous work while they skulk about outside? And you think such…friends…will give you your fair share?”

John stammered. “You don’t know everything, O Smaug the Mighty. Not gold alone brought us thither.”

“Ha! Ha! You admit the ‘us’.” Sherlock chuckled, menace dripping from his every consonant. “Why not say ‘us fourteen’ and be done with it, Mister Lucky Number?” No time for deductions, like hell. The dragon was making them left, right, and centre. Maybe this acting lark wasn’t so bad after all. “And what about that bauble in your pocket, the one you keep fondling when you think I can’t see? It must be a treasure indeed, if you’re guarding it above all this marvellous, dazzling, spellbinding, and clearly fake prop treasure.”

John gritted his teeth. “Sherlock - !”

“Or were you just trying to adjust your little Hobbit boxers? Must be boiling under that fat suit; difficult for any scrotum to maintain a bearable core temperature; human, Hobbit or otherwise.”

“Sherlock!!”


“Cut, cut!” The curly-haired man stepped forward again. “Listen, guys, I know you’ve not done much acting before, but please, can we stick to the scene as written?”

“Yes. Absolutely. We’ll both behave ourselves and do exactly what we’re told, won’t we, Sherlock?” John glared daggers at his flatmate.

But Sherlock wouldn’t take the hint. “Oh for heaven’s sake, John! You honestly expect me to take this seriously when I’m sat here with tape on my forehead staring at my flatmate dressed as a gay cherub and taking orders from a man in a gimp suit so tight I can guess what religion he is?”

There was an uncomfortable silence. Then John cleared his throat, and slowly turned to the curly-haired man with all the dignity he could muster.

“I’ll just return these to the props department,” he said, patting the sword by his side.

He got no argument as he and Sherlock were ushered towards the door.

******

“Well I hope you’re happy now!” John raged, swiping angrily at his face as the two of them strode the length of the studio lot. There were still bits of spirit gum clinging to him where his wig had been held in place. “Christ, no wonder there’s never any money in the house; you can’t even keep a job as a stand-in dragon for more than five minutes without getting us both sacked!”

Sherlock didn’t even attempt to fight the smirk playing on his face. “Worth it, though. Did you see their faces?”

“There are other things in the world besides deduction, Sherlock!” John spat. “And other people in it who matter just as much as you and your idiotic need to be clever. Ow!” He stopped mid-stride and pulled at a particularly stubborn bit of gum that had embedded itself in the delicate hair of his sideburns. “And just so you know, I was actually enjoying that. Helping people out. And if you’d let yourself, then you might have enjoyed it too, instead of being the world’s biggest Consulting Prick!”

At that moment, a door opened. Sherlock’s reply died in his throat. Standing before them, in the open doorway of a caravan with the word “BILBO” on a sign near the door, was John Watson. Or a very good facsimile of him: his hair was shorter than John’s, and his middle perhaps a bit softer, but other than that, the features were exactly the same.

For a moment, the three men simply stared at each other. Then, very slowly, John’s doppelganger gave a brief nod, turned, and walked back into his trailer. As he went he fished his mobile out of his pocket and dialled. “Yeah, Pete. It’s me. Hi. I’m going to need one more day off; I'm seeing things. I think I need to see the doctor again. Or possibly a pyschotherapist...”

The door closed. John and Sherlock looked at each other. After a moment, Sherlock spoke.

“Interesting,” he mused, beginning to smile. “The possibilities…I wonder if he…”

“No.” John said sharply. “Absolutely not, don’t even think it. You’ve caused enough trouble already. We’re going.”

“But John, I only wanted to ask him if he’d like to join us in a  - “

“I said no!” And with that John Watson shoved his flatmate the rest of the way out of the studio lot and into the city beyond.

******

Sherlock knew John would forgive him eventually. He always did. And it didn’t hurt Sherlock’s chances that, once they were safely back in England and Baker Street, he’d offered to indulge a new…sensibility that John had picked up on their little visit Down Under.

“Well, Thief,” he rumbled, lying stark naked on his belly on top of the bed, “I smell you and I feel your air. Come help yourself.”

John edged forwards. He could move very gracefully for a man on his knees. Sherlock made a note of it.

John, whose knack for acting was one which Sherlock had never before considered the intriguing extracurricular potential of, spoke in a nervous stammer. “I did not come for presents. I only wished to see if you were truly as great as the legends say.”

Sherlock chuckled deep in his throat. “Did you now?” He stretched himself lazily, long naked limbs making slithering noises on the duvet. “I am old and strong, Thief in the Shadows. My teeth are swords; my claws spears; the shock of my…tail…like a thunderbolt.” He propped his chin on one hand. “But even amid my glorious hoard, I possess a jewel the likes of which no mortal has ever imagined.”

John made a nervous cough. “I have always understood,” he almost squeaked, “that dragons were softer underneath.”

Sherlock raised an eyebrow. “Have you, little burglar? Well…what do you say to that?” Sherlock rolled over so that he was facing John, revealing the previously-hidden treasure that was currently anything but soft.

John gazed. “Marvellous! Perfect! Flawless! Staggering!” He licked his lips. “ But this little burglar has a weapon too, O Smaug the Mighty; and one which may well be a match for your treasure. Smaug the Magnificent; the unfeasibly well-endowed…meet…my Sting!” And he dropped the towel he’d been using to cover himself, revealing an equally impressive weapon underneath.

The battle that ensued was the stuff of legends: the upper hand falling first to the dragon and then to the Hobbit…the little burglar plunging his Sting over and over into the dragon’s waiting maw, and the dragon probing the most secret inner depths of the Hobbit’s magic Ring… Both fought bravely and showed themselves steadfast in the face of exertion. At length, however, the battle reached its climax, and both parties collapsed in a heap, spent; languishing amid the ruins of the dragon’s lair of crumpled sheets.

Just as he drifted off to sleep, the dragon smiled quietly to himself. Maybe this acting lark wasn’t so bad after all. Perhaps he should give it a try. He remembered seeing a notice somewhere for auditions at a rather posh theatre; something about a modern adaptation of a Shelley play…

As night fell, soft moonbeams fell upon an unlikely scene: a dragon and a Hobbit, lying coiled in each other’s arms, wrapped in the warm embrace of a challenge well met.

And they both lived happily ever after.

THE END



Q
I figured now was as good a time as any to post this, in light of recent casting speculation... *hopes very hard*

Date: 2011-05-23 09:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaalee.livejournal.com
Hahahahahahahaha, oh this was so great! Well done (and perfect timing)!!!

Date: 2011-05-24 07:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
Cheers! I started writing it around the time the prompt was posted, but then hit a wall with it and wasn't very motivated to finish it. The casting spec was just the push I needed to buckle down and get the damn thing in the bag, finally.

Date: 2011-05-23 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melodywilde.livejournal.com
That was wonderful--especially the last bit. Thank you. I've just come out of an Impossibly Boring Two Hour Meeting, and I needed that!

Date: 2011-05-24 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
Welcome! Glad to provide some light relief.

Date: 2011-05-23 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shefa.livejournal.com
I started laughing right about here: "He’s only been here an hour and he’s spawned a civil war among the crew. Half of them want him thrown out, and the other half want to make him Head of Production." Out loud. And didn't stop until the end.

Brilliantly done.

*grins

Date: 2011-05-24 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
Aw, lovely...glad it gave you some good giggles.

Date: 2011-05-23 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kk-night14.livejournal.com
HOLY F*CK I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE CASTING THING UNTIL I READ THIS!

I LOVE YOU!

wonderful work by the way. :D

Date: 2011-05-24 07:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
Happy to be of service. :)

Date: 2011-05-24 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] killerweasel.livejournal.com
I cackled like a fiend (freaked the dog out) when I got to what role Sherlock was playing. That's actually who I'm hoping Benedict gets to play and when I read the scene, I cracked the hell up.

Loved this. :D

Date: 2011-05-24 07:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
I hope he plays Smaug too. He's said it's his dream role, and besides the slash would be tremendous. Can you imagine him playing anything else with that voice? Well, okay, yes, you probably can, because he looks exactly like an elf. Which offers only one solution: MULTIPLE ROLES FTW.

Date: 2011-05-25 03:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kk-night14.livejournal.com
Hell yeah!

Date: 2011-05-24 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pam-casso.livejournal.com
Hilarious! Also, YOUR ICON IS SPECTACULAR. If the Hurt/Comfort Inn was real I WOULD NEVER LEAVE.

Date: 2011-05-24 07:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
IKR?? [livejournal.com profile] darthhellokitty made it, and when I saw it I knew it would be perfect for my fic blog.

Date: 2011-05-25 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darthhellokitty.livejournal.com
At the H/KI, every suite has large bathtubs with unlimited hot water, dozens of fluffy towels, clean sheets, a fireplace, and lube in the bedside tables.

Date: 2011-05-24 02:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] happy-nina.livejournal.com
This made me laugh out loud. Thank you. :-)

Date: 2011-05-24 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
Welcome! aLways glad to raise a giggle.

Date: 2011-05-24 05:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darthhellokitty.livejournal.com
I may never stop giggling at the hobbit/dragon role-play at the end. XD XD XD

Date: 2011-05-24 07:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
You hear that noise? That was Tolkien turning over in his grave at the exact lines I stole from the book for that scene. >:)

Date: 2011-05-25 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darthhellokitty.livejournal.com
I KNOW. That's the scary part. XD

Date: 2011-06-17 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] suddenlyflying.livejournal.com
I love you so much for writing this piece of pure brilliance. That last scene had me laughing so hard (and probably shows the fandom hive-mind as I just today made a post with hobbity Smaug/Bilbo innuendo XDDD).

Date: 2011-06-17 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
There can never be enough Bilbo/Smaug slash in the world. S'TRUTH.

Glad you enjoyed!

Date: 2011-06-17 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kari77.livejournal.com
I think I scared the neighbours, I was laughing so hard. lol
Perfect. Thank you.

Date: 2011-06-17 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
Giggles are good. Happy to provide a few!

Date: 2011-06-29 08:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atlinmerrick.livejournal.com
"the most secret inner depths of the Hobbit’s magic Ring…"

"He remembered seeing a notice somewhere for auditions at a rather posh theatre; something about a modern adaptation of a Shelley play…"

You silly, sassy, funny, brilliant creature...

Date: 2011-06-29 08:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qthebadwolf.livejournal.com
Ahthangyew. :)
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