Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock or Cabin Pressure. Sherlock is a tv series created by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss based on the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Cabin Pressure is a radio drama by John Finnemore. Double-posted at AO3.
Seeking flatmate to share rent. Two bedroom, two bathroom, one kitchen, one living-room, flat. The address is 221B Baker Street. Located next to Speedy's cafe. Landlady is a sweet older woman named Mrs. Hudson. No smokers need apply. If interested, contact Dr. John H. Watson. More information can be located at my blog at ./.
Captain Martin Crieff was tired of living in the attic, above college students. Well, it was more that they grew tired of him. Semantics, really. But he was now homeless with no place to go. Renters wouldn't take him because of his lack of funds. A Man with a Van wasn't enough to pay what they were asking. There was only one more place left circled on the newspaper that he was carrying under his arm. Dr. Watson seemed nice enough on the phone. Hopefully this meeting would go well, though considering his luck... His thoughts were interupted when the door of 221B Baker Street swung open. "Hello, you must be Martin Crieff." "Captain Martin Crieff," automatically corrected Martin. "I mean...Martin Crieff! You can call me Martin Crieff. Or just Martin. Or Marty," stammered Martin nervously. 'Oh no! Now I'm going to be stuck with Marty,' thought Martin. 'Quick say something!' "Although Martin's fine! " 'Great now he's going to think I'm an idiot.'
"Well, Martin. I'm Dr. Watson, but you can call me John. Why don't you come in?" suggested John as he made way for Martin to enter. "So, here it is," said John when the pair entered the living room. "The kitchen's right over there. I sleep in the upstairs bedroom. Your room would be right through that hallway. So, what do you think so far?"
"It's perfect. It's much larger than the last place that I previously lived."
"That's great," replied John. "So any questions, concerns?"
"Well, it's just that, I don't have a lot of money. I mean it's not that I don't have any. It's just that I make...a considerably small amount."
"Oh! I thought that you said you were an airline pilot?"
"I am! I just don't get paid for it. I mean, I can do other things for you." John raised an eyebrow at this. "Oh god! I didn't mean like that! Sorry! That came out all wrong. Not that you aren't an attractive man...I mean! I can help around the flat cleaning things up and if you ever need a ride to an exotic location, then I can take you there-as long as the place you wanted to go was the destination that I was already heading towards. "
"Martin, I'm going to need you to calm down." At this, Martin took a breath. "It's alright. That sounds like a good deal. As long as you help around the flat, I think that might work." With that Martin let out a sigh of relief. "Deal?" asked John holding out his hand. "Deal," agreed Martin taking John's hand into a firm handshake. He ignored the warmth coming from it.
"Hello Douglas," greeted Martin.
"You're in a good mood. That's...annoying," remarked Douglas.
"It's like having another Arthur onboard. I take it that you've found a place then?"
"Yes. It's got a lovely kitchen, a lovely livingroom, a lovely landlady, and a flatmate who's..." "Let me guess, lovely?" interrupted Douglas.
"If you must know, yes. He is."
"As much as I enjoy talking about your personal life... Oh wait, I don't."
" Oh, that's brilliant Skip!" commented Arthur. "What's he like?"
"Well, Arthur, I'm glad you've asked. He's a doctor."
"Yes, he is. And he's nice. He's shorter than me."
"So, you're living with a hobbit, I take it?" said Douglas sarcastically.
"He's smart," complimented Martin, ignoring Douglas. "And has a great humor."
"Knowing you, there must be something wrong with him. What is it?" inquired Douglas.
"I'll have you know that he's perfect. Except..."
"Except he's got strange decorations around."
"You know for someone's who's not interested in my personal life..."
"Don't get me wrong. It's not that I care or anything. It's simply that there's nothing to do. And when there's nothing to, even your stories seem...bearable."
"He's got a skull on the mantelpiece."
"A skull," repeated Douglas raising an eyebrow.
"Yes, and books on poison in the bookcase."
"Poison." The eyebrow arched higher.
"Alright! Yes, Douglas! He's got books on poison and a skull! It doesn't matter! I've got a nice place to live with a nice flatmate!"
"I didn't say anything. Although, if I were to say something, it'd be along the lines of 'Captain Martin Crieff; I knew him well. He had the misfortune of, well, being Martin Crieff.' But of course, I won't be saying anything."
"Yes, Arthur?" groaned Martin.
"Sorry, but that's brilliant!"
"Really?" asked Martin lifting his head up.
"Really! I've never known anyone interesting enough to have a skull on a mantelpiece before!"
"Yes. Well. He is interesting like that."
"I wish I could own a skull."
"Way too easy," muttered Douglas.
"Oh, wait! Mum?" called out Arthur as he closed the curtain behind him.
It was only moments later before Arthur came back.
"Well?" inquired Martin.
"She said 'When pigs fly.'"
"Oh, well, sorry about that," said Martin.
"What do you mean? I'm sure that I can find a pig from the phonebook."
It was only a few days of living with John before a black car came for Martin. He'd just returned from a long flight from Anaheim when a car with tinted windows parked right in front of him. The window rolled down only to reveal a young woman with brown hair typing away at her cell phone.
"Mr. Martin Crieff?"
"Actually, that's Captain Martin Crieff" corrected Martin, as he stood up a little bit straighter.
She gave him a quick glance before ordering him to "Get in." He didn't know compelled him to do so, but he opened the door and took the seat next to her. The silence was overbearing along the way to wherever they were going.
"So...what's your name?" politely asked Martin.
"Hmm...Amanda, I suppose," she answered clicking away at the keys.
"Alright then. I hope you don't mind my asking, but where are we going?"
This time she didn't bother answering. He gulped, fiddling with his pristine captain's hat that rested on his lap. The car continued on for what seemed forever before they reached his destination. As he got out of the car, Amanda called out from the window, "He's waiting inside." "Inside" was of a run-down factory. "He" was a well-dressed older man holding an umbrella. "He" was also intimidating. Martin stood 6 feet away from the other man. "Hello," greeted the man. Martin looked around himself before awkwardly greeting back.
"Captain Martin Crieff. Age 33. Part of MJN Air, for which you get no pay, though that is, admittedly deserved seeing as you took 4 tries to get your CPL. In order to make up for the funds, or lack thereof, you work as a 'Man with a Van', of which you receive 10 pounds at an hourly rate. Is that correct?" recited the mysterious man.
"W-who are you?" asked Martin.
"But of course that's right," said the man to himself, ignoring Martin's question. "No, the real question being about your home life with a Dr. John Watson; how is that? Are you two still in the honeymoon phase or has that passed?"
"I d-don't see how that's any of your business."
"Oh, but you see that is my business. John Watson has, well let's just say, friends in higher up places, who would hate to see him hurt. I just wanted to warn you of that. But, now you know, and I suppose, now, you wouldn't. Good-night CAPTAIN Martin Crieff" said the man, stretching out the word "Captain" as if mocking him.
Martin turned around to see Amanda behind him, still on her phone. He moved to follow her, but turned back once more. "I wouldn't hurt John even if you hadn't warned me. Not ever." He turned around one final time, following Abby back into the car. He did so before he could see the man give a dry smile in his direction. The man took his phone out of his pocket and texted one message before heading back to his own home. The text read, "John is safe with him. CCTV will still be watching the both of them. Don't worry. MH."
I gave Anthea the pseudonym of "Amanda" because I'd thought it'd be amusing that "Martin" and "Amanda" were interacting with each other.
When Martin arrived home, he slung his jacket onto the couch. He made it all the way to the entrance of his room before going back to retrieve his jacket and folding it, placing it carefully on his chair along with his hat on top. He flung himself onto the bed, sighing at the events that unfolded. It was 3 am before he fell asleep. He dreamt of the mystery man in a Mickey Mouse hat- the one with the big round ears. He dreamt of Arthur dressed as a giant cell phone with Amanda typing away at his keys. Lastly, he dreamt of himself and John flying over a castle with a bunch of otters in the passengers' seats. He was asleep only for 1 hour before waking to a loud thump from outside of his room.
"Damn! My leg!" Martin creaked his door open to see John leaning forward, rubbing his foot. "Are you okay?" asked Martin worriedly.
"Sorry. Did I wake you up? . I saw that your light was on and you looked cold, so...Anyways, I banged my leg against the door." Martin looked down, and noticed the blanket that John was carrying. "So...here," said John, handing the blanket to Martin, who took it graciously.
"Oh. Well, thanks."
"Well...good-night" said John as he headed back upstairs. And as he went, Martin grew more and more anxious so he said the only thing that came to his mind, "Wait! I met some guy tonight!"
John stopped his tracks before looking towards Martin. "Oh! No! Erm..." And suddenly all the words that Martin wanted to say to John disappeared. All the things about Amanda and Umbrella Man knowing everything about himself went away, and all he could say was "I met Mickey Mouse!"
"I take it that Anaheim was fun, then?" asked John with a smile.
"Yeah. Even Douglas had fun. And you know how he is. Well, you don't, but if you did, you'd be surprised. And Arthur-he had fun. But he's Arthur, so he's always having fun. And we met Mickey and Donald!" said Martin energetically.
"Well, I'm glad," said John. And he was.
" Wait," realized Martin. He stuffed his hand into his trouser pocket, pulling out something small. "I got you something. It's not much, but..." placing the souvenir into John's palm. It was one of those pennies shaped into the picture. This particular one held the picture of Steamboat Willie.
The idea made John chuckle. "What?" asked Martin curiously.
"Nothing. It's just that I got a coin with a picture of Captain Mickey from Captain Martin Crieff." And with that, he fell into a fit of giggles with Martin joining in.
The night (though morning seemed more accurate) passed. The light came through the window pushing at the lids of his eyes. They flickered open and shut for brief moments before settling back to being comfortably closed. It took him only a few minutes of recollection before Martin sat up. Last night he was "kidnapped" ,held in a cold, empty factory only to be interrogated by a strange man. And that man asked questions-questions about John. It had only dawned on him just then, sitting on his bed, that John was in danger. If he knew all there was to know about Martin, what did he know about John? What did he want to know about John? The sound of a tea kettle whistling, took him out of his thoughts.
Martin rushed out of bed, tangling his feet on the sheets. He tripped, banging his chin against the ground. "John?" "John?" he called out. "I need to talk to you! Last night! Last night! A strange ma-"
There sitting comfortably in one of the comfy chairs of the living-room, was The Man. His right foot crossed over the other, his umbrella at his side. When he heard Martin's voice, he turned to face him, giving him the smuggest smirk in the world. (If Martin weren't so afraid, he'd probably punch him.) "Hello, Captain." 'Okay. Screw being scared. I'll punch him anyways.'
"Oh, there you are Martin. I was wondering when you'd get up. You've almost slept the entire day away. Would you care for a cuppa?" politely asked Mrs. Hudson setting down the plate of biscuits. "No thank you, Mrs. Hudson." 'No worries, Martin. No need to panic. Keep a cool head. As long as Mrs. Hudson doesn't know who he is, she's this is over, I'll warn her about letting in strangers.'
"Mrs. Hudson, do you think you could get the mail from outside? I'm expecting an important package."
"I'm your landlady, not your housekeeper" she said as she left the room.
"Thank you, Mrs. Hudson."
The room was tense with a pregnant silence filling up every crevice of the building. Martin made the first move. "What do you want?"
"I see we've become bolder since last night. Also, that the place has hardly changed. No possessions of your own, hm?" asked the man looking around the flat. Martin took advantage of this, backing up to the desk. Behind his back, he took a letter knife from the desk as quickly as possible.
"Or maybe he simply kept it that way. Sentiment, I suppose," said the man, holding the conversation himself. Martin had this chance to plunge the knife into the man's lap and run away. He raised the knife, ready to plunge only to be stopped by a single command. "Stop that ridiculousness at once, young man!" There he was, standing over the man with a letter knife in his grip, and there Mrs. Hudson was, at the door, with John back from grocery shopping, staring at him like he was a madman. "I-I...But, he..."
The man turned around, only to say in a calm voice "Really, Captain? That is a bit of an overreaction, don't you think?"
In Martin's mind, the second encounter with the man would have gone much differently. He would have been brave and strong. It would certainly not have ended in him staring at the man sitting across from him, sipping tea.
"So...I take it that you've met," questioned John as he put away the groceries.
"I can't really say. You'd have to know the other person's name in order to officially meet them, don't you?" quipped Martin. "Mycroft Holmes at your service," introduced the man.
"I suppose this would be the time to introduce myself, wouldn't it? But you already know everything about me, don't you?" snarked Martin.
"Hmm. Your idea of being brave. isn't it? I suppose you would be; especially here" retorted Mycroft as he nodded in the direction of John. Martin flushed slightly, mentally preparing a comeback.
"That's enough of that, Mycroft. What do you want?" asked John. Mycroft looked at him for the first time since he's arrived. "Just visiting. It's been awhile seen I've last seen you."
"Yes, and we both know why that is, don't we?" pressed John.
"Yes. We do." Guilty eyes look down as his mother said. Martin pondered over this unspoken question in his head, while the other men continued with their conversation. "I've come to check on you."
"There's really no point in that. At all."
"Maybe. That doesn't mean I won't stop being concerned."
"Didn't say that you wouldn't be."
"Wait a minute..." Both heads turned to Martin. "So, when you were asking about John...you were being caring?"
"Observant, aren't you? Where do you find these people, John? He's worse than the teacher."
Martin was looking down the window when Mrs. Hudson spoke.
"He's not all that bad. Mycroft, that is."
"Somehow, Mrs. Hudson, I sincerely doubt that" said Martin watching John and Mycroft talking on the sidewalk.
"It's been tough. On the both of them."
"W-what do you mean?" asked Martin hesitantly. "Were they...together or something?" he asked, clearing his throat afterwards.
"Nothing like that. Don't worry," reassured Mrs. Hudson.
"He's not competition or anything."
"It's just-" Mrs. Hudson's voice seemed to tighten before continuing. "It's just that it's been hard on all of us. A friend of ours, Mycroft's brother, the previous tenant...he died."
"Oh..OH! God! I'm so sorry!" he said, eyes widening. "I must have seemed like a complete jackass to him. God! I should go down to apologize."
"There's no need for that now. I'm sure that both he and John have a lot to talk about right now. Next time," she said taking a seat.
"Mrs Hudson? Are you alright?" asked Martin, concerned.
"Nothing that a fresh cup of tea won't fix."
"Aahh." With that, Martin took his cue. He made a fresh brew, placing the tea set to Mrs. Hudson.
"Thank you, dearie."
Martin took a seat next to Mrs. Hudson watching as she took a sip.
"Oh, this is very good."
Martin smiled. "Next time you pay the flat a visit, I'll make sure to make you a fresh brew."
"You don't have to do that."
"It would be my pleasure."
They fell into a comfortable silence for a while before Martin spoke again.
"Can you, that is if you don't mind, tell me more about the previous tenant?"
Mrs. Hudson took a long sip before setting the tea cup onto the table with a clink.
"His name was Sherlock Holmes..."
It seemed that all Martin did that day was listen. He listened to Mrs. Hudson as she told the tale of the late great Sherlock Holmes. He listened to the way her voice quivered when she went over the particularly happy parts of the story, because those were the hardest. He listened to the clink of her tea cup whenever she set it down after she would take large sips. He listened to the sound of footsteps climbing up stairs. He listened to the sound of silence when John came back into the room only to tell them that he had to leave again for work. He listened to all these sounds and he could feel regret. Regret at the way he acted. Regret at what he said. But most of all regret for taking the place of a great and missed man.
After their conversation, Mrs. Hudson left, blaming her hip. But he listened, and he heard her sniffling as she closed the door behind her. He sat at that table for what self like forever, but what was really seconds. And he looked. And he saw. The books on poison. The skull on the mantelpiece. The strange smiley face in faded yellow paint. He got up, placing his palm right over it. He slid his palm against the wall until his finger fell into a small bullet hole. Almost instantaneously, he pulled back. A feeling that he couldn't comprehend washed over him. He needed air. He rush down the steps, skipping some, while shoving his arms into his jacket's sleeves. Out the door he went, bumping into several people along the way to nowhere. Not so much of a "Sorry" or "Beg your pardon." Only when he reached a park bench did he sit down, resigned, that the guilt filled him, ready to burst. So much so that when a stranger made way to sit next to him he said "Sorry," as if he had committed a great crime against the man. The man arched his brow and once again Martin apologized. "I'm so sorry." As if the man understood his plight, he waived Martin's guilt with a pardon, "I forgive you." Martin silently thanked the curly-haired man for giving him resolution.