“Coming, John?” shouted Lestrade, walking backwards.
“Yeah, right behind you,” John shouted back, and he turned back to Sherlock. “See you Baker Street?”
“No, Chinese,” said Sherlock, frowning. “We solved a case. Chinese.”
“It’s not even dinner yet. There’s a Bond marathon and the boys asked me along.” John sighed at Sherlock’s expression. “I’ll meet you for Chinese after.”
“They didn’t ask me.”
John snorted. “You’d want to see a James Bond movie?”
John laughed. And then he laughed again. When he had doubled over, Sherlock sighed and waited patiently.
“All right, fine,” said John. “Come on, then. But buy your own popcorn.”
“He’s coming?” cried Anderson, and Sherlock smiled.
“This might be fun after all,” he said.
It wasn’t, and John started to get that impression within five minutes of entering the theater. The first indication was that Mycroft Holmes was already inside.
“Sherlock. Dr. Watson,” said Mycroft.
“You don’t have enough subterfuge in your daily life, you have to take it in at the movies as well?” John asked Mycroft.
Sherlock peered at the popcorn in Mycroft’s hands. “Extra butter, Mycroft?”
“Never thought I’d see you here,” said Mycroft to Sherlock, and then glanced at John. “Unless, of course, I’m imposing on a private moment?”
“Go sit somewhere else, Mycroft.”
“Wait – what?” asked John. “You don’t—“
“Oh, goodness, wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m preserving anyone’s reputation,” said Mycroft as he gathered his things and left the row in front of them.
“We’re not on date,” said John, horrified.
“No, of course not,” said Mycroft, and sat directly behind them.
“How is that seat any better?” demanded Sherlock.
There was some shuffling as Lestrade, Donovan, and Anderson worked their way down the row.
“So, Sherlock, did you determine this to be the best seat in the house?” asked Lestrade jovially.
“Of course,” said Sherlock.
Sherlock made his sigh obnoxiously loud.
“You didn’t have to come,” said Lestrade to Mycroft. “I can protect John from Sherlock just as well as you can.”
“Family,” said Mycroft.
“This is not a date. And I can protect myself perfectly well.”
“The lady doth protest too much,” said Anderson, and Donovan snickered.
“Now, if you’re going to point out dating couples,” said Sherlock, fixing them with a beady eye.
Someone at the front of the house stood up. “I do hope you’re not going to continue this racket during the movie.”
“Very sorry, of course not,” said John loudly, and glared at everyone on either side of him.
They behaved, but only just. They hooted and hollered during the explosions, threw popcorn at the villains, and whistled at the Bond girls. The only mollification was that they were hardly alone; only fans and fanatics went to see a dinner-time screening of a movie which was readily available on DVD.
Except for the disgruntled man near the front of the theater, the only people not thoroughly enjoying themselves were Mycroft and Sherlock. In fact, it wasn’t until well into the movie that John heard either of them make any sort of noise at all, and when it did come, it was so understated that John wasn’t sure if it was a snort or a sneeze.
“Stop that,” Mycroft said to his brother as Judi Dench was introduced to the audience as “M”.
“I like the line,” snapped Sherlock. “Evil queen of numbers indeed.”
Both men leaned forward for the next line. On screen, Judi delivered it perfectly: “If I wanted sarcasm, I would talk to my children.”
“Harumph,” said Sherlock, insulted.
“Yet true,” said Mycroft.
“People don’t actually say ‘harumph’,” said John.
“Harumph,” repeated Sherlock for emphasis.
“Ridiculous outfit,” muttered Mycroft. “She would never really wear that.”
John turned around to give Mycroft an odd look. “She’s the head of MI6, you expect her to wear a catsuit?”
Sherlock shuddered. “Please,” he moaned.
“Oi,” called Lestrade. “Take it to the back row, if you two are going to be that way.”
“Freaks,” said Donovan.
“He wasn’t moaning about me, he was moaning about Judi Dench,” hissed John.
“Jealous much, mate?”
John spun to see the nearby person, not even of their party, grinning at them. “It’s not a date!” he hissed, and could tell no one believed him.
John crossed his arms and slunk down in his seat. Sherlock and Mycroft fell silent again, but John watched them from the corner of his eye, and soon enough, noticed something peculiar. They didn’t seem to react to the explosions, the girls, or the chase scenes. But every time M was on the screen, they both sat up a little straighter, paid slightly more attention, and would every so often mutter something under their breath, usually along the lines of, “Brandy? Don’t be absurd” or “Well spotted there”. Every so often, they would turn and glare at one another, and John had the sense that it was a well-timed oft-played routine with them, except instead of each repeating the same lines, they were in a race to see who could say them first.
Finally, the movie ended. Mycroft stood and brushed the invisible wrinkles from his suit.
“I must say,” he said with some degree of relish. “It’s as much a pleasure seeing that movie in the theater with aficionados as it is at home. I greatly look forward to telling Mummy that you were here as well.”
“And with Dr Watson as well – she will be so pleased.”
John struggled with his coat for a moment. “This wasn’t a date.”
“Of course not,” said Mycroft. “Gregory.”
“Mycroft,” said Lestrade.
“Freaks,” said Donovan.
“Might want to clean up the butter stains on your fly, Anderson,” said Sherlock. Donovan went purple and Anderson glared before hurrying off to join Donovan.
Neither John nor Sherlock spoke until they were out on the street again.
“Right then,” said Sherlock, as if they had just continued their conversation from before the movie. “Chinese?”
“I don’t believe you,” said John, hurrying to catch up to him. “All that fuss and how many times have you seen this movie?”
“Eel in black bean sauce, do you think?”
“You acted like it was beneath you to see something so pedestrian as James Bond, and here you are, with Mycroft, a regular Mystery Science Theater in suits.”
“You’ll have duck with pineapple, terribly tedious of you, John.”
“Do you have a secret fascination with Judi Dench?” John demanded.
“Then what was all of that about?”
“It’s a little disconcerting to see your mother on a movie screen,” said Sherlock.
John stopped; it took Sherlock a few more paces to realize it. “Judi Dench is your mother.”
Sherlock sighed. “No, of course not. Judi Dench is a lovely woman and a fine actress. It’s really more about the role she is playing.”
Sherlock turned and kept walking. John didn’t move.
“Your mother is M?”
“Do stop shouting, John, mustn’t give the impression that nepotism had anything to do with Mycroft’s performance reviews.”
John still didn’t move.
John shook his head and jogged to catch up with Sherlock. “I’m going to not believe you on this one,” he told him.
“If you must,” said Sherlock.
John was quiet for a moment. “Sarcastic children, eh?”
Sherlock glared at him. “Just for that, I’m paying for the Chinese.”
“This wasn’t a date,” said John.
“Of course not. Who takes a date to see a movie about his mother?” said Sherlock. “Now the movie about the dancing pygmies of southern Australia…”
“Next week,” said John.
“It’s a date,” said Sherlock.
John tried not to implode. He did, however, order the most expensive item on the menu.