The production team has waited three whole days. It’s almost a miracle at this point. A sunny day in London.
Everybody’s pretty fed up when they finally install the camera at the front of the Fab 5 van, but Tan absolutely insisted on waiting until the weather cleared up, claiming like this, they’d get the “most gorgeous shots” of his home country. Tan can be pretty persistent about certain things and nobody in their right minds would dare to disagree with him (Bobby, though, points out the fact that it’s kind of hilarious that they had to wait three days for the rain to stop).
The van finally cruises through the busy streets of London (Tan’s driving, for everyone’s safety and to Jonathan’s great disappointment). They all cheer excitedly for the camera, announcing the first episode of Queer Eye- London Edition. Karamo, casually chilling in the passenger seat and absolutely rocking a bomber jacket/button-down combo, then produces a tablet out of nowhere.
“Our victim this week is John Watson-“
“Cute!”, Jonathan pipes from the backseat, despite the fact that he hardly has enough information to make this judgement; but that’s not the point. Jonathan has the gift of finding something cute in everything.
“John’s 42, former army doctor and captain-“
“I love a man in uniform,” Antoni murmurs mostly to himself.
“Who now works at a local surgery and is a part-time blogger for his best friend Sherlock Holmes-“
Everybody in the car shrieks.
“THE Sherlock Holmes?!” Tan’s so excited, he almost runs over a granny at the zebra crossing (luckily, the camera didn’t catch that).
“Oh my God, he’s a celebrity,” Bobby’s fanning himself some air. “Wait, didn’t he like die?!”
Jonathan hits him on the arm, missing his face by mere inches. “Henny, that’s old news!! It totally was just a heroic fraud to dismantle a criminal organization while keeping his loved ones out of danger!! Uh, so mysterious!!”
“Ladies, keep your panties on,” Karamo laughs.
“Not wearing any,” Antoni murmurs, still mostly to himself. Nobody seems to be frazzled by the statement.
“So, anyway, John’s been nominated by his friend, DI Gregory Lestrade, because according to Greg, John’s life is a pretty big mess right now. Ever since his wife Mary has been shot, he’s struggling with adapting to his new role as a single parent- aw man, that’s really sad.”
Low whispers of agreement; the atmosphere in the car shifts momentarily, as they all reminiscent of how hard it must be to lose a loved one so unexpectedly.
“Greg’s hoping that the Fab 5 can help John to gain new confidence, so that he can face whatever comes his way like the wonderful person that he is-“
“Man, this Greg guy sounds like the sweetest person!” Everybody agrees heartily with Bobby.
“His daughter’s second birthday is coming up at the end of the week and John wants to throw a big party, although he hasn’t hosted any events in years.”
“Mission is pretty clear, I’d say,” Tan comments, while turning into Baker Street.
Karamo closes the tablet and turns so he looks at everyone: “Let’s make sure it’ll be the best party ever!”
Claps and a very enthusiastic “Yaaaaas, Queen!” follow.
They’re happily perched up at the front door, cameras and everything, ringing the door-bell like there’s no tomorrow. The door buzzes open a second later and cluttering can be heard by the time the Fab 5 plus entourage are climbing the seventeen stairs (Antoni up first, because he is like super-sporty) up to 221 B.
“I’m getting it, don’t bother, Sherlock!”
Bobby, Tan, and Jonathan simultaneously stop to clutch at each other, squealing. They talk over each other, overly excited: “Oh my God, they’re living together!” “How do I look?!” “I wanna touch his gorgeous hair!!!”
Karamo and Antoni roll their eyes fondly at their friend’s antics.
There’s some more cluttering and a low thud, before the door is pulled open to reveal a very disheveled looking John Watson. A John Watson, who very much wasn’t prepared for five random guys plus two cameras to be staring him in the face (he vaguely remembers Greg’s off-handed comment that he nominated him for a make-over show and he vaguely remembers reading and discussing the production’s letter with Sherlock). Still, he wasn’t prepared for them catching him thoroughly unprepared. He would have combed his hair had he known he would be filmed that morning. Or shaven. Or showered.
Before John can get a word in, they’re bullying their way into his living space in a big cluster, while he’s distracted by several bone-crushing hugs. Rosie- whom he had strapped against his chest out of convenience- blubbers happily at the intruders.
“You look scared, don’t be scared!” Karamo tries to soothe him.
It’s not working.
“Guys, don’t overwhelm him with the hugs, Brits aren’t used to it!” Tan laughs behind them.
John thinks to himself that he needs to sit down. But here he is, being hugged by, well. He will try to remember their names, he promises himself. Also, the bloke with the British accent has a point. He hasn’t been hugged this excessively in decades. He still tries to decide whether he likes it or not, when they’re all assembled around him in a circle.
“Your daughter is so cute!” Karamo bends down to Rosie’s eye-level and waves to her. The baby waves back and gurgles.
The Fab 5 melt into a fabulous goo.
“Rosie’s quite the charmer,” John says, his voice still holding a certain panicked edge to it. So, this make-over thing is happening right now.
He remembers his manners.
“I’m sorry, you’ve caught me off guard, we were just-“
“Not cleaning, I presume,” Bobby states bluntly-and just like that, the floodgates are opened. Just like that, the Fab 5 go from ‘Hi, we’re nice and harmless’ to full on action mode.
John has the decency to be low-key embarrassed. The flat is kind of messy.
BUT Sherlock wrapped up a case only the night before and John has been navigating between early shifts, helping Sherlock as best as he could, and being a dad; so the flat isn’t really cluttered (alright. The living-room is cluttered.), it’s just a little lived-in; he was about to clean it (at some time at some point), THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Of course, British sensibility keeps him from voicing any of those things. Instead he smiles a tight smile which he hopes comes off as polite.
Suddenly, they’re swarming out everywhere. Touching everything (including his hair and jumper and daughter).
It’s… a lot.
John watches helplessly how their possessions get jostled about (if Sherlock realizes that they’re playing around with Billy the Skull, he will probably murder them) and commented on. The blonde guy (Bob…Bobby?) shouts visons about improved interior design to nobody (the camera, John presumes) while the athletic brunette (something with an ‘A’….) steals away to the kitchen.
Out of nowhere, the door to the bedroom (formerly known as ‘Sherlock’s room’. Upstairs bedroom is a nursery now. Sherlock’s room is the bedroom of the flat. Sherlock rarely sleeps, so John gets the bed most nights. If Sherlock decides to sleep, John takes the couch.) swings open to reveal Sherlock Holmes in all of his early morning glory. His hair is ruffled, and the dressing-gown is pulled protectively around his body; his cheeks still glowing from sleep-warmth (not that John notices any of those things. Nope. Absolutely not.)
After a case, Sherlock usually sleeps up to 18 hours. He had mere seven so far. His face reflects extreme resentment about this fact.
Behind John, people begin to shout excitedly upon seeing his flat mate (something about touching “those curls, honey!!!”) and the doctor shoots his friend the most apologetic look he can muster.
Sherlock raises a mere eyebrow in return, rolls his eyes at the havoc running in his home, gently lifts Rosie (who had made grabby-hands at him the moment he showed up) out of the carrier, turns on his heel, and shuts the door right in John’s face.
John stares at the door. Rosie and Sherlock get along great; Sherlock spends a lot of time with her when no case is on (the evenings, when John returns from work and sees these two after a long day, are his favorite. Something about this kind of domesticity warms his heart).
It’s good that they get to catch up now after this long investigation, but John feels a little cross at both of them for abandoning him like that. To be at the mercy of five fabulous tornados.
The sound of screaming coming from the kitchen pulls him out of his mind.
Looks like they found the toes, then.
Antoni- as it is his habit- immediately pulls open the refrigerator door. He is delighted (animatedly talking to the camera) that there are two fridges in this house- “Surely an indicator of immense culinary experimentation”- when he encounters the toes.
John and the rest of the Fab 5 arrive at the doorway at the exact same time.
Antoni’s face has grown ashen and the poor guy looks like he might faint any minute. Karamo takes a precarious step forward, just to make sure.
As he points to the fridge, his fingers are trembling. “Blood. Pig head. Fucking toes.”
“What the hell!!!” “Gross!!!” “My design team is not touching that!!!”
While their voices shout over each other, John pats the poor lad’s hand and explains: “That’s the biohazard fridge. Experiments are vital to Sherlock’s line of work and sometimes they tend to be a bit grotesque. The food fridge is over here.”
It takes another ten minutes until Antoni re-gains his composure (and until somebody calms Jonathan down about the disappointment of not having been able to “touch those curls, honey!!!” and instead having to witness the “grossest thing ever”). When he does, he has enough gusto to criticize the barren state of the actual fridge (in total: milk, one carrot, Indian take-out leftovers, pickles). John’s not proud of it, so much so that he can’t disagree. It is a sad sight.
‘Sad sight’ might be the theme of the day, John thinks to himself, when he watches his closet (still standing in Rosie’s nursery) being turned inside out. He didn’t even realize he owned this many poorly-fitting jumpers. While British Guy merrily throws everything to the floor, Blonde Guy engages him in conversation about the room. They hadn’t had the time to really make it homey, it’s practical, but not pretty. The guy (Bobby, John now remembers), places a reassuring hand on his shoulder and tells him they’re here to help with that. For the first time since his life has suddenly been invaded, John genuinely smiles. Bobby points that fact out, too, not unkindly.
John shrugs, not really used to being asked about his feelings (it feels… nice, if not a bit… vulnerable? If that makes sense?). “A proper nursery has been on my to-do list forever. But I’ve never gotten around to it (here, both Bobby and Tan look at him with so much kindness in their eyes, that John feels really touched all of a sudden although he doesn’t really understand why). It would make her so happy. And if Rosie’s happy, I’m happy.”
“Aw, that is so sweet. You’re such a good father!”
John didn’t think to receive such a genuine sentiment from a man who was currently throwing his clothes around, but here he is (John wouldn’t admit it to himself, but he really needed to hear that. Insecurity was his ever-present companion these days. It is nice to hear that he at least appears to be a decent parent.)
“But your fashion sense is- I’m sorry to say that- absolutely ghastly. Look at this thing (here, he holds up an oatmeal-colored wool jumper John had gotten about ten years ago)- it is horrible!”
Horrible is a very strong word.
Sherlock had used “monstrosity” once.
They’re both overreacting, John thinks.
“They’re comfortable,” he defends himself weakly.
“Mate, nobody wants to have sex with you when you’re dressing like my grandpa!”
Okay, now. That was just harsh.
How dare this person assume things about his sex life?!
(Well, alright. He might have a point. Nobody had wanted to have sex with John in while, but he had other things to worry about (thank you very much). And it has definitely nothing to do with his jumpers. Probably. Most likely?)
“And they’re so unfitting (here, Tan pinches the deep green jumper John’s wearing right now, that conveniently has bits of Indian take-out and baby drool all over it). You’re such an attractive man, you don’t have a reason to hide in those things.”
John frowns, trying to remember the last time somebody had called him attractive. What an absurd concept.
“What’s with that face? You don’t think you’re attractive?”
The doctor crosses his arms in front of his chest, suddenly feeling weirdly exposed.
The truth is, he doesn’t. Most days he just thinks he looks tired and old; with the bags under his eyes and the lines on his face. And the extra pudge around his middle he had gained over the years- not enough to worry or consider changing his lifestyle- but noticeable in comparison with his shape in his army days. He had been attractive, once. Then life happened.
“Not necessarily, no.”
Now they were both looking at him- so genuine and kind- that John wants to punch something. He shouldn’t let all of this get so much under his skin. He was doing this to humor Greg, nothing more. He was far too gone at this point for actual help; his life was a fine mess and he had come to accept that.
Still, he can’t quite kill the small flicker of hope deep in his belly, when a warm hand settles on his shoulder and the British Guy murmurs quietly: “We’re here to help with that, too.”
They’re all gathered together in the living-room for the last segment they’ll need to shoot for today (So John has been told by a production assistant); the Fab 5 gracefully arranging themselves on the couch, looking so drastically out of place between the case files and news papers and general junk Sherlock keeps laying around that John has to fight the urge to giggle hysterically.
It’s enough that he’ll be portrayed as a sad old looser on a Netflix show, better not add ‘insane’ to the list.
John tries not to think about that, tries to ignore the cameras following his every move.
Why did he agree, again?
“So, tell us about the event you’ve got coming up.” Karamo places a warm hand on John’s arm just like he always does when he feels people radiating off nervous energy. It usually works wonders.
John stares at it a little bewildered.
All this touching.
He’s not used to that at all.
(It’s kind of nice, though. Invasive, but nice.)
John clears his throat. “Well, it’s Rosie’s second birthday. And since her first one kind of… fell under the radar (of murder and grief and so much bullshit. He doesn’t say that, but he has the sinking suspicion that these guys already know anyway. Still. Doesn’t mean he has to say it, then), it’d be nice to celebrate it properly.”
Hair-Loving Guy claps his hands in enthusiastic approval. “Yes! A little princess only turns two once in her life! She deserves to party like the gorgeous queen she will become!”
John, despite everything, fights a small smile. Their enthusiasm about everything is so…. Overwhelming. Yet it’s genuine enough that he’s already starting to like them. Sherlock would be a tougher nut to knack, though. He suppresses a shudder and vows himself to intervene should any of them want to interact with Sherlock alone. He wasn’t ready for that kind of damage control.
“It’s been a while, though, hasn’t it?” Kitchen Guy asks with a sympathetic puppy dog expression which makes him look like a sad supermodel.
John scratches his neck. “I guess….” He trails off, remembering the last time they had guests over at 221B. It’s only been some years- the first and only Christmas party at 221B- but it feels like forever ago. He’s grown old, since then. In a sense, they both have (though it suits Sherlock better).
“Are you nervous?”
He hadn’t thought much about it, to be honest.
He feels guilty for neglecting his daughter like that. The appropriate answer is, he should be nervous with the flat in the disarray that it is in now and him in even more disarray and nearly no preparations done whatsoever.
Now, he’s nervous.
Thank you, stupidly handsome super-model Kitchen Guy.
“I am,” he answers, feeling that they wouldn’t stop pushing if he hadn’t. He has the feeling that this week was going to be an endless circle of him having to voice his emotions and them hugging it out. He isn’t so sure if he felt comforted by the prospect or horrified.
Apparently, everyone agrees that he should be nervous.
They lay out the game plan and say some motivational stuff, before the production assistant calls it a wrap. The guys now explain to him when he’ll be spending time with whom, starting tomorrow with Blonde Guy, who wants to start renovating the flat right after. They’d be staying in a hotel for two days until it’s done.
John consciously knows that this has been part of it, but he still feels kind of heavy when he closes the door behind the five fabulous tornados.
His life is about to be turned upside-down.
He’s not sure if he’s ready.
When he knocks lightly at Sherlock’s door and finds both him and Rosie engaged in animated “conversation” about the pop-up animal book his daughter (and Sherlock) adore beyond imagination, he has to grin.
He’s doing it for Rosie, too.
After all, she’s getting a more child-proof flat, an actual nursery, and a pretty awesome birthday party out of this whole thing.
So what if her dad’s making a fool of himself on the internet?
It’s worth it, he tells himself.