“Excuse me, Dr. Watson?”
John looked up from his texting argument with Sherlock to find a strangely dressed young man standing on the other side of the bar. “What?”
“I’m a huge fan,” he said, flashing a toothy grin and pulling a pad of paper from his pocket. “Can I have your autograph?”
John stared at him, blinking and pulling a face as his phone continued to chime. The frequency of the electronic notes signaled Sherlock’s annoyance at John’s lack of timely responses. “I’m sorry?”
“I want your autograph. I collect autographs. It’s not so bloody hard to understand, Dr. Watson. You’re famous, and I’m a fan. That’s sort of how it works.”
“Can’t you see I’m busy-“
“On a case-“
“On my lunch. Arguing with a six foot tall five year old. And now being bothered by a nearly as tall and equally socially awkward stranger. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some angry button pushing to do.”
The strangely dressed man sighed, looked down at his pad of paper, and frowned. “Maybe I’ll have better luck with the other one…” he muttered, turning to the man sitting next to John. He flashed a wolfish grin to the detective inspector, just sitting there trying to enjoy a pint despite John’s constant angry muttering at his phone.
“So, Detective,” the strangely dressed man said, reaching up to tuck a few tufts of wild blond hair behind his ear. “Thanks to Dr. Watson’s blog, you’re a household name, too. Care to give me your autograph?”
“I collect autographs. What is so hard to understand about that? I mean sure, having a niche for criminals, detectives, and all things to do with mysteries is a bit… well, specialized. But it’s a hobby,” he said.
Lestrade looked from his friend to the strange man before him, noting an oddness about the man he didn’t normally see. Well, when dealing with muggles. After taking in the man’s appearance, noting the heavy use of purple and green, he sighed and gave a nod. “Alright,” he said, signalling for the man to hand over the pad of paper. Once it was in hand, Lestrade noted the thickness of the paper in it. The quality. Parchment.
“Hope you make it home safe,” Lestrade said after signing the little pad and handing it back. The man blinked at him in confusion. “After all, with the recent break-ins and robberies, the Minister himself is concerned for his citizens. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to visitors who aren’t used to this part of the city.” He gave the man a stern look.
“Oh, don’t worry,” the man replied. “I live close by, really. I’ll get home alright. Finding a cab is so easy, it’s like all I have to do is turn around a couple of times and there one is.” He pocketed the pad of paper, giving John a wistful look as if he were merely a missed opportunity or a long sought after but overpriced trading card. “Besides, I’m only on my lunch. Popped in here while out on patrol, you know. If you notice anything strange, just give us a jingle, detective.”
John frowned, jumped to his feet, and started heading for the door with a growling shout about Sherlock, a pair of shoes, and a can of petrol.
Lestrade followed him quickly, asking if he should ring for backup. The strange man shook his head, watching them rush off. “Well,” he said. “At least someone took responsibility for Sherlock’s tab.”
He pulled out the pad of paper again, flipping through it and looking at the numerous drink names, uneaten bar snacks, and other bits and pieces of damage done to the place. “Hey boss!” he shouted, turning to see a muggle man at the other end of the bar. “I got it!”
“Someone to cover the Malfoy tab!”
“Finally! We can retire to Godric’s Hollow just like we always dreamed!”