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BBC Sherlock

Rating: PG (angst, slash)

For a challenge at Baskerville Hall: any character is a supernatural being

Spoilers: for the Iliad and Odyssey

Special thanks to kittysorceress for help with ancient Greek colours


Part 1

 

The Greek hero Achilles was gay, and loved a soldier called Patroclus, thought John. Unfortunately, this was now no longer a matter of interest only to classicists, given that he somehow had Achilles living with him right now, temporarily masquerading as a consulting detective. It would be nice, he thought, to imagine this was a dream, but it wasn't the sort of dream he'd ever had about Sherlock. Sherlock, who was currently standing by the window of the flat, looking across and assessing John, as he sat by the darkened TV.

"So Patroclus is still going?" John said slowly, trying to retrieve some kind of grip on the situation. "I mean, he keeps on existing as well, reincarnating?"

"Yes, he's out there somewhere."

"And he knows who he is?" That was the one possible loophole, but of course it wouldn't work. He was just one long line of Watsons and proto-Watsons back till history began, none of them sufficiently memorable to survive intact.

"He'll know. He's normally older than I am, as he was originally. Though not every time, I don't know quite why. So he'll remember everything about me, nearly 3000 years of it."

John drew a deep breath. "Then we need to go and find him," he said at last. "Well, you need to go and find him, and I'll tag along and help out if I can."

Sherlock was staring at him as if he'd just announced that 2 plus 2 made 115, or had started speaking in Lithuanian.

"You're willing to help?" he said at last, and now his darkened eyes had a predatory stare.

"Yes," said John, folding his arms, and deciding that even if Sherlock was going to pretend to be an owl, he was not a bloody mouse. "Problem?"

"Why, given what you feel about me?"

Oh, sod it. At least owls got on and gobbled you up. This was Sherlock the cat, wanting to toy with his prey first.

"My feelings have nothing to do with this," he said firmly.

"John, I knew about your sexual preferences five days after you moved into the flat," Sherlock said, "which was not a difficult deduction when you can't even hear the word 'bisexual' without twitching slightly. Is that just because you're embarrassed about it?"

"No."

"No?"

"No! But a lot of people find it awkward, so I keep quiet about it most of the time. And anyhow, just because I'm bisexual doesn't necessarily mean I'm attracted to you." That, John abruptly realised, had to be one of the more stupid things he'd ever said to Sherlock. Just how comprehensively was he going to get ripped to shreds for that one?

"John," Sherlock said, and his voice was surprisingly gentle, "when I said I was gay, you should have seen your face."

"You couldn't see my expression, I wasn't looking at you."

"You have an extremely revealing way of not looking at me. Can we not pretend about this, it's wasting time. You are attracted to me, and yet you've just offered to help me find Patroclus."

"Who, as you've made clear, is the love of your life, lives," John replied. "I'm your friend, I want to help you. And I am definitely not going to get involved with a bloke who a couple of months later might turn round and say 'Oh, I'm off back to my ex, because there's so much history we share'."

"You don't understand!"

"Almost certainly not, but that bit I do." Why was Sherlock so bloody impossible sometimes? Oh, he'd forgotten, thousands of years of practice.

"I'm not going to find Patroclus and he's not going to find me. It's not going to happen again."

"Why not?"

"John, I said about the patterns, didn't I? Especially with more than one Rememberer, they're so strong, we can't break out of them. It's like a habit, but a thousand times more potent, it's older, a groove that's been worn into the rock by a million chariot wheels till there's no other path to take.  Do you know what happens when Patroclus and I get together?"

"You said he died," John murmured, "on the battlefield."

"We always find a war. Not an actual war every time, but its equivalent. And we get stuck in, and then I get into an argument with some bigwig and go off and sulk. And Patroclus carries on without me, gets himself killed, I revenge him, get killed in my turn. The first time it was Hector killing him, and me killing Hector, and Paris killing me. The other times...there have been so many other times. And every bloody time, I destroy us both. I'm not going to let it happen again. So last time, as he was dying, we said goodbye."

"Of course."

"No, really goodbye." Sherlock gave a grin that was half a grimace. "Twentieth-century medicine couldn't stop Patroclus dying, but it slowed it down, gave us time to talk. So we made a bargain. This time, we're not going to look for one another, we're going to find someone else, make a go of it, break out of that pattern, even if we stay in the cycle. Choose to live with someone, not just die for them, kill for them."

Sherlock ground to a halt. John waited for him to go on, but at last he knew it was up to him to make the next move.

"When you say find someone else, do you mean find someone else?" he asked, and then realised that his remarks to Sherlock were somehow managing to get more stupid. Sherlock, however, didn't respond even to that provocation, just stood there, staring at John, biting his lip, as if 3000 years of experience hadn't taught him how to handle this one.

I have to break through somehow, thought John.

"Why did you tell me about who you were?" he said slowly, "I take it you don't make a habit of telling people that?"

"You're the first person I've told in this cycle," said Sherlock. "You normally get a lot worse than 'piss off' for trying to discuss this."

"So why tell me, then?" John said, lifting his chin. He thought he knew, but it was never wise to make too many assumptions around Sherlock.

"I've been planning to for ages. Because, because I thought you needed to know before I said...anything else."

"That you were...looking for someone?"

"Yes, well, I can see now that wasn't a good move, was it?" Sherlock said, and then he was pacing up and down again, looking like he wanted a gun to wave about. Or possibly a sword.  "Bit off-putting, are you interested in a relationship, by the way, I've been involved with another man for several millennia, but it's all over between us now."

"Is it all over? Or am I just a substitute?"

"No," said Sherlock, and he came over and stood in front of John, hands thrust in pockets, his expression nervously balanced between a smile and a sneer. "Oh, I know there are similarities, I wouldn't go for someone who wasn't a soldier, but you're really not that much alike."

"No?"

"No!  He's darker, burlier, but it's not just physical, you're not the same kind of person.  He's a lot more volatile, cries easily. Fine then, harder to deal with now. Not much sense of humour. More easily led, not so bloody stubborn as you – I've had more arguments with you than I've had in lifetimes with him. You'd be better for me, you've got more sense, I...we could make something work."

"You think so?" John's heart was thumping, but he couldn't afford to be rash, they had to get this right. But how could they?

"Mycroft's done it," Sherlock said abruptly. "He and Anthea."

"Mycroft's with Anthea?"

"They've been together for several years now, they've had to keep it quiet officially, but he's told me. Think of that, John. Odysseus has wrecked his marriage the gods know how many times. He marries Penelope, goes off on some feeble excuse, doesn't come back for decades, and then they pretend it's all OK, and that they're going to live happily ever after. Not this time. This time Penelope's with a sheep farmer near Lampeter, and Odysseus is with a woman who he lets keep surveillance on him 24/7. We don't, I don't have to be the man I was before."

"But I'm still me," said John, "unmemorable me. You'd get bored."

"No. I want something that's more than a few years of passion and then a couple of pyres. Though I have learnt a few...interesting manoeuvres over the centuries."

"But do you still want to go back to him?" John asked, "Eventually?" I shouldn't ask that, he told himself, I really shouldn't, but...

"Is till death do us part not long enough for you?"

"No, I'm sorry. It's just...I don't know. I suppose I'm envious of what you have, had, could have."

"If it works out, I'll come and find you next cycle," Sherlock said, and his hands reached down and took John's. "Even if you don't remember me, I'll come and find you. But I don't think we'll need that. I think we can be legendary ourselves, become new forms of Rememberers."

"They might not forget you, Sherlock, but no-one's going to remember John Watson." Sherlock's hands were warm, he hadn't expected that. The heat of Greece still running through them, perhaps?

"We can't know what will happen," said Sherlock.  "Not even  I do. But if you're willing to take a chance-"

"What's it like kissing a Greek god?" John broke in, as he gazed up.

"I'm not a god, not even immortal."

"What's it like kissing a Greek hero?"

"With Patroclus, it was like drinking nectar, sweet, liquid warmth. But maybe that was just him."

"Let's see," said John, but for a moment he just kept on sitting.

"What are you waiting for?" asked Sherlock.

"I may only have one life, I want to make sure I remember this bit," John said. And then he stood up, and reached out, and embraced the firm body in front of him.

"Ready when you are, Achilles."

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
kalypso_v
Dec. 12th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
Crikey, when I said men at some time are masters of their fates, I wasn't expecting... Brava. That's a really brave move for all of them, forcing the chariot wheels off in an entirely new direction in the hope of starting a different cycle of remembering.

But you've now convinced me that Anthea is actually Athena, and she's finally decided to stop being the perfect platonic friend.
marysutherland
Dec. 13th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
I really like the thought of Anthea as Athena. Unfortunately, I think all the recent evidence is against the goddess of wisdom having any influence whatsoever on the British government, even indirectly.
kalypso_v
Dec. 13th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
Maybe she's decided to give up being a goddess of wisdom as part of the whole breaking-the-pattern project. Or concentrate on her functions as goddess of war.
(Deleted comment)
marysutherland
Dec. 13th, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've got no more inspiration for this verse at the moment. But there is one lot of Sherlock library/librarian fiction up already (see the tags) with more to come. At some point there's even going to be British Library crack.
jbs_teeth
Dec. 12th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
I like it, too. Very interesting twist, though disappointing to the notion of John and Sherlock's epic love. Maybe potentially epic? I'd definitely be intered in more of this verse, in any case.

Yes, I liked it!
marysutherland
Dec. 13th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid the muse has hared off on a different period and genre at the moment. But if the classical plot bunnies strike again, I might yet post some more.

As for epic love, is 'till death do us part' really that unepic? I'd say one lifetime is doing a lot better than average for relationships nowadays.
acountrymouse
Dec. 13th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
This was awesome. I love how Sherlock as Achilles works. And also the fact that he's pursuing a different destiny with John then one that he knows would occur with Patroclus.

Also I totally have this image of John as Beowulf now... *facepalm*
marysutherland
Dec. 13th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it. But surely it has to be Sherlock as Beowulf, just so we can get this bit of dialogue:

John: Is that an arm?
Sherlock: Just mead for me, thanks.
John: There's an arm up in the roof
Sherlock: Yes
John: A bloody monster's arm, shoulder and all
Sherlock: Where else was I supposed to put it?
nathcoelho
Jan. 31st, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
hauhauhauhauhauauh! omfg! xD i so want to see that!
marysutherland
Jan. 31st, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid, like the Giant Rat of Sumatra, this is a story for which the world is not yet ready (or at least I'm not ready to write it).
nathcoelho
Feb. 1st, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
hauhaahuahhauahuah
xD
warriorbot
Dec. 13th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Ohhh - so gorgeous!

"Odysseus is with a woman who he lets keep surveillance on him 24/7."

*squeal*

"no-one's going to remember John Watson..."

*sighs* Oh John Watson, how wrong you are.


I ate this up with a spoon!


innie_darling
Dec. 13th, 2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
Just fantastic.
slashfairy
Dec. 14th, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
*nods*
shezan
Jan. 10th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
Eat your heart out, Giraudoux, THIS is the new ending of the Trojan War!
nathcoelho
Jan. 31st, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
REally! this is a awesome fic!
=)
i liked how u developed the theme! sooooo romantic! =D
anyway
i really enjoy read this.. and now i want more! T_T
i love this kind of theme! supernatural crossed with sherlock is.. just perfect reading for me! =D
\o
turante
Apr. 20th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
Very, very intriguing.
In sulking, the resemblance between Sherlocnk and Achilles truly is striking. :)

I love them all.
zevbaldwin
Aug. 7th, 2011 11:20 am (UTC)
"They might not forget you, Sherlock, but no-one's going to remember John Watson."- Wonderful sentence! I adore the angst and a happy ending. And I like that Sherlock / Achilles says "You'd be better for me, you've got more sense...". Of course John is better. Does anyone doubt it? Although the pattern of relations has remained - the field of battle, fellow, age difference, willingness to die for the friend. But they will be together till old age, I'm sure.
Very interesting plot and great story.
ariadnechan
Jan. 3rd, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
they going to find someone else?

so patroclus decides he will be someone elses, someone who doesn't remember, someone who is bi as sherlock, blond and different, more stubborn and less sulky, because achilles is too sulky, he will laugh more and he will be a doctor so nobody will die, a warrior doctor the ones who saves lives in the most terrible places, and a good warrior to save Sherlock to do stupidities which could make him die again. He will be the protector now.

He will become someone else and maybe Sherlock will never know, but he will when he'll touch his love again.
mariole
Jan. 15th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
> "They might not forget you, Sherlock, but no-one's going to remember John Watson."

*bzzz!* Nice try, John! Play again?

Cute what you did with this implausible premise. Although I do like Sherlock as the product of millenia of epic sulks. :)
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )