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Metafic: Captain of the ship (1/2)

BBC Sherlock

Rating:  12 (slash, painful writing)

A number of months ago, the wonderful warriorbot wrote a metafic Going down with this ship, in which John and Sherlock's relationship was consummated as a result of them reading RPF about themselves. The sequel to these events has never been revealed. Until now...

With special thanks to warriorbot for allowing me to do a sequel and betaing this, and to et_cetera55, for reasons that will become apparent...




The terrible thing about the night at the pool is that John nearly got killed.

The almost equally terrible thing about that night is that it wasn't Sherlock that saved John, but Mycroft. And he also saved Sherlock. A tiny, irrational part of Sherlock would prefer to be dead than have had Mycroft save his life. A tiny irrational part that needs to be kept extremely well hidden from John, or he will get a comprehensive bollocking for terminal stupidity.

The moderately terrible thing about that night is that it will be weeks before John is in a fit state to give Sherlock a comprehensive bollocking, if it is, theoretically, necessary.  Because John can't currently yell with the force he needs when he really loses it, because of his damaged ribs.

The not terrible, but maddeningly frustrating thing about that night is that there are other things that John can't or won't do when his ribs are damaged. The wonderful thing is that he clearly does want to do them again when he's recovered. He hasn't actually said this, but John is even more transparent to read than usual.

The moderately not-terrible, possibly even quite good thing about that night is that John may have been so distracted by Moriarty that's he's forgotten some of the details of their first sexual encounter. Not the 'so good, please don't stop, Sherlock' bit - he's fairly confident John won't have forgotten that. More the Sherlock-having-to-be-prompted-by-fanfic bit. Maybe John has forgotten all about that aspect. Maybe.


 The wonderful thing was that sleeping with John hadn't really changed their friendship. John had not mentally subsided into Molly, as Sherlock had feared. Unfortunately, he also hadn't lost either his memory, or his bizarre sense of humour. Very bizarre, given his tendency to laugh at Sherlock's expense. But he had at least been restrained enough not to mention the fanfic. It was Sherlock's own fault that the subject had come up again several months later, because he'd complained to John about the stalker.


"I'm being stalked," Sherlock announced at breakfast that Saturday. He'd realised it was happening on Tuesday, but you always got a better alarmed reaction from John at weekends, when he wasn't thinking about the morning's surgery.

"Not again," said John, after he'd finished his mouthful of toast. "Who is it this time?" Then he abruptly put down his mug. "It's not... you’re sure it's nothing to do with Moriarty?"

"No," said Sherlock hastily. It wasn't that kind of alarmed response he was looking for from John. More the 'Oh God, this is so weird, but bizarrely quite fun' kind of alarm. "It's a Mrs Trellis from North Wales. She keeps trying to phone or e-mail me all the time."

"She's not a stalker, she's your client."

"I turned down her case."

"No, you told her you were going to put your best man on it. Who, as we've established, is me, and I can't detect for toffee."

"Oh, of course," Sherlock said, mentally relocating Mrs Trellis from 'interesting hazard' to 'tedious client', "she was the one who came to me with that problem about the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir.  I solved that several weeks ago, after your inadequate attempts. I distinctly remember dictating the e-mail message you had to send to her."

"You dictated it in Welsh. And then refused to repeat yourself in English."

"Details, John."

"If we're going to have details," John said, with an edge to his voice, "Mrs Trellis is not a stalker. Not like foxycop678 was."

"foxycop678 wasn't the stalker," Sherlock said, sighing. "Can't you keep up, John? foxycop567 was the troll on your blog, foxycop789 was the stalker that Mycroft put a restraining order on.  foxycop678, in contrast, was the writer of terrible fiction."

"I remember now," said John. "The one who wrote that thing about you and Lestrade and a dog collar, that got me so..." His voice trailed off.

"Got you so what?" asked Sherlock, knowing that if John said 'aroused', he would have to end their relationship immediately, for his own self-respect.

"So annoyed that I considered beating him or her up," John said, blushing. Sherlock filed that one away carefully in the ever increasing space on his hard drive for 'interesting things that John might be prepared to do'.

"You know, I'd forgotten all about that," said John. Sherlock groaned inwardly. "I wonder what happened to her? If it was a her?"

"In a padded cell without broadband access, or at least I hope so."

"That was such a weird time," John added, smiling. "We did do some ridiculous things, didn't we? Didn't you get into a sulk because there were more stories written about Charlie Brooker than you?"

"I did not," Sherlock protested, "and anyhow, now I've got...absolutely no idea how many there are about me."

John just looked at him across the breakfast table, and said nothing. John was awfully good at looking at him sometimes. The silence stretched out, and then after 1 minute and 14 seconds, near enough, John asked mildly:

"How many now?"

"642," he replied, before his brain could tell his mouth not to. "As of yesterday. Of course," he went on hastily, "that's the ones mentioning me. Not all of them involve you."

"There are some more about you and Lestrade, are there?" said John, sounding like a man who didn't really want an answer to that question.

"Yes. But there are also stories that focus on you. Such as one I stumbled across which involved a sugary romance between Mycroft and yourself."

"That's sick," said John, screwing up his face.

"No, sick is Holmes slash Holmes. Writers who imagine...sexual encounters between Mycroft and myself."

"Isn't that illegal?"

"Doing it, yes, writing about it is only libel, which is a civil matter and hence not strictly illegal. And some moral philosophers debate whether there are rational arguments against homosexual incest by consenting adults, since there can obviously be no eugenic consequences-"

"I don't want to hear about that," John almost shouted. "Just leave it."

"That's real person fiction for you, I'm afraid," Sherlock replied.

"No, it's not," John retorted stubbornly. "There are some perfectly reasonable people, women, out there writing...interesting things. Anyhow," he added, "you ought to be grateful to them. If it hadn't been for 'Etc' or whatever her name is, how long would it have been before you got laid?"

"We did not need her overwrought drivel to initiate our relationship, we were perfectly able to work out the correct procedures ourselves."

"Less of the 'we', please," John replied, "I knew what I was doing that night, whereas, frankly, you needed some guidance."

"Not from a bunch of incompetent amateur authors!"

"I'd say there was some surprisingly good writing. It can't be easy doing that kind of stuff. The slashy bits, I mean. Or putting people's emotions into words."

"Good writing as compared to your blog, perhaps," Sherlock said. "It's not just the complete lack of analysis in your posts that gets wearing, it's the parataxis and the psychological naivety. Freud meets Biggles, it's terrifying sometimes."

"At least people, some people, enjoy reading my blog," John said, and Sherlock didn't quite like the way his hand has shifted on his knife now. "I bet no-one has much fun reading your article in the 'Journal of Forensic Sciences' about hanging. At least I hope not. And I'm not sure the world's holding its breath for this monograph on cigarettes you insist you're going to write."

"Just because I write on serious topics-"

" 'The Science of Deduction' is one of the world's duller websites. OK, I know my posts aren't brilliant literature, but you're definitely no Shakespeare. Or even an Etc."

"If I chose to, I could easily write fan fiction," Sherlock replied haughtily, "it's just too trivial a task to be interesting."

John was giving him a look again. A look that said: I know you're being an idiot, you know you're being an idiot, should we perhaps change the subject?

"Very well!" Sherlock snapped. "I’ll write a story and send it to et_cetera55, since you seem to think I owe her something."

John started to laugh: "No, no, it's OK, Sherlock, leave it, I shouldn't have brought it up." He eventually managed to pull himself together, and added: "Anyhow, before you got talking about your alleged stalker, I was going to say that since you currently haven't got a case on, the fridge has a number of edible things in it, and I'm not on call this weekend, we could maybe, after breakfast, have time just to sit around, take things easy, unwind a bit."

"Sounds pleasant," said Sherlock, smirking slightly.

"If, that is," John added, "you first explain to Mrs Trellis exactly where her missing tenor is."


The wonderful thing about John, one of the wonderful things - along with his giggles and his erections, and the impressively fast way he could get himself and Sherlock from giggles to erections - one of the wonderful things about John was that he knew when to drop a subject. So he didn't say anything more about Sherlock's claim that he could write fan fiction. It was possible he'd even forgotten about it.

Sherlock hadn't. And, he told himself, it would be a generous, even gracious, gesture to make a work of his own available to his fans, anonymously, of course. After all, they had, in their own crude way, assisted him. And they might even pick up a few stylistic hints...

The tastes of et_cetera55 herself, he learned from her profile, consisted largely of TV shows of which he had barely heard. He had vague hopes of 'Merlin', but judging from the story he read, the TV version had strayed a considerable distance from Geoffrey of Monmouth. The woman obviously had some interest in real person fiction, however, so he briefly considered sending her some Darwin/Huxley slash. That might be quite stimulating to write, especially if he could work in some of Darwin's more interesting anecdotes about earthworms.

It was possible, however, that et_cetera55 might not get a thrill from the sex lives of Victorian scientists. Besides, you were supposed to write about what you knew, and he had not so far been able to find any useful information about Thomas Huxley's behaviour when topping. There was really only one logical option left: to write some Sherlock/John slash, heavily fictionalised, of course.

He was undecided about the plot. Not that he did not have a large number of cases to draw upon. But to introduce a romantic or sexual element into an account of one of them would be like putting one into the fifth proposition of Euclid. Though, of course, he thought, if he mentioned 'Euclid's propositions', the fangirls would probably think of sexual pickups, rather than geometry. But then he remembered. A plot was not strictly necessary. A number of the pieces he had read did not bother with such subtleties, but simply started in medias res with the explicit material. A description of intercourse should be simple enough to write:

John's giggling died away, and his hands reached for his erection. A condom was not necessary, given their shared sexual health – fortunate, because of the inevitable loss of sensitivity . He poured on copious amounts of lubricant, too much, so that the drips traced an intricate pattern beneath, a pattern that resembled.

Then he began to insert his penis, uncircumcised and of fractionally below average size, into Sherlock's anus. His medical training, and Sherlock's natural athleticism, allowed the careful positioning of their bodies that would ensure the maximum simulation of the relevant nerve endings...


Sherlock finished the scene and read through his draft. Then he called up 'The Job Description – Some Missing Minutes' on the screen, and re-read that. Followed by his own effort again. The conclusion was inescapable to a well-trained mind. et_cetera55's work, despite its obvious inadequacies regarding human anatomy, physiology, psychology, and plausibility, was nevertheless hot (he had now trained himself to use the word in this sense without wincing). His story was currently tepid, at best. The insertion of an additional ellipsis or two did not help. Nor did doing a search and replace that changed 'penis' to 'cock' and 'anus' to 'arsehole'.

The problem, he realised, was that because he had been concentrating on an accurate description of anal intercourse, he had not been specific enough. He needed to make effective use of his trained visual and sense memory to reconstruct a more detailed account of being fucked by John. The precise feel of it, of John's body against his. He needed to visualise it clearly...


The next 23 minutes were enjoyable, but not particularly productive. At least not for writing, or even coherent thought. Sherlock decided that PWP was probably not his natural style. So what was the alternative? One common subgenre within the fanfic form was that of hurt/comfort stories, which offered possibilities for interesting medical descriptions. Even better, that would also please those fanfic readers who claimed to have a 'competency kink'. (He was still trying to blot out of his mind the horrific logical opposite of that statement: that there were people around who got off, perhaps literally, on incompetence. Although it might explain why Anderson was still married).

So how could the imaginary Sherlock comfort the stricken John? Some of the fics focused on minor ailments - colds, gastric flu, sprained ankles – but that would be boring to write. 'Sherlock' could be seen to best effect only in a more dramatic setting, saving the life of 'John' by his brilliant medical improvisation. The problem, he realised, as he began to sketch out his story, was that he was not absolutely certain of the correct procedure for performing an emergency tracheotomy with a pen-knife and a ballpoint. He knew the steps in outline, of course, but one or two of the details were a little hazy. And while only an idiot would attempt to use a piece of fanfic as a guide to actual behaviour, it would still be irresponsible to put a story with medically inaccurate descriptions on the web. He needed to check some of the details with John first.

Perhaps, on second thoughts, not with John. Indeed he wasn't sure he could ask any of his medical acquaintances for detailed information about techniques of emergency surgery without arousing concern, if not actual alarm. He could go through the medical literature, of course, but he suspected it might be tricky to incorporate paragraphs from the Annals of Emergency Medicine seamlessly into a work of fiction.

Strictly speaking, however, a hurt/comfort story, even with serious injury involved, did not require medical descriptions. He could, instead, have a touching scene in a hospital, in which he sat at the bedside of a barely-conscious, or slowly recuperating John, thinking...

God, I want to shag him, and I can't till his ribs are better. Why is he taking so much longer to heal than I did?

No, that might be psychologically plausible, but it made him sound callous, uncaring. He needed to remember some of the other thoughts he'd had after the swimming pool, the long weeks he'd sat beside an actual hospital bed. He searched in his head for the file, and let the memories flood back in, of the peculiar horror of those virulent green plastic chairs, and John so small and crumpled, and pale, the tan fading fast, and...he really did not want to write down some of the emotions he'd felt. Or think about them ever, ever again.


[Will Sherlock be deterred from writing his masterpiece? Tune in for the next instalment, in which Sherlock attacks more forms of slash, and things get even more meta.]



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
It was possible, however, that et_cetera55 might not get a thrill from the sex lives of Victorian scientists

I can't answer for her, but I'm beginning to get quite excited by the thought of love and earthworms.
Jan. 10th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
There are times I don't know whether to worry more about myself or my readers. For future reference, writing Darwin/Huxley slash is wrong in terms of morality, history, aesthetics, and evolutionary biology. It's also against the principles of geology, at least if Darwin feels afterwards that the earth's moved for him.
Jan. 10th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
writing Darwin/Huxley slash is wrong in terms of morality, history, aesthetics, and evolutionary biology

Quite so. Why do you think I'm excited by it?
Jan. 20th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
all kinds of right
I laughed so hard at this line that I almost fell out of my chair. I'm actually teaching a writing course on Darwin this semester; it's unfortunately a given that, some point in the semester, I'm going to remember your story in the middle of class and start snickering uncontrollably. And the slash seems plausible, if you allow time for Darwin to brood over his desire for several decades before finally making a move on Huxley (no doubt under the guise of testing a theory about sexual selection...).
Jan. 20th, 2011 10:04 am (UTC)
Re: all kinds of right
I've mostly forgotten the little I ever knew about Darwin, but one phrase that had stuck in my mind was about Huxley as 'Darwin's bulldog', which instantly gave me not only the slash, but that it would be Huxley topping.

As you will see from other comments on this post, there is a pent-up demand for Darwin/Huxley slash - I wouldn't know enough to be able to write it, even as crack fic, but it sounds like you would be the right person to do so.
Jan. 8th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
this made me laugh so hard I cried.


Mrs Trellis! Geoffrey of Monmouth! Darwin/Huxley slash and Sherlock's ignorance of Huxley's behaviour when topping!

but I also love the way that Sherlock's emotions and memories get into this at the end in spite of everything.

looking forward very much to the next instalment.
(no subject) - shehasathree - Jan. 9th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 13th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC)
Although it might explain why Anderson was still married

This is when I totally lost my composure. Cackling madly now.
Jan. 14th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
I died when you mentioned the Darwin/Huxley slash and it took me a long time to stop laughing just to continue with the story. Sherlock's voice in writing fan fiction is brilliant!
Jan. 15th, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
I haven't yet dared to check whether Darwin slash really exists - it's entirely possible it does. I still haven't quite got over finding that there is Bernard of Clairvaux RPF on Archive of Our Own.
Jan. 15th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
woooooooooohoooooooooooooooooooooo! that's my inarticulate response to a fic in which every sentence is so delightful and either funny or insightful or both that I want to jump on a plane and come find you and lay a few dozen roses at your feet. The first para actually had me grinning with delight because I love this nerdy and needy Sherlock voice and that apparently now needs a bit of validation from the fanfic community as well as John's "that was amazing" or "so good, Sherlock, please don't stop" . . . you, my dear, are both a genius and get my undying gratitude for continuing warriorbot's story. The first painful attempts at the fic are wonderful and John's loudly refusing to listen to the notion of Holmescest--oh hell, every sentence is golden . . . *wiping giggle tears away and moving on*
Jan. 17th, 2011 07:18 am (UTC)
I can't think why I end up with so many nerdy and needy authors in my fanfic ;-). And I certainly never thought before that it would come in useful that I can't write proper PWP
Jan. 17th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
This is my crack, and I shall get high with it. Awesomesauce and very funny too!
Jan. 19th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is made of so much win--I can't remember when I laughed out loud this many times at a story. Sherlock's observations on the hurt-comfort genre, in particular, just about broke me. Sweet, too, at the end...I love the way you worked so many good character moments into the meta-y humor.
Jan. 20th, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)
The hurt/comfort stuff was partly inspired by TV Tropes pointing out the problems with the concept. There's also an earlier fic of mine called Mea culpa where Sherlock finds it hard to think of any ways to take care of John, because John's either telling him what to do, or so badly injured he needs professional help.

And it's fun putting in the background stuff of Sherlock being completely floored periodically by his love/lust for John.
Mar. 4th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
*dies laughing

This is freaking brilliant.

*giggles and clicks to the next part
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
Darwin/Huxley slash
YES PLEASE. I am sad Sherlock rejected this idea!
This was wonderfully hilarious.
Mar. 15th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry - there are limits. Even as crack, I cannot do this: it would break my brain, the internet or possibly both.
Mar. 15th, 2011 10:07 pm (UTC)
Alas! Though rule 34 informs me that it probably exists...
Mar. 18th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
I'm not convinced that anyone has written any. But what is more worrying, I am now finding myself thinking, could it be done? Is it technically feasible for me to write it? Which is not really what I want to get my brain obsessing with.
Mar. 18th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
No, no, this is a good thing! You could be the first.
Mar. 18th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
There are reasons that no-one thinks of slashing them. As in, they are really not promisingly gay. Darwin and Huxley have 18 children between them (well, obviously, not between them, but you know what I mean). And Darwin never discusses homosexuality.
Mar. 18th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
He's protecting his love! :P
Aug. 7th, 2011 11:51 am (UTC)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )