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BBC Sherlock

Rating: 15 (violence, drug abuse, swearing, aggressively implicit slash)

Summary: written for a prompt on Sherlock BBC Make me a Monday: "A modern adaptation of The Adventure of the Illustrious Client".

Sherlock's attempts to prevent the villanous Baron Gruner from marrying the young, rich, and beautiful Violet de Merville have ended up with him being attacked, and then spending a week in bed, allegedly dying... 

Betaed by Warriorbot

Part 1, Part 2.

[From the Sherlock Holmes in Transcript (SHT) project, version 1.0]  

As the fractionally more observant among you have may have noticed, so far my detective exploits on this case had consisted of two unsuccessful interviews, buying information from an informer, and getting beaten up. Oh, and a lot of sex. But at this point I realised that Damery might want some actual results, and I also got a message from my informant at the US embassy. Adelbert Gruner was going to America in three days time. Apparently killing your wife didn't count as 'moral turpitude' for the purposes of the Visa Waiver Program. It hit me hard: I always have problems getting into the States because of the drugs conviction I have from my teens, which not even Mycroft has managed to erase completely from official records. If I was going to deal with the Baron, I needed to act quickly. Fortunately, I'm very good at doing that.
"Gruner's trying to put himself out of danger’s way," I announced, after ten minutes contemplation of the e-mail. "But he won‘t manage it. John, I want you to do something for me.”
“I'm here to be used, Sherlock.” 
God, I wish he wouldn't say things like that. It took all of my self-control to concentrate on explaining my plan to him.
Once I'd remembered that John wasn't going to allow me to carry out any plan that involved burning down a house (not after Irene Adler), what had to be done was obvious to the meanest intelligence. I had to get hold of Gruner's little black book, by breaking into his house. The question was how? A successful break-in when he was away would require the kind of meticulous planning and logistics that takes forever and bores me rigid. I like things quick and dirty. Some things. It would be much easier to break into the house when the Baron was there, terrorise him, or at least tie him up, and get the book then.
The problem with that plan was John. The problem with many of my plans nowadays is John. I couldn't go and attack Vernon Lodge without John, he'd never forgive me. But he's surprisingly reluctant to break into people's houses unprovoked, even if it's likely to lead to violence. Especially if it's likely to lead to violence. I suspect he probably got indoctrinated with Just War theory at some point, or just got some firm talking-tos from his mother. He's only really happy with fighting if he can feel the other person's started it. (It explains a lot about Afghanistan).
So I needed to have John along there, ready to take down the Baron if he got dangerous. And, ideally, I needed a woman there as well. Because the one thing that you can guarantee will get John willing to fight is if someone's attacking a woman. He's a chivalric idiot, my John, even now he's come out. So, we needed myself, a woman and John all at Vernon Lodge, under the pretext that there wasn't going to be any violence.
Once I had those parameters, it was simple to come up with a plan that I could persuade someone with John's level of gullibility to adhere to. He would distract Gruner, while I burgled the house, bringing Kitty Winter along to show me where to look for the book. A keen mind would have seen the many flaws in this plan. John, who is moderately bright, pointed out one of the more obvious ones. How was he going to distract the Baron?
"You need to spend the next twenty-four hours in an intensive study of Chinese pottery.” I told him.
John didn't argue, just asked where he should start. "Not with Wikipedia," I said firmly. I gave him the URLs of a couple of websites and the name of someone at the British Museum, and told him to try the London Library as well.
"Didn't Sir James say that the Baron had written a book on the subject?" John said. He's only a semi-idiot, at most. "I'd better read that, hadn't I?"
"Yes, of course," I replied. "I know where I can get hold of a copy of it today. But I've been told it's long and very tedious, so you should start with some more basic stuff first."
"OK," he said. "No promises about the end results, but I'll see what I can do. So back here tomorrow morning?"
"Yes, please."
John's conscientious, and he's good at exams, and his visual memory is a lot better since I started training him. I was impressed by how much he'd learnt by the time he turned up the next day, though he looked exhausted. I was out of bed – I didn't want to distract him again – sitting in my chair, trying to rearrange the bandage on my head yet again. One of my scalp wounds had got opened up again a couple of days ago, when John had accidentally bashed my head with his knee at a rather critical moment.
John rebandaged me with remarkable efficiency and then sat down opposite me, but well out of range.
"And now, John, have you learned your lesson?” I asked.
"About not letting you insist your stitches should be taken out too early, or Chinese pottery?" he said grinning. I glared at him.
“I've tried to,” he added hastily.
“Good. You could keep up an intelligent conversation on the subject? Well, when I say intelligent-”
"I can certainly make sensible noises when someone who knows more than I do informs me of my almost complete ignorance."
“That's a start. Then hand me that little box from the mantelpiece.”
I opened the lid and took out a small object carefully wrapped in acid-free tissue paper. Then I unfolded it, and disclosed a delicate little saucer with the pattern of a basket of fruit on it.
“This needs careful handling. It's a rare Ming dynasty piece, from the late sixteenth century."
"Wucai style, isn't it?" said John, coming over to look. "And the Eight Treasures on the...bit at the edge of the rim that has a technical name I can't remember."
"The cavetto. Not bad, John," I said. "This is a particularly fine piece. A complete set of this would be worth a fortune, if there was one in existence, which I doubt there is. Just the sight of this piece would drive a real connoisseur wild.”
“So what am I to do with it?”
I handed him a business card printed with “Dr. Hill Barton, 369 Half Moon Street" and an e-mail address.
“That's your name for the evening. You're going to phone Baron Gruner and ask him if it's all right to call tonight, round about half-past eight, because you've got a specimen of an absolutely unique set of Ming china. I think you should stick to being a doctor, and yes, there is a Hill Barton in the Medical Register, if he happens to check. This set has come your way, you've heard of the Baron’s interest in the subject, and you're willing to sell at a price.”
“What price?”
“Well asked. This saucer had been borrowed from the collection of Sir James Damery's client. You can say that it could hardly be matched in the world, and that a much inferior specimen went for 65,000 US dollars at auction at the end of 2009."
“Perhaps I could suggest that the whole set should be valued by an expert.”
“Excellent, John! You're near coherent today. Suggest Christie's or Sotheby's. Your delicacy prevents your giving a price yourself. Well, actually, your urge to screw every last penny out of him."
"What about provenance?"
"As I said, you're a collector."
"Sherlock, if I'm claiming to be a doctor, even a top-notch consultant isn't going to have the kind of money to have bought this sort of stuff. And I'm pretty sure I don't look like a high-powered consultant."
"Good point," I said. "Come to think of it, Gruner's a crook. Therefore, it's probably best if you are as well, he'll be happier dealing with that. So you are going to be a man who has had certain dealings with an antiquities smuggling gang, has 'collected' things for them from China on occasions."
"You mean you want me to pretend to be General Shan's front man?"
"Something like that, yes."
"Do I look like a crook?"
"No, which is fairly useful for a front man. You phone Gruner now, he's sure to be willing to see you, he's an obsessive collector. But make sure it's not till this evening, eight-thirty if possible. I always prefer to carry out burglaries when 'Coronation Street' is on, the little old ladies are more likely to be distracted."
John made the call and then sat back down.
"I suppose I'd better do some more cramming," he said, reluctantly. "You said you had Gruner's own book, I ought at least to glance at that."
He's too conscientious sometimes. I had my own reason for not wanting him to read it, and I saw a handy way of ensuring he didn't.
"OK," I said, "The book's here, but I'll need the sitting room shortly for an experiment, and it'll be noisy and messy. So I suggest you go up and read in your old bedroom."
I went up half an hour later, and he was out cold on the bed, Gruner's book tumbled from his hand. John's an extraordinary man in many ways, but he's really not up to all-nighters anymore. I watched him for a while. He looked...it doesn't matter how he looked, or what I felt. All that matters is the work, and I was now confident he wasn't going to be up to speed on Gruner's research.
I woke John up late in the afternoon - enough time for him to get organised for the trip out, but not enough for him to get cold feet. And then I sent him on his way with the saucer. John believed, or at least hoped, that he could distract the Baron for long enough to allow me to complete the burglary and leave quietly. I was 99% sure he couldn't, especially since he hadn't read Gruner's book, and so would probably come off as implausibly ignorant. Which meant that Gruner would have a chance to come and attack me and Kitty, which meant John would have a cast-iron excuse to give Gruner the beating he so clearly deserved. I'd get the book, John would get the justified violence he needs every now and then to satiate him, without damaging me, and Gruner would get what he had coming to him. 'Result', as the more moronic among you might say. As long as the saucer didn't get broken, because then I'd have to resort to blackmailing my own client.
Almost as soon as John had gone, I headed off. I was meeting Kitty Winter at 221B in 20 minutes, which gave me just time enough to get to Queen Anne Street and back, because I needed to break into John's flat. Well, technically it wasn't breaking in, because I'd picked his pockets for the keys on his way out. He's a bit wary of letting me go to his flat now, so I thought it easier not to ask.
I wanted one of John's woolly hats and scarf to wear for when I carried out my burglary. In theory, any hat would do to disguise the bandage on my head, but a stupid-looking one would be best, and John's hats are invariably stupid-looking, especially when worn by me. You see me out normally, you might think I'm mad, bad, and dangerous to know. You see me out in one of John's woolly hats and you think I'd mad, sad, and tedious to know. Your eyes automatically avert themselves, in case I catch your gaze and start talking to you. And if you did try and give an description of me, it would just be 'a tall thin man, with a stupid hat on" which isn't much help to the police.
It may occur to the slightly more logical among you that there's no reason why I couldn't buy such a hat for myself, and keep it handy at 221B, suitably concealed. The less logical among you will understand why I preferred one of John's hats, and why I had to remember to give it back to him at the end of the evening. It was all right for tonight, there was nothing I needed to think clearly about, and he'd be there anyhow. But I can't keep things of John's about at 221B, especially not things he's worn. It's...unhelpful. One of the things I was going to have to make sure after tonight, was that John and all his possessions were safely back at Queen Anne Street where they belonged. Or by tomorrow lunchtime, at least. I'd let him stay for too long already as it was. Too long for both of us.
If you have so little self-esteem that you've read this far, even though you know you're going to be justifiably insulted about your inadequate brains, let me warn you now. Do. Not. Pity. Me. Because you know what I'll do, if you start to pity me? Simple. I'll stop this recording, so you won't find out the end of the story. Do we understand one another? Good. Then I'll continue.
I collected a suitably ridiculous woolly hat from John's flat – it was all quiet there, since his flatmate had had an unexpected offer of a free meal at Angelo's that evening - and left a little present for him to find later. John's sense of smell is nothing like as sensitive as mine, so it wouldn't bother him that I'd been wearing his clothes. He's more visually stimulated, so what I left, under a pile of his magazines in the living room, were some photographs of me. He normally has a clear-up every couple of weeks, just before the recycling's due, so he'd find them then. Of course, it was just possible that the current Australian – Jilli, I believe her name is - was more tidy than her predecessors and might find them first. But it wouldn't do any harm to remind her that John was just her gay best friend.
When I got back to 221B, I found Kitty Winter, there, as instructed. Also as instructed, she was not so wasted as to be useless. Nevertheless, it was easy for me to spot that she had a syringe lurking in her coat. I thought I knew why she had it. I couldn't have been more wrong.
We got a cab out to what John described as the 'beautiful house and grounds ' of Vernon Lodge, though in fact it was a huge Victorian architectural nightmare, with turrets at its corners. The house was well-protected against burglars: security locks, mortice window bolts and the like, but I still got in easily...by using techniques which I will be happy to reveal if you pay me sufficiently large sums of money. Then Kitty led me to the inner study, and pointed me to the bureau. I started to ransack it, carefully not being quite as quiet as I could be. Kitty was standing around nervously, fiddling with the syringe, which she'd now got half-out of her pocket. I'd realised by now that I hadn't got her plan quite right first time. She hadn't just brought it with her in case she needed a fix. She was going to take the heroin, probably enough for an overdose, and then she was going to collapse and die in Gruner's house. Not a bad plan, I couldn't help feeling, it might give even Violet de Merville pause for thought.
I was deliberately taking far too long finding the book, which would have terrified Kitty if she wasn't obviously angling for a confrontation with the Baron as well. So we both pretended that we were in a hurry, while surreptitiously waiting for John's disguise to be penetrated. I was just getting concerned that he'd prepped too well, when I heard Gruner's voice say, rather too loudly: 
"So tell me a little about the Northern Wei dynasty and its place in the history of ceramics.”
I couldn't hear John's words clearly, just his fake angry tone (that's one I know particularly well), and then Gruner was yelling about me, and scrabbling around for something. Time for a move, I thought and dropped the saucer I'd brought with me on a handy table, from high enough up that it broke. It was a cheap thing from home, and I suspected that the sound was subtly different from breaking a fine piece of Chinese porcelain - how I wish I'd been in a position to check - but it was enough. The Baron came rushing into the room, I moved swiftly away from him, and Kitty Winter, with far more co-ordination than I'd have expected, squirted the syringe in his face. From the screaming, I gathered that it was something rather more corrosive than heroin. More like sulphuric acid. She dropped the syringe and ran past me. I picked it up carefully, checked that it was indeed concentrated sulphuric acid, and then wondered if it would be correct burglar's etiquette just to leave the Baron in agony where he was.
At this point, some smartarse may point out that a syringe full of sulphuric acid and a syringe full of heroin do not look anything like one another, and I should have realised that right from the start. To which my reply is: Piss off and read Agatha Christie! Or write something earnest about unreliable narrators. The CPS believed my story (with a lot of nudging from Sir James Damery), so you can as well.
I would actually have buggered off at that point, but John had followed after Gruner – fortunately not quickly enough to be in any danger – and was now in caring doctor mode, doing his best to rinse the acid off the Baron's disfigured face. I decided I had to stay and help him, because one of the things I've now learned is never to leave John behind in the mess of someone else's crime. I thought it was funny when I first knew him, his getting an ASBO for the spray painting Raz had done. Then I saw him on the day he was going to court, straight-backed, and dressed up in a suit, and miserable beyond belief, because inside his head, he's still a soldier and never a criminal. I got him off that time, and I've made sure he's never been in that kind of situation again. I still don't understand why the ASBO meant so much to him, when he is prepared to kill someone with an illegally-held handgun if necessary. (I mean, of course, that strictly hypothetically, he would be prepared to kill someone). But the thing about moral compasses, like real ones, is that even the best of them don't point to true north, but magnetic north, and you have to make certain allowances for that. (This paragraph now contains not just a digression, but figurative language – you begin to understand the deleterious effect associating with John has had on my logical processes?)
Eventually the paramedics turned up, and then the police. I gave them a brief and mostly accurate outline of what had happened, and then told John to meet me back at 221B the next morning. I suspected he'd end up going along to the hospital to make sure Gruner was OK, and maybe after that need to go out and have a drink with someone, unwind. John's not squeamish, but seeing someone's face half-burnt away is enough to make anyone feel traumatised.
Anyone normal that is. I went back to 221B with Gruner's black book. If I felt exhausted, and even a bit shaky, that was just because I hadn't been out much in the last few days. But however rough I felt, there was still work to be done.
When I looked through Gruner's little book of women, I felt a momentary qualm. The stuff was just too tame. When the tabloids and even the broadsheets, never mind the net, are full of the sex lives of the famous, what's shocking about a man cataloguing every partner he's ever had? Especially since Baron Gruner's activities seemed to be a lot blander than, say, Max Mosley's. But then I got to the last entry, about Kitty Winter. She looked a lot better before she'd taken to drugs, but that wasn't what caught my attention. What did was what should have occurred to me a long time ago. Dates.
John turned up next morning, and found Sir James Damery collecting the book. And the saucer, which I had fortunately thought to collect before the police took it as evidence.
"Remember," I told Damery, "when someone shows this to Ms de Merville, the key thing is in the last profile, and the date when the Baron finished with Kitty Winter."
"Thank you," Damery said, "My client will be eternally grateful to you."
"Just until his cheque's cleared is long enough for me," I replied.
"What I should do with the book afterwards?" he asked.
"It's a foul book," I said solemnly. "Not even the gutter press could put together something so awful. You should destroy it."
"Quite right," he said, and shaking my hand, he left. John, who is rather more used to me, just folded his arms, and once Damery had gone, asked: "Photocopied?"
"Scanned," I said. "High quality images. Once I've removed some of the identifying details of the women, I think the editors of the Evil Gruner website will be delighted to have copies."
"You're impossible," he said. "Especially when the guy's not got much of a face left."
"Some people say you shouldn't kick a man when he's down. I say that's when he's most convenient for your feet."
John smirked, and then he was silent for a moment.
"I'm sorry I didn't manage to keep the Baron occupied for long enough that you could make your getaway," he said at last, and for once I wasn't sure whether he meant it or not. Associating with me has made him better at concealing his feelings. Some of his feelings.
"It was my fault for being too slow and too noisy," I said. "And for not realising what Kitty Winter was going to do." I'm less good at concealing my feelings from him now, and I could see him process the information.
"Can you really say he didn't deserve it?" I added. "He's killed a number of people, and he's a bloody boring writer on ceramics."
John smiled. "So what next?"
I smiled back, and he rolled his eyes.
"I meant on the case," he said firmly. "I saw the Baron last night in hospital. His face was like-"
"Don't try and describe it," I said, trying to sound pained by the thought of the Baron's face, and not John's descriptive powers. "But it wouldn't end the marriage. Women of the De Merville type don't act like that. She would love him even more as a disfigured martyr."
"Thank God, men aren't like that," said John, with a surprisingly cheeky grin. "But do you really think showing Violet de Merville the book will put her off, then?"
"I think one bit will," I said. "Violet de Merville may not care about most of Gruner's past partners, but he only broke up finally with Kitty in February of this year."
"The series of 'The Rich are Different' when she met him was filmed last October. The Baron with his face half-destroyed, fine by her. The Baron destroying and murdering other women, she can probably also cope with. Him two-timing her when they were dating, more than a bit not good, I suspect. But we shall see. Now, unless there was anything further you wanted to say..."
Three days later the 3 am website announced that Violet de Merville had broken off her engagement to the 'now distinctly rough looking' Adalbert Gruner and had been seen out clubbing with a minor royal. He hadn't been on my list of possible clients, but his father had been; I'd been wrong about the paternal interest bit after all. The Kingston Guardian website, meanwhile, reported that Kitty Winter, the main suspect in a "horrifying acid attack on Kingston man" had not yet been traced. She never was. Perhaps she died (people do, especially heroin addicts), perhaps she changed her name, perhaps she is even now undergoing rehab in some particularly boring bit of the North Ayrshire countryside. Who amongst us - other than me, of course – can tell?
So to sum up – as Sir James Damery would so tediously say – what was the result of the case? The Baron got disfigured. My illustrious client, or at least his son, ended up with Violet de Merville. I'd say the Baron came off best. He only got his face burnt away, but being in love, especially with Violet de Merville, would be like having the guts burnt out of you. Yes, that's a simile, well spotted. God, it's painful imagining you trying to identify logical inconsistencies in my account, your mind's not designed for it.
As for me, I got a decent sum of money, no criminal charges and a lot of sex with John, so you can say I came off best. Which isn't surprising, really. I'm Sherlock Holmes and I'm a winner. Whereas, if you've had the time and energy to read all this way, you're almost certainly a loser. But this is the end of the story anyhow, because I'm bored now with telling it, so stop bothering me, and PISS OFF! 



( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 25th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
loved the moral compass pointing to magnetic north, "piss off and read Agatha Christie", Sherlock not being able to keep things of John's at 221b, timing burglaries to coincide with Coronation Street and much else besides...

Feb. 27th, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC)
It was great fun technically trying to see how much of ACD's original I could keep in and explain away (8.30 pm at Baron Gruner's is there in the original story, for example). Though Warriorbot had to point out firmly where my dialogue sounded too old-fashioned.

But I still think any story where ACD had a happy ending after the villain has had his face half-burnt off with acid suggests that it's not just this Sherlock's moral compass that's a bit skew-whiff.
Feb. 27th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
Do. Not. Pity. Me.

No, dear. I hope you have another excuse case soon.

I didn't actually have time or energy, but I was laughing too much to stop reading.
Feb. 27th, 2011 05:14 pm (UTC)
I don't like to think what happens to anyone other than Mrs Hudson who calls Sherlock 'dear'. But I have got to stop channeling that voice now, because writing it comes far too easily, and I really do not want to discover how much of an inner Obnoxious Sherlock I naturally possess.
Feb. 27th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Hm, you think he knows where I live?

You can channel Obnoxious Sherlock any time as far as I'm concerned, though I can see why it might be a bit worrying. He's far more entertaining than the cuddly clone.
Feb. 27th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I love being insulted by Sherlock in this way! Thank you for writing this and filling my heart's desire! And with sex too!! XD
Feb. 27th, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it, because I always worry that I make Sherlock too harsh and not cuddly enough for most people's tastes. But when I read the ACD story and saw the Holmes there being so pompous and Edwardian, I immediately got a particularly ranting version of Sherlock's voice in my head. And ACD's original has all these weird spaces in it - John not living at 221B and the Turkish baths, and Sherlock concealing the fact he's not injured - so that it was just begging for some slash to be smuggled in. Watson even says in the original: 'I am here to be used, Holmes', which I couldn't resist keeping. In fact, half the dialogue's still nicked from ACD, even if I do make him responsible for John's more embarrassing attempts at creative writing.
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Feb. 28th, 2011 09:31 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed this - I do sometimes wonder if I'm alienating my readership almost as successfully as Sherlock, so it's encouraging to know that some people like this kind of stuff. But aside from not wanting to channel Obnoxious Sherlock too much, I'm not sure I could write much more of him without the joke wearing thin, and the implicit tragedy coming out more fully. Sherlock in this story is a monster, but he's a wounded monster, though the wounds are, of course, self-inflicted. He's refused a meaningful relationship with John because that would make him too ordinary, and he hates the rest of us because we haven't made that choice. More than a bit not good, all in all - and I'm too sentimental to want to write many fics without a happy ending.
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Mar. 1st, 2011 09:39 am (UTC)
I admit I wrote this as very black comedy, verging on tragedy, once I had the ACD plot points of John having moved out of 221B, and the obsessive love/lust/hate of the Baron Gruner plot for cynical!Sherlock to react against. I've played with the idea before of Sherlock resisting how he feels towards John, even when he's in a sexual relationship with him (in Captain of the Ship). This was just ramping up the conflict between Sherlock's love and his ego one notch further. As to which side of him wins out - if I can read ACD with slash goggles on, I can hardly complain if you choose to read my work with rose-tinted specs and find a happy ending. (Though Sherlock, of course, would probably comment that romantic heroes don't exist, and if they did, he wouldn't be one).
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Mar. 4th, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
I have never been so happy to have been insulted repeatedly by a work of fiction. The comments about aversion therapy and John's stupid hats were some of my favorite bits. Very well done. This brightened my day--which had had too many idiots in it.
Mar. 4th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
It's both exhilarating and slightly terrifying to try and channel Sherlock in this way, because you come out with the sort of things you should never, ever say in real life. But some of ACD's original dialogue in this story just set itself up to be punctured by BBC!Sherlock.
Mar. 4th, 2011 03:58 am (UTC)
This was fabulous. Loved the style, Sherlock's voice is sharp and so funny. What a piece of work. :) I enjoyed the drama and especially his obsessive relationship with John. What a pair. :)
Mar. 4th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
This was definitely an exercise in seeing just how warped I could make Sherlock (and John's relationship with him) and still keep it funny.
Mar. 4th, 2011 06:38 am (UTC)
You've channeled him well. He's not blind to the fact that we are all perverted, slow witted losers.
And this is so far the only time I've had both my F1 fandom and my Sherlock fandom cross paths. The reference to Max Mosley puts you tops in my book. I'll cautiously suggest that I maybe the the only American who caught that.
Mar. 4th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
Max Mosley's behaviour was a big scandal in the UK, so I thought at least some readers might get the point (a lot of my references are probably quite UK specific). It's when you have cases like Mosley's that you realise how vast a gap there is between modern sexual morality and that of the early twentieth century, when ACD was writing. How do you update the concept of a man (Gruner) who is so villainous that he keeps a list of his sexual conquests, when even BDSM is becoming socially acceptable?
Mar. 4th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Damn brilliant writing, loved it from start to finish. Excellent case fic, which I imagine is harder than it looks to write...
Mar. 4th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
It's not the first one of ACD's stories I have systematically ripped off: I've also reworked The Three Garridebs and A Case of Identity. Some of the ACD stories still work very well, and some chunks I can keep in almost as is, but some do need a lot of changing. The two modern aspects that are really tricky to work round are the availability of information on the internet and the changes to expectations of women (half the plots involving marriage fall down imemdiately).
Mar. 4th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
What a fascinating update - I really enjoyed seeing how each canon bit got reexamined and modernized.

But when I've got a case on, I can cope with having John around without him driving me completely insane with lust or moral improvement. Then the case ends, and I have to get him out of my life - while I still have one - and we're back to square one again. Oh, Sherlock, you are the most priceless idiot.
Mar. 4th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Loved the use of words from the actual story. Loved the reference to Max Mosley. (I'm American too; my husband is a car nut.) Loved the snark and black humor. Also, if Sherlock didn't want us to speculate about his sex life, he shouldn't mention it.

I don't see John's living elsewhere as darkly as you do. If he lived at 221B, they might both be happier and more fulfilled, in a sense, but Sherlock's likely to take over, chew him up, and spit him out. Sherlock would want John's attention and emotional involvement 24/7 without leaving room for John to unwind or get away from it.
Mar. 5th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
Really enjoyed this update. Thanks for sharing!

Favorites lines:
"I'm sorry," I added, "I realise this is distressing for you." That's one of the handy phrases that John has taught me, for when I want to demonstrate my commitment to client care.

Maybe the capacity to talk sentimental garbage about being 'tempted and used and ruined and thrown into the refuse heap' is the last brain function to go.
Mar. 6th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Many of the more formal or sentimental statements are ripped bodily from the original dialogue and then I just have to imagine how BBC!Sherlock would respond. All too often, by kicking Sir Arthur when he's down.
Mar. 5th, 2011 08:03 am (UTC)
I love this.

I watched him for a while. He looked...it doesn't matter how he looked, or what I felt. All that matters is the work

John looks adorable; Sherlock knows if he admitted it to himself, he'd be too in love for the distance he needs. Sad, but true.

You know, I was *positive* that Chinese saucer was going to get broken.

You see me out normally, you might think I'm mad, bad, and dangerous to know. You see me out in one of John's woolly hats and you think I'd mad, sad, and tedious to know.

I love it that, despite never having seen John wearing a hat on the show, I feel like I know exactly what his hat would look like. :-)

This has been great - funny, a bit cruel, and entertaining all the way through. I wouldn't like to read only this version of Sherlock all the time, but for this story, he was perfect.
Mar. 6th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it - I wouldn't want to write this Sherlock all the time, but as a one-off it was fun. But I also wanted, in the midst of all Sherlock's aggression, to have that one scene where he can't help revealing how much he cares about John, even as he refuses to let us know the details.

As regards the saucer: I work in a museum - I can happily have characters lose half their faces, but it would distress me to write fic in which historic objects get damaged. The woolly hat was inspired by this pic of Martin Freeman.
Mar. 6th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness that HAT!!! Oh bless!!! With the MATCHING SCARF!!! I really hope someone dear to him knitted that.

Well, the guy wasn't very NICE; he should be happy he has half left!
Mar. 13th, 2011 08:52 am (UTC)
This was pure and utter genius! You have his voice and arrogance down so perfectly. I also like how you worked in John moving, without it having to be some dramatic nonsense. And Sherlock, I don't mind having my intelligence insulted by you, because coming from you it's a compliment.
Aug. 7th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
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