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The Sword in the Something

BBC Sherlock

Rating 12 (frankly alarming effects of fiction)

Crack metafic. Blooms84 wrote a hilarious fic Beta Call, in which Mrs Hudson writes RPF. She also made the rash comment that if I ever found her writing Merlin/Sherlock crossover, I should call an ambulance. This seemed more appropriate, somehow...

Mycroft sighed. It was fortunate that Greg’s texts were no longer monitored, because this one would doubtless have got the security analysts alarmed:

Dear My, please come home. Need helping beating Mrs Hudson. Love, Greg

It was alarming enough anyhow, because if Greg was playing Texas hold’em with Martha Hudson, he was probably going to lose his shirt, if not more. He phoned hastily.

“I’m on my way,” he told Greg, “but don’t rely on having a pair and remember to think before you fold, or you may get burned.”

“Is that today’s ironing instructions?” Greg asked with bemusement. “What’s going on, My?”

“Mrs Hudson is considerably better than you at poker,” Mycroft said, “so I don’t think much of your chances at beating her.” There was a long pause at the other end, followed by a groan.

“Sodding text correction,” Greg said at last. “What I meant to write is that I need help betaing her.”

It was Mycroft’s turn to groan.


He should have prevented Greg from ...no, preventing Greg from doing things was not an option. He should somehow have ensured that Greg did not end up betaing Sherlock RPF. In fact, he should not have allowed the tradition of fan fiction about his brother to develop. But he had had no idea how contagious the problem would be.

It had seemed harmless enough when he discovered that Mrs Hudson was not just imagining things about her tenants, but writing them down. Indeed, anything that discouraged her from the eminently rational decision to evict Sherlock from 221B was positive. And it was surely inevitable that an intelligent, mature woman would realise after a while that sexual magnetism was not restricted to men under forty.

Indeed, Mrs Hudson had proved to have an unexpected flair for describing certain aspects of Greg. And, Mycroft had to admit, it had come in handy occasionally, when he’d been stuck in hotel bedrooms in Moscow or Dallas, to find a few entertainingly novel fantasies about his husband available online. Refreshed the parts of him that other methods could not reach. His mistake had been, after a particularly irritating discussion with John Boehner, not only to re-read his favourite fic, but to venture to point out a minor inaccuracy about the precise texture of Greg’s skin.

The reply to his comment came up on LJ almost immediately:

And how would you know, dear?


“My entire team now thinks I read fanfic about myself,” Greg groaned on Mycroft’s return.

“Well, it has been the elephant in the chatroom for rather a long time,” Mycroft replied. “Maybe if you’d read some earlier, you would have realised the danger of announcing to your team how you’d got so hot and sweaty in your leathers when riding your motorbike down to Brighton last week.”

“That sort of story is just embarrassing,” Greg replied. “But there’s worrying stuff out there. There’s a whole bloody list dedicated to fics about me getting wounded. Like they enjoy the idea.”

“Ah, yes,” Mycroft said. “I have checked to ensure that the women concerned are not actually planning to inflict any injury on you. And that the more egregious writers have their internet access curtailed.” He was particularly cross with the author who had written that bizarre fic in which Greg was stabbed with a screwdriver; he suspected Greg wouldn’t be persuaded to do any DIY for months after that.

“Oh, well,” Greg said, shrugging. “I’m sure they’ll get bored with the idea of writing this RPF stuff in a week or two.”


“You any good on punctuation, My?” Greg asked six months later.

“I’m happy to check through any of your reports, if you need help,” Mycroft said. He didn’t want Greg arrested for criminal misuse of commas, even if it would be justified.

“No, it’s actually...never mind,” Greg replied, with a slightly shifty look in his normal candid eyes (brown and lustrous, of course, deep pools one could lose oneself in). “I can find someone else to help.”


A few days work by GCHQ’s specialist textual analysts established to Mycroft’s satisfaction that his husband was now writing fiction about Bradley James and Colin Morgan.  (He had also been briefed extensively on who Mr James and Mr Morgan were, and if they were a major security risk to the UK). Greg’s material was harmless enough, though he was slightly concerned that Mrs Hudson had been acting as a beta for him. Reciprocity, he was coming to learn, was seen as important in the world of fanfic writers.

Sure enough, it was not long before occasional requests for assistance on matters of police procedure were coming from Mrs Hudson to Greg. Still, it was not as if there were not many other betas available for the fics churned out - at a distinctly alarming rate - from 221A. The situation was still reasonably under control, Mycroft thought.


“Why has Mrs Hudson got you betaing stories?” Mycroft demanded when he got home. “Surely she has her own friends for that?”

“I think Molly got a bit shocked by her last one – she seemed worried about the cherries, said it had put her off her food. And things are rather tense between Martha and Sally at the moment. They had a bit of an argument, I gather.”

“Not on bondage again?”

“No. It was about, um, how refractory periods change with age.”

Mycroft sighed. The insensitivity of some thirty-year-olds.

“Surely Anthea can help out then,” he protested. “She does, after all, have lots of free time.”

“She’s very busy with her new project, translating some of her own fics.”

“Translating them?”

“Into Persian, she said.”

Take that, President Ahmadinejad, thought Mycroft triumphantly.

“Besides,” Greg added, “Martha thought I would be able to help, because it’s crossover fic.”

“Do I dare ask?”

“Sherlock/Merlin,” Greg said, shamefaced.

“Oh, dear. How does that even work?” Mycroft found his mind almost unwillingly run over the possibilities. “Presumably with John as Arthur and Sherlock as Merlin. A travesty of the Middle Ages, but no more so than the TV series, I suppose. It does make Malory seem almost sane.” He smiled at Greg. “So why does Arthur - or rather John - take his shirt off on this occasion?”

“The thing is,” Greg said nervously, “Martha’s trying something a bit different.”

“Not authenticity, I hope,” Mycroft says. “The fans would never stand for that. Still, if she wants a few Latin tags to stick in, I might be able to help.” It was, perhaps, a chance to use all the dodgy bits of Martial that he’d spent his adolescence memorising.

“It’s not Arthur/Merlin.”

“Don’t tell me she’s writing het?” Really, the things some people could imagine nowadays.

“No. It’s John as Arthur, you were right about that, but...but you know that there’s a dragon in the series, hidden in the caves under Camelot?”


“Martha’s fic has Sherlock as the dragon. It was from a prompt.”

“Let me get this clear,” Mycroft said. “There are people who believe that a relationship between John and a talking dragon is sexy?”

“I...she really just wants me to check the spelling and grammar, that’s the main thing,” said Greg. “Only you know me and pronouns don’t get on.”

“Pronouns and I.” Mycroft replied automatically. “I’m sorry, Greg, but there are limits. Aesthetic limits.” He swept out of the room, trying to look like a man appalled by the very idea of sexualised dragons.


He blamed his school, of course. Comparative philology lessons might have seemed a good way of stretching the brightest boys, but teaching Old English to a bunch of hormonal teenage males was bound to end in disaster. As he dug out his old copy of Beowulf – it fell open at the key passage - he tried to persuade himself that he was merely appreciating the effects of alliteration, the skill with which the poet described Beowulf’s final battle. There was nothing at all erotic about an underground encounter: man and sword against a powerful and crafty beast. It was merely the drama of the story that had knotted his stomach every time he began to scan the lines, that still did even now.


Though it was a good job, he realised a little later, that no-one would ever write RPF about him.

Notes: There is indeed a Wounded Lestrade recs list and the screwdriver stabbing is from my own The Adventure of the Three Bedirrags. The cherries fic that alarmed Molly may bear a certain resemblance to Blooms84's Cherry's Story.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 4th, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
I thought I recognized that cherry reference!

this fic made me literally cry with laughter - thank you very much. I loved the cross-purposed exchange about poker and ironing in particular, and “Let me get this clear,” Mycroft said. “There are people who believe that a relationship between John and a talking dragon is sexy?”
Dec. 8th, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Once you start a crack fic, there is always a way of shovelling an irrelevant joke in, and as Blooms84 is the originator of the concept of ironing porn, that one seemed only appropriate. Though I do feel slightly guilty at giving Mycroft a dragon kink (is that better or worse than dinosaurs?)
Dec. 4th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this - the image of GCHQ researching Colin and Bradley is just too funny. :-)

Dec. 8th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
I somehow feel that if Mycroft could just work out a way to monetise slash writing, all Britain's economic problems would be solved. As well as using it to bring down foreign governments.("If you develop nuclear weapons, President Ahmadinejad, we may be forced to deploy Sherlock spoilers throughout Iran").
Dec. 5th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
ROFLOL! Well done. Bonus kudos for mentioning the wounded!Lestrade recs list. *is hysterical*
Dec. 8th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
You realise how warped fanfic has made us when you suddenly see something like the Wounded Lestrade list from the outside. Even more worryingly, Bloomie told me there is a Ways to Kill Lestrade Tumblr. (Fortunately it appears to be updated only rarely, because that would be horrible...)
Dec. 8th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
LOL! Then again, whumpage-for-heroism is as old as the Epic of Gilgamesh. ;)
Dec. 6th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
oh Mycroft you only wish you were safe from slashfans
*cackles madly* *Slow clap*

My face: laugh
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )