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The Remarkable Worm

BBC Sherlock fic

Rating 12 (gen, mild swearing and adult situations)

Summary: A French decathlete's had a breakdown, but Sherlock has a match-box that may explain it all.

Inspired by one of the cases mentioned in The Sign of Three.

Betaed by Small Hobbit.


The thing about Sherlock is that when he says something is "baffling" or "inexplicable," that often just means that he's already worked out 90% of what's happened, but is unduly bothered by the remaining 10% of the puzzle that still doesn't fit.Collapse )

221B: Practice makes Perfect

BBC Sherlock

Rating: 12 (implied het)

Minor spoilers for Series 3


Sarah is surprised to get a phone call about John after all this time, but the woman who contacts her is insistent.

"I believe you previously employed him as a locum," she says. "We're thinking of taking him on, so I need to ask how you'd rate his performance."

"Um..."

"Would you say it was excellent, good, adequate or unsatisfactory?"

Their form almost certainly doesn't have a tick-box for Falls asleep at work, but brilliant if you're attacked by Chinese gangsters.

"Adequate," Sarah says firmly.

"And his bedside manner?"

We never got quite as far as my bed, but I suspect his performance there would have been excellent.

"Adequate," Sarah says. "No, good. He gets on well with people."

"So he's able to cope with difficult colleagues?"

"Yes, excellent at that."

"I did wonder about problems in his last job. Dr Watson said the man he worked for had gone away unexpectedly..."

"I heard about it," Sarah says. "John was working privately with a consultant. I think he was very much appreciated."

"So overall, you'd recommend Dr Watson?"

"Definitely." Though Sarah supposes she should give them some warning. "John's been a soldier as well, so he's quite glamorous in his own quiet way. You should possibly keep him away from any staff at your practice who are feeling a bit bored."
A lot of people I follow on Tumbler, LJ etc seem to be either baffled or upset about the fact that Series 4 of Sherlock may include not only Mary but also the Watsons' baby and feel that this is somehow going to change the dynamic of the show completely, and we're going to have nothing but Parent!Lock etc. I think what Series 3 and His Last Vow in particular showed very well is that Moffat and Gatiss like taking the formal outlines of an ACD story and then twisting the meaning of it substantially by updating the background. With that and the knowledge that they've already planned both Series 4 and Series 5, this is my speculation as to what they might possibly be going to do.

I start with the assumption that they're not going to kill either Mary or the baby off in childbirth. Given how pregnant she's supposed to be by the end of His Last Vow (probably about 8 months if the wedding was in May) and even allowing for the writers' completely hopeless chronology, I don't think that leaves them sufficient time to get enough drama out of her character after the big revelations of His Last Vow. On the other hand, I'm pretty certain that Mary is eventually going to be killed off, because she is in ACD. As to what they're going to do meanwhile, I want to go back to the start of one of the lesser known ACD stories: The Boscombe Valley Mystery.



We were seated at breakfast one morning, my wife and I, when the maid brought in a telegram. It was from Sherlock Holmes and ran in this way:

Have you a couple of days to spare? Have just been wired for from the west of England in connection with Boscombe Valley tragedy. Shall be glad if you will come with me. Air and scenery perfect. Leave Paddington by the 11:15.

“What do you say, dear?” said my wife, looking across at me. “Will you go?”

“I really don’t know what to say. I have a fairly long list at present.”

“Oh, Anstruther would do your work for you. You have been looking a little pale lately. I think that the change would do you good, and you are always so interested in Mr. Sherlock Holmes’s cases.”

“I should be ungrateful if I were not, seeing what I gained through one of them,” I answered. “But if I am to go, I must pack at once, for I have only half an hour.”




There you have a picture of the ideal detective's companion's wife in Victorian times. ACD Mary not only doesn't resent Holmes' call on her husband's time, she actively supports it. The question is, how do you update such a dynamic to the twenty-first century without either making Mary look a complete doormat or John seem a negligent husband?

One ingenious answer is that you have Mary as grateful to Sherlock. What John has ended up with is a wife who, given her back story, cannot justifiably complain about anything John or Sherlock get up to henceforward. Mary also knows that John needs to run into danger periodically if he's not to start his version of "looking a little pale", but she isn't going to come along with him for his adventures now for two reasons. One is because she's given her old life up and the other is because she's got the baby to look after. Even she probably realises that storming a crack den while breastfeeding is not recommended.

I think Series 3 sets up Mrs Holmes as a possible role model for Mary: a woman who was brilliant at her original career, but who has chosen to do something different with her life and stay at home with her children. I think it's quite feasible that Mary will in fact go back to working as a nurse after the baby, especially since she's conveniently already in a part-time job. But she's through with being a spy/assassin. Will she find being a doctor's wife boring? At times, but it's a decision she's chosen to make: she can't complain about it. And what will make it easier is that John, in time, will probably manage to romanticise her past life in his own mind (as Mr Holmes does with Mrs Holmes). John will admire Mary for her bravery, resourcefulness and shooting skills and forget the murky details of her past crimes.

So I think it's quite possible that in Series 4 we will get John and Sherlock off solving crimes while Mary stays at home with Baby Watson. I think we'll also have a few scenes of hopeless/wonderful New Dad!John and Uncle!Sherlock and possibly Mary coming up with one or two useful suggestions for cases (as Sarah did in The Blind Banker). But she'll probably be mostly on the sidelines in a way that seems vaguely plausible. And then I think that she'll get killed off in Series 5, when we've got used to her, so we can have some more grieving John.

What about Baby Watson at that point, or rather toddler/young child Watson, if they're keeping very roughly to real-time chronology? A lot of fanfics seem to assume that John Watson would be the world's most devoted dad, but I see absolutely no sign of that in canon. BBC!Watson is a man who, when Sherlock has just drugged his pregnant wife, doesn't feel he has to stay with her to ensure their unborn child's OK. Instead, he chooses to go off with Sherlock on a mission that may end up with them both dead or in prison. In other words, John's priorities are still massively skewed towards adventure and away from domesticity.

So what I think will happen is that if Mary dies, those around John will realise that he's just not single parent material. There's no obvious family to take over. Mary is an "orphan"; one or both of John's parents are presumably alive but he's not close to them (and they may be elderly). Harry isn't suitable to rear a child. What I think might therefore plausibly happen in such a situation is that one of John's friends will make an informal offer to bring up/be the main caregiver for Miss Watson. The obvious person to do this would be Molly (with or without Greg's assistance). That would allow John to move back into Baker Street, but still see his daughter frequently, without having to worry about childcare if he needs to rush off with Sherlock to the West Country to help find a stolen racehorse. It also allows the writers to have some comic John and Sherlock plus adorable child scenes without either making John and Sherlock into an official couple or showing them as hopelessly negligent.

Anyhow, those are my guesses and I'm sticking to them – until someone comes up with a better hypothesis in the comments. Fire away!
 

221B: The Tragedy at Leinster Gardens

BBC Sherlock

Rating 12 (major character death)

Spoilers for His Last Vow

It's obvious to DI Dimmock what's happened.Collapse )

221B: Korean Affairs

BBC Sherlock
Rating 12 (gen, deviousness)
Spoilers for 3.01 (The Empty Hearse)

Summary: It's Bond Air all over again.Collapse )

Since there have been lots of suggestions about what might happen in the last episode of Sherlock tomorrow, here are mine, based on nothing more than a brief re-reading of "Charles Augustus Milverton", rather too much time on Tumblr in the last few days seeing other people's theories, and then mixing them up together in my head to produce shiny new patterns.

In ACD's Sign of Four, when Dr Watson is rhapsodizing about Mary Morstan, Holmes scolds him for his biased judgement, and says:

"I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money, and the most repellent man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor. "

Meanwhile, at the end of "Charles Augustus Milverton", Milverton being shot by a woman whom he has ruined after a failed blackmail attempt (a killing which takes place while Holmes and Watson have broken into his house to try and help another of Milverton's victims). The unnamed woman is a widow, whose husband has died of grief after hearing about his wife's past.

Several people have pointed out that one of the things Sherlock sees when looking at Mary is the word "liar". We also know that she's an orphan. My wild guess therefore is that Mary is a repentant and reformed criminal, who was in some way culpable for the death of her parents. Sherlock, who can consider a garrotter to be the best man he knows, wouldn't have a problem with that if he found out, and I suspect John would be prepared to forgive her past in practice.

But Mary isn't necessarily going to realise quite what unusual moral standards the two men have, and if it leaked to the papers that John Watson was married to a criminal it'd make a devastating scandal. Mary also strikes me as a woman with enough nerve to kill someone if she was desperate enough, and she's also potentially got access to John's gun. So I think a possible plot is that Mary kills Milverton while Sherlock and John are trying to retrieve blackmail material on someone else and that they then have to help her escape, possibly taking the blame themselves.  (This being Sherlock, there will probably be another three twists in the last five minutes, but it might be one of the plot points).

What I don't believe, meanwhile, is that Mycroft is going to get killed, as some of my friends are worrying. One, because Stephen Moffat is notoriously averse to killing off any of the heroes, as Doctor Who fans have been known to complain. And secondly, because Mark Gatiss is obviously enjoying playing Mycroft and presumably gets a say in the matter.
 

221B: Batgirls

BBC Sherlock
Rating 12 (non-explicit femslash)
No spoilers for Series 3

Notes: this was inspired by A Strange Adventure by fengirl88 and is a different take on the controversial opera described in that.



The advantage of working for Mycroft Holmes is that he often gets offered hospitality by his contacts, and when he doesn't want the latest treat, he passes it on to Anthea. And two free tickets to the opera means she can take Ella out somewhere; they've had to cut back recently, with their current financial situation.

The disadvantage is there's normally a reason why Mycroft doesn't want his gifts and Anthea's now realising what it is. ENO is less stuffy than Covent Garden and she'd thought Ella would enjoy Die Fledermaus. But she should have known that ENO and Strauss is a conceptual disaster waiting to happen.

Anthea's spotted Mycroft's pet policeman in the audience, so the director might yet get arrested for crimes against taste. And though she's cringing at every new revelation, Ella is surprisingly unruffled as she consults her programme at the interval.

"I see someone still loves Freud," Ella announces. "He's misunderstood him completely, of course, but that's probably the point."

"It is?"

"It's the director's vision that matters, everyone else just exists to serve his genius. A common pattern."

"We don't have to stay," Anthea says hastily, because she can sense where this is going.

"It's OK," Ella says more cheerfully, "but next time perhaps we should pick something ourselves, not just accept your boss's bribes."

The Adventure of the Sussex Hammer Pond

ACD Sherlock/Flanders and Swann crossover

Rating PG

Summary: Why does a strange case in a Sussex village leave Sherlock Holmes baffled?

For fengirl, with whom several months ago I discussed the possible existence of Sherlock/Flanders and Swann crossover fic.

"My dear Watson, your visit is opportune," Sherlock Holmes announced.Collapse )

For those who do not know the song inspiring this, it is Bedstead Men.

The Big Sleep

BBC Sherlock

Rating 12 (non-explicit slash)

This was inspired by Second Skin's Lestrade Lies and by Fengirl's Five Acts meme request for "sleeping and bedding themes". Her prompt reminded me how often in BBC Sherlock canon we see John Watson either asleep or just waking up.

Many thanks to Small Hobbit for betaing.

Set at the start of The Great Game.

Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man – Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder


There are doubtless meaner streets than those of Hoxton, now that gentrification is creeping in.Collapse )