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Inaction… and apparently a bit of grossness. sorry about that.

The last months, the last year really, I’ve been missing from writing.  There is always something going on in my head, I suppose, and even the occasional jot in the notebook, but I haven’t had much more than the occasional bit of emotional energy for it.  It had been something like four months since I last made a post on Lazarus Machine and a year now since anything on John’s Gamble.  I finally did add a chapter to the former during my vacation the other week, and have, in recent weeks, had a bit more heart and inspiration about it, but the energy isn’t quite there.  And then this week, I’ve been feeling physically ill on top of struggling with the emotional bits.

 

However, even when I’m not particularly writing, I do find myself still researching.  My literary interests have still been involved with Georgian/Regency/Victorian crime, and I am in the midst of Judith Flanders’ The Victorian City, which talks about Victorian London during Dickens’ life.  It covers a broad time period from the end of the Regency to the midst of Victoria’s reign, with all the daily street life detailed.  Of course, mostly what this leaves me with is “How did anyone survive at all?” because between how disgusting water was even when it wasn’t infected with cholera (I just saw that Matt Damon used toilet water for his ice bucket challenge to raise awareness about clean water around the world, which is kind of ridiculous because US toilet water is exactly as potable as tap water and unless you get it from the bowl and haven’t flushed for days, it doesn’t even compare to many places around the world), and the general attitude of the wealthy towards the poor (workhouses were meant to be miserable so people would work harder to stay out of them) and no concept of cleanliness — blood simply ran in the streets outside slaughterhouses, along with human and animal and vegetable waste… ugh, I just shudder.  No wonder miasma was thought to be the source of some diseases, because the stench had to be incredible.  And I haven’t even gotten to the chapter about prostitution yet. 

 

Anyway, I did have some exciting research distraction the other night.  I think I was reading a blog post about the Jane Austen era… it was an article about grave robbing, as I was suddenly needing to know how much an anatomist might pay for a stolen body to dissect (they can be quite expensive, I was surprised to find) and came across a name I’d glimpsed in something before, a Mr. (Joshua) Brookes.  He was mentioned regarding an incident at his anatomy school in Mayfair, but it wasn’t regarding the same incident that I’d seen before (love Google books).  So, of course, I was suddenly sunk deep in finding out about these things, including locating online copies of The Lancet from the era which mentioned him several times.

 

One of these incidents was that he bought a body from someone other than his usual body snatchers and since they were pissed about it, they left a very ripe body outside his home in Soho and another outside his work in Mayfair to be discovered by whosoever happened to walk by.  The discovery outside his home so upset the neighbors that they had to be dissuaded from giving Brookes a beating by the local constables.  The second incident involved a coachman knocking on his door, which was answered by a servant.  The coachman asked if the doctor would be interested in a fresh body and was told that he was.  So the coachman hauled a naked body in a sack around and as the doctor and servant started to kick the body down the stairs, it flailed and hollered, “I’m alive!”  Apparently, they were more afraid of the thought of the house being robbed than by a dead body waking up, and they dragged the man to the magistrate’s, where the man confessed only to being drunk on his trip into London, and then being made drunker still by someone else until he apparently passed out and woke up being shoved down the stairs.

 

Now, writing a Sherlock piece or two, I was quite interested in this man called Brookes, as it would so nicely coincide with Richard Brook from the show, and I found that his place of business was ridiculously close to where I’d previously chosen an address to house my final showdown.  I mean, there is a Brook St in Mayfair, so I could hardly not use that, and the location I picked later housed the royal Dr. Gull who, in certain theories, might have been Jack the Ripper (ie, From Hell follows that theory though it’s not as likely as most of the other theories).  My main problem with picking the location had been that at some point, the houses along Brook St. had been renumbered and I wasn’t certain when, so I wasn’t certain which house number to use.  Then I told myself, this is just a fan fiction and you’re being crazy.  🙂

 

At any rate, I was now in this state of mind, so I watched two movies that had been on my Netflix queue for a while, I Sell the Dead and Burke and Hare.  The first was interesting, but definitely took a supernatural turn I wasn’t quite expecting/interested in.  Burke and Hare was fairly good, considering that I’m sure it took liberties with making any of the involved parties sympathetic.  It starred Simon Pegg as Burke, so it couldn’t help but be a little light and silly, and I doubt that they were caught out due to early photographs, but the bit at the end showing Burke’s skeleton displayed in the university in Edinburgh is accurate.

 

And finally, today, due to being ill and not really having the energy to do anything outside of lay in bed and watch videos online, I watched several episodes of City of Vice, a 5 episode British series detailing the beginnings of the Bow Street Runners.  It follows Henry and John Fielding and their surprisingly nefarious attempts to start up a police force within London.  I say surprisingly nefarious not because the series shows them setting up a Lord to be robbed in order to gain them financial favor and a sponsor in the House of Lords, but because in the earliest incarnation of the Runners, they were operating illegally. 

 

This isn’t the first depiction I’ve run across describing the rather rocky beginnings of the British police forces.  In The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale, it describes the beginnings of things like undercover police work and how unfair and nefarious it was viewed by the general public.  In 1860, when the events in the book take place, it was seen as an invasion of privacy for a detective to come into one’s home, even if it is the scene of a kidnapping/murder and poke his nose into the family’s life.  Similarly, in City of Vice, the people seemed to view police as less law and order and more infringing upon the rights of free people.  Because apparently it is a right for people to do as they please regardless of the law?  There seemed to be a lot of laws but no real way to enforce them, especially if wealthy people enjoyed the illegal activity.  (I suppose that’s not terribly different in any time period.)  Even to start off the Bow Street Runners, the Fieldings were asking for a mere six men.  For all of London.

 

The series itself has some sound issues, being that they realistically portrayed the absolute din of the streets of London at the time, but because of that, you can’t always hear the dialogue, and on hulu, where I watched it, there were no subtitles available.  Still, the absolute filth, violence and debauchery of the era seemed to be accurately portrayed and the map overviews were awesome.  While it is much earlier than the era I’ve been researching, I find it incredibly interesting.

 

Still on my TBR list are Judith Flanders’ The Invention of Murder, which I’ve been stalking a while but haven’t made the purchase yet, and The Poisoner by Stephen Bates, and Shocking Bodies by Iwan Rhys Morus, which I found while looking for the one I was really thinking of, Shocked by David Casarett.  Not sure how many I will get around to reading, because I will eventually get squicked out by all this (much like the Cesarian in the first episode of The Knick, I am freaking horrified by C-sections) and I will eventually (hopefully soon!) finish Lazarus Machine and have less excuse for all this morbid research.  🙂

 

On one last, amusing note, City of Vice reminded me of something with their episodes on molly houses, places were gay and/or transvestite men would hang out.  I mention one in John’s Gamble and when I came across the term originally, I wondered if in putting in all the are-they-gay wink-wink-nudge-nudge bits, they picked Molly Hooper’s first name as a rather obscure reference to this term.  I swear, this would be the question I would forget to ask if I ever met any of them.  I mean, it could just be a common British name for a female, a variation of Mary which has always been an incredibly common name in English-speaking and many other languages, or the fact that I looked up the meaning and the first website said “uncertain, maybe bitter” and while I think they meant that the meaning was uncertain, it made me laugh at its aptness.  If they were going strictly Doyle, he seemed to prefer the name Violet.

 

Anyway, now that I’m not feeling like either 101 degrees or about 10 degrees, I suppose I ought to be off writing more than this blog post! 🙂

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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Writings

 

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Delete

I had another one of those writing days where I print out pages, cut them apart paragraph by paragraph, and sometimes line by line, and tape it together to try to make sense of it all.  I think I ended up moderately successful (finally) and have set aside the final read-through until tomorrow.  But this brings me to a lesson today.  Delete.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “kill your darlings” and it definitely felt that way today.  I had written and rewritten chapter 74 on Lazarus Machine a dozen times.  I had paragraphs I really liked but they didn’t seem to fit together.  I had two paragraphs I liked, but they said the same thing.  I wanted to mention this and that and the other thing, when, in the end, it all just really needed to go.  I had to delete things.

I’ve been stuck on this chapter for ages (mostly not working on the story at all because I was so frustrated with it) and what really sucks is that it’s not even a particularly important chapter!  I won’t say it is a filler chapter, but it kind of is.  The last chapter I posted ended with something of an exclamation mark, and this one is where the characters move into doing their own things.  Sherlock has his investigation and John has his medical work.

I swear, I can see the end of this story and the moves needed to get it there, but I’m just not putting in the work it takes to get it that final few steps.

At any rate, I managed to finally slice down the pages to a flowing, comprehensible chapter and not even feel the need to post things in my outtakes bin.  Yay!

On the other hand, I have only one more day left of my vacation and I am nowhere near close to accomplishing any sort of writing goal I had for myself.  It is April, and Camp NaNoWriMo has started.  Now, I’ve never managed to do anything during Camp, no matter what month.  This year, I told myself that I would take my week off and use NaNoWriMo principles to push forward in Lazarus Machine to try to at least draft through the end.  I was going to skip over where I had difficulties and press through the next chapters.  Easier to have a sloppy draft to work with than nothing.

I didn’t make that happen.  I didn’t say to myself every day that I was going to push myself to that goal.  I admit that.  I did try making myself sit down most days and focusing on it, but some days it was only successful for ten minutes, even if I was butt-in-chair for nine hours.  I am highly distractable these days.

Nothing was helped by immediately screwing up my previously reasonable sleep schedule and sleeping from about five in the morning until noon each day.  For pete’s sake.  This means that when I work at 7am on Tuesday, I will likely get no sleep at all.  Le sigh.  My own damn fault.  I’m just not a very structured individual, am I? 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Writings

 

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What the hell :)

I decided ‘what the hell’ and have continued posting my Gambling John story.  At this rate, I’ll quickly run out of finished story, (as I haven’t drafted the second half yet) but I’m not really concerned about that at the moment.  I just wanted a bit of something out there that makes me happy while so many other things were making me feel bad.

Anyway, I’ve posted up through chapter 7 now, so I’ll post 3-7 here to catch up.

Soon I’d better get something done on Lazarus Machine.  The villagers are restless 🙂

 

 

Mycroft’s Two Cents

 

Sherlock lounged in the chair facing Mycroft’s desk with the indifference of a recalcitrant student facing down a loathed headmaster.

“Brother, have you lost your mind?”  There was no need to question how Mycroft had found out about Sherlock’s little deal with John Watson.  He had spies everywhere that reported directly to him at all hours of the day and night.

“Hardly, Mycroft.  I simply arranged to get what I wanted.”

Mycroft Holmes’ thin lips tightened until they were nearly nonexistent.

“You’re going to track down a criminal with your newest illicit lover.  What happens when that extorter decides to turn his money-grubbing eye towards you?”

“Hardly a sound business practice for an extorter to choose me as a target.  It doesn’t matters to me if people talk; they do little else.”

“You may care when you’re thrown into prison for your indiscreet and indecent behavior.”

Sherlock scoffed, knowing Mycroft dangled enough nobles by their purse-strings to ensure Sherlock would never see time in prison no matter what he did.

“And you wonder why I worry constantly.”  The man looked sadly down at the little empty plate still perched on the edge of his desk from tea.

“Biscuits will only serve to pad your backside, Mycroft,” Sherlock lashed out impertinently.

“You’re no better than the malefactor for whom you’re searching, extorting intimacies from the victim,” Mycroft shot back.

The bright side to this conversation was that after Sherlock stormed out, Mycroft was free to ring for a servant to bring another slice of cake.

 

Baker Street

 

John stepped down from the carriage carefully.  He was healing well, regaining most of the strength in his leg, but it still sometimes weakened unpredictably.  His shoulder wound had healed better, despite the infection, but John attributed that to the time spent in sickbed.  He was certain that with regular walks, he would continue to improve.

He swung the door knocker after assuring himself this was the right address given him.  A young man opened the door, affecting a staid and proper aspect.

“Doctor John Watson for Mr. Sherlock Holmes.”  John offered his card forward.  The young man received it and nodded to someone just inside.  Another footman emerged to lift his trunk down.  John was ushered inside.

“Yes, sir, of course.  Mr. Holmes told us to expect you.  We will bring your belongings upstairs.  You may take tea in the downstairs sitting room, if you wish, or follow Alfred upstairs to take a rest.”

“I believe I will have tea.”  Tea was good, tea was calming, tea was every single day.  It was the last vestige of normal in John’s life.  Even at war, there was tea (though its authenticity was often questionable).

“Very good, sir.”  The footman showed John into the sitting room, where he made himself comfortable.  He wondered when Sherlock would make his appearance, whether he was even at home.  While he waited, he had far too much time to examine his own choices and behavior.  What was he doing here, preparing to play lover for some stranger for the promise of money?  What guarantee, besides the promise of an unfamiliar man, did he have that he’d receive the money he needed?  And even if he found himself able to pay, he would still be trusting that the faceless, nameless criminal would do as he promised and turn over the incriminating letters.

John tried to calm his thoughts, reasoning with himself.  He had Mr. Holmes’ IOU in his pocket, a luxurious roof over his head for the next few weeks, and the freedom to explore the most sinfully titillating appetites this man inspired.  His situation was little more precarious than it had been the day before when he’d struggled to win steadily against the odds.  Maybe for once, the odds were in his favor.

He ought to enjoy it, for what did he have to return to after the month was up?  A mouldy room with a snippy landlady who constantly harped on the fact that John returned to his room quite late at night?  He couldn’t return to the estate house as it was let for the year.  His sister Harriet had been living with her godmother since their father’s death and would do so until the wedding but their mother’s friend had expected John to take his own lodgings after his recovery.  Soon, Harriet would marry and be safely away on her honeymoon trip, and he would have only the most distant family and tenuous connections and few of either in London.

John listed the good that could, that would, come of this.  Harriet had a welcoming home until the wedding; John would have the money by the extorter’s deadline and ensure his sister’s happy marriage.  John would find a job more easily as another month of rest and recuperation would surely benefit his limp and could begin to consider his own future.  He may even meet someone in true need of a personal physician through Mr. Holmes, or at least be able to search for a position at a hospital.  All this for a spending a month of his time with Sherlock Holmes.  A month may go by quite easily, if he could quiet his conscience and assuage his shame.  And surely Holmes would not need him every moment of the day; there would be plenty of time for him to make inquiries of acquaintances and colleagues.

John was hopelessly optimistic about their future intimate relations; their kisses in the office of the Diogenes Club made his blood run hot in simple remembrance.  John hadn’t quite placed the man at first, but he’d finally recalled seeing him at Gentleman Jackson’s Saloon, stripped to his linen shirt, lean and rangy with a roguish air.  John had smiled at him; perhaps the first spark between them was already there.  If he hadn’t already been apprised of the blackmail, he might have considered that Sherlock Holmes had masterminded the whole plan just to trap John into his bed.  Of course, in the way of novels, a few flirtatious winks and honeyed words would be too simple for a brilliant and jaded protagonist.  He would have to play an elaborate game to win his conquests.

If he had, John mused, he was flattered in a twisted way.  It would be a lot of trouble to go through to seduce a retired army surgeon who hobbled around London on a cane.  He may have succumbed to a simple flirtation if his pride hadn’t overruled his loins.

John read too many novels during his convalescence.

The tea arrived, but Sherlock Holmes did not.  The footman acting as butler bade him to feel free to use the library as he pleased, and John spent a pleasant afternoon being astounded by the vast collection of sciences and philosophies.  Dinner was served informally, but there was still no sign of the man himself.

After dinner, the servant offered John a bath, and he was properly ensnared by what awaited him.  The tub was ridiculously luxurious and large enough to recline in.  The rising steam was scented with something subtle and masculine, spicy and foreign and was hot enough to soften his whiskers.  John washed and relaxed in the water until his fingers and toes wrinkled.  To John’s amazement, when he was finished, the water drained away through pipes installed in the townhouse walls.

He’d never felt so pampered before.  But as soon as the word fluttered into John’s head, he stopped enjoying it so much.  Of course he was being pampered.  He was essentially a rich man’s mistress, being tempted and seduced by luxury and wealth, only to ease the master’s way into his bed.  The realistic side of John wanted to keep enjoying it; at least Sherlock Holmes was interested enough to make the effort rather than just demanding John submit.

The footman helped John into a silk robe once he’d dried off and showed him into the adjoining bedroom.  It was elegant and pristine in appearance, but somehow cold and impersonal.  John wondered if it was Sherlock’s or if it was a guest room.  Surely such a fine bath-room would be adjoined to the master’s bedroom; however, there were no mementos, no trinkets.  He explored a bit.  A tall wardrobe did contain clothing, neatly pressed and folded shirts and waistcoats, with drawers of various neck cloths and smallclothes.  The desk near the window had paper and ink set out for use, but all the little drawers and cubbies were locked.  Still, John did not feel entirely confident that Sherlock Holmes actually slept here.  He moved to the bed, piled high with down pillows and what had to be the most expensive sheets he’d ever lain upon.

Most people found they couldn’t sleep in the face of anxiety.  But John had been to war, had needed to sleep whenever and wherever he could.  All the terror for his life was nothing when faced with sheer exhaustion.  As it was, he only had uncertainty for what might happen that night, or the next, or the twenty-eight after that.  That uncertainty, coupled with his stress and worry for his sister could be boxed up and shoved underneath this magnificent bed fit for the King.  John Watson threw his robe over the end of the bed, huddled under the covers and fell straight to sleep.

 

“I’m not done with you.”

 

John woke to lamplight and the scratching of pen on paper.  He jerked his upper half up awkwardly from the bed to stare at the intruder.  No, not an intruder.  Sherlock Holmes.  The man was sitting at the desk in a thick, quilted robe, shiny like satin but likely lined with silk against that posh skin.  It was dark blue, appearing almost black in the lamp and firelight, or perhaps it was so black it was nearly blue.  Either way, it made Holmes’ pale skin glow.

“Ah, so you’re finally awake.”

“What time is it?”

“Half-two.”

“When did you get home?”

“Twelve.”  Which meant if he had been at the Diogenes Club, he left quite early.  Many nights the club was finally escorting the last patrons outside as the sun rose; on occasion, it played host to revelries that took days to dissipate.

“Why didn’t you wake me?”

“I did not believe it to be a wise move to startle a wounded soldier in an unfamiliar bed.”

Holmes was correct, John supposed, as he still did occasionally have nightmares.  He now kept no weapon within reach of the bed deliberately because he’d done so for years.

Holmes fell quiet after his response and continued to write, the nib scratching the paper almost continuously save for the brief second he dipped it into the ink.  John’s heart had begun racing when he thought Holmes (ought he call him Sherlock? Lovers would surely use each other’s Christian names) might join him in bed forthwith, but as the lapsed time increased, John began to feel almost… disappointed.

Well, if Sherlock wasn’t coming to bed on his own, he would just have to invite him.  Perhaps it was the nap that invigorated John, or perhaps it was the dream of gray eyes and sharply-drawn lips.  He wanted those kisses from the previous day.  He wanted more, even if it was an engraved invitation to perdition.

With a playful quirk of his lips, John pushed down the covers to his thighs.  Sherlock’s head didn’t even flick in his direction.  John plumped a pillow under his head, reclining comfortably, but upright enough to still be able to view the man across the room.   Then he started trailing his fingers along his belly.  He’d love the feel of Sherlock’s fingers there more, but the light tickle of his own fingers was enough for now.  He stroked his other hand over his chest, tweaking a nipple and teasing it into rigidity.  John imagined Sherlock’s mouth there, with John’s fingers combing through his dark, curly hair as the man nipped and sucked.

John smiled in Sherlock’s direction, though the man still wasn’t watching unless he had the all-seeing eyes of God.  John let the hand on his belly trail lower, tracing the line where thigh joined hip.  He raised one knee and scratched lightly at the sensitive flesh of his inner thigh.  He combed his fingers through the dark blond hair around his cock and balls, carefully avoiding them while enjoying the exploratory touch.

It didn’t take much thought, seeing Sherlock’s damp curls, to begin to imagine Sherlock in that luxurious bathtub, or climbing in after him.  He could slide his hands over that slick, wet skin, lick away the water droplets, feel the steam rise from the tub and the conversely cool drips from Sherlock’s hair on his chest.

The hum he gave when he allowed his hand to grip his hardening flesh made Sherlock finally lift his head from his work and turn towards the bed.  If John was any judge at all, the man was instantly entranced.  Glittering eyes followed John’s hand as he stroked himself lazily and without rhythm.

“What are you..?”

John smirked.

“Are you trying to seduce me, Dr. Watson?” Sherlock growled, pushing back his chair roughly and prowling towards the bed.  His robe was unfastened.  The shadows in the room were deep, and only a peek of alabaster flesh appeared as Sherlock moved towards him.  John couldn’t move his eyes away.  He suddenly knew what it was like to be prey: heart pounding, mouth dry, breath caught.  He’d been to bed with people before, women, but why did this singular man make him feel so stalked, so caught?  How did Sherlock so suddenly make John feel like the about-to-be-ravished innocent when John had set out to seduce him?

“Depends.  Is it working?”  John couldn’t believe he’d managed to make the cheeky retort.

Sherlock was taller than John, and in fine form.  When he leaned over John, he utterly dominated John’s senses.

“I would have left the club much sooner had I realized you so highly anticipated our encounter that you would ensconce yourself naked in my bed.”  Sherlock gave John the most devilishly pleased smile.  John flushed, his hand falling away from his erection.  Sherlock’s eyes fell to it and one hand moved as if he thought to touch it, but changed his mind.

“This is the room to which I was shown,” John stuttered.  “If I’m disturbing your work, I can leave.”

“You are precisely where you are meant to be, John.”

The intimacy of being called by his first name by Sherlock Holmes was unbearably arousing and his cock twitched.  “Oh,” Sherlock said, as if he noticed and was pleased.

Sherlock shed his robe at the side of the bed, let it slip off his shoulders and fall to the floor without the least twinge of shame or nervousness.  His hands moved aside the coverlet and sheets more fully.  John followed the movement up to his arms where the muscles flexed lightly under his skin, to wide, defined shoulders that arched over a well-formed chest.  Sherlock may have been narrow and sinewy, but his state of undress showed off the toned muscle that roped over his long bones.

Sherlock’s right knee, and then the other, popped into John’s vision as he crawled onto the bed.  John’s eyes bounced from firm thighs to tight stomach, to dark and shadowed curls centered between them.  He swallowed, dragging his eyes away.

Sherlock’s eyes tripped down John’s body in return.

“John,” he breathed, making John’s body break out in goosebumps.  Even his nipples hardened at the sound.  Sherlock’s eyes were drawn to them, particularly the left where a tendril from John’s scar dragged low.  “John.”  Those sharply defined lips lowered to John’s chest, mapping the edges of the scar with the narrow point of his tongue.  John’s fingers reflexively buried themselves in Sherlock’s damp hair, tightening when his tongue swirled around the tight nipple.

John felt more sensitive than he’d ever been, as if every nerve ending attuned itself solely to Sherlock’s touch.  When Sherlock’s hands started to drift over his body, examining every inch, memorizing every texture, John could only sigh as he discovered how pleasurable a calloused fingertip could feel stroking the tender skin of his inner elbow.

“You surprised me, John.”  Sherlock peered up at John’s face, eyes soft and half-lidded for once.  “So few people ever do.  I expected to have to tempt you, convince you, lure you into my bed.”

“I am inexperienced with men, but I am neither ignorant nor innocent, Sherlock.  It could be important to know that about me.”

“I will not forget, John Watson.”

“Good.”

John suddenly blushed.  Sherlock noticed and his lips rose in a smirk.

“Blushing, after all that?  What naughty thoughts have crossed your mind, John?”

“I want you to kiss me… Sherlock.”  The name was added on almost as an afterthought, as if John were tasting the word on his tongue and found it quite savory.

“Oh, yes.”  Sherlock shifted so he was mouth-to-mouth with John, chest-to-chest, and nearly hip-to-hip, though Sherlock was slightly longer in the waist.  It hardly mattered that they didn’t exactly correspond, though, once their lips met.  Breathy, heart-racing kisses left John grasping for a handhold; he found the nape of Sherlock’s neck, the springy curls tangling around his fingers.  His other hand wrapped around Sherlock’s back to pull him closer.  His most secure grip, though, was the leg wrapped around Sherlock’s flank; Sherlock’s hips wedged between John’s thighs and they fitted together with perfect intimacy.

The kisses made John dizzy with lust, tongues dueling and then stroking gently.  Sherlock would pull back only to lay chaste kisses on John’s mouth, then moments later, demand entrance.  It tugged him much further down when Sherlock sucked lightly on the tip of his tongue.

“Touch me, John,” Sherlock whispered against his lips.  John’s hands obeyed, stroking that pale, perfect back from shoulders to waist, and lower, cupping and pulling that plush arse.  Sherlock’s cock had only been stirring to life when he crawled onto the bed, but he was now firm and interested and pressed along John’s length.

Sherlock stroked a hand along John’s thigh, the one he’d lifted around Sherlock’s hip, then dug his fingers into the softness of his arse as he pushed his hips tighter into the cradle of John’s.  A stuttered moan came from John’s mouth beneath his.  Yes, again, and that thought came simultaneously from both of them.  Sherlock did it again, even though the heat and friction would quickly become too much.

John whimpered when he pulled away, eyes lust-blown and blinking slowly as he watched Sherlock sat on the edge of the bed and opened the top drawer of a small bedside table.  He pulled out a small bottle of oil, which turned out to have a silky feel and considerable viscosity, and poured a little into his hand.  John watched with a twinge of jealousy as the man wrapped the wet hand around his prick and began to stroke, spreading the oil over the whole length.

And his cock was impressive to look at.  It was of a length commensurate with Sherlock’s height, and a pleasing width.  The foreskin had already moved down to reveal the head.  John shifted to get a better view, licking his lips as Sherlock’s hand slid up and down the shaft.

“Another time for your mouth, John, though I do want it so desperately.  Lie on your side, facing away.”

John did as he was told, though with a rod of tension against his spine.

“Don’t worry, John,” Sherlock rumbled as he pressed up against John’s back.  Of course he noticed the tension.  “I don’t intend to penetrate you tonight.  That is for a time when we are more comfortable together, or it will not be pleasant for either of us.”

The reassuring voice, in Sherlock’s particular deep tone, served to relax John a bit.  He only twitched a little in surprise when Sherlock’s slick hand pressed between his thighs, rubbing the oil into the crevice between and up along his perineum.  John submitted to the intimate massage, holding his thighs just slightly apart, a bit surprised at how pleasurable Sherlock’s fingers were, sweeping silkily over the tight pucker and forward almost to the base of his bollocks and back.

Sherlock teased a little, circling the tight hole, dipping into it just slightly and back around again.  The finger moved forward again, finding a rather unlikely spot and testing different levels of pressure.  Sherlock watched John quite closely, kissing his ribs as his breathing quickened, steadily increasing the pressure until John gasped.

“John?”

John had his face turned into the mattress, fingers clenched in the sheet.

“God, do that again.”

Sherlock did, watching avidly as John’s cock hitched upward and seeped several drops of fluid.  John’s hand moved from the bedsheets to flutter in the vicinity of his cock, clearly wanting to stroke himself but unsure if Sherlock would approve.

“Don’t touch.  Mine,” Sherlock breathed into John’s neck as he plastered himself against John’s damp back.  His cock nudged against John’s arse, prodding blindly for a moment before Sherlock found the right angle and slid into the crevice he’d so thoroughly oiled.  A few experimental thrusts found the optimal movement.

“Sherlock, please.  Touch me.”

A true downfall of this position was that Sherlock couldn’t clearly see John’s face.  Still, he could easily reach around and wrap his hand around John’s cock, slicking it with residual oil; and the sound of John’s moan when he did so was by no means muffled.  Keeping his hips rocking at a steady but indolent pace meant he could spend the time to tease John, alternating firm movements along his shaft with deliberate circles around the sensitive glans or exploratory fondling of John’s scrotum.  Sherlock particularly enjoyed the latter when he thrust forward and could feel the head of his own cock just there.

He also had easy and plentiful access to John’s neck, and he set about to mark him; each bite and suck made John arch his neck and groan, sometimes Sherlock’s name, sometimes just a wordless keening of pleasure.  They both drew it out as long as they could.

It wasn’t nearly long enough, in Sherlock’s mind, before his hips began to drive forth at a tempo of which he was not consciously in control, and John’s hands were clenched white-knuckled in the sheets to keep him from spilling before Sherlock was ready to allow it.  They rocked together faster, John’s hips moving forward to thrust his cock into Sherlock’s tight fist, thigh and arse muscles clenching as he did so to squeeze Sherlock’s prick with a blinding amount of bliss.

John spilled first, his seed erupting onto the bed below and coating Sherlock’s fingers with new slickness.  Sherlock had not yet released him when he reached his apex as well.  Sherlock’s spend trickled down John’s thigh, smearing between them as Sherlock continued to slide in the crevice until he could no longer tolerate the hyper-sensitization.  He panted against John’s neck, gratified to feel the other man slump against him rather than pull away.

Sherlock wanted to catalog the taste of John’s sweat, compare the drops in the small of his back to the ones on his temple.  He wanted to taste the semen that dripped from him.  He placated himself by pressing back against John’s backside once his spent cock had softened and running his hand over John’s stomach and chest.  John didn’t complain that Sherlock was basically painting him with seed and oil.

“Sherlock, that was extraordinary,” he finally breathed, shifting a bit until Sherlock let him go and John flopped on his back.  He was finally in a position where Sherlock could kiss him again, so he did.  John responded lazily, eyes closed even when Sherlock pulled back to observe him.  Sherlock couldn’t help but smile at the utterly satisfied expression on John’s face.  He kissed John’s jaw so as to not disturb the smile, and then forced himself to rise and get a cloth and some water.  John would be uncomfortable if their seed was allowed to dry on his skin until morning.

John allowed Sherlock to wash him, though now that the acute passion was exhausted, a touch of embarrassment returned.  He obligingly parted his legs and let Sherlock wipe his most intimate areas, but he blushed as he exposed himself.  When Sherlock was done, John shifted to a clean and dry portion of the bed and Sherlock tucked the bedding around him.

“Aren’t you sleeping?”  John blinked slowly at Sherlock.

“In a few minutes.  Rest.”

John dozed for a few minutes, waking to find that Sherlock was back at his desk.

“I can sleep elsewhere so I don’t disturb your work,” he offered again.  Surely Sherlock didn’t intend for them to share a bedroom; there must be another tucked away in this three-story townhouse.

“No, I’m not done with you yet.”

John had to fight back a smile, residual from the rush of climax, surely.  He lay back down, eyes watching Sherlock’s hair twitch over the collar of his robe as he wrote, dipped his pen, wrote more.  John wrapped himself in the scent of sex and Sherlock and let himself doze back off until Sherlock wanted him again.

 

Lestrade and the Suicide

 

John woke alone in the morning.  The solitude was a bit of a relief.  After how utterly intimate he’d been with the enthralling and enigmatic Sherlock Holmes, he feared the difficulty of appearing detached and professional in public – or even at breakfast.  He washed and dressed and tried not to think of the night before in too much detail.

Still, his cheeks showed a faint tinge of pink when he was shown to the room where Holmes sat indolent in a chair with a cup of tea and a newspaper.

“Good morning,” John said, cursing to himself when his face flamed hotter.  He needed to get his reaction under control.  John cleared his throat.

Sherlock’s eyes finally flickered up from his paper.  “Watson,” he said coolly before returning to the accounts of things happening in London.

See, John, Sherlock can comport himself like a proper gentleman; you can do the same.

“Have you plans for the day, Holmes?” John asked politely as he filled a plate from the buffet.

“No.  The city is insisting on being insufferably dull at the moment.”  Sherlock flung away the paper in his hand and reached for another.  One of the footmen retrieved the paper from the carpet, neatly refolded it, and handed it to John upon the doctor’s gesture.

“Have you eaten?” John asked, realizing as he seated himself that there was no plate in front of Holmes and there was an inordinate amount of food on the buffet for two men, especially if one was not eating.

“Doctor Watson, may I remind you that your guise as my personal physician does not actually require you to act in that capacity.”

The scathing tone of Sherlock’s voice did much to tamp down the lingering flush in John’s cheeks.  He found it much easier to focus on breakfast and his paper.  Still, John wasn’t about to let a whole meal go by in silence.  It took less than ten minutes for him to speak up again.

“I wonder what happened,” John said, pointing to a short article in the newspaper.  “I only met Captain Howell a few times, but he seemed like a good man.”

“Hmm?”  Sherlock barely looked up from the crime section of the paper.

“It says here that The Honorable Sarah Blackwell ended her engagement to Captain Thomas Howell.  I wonder what happened.”

Sherlock rustled his paper, turning the page and refolding it to hold in one hand as he sipped his tea.  “Likely Miss Blackwell found out about Howell’s predilection for a certain male opera singer.”

“What?  How do you know that?”  John was startled.  While he shared only a mild acquaintance with Captain Howell, having treated him for an arm fractured by a bullet, he’d never known the man to mention anyone but the girl he had waiting for him back home.  Sherlock merely raised an eyebrow in reply and returned to his paper.

“He and I have run into each other once or twice.”

John cleared his throat, took a sip of tea, and cleared his throat again.  “I see.”

Their breakfast descended into another bit of awkward silence until it was broken by a knock at the front door.  Sherlock’s ears perked up and he set aside his paper, gulped the last of his tea.  He bounced up and gestured to John.

“Come along, Watson!  Our presence is required at the scene of a crime.”

“A crime?  Holmes, what?”

“Don’t be slow, John.  I occasionally consult for those that pass for police in this city.  They’ve come to me with a case.”

“How can you tell that from a knock at the door?”

“Donovan always knocks the same way, five times, holding the door knocker instead of simply letting it clack once or twice.  Do hurry, John.”

John descended the staircase only to see Sherlock and an unknown man talking in the foyer.

“And who is this?” Donovan drawled, clearly delighted to be an observer to some immoral facet of Holmes’ life.  John was incredibly glad that Sherlock’s man had dressed him immaculately before breakfast this morning and that he had a starched, buttoned-up façade to show the constable.  He was also glad that Sherlock had conceived of a realistic story to relate as to their cohabitation, though John wondered why people might believe Sherlock would be in need of a doctor ’round the clock.

“This is Doctor Watson, my personal physician.  He will be accompanying me today.”

“Lestrade said nothing about you dragging along your physician to the crime scene.”

“Nevertheless, I require Dr. Watson by my side and Lestrade will surely allow it.”

John was quick to don his greatcoat and followed the two men to the hackney cab outside.  The ride progressed in silence as neither Sherlock nor the man he’d named Donovan seemed inclined to small talk and when John asked about the nature of the crime, Sherlock responded tersely.

“I prefer to know as little about the scene as possible before viewing it, so as to not defile my observations with presuppositions.”

When they emerged from the cab less than two miles away, Donovan pulled John aside as Sherlock swept through the open door of the boarding house and up the stairs.

“Whatever you’re doing with that man, I recommend you run fast and far away.  Sherlock Holmes brings no one anything but trouble.  He’ll destroy you the second he doesn’t get his way and never feel one iota of guilt about it.”

“Pardon me,” John said coldly.  He jerked his sleeve from the hand of the constable.  Perhaps he felt some certain loyalty to Sherlock, whether the man deserved it or not.  He had seen fit to take John’s problems as his own, even if it was because it served his own selfish needs.  And if John was later tossed out and forgotten, well, it was nothing less than what he expected anyway.

None of the officers stopped him from mounting the stairs and from there it was easy to find Sherlock.

“Why have you called me in for a simple suicide, Lestrade?  You do not need my confirmation when the gun is in the man’s dominant hand and he has left a note, several, in fact, to family and friends.  Even you can see, Lestrade, how deliberately he prepared for his death.  Howell rose early, or, more likely, stayed up through the night writing his letters, shaved and dressed to present the most respectable façade to those that might find him.  So melodramatic, that, suicide at dawn, all too common among so-called men of honor.  If you bumbling idiots have not noticed, this man is Captain Thomas Howell, who so recently became estranged from his long-standing fiancée.  He would have been distraught over the circumstance and thus took his own life.  Obvious.”

John made it to the door just as Sherlock approached it to leave, fuming.

“Yes, he did leave letters, Holmes.  One of them, in fact, was addressed to you.”

The gray-haired man’s exasperated voice stopped Sherlock cold.

“Give them to me.”

John looked over at the body, lying across the bed in full dress uniform, blood staining the wall and the bedclothes.  It was no shock to John, not after all those years at war, but the senseless loss of life still saddened him.  The gunshot was at close range, through the temple.  The captain’s hand was still wrapped around the butt of the gun, finger against the trigger.  It was, as Sherlock had said, the man’s dominant hand since the other arm had been significantly damaged by his injury and John remembered Howell being relieved that it was his weak arm anyhow.

John was afraid of something like this happening to his sister Harriet.  She’d been so distraught when she’d come to him with the blackmail note.  John had been surprised anyone had ever found out about Harriet’s first lover, but apparently her highly incriminating letters from the man had gone undestroyed.  Some enterprising servant must have come across them and was now using them, or had sold them for quick coin to someone who was willing to wait for and force a much larger sum.  John had promised to help.  In fact, he’d written her a letter before leaving his small rooms for Baker Street explaining he’d be able to produce the full amount of money when the time came for the exchange and necessarily indicating his address change.

Sherlock, meanwhile, had broken the seal on the letter addressed to himself and skimmed the contents quickly.  He handed the letter to John, who, confused, took it.  Sherlock gave him a significant look and broke the seal on the letter to Miss Blackwell.

“Oi, you can’t read the lady’s letter without her permission.”

Sherlock rolled his eyes.

“Just proceeding at the height of efficiency, Lestrade.  We could trek to Mayfair, wait while the lady weeps over the death of her captain, wait for her to read it through bleary eyes and sniffles, and then beg permission which she will surely give, or we could simply read it now and pass it along later as necessity dictates.”

John read through the letter he’d been handed.  The captain wrote to Holmes that he had been found out by an extorter and certain letters had been stolen from the dressing room of his opera singer lover.  He’d refused to pay the extorter out of a mix of honor and fury, and the letters had been promptly delivered to his affianced.  He did not beg forgiveness for his actions, only requested that Sherlock track down and stop the culprit before these terrible events repeated.

I know you will not be sympathetic to my plight, Holmes, but I rely on our most tenuous bond to request your assistance.  I never knew the man who threatened me.  Others must know, for I do believe I am not his first target.  For their sakes, as well as the sake of my dear Sarah, who will be heartbroken even as she evicted me from her future, I implore you to stop this man.

Sherlock barked at the constables to vacate the room so he could search for more evidence.  Even Lestrade seemed baffled by this instruction.

“Evidence of what, Holmes?  I thought you agreed this was a suicide.”

“Hush, Lestrade.  Watson, you stay.  Everyone else, get out so I can think!”

Lestrade rolled his eyes but did as he as he was instructed.  He was familiar with the ways and methods of Sherlock Holmes.

As soon as the room cleared, Sherlock began to spin in a slow circle, his eyes raking over everything.  John looked around, too, curious and eager to look away from the sad sight of the corpse cooling on the bed.

“If you were going to hide a letter from an extorter, where would you put it?” Sherlock asked.  John opened his mouth to reply, but Sherlock cut him off.  “No, not you.  Your concepts of pride and honor do not match those of Captain Howell.  You are willing to pay; he was not.  You sought a solution to your problem; Howell knew me and my reputation beforehand, yet foolishly did not seek my help until after his death.  Idiot.  He has made this much more difficult.  Where would a vainglorious wastrel hide a threatening letter?”

“I was going to say, he probably burned it.”

“Of course he would!” Sherlock exclaimed as if he’d thought of it himself.  “He would have been angry and embarrassed and tossed it directly into the fire.”  Sherlock crouched immediately by the small fireplace in the room.  “Shame his landlady was worth more than most.  His grate has been cleaned recently and likely several times since he received his letter.  We may as well go, Watson.  How do you feel about the opera?”

“The opera?  It’s still morning.”

“All the better to interrogate the performers when they are not performing, John.”

Sherlock brushed past Lestrade and dashed down the stairs.  Lestrade shouted after him, but the man paid no attention, having hailed a passing hack by the time John had politely moved through the constables in the narrow hall and down the stairs after Holmes.  Lestrade followed John out onto the street and demanded Sherlock speak to him.

After a deep, put-upon sigh, Sherlock acquiesced.  “Lestrade, it was suicide.  Your men can remove the body.  Be sure to go through the man’s belongings and let me know if you find a threatening letter addressed to him, though I doubt you will.  The man was being extorted.  I’m on the case!”

With that, Sherlock swung himself into the carriage after John and pounded on the roof to get the driver moving.  When they were a few blocks away, John fancied he finally couldn’t hear Lestrade swearing anymore.

“What did you do with your letter, Watson?”

“My letter?  Oh, it’s tucked away in one of my medical texts under A for aneurysm.”

Sherlock laughed.  “You are much less idiotic than Howell, at least, to have saved valuable evidence that may prove useful in tracking down the culprit.”

“You think that the same man is behind both threats?”

“I would be a fool to discount any possibility at the moment, but that is one of my theories, yes.”

The remainder of their trip into the depths of London was spent with Sherlock alternating between a manic sort of silence and sharp questions regarding the letter in John’s possession.

Suddenly, he said, “We’re nearly there,” and he directed the carriage to the mouth of a narrow street.  He stepped down and tossed a coin to the driver.  John emerged immediately behind.

 

Sherlock and the Case

 

“Where are we, Holmes?” John asked, looking around after descending to the street.  There certainly wasn’t any indication of an opera house or any sort of theater in this neighborhood.  The wider cross-street was lined with small shops and secondhand dealers, with a cobbler on the corner.  The people moving around were simply dressed but not caked with the filth of poverty.  It was a working class area, proprietors of small shops, perhaps, and respectable.

“Nowhere, yet.  It wouldn’t do to be dropped directly at the door of a molly house, now would it?”

John tugged the brim of his topper a bit lower over his forehead and followed Sherlock down the narrow street, through an alley lined with garbage and prowled by strays, and up to the back entrance of an unassuming building that John would never have guessed housed much more than a lowly pub and a few rooms for tenants upstairs.  John ducked in after Sherlock who spoke to a man sweeping the floor.  A coin flashed between them and Sherlock was given a nod and a room number.  Sherlock found the stairs and took the steps two at a time to the third floor.  John trailed after only to see a door open a crack in response to Sherlock’s incessant knocking.

“What do you want?”  Little more than a dark eye ringed with thick black lashes appeared between door and jamb.

“You know a Captain Thomas Howell?”

“I know a lot of men,” came the disaffected reply.

“He committed suicide this morning.”

The only indication that the resident of the room heard this pronouncement was the squeak of the hinges as the door swung further open.  The young man disappeared from the crack and Sherlock took this as invitation to enter.

The room was dingy and dim, the single window covered over with a haze of gauzy fabric.  Shimmering costume pieces decorated every flat surface, including the floor, though the majority hung along the nearest wall.

The young man suddenly looked particularly boyish as he wrapped his robe tighter around his waist and perched in a chair with his bare feet tucked underneath him.  The shape of his face had a certain sweet charm, though his dull eyes spoke volumes.  John sat where the boy gestured, but Sherlock stood, pacing the room and no doubt collecting every bit of the detritus with his eyes.

“When did the captain’s letters to you go missing?” Sherlock opened with the toss of a shilling into the lap of the captain’s lover.

If the young man was surprised at the stranger’s blunt question, he did not show it.

“About six weeks ago.  I didn’t tell Tom, but he found out a few weeks later.  He thought I was behind the threats, at first.”

“Did Howell injure you when he found out?”  John thought the young man’s face was showing the faint discoloration of much-faded bruising, but perhaps it was just remnants of powder from a performance.

“Irrelevant,” Sherlock announced, still taking note of the reaction, which was better than an answer any day.  “Had you any other gentleman callers who may have stolen the letters from your room?”

“No, Tom paid for exclusivity.  He said he loved me and could not bear for me to be touched by any other.”

“Did you love him?”

Sherlock raised an eyebrow at John when he interrupted again, but let the question stand.

The boy exchanged glances with Sherlock then answered John with half a shrug.  “He was handsome and wasn’t usually rough with me.”

“What did you think of his upcoming marriage?” John asked, curious if the boy had been jealous of his lover’s fiancée.

“Can’t say as it made any difference to me,” the boy replied, giving John a look that said he thought he was ridiculously naïve.  “Wasn’t planning on becoming his lady wife myself.”

John flushed.  What was he thinking?  Of course the boy knew precisely where his place in Howell’s life was, and that would likely be unchanged by the man’s marriage.

“Who else besides Howell had access to your room?”  Sherlock moved to the door to examine the lock.  The rim lock was fastened to the door on the inside, but the keeper on the jamb was loose enough that a bit of wiggling and some force might encourage the release of the bolt.

“Anyone who had an interest, I suppose.”

“Hmm.  Did anyone who worked here leave around the same time?”

“Rhetta’s been gone about a month.  She did a shite job on the costumes, but the audience didn’t seem to mind when the stitches burst open on occasion.  One night she told Steeds to shove the eight pence he owed her up his arse and sauntered out.”

“Do you know where I can find her?”

“She sometimes stayed in the garret above, but mostly with a man when she could.”

“Which man?”

“Any man.  The only place she’s likely to turn up is at Three Sheep.”

John saw Sherlock calculating in his head.  It was clearly far too early to visit a pub.

“We’ll go straight on to speak with Miss Blackwell.  Lestrade will have informed her by now.  Hopefully she will be able to provide some information on how the letters were delivered into her possession.”

Sherlock gestured to John, who stood.

“I’m sorry for your loss…”  John realized he had no idea of the boy’s name.  He nodded his head as if dismissing himself then followed Sherlock out the door and back down to the street.

“I’m sorry for interrupting, Holmes.  I make a horrible investigator,” he confessed as Sherlock raised his hand for a hack.

“It’s fine, Watson.  Your questions were the questions anyone would ask.  That you asked them did not impede me from asking the correct questions.”

“Thanks for that,” was John’s dry response.

Sherlock grinned.  “We now know a number of useful things, Watson.  It is likely that this Rhetta stole the letters and sold them to someone else.  She is an unlikely candidate for something as sophisticated as blackmail, but she would have been easy to approach for a small amount of burglary.  A few coins in exchange for a few letters, so very simple.  If we’ve any luck, she won’t have been paid quite enough to completely forget her employer.”

John nodded, but he wasn’t thinking ahead to the next step of the investigation as Sherlock was.  He was wondering how fate had entangled him with this inexplicable man, and for what possible reason.

“You ought to be more excited, Watson!  If we can hunt the villain down through the clues Howell has left for us, we may be able to solve your little problem as well.  That seems most efficient.”  Sherlock rubbed his hands together.  “Oh, I do love it when the most random occurrences tie together in such a satisfying way.”

John ignored Sherlock’s glee and remained silent the rest of the distance to the Blackwells’ door in Mayfair.  The knocker had been removed from the door, signifying that the occupants were not “at home,” though with several constables milling about, someone was clearly in residence.  Family friends and gossips alike were being turned away at the door.  The news of the captain’s suicide had apparently travelled faster than thoroughbreds.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Writings

 

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Does anyone else have to do this?

This is the second chapter I’ve had to print out, cut almost line-by-line, and tape back together to get any sort of flow going. I didn’t actually piece it together on the door, but it’s hanging there now and I might leave it for the time being as a sort of trophy. Victory over a stubborn chapter!

For some reason, I think a little bit better visually and I find this helps. Seeing the small amount of words on the computer screen doesn’t always work for me (especially in my blind-person font size). I feel the need to have ALL the pieces visible to find their placement.

It took a couple hours this afternoon to work things through and then another couple for finishing touches after dinner this evening.  I posted the chapter on ff.net and AO3 and have been stalking my comments ever since.  I’m all squee about this chapter, but hardly anyone is squeeing with me just yet!  I can’t wait!!! 😛

Stats:

Chapters so far:  56

Word count so far: 67,798

Posted word count:  63,760  (I have lots of notes and bits of scenes at the end of the ms

Subscribers:  210 (AO3) 126 (ff.net)

Hits:  12682 (AO3) 42692 (ff.net)  *probably because you can only view one chapter at a time on ff.net and on AO3 you can hit an “entire work” button and have the whole story laid out at once, so you don’t get an additional hit for every single chapter.

Favorite word in a comment:  “pafooie”  (just now, lol)

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Writings

 

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44,000 words, Chapter 39

I’ve decided to post Chapter 39 on its own mainly because it’s a longer chapter than I’ve been writing for this story and because my friends are bugging me to get on with it 🙂  If I post this chapter now, and write the next couple on Monday on my day off, then I won’t feel like I’m torturing them (so much).

Also, I’ve begun to worry that I’m researching too much!  I keep finding bits that I want to add in and they’re just not important, so if I post the chapter, I won’t add more crap in, no matter how interesting.  Worse, I started reading a book that is EXACTLY what this chapter is talking about, the anatomy research and practices of the day, as well as electrical research in regards to the body.  I mean, geez, I’m losing my mind! 🙂  It’s so perfect.  So some of the stuff in the following chapter is vaguely based on fact (or wikipedia, which is almost the same thing, though the time period isn’t exact and I am just not going to go crazy with dripping research all over this.  Be thankful.  🙂

At the end, I’ll post a picture of the machine I’m talking about.  Oh, and also, I changed the last line of the last chapter to put John and Sherlock on their way to Lambeth, as I needed them to cross the Thames on their way home.

 

Chapter 39

 

The address in Lambeth was about three times the size of their home on Baker Street, but less well-maintained.  The exterior was chipping and the first of the stone steps wobbled when John prodded it with his cane.  It wasn’t entirely dilapidated, for the windows shone and the walk was swept, just somewhat neglected.

“I feel I must warn you, John.  The Professor is one of the few men in existence whose genius nearly matches my own.  His genius borders on madness.”  Sherlock mounted the front steps two at a time and used the knocker.

“So, if you are the more intelligent, does that make you mad?”  John says this with a teasing grin, surprising Sherlock into a grin.

“Some seem to think so.”  Sherlock winked and John felt a little guilty for thinking him mad on the morning of their wedding.  Was that only yesterday?  Granted, he had just cause, but Sherlock was a vivid, brilliant man and shouldn’t need to explain his reasons for the things he did.

The door opened on an ancient man, skeletal and hunched over with a sunken chest.

“Is he at home, Marley?” Sherlock asked.

“Yes, sir, tinkering away with his latest contraption.”

“Excellent.  We’ll find him in a good mood, then.”

“Very, sir.”

The elderly butler took their overcoats and left them to find their own way.  Sherlock seemed to be a frequent enough visitor that he familiar with the butler and had the run of the household.

“What is that humming, Sherlock?”  John asked as soon as they were alone in the foyer.  Sherlock turned as he opened a door to their left, eyes alight.

“That is bound to be his latest machine.  This should be exciting!  Come along, John.”

John entered the next room after his husband, but he was stopped by the utterly stunning clutter of the room.  Large globes hung from the ceiling in what John surmised was a model of the solar system.  Books and loose papers were stacked in piles three feet deep in corners despite an abundance of bookshelves.  The shelving held other things, notably taxidermied animals John had never seen in his life and pickled punks, two-headed pigs, four-legged cats and the like.  Glass eyes stared out from the shelving as well, often on their own and not encased in any skull.

Bones littered the place, too, but in a way that suggested something crawled up to the hearth and was allowed to die there.  There was no smell beyond the typical coal smoke and dust and paper smell of a library, so John supposed that could not be true.

Sherlock walked confidently through the mess as if he’d seen it all before and opened a door on the far side of the room.

“He’s what one might call a theoretical anatomist.  Taught me everything I know about the subject.  He was the only lecturer at university worth listening to, but of course they quietly tossed him out a few years ago.”

John didn’t ask what for; he wasn’t sure he really wanted to know.

Sherlock disappeared through the door, leaving John to follow or not.  John bravely threw himself into the next room, breath held in a mixture of dread and anticipation.

“Good afternoon, Professor!” Sherlock called above the oppressive humming.  It made the fine hairs along John’s skin stand up and a strange pressure throbbed through the rest of him.

“Holmes, lad, good to see you, good to see you!  Give me a few minutes and I’ll be right with you.”

John still couldn’t see the man for he was hidden by a huge machine that took up the center of the room.  It consisted of huge glass disks, spinning with a crank, brass globes, glass cylinders, and metal tubing.  There was a definite chemical smell in this room, as well as the acrid scent of burnt hair.  That smell was coming from the body of a dog on a nearby rolling table.

John glanced at Sherlock, whose bright eyes were taking in every inch of the fabulous machine before them.  He moved entirely around it, eyes calculating how it worked, how every part moved and would be taken apart.  There was only one way to describe how Sherlock gazed at that mysterious apparatus: he was enraptured.  And John was entranced by the keen look in his husband’s eyes, until he reminded himself not to be.  He cleared his throat.  Back to the machine, then.

“What is it?”

“It’s Martinus von Marum’s electrostatic generator.  Well, a replica, anyway,” came the hidden voice again.  This time the gentleman came around the tables that held the generator, wiping his hands on a stained cloth.  He was thin, older, perhaps in his mid-fifties with thinning hair fading from brown to gray.  There was nothing spectacular about his appearance other than his eyes.  They were dark and quick and flicked about much like Sherlock’s.   “Who have we here, eh, Holmes?”

“Husband,” Sherlock replied, distracted, his head awfully close to the glass wheels at the center of the device.

“Don’t touch, Sherlock,” the man reminded him.   “Wait, did you say husband?  Whatever happened with that Victor lad you used to come around with?”

Sherlock’s head popped up.  He strode over to the two of them and placed one hand on John’s shoulder.

“Doctor Watson is a finer man than Victor Trevor could ever hope to be.”

This was the first time Sherlock had ever referred to John as anything other than John; it was also the first time since he’d joined the army that someone had referred to him as other than his rank.  Captain outranked doctor, and like the gentry, the highest title preceded any others.  John found he liked hearing Sherlock call him Doctor Watson.  It almost distracted him from wondering about Victor Trevor.

“John, this is James Moriarty.”  John extended his hand.

“Please call me Professor.  Everyone does.”  The Professor shook his hand, smiling widely.

“Good to meet you, Professor.  So tell me about this generator of yours?  What is it for?”

The Professor didn’t take much prompting.  He began a lengthy explanation of the machine, the gist of which was that it rubbed two pieces of wool or other materials together to create a spark of static electricity.  The charge could be stored in a battery, the bank of Leyden jars.  John tried to follow along through terms like dielectric and corona discharge, whose meanings he could guess at but his education on the theories of electrical charges was limited.

“By any chance, are you relation to Sir William Watson, formerly of the Royal Society?”  The Professor stopped in mid-ramble to ask, his speech patterns much like Sherlock’s.

“No, sir, I don’t believe so.”  John was fascinated by the generator, but he felt overwhelmed.  It was a relief to answer a simple question.

“Shame.  I would have loved to get my hands on anything he might have left cluttering up his attic when he passed.  He improved the Leyden jar, you know.”  The Professor gestured to the several racks of metal-lined glass jars on a small table pushed up close to his generator.

“But what does it have to do with the dog?” Sherlock finally interrupted, impatient in his curiosity.

“Ah, yes, the dog, poor thing.  His heart gave out this morning.  I’ve been trying to test my theory that electrical stimulation to the heart might invigorate the muscle.”

“And did it?”  The Professor had both John and Sherlock’s attention at this.  This might have potential to resuscitate the dead.

“Oh, a few twitches, about as effective as salt on a frog leg.  Pup was nearly stiff when I could manage the experiment.  Have to try with a fresher body next time.”

Sherlock was immediately knuckle-deep in the dog’s body, smoothing the fur away from the wires and the edge of the entry into the dog’s chest.

“I have hope for the theory that electrical pulses from the brain to the extremities control our movements.”  Galvani’s nerve theory, that was something John was at least fleetingly familiar with.

“Extraordinary.  I can see why Sherlock thinks so highly of you, Professor.”

“What about reattached limbs?” Sherlock interrupted again.  “Do you think that it would be possible to regain function in a limb completely severed?”

“Were surgical techniques improved, I do believe so.  However, the reattachment and regrowth of the proper nerves and veins would be quite delicate, far more so than we are capable of at this time.”

John and Sherlock exchanged a look.

“Has there been any talk of such an experiment lately, Professor?”  For if someone were to embark on such a thing, surely their first stop would be to the home of the theoretical anatomist James Moriarty.

The man seemed to think about this for a second.

“No one has discussed anything like that with me in quite a while.  I suppose you could ask around at the Royal Society…”

“Banished,” Sherlock said, waving away the idea with a flung-out hand.  John squashed a smile.

The Professor was a fascinating conversationalist, if you could follow him.  One could almost see the anatomy in front of them as he spoke, see the cuts and delicate surgeries he described, imagine it all being possible.  Sherlock and John stayed well past tea and sunset listening and observing demonstrations of several contraptions around the vast laboratory.  Sherlock continued to insert questions that might be relevant to his case without mentioning the case directly and John abetted his subtlety.

“Sherlock, I believe we have distracted the good Professor from his work for too long,” John finally said.  The evening had progressed to nearly night.  Lamps had been lit long ago and John was hungry.  This did not seem like the sort of house where an invitation to dinner seemed forthcoming, especially if the Professor was anything like Sherlock in his refusal to adhere to proper mealtimes.

Sherlock nodded sagely, as if realizing he’d spent too much time distracted from his case by the Professor.

“Yes, I really must be getting John home.  Professor, it’s been enlightening, as always.”

“Do bring your young man back, Sherlock, anytime.  We must encourage his scientific curiosity, eh?”

“I’ve no doubt we’ll be frequent visitors, Professor,” John said with a smile.

“Oh, Professor!  I meant to tell you that Edger’s will have delivered my terrarium today.”

“Excellent, dear boy.  I’ll start separating out a colony of dermestids for you in the morning.”

They had said their good-byes and left before John asked.  The night was crisp for once, instead of damp and foggy.  They began to walk towards the Westminster Bridge, thinking it more likely to find a hack near Lambeth Road or hovering  near the House of Parliament on the other side.

“Dermestids?”

“Use your Latin, John.”  But Sherlock hummed happily to himself.

“Skin,” John said thoughtfully.  “Oh, Sherlock, skin eating insects?  Tell me I’m wrong.”

“No, you’re absolutely correct!  I’ll be able to clean my own specimens right at home.  Mycroft would never let me bring them into the house.”

“What makes you think that I will?”

Sherlock stopped dead and gave John such a pained, pathetic look that John almost laughed.  Still, he kept a straight face.

“Give me one good reason I would allow such a creature, much less a colony of them, in our fine house?”

“They won’t get out, I swear to you, John,” Sherlock rushed to beg.  “I must have them for my work!  I can examine bone fractures in more detail without the flesh getting in the way.  I’ll keep them in my laboratory.  You’ll never even see them.”

“They’ll eat the hairs on your violin bow if they get out.  You know that right?”

Sherlock’s lips twisted in a grimace.

“It is unlikely that the Professor will give me mere bow bugs when I need them for cleaning flesh from bone.”

“Very well, I agree to your condition – they will stay in your lab and I will not see them.”

“Technically, that’s two conditions.  Wait, yes?!”

“Yes, fine, Sherlock, if they’ll make you happy.  You can consider it a wedding gift from me.”

“Oh, excellent, John.”  Sherlock began rubbing his hands together as if plotting something truly heinous and thrilling.

“I have another condition, as well.”

“The deal has already been struck.  You cannot add conditions after the fact.”

“Alright, then, answer me a question in the spirit of conversation, or as a wedding gift from you.”

“Hardly a traditional gift, the answer to a question, John.  Go on, then.”

“Who is Victor Trevor?”

 

784px-Electrostatic_generator_Teylers_Museum

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Electrostatic_generator_Teylers_Museum.jpg

Too much research.  (I could have put in a MUCH more disturbing experiment that I read about today, but I won’t, you’re welcome.)  And a teaser ending.  🙂  Sorry.  🙂

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Writings

 

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I am still Johnlocked

Borrowed the heading from the nickname of a fan fiction writer.  It’s too adorable.  So, in my exhausted-depressed (whiney, annoying, embarassing) post, I mentioned being so obsessed with Sherlock (BBC) that I was spending entire days doing nothing but reading Sherlock fan fiction.  Entire.  Days.  Plural.

It hasn’t seemed to mellow out too much.  And when I say obsession, I mean addiction — twitching, physically, when I have to turn off the fan fiction and go to work, for example.  It’s sad.  Horribly, horribly sad.  🙂  I haven’t WRITTEN any fan fiction (yet), (at least not for Sherlock), so that’s a plus.  That’s not to say I don’t have an idea for one.  (It would be an awesome mashup of Big Bang Theory and Sherlock, with Sheldon playing Sherlock Holmes, Leonard being Watson, Howard being Lestrade, and Penny being Mrs. Hudson.  I can totally see her saying “Sweetie, I’m your neighbor, not your housekeeper,”  I haven’t quite figured out what Raj (poor abandoned Raj!) would be doing, but either Wil Wheaton or Brent Spiner could come in as Moriarty!  Please, please, Chuck Lorre, squeeze this messed up idea into Sheldon’s dream or something!  Please!  Or at least someone else write this so I don’t.)

Anyway.

Since there won’t be any new Sherlock episodes for about a year, I was hoping this drooling need would ease up.  I was also hoping that the new show Elementary would be good food for my craving.  I will have to admit to some bias here — I freaking adore Jonny Lee Miller.  I lusted after him as Sickboy when my best friend with a Ewan McGregor problem was making me watch Trainspotting (ugh, baby on the ceiling, baby on the ceiling!).  I’ve seen Hackers too many times.  I get all weak when he flicks his eyes suggestively in Plunkett and MacLean.=, (yes, I’ve watched this movie for just that eye flicker.  I want to right now.)  And since I’ve always been into Jane Austen movies, there are his utterly sweet roles in Mansfield Park and the BBC’s Emma.  Mmm, mmm, mmm, Regency JLM.  I was very excited when he was the psycho on Dexter a couple seasons ago (jumping up and down and clapping my hands in glee, saying, “Dexter’s going to kill Jonny Lee Miller!’ with a massive amount of squee.)  I could go on with another dozen examples.  (omg, when he was the Toy Boy on Keeping Up Appearances!  Lust!)  But I’ll shut up now.

So I’m obviously biased in favor of this show.  There would be nothing I could possibly think of to make me not watch every episode twice.  At least.  That being said, Elementary does nothing to satisfy my Sherlock (BBC) craving.  And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the show.  The two shows, the two Sherlocks, the two Watsons, are just so entirely different.  The feeling is totally different.  Elementary doesn’t make me say “the director and the DP are so freaking brilliant, it hurts” like Sherlock does.  Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch play two entirely different modern-day Sherlocks.  And John vs. Joan Watson.  Well.  I adore Lucy Liu.  I’ve never been much for gender swap fan fiction.  (Gah, fem!John and fem!Sherlock always get a pass from me… now BAMF!John makes me drool.)  Verdict: willing to give it a go.

JLM Sherlock is a much more earthy, (um, hello prostitute), maybe even more realistic character.  Partly because JLM is not tall, thin, lanky, pale or costumed up in utterly gorgeous suits.  He is not fastidious about his appearace, given that he once sniffs a shirt to see whether it is clean enough to wear.  JLM Sherlock is much more visibly someone recently out of rehab for a drug problem, a Sherlock who cares much less about appearances and more about his own interests.  I also thought it was funny that he complained about how his father lets him live in the crappiest brownstone, while his beehives on the roof are leaking honey down into the lower hallways.  Tsk.  You are not responsible or mindful enough to take care of better things, JLM Sherlock.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, however, comes across as a bit more pampered and spoiled, with fine clothes (even quite fabulous pajamas) and has a much more wealthy, upper crust sort of look to him.  Perhaps as an American viewer, this seems somehow much more British than JLM Sherlock.  BC’s Sherlock is a bit more mad, a bit more in his own head, a bit more scientific.  Also, BC Sherlock is written to sometimes speak nearly as fast as he thinks, rushing off on long, rushing, vastly impressive speeches.  Impressive, yes, that’s the word.  BC is just so much more impressive.  BC Sherlock, to me, just utterly embodies Sherlock Holmes.  Visually, I couldn’t ask for any more perfection.  And BC and Martin Freeman as Watson just click together.  (Which, along with some of the writer’s little jokes, fuel the flames of Johnlock fan fiction.)

The most awesome pic I’ve seen this year.

Damn, does that pic make me lose all train of thought.  I have to stop snortlaughing.  Thanks to my friend Sheena for sending that along.

So while my obsession still lies with Sherlock (BBC), and all the squee that show engenders in me, I do quite like certain aspects of the show Elementary.  While there are many elements I love much more in the BBC Sherlock, I can admit that they are vastly different shows and I need to give Elementary the chance to develop everything past the first hour.

Things I’m looking forward to in Elementary?

  1. Joan deduces that Sherlock left London because of a woman.  THE Woman?  Hmm..
  2. Sherlock’s dad.  Curious change to the canon details.
  3. A little more action than Sherlock’s temper tantrum with the car
  4. A little more grief from the cops about his involvement.  Gregson is eager to work with him, given their history, but the other cops should piss and moan more.  BC Sherlock is much more snide and shitty to Anderson and about the cops in general, and that’s a lot of fun.  Sherlock isn’t really supposed to be liked.
  5. JLM Sherlock’s unpredictable and unstable behavior.  Keep him busy surprising us.
 
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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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