Sherlock never deleted a memory of touch.
They happened too rarely, those fleeting moments of physical contact. He usually initiated them: putting John's jacket back on him and propelling him bodily back outside for a case, hugging Mrs. Hudson with firm affection, gripping John's arms as he urged him to remember the Chinese graffiti.
People found him alien and fey, unapproachable... and this was a carefully cultivated boundary, to be sure (the touch of strangers - to be avoided at all costs). It did mean that he had to be the one to reach out for that sort of warmth when it came to the scant few people he actually liked, but...
But he didn't need it. Didn't crave it. Lived thirty years of his life without it just fine. Independent.
Besides, he existed with his mind and senses in overdrive. Any extraneous sensory input grew overwhelming, over-stimulating, and threatened to disturb the clarity of his thoughts. Muddling them. Unacceptable.
It was one of many reasons he wore the thick long cloak, a suit of armor grown so familiar he didn't notice its touch anymore. And the black gloves, often worn even indoors: a precaution against handshakes, that necessary evil of social interaction with strangers, reducing the potential interference of unnecessary tactile feedback.
Sherlock didn't envy others their ease of physical contact, the casual affection of their fraternal relationships or romantic pursuits. He lived mostly untouched, and never noticed anything lacking.
That is, until The Woman.
The Woman, with her intrigue and her boldness, her audacity, her never-casual physical proximity. Warmth. Pulse. Breath. One of the only people to ignore his rigid boundaries and the societal norms that made those boundaries so easy to maintain – one of the only people other than Mrs. Hudson to touch him in something resembling affection. He allowed the contact and more than that, he let himself experience it, soak in the nearness of another person.
Now, each incidental touch burned in his awareness, highlighted in searing color like the crucial detail of a case except so much more useless.
( Sherlock had only to close his eyes to recall:Collapse )
- Everything in my Favorite Stories on my fanfiction.net account.
- Unusual Symmetry. Asexual!Sherlock/John. I heart it so.
- The Progress of Sherlock Holmes. Angst, drug use, more angst, relationship angst, loads of Sherlock whump. Sherlock/John, John/Mary.
- Brother, Mine - in need of more editing but... I really rather love stories that explore the dynamic between Sherlock and Mycroft. This one is three vignettes of their childhood from Mycroft's point of view.
- Blood from a Stone - Sherlock gets cursed with empathy on a consuming, psychic level. Surprisingly good.
- The Reluctant Relationship - Asexual!Sherlock, John/Sherlock, understated and introspective. I have such a weakness for asexual!Sherlock fics.
- They Shall, From Time to Time... - Sweet, quiet vignettes of John in an asexual relationship with Lestrade. Not a pairing I ever would have thought of (and I can't imagine Lestrade as asexual) but the writer handles it beautifully.
- Most Ghosts Are Idiots - A delightful, well-written, in-character AU where Sherlock is a ghost haunting 221B Baker Street when John moves in.
Reading it, Loving it, Want to keep tabs on it for further updates
- Defense Mechanisms series. Total smut at first but it's enjoyable and has some really nifty plot twists. Also, angst. John/Sherlock with some transference to an OC.
- What Stays and What Fades Away - Post-Reichenbach. Long. Keenly, painfully beautiful treatment of what John might have gone through post-Reichenbach, his relationship with Mary, and the truest-ringing depiction I've seen yet of how things might fall out once Sherlock resurfaces. Really, really good. Also painful.
- A Cure for Boredom - PWP, but it's a very good rendering of a D/s relationship growing (oddly, painfully, believably) between Sherlock and John, played out in visits to a sex club. Surprisingly very good. Insecurity in relationships, unintentional relationships, very nice D/s kink, angst.
- Bird's Bone - Torture, Stockholm's, H/C, odd and somehow disturbing depictions of arousal, Sherlock/John. This is painful to read but it's really, really well done; not recommended reading on a bad/vulnerable day though. And some of it (scenes with Mycroft and Moriarty) has eerie echoes of "Silence of the Lambs".
- Sherlock hugs Mrs. Hudson when she first shows up in the show.
- Sherlock grabs Mrs. Hudson's arms and kisses her on the cheek gleefully upon leaving to investigate the suicides.
- Sherlock shakes Angelo's hand in the restaurant.
- Bumping elbows/arms very briefly with John off and on as they stand against the wall in the hallway of 221B after the cab chase.
1-2. The Blind Banker
- Sherlock fighting with the swordsman in 221B.
- Shook hands with Sebastian (Sherlock was wearing gloves and his coat)
- Putting John's coat back on him, hand on John's back to propel him out the door of 221B telling him to go to the police station to get the journalist's diary.
- Bumped into John when retracing Van Coon's steps
- Grappling with the acrobat in Soo Lin's apartment (gloved again)
- Sherlock with his hands on either side of John's head and then on either side of John's arms, trying to make sure he remembers the graffiti.
- Shook hands with Sarah (Sherlock was wearing gloves again) at the circus.
- Grappling (still gloved) with the escapologist in the circus.
- Untying Sarah in the dragon's den. Hand on Sarah's back briefly afterwards? (Hard to tell.)
1-3. The Great Game
- On Sherlock's request, John digs brusquely into Sherlock's jacket for the pink phone while Sherlock is wearing the jacket and peering into a microscope.
- Shook Mr. Prince's hand (ungloved).
- Grappling with the Golem in the planetarium.
- Taking the bomb jacket off of John in the pool.
"I find it kind of annoying when people say Sherlock reminds them of their own lives - it's not real life, and it never will be. Just appreciate it for the fiction it is, you don't have to try and make it something special to you personally, because it isn't."
Some fiction is escapist. It’s fluffy, light, and completely indulgent. That’s fine, that has its purpose.
Good fiction resonates, it tugs at your emotions and imagination. You should be able to identify with a character or two because they’re pulled from human experience, from aspects of the author or from the author’s richness of life.
Great fiction changes you. It gets you to rethink your views, your world, yourself. It leads to revelations about the world around you, humanity, and your own psyche.
Sherlock has captivated me because the characters and relationships feel real, genuine, and complex. Because I recognize some of my friends in Sherlock, and I recognize some of myself in John. The show has inspired a lot of introspection and self-discovery for me.
Fiction should be interactive. Engaging with fiction on a personal, emotional level - that’s what you’re supposed to do. If you just observe fiction in a detached way without getting involved and invested… what’s the point? Engage it. Immerse in it. Media is our modern myth, in a culture devoid of living mythology. We’ve got too many messages to disengage, to detach, to rigidly separate “reality” and “fiction”. There is truth in fiction, and power; play with it, interact with it, find the places where it illuminates portions of your life and self. By all means.
One thing occurred to me, watching this show, as I quickly developed a raging character crush on Holmes (I have not had a character crush this intense for years). It's this: I have a thing for brilliant, coldly passionate, sharp-edged rationals with strongly developed will. I know a number of people like that; I'm proud to call several of them my friends. And - well, yes, I've had crushes (some of which are recent/ongoing) on four friends who fit that description. (One of whom I've been dating for nearly three years, heh!)
Hmm. Let me modify that. What is attractive to me about Sherlock is this: he is brilliant, sharp-edged, intensely passionate in a cold intellectual way, strongly Willed, and fractured. Mm. I have a weakness for that which is cracked and damaged; there's something about soul-scars and heart-bruises that is incredibly, strangely attractive, and it's not just the healer's urge (though that's probably part of it). I guess it's like how some people find physical scars to be beautiful.
My partner made an observation about that yesterday, actually. I was puzzling about how I have a disproportionate number of INTJs in my circle of friends (usually in my closer circle of friends). (See: brilliant, sharp-edged, coldly passionate Rationals.) He was positing why that was - I select for thinking-driven conversation (INTJs extravert thinking as one of their dominant functions, Te), introverts (because most extroverts are overwhelming; not all, of course, I have extroverted friends, including my girlfriend; but they're the exception rather than the rule), and tend to shy away from more emotionally expressive people (people with dominant Fe [extraverted feeling] functions).
In describing my social patterns, my partner thought for a moment and added, "You also select for people with particular issues." I was confused; what did that have to do with INTJs? But it was just an observation, and he noted it wasn't just any issues/fractures, it was a fairly narrow range of issues. For instance, a large number of the people I consider friends have difficulties with anxiety.
Okay. First of all, a note: I adore Stephen Moffat's writing and directing. I practically idolize the guy. He wrote all my favorite Doctor Who episodes (Blink, Silence in the Library, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, among others) and was the head writer for my favorite season of Doctor Who (series 5 of the reboot). I love his talent with suspense and his subtle hand with exposition and how incredibly well he adheres to the rule of Chekov's Gun. Love love love.
So of course I had to get around to watching his other series (co-written with Mark Gatiss AFAIK), BBC's Sherlock. I'd seen the tail end of the first episode and was fascinated, but then months passed without getting a chance to see the series in its entirety. Then my partner got me the first season of Sherlock for Solstice/Yule/Moomas. We finally got around to watching it over the course of this past week.
YOU GUYS. It is amazing.
Mind you, some episodes are better than others, and the show isn't perfect (Brits and guns, you guys. Always hilarious). The first episode was nigh flawless, beautifully shot, tightly woven, crisp dialogue. The second episode was good. The third episode was enjoyable but flawed. (Was the Golem supposed to be that silly?) Ep 3 felt disjointed, cracked at the seams, rushed, stumbling over itself in its hurry. But still enjoyable, and the final scene refuses to leave my mind. Emotional porn, I swear.
The interplay and relationship between Holmes and watson makes this show. In some ways it's a lot like how the Doctor in Doctor Who must have a Companion, because few people can relate to the Doctor (who is undeniably alien), and the Companion provides an emotional, human touchpoint (and helps keep the Doctor grounded and reminds the Doctor of the individual/mortal factors). The dynamic between Holmes and Watson is a lot like that.
Holmes is brilliant, fascinating, sharply beautiful, all angles in personality and in physicality, and he burns such that most are consumed, or warned away by the intensity of his existence and his whirlwind manner. And Holmes is, as he says, a "high-functioning sociopath"; he's got a lot of classic ASPD traits; his empathy is lacking. Due to his hyperfocus on "interesting" things, he forgets a lot of the mundane ("boring") details of life (like sleep, and food, and shopping).
Watching Holmes solve cases on his own would be interesting for a little while but would lack emotional intensity without some sort of contrast or touchpoint. Watson is that touchpoint. He cares on a deep level about people, causes, and yes - Holmes too. Watson is more emotional in general, though not particularly emotionally expressive (I'd guess Fi, or an inferior Fe function; hey nachtrabe, help me out here, what do you think?). He manages the mundanities that Holmes forgets, and he helps humanize Holmes.
While I think the Doctor/Companion comparison is an apt one, it's more extreme than what happens with Sherlock and John. I feel that Holmes is more human than the Doctor, and more relatable. Yes, the Doctor gets more visibly emotional, but the Doctor has the weight of lifetimes and centuries and non-Terran experiences, and if you start to relate to him for very long, he'll turn and do or say something that startingly marks him as completely, undeniably alien. He loves humanity, but he is decidedly not human himself.
Sherlock is human. Yes, he's likely got ASPD, he's got an impaired ability to empathize with anyone, he thinks on a different level than most people. But I know people like Sherlock. Not to that extreme, but reminiscient enough that I comprehend the character of Holmes, I know what it's like to interact with someone like that, I can see how people might easily relate to Sherlock. Mind you, I identify more with Watson, because that's often the role I'm in when I'm engaging with several of the INTJs in my life.
Watson is sometimes in danger of being overshadowed by Sherlock as a character, but he's vitally necessary to the show, and the writers always manage to balance it out so that John never gets lost. The relationship between Sherlock and Watson is the core of the show, I think; the cases are the skeleton and the skin, the immediately visible part, but the relationship is the heart and muscle and blood and life.
They connect quickly, immediately, and Sherlock comes to assume that Watson will be there. He's confused, briefly, when Watson says he's not going to accompany Sherlock on his case and is instead going to go on a date, but Sherlock quickly fixes that to suit his liking and his needs. He tries to pass off his attachment to Watson as the need of an artist for appreciation, and that is of course part of it (Sherlock preens, sometimes, with that little not-quite-restrained smile when he gets to show off), but I think the larger part is that he's lonely. Even people with ASPD need companionship, even if it manifests oddly.
And he cares about Watson, in his own way; deeply and intensely, like he does with everything that matters to him, but it's hidden beneath his tight control. That's why the final scene of season 1 sticks in my mind, because it shows then. In the brief flickering of confusion/consternation/dawning realization as Watson steps into view. In the frigid stillness as Moriarty begins talking, and suddenly there is no sign of the racing-observing thoughts that you usually see when Sherlock's confronted with a problem (which I think was evident as Watson first showed up in that scene, and ended when Moriarty shows up). In the scrambling, fervid way he bolts into action with Moriarty's exit, near-frantically removing the bomb jacket and tossing it vehemently away.
(Not to mention on Watson's side of things, how Watson is not sobbing like the other victims; his war experience shows, then. How Watson seizes the moment and puts Moriarty in a choke-hold. And the look on Watson's face, in his eyes, when he sees the laser point on Sherlock's forehead, the angry helpless forceful way he releases Moriarty; you can see how deep Watson's care for Holmes runs, too, in that moment.)
...Like I said. Emotional porn. Delicious.
This show has me wanting to read and write fanfic again. This show has me wanting to participate in fandom which hasn't happened since high school. Even Doctor Who, of which I am a dedicated and somewhat obsessed fan, didn't manage that.
- Current Mood: excited
Just some of the final scene in “The Great Game” from inside Sherlock’s head. In part because I’ve been wanting to write it out since I saw the episode, and in part as an exercise in learning to write Sherlock’s “voice”.
“Bought you a little getting-to-know you present. That’s what it’s all been for, isn’t it? All your little puzzles, making me dance… all to distract me from this.”
Sherlock’s grin had a manic edge, he knew it did, but oh did he love that rush of anticipation, an electric tingle setting his nerves afire, better than any drug. This was the high he chased, over and over. This game with Moriarty… best intellectual high in ages. He held the memory stick high, footfalls echoing in the dark of the pool, and then there was a creaking door and the hesitant sound of footsteps that were not his own. He looked over his shoulder, excitement sparking in his gaze, savoring it, and -
“Evening.” John stood there, wrapped up in a coat, hands in his pockets.
“This is a turn-up, isn’t it, Sherlock.”
“John! What the hell…?” John, the name ringing in his head with a flash of betrayal; his skin prickled with something cold and dizzying (in the back of his mind he analyzed, matched physiological symptoms with emotional definitions gleaned from people more in touch with their feelings, and the label arose, almost clinical: dread/shock).
“Bet you never saw this coming.”
How? How had he missed it? (There’s always something, always missing something, something crucial, the obvious amongst the details…) He followed the line of reasoning back, back, searching through events and past interactions to find evidence of John as Moriarty all along.
[Hypothesis]: John is Moriarty (betrayal/foolish/trusting gets you killed/no, no, self-incrimination later, focus now).
[Analysis]: deeper game than I knew - he’s here, his words, vocal incrimination, admission of guilt - final pip - where, where, surely there were signs before this - he’s always around, of course he’d be able to see my every move, I monologued at him - think, there has to be evidence other than this -
While the bulk of Sherlock’s mind busied itself with his initial reaction and the obvious conclusions (it’s never obvious, I’m missing something again, damnit), the remainder of his attention collected data, studying John, the pool room, searching for missing pieces.
Item: Jacket: heavy, closed.
Item: Pool room: temperate, warm and clammy. Estimate: 29 degrees Celsius.
Item: John’s movements: Stiff, cautious, rigid even by military standards. Rapid blinking. Stilted voice.
Item: Wire: in John’s ear, coiling up from inside the parka.
“What… would you like me to have him say… next,” and John shifted, slowly opening the coat.
…Wires. A bomb. Of course.
The final pip. John, yes, it’s John but it’s John as the victim, not John as the mastermind. John, leaving for Sarah’s, walking, obviously 221B Baker Street was monitored, easy enough to grab him (not easy if he saw them coming, military training, holds his own in a fight; but John was angry [at me - no, guilt later - thinking now - focus], distracted, and not hyperaware at the best of times).
Sherlock’s muscles loosened, tension easing (physiological symptoms associated with mood/emotion: relief), washing away the cold-prickles of betrayal. He scanned the room, probing the corners, shadows and alcoves for the real enemy, concealed somewhere…
“Gottle o’ gear, gottle o’ gear, gottle o’ge-“
Another tide of sensation, neurons on overdrive, a settling of weight in his gut, heavy and dark as his focus sharpened (preliminary diagnosis: fear? but not for my safety: John’s? reminder: caring won’t save anyone’s life, detach, detach, have to think clearly) -
Sherlock found words then, voice cracking like a whip. “Stop it.”
“Nice touch, this. The pool, where little Carl died. I stopped him and I can stop John Watson too. Stop his heart.” John’s voice, speaking in a cadence so completely alien, words out of sync.
More symptoms - a rising pulse, increased body temperature. Hypothesis: Anger. “Who are you?” Sherlock asked the echoes of the pool.
Another creaking door. A voice, naggingly familiar. Nasal words. Footsteps, hard soles, dress shoes on tile. “Is that a British Army Browning L9A1 in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?”
Grasp the gun, turn, aim.
His mind stilled in that moment. Data collection: off. Fear: gone, replaced by frost and sharpness (diagnosis: cold, controlled fury). His thoughts crystallized, the world and all his attention narrowing to this, the view down the barrel of the Browning, the slight man with the too-large eyes and the mania-shrill voice, the words in the humid air.
Sherlock’s mind was an ever-active thing, busy even in sleep or at leisure. It constantly multitasked, working through one problem in the forefront of his thoughts and sorting through additional data closer to the subconscious. Well-ordered noise, always observing, gathering information, organizing it, analyzing, deducing. The small ritual of applying a nicotine patch (or two, or three), steepling his fingers, closing his eyes, and breathing - that was the act of concentrating all his thoughts to a single difficult problem, rather than splitting his attentional resources five ways for efficiency. Yet even then it was racing, active, noisy.His thoughts had gone silent and cold and edged like this only a scarce handful of times in his entire life. It took serious danger and ice-white rage (not the hot anger that led to scattered papers and broken cookware, not the flash-point impulsive anger that resulted in shouting or insults). Fear, sometimes, like he’d not felt since childhood. Sometimes he could almost reach this state when training his body, boxing, or in the timeless suspension of the needle, slowing and muting the racing thoughts for some blissful, indulgent quiet.
In this razor-edged stillness, he could simply act, unhampered by second-guessing (cost/benefit analysis, possible outcomes, odds of incarceration).
In this silence, he was dangerous.
The world narrowed to Moriarty, their tense banter and droll witticisms. Sherlock’s voice: edged, dry. Moriarty’s: chimeric, fanged. The words came without thought. All his awareness was on the trigger until he could feel his own pulse on it, and it would be so easy, so easy to just squeeze with an exhalation of breath -
And yet he was handicapped, too. He might as well have had the safety on the gun for all the firing he’d do with a laser point on John’s chest.
Him again. At Anderson’s crime scene, rooting through Anderson’s evidence, interfering with Anderson’s job.
Every time there was something interesting, the amateur showed up with a snide remark, a sidelong jibe at Anderson’s competence, and proceeded to explain in excruciating detail why everyone in the Yard was an “idiot”. His lip curled in something closer to a snarl than a sneer as Holmes listed in verbal bullet-point the oblivious incompetence of Lestrade, Anderson, Donovan, the entire team.
That fucking psychopath.
Something in the way Holmes spit out the word set Anderson’s teeth to clenching. He had his degree, he had experience, he wasn’t on this team for incompetence, he certainly wasn’t an idiot - no, no, his performance in university put the lie to that, whatever his marks in secondary school may have suggested -
“God, boy, look at these marks. I swear you’re some stupid bastard’s son and none of mine, not with your sister doing so brilliant and me like I am. Or maybe you get the lack of brains from your ma, yeah?”
His hand clenched too, a shaking fist at his side and he found himself glaring daggers at the amateur that Lestrade insisted on letting into Anderson’s cases.
He’d proven his da wrong. Over and over. Studied so hard at uni that he’d made himself sick from stress and lack of sleep. Top of his class in the end. Forensics. The Yard. Up and up until he was here, clawed his way here with diligence and work and attention to detail. A stupid, incompetent, oblivious person wouldn’t have been hired, much less made it to Anderson’s position.
He was not stupid.
He was not.
Something about his posture, or his expression, or maybe the seething fury that radiated from him - something about it earned him a sidelong glance from Holmes. And - was it his imagination, or did the amateur smile? Quick and dryly amused and gone before he could blink, but he could have sworn…
Of course he did, he was some sort of psychopathic savant (Anderson refused to credit Holmes with something so honest as study and work), it was uncanny how he managed to draw accurate conclusions from minuscule, seemingly irrelevant details. Of course he knew, he knew somehow about Anderson’s brilliant (
addicted, manic, uncontrolled) sister, he knew somehow about the mantra of stupid, idiot, lazy, useless, bastard that his father drilled into his childhood and adolescence with belt-leather punctuation.
Outrage at Holmes’ interference in his job, anger, old bitter pain, wounded pride - the entire cocktail of roiling emotions settled down into Anderson’s gut and brewed there into something black and tar-sticky, something entirely like hate.
Because Anderson gets such a bad rap in fanfic, and too often I’ve seen him and Donovan portrayed as these cartoon caricatures of schoolyard bullies. In truth, I feel sorry for them both.
I want to see him burn, oh yes, but it goes beyond that. That’s the end, there’s much more, so much more -
Oh, he’s beautiful, isn’t he? You can’t deny it. He shines, that acerbic tongue, that glittering mind, all that cold passion consuming him - bet you, bet you that’s the real reason he’s so wraith-thin. You can almost see it, the coldfire that powers him and consumes him, his skin so translucent, so -
Hmm. Oh, don’t look at me like that! Haha, oh, don’t you know? We want the same thing!
I want to peel back that carapace of his. I want to steal away his control bit… by… bit. See what he’s like off his own leash because he is leashed, oh, you know it seems he speaks without thinking but speaking isn’t the half of it. You want to see under his skin too, admit it! You want as much as I do to dig your fingers under the ice and untouchable storm of his countenance, you want to touch that fire he keeps inside, see what makes him tick, what he’s feeling there.
I want to see him break.
I want to make him break, watch him flare all of his fury and his pain and his passion, watch him crumble, open up his defenses and his guard until he’s got nothing left to hide behind, until he’s raw and bleeds his heart out, until I can taste it, sink my teeth into it…
No? Oh, come now. Of course you want that. You’re already doing it. Don’t know if I can get there without you, really. You’re just gentler about it, getting under his skin with your steadfastness and banter and oh-so-quick loyalty. You want to touch the softness of him, too.
Of course, you want to protect and heal, comfort… and don’t you know that’s worse?
I at least won’t be so cruel as to ease his loneliness and get him to depend on me, rely on me. I would never be so sadistic as to get him to trust me. Even I have lines I won’t cross. Sherlock and I - we challenge each other, it’s a game and we know it. You, though…
I do think I love him, a little, in my own way. He is beautiful, after all, and such a lovely puzzle. You want to be the one to get through his shell… well, so do I! Shall we work together on it?
No? Haha, I don’t need your consent to get your help on this one, John. Come now. Don’t be naive. You’ve been a fantastic partner in crime already! Couldn’t have gotten this far without you.