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Collaboration: "The Shape I Found You In" (John/Sherlock) [Oct. 29th, 2010|12:58 am]
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Title: The Shape I Found You In
Authors: irisbleufic & moony
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC 1)
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Rating: R (possibly NC-17; this is debatable)
Notes: An epistolary post-TGG collaboration, the premise being that this is the first significant separation that John and Sherlock have experienced since becoming flatmates. irisbleufic is responsible for Sherlock's bits, moony is responsible for John's bits, and the rest of it is entirely down to improvisation on both sides. Mycroft is responsible for said separation, incorrigible bastard that he is.
Word Count: 7,500
Disclaimer: The writers do not own any of the characters, except for a few OCs.
Summary: In which Sherlock invades Sweden, John watches too much questionable television, Things Are Finally Talked About, and absence makes the heart grow odder.

*** To obtain the podfic of this and its sequel, please PM fanatikva. ***


Plane delayed by 40 minutes. BORING. Can
only deduce so many life stories before the
duty-free shops begin to look appealing.

SH

*

Whoever invented Terminal 5 obviously
did not foresee the difficulties inherent
in painfully flawed design. Shops =
decent. Have bought you a new wallet.

SH

*

And don't try to convince me nothing
is wrong with your old one. There's no
room in it anymore for my debit card.

SH

*

Your phone's battery can't be dead.
I charged it for you before I left.

SH

*

Can you run me a web search on
tolerable hotels in Stockholm?

SH

*

John?

*

Never mind; boarding.
You owe me six texts.

No, seven.

SH

*

For god’s sake Sherlock I was at work
Mobiles aren’t allowed in the surgery you know that
Have you landed?
j

*

Why is there a bin bag full of left shoes in the bathtub
j

*

Oh fuck there are still feet in them
I hate you
j

*

Just in half of them, don't be ridiculous.
Yes, I've landed. The weather here's nicer
than in London. August's a good look
on this country. Never come in winter;
you'd freeze and try to steal my coat.

That's only three.

SH

*

Awaiting those Google results.
Do not want to spend money on
browser roaming, since you're
always nagging me about it.

SH

*

Never mind.

SH

*

Concierge does not speak English.
Since when do Swedes not speak
English? Would ask you to pop it
through Babelfish, but you're tetchy.

SH

*

Mycroft has left me instructions.
Did not make reservations for
a reason; git found me anyway.

Keep him busy while I'm gone?

SH

*

Forgot toothpaste.

SH

*

Listen, are you ignoring me on
purpose, or is 'EastEnders' just
that engrossing this evening?

SH

*

You do not want to know what
the previous party to rent this
room did on/to the mattress.

SH

*

John. John John John.

*

Fine. Am going out in search
of food, in hopes of delaying
rendezvous with Mycroft's man.

SH

*

They'll serve anyone these days.
Dinner with complete idiot.

SH

*

Would it be trite of me to say:
WISH YOU WERE HERE?

SH

*

I turned off my mobile after the first five texts
because occasionally I enjoy this thing called sleeping
j

*

The feet smell
and I can’t have a bath
I don’t want to smell too
J

*

How the hell do you expect me to keep Mycroft busy?
Arrange a coup?
J

*

You smell
J

*

Sod this
some of us don’t have unlimited texting
Check your email you twit
J

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: 164 characters = not enough to shout at you

I rang Molly Hooper from Bart’s and she’s coming to collect the feet. I promised her that you’d buy her a coffee if she did and you are going to buy her a coffee. You are going to have a proper conversation with her without insulting her in any way. There will be rehearsals.

I’m fairly certain they sell toothpaste in Sweden. The Swedish have very nice teeth.

I am not texting you anymore because if you’re going to say all that to me then you can sit down and write it all down in a proper e-mail like an adult.

Got to go, taking Mrs Hudson out for Italian.

-j

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: If it's enough for me to talk to you, then it should be sufficient for shouting.

(This is one of your more childish stunts. As for the no browser roaming rule, that's just gone out the window, because I can't check my email unless I use my browser.)

Question: if you were a foreign dignitary's wife's necklace, where would you be?

I CANNOT BELIEVE MYCROFT SENT ME OUT HERE AFTER A PIECE OF STOLEN JEWELLERY. Well, not really, there's something else, too, something involving stolen access codes and dull information belonging to the Swedish government, but the bauble seems to be a bonus. Apparently Mycroft owes the Swedish ambassador to the UK a favour, and what does the bastard come up with? Clean up after my aides' incompetence, and find my wife's platinum-and-diamond...thing, I don't know, it's supposedly very rare and very expensive, a pink diamond from Australia. I, for one, had not known that Australia was a leading producer of coloured diamonds.

You are not to breathe a word of this to anybody, including the bit about Australia.

And as for taking Mrs. Hudson out for Italian—without me? You wouldn't dare.


SH

P.S. What I said is true, however trite. You'd at least see the humour in this situation.

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: The fettuccini was delicious.

We’ll just send your mobile bill to Mycroft since it’s his job that you’re doing over there. Really, is it such a big deal to do him the odd favour now and again. It’s only fair considering what he did for us you know. Or would you rather have been blown up? No, don’t answer that, you’re ridiculous enough to prefer death by explosion to owing your brother anything. Well, I’m not. I rather like being alive and having all my limbs intact. They’re very useful, limbs.

I am not a necklace but I am sitting on the sofa. Have you looked at their sofa? Under the cushions perhaps? You’re always losing your mobile down there. Stands to reason one might lose a necklace there too, pink diamonds or no. Start with the sofa, I think.

The feet and shoes are gone, though I don’t know if the bathtub survived. It’s currently filled with water and bleach but there’s still a very footy smell in there. Mrs Hudson’s putting it on our rent, of course. Meanwhile I’ve been making do with spongebaths in the kitchen. Have I mentioned yet that I hate you?

Anything else I ought to know about that you conveniently forgot to tell me?

Law and Order is on so I’m going to turn off the laptop now. It’s nice to be able to watch it without you shouting the ending five minutes in.

j

PS I wouldn’t have minded going along if I could have, but I couldn’t leave the surgery when flu is going round. Don’t suppose you’ll take photos for me. I’ve never been Sweden or anywhere up there.

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: You utter bastard. I'll bet it was.

These charges won't turn up till next month, so I'll claim the pleasure of sending the bill to him myself. With little smiley-faces all over, Xs for eyes. What do you think?

I'm going to tell you this once, and only once: it is not, as you put it, such a 'big deal' to owe Mycroft a favour. It is the end of the world as I know it. Subject closed.

For the record, I don't prefer death by explosion. I'm rather glad we're both alive, thank you, and yes, if you must know, I'm grudgingly grateful to my brother for being, how did you put it, 'bad-ass' enough to get us out. Of course, the annoying part is, although locked up indefinitely, that...that insect is still alive. He deserves to die for what he did to you, thoroughly and horribly. If my saying so means Sally is right about me, then so be it. It's the only thing she'll ever be right about.

There is nothing in or under the sofa, at least not in the ambassador's office. I've decided it behooves me to treat the access codes and the necklace as one and the same, for now. Both are irritatingly small objects (when will people ever learn not to store sensitive information on memory sticks?), and both may well have been stolen by the same person. What were both doing in the ambassador's office, you ask? Well, let's just say some fun was had in which both objects were removed from their owners' persons and cast unceremoniously on the desk. I'm doubting it's the aides' incompetence so much as the ambassador's inability to keep on his trousers.

Mycroft can pay for the foot-damage, too, while he's taking care of my roaming charges. That was nearly the worst pun I've ever accidentally made in my life.

Law and Order is preferable to EastEnders, however simple-minded in and of itself.

SH

P.S. Don't come down with flu. Or, if you do, get over it before I come home.

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: I found the chicken feet, why were they in the breadbox

The smiley faces would fit in with your emotional age, which is about five. All you’re missing is a temper tantrum complete with stomping feet and toddler’s fists.

I’m not very happy with the idea that he’s still alive either to be perfectly honest, because I know that if you were in prison it would not be long before you managed to sort out how to escape. So long as he’s alive there’s the distinct possibility (probability?) that he’ll get out. So frankly if that body we’re all standing over is him I won’t be too fussed, though I don’t think you’ll be the one to do it because I certainly didn’t appreciate being wrapped up in semtex and I’d like to show him just how much I didn’t appreciate it.

You should have run, you know. When I told you to.

What is it about very important people and shagging whatever doesn’t run away? Haven’t they got more important things to do? Other than their aides or other people’s wives? I trust you’re already looking at the cleaning service as possible suspects, though I suppose that’s too obvious and you’ve already dismissed it. So never mind.

At least there are no bodies this time. That’s a bit refreshing for a change, isn’t it? Oh, sorry, remembered who I’m talking to.

No flu yet but I am rather knackered. Twelve hours of explaining to people that antibiotics won’t do a thing against something viral is very weary business. I was almost glad when a girl came in with glandular fever, at least that I can do something about. Poor thing though, miserable, looked a bit like one of those lizards with the thingy around its neck.

Tonight I’m going down the pub with a fellow from the surgery. Arsenal at Newcastle, which I know means nothing to you but I think it ought to be an interesting evening. Sarah might join us. Just in case you reply and I don’t get straight back to you, you don’t send me a thousand texts wondering if I’ve fallen into the Thames (again).

J

PS: Bring me a jar of lingonberry jam if you would. I very much like jam.

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: Because the bathtub was occupied, as you've so helpfully pointed out.

Come now, my tantrums are classier than that. When was the last time you saw a tantrum that included ill-played Vivaldi, bullets in the wall, or battery acid?

(Yes, John: I have enough self-awareness to know when I deserve to be mocked.)

I'm reassured that you'd be just as eager to put him down, because I'd enjoy the look of surprise on his sorry excuse for a face even more if you were the source of that bullet. What you do with guns (good), it just shouldn't be allowed. Actually, it isn't allowed, but I think that both the Yard and Mycroft are looking the other way. We'd have both been in prison half a dozen times by now.

The ambassador only appears to be shagging his wife. In the office. A lot.

Regarding the absence of a body, that's not entirely true. As of this morning, one of the aides has gone missing, so there may well be a body to deal with soon. Much though it will disappoint you to hear this, I don't take pleasure in the thought of the girl dying. But, once she's dead, if she dies, I'll be more than happy to see what I can learn from her. There's a difference.

The word you are looking for is 'frill', however useful you may deem 'thingy'.

Sarah, oh? I'd expected she'd be thoroughly put off by now, what with the kidnapping by Chinese thugs and then you standing her up in favour of some pyrotechnics.

SH

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: THINGY THINGY THINGY THINGY

Oh yes the battery acid. The carpeting may never recover. And the floor. That was a rather spectacular evening. I think of it whenever I see the curry stains on the ceiling.

There is never a time that you do not deserve to be mocked.

You’ve said nothing about Stockholm. Are you seeing any of it at all outside of the ambassador’s office and wherever you’re staying (where ARE you staying)? It’d be a shame for you to go and not see the sights a bit. (No, you’re not forgiven for going to Tenerife and not sending me a postcard.) You ought to take a boat tour.

I would rather not have to use or carry my gun but I won’t lie, I feel better when I have it, particularly when we’re out looking for someone who will most likely require me to at least wave it around a bit. You know I still regret not just shooting the Golem when I had the chance. I could have done but I was a bit wary of hitting you so I didn’t, and in hindsight I ought to have just done it. I wouldn’t have shot you. Don’t like the idea that a dirty great mutant is still out there somewhere doing what he does best.

I hope you find the poor girl before anything happens. What are the circumstances of her going missing?

Yes, Sarah was there tonight for the match (Newcastle won and after several pints I’m feeling no pain, thank god for spellcheck). I still rather fancy her but suffice it to say there’s really no chance of anything for the reasons you so helpfully pointed out. She’s not cross about my not showing up that night, mostly because I couldn’t really help being hit over the head and pulled into a car (never thought I’d say this but I prefer your brother’s method of kidnapping), but I think it was the last straw. Still she’s great fun and if nothing else I’ve got someone sane to hang round when you go off the rails.

Still wouldn’t have minded at least getting a shag out of it before she chucked me.

J

PS Mrs Hudson would also like jam.

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: Two orders of lingonberry jam, noted. Tiny little jars for tiny little brains.

(Clarify with Mrs. Hudson whether or not it's actually cloudberry she's after.)

Central Hotel, Vasagatan 38, 111 20 Stockholm (the address, in case you hadn't worked that out). As it turns out, the concierge does speak English; I had merely been curt enough to merit the cold shoulder. Nothing new under the sun. Speaking of which, the harbour-front here is blindingly beautiful at midday, and the sky never seems to be anything at this time of year but flawless blue. You'd appreciate the boats, I think. All shapes and sizes, some of them of military make. A cruise around the islands is reputed to be an excellent venture, yes, but I hardly see the point in tourist activities if you're not here to endure my commentary. And I also forgot to pack the skull.

Dinner my first night in town was at Nalen. You won't have heard of it, dreadfully expensive, but my God do they grill up some exceptional reindeer steak. You might like the local fruit ciders. I could bring some back, I suppose, but if it explodes in my luggage, I'll be quite cross, and you'll be paying for some new luggage.

The girl—her name is Agna—was last seen approximately forty-eight hours ago. A CCTV camera caught her on her walk home from work. They haven't got nearly as much public surveillance here as we have. I plan on making a house-call. The flatmate, Helle, is particularly distraught, they tell me. I'd like to speak with her.

Ah. I hadn't realised you'd made it official. The being 'chucked', I mean. I suppose I ought to say I'm sorry, but then again, I'm not, and I'm far past the point of lying to you (never again if I can help it; I still regret that evening, and I'll have you know regret is not an emotion with which I'm particularly well acquainted). What I will say, then, is that having a friend who shares your affinity for EastEnders and your appalling taste in beer can be no bad thing. Congratulations.

SH

P.S. What kind of postcard did you have in mind?

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: I call the skull Gary

The skull is fine where he is, I don’t think he would travel well. We’re very happy. Just last night we had a nice curry and watched Master Chef and discussed gay marriage (not sure why it came up; can never tell with him). I’ll thank you not to take away my preferred conversation partner. At least he doesn’t interrupt to call me an idiot and fling crumbs at me.

A proper hotel? I was certain you’d stay at the place that used to be a prison. I looked it up on the internet. Seems your sort of thing(y). Also you’re very cruel telling me about how lovely it is. It’s been raining here since you left. Beginning to feel like a fish or some sort of tropical reptile. (This does not give you carte blanche to dissect me when you get back.)

Did you really eat a reindeer?

Doesn’t bode well for Agna does it? Vanishing off the streets is never a good sign. I remember reading it’s the first 12 hours that are the most important? So if it’s been 48 hours then she’s probably not doing very well at all. Try not to be horrid to the flatmate. You ought to know how she must feel. I certainly do.

I’m not really that distraught over the whole business with Sarah to be perfectly honest. I don’t know whether I can truly balance work, a girlfriend, minding you and crimefighting. Seems a bit much to take on, really. So perhaps it’s for the best.

She thinks you’re completely mad, of course. I haven’t the heart to correct her. Also, she’s right.

Send me a postcard with a reindeer on.

J

PS: You were right, she likes cloudberry.

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: Of course I was right.

Not the best of subject lines for the news I'm bearing: Agna is dead. As it turns out, the flatmate is not just her flatmate, but also her partner. I'm almost relieved I had words with her before the body was found, although now there are parts of the conversation that won't leave me for a while. I hope you'll forgive me for the lack of detail; suffice it to say that both objects in this case seem to have been stolen by the killer. The ambassador's wife's pendant was left around Agna's neck. They found her in the water, just off one of the islands, so I did get to go on that cruise after all.

I don't know what this has to do with what we were discussing before—reindeer and cloudberries and all—but I wanted to keep the pendant. Spirit it away, keep it secret, let it remain forever lost to the ambassador and his wife. They can replace it. Easily. They have thirty thousand pounds to spare in spades, most likely. Helle, on the other hand, has nothing. She can't afford her flat now, and she's lost the love of her life. I don't profess to know a great deal about such things, but I understand what a difference such a valuable item might have made to this young woman. It wouldn't have replaced Agna, but it would've taken care of material difficulties.

Or it might have served as a keepsake, a memento mori. Agna has very likely left her little. Her post in the ambassador's office paid a living wage, but not enough to support two people in a city like this one. Helle has a job; she works herself to the bone, and I won't rattle off the inventory of how and why I know. You would have known, too, had you seen her. You would have...

Well, you would have done better than I did.

And I understand now why you took employment.

SH

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: Re: Of course I was right.

Are you all right? This isn’t your usual murder talk. You’re normally a bit less maudlin and a lot more gleeful at the mystery of it. What’s going on?

Those poor girls. What the hell did she get tangled up in to end up like this, I don’t understand it. I’ll never understand this, no matter how much we see it. Whatever happened, a necklace, national secrets, bloody Chinese hairpins for Christ’s sake, they’re not worth a life. Whoever this bastard is, he’s killed two girls not just one. For Helle it might even be worse than death to be honest. At least if you’re dead you don’t have to go on without that other half of yourself. There’s not much joy in living if you’re the one left behind.

Does Helle have any family who could look after her? Did Agna’s body tell you anything to help you to find her killer?

That is not how I thought you would see the waters of Stockholm you know.

I’m sorry.

J

PS: I tried ringing your mobile but it rang out. Let me know that you’re all right.

*

Of course I'm all right. Don't be absurd.

Thinking.

SH

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: Re: Re: Of course I was right.

The thief-and-murderer's intention is to cast the ambassador's reputation into question. By leaving the wife's necklace around the aide's neck—well, I hardly need point out the implications. Not so clever, though, this one; they didn't do their homework on the target (married and faithful) or on the pawn (lesbian in a committed relationship). The public-shaming tactic would have worked much better in America.

Of those forty-eight hours, Agna's body had been in the water for for just over twenty-four. Almost anything of particular use had been washed away; although, based on some errata, I expect that the toxicology reports will be nothing short of forthcoming. There were no signs of trauma or struggle. This nearly always points to an inside job; the killer was probably someone she knew and trusted.

Humans readily commit unspeakable acts for the sake of entities that cannot love them back—whether it's diamonds, jade, or information. However, the culprit wasn't after the information because he or she loved it. The ambassador must have enemies, and once I have a list of who those people are, I this will prove perfectly simple. The motive is either vengeance or spite. Boring.

Have I really only been gone for a week? Feels like a month.

SH

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Of course I was right.

It’s not absurd to be concerned when you sound like an alien.

I think putting the necklace around Agna’s neck is terribly obvious really. Of course I know you think this already but honestly, that’s laying it on a bit thick. Clearly a message and a very clumsy one at that, might as well have put a sign around her neck saying YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO THINK THE AMBASSADOR IS SHAGGING HER. So if me with my tiny brain can see that then I imagine the Stockholm police will as well?

Who else did she know besides the ambassador and Helle?

I wouldn’t call this boring Sherlock. A girl is dead because of this. For Helle’s sake, it ought not be boring to you to figure out who it was and get Agna some justice. If something happened to someone you cared about, as unlikely as that is, you wouldn’t find it at all boring to sort out the culprit and hold them responsible. So no, not boring.

Yes, you’ve been gone a week. In that time I’ve tidied the flat, held an hourlong conversation with a skull, taken Mrs Hudson to dinner (and the waiter assumed it was a date, I think I need to get more bloody sleep), disposed of the turtle carcass you had in the vegetable drawer in the fridge because it was beginning to make everything smell of turtle, arranged your LPs alphabetically, got the shopping, hoovered your bedroom (you have an awful lot of books about bees, why), got a haircut, and caught up on Eastenders (not one bloody word). If anyone’s bored it’s quite obviously me. I’m sitting here writing you an email and playing Bejeweled because there’s nothing else on.

Solve this quickly would you? Never thought I’d say this but the flat’s a bit too quiet.

J

PS: Mycroft just called by to see how you were getting on. I take it you’re ignoring him? I didn’t tell him anything but I imagine he already knows everything right down to the colour pants I’m wearing right now. Why is your family the thing of nightmares?

*

No time now; developments!
What on earth is 'Bejeweled'?

Should be 'jewelled'.

SH

*

Nonsense, the flat can't be too quiet.
There are the boards that creak at
8:30 AM, again around 2 PM, and
sporadically throughout the early
hours of morning. Nuisances, all.

SH

*

Notable absence of vitriol amongst
staff. They claim innocence. Hm.

SH

*

Bees are admirable creatures.

SH

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: This subject line requires a change of scenery.

Tell Mycroft that he can stuff it. Or tell him what you know. I'll make a concession on his behalf in the you-are-not-to-breathe-a-word-of-this-to-anyone clause, but if you tell him about Australia, I will personally see to it that your blog gets hacked.

I'm beginning to think now that vengeance and spite really have nothing to do with the culprit's motive, so, you're right, considerably not-boring. By 'developments', I meant that the toxicology report had come back: Agna was poisoned. The food in her stomach suggests a high-class meal, so she dined out with someone prior to meeting her end. The poison was undoubtedly slipped to her during dinner at some point. High level of trust; Agna felt comfortable in her surroundings. Now begins a sweep of all area restaurants serving a certain combination of foods on one plate.

None of the staff interviewed are lying, I fear. I say 'I fear' because that means that this case is in no way as done and dusted as I had assumed it would be once that task was completed. There's something slightly unusual going on here, and it may have more to do with Agna than I had initially assumed. Much though I would rather not do this, a second visit to Helle will be the best course.

Why would you kill a young woman you knew well, and then steal some access codes?

This hotel room could use a bit of your domestic touch. It's...chaotic.

SH

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject:

poisoned bloody hell

first of all those floorboards creak because i walk on them when i leave for the surgery and 2 is when mrs hudson comes to make sure you arent dead. you dont know that do you. youre not supposed to be cause i asked mrs hudson to do it when i know you won’t be paying attention to anything but whatever it is youre working on

i cant stop thinking about agna and helle and agna being posioned because i know what its like to have someone there one day and gone the next. friend of mine in my regiment was fine one morning and having a laugh and then he was shot in the head that afternoon. i watched him go off in the jeep and when he came back it was just a body. that’s what helle feels like now she saw agna leave in the morning and now she’s a corpse and she wont ever talk to her again. its a wretched feeling cant stop thinkgin about it because i thought i would never sleep again after layton died and he was just a mate. if it were someone i cared about like helle did agna

might have had a few down the pub before writing this so excuse the shit typing

we never talk about it why is that. you bloody went off to meet him alone and you probably wouldnt have come back from it

did you intend to come back

i really want to know what i would have come home to had things gone different

j

ps i am going to hate myself in the morning after i send this

*

John, why aren't you answering your phone?

Don't hate yourself.

SH

*

Pick up, goddamn it.

SH

*

JOHN.

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: Re:

I intended to come back. I always intend to come back, don't you realize that? Maybe before you came along I wouldn't have cared enough, but, all right, fair dues, I was bloody stupid to have done that, and if I'd only known it was going to hurt you that much, I'd have thought twice. And, yes, there's the incident with the cabbie, too, please don't remind me. I'd only just met you, yet you risked your own life happily enough in order to save mine, and there I was playing with fire.

You're still not answering your phone. I had to find a sodding internet cafe so I can keep on dialling now and again, goddamn it, your battery had better be dead. And if you have nothing better to do than drink in my absence, then I might ask you a few of the same questions, namely, do you fancy dying of alcohol poisoning? You're a doctor, so I'm sure you know what to do at this point in order to sort yourself out, but just for a minute pretend I'm your doctor and PUT DOWN THE PINT.

I'm having visions of Mrs. Hudson packing ice on your head and covering you in blankets and telling you what an idiot you've been. These visions may not be true, but I'll pretend they are. No, wait, strike that, she'd better be doing it, because if she weren't, I'd be doing it. It's come to this.

We don't talk about it because we're both incontrovertibly stupid; hadn't you guessed?

More the fool, me, that I hadn't. John, please.

(I'm missing something, something that should be blindingly obvious, but I can't think. The patches aren't helping, the cigarettes aren't helping, nothing is helping.)

FOR FUCK'S SAKE, ANSWER.

SH

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: Re: Re:

Turned off my mobile the first time it rang because it felt like it was inside my head. don’t worry, I’m not planning to drink like that again for some time if ever. I finally stopped being sick an hour ago and Mrs Hudson’s just brought me tea and my laptop so here I am. Room’s still a bit spinny but the tea’s staying down at least.

Read over the email I sent and I barely remember typing it but here’s the thing: I meant everything I said.

I realised I never told you what happened when I woke up in the car. He was sitting across from me and talking about how I was going to be the best surprise, and he thanked me for giving him the opportunity to 'destroy you'. I’d no idea what he meant because how would someone like me let him get the better of you? Then I saw your face when I walked out.

I think it’s time to talk about it, Sherlock.

You can’t do that again, do you understand? You might intend to always come back but the fact is that you can’t be certain you always will. Because you’re an arrogant twat you walked into a building with a madman (even madder than you, didn’t think it possible but there we are) and full of bloody snipers. Did it never occur to you that going alone to meet a man who happily blows people up and arranges murders might not have the outcome you expect it to? That you’re not always right (one word Sherlock: Harriet).

Then I’d have come back to an empty flat and no idea that you would never be there again. Did you talk to Helle? Ask her how that feels.

You don’t go where I can’t follow you. Full stop.

J

PS: Mrs Hudson had to make me tea in her kettle because ours is full of green slime. For some reason this doesn’t upset me but rather I would like to know when you are coming home.

PPS: Stop smoking.

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: Is that a challenge?

Glad you're on the mend. I've texted Mrs. Hudson to inform her that if you get it into your head to go to the pub, any pub, she is to accompany you. If somebody else thinks it's a date, you'll just have to endure it. Besides, you've had plenty of practice by now. This wouldn't be a good point at which to admit, perhaps, that I'm somewhat jealous of my landlady? Dining alone is wretched. This is supposedly an Italian restaurant, but I remain unconvinced. Should've gone with the Thai place.

Well, I meant everything I said, too, for what it's worth. You've made your point, and no, I'm not always right. As long as it's just the two of us, I can admit that. However tempted you may be, please don't forward this to Lestrade. In fact, I will say something rather embarrassing just to make sure that you don't: I threw away what was left of the cigarettes because you seemed upset about them. The things you drive me to, John. I can't concentrate, because every time I hear footsteps in the hall, I wish they were yours. Actually, this has gone far beyond embarrassing; it's pathetic.

(I don't mean to say that you're pathetic, I mean to say—well, what I mean to say.)

No, I haven't had the chance to speak to Helle. It'll have to wait till Monday, I'm told, because she's away at the funeral. It's being held out on one of the islands, a different one from where they found her, because her family have a holiday cottage out there. I was invited, but respectfully declined. Helle seemed disappointed. Bit not good?

Please don't think that any of this is intended flippantly. I've found this a difficult piece of correspondence, even more so than some messages previous. I've hurt you time and again, but, somehow, miraculously, you seem to have no desire to walk away.

I'm not used to this.

(Right. What I mean to say is, I think, that I couldn't walk away from you if I tried. Not ever again, I mean. Look, I know I've done it, but let's just put that behind us, all right? I'm back in the head-space where I'd like to rip out his fingernails for what he did to you, and the waitstaff look worried. Am I frightening?)

SH

*

no one’s ever said nice things like that to me

*

went for a walk

*

have you ever actually been to the british museum?
we ought to go when you get back
you can tell me all the ways in which history
got it wrong.

*

i waited until i knew you’d be asleep
before texting you

*

i think i’ve figured out
why i wasn’t fussed when things didn’t
work out with sarah

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: I am completely sober just so you know

I thought for a very long time that the worst day of my life was when I woke up in hospital and was told I’d never be a surgeon again because of my hand. No one wants a mad doctor operating on them you see. I remember wishing I’d died when I got shot, it was that bloody devastating.

But now I know it wasn’t nearly so devastating as when I saw that sniper’s mark on your head.

You’ve been gone a week and three days and if this is what life is like without you around then it’s no kind of life I would ever want to live. I might complain about fish heads in the toaster and whatever you did to the radio so that it only gets Welsh language stations but if I didn’t have those things to complain about, I’d have nothing at all.

I think I need you like breathing.

Going to send this before I lose my nerve.

J

*

Really? No one, ever? Well,
then they're all bastards, and
I'll rip their fingernails out, too.

*

A walk? Lovely coincidence,
I'm on my way to Helle's now.
The harbour-front is quiet.

*

Yes, I've been there, but not for
a very long time. History got it
wrong in lots of ways, I fear.

*

Fortunately for you, I was actually
asleep. What would you have done
if I'd responded right away?

*

...that's good. Very good,
I think. Listen, I'm on Helle's
doorstep, I'll check my email
after I've spoken with her.

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: ...and I'm almost always sober, so we're sorted.

I would start by saying that what Helle said is irrelevant, as what you've said is the only relevant thing in the world right now, as far as I'm concerned, but would be an insult to Helle. As it turns out, I'd been asking her all the wrong questions on our first meeting: Did Agna have any enemies at work? If not enemies, anyone she disliked intensely? Did she ever feel threatened by her employer? Was she privy to any information of a higher class than those access codes?

The questions I should have been asking were: Did Agna have any friends at work? If not friends, anyone with whom she was cordial? Was she close to anyone else?

An employee, as such, did not commit this crime. There's one more person with whom I ought to speak, and it's someone with whom I should have been speaking all along. Unforgivable, that I was inclined to dismiss said party, given their role.

I'm certain you'll have caught up with me by now, but, if not—there's the fact that I could be wrong. Must investigate further, i.e. speak to the suspect.

(Won't go alone. My dinner invitation includes a third party. Nalen again.)

SH

*

I lost my nerve.

But I've found it.

*

I'll never put fish-heads in
the toaster again. I'll get
the radio fixed. Or I'll buy
you a new one from Ikea.

*

I'm trying.

Nerve. Right.

*

I need you beside me.

*

Is there a way to save a text
because I want to keep that one
for a long time

*

From: John H Watson
To: Sherlock Holmes
Subject: the fish heads are fine where they are

Was it the ambassador’s wife? She’s the only one I can think of that you haven’t talked to, since you hadn’t mentioned her since the beginning. Why would she do it? Or am I completely off the mark, which is probable. If I were there I’d probably be able to see what you see, eventually, but from here I have to admit I’ve no idea what you’re on about.

But I hope you’ve found the right person, and that you make him/her suffer a bit before you hand them over to the authorities.

So we have established that we’re extraordinarily codependent which is not really too much of a shock. The thing that I would like to know is, when you get home, would you mind terribly if we have a roast for dinner (without carrots because I know you loathe them, and extra potatoes) and watch a film (I’ve got a Swedish one in mind, it’s about a little girl who’s a vampire, it’s disturbing enough that you might actually enjoy it) and if it’s all right with you, afterward I’d like to take you to bed.

Let me know if this is a problem. I certainly hope it isn’t. I hope to God I’ve read this right.

If not, please disregard and keep mocking to a minimum.

J

*

You've read everything right. It was,
indeed, the ambassador's wife. A
woman scorned. She'd fancied the
girl for a long time, befriended her
in a motherly sort of way, given her
gifts, taken her out for coffee.

*

And dinner, unfortunately, when it
became clear she stood no chance.

The memory stick was hidden in
the lining of her handbag all along.

*

As for making her suffer, I wish
you could have seen the look on her
face when I told her what's going
to become of her necklace. She'll
have no use for it in prison, after all.

*

First things first: I have no intention
of mocking you. I like roasts, and
extra potatoes sound just perfect.

*

Second: I've been meaning to see
'Let the Right One In' ever since
Molly recommended it. Don't laugh.

*

And third: check your email, you twit.

*

From: Sherlock Holmes
To: John H Watson
Subject: FWD: Expedia.co.uk: Your Travel Itinerary
Attachment: WatsonStockholm23Aug2010.pdf

The trouble is, I'm not quite ready to come home.

Speaking of bed, the one in my hotel room is overlarge and cold. I can't tell you how many times I'd come close to saying that, but didn't. I have no problems with any of what you've suggested as long as you have no problems with the fact that, by the time you take me to bed post-Let the Right One In, it will not have been the first time.

The harbour-front is quiet because you're not here. Helle would like to meet you.

(I'll send Mycroft a thank-you postcard. With a reindeer on.)

Yours,
Sherlock

*

And here's where the real fun begins.

*

Couldn't sleep last night for thinking of you.

My pulse didn't slow for an hour afterward.

*

It wasn't enough, though.

*

Wanking, I mean. It's not your
voice in my ear or your body
against mine or your hands on
me or anything even close.

*

You'd better get to sleep,
or you'll miss your flight.

*

Or you could ring me,
because you owe me
about ten phone-calls.

*

But one would suffice.

*

christ Sherlock
I guess I ought to know better
than to check my texts at work

*

i thought of you as well last night

*

and just now in the bath

*

have told mrs hudson i’d be off for a few days.
she said to give you her best.

*

i want to know what it feels like
to be inside you.

*

downloaded a swedish dictionary to my
phone just in case.
don’t know any so i thought i’d
have it ready in case i need to say anything
important.

*

boarding
see you soon

*

jag älskar dig


✈ Continue to Sequel: Lay Me Down
LinkReply

Comments:
Page 1 of 9
<<[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] >>
[User Picture]From: lolachrome
2010-10-29 12:24 am (UTC)

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Damn, I loved this, through and through. Beautifully done.
[User Picture]From: moony
2010-10-29 09:24 pm (UTC)

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Thank you so much. It was immense fun to write. :)
[User Picture]From: ignipes
2010-10-29 12:24 am (UTC)

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I love this! The texts and emails are just perfect, such a fantastic way for them to say things they would never say, and the gradual change in what they're saying is lovely.
[User Picture]From: moony
2010-10-29 09:25 pm (UTC)

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That was what made it so enjoyable, that we could be free for them to say things they'd never manage if they were said in person.

Thanks much!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:33 pm (UTC)

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Indeed, I was listening to this song, and in turn passed it on to moony. Girlyman rocks. Thank you for reading!
[User Picture]From: darthhellokitty
2010-10-29 12:37 am (UTC)

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OH GOD THIS IS REALLY PERFECT.

My heart feels all sticky. In a good way.
[User Picture]From: moony
2010-10-29 09:25 pm (UTC)

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*pokes heart*

Ewwwwww.

:D

(Thank you)
[User Picture]From: mysterypoet66
2010-10-29 12:37 am (UTC)

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equal parts funny, beautiful, and *UNF* Raw vulnerability, when they can't see each other. *dies of awesome*
[User Picture]From: moony
2010-10-29 09:25 pm (UTC)

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*resurrects*

Thank you so much. :)
[User Picture]From: fengirl88
2010-10-29 12:38 am (UTC)

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this was just WONDERFUL.

I am very fond of text!fics but this was something else again.

god bless epistolary fiction and all who sail in her. especially the two of you.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:39 pm (UTC)

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I've done epistolary fic once before, in Everything Is Illuminated fandom, and, I have to say, there's a reason I don't do it very often. It's raw and vulnerable and allows for a form of first-person POV that's even more intimate than the usual incarnation.

Thank you so much for reading!
[User Picture]From: kaitou1412
2010-10-29 12:50 am (UTC)

THINGY THINGY THINGY

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That was lovely. Just what I needed tonight! (Loved all the shoutouts. Jam! Bees! Hamish!)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:40 pm (UTC)

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Glad to have brightened up your evening, then. We had a blast writing this. Thank you so much for letting us know what you think! <3
[User Picture]From: strobelighted
2010-10-29 12:57 am (UTC)

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Love this! It was so totally enjoyable. I loved the progression from casual friend talk to confessions and realizations and the end was absolutely wonderful.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:41 pm (UTC)

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We thought it would be a worthy experiment, separating for them for a couple of weeks post-TGG in order to see what would come of it. Getting Sherlock to lay off the texts and actually write long emails was tough, but I think he saw the expediency ;)

Thank you so much!
[User Picture]From: innie_darling
2010-10-29 12:57 am (UTC)

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This is just lovely.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:41 pm (UTC)

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Pleased to hear you enjoyed it! Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: crocodile_eat_u
2010-10-29 01:04 am (UTC)

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You have no idea how much I <3's this! It was just beautiful! And the last line in swedish tugged on my heartstrings so much I think I want to cry! ^^

<3<3<3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:42 pm (UTC)

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That was a brilliant touch on moony's part, wasn't it? We had such a good time writing this, and there's going to be more, it looks like. Thank you for reading <3
[User Picture]From: myszata
2010-10-29 01:09 am (UTC)

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Marvelous.
I love the form of messages, e-mails and this slow developement of relationship. And those different ways of texting and e-mailing is lovely presented - every situation has influence on the form!
And I looove those swedish hints.

Are you Swedish?
I live in a neighbour country and speak a little bit of swedish, so I was really in love with this atmosphere...

Keep up the good work!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:43 pm (UTC)

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No, I'm not Swedish - I'm an American who's been living in the UK for five years, although I've traveled in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway a bit (Sweden more than the other two). It's an interest of mine, definitely, and I want to come back as soon as I can, particularly to Stockholm. I find it compelling and lovely.

Thank you for reading. As for keeping it up, I do think we'll do a follow-up to this piece ;)
[User Picture]From: amine_eyes
2010-10-29 01:28 am (UTC)

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Very nice way of bringing all these feelings across! :D
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:44 pm (UTC)

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Thank you! We thought so, too, although it's obviously nerve-wracking until you have confirmation. Glad you enjoyed it so much :)
[User Picture]From: windfallswest
2010-10-29 01:39 am (UTC)

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This is made of all good things! You guys are awesome.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:45 pm (UTC)

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And you're awesome for reading and chiming in. Wow, the feedback is kind of overwhelming, even in comparison to my past experience (I can't speak for moony directly, but I'm sure you'll hear from her soon enough).

Thank you so much for reading <3
[User Picture]From: caliena
2010-10-29 01:57 am (UTC)

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Remember the time we talked about my mental state and how I am not allowed to read certain texts?
This is one of them.
I needed a warning and needed it badly.
(And don't feel bad because I said that, my own fault, should have known it would come to this.)

I feel bad now, but I still love it, it is so wonderfully written (both parts, of course, you work fantastic together!) and goes straight to the heart.
Would love to read more from you two :)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:46 pm (UTC)

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Sadly, because I don't know the exact terms of your emotional triggers, I'd find it difficult to put warnings on for you alone *hugs* However, I'm glad you found something in it to enjoy all the same. Thank you so much for reading. It means a lot to us <3
From: autumn_frosts
2010-10-29 02:00 am (UTC)

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wow. This is incredible. Very well written, love the way you worked the mystery plot in as well.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:48 pm (UTC)

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The mystery plot was...a challenge, but one of the chief pleasures I took in constructing my half of this. Thank you so much for letting us know what you think! We loved writing it, and we're glad you loved reading it :)
[User Picture]From: lydia_petze
2010-10-29 02:09 am (UTC)

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Adored this. All of it.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:48 pm (UTC)

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Thank you, my dear :) And I'm sure moony will say the same!
[User Picture]From: mysterypoet66
2010-10-29 02:46 am (UTC)

I had to read it again. I would KILL for a podfic

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Hell, if I were in the least technically able, I'd MAKE one. (I'm really bad at stuff like that.) What it really reminds me of, (while being perfectly in character and voice,) is Pride and Prejudice. The rhythm of it, the escalation, the self-realizations...

This may very well be the most emotionally beautiful thing I've ever read in this fandom.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:50 pm (UTC)

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Epistolary fiction is a passion for both of us, too, we discovered, although it seems to me neither of us has done it terribly often. This was a fantastic experience. Thank you for reading :)
[User Picture]From: katarzi
2010-10-29 03:20 am (UTC)

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I love this. It's really gorgeous and basically I want to print it all out and roll around in like a very happy kitten.

Also, Sweden! eee. I have family/friends there and lots of people forget about it which is sad. Also also I kept reading all those three-lined texts and thinking they were haiku, and seriously I just kept counting syllables...not that you needed to know that.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:52 pm (UTC)

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The text messages did turn out like poetry, some of them, didn't they? This piece was incredibly full of surprises in the writing. Thank you for reading! :)

Sweden is an awesome place.
[User Picture]From: echoindarkness
2010-10-29 03:23 am (UTC)

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*is incoherent with the awesome*

(also? the fact that my rp!sherlock and i have had similar texting convos fills me with kind of a lot of glee and makes this even better)
[User Picture]From: echoindarkness
2010-10-29 01:56 pm (UTC)

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Also now I've slept I can articulate. I love the gradual shift in voices and the lack of signature in later texts. I also love the sense of justice from the transfer of the necklace because it's just so Holmesian. That's one of my favorite things from Canon, that Holmes isn't a man of law so much as he is a man of justice, and I really appreciated that inclusion.
[User Picture]From: twistedsheets10
2010-10-29 03:36 am (UTC)

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This is fantastic. I love the e-mails and texts and headings. XD
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:52 pm (UTC)

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So glad to hear you enjoyed this! Thank you for reading :)
[User Picture]From: outofmymind
2010-10-29 03:38 am (UTC)

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This is amazing and incredible and the two of you are geniuses! I especially loved the subject lines of the emails, they're almost a story unto themselves.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:53 pm (UTC)

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A separate conversation going on in the subject lines seemed like something these guys would do. It fell by the wayside a few times, obviously, when the content became emotionally intense ;) Thank you so much!
From: (Anonymous)
2010-10-29 03:54 am (UTC)

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THE BEES. I love this beautiful story. <3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:54 pm (UTC)

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Bees are always praiseworthy <3 Thank you so much for reading :)
[User Picture]From: madrona_8
2010-10-29 04:11 am (UTC)

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Oh that was beautiful....I liked the switching back and forth between text and email....

"arranged your LPs alphabetically,"....you know Martin Freeman does this with his large Motown collection right?
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:57 pm (UTC)

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OMG, no, I hadn't known that, anyway! Well done, moony.

Thank you so much for reading. We had so much fun writing this :)
[User Picture]From: stupid_drawings
2010-10-29 04:12 am (UTC)

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Oh, you made my heart go all melty. This was a lovely collaboration, so sweet and also fun. Not going to lie, the jam comments made me laugh.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-10-29 09:57 pm (UTC)

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*provides small convenient bucket for your heart*

Thank you so much for reading. We had a great time with this, and there is sure to be more forthcoming <3
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