Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 125,527 words
Warnings: Character death (offscreen)
Verse: Sherlock (BBC)
Years after Mary melted into the darkness, John and Sherlock are at their wits' end. Rachel Watson, aged nine, is proving harder to handle than Irene Adler and Jim Moriarty combined. John hopes that the right boarding school might give her the structure she seems to need. Not until after Rachel disappears do they discover that someone else appears to have had the same idea.
It's really difficult to give a synopsis of this story that doesn't spoil things about it. So let me just list a few of the things it contains, in no particular order: secrets, lies, double-crossing, action, adventure, explosions, fistfights, danger, intrigue, plot twists, underground lairs, sheep, character development, John and Sherlock being the most bamf! dads ever, and nearly all of Sherlock's underutilized female characters kicking a lot of ass in many different ways.
This is a sequel to "Law Like Love," but works well enough as a stand-alone story. For truly full appreciation you may want to read the earlier stories in the "Wild About Harry" series, but that's not necessary.
This is such an amazing fic and doesn't have nearly the number of hits and kudos it deserves. It has plot out the wazoo, breathtaking twists and turns, wonderful original characters, and an incredible way of incorporating canon and making it ten times more brilliant than in the series. There are creepy psychopaths, political plots, secret societies, skeletons in closets, and a sexy visit to my hometown Chicago. What more could you want?
I mentioned the original characters, first and foremost of which is Harry. Although she’s technically canon, it’s by name-drop and a couple of bare facts only. The author has taken those bare facts and run with them, creating a fantastically three-dimensional, complex, engaging personality who would have no problem carrying off the lead role. Then there is Rachel, John and Mary’s daughter, who is nine years old in the story and comes with her own set of baggage, the fact that her mother is a professional assassin only being the start. There are even more OCs I could rave about, but it would be spoiling to tell. ;) In addition to them, there is a full supporting cast of secondary canon characters, especially Molly, Janine, Anthea, and Lady Smallwood, who are brought to full, rich life in a deeply satisfying way. But don’t worry, even with all of the OC goodness, John and Sherlock are at the center of the story in all their complicated, devastatingly gorgeous glory.
This story starts out very much in media res, which at first had me wondering whether I needed to go back and re-read “Law Like Love” (the previous story in the series, and if you haven’t read it yet, do, because it is simply excellent) but it turns out it was all done on purpose. Everything will be revealed in due course, so be patient. :) And what a reveal it is! I didn’t see any of it coming, although in retrospect it was all perfectly obvious and logical, which just makes me admire the skill of the author even more.
As a side note, the story deals with the very personal, very sensitive issue of parenting a child who has an extremely difficult time conforming to mainstream schooling. As a teacher of primary school aged children myself and seeing the difficulties and helplessless on both sides, this hit me really close to my heart. I thought the author did a very good job of representing the situation, and I found it to be a very brave depiction.
There is one sex scene that would fall under the provenance of BDSM (specifically the bondage and Dom/sub aspects), but it’s not very extensive so I’m not tagging it explicitly.
Welcome to our reccers returning for this month: swissmarg and tripleransom! We're looking forward to your recs.
Thanks as well to May's doughty crew, chapbook and cherrytide for your many and inventive choices.
Sign ups are now open for reccers for any month. We'll still take reccers for June, or for July on.
We welcome recs for completed fic, vids, art, podfic, and meta, for any version of Sherlock Holmes. All are invited to share, though you must be a member of the comm to make posts. We ask that reccers make between four and twelve recs for the month, and wait three months before volunteering again. Sign up here! Info and Guidelines here.
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Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/OMC
Warnings: Rape/non-con, drug abuse, implied child abuse
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: At age nineteen, Sherlock Holmes dropped out of university to become a drug addict.
Reccer's comments: There are a lot of fics out there where Sherlock does drugs and ends up on the streets, but this is one of the few that I felt really convincingly dealt with the psychology behind Sherlock's actions in a way that was in character, realistic and detailed. Basser's take on Sherlock is unusual in fandom, potraying him as suffering from a form of ADHD, which is not a diagnosis I'd have thought of for Sherlock but a very convincing case is made for it and how it affects him and his ability to relate to others.
I love the author's take on Sherlock and Mycroft's relationship and how their behaviour each fuels each other's insecurities, Mycroft's spying aggravating Sherlock's paranoia and anxiety, Sherlock's rebellion and drug abuse a source of terror for Mycroft.
Basser also creates an original love interest for Sherlock, Eric Crenshaw, who is one of the more endearing OCs I've encountered - he is a total contrast with Sherlock, from a very poor background, sweet natured and streetwise. It's very interesting to see Sherlock interact with such a different character, and their loving but doomed relationship is handled very well.
If you like stories that delve deep into character's psychologies in new and fascinating ways this could be one for you!
(Sorry this rec is a little late! End of the month snuck up on me )
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: None given. Sherlock and John kiss.
Reccer's comments: I couldn't resist recc'ing another work by SH2JW this month: my favorite Sherlock/John kiss in fanart. Framing it as a close-up makes it feel as if the viewer is watching this on the big screen. The palette of soft colors SH2JW employs gives the image a softer feel in counterpoint to the obvious passion of the kiss (those closed eyes!). Even the play of light and shadow bring Sherlock and John together, forming a rough "V" that meets where their lips join. All of these elements suggest a moment of climax as thrilling as any found in mainstream television and film.
Artist: Fyodor Pavlov
Author's summary: These old marrieds commissioned by zforzelma just in time for our Queer Reading of the Sherlock Holmes Canon panel at FlameCon! I’ll also have prints of this piece, so swing by my table before or after the panel!
Reccer's comments: Holmes and Watson, aristocratically beautiful, share a handsome loveseat in 221B. Holmes smokes while Watson reads, cozy on a long night, the bare trees contrasting with the warmth and affection inside the flat. Holmes's carmine dressing gown and cravat are a striking contrast to his Beloved's gown and honey-blonde hair. In fact, the dominant colors associated with Watson harmonize with the background (apart from the window), suggesting that he is home and hearth for Sherlock Holmes.
Link to Preview for page 8
Pairing: Sherlock/John (pairing from the artist--see the link, but what you see to date could also be termed pre-slash)
Length: 7 pages completed
Rating: PG (based on completed pages)
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: This is page 1 of a BBC Sherlock fandom fancomic I've been doing for months. It goes into print once it's done. (About 16 pages?) I'm on page 6 and 7 right now. Story is planned out though I may extend it a page or two for a nice epilogue.)
Reccer's comments: Alas, this fragment of what would have almost certainly been a spectacular h/c fancomic is long abandoned. The artist has been deleting their fannish material in some locations, so I'd suggest downloading* this unfinished gem for your own private enjoyment.
Not only do I love the composition of the panels (note the wonderful rhythm of the panels on p. 6-7) and the richly-colored character designs (based on S1), I positively adore the IC dialogue. I suspect pennies-4-eyes aka Elfkin either lives/has lived in the UK, for they seem quite familiar with speech patterns and local slang. See especially the conversation between John and Greg over the phone on page six. Dialog-wise I've not seen a better Sherlock fancomic; as for the art, it is also among the very best fancomics created for this fandom.
* = I'm assuming this is OK because that option has been left on the dA pages.
Author: fengirl88 On Ao3
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Anthea's love of French is one of the things Ella can't share.
Reccer's comments: I admire Ella and Anthea's relationship in the series Sleeping Beauty, but have highlighted this particular ficlet because of the musical references. Clearly fengirl88 is quite knowledgeable about classical music, including the vocal repertoire! She's selected a chanson [French art song] that fits one aspect of Ella and Anthea's relationship: both women work long hours in highly stressful, important jobs. To have a someone in whom, according to that chanson, "moonlight lies dormant,/A gentle moonlight of summer", someone full of "brightness" who can soothe and support their lover through sorrow and pain is priceless. There's also a little meditation on perfection vs. "good enough" in life and work that illuminates the nature of their love.
I heartily recommend listening to the recording linked at the bottom of the page. If you do not speak French, I'd also use the lyrics and their translation listed here.
Author: lbmisscharlie On Ao3
Pairing: John/Sherlock, OFC/OFC are the main pairings
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence, Minor Character Deaths (including children, as happened during the war)
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Ireland, 1920. There's a war on, but no one seems to be playing by the rules. John Watson, injured and unemployed after his time at the Front, joins up with the special forces sent over to keep the peace, but when he meets Sherlock Holmes, the second son of the local lord, he begins to lose track of which side he is on.
Reccer's comments: True history AUs are rare indeed in any fandom, primarily because it takes so much research and practice to richly communicate a complex foreign culture and tell a good fictional story. Most history AUs require years of research to get to the point where the author can adroitly share the cultural and social realities of the peoples living in the past. Therefore, it's no surprise that most authors find it already challenge enough to skillfully create a genre AU like a Western. It's frankly a miracle that this fandom has been blessed with more than one history AU, let alone more than one that is as beautifully wrought as this one.
That lbmisscharlie loves 20th-century Irish and British history is made abundantly clear from the first chapter. John Watson, soldier of King and Country, is not patrolling Afghanistan, but another restive part of the British Empire, Ireland, just as England's grip is slipping. Although BBC!John never has reservations about his deployment to Afghanistan or what he did there, the John of this story will grow to question what he does in Ireland. Without slipping into overt preachiness, the author makes vivid the cultural clashes and how the characters choose to navigate them. Both sides commit atrocities, leaving one wondering who really is in the right.
John and the other canonical characters like Sherlock and Molly are deftly smoothed into their AU roles. For the most part, the political, social, and cultural beliefs and values they express and act on as English and Irish of the 1920s are blended skillfully with the traits of the BBC characters. Alterations to characters are made purposefully. For example, John is a not an officer or doctor in this fic, something that allows the author to play with class differences in England and in Ireland. Him not being a doctor is, more than once, subtly presented as a lack; something John could be, but never had the opportunity given his social class (several rungs below ACD's Watson for sure and maybe below BBC!John as well).
Of the many OCs, Eva stands out. Both Eva and Molly demonstrate the challenges of women living in Ireland during the troubles of the 1920s. They might support Irish independence, but the violence is personally painful, compelling them to look or hope for alternatives to the high costs of war. These women might risk themselves for Sherlock at different moments of the plot, but it is clear they have lives and concerns outside of Sherlock's Work.
Apart from the layered portrayals of major and minor characters, there is the vibrant sense of place throughout. From the bloody fields of the Continent near the end of WWI, to London and many locations in Ireland (primarily in and around Macroom), the scenery is beautifully rendered, often amplifying the mood of a particular scene. One of many examples is a cinematic rendering of the interior of the Honan Chapel on the grounds of University College in Cork, a setting that conveys the menace and mystery of what is facing John, before suddenly inspiring a brief moment of wonder and nostalgia: [Extended example (click to open)]
Scrubbing his hands through his hair, John looks around the small chapel once more. The weak candlelight barely penetrates the dark corners, its flickering light producing strange, monstrous shadows in the lurking depths. Bracing one hand on the pew, John hauls himself to his feet and makes his way to the wall. Thrusting the taper in front of him, he traces the walls with his hand as he surveys the perimeter, noting anything that could be used as a weapon: this heavy candelabra, that bible stand, the blunt granite edge of the font. The altar is bare but for an embroidered altar cloth; underneath is empty.
From the altar, John walks down the steps back into the nave, testing the stability of the pews as he passes down the centre aisle. Dead ahead, St Patrick in his emerald robes offers a benediction, while down each side of the nave saints less familiar pass judgement. Pausing in the middle of the aisle, his eye is captured by a brilliant column of blue, its deep tones blending to amethyst in the fading light, which leads to an imperious face with a sharp, beaked nose. But for the long mass of crimson curls, the face, with the haughty set of its eyes and the thrusting, stubborn chin, could be familiar. Some forgotten ancestor of Sherlock’s, perhaps? Amused, John steps closer, craning his neck to examine the details, when his eye focuses and he frowns.
Surrounding the figure, at feet and head, are sparkling, crimson bees, their wingspan the breadth of a man’s spread palm. In one hand, the figure holds a miniature of the chapel, formed from golden beeswax, and John is startlingly thrown back to the summer. To Sherlock’s outstretched thumb, coated in honey, to his caring hands on the hives. John’s laugh, when it breaks the silence, is hoarse, peculiar and cracked. Beekeepers, watching him.
I could go on and on about the many virtues of this lovingly crafted fic, but I urge you to see for yourself!
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch/Tom Hiddleston, Sherlock Holmes/Mark Gatiss, Benedict Cumberbatch/John Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch/Molly Hooper, Sherlock Holmes/Louise Brealey, Sherlock Holmes/Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch/Mycroft Holmes
Warnings: Graphic violence, incest, RPF, consent issues.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Something very strange keeps happening at 7:35 PM.
Reccer's comments: After an accident, Sherlock Holmes and Benedict Cumberbatch wake up in each other's body - Benedict faced with having to pretend to be a genius and face down supervillains and Sherlock having to adapt to the life of a well loved actor. The author does a great job of expanding on the humour of the premise, showing both men struggling with their fish out of water existence as they try to find a way back to their true homes and the people they love. There is also a smart and intriguing mystery plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I loved how funny and observant this story was, and how well it riffs off of our knowledge of the characters and real people involved in the story. Despite not usually being one for RPF, it's one of my favourites.
Music Title & Artist: "Oh No" by Marina and the Diamonds
Character: Sherlock Holmes
Verse: Sherlock BBC
One track mind, one track heart
If I fail I'll fall apart
For me, this vid functions as a very sharp and insightful character study of season one Sherlock: his arrogance, his determination and his fragility. It's short, skillfully cut and makes really good use of the lyrics of the song to drive home it's point.
I do suggest however that you turn off annotations before watching it because the vidder has added quite a few and they are distracting (go to the settings button, third on bottom right corner of the video).
Note: unfortunately I couldn't find this video posted anywhere other than youtube and other people's recs. I hope it's OK but if not do delete mods!
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson, slight implied Sherlock/Lestrade
Rating: General Audiences
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary:Sherlock had read the books. He thought they were compulsory.
AO3 repost of a story from March 2011.
Reccer's comments: Sherlock discovers John was never read the Winnie-the-pooh books as a child; John has nightmares and difficulty sleeping - are the two facts related? Sherlock investigates scientifically.
This is a really funny and adorable look at Sherlock taking care of his friend in his own madcap and offbeat way, with some really interesting insights into both men's childhoods, along with some intriguing hints about Sherlock's relationship with Lestrade. It's also wittily written and heartwarming, definitely a good choice for a rainy day.
ETA: This is fic is also available in podfic form here
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/Greg Lestrade
Rating: Teen and Up
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary:For a man who’s scared of heights, Lestrade has taken to spending an awful lot of time up on rooftops.
Reccer's comments: Lestrade accompanying Sherlock on various rooftop jaunts... this story skillfully incorporates the never-shot scene of Sherlock and Lestrade on the roof as well as giving an insight into Sherlock and Lestrade's relationship over the years, Lestrade as a steady, supportive but often ignored presence as Sherlock takes his tumultuous journey from troubled young drug addict, to successful detective, to someone who finally has the maturity to rebuild his life and his friendships post-Reichenbach. It's a sweet gentle romance, and a deft character study of both men.
Author: snarryfool (ancientreader on AO3)
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson, Sherlock Holmes/Victor Trevor
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Everybody used to be young and (relatively) undamaged.
Reccer's comments: One of my favourites from Holmestice last year. What I adore about the story is the description - it's delicately and vividly written and manages to completely create the sensation of the summer park, Victor's bedroom, and Victor's presence for the reader. The author does a great job of suggesting a youthful, more vulnerable and keen to impress but still very Sherlock-y Sherlock and a Victor who is a playful and loving counterpoint to him. The contrast between Sherlock's past sweet but ultimately fragile relationship with Victor and the more battered and bruised but still essential bond between John and Sherlock is beautifully drawn.
There is a scorchingly hot shotgunning scene as well, so if smoking kink is your thing at all, I think you'll enjoy this fic.
Music Title & Artist: "Like A River Around A Rock" by Marco Beltrami
Pairing or Character: Lestrade, Sally, Anderson, Molly, Sherlock, Moriarty & Irene (gen)
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Vidder's Summary: Lestrade, Donovan, Anderson, Molly vs Evil
Reccer's Comments: Lestrade, Molly, Sally and Anderson are investigating a series of suicides but something very strange and frightening is going on... you are as safe as you want to be. The video combines clever editing, a fast pace and will make you wish there was a fic based along these lines. It's a lot of fun to see the Yarders, and notably Lestrade play a heroic role, and the adaptation of canon footage is very skillfully done. There are definitely some moments that will make you jump.
Just to be aware there is some mild horror imagery including spiders, just for those who have problems with such things.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: As suggested by moluskette :)
Reccer's comments: A lovely portrait of the tolerant, generous, prescient, sometimes thoughtless, yet undeniably brave Mrs. Hudson. I especially like the handling of light and shadow as well as the pleats and wrinkles of her blouse. Her face, relaxed and open, is also lovingly rendered.
Author's summary: None. Text on the image itself: "Sherlock Holmes", unidentified quote (too small for me to read), and titles of Holmesian works
Reccer's comments: This striking image of Jeremy Brett and David Burke as Holmes and Watson is by the most widely known doujinshi-ka [Japanese term for a fanbook artist/author] in the Holmesian fandoms. Best known for her fancomics (in English, Japanese, and Korean) and fanart of BBC Sherlock's Sherlock and John, she occasionally will draw other Holmeses. There are some extremely talented artists working in East Asia, including China, Taiwan, South Korea (SH2JW) and of course Japan, but most do not have Tumblrs or post on DeviantArt, so are not familiar to many fans outside of East Asia. Some, however, do post a bit of their art and mini-comics on PIXIV, a Japanese fanart site (similar to DA). If you'd like to browse Holmesian art on PIXIV, use a translator like Google Translate to sign up for a free account, but please realize that nearly all artists do not want their art reposted (linking is usually OK, but check the author's page to be certain). Always ask permission first. Otherwise, one has to search doujinshi catalogues for artists' webpages, which are usually password protected, or attend doujinshi markets (usually located in Japan, but occasionally in other countries) to view their art and comics. I have a decent-sized collection of mostly Japanese doujinshi, but that's only because I've been lucky enough to spend a few weeks in Japan, where I bought some in shops, as well as to have located a reliable proxy buying service in Japan. In short, most of this artwork is intended to not be easily accessible outside of a tight network of fans.
I love the epic quality of Holmes and Watson in this image. Both appear to be at the height of their strength and intelligence, alert and focused on the Great Game. Use of the scroll and handwriting in ink emphasizes that these are men of the past. Holmes's greatcoat provides a liquid counterpoint to the upper and lower scrolls, slipping off his shoulder and pooling at his feet. It, alongside the intermingled positioning of the two figures, links Holmes with Watson, underlining the eternal unity of the Great Detective and his Boswell.
Sharp, clean linework and rich colors make this art stand out. The draping of Watson's tan coat and Holmes's darker frock coat and gray greatcoat lend weight and stability, but the energy and determination in the men's faces suggests they will be ready to run at a moment's notice, to catch a blackguard or save an innocent victim.
Rating: Teen and Up Audiences
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Sherlock Holmes learns to drive. Mycroft may never recover.
Reccer's comments: I only recently discovered this fic, as it was recommended to me as a 'pick me up' sort of story - and for me it does that job perfectly. It's a delightful slice of Sherlock and Mycroft's youth - the long-suffering Mycroft teaching his high strung and defiant little brother how to drive. It's light and funny to read, but also contains some sharp insights about the brothers and their relationship, and the source of the tension between them. The characterisation is absolutely spot on, and cleverly drawn. It's definitely my new adopted headcanon about how Sherlock learned to drive.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: “Favourite AU? John, what does that even mean?”
“Just go with it, Sherlock. And don’t ruffle your hair.”
“And why is there still no signal on my mobile?”
Reccer's comments: For those who don't want any information about the Special, I am putting this behind a cut:
[Spoiler (click to open)]The costumes and poses of Sherlock and John are inspired by a manip of photos taken during the most recent Setlock. Both men are wearing costumes seen in Setlock images, which means they are wearing clothing that places them in the 1890s (the writers have recently emphasized that the year the Special is set in, 1895, is quite important). Bluebell here is playing with the AU nature of the Special (Late Victorian AU of a show that is a 21st-century AU of stories set in the Late Victorian and Edwardian periods), implying that the boys are 21st-century men in costume (for a case? John has a special kink?). John is certainly having fun (and is looking dashing)! In case anyone is confused, I'll add that although we know most or all of it is set in the past, no one knows yet how the Special will be framed.
I had been a bit worried that the costuming for the Special might be horribly inauthentic, because my cranky Inner (and Outer) Historian finds it hard to watch film and TV set in the past with clothing that little resembles the clothing people actually wore. Thankfully, it looks like they wanted a more authentic look! John's wearing a ditto suit (all three pieces use the same fabric, the jacket is a sack coat), whereas most of Sherlock's green suit is hidden behind the famous greatcoat and deerstalker hat. The rendering of both men's faces is wonderful: a study in contrasts (confusion and maybe the start of a sulk vs. John enjoying it all)