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Title: A Heart Beats The Best In A Bed Beside The One That It Loves
Author: anarmydoctor
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: 1,632
Rating: Teen
Warnings: none
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: "Sherlock has his ear pressed more intently against John's back, his curls softly tickling the skin, his cheekbone sharp as the grip of a gun. John fidgets a little, but he keeps sleeping. Sherlock closes his eyes and focuses on the sound, as though John’s back were solid ground, and Sherlock could hear, could anticipate, the vibration of a stampede."

Reccer's comments: A gorgeous classic of a one-shot, inspired partly by the aubade, a medieval literary genre that depicts (usually parting) lovers at daybreak. Unlike a typical aubade, this hymn to love suggests a happy ending, a sleeping pair still united, encircled by Sherlock's joyous dreams and interlaced with the sound of John's dauntless heart.

The skill of the author is demonstrated by the sure and deft treatment of the imagery. An image will usually reappear at least once, sometimes in a way that brings new light to it. For example, Sherlock's childhood dream of a companion with the head of a lion painted on his chest is recalled several times in descriptions of the lion-hearted adult!John, but then the image is suddenly inverted:

Sherlock stretches on the bed like a human hearted lion, all head, teeth and royalty, and presses gently his chest against John’s back, curls his legs in the hollow of John’s flexed knees, and tightens the arm wrapping him, the paw, the wing, the bridge, the net. Like that, he covers and protects John from the daylight.

Even without reading of Sherlock's battle with the sun, we have learned that both men are fiercely protective of each other.

If you are ever worried about the fate of Sherlock and John (especially during these long hiatuses), I suggest this beautiful, dreamlike work as a healing balm.

Sign ups open for August reccers

Hi, all -- sorry for the delay. Mods have been running around crazy this month, and have been only irregularly online. The sign up post still says "July" but ignore that.

We're now taking volunteers for August reccers. As always, the comm is open to recs for old and new fic, vids, art, podfic, and meta, for any version of Sherlock Holmes. We ask for between four and twelve recs for the month, and that reccers wait three months before returning.

Sign up here!  Info and Guidelines here.

Please contact me or leave a comment with any questions.

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Fic Rec: Umbrella Defense

Title: Umbrella Defense
Author: merripestin on AO3
Pairing: Gen
Length: 1,099
Rating: Teen
Warnings: Major Character Death, Underage
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: Five universes where Mycroft Holmes protected his little brother (in five 221Bs).

Author's warnings: Implied/Referenced Child Abuse, Implied/Referenced Torture.

Reccer's comments: NB: The "underage" warning refers to the implied/referenced child abuse. And the warnings refer to different stories.

I have a weakness for 221Bs and these are outstanding examples of the form. The author knows absolutely what they're doing: all the stories have depth and something to say. And the quality of the writing is astounding. The stories just blew me away the first time I read them.

Fic Rec: Military Intelligence

Title: Military Intelligence (Remix of For Queen and Country by Persiflager)
Author: innie_darling
Pairing: John Watson/Mycroft Holmes, John Watson/Sebastian Moran
Length: 3,152
Rating: Mature
Warnings: NA
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: The only fly in his ointment was that John remained John, though a more closed-off, careful version; Watson lived nowhere but in his imagination.

Reccer's comments: I'm going to admit up front that I'm a sucker for John being a badass and capable. The original fic by Persiflager was right up my alley in that respect, and the remix is just as wonderful but in a different way. The most fascinating (and rewarding) spin on the original is an insight into the fantasy life of Mycroft Holmes. This is one of the main draws of this fic. Mycroft was present for, but not the focus of, the original; here, he takes front stage and what's truly outstanding is how he manages to simultaneously be a stand-in for the audience when it comes to the BAMF!John trope and yet completely write off and underestimate John Watson as a whole. He builds up this imaginary Watson character throughout--something more Jason Bourne than James Bond, but obviously influenced by Mycroft's rampant military kink, possible overexposure to spy novels, and the boredom of his everyday life--which is so obviously a caricature that Mycroft feels comfortable overlooking the real man the fantasy is based on.

The denouement--where John overwhelmingly upends the Holmes brothers expectations of him--is beautifully done, especially when Mycroft is so stunned that he isn't even sure what to call the man--John - no, Watson; no, some unholy hybrid of the two. The fact that the whole episode substantially affects Mycroft's perception of John--and yet Sherlock does not undergo a similar revelation--is yet another wonderful element, feeling entirely in character as both brothers are presented in the fics and in the series.

There are some other, rather wonderful, features of this story: John's awful puns, used to great effect in Persiflager's story, are continued here and are giggle- and groan-inducing in equal measure; the last scene between Moran and Mycroft is just dripping with promise and drops a few nuggets that make me wish there was more fic to explore them, and lastly (but not least) is the constant juxtaposition between John and Watson and how Mycroft has no one to blame but himself for being wrong. Despite his observations of John, and his admission that he finds the man fascinating, he completely misses the mark and it's beautiful to behold. This is an absolutely wonderful, fun, funny fic that fits really well with Persiflager's story and yet explores brand new territory--everything a remix ought to do.
Title: Two Untitled Portraits of Sherlock and Mycroft
Artist: amisplacedlonelyheartsad
Pairing: Gen
Rating: G
Warnings: none
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: I’m not entirely pleased with how these came out, but I’m tired of fussing with them, so here they are: Sherlock and Mycroft, an attempt at the style of Frederic Dorr Steele. Drawn in Photoshop CC.

Reccer's comments: Two striking portraits, one of Sherlock, one of Mycroft. Sherlock is seated in his chair at 221B, concentrating on someone who is not shown. Attired in a trenchcoat and resting his hands on his trademark umbrella, Mycroft is poised to travel, but where? Are the Holmes brothers facing each other (those similar backgrounds!), or looking at someone else? I leave that to you, o viewer.

I chose this pair of images because of the bold, sure linework and the textures of the rich colors. The contrasting personalities of Sherlock and Mycroft are ably evoked in their postures and facial expressions. Both pieces are wonderful homages to the turn-of-the-century Holmesian illustrator Frederick Dorr Steele (1873-1944).

Fic Rec: In Silence We Take Flight

Title: In Silence We Take Flight
Author: Aiisling
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: 13,627
Rating: Teen
Warnings: Major Character Death (canonical)
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Sherlock jumps, and from the moment his body hits the pavement, John Watson does not say a word. There is a way to bring Sherlock back from the dead, if John is strong enough-and Moriarty doesn't beat him to it.

A Sherlock fusion fic with Hans Christian Andersen's "Wild Swans."

Reccer's comments: A fairy tale AU for a series set in 21st-century London? Yes! References in Sherlock to the stories collected by the Brothers Grimm and the epic quality of the characters have inspired several authors to set Sherlock in the dark, compelling world of fairy tales. Aiisling has produced a superb example, with a haunting, bittersweet atmosphere, varied pacing, and memorable characters.

John is the primary focus. Unspeaking, grief-stricken, and brave, he is determined to sacrifice what he must to bring Sherlock back to life:
Excerpt One...Collapse )

Mrs. Hudson is also beautifully wrought; she has sharp edges and a strength that makes her more than a one-dimensional motherly figure:
Excerpt Two...Collapse )

As in many a fairy story, what is desired is only won at great personal cost. Nothing will be the same, even if the enchantment is broken. But that does not mean Aiisling's work features unrelieved misery. There is always light in the darkness; a small, fragile candle kept lit by many hands.

Fic Rec: Second Person Omnicient

Title: Second Person Omnicient
Author: MaryFlanner on AO3
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 1476
Rating: Teen
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: "Here’s what he will do: He will forget you’re there, forget you’ve left, forget the cleaning and the shopping and the laundry and that you promised dinner with your sister and that your father gave you that."

There are things John and Sherlock will do and things they will not. It evens out in the end.

Author's warnings: allusions to minor character death, vague drug use allusions.

Reccer's comments: This is simply beautiful. It's almost like a poem in prose form. The use of second person POV is perfect - it's as though fate is addressing John and reassuring him. The whole thing is bitter-sweet and moving, while never being sentimental.

Welcome, July reccers!

Sweltering here, hope y'all are cool!

Welcome to our roster of reccers for July; archea2 , brighteyed_jill , nox_candida , chapbook , and scfrankles ! Looking forward to your posts.

Thanks to June's crew: ficklepig , tarimanveri , radialarch , write_out , and venusinthenight . We've enjoyed your recs.

We'll be accepting signups for August volunteers shortly -- stay tuned for a coming post.

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Fic Rec: Always a Neverland

Title: Always a Neverland
Author: suitesamba
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 11375
Rating: M
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: John is living a quiet life at 221B with his son when Sherlock Holmes, dead and gone ten years, appears at his door. There’s an excellent reason he’s been gone, and several very good ones for taking him back, but the best one of all is Will, who falls in love with Sherlock as surely as John once did.
Reccer's comments: "“Do you know twenty questions, Mr. Sherlock?” Will asks. John hides a grin at Will’s form of address.

“I know hundreds of questions. Which twenty would you like?” Sherlock answers.

Will grins at him. He is becoming accustomed to Sherlock. He catches on quickly.

“Do you know how to play the game called ‘Twenty Questions?’” he rephrases. He is sitting cross legged at the low table in front of the sofa.

“I expect I do,” says Sherlock. “We called the game ‘Yes and No.’” He turns onto his back and crosses his hands on his belly, waiting patiently, the barest of smiles on his face. John’s tablet is in his hands but his focus in on Sherlock, on Will. On Will slowly bringing Sherlock back to life.

“Well my teacher calls it Twenty Questions,” Will informs him. “Though the answers are always Yes or No, aren’t they?” He cocks his head a bit to one side, a pose John always finds endearing. “Are you ready, Mr. Sherlock?”

“I’m ready,” says Sherlock. “Is it made of wood?”

Will purses his lips. He apparently does not like this first question. “Yes,” he says, reluctantly.

“Is it the violin?” asks Sherlock.

John shakes his head and hides a smile. Sherlock clearly does not understand how to play games with children.

“Yes,” grumbles Will."

For my last rec this month, I leave you with this brilliant AU of Sherlock's return. It was written prior to S3 and does have mentions of past John/Mary (John remembers his wife with love and it's clear her memory is kept alive for Will). I can't gush enough about this one. It's sweet, heartbreaking, loving, sad, funny, and hopeful. Will, John's young son, is one of my favorite fic OCs and is completely believable in this story. There's not a false note to be found here. I hope you enjoy this story.
Title: Tea and Bitching 2: The Kvetch Continues!
Author: gardnerhill on AO3
Pairing: none
Word Count: 1,237
Rating: Gen
Warnings: Author chose not to use warnings
Verse: Elementary, Sherlock BBC, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sleepy Hollow, The Thin Blue Line

Author's summary: The drinking circle has gotten bigger.

Reccer's comments: A sequel to the original Tea and Bitching (previously recced by me). Here, Elementary's Joan Watson, Sherlock's Sally Donovan, and Doctor Who + Torchwood's Martha Jones are joined in the fictional bar/pub by Abbie and Jenny Mills (Sleepy Hollow), and Constable Maggie Habib (The Thin Blue Line). Again, they've come together to talk about the racism and sexism they face and have faced from the white men they work with and from white society in general. Sally even gets a job offer in this!

(I didn't see anything worth warning for, personally. I would also add that a basic understanding of who the other characters are, as well as some knowledge of the shows they're associated with, will help when reading this.)

Jun. 28th, 2014

Title: Betwixt and Between
Author: ivywatcher
Pairing: Gen
Length: 7294
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: In Which: Mycroft's mother is dead, Sherlock has solved a case, and John Watson is still awake.
Reccer's comments: “Oh,” he breathes. Something in his chest disconnects. Oh.

In the very early morning hours, Mycroft gets a call that his mother has died. He goes to Baker Street to tell Sherlock, only to find him asleep but John still awake and struggling to write up their latest case. While waiting for Sherlock to wake, Mycroft helps John work out the details. This absolutely gorgeous story intersperses Mycroft's memories of his mother between bits of his conversation with John and John's case write-up. The story is brimming with emotion that is tightly repressed until the very end. Mycroft is the main focus here and light is shed not only on his relationship with Sherlock, but also with John. It's beautifully written character study that's cleverly written and it shows us a softer side of all three men.

Fic Rec: Bohemian Rhapsody

Title: Bohemian Rhapsody
Author: lizzieraindrops on AO3
Pairing: Elementary!Moriarty|Elementary!Irene Adler/Joan Watson, Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson
Word Count: 5,084
Rating: Gen
Warnings: none
Verse: Elementary, Sherlock BBC, Ritchieverse, ACD Canon

Author's summary: None of us are dead. Let's all go out to dinner!

Jamie Moriarty receives an invitation to dinner, and drags Joan Watson to girls' night out with three more Irene Adlers.

Reccer's comments: What happens when three Irene Adlers (one of whom is also Moriarty) get together for a girls' night out? Hilarity. I also love how lizzieraindrops distinguishes each Irene Adler from the others in terms of wardrobe style and how they address each other.

Fic Rec: Relapse

Title: Relapse
Author: RockinJanelle on AO3
Pairing: none
Word Count: 523
Rating: Teen
Warnings: Major character death
Verse: Elementary

Author's summary: She is there, not there, always there, everywhere. She, she, she.

Joan Watson.

Reccer's comments: A very disjointed style of writing here. I say "disjointed", but I don't mean that in a derogatory sense. The author writes this as if she's found a portal into Sherlock's brain and is taking dictation of his thoughts after learning of dead!Joan.
Title: He Could Only Guess at the Sounds From the Old Books
Author: berlynn_wohl on AO3
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Word Count: 4157
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Author chose not to use warnings
Verse: BBC Sherlock
Author's summary: "And what was the very last thing, the most recent thing, written about Sherlock?"

Reccer's comments: Dusting off a kinkmeme classic! (This prompt requested God!Sherlock.) I love the writer's dry, acerbic treatment of mind-blowing experiences. She filled the prompt with her usual humor and flair, including clever use of typographic symbols to indicate an ancient language. There's an especially good bit regarding pronunciation, after the especially good bit involving a believable Sherlock being believably an ancient god believably rogering a true believer.

Jun. 22nd, 2014

Title: Acrobat
Author: unreconstructedfangirl
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson, Mary Morstan/John Watson
Length: 5161
Rating: Not rated; teen-ish
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC


Author's summary:

Sherlock feels like his heart is an acrobat, twisting itself into contorted, impossible shapes. He feels stretched and twisted to the limit of his endurance. He knows John has things locked inside and twisting, too. Their mutual silence steadies them both, and the ballast of what they won’t say binds them to an equilibrium of weighted stasis.

Post HLV angst fest.

Reccer's comments:

This fic is one of several gems to come out of the Achtung Baby! Sherlock Songfic Writing Challenge. It's loosely based on "Acrobat" from U2's Achtung Baby!, but don't let the fact that it's a songfic put you off for a single second. This is, as the author describes it, a "post-HLV angst fest," and it strikes just the right balance of pain, dramatics, and stoic resignation repression in a wonderfully compelling portrayal of Sherlock at the end of series three.

One more reccer for July needed

ETA: Thank you, we have everyone for July, now.

As the subject says: we're looking for one more volunteer to rec for July. 221b Recs is open to recs for old and new fic, vids, art, podfic, and meta, for any version of Sherlock Holmes. We ask for between four and twelve recs for the month, and that reccers wait three months before returning. Lovely, long July with beach reading and lazy afternoons, and a real thirst for recommendations...

Sign up here!  Info and Guidelines here.

Please contact one of the mods with any questions.

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Title: [untitled] Sherlock and Mycroft portraits
Artist: amisplacedlonelyheartsad on tumblr
Pairing: None
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Artist's comments: Sherlock and Mycroft, an attempt at the style of Frederic Dorr Steele.

Reccer's comments: A couple of nice character portraits. To my eye they have more the look of screenprints than of Steele's crayon-textured Sherlock Holmes illustrations, but they share a certain timeless gravity. In any case, lovely strong iconic images of the brothers, very striking.

( Have you seen these already? Are they ridiculously popular? Is 5800 responses a lot on tumblr? /fogey )

The artist has also written v. good Holmes brothers fic, archived on AO3. A link to a master list is easy to find in their tumblr navigation bar. /HINT HINT

Fic Rec: No More Words

Title: No More Words
Author: ecouterbien on AO3
Pairing: none
Word Count: 948
Rating: Gen
Warnings: Author chose not to use warnings
Verse: Elementary

Author's summary: "No more words. Get out!"

And no more words were needed. There was a rush, a clatter upon the stairs, the bang of a door, and the crisp rattle of running footfalls from the street.

(from The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle)

Reccer's comments: A third post-"Paint It Black" recommendation for you (I told you all it inspired a lot of fic!). Canonically, we've seen only a small taste of the mother/daughter dynamic of Mary and Joan Watson, and it is something that gets a closer inspection in this story, along with tension and angst galore from Joan.

Fic Rec: Staying Alive

Title: Staying Alive
Author: InsaneTrollLogic
Pairing: none
Length: 1612
Rating: not rated, but T-ish
Warnings: no comm warnings apply
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author summary: It starts in a swimming pool. (Or maybe that's how it ends.)

Reccer's comments: A gorgeous take on the events of series 1 & 2; the fic manages to blur the lines of what's real and what's not, perfectly catching the frantic pace of Sherlock's thoughts.

Jun. 19th, 2014

Title: Always Feel It
Author: philalethia
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 2514 words
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: Sherlock’s mind being what it is, masturbation can be a bit… complicated.

Reccer's comments: We learned a lot about Sherlock's mind palace in series three, and this clever, bittersweet fic uses it to portray Sherlock struggling to come up with the right plausible yet satisfying yet not heartbreaking sexual fantasy.

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