This fic was an adventure, indeed. It's not really a "fic", per se, but just a group of drabbles that I challenged myself with. They are each 100 words, and each are based, in some way, upon a nineteenth-century poem—chosen for obvious reasons. The title, as well, was chosen from another poem: "Stanzas", by Edgar Allan Poe, since…you know, their little short things, rather than a full-length fic.
Frankly, I thought it pretty clever.
Some of them are weaker and more vague than others, but I'm pleased with them overall, and hope the same for you. Unless you absolutely HATE poetry, it might be nice for you to find these poems and check out the connections between them and the drabbles. They ARE Holmes/Watson, as ever, and I give due warning to those who do not enjoy such things, as ever. Without further ado, enjoy.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock Holmes; unfortunately Watson beat me to the punch.
A Noiseless, Patient Spider, by Walt Whitman
At times, I likened him to a spider, spinning and spinning the threads of his case together in the cracks and corners of his mind. But despite how tightly he strung his toiling brain; his tireless body, it was his troubled soul that desired attention most. Again, I imagined him as one of those delicate creatures, firing his thread into the grey English sky, hoping for a fair wind to spirit him away to happiness. Deep inside, though, I selfishly hoped that he would fail. For what should I do if he leaves me behind, tangled in his abandoned web?
What If I Say, by Emily Dickinson
The fire crackled and sputtered as, exhausted, we collapsed against one another. Our energies we had spent in fervent, almost desperate fornication, and the floor was cold against our bare flesh. I closed my eyes tightly and shivered not from the chill, but from my guilt and remorse.
"Watson?" My silence did not discourage him. "What if I say…that I love you?" I stared into his tawny eyes, reflecting the firelight, and heard the terrible, wonderful truth escape my swollen lips.
"Then I would say…that I love you back." Any vindication that my soul required was found in his smile.
The Best Thing In The World, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
"The world is a dark place, John. A dark place, indeed." His uncanny way of turning a lovely mood sour still boggled my mind.
"Well, Holmes," I shifted beneath the covers. "It isn't all so bad." A stilted eyebrow and a defiant sneer argued otherwise.
"Really? Tell me then—what is the best thing in this dreary world, hm?" I paused for a moment and chose my answer carefully, before sliding my hand beneath the sheets.
"Something out of it, I should think." He hadn't the time to answer before I chose to show him just what I had described.
My Star, by Robert Browning
The sky was clear, every star blinking against the dark tapestry like diamonds sewn into its murky threads. It was a rare sight to see in London; the typical factory smog had miraculously cleared. I could not help but gasp in wonder at the sight of it, all of the pinpoints of light--
"My dear Watson, I do believe you are…" Holmes cleared his throat, as if embarrassed by what he was about to say. "Starstruck."
"Can you rightfully blame me? The stars are brilliant tonight…" His arms wrapped around my waist.
"Truly? For my eyes can only see one."
When You Are Old, by William Butler Yeats
I tiptoe into the parlor and gingerly sit next to him by the fire, gaze upon that familiar face: a face lined with tiny, hair-fine wrinkles, framed with soft hair carefully brushed, still black and only streaked with grey. He has fallen asleep again, I realize; his head was resting against the back of the divan, his breathing coming slow and even. Gently, I pull the book from his fingers and press a kiss to his temple.
"Mm…John?" His eyes are confused.
"Shh…" I chide him. "Sleep." And so he does.
If only I had reminded him to wake up.
Sonnet - To Science, by Edgar Allan Poe
"Good Lord. Mr. Holmes is at it again." Mrs. Hudson huffed as she passed. It appeared that Holmes' little science experiments had begun to grate upon her nerves as well.
It was not that science was a terrible thing. Holmes' experiments had invariably solved many cases, and the pursuit of such knowledge was a noble one indeed. But why not endeavour to discover an angel upon one's windowsill, or a sprite in the wood? Science kills fantasy, and it kills me, as I lay alone, listening to his busy, shuffling footsteps and trying to forget that he has forgotten me.
unto thee i, by e.e. cummings
I wasn't sure where he had acquired it, but the smell had quite overtaken my senses. I had been reduced to staring at the ceiling, my head swimming, watching the plumes of smoke rise to the ceiling like flowers rising to the sun.
"I tell you this, Watson. The scent of olibanum is going to lead us to our killer. He must have been of Asian or African descent, to obtain frankincense of this quality." I could not believe that he was still so focused after being exposed so long to the stuff.
I consequently endeavoured to finish the job.
Borrowing – From the French, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Holmes simply would not be consoled. He paced back and forth, the floorboards creaking under his incessant ambulating, a tiger in a cage. Each time that I would call out to him to come away, to sleep, he would cut off my efforts with a sharp wave of his hand. I could not be angry with him, though; failure was worse than death to him, and he refused to allow it. It was saddening to see: he was able to solve the greatest problems, to heal the most painful wounds, but his greatest fear was that which has not come!
Love Lives Beyond The Tomb, by John Clare
Our great adventure was at an end. I stood before the freshly overturned earth, cold and full of clods, and did not bother to protect my face from the sting of the wind and my tears.
"Doctor?" Lestrade came crawling up to me, his voice grating upon my ears. "Such a loss. I understand--" At this, I had to interrupt.
"No." I smiled, dry lips cracking. "You don't understand, Inspector." He slunk away, and I placed my rose upon the dozens that rested upon his grave, and kissed the frigid marker before departing. To what? I could not guess.
Apologia Pro Vita Sua, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"You know, Holmes. You are more like a poet than you think." I don't believe he could've been more insulted had I smacked him across the face. He scoffed.
"How so?" Taking a sip of tea, I considered my answer.
"Poets and scientists alike train their eyes to see what cannot be seen; to examine and to study."
"Poets see metaphors, not facts." I raised an eyebrow.
"Ah. So…scientifically speaking, what is it that you see in me?" I tried not to laugh when he could not reply, though in his eyes I saw that which he could not say.
O, were I loved as I desire to be!
What is there in the great sphere of the earth,
Or range of evil between death and birth,
That I should fear, - if I were loved by thee!
-Alfred Lord Tennyson