Alphabet Soup at 221b Baker Street
AN: My way of exploring the characters of the new Sherlock miniseries by The Moff and Mark Gatiss. It belongs to them, and Sherlock Holmes and his world belongs to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I tried to introduce a few more characteristics of both John Watson and Sherlock in this from the original books, into the modern frame. It was extremely fun to do.
(Paragraph in italics in P is a quote from A Study In Scarlet. Not mine.)
Spoilers for The Great Game (I may actually hate Stephen Moffat for that ending).
Since he was now rarely working, and his health was still patchy, John Watson rarely had to get up in the mornings any more. He was relatively lazy anyway, and lying in wasn't a hardship.
Here, though, it was impossible.
He was grateful, extremely grateful to Sherlock for sharing the flat (and the rent) with him. There were no words to say how grateful he was.
And he knew Sherlock Homes was a genius and had his own very specific ways of thinking, or indeed of doing anything. He accepted his little (but mostly large) quirks.
He just wished he wouldn't play the bloody violin at bloody three o'clock in the morning.
It was a Clue, yes, of course, and well done to the policeman who had spotted the small spatters just along the skirting board.
You could do a DNA test (useless unless you had DNA to check it against) and make cement the evidence that the blood was from the victim who had been brutally murdered in that very room. But was it really necessary to spend all that time and effort just to find out what you already knew?
No. And that was the simple answer that Sherlock Holmes knew, and he lamented that nobody else did. There was just something about blood blood there's blood everywhere that seemed to excite people. Strange, really. It wasn't as if it was new to them. They did have a fair amount of pints of their own.
'Oh look, young man, you've gone and stained the carpet again. First the wall, now this. I'll have to add this to your rent, you know.'
'Are you going out?' Sherlock asked him innocently, from his relaxed position on the sofa. John Watson frowned into the mirror as he smoothed down his rather static hair. A quick towel dry was never the answer.
'I bet,' he said, continuing his flattening, 'that you know exactly what I'm doing, where I'm going, and who I'm going with.'
'Well… yes, but I thought it'd be more polite if I asked.'
'Since when have you worried about being polite?' John huffed in frustration, turned on the tap violently and wet his comb.
'You're right,' Sherlock said, swinging his legs around and reaching for the flicker, 'I won't bother, then. Have a nice time with Sarah.'
John was about to leave, but there was something rather pathetic about the sight of Sherlock sitting alone and watching bad TV.
'You should… get some company,' he said, knowing he was entering forbidden topics. He ventured on bravely. 'So you don't have to have dinner alone, when I'm bus… not here.' John fell silent, wary of the reaction this statement might cause. After a couple of tense seconds, Sherlock sprang up, smiling.
'Good idea, John. I'll treat Mrs Hudson to a take-away, and maybe I can convince her to give me my skull back.'
'That's not… what I meant,' John finished lamely, but Sherlock had already bounded off down the stairs.
It was easier not to feel. Feeling not only meant weakness (although that wasn't a bad thing, as such) but it diluted the senses, twisting the thinking.
And that was not what he needed at his most crucial moments.
Not only would feeling endanger lives, it meant it would hurt all the more when… if… he failed.
It was easier to shut off. Much easier.
Mycroft annoyed him immensely. It was something about how he brandished his power and influence in front of his face, how he bragged, how he looked down on Sherlock like he'd become a big disappointment. He was so condescending. He didn't need looking after.
And even if he did, he certainly wouldn't ask his brother.
He didn't know why he'd bought it. He'd only been in the Gardening Centre to buy a couple of packets of cress seeds that were, for some reason, vital to the case John, vital. It was relatively near the supermarket and since he did all the shopping anyway it wasn't that much of a hardship to pop in and pick up a couple of packets.
He'd seen it standing on a shelf with a couple of other dusty and tired-looking objects, under the sigh CLEARANCE- EVERYTHING HALF PRICE. It hadn't been very expensive even at the starting price, and so, in a fit of madness it seemed, he had stuck it in the basket and proceeded to the checkout.
He placed it on the coffee table, and then moved it to the mantelpiece before, finally, putting it in the kitchen on a high shelf. It looked happy there, insofar as a plastic figurine can have expressions. But, to Watson, it just didn't look right. It was moved again.
When Sherlock came home and opened the fridge door, looking for something to snack on, he came face to face with a small garden gnome, which had, instead of the normal fishing rod, a large magnifying glass.
It almost made him laugh.
Even though he never wore it, it was there. Hidden in his cupboard, away from prying eyes.
People might laugh at him, but he knew it was of great importance.
You just couldn't be a proper detective without one, he thought, and besides, he liked deerstalker hats.
Proper fountain pens were much easier to write with and looked somuchmore elegant than a normal biro. That being said, they did make rather a lot of mess when they exploded over your face.
Sherlock was sure John didn't have to laugh quite so hard.
It was usual for John to stagger into his shared rooms laden with shopping bags. He also knew not to expect any help from a certain lounging detective.
He did get a surprise once in a while, though.
'Hang on- that's my jumper!'
'It shrunk in the wash and couldn't possibly fit you any more,' Sherlock said, without looking up from the book he was perusing. 'I am merely… recycling.'
It was the same every morning- by the time John had levered himself out of bed, showered, dressed half-heartedly without really looking at what exactly he was putting on and finally reached the breakfast table, Sherlock would already be there, munching on dry toast and scanning th newspaper.
And his Kellogg's would be set out, waiting for him.
Bill. Bill. Two more bills. Oh, a postcard… no, wait. It was addressed to Mrs Hudson. One last bill. An advert for home insurance, car insurance, a leaflet for a Hairdresser's that had more spelling mistakes than full stops and a couple of letters for Sherlock Holmes.
Maybe one of them would contain a case tricky enough to offset the gnawing, destructive boredom.
'What you do… it's like magic!' said the policewoman, her face the very picture of innocent excitement. 'How you find out all that from just the tiniest thing! It's amazing!'
Sergeant Sally Donovan watched in disgust as the new Constable praised the freak, and was annoyed to see the slight smug smile on his face.
'I have a feeling she'll go far in the force,' he commented later to Lestrade.
POLICE SOLVE SERIAL KILLER MYSTERY: DID THEY HAVE HELP?
Yesterday evening the police were successful in their raid on St Cuthbert's School where they uncovered the long sought-after mass murder responsible for the deaths of three school-age children and two teachers.
The killer was discovered to be Miss. Eliza Stanford, a teaching Assistant at the school in question. She has been apprehended and is awaiting her sentence.
The killer left hardly any trace and baffled the police until, it is rumoured, and they called in the help of a world-renowned detective whose name they refused to disclose. There are speculations, however, that the Detective who aided the police was none other than Sherlock Holmes, known to most from the blog by Dr. John Watson and his own website, The Science Of Deduction. His powers of deduction are widely thought to be the greatest in England, and 'may even be the greatest in the world' according to some of his fans.
John Watson read the newspaper article and grinned to himself. Either Sherlock would be happy at the praise and final recognition, or he would moan and complain about his cover being shot to pieces. But, with the blog and the website, he was hardly keeping a low profile.
When he gave Sherlock the paper, he watched his face carefully, trying to discern his reaction.
A faint smile curved the corners of his mouth and Sherlock was in a buoyant mood for the rest of the week.
John was an open book. Every emotion that passed across his face was as clear as cloud crossing a clear blue sky. Sherlock could read each expression carefully, judging his mood, his thoughts. Of course, he didn't always use this information to best advantage. It was just so easy.
Then again, everyone was as transparent as glass, to Sherlock. Everyone was so easy to read, so boring. Occasionally a criminal or a person with much the same job as his brother (a criminal but hidden under a cover of working for the law) gave him a little challenge.
Everyone else was open, and he was closed.
John had noticed that Sherlock knew very little about some things. He was, of course, brilliant, but he had barely a child's knowledge on subjects he deemed unnecessary.
He'd made a list, trying to find out more about his flatmate. He glanced down at No.5:
Knowledge of Botany-Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.
That was typical. He knew most poisons, their effects, their antidotes off by heart (or by head) and yet he would never be able to grow so much as a tomato.
'Well, Holmes? What do you think?'
'Is it murder?'
'Are there any clues?'
'Wait, I read about this on you site. Now you examine the body, am I right? You look for little things that can tell you all about the dead man.'
'Sherlock? Do you want me to look at the body?'
'Take your time, freak, it's not like we've got a deadline or anything.'
'Do you want anything? Do you need anything? Is there anything I can get you?'
'The body was found at midnight last night and forensics…'
'Look! Over here there's…'
'QUIET! I. Need. To. Think.'
He didn't do it for the money.
puzzling sliding switching changing merging Fitting.
It was how his brain worked, how he got his kicks, how he stopped the brilliant machine he had been blessed with from breaking down and rotting. He didn't know how others survived with such a narrow outlook, seeing only a dead body when he saw a life story.
They were all so blind.
He knew there were others like him- unfortunately they seemed to have succumbed to the power they held in their heads and realised they would stay always running and moving and working on a steady diet of crime.
And he liked to foil them, just to prove to himself that even though they were good, very good and clever (just like him) they were just not quite there. There was only him.
He did it for the success of the hunt, the thrill of the chase. He did it to get results. What did mere money matter, when he had all this?
It was all so simple. Obvious.
It had been the television salesman. Only he had the opportunity, and he had the mud on his shoes that only came from either the Southbank or in that particular area where the cadaver was found. The others all had cast iron alibis, any idiot could see that. (None of their shoes had mud traces, or had been cleaned recently and you couldn't walk in that field without getting mud on your shoes. The proof was his and John's shoes sitting in the hall, absolutely caked in the stuff.)
He explained this all to Lestrade.
'Next time,' he said cuttingly, 'give me something hard, will you?'
The snow curled softly down past the window of 221b Baker Street. John had got a fire started in the ancient grate, which Sherlock thought was superfluous- they had perfectly good radiators.
'We might as well use it,' John had replied to his remark. 'And anyway, there's nothing nicer than sitting inside, watching the snow out the window with a crackling fire warming your feet.'
It was more whimpering than crackling, Sherlock thought, but he had to admit (as he sat on the armchair, his socks steaming, his hands warming on a hot mug of tea, chatting and laughing with John) that it was quite… pleasant.
He'd just wanted to be useful, he'd said. Wanted to help. It was like having a little puppy.
We should get a dog.
And there he was, standing in front of him and for one awful moment Sherlock had thought…
It must be the chlorine, curling up from the pool and befuddling his brain. John couldn't be… him. Not Moriaty.
But the reality was worse.
He'd just wanted to help, and he was standing in front him, the great Sherlock Holmes who can't even look after himself, let alone his friends, explosives strapped to his chest and a sniper trained on his chest and an oh so stoic expression and Sherlock, for once, couldn't think of a way out.
He couldn't think at all.
'Sgt Donovan is sort of right, Sherlock. You do seem to… like violence. You have to admit it is a bit weird.'
''On the contrary, I'm completely normal. I like finding out the root of the violence, the reason behind the action. Exploring human nature. Most people enjoy violence.'
'Not really, I mean… it's not exactly…'
'Most films, programmes and books contain violence, items we use for pleasure. The human race likes violence, watching husbands beat their wives on soap operas, watching war films. I like to unravel the reasoning behind it.'
Sherlock Holmes believed that most of what people had to say was not worth the energy of listening to. They were just words, unless, or course, they knew something he didn't. Other than that, they were of no consequence.
Everything John Watson said, however, no matter how hard he tried to ignore his words, seemed to pierce right into his brain. He had to grudgingly admit, in any case, that most of what he said wasn't completely useless.
The way Sherlock Holmes examined people (the way he scrutinised their mannerisms, their clothes, their skin, their body language) made you feel as though he could see right into your soul.
And, in a way, he could.
Maybe we wear our souls on the outside.
History was important in his line of work. History repeats, replays, stuck on a loop. Everything that happens has already happened before. Every crime always links to one before.
Sherlock was very good at his job, partly because he had such an extensive memory of old crimes, right back into the 1900's. He learnt from other's experience, and reading up old crimes was no great hardship- he enjoyed it.
He enjoyed make the links, the connections, knowing that he could predict the criminal by looking back at what others had done. Crime rarely changed its spots.
It was like fortune-telling, only instead of looking into the future he looked into the past.
Amazing how much yesterday can help you with today.
He was logical, clear cut, because so was the world. Everything had a reason, everything had the same precision. Nothing was unexpected.
Scientists say they are surprised when they discover that something behaves differently than they had firstly theorised, and that the world is always changing. They are wrong.
Electrons have always done whatever it was they did (why did he care- they had nothing to do with his work). They only seemed to change because they changed in the human perception. Sherlock knew that. It was a technique he often employed during his cases.
Still, there were some things he couldn't explain. Sometimes, there were anomalies, that didn't fit into his logical mind. If it wasn't logical, however, he disregarded it, unless he could make it logical. He sneered at the zodiac readings in the paper, reading them out to John and doling out scorn.
One of these was the fact that John Watson was still sharing rooms with him after a month… and then two months… and then three. All others had left, complaining that he was just too weird. He respected their opinion- he thought they were pretty abnormal themselves.
But John he couldn't figure out. The doctor put up with everything he threw at him, and still seemed to be happy at the arrangement. There were a couple of times Sherlock had thought he had finally gone too far and John would leave, but he never did.
It was illogical, but unlike most illogical things, he kind of sort of liked it.