Title: The Price of Fame
Author's Name: Laura Sichrovsky
Word Count: 9321 total – 2436 for this section.
Pairing: Sherlock/John – Pre-slash and then as a couple
Warnings: Sherlock/John kissage and mentions of shaggage and sexual themes. Minor swearing.
Spoilers: For pretty much every episode, particularly The Great Game, Scandal in Belgravia, and Hound of Baskerville
Summary: Now that John and Sherlock are an internet phenomenon, fan sites devoted to them are cropping up. What happens when they find a few? And how will they react to fan fiction that pairs them together?
Prompt: John's Blog becomes popular and gains a fan club who likes writing fan fiction about him and Sherlock and anyone else mentioned in the blog. Mostly porn. John is mortified but Sherlock is intrigued. He takes to trolling the fandom and, maybe, writing his own fics.
Bonus if the Yard find out before Sherlock and John and are the ones to introduce them to the world of fan fiction.
Disclaimer: This is where I put the statement saying that I do not own John or Sherlock, (Heh! I wish!), or anything relating to the show or books. No one is paying me to do this and if you feel the sudden urge to send me gifts, you might want to talk to someone about that. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat own all things Sherlock and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owns Holmes and Watson. None of them have given me permission to use these characters as I have so if you have problems with the story, please send the pretzel bombs to me, not them. (Though if you could actually send a pretzel bomb to ACD, I'd be impressed.)
Author's Notes: I'm not sure why, but this prompt really appealed to me. It was fun, but a bit strange to write and I'm not sure if this is what the OP had in mind. Thanks need to be given, and here is where they go. Thanks to Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for giving me a Sherlock I can get behind. Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for making this Sherlock and John so amazing. I tried to fight it, but they were just too remarkable not to fall for. Big thank yous to Gemma for the super fast beta job. I owe you! Thank you to Elin for reading this over for me. And my biggest thank yous to my guiding influence and my best friend, Ann. She's the best beta ever and the Sherlock to my John. Without her, I am nothing. (Couldn't do it without you, love. Wouldn't want to try.)
A special note on the fan fiction in this story – For the most part, all references to stories have been kept intentionally vague and have been completely invented for use in this piece. The two titles for Sherlock's stories and the one John reads after Baskerville were made up on the fly and any infringement on actual stories is coincidence.
There is, however, a real story that I've used and I owe the author a debt of gratitude for allowing me to do so. The fan fiction ($) is actually credited to Sherlock in this story. It's the one where Sherlock and John go to Pakistan. No, it wasn't written by Sherlock. It's really called Rectification (and you can find it on Live Journal at the author's page) by the tolerant and talented Yalublyutebya, who let me assign this one to him. It's a brilliant ending to Scandal in Belgravia and I agree with John that it's become one of my new favorite stories. You really must read it. Huge thank yous to her for letting me borrow some of her talent for this story.
I should also point out here that while these fan fiction pieces are portrayed as Real Person Fics (being written about the "real" John and Sherlock), I in no way endorse RPF or write them. There's also a line where Sherlock says he thinks the Mycroft/Lestrade pairing is "wrong on so many levels." I am in no way belittling this pairing and I do, in fact, read it. This was simply Sherlock's comment on thoughts of his brother being intimate with anyone.
The Price of Fame
It all starts on a random Thursday when John and Sherlock stop by New Scotland Yard to drop off some files they borrowed for a case. They've just come from lunch and as they make their way past the desks to Lestrade's office, Sherlock looks back over his shoulder at John.
"I think you were right about the stab wounds," Sherlock says, turning almost completely around. "The more I picture it in my head, the more I have to agree that it wasn't a knife."
John frowns, though not because Sherlock is admitting John's right. That actually happens much more often than most people think. John is frowning because he notices that Sherlock has strawberry jam around his lips and John wonders how he missed this on the cab ride over.
"Hey, stop," John says, pulling out a tissue. "Look at me."
Sherlock does, arching an eyebrow.
"Doughnut filling," John says, reaching up and wiping it off. "And some of the sugar too. How did neither of us notice this? There. It's gone."
"Thank you," Sherlock replies, nodding.
There's muffled giggling behind them and they turn to see Sally and Anderson watching them.
"Isn't that cute?" Anderson says, his voice heavy with sarcasm. "John is such a good boyfriend, making sure you're presentable. I'm surprised he didn't lick it off."
"Are you still playing that tired joke?" John asks, sighing. "You've used it so much that it's just not funny anymore."
"Oh, come on," Sally says, shaking her head. "I don't understand why you two keep hiding it. Everyone knows."
"And by everyone one, you mean you two?" John says.
"No, I mean everyone. You're all over the internet."
"I'm sorry, we're what?" John asks, blinking. "You mean my blog?"
"No, the fan sites."
"The what?" John realizes that his voice is likely loud enough to be heard two floors away, but he doesn't particularly care. "What are you talking about?"
"You don't know?" Sally asks, looking honestly surprised. "Oh, come on, you have to know. You two are everywhere."
There's a slight crowd gathering as some of the other officers join the conversation.
"They don't know?" Dimmock asks, looking rather disappointed. "Damn. I lost that bet with Gregson about which screen name was John's. I was sure he was armyfan773."
"I…screen name? What the hell are you people talking about?" John asks in complete exasperation.
Sally motions for him to come over to her desk.
"We're talking about your fan sites. Look."
John walks over to stand behind her, barely noticing as Sherlock follows him. The page up in her browser window has a picture of John and Sherlock standing together at a crime scene. Sherlock is talking and John is leaning in to hear what he's saying. There's a title on the page: A Study in Love, a Sherlock/John Fansite. As Sally scrolls down, John sees more pictures of himself and Sherlock, walking together, laughing together, there are even a couple where it looks like they could be holding hands, if you didn't actually know better. There are little comments under the pictures saying things like, Our favourite couple out for a stroll or Our boys sharing a smile. John blinks, completely confused.
"What is this?"
"It's a fan site," Sally says and John wants to strangle her for being singularly unhelpful. At his glare she gestures to the screen. "One of your internet fans. She's put together a website devoted to the two of you as a couple. There are quite a few of them, really."
"But we aren't a couple," John says, shaking his head. "And just because some crazy people put up pictures and say we are, that doesn't make it true."
"If you think this is bad, you should see the forums," Dimmock says from where he's leaning on a neighboring desk."
"The what?" Sherlock asks and John suddenly remembers that Sherlock is standing right next to him and that this all affects him too.
"Here," Sally says, typing again.
This time she brings up something called a community. It has message boards and discussion threads and a whole section devoted to fan fiction. John is mildly horrified. When he thinks of fan fiction, he pictures badly put together stories that have wildly diverging Star Trek characters going to bed together and he's not sure he wants to know how it translates to him and Sherlock. He actually says that and Sally laughs.
"I'll admit there are some pretty bad ones, but there are actually some really well written ones. If you're going to read one, it should be this one." She opens a story in a new window. "I rather enjoyed it. Sherlock was injured at a crime scene and you have to take care of him. As he's stuck at home with nothing else to think about, he concentrates on you and realizes that he loves you. It was well written and the characterization was impressive."
"You do realize that I'm sitting right here, yes?" John says glaring at her. "I'm not a character in someone's fantasy that has me shagging Sherlock."
"Hey, don't put it down until you've read it," Dimmock says. "It got a lot of positive feedback."
"It got what?" John asks, feeling more and more like he's fallen through the looking glass.
"When someone posts a story, people read it and add their comments. You know it's a good story when it gets a lot of replies."
"Who posts these stories?" Sherlock asks, once again bringing attention to himself. John looks at him, trying to gauge how upset he is, but Sherlock merely looks contemplative.
"A load of different people," Sally says.
"Anyone can put up a story?"
"Well, you have to join the community, but for that you only need an e-mail and a screen name, so yeah, anyone can."
"I see," Sherlock says nodding. "And people then comment on what? How well written it is? The concept?"
"Pretty much," Sally says. "Everyone likes a well written story with a solid, emotional premise."
"And you lot read this stuff?" John asks. "About us? Even though you know us?"
"It's interesting," Sally says, shrugging. "And we thought you already knew about it."
"Yeah, we really didn't," John snaps.
Sherlock pulls out a small notebook and a pen.
"What is the URL for this community?"
"Sherlock!" John stares at him, feeling just a little betrayed.
"We really should get an idea of what's being said about us, John," Sherlock says reasonably, as he writes the address down.
John just throws his hands up, walking away and muttering.
It turns out the temptation is harder to resist than John thought it would be. Knowing there are stories about him out there on the internet nags at him and he finds himself Googling the community. He tells himself he's simply going to read the forums to see what's being said about them, but the pull of the fan fiction is just too great.
He starts out with the story Sally suggested and aside from being mildly terrified by a bedroom scene, he has to admit that the writing really is impressive. It makes him feel like his literary abilities pale by comparison and he's humbled by the talent he sees here.
He branches out to other stories and is surprised to find that there are stories that don't pair him up with Sherlock. Some are adventures and some are friendship stories, which John finds himself enjoying immensely; he was even late to work one day because he couldn't stop reading. He considers joining the community so he can leave comments, but something feels just wrong about critiquing stories that involve him and Sherlock.
He gets to the point where he reads any of the stories that have an interesting summary, despite the rating, although he does draw the line at anything involving bondage or pain. There are certain authors he looks for, people who seem to have a knack for getting their personalities right and he finds himself all the more impressed that they can keep them in character while still putting them in bed together. He also finds an affinity for some of their writing styles, liking their word choices and descriptive talents. He gets used to the stories that pair them together, not even really minding the sex scenes and marvels at his ability to adjust to just about anything.
Less anticipated are the ones he finds that pair himself or Sherlock with other people and the ones with multiple partners. One afternoon he's reading and his eyes go wide.
"You and me and Lestrade?"
"Hm?" Sherlock says, looking up from his laptop where he's typing something.
"Sorry. I was just reading one of those stories on this site. It has the two of us and Lestrade and I think even you can guess what we're doing." John frowns. "I'm pretty sure I can't physically bend that way."
"Oh, I don't know, John." Sherlock says, tipping his head. "You seem pretty limber to me."
"Well, thank you, but I think I'd dislocate my hip if we tried this position."
John realizes what he said and he rolls his eyes, stifling a giggle. Sherlock arches an eyebrow at him and suddenly they are both laughing. Every time John starts to collect himself, he looks at Sherlock and it starts all over again. After a few minutes, he finds himself out of breath, grinning at his flatmate.
"I had no idea being an internet phenomenon would be like this," John says, sighing.
"The hazards of fame, John." Sherlock is typing again and he glances up at John.
"Well, yeah, but I seriously didn't see this coming. Why aren't you disturbed? I would have thought this would really upset you."
"Why do I care what people write about us?" Sherlock shrugs. "Why does it bother you so much?"
"I don't really know. I suppose it just feels odd, people speculating on our private lives. Are we friends, are we a couple? What are our sex lives like?"
"People were doing that long before your blog caught on." Sherlock smiles at him. "I think you said the phrase 'I'm not his boyfriend' about six times in the first twenty-four hours you knew me."
"That was different."
"It was less anonymous. I knew the people who thought we were shagging."
"And that makes it better?"
"I see your point," John says, frowning. He shakes his head. "I can't say my life has been boring since I met you. If I got used to that, I reckon I'll get used to this. Though, I'm not sure what that says about me."
Sherlock just smiles at John and goes back to typing.
A few days later, John sees Sherlock frowning at his laptop screen.
"What's the matter?
"Story," Sherlock says, his expression going darker.
"About?" John is concerned at how upset Sherlock seems.
"The pool." It's only two words, but the haunted look in Sherlock's eyes speaks volumes.
"Really?" John is surprised. "What about it has you so bothered?"
"The bomb went off and you knocked me into the water to save us." Sherlock looks up at John, thoughtfully. "Would that have worked?"
John thinks about it.
"It might have. The water would have likely protected us from the blast if we'd gotten under before it hit us."
"Was that your plan?" Sherlock asks curiously.
"I actually hadn't gotten that far," John admits. "I was still stuck on the fact that we had multiple sniper rifles trained on us."
But as he stands, looking at Sherlock, John is mildly overcome by a wave of affection for the man who assumes that John had a plan. Such genuine trust from Sherlock Holmes is humbling.
Sherlock's scowl gets more pronounced.
"You were injured protecting me." Sherlock looks so distressed that John feels the need to intervene.
"Sherlock, I'm right here," John says gently. "And that didn't really happen."
"But it could have." Sherlock is obviously upset.
John almost says that it really couldn't have, but he realizes that if it had come to it, he would have done his best to keep Sherlock safe, even at the expense of his own life. He wonders for a minute what that means, but Sherlock's agitation pulls him back.
"But it didn't," John reiterates, reaching out to touch Sherlock's hand.
When Sherlock smiles up at him, John's heart beats a little faster, but he refuses to analyze why.
A couple of weeks later, John actually starts to dream about the stories and he finds that a bit disturbing. There is something odd about waking up, gasping, heart pounding from an adventure that only happened in someone else's imagination. At first it's just the case related stories, taking them to exotic locations or putting them in impossibly dangerous situations, but then it branches out to other genres that don't involve certain death.
John is more than a little unnerved when the dreams take a lurid turn. He tries not to think of the implications when he dreams of Sherlock bending him over the sofa, his delicate hands running riot over John's heated skin. He wakes up half hard, biting back a moan, and promises himself that he won't read anything with a rating above R anymore.
Things change between John and Sherlock after Irene Adler, but then, so do the stories. He's slightly awed that their fans are devoted enough to keep up with these things. John's favorite stories are the ones where Sherlock chooses John over Irene, but he can't bring himself to look at why.
After Sherlock admits that he knows Irene is dead, John posts to his blog about it and that leads to a spate of stories where he comforts Sherlock over it. John's not sure how he feels about those ones. There is one that becomes his favorite, though. It has John and Sherlock going to Pakistan to save Irene. ($) Afterwards, she gives Sherlock information on Moriarty and Sherlock then dismisses her, and turns all his attentions on John. It ends in a very heated bedroom scene, although John finds he can very much live with that. John feels a bit guilty when he bookmarks it after reading it for the third time. But he's still caught off guard when he dreams it two nights in a row, waking up hard and desperate, finishing himself off in the dark with Sherlock's name on his lips.
He can't deny that his feelings for Sherlock are changing and he can only wonder how the hell he got here.