Spoilers: Hardcore Reichenbach spoilers.
"John," Mike Stamford says carefully, eyes open in delicate surprise and looking at something over John's shoulder.
They're taking a walk, enjoying the fresh air on a lunch break and thinking of where to stop for food, so far keeping the conversation light and inconsequential while John limps along.
"Look," he says, nodding, and John frowns in momentary confusion as he turns his head.
I BELIEVE IN SHERLOCK HOLMES.
There. Right there, in plain sight, spray-painted in white on a bus-stop bench in the middle of London.
"Bloody hell," John whispers, stopping dead in his tracks to stare at it.
"Seems we aren't the only ones carrying a torch for the cause," Mike says gently, with a small smile, and John can only swallow hard and agree with a nod.
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He doesn't see another one for over a month. He's hasn't been doing well, exactly, but he's coping.
Work, telly, food, sleep. Pop out for shopping now and then, chat with Mrs Hudson when she stops over, always bringing food and fussing over him. She's just as lonely too, possibly more so, if you consider that she's lost both of them, in a way. He can't bring himself to return to Baker Street, and she can't bring herself to clear any of the things they've left behind. She just dusts and organizes, always saying she'll take those boxes of lab equipment to a school or Saint Bart's or something, but never able too, somehow.
He's descending the stairs to the tube, checking his watch and wondering idly if he has enough time to stop for a spot of breakfast somewhere when the next one smacks him in the face.
MORIARTY WAS REAL.
This time in red, splashed over an ancient ad for some fancy perfume at the bottom of the stairs.
It makes his heart stutter in his chest and a lump form in his throat, and he nearly misses his train because he's staring at it so long. He just barely ducks through the doors and finds a seat.
London's big. The first one could have been a random happenstance, but a second was leaning more toward the bizarre. John thought about Sherlock's "circle," as it were. The Homeless Network, the people that owed him "favours" (every other person in the city, it always felt like). Sherlock Holmes was someone they trusted, someone who had helped them. What were the chances that they had stuck to their guns, had refused to accept the lie the media was feeding to the general public?
He took a picture of it on his way back home.
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THE PERSONAL BLOG OF DR. JOHN H. WATSON
Saw something I never expected today. This was at the tube platform near my new flat. Nearly made me miss my train I was so surprised.
[picture under cut]
This is the second tag I've seen in London about what happened. Whoever you are, thank you.
Sherlock Holmes was my hero! I refuse to believe he was anything other than what you've always said he was, Dr Watson: a genius.
Anonymous 30th September 18:17
John, I was meaning to tell you, I saw another one the other day, on the side of a mailbox. Another "I believe in Sherlock Holmes" one. I think they might be spreading!
Mike Stamford 30th September 18:33
You and Sherlock helped me when I had no one else to go to. I'm glad someone else is trying to show their support. Think the original artist would mind if I included it in the upcoming graphic novel? We can bring the message to an even wider audience!
C Melas 30th September 18:40
We will always love Sherlock!
Jacob Sowersby 30th September 19:03
Dr Watson, Sherlock street-art has been showing up more and more, not only in London, but other places too. A couple of communities have been set up for all of us who want Sherlock's name cleared, and who support you both. There is an archive of pictures from other locations and other messages. Hopefully you can get an idea of the fire this campaign is building up.
we believe in sherlock holmes . tumblr . com
believe in sherlock . tumblr . com
wethesherlockians 30th September 19:10
John paused, mouse hovering over the links. With a small intake of breath, he clicked them both open.
Something twisted in his chest as he scrolled through the pages of art, both physical and digital, pins, shirts, flyers and posters along with personal messages and lines of inquiry (people were looking, asking questions, hunting down sources, all trying to poke holes in the public story of "Rich Brooks").
John was… floored. He hadn't realized, hadn't anticipated that there would be so many that questioned the lie, that were willing to stand with him to defend Sherlock's name…
A video caught his eye. The woman looked familiar, so he clicked play, and the still image disappeared as the video started to play.
"My name is Helen Stoner. In July of last year, my sister was murdered."
"The Speckled Blonde," John suddenly remembered out loud, leaning forward in his chair to listen.
"Sherlock Holmes discovered her killer, and in the process, saved my life. I met Sherlock Holmes, I know what it was like to have him look at you, and tell you your whole life story. There was nothing fraud about it. He wasn't just making random guesses, he wasn't googling me. He looked at me and saw every detail of my life, things I had never advertised, not to my friends, not my family, nothing. He didn't guess. He knew, because he was that clever. My sister was murdered, and he had nothing to do with her death, and everything to do with her justice. I believe in Sherlock Holmes. And Doctor Watson, if you happen to see this, I want you to know that you're not alone. We're standing beside you, trying to clear Sherlock's name. Moriarty was real. I believe in Sherlock Holmes."
The video ended, and John sat back, swallowing hard. There were comments following it, and he clicked on the link that would show them to him.
Mostly it was a chorus of Helen's message, I believe in Sherlock Holmes, along with other words of encouragement and declarations of faith.
"You have no idea how much you mattered, Sherlock," he said quietly into his empty flat, "No idea."
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THIS IS LOCAL LONDON
40 LOCAL NEWSPAPERS, ONE ONLINE VOICE
Campaign for the Redemption of Internet Sensation
9:21pm, 7th November in News
EARLIER THIS YEAR, there was much buzz over the death of internet phenomenon, the "Consulting Detective" Sherlock Holmes. In a scandal that shocked the nation, it was revealed that the proclaimed "genius" of crime-solving was in fact, a fake, and had been committing his own crimes in an effort to be a public sensation. Holmes had hired the alleged master thief, called James Moriarty, (real-life actor Richard Brook, who was later killed in a conflict with Holmes) to play his arch-nemesis for the public, even going so far as to stand trial for a crime that Holmes orchestrated. Finally coming forward to The Sun journalist, Kitty Reilly, Brook revealed Holmes' entire scheme, a move that resulted in the murder-suicide of both Brook and Holmes on the roof of Saint Bartholomew's Hospital in London.
Now, many are claiming that Sherlock Holmes was framed. This declaration has come about in an astonishing public display of graffiti, posters, and online communities that have been splashed around London, as well as varying other locations, some even in other countries.
Many are looking at Dr John Watson, writer of the blog that made Sherlock Holmes famous, as the source of the movement, but recent blog posts from Dr Watson suggest that he is not the founder, nor an active participant, of the movement.
A recent blog post, one of only two since Holmes' death, states, "Every day I'm astonished by how many things I see, all saying the same thing: I believe in Sherlock Holmes. The internet is flooded with images of those words, all over London, all over the world, even. I think he would be honoured to know that he has such honest, heartfelt support. I know I am. Thank you, every one of you, who have raised your voice (and pen, spray-paint, or t-shirt) in his name."
No official statement has been released by Scotland Yard on the issue.
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Have you been keeping up with the online buzz recently? –Molly
No. In case you don't remember, I'm a bit busy. Why should I? –SH
Try the #believeinsherlock tag on twitter. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. –Molly
Did you start this? Does John know? –SH
No. I think it might have been one of your network. And of course John knows. Don't you check his blog? –Molly
Sherlock sat forward in his chair, elbows on the table and chin resting on his folded hands, the #believeinsherlock tag set to automatic refresh every two minutes.
That night, on an empty street, in the wee hours of the morning, two words appeared:
A/N: My response to the #believeinsherlock tag that is suddenly aflame on tumblr and twitter. Started by this post: earlfoolish . tumblr . com / post / 15969467726 / so - i - guess - you - all - have - heard - read - seen - the - news. we believe in sherlock holmes . tumblr . com and believe in sherlock . tumblr . com are real, definitely check them out. this is local london . co . uk is also real, if you are so inclined to look there was well. (All websites with no spaces, obviously.) The practiced eye will notice that the lads who commented on John's blog in this story are chaps who comment on John Watson's real blog, and the woman who made the video really is from "The Speckled Blonde" case.
I really love the idea of this movement, so I really encourage everyone to find ways to contribute, in whatever way you find most comfortable. Fandom unity is an amazing tool for friendship, as the Sherlock fandom proves.