I have no excuses. This story is the result of ill-advisedly watching Beauty and the Beast with my little cousin and then having a Sherlock marathon with my boyfriend. This idea inserted itself in my mind, and proceeded to consume my entire brain despite me needing it for other things (such as work, conversation and breathing). I decided that the only way to get said brain back was to write the story down and escape it that way.
The premise is simple enough: it's Beauty and the Beast but with a Sherlock slant on things. There's magic, curses and supernatural stuff going on. There's some also swearing, violence and some nasty stuff happening, but hopefully none of it enough to give anyone nightmares. The M rating is primarily for safety.
It's been a monster to write (pun intended) as firstly I had never written slash and doing so made me a bit nervous, but then the story wouldn't really work if the heroes didn't fall in love. Also, I didn't like the idea of putting Sherlock, the arch-rationalist, into a magical world, until I hit on the idea of curse-breaking (his profession in the story) being the magical equivalent of being a consulting detective. Things went more easily after that, although the characterization of Sherlock has caused me some anxiety – he was difficult to write and I'm not sure I really captured the spirit of the BBC character or Conan Doyle's original, so any and all constructive advice is welcome. My bent was towards portraying Sherlock as a brilliant but rather childish individual who has some important lessons to learn.
John, by contrast, was an absolute pleasure to write. He's an ordinary, decent man caught up in extraordinary events in my story – even if he is stubborn as hell and too independent for his own good. Any advice on characterization is most welcome, as are reviews and constructive criticism.
One or two more things before the start: make no mistake, this is a loooooooooooooong story! It's mostly written, as I am generally very bad at finishing stories I've started and I've suffered the heartache of a favourite tale being abandoned and never completed. But I know where this one is going and I've no intention of giving up when I'm so close to the end. Also, and I'm only going to say this one time, there will be absolutely NO bestiality in this story. No requests for it, please, they will be roundly ignored. There will be sexy stuff going on (eventually), so hang in there and hopefully everyone will be happy ;-)
This story has not been beta'd, so feel free to point out typos.
And now on with the show. Hope you enjoy!
He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must either be a beast or a god – Aristotle
He hunched unmoving in the chair next to the fireplace, long legs tucked under him so he crouched on the seat, long malformed arms wrapped around what passed for his knees. His face wore a snarl, an expression that came to it naturally. His last experiment in curse-breaking had resulted in yet more failure. Hence his appearance matched his mood – bitter, cruel, savage.
He was aware Mrs. Hudson was hovering nearby. The blasted woman simply wouldn't give in, saying at every opportunity that they just had to wait patiently and someone would come and set everything to rights.
She had said that about Irene Adler, as he had reminded her spitefully upon hearing her optimistic pronouncement for the umpteenth time.
'I didn't like her, you know that Sherlock, but I held my tongue seeing as you were so keen on her. But don't let her destroy your hope,' her voice said, tart and reproachful.
'I'd rather you went back to holding your tongue,' he'd growled, and, affronted, Mrs. Hudson had retired to the kitchen, which was her own exclusive domain in the huge mansion they inhabited. But she hadn't remained there for long, she never did. Her continuing loyalty was one of the few mysteries he had never been able to solve. She could have left him when the curse first descended upon him, but had chosen to stay.
And what a price she had paid for it.
He gazed into the fire, wishing, as he so often did of late, that he had courage enough to simply end it all. But something kept him from doing so, not least the knowledge that if he did so, Mrs. Hudson would be left here alone, forever in all probability. Whilst Sherlock could live with that fate – it wasn't as though he had a choice in the matter, every attempt at breaking the curse had ended in dismal failure – he couldn't bear the thought of inflicting it on Mrs. Hudson.
Damn the woman.
'Come and sit by the fire,' he called to her, uncurling himself and setting foot upon the carpet. All the rooms in the house were carpeted – he loathed hearing the sound of his claws upon stone or parquet. Once in the woods, there were leaves aplenty to muffle the sound.
He heard her footsteps advance across from the doorway. 'Will you sit with me for a little time?' she asked softly.
He hesitated, reluctant to disappoint her, but unable to stomach sitting here brooding for any longer. His efforts to become a man again were, according to all the evidence he'd accumulated, useless. He was a monster, therefore he might as well act like one.
'I'm going hunting,' he said shortly. 'I need to be away for a time. I'll be back in a couple of days.'
Sherlock heard Mrs. Hudson sigh quietly, and a most unusual expression crossed his inhuman face, had he but known it. It was an odd mixture of regret, affection and impatience, but Mrs Hudson saw it. Strangely, it gave her cause for hope. The man she had known and loved since he was a babe in arms was not lost, despite what Sherlock believed.
'You're spending too much time in those woods,' she remonstrated, the chair creaking as her slight weight was lowered into it. 'You need to spend time here – being human. You get three hours a day as a human, why not make the most of them? You haven't played your violin in weeks.'
Sherlock snorted indelicately. The curse that left him shaped like this also allowed him what had first seemed a respite, later like torture, reminding him of all that he could not have, what he was forever debarred from. Three hours in every day, when he could be human. Three hours he could choose for himself. Lately though, he hadn't been bothering. He couldn't see the point, not even of playing his Stradivarius, his most treasured possession, his strongest remaining link to humanity. Such beauty as his talent could produce at will had become unbearably painful when contrasted with his own deformity.
'I have no desire to engage in futile pastimes,' he grunted after a moment, stalking away towards the door. 'Take care of yourself, Mrs. Hudson. I'll be back anon.'
He took care to walk on his hind legs whilst still in the mansion, but once out of one of the numerous doors he went on all fours, his arms were long enough for that, his legs with the same spring and elasticity of any wild animal he could put a name to. He wore his usual clothes, true, but they were always black. Black so as not to show the blood.
It had been raining in the woods, and he caught unwilling glimpses of himself in the puddles as he lunged past. There were no mirrors (except a few Mrs Hudson kept hidden from him) in the mansion, he could not stand them, and even the windows had been spelled so as not to reflect his image back at him. But he could not enchant everything in his domain, and the image shown to him in the water repelled him. Long legs that bent like the hind legs of a wolf, furred clawed feet and hands, long twisted arms, large hunched shoulders, and a poor excuse for a face, furred and with teeth and muzzle that reminded him somewhat of a panther, though lacking the panther's savage elegance. He gritted his numerous teeth and hurried on.
Long, quivering, piercing howls sounded from other regions of the woods. There were others of his kind in the woods, though none with his intellect. Sometimes Sherlock contemplated sloughing off his pretences at humanity and joining them, but in all honesty they disgusted him, even more than he disgusted himself. They were not simple animals even he could sympathise with, but cruel, brutal creatures, creations of dark magic.
No, he would continue to live alone. He belonged nowhere, with no one.
With that bitterest of thoughts uppermost in his mind, he put his muzzle to the ground, scenting prey. He soon found the trail, and the woods closed in around him as he ran.
Back at the mansion, Martha Hudson leaned her head upon her hand and sighed. Sherlock was losing all hope, she knew that, and nothing she did seemed to have any effect upon the black fit that his current condition and the cruel words of Irene Adler – their first visitor in five years, who had stayed only a fortnight, and who had been thrown out with Martha's palm print stinging on her cheek – had plunged him into. She remembered wistfully the young man of long ago, who with all the arrogance of his youth, had proclaimed that he needed no one, nothing, only his work and his sorcery. How he had eaten those words. Perhaps he didn't need friendship, or constant company, the way some other human beings needed them, but he needed love and companionship from someone in some form, of that she was certain.
How she wished she was enough for him. But that was silly, she could not be everything – mother, friend, teacher, fellow adventurer – to Sherlock, however hard she tried. He needed someone who could see past the beastliness, convince him of what she was positive lay underneath. Convince him of the good man she was sure was in there somewhere.
He needed a love of his own. The only clue they had to the breaking of his curse was that it involved another human being – in what capacity, how precisely, they had not been informed. But Martha thought she could guess, though she had not shared her surmises with Sherlock. He abhorred what he sneeringly termed 'sentimental conjecture.'
Despite his unkind words, his brooding and ill-temper, silently, she offered up a petition for him. She had met forces for the evil in the world, but Martha Hudson was quite certain there were forces for good as well, and she implored them to help. Please, send someone to help him. Don't let him be like this forever. He can be a force for good too, I just know. Please, send someone.
A slight breeze blew through the comfortable room, cool but not chill, strong but not fierce, causing the old-fashioned fire to flicker in its grate. Shivering, Martha got up to close the window – only to realise that all the windows were shut. As was the door.
Her shiver this time had nothing to do with cold. Something had heard her plea. Something had been set in motion by her wishes, and Martha could only hope and pray that it would be the something to set her dear boy – and indeed herself – free at last.
Author's notes: So there you have it, Beastly!Sherlock. The idea of the Author's Notes at the end of each chapter is borrowed from the wonderful fanfiction author Nana-41175, I strongly recommend you check out her work.