Monday, April 13, 2009

The Bull Pup Problem

Okay, here's a bit of fun about Holmes and Watson, with none of the angst of their later interactions. This whimsical sketch is for the chapter about how they met in STUD. As with my other sketches, it's in present tense and not fully written out.

Fandom: Sherlock Holmes
Story: partial chapter 4 of Deeper in Memory novel
Pairing: Holmes/Watson, pre-slash
Rating: PG for swearing

In this version of STUD, Watson actually does have a puppy, which he moves in with. It's a frisky little bull terrier that he got in an effort to relieve his comfortless, meaningless existence at the hotel. It's also named in honour of Murray, who saved Watson's life. James Murray? Jimmy for short?

Holmes moves in the next day, bringing his boxes and such into Baker Street. The puppy barks and jumps around in greeting. "This is your bull-pup, I take it?"

Watson nods and picks up the puppy, who wags his tail. Introduces it to Holmes.

Holmes comments on the name, and Watson explains.

Holmes starts to unpack his chemicals, then looks worried. "Perhaps I should not do so, lest your pet get into something dangerous."

"Oh. I'm sorry. I hadn't realised that this would be a problem."

"Neither did I. At Bart's I asked you if you would mind chemicals laying about, and you said no, but later you mentioned your puppy, and I should have followed up about it."

"Yes, I suppose I should have said something too. I, um, maybe I can keep him in my room, away from your lab." starts to go.

Holmes is accommodating, though. "No, no, nothing's settled yet. I haven't even got a proper table for my lab yet. I'll see if I can buy one with locking drawers, and high shelves, out of his reach. For now..." He grabs his boxes of chemicals and goes into his room.

"Thank you, Holmes."

So for a while at least, Holmes does not set up a laboratory in the sitting-room. He continues to go use the lab at Bart's.

They lounge around the sitting-room often, but as Holmes plays his violin, the puppy is constantly yipping near his ankles, making him nervous. He resorts to sitting in his chair instead of standing, putting the violin across his knees as he scrapes away. W regards this as an eccentricity.

Eventually H complains to W to take the dog out walking more, to use up its considerable energy.

W is confused. "You don't like my puppy?"

"No, no, he's a perfectly nice puppy. It's just that I have some experience with bull terriers who don't have enough outlet for their energies. One of them left this scar on my ankle." He shows Watson the faint scar from Victor Trevor's dog. (Never mentioning Trevor's name, though. Only calling him a classmate from university. That's why in GLOR, he thinks he's already mentioned Victor Trevor to Watson, when in fact he hasn't mentioned his actual name.)

W is astonished, that H suffered such a substantial injury. "Oh I'm so sorry. Why didn't you tell me before? Holmes, are you--are you afraid of dogs?"

"What?" H scoffs. "Of course not. If I was afraid of dogs, I would have objected to our sharing rooms as soon as you mentioned your bull-pup. If I hated dogs, I would have groaned when I saw that the landlady herself possessed a dog. No, Watson. I have no fear of, and no enmity towards dogs. From time to time, dogs are even quite useful in my profession. No, I just mean that dogs do not always behave themselves, when they are young and excitable, and that their owners ought to take suitable precautions, such as using leashes, or walking them to use up their energies."

"Oh." So Watson promises to walk the dog more, but he's distracted by wondering what profession Holmes has, that dogs could be useful.

And as the days pass, W nevertheless doesn't get out much, due to laziness, his health, and his fascination with H's activities.

H gets annoyed. Starts taking the dog downstairs to play with Mrs. Hudson's terrier. The terrier is old, though, and not up to romping for long. Then H resorts to paying the Irregulars to walk the dog. He hands it to them on a leash.

"Just walk it?"

"Yes, just walk it for an hour. No, two hours. And throw a stick for it to fetch."

"It's not a case?"

"No, it's not a case. Do as I say!" Pays them extra, then shuts the door.

He hurries back upstairs and sees Watson fallen asleep with a yellow-back novel. Sighs and pulls a blanket over him.

Then he goes to see Mycroft and complain.

"What am I supposed to do? It's his bloody dog!"

"Sherlock, you seem far too upset about this."

"Well I've had to put off setting up my lab. That's the whole reason I needed to get these new rooms, so I could have my own lab."

"You don't have to be overly polite to him. He is your room-mate. Discuss it."

"I can't discuss it. He named the bloody dog after the man who saved his life in Afghanistan. I can't ask him to get rid of it." pacing. "What am I supposed to do? Wish that the Irregulars lose the dog in the park? But that's horrible! I have nothing against the dog. I'm upset with the owner. Why on earth should he have a dog when he is in no condition to take care of it properly?"

STUD case

Finally, Mrs. Hudson's sick terrier dies due to the poison pill. In the confusion of Jefferson Hope's capture, they forget about the dog's body, and Mrs. Hudson discovered it when she came upstairs to see the damage to the window and furniture. She takes it away to be buried in the backyard.

When H and W return from the police station, she asks them about the death, and W apologises for letting her discover the body like that. "I'm so sorry."

"No, I'm just glad that he's not in pain any more. Was it quick?"

"Yes." He assures her that the terrier died almost instantly.

"Thank you, Doctor."

After she leaves, Watson is racked with guilt. "How could we do that to her, Holmes? Just leave the corpse lying around?" paces

H thinks for a moment, then suggests that W make it up to her.


"Give her your puppy."

Watson doesn't answer at first. H tenses and is almost afraid that W will be angry at him.

But then W nods slowly and says, "Yes. Yes, I should give her my puppy. What a good idea! Thank you, Holmes." Almost goes to hug him, but thinks better of it. Instead runs to get his puppy out of his room.

H sighs in relief. Finally! Mrs. Hudson would take good care of the puppy downstairs, and he could at last set up his chemical lab without fear of poisoning a curious dog.

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