Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back at last

Hmm, I've neglected the blog for a month now. Sorry. Partly it was that I was fighting with my XP computer again because the DVD burner stopped working at all, right in the middle of me trying to burn the Russian Holmes series. At first I was trying to figure out if it was a problem with the software or the hardware. Anyway, I bought and installed a new drive, and now it's working perfectly.

I haven't stopped writing totally, of course, and you may have noticed some new chapters in my Friends story "The New Kid" on, but then again, you may not read that fandom. I intend to finish that in probably just two more chapters, but in the meantime I've returned to Sherlock Holmes again. This is the beginning of a third person rewrite of the Speckled Band case, bringing the focus back to Holmes and Watson.

Fandom: Sherlock Holmes
Story: partial Chapter 6 of DIM
Pairing: Holmes/Watson
Warnings: slashy subtext, G

That April morning, Dr. Watson was lying in bed asleep while his room-mate stood peering down at him. Instead of knocking, Holmes had opened the door and quietly slipped inside. He softly approached the bed, but did not say a word, nor cough, nor prod Watson's shoulder. It was odd, really, for the detective to be nervous. In the past two years together, Holmes had often woken Watson for cases, but always by knocking, and never at so early an hour before. So it was conceivable that perhaps Watson would refuse to come this time.

Indeed, Holmes himself was usually a late riser, but according to Mrs. Hudson, the young lady insisted on seeing him. Moreover, she was dressed all in black, suggesting that her grief must be quite severe and recent. So Holmes rose, saying that he would go knock up Watson himself, and Mrs. Hudson left his door.

Yet now that he was here, Holmes still did not wake Watson. He was not sure why he felt so reluctant. Back in his own bedroom, he had even dawdled for a while there, long enough to fully dress himself. Holmes also took care to sneak out of his room unseen by the heavily veiled lady in the sitting-room. Such pains might have been understandable if he was still in his dressing-gown, but he was not. He was perfectly groomed and attired.

After several moments of silence, Holmes decided that he merely wished to satisfy his curiosity, because he had never been in Watson's private chamber before. So Holmes glanced up and scanned the room quickly. Bookshelves contained sea novels, detective novels, and medical texts. Watson's tin dispatch box lay in a corner, and no doubt Watson's army uniform resided within the wardrobe. There were also scattered photos of family, but very blurred and faded, so that Holmes could not tell from a distance if there was a second child with Watson's parents.

Then the clock in the room struck 7:15, reminding Holmes of the young lady in the sitting-room. Mrs. Hudson had said she seemed quite excitable and desperate. He really should not be trying her patience this way. So Holmes looked down at Watson again and took a breath to speak.

Luckily, Watson had already begun to stir. He blinked up at Holmes in surprise, then turned to glance at the clock, making his unkempt hair look even more awry.

Holmes could not help a smiling a little, and that helped to ease his prior anxiety. He spoke quite cheerfully, "Very sorry to knock you up, Watson, but it's the common lot this morning. Mrs. Hudson has been knocked up, she retorted upon me, and I on you."

Watson rubbed his eyes and wondered why he hadn't heard any knocking. If he had slept through it, then how long had Holmes been standing there, trying to wake him? Watson did not ask that question, though. He asked with a yawn, "What is it then--a fire?"

Of course it was a ridiculous question, since Holmes would hardly apologise when waking someone for a fire. But perhaps Watson was sourly suggesting that Holmes shouldn't have woken him for anything less urgent than a fire?

Holmes responded, "No; a client. It seems that a young lady has arrived in a considerable state of excitement, who insists upon seeing me. She is waiting now in the sitting-room. Now, when young ladies wander about the metropolis at this hour of the morning, and knock sleepy people up out of their beds, I presume that it is something very pressing which they have to communicate. Should it prove to be an interesting case, you would, I am sure, wish to follow it from the outset. I thought, at any rate, that I should call you and give you the chance." Holmes hoped to dispel any bad temper by being solicitous and humorous.

The doctor did brighten up significantly. "My dear fellow, I would not miss it for anything." He sat up and pulled back the covers.

Holmes smiled with pleasure, and for a moment did not realise that he was standing too close to allow Watson to get out of bed.


"What? Oh, I apologise." He cleared his throat and then withdrew to the door.

"I'll be ready in five minutes," Watson said, hurrying to comb his hair and grab some clothes.

"Good." Holmes stepped outside the door and then closed it. He wondered if Watson was at all annoyed by his presumption in entering the room without permission. But then again, Watson had not locked the door. And yet, was that the same as an invitation? Watson had not violated the privacy of Holmes's bedroom, after all. Of course, he had no need to wake Holmes early. Perhaps, if it were an emergency, a fire...

Holmes was still standing at the door when Watson suddenly opened it and nearly ran into him. "Oh!"

"Oh, I'm sorry." Holmes stood back again.

Watson looked disconcerted. "I-I didn't know you were there. I thought you'd already gone down to the sitting-room."

"No," he said. "I-I was waiting for you."

"I hadn't realised. I'm sorry."

"No, no. You've been quite prompt, Watson. I merely wanted you to be there at the start. At the outset, you know."

"Oh." Watson relaxed and looked a little flattered. "Thank you."

Holmes found himself smiling in return. "Shall we?"


So they walked downstairs together.

Lots of people assume that Watson's bedroom is upstairs, and that Holmes's bedroom is on the same floor as the sitting-room. Indeed it appears to be right next door to it. And yet SPEC has always made me wonder how on earth Holmes managed to get to Watson's bedroom and yet bypass the sitting-room. (That's why I often write in my stories about their bedrooms being on the same floor, and down a corridor from the sitting-room.) But I suppose we can just assume that Miss Stoner was heavily veiled and distracted, and therefore did not see Holmes. Still, why did Holmes not greet her? Was he feeling particularly rude because he'd been woken so early? Why then did he greet her cheerfully later? And why was he so freaking cheerful in Watson's room as well? Hmm. :)

By the way, Watson is not naked in bed, but I haven't decided on what he wears when sleeping--a night-shirt or pajamas. So I have left out reference to it.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I realize that this post of yours is pretty old, but I found some stuff that you posted onto the Yahoo Holmes group, and then I started trolling your blog for more references to this story that you're writing because it sounds like it's going to be wonderful once it's finished. (Is it finished already? I couldn't tell...)

Anyway, at the end you mentioned Watson's sleeping attire. I don't know if you're going for strict Victorian, but if you are, I just thought I'd let you know that Victorian era men would sleep in a full pajama set - sleep pants and a buttoned sleep shirt over underclothes. It was considered unseemely to do otherwise. Men would even re-dress after being intimate with their bedfellow. So, assuming Watson conformed to societal norms for a gentleman of his standing, he'd be wearing full pajamas.

Anyway, I can't wait to read this novel when it's completely done. :)

Cress said...

No, this novel's not finished yet. It's being written in disordered pieces all over the place. I'm trying to keep them tied to the outline so that you can at least read something semi-coherent.

Thank you for your comment about Victorian sleeping attire. It's just that I've seen other Victorian characters like Ebeneezer Scrooge going to bed in nightshirts rather than pajamas. At least two Holmes portrayals have shown him that way as well. (The 1954 series with R. Howard, and the 1970 Private life of Sherlock Holmes movie.)