swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Default)
[personal profile] swissmarg
Title: The Lying Detective (alternative) 
Author: 221b_hound
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson, past Sherlock Holmes/John Watson/Mary Morstan
Length: 20K
Rating: Mature
Warnings: None
Verse: BBC
Author's summary: Mary was the bridge between them. Without her, is there still an 'us'? Perhaps, if John and Sherlock can survive the guilt, the grief, the game.

Reccer's comments: This is part of an AU series 3 & 4 that takes the basic plot of the episodes, adds Johnlockary, and changes a few other things, some minor and some more major. I’ve found it surprisingly engaging despite not being a Johnlockary fan and generally disparaging fics that re-hash the aired episodes in much detail. I also admit I haven’t read all of the parts, but you can dive in at any point, really, if you are familiar with the episode in question.

This one is a terrific slog through the depths of grief and despair in the wake of Mary’s death, made more painful and eviscerating by the fact that the Mary in this was genuinely likable and the three of them were involved in a loving and happy polyamoric relationship. (We only see one brief and sketchy flashback scene of the three of them in bed together, which is easily skipped if you are only here for the Johnlock.) At the same time, the Culverton Smith plot is revamped to work more authentically, a far cry from the broadcast “go to hell/save John Watson” scenario that viewers were confronted with.

The characters are all treated with respect and depth, with a marvelous ensemble cast involving several secondary characters in meaty and important roles. Harry Watson in particular is a shining star of an OC with a potty mouth and a heart of tarnished gold.

I really encourage anyone who was unhappy with series 4 – and especially the whiplash treatment of Mary’s character and gutting of John and Sherlock’s friendship – to give this series a try. It’s gutsy and bold, drawing on real emotion rather than flash and showmanship, and truly allowing the characters and their stories to touch hearts.
swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Default)
[personal profile] swissmarg
Title: On the Rack
Author: 7PercentSolution, J_Baillier
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 286,966 words
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: None
Verse: BBC
Author's summary: The sequel to The Breaking Wheel, in which Sherlock goes to rehab (of the other sort), starts scraping his life back together, attempts to solve a case, and tries to make sense of what it actually means to be in a relationship.

Reccer's comments: This is the second part of a series, and although I would recommend reading the first part for best understanding (and because it’s an awesome fic), all of the most important points are explained within this installment so it could also be read as a standalone.

This is quite simply an incredible journey into the mind and body of Sherlock Holmes, charting the physical and emotional journey of the aftermath of Sherlock being stricken by Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder of the nervous system. We really get a vivid picture of Sherlock’s frustration and fear over the weeks and months, not just at his physical and mental condition but also at his fledgling romantic relationship with John. To add to the angst-mix, Sherlock is depicted as neurodivergent, bringing a lifetime’s worth of baggage and mishandling that needs to be dealt with before any of the hated “Progress” can be made.

What I really liked is that this fic tackled the problem from several angles, involving athletics, music, chemistry, and a new case. I thought at first that the title referenced a torture rack (which it might also do) but there is also a beautiful metaphor that’s developed through the course of the story which I didn’t pick up on until quite near the end, adding another layer of brilliance to an already masterful piece of writing. Sherlock’s past, especially relating to his brother, is also given a particularly good exploration. With obscure poisons, flashback nightmares, a twice-murdered corpse, drug dealing, and fresh medical drama to twist the knife just a little more.


[identity profile] bowl-of-glow.livejournal.com
Title: The Adventure of the Delirious Detective
Author: Mithen (AO3)
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: 6066 words
Rating: G /Pre-Slash
Verse: BBC Sherlock
Author's summary: Sherlock is back in 221B, but John isn't yet--until he receives a frantic phone call from Mrs. Hudson begging for his help.

Reccer's comments: This fic is based on ACD’s The Adventure of the Dying Detective and was written post Season 2. I like the underlying humour of this piece, and even if Sherlock’s way of trying to earn John’s forgiveness is very… Sherlock, it still feels a bit less manipulative than what happened in canon (it’s what needs to be done to solve a case!) and it’s a less angsty reconciliation than many written before TEH.
Excerpt )
swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Molly)
[personal profile] swissmarg
Title: The Breaking Wheel
Author: J_Baillier
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Length: 93,259 words
Rating: Mature
Warnings: None
Verse: BBC
Author's summary: His immune system is decimating his nervous system - a civil war raging inside of him. Is there a reaction he's supposed to be having to this news, now? Something normal: cry, scream, pound the wall? Shake his fist at the uncaring universe? John can't stop this. An uncomfortable bed at some hospital ward isn't going to stop this. They keep telling him that this will most likely pass, but no one is answering the most important question: how will he be able to endure the uncertainty and the long wait?

Reccer's comments: This is big time Sherlock whump, a brilliant sickfic that locks us inside Sherlock's head with him and his demons as his body slowly deteriorates, leaving him unable to move or speak. The medical realism in this is writ large, full of insider descriptions of medical procedures such as MRI scans, lumbar puncture, mechanical ventilation, and insertion of central lines. Basically, Sherlock is very, very sick. The meat of the story is twofold: John and Sherlock's relationship, and how Sherlock deals with being essentially reduced to nothing but a brain for weeks on end. In other words, it's full of juicy hurt/comfort, realizations, words left unspoken, flashbacks to Sherlock's childhood and various incisive incidents in his past. Oh, and Mycroft, this has a fantastic Mycroft.

I don't want to give away the ending, except to point out that there is no Major Character Death tag, and there is a sequel which will begin posting on December 1. Don't worry though, this ends in a good place. Also, about the rating: it's rated Mature although there is no smut and I actually think it could have gone with a Teen rating but there is some suicidal ideation and references to sex.
[identity profile] theanglophile.livejournal.com
Title: Where is my chair? & Where is my scarf?
Artist: trururu-matthew
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: 2 pages
Rating: G & NC-17
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary:
)))) [<---These are Russian smilies... took me a while to figure them out, lol]

Reccer's comments:
I'm posting a pair of comic strips by the same author this time, since they are both very short. The first, Where is my chair? is an adorably angsty hurt/comfort tale set after TSOT. And Where is my scarf? is naughty, silly, and sweet. The artist is Russian and a translation for the first comic is included in the artist's comments below the image. This guy has a wonderful, and frequently dirty, sense of humour, as well as a very mature and elegant cartooning style. I'm particularly fond of his Sheriarty!

Where is my chair? (G)

Where is my scarf? (NC-17)

(P.S. I just renamed my account so it matches my other screennames. Same person!)
[identity profile] pipmer1.livejournal.com
Title: Everybody Knows
Author: Susan
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: 44488 words
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: As if John and Sherlock don't have enough problems already (that whole Sherlock getting shot by Mary thing), now there's a cold case detective from Canada snooping around asking questions about Moriarty.

Kate took her time, wanting to give him time to get settled. When she returned, John had cleared away the tea and Sherlock was sitting in the leather chair wearing sweat pants and a faded white t-shirt under a blue silk bathrobe.

She didn’t know men still wore silk bathrobes.

Thinner than his pictures, paler too. All cheekbones and unruly dark hair. Blue eyes dulled by the pain meds. Needs to shave. Bare feet. Holds one arm against his chest. Like he’s literally trying to hold himself together. Is he aware that he’s doing that?




Reccer's comments: Apologies for my absence this month, time has gotten away from me! I offer up this story by the same author who gave us the brilliant Skip Code. It takes place during HLV and beyond, mostly during that missing gap between Sherlock being shot and Christmas at the Holmes's. It manages to be a Series 3 fix-it fic while also remaining completely canon compliant. It's a testament to the author's skill that they manage to do this in a believable and satisfying manner.

This story is set apart from other fix-it fics by the inclusion of a fascinating female OC, Kate, a character who has her own relationship issues that she's juggling as she gets caught up in a cold case that somehow has to do with Moriarty. We mostly see the Sherlock and John relationship through her eyes, when she shows up at 221B to interview Sherlock - who is still recovering from the gunshot wound that Mary gave him.

There are so many twists and turns in this story; every time clues seem to point in a certain direction, new evidence pops up that indicates something else entirely. How Moriarty and Mary are linked, if there even is a link... if Mary's baby is John's or someone else's... and Kate has her own personal mystery she's trying to solve at the same time. And through it all, John's love for Sherlock is obvious and yet he's still emotionally tied to the idea of wife/marriage/baby.

A brilliant read!
[identity profile] dioscureantwins.livejournal.com
Title: Please
Author: [livejournal.com profile] thisprettywren
Pairing: none
Length: 1,400 words
Rating: gen
Warnings: none
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary:White, padded walls. Straightjacket. “Please, John.”

Reccer's comments: Sherlock has done… something. Something bad enough for John to have Sherlock locked up in an institution. He visits Sherlock regularly. And every time Sherlock asks John to please forgive him and let him out.

Then one day a dispassionate eye looks through the observation window to tug at your heartstrings and give them a terrible twist.

Please, keep a hanky at the ready when you start reading this. You’ll need it.
[identity profile] dioscureantwins.livejournal.com
Title: Aiding and Abetting
Author: Jolie_Black
Pairing: none
Length: about 41,000 words
Rating: mature
Warnings: violence and realistic depictions of the consequences of drug abuse
Author's summary: When Greg Lestrade meets Sherlock Holmes, the brilliant young detective seems to have left his past as a drug addict far behind. But when one of their cases pitches Sherlock headlong into a relapse, Greg is determined not to lose him – whatever the cost to himself.


Reccer's comments: Remember that scene in TRF when Greg texts John to let them know they’re coming over to 221B? That’s not the done thing for a police officer, isn’t it? But this is Lestrade, who Sherlock considers the best of the lot. And this story shows why Sherlock needs him as much as Lestrade needs Sherlock.

I know of few stories in the fandom that do Lestrade so much justice. He’s shown to be a fallible, weak human being, just like the rest of us really. Committed to his work but at the end of the day all he wants is to relax with a beer and a football match on the telly, followed by a cuddle and perhaps a little extra something with the wife. Sadly, for some reason he can’t even fathom himself, his marriage is failing, and what he ends up with after a long workweek is a strung-out junkie on his doorstep.

Because he’s also decency personified, always willing to give someone a second chance, to look at things from the other’s POV (even if he doesn’t really get it), to allow he might be wrong, and willing to work around the rules if the rules are just plain silly.

All that is touched upon in this beautiful story, which shows why one needs a pair of extraordinary creatures like the Holmes brothers to recognise the exceptional human being Lestrade really is beneath that innocuous exterior and unfortunate raincoat.
[identity profile] pipmer1.livejournal.com
Title: Kill Switch
Author: Todesfuge
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: 87377 words
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence, life-threatening illness, medical trauma, minor character deaths
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and Mycroft Holmes had never been under the illusion that they'd beaten Moriarty at his games, but the uneasy truce that had been struck had become a fairly comfortable place. That is until strange reports start to reach Whitehall, a friend falls ill, and John notices changes in Sherlock that he can't begin to explain.


Reccer's comments: This is actually a sequel to Be Here Now, which I'm assuming most people have already read, but if not you'll probably want to read that one first for context.


This story is full of angst, tension, and action-packed drama that will barely let you catch your breath before another heart-stopping scenario drops into your lap. In other words, much like the prequel. It takes place post-Reichenbach and goes AU after series 2.

Sherlock and John are back in London after a truly harrowing experience going against James Moriarty Senior, a true psychopath with an agenda that goes far beyond revenge for his son's death. At the opening of this story, Moriarty has not yet been neutralized, making our heroes still tense and anxious as they wait for him to make his next move. When he does, in spectacular role reversal it's up to John to do whatever it takes, including sacrifice himself, in order to spare Sherlock a horrifying and painful death.


As it turns out, it's not just *Sherlock's* life that hangs in the balance...
swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Molly)
[personal profile] swissmarg
Title: The Gilded Cage
Author: BeautifulFiction
Pairing: John/Sherlock, Sherlock/OMC
Length: 326,9077 words
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock (BBC)
Author's summary: In a world where Omegas are the property of the elite Alphas, locked away and treasured by those wealthy enough to buy them, John never questioned his flatmate's secondary gender. Sherlock Holmes was an Alpha through-and through. Wasn't he? A chance discovery turns the world on its head, and John is left grappling to come to terms with Sherlock's past as events conspire to threaten their future.

Reccer's comments: This is an epic. Not just because of the length but because of the intricacy and the multiple layers. First and foremost, this is a story about Omegaverse, but a very, very smart Omegaverse. There are many iterations of the Alpha/Beta/Omega alternative biology AU, and this author has taken it in a political direction. The worldbuilding is both sprawling and in-depth, encompassing legislation, the economy, social stratification, mores, education, and medicine, among other aspects. It tackles issues that resound in the real world like human rights, domestic violence, gender roles, contraceptive rights, and self-determination, and all that without ever becoming dry or getting distracted from the plot engine, which is the case.


The case, involving a serial killer, is deliciously complex in its unravelling, with unique and engaging original characters and a constant ramping up of tension. What I liked the best about it was that it’s not just something that was added to make this into a casefic; it is intrinsically linked both to the world which the author has created and to the life and situation of Sherlock and John personally, which means that as the case unfolds we get more insights into how the society works (and doesn’t work) as well as character development and progression in John and Sherlock’s relationship.

And oh boy, what a relationship! The pining and UST is fantastically rendered and at the same time devastating to wait through. Both Sherlock and John come into the story with a ton of emotional, physical, and psychological baggage that they need to sort through as they try to grapple with their undeniable attraction which is, for various reasons, impossible to consummate at first.

Beyond all that, this is just an absolute pleasure to read. The imagery is poetic yet vivid, the language erudite yet accessible. The 300k+ words go down like water, and the only thing stopping me from reading this in one sitting was the occasional need for sleep. It did take me a few days, but that just means more pleasure to be gotten out of it.

There are some passages which may be sensitive for some readers, especially the ones involving domestic violence (not between John and Sherlock) but overall this does one of the best jobs I’ve seen of discussing consent issues in an Omegaverse fic.

Excerpt... )
[identity profile] chapbook.livejournal.com
Title: Winter's Solace
Link to Preview for page 8
Artist:] [livejournal.com profile] pennies_4_eyes
Pairing: Sherlock/John (pairing from the artist--see the link, but what you see to date could also be termed pre-slash)
Length: 7 pages completed
Rating: PG (based on completed pages)
Warnings: none
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: This is page 1 of a BBC Sherlock fandom fancomic I've been doing for months. It goes into print once it's done. (About 16 pages?) I'm on page 6 and 7 right now. Story is planned out though I may extend it a page or two for a nice epilogue.)


Reccer's comments: Alas, this fragment of what would have almost certainly been a spectacular h/c fancomic is long abandoned. The artist has been deleting their fannish material in some locations, so I'd suggest downloading* this unfinished gem for your own private enjoyment.

Not only do I love the composition of the panels (note the wonderful rhythm of the panels on p. 6-7) and the richly-colored character designs (based on S1), I positively adore the IC dialogue. I suspect pennies-4-eyes aka Elfkin either lives/has lived in the UK, for they seem quite familiar with speech patterns and local slang. See especially the conversation between John and Greg over the phone on page six. Dialog-wise I've not seen a better Sherlock fancomic; as for the art, it is also among the very best fancomics created for this fandom.
______________

* = I'm assuming this is OK because that option has been left on the dA pages.
[identity profile] dioscureantwins.livejournal.com
Title: The Oxford Suite also here on AO3
Author: [livejournal.com profile] stardust_made
Pairings: Sherlock/Mycroft
Length: approx. 10,200 words
Rating: explicit
Warnings:none
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author’s summary: Mycroft remembers the last time he and Sherlock were together. Set a few months after Sherlock's start at Oxford university.

Reccer’s comments: This series turned me into a dedicated Holmescest lover. The essence of the genre is all there; Mycroft’s sense of guilt with regard to their innocent parents, the sense of awareness of and disregard of the social taboo, the need for secrecy. Then there’s the careful manipulation of the brother who thinks he’s the one doing the manipulating. The thrill of the chase, over and over again. The mutual trust and understanding. Their realisation that they’re unique and this is who they are. Sherlock has already understood this a long time ago, and steadily works at undermining Mycroft’s heroic attempts at resistance. Poor Mycroft, there’s so much at stake for him – a career, a life – but much like any great hero his fate is chiselled in stone with capitals and all the gods are working against him. This, after all, is what Holmescest is about. Really, it’s so much more than the Holmes brothers having sex. If that was all there was to it, it would be boring. There is sex in these stories as well, gushingly hot sex in fact, but at the same time it’s so heartfelt and tender it makes something catch in your breast while reading.

All that, and in [livejournal.com profile] stardust_made’s achingly beautiful language to boot. What more could one possibly want from a story.

Note: the LJ-link connects you to the first story of the series.
swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Molly)
[personal profile] swissmarg
Title: Four Corners of the Western World
Author: faviconpennypaperbrain
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Length: 100,480 words
Rating: Mature to Explicit
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: None provided for the series. Summary for part 2: Four months after his best friend and unrequited crush apparently committed suicide in front of him, John’s life has been turned upside down again by a voicemail from Sherlock in the US, saying he is covertly tracking down the remains of Moriarty’s network, and asking John to join him. Two days on, John is on his way to meet Sherlock in Malta. Everything seems to have changed between them: not only is Sherlock being overtly affectionate in his texts, but he quite explicitly wants sex. But there’s just one problem (apart from the small matter of the international assassins etc): Sherlock’s behaviour is getting steadily stranger, even by his standards. John starts to worry his friend may be on drugs again…

Reccer's comments: This is a raw, intimate look at bipolar disorder (manic depression) in the context of the aftermath of The Reichenbach Fall. The insights to Sherlock's thought processes and states of mind as he see-saws between highs and lows are in turns fascinating, exhilarating, and devastating.

Excerpt from part 1... )

When Sherlock realizes he needs John's help - both to complete his quest and to get a handle on what is happening to his brain - we get to see the other side of the picture, with John struggling to deal with everything Sherlock is throwing at him. Not only his illness and the mortal danger they find themselves in, but the new aspect of a sexual relationship - and one shaped by BDSM practices at that.

The series is a whirlwind of sex, danger, murder, mistakes, and through it all, unwavering love and devotion. One of my favorites.
swissmarg: Mrs Hudson (Molly)
[personal profile] swissmarg
Title: Raison d'être
Author: faviconAmphigoricSymphony
Pairing: John/Mary, John/Sherlock
Length: 148,681 words
Rating: Mature
Warnings: None
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: The missing months of His Last Vow, starting from Sherlock dropping in John's arms at 221B and carrying through the months of Hospital he endured. This is a study in emotional and physical trauma, striving to stick as close to the cannon plot as possible. At Christmas Dinner, Mycroft asks why they are even celebrating. His mother's answer, 'Sherlock is home from hospital,' leads us to believe Sherlock was in hospital the majority of the time frame of his fall from shock at Baker Street, to nearly Christmas itself. We have no explanation for what John was doing all that time, so this is an effort to fill the gap. Enjoy!

Reccer's comments: This is basically nearly 150K of angst-ridden, heavy-on-the-hurt sickfic. It picks up when Sherlock collapses following the meeting in 221B where he agrees to take Mary's case and leads into a grinding, never-ending series of complications, each one worse than the last. I honestly had no idea so many things could potentially go wrong with the human body (and mind). John isn't spared either, as he pushes himself far beyond his physical and mental limits in an effort to be there for Sherlock at the same time as his entire life has plunged off the deep end. If that kind of unhappiness, suffering, and graphic medical interventions gets your motor running (like it does mine), off you go, have fun. :)

But that's actually not the reason why I'm reccing this, because this goes way beyond being just a sickfic. The first distinguishing feature is all about Mary. This is the first fic I've read dealing with those missing months between when Sherlock gets shot and John's reunion with Mary at Christmas that actually got my head wrapped around how John could possibly consider forgiving - and reconciling with - Mary. We see John's genuine distress over what she's done crash head-on with his heart, which can't let go of her. Love is irrational, we learn, but that doesn't mean it should be dismissed. And at the same time, just because two people love each other doesn't mean they will have a happy ending, no matter how much they want or even deserve it.

Excerpt... )

The second reason why this fic gets a special mention from me is the fantastically complex dynamic that is created between John and Sherlock. They are deeply in love with each other - and admit as much - but there isn't anything overtly sexual between them, even though they do become physically quite close and share a bed. (This might fall under the heading of infidelity, even though Mary doesn't seem bothered by it, in case that's something you'd rather not read.) They soon fall into - or perhaps were already in - a codependence that is somehow both comforting and troubling. They need each other to get better, but their fears, anxieties, and even physical well-being feed off each other, paradoxically making them both sicker the longer they are together. The depiction of their deterioration is really brilliantly done, as we see it from both inside (we are privy to both of their headspaces) and out (the reactions of their friends and physicians).

And the final reason I couldn't put this down is the subplot of what is going on with Mycroft, Magnussen... and possibly Moriarty. We don't get much more than a few teases, but it's clear that the authors have something deep and dastardly planned, including a very piquant hint at a past love interest of Mycroft's.

The ending of the fic is thus more of a pause, with a sequel underway. It ends in a good place, though, with both John and Sherlock more or less physically intact and in control of all their faculties, and a hopeful resolution to the personal matters that have been plaguing John.
[identity profile] dioscureantwins.livejournal.com
Title: The Mystery of Ill Opinions
Author: [livejournal.com profile] mundungus42
Pairing: Sherlock/John , Greg/Mycroft
Length: about 29,000 words
Rating: mature
Warnings:none
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Two Elizabethan actors dream of leaving women's roles behind, and Master Sherlock Holmes agrees to help them find them a playwright to write them roles to rival Marlowe's Tamburlaine. But strange things are afoot in the Holmes household, and Sherlock and John must accomplish this feat while discovering who wants to kill Sherlock and why.

Reccer's comments: Dear Reader, hurry to behold,
the wondrous tale that here is told,
of a ship’s surgeon who found new employ,
in looking after an intemperate boy.
And thus became a star struck lover,
and helped a most foul deed uncover.
Shakespeare, (Blackadder) and Sherlock BBC,
all thrown together to enthrall thee,
In a story of romance and heroes and death,
though the ending is happy, they all end up in bed. (sincere apologies for that last one but hell, I'm no Shakespeare and no [livejournal.com profile] mundungus42 either. Unfortunately).
[identity profile] dioscureantwins.livejournal.com
Title:The Frost is all Over
Author: Chryse
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: about 148,500 words
Rating: explicit
Warnings:implied/referenced child abuse, implied/referenced rape/non-con, period-typical homophobia, major illness, OC/minor character death
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: John was brave and clever and loyal, a commoner who longed for an exciting life. Sherlock was dashing and brilliant and passionate, an Earl’s son who longed to solve crimes. Being a Tale of Glorious Adventures, Love Letters, Treachery, Longing, Secret Identities, Deathbed Confessions, First Kisses, Daring Escapes, and True Love.

Reccer's comments: So, one day I chanced upon this fic and downloaded it to my e-reader. Then I sat down and started reading and the world around me ceased to exist until I reached the end, which, unfortunately, came all too soon.
Sadly, I don’t occupy a minor position in the British government or else I would decree this fic to be entered into the curriculum of any aspiring Sherlock BBC fanfic reader. For take almost all the characters of the series, add a few pounds of Dickens, some pints of Wilkie Collins, a heavy dollop of the Bronte sisters, a tablespoon of Austen, and a pinch of ACD storylines, stir the whole concoction according to the instructions of Charles Palliser and Sarah Waters and you’ll end up with this great shaggy beast of a wonderfully precocious fic that combines massive scope with minute detail and serves it all up in a plot so thick the spoon stands up in it.
The story is set in the Victorian era and the period is both lovingly and convincingly drawn in beautiful, luxurious language reminiscent of the nineteenth century. We’re taken on a tour of Victorian society, from the hovels of the poor through the lush and unspoiled countryside around Sherrinford Hall, home of the Earl of Sherrinford and his children Mycroft and Sherlock, to the stables, where John, the new groom serves under the loving eye of Mr and Mrs Gregson, and on to the servant’s quarters to the grand chambers of the Hall itself.
Told from John’s POV Sherlock and he are but children when they first meet. John’s career as a jockey was nipped in the bud by an accident and he’s been sent by his former employer to Sherrinford Hall. There he strikes up a fast friendship with the youngest son of the Earl, the quick-witted and sharp-tempered Sherlock, against whose temperament he has been warned.
All seems well with the world while John and Sherlock enjoy their summer of friendship. But of course all good things must come to an end. The scene is laid for an elaboration of their friendship through correspondence until the next summer, the last before Sherlock will have to go to Eton.
At that moment the first angst starts to seep into the fic. Sherlock doesn’t write and John fears for their friendship, and worse, until Sherlock shows up unexpectedly one stormy night and John gets his first inkling the world outside even for an Earl’s son the world outside Sherrinford Hall might be a bit more fraught with peril than he had assumed.
Then the shocking developments start happening so fast and so relentlessly, their whole world torn asunder while they’re confronted with every atrocity mankind ever invented that the reader is left hanging in the ropes like an exhausted boxer, and yet thirsting for more. Truly, the phrase ‘unputdownable’ must have been coined with this fic in mind.
As we follow Sherlock and John on their journey we meet hundreds of characters. The characters from the series are of course designed to various positions in life in a totally different setting and yet they remain IC throughout, no mean feat. All of the OC’s, and we meet lots and lots of those, are well-rounded and lovingly drawn. As this is a Victorian novel there is a lot of sickness and death and outrageous treatment of innocents and the reader becomes invested in what happens to the OC’s almost as much as what happens to John and Sherlock and Mycroft and Irene and Mike Stamford and Molly and Angelo and… need I go on?
Honestly, I could go on and on and on about this fic, but in the end, to quote a certain consulting criminal, “I would try to convince you but… everything I have to say has already crossed your mind!”
For I do hope to have convinced you to go and read this right now. You truly won’t regret it that you did.
[identity profile] chapbook.livejournal.com
Title: Sketchy
Author: serpentynka
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Length: 186,281
Rating: E
Warnings: none
Verse: Sherlock BBC

Author's summary: Sherlock takes on an obvious case (barely a 4) and is forced to re-examine what it means to see and observe.

Reccer's comments: Serpentynka is new to fanfiction, but I was blown away by their magnum opus, Sketchy. Blown away as in they have written what will doubtless be on my list of best Sherlock fics of 2014. I was first drawn in by the masterful Sherlock POV, then charmed by the main OC, Alex Nussbaum, an artist who reluctantly agrees to tutor Sherlock in drawing (some of Sherlock's art is scattered about the text). Initial distrust eventually grows into a warm, honest friendship:

Long non-spoilery excerpt... )

The rich depiction of places (primarily Norfolk, London, and Vienna) and an organic sense of structure brings additional depth to the world of this story. What kept me enthralled, however, what made me feel 100,000+ words were not enough, was the slowly evolving relationship of Sherlock and John, underlined by rapid POV switches and a dynamic approach to combining narrative, dialogue, and interior thoughts:

Another non-spoilery excerpt... )

The reader is treated not to just the movement from friends to lovers, but a detailed evolution of their romantic and sexual relationship in the months that follow the admissions of love and attraction. We experience the external and internal obstacles that challenge Sherlock and John, realizing before the end how much that relationship has deepened, despite their own considerable flaws and Mycroft's well-meant but heavy-handed "tests".

Add to all this erotic storytelling, initiated by John and later attempted by Sherlock. John's steamy fantasies are realistic enough to be re-imagined in the "real world" (as some are!), whereas Sherlock's are more overtly biographical and can be hot or intensely moving (sometimes both).

One of John's stories... )

If you love reading about the visual arts and the skill of craftspeople, this is a work for you. If you adore sophisticated, sensual fiction that repays multiple readings, if you enjoy memorable OCs, and treasure IC romance between two flawed characters who struggle (and sometimes fail) to communicate, this is the work for you.


----

Note: this is set in an imagined S5, but was begun before S3 aired, so no S3 characters or spoilers are included. See comment below for additional information.
[identity profile] rachelindeed.livejournal.com
Title: Intimations
Author: nlr alicia
Pairing: Lestrade is the main character, the pairing is Holmes/Watson
Length: 10,500 words
Rating: it's unrated, but I would call it Teen/PG-13
Warnings: none
Verse: ACD
Author's summary: The first in a series of stories exploring the friendships between Holmes, Watson, Lestrade and the Lestrade family. All of the Lestrade Chronicles are based on documents entrusted to the care of Samuel Lestrade by various first-hand sources.

Reccer's comments: It's been a long time since this classic author has been recc'd, it looks like, and I think this is my personal favorite of their stories. It's a beautifully rendered Lestrade POV, and we see the ups and downs of Holmes and Watson's relationship through Lestrade's diary entries and family letters. Often it is clear that Lestrade does not understand what he is seeing, although his understanding grows over time. We are free to make the backstory fit our own preferred imaginings -- in that way it is a remarkably open story that really invites our creativity and lets us fill in the blanks of the stormy Reichenbach era as we choose. I appreciate that.

The story is really about Lestrade's friendship for John, and how through that friendship he begins to accept the truth about John's heart and where it lies. It's also the story of how he comes to know Holmes for who he truly is.

Although Lestrade is the only narrator, the story contains numerous narrative voices: Lestrade's own voice changes between his letters (a more public forum) and his diaries (more private thoughts), but we also can piece together the voice of offstage characters, like his sister, by watching the way that Lestrade responds to her. Eventually Holmes, who has been silent through most of the story, speaks through Lestrade's pages in a stunning moment of revelation. This author has always excelled in the voice they create for Holmes, and this story does not disappoint in that regard.

As you can see in the author's summary, this was intended to be the first in a series. In fact it does have one sequel, which is also delightful (though it does not involve Lestrade at all), and if you like this story, I recommend reading its Holmes & Watson centric companion piece, The Taste of Love.

Some readers may want to know that the story does contain description of violent injury. Also, this is just to note that this story and its sequel are finished works (several of the author's other works are abandoned).

A wonderful work from a wonderful author.
[identity profile] dioscureantwins.livejournal.com
Title: Lost for words, also here at at AO3
Author: [livejournal.com profile] awanderingbard
Pairing: none
Length: 57,000 words
Rating: M
Warnings: This story features a character who has lost the ability to speak and move without difficulty. Some people might find this upsetting. There is also some discussion of withdrawal of life support and DNR orders in the first few chapters, but no instances of either.
Verse: Sherlock BBC
Author's summary: Sherlock is assaulted by an unknown assailant while John is away at a medical conference, leaving him with a severe brain injury. While his intellect and personality are intact, he's lost the use of his right-side limbs and his ability to speak freely. John suddenly finds himself as the main source of support, and possibly a caregiver, to a flatmate who is struggling to do the things he loves most. And Sherlock Holmes has never been the best of patients.

Reccer's comments: The author’s summary sums up the content of the fic pretty well.

The idea of taking Sherlock’s words from him is incredibly cruel. To read such a story would be pretty upsetting and this tale could easily have dissolve into an angst fest. The author is certainly walking the line, especially in the first few chapters, but she manages to handle the potentially very disturbing material beautifully well. Instead of angst we get a warm story of the marvellous friendship between Sherlock and John and great scenes with all the loving supportive people surrounding them. The author doesn’t spare her characters, nor the reader, but every scene and interaction between the characters is totally believable and the story reads as if it could have been an episode in the series.

We also get a truly great Mummy Holmes, who struck me as a far more probable mother of the Holmes brothers than the one we have been given in S3.

Add to that some wonderful dialogue and lovely OC’s, and to top it all off a case that is of course solved by the world’s only consulting detective. Because he is too smart for words, really!
[identity profile] chapbook.livejournal.com
Title: The Mystery of Ill Opinions
Author: mundungus42
Pairing: Sherlock/John, Mycroft/Lestrade (background)
Length: 29,044
Rating: M
Warnings: none
Verse: Sherlock BBC, Hollow Crown RPF
Author's summary: Two Elizabethan actors dream of leaving women's roles behind, and Master Sherlock Holmes agrees to help them find them a playwright to write them roles to rival Marlowe's Tamburlaine. But strange things are afoot in the Holmes household, and Sherlock and John must accomplish this feat while discovering who wants to kill Sherlock and why.

Reccer's comments: Fans of Elizabethan drama and Shakespeare, rejoice! For here you shall find a most delightful concoction, one to rival the plays presented in the Curtain and the Rose. [livejournal.com profile] mundungus42 creates a tour de force: mixing the history and drama of Elizabethan England and skillfully bringing into it many of the characters we love so well. The dialogue is intelligible to 21st-century readers and shines with wit throughout (keep your eye out for many references to Shakespeare's plays). Sherlock, John, Shakespeare, and Sally especially stand out for me, not least because of the terrific banter that sparks between them.

The settings and the culture of the period are treated with equal care. I clearly felt that this was a world with rather different values and beliefs than our own; yet it was not so foreign that the motivations and emotions of the main characters were obscured. If you enjoy AUs, history, or the theatre, I strongly suspect you will be satisfied by the richness of the repast spread before you.

Excerpt: John followed Master Sherlock up a creaky wooden staircase to a store-room, which held all manner of props and pieces of scenery. To John's surprise, the gatherer who had given him a free ticket had positioned himself in the store-room beside the heavy curtain that separated the store-room from the theatre.

“Master Sherlock!” he exclaimed, giving an exaggerated bow. “How delightful to see you again for the Lyly! Pray, was it Mister Burbage's Phao that enticed you to our Great O once more, or perhaps Mister Kempe as Cupid?”

“Neither,” said Master Sherlock shortly.

“Oh?” asked the gatherer, with badly feigned innocence. “Was it perhaps Mister Hoddleston as Venus or Mister Wishart as Sapho?”

John managed to turn a guffaw into a cough, but Master Sherlock stiffened.

“If you really wish to make a career of acting in order to support your wife and children and pay the debt you owe for your house in Stratford,” he said coldly, “you would do well not to practice your base humour on your betters, particularly those who patronise your troupe. And if you cannot control your idle tongue, perhaps you should return to the glove making trade your father tried to knock into your thick skull.”

If Master Sherlock's verbal assault struck anywhere near the truth, the gatherer made no sign of it as he bowed. “Base humour is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. Shall I send up an orange seller for your amusement?” he asked John.

John glanced at Sherlock's pursed lips and shook his head. “We would prefer to be left alone.”

The gatherer eyed John with new interest. “Oh, would we?”

“Hang you, you brazen-faced churl!” exclaimed Master Sherlock as he swept past the impertinent fellow.

The gatherer met John's eye challengingly. He had intelligent hazel eyes and sported a pointed beard that reminded John of Lord Holmes's, but John was in no mood for games. He seized the gatherer by the doublet and slammed him against the store-room's wall.

“You've had your fun,” said John in a low voice. “But it's over now. If I see you so much as raise an eyebrow in my master's direction, by God's bones, you're going to find it difficult to speak your lines through a broken jaw. Am I understood?”

“You're made of sterner stuff than his last minder,” he said approvingly. “Let us all hope that your fortitude will last the next three hours.”

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