Letters for an unnamed soldier (Texts from John and Sherlock)
Here’s a very rough draft of the first letter that Sherlock wrote to “the soldier” while in rehab in 2005. He wrote many letters to the soldier and never sent any of them. He kept all of them, though, as a chronicle of his recovery and a reminder that he’s strong enough to save himself.
My name is Sherlock Holmes, but that’s not important. I realise that means I’ve lied to you, but that’s not important either. The important thing is that I’m writing this letter to you, even though I don’t know why. I also don’t know who you are. Correction: I can’t remember who you are. (It’s incredible how many brain cells you can destroy with one bad trip.) Similarly I can’t remember the last time I did this letter writing thing with actual pen and paper. We’re not given all that much time on the computers here, so this will have to do. Then again, these words will never find you regardless of the medium I’m using. It’s a bit pointless, isn’t it? A self-indulgent lark. The same can be said for breathing…
“Hey, man, we’re sorry,” says the blonde one, the de facto leader of the group. He’s tall, strong, conventionally handsome, no older than 25, and wearing an ascot that must have been a gift from an older female. (Mother? Sister? Then again, it could be his girlfriend over there…) ”If we’d known about someone else investigating this place, we would’ve cut out a lot sooner.”
Sherlock just shrugs one shoulder—and suppresses a wince because it still hurts. ”I haven’t any interest in collaboration, but you weren’t completely underfoot.”
”What Sherlock means to say,” John adds (unhelpfully), “is that you saved our lives and we thank you for it.” He shoots a warm, relieved smile at Sherlock, which Sherlock has to appreciate a little bit. Just a little.
The blonde one laughs out loud, still shaky from the adrenaline rush of the past hour. Between giggles, he admits, “I wasn’t much of a help at all. You’d have to thank him for getting us out of that sticky situation.” He gestures with his thumb (a lifetime of playing American football, it looks like) at the group of twenty-somethings giving testimonies to Lestrade.
”Him” refers to the proud-looking Great Dane (purebreed) that’s busy sniffing around Lestrade’s feet. Against all odds, despite displaying abject cowardice earlier in the evening, that dog single-handedly prevented a deranged bootlegger from killing everyone. In retrospect, the entire sequence of events leading up to now almost seems cartoonish in its improbability. Sherlock still isn’t sure what happened actually did happen. Maybe John was right about that concussion.
”He’s saved our butts more times than I can count,” the blonde one is saying. ”We’re way used to it by now, trust me.”
Also, if Sherlock does have full case notes in Sherlock: The Casebook, someone please tell me if they at all resemble the case notes on his website. Particularly the terse nature of them.
I’m already committed to a certain style in Texts, but it’d be good to know. This week is going to kill me.
For the love of god, someone with Sherlock: The Casebook tell me what John says about Tumblr.
I don’t get my copy for another week.
This is absolutely imperative.
I'm just a little confused - is this a roleplay?–Anonymous
Texts from John and Sherlock is a roleplay ask blog with occasional prose interludes, but it might as well be “interactive fanfiction.” The story can change at a moment’s notice depending on the questions we receive. (For example, Victor wasn’t even going to be included in the main story until someone submitted an ask as him.)
I write Sherlock, Lestrade, and Moriarty (usually), while Chelsea writes pretty much everyone else. The story takes place during BBC Sherlock series 2; right now, we’re at the latter part of Scandal. Texts should be considered auxiliary canon, filling in the gaps and yet telling its own story.
Does that help?
Complementary [contest entry]
Note: All right, despite my mortification, I’m going to post the finished story I wrote for the Sherlockology contest. It’s definitely—not what they were going for. Haha. It’s a modern semi-retelling of The Adventure of the Gloria Scott, which means Victor Trevor is involved. (It’s not exactly Texts canon, but close enough?)
Chelsea suggested people might want to read it, so here it is. Warnings include blood.
It’s said our lives are defined by the choices we make.
Just to say I think Chelsea has perfected the 'voice' of John, especially in the latest blog post. I sent in the 'William' ask not thinking anything of it and was so surprised and pleased when it was used, I loved the way it was handled. And sorry for it being so sad but I'm sure as Texts looms closer to TRF it will be the saddest thing ever- honestly, it's as if I'm watching the BBC show from a slightly different view whenever I read Texts. So, yeah, thanks so much!–Anonymous
Thank you for sending in that ask, anon! It was an amazing, heartbreaking segue into the latest stuff. Generally speaking, we try to use everything we get unless it’s just too redundant. (So, yeah, we could sit on asks for months to use in upcoming plot.)
Chelsea will be glad to hear that about John. I agree, she’s incredible. And I’m very lucky that I get to play Sherlock with her. This has been an unforgettable experience. I’m grateful for the compliments in general.
There’s way more ground to cover before the very end—hopefully, it won’t all be horrifyingly sad. TRF itself has a lot going on over multiple months. I hope you’ll stick with us.
Okay, so, obviously I didn’t win that Sherlock writing competition. However, I think I learned a lot about myself and my writing throughout the whole ordeal. —I applied some of that knowledge to Elsewhere #3, which ended up well-received. I think.
Ultimately, I’d like to thank everyone who helped out by critiquing my entry and/or just plain encouraging me to submit it. You’re all very flattering. And thank you (all 3,250 of you??) for following Texts in the first place, for that matter. I can’t say it enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Fanfiction inspired by Texts (or based on Texts) makes me feel immensely flattered! If anyone writes anything, I’d love to see it. I just stumbled across this one by accident.
first anon from earlier again.. one more thing: the fact that sherlock considers john's room the safest place to be in his mind palace left me totally, utterly heartbroken.. in a good way. i may be repeating myself but since you said it was nerve-wracking to write: for me, everything about this whole sequence is fucking perfect. every single word. and i wonder if irene will come to inhabit a room in his mind palace too and what kind of purpose it will serve/ when he would go and visit her there.–Anonymous
Thank you so much, anon. It really means a lot to me. Also, you don’t need to wonder about where Irene might be. Albeit not directly, it has already been answered in Texts: Irene is in 221C of Sherlock’s mind palace. She represents his darker desires for being in control, being right, being adored—not quite sexual or romantic, but not quite platonic either. A twilight area.
And Sherlock sort of realizes in that wonderful and very painful Christmas scene that his indifference isn’t producing the results that he wants. Detachment may not always be as strategic as it was for him before.
It’s the beginning of a three-episode process, as you’ll discover, where Sherlock grows up a bit, becomes more of a man, stops being the genius child…he was completely blind, he was completely blindsided by who that present was for, he realizes [Molly] cares for him. He realizes she’s really hurting. And he realizes, possibly for the first time in his life, that he doesn’t like what he just did. He thinks ‘I’ve got to fix that.’ He’s been cruel before, but it’s always been sort of accidental, or it’s been minor. And he thinks ‘I’ve got to fix that. That’s not good enough. I can do better than that. And I do care that I’ve just hurt her.’ What Mark and I always say is our Sherlock is twenty years from being Basil Rathbone. And our Sherlock is twenty years younger than Basil Rathbone. The accomplished version would never be that cruel, would never be that silly. Probably isn’t a virgin. I can’t imagine that man as a virgin. Something happened, somewhere. I think Sherlock would have to, somewhere. He’s a man with a past… You see more of this in Baskerville, where he encounters fear, and doubt, and loss in Reichenbach Falls. These are the fires in which the great hero is forged. He’s not the Sherlock Holmes we know and love yet.
—Steven Moffat [x]
Emphasis mine. That is a really curious, jarring transition, regardless of how you interpret it. The entire interview is worth the read, though. He actually says Irene has had relationships with other men.
"For me, Sherlock’s not gay. He’s not straight, necessarily. He has a sexual appetite, but it’s entirely swallowed by his work. He doesn’t have time for it."
—Benedict Cumberbatch [x]
HOW DO I HOLD ALL OF THESE INTERVIEWS?
My favorite parts:
Another relationship the second season devotes a lot of time to is that between you and Irene Adler. Is theirs a romantic one?
No, it’s never going to be romance with him. They play with each other like predators. It’s pretty sick; they’re both damaged people. There’s no sentiment. But what is painfully romantic — like in all the best love stories — is what’s left unspoken. Is there a sexual element to it? Without a doubt there is. But as you’ll see it’s a game of chess, and it’s a very cruel, cruel game of love, if it is love.
Given that she wasn’t around in the first season, how did you wrap your head around Sherlock’s non-existent sex drive?
Well, I see no reason at all why he shouldn’t be sexual. Everyone recruited him to their perspective, their interpretation. I’ve had asexuals come up to me and thank me for representing asexuals. I don’t know how that came about. I mean, the man’s too busy to have sex. That’s really what is it. Not every man has a sex drive that needs to be attended to. Like a lot of things in his life where he’s purposely dehumanized himself, it’s do to with not wanting the stuff that is time wasting, that’s messy. That goes for certain relationships, as well as sexual intimacy.
He’s the ultimate outsider hero. He’s a very difficult, odd entity. To the Victorian eye he’s an eccentric, but I think he has purposely repressed those things. So in my mind the idea (as it is in the original book), it seems born out of how he views women and humanity in general.
As a child, I think he basically really did put all that stuff aside. In this series, it’s about him coming to terms with the fact that he can do a better job if he has a little bit of morality, feeling and emotion; to be able to play with those things without necessarily being taken over by them. I just think that enriches the character.
Emphasis all mine. I really enjoy this interview.
Just wondering if Sherlock's reaction to his mother's death will ever be explored in Texts? Thanks!–Anonymous
Ideally, yes. I’d love to go back and write about Violet’s death and what that did to Sherlock and Mycroft. There’s a lot of unsaid, nebulous story for what happened before, during, and after. Some of the “after” should come up anyway.
But I’m in a bit of a pickle, anon. I don’t know if she’s actually dead, or just extremely estranged from her sons. I elaborated on that over here.
Then again, my Sherlock does act as if she’s dead, so maybe I’ll commit to that plot point and explore. It really destroyed him.
I think I’m both.
Amused. And I kind of hope it does. Please erase the current supplemental canon entirely…
For all that Joe Lidster fucked up, he also wrote some pretty amazing stuff. I’ve got to give him props for that. I mean, Texts wouldn’t have happened in the first place without his supplemental canon. I’m kind of leaning towards “this is going to be depressing,” honestly. I anticipate the Casebook destroying Lidster’s canon, and then trying to explain other plot holes, such as how Sherlock rescued Irene.
Then again, seeing Sherlockology’s Easter case file, which is based on Lidster’s incorrect timeline, made me rage all over again. Oh well.
I’ve put a ridiculous amount of time and effort into my own creation. Definitely a labor of love, done for no other reason than personal satisfaction. Even if/when Texts gets invalidated further by new supplemental canon, I’ll be proud of that.