[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Rose Mary
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 221b
Characters/Pairings: Mary Watson, John Watson, Sherlock Holmes
Rating: G

Warning: None
Summary: That’s for remembrance.
Author's Notes: For the May 2017 Holmes Minor Monthly Prompt, “Flowers.” A vignette in my Oubliette series.


Story below the cut. )
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Rebooked
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 221b
Characters/Pairings: Dr. Watson, OMC
Rating: G

Warning: None
Summary: Everything has a season – and everyone is Sherlock Holmes in his own specialty.
Author's Notes: For the April 2017 Holmes Minor Monthly Prompt, “Renewal.”

***
Story below the cut. )
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: The Fool on the Other End
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 361
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Inspector Lestrade
Rating: G

Warning: None
Summary: True friends make a time of temptation easier on a fellow.
Author's Notes: For the March 2017 Holmes Minor Monthly Prompt, “Temptations.” The title comes from a droll description of a cigarette from the 1800s: “A fire on one end and a fool on the other.”

***

Lent may be good for the soul but craving what you can’t have plays the devil with my body.

It’s the same every year: Shrove Tuesday is my last tobacco till Easter. Not a pipestem, cigar-end nor cigarette touches my lips during those weeks – and not a pinch of snuff goes near my nose either.

Helen says the not-smoking makes my kisses sweeter. She’s certainly happy to prove it during that time. But I hate to say that the craving overcomes even that nice little extra.

Makes it hard for me to look down on cokies and opium-smokers – not when I lie awake at night keeping myself from sneaking out of bed to light one up, not when my hands twitch around the pipes and cigarettes puffing all around me at the station and the streets.

To my own surprise, I’ve found that 221b Baker Street is my haven at such times, and I’ve learned to head there like a scalded cat at the first sign of a curious crime.

Oh, Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson love their pipes and cigars as much as any red-blooded man in London does. But Mr. Holmes is that perceptive, you see. He knows me secret. I give him a call that I’m coming over in a half-hour with a juicy tidbit for him.  I don’t know how he does it – his chemistry set must factor in somehow – but when I arrive I can’t see nor smell a whiff of baccy anywhere. But there they both are, offering me one of the landlady’s scones and a cup of tea that washes out the taste of the Scotland Yard swill if it’s daytime, and some very good brandy if it’s a bit later in the day. And neither of ‘em touch a cigar nor pipe themselves while I’m there, which is something only a real friend does. Temptation removed makes it a sight easier.

And the first time I come ‘round their way after Easter, they don’t let me cross the threshold into the parlour before offering me one of their best cigars.

I’m still tempted every year this time. But it’s become a sight easier.
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: And Worketh Willingly With Her Hands
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 221b
Characters/Pairings:
Rating: G

Warning: None
Summary: No one pulls the wool over Holmes’ eyes.
Author's Notes: For the February 2017 Holmes Minor Monthly Prompt, “card.”


Hiding a gem in a goose was a foolhardy move, and the mark of a desperate man. So also was the frantic embedding of a priceless pearl in a wet plaster bust. So the loss of a wool-broker’s wedding ring was no great leap to deduce.

“It’s in here,” Holmes said, looking around the shed at the bales of raw wool that surrounded us. “The solution is not quick, but it is absurdly simple.”

So at Holmes’ instruction the bereaved woman hired a score of wool-carders and set them to work, paying them in wages the sum she’d first tearfully offered to my friend. Back and forth they worked, taking lumps of the white and grey and black fleece and scraping them between the multi-toothed paddles, combing them straight and freeing them from small stones and lumps of dirt and bits of twig and bark. For nine hours a day they worked, carding fleece.

On the third day one of the girls shouted in triumph, tossed down her card, and held up a glint of gold. The case was solved.

Holmes took no money for such an elementary solution.  But the woolen muffler the client sent him – all in bands of white and shades of grey that complimented his eyes – kept Holmes’ neck well-wrapped for many winters, and looked very becoming.
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Resolute
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 438
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes & John Watson
Rating: G
Warnings/Content:  None.
Summary: The word has several meanings.
Author’s Notes: For the Holmes Minor January 2017 prompt: Resolution. An expansion of a paragraph in this December 2016 offering.

Story below the cut. )
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Living in the Present    
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 400
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson (or Sherlock Holmes & John Watson)
Rating: G
Warnings/Content: None
Summary: Their true gifts to each other cannot be wrapped.
Author’s Notes: For the Holmes Minor December 2016 prompt: Gift

Unwrap the story here. )
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Oh for Fawkes Sake!  
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 500
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Rating: G
Warnings/Content: None
Summary: Those who ignore history…
Author’s Notes: For the Holmes Minor November 2016 prompt: Fireworks


Please to remember... )
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Alcazar
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 500
Characters/Pairings: John/Mary Watson
Rating: PG (language, violence)
Warnings/Content: Portrays aftermath of domestic abuse. Language.
Summary: A lighthouse with spirit becomes a fortress.
Author’s Notes: For the Holmes Minor October prompt: Spirit!

Story below the cut. )
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Seven Years’ Hard Labour
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 221b
Characters/Pairings: Mycroft Holmes, Violet Holmes, Siger Holmes
Rating: G
Warnings/Content: Death ahead.
Summary: Victorian women only wished they had the rights given to prison convicts.
Author’s Notes: For the Holmes Minor September prompt: Seven.

***

He wanted a normal son – not the one he’d gotten.

Even as an infant the boy looked at everything, eyes open, and spoke before he could walk. His favourite word, “Why?” soon drove Siger into impotent rage. The prodigy he had sired and I had borne frightened him and when he was frightened he beat all of us. (Even then, through my lad’s tears of pain, would come another “Why?” – this one, to ask a reason for his father’s cruelty.)

Another child, an ordinary one, please God, to still his hand and his words.

It was not to be. I miscarried nearly a dozen times.

“No baby, Mummy,” my boy would say – not to state the obvious but to beg me to stop. I could feel myself wearing away with every involuntary abortion.

I was fated to be wed till death to a brute. But if only I could stop his brutality against his own child I would bear it all with serenity.

This one. This one feels the way the first one did – strong, thriving, enduring. If this one takes every bit of my will and life force to bring to term, so be it.

Such an ordinary-looking baby. A sweet final sight – better than the tear-filled eyes of little Mycroft beholding his new brother and his mother’s last breath.
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Restorative
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 121
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Rating: G
Warnings/Content: None.
Summary: There’s a reason for the old English saying “A change is as good as a rest.” Takes place during the ACD Canon story "The Adventure of the Reigate Squires."
Author’s Notes: For the Holmes Minor August 2016 prompt: Relaxation.


When I saw my poor friend a prostate husk in the Hotel Dulong, I resolved to see that he was made well again by the healthful properties that would be found near Reigate in Surrey. After the long hard hours of work over months to defeat the Baron Maupertuis, Holmes needed a complete rest-cure.

As it turned out, I had chosen wisely in accepting my old patient Colonel Hayter’s hospitality. The splendid country air, birdsong and lush green fields did nothing to ease my friend from his depression and exhaustion – but the bizarre robbery, murder and petty family squabble that had turned deadly stimulated Holmes’ brain with the pleasure of another puzzle to solve and restored the sparkle to his eye.
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: On the Strategy of the Queen
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 483
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Rating: G
Warnings/Content: Postulation in implication.
Summary: There is one queen bee in a hive, and that monarch does not suffer rivals gladly.
Author’s Notes: For the Holmes Minor July prompt: Bees. Any resemblance to characters from an inexplicably popular pastiche series is purely coincidental.

Story below the cut. )
 
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Embedded
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: Tribble (triple-drabble), 300 words
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Rating: G
Warnings/Content: None
Author’s Notes: For June prompts: “Beds,” and the following two illustrations:


                                                                                     
***

“Mr. Holmes, I was so upset by that terrible scream that I ran outside in my night attire save my cap – my hair was all ruffled up, like this!”

Holmes reached out to placate the agitated client. “Sir, you need not re-create your morning dishevelment for me to believe your story.”

I stood behind my friend, looking as solemn as possible to keep from bursting into laughter at the poor fellow’s antics. I could tell by the rigid set of Holmes’ shoulders and the tone of his voice that he, too, was endeavouring not to succumb to mirth at Mr. Sanders’ expense.

“Pray continue, sir. What was missing from your bedroom when you returned? For that can be the only reason for someone to produce that horrific cry that drove you completely from your home early this morning.”

Mr. Sanders stared at us, his eyes bulging, waving his hands. He shook his head in disbelief.

“Your bed,” I said. “Your very bed was missing.”

***

At two in the morning of the next day, both of us, ensconced in Mr. Sanders’ hall, were likewise serenaded by a terrible shriek, like that of a man being murdered.

Sherlock Holmes stepped forward and said sternly, “That’s quite enough, Billis. Your game is up.”

The footman jerked bolt upright from his crouch at his master’s makeshift-bedroom’s keyhole, but Holmes had already snapped on the cuffs. The two women behind him shrieked as well – not in the same bloodcurdling style as Billis.

My friend continued his denouncement. “Throw your voice and drive your master from his room – long enough to let the maids dismantle the antique four-poster and cart it off piecemeal to sell.”

I studied the three faithless servants. They’d soon learn that a stony cot at Scotland Yard was a profitless bed indeed.
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: Journey’s End
Author: gardnerhill
Form/Wordcount: 200 – 100 – 55 – 6 story reduction.
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes; John Watson; Sebastian Moran.
Rating: G
Warnings/Content: Implied violence; suicide ideation.
Author’s Notes: For both May prompts, “A journey to 221b” and the 200 – 100 – 55 – 6 story reduction format.

***

Sherlock Holmes made himself watch every moment of Watson's terrified cries of his name, discovery of his note, horror of realisation, and howling grief across the chasm that divided them. He himself had voluntarily chosen to descend into Hell to combat a legion of the Professor’s faceless demons, but had dragged the best man in London into the first circle with him. This was his just punishment.

That remained the worst moment of his 3-year exile. The night-long torture session at Nilsson’s hands, the fever that wracked him in Addis Ababa, the seventeen hours of pacing on a Nepal mountainside so he would not freeze to death, never pierced his heart as did that penance.

One by one he found the spider’s threads and snapped them, with either a clink of the cuffs or a hand over the mouth and a blade across the carotid.

Florence. Lhasa. Morocco. France. Three sweltering Christmas Days among non-celebrants. Three sets of seasons alone, summer to spring. Three years of constant movement, always just one step behind the tiger.

Then his prey’s slip, in the tragic fate of the Honourable Ronald Adair. Blessing the young peer and his untimely death, Holmes flew to London.

***

I survived. I walked and breathed and sometimes even ate and slept. I tended patients and went home.

I stopped self-castigation – You left him when he needed you most, you have failed your duty – because I came close to putting a bullet in my head one night. From then on I simply did not think beyond the day’s work.

Hours, days, weeks, months. Three cheerless Christmases in grey slush and yellow fog.

Then a death in a locked room, an impossible bullet shot, that pricked at my sense of mystery. I lifted my head, and went to the crime scene.

***

He’d slipped up, the sentimental fool. Couldn’t stay away from home. And I couldn’t miss from here.

The fool I. He’d baited the trap with himself. And both waited to snare me.

Professor, you and your damnable English-gentleman rules! One shot at Reichenbach would have saved us! Why did you say “Don’t kill the doctor”?

***

221b, unchanged. Two broken hearts, mended.
[identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com
Title: When Diversions Are Few
Form/Wordcount: Fic, 221b
Characters/Pairings: Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Inspector Lestrade
Rating: G
Warnings/Content: None.
Author’s Notes: Everyone’s clearly a little bored when this case crops up. For the April prompt for Holmes Minor.

***

“Hi! Cab!”

The old man who’d shouted in such a hale fashion sprinted after the receding hansom bearing a silhouetted figure, with a spryness that belied his decrepit appearance.

Watson and Lestrade watched this spectacle in stunned wonder for seven seconds before turning to look at each other. Lestrade reached for his waistcoat.

Much later Holmes related to his two friends the chase he’d had to make as no cabs would stop for him – through mud and street-filth, nearly waylaid by pedestrians and police alike, nearly running straight into a lamp-post at one point.

“A full mile, at least,” the sleuth responded when the Inspector asked how long he’d managed to keep up the chase. “But in ten minutes I’d caught up enough to climb aboard the rear of the cab, for the remainder of the ride to the station, where I lost myself in the crowd to follow him.”

“Ten minutes for a mile or so, you say?” Watson said, and grinned. Lestrade's face fell.

Holmes looked at both. “What the deuce is wrong with you two?”

Watson turned to the police inspector and held out his hand as a chagrined Lestrade fumbled with another waistcoat pocket. “Told you he’d keep that pace up for at least a mile, and he’d do it under a quarter-hour. You lose the bet.”

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