bleak autumn

Draw your chair up and hand me my violin, for the only problem we have still to solve is how to while away these bleak autumnal evenings.

Holmes taking care of his Watson in The Noble Bachelor

The story opens with Watson complaining that the weather was taking a toll on his health and preventing him from leaving the flat.  And here we have Holmes in the closing lines of the story seeking to help Watson pass the night in more comfort than the day.

Good Enough 

Imagine: Sirius accidentally betraying his true feelings for you while trying to make you feel better. 

“Hi Y/N.”

You look up from the dark water, surprised to see Sirius slowly walking toward you through the thick foliage of the forest. You sigh, shifting your eyes back to the calm waves of the lake. He was the last person you wanted to see in this moment.

“What do you want Sirius? Whatever it is - I’m probably not in the mood for it.” You mutter, hoping he gets the hint. Instead you feel him sit beside you, causing your face to break into a frown.  

“I want to check up on you. You and Lily seemed to have gotten into a pretty mild tiff back there.” he motions back at Hogwarts, the large castle hauntingly dark casted against the setting sun.

You give a slow chuckle despite your mood and shake your head.

“We’re both just stubborn and being stupid. Its no big deal – I’ll get over it by the morning.”

Sirius gives a slow nod, his eyes stretching out to the water before whispering,

“This doesn’t have anything to do with James does it?”

You groan, throwing your head back to look up at the branches of the tree your under. Of course it had everything to do with James. He was your ex boyfriend and he was in love with Lily who was your best friend and you didn’t know how to handle it. Even it you had been broken up over six months ago.

He nods, taking your silence as the answer he’s seeking  before saying,

“He’s an ass. He never treated you right and didn’t ever deserve you.”

You laugh now, looking at Sirius. The Casanova of Hogwarts was trying to tell you what you deserved.

“You can’t be Serioussss, Sirius.” you make sure to accentuate the ‘S’ in his name as you giggle more, knowing it was a horrible joke he had probably heard a million times before.

You watch the ends of his mouth twitch upward into a smile despite how much he might have hated hearing the joke and you continue,

“You have woo’d the pants off most of the girls  in this school. Gryff, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw…Slytherin – doesn’t matter! You’ve seduced them all! And you want to try to tell me what I deserve in the area of love? Do you even know how to treat a woman beyond getting them in bed? You can’t even stay with a girl for more than a month.”

You shake your head again, laughing a bit more before giving into a large sigh. Sirius, who has been watching you skeptically, furrows his eyebrows together, before shaking his head and looking back at the water. Silence falls between you, the sounds of the large lake lulling you into peace before Sirius whispers,

“I know the difference between seduction and love Y/N. I seduce girls I know I’m never going to be invested in or find interesting. I get that. When you’re someone like me – love isn’t an option in your life.”

You look at him as he starts to fiddle with his fingers. You knew very little of his back story thanks to James but everyone knew the Blacks. They were a bitter line of individuals who found pleasure in the torture of others. You assumed that Sirius constantly swooning women was a dark, twisted version of that torture. Perhaps you were wrong.

He looks over at you, his dark hair whipping against his face as he continues,

“I know that when you’re in love, you don’t interfere when the woman you love loves your best friend and doesn’t see you.  That when you love someone you let them cry on your shoulder and let the pain out while you try to contain yourself from killing your best friend for breaking her heart. When you love someone so much, you hope that one day they’ll see you the same way that you see them…”

Your heart skips a beat. What was he saying?

“Sirius-” and then his lips were on yours. Your eyes fly up in surprise - this was one of your good friends, a man who had teased you in your dark arts class, who let everyone know when your patronus turned out to be a badger, who would take a bite of out your muffin without asking for permission.

Then it dawns on you. Sirius likes you. And he had for a while.

His mouth trails over your lips, begging to enter your mouth and you oblige, wrapping your arms around his neck. You inhale his scent, a spicy, clean combination that has always soothed you, as he lifts you from your spot on the bench. He easily puts you in his lap, your legs automatically wrapping themselves around him as he draws you closer.  

“Oh!” you mumble under the prisoner of his tongue and he smiles as he rubs his length against you.  You forget for a moment about James or Lily and focus on him - the way his dark hair feels through your fingers, the feel of his scruff against your neck as his mouth moves down from his lips. And how much you desperately wanted him.

You eyelids fly open in surprise as his cold hand goes under your robes, inviting the bleak autumn air to your skin, and caresses against your hardened nipple.

He looks back up at you, his dark eyes begging to taste you one more time and before you can even think your lips are crashing back onto his. This time he kisses you deeply, hungrily, and all you can think of is what it would feel like to have him inside of you.

Then you remember the hateful thing Lily had whispered to you in a moment of fueled anger minutes before.  “You think any man could love you Y/N. You all but push them away….” and your mouth goes limp - the vigor in your kisses waning.

Sirius notices this difference and pulls away, looking up at you.

“Is this too much. Fuck this is too much.” he withdraws his hands from your breast, his face growing crimson and throws his head back, trying to shield his embarrassed face from you.

“Sirius -” you begin but he cuts you off.

“I didn’t mean to overwhelm you like this. I don’t want you to feel like… like you’re one of them. You’re different Y/N. I was going to come over and just talk to you and tell you….tell you how much I like you. How I’ve always liked you….”

He’s rambling and you can’t help the tears that are starting to burn down your cheek.

“Sirius…..” you finally muster out and he lifts his head to look at you, concern draping  his eyes.

“Y/N…are you ok?”

You think about the day James broke up with in the Gryffindor common room, minutes before joining everyone else at Hogsmeade.  How Sirius found you, quickly returning to grab a jacket, sobbing painfully next to the cold hearth. The tears and pain pounding in your chest wouldn’t stop and all you could remember was how gently Sirius was as he joined you on the floor, cooing you into his arms.

“Y/N…you’re stronger than this. Potter is an ass and doesn’t know a good thing when it’s in front of him.” he kept whispering, rubbing your back as you sobbed into his chest, crying until you fell asleep.

He had always been there for you and you had always taken it for granted.

“I don’t deserve you.” you begin to cry, your head cast down as tears threatened to rob your body. Sirius lifts your head, forcing your eyes to meet his.

“Don’t ever say those words to me. You deserve better than me.”

His eyes are penetrating your own and you lose your breathe for a minute before shaking your head.

“You like me?” you finally ask and his smile returns, robbing the defined features in his face and he nods.

“Of course I like you. I’ve liked you ever since we’ve met.”

You laugh again - conflicted with this new warm feeling that Sirius had brought on and the lingering sadness from your past relationship.

“Sirius it’s not that I don’t find you attractive. Or intelligent or funny or kind….” your eyes shift behind him, watching the twinkling lights of the castle play against the now dark sky. When your eyes meet his, they are met with earnesty.

“I just don’t know if I’m ready to give you the love you deserve.”

He smiles again, cheeky and without expectation, and wipes a strand of hair from your face.

“I will wait for however long I have to if that means being with you.”

Yesterday we still had a summer day, with bright skies, warm sunlight and the world looking rich and saturated.

And today it’s bleak autumn.

As if nature had snapped her fingers because she forgot it was October and still had summer.exe running over Switzerland.

I love the bleak, final weeks of autumn:

• a few red leaves clinging to cold charcoal trees

• stormclouds perpetually boiling on the horizon, rain that gives you goosebumps

• chill morning air that bites with a warning of the winter to come

• apples rotting beneath their trees, the heady scent of fruit and wheat and crushed plants

• a familiar, bittersweet melancholy

So I finished Graham Robb’s Strangers recently, and it’s changed the way I read ACD (all for the better). He’s blossomed from whatever he was before (charming) into Master of Unsubtle Winky Victorian Gay Comedy (delightful). Here is the last paragraph of The Noble Bachelor:

“Ah, Watson,” said Holmes, smiling, “perhaps you would not be very gracious either, if, after all the trouble of wooing and wedding, you found yourself deprived in an instant of wife and of fortune. I think that we may judge Lord St. Simon very mercifully and thank our stars that we are never likely to find ourselves in the same position. Draw your chair up and hand me my violin, for the only problem we have still to solve is how to while away these bleak autumnal evenings.”



a thought about The Boscombe Valley Mystery

I mentioned a while back that reading Graham Robb’s “Strangers: homosexual love in the nineteenth century” changed the way I read Arthur Conan Doyle. (Me, last summer: “[ACD has] blossomed from whatever he was to me before (charming) into Master of Unsubtle Winky Victorian Gay Comedy (delightful). Here is the last paragraph of The Noble Bachelor: “Ah, Watson,” said Holmes, smiling, “perhaps you would not be very gracious either, if, after all the trouble of wooing and wedding, you found yourself deprived in an instant of wife and of fortune. I think that we may judge Lord St. Simon very mercifully and thank our stars that we are never likely to find ourselves in the same position. Draw your chair up and hand me my violin, for the only problem we have still to solve is how to while away these bleak autumnal evenings.”

And now here we have The Boscombe Valley Mystery, and damn if it doesn’t read like a big pile of metaphors for gayfolk surviving Victorian England. Like, so much so that I hesitate to even start quoting, ‘cause jesus tldr. Heck, parts of it read like they’re about Oscar Wilde (or any similar case) disguised as a murder mystery. Below are just eight examples. There are plenty more.

“Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing,” answered Holmes thoughtfully. “It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different.”

"It must be confessed, however, that the case looks exceedingly grave against the young man, and it is very possible that he is indeed the culprit… Lestrade, being rather puzzled, has referred the case to me, and hence it is that two middle-aged gentlemen are flying westward at fifty miles an hour instead of quietly digesting their breakfasts at home.”

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact,” he answered, laughing. “Besides, we may chance to hit upon some other obvious facts which may have been by no means obvious to Mr. Lestrade.”

“On the inspector of constabulary informing him that he was a prisoner, he remarked that he was not surprised to hear it, and that it was no more than his desserts.”

“However innocent he might be, he could not be such an absolute imbecile as not to see that the circumstances were very black against him. Had he appeared surprised at his own arrest, or feigned indignation at it, I should have looked upon it as highly suspicious, because such surprise or anger would not be natural under the circumstances, and yet might appear to be the best policy to a scheming man. His frank acceptance of the situation marks him as either an innocent man, or else as a man of considerable self-restraint and firmness.”

I shook my head. “Many men have been hanged on far slighter evidence,” I remarked.
“So they have. And many men have been wrongfully hanged.”

Sherlock Holmes was transformed when he was hot upon such a scent as this. Men who had only known the quiet thinker and logician of Baker Street would have failed to recognise him. His face flushed and darkened. His brows were drawn into two hard black lines, while his eyes shone out from beneath them with a steely glitter. His face was bent downward, his shoulders bowed, his lips compressed, and the veins stood out like whipcord in his long, sinewy neck… I watched my friend with the interest which sprang from the conviction that every one of his actions was directed towards a definite end.

“Why does fate play such tricks with poor, helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Baxter’s words, and say, ‘There, but for the grace of God, goes Sherlock Holmes.’"

Oh. I made myself sad.

( AO3 )

The flannel is too big for Dean, and its shoulders and its upper back are heavy with cold rain water. It’s not what’s making him shake, however. Not even the steady rumble of the Impala’s engine or John’s low, comforting grunts as he plans the way half-audibly to himself behind the wheel are enough to make it stop, but at least he’s calming down now. Sam’s curled up over his side, half of him resting on Dean’s lap and his fingers absently playing with his plump baby lips: usually Dean would smack his hand down, tell him he’s too old to nibble at his thumb, but this time he’s doing nothing of the sort. Instead, he’s got his arm around Sam’s shape and he’s holding him tight, his own fingers crossed over the boy’s waist, and the warmth and the sheer presence of his baby brother there is the only thing that really matters.

John had turned his back for five minutes.

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Tranquil Sunset / 静谧日落。


I came to this place again, in the same season, in the same month, but it changed so much I could not recognize. Nature is living!

去年的照片(The photo of last year)