madlori's fics

A Night to Remember

“John, there is no Orangina,” Sherlock called from the kitchen.

“Why would there be?”

“I always drink Orangina when I watch award shows!”

John paused, a handful of popcorn halfway to his mouth, brow furrowed as his brain refused to parse that sentence.  Sherlock came stomping back in, carrying two bottles of beer and wearing a disgruntled expression.  “This will do, I suppose.”  He handed one to John and sat down.

“You always drink Orangina when you watch award shows?  This is new information.”

Sherlock harrumphed.  “It’s possible that I just remembered.”

John elbowed him.  “Come on, it’s starting.  You remember the rules, right?”

“I never agreed to this ludicrous exercise.”

“You take a drink whenever anybody thanks the Academy.”

Sherlock snorted.  “Is this a game, or suicide by alcohol poisoning?”

“You drink whenever anybody gets played off.”

“Starting to suspect you’re trying to hasten your inheritance of all my worldly goods.”

“Or, just drink whenever you feel like it.”

“Then why bother with rules?”  Sherlock reached over and took a handful of popcorn from the bowl on John’s lap.  “Oh, good Lord.  Halle’s gone back to that stylist with the sequin fetish.”

“I think she looks amazing.”

“You always think everyone looks amazing.”

“Do you know how many people emailed me to ask what your predictions were?  I didn’t know you had such a reputation as an prognosticator.”

“They ask because I’m always right.  And they asked you instead of me because they know I don’t share.  I trust you revealed nothing.”

“I’m not going to help Peter win his Oscar pool, he’ll have to sink or swim on his own.”

Sherlock chuckled.  “Not to imply that I care, but why are we at home alone tonight?  Surely we received a party invitation or two.”

“We received forty-eight, all of which we declined.”

“In our quest to become hermit-like and shunned for pariahs?”

“I made an executive decision.”

“While I’m immensely grateful not to have to haul out my tux and make small talk with half of Hollywood, I am surprised that you’d be so…like me.  You’re the social one.  Care to share your reasons?”

“It’s not just this year.  I’ve decided that unless one of us is presenting or nominated, we will be spending Oscar night at home together from now on, until we die or the Oscars do.”

Sherlock looked at him.  “You have succeeded in surprising me, John.”

John met his eyes.  “Sherlock, I will never again be able to watch the Oscars, live or on the telly, without remembering what it was like to stand on that stage with the award in my hand and see you watching me from the audience.  I had just won an Oscar and all I could think about was that a few hours before, you’d asked me to marry you.  These awards aren’t about our work anymore, not for me.  They’re a part of us.  That first year of us hit its peak on this night.  I don’t want to share it.  Unless our presence is required, from now on I’m spending Oscar night alone with my husband.”

Sherlock smiled slowly, a glint coming into his eyes.  He leaned forward and kissed John softly.  “You, my love, are a sentimentalist.”

“I’ve been called worse.”

“Perhaps you’re influencing me, because I think your plan is smashing.”

“Good.”  John settled closer to Sherlock’s side, letting his hand rest on his thigh.  “Now, come on.  You know your job.  Let’s hear it.”

Sherlock chuckled quietly, the vibrations passing through into John’s chest.  He shifted and slipped one arm around John’s shoulders and they turned their attention back to the red carpet arrivals.  “All right, then.  Well, first off, he’s got a new lover.  Younger, by the looks of his fingernails.  His wife knows, look how she’s holding her purse.”

John grinned and let Sherlock’s stream-of-consciousness commentary wash over him.  It was almost enough to make him hope that neither of them were ever nominated again.

John's Video Diary, Part 1

A short post-“Performance” Tumblr fic.  This takes place after the Oscars, but before John and Sherlock’s wedding.


[rustling noises, a dark lens cap is removed from in front of the lens.  The camera tilts and is raised and then swung around; we see glimpses of what looks like a bathroom, and then the camera is facing a mirror and we can see that it is a small video recorder held by John Watson.  He is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, his hair is wet]

John:  [waves] Good morning, Ellen!  You asked me to record my regular life for a day, presumably so you can embarrass me by airing bits of it on your show, so here I am.  I hope you don’t mind that I decided against taping myself showering and shaving.  So…this is my bathroom.  Thrilling, yes? 

[the camera moves off the mirror as John walks out of the bathroom]

John:  Now we’ll go downstairs, because morning means one thing in this house: coffee.

[we see shaky point-of-view shots of a hallway, then the stairs, then the kitchen]

John:  Coffee is the most important meal of the day, you know.  [John’s narration is charmingly awkward, as if he’s not sure what he ought to be saying, so he’s just babbling.]

[The view stabilizes as John sets the camera on something, then steps in front of it and turns it towards the kitchen counter.  He goes to the coffeemaker and begins to make coffee]

John:  A frequent topic of discussion around here is exactly how strong is too strong for coffee?  I think so far the consensus is that there is no “too strong” when it comes to coffee.  [he is scooping an alarming amount of grounds into the percolator]  I know, it’s autodrip.  It isn’t fancy.  I have this dream of having a steam line installed so I can get a real espresso machine, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’d no longer be able to claim that I’m a regular bloke if I had an espresso machine in my house, so I haven’t done it.

[he turns on the coffee maker and sits down at the counter, turning the camera to face him again.]

John:  I’m probably not framed very well.  Am I cutting off the top of my own head?  [he is]  I’m not used to being on the other side of the camera.  Lots of actors want to direct, but I never have.  I’m good at one thing and I figure I’ll just stick to that.  [he sighs]  I hope you edit this down, because I’m already bored of my life.  Let’s see…today’s a pretty normal day.  I’m not shooting a film right now, so you may wonder, what do actors do between shoots?  There are a lot of meetings, and we spend a lot of time reading scripts.  Sometimes we take classes.  Our publicists send us places, parties and premieres and openings, that kind of thing.  There’s a lot of lunching that goes on. Most of us go to the gym.  Have to look good onscreen, and the camera really does add ten pounds, at least.  I’m going today, or that’s the idea, anyway.  We’ll see what happens.  [he looks away; he’s just heard something]  Ah.  Something stirs.

[we can now hear footsteps on the stairs.  John picks up the camera and points it toward the kitchen doorway.]

Sherlock: [off-camera] Coffee.  Coffee is required.  There had better be coffee because otherwise I might…

[Sherlock comes into the kitchen wearing a t-shirt and pajama pants.  He is clearly just awake; his hair is in disarray and he’s half-yawning.  When he sees the camera he makes a face and puts up a hand]

Sherlock:  Oh, bloody hell.

John:  Be nice, now.

Sherlock:  I’m not awake enough for nice.  Is that the video for Ellen?

John:  Yes!  Say hello!

Sherlock:  [sighs a long-suffering sigh and looks into the camera]  Hello, Ellen.  I’ll get you for this.

[he shuffles off toward the coffeepot and out of frame.  John swings the camera around to his own face]

John:  As you can see, Sherlock is not a morning person.

Sherlock: (off camera)  You’re hardly Mr. Sunshine either, when you’re just up.  [John turns the camera again; Sherlock is at the counter staring at the coffeepot, perhaps attempting to will the coffee to appear faster] 

John:  I’ve been up for an hour.

Sherlock:   Bully for you, then.  [he turns around and leans against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest; he addresses John, resolutely ignoring the camera]  Care for some eggs?

John:  Are you going to make me breakfast?

Sherlock:  Well, we can’t have Ellen’s entire viewing audience thinking I don’t take care of you.

John: [turns the camera toward himself]  There, see, he’s making me breakfast.  Isn’t that sweet?  [he leans closer and whispers] But he’s a terrible cook, so you may be about to see some acting live and up close while I pretend to like it.

Sherlock:  I heard that.  Cold cereal it is, then. [he turns from the fridge and smirks at John, dropping a quick wink]

[the camera stabilizes again as John sets it down.  We can see him open a laptop that’s sitting nearby on the counter; Sherlock is now pouring coffee, we can just get glimpses of him until he sets a mug in front of John, followed by a bowl and a spoon.

John: [looks up]  Oh, I want raisin bran.

Sherlock: [sighs theatrically]  Prima donna.

John:  Because I don’t like Grape Nuts?

Sherlock:  Here.  Raisin bran.  Happy?

John:  Ecstatic.

[Sherlock sits down next to him, no cereal of his own in evidence, but with a mug of coffee. Our view includes both of them.]

Sherlock:  What’s on, then? [he nods toward John’s computer screen]

John:  Several things I can’t discuss while I’m on camera.  [he points at the screen, which we can’t see.  Sherlock leans over and looks, then nods]

Sherlock:  Interesting.

John:  Email from Isabelle. [he clicks it open, then briefly addresses the camera] That’s my sixteen-year-old niece.  Oh, she’s in a play at school.

Sherlock:  Which play?

John:  Mousetrap.

Sherlock:  [sniffs]  Naturally.

John:  She’s playing Mollie Ralston.  [he laughs]  She says an actor who was in the play twenty years ago in the West End production is coming to teach an acting class for the cast.  Listen to this: ‘Imagine all their faces if you and Sherlock came to give us acting lessons instead.’”

Sherlock: [chuckles] I wish we could.  I’ll not have more than one day off in a row for the next three months.

John:  When’s your call today?

Sherlock:  Eleven.  [he looks at the clock]  In fact, I’d best sort myself out and be on my way.

John:  [looks a little sad]  I’ve barely seen you all week.

Sherlock:  [he has gotten to his feet, mug in hand]  I ought to have a few free hours around nine o’clock, why don’t you come out to the set and have dinner with me?

John:  [perks up]  Brilliant!

Sherlock: [smiling] I’ve got insane amounts of horrendously difficult scientific dialogue today, it’ll give me something to look forward to.  I’ll text you when I’m certain of the time.

[He meets John’s eyes and begins to lean down; John glances at the camera, then holds up his hand in front of the lens.  His aim isn’t too great; we can see clearly through his fingers as they kiss.  John drops his hand as Sherlock disappears out of the kitchen, then addresses the camera again.]

John:  That’s the downside of this business.  It isn’t exactly conducive to maintaining anything resembling a normal relationship.  But we do the best we can.  [he chuckles]  I don’t know how good that is.

In Memoriam

a “Performance in a Leading Role” ficlet

John got up from his laptop, feeling numb. 

Well, so far 2016′s doing a bang-up job of sucking really hard, he thought. He stood by his chair for a moment, reeling.

Sherlock was downstairs in the kitchen, or at least he had been when John had ventured out for coffee an hour ago. He’d been sitting at the kitchen table, typing madly on his laptop, two nicotine patches on his forearm. He was hip-deep in pre-production on his directorial debut, an intense three-character film about the dissolution of a marriage during the aftermath of a dinner party. Molly had written the script. John loved it, and so did Sherlock, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t rewriting to be done.

This news was going to throw him right off his game.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell him. He won’t hear for hours on his own. Let him get some work done while he’s on a roll.

No, he’ll find out that I knew and didn’t say anything and he’ll be furious and that’ll throw him off even more.

He sighed and went downstairs. He could hear the machine-gun clacking of Sherlock’s keyboard as he approached.

He stood in the doorway for a moment, just looking at him. The sunlight was angling in and highlighting the streaks of gray that were just starting to come in at his temples. His own hair was lightening by the day, it seemed, as his dishwater blonde was overtaken with silver. They were both getting older. He was now on the wrong side of forty, and Sherlock wasn’t far behind him.


“Hmm?” He didn’t look up, still typing. John didn’t say anything. After a moment, Sherlock glanced at him, then did a double-take. He stopped typing and sat back. “What is it, John? What’s happened?”

He walked forward and stood at Sherlock’s side, then put a hand on his shoulder. “Sweetheart, Alan died.”

Sherlock blinked. “Alan, who’s…” His eyes widened as he realized who John meant. “No.”

“I’m afraid so.”

He flapped a hand. “No, it’s one of those Internet hoaxes. Where’d you see that, on Facebook?”

“I wish it were. His family has released a statement.”

Sherlock went very still. He stared blankly at his laptop screen. “No,” he murmured.

John rubbed his shoulder. “I’m so sorry. I know you were friends.”

“He…died? When?”

“Today. He had cancer. Did you know he was sick?”

“I knew he’d been in hospital some time ago. I didn’t know he had cancer.” Sherlock leaned forward, his elbows on the table, and rubbed his hands over his face. “My God, Alan. I can’t believe it. He was…how old was he? He couldn’t have been 70 yet.”

“He was sixty-nine.”

Sherlock stood up and went to the window. John followed, keeping a bit of a distance. He’d been married to this man for four years, he knew that he’d reach out if he wanted comfort. “I should…send something. Call Rima. Maybe Emma will put something together for him, that’s her wheelhouse.” He raked a hand through his hair. “You know, we never worked together. It was always next year, next season, after this next project, we should talk about it, yes, let’s do that.” He took a deep breath. “Eventually, we all run out of ‘next season’s.” He turned and looked at John. “This must be upsetting for you, too. I know you were a fan.”

“It’s hard to imagine anyone not being. I never met him, but yeah. A big fan.” He went to Sherlock’s side and put his arm around his back. Sherlock pulled him close at once. John felt him tremble on his exhale and held him tighter. 

Sherlock bowed his face down to John’s hair. “Promise me you’ll never die,” he murmured.

John smiled. “I promise. If you’ll promise the same.” He felt Sherlock nod.

After a few moments, he drew away and went to the wine fridge. He pulled out a bottle of something and two glasses. “We’ll drink to a man whose talents we were privileged to witness,” he said, uncorking the wine.

John nodded. “First David Bowie, now this. I can’t believe it.”

 “It’s strange,” Sherlock said. “We know that we are mortal, and yet we are always surprised when that fact is brought home to us by a death.”

“The people we admire are supposed to be immortal,” John said. 

Sherlock handed him a full wineglass. His eyes were wet, but he was smiling a little. “If we continue to admire them, then they are.”

Teaser for the Performance wedding story

I don’t have an ETA on this, not even close, but I am finally making some serious headway the last couple of days.  So here’s a bit for you.

John couldn’t sleep.

In a few short hours he was getting on a plane to fly to London for the single purpose of telling his disapproving parents about his engagement, then he was flying directly back.  He was only taking his backpack and an extra shirt and pair of trousers just in case he was too tired and decided to stay over.  He did not want to go, not even a little bit.  He was dreading the conversation he was going to have to have, and not even the prospect of seeing his siblings was enough to outweigh that dread.

Sherlock turned over and spooned up close, wrapping his arm around John’s waist.  “Go to sleep,” he whispered into his neck.

“I can’t.  I have twirly-brain.”

“Stop thinking about your parents.”

“It isn’t just them.”

Sherlock shifted, and John felt him come a bit more awake.  “What, then? The Demme film?”

“I’m perfect for that part.  Mike called them back today, thinking the Oscar would help move things along, but no joy.  ‘Going in a different direction,’ my arse.”

Sherlock was quiet for a moment.  “It means nothing.”

“Bollocks.  It’s the third project I was up for that’s suddenly vaporized.” He rolled to his back, Sherlock shifting over to give him room.  “The Oscar was supposed to fix everything,” he said, staring at the ceiling.  “I was supposed to have project offers coming out my bloody ears.”

Sherlock propped his head up on his hand and looked down at him, his other hand resting on John’s bare chest.  “It’s only the first day after your win, John.  And you don’t need projects coming out your ears, you just need one.  The right one.  One director willing to fight to cast you because he appreciates what you can bring to a film.  But you need to be patient, and make sure it’s a film that will succeed.  If your first film after the Oscar, and the coming out, is a flop…”

“I know what’s at stake,” John said, a little more sharply than he’d intended.  “I don’t need you to spell it out for me. And I can’t find that one special project if I’m being offered none at all.”

“This is why we pay our agents.  Not for the good years, when everyone wants to hire us, but for the tough times.”

“I’m just glad you’ve got work.  At least one of us still has some marketability.”

“I’ve got television work.  No one’s beating a path to my door for me to headline a major motion picture, either.”

John curled his hand around Sherlock’s upper arm, stroking the skin with his thumb.  “We’ll be all right, won’t we?”

“Of course.  We could retire right now and live comfortably for the rest of our lives.”

“I wasn’t talking about money.”

Sherlock met his eyes.  “We’ll be all right.”  He leaned down and kissed him, gently.  John closed his eyes and kissed back.

By the time they drew apart, John felt smoothly relaxed.  He opened his eyes and smiled.   “You can do that some more if you like.”

Sherlock looked thoughtful.  “I could go with you to London.”

John frowned.  “I didn’t think you could get away. You’ve got meetings and that benefit for the thing with the…”

“Nothing I can’t reschedule or skip. If you’d rather go alone, you need only to say so.”

“No! No, I’d love for you to come, I just don’t want you to…”  He paused.  “Well, I was going to say ‘inconvenience yourself,’ but that sounds like something you say to a business associate, not your fiance.  No, you absolutely ought to inconvenience yourself.  Inconvenience the hell out of yourself.”

Sherlock smirked.  “Well, we can kill two birds with one stone and go tell my mother while we’re there.”

John sighed.  “Oh, dear.  This is shaping up to be more than a quick there-and-back.”

“I think we can manage it and only stay one night. Mother will try to get us to stay over at the house, though.”

“Ooh, I might like that.  Sleep in your old room.  The site of all your teenage wank sessions.”

“I believe my old room is now a gallery for my mother’s collection of Victorian embroidery.  If that gets you in the mood to wank, then we have some awkward conversations in our future.”

Excerpt from one of the several Check, Please! fics I am working on.

This one’s an AU, one of the “Jack went into the NHL at 18 and Bitty has some unrelated career” variety, of which there are many.

Shitty Knight (that was going to take some getting used to) was waiting outside the locker room when Jack emerged. With him was a shorter man, slender and blond, wearing a blue t-shirt and the shortest red shorts Jack had ever seen on an adult. He had sunglasses perched on his head and was deep in conversation with Knight. Must be an intern.

As Jack drew nearer, they both turned toward him. Jack almost stopped walking. The blond man was armed; he had a hip holster clipped to the waistband of his miniscule red shorts.

“Um – hello,” Jack said. He was trying not to stare at this tiny, armed – okay, the word his brain kept suggesting was ‘twink,’ but that seemed uncharitable so he resisted it. This tiny armed person. He focused on Knight, who would surely explain.

“Jack. Good skate?”


“Yeah, I coulda predicted that. Jack, this is Eric Bittle. He’ll be heading up your security detail.”

Jack could not keep the look of incredulity off his face. Bittle seemed totally unsurprised by his gobsmacked expression. “Go ahead, get it out of your system,” he said, his voice a smooth, Southern-accented tenor.

“I’m sorry, but – really?”

Knight also looked like he’d had this conversation more than once before. “To paraphrase Shakespeare, though he be but little, he is fierce.”

“Midsummer Nights’ Dream,” Jack said.

“Mr. Bittle is my best agent, Jack. He may not look like a bodyguard, but he is quick and he’s a crack shot.”

“If you say so, Knight, but…” He scrubbed a hand through his hair. “Okay, I’m not usually this much of an asshole, but this is my life we’re talking about, and you – I’m sure you’re good at your job, but you look like I could tip you over with two fingers.”

Bittle calmly took the sunglasses off his head and handed them to Knight. “Try it.”

Jack spluttered a little. “Look, I’m not going to…”

“Bless your heart, this isn’t my first time at the bake-off, Mr. Zimmermann. I know how this goes. Nobody buys it until I show them, so go ahead. Try it. And don’t hold back.”

Kill It With Fire: The Tale of the Chapter That Wasn't

Sometimes people send me messages asking for writing advice, which I’m happy to offer inasmuch as I have any worth listening to. I would never claim to be an expert; in fact, I rather think that in writing there are no experts, just people who’ve written more than others. All I can do is share what experience has taught me, which may or may not be the same things that experience has taught other writers.

Which is why I thought this (really long, difficult) post might be of interest to some of you.

Faulker once said “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” Film directors also know this; there is a filmmaking adage that says you must be prepared to cut your favorite scene. This is never easy, but every time I have made myself do it, I’ve been glad and the story has been stronger.

Last night, I cut 10,000 words from “Performance in a Leading Role.” No, I did not stick an extra zero in there by accident. I killed an entire chapter. To paraphrase Rose Tyler, this is the story of how that chapter died.

Keep reading

Okay, wow, you guys are really into the bodyguard!Bitty AU. I posted the snippet, went downstairs to sew for a few hours, came back and I had like 30 new followers. Helloooooo!

To answer a couple of questions I’ve gotten - I’m still writing this. I won’t start posting until I’m done writing it (I’ve been burned too many times). I CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT WILL HAPPEN. I would loooooove for it to happen but I have been having a hard time making CP fic happen and this one’s the first one that’s really taken off for me so I’m optimistic. 

So there isn’t any more of it available online. I may post additional snippets. A few more tidbits from the story:

  1. Bitty never went to college because his checking phobia prevented him from getting a scholarship, so he joined the Army instead (partially influenced by a female cousin of his). He actually became a Green Beret. He applied to the Secret Service when he finished his Army career but wasn’t accepted, but one of the agents who evaluated him referred him to Shitty (who runs a private security & investigations firm called Knight & Associates) who was delighted to hire him.
  2. Pretty much the entire SMH crew except Jack work for Shitty’s firm. Lardo does not, but she is Shitty’s hetero-life-partner and is still an artist.
  3. The Falconers are making Jack accept bodyguards because he’s been getting death threats. He came out about three months before the story but that may or may not be connected.
  4. My title for the story is “Quicker for a Fray” which is also from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I ARE SO CLEVAH.
  5. Bitty still has a significant emotional hang-up, but it isn’t about checking.
Enter and Sign In, Please (a Performance ficlet)

Sorry if you caught that link post - I decided to just go ahead and post directly to Tumblr.

Also on AO3.


[transcript of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” aired Thursday, February 14th, 2013]

Jimmy:  My first guest is one of our favorite people but we haven’t been able to get him on the show for a few years, and uh…gee, I wonder why.  He’s an Oscar winning actor and star of the upcoming film “An Ordinary Disappearance,” please welcome our friend, John Watson!

Keep reading

Rough day for fandom? Here, have some fluff.

While we’re having fandom solidarity and mutual comfort tonight, here’s a snippet from the Performance wedding story.


[Sherlock and John are in bed together, having just consummated their marriage.]

They lay there in silence for some time, Sherlock draped across John’s chest.  John let his fingers track aimless paths across Sherlock’s smooth skin, his mind delightfully blank.  Sherlock had twined their free hands together and was idly playing with John’s fingers.

“This is, bar none, the most optimistic thing I’ve ever done,” he murmured.

“How so?”

“People in our line of work tend to have difficulty with relationship permanence.  I’m naturally inclined to look at the data and conclude that our odds of lasting aren’t favorable.”

“Why did you do it, then?”

“I can be aware of the statistics, I can see the challenges and the many ways things can go awry, and I am still convinced that we are the exception, and that we will somehow succeed where so many others, equally devoted, have failed.”  He lifted his head and met John’s eyes.  “I believe that’s what’s called ‘magical thinking.’  It is generally believed to be a failing of the human condition.”

John shook his head.  “No.  That’s what’s called ‘faith,’ and it is a strength.”

Sherlock was quiet for a moment.  “I suppose I’ve taken a leap of faith, then.”

“We’ve taken one together.”

Sherlock snuggled a little closer.  “Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t frighten me.”




Lifetime Achievement (8789 words) by Mad_Lori [AO3]

Chapters: 2/10
Fandom: Sherlock (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings, No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Irene Adler, Harry Watson, Sally Donovan
Additional Tags: Hollywood, AU, Meta, Real Person Cameos, Weddings, Homophobia, Coming Out, Family Drama, Fluff
Series: Part 9 of Performance in a Leading Role

John Watson has just won an Oscar and gotten engaged in the same day. Now what? (Sequel to “Performance in a Leading Role”)

tiny snippet from bagginshield of indeterminate title, in progress.

Bilbo’s mind seized, like a wheelbarrow that’s struck a stubborn stone in the earth.  For years he had struggled to recall Thorin’s face.  He’d never had an image of him to cherish, not a drawing or an oil or even a carving.  Only his memories, and they had smoothed over and lost distinction with the passing of years.  He had fought mightily to keep them sharp, often going back in his mind to a place, a moment, a word, desperate to keep the face of his beloved clear in his mind, but there came a time when he could remember only the idea of Thorin, his physical form lost to the mists of memory.  One night, not so very long ago, he had wept alone in his room because he could no longer recall the exact shade of his eyes or the precise curve of his nose.  He’d sat with his head in his hands, trying to remember the weave of his braids.

The sight of him washed it all away.  Oh.  Of course. There he is.  How could I ever have forgotten?  I remember every detail like I saw him yesterday.  His features fit into the groove worn into Bilbo’s brain by his reminiscences and snapped snugly into place.  He looked just as he had the first time Bilbo had beheld him, so many years ago.


John's Video Diary, Part 2


[the camera turns on and we see shaky flashes of the inside of a car; the camera stabilizes on a shot of John, driving]

John: Hope you don’t mind, I’ve turned over cinematographic duties to my sister, Harry. Say hello, Harry!

[the camera swings around and Harry’s out-of-focus face fills half the screen; she grins and waves.]

Harry: Hello!

[she refocuses on John]

John: Harry’s also my assistant, and a better one could not be found.

Harry: [off] Aww, aren’t you being nice today?

John: Aren’t I usually nice?

Harry: Oh no, you’re a horrorshow. Don’t believe the lies, everyone. That Nice Guy image is a put-up job. He’s a terror of an arrogant Hollywood douchebag. He made me hand-pick all the citrus peel out of his loose tea mixture yesterday.

John: [laughs] I hope you’ve recovered, because later you’re going to be de-pilling all my jumpers with a pair of tweezers.

Harry: Again? Damn. I’m still cramped up from the last time. Hey, speaking of arrogant Hollywood douchebags, have you decided what you’re getting Sherlock for his birthday? If it’s anything custom-made we’ve got to get on that.

John: I’m hoping that if I just don’t think about it, it’ll go away.

Harry: I believe it is customary to buy a gift for one’s fiancé on his birthday.

John: He’s going to be bitchy about it anyway because he won’t be able to say he’s in his “early thirties” anymore.

Harry: Well, he can still say that, it just won’t be true.

John: I’ll get him a car.

Harry: You’re not getting him a car.

John: No, of course I’m not getting him a car! I’m grasping at straws, here! He doesn’t need anything!

Harry: It isn’t about what he needs, it’s about what you want to say with a gift. So what do you want to say?

John: [sighs] Happy birthday?

Harry: Now you’re just being contrary.

John: Well, I don’t know! We were shooting To a Stranger on his last birthday. The crew got him a cake and we all signed a card. [he thinks for a moment] Come to think of it, I don’t remember him getting any other birthday wishes or cards or flowers or anything. [he shakes his head] He was alone. But then, so was I.

Harry: Then there you go. Give him something that reminds him he isn’t alone anymore.

John: [puts on an exaggerated Eureka face] I’ve got it! I’ll buy side-by-side cemetery plots for us! Till death do us part!

[Harry throws something at John; looks like an empty drink bottle. John ducks and laughs.]

John: I’m driving here!

Harry: You wanker!

[they are silent for a moment; the camera’s begun to drift a little, as if they’ve both forgotten that Harry’s filming]

John: I think of my life a year ago, then I think of it now…the difference is a little mind-blowing. I guess…I’d like him to know how glad I am to have him in my life.

Harry: Aww. See, that didn’t hurt too much, did it?

John: Oh God, this is on tape. At least by the time anyone sees it, his birthday will be over and I’ll have thought of a present, for better or worse.

Harry: A trip?

John: No time.

Harry: A new suit?

John: He already owns all the suits.

Harry: Bling?

John: He doesn’t wear bling. Don’t you know him at all?

Harry: I’m just spitballing here. Um…a date with Ryan Reynolds?

John: Don’t make me come over there.

Harry: A movie role in which he gets to beat the crap out of Jim Moriarty in an epic fight scene?

John: If only that were in my power.

Harry: There’s got to be something he wants.

John: Lately the only thing he’s said he wants is to marry me. He’s already got that. Oh, and the other day he did mention that he was craving my sister’s banoffee pie.

Harry: Let’s call that Plan B.

[they are quiet for another moment. John is pulling off the road up to a drive-thru; it turns out to be Starbucks.]

John: The usual?

Harry: Cheers.

John: [into the speaker] One venti skinny hazelnut latte and a venti caramel mocha.

[he pulls forward]

Harry: Geez. Diabetic coma, anyone?

John: Shut your face. I’ve got four hours of meetings, I need sustenance.

[they reach the window. The barista leans out to take John’s card]

Barista: Hey, you’re John Watson!

John: Yep.

Barista: Oh man, I loved To a Stranger. You were so great in it! Congrats on the Oscar and everything!

John: Thanks, mate.

Barista: [leans over a bit] Is Sherlock with you?

John: No, he’s on set right now.

Barista: Shooting that Tesla thing, right?

John: Right.

Barista: That is going to kick ass, man. Sorry, I don’t mean to go all fanboy on you.

John: [chuckles] It’s all right.

Barista: [hands John the drinks; John passes Harry’s to her] There you go. Have a great day.

John: Say, you wouldn’t happen to have any really brilliant ideas for what I could get Sherlock for his birthday, would you?

[Harry bursts out laughing; the camera shakes. The barista looks bemused]

Barista: [shrugs] I got my boyfriend a new bong for his birthday.

John: Hm. I’ll take that under advisement. Thanks. [he pulls away, laughing]

Harry: Okay, so that’ll be Plan C. New bong.

John: I’ll think of something.

Harry: Call Sally, she might have an idea.

John: I’m not calling Sally. That’s such a…guy thing. Call the little wifey’s best friend to figure out what to get her because you can’t be arsed to actually get to know her.

Harry: I am so telling him that you referred to him as your “little wifey.”

John: It was a metaphor! [he thinks] What’s the name of that bloke, the artist? The one who painted that thing Sherlock liked over at George’s house?

Harry: Umm…I can call George and find out.

John: Yeah, do that.

Harry: What are you thinking?

John: Well, there are a million photographs of us. What if I hired him to paint one of them?

Harry: Oh, John! That’s a great idea. The Oscar photo, the hug one!

John: Ehh. That’s too obvious.

Harry: Whatever, we’ll find a good one.

John: [fidgets] I don’t know. Is that too…

Harry: Too what?

John: Egotistical?

Harry: To give Sherlock a painting of you and him? Why would it be? And it says just what you were saying earlier, about being glad things are different now. I think it’s lovely. I’d certainly melt into a puddle of goo if my significant other gave me something like that.

John: [looks at her, smiles a little shyly] Yeah? I don’t have much experience giving birthday presents to someone I actually love.

Harry: You did pretty well on his Christmas gift.

John: I’m afraid I’ll never top that one. Might have shot myself in the foot a bit, there.

Harry: Well, he’ll run into the same problem on your birthday.

John: He’s not even going to be in the country on my birthday, and I’ll be neck-deep in Coen dialogue. I’ll be happy to get a videochat.

Harry: See, that’s the problem with men.

John: Oh really? I’ve heard many versions of that.

Harry: You always think the gift needs to be spectacular, or the date has to be some elaborate setup like something out of a movie. Most women, we just want to know that you care and that you thought about us. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I bet men are the same. Even Sherlock.

John: You’re not as dumb as you look, you know.

[Harry turns the camera toward herself and gives the viewers a lofty eyebrow]

Harry: This is what I get for working for my brother. Heed my example, America.