There’s some great replies to that thread about John “choosing Mary” and whether it holds up to scrutiny or represents a inherent contradiction in the narrative.
As an aside, for me the Mary arc drives home for me that ACD dispatching Mary was a mark of realizing (even if out of something we might less generously call laziness or a lack of imagination) that he had created such a tight formula with his protagonists that Mary was a disruption that was easier doing away with than having to constantly accommodate.
It was easy for Moffat and Gatiss to characterize this as sexist and then “fix” it. But that remains for me itself not half as cut n dried as one might think.
I’ll not rehash old territory but: Moffat and Gatiss didn’t pick up on a very appealing feature of the stories - some seriously kick ass women clients and their parts in a series of gothic horrors. Who for their time were daily fighting to survive independently in a system built to ensure they didn’t have independence. There are some truly heroic women despite their victimization. COPP remains for me a marvel in this respect - I still feel a thrill of admiration every time she chooses to take the position even though she knows something weird is afoot. She has courage. She is not fearless. But she acts anyway. And she’s not the only one.
Kitty in the illustrious client is another personal favorite. These women feature throughout the short stories - SOLI and SPEC too: you are a woman, you know something is wrong and have reason to fear for your safety or even your life and you choose to walk back into the “lion’s den” despite your fear. For these women the danger of the domestic realm is a key element in the gothic sensibility of the canon.
The women in Mofftiss collective imagination are there all right but to my mind there is a quintessential “Gibson girl” spunk missing that ACD for all his era-conforming faults captures so brilliantly and often with incredible economy.
I remain resolute that they made a massive error in trying to redeem Mary. They didn’t earn it.
And I know this will probably make me a huge outlier but the more time passes the more I find their evolving backstory for Mrs Hudson ridiculous. Their version of her shifts from being a truth teller into something she doesn’t need to be and with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The idea that ACD didn’t think Mrs H. had the capacity for bravery is ridiculous- had they not read EMPT? She becomes in BBC Sherlock then a parody. Her best lines are when she is pointing out the emotionally obvious. Why is her ability to care and forgive and always speak her own mind not enough? She’s like a mirror to Norbury. And alongside Mary and Eurus I can’t help but think they really just don’t get something about writing women. (A charge often made about Moffat I have in the past resisted.)
I love the canon because its 2 protagonists are amazing. The stories don’t need more heroes. But they are there. Women bucking against a system. Surviving.
In a contemporary setting so many of the women get pushed into extremes rather than sharing that same basic resilience. Molly in TAB is a shining but perhaps (because it’s set back in ACD’s era) telling exception to the rule. It was a stroke of genius to have her disguise herself as a man to reach her potential.
By having in Eurus their actual “Moriarty” [big bad] be a woman, Mary had then, I presume, in their mind to be a mere decoy villain, along too with Moriarty. (Despite him being such a cleverly drawn character that far exceeds his canon incarnation.)
Had they not created Eurus they could have followed through with Villian!Mary. And I stand by my longstanding pun:
John Watson was literally “sleeping with the enemy” and didn’t know it.
And that is where the perils faced by the canon heroines and the gothic aesthetic of fear become ripe for mining:
His domestic world away from 221b was primed for the deep gothic terror of the canon: you are not safe in the house that circumstances have made your home. You are trapped by circumstance in the place you *should* be safest. That is the scariest thing to Sherlock Holmes of canon. [See his incredible speech in COPP. TLDR: At least in the darkened foggy alleys of London someone might hear you scream.]
And in that “home” you will slowly realize something is wrong. The particular uncanny sensation of “unheimlich” is all through the canon. The veiled “sister” in SHOS or the absolute horrifying terror of DEVI, which is the terror captured in SPEC turned up to ninety.
What a missed opportunity. For John to slowly sense something is wrong but not understand why but separated from Sherlock realize he is isolated. For he and Sherlock to keep secrets from each other. For the audience to know Mary is dangerous and for there to be a cat and mouse game. To make John the Violet Hunter who despite fear walks into danger - a quality they share. THAT was the twist I wanted.
The Empty Hearse appeared it would deliver it and immediately snatched it away.
She was the domestic facade. What an incredibly clever piece of symbolism. But they didn’t follow through. They didn’t let John’s bravery run its course, only his loyalty to her which turns out to apparently not be misplaced at all. Confusing characterization of a man who doesn’t like his wife one minute and lifts her up as he one who taught him who he is is the next aside, why does that feel like a betrayal of canon and its women heroines?
Because in the world of ACD the home you find yourself in can be just as, if not more, scary than meeting a lunatic psychopath in an asylum. What thrills the reader is the idea that you are a prisoner in your own home and don’t realize the windows are locked not to keep out predators but to so as to keep you in until it’s all too late.
They missed one of the most deliciously satisfying threads of the canon. That deep unsettling and incredibly Victorian threat: that the truly ghastly is hidden in something as innocuous as some simple modifications to the ventilation. Or to put it in modern parlance: the call is coming from inside the house.
They had John right there with her and they missed it.
And so too lost is that Villain!Mary could have been meted justice by her own machinations (like being bitten by your own snake. Or mauled by your dog. Or attacked with oil of vitriol. Or trapped by the closing of a heavy stone trap door to a cellar.) What a thoroughly wasted opportunity.
He didn’t know the exact moment when coming to her nightly became routine. When it became as normal and essential as breathing. As entrenched in his routine as putting on his mask each day. But it had.
Every night, no matter what happened during the dark overnight hours, he came. No matter what the injuries or what pieces he had to put back together in his own or his brothers’ psyches, he came. Even when dangerously close to dawn, even as the sliver of pinkish yellow light threaded through the streets and alleys, curling around every corner and curve of the city, he came.
Some nights it was only for a few minutes. Others he could steal hours. Most nights he could at least lay down. Every night he held her.
He would silently traverse the fire escape, checking to see if any of the upper joints needed greasing to keep his movements muted. Through the large bay window, gently pushing it open on quiet hinges and closing it behind him. On the good nights, when exhaustion hadn’t yet crept into his bones, he would strip off his gear and lay it down on the sleek wooden floor below the bay window. Other nights, the gear would thud and clang to the floor, only slightly muted if he remembered to drop it on the rug in the middle of the room. Those nights he would lurch across the room to her, feeling the weight and strain of each muscle as he slid carefully on to the bed. The good nights were ones in which he could still startle her.
He would wrap his arms around her, pulling her to him. Generally it was a gentle and open hold. He would softly kiss her shoulder or the very back of her neck before huffing out a deep breath, resting his chin and cheek within the crook of her neck. He could feel her smile and cover his large, scaled hands with her smaller smooth ones. Sometimes he told her abo9ut the night and sometimes she told him about her day. Sometimes, they would just lay there.
Other nights were different. He would slide on to the bed and paw for her, desperately seeking her comfort and familiar shape. His hold would be tight, his muscles bunching from the effort. He would pull her quickly and tightly against him, pressing her back and shoulders against his thick plastron so he could feel and count her heartbeats. He would slide his legs to form the same shape of her, pressing against the backs of her thighs, trying to mold himself against her and feel all of her at once. He would try to envelope her in himself. He would kiss her shoulder, kiss the back of her neck, and then bury his face into the side of her neck. He would desperately hold her, squeezing his eyes shut against everything else.
He would cry sometimes, the hollow of her neck being the only safe place in his entire world to lay open and vulnerable. It would shake the bed, and she would say nothing, merely hold his arms and lace her five fingers among his three until the tremors eased.
He knew he needed these moments. He needed them more than his meditation, more than his training, more than any skill he possessed.
And some nights he shook from the deep terror that closed around his heart at the thought of losing her.
Hey! Hope you're doing well! I was wondering about how the espada + Tesla would react to their little human s/o softly kissing said espada's neck,stomach, mask area ( any vulnerable place) with the espada's permission.
(๑￫‿￩๑) (Tag limit only allowed for the Espada)
-He stays very, very still, accepting whatever you choose to do with the least amount of fear he can manage. Even for him, there’s instinctive terror in letting himself be so vulnerable, and it’s difficult to do anything but go limp and pray you won’t use the chance to hurt him.
-She’s more able to trust you than some, but it’s still visible that she’s afraid. The contact is disturbing enough on it’s own, but the knowledge that she’s allowing it makes it even worse. The touch itself is wonderful, but the instinctive fear is difficult to push aside, even when it’s you.
-He’s completely stiff, fighting back the urge to shove you away and curl in on himself and hide. For once, there is real fear jolting through him, and all he can think about is getting away from what’s making him so weak. To save his pride, though, he’s all but forced to give in to it.
-With no defenses left, no ability to fight or push you away, you can finally see real fear in him. He’s still save for an unstoppable shaking running through him, and takes the contact like he could flinch away at any second. The pleasure of gentle touch just make it all worse.
-While it’s clear that he’s tense and nervous, he stays still and allows you to do as you please. It’d be even more pathetic to not be able to handle something so simple to you, and even if it’s horribly vulnerable, the last thing he wants is for you to think he’s as afraid as he really is.
-He’s so nervous you can see it, all but shaking as you get close. Even something as simple as kiss becomes terrifying when he has to be sol vulnerable for it. His pride is all but screaming at him for giving in to your wishes and allowing himself to be so weak.
-Even if he’s allowing you so close, he can’t stop himself from flinching away every time. There’s a deep seated terror that you could use this chance to hurt him, and even though your touch is good he can’t dismiss the worry that you could turn on him in a second while he’s vulnerable.
What does it mean to be a self-concious animal? The idea is ludicrous, if it is not monstrous. It means to know that one is food for worms. This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression - and with all this yet to die. It seems to be a hoax, which is why one type of cultural man rebels openly against the idea of God. What kind of deity would create such complex and fancy worm food? Cynical deities, said the Greeks, who use man’s torments for their own amusement.
TXF |MSR | Revival - Post Home Again | Angst | PG | 8/8
Thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging and kind to this story. My plan to have it done for Christmas was horribly optimistic but I hope the ending has been worth the wait.
Mulder pulls up at Maggie Scully’s house at 10:55am on Christmas Eve and looks wistfully at the empty passenger seat. While he isn’t sure exactly what is about to happen, that he won’t end up arresting some misguided Santa wannabe for trespass, he does wish he’d found a way to explain the whole thing to Scully. She’s probably safer at home, but still, it feels wrong sitting here alone when this whole thing seems to have been about her.
He had planned to tell her, to offer her a way in and not return to his old habit of running at mysteries without her, but the right moment had never presented itself. Few conversations leave space for a casual, “Hey Scully, so I’ve been getting these anonymous letters about giving you your Christmas wish and apparently it all finishes on your mom’s lawn tomorrow!” It’s not exactly post-therapy, or pre-briefing conversation. Then, there were more important things to consider, like that someone was murdering old folks and then hiding them in snowmen or the fact that the mother of his child had sat in a room with him and a stranger and laid bare some feelings he had thought long-lost.
“I’m angry. With myself for giving up and with Mulder for leaving all those years ago. And with myself for still not being able to get over it. And I’m scared that I’ll never not be angry. And I’m sad that being so angry for so long has cost me so much.”
She hadn’t cried but he had.
He’d cried like had the night his mom died; the guilt, the loss and the terror of loneliness rising uncontrollably from somewhere deep beneath all the healing he’d done and forcing itself free. Scully hadn’t held him like she had back then, hadn’t tried to sew him back together along the messy incisions of his grief, but she had passed him a tissue, stroked his arm and after their hour was up she had held his hand as they left.
When they reached their separate cars she smiled one of her sad smiles,
‘Between us, we must be keeping D.C.’s psychiatrists in business!’
A joke to try and soften the separation, an old tactic practiced in endless crises, but he hadn’t been able to respond in kind.
‘We probably should have done this a long time ago Scully.’
‘Mulder.’ she’d perfected the art of saying his name like a sigh. ‘There are a lot of things we should have done a long time ago.’
hey so random question but what are your opinions on Lovecraft?
I like the cult of horror which has arisen around his work, I enjoy
the stories and even own several board games based on the Cthulhu
Mythos. What I don’t enjoy is the cult of mindless devotion which has arisen around the man himself and with good reason.
As a person, Lovecraft was a total racist asshole,
which a lot of fans don’t like to admit. And understandably so when you
read a poem like that, which isn’t just even something racist in the
context of other poets and novelists of the time writing about “noble
savages” (popular in colonial literature) for the sake of the folks back
home, but actual pure, venomous hatred toward black people and other
non Anglo Saxon descended white people too.
I’ve seen plenty of
people try to argue that it’s okay to gloss over things like that
because he was “a man of his time”, but frankly that’s bullshit. This
wasn’t inherent racism from a racist society, the kind of inappropriate
things Grandma says at the dinner table because she “doesn’t know any
better”, this was a man with ardently held beliefs who wasn’t ashamed of
his views that certain races should literally we wiped out because they
And what’s worrying, is that there are people out there willing to defend his
racism or dismiss it in order to go on enjoying his work. As though
somehow you can’t enjoy the terror of ancient tentacled gods rising up
from the deep to end reality as we know it, and also not acknowledge
that hey, that guy was fucking racist and that is not okay.
So if you’re asking me do I like the horror genre of tentacles, madness and the whole world ending, sure, I’m in.
If you’re asking me if I like Lovecraft as a person and should he go on being celebrated as the
ultimate sci-fi-horror paragon at the cost of disregarding all his
poisonous rhetoric towards the majority of the human race? No. Not in
You were working a shift at the local diner, taking an order from what looked like a double date and a poor soul who was fifth-wheeling. You had to admit that both couples were pretty cute; one of the boys was a dark brunet with shallow dimples and the other had striking maroon hair and a blinding smile which complemented the girls well. But lucky for you, the one who caught your eye was the single one, wide-eyed with maple brown hair, looking bored out of his mind. As you took their orders, you couldn’t help but smile at the peculiar way the boys seemed to be so excited with food as simple as pancakes and eggs. They were probably just breakfast enthusiasts, very evident when they gobbled up the meals in no time. As it was a slow morning, you stole glances at their table every once in awhile, eavesdropping — it’s not like they were trying to be quiet anyway — on their plans to explore the city. Ah, they must be tourists, you concluded.
The clock struck noon, indicating that your morning shift was over. You headed to the break room to change out of your work clothes, but as you made your way down the hallway you heard a hushed conversation. You peeked around the corner and saw the boys from earlier who had just finished their meal.
“This is a bad idea and you two know it,” the cute one stated.
“I appreciate your concern brother, but they’re harmless, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I guess so. But being here just unnerves me.”
“I think you need to relax a little. Why don’t you explore the city for the day? I know you came to watch over us but we’ll be okay.”
“Fine. Just be careful.”
“Oh don’t worry. Have fun on your walk across the city,” the maroon-haired one wished with a wink.
“Remember to come back home by nine, because that’s when the effects wear off,” the one with dimples finished, walking off with the other and out the door with their girlfriends. The lone one followed soon after, but stopped outside of the diner and simply stood and looked around. Walking out to join him, you tapped him on the shoulder.
“Hello! Are you lost?”
“You’re a tourist, aren’t you? Sorry, I overheard you talking to your friends when I delivered your food.” He nodded and cleared his throat. “Would you like me to show you around? My shift is over anyway and I don’t have anything to do. What do you say?”
He pondered over the idea and agreed to let you give him a tour.
“I’m _____, by the way.”
“I’m Pr- Suho,” he corrected, shaking your hand.
“So where are you from?”
“Um… the Pacific…”
“… yeah. Let’s go with that,” he muttered.
* * *
You decided to take him to the theme park for a few hours.
“What is that?” he asked, pointing to a tall roller coaster.
“Oh, that’s the Jurassic World Roller Coaster! They just added this one; let’s go try it!” You grabbed his hand and skipped the line because you had a special pass.
“A roller… coaster? I’ve never been on one before…”
He must not get out much, you thought.
“They’re super fun! Trust me.” You helped him step into a coaster car and the attendant pushed the restraints on all passengers and announced the typical rules. He appeared to become increasingly nervous, so you squeezed his hand before being launched from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds. Nothing could be heard but everyone’s screams of joy — maybe of terror from Suho — as it took you through tall drops and deep valleys, and a few loop-de-loops and corkscrews for good measure before sending you into a makeshift mountain. You looked over at Suho, who had his eyes closed, but prompted him to open them as dinosaurs swept over your head. He watched in awe, but panicked and threw his arms over you both when one came so close it looked like it could eat you. You laughed, cut short when you were launched out once again, the sunlight reflecting off the coaster train as you encircled the mountain and made it back to the ground.
He stumbled out of the car, sputtering something about how he was so grateful to have his feet on land again, something he never thought he’d say.
“But it was fun, wasn’t it?” you asked, squatting down next to him.
“Fun?! That was a death trap!” He couldn’t believe humans spent their time launching their bodies into the air and calling it fun.
You became a little worried at the way he panted and at the fact that he had a small tremor in his hands, still extremely shaken from the experience. Making a split-second decision, you kissed him on the lips — you’re pretty sure you read somewhere that holding your breath can help calm you down — and smiled into it when you felt his body loosen and breathing even out.
“I guess roller coasters aren’t your thing, huh? Let’s go do something more tame.”
You laced your hand with his, pulling him up and having him trail behind you in a daze as you exited the park.
* * *
You stepped into the aquarium, which you figured was a much calmer environment for someone like him. Skipping the tour, you opted for simply walking around with him. He furrowed his eyebrows, cocking his head at the variety of life in their enclosures.
“Why are they here?” He pointed at the fish swimming around.
“Uh… I mean, they’re nice to look at, and it’s a good way to learn about the animals. I think some are born here and others are brought in from the ocean.” His eyes widened and he turned towards the glass, frantically tapping on it. “Wait, I don’t think you should t-” You were cut short when all of the animals swam towards him, hovering just behind the glass; it was like he was some kind of sea life magnet. He stood there for a moment, giving his attention to them individually and breaking out into a gentle smile while making gestures towards them, occasionally nodding as some of them swam happily in circles. You stood still as a statue, unsure of what to do. What the heck is he doing? Is he some kind of animal whisperer?
“Wha- what are you doing?” you asked timidly.
He glanced at you before turning his attention back to the animals and giving them a final nod. Your jaw dropped when they seemingly nodded back, dispersing and continuing their regular routine.
“I was just asking them how they were doing.” You stared at him in shock, trying to process what you had witnessed. Realizing what he had said, a short startled expression was covered with a smile as he tugged you away, acting as if nothing had happened.
* * *
After grabbing something to eat, you two headed to the mall. Hours of window shopping rendered you both exhausted, so you rested in a bookstore inside. Sitting on a bean bag chair, you managed to doze off as Suho read books about psychology and human behavior; he sure did have many interests. You’re not sure how much time elapsed, but he gently shook you awake when he was finished and pointed to the arcade a few stores down.
“Are those games?”
“Yeah! You wanna go play?”
You two ran over like little kids and challenged each other on different machines. He seemed to be intrigued by the claw, so you let him try and fish for a stuffed animal as you occupied yourself with Pac-Man. You managed to get eaten by Clyde again when he tapped you on the shoulder, holding a dolphin plush.
“Whoa, you got one?!”
“It’s for you,” he announced, presenting it to you.
“Oh! T-Thank you…” you accepted, blushing. You bopped the plush on the nose and hugged it, grateful to have something to remember the day for. “That claw game is so hard. I could have all the time in the world and I still wouldn’t be able to win.”
He nodded, but that’s when it hit him: time. Time!
“Wait, what time is it?!”
“Uhh…” You pulled out your phone to check the time. “8:43. Why?”
“No no no no no,” he muttered, shaking his head. “I need to get to the beach. How far is it from here?!”
“Uh, not too far, but w-”
“Please, we need to go, now!”
He grabbed your hand, sprinting out of the mall and towards your car. There was no time for questions, considering how pale and panic-stricken he looked. You raced down the street at an illegal speed and hoped that there weren’t any cops around. You hadn’t even parked when he ran out of the car and towards the water.
“Wait! Where are you going?!” You ran after him and spotted two figures in the water quite a distance away who were waving at him. You realized they were the boys from earlier as Suho stripped himself of his outerwear.
“I’m really sorry! But I had a lot of fun; we should do this again sometime!”
He ran into the water but you chased after him, effectively drenching your clothes, and snatched his arm. The water was over waist deep now, and you struggled with your heavy clothing when a glimmer from under the surface caught your attention. Although it was dark, there was no denying the fact that his legs were gone, being replaced with a glowing orange tail under the moonlight. You released your grip, looking up at him as his friends swam over with equally as elaborate tails trailing behind them.
“I can explain.”
* * *
Your dolphin plush sits prettily on your bed, accompanied by the floral pillows in your cozy bedroom. It rests there in its permanent home, although you know all too well that the real creature is as hyper and spontaneous as one could imagine. That’s only one of the things that you’ve learned in your time with Suho. With him, it’s always an adventure.
“Ah!” you squeaked, startled by the dolphin spraying water through its blowhole.
Suho chuckled, placing his hand on your waist and guiding you back towards the mammal. “It’s okay, she’s gentle.” You patted her smooth skin, a few of her friends circling around you. “I can teach you how to swim with them, if you want,” he proposed, snaking his arms around your waist from behind. He sighed, admiring your interaction with the lively creatures. “You know, one day I’m going to show you more than this. I’m going to show you my kingdom. The stuff you see under there is so different from what’s up here; it’s more beautiful than you could ever imagine.”
You turned around to meet his gaze. “Is that a promise?” Your eyes sparkled with delight as you held out your pinky finger.
“I promise,” he responded, latching his pinky onto yours and subsequently pulling you in for a kiss to seal the deal.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Note: Hope you liked it! mermaid!xiumin is next! Look forward to cute Chanyeol at a blood drive and prisoner!soo very soon. ~