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FIC DUMP!  More Winter in London is here and here.  But, if you haven't already seen it on the meme, here is this quick little retirement-era fic I wrote to "fix" The Lion's Mane.

850 words. PG as anything.

"At this period of my life the good Watson had passed almost beyond my ken. An occasional week-end visit was the most that I ever saw of him. Thus I must act as my own chronicler. Ah! had he but been with me, how much he might have made of so wonderful a happening and of my eventual triumph against every difficulty! As it is, however, I must needs tell my tale in my own plain way, showing by my words each step upon the difficult road which lay before me as I searched for the mystery of the Lion’s Mane"


The Songs of Spring

My dear Watson,

 It has now been ten days.  I hope your sojourn in town has proved refreshing.  I have known where you are for most  of that time, of course – it needed no very stringent inquiries to establish  you had taken the London train; there are many hotels, but only four you know well, and as I believe you to require familiar, yet anonymous surroundings in which to think and calm yourself, and going by the remaining contents of your desk drawer ... well, I will regale you with the details, if you wish, when you return. As you will see by the enclosure, I have had a little adventure in your absence. Not my finest or most thrilling, perhaps, but you might have spun it into silver-gilt if not into gold. As it is, I have had to shift for myself. It is not an exercise I like much, but I can hardly complain that I do not deserve it.

I know, dear heart, that angry as you are, you haven’t left me for good, and I would have known it without your considerate if understandably curt telegram on Thursday. I do not know what it would take to drive you away from my side altogether; after almost thirty years of utterly wrongheaded if mostly inadvertent experimentation upon the subject, I have concluded I will never find out. If I could not manage to  extinguish your loyalty during all my escapades in my prime, then I am surely not equal to it now.  But I should be thankful rather than complacent in that knowledge, Watson, and  if you meant me to consider what it would be like if I ever did lay on that final straw, be assured you have amply succeeded.  

Of course, you might have tired of me at last, now I cannot compensate for my many deficiencies and blunders with adventure and excitement. I do not think so, however.  If you were truly tired of me you would not have gone to London, whose every street and square, I arrogantly fancy, must remind you of me. Have you been across Hampstead Heath, where we ran  for our lives through the night, those black silk masks of  yours on our faces?  Over London Bridge, where I kissed you against the wet wall of the Embankment, by the rising tide? Or  down  Crucifix Lane, where you shot Cooper in the arm and saved my life?  (subject to your correction, I make that the third of twelve such occasions, not to mention the more subtle and continuous and doubtless exhausting ways you have kept me afloat all this time).   I hope you have.  And yet I rather hope you have not been to  Baker Street. Good a place as it was to us both, this is our home now. Come back and let us prove to each other that life has more for us both than mere nostalgia.

In any case, you see, I may still have a few strange exploits left in me yet – had you not better hurry back,  before you miss any more? The deep may be heaving with yet more malevolent monsters, foreign spies may walk among our gentle country neighbours – wouldn’t you rather be here to record these things, even if it means putting up with a pig-headed old fool who has never been very clear on what is good for him?

I am confident you will be home before very long, but I am not certain precisely when, and I wish your return to be immediate. This should reach you tomorrow morning; I suggest you catch the 10.25 from Charing Cross and be here in time for lunch.  There, I sound imperious  and conceited even when I least mean to be. Watson, I was in the wrong, entirely. I am sorry.  It has been decades since I ever wrote you anything that could even charitably be described as a love letter –  if I am out of practice now it is because I was never in it, but if you will forgive that along with everything else I will show you, every way I can think of, that I love you  as soon as you walk in through the door.   In the meantime, please do read my little story. It is not a very pretty apology, I fear, but it is the fruits of contemplating how dismal bee-keeping and country air and even interestingly-mutilated corpses are without you, and how lonely this little house would be if you ever did pass beyond my ken.

Or if you like, you may leave the Langham, take other lodgings, and compel me to hurry down to London and track you across it. Do not doubt that I could still do it. You would have to be very quick on your feet to evade me for any length of time, but we both tire more easily nowadays – would it not be easier and kinder to us both to catch that train instead?

Won’t you come home now, love?

Always yours, troublesome a possession as I fear you find me –

S.H

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September 2010

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