How The Mouth Changes Its Shape by breathedout is the Ultimate Adaptation of Holmes and Watson as Kickass Lesbians Solving Crimes in Post-War London. It’s the perfect crime-fighting partners to lovers story, enhanced by the trope of trying to find yourself and your tribe among restrictions of time and conventions.
Sherlock Holmes, a down-on-her-luck private investigator and master of disguise, is in urgent need of a roommate. After a rather confusing and traumatic romantic encounter in an all-girls school, young Sherlock is determined to stay away from emotional entanglements. Plus, she feels that her sexual desires don’t belong in the proper world as she knows it, and thus shies away from romance.
Johnnie Watson, a former military ambulance driver turned mechanic and butch about town, is in dire need of a place to live after her girlfriend breaks up with her. Having been through heartbreak of the worst sort, Johnnie knows she doesn’t quite fit in the restrictive confines of the conventional lesbian society of the London underground, yet she keeps trying.
Corralling the mechanic to live with her turns out to be the easy part for young and impressionable Sherlock, since Johnnie’s numerous female companions leave the sleuth reeling with jealousy and confusion. In an attempt to somehow divert Johnnie’s attention away from the women and towards herself, Sherlock introduces the butch to crime solving which brings the pair closer. They get closer still when Johnnie, in turn, introduces Sherlock to the fascinating world of underground culture of London lesbian clubs.
When Sherlock and Johnnie become unwittingly embroiled in a murder at the clandestine club, the only way for them to solve it is to uncover long-dormant secrets of both love and war.
Thus the sleuth partners embark on a path of intimacy and crime-solving while getting engrossed in the clandestine society. A place where the rules of sex are strictly delineated between butches and femmes and no confusion is allowed, in either clothing or comportment or sex itself. Will Sherlock and Johnnie give in to their mutual attraction that does not fit the strictures imposed by the rigidity of the times, or will their passion scorch both of them along with the secrets that they are slowly unravelling?
The world that breathedout created in their story is breathtaking in its detail and historical accuracy. The writing is so vivid and well executed, the reader is immersed in the sights, sounds and scents of post-war London, the secret world of women who love women and the dormant mysteries of murder and treason, slowly unravelled by the tormented heroines.
The chemistry between Sherlock and Johnnie is palpable, it flows with their every interaction, it sizzles and sparks and finally, when it is allowed to come to life, it sets the pages on fire.
The story is not a slow burn, but the author works diligently to allow the friendship and intimacy to deepen between the leads before they finally acknowledge their attraction and the passion is richer for it. It also allows the reader to savor chapters of longing and pinning, bringing in the delicious angst, which enhances the overall experience of the story.
The fanfic is accompanied by amazing visual art by various artists and it enriches the work beautifully.
The story contains some teenage angst and minimal teenager sexual discovery in minimal graphic terms. The first couple of chapters show a teenage Sherlock exploring her sexuality with some help from a girl from her school. The teenagers pursue a fumbling physical relationship which ends in some heartbreak for young and impressionable Sherlock.
Have you ever read Arthur Conan Doyle or watched Sherlock and wondered how much better the books or the show would have been if the sleuth and his ever faithful partner were women? And better yet, lesbians? And they are total idiots in love? And there’s a motorcycle? Well then, this fanfic will make your wishes come true.
The author takes the reader on a fascinating and well researched ride through London streets. It’s a world where World War II aftermath still haunts people and the clandestine speakeasies where butches and femmes dance together in the cigarette smoke. And a time when there were harder prejudices, fears and stereotypes about women who love women. The annotated work (cheers for the footnotes, breathedout!) abounds with true accounts from the time in question.
Excerpt from The Ultimate Adaptation of Holmes and Watson as Kickass Lesbians
How The Mouth Changes Shape by breathedout
Johnnie swung the bike right, cutting across lanes in the vacant intersection. The buildings here were too close to catch a glimpse of the car’s brake lights behind them. Warehouses and shipping centres; occasional flickering neon in the dim windows of pubs.
In the rush of wet air and adrenaline Sherlock reminded herself to breathe. ‘Another right at the one-way,’ she yelled.
It was one-way going the wrong direction. ‘Jesus,’ Johnnie said, but she didn’t hesitate: only slowed infinitesimally and aimed the bike into the loading and pedestrian area, eyes riveted ahead of her.
‘Left at the next throughway,’ yelled Sherlock, ‘and it’ll be a mile up ahead.’ She felt Johnnie’s exhale as they swung back into a proper two-lane road; the engine growled between their legs. Sherlock turned again in her seat, and watched for twenty seconds without spotting the brake lights.
Then the site was to their left. Johnnie slowed. Fenced-off perimeter, but there was no chain at the entrance gate. Through the fog and the dark Sherlock could just make out the furled, ghostly necks of sleeping earth-movers. On the near side, close to the gate, was a sharp drop-off. Beyond it, darkness and air.
Johnnie turned the bike into an alley across the street from the gate, and cut the engine. Immediately she was kicking down the stand and swinging around on the seat, the teeth of metal zips catching on Sherlock’s wrists as her hands were ripped free of Johnnie’s pockets.
‘Give me your coat,’ Johnnie said, low and urgent. Sherlock stared. She clutched her black men’s coat tighter around her shoulders.
‘What are you doing?’ Sherlock whispered. She hadn’t felt frightened, not during any of it, but she was scared now. It was a low whine in her ribcage, a metal taste in her mouth.
‘Listen,’ said Johnnie, ‘You know all those times you said you didn’t have time to explain something?’ Sherlock nodded, resisted the urge to edge closer. ‘I definitely don’t have time to explain this,’ said Johnnie. ‘Give me your coat.’
Sherlock knew she was being irrational, and she hated it. But she couldn’t make herself take off her coat. ‘What are you doing?’ she said again, and then: ‘I won’t be left out of the plans. You’ll probably make an error in judgment.’ There. That sounded like something Sherlock Holmes would say.
Johnnie cursed, and punched the seat. ‘Sherlock, this is not an error in judgment. If those lunatics,’ she pointed back out the alley, ‘catch us up they are not going to take us in for a civil fucking q-and-a, all right? They are gaining on us in town and we’re not going to make it out of city limits before they close the gap, and I am under no bloody circumstances letting them at either of us. Now give me your fucking coat, Sherlock Holmes.’
Sherlock felt her eyes widen and her head shake. Her brain was shooting off sparking, coppery flares of panic, and she couldn’t see past them. A voice inside her head was telling her to strip off the coat, but her fingers were clamped tight to the lapels.
Johnnie barreled forward, grabbed her by the shoulders and hauled her off the back of the bike. Sherlock’s brain was so fear-flooded that it didn’t catch up until Johnnie had pushed her up against the wall of the alley, pinned by her shoulders. Her breath knocked out of her lungs by the impact of stone against her back, but breath—she couldn’t care for breath when Johnnie was kissing her. Hard. Rough lips moving on hers.
Johnnie’s tongue was fierce in Sherlock’s mouth, angry, and Sherlock thought that ought to have made her more frightened, not less. But somehow, flattened against the wet wall by Johnnie’s two hands and Johnnie’s mouth, the panic eased. She curled her tongue around Johnnie’s, wound them together, licked at Johnnie’s cold lips, at her teeth as they bit at Sherlock. Their skins both wet with sweat and dirty fog, and everything too cold to taste, but Sherlock was tasting. Straining forward. Low, pleading sounds into Johnnie’s mouth. Please, she thought, more. Please don’t leave me.
Bits And Bobs
- Fandom: Shelock
- Length: 132,531
- Author: breathedout
- Rating: Explicit
Rating Guide: G= General, T = Teen and up, M=Mature, E = explicit
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