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has Sophonisba fecit
[fanfic] [Sherlock] All is safely gathered in, by Sophonisba 
30th-May-2011 03:48 am
-title- All is safely gathered in
-fandom- Sherlock (the modern Holmes AU)
-genre- slice-of-life
-characters- John, Mrs Hudson, Sherlock
-summary- Someone prompted "I'd like a prompt about a character- doesn't matter which- being Christian"; I could see so very many ways for a response to be voyeuristic that I decided to try to write one that wasn't.

When John Watson doesn't make it to Sunday services because he's running around on a case with Sherlock -- or because he's having a lie-in after running around on a case with Sherlock -- he makes sure to go to Morning Prayer some other day that week, or at least Evensong; it's been his practice since he was a small boy to give time at least one day out of the seven to... well, "higher things" sounds ridiculous, but any synonym he's come up with just seems more ridiculous, and. Well. It's just a thing you do, that he's done whenever he isn't in a hospital bed or run entirely off his feet with combat and surgery; even on the grey days when he'd just got back to London, he went. Sometimes twice or three times a week, even if afterwards he'd slink out of the church without more than an obligatory response to anyone who greeted him (often enough, the sermon was the only time he could doze off without nightmares, long practice enabling him to jerk awake just before the prayer). John always makes sure to have at least a little something to put in the offering plate, because he has a morbid revulsion for letting it pass unincreased.

Sometimes in addition, these days, he'll listen to Evensong on the BBC; usually in his room, now and again with Mrs Hudson, and once in a long while he'll put it on in the sitting room while Sherlock bustles about with one of his experiments or lies quietly on the sofa (a particularly good piece of music will have his flatmate sit bolt upright or otherwise freeze, swaying slightly and now and then conducting along). Unless a life was at stake, John's always made sure to go to the services for Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter, and he expects to do so in the future.

He also prays at other times, but save for obvious moments ("thought I was going to die," "thought my [whatever] was going to die"), he doesn't talk about that. It isn't decent.


Annabelle Hudson attends Chapel, as she still calls it, (religiously, if the word weren't almost too pert in this context) every Sunday in one of her best dresses and a nice hat.

She also belongs to several of its committees and organizations, the meetings of which she attends in one of her more ordinary dresses, with or without a hat. On these boards and circles, she brings the drive and good nature that get her called (as she was in Florida) a "pillar" and a "guiding light," and many people who otherwise would hurry home after Sunday service pause to go over and greet her. Mrs Hudson stays to greet everybody, now that there's no longer anyone who would complain if she started cooking later on Sundays; she belongs to more groups now than she did, for the same reason. Every year she looks over her budget and pledges what alms she will give to the church (it's so comforting to know that she will redeem her pledge, even should John and Sherlock be late with the rent again; they're good boys, for all that. John will walk her to the Tube station on those Sundays when he's up, and more rarely, Sherlock will put her in a taxi), working out with a calculator the size of the cheques she will write each week -- she knows some of her fellow-members have automatic payments set up, but convenient as those are for the utilities and the grocery service she cannot but feel that, even in churches with perfectly good poor-boxes, the plate or basket is passed during the offertory for a reason.

Annabelle's always known that some people feel Presence in contemplation, but the closest she's ever come to feeling a part of something greater, or that everything will come out all right, has been when she's been working with one of her committees or societies, getting things done, making a difference. (And if these days she finds herself telling stories about her lodgers to her sewing circle, or to whomever's on the roster to help her with the flowers -- well, many hands may make light work but entertaining stories make work quick, and most of the stories are too good not to share, and it really is for a very good cause.)


Sherlock Holmes' interaction with organized religion might best be described as "sporadic." There are times when he's dashing about seemingly trying to sample the services of every church, not only in Westminster but over half of London (sometimes two or three in the same day) -- to say nothing of that of temples of various faiths, a mosque or two, and several rites taking place in somebody's parlor or garden -- leaving those who know him uncertain whether he's comparing the music, or the sermon, or the acoustics of the place, or what; at other times, he won't go near anything resembling a church or chapel (save for a case) for weeks on end.

He certainly can't be arsed to put anything in the collection plate in the general way of things, but whenever he receives a fee, he will dutifully write a cheque for ten percent of his payment and give it to whichever accredited house of worship he next enters (except for that time [and that other time] when he gave half the ten percent to the Red Cross).

Several of those who've known him have said that he clearly finds good music or even art more of a religious experience than anything that happens in a church: Sherlock generally comments on their faulty logic, as any Venn diagram of "great art (including music)" and "things found in churches" would show considerable overlap.

But sometimes, when music has been particularly fine, or the setting sun is lighting up the towering clouds, or he has at last seen the solution to a puzzle and it's more wonderfully intricate than he would have guessed, or the roses are in bloom, or he's just been given something he never knew he always wanted, (once, when the best flatmate he could have hoped for was still laughing with Chinese food on his breath as he went up the stairs to his new room,) Sherlock will say to the One Who hears, "Oh, well done."
30th-May-2011 11:06 am (UTC)
Oh, I do like this very much, especially Sherlock's last line.
31st-May-2011 12:19 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's... sort of an experiment for me, so I wasn't sure how it was going to come off.

//especially Sherlock's last line.//

That's actually inspired by an old Western comic strip that I only know of via a Lois & Clark fanfic whose title I've long since forgotten. The incestuous nature of literature and fandom, I suppose. ^_^
15th-Aug-2011 11:27 am (UTC) - Re: All is safely gathered in
I like this one. :)

I like the fact that John doesn't *talk* about praying because it isn't *decent*. (He really, really doesn't seem like somebody who talks about private things easily, if at all; no wonder he didn't click with his therapist.) Interesting, good, and plausible that the sermons are pretty much a nightmare-free sleeping zone.

now that there's no longer anyone who would complain if she started cooking later on Sundays; she belongs to more groups now than she did, for the same reason

Yes, Mr H wasn't a prize of a husband, was he...

I really like Sherlock's final paragraph. :)
13th-Dec-2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
very nice piece!
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