pennypaperbrain: (Sherlock brain by redscharlach)
[personal profile] pennypaperbrain
This is my personal, no-particular-schema, just oh-my-god-I-love this Sherlock fic rec list. Created for my own reference as much as anything. It was started August 2012 and will be added to probably fairly randomly. Expect BDSM, weirdness and a splash of darkness. Links are to AO3 where possible.

NB I haven't included warnings. Please check the header warnings on the fics themselves.

Ignore the asterisks, they're only meaningful to me.


Cold Song by Eldritchhorrors
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount: 50,000 and counting. Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: When Moriarty told Sherlock that he would cut the heart out of him, he failed to mention that someone of his acquaintance already had. (He was saving that little tidbit for later.)
Penny Squee: This is not just my favourite fanfic but one of my all-time favourite pieces of writing. It charts an unfolding BDSM relationship between John and Sherlock against the deepening background of a case that is itself profoundly moving and psychologically resonant for the main characters, and if that wasn't enough there's a rich thread of classical music woven through the text as well. I'd never before seen anything in writing that even began to do justice to what BDSM represents to me, and Cold Song did it in a single bound, with psychological depth, intellectual sophistication, pitch-perfect characterisation of Sherlock in particular. This was the story I always wanted, and I had to come into fandom to find it.

15 Snapshots of John Watson, Sexual Submissive by anon (kinkmeme fill)
Rating: R. Wordcount: fills 2 LJ comments. Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: None, as it’s a fill. The line ‘He suspects he also likes feeling small and safe and saved, but there's not really a long line of charming princes clamouring to save him.’ gives you a good idea about the fic.
Penny Squee: This is a touching, honest and realistic look at what it’s like to come slowly and awkwardly to terms with your submissive sexuality. Although it’s written in just 15 bullet points, the emotional scope of the writing is far larger than that implies. A fic which deserves much better than to languish in the depths of the kinkememe forever, but if it’s been cleaned up and reposted anywhere I haven’t found it.

*If I Fell by thedeadparrot
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount:4080. Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: Sherlock knows that John sleeps with men. That much is obvious. What Sherlock doesn't know is whether or not John likes to fuck them or be fucked or if he likes to pull hair or leave teethmarks or if he likes being on his knees or if he likes forcing people onto their backs. Sherlock doesn't know if John wants to fuck Sherlock, of all people.
Penny Squee: This one is widely recced, but that’s because it’s such a little classic. Sherlock is a sub, dom!John works it out and they’re happy together. What more could you want?
Less well-known than the original but also worth reading is the Companion piece from John's POV by saathi1013.

*I Know What You Like by lotherington
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount:1701. Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: In the wake of The Woman, Sherlock has questions. John has answers.
Penny Squee: John and Sherlock get together and start doing kink after A Scandal in Belgravia. There is surprisingly little post-S2 BDSM, and quite a bit of it is angsty, but this is just sweet and hot and fulfilling.

Unspoken Lies series by kijakazibibi
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount: 25,833 across five fics. Pairing: John/OMC, Sherlock/unnamed pro-domme who is not Irene, building towards John/Sherlock but not there yet
Summary: This thing tonight, it just happens sometimes. It’s just a need. It comes upon him and he takes care of it and it’s over. He’s not ashamed of it, but he doesn’t talk about it, tries not to think about it much when he’s not feeling that way. The way one doesn’t think about being thirsty when one isn’t. It’s always been that way. [Penny’s note: John wants a shag]
Penny Squee: This unfinished series is languishing in triple-figure-readership obscurity, on AO3 at any rate. One reason is probably the presence of an OMC called Ben who looks like Sherlock and shags John, but that’s a red herring – there’s nothing in here to squick you if you avoid RPF (as I do).
Top of the list of my reasons for shining a light on it is the caning scene in part 4, which is one of the best snapshots of cathartic – as opposed to sensual – BDSM I’ve read. It really captures the transformative properties of endurance (Sherlock pov: ‘This awfulness is so good. Like the drugs. Like facing down a killer. Like being with John.’) And then there are the many cleverly sketched scenes of awkward masculinity in the story that made me suspect the author of being a penis owner-driver until I saw her using a female pronoun of herself in the comments (not that this is entirely conclusive). You really feel that this is how men behave with each other, or at least I did.
I don’t know if this will ever be finished, and in a way it’s just a set of fragments, but it’s more than the sum of its parts.

*Accessories series by shouldbeover
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount:7357. Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: John and Sherlock wear accessories with hidden uses.
Penny Squee: This is a sweet and gentle learning-about-BDSM-together series. It’s done with a delicate touch that foregoes long paragraphs of description about why the characters enjoy – and need – what they’re doing. They just clearly do. This lack of explanation only strengthens the credibility of the scenario, and brings a pleasant lightness to the narrative.
I have one reservation about this series in that I can never take the nickname ‘Lock seriously, but YMMV for that.

Kingdom Animalia series by etothepii
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount:25,363 in two fics. Pairing: Sherlock/Moriarty.
Summary: "I could always let him go," Moriarty says, face darkening -- still sore about Sherlock's rejection of his 'Jim from IT' persona, Sherlock notices with a spark of interest and, yes, he can use that. "For a price."
Penny Squee: I’m not a big reader of this pairing as I find canon Moriarty too much a collection of cliches, but this fic is a nuanced look at the psychology of edgeplay and intense BDSM. Nominally a BDSM AU, the focus is very much on the dynamics of the one central relationship, in which Sherlock is a sub who’s more than able to assert himself to get what he wants. The paradox of excitement through fear, the limits of consent play and the shifting location of power in D/s dynamics all get a look in.

These Days You Don’t Know How to March by cranberryloops
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount:10,341. Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: It's not easy to be Sherlock's. Saved. Owned. Loved. These aren't words John ever thought to associate with himself.
Penny Squee: This is one of my favourite BDSM fics in the fandom. It has a compelling, sharp, sadistic and entirely believable dom!Sherlock as well as the stolid, devoted but cripplingly repressed sub!John from whose POV the story, which is essentially about their developing relationship with a couple of well-structured parallel action plots, is told. Both characters are touchingly, realistically and blokishly inarticulate on a verbal level and for most of the fic they stay that way. Neither is miraculously healed of the pains of life, but they do get better at dealing with them. It's a deep and subtle story, and I think I've got about 1% of it into this summary. Go read.

That Tired Old Metaphor, Alchemy by anactoria
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount:10,145. Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: I want this, all of it. I want to dissect you and know all of you; I want to caress the dark and ugly parts just like the red muscle of your heart; I’ll hold them in my hands and wonder at them, because they are so much rarer than mundane goodness. So much more interesting, and that’s why you can’t let anyone else have them, only me.
Penny Squee: This is intricate and delicate and at the same time packs a heavy-duty punch. Sherlock finds balance and meaning through subbing to John; through the medium of an intense real-time bloodplay scene and cumulative flashbacks we see how their relationship coalesced and developed into something so mutually vital.

Like You Hate Me and its sequel Dig It Up, Tear It Down by quamquam20
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount:2,411 and 5,856. Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: John cannot stop thinking about Sherlock making him helpless, controlling him, doing what he wants with him. Sherlock, quite aware, wants to see how long it will take before John throws himself at him.
Penny Squee: The premise of the fics is pretty simple: John is longing to sub to Sherlock, and he spends the first fic fantasizing about it and the second fic getting to do it. In a way this is PWP, except it really isn’t, because of the relationship development that occurs during and through the extremely hot kinky sex.
The stories are from John’s POV but Sherlock’s pleasure comes through clearly in quamquam’s description of his behaviour. And the lot of it is hot, hot, hot.


Hell in a Greek Myth by anon
Rating: PG. Wordcount: 6 LJ Comments Pairing: Sherlock/John
Summary: None. The prompt is 'A depressed Sherlock is given meds to help stabilise his moods.'
Penny Squee: This is my personal favourite out of everything I’ve found on the kinkmeme. The topic of Sherlock and depression can sometimes tempt people to overwrite, but this is a beautifully spare and unsentimental plumbing of the depths followed by a similar return to life. The fic asks what is wrong with Sherlock and whether it needs fixing, and answers the question in the most realistic and open-ended (the two qualities are probably connected!) way I’ve ever seen.
This story is in the second person, which I normally dislike, but it’s handled so gracefully here that I love it. It doesn’t seem likely for a years-old meme fill, but I’d love to see this cleaned up and reposted, and to be able to read the author’s other work.
(NB: Be careful to read in the right order. Part 1/6 appears lower on the page than Part 2.)

Consequentialism by Iamshadow
Rating: Teen. Wordcount:3,080. Pairing: John and Sherlock friendship
Summary: John decides to take things into his own hands, so to speak.
Penny Squee: This is a completely unsentimental self-harm fic. John comes back from the war, feeling useless and broken. He develops his own ideas about the best forms of therapy for this.
As one of Consequentialism’s AO3 tags reads, ‘You can be fucked up without being a woobie’. Author, POV character and third party – no prizes for guessing that’s Sherlock – just look at the subject and its functions straight on. One of those pieces of writing that help you understand just a little bit more about how people get through life.


An Experiment of Sorts by toestastegood
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount: 17,868. Pairing: John/Sherlock non-con
Summary: Faced with a case where a rape victim murdered his attacker, Sherlock finds himself without the required knowledge to solve the crime. He performs an experiment on John, the most suitable subject - but the fall-out is far more shattering than he could have anticipated.
Penny Squee: This is a tragic and psychologically convincing tale of a sociopathic Sherlock who rapes John and only afterwards begins to understand what he's done. And there are no easy answers, for anyone.

*L9A1, Thirteen Rounds by dltoro
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount: 17,868. Pairing: John/Sherlock
Summary: Today is the day that Sherlock Holmes hits zero.
Penny Squee: I have a pink, fluffy place in my heart for utterly bleak fic where character(s) top themselves. But it has to be relentlessly, clinically dark, rather than plushly angsty. dltoro does an excellent job of producing a sentimentality-free Sherlock POV. John dies. Sherlock offs himself. The end.

Marvellous Misc

Black Hole by unsentimentalalf
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount: 41,000. Pairing: Sherlock/Lestrade.
Summary: John finds out something about his flatmate that he really didn't want to know.
Penny Squee: This is an interesting, non-standard, itchy series. Each fic, by the author's account, takes a couple of elements from the previous one rather than following on smoothly. And I really like some of the angles it takes. There's an exploration of homophobia from a straight John towards a gay and pining but nevertheless infuriating tosspot Sherlock. There's dub-con sadism from Sherlock, and a tough-but-fair Sally, and some great dry humour. Read this if you're bored of the same old takes on the same old things.

*Stranger at the Gate by bendingsignpost
Rating: R. Wordcount: 85,190. Pairing: Sherlock/John.
Summary: As far as initiation rites go, kidnapping a human doctor from a defended town ought to seem extreme. When James Moriarty offers him the challenge, Sherlock never considers saying no. (Fantasy vampire AU)
Penny Squee: I'm not big on vampire AUs or super-long fics, but this fic is as tightly-plotted as a novel, and as rich in world-building. The fandom elements are woven seamlessly in with the original material, and vampire!Sherlock is about as far from sparkly stalker hell as you can get. (He does make such a good vampire, in careful hands.) The tension just kept building and I had to read the last four chapters in a sitting.

The Violet Hour by breathedout
Rating: NC-17. Wordcount: 58,450 and counting. Pairing: John/Sherlock. I also personally think this fic should be described as Sherlockworld/Bloomsbury, in the brain!
Summary: In 1920, two years after the end of the Great War, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson investigate two disappearances, eerily similar but separated by 80 years. In the process, they make enemies (and friends) of Bloomsbury intellectuals; travel to Sussex; deal with the aftermath of John's past in the trenches; read Victorian pornography; drink copious amounts of tea; and, of course, fall in love.
Penny Squee: This is a wonderfully distinctive and thoroughly realised historical fic, and breathedout is surely the literate sexuality geek’s literate sexuality geek. The Bloomsbury set are meticulously characterised, and Sherlock and Watson recreated perfectly as inter-war versions of themselves. The John-Sherlock getting together part of the fic is sufficiently well done that it had me cheering for them as earnestly as if I’d never seen that storyline done before.

Intersections by mazaher and jns with graphics by athens7
Rating: not rated. Wordcount: about 10,000 (no precise count) Pairing: John/Sherlock.
Summary: The hiatus years, seen through the eyes of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes.
Penny Squee: This is an illustrated prose poem which follows Sherlock through his Reichenbach quest and back to John, weaving in Mycroft. 'Beautiful' is the best single word for it, followed by 'complex'. The opening pic of London as splintered glass sets the tone for this. Cliches are remade by the changing of a word – utter certainty being at the bottom of *lungs* for example – into something which has the power of the original phrase (images become cliche for a reason) plus a whole new perspective. The fic continues to unfold in the mind for a long time after reading.
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