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Title: The Mind Palace on the Wall
Fandom: I'd say this story fits multiple incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, from ACD to BBC.
Characters: Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock Holmes
Length: 221b
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes July Writing Prompt #24: Self Portrait by Horace Vernet. Unbeta'd.
Summary: A self-portrait is an exercise in self-expression and metaphor. Not exactly Sherlock's strong suits.

After a twenty minute search, Mycroft finally found his brother glaring up at Vernet's 'Self-Portrait' where it hung in the upper hall.

"It's wrong," said Sherlock.

Mycroft stood beside his brother, placed a hand on his shoulder in case he should try to run off again, and studied the painting. "What's wrong with it?"

"The room's full of dust, and the stove he's leaning on would be sooty. How could those white trousers stay so clean?"

Mycroft nodded. "A fine observation, but remember, Sherlock, this isn't a photograph; it's a self-portrait. Our great-grand-uncle painted this as an exercise in self-expression and metaphor. The fact he remains untouched by his filthy surroundings was a rather daring political statement. What else do you think he was expressing?"

"The drum, the pistols, the sword and dagger – they have to do with war."

"Yes. And?"

"He wasn't a soldier, though. Not with that haircut, not standing like that. Maybe they belong to someone else, another man? But why would he put someone else in his self-portrait, and then not even show him?"

"Perhaps he lost his soldier in the war," Mycroft suggested.

Mycroft felt Sherlock's shoulder tense for a moment before he pulled away and dashed down the stairs.

Mycroft sighed and reminded himself that, for all his intellect, Sherlock Holmes was just a boy.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC)
Oo, I like this! It's subtle and clever, and you're right that it would work for multiple 'verses. Really well done!
Jul. 25th, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
Thank so much, monkeybard!
Jul. 25th, 2013 05:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, really nice touches! Thank you!
Jul. 25th, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC)
I'm really pleased you think so, Rhi.
Jul. 25th, 2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
Oooh wow, yes, very nice! And Watson's definitely there in the shadows of this story. :-)
Jul. 25th, 2013 08:28 pm (UTC)
Oh good, you see him there as well. Thank you, methyl! (BTW, is your interest in Gram stains personal or professional? I keep wondering.)
Jul. 26th, 2013 05:36 am (UTC)
Actually, neither; its equally useful applications in medicine and forensics appealed to me. In the 1880s and 1890s, it was a chemical both Holmes and Watson would likely use, and in the doctor's case, carry; Watson as a disinfectant/antiseptic (gentian violet), and Holmes when working on his chemistry experiments (and fingerprints). ;-)
Jul. 26th, 2013 06:08 am (UTC)
Fascinating! Now, see, I never knew, waking up this morning, that I'd learn something so interesting. Thank you!
Jul. 27th, 2013 02:09 am (UTC)
Delighted you found it so - you're very welcome!
Jul. 25th, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
Love the minutiae. Transparent writing. Great!
Jul. 25th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
I imagine that Sherlock and Mycroft would both approach works of art in that way. I had to look up transparent writing - thank you, what a lovely compliment!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )