Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Title: A Personal Monograph on the Identification of Animal Totems
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Length: 520 words
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Magical realism AU, written for the watsons_woes July Writing Prompt #2: Animals, Animals, Animals. Unbeta'd. Spoilers for the Season 1 finale, 'The Great Game'.
Summary: Some individuals are adept at hiding their true nature. John Watson is one of them.

The identification of the animal totems of suspects is an essential part of my work. Modern-day superstition has encouraged people to keep their totem private, and has cloaked its reveal in all manner of romantic, mystical nonsense. Yet I maintain that any individual's totem may be discovered through the simple process of deduction.

One must observe a subject over time, carefully differentiating between the socialized behaviors that allow humans to live together, and the natural, instinctive responses that belong to their totem. Some are, of course, more adept at hiding their true nature than others.

For example, last month John came home after one of his 'dates', upset that she had guessed he was a rabbit.

"Because you're cuddly, kind, and randy?" I ventured, not bothering to hide my amusement.

He stomped up the stairs to his room. I've no idea why he was so distressed by the success of his disguise, for disguise it is. The first time I met John, I recognized he was a predator, yet I've still not managed to pin down his totem.

Lestrade assumes that John is a canine, as are the majority of law enforcement and military personnel. But Sally Donovan, closer to her wolf totem than most, will no more accept John into her pack than she would a feline such as me. John is eager on the hunt, but still, a stalk-and-ambush killer, unlike the yappy detectives of New Scotland Yard.

John is fiercely loyal, but only to me. Not to the police, and not to Mycroft. No matter how skillfully my brother wields dominance over pack as well as his own pride, John is unaffected.

John's totem certainly isn't feline. I've never felt his presence as an invasion of my territory, as I do Mycroft's. I've not seen him enter a heat or rut cycle. He dates, frequently and rather indiscriminately, asking out women of a variety of mammalian totems, but returns to my side whenever I need him.

John is determined to provide me with food and protection, but it doesn't appear to be part of any totem-driven courtship ritual, which is a relief. Outside of my own semi-annual heats, during which time I judiciously self-medicate, I am supremely disinterested in such matters. (And should anyone be SNOOPING, no, Mycroft, you don't need to put any of your contingency plans into effect. A triple dose of Piriton antihistamines works as well now as it did when I was fourteen.)

I recognize my own prey drive, which leads me to personally confront the criminals I've tracked down, to watch them try to run, to give chase, to catch them, toy with them, and force a confession. John feels something similar, I think. It's not just a need for adrenaline and danger that motivates him – there's a delightful blood thirst hidden under John's strong moral principles.

It's not until I see John, draped in Semtex, grab Moriarty around the neck and snarl at me to run, that I finally recognize his totem. Nēvalā. My John was born to dance with the deadliest of enemies. A mongoose does not fear the serpent's venom.

Continued in The Path of the Clouded Leopard


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:57 am (UTC)
Amazing idea...you had me guessing and wondering all along. I never would have guessed but mongoose is perfect.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 01:27 am (UTC)
*smiles* I'm delighted that I kept you guessing. Thanks for the feedback, galwithglasses!
Jul. 3rd, 2014 01:09 am (UTC)
Ohhh, this was delightful! That line, "My John was born to dance with the deadliest of enemies" made me want to dance myself. Plus a mongoose is a perfect totem for John.

(And also, now that I did a quick wiki for mongeese, the fact that they giggle as part of their courtship combined with that scene in Ep 1 -- "we can't laugh; it's a crime scene" makes me snerk. :D )
Jul. 3rd, 2014 01:28 am (UTC)
Yes, giggling is a courtship behaviour for the mongoose. And Sherlock doesn't realize...

Thank you for the comment, pompey01!
Jul. 3rd, 2014 04:25 am (UTC)
This is fantastic! I can totally see John as a mongoose. And now I've got an urge to go re-read Rikki-tikki-tavi...
Jul. 3rd, 2014 04:55 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, methylviolet10b! Nag is dead!
Jul. 3rd, 2014 05:25 am (UTC)
Mongooses: Small, wiry, cute - and utterly fearless in the face of the enemy. Spot on.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 05:50 am (UTC)
It suits John to a T! Thanks, gardnerhill.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 06:32 pm (UTC)
Mongoose, sure. Or honey badger.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 07:14 pm (UTC)
The honey badger also hunts and eats snakes! Thanks for the comment, captain!
Jul. 3rd, 2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
That's so strangely accurate. And I love magical realism AU!
Jul. 3rd, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC)
Why thank you. Me too!
Jul. 4th, 2014 05:16 am (UTC)
Wow. Very cool. I would be interested to read more about this universe.
Jul. 4th, 2014 06:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'll see if any of the July writing prompts match up with this AU.
Jul. 4th, 2014 08:03 am (UTC)
Very Cool!

It blows my mind that you can come up with such an amazing idea AND execute it in one day. Bravo!
Jul. 4th, 2014 08:19 am (UTC)
*preens* I admit that I cheated a bit - I had the day off! Thank you for the comment.
Jul. 8th, 2014 03:31 pm (UTC)
Cute. For a time, I thought John was some bird of prey...
Jul. 9th, 2014 07:03 am (UTC)
*nods* I could buy that!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )