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Title: The Captain's Widow
Fandom: ACD Sherlock Holmes
Rating: G
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, John Watson
Length: 510
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes JWP 2015 Prompt #15: That Old Saying. I had two different ideas, and the day off, so I decided to write them both! Unbeta'd.
Summary: A much-needed lesson on the proper treatment of the fairer sex.

On the way home, Watson took Holmes to task. "I say, Holmes, you really must learn some delicacy when dealing with the fairer sex, particularly those in deep mourning. The way that you grabbed that woman's hand with no warning, it's no wonder she fainted dead away."

Holmes inspected him from across the carriage. "I have found you an excellent judge of men's character," he said.

Watson nodded graciously, pleased at the compliment.

"However," Holmes continued, "your good sense seems to desert you entirely when the subject of your observations is a woman. You allow your prejudices to blind you to the facts. A wealthy husband away at sea for ten months out of the year, leaving his wife free to enjoy the diverse pleasures of the city? An ideal situation for an attractive young woman. However, when that husband is invalided home, in need of constant care, her situation has become far less desirable. And so Mrs Lewis took steps to alter her circumstances."

"Surely not, Holmes," Watson said, recalling the delicate young woman wearing widow's weeds, calling for tea in a voice rough with tears, barely able to make eye contact with the policemen in her home. "That poor thing wouldn't say boo to a goose."

"Perhaps not, but she was capable of plotting Captain Lewis's murder. The wedding band that she claims was cruelly ripped from her hand by the brute that killed her husband left no mark on her flesh. After six years of marriage, the only possible conclusion is that she never wore the ring when her husband was away at sea. It, along with the other items that were stolen from the household last night, would provide her with financial independence from her brother-in-law, once he inherits the estate."

"Excellent work, Holmes. I never would have thought to check her hands."

Holmes smiled slightly, the praise expected but welcome.

"A terrible thing, that a captain should survive wounds sustained in Her Majesty's service, only to be murdered in his bed by his own wife. However, I cannot imagine that she carried out the deed herself," Watson said uncertainly, unable to associate the violence of the act with the petite beauty they had met today.

"No, it was her lover who carried out the plan. I'm certain she was far from discreet in her assignations. Any servant of the Lewis household should be able to give us a description of him, perhaps even a name. We only need find one who bears more loyalty to the dead captain than to his living widow; enough so as to overlook the effect such a scandal might have on their prospects. The butler, perhaps? He's old enough to have been employed long before the captain's marriage."

Watson shook his head. "I think we ought to start in the stables. I can't see her riding to hounds."

Holmes nodded. "A fine suggestion, Watson. We shall begin our interviews there tomorrow." With that he settled back into his seat, eyes distant as he considered the case.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2015 01:09 am (UTC)
A very convincing scene. I do like the way they work as partners.
Jul. 16th, 2015 04:43 am (UTC)
Thank you, laurose8! I enjoy writing the give and take between them.
Jul. 16th, 2015 03:20 am (UTC)
I love that you got your goose into the fic through the adage. Well played. :D
Jul. 16th, 2015 04:46 am (UTC)
I did some research, and the adage was in common use in England from at least the 1870's onwards. It was originally saying 'Bo!' to a goose, but I think a bit of translation for modern audience is acceptable.

Yes, I may have had a bit too much time on my hands today. ;-)

Thanks for the comment, monkeybard!
Jul. 16th, 2015 05:53 am (UTC)
"A terrible thing, that a captain should survive wounds sustained in Her Majesty's service, only to be murdered in his bed by his own wife."
- Yeah, you and Agamemnon, dude.

Edited at 2015-07-16 05:53 am (UTC)
Jul. 16th, 2015 06:06 am (UTC)
*laughs* All the best tragedies were lyricized by the Greeks!
Jul. 20th, 2015 05:58 am (UTC)
Yay! You used one of my favorite adages - and it has a goose in it too. :-) I like the interplay between Holmes and Watson in this.
Jul. 20th, 2015 10:35 pm (UTC)
But of course it has a goose in it! Its tricky, switching to Victorian-era speech patterns for a short piece, but its worth it to get a chance to write about Sherlock and John as Holmes and Watson.

Thanks for the comment!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )