Fandom: Sherlock Holmes
Warnings: Pure crack. And an octopus.
Disclaimer: Not mine, although actually in the public domain. No profit is intended.
Summary: An encounter at the Cornish shore changes Holmes and Watson’s lives forever.
Author’s Note: Written in honor of Cephalopod Awareness Day and the Holmesslash Yahoo Group’s… er… fascination with cephalopods. This may be one of the strangest things I’ve written, as I’ve managed to combine Watson angst and an octopus POV.
Oh, and I blame elena_c for encouraging me to write a cephalopod fic.
This takes place immediately following the end of “The Adventures of the Devil’s Foot”.
The Giant Octopus swam into a new territory, neither knowing nor caring that he was in Poldhu Bay, at the further extremity of the Cornish peninsula. While this was not his usual octopus habitat, he was nonetheless content. He swam in and out of the reefs, investigating the sunken ships, and enjoying the abundance of food.
He had been swimming around by himself for a while, finding new seas and new reefs and new places. It was a good life but, he had to admit, a lonely one. Sadly, it had been a long time since he had seen any other octopuses, or really anyone with tentacles at all. Sighing slightly and releasing a bit of ink, he changed color and looked up at the shore.
‘I have never loved, Watson.’ His words spun round and round in my head. I walked along the cliffs, following Holmes blindly. While I had never expected him to return my unnatural affection, I was surprisingly devastated now that I was so utterly rejected.
‘I have never loved, Watson.’ I would have to be careful, so that he would never know of my devotion, my loyalty, my love, my lust. Dear Lord, he must never know! Part of me was relieved, but a small part, the part that had never given up hope, wanted to grab him and shake him and demand to know ‘Why? Why wasn’t I good enough? Why would he never love me?’
“Watson,” Holmes said in a concerned tone, his hand on my arm. I started.
“Are you all right?” he asked me.
“Of course,” I lied. “Why do you ask?”
“Because I’ve been trying to get your attention for the past few minutes.”
“Sorry,” I said, trying desperately to gather myself together. “What do you want?”
“Watson,” Holmes said, looking me straight in the eyes, “what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I said, squirming slightly and looking away from his beautiful, intense grey stare.
“Surely you don’t disagree with my decision regarding the lion-hunter?” he asked.
“Of course not, Holmes,” I said hastily. “I would likely have done the same as he.”
“Then whatever is the matter?” he asked, his tone insistent.
‘I have never loved, Watson.’ The words echoed through my head. I looked at him, his hand still on my arm, his long, delicate fingers gripping me tightly, his eyes shining brightly. ‘He’ll never love me,’ I thought. I, who had been able to overcome the effects of the Devil’s-foot root because of my love for Holmes, knew he would never return it. I suddenly felt strangely faint.
“Nothing is wrong,” I said harshly.
“Stop Holmes,” I demanded in a angry tone. “Aren’t I entitled to some privacy, at least in my thoughts?”
He yanked his hand from me as if scalded. “Of course,” he said in an uncertain voice.
I had to get away. “Just give me a few moments,” I said, striding off, heading down the cliffs and walking toward the sea. I could feel the intensity of his stare as he watched me leave.
The Giant Octopus was amazed to see a two-headed creature with eight tentacles on the land. But then the creature separated and became two, each with one head but only half the proper number of tentacles. The Giant Octopus watched in shock as one of the creatures drew close.
I knew I had just made a huge mistake. Holmes would be curious, and a curious Holmes is a determined Holmes. And he would be worried, that is if he cared at all. Yet I knew I was being unfair. He was obviously concerned, and it was my own unnatural tendencies that had caused the problem.
‘I have never loved, Watson.’ I wanted to scream out in frustration, and longing, and anguish. Instead I stood on the shore, near the ragged rocks, and watched the stormy sea.
The Giant Octopus wondered if the creature with half the tentacles was from the area, and could tell him about it. So he reached out four of his tentacles, grabbed it, and pulled it into the water.
I’ll never know how it happened. One minute I was on the shore, the next strong, giant appendages grabbed me and I found myself completely submerged in the cold, salty water. I struggled, but found myself covered in a black inky substance and caught in a powerful hold.
There was no air. My lungs screamed out but there was only water. And darkness. My last conscious thought was one of regret; surely Holmes would surmise that my unnamed grief was so overwhelming that I took my own life. I wanted to laugh at the irony, for my grief was overwhelming. Perhaps this was for the best, for I don’t think I could have gone on living with Holmes and no hope. And then the darkness claimed me.
The Giant Octopus was surprised, again, for the half-tentacle creature seemed unwilling to communicate. It was squirmy and quite uncomfortable to hold. In fact, it was a little frightening, and he shot out his black ink in alarm. Then the creature stopped struggling and began to sink toward the bottom.
The Giant Octopus was quite put out, for he had gotten no information and was now forced to hold the creature so it didn’t fall. Then he noticed the other half-tentacle creature moving toward them rapidly. He thought he understood. The two creatures were really one, and should never have separated. Thus, he took the creature in his tentacles and threw it onto the shore and back toward its other half.
“For God’s sake, answer me!”
I slowly came back to myself. All I could feel was the wet, and the cold, and the rocks underneath me. And hands. Strong, thin hands. Holmes’ hands.
“Please, John. Please come back to me.”
I blinked and slowly opened my eyes. “Holmes,” I tried to say, but a wet cough erupted instead. He turned me over and held me as I expelled the water from my lungs.
“Holmes…” I tried again.
“Watson,” he said, clasping me to him and holding me tight. “I thought I had lost you.”
My throat was sore, my eyes burned, and I was in Holmes’ arms. But he still wasn’t mine. The combination of joy, disappointment, and sheer physical exhaustion threatened to overwhelm me, and I clutched at him in desperation.
“I couldn’t stand it if I lost you,” Holmes whispered, still holding me.
I looked at his face. His bright, shining eyes were wet with tears.
Maybe it was the emotion. Maybe the fatigue. Perhaps the near-death experience. But I said, without thinking, “Why? You have never loved.”
Holmes pulled back, startled, and then a light of understanding shone in eyes. He gently kissed my brow.
“I have never loved a woman, Watson,” he said, “but I have always loved you.”
He slowly brought his lips toward mine, giving me plenty of time to pull away. I surged toward him instead. Our lips met, our tongues entwined. I’m sure I tasted like salt, but he tasted like life.
We separated slowly, a gentle smile on his face. “Come, Watson,” he said, “let’s get you back to the house and out of these wet clothes.” He then blushed slightly at his unintended innuendo.
I grasped his face and kissed him once more, firmly. “Yes,” I said, agreeing to it all.
He helped me to stand, and we made our way back slowly to the house and to our new life.
The Giant Octopus watched the creature, whole again, as it departed from the shore, two of its tentacles now entwined. He changed color once more in contentment, and then swam out of the Bay and back into the open sea, in search of other octopuses.