A Study of Dragons and Bagginses (The Remix)
In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.
And in the Lonely Mountain, lived a dragon.
We know the way the story starts. We know the way the story ends. Or to be more precise, we know how the story should end.
It is easiest to suppose that a great hero killed the Dragon Sherlock Smaug the Magnificent and a lot neater to tie the story up in that way. The truth, however, is far stranger.
Sherlock Holmes cannot lose John Watson.
This is a fact. He has tried to deny this… sentiment. It will not serve him, it never has. To care, to allow himself to feel, these are useless, foolish things. It will not help The Work. It will not aid the workings of his intellect. It is simply a distraction.
To feel… to care… he knows all too well that this can only lead to pain. And contrary to popular opinion, Sherlock Holmes does not enjoy pain. If he could treat his body and his emotions as the transport he simply wants them to be, he would.
But he cannot. He knows the lie for what it is the moment he sees John Watson walk towards him, face carefully blank, speaking of terrible, inhuman deeds. In that one heart-stopping moment, he realized that he could not bear it if this one man, this person who had laughed and shared hearth and home with him and genuinely shown him friendship and care, was his own worst adversary.
But John was merely speaking Moriarty’s words and in the wake of that relief was the terror that he was now the man’s hostage, his life forfeit if Sherlock made one wrong move, spoke one careless word, made the worst possible choice.
So, Sherlock Holmes knew that he could not, would not, lose John Watson.
He would do anything and everything in his power to keep John alive.
This is an old tale, a central part of their story. He has done this before and he will do this again and again.
There is, however, one thing he failed to consider.
If pressed to admit it, the Dragon was bored. Sitting on a pile of treasure and going about collecting more can get boring and tedious after so many centuries. And there are just so many experiments an enterprising Dragon can make with gems and dragon fire and all that.
John Bilbo Watson Baggins was the most interesting creature he’d met in ages. Dwarves were mostly concerned about their love of delving into the deep, dark places of the world and creating beautiful things out of the mithril, gold and gems that they found. Elves were all about their trees and their songs and tales. Mortal men had short memories and short lives but with the most ridiculous propensity for making said short lives even shorter with their restless natures. But the promise of wealth could corrupt them all equally.
Sherlock Smaug was absolutely enthralled with how this little Hobbit managed to stop Men, Dwarves and Elves in their tracks and tried to bring about a sensible conclusion to what was going to be, a truly spectacular war over treasure. True, he wasn’t entirely successful but it was fascinating all the same. Far more wonderful than the hoard he’d managed to accumulate over the aeons.
Of course, Sherlock was not about to admit that. Far better to simply state that he was bored.
John Watson cannot lose Sherlock Holmes.
He’d barely met the man and yet already, John Watson has killed for him. He is both doctor and soldier and it’s odd, he knows, that he possesses the talent and skill for both healing and killing. But he will do what he must in order to save a life and John has done this many times on the battlefield.
John does not lose sleep over the death of the serial killer cabbie. He was, indeed, a very bad man and John has no compunction in ending the lives of very bad men. At that point in time, so early in their relationship, John might have said that it would have been a pity that a mind so brilliant as Sherlock’s would be lost to them all.
“You’re very loyal, very quickly,” John is told.
He would have said that isn’t the case and there is, of course, a certain truth to that. John barely knows Sherlock at this point.
And yet, there is a part of him that does, already, know Sherlock.
John cannot explain why, cannot explain this sense of familiarity with a man he’s just met. But they just fit, in a strange, odd way. Already, it is easy to laugh with him and even that awkward boyfriend-girlfriend conversation that they had, which would have embarrassed John to no end, is immediately brushed away as nothing.
(Even then, there is a part of him that is wistful when Sherlock tells him he is “married to his work.” John has always thought of himself solely interested in women but Sherlock seems to be the exception to a great many things…)
But this is where it begins, this first case that they work together, this “Study in Pink.” John will write this in his blog and he will move into 221B and he will find himself fitting in Sherlock’s life and Sherlock fitting into his own as if it had always been meant to be.
And John will make it his business to ensure that he will not lose Sherlock Holmes. He will do anything and everything in his power to keep him alive.
This is part of their tale - they have done this before.
John does not want to think of what will happen if he fails.
It was a cause of great comment in the neighborhood that Mr. Baggins came home not just with a fabulous treasure, but with a dragon in tow.
“He won’t eat us, will he?” was the general question. And it was most loudly asked by Bilbo’s obnoxious relatives, the Sackville-Bagginses.
Sherlock sniffed disdainfully. “I care little for the taste of hobbit. But perhaps for you I may make an exemption.”
The Sackville-Bagginses stopped visiting Bag End after that.
The thing to remember about Dragons was that they were fiendishly intelligent. And did not suffer fools lightly. Therefore, for the sake of the Shire and his neighbors and relatives (well, maybe the Sackville-Bagginses were the sole exemption), John Bilbo Watson Baggins found it a refreshing, continual challenge to keep his Dragon occupied.
One of Sherlock’s favorite pastimes was to deduce the life stories of Bilbo’s neighbors from observing, as he put it. Bilbo honestly found it amazing that he could tell, at a glance, if the Gaffer had stopped by at Widow Rumble’s for tea and her famous honey biscuits (again). Or if Lobelia was attempting to steal one of his silver spoons (again). And if Cousin Drogo had managed to sneak in a snog with Primula behind the Party Tree (again). He also always knew which of Bilbo’s many Took and Brandybuck cousins were stealing vegetables and mushrooms from the local farmers (as usual).
Naturally, the other Hobbits thought that it was some sort of uncanny dragon-magic. At first, most of them were wary of it. It was, however, singularly useful when they wanted a good bit of gossip and Hobbits so loved gossip, even though some of them would sniff and say, “It isn’t proper!”
Sherlock, however, was honestly indignant. It was not, he would say frostily, in that distinctive baritone, magic. It was the simple matter of observing things and using one’s eyes and senses as Eru had intended them to be used. And he’d rattle off a stream of things like the scent of tea and honey on the gaffer’s fingers (the Gaffer), Primula’s flushed cheeks and slightly swollen lips and Drogo’s mussed collar (the snogging) and the dirt on the fingernails of Bilbo’s Took and Brandybuck cousins plus several more interesting and overlooked details proving that he wasn’t guessing about their activities but was accurately telling them what was going on.
“Dear Valar, what is it like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring!” Sherlock exclaimed once in a fit of impatience, smoke rising ominously from his nostrils.
“You can be bored all you like. Just….try not to eat my neighbors. Even the Sackville-Bagginses. Well, maybe the Sackville-Bagginses…” Bilbo would tell him, adding that bit about his obnoxious Sackville-Baggins relatives a little bit too wistfully.
The Dragon did calm down when Bilbo put a gentle hand along his sides and happily put his head down for a scratch. Bilbo discovered that Sherlock rather liked being petted though he’d die before he’d admit to that.
“That’s amazing!” Bilbo had said, the first time Sherlock has shown off those deductive skills. And it was sincerely meant too.
The Dragon paused, looking slightly incredulous. “Is it?”
“Of course it was – that was rather extraordinary. Quite extraordinary!”
“That’s not what most folk normally say,” Sherlock said pensively.
“Well what do people normally say?”
Gandalf the Grey was nonplussed at the notion of his friend keeping company with a dragon, of all things. But this was Bilbo and there was that touch of Tookishness in him after all and it just reinforced his often-expressed opinion that “Hobbits are truly remarkable creatures.”
In the back of his mind, he was greatly concerned about the Ring that Bilbo had found and thought, quite privately, that perhaps it would be most beneficial to have a dragon protecting the Shire.
Sherlock was prepared to give the Wizard a piece of his mind about that, having cleverly deduced Gandalf’s thoughts on the matter. But Gandalf had the audacity to chuckle gently at him and raise those bushy brows in Bilbo’s direction and then a simple eloquent handwave that gestured at the peaceful, quiet place that was the Shire.
And the Dragon considered that it was in his best interest to assume some responsibility in protecting the Shire. It wouldn’t do to lose Bilbo after all - mortals were such fragile creatures.
Bilbo was quite fond of Balin and the Dwarf equally fond of the brave little Hobbit. So it was only fitting that Balin, enlisting the help of Gloin and the other survivors of the Quest of Erebor, helped him out by digging deeper into Bag End to create an entrance and chamber for one fussy, persnickety Dragon. Thus, while Sherlock opted to doze in the sunshine around the entrance of Bag End in fine weather, he now had his own hobbity-themed dragon hole for winter.
It was quite cozy, to say the least, having a Dragon for company during the Winter Months.
It was a novel experience, really, to be fussed over and cared for by a Hobbit, Sherlock reflected. John (to him, the Shire’s ‘Mad Baggins’ would always be ‘John’) was tea and biscuits and soft wooly jumpers and gentle scritches and exasperated scoldings when Sherlock managed to scare hobbitlings and mischievous tweens and obnoxious relatives trying to steal Bilbo’s good silver spoons. It was a life far, far different from lying on a bed of gold and gems in the Lonely Mountain.
Bilbo found that Dragons favored a nice pot of tea, sweet honey cakes and blueberry muffins.
Sherlock found that Hobbits were terribly fond of mushrooms and were as bad as dragons hoarding wealth when it came to acquiring said mushrooms.
Sherlock was the only one who called Bilbo by his never-used first name, “John.” Most people had forgotten it. Bilbo will never admit this, but he rather liked the sound of his name in the Dragon’s deep, resonant baritone, which was once described by one of his Tookish cousins as a “dragon hiding in a cello.” Whatever that meant.
Drogo and Primula Baggins, recently married, were two of Bilbo’s favorite relatives. It was Primula who actually went and knitted Sherlock a lovely navy blue dragon-sized scarf, fussing that “Sherlock needed something nice for Yule.” It looked perfect against his scarlet scales. Valar help them all, but Sherlock preened and wore that scarf as if it were made of the finest silk.
Sherlock was fast beginning to forget those years in the Lonely Mountain. Honestly, now that he looked back, they were positively boring. He could not understand how he withstood the boredom for so long.
Sherlock was not going to admit he felt lonely. Dragons were above such things.
Bilbo also learned that the best way to keep Dragons occupied were to present him with puzzles. And books. And mysteries and gossip around the neighborhood and generally speaking, Sherlock, for all his seeming arrogance and indifference to “trifles,” was terribly interested in the goings-on of the Shire. It was the Dragon, in fact, who’d deduced that the Sandymans who were responsible for the Widow Rumble’s missing apples.
“Bit of not good,” was Bilbo’s comment.
The Sandymans weren’t very popular in Hobbiton, mainly because of their general bad tempers and disagreeable natures.
Of course, common neighborhood mysteries were not going to keep certain inquisitive, nosy Dragons occupied for long.
It also wasn’t very long until Bilbo felt the restless stirrings from his Tookish heritage come over him once more. It scandalized the whole of Hobbiton that a formerly respectable Baggins would become so inclined to adventuring but at this point, Bilbo no longer cared what people thought. He’d had a glimpse of the wider world and his eyes were opened to a vast realm of knowledge that he knew would soon affect even the simple lives they led in the Shire.
John Bilbo Watson Baggins wanted to see the mountains again.
Gandalf, bless him, turned up just as Bilbo and Sherlock had decided to take a little trip. Really, they just meant to visit Balin and inquire about his doings. Bilbo had heard rumors that the Dwarf wanted to mount an expedition to retake the infamous Mines of Moria from the goblins that made their home there. However, Gandalf had come just in time to convince Bilbo and Sherlock that things would be more interesting if they went to Rivendell instead.
There were disturbances being reported around the realm where the Last Homely House was located. Disturbances that seemed to center around Elrond’s young fosterling, the boy named Estel. Estel was human, although any fool with a set of working eyes and ears to listen with could tell that he was one of the Dunedain. And Bilbo did not need Sherlock to tell him exactly what was so special about Estel that he’d be fostered with Elrond Half-Elven himself and not some other noble family of the Dunedain.
Gandalf suspected that there was more to the death of Arathorn, Chief of the Dunedain, than a simple orc ambush. But suspicions could only go so far and there were many other things that demanded the Wizard’s attention. Therefore, he turned to a certain Dragon and Hobbit who both had good noses for an investigation of this sort. And at this point, everyone who knew Bilbo and Sherlock was aware of how much Sherlock enjoyed a good mystery.
Sherlock was fair dancing with glee when he was told all about it. “Murder! Kidnappings! Oh this is wonderful! It’s like Yule has come early!”
Bilbo snorted. “You take an unholy delight in the strangest things. Almost indecent, that is.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes. “Never mind decency – the game, my dear John, is afoot!”
Naturally, Bilbo followed him.
John Watson thinks that it all ends that fateful day when he sees Sherlock jump from the roof of St. Bart’s.
Sherlock knows that it is only the beginning.
Sherlock will spend the better part of almost two years destroying Moriarty’s carefully crafted web, removing any threat to John, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade. But most of this is for John, because Moriarty, damn him, has had the right of it when he threatened to burn out Sherlock’s heart.
John will spend the better part of almost two years working to clear Sherlock’s good name. He cannot bring his friend
back to life but this, this last thing, he can do and he will not fail in this duty. And perhaps, when he is done, John will find Sherlock again.
Sherlock only hopes and prays that John is alive and well when he finally returns. He will take John’s hatred, he will take his anger, he will accept the possibility of his friend
never forgiving him. He might even find John having moved on with his life, married perhaps and Sherlock might call her boring and insipid but he only hopes that his friend will find a wife who would be as kind and as loving and as brave as John himself. John deserves all that and more.
The other possibility is what he wants - that John will be waiting for him in 221B, that they will be able to take up their life as before. Sherlock clings to that, however foolish it is in the extreme, however unlikely. This is home, this is his heart and he will go to the very ends of the earth itself to protect this.
But he needs this to be here and safe when he comes back.
And when Sherlock returns, he does not expect to be welcomed by an empty house.
They’ve done this before, the two of them. There is no place that Sherlock Holmes can go that John Watson will not follow. There is no place, not even a lifetime past or one that has never happened, where Sherlock cannot find John. They cannot lose each other. They cannot live without the other. This is how they have been from the very moment they first met, ages and several lifetimes past.
This is how it begins.
Note the First: This is a remix of two of my very first works in the Sherlock fandom. It was supposed to be funny, lighthearted and short. Instead, I get EPIC. And Crazy. And MORE CRACK than I can deal with. And EPIC.
Did I mention EPIC?
*hits head on desk repeatedly*
Note the Second: Yeah. I’ll get around to doing more of this soon. Gimme a while to wring the necks of my two crack-addicted Sherlock and John Muses…. I mean, srsly, F.M.L.
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