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Four at the Thousand Faces (Sherlock)

Title: Four at the Thousand Faces
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: These universes do not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: John, Sherlock, Lestrade, and Mycroft are heroes, whether they realize it or not. And there is a certain journey that all heroes are entitled to make.
Historian's Note: This takes place after the Sherlock episode "The Great Game."
Author's Note: This story is offered in memory of Edward Hardwicke and with apologies to Joseph Campbell. Bracketed numbers in the text correspond to endnotes that identify the various references made.

Four at the Thousand FacesCollapse )


( 111 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 11th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
I... don't know what to say (in a good way!). I loved the whole of it, dearly and fiercely, because it's so well-written it reads like a dream from beginning to end, or like tight-rope walking, and the encounters they all make are so logical and insane and heart-warming and make so much sense :o) The Granada reunion got me a bit choked-up, I must admit, and it's due in no small way to how well the whole story's written. The style is elegant and flowing, each description and detail perfect for the characters :o)

If it wasn't for Simon, this would get me shipping Kaylee/Lestrade right away :D

I half-expected our DI - since he sees a pub (brilliant and funny :o) - to meet with the Manc Lion and his deputies (are you familiar with Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes?), or Sam Vimes from the Discworld series (so many possibilities!!) but since the point is to make one feel better and more at peace with oneself, Qui-Gon Jin was perfectly suited for the role; I would never have guessed the similarities between the two characters, yet here they are, and it's great to read :o)

Thank you for writing this, and writing it so well. It's been a funny notion of mine since I was 9 that the characters we love had a way of meeting each other in a way that had nothing to do with us readers/viewers/fans when we close the book/switch off the TV, and it hasn't changed that much in 20 years - it's good to read something so well-written with the same premise :o]
Jun. 11th, 2011 01:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for your kind feedback! I truly appreciate it. I'm so glad the encounters make sense and seem to have a logic to them (as well as insanity, admittedly). It means a lot to know the Granada reunion was moving. This was a love letter by me in many ways, not least of which to the Brett-Hardwicke era.

I couldn't resist Kaylee and Lestrade - she appreciates men too much, and he's too much in need of appreciation - but I definitely see her with Simon despite it all. That's a perfect match. Of course, Simon may wonder why, all of a sudden, she has all of these questions about the men in his family and the likelihood of premature greying... LOL!

I loved your point about the Manc Lion and/or Sam Vimes. You're so right: either of those would've been perfect! (Maybe Lestrade's next visit? Ha!) It thrills me, though, that you found it convincing that Lestrade has something in common with Qui-Gon Jinn. (I'll confess that, after the Granada reunion, the second reason I wrote this whole thing was to get Jinn together with Lestrade. I don't know anyone who could make the distinction between a career and a calling like Qui-Gon would.)

Thank you so much for reading this. I was in a particularly nostalgic and sentimental mood, and after it all came together, I really questioned whether anyone but me would care that these particular characters might meet or commiserate. It's incredibly moving to me that you've long loved the idea that the characters live on and interact independent of us. That's it exactly. It's wonderful to share this with people who also love the idea.

I'm grateful for you taking the time both to read this and to leave such helpful and heartening comments. Thank you!
(no subject) - litlover12 - Jun. 21st, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - Jun. 22nd, 2011 12:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 11th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)
I read this and I'm bad at leaving comments, but I wanted to tell you that this was awesome! All my favorites (I'm a major Sherlock fan). Best part was when Antigone touched a special on each of the four. :) You put a lot of work into this and it paid off. WELL DONE!
Jun. 12th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
Thank you for your wonderful feedback! I appreciate it so much. I'm very glad you liked this, and I'm especially pleased that the way Antigone personalized her touch for each of the four seemed right. Thanks again!
Jun. 11th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
Everything about this story is perfect. And the bit with the original Holmes and Watson made me tear up. Love it.
Jun. 12th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
Oh, you've made me so happy! Thank you so much for reading and for commenting. I'm really glad the story worked for you, and I'm so pleased that you found the reunion between the original Holmes and Watson to be moving. I appreciate your kind words very much.
Jun. 12th, 2011 01:29 am (UTC)
This story is so much fun and, yet, it's surprisingly moving and poignant as well. I have to confess that I got a bit teary when the Edward Hardwicke's version of Watson appeared and the Jeremy Brett version of Holmes was there to greet him. Of course, it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces. And you did such a good job of placing each of our Sherlock characters with the appropriate people. I really got a kick out of spy table buying Mycroft a dessert and I just loved that umbrella salute Mycroft shared with John Steed. The same goes for that passionate kiss between Kaylee and Lestrade. I mean, seriously. Who wouldn't want to jump him? *g*
Jun. 12th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you liked it! It makes me so happy that you found it to be poignant and moving as well as fun. Thank you for your kind words. :)

I was hoping the Hardwicke-Brett reunion would strike the right note. I'm particularly pleased you liked how I paired the characters. The umbrella salute with Steed and Mycroft was a favorite moment of mine, as was the kiss (Kaylee has excellent taste!), so it tickles me that you liked them, too.

I really appreciate your reading this and leaving such lovely feedback. It's so helpful to know what worked for you. Thank you, my friend!
Jun. 12th, 2011 10:49 am (UTC)
okay, when you mentioned Ellie and Lee I was like *squeak* (ellie<3) then when Hedwig showed up I cried a little.
Jun. 12th, 2011 11:54 am (UTC)
Aw, I'm so glad you liked my reference to Ellie and Lee! Hedwig had to have her own special moment. She's so fantastic.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it!
Jun. 17th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is just so gorgeous. *tears in eyes* Everything. That first description of the four men was flawless, and from there it only got better.

The reuinion between Holmes and Watson was simply beautiful. "As I'd predicted, I was lost without my -" GUH. Thank you so much for slipping that wonderful little moment in.

I loved all the pairings you made between characters (Lestrade and Qui-Gon Jinn - I didn't realise I needed it until today!), I loved every conversation, every comparison, every clash of universes (the meta-ness of Sherlock hearing Spock quoting Star Trek quoting ACD canon blew my brain).

The part near the end when they got Sorted made me grin the biggest though. I need to read some Sherlock/Luna interaction, it would be amazing, and special mention to Mycroft's "I for one am gratified by the opportunity to represent the few and the remarkable." :D

This is more than just a beautiful, fun, charming, magical meta-fic. This is a celebration of fandom, a celebration of those people who, regardless of their real-ness or imaginary-ness, touch souls and inspire people and make both their own world and ours a little brighter. And if they can inspire us, why shouldn't they inspire each other as well?
Jun. 17th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
You have no idea how much joy your kind words have given me. Thank you!

It means a lot to know that the descriptions/characterizations of the four seem right to you, as well as the comparisons I tried to draw between them and others. I'm just so very, very glad you liked this.

I wanted especially to do justice to the idea of a Holmes-Watson/Brett-Hardwicke reunion, so your sweet response made me a bit teary-eyed. Beyond that, my second thought was that I really needed to get Lestrade to talk to Qui-Gon Jinn, and it thrills me that you found this conversation to be fitting.

the meta-ness of Sherlock hearing Spock quoting Star Trek quoting ACD canon blew my brain

LOL! That was way too much fun not to use. Trek was both my first fandom and my introduction to Holmes (the same Nicholas Meyer who wrote some great Trek also wrote wonderful Holmes pastiches, including The Seven Percent Solution), so I knew I had to get Spock quoting himself quoting ACD's Holmes to Sherlock in there somehow.

I'm also thrilled that the Sorting felt right to you. I second your desire to see Sherlock interacting with Luna. I didn't think I was up to the challenge of writing her dialogue, but oh, I love to imagine the two of them talking! Ditto for Mycroft and Severus, although I suspect they'd speak in hushed, clandestine whispers only the two of them could hear. ;)

This is a celebration of fandom, a celebration of those people who, regardless of their real-ness or imaginary-ness, touch souls and inspire people and make both their own world and ours a little brighter.

I am so incredibly pleased that this came through; I wrote this at a science fiction convention, full of nostalgia and sentimental love for all of the texts and characters who have touched my life and shaped me. I love how you've put it here about how these characters inspire us and deserve to be inspired by each other. Well said indeed.

Thank you for letting me share my heroes with you. And thank you a million times over for your wonderful and generous comments. *hugs*
(no subject) - supermusicmad - Jun. 18th, 2011 08:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
That was fantastic! I loved all the references I got and plan on reading / watching the ones I missed!
Jun. 17th, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm thrilled that you liked it. And I'm so happy that you're familiar with many of these characters and interested in "meeting" the others!

I truly appreciate your reading and commenting. Thanks again.
(no subject) - julnyes - Jun. 17th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - Jun. 17th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 21st, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
That. Was. Just. Marvelous! You are an amazing writer. The way you got inside each man's mind and heart was positively uncanny. And what a wonderful tribute to Hardwicke. I love stories of heroism and of healing, so this really made my day. :-) I felt as refreshed as the men did afterward.
Jun. 22nd, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
And now your generous words have really made my day! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm so thrilled you liked the story and felt that the characterizations were on target. I'm especially glad you liked the tribute to Hardwicke.

I appreciate your kindness so much. It means a lot to me to know that this worked for you.
Aug. 12th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
This made me cry about four times. Hit some notes that I have played with in my own ficcery and some things I believe in my own little version of patchwork spirituality. And was just the most excellent of these smooshed-together multi-fandom-reference fics that I've seen. Honestly, can only think of one I've read as good, right now.

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.
Aug. 13th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
Oh, I can't thank you enough for your encouraging words. It's so lovely of you to take the time to read/comment. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this and found it moving, and that the mashup seemed fitting to you.

I'm grateful to you for your kindness!
Aug. 16th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I haven't read one of these in years! How fun!

At this point I started losing my shit:

"I wonder," John said, "if this is what those fandom people online call a 'mashup.' Or is it 'AU'?"

The madness continued here:

"The tri-dimensional kind's more fun, Prime," the girl in the combat boots pouted from across the table. Then, mercurial, she grinned slyly. "I always beat Reboot here."

And came full circle about here:

"I've got to say, he knows how to rock out with his Spock out."

HILARIOUS. And shockingly poignant. I really like the bit with Mycroft and Inara.
Aug. 16th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you found this to be both fun and poignant. I had a ridiculously good time putting this together. It's sort of a roadmap of my viewing (and, to a lesser degree, reading) habits, so I wasn't sure it would work for anyone else, but I've been tickled to find that the references do seem to translate to other people and their memories/loves, too.

I would have loved to see Sherlock jamming with the Spocks on open mic night. :)

Thank you for reading and replying. Your comments are a ray of sunshine!
Oct. 20th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
transcending the genre
I'm behind on reading fic, but I jumped ahead to this piece because bulleteyes more or less ordered me to, and I generally find I'm better off if I do what she tells me to. :-D

I love crossovers . . . which might have predisposed me NOT to read it, because I kind of overdosed on them in the 80's. But I had promised bulleteyes, so I jumped in . . . and I got to the sign. The sign that says something different to everyone who reads it. ZOMG. So. Much. Love. I'm not even sure why, but that just really struck a chord with me.

Remember the voices in the novel House of Stairs? Each kid thinks they're saying something different, and what each of them thinks they're saying tells us a lot about who each kid really is. It reminded me of that, except for not being creepy and disturbing.

The reunion of Brett and Hardwicke Holmes and Watson was so very, very touching. When I got done being choked up, I reflected that this story doesn't just have the fun multi-crossover thing going; it has a heart. Mercy even for Mycroft! [1]

Lestrade's conversation with Qui-Gonn was my favorite encounter and indeed, I think Lestrade's whole arc in this story was my favorite character arc, although John comparing *coughcough* weapons with Zoe was worth the price of admission right there. Qui-Gonn's line about how he failed to see the difference - yesyesyesyesyesyes. And yes.

The "driveby's" occasionally lost me--I was VERY grateful for the footnotes--but I almost squealed out loud when we saw Walter.

I loved how you described the Native American archetypes less in terms of exactly what they looked like, and more in terms of their effect on a POV character. Awesome way to introduce them without exotic-othering* them.

Thank you so much for writing and sharing this; you really created something new. It's not just a patchwork, it's a glorious tapestry. Instead of the gimmickry I had gotten used to/tired of, you put in heart and soul. And a brain. And courage![2] But all silliness aside, I loved what you did with this. ♥ ♥ ♥

[1] Shoutout to Pooh-Bah from the Mikado
*There's probably a better word for that, but I can't think of it. Sort of the Native American equivalent of orientalizing.
[2] Oops, got sidetracked. Oz, of course.
Oct. 21st, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Re: transcending the genre
Amedia you are the very definition of a good soul.

I'd found something so rare I could not wait to share it with you. Did you see that woman in the distance waving at you and grinning like a child? That was me, looking for you so I could drop this bounty into your lap then gleefully hop about as you joined me in mutual appreciation of something marvelous.

Re: transcending the genre - morganstuart - Oct. 21st, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 21st, 2011 02:21 am (UTC)
I have read this story so many time I am past counting yet so far I have not commented. I honestly was at a loss for words. All of the time and affection put into this glows through the words.

So I recommended it to a dear friend and let her speak for me because I knew as soon as I read this she had to read it also. I also knew she would have a better command of words for commenting.

Maybe that is the best way I can describe how I felt about this piece; it had to be shared with my friend.
Oct. 21st, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
it had to be shared with my friend.

I can't think of a higher compliment, or one I'd rather receive. Thank you so much for recommending this story - and for reading and (gasp!) rereading it. You can't imagine how thrilled it makes me to know you've found this worth revisiting and sharing with others.

I'm so glad you could feel my affection in this, because it truly is a tribute to so much that I love, and so many 'verses and traditions that have helped shape the way I see the world and the way I understand heroism. It's something of a pop culture autobiography, I suppose! But for that very reason I was unsure if it would speak to anyone else but me. So it's awe-inspiring and wonderful to me that you found these references and ideas to be moving, too.

Thank you so much for this. Your kind words mean a lot to me.
Nov. 2nd, 2011 05:42 am (UTC)
I can't quite be coherent, but I am amazed and teary. I can't believe I've not stumbled on this somehow before.

Thank you for a perfect story.
Nov. 2nd, 2011 11:14 am (UTC)
Oh, this means so much to me! I'm so delighted you liked this and found it to be moving. Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment. I really appreciate your kindness.
Nov. 13th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
I'm fairly sure that my heart has grown three sizes due to reading this story. Not only have you captured the four Sherlock gentlemen SO wonderfully, you've included some of my most favorite characters of all time.

It's entirely possible that simply because you mentioned Meg and Charles Wallace I might have to name you Ruler of All. And then give you the internets. I can gift-wrap them if you'd like? ♥

Utterly, utterly gorgeous.
Nov. 14th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
Your lovely comments have given me so much joy! :) Thank you so much for this. I was rather worried that this was too personal a story, suited just to my own loves, and the references wouldn't resonate with anyone but me (and/or that the situation would seem too wild for a willing suspension of disbelief). So it means more than you can imagine to hear that some of these characters are favorites of yours, too -- and that, most importantly, the characterizations of the "Sherlock four" seemed fitting and appropriate to you.

It's entirely possible that simply because you mentioned Meg and Charles Wallace I might have to name you Ruler of All.

Yay! Another L'Engle reader! High fives! I still have my first copy of A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which is held together with rubber bands, because I reread it so frequently the pages began falling out. :)

The internets! What I always wanted! XD Thank you, my friend.

Seriously, I'm most grateful for your feedback. I'm absolutely delighted you enjoyed this. You've made my day.
(no subject) - seren_ccd - Nov. 14th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - Nov. 14th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seren_ccd - Nov. 14th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - Nov. 15th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 14th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
This is ... I haven't the words for it. It's like YoYo Ma playing the cello, or a beautiful, crisp autumn day. It meets a need you didn't know you had, using notes you've heard before and always loved.
Nov. 14th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
Oh my, what a lovely thing to say! You can't imagine how happy this makes me. I'm so delighted you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading this and for making my day with your kind words.
(no subject) - reasdream - Nov. 16th, 2011 03:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - morganstuart - Nov. 17th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 17th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
Oh man this was just... just... good lord. Can't even begin to figure out what to say there. You brought in so many of my best loved fandoms from the Firefly femme extravaganza, to Jarod and Zhan and and and... Just stunning. Absolutely stunning.
Nov. 17th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
Oh, I can't thank you enough. This absolutely makes my day! It's wonderful to know we share so many loved things in common, and I'm delighted that this story worked for you. Thanks so much for reading and for commenting. I really appreciate it.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 28th, 2011 12:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm delighted that you liked it. Thank you so much!
Dec. 12th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
I adored this with all my heart. I was considering writing a spin off - perhaps with a revisit, or an addition to this visit- where they meet a few wheel of time characters, as this is one crossover I have never found good fics for. If I were to do this, what would be your thoughts?
Obviously, I wouldn't ever publish anything without your permission and without giving you full credit for your beautiful story.
Dec. 12th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
I'm so delighted that you enjoyed this! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it.

I'd be more than happy for you to write a story in this 'verse. I'd appreciate it if you'd link back to my story, and also let me know when yours is up; in return, I'll be glad to add a link from my story to yours, too! :)

It means a lot to know that this could be useful to you in your own writing. Thanks for being so thoughtful in asking permission. I really look forward to reading what you come up with!
Feb. 13th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
The exchange between your Brett/Holmes and Hardwicke/Watson was just beautiful. There were tears. Well done.
Feb. 14th, 2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so happy to hear this! Thanks for your kind words. This whole story was inspired by hearing the sad news of Mr Hardwicke's death. I hoped to pay tribute to his Watson and Brett's Holmes as heroes. It means a lot to me that you found it to be moving. Thank you so much!
May. 18th, 2012 04:47 am (UTC)
Someone rec'd this and I realized I hadn't read it yet.

This is absolutely fantastic. I found myself grinning every time a character I recognized was woven into the story. I think I even squeed at the mention of G'Kar because he's my favorite character from Babylon 5.

Anyways, loved this to bits. :D
May. 18th, 2012 10:41 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it. It's wonderful to hear that you liked recognizing the different characters as they appeared. G'Kar was my favorite from Babylon 5, too!

I really appreciate your reading and then reccing this and leaving such lovely feedback. Thank you for your kindness!
Jul. 23rd, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
So creative, and such a lovely treat for our heroes!! It was much fun identifying the characters, and you did such a lovely job, I actually got the ones I knew right, yay! (I'm generally so bad at that sort of thing!)

Thanks for the fun interlude, for me and for the boys!
Jul. 23rd, 2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
I'm so tickled that you got a smile from this - and that you recognized some of the non-Sherlock characters, too! When Edward Hardwicke passed away, I knew I had to let the Freeman-Watson see what the Hardwicke-Watson meant to the Brett-Holmes, and the story sort of wrote itself from there. It was a great joy to write, something of a love note to the fictional heroes who have touched my life. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

I appreciate your kind words a great deal!
Aug. 27th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
Better late than never
(Here via a rec.)

This was amazing! I just knew there had to be an alternate universe where all these people could meet!
Aug. 28th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Better late than never
Oh, thank you so much for this! I'm delighted you liked this story and the idea of "The Thousand Faces." I really appreciate your reading and commenting.
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