ariadne_chan: (John)
[personal profile] ariadne_chan
Title: “Letters from Vernet”
Author: [livejournal.com profile] ariadnechan
Rating: PG- 13.
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes and related fandoms (Granada TV. And ACD)
Characters: John Watson/Sherlock Holmes, Hamish McCoy Watson, Horace Vernet.
Summary: The arrival of a keyed box with letters and a note book from Watsons’ late father would get them together in more ways than John Watson never thought possible.
Warnings: Crimean and Persian wars. Infidelity, Alcohol abuse, prohibited homosexual affair.
Word Count: 1000 approx.
Author's Notes: Prompt for [livejournal.com profile] watsons_woes #24:

Picture prompt: Man with pipe (self-portrait)
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=87339

Beta: My wonderful friend [livejournal.com profile] mildred_bobbin



Watson was lost in thought reading a pack of letters that arrived in a little box under key. The letters were for his late father Captain Hamish McCoy Watson.


His Father had been a hero from the Crimean wars; he left for the wars when Watson was still an infant, leaving his mother and his older brother of only 7 years of age at home. One of John’s motivations for going to war himself had been his father’s legacy, he had been a young Lt. by the time he was participated in the famous battle of Alma, and after that The Siege of Sevastopol, he even was awarded with medals of valour for his brave actions in the war. From there his father had been sent to the Persian wars, where his father was injured, and took a desk carrier who took him to the peace treaty of Paris of 1857, he returned home in 1860 to retirement. His father was a stranger to him when he returned, a dark ghost, he had severe limp from one of the last battles against the Persians. With his pension and the family’s store, they had money enough for John to enter medical school. John Watson admired his father for his heroic achievements, but he clearly was not the adoring husband his mother always exulted when he was little. They fought constantly and his father ended drunk in the house or in a pub, even when Hamish Watson was sober he was always sad and distant.


John Watson felt he needed to follow his father but in a different way, because when he talk to them about the war, the stories about the injured and how many medical stuff had save his life more times that he could count, those were the stories that fascinated him.


So John finished medical school to become a surgeon and when Queen and country called he went to the Afghan wars to help the soldiers to do their jobs and make Great Britain safe once more.


Now John was sitting on his favourite chair in his study looking at the letters which would bring his father closer to his heart than ever.


Those letters were from Horace Vernet to his father from 1854 to 1862, almost ten years. His father had met the painter in the Battle of Alma where he was making a several of sketches and oils of the battle and he was the one who lost the bet and had to be the British soldier’ model for the painter.


This was surprising because his father never had talked about any painter or anyone French ever. Watson knew that in the Crimean wars French and British had fought together but there was the end of his knowledge of it, but here were the letters as confirmation of some secret of his Father.


Watson recalled that Sherlock Holmes his late friend had been related to Vernet. What were the odds of them being more connected, because John’s father and Holmes’ great uncle were in the same war together and apparently even friends?


John Watson started reading and after the third letter he had to stop for something stronger than tea. John felt like intruding now, these weren't the kind of letters you send to a friend but a lover.


He took the box and inspected it more thoroughly, there was a sketch of his father younger than he recalled in his uniform, and another of other man with his painting instruments, Vernet he supposed; there was also a little notebook with his father handwriting. Watson decided for perusing that first; his father there made a little background history about the war and Horace Vernet.


Watson marveled at his father writing and his memories of the more terrible parts of the war and how he had met Horace and the instant connection between them. How after every turn and twist in the two wars and when he had a little shore leave they met at some point of the eastern world to continue with their prohibited liaison. His father was totally besotted with the older French artist who apparently had complete him in ways he had never thought possible, he wrote about his brilliance, his out earthly beauty which transcended the lines between male and female. And how they could laugh of things which anybody else could possible understand in a world to old fashioned for them to live in. Apparently his father almost left his family for Vernet when in Paris, where he stood two years as a guard at the embassy of Britain, living with the painter. Finally his father had fell from his cloud when he was ordered for retirement because he was caught, but because of his several medals and achievements he was only sent to early retirement without any fuss instead of being dishonorably discharged from the army.


Now John Watson could understand the reasons for his father being as gloomy as he remembered and why the alcohol took him from their lives; and why her mother and him never got in good terms, their marriage was only on paper since he comeback, only for the children and the sake of appearances. Surely her mother had found some letter of Horace because there was one, really messed up and broken in some places, but lovingly repaired.


He decided read the last letters, Horace always hoped for his father to come back to him, until the end. Watson knew that his father had wanted to come back to his lover every day since he arrived in England. Because he understood the sentiment, and he felt the pain of been the widow of two.


His Mary had died not so much long ago, and his grief for her was equal to his grieving for his friend Holmes. John Watson understood really well now, that his father and he had a lot more in common than he thought during his life. They both had fallen in love with a man who was brilliant and beautiful, who completed them more than anything in their lives and then, had lost them.


So John Watson cried that night, alone in his study, for him and for Hamish Watson too.

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