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Ariane DeVere
Sherlock fic: By any other name 
8th-Mar-2012 09:35 pm
I'm fine - fucked up, insecure ...
Author: Ariane DeVere
Word count: 221
Rating: PG
Warnings: If you’ve not seen Season 2 this won’t make much sense. That said, there are no major spoilers for Season 2

By any other name

He has always hated his name. If he didn’t have an irritating but unavoidable sense of loyalty to his parents’ memory, he would have changed it decades ago. His classmates at school always sneered at how unusual the name was, and his brother was no help at all, simply quoting that stupid Shakespearean line about a rose smelling as sweet. Idiot. You’d think that, being lumbered with the same problem, he would sympathise with him. But it makes no sense to him: he won’t ever forgive his parents for bestowing such an annoying name on him, so why couldn’t he ever bring himself to change it and feel happier with himself?

But now he has to disappear; to vanish from the world and leave no trace of himself behind. At long last he has a good reason to change his name, a reason that even his late parents and his oh-so-very-annoyingly-alive brother will understand and forgive him for.

He looks down at his hand in bemusement as he realises that it’s shaking while he dials the number.

“Hello,” he says when someone answers at the other end. “I need to speak to one of your reporters, please.”

The voice asks for his name, and an excited shudder runs through his body as he opens his mouth.

“My name ... is Richard Brook.”


Author’s Note: So this one resonates with me. I’ve despised my own name all my life – can’t explain why. It wasn’t an unusual name like Sherlock, Mycroft or Moriarty but I hated it. It didn’t feel right on me, and even as a youngster I took on the name of my favourite TV character at the time – at least inside my own head. The name changed over time but when I was eleven I read the name ‘Callie’ in a book and fell in love with it immediately. Later I decided that if I was ever going to change my name for real, I was going to change the surname as well, and at the age of fifteen – for reasons too complicated to explain – decided that my new surname would be ‘Sullivan’. And finally, at the ripe old age of thirty-five (fifteen years ago), I made the change official.

My Mum never really understood but, bless her heart, wanted me to be happy and – to my surprise – called me Callie from that day on, only occasionally and accidentally slipping into my original name. And when I started calling myself Ariane DeVere for fic-writing and macro-making purposes, she just nodded and accepted that too.

She died on the 10th of February.

This 221B Author’s Note is dedicated to the memory of my Mum, Betty.

13th-Mar-2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, sweetie. You wrote a 221B with your Mum's name at the end. I'm trying not to cry on the keyboard, because this laptop is out of warranty.

You know what? I despised my own name for at least 30 years. My name is a trendy, 20th-century American name commonly used by strippers. Like you, I wanted to be someone I read about in a book. Girls in books were called Margaret, or diminutives of Margaret: Meg, Maggie, Megaparsec. For a long time, I felt like a Margaret.

Oddly, discovering this fandom has brought me a lot of peace with my birth name. It feels mine now, somehow, perhaps because such delightful people call me by it.
14th-Mar-2012 03:45 pm (UTC)
You know, the strange thing was that the moment I changed my name, I made utter peace with the old one. Not enough to want to have it back, mind you; but for the first time in my life I was happy to refer to my old name without grimacing. I'm not going to reveal what it was but say, for instance, that the surname was Jones. If my mum and I, or my sister and I, did something similar while miles apart, I would have no hesitation in saying, "Ah, well, that's typical - us Jones girls always behave the same."

And when family members turned up at Mum's funeral, having not seen me in decades and some of them not even knowing that I had changed my name, I didn't cringe nearly as much as I thought I would when they called me by my old first name.

I still wouldn't change any part of the name back, mind you, but having got rid of all parts of it, I don't object to being referred to by any part any more, just as long as nobody calls me those names on a regular basis.

I'm glad you're more comfortable with your own name nowadays, but if you want us to start calling you Megaparsec, we're used to multiple names in our strange little fanfic world now!
14th-Mar-2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
You know, when our mutual friend introduced us, one of the things I thought was "What a lovely name!" Trust a writer to find a name that sounds good. It sounds trustworthy and intrepid, like the rosy-cheeked heroine of a children's book. Do you remember which book you took the name from?

I'm glad you made peace with the old name. Maybe it's like a butterfly's relationship with its chrysalis -- the old chrysalis wouldn't bother it, it would just have outgrown it. How resourceful of you to let the old name go when it didn't fit, and how wise of your mother to accept it.

No need for Megaparsec, but I appreciate the thought! "Oi, slag" is just fine.

15th-Mar-2012 11:08 am (UTC)
Oh, I definitely remember the book, and I also regret throwing it out when I was having a major clear-out a few decades ago. It was a series of books by Monica Dickens based around a rest home for sick and mistreated horses. The concept was made into a TV series called "Follyfoot" and, being a typical girl who loved horses, I was addicted to the series and got bought a couple of the books for Christmas or birthday presents. Callie was only a minor character in the TV series and rarely appeared but was more prominent in the books, so it was only when I read one of the books that I connected with the name.

Staggeringly, I just looked up Follyfoot on Wikipedia and saw that Callie's surname was HOLMES. You couldn't make it up. I hope there are no feathers floating nearby, cos they're going to knock me down if they touch me.

(And I've just looked up the actress who played her and she appeared in an episode of the Sherlock Holmes series starring Peter Cushing in 1968!! Everything is Sherlock and nothing hurts.)

In the second of the Follyfoot books it was revealed that 'Callie' was short for Catherine, which made me frown and think, "No it's not - that's not right at all!" But some time previously I been calling myself Caroline for a while and so I decided that that would fit better, so my full first name is Caroline.

So there's far more information than you asked for. You slag. ;-)
15th-Mar-2012 12:38 pm (UTC)
Wow, Callie Holmes! It was meant to be.

I love names with a bit of history to them, like Caroline. Not so crazy about names that sound like they were invented five minutes ago. My sister had a baby a couple years back and asked for name suggestions. I said, "How about Elizabeth? It's a family name, plus it's easily customized, so the little girl can determine who she wants to be. Elizabeth, Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Eliza, Lizza, Lisa, Betty, Bette, Libby, etc., etc." Needless to say, my sister picked a name like my birthname -- modern, faddish, not easily customized. Oh, well, little niece! A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
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