Author: Ariane DeVere
Return to Chapter 1
Outside the wall of the hospital grounds, the man looked at his watch. Although there was no activity inside the grounds and everything remained quiet, the fact that his boss hadn’t yet returned meant that he had almost definitely been compromised.
It was time to put Phase 2 into action.
He lifted his radio to contact his operatives inside the hospital.
“Operation Birling Day is go,” announced Douglas Richardson.
Author’s Note: When my plotbunny first shoved this idea into my head several months ago, I stared into her innocent furry face and asked in disbelief, “You want me to write what?! Are you mad?! You want me to deny the existence of everyone from ‘Cabin Pressure’ and make Arthur – Arthur Shappey – the Big Bad?! Are you trying to get me killed to death by angry readers?” She coolly met my gaze, then waved a dismissive paw and said, “Write it, bitch,” before turning away and going back to canoodling with one of my teddy bears.
Thinking that I knew the perfect person to help me, I emailed verityburns and told her the general gist of the story. Totally unhelpfully she replied that she loved the idea. This was not what I needed to hear at all.
Then I thought of chocolamousse. She doesn’t like her favourite characters going through bad things, and she loves shipping them, so surely she would disapprove of this idea with lots of bad things and no (well, barely any) (well, maybe a bit of) ship, and would talk me out of writing it. By now I had reluctantly started plotting out the storyline and had already written an eight-page synopsis. I never write synopses – if the story doesn’t come into my mind with the basic structure fully formed, it stays in my head until it’s in better shape. But I had thumped out this massive synopsis, so I sent it to Chocola with a “Look at this – it’s a terrible idea, isn’t it?” message.
She wrote back with loads of ideas of how to improve it.
Damn. This was not the kind of help I had been seeking. What the hell was the matter with my idiot friends?!
Mirith! Mirith Griffin would save me! She had to save me! Because despite the ever-expanding synopsis, I still didn’t want to write this angsty painful story which only about six people would read, and someone had to talk me out of it. I sent the document off to her and sat back, confident of getting a reply along the lines of, “Good grief, woman, what are you thinking?! Step away from the bunny, step away from the computer, go to your room and think about the ridiculousness of what you’re planning here.”
Instead, she said she was looking forward to seeing the story done, and added a ton of advice about certain aspects which she thought I really shouldn’t include in their current format, together with suggestions of how to change them.
I have No Friends.
But despite them being absolutely No Help At All in putting off my demented plotbunny, my eternal grateful thanks go to Verity, Mirith and Chocola for all their suggestions, encouragement and improvements. In particular Verity invented a much better major plot point than I had done regarding what Bambi was planning for Sherlock once he had been turned into Martin, and came up with the ‘promise of love, pain of loss, joy of redemption’ explanation of why Bambi gave Martin a princess girlfriend (when I was about to take the princess girlfriend out of the story altogether). She also made the oh-so-obvious-but-I-didn’t-think-of-it suggestion that John should take the name ‘Jack’ (your humble idiot of an author was going to call him ‘Jeremy’ [*cringes at the memory*]), stopped me from making Martin into far too much of a wimp, and then carefully betaed the whole monstrosity. Twice. Chocola came up with the idea that Mr. Gregory should give Martin a laptop to prove that he was telling the truth, and made other superb suggestions including the ‘I’m a tea lady, not your housekeeper’ and the ‘invade Afghanistan’ lines. And additionally and essentially, if it hadn’t been for Mirith’s careful reading of the finished draft and her diplomatic pointers on how not to treat a psychiatric patient, even more readers would have been angrily throwing things at the screen regardless of the disclaimer at the beginning. Oh, and she also taught me how to spell “Oi”.
Sorry about the coda. It came to me ages after I’d finished the story, and was the result of me idly thinking about how this was an unusual style for me, pointing out the plot twist so early on and having the readers one step ahead of at least one of the characters, with no twist at the end. Apparently my plotbunny latched on to my thoughts and promptly had an “ooh!” moment. It didn’t really surprise me. She doesn’t like a straightforward happy ending.
I didn’t show the coda to anyone before publishing it. So Verity, Mirith and Chocola will probably be in the front of the queue of people wanting to kill me with sticks.
But I giggled evilly to myself when, half an hour after writing the coda, I realised the full significance of calling Phase 2 ‘Operation Birling Day’. After all, what’s the main point of Birling Day? Answer: stealing the Talisker. So who is the Talisker here? Is it Sherlock or Bambi? Mwah-ha-ha-ha ...
Can I just make it clear right now: There will not be a sequel. You know my methods: finish it on a cliffhanger and leave the reader to decide what happens next.
Finally, my sort-of apologies to the writer formerly known as Danlef but who has now taken the username squire on AO3, who published an awesome multi-chapter Sherlock/Star Trek Into Darkness crossover fic called You should have let him sleep during June and July while I was still in the planning stages of Initially. When I finally got round to reading her completed story on the train over the course of a few days it had me severely head-desking (which is not easy on a train that has no desks), because the themes of her and my stories were so painfully similar that I seriously wondered whether to ditch mine. Then I comforted myself with the ‘great minds think alike’ concept and I just hope nobody thinks that I was in any way plagiarising her idea. ’Cause I honestly wasn’t.
Or maybe she owns my plotbunny’s twin sister?
In which case, she has my sympathies.
ETA: Having sworn that there wouldn’t be a sequel, there now sort-of is one. It’s called Two two one bee.