Another of Quesarasara‘s recs, this one to MURDER IN THE FAMILY (Scarred Part I) by OTP221B. Verdict? Well, much better than Learning Curve, that’s for sure. Quite good, actually, one of the better amnesia fics I’ve read (or breezed through).
Two points very much against her favor, however. Well, two and a half. One: Atrocious, and I do mean atrocious, characterization of New Yorkers, specifically New York City taxi drivers. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers tend to avoid tourists more than lash out at them; more fast walking and people-dodging, less swearing and flipping the bird. Seriously, aside from about five locals, there’s an old grandmotherly-type who flips John off when he commandeers the bench she was sitting on to feed pigeons (which, incidentally, is very much Not Common in the city). And the cab driver, my god. First of all, he’s a native New Yorker, it seems (what), and mutters under his breath about John and Sherlock being “fucking foreigners.” Like, wow, you’ve never actually been to the city, have you? Second, he actually says, and I quote, “Jesus. What happened to you, buddy?” That isn’t a thing people say! And it’s certainly not a thing cab drivers would say! Not if they want a tip, anyway, which all of them do, so there you go. In fact, the whole cab ride is a disaster, from the cab driver watching them (fucking hell, they don’t pay attention to their passengers) via the rearview to the hideously awkward proposal to the weird sort-of-almost handjob (while John has a baby on his lap, like, what the fuck, Sherlock [ohhh my god, the characterization is ridiculously inconsistent; about 80% of the time I totally buy Sherlock being Sherlock but then the way he’s written in terms of sexuality and promiscuity is fucking disorienting]). Also no one in New York refers to it as “Avenue of the Americas.” No one. And I think she mixed up Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street (very different).
Two: From the author note preceding Chapter 35: “I love Sherlock, I love John, I love Mary, their dark pieces, their bright pieces, their failings and their triumphs.” NOPE. Get on board that nope train back to fuck-that-shitville. Mary is deplorable and I hate her and she needs to go away and what the fuck is with this whole baby thing, anyway, I seem to have developed a really fervent negative reaction to baby Watson fics recently. I guess my affection for Parentlock just sort of skips that whole infant-baby-toddler stage. Anyway, back to point, it makes the end of the story weirdly confusing and unsatisfying, because Mary shows up, bragging about how much better she is than Mycroft (nope) and offering John signed divorce papers and custody rights while asking for twice-yearly visitation and letter-writing privileges? And showing him their wedding album and…I don’t know, actually, trying to convince him that he’s not really in love with Sherlock? This feels like a trap, but I don’t know how and it’s never resolved. Well, there are only 37 chapters, after all. Still, though, I have to mentally erase her presence. Just pretend she really did shirk off to Turkey and abandon John and their kid, and Mycroft was right and everything is fine.
Fortunately, she acknowledges (in the aforementioned Chapter 35 author note) that “It’s a sloppy piece of work, I know.” Good. It is. Glad we agree. Enjoyable (riiight up until that crap at the end) but sloppy. Full of typos; just misspelled words, easy to miss, I guess, but more than should be acceptable for publication. And every time (every time) Sherlock’s eyes are mentioned, they’re “undersea rainbows.” Oh my god, heterochromia iridum. It’s a real thing. Or just call them green one moment and blue the next, I don’t care, but this “undersea rainbow eyes” bullshit is just too much. And the very end of the last chapter is John finally accepting Sherlock’s proposal, but it feels like some character development was skipped in between points A and B. I didn’t quite follow John’s logic train from “What the fuck I’m still married to Mary and I don’t quite remember you” to “Actually I’ve been in love with you since the moment we met and my entire life has been spent waiting for you to come into it.” I get it in principle, sort of, but the way John’s thought process is outlined has a few chasm-leaps in it. Holes, I’m saying. Plot holes. Weird gaps. I don’t like it. Oh, and there’s an Interlude (masquerading as a…sequel?) about Sherlock and Mycroft being babysitters while John’s unconscious that I legitimately couldn’t force myself to sit through, and it’s only 2542 words long. Divided over three chapters. And I just couldn’t. It’s so pointless and dull. Actually the first chapter’s not bad, but not worth reading in full, especially after I’ve already finished the fic proper.
Oh, and that “half” bit: “And then his gaze fell on a tiny hole-in-the-wall jeweler tucked between Tory Burch and Louis Vuitton.” I checked, and there’s no place in the city that that exists. Not even the surely fictitious “tiny hole-in-the-wall jeweler,” but a location that could be set squarely between a Tory Burch and a Louis Vuitton. Those two stores have at their closest locations about four blocks separating them. They’re along Prince Street, I think; to be fair, the rented flat is in SoHo, somewhere, but still. No.
And yet I do think I enjoyed most of it. Although I struggled a great deal with her characterization of New Yorkers, I really did. Powerfully resisted the urge to post a scathing comment. Something about it, though, I dunno.
ETA: Tried to reread it and failed utterly. Chalking this one up as a lost cause.