Slash (fanfiction with same-sex pairings) is a seemingly integral part of the fanfiction community. Fans create for many reasons, but one of them is to explore non-cannon pairings (that is, relationships which the work’s author did not include). People who support a character pairing, gay, straight, cannon, non-cannon, are called “shippers”, as in supports of a given relationship. There is a subversive quality to all non-cannon pairings, but an almost political quality to non-cannon pairings between characters of the same sex. These stories are “slash”, as in Watson/Holmes. Most fanfiction is written by people who love a created world so much they want to contribute to it, but are willing to stretch it in ways it was not designed to handle.
One of the reasons I am interested in fanfiction is this subversiveness. Living in a country where homosexuality is illegal, even the fluffiest of slash-fic takes on a political burden. Tonight, after watching Sherlock Holmes as part of the dorm activity, I looked up the stories (total: 1,841) in the “Books > Sherlock Holmes Stories” section on fanfiction.net, and determined the proportion of each labeled with a given pairing:
18% are Watson/Holmes 0% are Irene/Holmes .5% are Watson/Lestrade .1% are Watson/Mary
Whether Holmes/Watson is a romance (homosexual) or a bromance (homosocial) is a fascinating debate topic I may cover more later, but for now, here is Lilly’s take on it (with quotes from the original series). To show that Holmes/Watson has existed long before Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr stepped into those roles, below is a collection of clips from previous Holmes/Watson shows:
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”–Virginia Woolf