They are . . . the Unshippables.
Characters from the original Canon so far apart in time, space, and destiny that their love seems an impossibility. Characters who have never been played by the young and beautiful. Characters that can't even seem to make the "rare pair" list.
Is there hope for such dire, lonely souls, peering through the frost-rimmed window panes of the happy fanfic holiday ball?
After Monday's blog on the possibilities of shipping in the original ACD Canon, I naturally wanted to test the limits of such an open field. So I thought of the most unshippable character I could.
a.) He died pretty soon after he got into the Canon.
b.) He was an immigrant whose command of English might have been questionable.
c.) He was both child-like in size and the object of some pretty intense cultural prejudices.
Yes, Tonga, the pygmy assassin of the Andaman Islands.
But Jonathan Small, you might interject, Tonga's partner who complimented the little man, saying, "No man ever had a more faithful mate." Yes, yes . . . no! Too easy. Too much of a layup, and we pretty much know their story. All you'd be adding were smoochy scenes.
So who's both a natural fit for Tonga and a bit of a challenge themself in the shipping category?
Did I hear someone say "Eugenia Ronder?"
Oh, yes. Eugenia Ronder. There's Tonga's love connection.
How do two such tortured souls come together across the boundaries of race, religion, culture, superficial qualities, and even death itself?
Well, there's a story there. And actually, it's a bit of a love triangle with a third party from a completely different story than either of them. Once I started trying to work out the hurdles those two had to get over, their tale practically plotted itself. Now just to find the time to write the thing . . . that starts tomorrow night, and the weekend is coming.
The lesson I learned from this little thought experiment, however, is this:
Are there truly any "Unshippables" in the Sherlockian Canon? While it would make a great title for a short story collection -- The Unshippables of Sherlock Holmes -- I don't think there truly are such creatures. "What one man can invent another can discover," Sherlock Holmes once said, and I think we can alter that slightly to "What characters one person can invent, another can ship."
Or better still, to quote Ivy Douglas from The Valley of Fear:
"There was romance. There is always romance."