After a couple weeks of fic reading, I'm starting to hear a tone in voices where none existed before. I mean, Once upon a time, William Gillette wrote a telegram to Conan Doyle, and Doyle replied. But in my head, I hear the the two men speaking together.
"May I marry Holmes?" Gillette asks, breathlessly.
"You," Doyle replies with special emphasis on the "you," "may marry him or murder or do what you like with him." His tone is a that of a man who really likes the look of the handsome actor he's speaking to.
Not long after, Gillette's take on Sherlock Holmes gets so hot that it burns up, along with the hotel surrounding it.
Then, in May of 1899, William Gillette and Conan Doyle spend the weekend at Undershaw together.
Hey, Doyle's wife and kids were there, don't get worked up. But, like I said, all that fic reading can change the tone you view things in a bit. But that single line from Doyle to the actor and playwright is, perhaps, the most inspirational words from Doyle to any writer of fanfic outside of those words creating Sherlock Holmes himself. And ever there you can play with the tone.
"YOU may marry him or murder or do what you like with him." Doyle certain wasn't going to do it. Except maybe murder him . . . Doyle did do that once. If he thought having Sherlock marry would get the detective out of his life, he might have married the guy off as well. To Watson?
Well, he did tell Gillette, "You may marry him . . ." so maybe Doyle was also telling us something about Holmes's preference. Gillette was wearing Sherlock's clothes when he got off the train to see Doyle that weekend at Undershaw. Who knows how that acquisition took place?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle left us with so many verbal toys to play with, and there's a lot of fun to be had. He even preceded Aleister Crowley's "Law of Thelema" which says "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" by a few years with his "do what you like with him," narrowing the focus of such a thought to that one man: Sherlock Holmes.
But, y'know, he never said jack about Watson. Maybe we should leave him alone. Maaayyybeeee . . .