A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue

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Title: A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue
Author(s): language_escapes
Date(s): 2 May 2013
Length: 25,610 words
Genre: Het, Casefic, Pretend Couple
Fandom: Elementary
External Links: Fic on AO3

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A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue is a fanfic in the Elementary fandom. It was written by language_escapes and is a casefic using the pretend couple trope. The main pairing is Sherlock Holmes/Joan Watson.


"Joan thinks she should be less surprised by his sudden, “Watson, we’re getting married!” and yet, here she is, cooking her egg and trying not to be astonished."

Infants are vanishing, and Sherlock and Joan go undercover as a married couple to find their kidnappers.

Recs and Reviews

Sweet. Baby. Jesus. This took me twice as long to read because I kept having to take breaks to scream into my pillow and/or writhe around in my bed because FEEEEEEELS. SO MANY FEELS. ALLLL OF THE FEEEEEEELS. God, I don't even know how to articulate all the things I loved about this??? Except that it hit every one of my favorite kinks. PARTNERSHIP. SECRET CRUSHES. UNDERCOVER MARRIED. FRIENDS BECOMING MORE THAN FRIENDS. BALLLLROOOOM DANCINGGGGG. DOMESTICITY. BADASS WOMEN BEING BADASS. SLEEPY STEALTH SNUGGLING. It's like you wrote this special for meeeeee.

The crime and the motivation for the crime was heartwrenching. Immediately I had a pretty good idea of what Ms. Hammond's deal was from her initial reaction to Joan and that was confirmed based on the familes' names. I didn't want to be right, but well...I think as a PoC you just learn to expect it to some extent. :/ This is so awful for all the families involved.

Joan and Sherlock's relationship was just perfect. I love the way you describe his physicality and the unconventional ways they work together and understand each other. I love the differences between Joan-and-Basil and Joan-and-Sherlock. I looooooved the way they had fun coming up with a backstory together. AND MS HUDSON. MS HUDSON LET ME LOVE YOU. The hints of Ms Hudson/Alfredo were fantaaaaastic. I hope you might someday write something for them? :3[1] (Comment by blackglass.)

Wow, this fic. This is complicated and sharp-edged and lovely, and the voices are note-perfect -- masterfully done! And I really appreciate that their relationship is never sexual, even when sexuality is an awkward unspoken presence in the room, but that the trust and partnership are absolute, and their easy domesticity is perfect.[2] (Comment by genarti.)
askjhals Your take on this trope is so satisfying. The way they slowly grew accustomed to a higher level of intimacy and didn't want to give that up, oh my God. And I loooved the mystery plot. Hammond's motivation was a perfect illustration of sort of liberal racism, where kids and babies are all equal regardless of race, but you can't abide people of color once they become adults. It made me so happy to see you have another plotty story in the works. Please don't ever stop writing.[3] (Comment by beanarie.)
Reading this was a delight! You managed to keep it fluffy and squee-worthy without lowering the level of your writing. Although, as you admitted, you waded in cliches and tropes galore, I was so drawn in to your story that I didn't even care. You managed to keep things engaging and interesting throughout. I had an inkling from the beginning that the adoption president was racially biased, but I still enjoyed the journey of Holmes and Watson to finally put two and two together. Thanks for maintaining the integrity of both of the characters, instead of having them turn into soppy, lovelorn messes. There was definitely tension, electricity and chemistry between them (in brilliantly subtle and small ways) yet it never overshadowed the need to do justice by the parents who were bereft of their newborn children.[4] (Comment by April Y.)
I have to confess I'm a big fan of the "pretend marriage" trope and this is the best fic in that category I've read in a while. Language_escapes does a terrific job with it, because they don't use the trope as a cheap device to get them together but to explore how the characters would react if they suddenly had to play the happy couple.

I'm really impressed with how they wrote Sherlock, too. His tics and idiosyncrasies are perfect.[5] (Rec by tanpopo03 on 221b_recs.)


  1. "AO3 Comment". Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  2. "AO3 Comment". Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  3. "AO3 Comment". Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  4. "AO3 Comment". Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  5. "Rec Post". Retrieved 14 June 2014.