Character(s): Holmes, Watson, Lestrade
Summary: Holmes does not accurately record the ending to a case.
Author's Notes: ACD book-verse. Fill for July 15 prompt: "Fix a canon scene." This fixes the end of "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier." For the a discussion of the etiology of Godfrey's affliction, see this discussion, which, although I am no doctor, seemed reasonably trustworthy. (I've also got another repair to canon, whose title I've cannibalized here: Artistic Mercy I is my 60 for 60 entry for "The Abbey Grange.")
Word Count: 276
Watson flung down the paper with a grimace of distaste. Holmes glanced up at him from his chemical bench, anxiety creasing his forehead.
“Finished, Watson?” His voice became more tentative. “What did you think?”
Watson quickly smoothed his features, though he knew it was too late to hide anything. As gently as he could, he picked up the last page and said,
“I’m afraid that, by your own impossibility metric, I simply don’t believe it. The simplest reason is that ichthyosis manifests itself from early childhood, and whatever plagued Godfrey was new. Did you simply forget whatever Sir James diagnosed? Are you sure it wasn’t tinea versicolor? That seems much more likely. I’m no Sir James, of course, but I imagine I can help you recall his actual diagnosis.”
Holmes looked down. “No,” he said, “I did not forget the diagnosis. I simply thought, as I was adopting your habits in writing a story that is palatable to the readers, that I should adopt all of them. I did not think anyone would care to read the true ending to the case, especially as it was not relevant to my actual investigation.”
“Ah. So it was . . .?”
“I assume you took all precautions—“
Watson picked up the pages again, and handed it back to Holmes. “In that case,” said he, “I cannot recommend any substantive changes. If you truly want to write as I do, though, then you might have Godfrey’s mother faint at the good news. The poor lady must be devastated enough at having a leper for a son; she deserves whatever fictional joy you can give her.”