I’ve been reading fanfic for a long time—like more than half of my actual life-span, yikes—and when you read anything for that long you develop preferences for your favorite kinds of stories. Quite possibly my absolute favorite trope in the whole wide world is the fake-married trope. This trope usually appears when a pair need to convince a third party that they’re married and totally in love, whether it’s a side-effect of going undercover or for other reasons. It generally involves two people who, in the story, already have romantic feelings for each other, but don’t realize they’re requited. They settle into the routine of pretend marriage far too easily, and the drama comes when they realize that they don’t want to stop pretending. I adore this plot in all its forms and fandoms, but it’s also refreshing to see someone put a new twist on an old trope.
That’s where A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue, an Elementary fanfic, comes in.
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.
Despite my love for the trope, I was uncertain about it in this particular fandom. The platonic relationship between Joan and Sherlock is nearly sacrosanct to me—I cling to it as one of the very few male-female friendships on TV that has never dealt with a will-they-or-won’t-they buildup. But I gave it a chance on a whim, and I was glad I did.