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Anonymous asked: I have read several good fics about Dark!Sherlock as a psychopath but there seems to be a lack of Dark!John. What do you think Dark!John would be like?


Personally, I think Dark!John would be far more disturbing, scary and down right horrific than anything Dark!Sherlock could be.

Much of the fanfics out there featuring Dark!John don't explore the full extent of what he could do with his medical knowledge (and ample equipment). Shooting people pales in comparison to the really gruesome things that he can do even without access to a nice load of dangerous medical equipment.

I really shouldn't say this but medicine inadvertently teaches its disciples just as many ways to harm as it does to heal. You have to know what will kill the patient so you can make sure it doesn't happen. However how you use medical knowledge almost entirely depends on your moral compass.

Dark!John, a man without moral or ethical principles would be an incredibly dangerous person.

Doubtless he knows all the easy methods of killing someone quickly: potassium, insulin etc. I'm sure he would also know exactly how to kill someone slowly, painfully with a dramatically horrific flair.

I feel that if John really was a psychopath and a sadist he would be far more dangerous than Sherlock because of what he's learnt as a doctor.

(The rest of this may disturb readers and make you never want to see a doctor or read my blog ever again. Warning gruesome pictures under cut)

1. Enucleation (of the eye) - that's the just that fancy term for pulling out the eyeball but leaving all the muscles in. Can you imagine having your eyeball surgically extracted whilst strapped to a table with no pain relief? And the sickening sound of someone squeezing your eyeball as they pull it out of the socket? Yeah - that's gruesome. Also you'll see the knife as it approaches your eye and you'll also see the fiendish expression on Dark!John's face all the way until he cuts the nerve at the back of the eyeball...but that won't be for quite some time.

I have personally assisted in cutting out the eyeball of a cadaver - for a corneal transplant. It takes more than an hour to dissect all the muscle away from the eyeball and when you pull it out...it's one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen.

1.1 Lumbar puncture needle to the eye - if anyone has had an LP, you might remember the needle is about 10-15cm long. Slowly sliding this piece of equipment into someone's eye and then out of the back of the eye socket into the brain whilst they have their eyes taped open so they can see the needle going in...

2. Lobotomy - tying someone to a chair and hammering ice picks into their brain through the corner of their eyes comes pretty high on my list of Dark!John activities. This was actually a standard medical procedure up until the 1960s for many psychiatric conditions. It's got a surprisingly low mortality rate and the victim would end up with serious brain damage but mostly to their executive functions. So they'd still be able to do ordinary tasks - but they would be unable to perform higher cognitive functions such as organizing their time or planning an escape. Personality changes also occur but usually victims become more..."docile", though this may be propaganda rather than hard scientific fact. It's a great way to make victims "obedient" to certain extend should Dark!John want to keep them around.

3. Transurethral...anything -  Any procedure that sticks hard, sharp objects up the urethral (the tube that pee comes out of) without pain relief is just pain nasty. It will not only be horrendously painful, it will also leave lasting damage to the tube when the wounds heal so you may not be able to pee again without an operation.

4. Muscle relaxants - doesn't sound scary but imagine being trapped inside your own body, fully conscious but not able to move a single muscle. Imagine the panic victims would feel as they slowly suffocated to death whilst Dark!John stands above them smiling away. Muscle relaxants are reversible so should John want to, he can potentially bring people to brink of death and then back again many many times.

5. Drug Overdose - cliche but most drugs can have awful side effects. Permanent nausea would be my version of hell but there are many much more interest effects: like toxic epidermal necrosis: you skin dies in huge patches and the dead tissue sloughs off in large sticky chunks leaving you effectively with the same effect as massive burns. A very nasty way to die indeed.


6. Volvulus - If John had the inclination he could open up his patient, basically tie their bowel up in knots and sew them back up to watch their ensuing painful death. A volvulus or twists in the bowel cuts off the blood supply to that piece of gut and it will slowly die then perforate. When your bowel perforates this is very bad thing as all the bacteria living there spills out and infects your whole abdomen giving you acute peritonitis. It's excruciatingly painful, like your entire belly is on fire but it kills you slowly over 24-72 hours but you never get the bliss of unconsciousness until the very end.

7. Pancreatitis - Well aimed blunt trauma to the belly could rupture the pancreas or if you prefer a nice operation will do it too. Your pancreas is where all the digestive enzymes are stored and when the pancreas is sufficiently damaged all the enzymes leak out and you digest yourself. Needless to say it's an incredibly painful and nasty way to die.

8. Infectious disease - Ebola, Marburg or any other hemorrhagic fever would be a horrible way to die. Ebola in the late stages causes people to bleed from the eyes, mouth, nose, vomit blood and cough up blood. I can imagine Dark!John sitting in a hazard suit watching his victim clinging desperately on to life whilst choking on their own blood. Alternatively - necrotising fascitis (or the skin eating bacteria disease) could be a good way to go: if left untreated entire limbs become putrid, turn black and rot.


9. Psychiatric warfare - the less I say about this the better but it doesn't take too much imagination to realize that should Dark!John wish to be more subtle, he could easily convince a victim that they were crazy, section them under the mental health act (with the help of a fellow doctor) and imprison them in a mental hospital. If the hospital doesn't drive them insane the anti-psychotic medication might just do that.

10. Fracture traction - Imagine having both your legs broken and then slowly pulled apart by weights. It won't kill you for a very long time, but it would be excruciating painful all the time. A perfect way to slowly torture someone into insanity.

I would like to reassure everyone that doctors enter the professions because they want to help people not because they want to become proficient psychopathic murders. This was a short exercise in dark imagination and nothing more.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2013 09:21 am (UTC)
Haha, thanks for the reassurance. Although to be honest I'm pretty certain Sherlock and Moriarty both would actually know quite a lot about these methods as well. Number 10 would definitely appeal to Moriarty, I'm sure.

Very insightful meta, as always.
Jun. 30th, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
These methods are things that everyone can do with the right equipment, though the question is whether Moriarty or Sherlock would necessarily think of these things. There are many other inventive ways to torture someone's legs. I think medical knowledge directs your imagination in a prescribed direction - which is why Dark!John will have different ways of playing with his victims.
Jun. 29th, 2013 09:54 am (UTC)
omg Wellington, you frighten me, you truly do. I had to scroll past FAST for some of these descriptions. Er, I hesitate to say 'thank you for this enlightening post'.

I may now need to lie down a little.

(So are you going to write any of this? I can't bear the image of eye torture in my head without at least the possible redemption of knight-in-shining-armour at the elevent hour, come to smite evil!doctor. Oh, and visions of Marathon Man...)
Jun. 30th, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC)
I've read some Dark!John fanfiction and I spent all the time thinking "if I was going to murder someone I would use this piece of medical equipment" etc. and then it fails to scare me. I'm not sure whether I shall ever write dark!John. I quite enjoyed delving into the dark side of medicine for this meta but afterwards it made me feel quite ill.
Jun. 29th, 2013 11:19 am (UTC)
Well that made me feel really, properly ill and I've spent the last few weeks reading about the injuries suffered by IED victims in Afghanistan.
Fascinating insight but ... yeah, I'm never going to look at doctors in the same way again.
Jun. 30th, 2013 10:39 pm (UTC)
Sorry, doctors are mostly harmless. Although, we no longer take oaths to do no harm. Instead we make a "declaration" that just says we will make the care of our patient our up-most concern. No specifications of what "care" means, nor does it prevent us from not "caring" about people who aren't our patients :)
Jun. 29th, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
I continue to really like this series. Despite the icky factor this was as careful and thoughtful as the other chapters. I think we are all lucky that John is a good man!
Jun. 29th, 2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
And somewhere out there, Martin Freeman is calling up Steven Moffat and saying "Look, there's a few possible directions we could take Watson's character that I've been researching..."
Jun. 29th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
I think an evil John would lean more towards the challenge of either killing the victim without leaving a mark or putting them through excruciating pain without physically harming them.

One of the reasons I've never felt the urge to write dark!John is that it's almost too easy to contemplate. He killed a man and laughed about it because "he wasn't a very nice man" and while I get that he's learned to compartmentalize, it's still not a very big leap to John simply deciding that "not very nice" patients shouldn't survive their ailments. He'd be a properly terrifying Angel of Death.
Jun. 30th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
As for any murderer - its important not to get caught but after that why limit yourself to just excruciating pain or not leaving a mark? There is a whole world of terrible diseases and drug reactions to explore - all of which can be easily explained away should you ever need to.

Killing people without leaving a mark is so very last century. Potassium, insulin and carbon monoxide are methods that even medical students know and can clobber together. Any brute can cause excruciating pain if applied with the correct force. I think for John killing is not for the challenge it's for the curiosity.

I've always wanted to see toxic epidermal necrolysis, ebola, what the back of an eyeball looks like. John can satisfy every sadistic curiosity he ever had with no moral scruples.

Edited at 2013-06-30 10:47 pm (UTC)
Jun. 29th, 2013 11:01 pm (UTC)
During med school I gladly exchanged my spot for eye dissection with penis dissection. Something about eye surgery just squicks me immensely.

There is an excellent dark!Sherlock fanfiction where they use his knowledge of anatomy to make him an excellent torturer. I'm glad barely anyone writes dark!John though. Mostly he's an assassin and that's fine, but if he'd use his medical knowledge to torture... nope, that might be were my line is crossed.
Jun. 30th, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
There is an excellent dark!Sherlock fanfiction where they use his knowledge of anatomy to make him an excellent torturer.

Do you remember its title/author? I'd love to read it!
Jun. 30th, 2013 11:43 pm (UTC)
I think it's this one: http://archiveofourown.org/works/462671

Training Dr. John Watson by angelblack3

In this universe, Jim got a hold of Sherlock way before he ever met the ones that were meant to save him. Now, they're happy business partners. Though, according to Jim, Sherlock isn't nearly as happy as he could be. He should find someone like Jim found his dear pet Sebby. Sherlock is skeptical, until he finds an army doctor with a psychosomatic limp in a twisted sense of fate.

It's right on the line for me. Makes me want to puke but then it's so well written that you can't stop reading O_o
Jul. 1st, 2013 03:06 am (UTC)
Awesome thanks - will go check it out! Good thing that I have a high resistance to gore etc, then? :)
Jul. 1st, 2013 09:53 am (UTC)
Oh, it's not that much gore. Sherlock uses that only on other victims, it's psychological torture and brainwashing when it comes to John...
Jul. 2nd, 2013 12:07 pm (UTC)
Good thing I have a bit of a kink for that kind of stuff, then... ;) Thanks a lot for the link. I loved it as well as its sequel, and am eagerly awaiting completion of the third story in the series!
Jun. 29th, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
Aaaand this is why I think dark!John is so fascinating. Brilliant post! :)
Jun. 30th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
I used to work for a non-profit in the trauma/spine/CMF surgery area (as a web publisher) and got to see quite a few surgery photos during my time there. The worst really were the ones involving the eyes. Just the pictures of the eyelids being peeled/held back by whatever-you-call-these-instruments, without any cuts and blood showing, are creepy as hell! Don't know why.

And FWIW I agree, Dark!John could be very, very scary, and I think he could also come up with more obscure methods to kill people - like someone else said, ways to kill someone that won't be immediately obvious, or can't be easily detected.
Jun. 30th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
Good (if very disturbing) post about exactly how evil dark!John is. And I wish I remembered which ACD canon story it was, but Sherlock basically says that a physician who decides to kill is the 'worse sort' or something (I think it was SPEC, but I'm not sure).
...and suddenly my brain when to "oh, how about dark!John and Hannibal?" because it's evil like that. Thanks >.<
ok, yeah, thanks, it was nice, but still...
Jul. 1st, 2013 05:05 am (UTC)
I thought of Hannibal for a moment, because of how he kills his victims - and wasn't he a surgeon too? - and I did have this thought when I watched the pilot, as to how John Watson would be like as as serial killer. And I agree that I'm so relieved dark!John is not written very often!
Jul. 1st, 2013 09:52 am (UTC)
omg, I live kind of in terror of toxic epidermal necrosis whenever I have to up my meds again but nooooo I can't go off them if I want to be allowed to drive :-(

I feel like John is almost too smart to mess with ebola, at least the congo and zaire strains... You can take all the precautions in the world that you want, but I think it's still bordering on being a "doomsday weapon" even just for personal use. Maybe some other strains of hemorrhagic fever, though? Something with a lower fatality rate and shorter incubation period?

And yeah, the one part of autopsies I could never watch was the needle-in-the-eye thing. DNW!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )



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