I am actually disappointed the hearing is on 23rd May, as I was very much hoping it would have been this morning and she'd turned up to Court without a case summary. :P (As much as she would like to have laid the blame on us, of course, there's no way she could have gotten away with it because it would have been down to her own disorganisation.)
It does sort of feel like she put in all the urgent jobs merely out of spite in the end. It really does need to be taken higher, to her line manager preferably, but I very much doubt that will happen unless she repeats this behaviour again in a few weeks' time - which is very likely as she'll only last a few days doing her own typing - and we all start moaning again.
I still don't know what Moany's problem with Strict was, either, despite having the conversation again this morning with Noor. Apparently after completing the case summary she was "going to bring it up" in her 1:1 (OH NOES) and Noor only went to Senior to apologise for not doing it herself! (Er, her mother was sick, I'd say that takes priority.) So much fail, Moany. SO MUCH FAIL.
Anyway, here's the good thing: the epic POTO/Jack the Ripper crossover thingamabob. cloudsinvenice - I know you've offered to beta (which does not get commoncomitatus off the hook either), if I get that far, and I am going to reveal the main plot as well as the Twisty Ending under the cut so I don't forget things, so if you'd rather not be spoiled you can avoid this bit. :) I know when I used to beta "blind" the surprises were all the more surprising and made things easier to judge, if that makes sense... So yeah, anyway, here goes.
Having made that conscious decision that I would never write for Phantom again, despite my best endeavours, my Erik!Muse seems content to torment me anyway. I keep writing MOAR WURDZ for the "Whisper" epilogue, which has now become almost the same length as its predecessor and will need an alternative title. It shows absolutely no signs of coming to a conclusion either, and just keeps rambling through weird semi-angsty, semi-humorous shippy Erik/Christine dialogue to no avail (clearly, it's been so long since I wrote in this fandom that I need to write down ALL THE THINGS). At this juncture I am going to have to use both it and "Whisper" as a prelude to the Ripper story, as it's the only way I can get the characters to London in order for the action to commence.
Anyway, thanks to sending Eni bits of the Epilogue as they've come to me, she accidentally put the concept of dark!Raoul in my head, possibly because in both "Whisper" and "Sweet Intoxication" I have somehow managed to make him understanding and lovely (I have no idea when this happened, and it's a bit terrifying). And from that conversation came basically the entire plot of the Ripper crossover.
You can also blame Guy Ritchie and his Sherlock Holmes universe (specifically the Paris sequences of A Game of Shadows), and an old point-and-click game I played in the 90s where Holmes was investigating the Ripper case, because now I want Robert Downey Jr's Holmes and Jude Law's Watson being called upon by Scotland Yard to investigate this Ripper case - and it uses Holmes's predicting-the-fight method as a key element at the end. :) (And, obviously, some bromance / slash.)
Thus far I have only the basic skeleton of a plot. Erik and Christine arrive in London full of hope for the future. Erik being Erik, he spends quite a lot of time making arrangements for Christine's comfort, safety and well-being in this new foreign city, and thus is not around as much as he should be as he's rushing around (by cover of nightfall) securing accommodation, reputable English tutors, etc. There's a bit in the epilogue where Christine doesn't want to return to opera but I suspect Erik may convince her otherwise - or she might only pursue it as a hobby, I don't know. In any event, his dubiously-attained wealth will be enough to live on for some considerable time, and I still like the idea of him secretly composing under a psuedonym in order to earn a living. Once they are settled I see no reason why he wouldn't communicate with Nadir again just to keep him updated. :)
All this is packaging really. :P The point is, the serenity doesn't last very long because Raoul figures out where Christine has gone - perhaps a combination of witnesses, rumours, Nadir's guilty conscience, I don't know. On arrival he hangs around a bit trying to find out where Christine is - London being rather large, after all - and this is the point where he discovers that Erik is not only not dead, but apparently responsible for Christine's disappearance. This is the thing that drives him over the edge into dark!Raoul - full of anger, hurt and jealousy, miscomprehension of why things have turned out this way due to Christine's grief-ridden silence after Erik's "death", etc.
There's a counterpoint at this moment (probably about three chapters in or thereabouts? I anticipate lengthy preamble and would like to get some E/C fluff in early on before it turns angsty) where Raoul turns up unannounced at Christine's pretty London flat/house/whatever and they have a confrontation, of sorts - where obviously she would be contrite and try to explain, deny Erik's existence for as long as possible and then cave under the pressure. Raoul would be angry, but not with Christine, or at least not for very long, and would then vow to win her back as is his wont, despite her assertions that they should only remain friends.
When I first had the concept for this story, I wondered how I could turn Erik back into a cold-blooded murderer, because after "Whisper" and the epilogue it's supposed to be a brand new start, a new city, a new country entirely, and even though I am under no misapprehensions that Christine can "change him", as it were, she does give him something worth living for and drags him out of the darkness a little. He needs to (accidentally) witness the Raoul/Christine confrontation, brood on that for a bit before deciding it can't possibly be what he thinks, but then en route to visit her and talk about it calmly he is actually intercepted by Raoul himself - a different, confident Raoul who is embittered by the situation - and Raoul puts the idea in his head of Christine's betrayal. With no proof to the contrary, Erik's world turns upside down again.
My plan is to tell the story of Erik, Christine and Raoul as it unfolds; it is still essentially a POTO story. Each chapter (or possibly every other chapter) will end in the same fashion: some development in the E/C plot sends Erik stalking out into the night; the next morning another prostitute turns up dead in Whitechapel.
Not quite sure when Holmes and Watson are going to appear yet - probably around the third murder or so or when the notes start turning up from the Ripper mocking the police's ineptitude.
NOW FOR THE TWIST. *drumroll*
Everyone suspects Erik. He disappears every night to go who-knows-where, and hangs around Christine's home in the small hours. Nobody knows who he actually is, so suspicions begin to arise that the weird masked bloke, who disappears like a ghost when in plain sight, may well be the Ripper. The fact that prostitutes keep dying whenever Erik isn't lurking around Christine only seems to confirm the suspicion.
Even Holmes thinks he's cracked it; Erik becomes almost as unobtainable as Moriarty. Towards the end of the story there's a showdown when Holmes has finally managed to track Erik down - or Erik has led Holmes to him, as is probably more accurate. Holmes uses his predicting-the-fight method, except it fails because Erik whips out the Punjab Lasso - which obviously, Holmes would have absolutely no knowledge of, or would presume to be a knife or similar weapon, and thus not be able to predict it. His hand will not be at the level of his eyes! Erik has him captive in the noose for several long minutes, but he appreciates Holmes's methods (science, etc) and eventually releases him - purely because Watson is also witnessing all this and he is in no mood to dispatch another fiesty Englishman. This is the point where Holmes figures out that the Ripper cannot be Erik, given the Lasso is his weapon of choice, because none of the victims have any sign of strangulation by rope. (Also, slicing and dicing is messy; the Lasso is quick, clean and effective.)
Erik has been killing, in fact, to stave off the frustrated bloodlust and keep the anger at bay. He wants to kill Raoul, of course, but knows he cannot if he has any chance of winning Christine's favour again. (Oh, she's aware of all this Whitechapel murder business through Raoul and general society mutterings, and even though she knows the evidence is all pointing to Erik she refuses to believe it, but hasn't seen him since her meeting with Raoul. He's effectively disappeared where she's concerned.) The point is, Erik has been killing invisible London miscreants whom nobody will miss - characters like Bill Sykes, for example, though not actually Bill Sykes as I think that's one fandom too far :P - he's probably even doing society a favour, but obviously nobody ever knows because they're anonymous underdogs.
Who is the Ripper, you ask? Well - it's Raoul, of course!
Because there's that theory that the Ripper had to be an educated man due to the nature of the killings and the precise nature of the mutilations. In my head it's just because Christine's betrayal has actually sent him mad, and he's exacting revenge on any unfortunate who crosses his path, but obviously I'd need to get into his brain a bit more as to why it's specifically ladies of the night... :P
Also there might be a big cliched ending where Raoul, cornered now that Holmes is on his tail, has a knife to Christine's throat and she is rescued by Erik - and also Holmes and Watson, probably. ;)
Also it needs a title. I'm partway toying with doing it in the style of the Guy Ritchie films, i.e. "Sherlock Holmes: [subtitle]" but as it's a POTO story that might not work. I quite like "The Phantom of Whitechapel" because that situates the idea in the reader's mind that Erik is the Ripper - as you would rightly expect - and will hopefully make the twist more effective.
I told you it was epic. :D
PS: If I fail at Sherlock Holmes fic-writing, I am more than open for cloudsinvenice to co-write! Frankly, I'm going to need all the help I can get. ;)