If you don't know where to start, check out the starter pack collection I have assembled.
The On Pins and Needles series
= all parts listed here
A chronicle of Sherlock's life, from his lonely childhood through his troubled early adulthood to the year that changed everything between him and John. Early into their shared life, a serious illness leads to Sherlock's complete dependence on others for his survival and unearths old demons.
[autism, family secrets, mental health, serious illness, developing johnlock, casefic]
The You Go To My Head series
= all parts listed here
This series features the exciting medical and romantic adventures of doctors Watson (senior neuroanaesthetist and director of operative services) and Holmes (consulting neurosurgeon) as they navigate their careers and their relationship.
[autism, family trauma, medical career, developing and established relationship]
The Care And Companionship series
= Proving A Point (with Elldotsee) — The Difficult Position in Which We Find Ourselves — Our Doubts Are Traitors — When It Rains, It Pours (with Elldotsee) — A Good Morning (by Elldotsee)
Invalided home from Afghanistan, running out of funds and convinced that his surgical career is over, John Watson accepts a mysterious job offer to provide care and companionship for a disabled person. Little does he know how much hangs in the balance of his performance as he settles into his new life at Musgrave Court.
[alternate universe based on the book and film "Me Before You", johnlock, disability and autonomy, depression, casefic]
The At The Edge of Our Hope series
= Drift Compatible — Drift Incompatible (by 7PercentSolution) — The Unexpected Threat & several stories inspired by "Drift Compatible"
This is the story of a washed out war hero struggling with his past and a prodigy who wants nothing to do with his family legacy. Both are looking for something—and someone—worth fighting for in a world where human civilisation is constantly under threat.
[alternate universe scifi epic based on Pacific Rim but requiring no knowledge of that source material, johnlock]
An accident forces John to face the fact that Sherlock's downward spiral had started long before his flight to exile even left the tarmac. [angst, medical drama, friends to lovers, drug addiction]
This is definitely not how John had imagined their Saturday night.
[scorpion bite, mostly platonic relationship]
The Significant Other
Fate gives Sherlock appendicitis and John an identity crisis.
[developing relationship, surgery]
Swift, Fierce & Obscene
Every morning, he lets out a rattled breath of relief because John doesn't know yet; he can still pretend everything hasn't changed. Sometimes it's the smallest things, rather than criminal master plans or elaborate family secrets, which ultimately destroy what a man has fought to preserve.
[medical angst, developing johnlock]
You Have Drawn Red From My Hands
John getting injured leads Sherlock on a path of guilt and revelations.
[verbal Iceland scenery porns, stab wound with septic peritonitis, sherlock being flaily Garridebs-style]
The Screaming in Cathedrals series
= The Road of Bones — Stress Fractures
Sherlock usually ignores warning signals from The Transport but this time, it's his precious brain that's in jeopardy. How will he and John cope?
[cerebral aneurysm, friends to lovers]
Laws of Nature
Sherlock has gotten himself injured (again). Will John come to his rescue?
The Desperate And The Shirtless
Getting stuck on a small island during a storm with a sick and cranky Sherlock teaches John a few things about friendship and patience.
[shingles in Shetland, mostly platonic relationship]
In 7PercentSolution's story "Periodic Tales: Calcium", we learned about Sherlock's problems with dentists. After Mary's death, Mycroft once again must turn to John to ensure that a related issue of Sherlock's gets addressed.
[autism, dental phobia]
The Broken Tether
Written in second person, we track John's experience of supporting Sherlock through open heart surgery when his mitral valve gives up the ghost with little warning, and coming to terms with what he and Sherlock mean to each other.
[surgery and recovery, depression, friends to lovers]
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE & SUPERNATURAL
The Thermocline series
= Thermocline — Still Remains The Most Beautiful Thing
John "Five Oceans" Watson — technical dive instructor, dive accident analyst and weapon of mass seduction — meets recluse professor of maritime archaeology Holmes. As they head out to a remote archipelago off the coast of Guatemala to study and film its shipwrecks for a documentary, will sparks fly or fizzle out?
[scuba diving, different first meeting, asexuality, abusive relationships, developing johnlock]
Flesh And Bone All Traveling Home
During a desolate night in Afghanistan, while watching over a dying soldier, John Watson meets an angel of death.
[supernatural, alternate first meeting]
The Boötes Void
Research time at the telescopes of Cambridge's Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory is a highly sought-after resource for the university's postgraduate students. On a swelteringly hot summer weekend, there is a bit of a cock-up with the bookings…
[unilock, different first meeting, science]
Love Is A Smoke
It's spring in 2036. John and Sherlock are no longer together. Sherlock attempts to cope — or doesn't.
[based on a concept in the TV series Westworld, grief]
Smile Like A Paper Cut
Many serial killers are capable of leading outwardly normal lives hiding in plain sight as husbands, wives, scout leaders, doctors, policemen, soldiers and employers. What if Sherlock is one of them? And what if John discovers his secret?
[angst, serial killers, undefined relationship, casefic]
To Be Prayed For While The World Doth Endure
London, 1536. England awaits with bated breath the fate of Queen Anne Boleyn but, as physician John Watson is about to learn, hers is not the only tragedy unfolding at the Tower.
[era-typical medical issues, John being a good doctor, major character death]
Wait Till Victor Comes
"Lots of children process grief the way Sherlock is now doing – by creating imaginary friends," the child psychiatrist tells them at a family meeting. "It's completely harmless." Mycroft isn't sure at all about that.
[ghost story based on Mary Downing Hahn's "Wait Till Helen Comes"]
After graduating from medical school, John Watson followed his heart to the Himalayas. Ten years later, he's a haunted cynic working for his ex-lover's trekking and mountaineering company. Will leading an expedition to Annapurna I — the most lethal of all the world's highest mountains — shake John out of his reverie, and who is the mystery client added to the group at the last minute?
[mountain climbing, alternate first meeting]
So Closely Allied
She has always been a part of his life but now, she needs to leave.
[ghost story, developing johnlock]
That Familiar Itch
Who knew what adventures causing someone spill their coffee could lead to? Not John Watson, that's for sure.
[alternate first meeting, airports]
The System puts people through a series of assigned relationships in order to determine who their Perfect Match is. John believes that it works; Sherlock really, really doesn't. One of them is probably going to be wrong.
[futuristic dating app, based on the Black Mirror episode "Hang The DJ"]
To Break A Butterfly Upon A Wheel
After his medical licence is revoked due to difficulties in adjusting back to civilian life, John Watson is forced to look into the darker corners of London for work. There, he meets Will.
[heist drama, abusive relationships, co-conspirators to lovers]
The Hell Be At The Door series
= A Diseased Fancy — A Man In Amber — Magnet Tar Pit Trap
The story of Sherlock and Victor Trevor with a Lovecraftian spin. Requires no knowledge of that author's works.
[Lovecraftian horror, developing johnlock, medical drama]
Messages From Deep Waters
They say that people who settle in such isolated, wild places cradled and battered by the sea are exceptionally at peace with themselves or running away from something. Sherlock certainly knows which one applies to him, but what about his reclusive neighbour John Watson? [tragedy, romance, different first meeting]
The Never Easy And Never Over series
= From Here No Lines Are Drawn — 24 Things About The So-Called Us
John is exhausted by family life and Sherlock is feeling neglected. An abysmal spur-of-the-moment decision leads to a brutal confrontation which might just be the endgame of a relationship.
[unconventional family unit, drug use]
And Here We Are
All the little things we never got to see when an army doctor and a consulting detective were adjusting to sharing a flat. And a life.
The World In Solemn Stillness Lay
Rosie's first Christmas without her mother is approaching fast, and John isn't coping well with the pressures of being a single parent. Can Sherlock scrape his new family back together?
[family drama, post-S4]
The Victim Experience
A case takes Sherlock and John deep into the seedy underbelly of the haunted attractions industry. With audiences craving more and more intense experiences, is a real murder the next logical step?
[canon-compliant, platonic Halloweenish casefic]
The Monument of Memory
A genius traumatised by a past he's only beginning to recall. The psychopath sister that time forgot. A missing woman and a mentalist who may or may not be a murderer. And, in the middle of it all, stands John Watson.
[post-S4, hypnosis, family trauma, developing johnlock, casefic]
An Experimental Apology
When a case leaves both John and Sherlock a bit worse for wear, heated words are exchanged and feelings get hurt. Can the damage be fixed?
CANON-BASED SHORT STORIES
This is the story of how John Watson ultimately gets seduced. Not with kisses or sweet talk but through the presenting of cold, hard facts.
[friends to lovers]
Paying The Piper
John has plucked up the courage to leave Sherlock alone in the flat for the first time after the detective has quit smoking. Predictably, everything is terrible.
[sherlock being sherlock]
Diss The Season
Nobody likes being alone at Christmas.
[gift-giving, friendship, loneliness]
Mycroft has news to share, which prompts John and Sherlock to consider the turns their shared life has taken during the past few years.
[post-S3, family matters]
This is the moment he has dreamed of so many times during the years he has been absent, but none of the scenarios he'd had in his head were like this. So devoid of all the important things. So Johnless.
The Attempted Rehabilitation of Sherlock Holmes
John and Mycroft have teamed up to land Sherlock in rehab after a relapse of his drug habit. Sherlock is not happy, and proceeds to try and orchestrate his escape via text messages.
[221b ficlet, drug use]
TIPS ON WHICH STORIES TO PICK IF YOU WANT…
…to be particularly emotionally devastated:
From Here No Lines Are Drawn · Swift, Fierce & Obscene · To Be Prayed For While The World Doth Endure · Smile Like A Paper Cut · Love Is A Smoke · The Broken Tether
…stories dealing with mental health:
2007 · On the Rack · Differential Diagnosis · By A Thousand Cuts · Take Heart · Scar Tissue · By A Thousand Cuts · Proving A Point · The World In Solemn Stillness Lay · The Monument of Memory · Love Is A Smoke · You Have Drawn Red From My Hands · The Broken Tether
…to explore the brotherly relationship between Mycroft and Sherlock:
The Care And Companionship series · Differential Diagnosis · 2007 · On the Rack · You Have Drawn Red From My Hands · the At the Edge of Our Hope series
…platonic friendship between John and Sherlock instead of johnlock
The Victim Experience · Harmless Things · Laws of Nature ·The Desperate And The Shirtless ·To Be Prayed For While The World Doth Endure