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New Sherlock Fic: My Heart Was Very Still [Jan. 9th, 2012|12:30 am]
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Title: My Heart Was Very Still
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Rating: R
Notes: For methylviolet10b, who gave me a deceptively simple prompt (John can't sleep). I couldn't resist turning this one into something a bit longer than the other ficlets. Spoilers for S2. Title and summary lyrics pulled from "Loving Hands," by Jay Malinowski (seriously, Bright Lights & Bruises; do get the album). To those of you on my friends list taking bets as to whether or not I could hold out till after 2x03...yeah.
Summary: There's no lover, there's no cover / I got hit & there I shuddered

*** Now available as podfic read by speccygeekgrrl!***


Tonight is different, that much John knows.

He ought to be angry about Sherlock's ruse: sugar in his coffee, an experiment gone wrong. And there was also what had followed, silence all the way from Exeter back to Paddington; surely that wasn't what he'd deserved, as Sherlock's only apparent friend.

(Perhaps he oughtn't have let that go to his head.)

John follows the slight creak of the floorboards that leads him to Sherlock's bedroom door. Every time, it's the same. He walks this path in broad daylight to deliver exasperated messages. Sherlock, we have another case. Sherlock, where the hell did you put my laptop? Sherlock, Mrs. Hudson has raised the rent by twenty quid again thanks to last night's indiscreet display of pyrotechnics. So forth, ad infinitum, amen.

What's different this time is his sleeplessness (Yeah, he tells himself, let's use that for a start). He's not breathless and tangled in the sand-strewn web of some nightmare; no, he's not lying there sweating in terror while one narrowed bright eye appears, luminous as his door opens to throw a sliver of shadow across Sherlock's cheek. Slap him this time, says the shadow. I dare you to do what she would have done.

He's sleepless because he can't be arsed to get angry enough to give in.

John's hand is on the doorknob now, hesitant fingertips poised. The time for that would've been in the Cross Keys, by the fire, in front of all those gawking tourists, or perhaps in the churchyard. He'd entertained the notion of working up to it, but then it was all you're amazing and inspiring genius and all that metaphorical nonsense about conducting light. Sure, he's dazzled. Who wouldn't be? He turns the doorknob.

(Sure, he thinks. I'm screwed.)

Sherlock's on the bed, which is where he usually retreats when he's in the throes of some sulk too epic for the sofa. He's wrapped in the sheets from shoulder to ankle, duvet and pillows kicked to the floor. John might've backpedaled once upon a time, but it seems silly now, what when they've had the are-you-wearing-pants conversation whilst seated on Her Majesty's upholstery. He'd suggested they frame the ashtray.

"How long were you going to stand there?" Sherlock asks, facing the opposite wall.

"Till you asked me to leave," John says. "And if you'd been asleep, not long at all."

He closes the door behind him; he's not sure why.

(Oh, you're sure, taunts the shadow. You know as well as I.)

"I'm not tired," says Sherlock, sitting up in one fluid motion. He turns just enough for the sheet to slip from his shoulder, just enough for the bedside lamp to cast his cheek in its muted golden glow. He regards John, unblinking, with one narrowed eye.

John sighs and lets his gaze drop to the floor.

"I thought the case helped. That's what you told Henry."

"It would seem I was mistaken. What are you doing here?"

"Same thing as usual, more or less. Come have dinner?"

Sherlock turns fully into the light as John lifts his eyes, and it's very poor timing.

(Or it's perfect, says the shadow. Depending.)

John looks at the ceiling this time. "Sherlock, you're not—"

"No," Sherlock agrees, his voice low and full of doubt. "Hardly."

John stands his ground, because it's not going to work. Not this time. He'd stopped running ever since Battersea, since the power station, since staring down those eyes much colder than death. Sherlock's gaze is warm by comparison; he'd been lying when he'd claimed Sherlock should stick to ice. He's not going to lie this time.

"Dinner," John repeats, blinking once, twice, three times. Straight ahead now: look.

Sherlock is disarmed before him, naked, but not quite an open book.

"I had a sandwich on the train," he says flatly. "It was...disappointing."

"So I had gathered," John ploughs on, determined to see this through (Whatever this is, rationality be damned). "But I've got no impressive monologue to explain why, you see. Or how. You've just got to trust me on that, average mind or no. Got it?"

Sherlock nods slowly, staring down at his hands, which, John had failed to notice, were twisted in his completely exposed lap. So skilled at hiding things, those swift, precise fingers—but, in the same gesture, so adept at exposing the obvious.

"I don't..." begins Sherlock, slowly. "I'm not..."

"Hungry?" John asks, and his stomach sinks. "Right, no, of course not. I'll just—"

"You won't," Sherlock cuts in, his chin snapping up. "Want to know why?"

John feels sick and hungry at the same time, sicker and hungrier than he's ever been.

"Enlighten me."

"You closed the door," says Sherlock, simply. "You never close the door."

"That's because it's usually my room. How can you be sure the same rule applies?"

"A door is a door is a door. An escape route. Always leave yourself a way out."

Vehemently, John shakes his head.

He wants to slap Sherlock, but, instead of the lab, he thinks of the churchyard.

"What if I'm looking for a way in?"

Sherlock's mouth quirks at that, the only kind of genuine smile he knows. It's a deliberate display of stark contrasts—light and shadow, line and angle—as he bends over the edge of the bed to retrieve the pillows. What's left of the covers is an undignified wreck, but he turns them down as if offering his bed to royalty.

"Clever," says Sherlock, stripped of shadows. "You've found it."

John follows the creaking floorboards, steps forward into the light.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: mizg
2012-01-09 05:37 am (UTC)

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Lovely!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 05:42 am (UTC)

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Thanks - and, geez, before I fall into bed, I've got to tell you, I almost used that icon to make this post! *hugs*
[User Picture]From: emerald_embers
2012-01-09 05:50 am (UTC)

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Man, there's a reason your fics are such a treat for me when I let myself read them. They're just alive with the little details, and that's why I've opened up a notepad file so I can comment as I read.

Like this - John follows the slight creak of the floorboards that leads him to Sherlock's bedroom door - instantly makes Baker Street not just wallpaper, it makes the house as alive and present as the characters in it, just as it should be <3.

And, again, I'm tempted to quote an entire paragraph back, but just this little bit towards the end - He'd suggested they frame the ashtray - is just so THEM and their weird little relationship and moments of a shared sense of humour, I adore it.

John feels sick and hungry at the same time, sicker and hungrier than he's ever been.

And once more I almost want to take a little breather from the fic, just because everything about the way you write, especially these two, just takes you into their world entirely and makes you see through their eyes. It's not so much escapism as it's transportation, and it's utterly gorgeous and almost overwhelming.

What's left of the covers is an undignified wreck, but he turns them down as if offering his bed to royalty.

And I am awed again and feel like an idiot because much like the conversation with Irene and Sherlock it took me SO LONG to realise the difference between talking about hunger and talking about hunger and this is just - oh, god. This is so utterly and thoroughly perfect and I adore you for it. I adore that you still make them work with everything they do that contrasts a few of the things they say <3.

Thank you so much for this :D, it's wonderful!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:14 pm (UTC)

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(Oh, man, I've missed your long lovely COMMENTS OF DOOM *hugs*)

What's very funny is that I wanted this piece to contain at least a bit of smut (I'd been predicting an NC-17 rating), but it wanted to be a chiaroscuro study instead (and a bit of a prose poem to boot, in places). I'm not sure why, but I can see Sherlock having been the one to peer into John's room at night up until this point, whereas now, John's experienced enough of a shift to encroach on Sherlock's turf after hours. I don't know; the piece is not what I had expected it would be, but I'm not displeased with it, either.

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: random_nexus
2012-01-09 05:55 am (UTC)

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Took me a minute or two to get it, about 'usually my room', but yes. *nodding* I like the feeling of this.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:15 pm (UTC)

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It was just a reference back to the fact that it used to be Sherlock peering in at night to make sure John is all right, whereas this time, it's John coming into Sherlock's room after hours :)

Thank you, my dear.
[User Picture]From: methylviolet10b
2012-01-09 06:15 am (UTC)

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EEEEEEE!!! *dances around with delight* Oh hurrah, I am so thrilled!!! I can't wait to read this!!!

...but I am going to have to wait to read this, as I won't have a chance to watch Series 2 until later this month. But OMG I am so excited to read this once I can, and I'm utterly chuffed, and I will comment properly once I've seen Series 2 and can read this without fear of spoilers, I promise!!

*bounces up and down*
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:15 pm (UTC)

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*hugs*

I'm glad you've got something to look forward to, then :-D
[User Picture]From: ciaranbochna
2012-01-09 07:56 am (UTC)

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Pardon me while I clear this obstruction in my throat. Beautiful.

There could be a fic written for every song from that album I suspect, I know I had to do at least one..lol
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:16 pm (UTC)

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I'm going to be using that album extensively this season, I can tell...

Thank you for making me look into it *hugs*
[User Picture]From: kateison
2012-01-09 08:24 am (UTC)

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Ah, short and sweet. Very nicely done <3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:16 pm (UTC)

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Thank you :) I have a few more requests to deal with, but I do suspect this one will stand out as the most in-depth of the lot. Glad you enjoyed it!
[User Picture]From: eternalghost
2012-01-09 08:30 am (UTC)

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I love the hilarity and adorableness of this line:

Sherlock's on the bed, which is where he usually retreats when he's in the throes of some sulk too epic for the sofa.

I loves me some sulky!Sherlock! haha
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:16 pm (UTC)

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He does it so well :)

Thank you!
[User Picture]From: falling_voices
2012-01-09 08:55 am (UTC)

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Oh my.

I am infinitely jealous of and awed by your dialogue skills. It's intensely subtle and yet powerful to a degree — manages to maintain meaning even through short, matter-of-fact sentences that have little to do with what's actually happening. Also, this:

What's left of the covers is an undignified wreck, but he turns them down as if offering his bed to royalty.

And really the last few lines — these are lovely, they give definition to the entire story. Well done.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:17 pm (UTC)

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I love dialogue; it's my favorite part of prose, I think. I don't get to do it often in my poetry, so I at least get to let myself off the leash when I'm writing fic :)

Thank you so much!
[User Picture]From: talimenios79
2012-01-09 11:24 am (UTC)

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This was lovely.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:17 pm (UTC)

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Thank you very much! And thank you for reading <3
[User Picture]From: sffan
2012-01-09 11:45 am (UTC)

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Oh, this is just so lovely. You paint such wonderful pictures of them.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:18 pm (UTC)

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I'm treating these last few outstanding requests as a warm-up for what's coming. I don't doubt that, after next week, I'm going to find myself launching some longer projects.

Thank you very much :)
[User Picture]From: mattsloved1
2012-01-09 11:51 am (UTC)

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Very nicely done. Your descriptions bring this piece to life. Make it real. Thank you for sharing this piece with all of us. :)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:18 pm (UTC)

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You're very welcome! And thank you for reading :)
[User Picture]From: alex_s9
2012-01-09 12:58 pm (UTC)

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Oh hello, miss Stein! It was lovely.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:19 pm (UTC)

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Miss Stein? I'm sure I'm missing some reference here *scratches head* Clueless soul is clueless.

Thank you very much, my dear!
[User Picture]From: lokifan
2012-01-09 03:01 pm (UTC)

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This is gorgeous!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:19 pm (UTC)

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Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed reading it :)
[User Picture]From: fengirl88
2012-01-09 03:02 pm (UTC)

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I'm glad you didn't hold out! this is lovely, particularly the ending.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:20 pm (UTC)

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I'm holding out on longer fic, anyway, till I've seen next week's episode - but as far as these requests are concerned, I really see no reason why I shouldn't cave in ;)

Thank you *hugs*
[User Picture]From: mistyzeo
2012-01-09 03:44 pm (UTC)

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Ooh, lovely!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 03:45 pm (UTC)

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Thank you :-D
[User Picture]From: lyrical_sky
2012-01-09 06:15 pm (UTC)

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My god, that was stunning. Your writing is always so beautiful. Lovely take on post-ASiB/THoB.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 06:16 pm (UTC)

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Thank you so much :) And Happy New Year!
[User Picture]From: non_canonical
2012-01-09 06:32 pm (UTC)

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That was lovely! There was a real feeling of their relationship moving inexorably forwards, in spite of all their doubts and hesitancy. <3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 06:33 pm (UTC)

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There is that kind of sense, isn't there - that nothing they can do can stop it, either.

Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: mazaher
2012-01-09 06:52 pm (UTC)

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I'm glad you couldn't resist, and wrote before Reichenbach!
This story, short as it is, gives the perfect feeling of the moment in time when things are soon going to be moving from one stage to the next, and --like replanting a garden-- much will end up damaged in the works.
I still have to rewatch with subs, but what I saw in HoB seemed to be like that: the already comfortable things maybe getting a bit too much of a given, the uncomfortable ones getting a bit less tolerable... What is established, on the verge of a change.
I love the idea of "a way in".
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 06:53 pm (UTC)

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John's accustomed to knowing where the door is and having his eye on it (a habit from his days at war, I'm sure). I'd like to think that, for once, with Sherlock, he's no longer keeping an eye on the door.

Thank you *hugs*
[User Picture]From: ladymakbeth
2012-01-09 06:59 pm (UTC)

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I can only say, that I love it. As always your style is amazing and how I wish TSIB was written by you.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 07:01 pm (UTC)

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I'd take screenwriting work on S3 in a heartbeat, not least because it would probably solve the immigration problems re: getting back home to London that I'm currently experiencing... *wishful thinking*

Thank you for reading, my dear!
[User Picture]From: timegirl10
2012-01-09 07:47 pm (UTC)

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I love this too much.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 08:11 pm (UTC)

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I don't think it's possible to love these characters too much :) Thanks for reading!
[User Picture]From: speccygeekgrrl
2012-01-09 09:16 pm (UTC)

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Have I told you lately how much I love what you do with words? Because I do. I love how rich and vivid your language is. And oh, those last two lines... ♥!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-09 09:19 pm (UTC)

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You've told me a lot over time, my dear ♥

Thank you for reading, as always, and Happy New Year!
[User Picture]From: kim47
2012-01-09 10:22 pm (UTC)

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Oh. Absolutely gorgeous.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-10 12:10 am (UTC)

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Thank you very much <3
[User Picture]From: shehasathree
2012-01-09 10:41 pm (UTC)

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<3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-10 12:10 am (UTC)

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Thank you for reading! :)
[User Picture]From: tweedisgood
2012-01-09 11:08 pm (UTC)

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Mmmmm. Gentle, but at the same time rather raw.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-10 12:11 am (UTC)

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I'm pleased to hear it :) Thank you!
[User Picture]From: antesqueluz
2012-01-10 01:38 am (UTC)

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Lovely. Your always say so much with so few words. That's power.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-01-10 01:40 am (UTC)

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Pleased you found this piece effective, then :) Thank you, and Happy New Year!
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