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[personal profile] ficklepig
obstinatrix prompted: a little danger makes the heart beat faster

This is an unfinished fragment, a rough draft that ends before the porn gets moving. I'd pass again, but I've already done it once and it'll only happen again - I'm choking under pressure. Perhaps you can derive some pleasure from my mortification, and some hope from the thought that I may finish this one and the other for the amnesty.


Title: Fair Trade
Author: ficklepig
'Verse: BBC
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/Mary Watson
Prompt: "a little danger makes the heart beat faster
Warnings: domestic violence, explicit descriptions of injuries, infidelity
Word Count: ~1220
Rating: mature

Sherlock has been sleeping on the couch in 221A since last Thursday noon.

Mrs Hudson took his call and after a moment of resistance she indulged his snippy accusations – of course she'd promised to take him home from hospital, of course she remembered, she had simply lost track of the day. She would be there in an hour with an extra cardigan in her bag, and for god's sake, Sherlock, just wait for me.

She thought about John, stumping up the stairs at 3am, stumping down again at 7. Pacing, silent, whispering angrily on the telephone, shouting. Mary, once, on the stairwell, stony-faced, heading out. Sherlock should stay downstairs for a few days, where it would be easier to look after him.

[John has been haunting the house, Sherlock knows – Mary's house – and he's been drinking.]


[Mary comes by, nods to him in the street.]


Sherlock sits up on his own now, and sometimes joins his landlady at her kitchen table. Propped in the hospital bed, draped in flimsy linens, re-opened, re-bandaged, pierced with tubes, harassed by caretakers and well-wishers, he'd felt ready to fly at any moment. Curled up here alone on the green chintz cushions, in his pajama bottoms and a blue cotton robe – one that can be laundered – his greatcoat draped over all of it, all the time, he feels smaller and weaker by far.

He picks at his wound dressing in the bathroom, presses around the edges. There is a large plaster over the hole where they'd put the PICC line in his arm, and he lets that get gummed with dirt so Mrs Hudson can scold him about it. She changes the dressing, and he doesn't answer back.


[Mary leaves 221b with with an old bruise on her face and doesn't speak to Sherlock.]

He stares at John from his armchair as John retrieves a glass of water from the kitchen sink.

“Yeah, I know,” says John.


Mrs Hudson makes a very good oxtail soup, dark and fragrant. Sherlock tries to eat but his hand keeps pausing before it reaches the spoon, his mind wandering.

Mary arrived at the doorstep almost an hour ago. John let her in and they trudged to the flat upstairs in silence.

Mrs Hudson draws a card, palpably fluttering with the need to say something. She has been trying to lose this game to Sherlock for almost an hour, which he understands must be difficult when he won't keep his mind on the cards.

“If people would just talk to each other,” she blurts out at last, and his stomach closes up shop. He folds.

There is a crash from upstairs, and a thump. It is the sort of crash and thump they each understand, and Sherlock is on his feet and out the door before she even starts her sentence: “Oh, Sherlock, no.”


How dare you?”

Sherlock opens the door behind John, who has a gun trained on his wife.

“How dare you. Carry. This thing. In here?” John spits the words, punctuating them with a jerk of the gun – the gun, her gun – in his fist, his aim hardly deviating from her expressionless face. She crouches by Sherlock's chair, where a side table has been overturned and the contents of her purse scattered over the rug.

Late-day light from the tall window falls over the tableau, which begins to shift in very slow motion. John's dark cardigan, checked shirt collar; a gold-colored tube of lipstick, still rolling, a book of matches; Mary's stark, sleepy features bruised and blurred in shadow; her gaze shifting, click, from the barrel of the pistol to Sherlock's face. “I'm sorry,” she says, and John swivels his body round, swings the gun to the right, and fires.

Some things happen, in some order. John briskly shoulders his way out the door without looking at Sherlock. Plaster flies from the wall. John stares at Sherlock in disbelief and shame, for a long time, for minutes, for hours, really sees him for the first time in weeks, in months, he sees him. How gratifying it is to be seen, thinks Sherlock. Unexpected. Mary also shot with her left hand – how could he have missed that? A gouge in the flocked paper.

“Mrs Hudson, it's all right! It's all right! Don't cry. It was an accident.”

Mary closes her eyes with the slightest flinch. Silencer. Sherlock jerks hard and hits his head on the door frame.

“It's all over, it's OK. Let me get Sherlock sorted out.”

Mary's hand on his arm. Mary's hand on Mr's Hudson's arm.

“Please take the gun. I'll be down in a little while to check on you.”

Chronology. There has been a noise, there is another hole in the wall. Nothing has changed. Sherlock stumbles on the overturned table and a spent shell spins away from the toe of his slipper.

“Easy, Sherlock. Come on, let's get you cleaned up. Come on. Easy.”


In the bathroom she strips him from the waist down. She leaves him his robe. He has the end of each sleeve bunched up tight, silk crunching in his fists. She eases him down onto the toilet seat.

“It used to happen to me all the time,” says Mary, leaning away to put the plug in the sink. “Just part of the job.” Her hands are shaking hard, and it takes a while to get the plug positioned. She leans hard against the porcelain, pressing the heels of her hands down, and laughs. Laughs, perhaps.

“The job,” he repeats stupidly, and she straightens, grimacing.

“Oh, great. See, I lost it, too.” She pulls her leggings down from under her tunic, balanced with her hand against the wall, balls them up and tosses them in the corner with Sherlock's clothes. Then she starts running hot water into the basin. “It's only because of the baby.”

The room comes into sharper focus then, and he sees her. Everything is so clear right now, and so bright. There is a woman in front of him, small and soft, in a fawn-colored velveteen tunic. There is a woman here, shuddering spasmodically and smiling, deadly, afraid. There is a woman here who he loves. Who tried to kill him. Who was his friend. Tears drop from his chin and he scrubs his face roughly with one hand.


She squeezes a washcloth out over the sink and lifts it to his mouth. He raises his face to the warmth, and lets her wipe his eyes, his cheeks, his brow. She brushes his oily fringe off his forehead and wipes along the hairline.

She pauses. He has become aware of his erection, and of the slight smell of urine from the laundry, and of her attempts at gentleness, of both their bodies shaking with each heartbeat, and of the pain pulsing through his chest. He has become aware of the shape of her body, and John's presence with them in the room.

He lifts his hand to her belly, and she leans slightly into his touch. He trails his fingers down the velvety cloth, then runs both hands down her naked thighs, and up again.



Date: 2014-07-24 11:07 am (UTC)
dryadinthegrove: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dryadinthegrove
Holy crap, I can't believe you tried to make this a Come at Once piece - because this clearly needs longer treatment.

because it is fantastic.

Date: 2014-07-24 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But but but OTHER people can do 4K in a day. I think.


I keep trying to write shorties and then they need justification and I need to reconsider stuff and look it up and then it's 3am and although I assure you I THINK ABOUT THE PORN I freak out and don't write it.

I'll try to work out a reasonable plan of attack for the next round. Work on strict wordcounts or something.

Thank you for the encouragement. If I can flesh it out into something fan-adequate that would be good.


Date: 2014-07-24 02:18 pm (UTC)
dryadinthegrove: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dryadinthegrove
Ah, see, that's my mistake, too. I start what I think are going to be short little pieces, and then I realize that I'm stuck, because the story actually wants to be longer. Sometimes A LOT longer. Such as the unexpected WIP I'm writing right now.

Le sigh.

(Don't get me wrong, I'm loving writing it, even though I'm in the weeds at the moment)

I mean, the tone in this is just fabulous, and I'm happy to wait weeks or months for more, in whatever form it might arrive.

TL;DR: I love this and want more.

Date: 2014-07-24 01:01 pm (UTC)
ancientreader: black and white pet rat (Default)
From: [personal profile] ancientreader
This is really, really good. It evokes so much even as a fragment. And Mary/Sherlock is so not my thing, but I would read your finished story in a heartbeat.

Date: 2014-07-25 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Definite potential here. Hope to see it, er, fleshed out...


ficklepig: (Default)

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