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fic: Dust

Title: Dust
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: Harry/Clara
Disclaimer: They're still not mine.
Rating: R
Warnings: None
Wordcount: ~450
Summary: Doing housework at 3 a.m. is emphatically not normal, Clara knows that.
A/N: Written for economic's birthday; happy birthday to her! Can be read as a standalone or as the middle of a sequence between Water and Juice. Thanks to blooms84 for the beta and to marysutherland for a useful conversation about specialized knowledge.

 

Doing housework at 3 a.m. is emphatically not normal, Clara knows that. But she couldn't bear the state of the kitchen floor any longer. The last time she'd cleaned was before Harry moved out. Which is months ago now.



She'd cleared out Harry's stuff, most of it anyway, though it had taken her weeks to summon up the courage for the handover. Changed her will, revoked Harry's power of attorney, put in the paperwork for what everyone insists on calling the divorce and Clara stubbornly, correctly - if a lawyer can't get this right she really is fucked - goes on calling the dissolution.



The first time she'd seen John using the phone she gave Harry, she'd thought she was going to throw up. She'd almost got it together to ask him to give it back to her, swap it for another one so she could smash that stupid gift and all its hopes to atoms. Just as well she didn't, because he seems oddly attached to it. Probably best not to ask why.



So all that's left of her and Harry is the dust she's sweeping up now, hair and skin cells from when they were still together mixed with Clara's hair and skin cells in the months since Harry walked away.



Dust, and the residue that doesn't show.



All that intensely specialized knowledge no-one else has, that you don't know what to do with when the relationship ends. All the details of quirks, preferences, obsessions, personal history, variations on King Charles's Head. Favourite jokes, catch-phrases, the noises she makes when she's having a nightmare. The other noises, seldom heard recently. Seldom felt recently: her body, unclothed, against yours, also unclothed. The way her face looks close up, naked and defenceless. Her hair falling around you like a tent. Her thighs tightening around your neck as she strains against your tongue. The games and the laughter, the inconvenient public desire. The pang that almost doubles you up at the sight of her tongue licking an errant drop from the side of her coffee cup. The impossible speed of that mouth. The impossible speed of that brain. The meanness, the cruelty, the sudden anger, the intransigent clinging to chaos, negativity, depression. The varieties of addiction. The closing in of space, finding nowhere to stand or sit or lie down any more. The claustrophobia of being close to that mind, trapped in its rat-runs. All that.



The dust comes up with surprising ease. What's in the head will take longer to shift.



Her mobile buzzes: another small-hours text from Harry. Saying she needs to see her, she's got something important to tell her.



Here we go again, Clara thinks wearily. She hits Ignore and switches off the phone.

 

This entry was originally posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/41068.html where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
kalypso_v
Apr. 21st, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
Painful to think of the effect of the phone on Clara, though I'm glad she was sensitive enough to see John wanted it now...

The dust reminds me of the time I was sitting at the hairdressers, thinking "Not this time, but maybe next time, or the time after that, the last of the hair that you touched will be lying on the floor waiting to be swept away." All gone now, and most of the head stuff too. Wonder if that means I'd recover more quickly, now that I have short hair.
fengirl88
Apr. 21st, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'd been wondering how Clara would react to seeing John with the phone ever since it first occurred to me that she and John might still have some sort of connection.

that's a powerful memory - I don't know whether there's a correlation between hair length and speed of forgetting, but it is good to remember that the head stuff goes away too, eventually.
kalypso_v
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:21 am (UTC)
I meant to say that I think 3 a.m. is a perfectly normal time for housework, because it's when I usually get round to doing it as it dawns on me that a visitor will arrive later in the day.

Edited at 2011-04-28 09:22 am (UTC)
fengirl88
Apr. 28th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
visitors are the main cause of housework for me as well, but not usually at that hour...
tetsubinatu
Mar. 13th, 2012 10:47 am (UTC)
The other lovely thing about 3am for housework is that there are no distractions.

Yes, I do have ADD, why do you ask? :)
fengirl88
Mar. 13th, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
thank you - I'm usually too up against it trying to prepare for visitors when I'm doing housework to be distracted! *grins*
ginbitch
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
Perfect. Painful and _true_. Profoundly true. The end is a relationship is also the ending of an entire thought universe - a paradigm shift of trivia which used to be essential data. You capture this feeling so perfectly!

Memming like hell!

<3
fengirl88
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
thank you so much! I've been thinking for a while about that idea of specialized knowledge in a relationship - the happy version of it is Mastermind, but I wanted to write the other side of it as well.
ginbitch
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
It's so true - even if you can come up with the jaunty 'they can't take that away from me' attitude to it, it still feels strange... So nice to see it represented in fic and so perfectly judged.

<3
fengirl88
Apr. 22nd, 2011 09:48 am (UTC)
thank you again! *hugs*
(Deleted comment)
fengirl88
Apr. 21st, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
thank you! I'm so glad you like it - I know it wouldn't be everyone's idea of a birthday present...

blaming your inspiration when it comes to these two. ♥
darthhellokitty
Apr. 22nd, 2011 05:28 am (UTC)
Wow. This is devastating.
fengirl88
Apr. 22nd, 2011 09:45 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I've been wanting to write about this for a while, but needed to find the right image to focus it.
2ndskin
Apr. 22nd, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
I love the strength in Clara here--she sees herself weak and at the mercy of her feelings as she remembers their time together (the sense of intimacy and the remembered passion is so beautifully drawn), but she's really a tower of strength here as she's willing to sweep up the past, doesn't give in to the need to smash John's phone (I think I would have stolen it and smashed it!). And the final power of her ability his Ignore--to push Harry away for good, for Clara's own sanity. Love this.
fengirl88
Apr. 22nd, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
thank you so much - and thank you for your encouragement to proceed! your responses to this continue to make me very happy.
marysutherland
May. 14th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
I read this when I was off in America and never got a chance to sit down and say how moving a piece it was, in its vivid evoking of ordinary, on-going pain. And I liked the sharp detail of Clara insisting it's not a divorce.
fengirl88
May. 14th, 2011 10:40 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm really glad you thought so, and that you liked that detail. I'm especially glad you liked it because part of the inspiration for it was that exchange with you about what happens to shared and specialized knowledge when a relationship ends.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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