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fic: Put Asunder

Title: Put Asunder
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: Sherlock
Pairing/Characters: Clara, Harry
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 735
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: It's not a divorce if you were never married in the first place.
A/N: Fill for the "Divorce" square on my love_bingo card; this is in the same 'verse as Water, Dust, Juice and Any Just Cause, and is set between the last two. Thanks to blooms84 and kalypso_v for beta wisdom and encouragement.




It's not a divorce if you were never married in the first place. Not in the eyes of the law; and if you're a lawyer that's what counts, or should. Clara's lost count of the arguments she's had about this, with her gay marriage activist friends, with the PC brigade, with Harry... Eventually she just stopped arguing, about that or anything else.

She was out when the final papers came - the solicitors had sent them registered, which meant a trip to the sorting office. And she has been quite busy at work, she does have other things in her life apart from being Harry Watson's ex-civil-partner, thank you very much for asking. So it's been nearly a week since the card came through her letterbox, and now she's sitting in an unfamiliar café round the corner from the sorting office on a Saturday morning, staring blankly at a half-drunk flat white and the last of the dissolution paperwork.

Which is, of course, the moment her mobile buzzes and it's Harry. Wouldn't you know?

She remembers that Richard Thompson song from all those years ago, just when I thought I could learn to forget her, right through the door come a tearstained letter. It wouldn't be the first time Harry had had second thoughts, god knows, especially if she's been drinking again. Though her timing could hardly be worse.

But that's not it at all.

“I'm getting married again!” Harry blurts out, not even waiting for Clara to say hello. As if she thinks she'll lose her nerve if she doesn't say it right away.

Clara bites back the impulse to say What do you mean, again?

“Congratulations,” she manages, hoping it doesn't sound sarcastic. “Um–”

The obvious next question would be Who is it?, but she doesn't think she can ask that.

“When?” she asks instead. She's not even sure if she should be asking anything, but after all Harry's chosen to tell her –

“Next month,” Harry says. She sounds guilty and proud and defiant all rolled into one. “Sarah's got some leave due so –”

“Sarah?” Clara says, stunned. Sarah Sawyer?

“I told you,” Harry says, the familiar edge back in her voice.

“Yes,” Clara says automatically, “yes you did.” She only just stops herself from apologising, for fuck's sake. How was she supposed to know that relationship had lasted past Sarah's obvious rebound from the thing with John? If ever there was an accident waiting to happen...

There's an awkward silence and then Harry says stiffly “I thought you'd rather hear it from me.”

Only you, Clara thinks. Only you could make an act of virtue out of doing this. And here we are again, with me in the wrong, the way it's always been, no matter what you do.

The truth is, there's no good way to hear this news. But having to deal with Harry as well is... worse.

Maybe there's something you're supposed to say at this point; Clara doesn't have the faintest idea what it is... Dear Cathy and Claire, My ex-civil-partner just rang me to say she's getting CP'd again. What is the correct form of words to use in this situation? Confused, N3

Dear Confused... no, it's no good, she can't imagine it even as a joke.

The thing she shouldn't say is, of course, the one that comes out of her mouth.

“Does John know?”

“Yes,” Harry says, and now she sounds straightforwardly defiant, as if she's daring Clara to criticise her. “He's fine about it, actually. I asked him to be our witness and he said yes.”

Clara has enough self-preservation not to say the first things that come to mind: that's fucking sick, are you crazy, is he crazy?

“Oh,” she says. “Well.”

I hope you have a good day is probably what she ought to say next, but it sticks in her throat.

“Good luck, H,” she manages. Better luck next time. She doesn't have to say it; she knows Harry will hear it anyway.

“Yes, well,” Harry says, and now she sounds choked, as if she's crying. “Bye then.”

“Bye,” Clara says, but Harry's already gone. She sits for a while longer, watching her coffee get cold. Then she tucks the final dissolution order into her handbag and goes home to put it in a safe place. Because she doesn't lose important papers, even the ones she'd like to tear up or burn.


***

Richard Thompson's song Tear Stained Letter is here.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/71530.html with comment count unavailable comments.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
maggie_conagher
Feb. 24th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
I loved the bitterness here like espresso, dark and rich.

Full for a oneshot, deep character dev, loaded dialogue.

So lovely to begin the wkend with something from you.
fengirl88
Feb. 24th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I'm glad you liked it. in my headcanon, Clara does eventually find someone else who's going to be much better for her than Harry was, but that's outside the scope of this fic and probably of this series.
ginbitch
Feb. 25th, 2012 12:04 am (UTC)
*shivers*

Your Harry really is toxic!

The whole thing is beautifully judged, my dear!

<3
fengirl88
Feb. 25th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm so pleased you think it is! I think this Harry is probably quite a mess, but definitely toxic with it.
thesmallhobbit
Feb. 25th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
Your Harry is really well written, totally self-absorbed, probably as befits an alcoholic. Clara deserves better.
fengirl88
Feb. 25th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm glad you think so, on both counts! as I said to maggie_conagher, in my headcanon Clara is going to find someone much better, but not in this fic and possibly not in this series.
eglantine_br
Feb. 25th, 2012 04:35 am (UTC)
Wow this is hurty real. So much in so few good words.
fengirl88
Feb. 25th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm glad you thought so!
(Deleted comment)
fengirl88
Feb. 26th, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I always think of you when I write Harry/Clara, so I'm delighted you liked this.
marysutherland
Mar. 9th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
I read this a while ago and meant to comment, but didn't get round to doing so. It's a very poignant story precisely because it's understated: Clara doesn't yell and scream, as she has every right to do. I particularly liked how even her jokes fail her at the crucial point.

It has got me thinking though, about writing something good for Clara. In fact, to be precise it's got me 5000 words into doing so, which may not be a good move for me or LJ ;-)
fengirl88
Mar. 9th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
thank you - I'm glad you liked it.

Clara should definitely have more good things, though the next fic in this series is still mostly angst...

I'll look forward to seeing your fic!
chloebroefan
Mar. 14th, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
This is probably a really stupid thing to say...but I want Clara to meet someone absolutely wonderful, because obviously Harry never came close to deserving her...what a @&$$!
fengirl88
Mar. 14th, 2012 05:28 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I want that for her too and in my headcanon she does!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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