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fic: In Transition (part 3 of 7)

Title: In Transition (part 3 of 7)
Author: fengirl88
Rating: NC-17, eventually
Fandom: Sherlock
Pairing: Sherlock/John not-very-established relationship, Sherlock/Lestrade complications, Sherlock/John slash, finally
Warnings: sexual content, some drug references, and Lestrade still swears rather a lot.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.  Just playing with them.  Again. 
Spoilers: Bits of A Study in Pink.
Wordcount: 1824 for this chapter.

Summary: John has never been so happy.  Sherlock has never been so confused.  Sex has never been so awkward.

beta'd by ginbitch, to whom many thanks.

Chapter 2: Clara

Give Or Take A Night Or Two



There are things you expect to carry away from a failed relationship with an alcoholic and things you don't.


Amongst the things you do: broken crockery, broken furniture, bruises, the memory of humiliations piled high till you think they can't get any higher but there's always just one more. And finally, your day in court, dissolving the civil partnership. First one to get divorced, her mind jeers, the first of all the CP gang.


Amongst the things you don't: an entirely unlikely friendship with your ex-brother-in-law.


Clara had never expected to like John Watson, the way Harry talked about her brother when she and Clara had first got together. In Harry's account, John had sounded pompous, stuffy, deadly dull and almost certainly a homophobe into the bargain. That was in the early days of the relationship, when Clara couldn't see past the amazing, intoxicating sex they were having. Before she realized how much of Harry's survival mechanism depended on making sure the people she needed never compared notes. Making sure they disliked and distrusted each other, because if they didn't, God knows, they might gang up on Harry and decide it was time she did something about the drinking. The days before Clara finally had to admit to herself what she'd have been screaming for months now at any friend of hers similarly placed: that Harry's primary relationship was with the drink. And that it always would be.


At which point the only sane thing to do is start working out how you're going to get out of this alive. Alive, meaning, not wrecked to the point where you might as well be dead. She'd come closer to that than she liked to think, but thank Christ she was out of it now, and Harry was out of her life.


John, surprisingly to both of them, was still in it.


He wasn't the stuffed shirt Harry had painted him as. She'd known that much even before he went to Afghanistan. There was a sense of humour there, for a start, that mad silly giggle she found oddly endearing. And he'd been kind to her when things were getting really bad with Harry. Though there'd been a ferocity at the back of his kindness that suggested what he really wanted to do was give Harry a black eye to match Clara's. But he'd talked more sensibly and knowledgeably than she would have expected about support groups and resources, and hadn't lectured Clara or made her feel stupid or worthless for not being able to leave Harry then. Not that she needed anyone else to make her feel those things with Harry around.


He'd still been in Afghanistan when the split finally happened, but he'd sent her a message saying he knew it was the right decision, must have been a tough one to make, well done to her for making it, and that he'd like to stay in touch if she'd be on for that. Which was really surprising and had made her cry, but not in a bad way.


Afghanistan had changed him, though, or something had. The limp, obviously, but then the limp had suddenly vanished. And then there was whatever was going on with that mad ex-junkie he was living with now in Baker Street.


She should have known there was something up, that night in the pub, the way he blushed when she asked about his new flatmate. The way he jumped when he got four text messages in a row and then made an excuse about not feeling well and went out looking like death warmed up. If Clara hadn't been at her wits' end trying to deal with yet another of bloody Magnus's cock-ups she'd have grilled John then and there, but even with most of her mind on missing affidavits and court first thing in the morning, she could see John was acting oddly.


She'd thought he was just sickening for something. Didn't know what it was until she met Sherlock Holmes.


Clara doesn't trust Sherlock as far as she could throw him. Which, given their height difference, probably isn't very far at all.


She remembers what one of Harry's old drinking buddies used to say, in the days when he was on the wagon: People will do anything rather than change. They will literally die rather than change. He'd seen just that, in the last-ditch drying-out clinic. People actually dying, then dead, because they wouldn't give up the drink, or the drugs, or both.


Sherlock may be clean at the moment, especially given how nice his life must be with John running around devotedly after him all the time, but she knows better than to think that will last if things get tough again. And she doesn't want to watch John go through what she had to go through with Harry.


Or whatever spectacularly twisted version of that Sherlock would come up with, given that he's nine-tenths barking mad in the first place.


John had made some pretty flimsy excuses not to meet up, back at the very beginning of this thing with Sherlock. Of course she'd known why, the minute she saw them together. You couldn't not know, looking at John. It was harder to tell from Sherlock's expression, but still there was something so established about the two of them it was unmistakable. She'd cornered John that evening, seizing her moment when Sherlock was in the loo, and asked him if he was all right, if he was happy. Sounding so fierce she'd surprised herself. She'd never expected to get fond of Harry's ultra-normal brother.


Never expected to find said brother in a gay relationship either.


John had insisted he was fine, that everything was wonderful, he'd never been happier, apologised for not having told her before, said how much she would like Sherlock when she got to know him.


Clara had her own opinions about that but she kept them to herself. No point in doing anything else till the scales fall from the eyes of the newly besotted, she knows that well enough. She's been there before.


She doesn't like the look of what's going on with Sherlock and that policeman, though. Doesn't like it one little tiny bit.


John had mentioned Lestrade with a kind of wince that made Clara suspicious even before she'd met him. She doesn't know what went on with Lestrade and Sherlock before Sherlock and John got together but it's pretty clear something did. Hadn't formed much of an impression of Lestrade, that day at his flat. Well, you don't, really, not when you're seriously stuck into a piece of work the way they'd all been with that blackmail case, chasing down leads, making calls, desperately searching for clues. She'd been vaguely aware of a rather scruffy man wandering around half-asleep in his pyjamas and eating leftovers and that was about it. It wasn't till a couple of nights later, at John's flat, that she'd got a proper look at Lestrade.


When she had finally done that, two things had become glaringly obvious. One: Lestrade scrubbed up well and was a lot better-looking than she'd thought. Two: the way Lestrade kept looking at Sherlock, and the way Sherlock looked at him when he thought nobody was watching, meant trouble coming.


So she isn't surprised to get a text a couple of days later from John, asking if they could meet. Just puts some extra tissues and Paracetamol in her bag before heading out, figuring she'll probably be needing both at some point during the evening, and braces herself for whatever revelations lie ahead.


To her surprise, John doesn't mention Lestrade at all. And it really isn't quite clear what he wanted to talk about, or why he wanted to meet at all. He just sits there drawing patterns with spilt beer till Clara wants to smack his hand and tell him to get on with it, tell her what's bugging him.


And then he seems to want her to talk about the start of her and Harry, a thing he's never done before and which is really not like him. And which Clara finds unsurprisingly hard to do.


But she tries, because she's fond of him, and there's not going to be much else she can do to help, let's face it, if Sherlock and Lestrade are having an affair, or have had a fling. This one is more than a fling, though, from the looks of it. She remembers the formula one of her American friends came up with about sex outside the relationship: Once is a charm check, twice is a near occasion of sin, and lunch is out of the question. If Sherlock and Lestrade aren't already at the lunch stage, Clara will eat her QC grandfather's wig, wig box and all.


Christ Almighty, John seems to be asking about the sex now. What sex was like with Harry at the start of the relationship. He can't really be asking that, can he? She'd never have figured him for the creepy sort of straight bloke who gets off on hearing about What Lesbians Do In Bed, even before he got into a gay relationship. And she doesn't think that is what this is about. But why anyone would ask what sex was like when one of the people involved was his own sister.... Shit, this is weird. Beyond weird, really.


There are things Clara could say at this point about the extreme unwisdom of hanging around with mad ex-junkie geniuses, and the brain rot and total personality collapse that is bound to result, but she doesn't. Just looks a bit quizzically at John, who goes beetroot red and mumbles “Sorry”.


What is it, John?” she says, trying not to sound as impatient as she feels. “What's wrong?”


But he can't tell her, and she doesn't want to push.



This conversation, whatever it is, keeps not quite happening over the next few weeks, and Clara starts to wonder whether Sherlock is slipping back into his old ways again. He seems furtive, overexcited, perpetually on edge. And John, while still insisting he's never been happier, is looking increasingly ragged.


She tries to ask tactfully if Sherlock is still clean, but it's hard to find the right words. Hard enough even to ask where he is or what he's up to without sounding suspicious.


The latest thing is that Sherlock seems to be spending a lot of evenings and indeed nights at the mortuary. Something to do with an experiment. Says he'll be late back and tells John not to wait up.


Experiments going on into the middle of the night? At the mortuary? Anyone else, and Clara would have said that was definitely a cover story for playing away from home. With that mad bastard, she supposes it might just be true.

For the last few days he's had that feeling again. You always know. Someone following him. )

There is John, who is essential to him. And then there is Lestrade. )


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 29th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
loved it. hope there will be soon more.
Sep. 29th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
thank you very much! yes, there should be some more soon...
Sep. 29th, 2010 06:47 am (UTC)
Yay for Clara :) Nice to see someone looks after John at least!
Sep. 29th, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC)
she does! and I was longing to write her after putting her into previous fics as a character on the sidelines. thank you for the yay! *beams*
Sep. 29th, 2010 10:24 am (UTC)
"how much of Harry's survival mechanism depended on making sure the people she needed never compared notes. "

Oooh crikey - that's insightful.

I love this 'verse - the way everything hangs together! I can't wait for the next installment.

Edited at 2010-09-29 10:29 am (UTC)
Sep. 29th, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC)
thank you /so/ much! that's lovely. *glows*

the survival mechanism thing - I've seen this happen, so thought it made sense for Clara to see it too.
Sep. 29th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
"She'd been vaguely aware of a rather scruffy man wandering around half-asleep in his pyjamas and eating leftovers and that was about it."
Unsexiest description ever, but someway, being Lestrade, it works. :P

This is really nice, I like the external POV!
Sep. 29th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! the power of Lestrade continues to triumph over unpromising situations...


v. glad you like the external POV. I have been wanting to write a Clara view for weeks now.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 29th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
thought you might like this view of Lestrade (given your well known views on jeans!Sherlock).

thank you so much for your appreciation of Clara. she is another character I love too much really. *beams happily*

therapists needed all round, if you ask me...
Jun. 18th, 2011 11:21 am (UTC)
I like to think that there is a big chunk of Clara that is you. I don't mean that in a Mary Sue way. Feels more like author love for her characters and a little bit of big sistery, mothery stuff too. Wendy and her lost boys.

It's a 'verse so full of hurting, lost ppl. I'm lost in it too.

I can feel all of the YEARNING.

Should comment more on your brilliant writing in specific detail but I have to know what happens.
Jun. 18th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
thank you - I'm very glad you like Clara. I was surprised when she turned up in Unpredictable, but after that I was keen to write more of her.

there tends to be a lot of yearning in the longer stories, but not so much in the short ones.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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