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fic: Forbidden Fruit

Title: Forbidden Fruit
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Pairing: Ella/Anthea
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 909
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: She turns to point the berries out to Ella, but Ella’s concentrating on the driving. At least, that’s the reason Anthea gives herself for not speaking: a reason that’s already lasted about an hour and a half.
A/N: Fill for the "forbidden fruit" square on my trope_bingo card. This one is for [personal profile] marysutherland and [profile] second_skin.

The Suffolk hedgerows are full of ripe blackberries left to rot unpicked; it’s the first weekend in November, Anthea realizes.

She remembers a winter afternoon in France years ago, with the writer who’d been her lover then, walking in a landscape bounded by mountains on every side. She’d wondered aloud why there were still so many blackberries at the wood’s edge. “Don’t people like them here?”

He’d looked mischievous and pleased with himself, the way he always did when he found his clever girl out in some new piece of ignorance. “It’s past Toussaint,” he said. “The Devil pisses on the berries at Hallowe’en. Nobody round here would pick brambles in November.”

Nobody round here either, apparently. She turns to point the berries out to Ella, but Ella’s concentrating on the driving. At least, that’s the reason Anthea gives herself for not speaking: a reason that’s already lasted about an hour and a half.

Anthea sits down on the four-poster bed and stares around the Crown Inn’s best bedroom. Beams and tapestry and not a straight line to be seen, crooked thick walls and a sloping floor. She’s not even sure if she could get a signal here.

The feeling of being disconnected makes her skin feel too tight, makes her blood thump and her mouth go dry.

“What if something happened?” she’d said to Ella, knowing it was a losing battle.

“You’ve switched your phone off before,” Ella said calmly. “At the BFI. Or we’d never have got together in the first place.”

“Yes,” Anthea said, trying to keep her hands from clenching.

The bad thing about having a shrink for a girlfriend: it’s too easy for Ella to read her, even when she’s not trying to. Other people have indicated, from time to time and with varying degrees of bitterness, that they find Anthea opaque. Impenetrable, the writer called her once.

The memory of that made her wince, and then laugh, thinking if he only knew. By the time she’d explained to Ella what she was laughing about, one thing had led to another, and the argument (disagreement, Anthea amends) had been shelved for the time being.

But now they’re really here, in the depths of the countryside for a whole weekend, and it’s not at all like switching off for a couple of hours to watch a film.

She glances at her handbag, over on the chair by the window. Ella catches her looking, and raises an eyebrow.

Anthea feels perilously close to a sulk, or possibly a tantrum. She sits bolt upright on the edge of the four-poster, all of her muscles screaming with tension.

“You’re addicted to that thing,” Ella had said, a bit too reprovingly for Anthea’s liking, and then made it worse by adding “It’s a very common addiction these days.”

“I am not addicted,” Anthea said, with as much dignity as she could muster, given they were both naked in bed at the time. “I need it for my work.”

“It’s midnight,” Ella said, rolling over to kiss her and switch off the light. “Time to sleep, wouldn’t you say?”

“I bet you can’t do without it for a weekend,” Ella said the next morning.

She didn’t need to say what it was; they both knew.

Anthea felt that a psychoanalyst really ought to know better than to ambush someone over breakfast like that, especially someone well known for not being a morning person.

“You know I can’t just disappear off the radar,” she said.

Not the most fortunate choice of phrase.

“He can find you if he needs to, can’t he?” Ella said tartly.

She hadn’t forgiven Mycroft for the warehouse incident, and why should she?

“Anyway,” Ella went on, “I’ve told him you need a proper break and he’s fine with it.”

“You had no right to do that!” Anthea snapped.

“Says the woman whose boss had me kidnapped so he could go through my case files and vet me as a suitable girlfriend,” Ella retorted.

“I’ll speak to him about it myself, thank you,” Anthea said, because clearly that was the most she could salvage from this impossible situation.

She’d broached the subject with Mycroft, fully expecting him to say that of course he couldn’t do without her, and more than slightly miffed to find him agreeing with Ella that she needed a rest.

“Even the most efficient mechanism requires some maintenance,” he’d said, which didn’t make her feel any better.

So now here she is. Trapped for a whole weekend with no phone, no text messages, no internet –

“You don’t have to go through with this if you really don’t want to,” Ella says.

She kneels on the bed behind Anthea and starts massaging her neck and shoulders with a confident firm grip that makes Anthea feel weak at the knees.

Ella’s hands, so strong and sure always, even in their lightest butterfly touch… Anthea moans a little and leans back against her.

“You can have it if you want it,” Ella says, “your forbidden fruit.” She nuzzles the side of Anthea’s neck.

“That’s not funny,” Anthea says, but she’s laughing just the same; and then Ella starts kissing her behind the ear, and she closes her eyes and gives in, lets Ella undo her, unravel all the knots in her body till she’s drawn out fine and smooth like a skein of silk.

The BlackBerry stays untouched in her bag all the way to Monday morning.


This isn't a remix of marysutherland's Six hours, forty-six minutes, but is clearly influenced by her view of how Anthea's work affects her relationship with Ella.

The warehouse incident appears in Sleeping Beauty, in which Anthea and Ella first get together; their relationship is continued in Among The Guests. Anthea's relationship with the writer appears at the start of Love Letters.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/136002.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 2nd, 2013 07:51 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for this - it's a lovely story, and a very ingenious use of the "forbidden fruit" metaphor. It's fascinating to see the tensions in the relationship from Anthea's side, and the complexities of Mycroft's involvement as well. I love the bit about Anthea as "well known for not being a morning person", a glimpse into the grumpy human side beneath the slick exterior. And Ella's wonderful, as usual, that mixture of firmness and practical warmth.
Nov. 2nd, 2013 11:10 am (UTC)
thank you! I'm very glad you liked it, and those things about the characters in particular. I was pleased with the idea when I got it, and it was interesting to write (more) from A's point of view - I thought I hadn't done it at all, and then remembered Love Letters.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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