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fic: Absent Relations

Title: Absent Relations
Fandom: Sherlock
Rating: PG
Length: 844 words
Content Notes: Angst; references to homophobia and allusions to character's in-canon alcoholism.
Author Notes: This fic is for kate_lear, with thanks for her support. Written for the Family prompt at [community profile] fan_flashworks

Summary: There's a reason why Harry Watson isn't at her brother's wedding.

The invitation sits on Harry's mantelpiece; why she didn't just tear it up and chuck it in the bin, God only knows.

She doesn't need to look at it to know what it says:

Dr John Hamish Watson & Miss Mary Elizabeth Morstan request the pleasure of your company at their marriage at St Mary's Church, Sutton Mallet on Saturday 18th May at 12 o'clock.

Harry glances at her watch; fifteen minutes to go. They'll be waiting at the church now, John fidgeting about in case something goes wrong, which with Sherlock Holmes as best man is practically a given. Bridesmaids and page-boys and all the rest of the pathetic supporting players, but not the groom's sister.

Will anyone but John notice her absence? Probably not; Sherlock's bound to be busy showing off as usual, and it's not as if she knows any of John's other friends. Or at least, any of his other friends that he's invited to the wedding.

Harry knows he hasn't invited Clara, because she asked Clara flat out, last time they spoke.

“No, Harry,” Clara said, with that note of weary patience that always made Harry want to slap her. “Why did you think he would?”

The answer to that was obvious, as Harry pointed out; John's always been fond of Clara, even before she and Harry got hitched and then divorced.

“Fonder than he is of his own sister,” Harry said.

Clara sighed, but she didn't rise to the bait the way she would have done once upon a time.

“He's hardly going to invite both of us now, is he?” she said. “And he wants you to be there, of course he does.”

Of course he does. Or rather, he thinks he should. In some ways, John is a deeply conventional man, and this is one of them. Of course you invite your sister to your wedding. Even if the two of you have never got on. Even if you haven't seen her or spoken to her for months. She's family, right?

Well, yes and no, Harry thinks. Sometimes she's family, and sometimes she isn't; that's how it goes when you're the queer child, the odd one out, the one who doesn't belong. You get invited to things when what the neighbours would think if you weren't there is worse than what they'll think if you are. And the big events in your own life go largely unmarked.

John was already in Afghanistan when she and Clara had their civil partnership, but Harry's not sure he would have been there anyway; he liked Clara, but that didn't mean he approved of her being with Harry. There wasn't anyone there from Harry's side of the family: her father had set his face against it, and her mother never could stand up to him. Clara's parents were obviously a bit awkward with the whole thing, but at least they were there.

Family is as family does, Harry thinks, looking at the card on the mantelpiece. Her mother would have wanted her to go to John's wedding, because she liked to pretend they were a normal happy family. If there's one thing Harry's learned over the years, it's that normal happy families don't exist, and if they did the Watsons wouldn't be one.

John's life looks pretty normal these days, if you don't examine it too closely. Out of the Army, getting over the PTSD, holding down a respectable job as a GP. And marrying his perky blonde receptionist, in a plot twist worthy of Mills & Boon. Playing house in suburbia, probably already painted the nursery ready for those 2.4 kids who'll be along any minute now. Yeah, right.

Harry gives it six months at the absolute outside before John's climbing the walls or getting into fights again. Once a soldier, always a soldier, and there's a reason he became one in the first place. Same reason he likes running around playing at cops and robbers with Sherlock “oh look I'm not dead after all” Holmes.

It would almost have been worth going, to hear that mad wanker trying to give a best man's speech. Almost, but not quite. She wouldn't mind betting Sherlock's none too pleased about this marriage, and she doesn't want him taking it out on her.

She checks her watch again: one minute to twelve. High Noon, Harry thinks; nice choice of timing. She's had the song from that film in her head all morning, Do not forsake me, oh my darlin', On this our wedding day.

Maybe she should have sent a text to say she wasn't coming. But it's too late now, and John wouldn't seriously have expected her to be there. He'll think he ought to mind that she stayed away, but he won't really.

Her next-door-neighbour's grandfather clock starts striking twelve. Harry uncorks the Talisker she bought late last night, and pours herself a stiff one. She waits till the last stroke of the hour dies away, and then raises her glass and drinks a toast to her brother and his wife.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/154134.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 21st, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
This is just so very sad - and a perfect snapshot of what family is and means. My heart goes out to them, mostly because there are no answers to this, are there? Once you've got to this point there is very little you can do to recover from it.
Jul. 21st, 2014 08:30 pm (UTC)
thank you - that means a lot. it is hard to see how to move on from this point, in reality or in fiction, though I would like to believe it is possible.

Edited at 2014-07-21 08:31 pm (UTC)
Jul. 22nd, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
If you work out how, then let me know. (families really suck sometimes, don't they?)
Jul. 23rd, 2014 12:24 am (UTC)
*nods* they do! a good therapist can help, but I suspect Harry is not very open to the possibiity...
Jul. 23rd, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC)
Heh. Even John isn't noticeably successful with his.
Jul. 24th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
I am curious about what happens between John and Ella in the interactions we don't see - which is most of them...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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