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fic: Mending

Title: Mending
Fandom: Sherlock
Rating: PG-13
Length: 500
Characters: Clara, Harry Watson
Content notes: reference to alcoholism and dysfunctional relationships
Author note: My first Sherlock fic in a long time, written for the Mending challenge at [community profile] fan_flashworks; thanks to [personal profile] smallhobbit at [community profile] ffw_social for a helpfully framed prompt question, and to Owl_by_Night for excellent beta advice.
Summary: Harry always said the world was made up of winners and losers. For Clara, it's more about breakers and menders.

Harry always said the world was made up of winners and losers. For Clara, it's more about breakers and menders.

Harry's a breaker, always was. Testing every relationship to destruction, pushing the people who loved her away to prove herself unlovable. They're always wounded, the breakers. And you can know that about them, be sorry for it, and still need to get the fuck out of there. Clara's a mender by habit and instinct, which meant she'd stayed far longer than she should when everything went to hell. She hadn't wanted to admit to herself that she couldn't fix this, couldn't make things better for Harry. They'd stood up in front of the world and made their vows to each other, but the only enduring relationship in Harry's life was with the drink, and always would be.

And when she couldn't make Clara leave, she'd left her. Turned her into the persecutor, the killjoy, the gaoler she couldn't wait to be free of. Clara doesn't like to think how long it took to dislodge that twisted version of herself from her own mind. To say, that's your story, not mine, and I don't belong in it. I'm not that person and you can't make me be them.

How long is it since she and Harry last spoke? A couple of years, at least, by the time she runs into her again at a concert in Temple Church. Clara's chambers are sponsoring the series, so there's quite a crowd of her workmates to witness the encounter. She's angry at first: Harry must have known she'd be here. This is her space. Then she shrugs. It's a public event, anyone can come to it. And, weirdly, seeing Harry in this setting, that's who she is: just anyone.

All those years she avoided the places they used to go together, in case she ran into Harry again, and now she thinks, fuck it, it doesn't matter any more. She's had her heart broken once by a lover in the years since Harry left her, had it bruised and battered a few more times after that, and lived to tell the tale, or not to tell it. There's nothing in her life Harry needs to know, nothing left to say but a brief exchange of civilities.

Clara thinks about that McGarrigles' song, Heart Like A Wheel, a present from the boyfriend who made her so unhappy she wanted to die, in the days when she thought she was straight. Some say a heart is just like a wheel, when you bend it you can't mend it. It's a beautiful song but it's not true, not for her. She mends more slowly these days, but she still mends.

She stops outside the Tube to buy herself a bunch of tulips. Their vivid colours light up the flat like a Dutch flower painting: scarlet, yellow, purple, orange, stripes of strawberry-and-cream. She's not sure what she's celebrating, but she feels more light-hearted than she has for months.


What Clara's remembering: Heart Like A Wheel, sung by Kate & Anna McGarrigle.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/221525.html with comment count unavailable comments.


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