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fic: Lit From Within

Title: Lit From Within
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: PG
Wordcount:~1000
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: They're still not mine. Nor is the dialogue from that film.
Summary: “Oh right,” John says. “So my flatmate is a famous Hollywood actress. Oh, and secretly a redhead into the bargain. I must tell him, he'll love that.”
An outing to the cinema has consequences the screenwriters probably hadn't envisaged.
A/N: This is dedicated to blooms84 who pointed out the resemblance in the first place and beta'ed the results. Written for the square "emotion: surprise" on my kissbingo card; the card is here.

 
Lit From Within

 
 
They're half-way back to Baker Street after the film when Clara starts laughing.

“What is it this time?” John says.

The Philadelphia Story has so many laugh-out-loud moments that it could be almost anything.

“I've just worked out who Katharine Hepburn reminds me of,” Clara says.

“Go on then,” John says. He can't always follow Clara's connections, but there's usually some logic to them, however far-fetched.

“It's Sherlock!” Clara says triumphantly.

“Oh right,” John says. “So my flatmate is a famous Hollywood actress. Oh, and secretly a redhead into the bargain. I must tell him, he'll love that.”

“Come on,” Clara says, “it's obvious. Cold, haughty, skinny, posh, tall, amazing cheekbones, self-centred, arrogant, obnoxious, spoilt, rude to everyone...”

“Yes, all right, thank you!” John snaps. “You don't have to go right through the card, though I'm sure you could.”

Clara gives him a slightly odd look. “Sorry,” she says. “I didn't realize.”

Which of course just makes things worse.

“Didn't realize what?” John asks, preparing to take offence.

“Didn't realize you'd become friends as well as flatmates,” she says, keeping her tone light.

Even that deliberate lightness is an added sting. She can't unsay the words and he can't get rid of them, feels as if he's choking on them. They walk on in uncomfortable silence for a bit and then Clara stops dead.

“Shit!” she says. “Sorry, John, I've just realized I forgot something back at Chambers that I need for tomorrow. I'd better go and get it.”

John finds he's laughing instead of choking, which is definitely an improvement.

“That is the least convincing double take I've ever seen,” he says.

“Guilty as charged,” Clara says, without rancour. “But I'd like to see you come up with a better one in the circumstances.”

He hugs her. “I'm sorry I snapped at you.”

“It's OK. But I think I am going to head off now. Let me know if you still want to go to His Girl Friday. And get some sleep, you look as if you need it.”



John walks back to Baker Street, thinking about Katharine Hepburn in the film, how aloof and untouchable she is, how apparently unfeeling, until she gets drunk and is kissed by James Stewart, wakes up with a shocking hangover and finally steps down from her pedestal for the happy ending. The happy ending with Cary Grant.

It annoys John that Hepburn and Stewart don't end up together in this one, despite all the big talk about how class doesn't matter. Because that scene between them, clunky dialogue and all, is just amazing. The disbelief in Hepburn's voice as she says I don't seem to you to be made of bronze?, and the sheer wonder in Stewart's: No, you're made out of flesh and blood. That's the blank, unholy surprise of it.

He needn't have snapped at Clara like that. It's not her fault he's the ordinary guy in this picture rather than the suave wisecracking hero. It's not her fault that Sherlock is a bit like Katharine Hepburn: Hepburn the way she is before the kiss that changes everything.

That sort of transformation just doesn't happen in real life.

On the other hand, Sherlock's worldview doesn't set much store by real life: sounds a bit dull. A man who believes in archenemies and swoops around London in that coat like some kind of gorgeous impossible vampire is hardly a stranger to melodrama.

You're a writer now, he thinks. A writer of sorts, anyway. If you don't like the Hollywood ending, make up a better one.



Sherlock's brooding on the sofa; he could perfectly well have come to the film with them but he chose to stay home and sulk. His skin's so pale it's no wonder John finds himself thinking of statues again. But then the flat is quite cold.

John turns up the thermostat and puts the kettle on for some tea. He's not sure alcohol would be a good idea at this point, but he needs something to warm him up. Warm both of them up.

Sherlock comes into the kitchen and fiddles moodily with a cup, which he manages to break, John's not sure how.

“You've cut yourself,” John says. “Here, let me-”

“Don't fuss, Doctor,” Sherlock says, snatching his cold hand away from John's warm ones, “I can do it myself.”

“At least let me make sure it's not too deep.”

“I said, don't fuss, Doctor.”

The bored tone catches John on the raw.

“That's really all I am to you, is it?” he demands.

“Right now, yes,” Sherlock says.

“Are you sure?” John says, pushing Sherlock against the fridge and kissing him full on the mouth.

Sherlock makes a startled sort of uhunh noise that turns into a moan. He kisses John back. Kisses as if he's trying to fuse all the kisses they could have shared over the past weeks into a single one. Kisses so intently that John has to cling on tight because his legs seem to have stopped working.

Sherlock's face when they finally break apart, gasping for air, is so blazingly happy that John can hardly look at him.

“Should have done that ages ago,” John says shakily.

“Yes,” Sherlock says, and kisses him again.

Flesh and blood, John thinks dizzily, warm and breathing and desiring in his arms, the blank, unholy surprise of it.

“I don't know why you're looking so startled when you're the one who kissed me in the first place,” Sherlock says, sounding both so characteristically pleased with himself and so uncharacteristically shy that John has to hug him even tighter than before.

Sherlock is starting to pull at John's clothes, and the kitchen really isn't the best place for this.

“Upstairs,” John says. “Now.”

Sherlock doesn't argue, which is probably just as well, as John needs to concentrate on getting as far as the bedroom.

Tomorrow he's going to have to text Clara and tell her she was spot on about Katharine Hepburn. Right now, though, he's got an urgent appointment with a happy ending.

****

the relevant scene is here:

www.youtube.com/watch

Comments

( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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kalypso_v
Dec. 1st, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)
I quite like the fact that she doesn't end up with James Stewart - that the person who awakens her and the person she finally accepts don't have to be the same. Quite apart from her pointing out that it wouldn't be fair on Liz, though obviously that's going to be an awkward situation for some time afterwards.

But I'm very glad John writes his own ending, and particularly the line starting with "I don't know why you're looking so startled..."
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
thank you - I'm very glad you liked that. and that's a good point, both about Liz and about the different ways of getting to a happy ending. this nearly metamorphosed into a fic for the "type: Sleeping Beauty" prompt, because of that idea of awakening... but will have to think of something else for that one instead.
think the Stewart versus Grant thing was also about how John sees himself - that he doesn't think he can be the leading man in this picture. but then, it's Stewart who gets the Oscar.

Edited at 2010-12-01 01:11 pm (UTC)
mysterypoet66
Dec. 1st, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)
D'awwww. :D I'll have you know, I spent a great deal of my childhood watching the Hepburn/Grant/Stewart/myriad old films. So this gets me in my nostalgia and fluff zones, hard.
Love it. Just love it. :D
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)
thank you! I love the film and that scene but was worried it might be too much for the fic - so I'm very glad you enjoyed it.
karadin
Dec. 1st, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
Thankyou! :D
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)
thank you! glad you liked it.
equusentric
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
You write that better ending, John! ♥
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
thank you! well, he is a writer now (as well as a doctor and assistant to the world's only consulting detective), so I thought he should...
errantcomment
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
D'aw.
Also I like the bit about the writing your own happy ending.
And it's just awesome.
Thanks.
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm particularly glad you liked that bit! it made me happy when I thought of it (and it's the thing he has in common with the Stewart character, of course!).
melodywilde
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC)
That's beautiful--just beautiful. You've brightened up a really gloomy morning for me. I'm always for the ordinary guy getting the girl--or guy--so this really made me smile in every way. Thanks!
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! *beams*

really glad it brightened your morning.
jbs_teeth
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
Lord, I LOVE that movie so much. The dialog is GENIUS all the way through. (But I'll suggest, as slashshers, our duty is wish that James Stewart and Cary Grant end up together: it's not like they don't have chemistry. )

Great, sweet story. *is a sucker for blazingly happy Sherlock*
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
now there's a thought... maybe after they've tossed a coin to work out which of them is going to punch the other? *grins*

very glad you liked it!
(no subject) - kalypso_v - Dec. 1st, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fengirl88 - Dec. 1st, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jbs_teeth - Dec. 1st, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
light_the_sky76
Dec. 1st, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC)
I love that film, and High Society *uses an almost appropriate icon * :)

Very nice
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
thank you! I knew High Society before I knew The Philadelphia Story, but Sherlock is definitely more Hepburn than Kelly...
(Deleted comment)
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - well you know it's your fic in so many senses! wouldn't have thought of SH=KH if you hadn't suggested it, and after that the blank unholy surprise was inescapable...

*hugs you*
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - fengirl88 - Dec. 1st, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - fengirl88 - Dec. 1st, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
sophiaiswisdom
Dec. 1st, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
OMG, so romantic!
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - it's an overwhelmingly romantic film so inevitably I got carried away by it!
turante
Dec. 1st, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
So sweet and the dialogue of the film so well-woven into this...
Now I've got to watch it. (my list of films I need to watch grows longer and longer every time I peek at your lj... ç_ç)
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
heh. thank you very much! glad you liked that aspect of it - and yes, you should definitely watch the film.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - fengirl88 - Dec. 1st, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I'm very pleased you like the story and particularly that line.
solara_karrde
Dec. 1st, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC)
Woo! Go John!!
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
once he finds his inner leading man, all things are possible...
falling_voices
Dec. 1st, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
Sherlock = Katharine Hepburn, omg. Cannot unsee, ever, this is wonderful. ♥ That movie is absolutely gorgeous, so seeing it pop up in a Sherlock fic is, like, the best surprise of the week. And oooh, I like your John, ready to make a life for himself that doesn't fit in tight little Hollywoodian corners. Well done!
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
*beams*
thank you very much indeed! I can't take credit for the original insight, which came from blooms84. but I'm very pleased that you liked the resulting fic so much.
ginbitch
Dec. 1st, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
Love this - especially your beautifully crafted last line! Just perfect! And yay for kissing!

<3
fengirl88
Dec. 1st, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - it took a while to get a last line I was happy with so I'm very pleased you liked it! *beams*
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