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fic: Fragile Bodies

Title: Fragile Bodies
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Rating: R
Warnings: minor character deaths, traumatic memory (nothing graphic in either case)
Wordcount: ~650
Disclaimer: They're still not mine.
Summary: The fragility of bodies haunts him in a way it never used to. He was impatient with the body's demands, its weakness: the mind's all that matters, everything else is just transport.                         
Fourth in the sequence that began with Kiss Chase and continued with Worse Things and First Light.
A/N: written for the kissbingo prompt square "body: shoulder". This one's for ginbitch on her birthday.   Next time I promise less angst and more cake...


Fragile Bodies


The fragility of bodies haunts him in a way it never used to. He was impatient with the body's demands, its weakness: the mind's all that matters, everything else is just transport.

But that was before waking out of the nightmare to find John there. Waking again the morning after, feeling John's breath on his neck and in his hair, the heat of his body against his back, the weight of John's arm thrown across him. Lying there for what felt like hours, longing to make love; and then the fulfilment of that desire, beyond anything he could have imagined. The memory of it still makes him dizzy, takes his breath away.

Now his awareness of John's body, of his own, is so intense the very thought of it is tender like a bruise. And the world has never seemed more frightening.

Moriarty has changed the rules. No pips, no riddles, just a text:

                                                            COMING READY OR NOT :*

Five people dead in the explosion that woke John, though they didn't know that till later. Didn't know that was what had woken him until they found the message on the pink phone and switched on the TV news with a feeling of dread. Till they saw the debris and the scrolling message at the foot of the screen, he hadn't realized the destruction had already happened: that there was nothing he could do about it any more. He doesn't even get a chance to try, and he has no idea where or when Moriarty will strike next, or how long it will be before he comes close enough to do what he threatened, burn the heart out of you.

Sherlock still doesn't care about other people the way he cares about John. But the feeling seeps through the cracks and chinks till he understands it faintly, like something far off or in a foreign language. What it would be like to care about people the way John does, or Lestrade. It's just as well he doesn't, or he'd be going crazy right now. He's close enough to that as it is.

In bed, they lie holding each other, clasped tight against the tremors, the nightmares, the fever sweats, the chills. He traces every mark and scar on John's body. Old scars from childhood, a surprisingly deep one on the knee (misjudged the height of a branch he was jumping over). Recent scars, still vivid, from the blast at the pool, scattered across his legs and chest. The scar tissue on his shoulder, where they'd dug the bullet out that ended his Army career.

Sherlock runs his fingers over John's scarred shoulder, bends to kiss it. John shifts a little, apparently still capable of being embarrassed by Sherlock's passionate focus on that wrecked part of his body. But he doesn't tell him to stop.

Sherlock's head is full of images and sounds of explosions and gunfire. It's as if he's got John's memories of Afghanistan as well as his own of Moriarty at the pool. He doesn't know how John stands it.

He presses his lips to John's shoulder, shaking again, and John strokes his back, saying loving muffled things into his hair. Sherlock kisses the scar as if he could erase the signs of John's mortality, the body's vulnerability.

“I wouldn't be here, but for that,” John says, and there's a quiet wondering note in his voice that makes Sherlock's heart contract. “I'd never have met you at all.”

“Don't,” Sherlock says, hugging him tightly.

“It's true though,” John says.

They don't speak again of the damage that's brought them to where they are now, all the dead and injured bodies, or of how many more there will be before Moriarty's game is played out. They make love as if each time might be the last, kiss as if nothing else matters any more, nothing else makes sense, lying in the wreckage of the world they used to know.

Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
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meredydd
Jan. 25th, 2011 11:08 pm (UTC)
You write *amazing* angst. This is a good thing--trufax, lol. It's beautiful and powerful and makes me want to fangirl at you.
fengirl88
Jan. 25th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - that's a lovely comment! *blushes*

(no subject) - meredydd - Jan. 25th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fengirl88 - Jan. 25th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
red_chapel
Jan. 25th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
This is a great series -- looking forward to the next installment!
fengirl88
Jan. 25th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! every time I write one of these I think it's going to be the last one - starting with Kiss Chase, which I assumed was a oneshot.

but I couldn't quite bring myself to say in the A/N that this fic was the last in the sequence, so I suppose that means it still isn't...
jerel
Jan. 25th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
I'm really enjoying this series. You do a great job with their inner voices, and the vulnerability and fragility you bring to both of them...wow. Thank you for sharing this with us.
fengirl88
Jan. 25th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - that's a lovely comment. *glows*

(Deleted comment)
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:14 am (UTC)
thank you! very glad you thought so.
aynslee
Jan. 26th, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)
Heartbreaking, and lovely at the same time. <3
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:14 am (UTC)
thank you very much! *glows*
kalypso_v
Jan. 26th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday, a little belatedly, to ginbitch!

I like the way that we find out now what woke John in First Light, so that the love story continues to be hopelessly entwined with Moriarty's game. And no doubt Moriarty would claim that the love story is all part of the plan, so that Sherlock can be destroyed in a way that wasn't possible before. ("Lying in the wreckage of the world" suggests they've never really left the pool.) But then the scarred shoulder, linked to the dead of Afghanistan, and John's thought that this was what brought him to Sherlock takes the leitmotif of violence further back. So it always was part of their story, and always will be, and Moriarty's only its current face. Which is sad and reassuring all at once.
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:16 am (UTC)
this comment makes me very happy, like all your comments on the series so far. thank you very much!
mazarin221b
Jan. 26th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
Oh, I like this, very much. Holding on to what you hold most dear, stealing that last moment of sanity together before you have to face the world.
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:18 am (UTC)
thank you very much - very pleased you like it!

(Deleted comment)
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:19 am (UTC)
thank you very much!
quirkies
Jan. 26th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
How can this be chilling and heartwarming? How?
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:20 am (UTC)
thank you (again) - very glad you are enjoying the series! I think the situation they're in pushes it in both those directions.
stardust_made
Jan. 26th, 2011 08:08 am (UTC)
I really like your style, I can't quite put my finger on it, but I guess I am allowed to just sit back and enjoy as a reader.:)
looking forward for more!
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 09:21 am (UTC)
thank you very much! *beams*

very glad you do.
basaltgrrl
Jan. 26th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful! I'm in love with sherlock/john, although I haven't read the fic extensively or even commented on many, but I really should let you know that this is wonderful.
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I love writing these fics, so I'm very happy you enjoyed reading this.
gideon_harker
Jan. 26th, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)
So very beautiful. The angst, the intimacy, the powerful writing, this is a win.
fengirl88
Jan. 26th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - that's a lovely comment!
2ndskin
Jan. 27th, 2011 04:35 am (UTC)
Agreeing so much with the fact that this series continues to be chilling, heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once. It just occurred to me that besides all the other things that you do so well, you really write the tiny envelope of space two people inhabit in bed so perfectly. . . .or on the sofa, I should add in the case of these two. Hate to think we have to thank Moriarty for all this, but . . .
fengirl88
Jan. 27th, 2011 08:37 am (UTC)
thank you very much! *glows*

that's a really lovely comment, as always.
ginbitch
Jan. 28th, 2011 12:37 pm (UTC)
ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!!

*Hugs fic* *hugs you* *hugs fic again*

...This is the most amazing birthday present ever! Thank you very, very much. Memming like fury...
fengirl88
Jan. 28th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
thank you very much for the comment and the hugs! *beams*

so pleased you liked it!

*hugs you back*
ktswaz
Jan. 31st, 2011 04:56 am (UTC)
Pitch perfect!!
fengirl88
Jan. 31st, 2011 09:01 am (UTC)
thank you very much!
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