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fic: Different Every Time

Title: Different Every Time
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Characters: John, Harry/Clara
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: briefly implied suicidal thoughts
Wordcount: ~600
Disclaimer: They're still not mine.  Spoilers for A Study in Pink.
Summary: He's listening to Late Junction because he can't sleep. Hasn't slept properly since he got back from Afghanistan. Hardly surprising, all things considered.

A/N: written for the kissbingo prompt square "location: hospital". This one is for kalypso_v , whose icon inspired it, and whose birthday is the same as Robert Wyatt's: happy birthday to her! Thanks to blooms84 for the beta.

Different Every Time

He's listening to Late Junction because he can't sleep. Hasn't slept properly since he got back from Afghanistan. Hardly surprising, all things considered.

He thinks about trying to write something for his blog, but there's nothing to say. “Nothing ever happens to me,” he'd told the therapist. Still true, and it's hardly likely to change. Except that soon he's going to have to leave London, because his money's running out fast.

The song catches him unawares, Robert Wyatt's melancholy voice and that haunting tune with its twists and turns and key changes. You look different every time...

It was Clara who'd introduced him to it. He'd heard Wyatt before, and you don't forget a voice like that. But all he knew of him was that version of Shipbuilding that Harry played over and over again as an act of teenage rebellion against their father, the Falklands, the Army and everything else. If anyone had told him in those days that he'd end up in the Army himself he'd have thought they were mad.

He remembers that last evening at Clara's flat before he went out to Afghanistan: Clara still trying to build bridges then between him and Harry, still hopeful something could be salvaged. That kind of stupid blinkered optimism you only get when you're madly in love. He couldn't grudge her that – God knows she'd had a short enough time to enjoy it – but the memory of it still makes him wince.

“This one always makes me think of Harry,” she'd said, and he'd wondered how she could make light of it, till he'd realized she couldn't know the extent of the problem.

joking apart, when you're drunk you're terrific
when you're drunk I like you mostly late at night
you're quite all right

He'd made an excuse and left early, but not before the song had got firmly stuck in his head.

Always assumed it'd be Clara who would leave Harry, that she wouldn't be able to cope with Harry's drinking when she found out how bad it really was. He's still trying to get his head round what actually happened.

"Keep in touch," Harry had said when she'd visited him in hospital, and he'd thought Yeah, right. She'd tried to kiss him goodbye but the smell of her skin made him flinch. He remembers the look on her face then, and he knows he hurt her, but he can't feel anything about it.

He'd ditch the phone if he could afford to waste money on another one, but right now every penny counts.

The song's finished and the presenter's saying something about it being Robert Wyatt's birthday. He looks at the clock: getting on for midnight. He probably ought to go to bed even though he knows he won't sleep for hours.

He lies down with the last lines of the song playing over and over in his head:

your madness fits in nicely with my own, with my own
your lunacy fits neatly with my own
my very own

we're not alone

He's never felt more alone in his life, but it's no good thinking about that. Have to make himself go for a walk tomorrow, even though the stick makes him wretchedly self-conscious. He's been cooped up for too long staring at these four walls and trying to ignore the gun in his desk drawer.

The digital display on the alarm clock clicks over to a line of zeros: it's tomorrow already. The 28th? – no, 29th of January. Not that it makes any difference when every day is the same as every other.


The song playing on the radio is Robert Wyatt's Sea Song; the other song mentioned is Wyatt's recording of Elvis Costello's song Shipbuilding.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2011 02:24 am (UTC)
Not alone for long now: it'll be time to play at being human for a while when he wakes up... Sherlock's skin shining softly in the moonlight.

Thank you, on behalf of me and my elder twin - this is the perfect way to start a birthday! Was the clock ticking over a reference to Round Midnight, which takes us back to Lestrade and Maurice?

See you on the 29th.
Jan. 28th, 2011 06:22 am (UTC)
hurrah - very pleased you liked it!

yes, Round Midnight was in my mind as well, even though it's not in John's...

wishing you a very happy birthday, and looking forward to the 29th.
Jan. 28th, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
I love how the wistfulness snaps over to anticipation with the motion of the clock (or it felt like that to me, anyway). For as short as this is, it speaks volumes.
Jan. 28th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! *glows*
I think it does snap over to anticipation because we know what's coming on the 29th...
Jan. 28th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
It's like a timebomb, isn't it, but ticking in a good way... John's heading for a happy catastrophe.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 28th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
thank you so much! it makes me very happy that you feel this way about it.
Jan. 29th, 2011 06:40 am (UTC)
OMG, I can't stop reading it... ;_______;
And I'm speechless right now. I'm sorry for a pointless comment ^^'
Jan. 29th, 2011 07:33 am (UTC)
thank you very much!
Feb. 6th, 2011 04:33 am (UTC)
This is really interesting! And it fits in so nicely before the events of "A Study in Pink"! I like your take on John's relationship with both Harry and Clara, not to mention the significance of the Robert Wyatt song. The lyrics are ironic in some instances and strangely apt in others.
Feb. 8th, 2011 09:04 am (UTC)
thank you very much! very glad you enjoyed those things. I love the song, but hadn't listened to it for a long time before kalypso_v's icon reminded me of it. there is more in the lyrics that would apply to Sherlock and John but getting that in would have needed a much longer fic.
Jan. 29th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
That's what you think, Watson *all excited anticipation*

Gorgeous stuff. Love the use of the song, and its foreshadowing! :)
Jan. 29th, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm glad you enjoyed it! kalypso_v reminded me of the song and it just seemed right for the two of them.
Jan. 30th, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
I love this! <3

Your exploration of John's relationships with both Harry and Clara was very intriguing and the foreshadowing in the end (for us who know what will happen on the day "the same as every other") was very, very nicely done! I also loved the small pieces of lyrics you inserted, they fit really well. :-)
Jan. 30th, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm glad you liked the exploration of the relationships and the foreshadowing. I love the song, and it does seem to fit them!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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