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fic: Among The Guests

Title: Among The Guests
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Pairing: Ella/Anthea
Rating: R
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 1006
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: Everyone has a past; Ella knows that better than most, and how it shapes them. But it always surprises her when another piece of Anthea's comes to light.
A/N: written for marysutherland's request for Ella/Anthea, and as a fill for the "Moon" square on my cottoncandy_bingo card. Same 'verse as Sleeping Beauty, but can be read as a standalone. Thanks to kalypso_v for beta wisdom and to ginbitch for inspiration and encouragement.

Everyone has a past; Ella knows that better than most, and how it shapes them. But it always surprises her when another piece of Anthea's comes to light. In this case, through a wedding invitation from two old friends.

Anthea's never talked about her student days, and there's a tacit understanding between them that Ella won't question her about the past unless she volunteers something specific. Anthea's remarkably open in some ways – including sexually, thank goodness – but very private in others. And when you spend your working life pushing and probing and asking personal questions, as Ella does, you don't want your intimate relationships to feel like an extension of the day job. So she accepts that there are some things she doesn't know, may never know, about Anthea.

It's strange to meet a noisy, cheerful group of university friends who reminisce implausibly about shared holidays full of drunken party games, and who greet Anthea as casually as if they'd seen her just last week. (Ella knows, these days, exactly how much free time Anthea gets – not quite as much as either of them would like. She also knows that for the last six months Anthea's been spending practically all of it with her.)

It's even stranger when the old friends apparently don't turn a hair at the sight of Anthea doing the Gay Gordons or Strip the Willow. Of all the hidden talents Ella hadn't expected Anthea to possess, folk dancing is pretty high up the list.

The good thing about a ceilidh, Ella reflects as she watches the top couple swing down the set, is that same-sex pairings are absolutely fine. Not that you'd expect otherwise, given this is a wedding with two brides and no groom, but still – A sudden tug reminds her she needs to move, and try not to bump heads with Anthea going through the arch this time. Not easy, when half of the arch is bride number 2's eight-year-old nephew...

“Oof,” Anthea gasps, when the reel finally ends. “I'm out of practice for this.”

“Do you want to get some air?” Ella asks. Saying out loud what she's actually thinking might be too much, even at a same-sex wedding.

Most people don't get to see Anthea like this: scarlet-faced, panting, dishevelled. Ella does, surprisingly often; but never in public. She feels breathless herself, and not only from the dancing.

Anthea looks at her and smiles, a slow wicked smile. She knows what Ella's thinking.

“Come on, then,” she says. “Let's see if the bonfire's still going.”

Another thing Ella wasn't expecting from this wedding: a bonfire in the back garden. But if you've got a big enough garden, why not?

It's not as private as she'd like it to be: several other guests including diehard smokers and excitable youngsters obviously had the same idea about the bonfire. But at least it's less public than the dance-floor.

“The things I'd like to do to you,” Ella says, low and husky, pressing her lips against Anthea's ear.

“Mmm,” Anthea says, leaning back against her. “Oh, lovely breeze.” She shivers with pleasure, and Ella sees the outline of her nipples, peaked by the night air.

Ella hopes the owners of the Bed and Breakfast are unusually broad-minded, or both deaf. She's not sure she can be quiet, and she knows Anthea won't be. Not for what Ella has in mind... She pulls Anthea's wrap a little tighter around her shoulders, and rubs a sly circle with her thumb around Anthea's right nipple, always slightly more sensitive than her left. Anthea's sharp intake of breath is the only sign she gives, but it's enough.

Ella's palms itch to be sliding up under Anthea's skirt, fingers pressing, exploring, teasing, stroking. She wants to feel that unmistakable tremor as Anthea arches her back and clutches at her, wants to feel the grip of her fingers holding Ella's wrist bruisingly tight in the throes of orgasm.

“Later,” Anthea says – a promise, or a plea, Ella's not sure which. She turns as if she's about to kiss Ella, but instead says “Oh!”

The clouds have parted and the moon is bright, caught in the branches of the tallest tree at the end of the garden like an errant balloon or a Chinese lantern.

“Beautiful,” Ella says softly, and it is.

“A perfect wedding-night,” Anthea says. “They were lucky with the weather,” she adds prosaically, just as Ella's wondering if there's a trace of wistfulness there.

It's mild for the time of year; mild enough that they can go on standing here a while longer, watching the sparks from the bonfire and the clouds that pass across the moon. When this house was new, Ella thinks, they'd have arranged their social gatherings for the night of the full moon, so that the coachman could see the way home. Now, you just hope your headlights and GPS don't pack up, and stay on the mineral water if you're the designated driver.

Men walked on the moon the year Ella was born; she's grown up in an age that thinks the world runs on reason and science. Lunacy's not even a dead metaphor now: nobody thinks the moon determines sanity and madness. But the moon still governs the tides, and the lunar month is still the one her body and Anthea's body recognize, in the rhythm they now share. She knows how close Anthea must be to the start of a new cycle, because she's close herself; knows how the blood-heat rises, intensifying desire.

They don't have a ring, or a registry office certificate, and they certainly don't have time for a honeymoon. It'll be back to work on Monday for both of them. But Anthea's right: this is a perfect wedding-night, and Ella intends to make the most of it.

“One more before bed?” she says, as the band strikes up again.

“Oh yes,” Anthea says, with that same slow wicked smile. She kisses Ella full on the mouth, then takes her hand to lead her into the dance.


Title from "Ah, Moon of my Delight", Liza Lehmann's setting of lines from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam; version by John McCormack here.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/91527.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2012 05:03 pm (UTC)
I do like the relaxed atmosphere you portray here. And the description of the ceilidh is so accurate. And I can just visualise the moon.
Oct. 3rd, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I've been wanting to write something with this setting for a while, and somehow it all came together...
Oct. 4th, 2012 05:35 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for writing this for me - it's a lovely follow-up to Sleeping Beauty, showing them as a genuine couple now. I like the way in which Ella doesn't push Anthea to talk about herself and yet is still pleased when she finds out more and gets to see her in a new light. (I wouldn't have thought of Anthea as good at folk-dancing, but it's a pleasant thought). And I loved the sense of this as a moment out of time, when they could have romance just briefly, even among the GPS systems and the pressures of work. You've very good at writing both the wisdom and the passion of Ella.
Oct. 4th, 2012 09:59 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm so pleased you liked it! I do enjoy writing about moments out of time, and I liked the idea of them in this setting. I don't find Ella easy to write - it feels as if we don't know much about her and yet she's not a blank canvas like Harry or Clara - so I'm glad you had that response to her here.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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