morganstuart: (I Sit Beside the Fire)
[personal profile] morganstuart
Title: I Sit Beside the Fire and Think
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: This universe does not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: As Sherlock sleeps, John and Greg sit beside the fire and leave a number of things unsaid.
Historian's Note: This takes place during events depicted in the second-series Sherlock episode "The Hounds of Baskerville."
Author's Note: This is comprised of two parts, each a 221b ficlet (221 words, the last beginning with "b").




Part 1: John Watson

As John had expected, Sherlock toppled like a felled redwood upon returning to the inn, spent and insensate.

John found himself downstairs, welcomed by a roaring fire and Greg Lestrade.

“It’s nice, this,” Lestrade said. “Beats drinking by the warm glow of crap telly.”

“That it does.”

“Couldn’t sleep?”

“I’m a bit wound up still.”

John didn’t explain that he could’ve collapsed almost as easily as Sherlock, given his own exhaustion, but he wished to spare the other patrons of the inn. The “experiment” in the lab, the shooting of the hound, the detonation of the landmine: God only knew what his subconscious would do with such fodder.

He could shout himself hoarse with nightmares when he returned to 221B Baker Street, where such things – though rarer these days, to be sure – were accepted without question or comment.

Lestrade merely nodded.

Claiming the same chair from which he’d witnessed Sherlock’s earlier drug-induced meltdown, John wondered at how different it felt in the detective inspector’s undemanding presence.

“I’m not his boyfriend.” John said this simply because it came to mind.

“And I’m not his handler,” Lestrade offered in return.

Together they stared into the mesmerising flames, calloused hands cradling tea and whisky, respectively, until inexplicable mirth waylaid them.

John giggled, shoulders shaking helplessly; Lestrade chuckled, a deep rumble from his belly.


Part 2: Greg Lestrade

Once their fit had passed, along with some minutes of companionable silence, John said, “Good holiday, then?”

“Surprising, what a bit of sun and sleep can do for a man. I'd almost forgotten.”

Greg left it unspoken, how young he’d felt with the Kawasaki between his legs, the wind on his face, and the weight of responsibility temporarily off his shoulders.

And how old, when his body made it clear that catching up on countless nights of missed slumber was its chief priority.

He didn’t mention how anticlimactic it had seemed, when he finally located the perfect, solitary bridge over the perfect, picturesque stream and, with all of his strength, hurled his wedding ring into the uncomplaining water.

No music had swelled in the background; no lightning bolt had shot from the sky. He’d left that bridge the same man who’d gone to it, though more willing now to look himself in the eye during his morning shave.

“By the end, I was ready to be back,” he admitted.

To be needed, he didn’t say.

Mycroft’s request – not order, despite what Sherlock thought – couldn’t have been better timed.

Greg sipped his whisky, digesting the night’s dark events.

“Now we return to London,” John murmured at last, half-smiling.

“In all its glory,” Greg agreed. “And paperwork, crime scenes, and dead bodies.”


THE END

Vital Stats: Originally written in January 2012.

The title comes from the lyrics of Bilbo's song in Rivendell in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
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Date: 2012-01-12 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bwblack.livejournal.com
I love the form here. I have 5 post Scandal drabbles that I've not been sure how to post and there is a simplicity just posting them together that I like. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that.

I'd forgotten John's PTSD but lovely to bring it up here.

And all things Greg and the bride and young and old... so so so so good. That one I shall read again, now I think.

Date: 2012-01-13 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm so happy you liked the format here! I do love the 221bs, and separating them like this made it easy to change points of view. It's great to hear you enjoyed it - and I'm so glad to see you've posted your own drabbles, too! (Brilliant work!)

The two things that really struck me about this episode (above and beyond how fantastic and brilliant it was) were Lestrade's conspicuously absent ring (nice, quiet development of that character arc) and the thought that everything John had experienced that day/night (punctuated by the landmine detonation) had to affect him in some way he wouldn't want to share. I'm thrilled to hear that the nod to the PTSD, as well as Lestrade's failed marriage, seemed fitting to you.

And thanks so much for pointing out the young/old contrast with Lestrade. I'm so pleased that worked!

I really appreciate your lovely feedback. Thank you so much, my friend.

Date: 2012-01-12 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sc010f.livejournal.com
Such a pair of powerful pieces. I love the growth of these two...

Date: 2012-01-13 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so glad these worked for you! I appreciate your kind words very much. *hugs* I was thrilled to see the development of these two in this wonderful episode.

Date: 2012-01-12 04:08 pm (UTC)
ext_58380: (Default)
From: [identity profile] bk7brokemybrain.livejournal.com
First, the title. It felt Hobbity to me, and I liked it. Then later, when Lestrade threw his ring, all I could see were scenes from LotR. And the Martin Freeman/Bilbo thing has tied it all up nicely in my head.
Then there are the drabbles themselves. I adored the ominous mention of the landmine. Of course John would have been affected by that in particular, and afraid of bad dreams. I loved the non-sequitur of "I'm not his boyfriend". lol John seems to spout that a lot lately. And I"m so glad that Lestrade stiffened his spine a bit and dealt with pain.
Lovely pair of drabbles. I do love this format so much.

Date: 2012-01-13 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm so glad the Hobbity vibe worked for you!

Thanks so much for telling me what you liked most. I'm very happy that it made sense for everything John had experienced that day/night - especially the landmine - to be haunting him a bit. And I'm tickled that his non-sequitur gave you a laugh! ;) I think that must be his "default mode" by this point, assuring everyone they're not a couple. LOL.

It's also great to hear that my explanation for Lestrade's conspicuously absent wedding ring made sense.

I love this format, too! It's tough, but it's also rewarding, and I appreciate the freedom to offer a comment through fiction without having to write a 5,000 or 10,000-word epic every time. (Ha!) Thanks a million for reading and for leaving such incredibly helpful comments. You're the best!

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From: [identity profile] bk7brokemybrain.livejournal.com - Date: 2012-01-13 03:57 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com - Date: 2012-01-14 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2012-01-12 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] archea2.livejournal.com
Loved the mixture of humour, gravitas and acceptance in this. Well done, as always.

Date: 2012-01-13 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you for this, my friend! I'm so glad that the mixture worked despite the brevity of these little ficlets. And I'm so tickled that you used the word "acceptance" - that really underscores a feeling I was hoping to capture. I really appreciate this. You've put a big smile on my face!

Date: 2012-01-12 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] grassle.livejournal.com
What a perfect little gem. So much and so many emotions evoked in so few words.

Date: 2012-01-13 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so happy you think so! Thank you so much for your kind words. They're very much appreciated.

Date: 2012-01-12 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arianedevere.livejournal.com
I let out a loud "Awwww!" as Greg threw his ring, which was embarrassing for me because I was at work! Lovely story, and I ached for John not allowing himself to sleep out of consideration for others.

Date: 2012-01-13 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I let out a loud "Awww!" reading about your loud "Awww!" :D I'm so glad that this explanation for the conspicuously absent wedding ring worked for you. I'm also glad that you found the part about John avoiding sleep to be moving; I couldn't help but think that all he'd experienced that day/night (punctuated by the landmine at the end) might reawaken some of his PTSD. I figured he knew himself well enough to be wary of this.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate your kindness so much!

Date: 2012-01-12 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] impishtubist.livejournal.com
Wonderful, as usual! :)

Date: 2012-01-13 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you so much! I'm delighted that you think so. I really appreciate it.

Date: 2012-01-12 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arisprite.livejournal.com
I adore these :) especially the Hobbity feel (I get nostalgic for Middle Earth sometimes...), and the format just works perfectly! Great job!
Ari

Date: 2012-01-13 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! I'm so tickled that you liked the Hobbity vibe (I get nostalgic, too!) and that you enjoyed the ficlets and their format. I really appreciate your kind comments.

Date: 2012-01-12 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darthhellokitty.livejournal.com
This really is perfect.

Date: 2012-01-13 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you so much. I'm delighted that you think so. You've made my day!

Date: 2012-01-12 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maggie-conagher.livejournal.com
so pretty

John giving up sleep to spare the strangers who stay at the inn. sweet, self sacrificing sweary John

RG on a motorcycle was not the holiday envisioned, even better, but for some reaason, I pictured nude sunbathing. Not in character at all. I keep wondering if RG was tan or if Lestrade was. If only Lestrade was, who got to apply the make up.

I missed his hair sticking up and his little belly. He was looking trim in the dark shirt with the cute little jackekt. sorry, i have a lot of squee stored up. :)

Thank you for writing these. :)

Date: 2012-01-13 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so glad you liked them! Thank you so much. John is the sweet and self-sacrificing kind, isn't he?

I wrote this under the influence of some of Rupert Graves' other films, in which he shows a certain finesse with motorcycles. ;) I'm guessing he's the one who's tan, since he had some guest starring roles in other shows earlier this year (perhaps filmed around the same time?) that also required a tan. One in particular. But if it is only Lestrade, what lucky makeup artists! I share your appreciation of that lovely man and the lovely actor who portrays him.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it.

Date: 2012-01-12 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] uwsannajane.livejournal.com
Oh, really well done! Convincing both in their melancholy and their cheerfulness. And could easily be back story for the show.

Date: 2012-01-13 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm so happy that you found their melancholy and cheerfulness both convincing. I was really taken with the idea of how John's combined experiences from that day/night would affect him (or how he might fear they would affect him), as well as the detail of Lestrade's conspicuously absent ring. It's great to hear that my take on both of these things seemed fitting considering what we know from the rest of the episode/show.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your kind words very much!

Date: 2012-01-12 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-facepalm.livejournal.com
Very, very nice!
I'm glad someone else picked up on the idea that scaring the crap out of John might be a bit not good. And I also loved Lestrade's closure moment on the bridge.

Date: 2012-01-13 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

It does seem a lot for an invalided soldier with PTSD to experience, doesn't it? I'm glad you agree that all of it combined would be a bit not good. It's wonderful to hear that Lestrade's coming to terms with it all on the bridge worked for you, as well. I thought it was a nice bit of quiet, stealth character development in the episode to show that Lestrade was no longer wearing his ring.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it.

Date: 2012-01-12 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] r34dinglight.livejournal.com
love how beautifully both of these pieces can meld into not just canon but my headspace as well. ♥

Date: 2012-01-13 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, this is wonderful to hear! Thank you so much. This puts a huge smile on my face. :D

Date: 2012-01-12 07:31 pm (UTC)
ext_197473: kanzeon bosatsu from saiyuki reload blast (sherlock: lestrade)
From: [identity profile] lawless523.livejournal.com
Very nicely done, and fits into the episode perfectly.

Date: 2012-01-13 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm so happy that you think so! Thank you for this. I appreciate your kind words very much.

Date: 2012-01-12 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] manny-sg.livejournal.com
Well done!

Date: 2012-01-13 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so happy you think so! Thank you so much for your kind words. They're very much appreciated.

Date: 2012-01-12 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arnie1967.livejournal.com
These were good. I like Greg finding peace, despite him not feeling any different when he left the bridge, and it's typical of John that he'd put other people's needs before his own.

Really well written. Thanks for sharing.

Date: 2012-01-13 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm really glad that John's characterization felt right to you, and that you liked Lestrade's moment closure (even if it seemed anticlimactic at the time) on the bridge. I'm especially delighted that you enjoyed the writing! Thank you so much for your lovely feedback. It's very much appreciated.

Date: 2012-01-12 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thesmallhobbit.livejournal.com
These are lovely. I really liked that John was aware of the potential the day had for causing him to have nightmares. I also liked that John appreciated the difference having Greg sitting with him made.

As for Greg, the anticlimax he felt on holiday and the wish to be needed are sad, but at least he's got his friends.

Date: 2012-01-13 10:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
I'm so happy you enjoyed them! I definitely think that John wouldn't be keen to experience his dreams after all of that. I'm especially pleased that you liked how John appreciated it was quite a different (and, in this case, calming) experience to share the fireside with Lestrade instead of Sherlock. I can easily imagine them being comfortable enough to sit in quiet and just regroup after that night, without feeling the pressure to maintain an in-depth conversation.

I was intrigued by how Lestrade's character arc was silently taken another step in "Hounds" through the conspicuous absence of his wedding ring. I'd like to think that the bridge scenario in this story gave him closure and a measure of peace, if nothing else. And, as you say, he does have friends - whether they call themselves by that name or not, we know they're there for him. (I loved in the episode how John went out of his way to tell Lestrade that Sherlock was glad he was there. Such a lovely touch!)

I really appreciate your thoughtful and kind feedback. Thank you, my friend, for your encouragement!

Date: 2012-01-12 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] irisbleufic.livejournal.com
Weighty in spite of its simplicity: nicely done.

Date: 2012-01-13 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, what a lovely thing to say! Thank you so much. I really appreciate your kind words.

Date: 2012-01-12 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fengirl88.livejournal.com
ooh, nice to know what happened to the wedding ring!

lovely pair of 221bs for a lovely pair of characters.

Date: 2012-01-13 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Thank you! I was so pleased to see them carry that character arc further with the conspicuous absence of the ring, rather than leave us hanging about what happened. I'm so glad my little explanation worked for you!

I really appreciate your comments about these little ficlets. I do love these two characters, and I'm most grateful for your kind words about my writing.

Date: 2012-01-13 12:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kari77.livejournal.com
You have a way with words that is very moving and pure poetry.

Date: 2012-01-13 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, you've made me rather flaily and teary with your generous words. I'm really thrilled that you liked this. Thank you very much for your kindness! It means a lot to me.

Date: 2012-01-13 02:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theteej2.livejournal.com
Lovely, just lovely! How I seriously envy your ability to just trot out one story after the next. My muse want to come back and play in the sandbox again but I have NOTHING for them to focus on. No ideas, no plot, no fic. Despite all that lovely Greg I saw!

Date: 2012-01-13 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thanks a million! I'm so happy that you liked these.

We did get some lovely Greg in this series, didn't we? And we still have another episode to go!

Have you checked out the kinkmeme at [livejournal.com profile] sherlockbbc_fic or the "Make Me A Monday" prompt posts on Mondays at [livejournal.com profile] sherlockbbc? Like many others, I've posted lots of prompts in these places - a number of which are still unclaimed. *nudge, nudge* I for one would love to read fills by you! *grins*

I really appreciate your reading and commenting, my friend. Thanks again!

Date: 2012-01-13 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty-armour.livejournal.com
I absolutely adore "The Hounds of Baskerville," so this fic is such a treat! It's fabulous to see more John/Greg buddy interaction as they bond a bit more after the frightening events on the moor. I hadn't thought of it when watching the episode, but I'm sure seeing Franklin get blown up on a landmine must have brought back some traumatic memories for John. It's nice that he was able to relax and chill out a bit with Lestrade. As for Lestrade's side of things, I love that image of him tossing his wedding ring off that bridge with all of his strength. I had also wondered if the holiday might have come about because of his marital problems.

I just realized this now (because I'm dense), but this fic is wonderful because of all that isn't said. This moment really is about John and Lestrade having an opportunity to take stock of recent events and think.

Date: 2012-01-14 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Wasn't that an amazing episode? I adored it, too!

I'm so very glad you enjoyed this. The two things that really struck me about this episode (above and beyond how fantastic and brilliant it was) were Lestrade's conspicuously absent ring (nice, quiet development of that character arc) and the thought that everything John had experienced that day/night (punctuated especially by the landmine detonation) had to affect him. I'm so happy to hear that the nod to his lingering PTSD, as well as Lestrade's closure over the end of his marriage, seemed appropriate to you.

this fic is wonderful because of all that isn't said. This moment really is about John and Lestrade having an opportunity to take stock of recent events and think.

Oh, thank you for this! I liked to think that these two men are familiar and comfortable enough with each other that the silence would work; each could leave a lot unsaid and take that time to think in the other's presence. It absolutely makes my day that this comes through and that you find it convincing. Thank you, my friend! I appreciate it so much.

Date: 2012-01-13 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mariole.livejournal.com
Lovely little vignette. I hadn't thought how the landmine would affect John. Nice to see more of Lestrade also; you do him so well. :)

Date: 2012-01-14 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, I'm so happy you liked it! I'm so glad the characterizations for both John and Lestrade worked for you. (I guessed that if anything would awaken John's slumbering PTSD - or make him fear it would reawaken - it would be that landmine on top of his other scares that day.) I'm particularly tickled you like my take on Lestrade; I do adore him so! Your kind and encouraging words mean a lot, and I really appreciate your taking the time to read and comment. Thank you!

Date: 2012-01-13 05:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] slashfairy.livejournal.com
well done, john's self-awareness [noted how he flinched when Sherlock let off the shots outdoors in ASiB; can't imagine he'd not have nightmares after this day in the lab and on the moors, Henry and the gun, then the land mine].

yes, greg. get free. it's hard, it hurts, then it's lighter. so much lighter.

Date: 2012-01-14 01:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you very much! Excellent point about how John flinches in ASiB; his PTSD may be much better on a daily basis, but he's still living with its effects, and it wouldn't take much to reawaken his more troubling symptoms. (And, being a doctor and a self-aware person, he'd know this.) I'm glad you agree that the mine's detonation, on top of the rest of the day's trauma in THoB, might give him nightmares -- or at least reason to be wary of that possibility.

Poor Greg! I loved the episode's quiet nod to the unfolding character arc there, showing him for the first time without his ring. After the news at the party in ASiB, it does seem like he did the right thing in getting free.

I appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments so much. Thank you!

Date: 2012-01-13 07:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mazaher.livejournal.com
Lovely. Time out from Sherlock. And curiously, the nearest thing there is to being out on the moor at night in a chilly fog (drugged or otherwise), is sitting beside a good fire with a friend, belly full of pub fare, and a glass in hand.

Date: 2012-01-14 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you for your kind words! I do adore the idea that they're comfortable enough with each other to share the silence as well as the conversation beside the fire - as you say, while Sherlock has a time out!

I'm grateful to you, as always, for reading and commenting. Many thanks!
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"To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty."
- H.P. Lovecraft, 1921

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