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Secure Yourself (Sherlock)

Title: Secure Yourself
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: Comfort isn't Sherlock's area, is it?
Author's Note: This is a 221b ficlet: 221 words, with the last word beginning with a "b."
Chinese Translation: available here and here by freya_fsc
Warnings (Highlight to Read): Non-explicit but disturbing description of injuries




"Just talk to him, Sherlock." Forced calm flattens John's words into a monotone. He doesn't look up from where his hands work steadily in a crimson mess of shredded cloth and flesh.

Folded on his knees, Sherlock leans in, studying Lestrade like an anomalous clue. "What should I say?"

Lestrade chuckles once, then arches against the agony that follows, blinking back involuntary tears. The movement makes John hiss, and Lestrade tries, truly he does, to hold still.

"Doesn'tmatter." Lestrade grinds the words out between gritted teeth. If he unclenches his jaw, he'll scream. "Say... everything'llbe... fine."

His palms scrub along the pavement, seeking some way to brace himself against fire in his side and ice everywhere else.

"I'm not entirely certain it will."

Behind them, Sally summons an ambulance, her voice staccato-precise with throttled fear.

"S'posedtolie... Idiot." Fondly.

John presses harder. Lestrade claws at the concrete.

After a heartbeat, Sherlock captures one of Lestrade's wayward hands between his own, and glances toward John, as if for affirmation.

"No," Lestrade groans. "Breakyourfingers."

Sherlock blinks, frowns, then guides the hand to a bony Holmesian ankle, encouraging clammy fingers to curl around the solid joint.

"As tightly as needed," Sherlock murmurs.

Lestrade nods his thanks. Swallows. Closes wet eyes.

He squeezes hard enough to bruise.


THE END

Vital Stats: The title alludes to the lyrics "Secure yourself to heaven/hold on tight the night has come" from "Secure Yourself" by the Indigo Girls.

Originally written in August 2011.

Originally written to fill this prompt.

Comments

( 67 comments — Leave a comment )
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ascendant_angel
Aug. 27th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
I love it, the only problem is it's too short :D, left me wanting more. I especially like when Sherlock guides his hand to his ankle and says as tightly as needed.
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 12:48 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much!

I'm especially glad the ankle part seemed appropriate. I was smitten by the idea of Sherlock uncertain, trying to follow John's direction, get his affirmation, and at last figuring out on his own a practical means of expressing care and concern. Another step on the way to becoming a good man, I'd like to think...

I really appreciate your reading and your kind words.
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you!

I'm sure Lestrade will be okay. He has the most BAMF!doctor in the world giving him emergency care. ;)

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm so glad this little piece seemed effective to you. I loved the idea of Sherlock eventually coming up with a way to express his concern and attempt to comfort.

Thanks again!
archea2
Aug. 27th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
I'm tempted to second the above comment and beg you to write this again as a longer fic. (I love the ending!)
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 12:50 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! :) I'm afraid I don't see this going farther. (I'm sorry!) I just wanted to show the progression from Sherlock being at a loss, to trying to follow John's suggestions/cues, to discovering for himself a practical (Sherlockian?) way of expressing concern/comfort. I'd like to think this is another step on his way to becoming a good man...

But I really do appreciate your kind words, and I'm especially pleased the ending worked for you. Thanks so much!
impishtubist
Aug. 27th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, god, this physically made me ache. And I agree with the above commenter - it's far, far too short. Definitely leaves me wanting more. I love especially the image of Lestrade holding onto Sherlock's ankle as tightly as needed - very sweet. It's marvelous how much you can portray in only 221 words. I adore your talent! :)
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, you're so kind! Thank you so much. I really appreciate this. I'm sorry for making you ache, but selfishly, it's wonderful to hear that the description made an impact. I'm grateful for your encouragement, especially in these super-short pieces, which have been a real departure for me.

I'm afraid I don't have more planned as a follow-up to this, specifically, at the moment. (I'm sorry!) I just liked the idea of tracing Sherlock's responses from being at a loss, to trying to follow John's direction, to finding at last a (Sherlockian?) way to express concern/comfort. I'd like to think this is a snapshot of his larger journey toward being a good as well as great man.

Needless to say, I'm particularly pleased, then, that the ankle moment worked for you. :)

Again, many thanks, my friend!
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you think so! What a lovely thing to say. Thank you.

I particularly liked Lestrade worrying about breaking Sherlock's fingers, despite everything, and Sherlock offering his ankle instead.

I'm really pleased this worked for you! I wanted to try to follow out-of-his-element Sherlock as he goes from cluelessness to determining his own way to express concern/attempt comfort. Since that was the entire goal, I don't think there will be more in this particular sequence, but there will be more in general. I do appreciate your encouragement so much.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It means a lot. :)
methylviolet10b
Aug. 27th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
*gasps*

*shrieks*

Holy moly, my friend. HOW do you pack so much story and tension and emotion into 221 words?

This does feel like a piece of a bigger story to me, but it stands perfectly - if agonizingly - well on its own. Well done, you. Now please make Lestrade better? ;-)

*stares in awe*
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
Aw, you are so kind! I appreciate it so much. It means a lot to know you found this to be affecting. I was smitten by the idea of Sherlock uncertain, trying to follow John's direction and get his affirmation, and at last figuring out on his own a practical (Sherlockian?) means of expressing care and concern. Another step on the way to becoming a good man, I'd like to think...

Lestrade will get better. He has the BAMFiest doctor there is in his corner. ;)

Thanks again for your lovely words!


rabidsamfan
Aug. 27th, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
Brilliant. There's so much there, and so much left for us to imagine.
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! This just makes my heart sing. I appreciate it so much.
fengirl88
Aug. 27th, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
I'm not good with fics where Lestrade gets seriously injured, but I love what you've done with this - wonderful work, as always!
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm sorry for hurting Lestrade (he does have the best doctor ever caring for him, so I know he'll be okay!), but I am fascinated by the idea of Sherlock being forced to find his own unique way to show he cares.

It means a lot that you'd read this, despite the Lestrade whumpage, and I'm so glad it worked for you. I really appreciate your kind words. Thank you!
cookiefleck
Aug. 27th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Oooh, very, very nice and touching. I share with you a liking of stories where the characters work together, their personalities playing off one another, illuminating each in turn. Bravo!

You are NOT going to stop writing 221Bs. I knew that already. So there.

I hope Lestrade does not cut his hand on that bony ankle, though. ;o)
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
You are NOT going to stop writing 221Bs. I knew that already. So there.

LOL! You knew me better than I knew myself. I swear there will be longer, "real" fics. But yeah, these are fun, too. *blushes*

I'm so glad you liked this. I was fascinated by the idea of Sherlock uncertain, trying to follow John's direction and get his affirmation, and at last figuring out on his own a practical (Sherlockian?) means of expressing care and concern. Another step on the way to becoming a good man, I'd like to think...

I share with you a liking of stories where the characters work together, their personalities playing off one another, illuminating each in turn.

I adore this description! That's the kind of work I love to read and aspire to write. I particularly like thinking, in this case, that John would be capable of being there for Lestrade even as he worked, but knowing the situation was dire, he was forcing Sherlock to find a way to "step up to the plate," as it were. Wise John.

I hope Lestrade does not cut his hand on that bony ankle, though. ;o)

ROFLOL! A very real danger, I'm afraid.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It means a lot to me!

Edited at 2011-08-28 08:29 pm (UTC)
lizachief
Aug. 27th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
aww *whimpers*

I'd love some more though
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC)
Aw! *hugs you* Don't worry - Lestrade has the best doctor ever taking care of him. ;)

I'm afraid I don't have more planned as a follow-up to this, specifically, at the moment. (I'm sorry!) I just liked the idea of tracing Sherlock's responses from being at a loss, to trying to follow John's direction, to finding at last a (Sherlockian?) way to express concern/comfort. I'd like to think this is a snapshot of his larger journey toward being a good as well as great man.

I really appreciate your reading and commenting. Thanks so much!
goldvermilion87
Aug. 27th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
Love it--Sherlock's solution is very... Sherlockian! :-)
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you think so! :) Thanks!
kari77
Aug. 27th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
And there I thought I couldn't be more in awe of you. This is yet another level of brilliance.
I love these short snippets, the intensity brought together wonderfully by your carefully chosen words and this special format.

I've always been a huge believer in 'actions speak louder than words", and your Sherlock is a perfect example for that.
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
Oh my... you've made my whole week! Thank you for your lovely, heartening words. They mean so much to me. It's wonderful to know these shorter pieces in general, and this one in particular, work for you.

I'm also glad the "actions speak louder" idea (which I love, too) comes through here. Sherlock's gesture may not be typical, but it's sincere, and I think Lestrade would understand that.

I'm grateful to you for reading and for your ongoing encouragement. You just can't imagine!
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, it makes me so happy to hear that the 221bs I've been playing with work for you! *flails a bit* They've been challenging, but great fun, as well.

I'm thrilled that the "care and respect they have for each other (no matter how awkwardly expressed)," in particular, comes through here.

Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words. They mean a lot to me.
(Deleted comment)
embroiderama
Aug. 28th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
Oh wow, I love this--so much in so few words.
morganstuart
Aug. 28th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
This makes me so happy! Thank you. I'm really delighted you liked it.
disassembly_rsn
Aug. 28th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
Re: Secure Yourself
You're always good at writing Lestrade - although you're not usually good *to* Lestrade, so to speak... :)

:) Sherlock really *is* rubbish at telling comforting lies just for the sake of giving comfort. (He could of course do it if he were fishing for information on a case.)

studying Lestrade like an anomalous clue

Nice simile.

I join the chorus - the exchange about fingers vs ankle is very good.
morganstuart
Aug. 29th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
Re: Secure Yourself
You're always good at writing Lestrade -

Oh, thank you! This means a lot to me. I'm so glad the characterization seems right.

although you're not usually good *to* Lestrade, so to speak... :)

*winces and laughs* As the old saying goes, 'We always hurt the ones we love.' *blushes*

I'm glad Sherlock's painful honesty seems right, as well. As you say, he can lie very well when it suits his purpose in the midst of a case... but in this moment, I don't think it would occur to him.

I'm especially happy the fingers-vs-ankle interlude worked. My hope for this little ficlet was to provide a snapshot of how Sherlock's lumbering awkwardly, with baby steps, toward becoming a good man (as well as a great one). His offering of his ankle, while unorthodox, seemed to me to be a particularly Sherlockian solution to the problem of how to show his concern and offer practical assistance.

Your feedback is always so helpful as well as heartening. Thank you very much for taking the time not only to read, but also to comment as you do. I'm most grateful!
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