brighteyedjill: Bones is pensive (Sherlock: S&J in B&W)
[personal profile] brighteyedjill
Title: You Lead, I Lead, You Follow, I Follow
Pairing: John/Sherlock
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~900
Note: Originally written for Five Acts, Round Four for [livejournal.com profile] ariadnes_string for the prompts fever, touch and dancing.
Summary: John wakes up after a chase gone wrong to find Sherlock watching over him, but he’s a little hazy on the details.



[Note: if you can't see the breaks between paragraphs, trying using the Mozilla Firefox browser, or click "view in my style" in the LJ toolbar at the top of the page]


“I’m cold,” Sherlock said, which wasn’t right at all, because John felt hot like bare feet on desert sand. Besides, Sherlock didn’t notice mundane physical things like temperature unless they could be pressed into service as clues.

“What?” The question was a dry rasp in John’s throat.

“The mold. I should have noticed the connection before,” said Sherlock. “The very same kind was growing under the sink in the loo at that dance studio.”

“Yes.” John blinked against the sunlight streaming in through the window. He couldn’t remember the details of the case they were on, or even what sort of crime they were investigating, which was sure to make blogging the events a challenge. “Did we catch the killer?” Safe bet that there was a killer: Sherlock preferred murder.

“Don’t concern yourself.” Sherlock’s blessedly cool fingers pressed against John’s forehead. Why was Sherlock sitting next to his bed? “I can track down more criminals from this room than Dimmock could running around the streets of London with a bloodhound.”

“Blood.” John’s hand drifted up and came to rest rather painfully on a thick bandage covering his right side under his vest. The wretched heat boiling through John’s veins seemed to radiate from there.

John lifted his eyes to Sherlock, who looked a far sight more pale and haggard than usual. He’d stopped fiddling with his phone, and his attention had settled on John’s bandage. He watched it intently, as if examining the wound that must lay beneath.

“Are you hurt?” John asked.

“No.” Sherlock picked up John’s hand by the wrist--his fingers were a cool circle like a metal bracelet--lifted his hand off the bandage, and tucked it up against John’s chest. “I wasn’t there in time,” he muttered. “Though if it’s any consolation, we did both get a soaking in the Thames.”

John frowned. “I’ve told you and told you not to jump in the river.”

“I had a good reason.” Sherlock seemed to realize he still held John’s wrist; he snatched his hand back. “Sarah said the fever might not break for another twelve hours or more.”

“Fever. Right.” Knowing the why of it didn’t make the stifling confines of his skin any easier to bear. John thought he could feel the scratch of his wool suit against his back, the pinch of dress shoes. “Formal clothes are such a bother.”

Sherlock moved beside him, and a cold, moist cloth settled over John’s eyes and forehead. Sherlock tugged at the hem of John’s vest. “Should I take this off?”

“I don’t think the others would appreciate that,” John said reluctantly. “And I’d catch hell from Harry.” Then he frowned. “You don’t have to lead every time. I may be short, but I’m not exactly clumsy.”

“Do you want me to go?” Sherlock asked.

“Then I won’t have a partner. There are always more women than men at these classes. Opportunity, of course, but I’d rather dance with someone who knows what he’s doing.”

Sherlock favored him with a slow smile. “When did you take dance classes?”

“For Harry’s wedding. Disaster, the whole undertaking. The wedding, I mean, not really the classes. Still, I’m glad you know the steps.”

“Yes.” Sherlock’s left hand gripped John’s right, and his other hand tucked into the edge of John’s hip. “I’ll take care of you out there.”

“Mm.” John let his eyes drift closed. The heat seemed more bearable now, not like burning sand, but like a sun-touched wooden dance floor. “Next time,” he said. “Let’s wait for a song that plays less rough. A waltz, maybe. No one gets stabbed and dumped into the Thames during a waltz.”

“I’d have thought you’d prefer to tango.”

“Takes two,” John said sagely, then giggled. The movement sent a jagged edge of pain streaking through his middle, though, so he had to concentrate just on breathing again.

Sherlock let go of John slowly, as though his hands would prefer to stay. He said, brightly, “Waltz it is.” He picked up his violin from the case at his feet and tucked it under his chin.

Sherlock played, as he could when he chose, with all the grace of someone who could feel the music in his bones and his blood. He watched John as his bow moved fluidly over the strings, and his movements were smooth, befitting the more sedate, comforting rhythm he was weaving.

John closed his eyes. He floated along, not like in the cold darkness of a river, but swept across the dance floor by a partner who could read every move in his body and his face: effortless and sublime.

The music swelled to a harmonious finish, and Sherlock’s fingers landed on John’s cheek again. “Sleep,” Sherlock said. “I’ll be here.”

John let himself float up a bit through his exhaustion to ask something important. “You’ll tell me when it’s time for the next dance?”

“Yes.”

“You won’t dance with anyone else while I’m sleeping?”

“No.” Sherlock set down his violin so that he could hold both of John’s hands in his. “No I won’t.”

“Well, then.” With a satisfied nod, John settled back into sleep, and dreamt of dancing.

Date: 2011-05-20 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redandglenda.livejournal.com
Aw, this was lovely! I loved John needing to confirm that Sherlock wouldn't dance with anyone while he was sleeping. ♥

Date: 2011-05-25 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
Thanks dear! Yeah, John doesn't want to lose his dance partner. I think he doesn't have anything to worry about :D

Date: 2011-05-25 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] disastrolabe.livejournal.com
This was really nice. I like how the narrative flow and the imagery feels dislodged and confusing, so that the reader shares in John's experience.

And *heart* for concerned!, indulgent!Sherlock.

Date: 2011-05-25 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! I'd never written fever trope fic before, so this was fun to try.

And *heart* for concerned!, indulgent!Sherlock.

He's so adorable when he lets down his haughty facade, right? Glad you enjoyed!

Date: 2011-05-25 03:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] morganstuart.livejournal.com
Absolutely gorgeous. I love how you capture the fevered feeling of John's POV. The image of Sherlock watching John as he plays a waltz on the violin is so lovely.

Date: 2011-05-25 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
Thanks m'dear. I never pass up an excuse to have Sherlock play the violin. So glad you enjoyed!

Also, I'm going to friend this journal too, so I get your Sherlock updates faster!

Date: 2011-05-25 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] polaris-starz.livejournal.com
This is so gorgeous. I love that Sherlock knows exactly what he's trying to say, and the many levels of their conversation. And I awwwwed out loud when Sherlock said he had a good reason for jumping into the Thames. It's wonderful how much you managed to say just by hinting at it indirectly.

Date: 2011-05-25 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
Sherlock's skills are pretty useful for figuring out crazy fever-talk. I'm glad that the indirect nature of the conversation worked for you. Thanks for reading!

Date: 2011-05-25 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tactile-contact.livejournal.com
This is beautiful. I'll echo the others' thoughts on how perfectly you handled the narrative, to let us experience what John was experiencing as we move along. Very well done!

I love the tango reference, that John turns it on Sherlock to remind him that they must work together.

Date: 2011-05-25 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
Thanks m'dear. I had a good time figuring out how to drop hints about the case. And yeah, these two definitely have a mutually dependent partnership. So happy you liked!

Date: 2011-05-26 04:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tactile-contact.livejournal.com
Oh, and I just today realized that you added me as a friend at some point...? Not too long ago, I hope... If yes, I'm sorry. I'm an idiot, and so slow at these things. >_______< I've added you back. I hope that's alright. :)

Date: 2011-05-26 12:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
No worries! I know my record of getting notifications from LJ is not at all reliable, so it's not a big deal. But yay friends!

Date: 2011-05-25 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zephyr-macabee.livejournal.com
Oh lovely, just the thing I needed today.

Date: 2011-05-25 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
:D I'm glad it hit the spot.

Date: 2011-05-25 05:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] r34dinglight.livejournal.com
never before has febrile delirium struck me as so delightful. lovely imagery and pacing, great job! :)

Date: 2011-05-25 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
Eleven points for use of the word "febrile!"

I'm so glad the device worked for you. Thanks for reading!

Date: 2011-05-25 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imhit.livejournal.com
This is really, really beautiful.

Date: 2011-05-25 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
Thanks so much. I had a great time exploring this little snippet of character interplay.

Date: 2011-05-25 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychedk.livejournal.com
That was achingly touching and gorgeous and subtle and sweet and wistful <333

Date: 2011-05-25 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
LOVE! And my heart clenched at “You won’t dance with anyone else while I’m sleeping?”

Date: 2011-05-25 10:25 pm (UTC)
ext_24392: (Dark Fae Girl)
From: [identity profile] random-nexus.livejournal.com
Oooooooohhhhhh! *cuddles fic to chest and pets its little head*

This is wonderfully sweet and peculiar, I adore it! The blend from semi-lucid to not really lucid at all is very well done.

And the end. So lovely.

Date: 2011-05-25 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quirkies.livejournal.com
Aw! Love the dance as metaphor and as rambly product of John's fever. Lovely!

Date: 2011-05-26 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jerel.livejournal.com
I really liked the atmosphere in this piece. Poor, confused John. But it was really lovely, Sherlock playing for him.

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