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Title: This Man's Heart - Chapter 15
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None.
Pairing:
Sherlock/John.
Word count: 1676
Summary: In the latter part of the 19th century, a peculiar solitary man and an ex-army doctor disfigured at war live in a small village, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. When they first meet, they have no idea their lives are about to change forever and, over the months, they will form an unusual friendship, discover more about each other and themselves, and maybe fall a little in love along the way.
Disclaimer: See first chapter.

Back to the first chapter
Previous chapter


Dear Readers,
I'm sorry.

Chapter 15

They were kissing. Kissing! Sherlock felt as though he was letting out a breath he had been holding all his life. He could feel the mask against his nose as John tilted his head to a better angle, and when John licked his lower lip in invitation, Sherlock let him in willingly, parting his lips to let out a small sigh. They both had a hand on the other’s neck, trying to be closer, and when Sherlock pulled John to him using the hand resting on his lower back, their groins met, and their combined gasps echoed loudly in the small library. However, they weren’t loud enough to cover the noises of slamming doors and screams getting closer.

Harry Watson had planned the whole thing. She had lied to her brother about the duration of the trip in order to catch him and his friend in whatever they were doing. On one of her trips to the store, she had heard a disturbing rumour, something about her brother and that strange Holmes boy having been spotted locked in an embrace while out in the woods.

Upon hearing his sister’s screams, John fervently pressed his hands to the sides of Sherlock’s face, and he looked straight into his eyes.

“Please, Sherlock, please don’t move. Stay here, it’s fine. It’s all going to be fine”, he said before leaving him and closing the door of the small library.

As soon as John was gone, Sherlock got up and glued his ear to the door to hear what was going on in the next room. He couldn’t see, but from what he could hear, Harry was hysterical. He could hear her bellowing that John had disobeyed her, lied to her, and that he had made a fool of himself and of the Watson name.

A table was violently turned over, and Sherlock could hear objects falling to the floor in a loud clatter. Thinking about the multitude of weapons in the other room, about their easy access, and about the furious hunter, he imagined the worst and, forgetting all about John’s words, he rushed out and into the other room.

Harry Watson was hammering John’s chest with her fists, and she was screaming abuse while he – taller and stronger than his sister – was watching her with inscrutable eyes. Suddenly, John noticed Sherlock, and vivid apprehension set his blue eyes on fire. Harry noticed, turned around, and discovered the other man’s presence.

“I knew it!” she roared as she took a few steps towards Sherlock.

John reacted quickly; he ran in the same direction, and he stopped halfway between Harry and Sherlock, shooting the latter a glance heavy with reproach. Secretly, Sherlock had dreamt of this moment, hoping to get the chance to spit his anger in the cruel sister’s face. He wanted to call her a jailer and a torturer, to force her to leave her brother alone, and to destroy the beast she had created in the first place by isolating him and showering him with contempt and shame. However, when the moment presented itself in this immense room where dead animals seemed to be staring at him, faced with John’s reproachful eyes and crushed by Harry’s hatred, he felt incredibly small and defenseless. Helplessness rooted him to the spot.

Harry respected the distance imposed by her brother as she examined Sherlock disdainfully. She didn’t even notice that his eyes were as grey as the sky during a winter storm, and she didn’t notice that they were fixed on her brother, both pleading and sad. What she noticed, however, were John’s eyes in which she read everything she had feared to see.

Her brother was in love. It’s something she had dreaded since the accident, something she had tried to avoid by keeping John away from everyone, because, from her point of view, it was grotesque. Neither woman nor man could ever fall for someone disfigured in such a way; horror and love couldn’t be associated.

“Look at him!” she bellowed at Sherlock. “His eyes speak volumes, just look at him!”

Sherlock couldn’t move. He had been yelled at numerous times, had been ridiculed for most of his life, had endured sarcasm, mockery, and hateful remarks, but never had someone looked at him with such hate.

“He loves you!” Harry screamed. “He loves you like a fool. Like your father loved your mother, the teasing whore. And you’re just like her. But you’re clever, much cleverer than she was. You seduced a rich man….”

She continued, but Sherlock couldn’t hear anymore, his heart was beating so hard it was drowning out words. He felt dizzy and nauseated, but he understood that John loved him, and as he searched his friend’s blue eyes, he couldn’t see any denial.

John got closer. He couldn’t stand to see his friend looking so lost and distressed, but he was powerless and couldn’t shut his sister up. He couldn’t deny that he was in love with Sherlock. He had been since the first time he had brought him to Lover’s Island, since the first time he had sparked a smile on those plump lips, had encountered the brilliant mind, had heard the deep voice and felt, as a result, the warmth of a thousand suns on his skin. John knew he loved Sherlock. There wasn’t any bigger certitude.

Yet, John had promised himself he would never fall in love. The chances of someone reciprocating his feelings were extremely thin. Clara had been able to love him unmasked, but she had been family and had loved him before the accident. He couldn’t hope for the same courtesy from anyone else; if his own sister was revolted by his appearance, how could a stranger ever look past what he looked like. He had consoled himself by thinking about the intrigues – joyful and sorrowful – hidden in the pages bound under leather covers. Nonetheless, it had happened anyway. He had been curious after the first encounter with Sherlock, while both of them had been hiding from Harry. After the conversation on pieces of paper slid under a door, he had been infatuated. Since their first proper meeting, he was in love. In love with the peculiar and lonely man from Sailboat Bay.

At first, he had tried convincing himself that it didn’t truly count. Sherlock was so exceptional and unique; it was like loving an elf. Then, he had invented the game, the treasure hunt; he had given them ten meetings. He couldn’t show him his face, but he could try to show him the world through his eyes. The plan had been to enjoy Sherlock’s formidable presence during the ten meetings, then resume his normal life with his head filled with memories, images, and feelings, but somewhere along the way he had realized he couldn’t handle the thought of a life without his best friend.

So he had thought about the perfect tenth treasure. If Sherlock wasn’t bored with him, if he was interested in pursuing their relationship, the tenth treasure opened the door to an infinite world. He would read to him, pages and pages. In the Fairy Cave, or on the border of Salty Swamp, among the eider nests, in a boat on the open sea, on the rocks of Enraged Cape, or on the other side of the world. There was no other way, their story had to last, but if he didn’t want Sherlock to fall apart, if he didn’t want his heart to break, he had to convince him not to listen to the hateful words his sister was shouting. Later, once this was over, he would whisper tenderly into his ear, and shower him with loving, healing words.

John extended a hand that Sherlock, paralyzed, didn’t take. He was shaking, and confronted with Harry’s wrath, he felt smaller than he had ever felt. Yet, he couldn’t stop looking at her. She spotted his gaze on her, and knew she had the upper hand. Ignoring John, she took a few steps towards Sherlock and started shouting again.

“Look at him! He loves you!”

Her voice was shaking with anger, and her eyes were shooting daggers.

“Look at him and say you love him. Him, The Beast. Say you didn’t seduce him because he’s rich enough to buy this whole village!”

“No, I—” was all Sherlock managed to say.

“You’re wrong! The fortune he inherited is even bigger than anything you could ever imagine. So tell me that it’s my brother’s face, and not his wealth you are interested in.”

Sherlock tried to speak once again, but had little success. He was out of his depth, swimming in a kind of madness he wasn’t accustomed to, and he felt as if he was drowning in it. He had never seen such an outpouring of contempt, never imagined such bile in one woman’s heart. He was petrified. As he was trying to understand his agitation, he heard Harry yell the same obsessive phrase one last time.

“Look at him!”

Sherlock looked at John. Harry Watson then extended an arm towards her brother, and in one brutal move she tore the mask off.

The silence was dreadful. John was looking at Sherlock, and Sherlock was looking at John. He saw the holes, the destroyed flesh, the crater where there should have been a cheek, and the gnawed nose. It looked even worse than he had imagined.

However, among the damages, there were the eyes. Two magnificent blue orbs, beautiful and devastating. Standing over the wounds, without the mask casting a shadow over them, they weren’t only moving; they were flooding his whole face until Sherlock couldn’t see anything other than the deep blue silk, the dark velvet, and the shimmering sea.

It was too many sensations (John), too many feelings (John), and Sherlock’s mind was spinning (John). Harry was laughing hysterically (John), the trophies were staring at him (John), and somehow he could hear their laughter too (John). It had to stop, John’s eyes were fixed on him (John), consuming him (John), and he could still feel Harry’s hatred crawling under his skin (John).

Too much.

Sherlock closed his eyes, and he lowered his head.

As the man he loved looked away from his deformed face, John’s world was shattered, and he felt his heart breaking.

“Leave,” he said in a harsh voice that seemed like a whisper compared to Harry’s yelling, but it was much worse. “Leave and don’t come back, I never want to see you again.”

Harry grabbed Sherlock’s forearm and twisted until he was pliant. She manhandled him out of the room, into the corridors, and out the door that she slammed shut behind him.

Next chapter

:::

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Click here for the map.

Date: 2011-09-26 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sabrinaphynn.livejournal.com
Do not be sorry, as long as the story goes on.
Into each story some major angst and strife must fall.
But ouch! Of course they would each take things the wrong way- John not noting Sherlock being overwhelmed by everything all at once, and Sherlock for not being able to express himself adequately at that moment.
Bad, bad Harry for taking her grief out on these two. She just can't see beyond her own pain, can she.

Date: 2011-09-26 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
Aaaww, thank you for not throwing heavy objects at me! You are right, I needed some angst to move the story forward, and I just had to ruin the nice moment they were having.

Aaaah, miscommunication... But yeah, Sherlock is overwhelmed, and John is more than sensitive when his appearance is concerned (with reason, I think; he's been through a lot). Maybe he was hoping Sherlock would be "the one" not to be disgusted (which he wasn't, but let's not get into that).

Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting. As always, I loved hearing back from you.

Date: 2011-09-26 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ourdramaqueen.livejournal.com
*flail* I knew something like this had to happen... aaaaaaaah, how will Sherlock be able to go back and talk to John, to convince him that it wasn't his deformed face that made him close his eyes, but quite the contrary, he was just overwhelmed with his feelings for John, and John's feelings for him?!

Can't wait for the next chapter!

Date: 2011-09-27 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
That's an excellent question, and one I believe will be answered before the end :-)

Thank you for reading, and thank you for flailing!

Date: 2011-09-27 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eightnoon.livejournal.com
*dies*

*resurrects*

*dies again*

Gah, the misunderstandings and angst and damn Harry! Nononono, boys, you must get back together! *tries to put them back together*

Date: 2011-09-27 11:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
No! Don't die!

Haha thanks for your effort in trying to put them back together; they're so silly, they'll need all the help they can get!

Date: 2011-09-27 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madrona-8.livejournal.com
I hate this Harry with the burning passion of a thousand suns.
TOO MUCH ANGST!

WAIT WAIT WAIT! Sherlock's violin is still in John's library.
Edited Date: 2011-09-27 06:19 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-09-27 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
I hate Harry too! I want her to be eaten by a whale!

Yes! Sherlock left his coat and his violin in John's manor, you have a good eye :-) Let's hope he'll get both back before the end of the story.

Date: 2011-09-27 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xjill.livejournal.com
oh my. that certainly hurt.

Date: 2011-09-27 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
I'm sorry, hopefully it will get better!

Date: 2011-09-27 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kholly.livejournal.com
Dear Readers,
I'm sorry.

Uh oh, now I'm nervous to read it.

Ah yes, that was a bit heartbreaking. Poor John, misunderstanding Sherlock's reaction.

It's clear who the real beast is in this story. There is more ugliness in hatred than in any physical wound.

Date: 2011-09-28 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
There is more ugliness in hatred than in any physical wound.

Hear, hear!

Date: 2011-09-27 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlight-myth.livejournal.com
Oh no! I knew something like this would happen but why did it happen so soon?

;_;

But you have nothing to apologize for. Every story has a major angsty moment and I'd like to hope that this was the one...and the only one.

Having said that, I'm still a little pissed with Sherlock for not saying anything. Of course he was overwhelmed with the feeling of being loved by John and I'm certain the feeling is mutual. But he could've said something...

And Harry! God, I hate her. Things would've been so much better if she hadn't turned up and ruined it.

Argh! So many emotions!

I really hope Sherlock straightens his head out and comes back for his John. Don't keep us waiting too long!

<3

Date: 2011-09-28 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
You'll get a little insight inside Sherlock's head regarding the latest events in the next chapters, hopefully his reaction will make a little more sense then.

Thank you for reading :-)

Date: 2011-09-27 08:14 am (UTC)
hagstrom: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hagstrom
You know? I was a couple of chapters behind, and now that I catch up...you do this to me? It was such a perfect magnificent moment...DAMN YOU HARRY! and John and Sherlock for being slow and stupid in such an important moment, but above them, DAMN YOU HARRY!!!
Really, this story ought to have a lot A LOT more comments, it's such a jewel! This needs fanart! And some fanmix, and lots more of love!
Thanks for sharing =)

Date: 2011-09-28 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
Oh, what a horrible time to catch up!

You're lovely, thank you for your nice words. I wish I could draw art, but I really, really can't. Damn you Harry indeed, I feel like I should start printing t-shirts or something.

Date: 2011-09-27 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Argh! I've been looking forward to this update after the way you left the last chapter and now you leave me with an ENEN BIGGER cliffhanger?! You are evil in the best possible way :p
This chapter hurt! Poor John, and poor Sherlock! Can't wait to see where it goes from here.

Date: 2011-09-28 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
I'm sorry about the pain, but hopefully the next chapters will eventually make up for it.

And now, please excuse me while I stoke my evil cat in a very evil way ;-)

Date: 2011-09-28 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quirkies.livejournal.com
*whimpers* Poor dears! I love that, in fact, John's face was worse than Sherlock had imagined and still his eyes eclipsed it all. :) A lovely emotionally charged moment, too charged for our Sherlock.

Date: 2011-09-28 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
Sherlock has a thing for John's eyes ;-)

I'm happy you enjoyed the surge of emotions, thank you for reading!

Date: 2011-09-28 09:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] southerngaelic.livejournal.com
Oh NOOOOOOO D:

Date: 2011-09-29 01:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
Yeah :-(

Welcome to the angsty part of the story.

Date: 2011-10-17 10:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anarion.livejournal.com
Noooo! What? Why? How?

I want more kissing! *sobs*

Stupid Harry, what is she doing?

And no, Sherlock, what are you doing? Please don't look away!

Oh God, poor John!

*runs around in circles, flapping her arms, then grabs the blanket and hides beneath it*


[tiny but important typo here I think: but he understood that John loved him, and as he searched his fiend’s blue eyes, he couldn’t see any denial.

Date: 2011-10-17 02:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
Haha, believe me, the word NO was probable the one that came up the most in my inbox in the week following my posting of this chapter.

I want more kissing too :-(

As for what Harry and Sherlock are doing, I believe the answer is: something stupid. But hey, what are you doing? This is John's blanket!

Thanks for that, you amazing typo-catcher :D

Date: 2011-10-17 04:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anarion.livejournal.com
But hey, what are you doing? This is John's blanket!

Excusez-moi? No, that was my blanket to beginn with, then I started sharing it with John, because you did something mean (oh yes, you kept writing Sherlock/Seb sex).

See? Here is a label: 'Anarion's blanket. Use in case of severe whining over Ellie's fics. Use for emergencies only. Share with John if need be.'
:P

Date: 2011-10-17 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellie_hell.livejournal.com
Oh god, I'm so sorry! I didn't see the label! It's so nice of you to share with John :-)

oh yes, you kept writing Sherlock/Seb sex.
Please don't remind me, or I may be tempted to do it again! The story isn't finished, I could write a farewell sex scene!

Date: 2011-10-18 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anarion.livejournal.com
Please don't remind me, or I may be tempted to do it again!

Wow, careful there, you should have heard the growl that just came from John's corner under the blanket!
(where we still are, because, well, he is still dying in the one fic and Sherlock/Seb is not finished in the other. Where else would we be?)
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