Greetings morsels! Err… mortals…
Welcome to the first installment of Fandom Friday!
I present to you: Safe Distance by Merripestin.
I thought (in a shameless attempt to attract followers of all kinds) we would start with one of my main fandoms: Sherlock (BBC). I’m getting a little out of my comfort zone here and showing you a pairing I’m not crazy about but, since I read this fic on a whim last week, I can’t stop thinking about. That is of course: Johnlock. Ambiguous Sherlock Holmes and straight-as-an-arrow John Watson. Now, if we’re being honest here, I don’t ship it… but even I have to admit
Maybe that’s why I’m not into it. It just seems too easy, convenient. As if all Sherlock’s problems, John’s problems, and the London traffic would magically disappear if they would just kiss, damn it. I feel like it just pulls all the depth out of two perfectly imperfect men. I’m getting a little wordy here but I don’t want you to think I can’t appreciate porn without plot, I most certainly do, but porn without plot can still have confusion, feelings, and serious personal growth. Today’s selection has all that plus a boring murder, and interesting suicide, and some escaped laboratory mice.
John is confused about a lot of things in his life, but his sexuality isn’t really one of them. Sherlock on the other hand… The only thing about Sherlock that needs stroking, as far as John can see, is his ego. Or that’s what he thought before Sherlock’s grand fall. Survivor’s guilt is a big red star in the PTSD constellation, but this is so much more. It’s obvious to John, in retrospect of course, how lonely Sherlock must have been, hungry for praise, starved for loving touch. Now that Sherlock is back, now that they’re back together fitting they way they always fit and doing what they always did John is determined Sherlock will never feel alone again. John Watson being John Watson, that is to say smart but not quite smart enough for Sherlock, only knows one way to go about showing Sherlock how much they need each other. He’s going to shag him.
Ok, I’m making light a bit here, but when you read the piece you’ll understand. The dry wit comes off John in waves throughout this piece. The descriptors of John’s body language, the careful characterization of his thoughts and feelings through the process of deciding what Sherlock needs, wanting to give it to him, and finding purpose and eventually peace in doing it, is truly breathtaking. Sherlock’s is as well, and in an even more heart wrenching, broken toy, sort of way. Sherlock has no emotional needs, but Sherlock does need John. John is necessary, though Sherlock can’t tell you exactly why, so Sherlock must make strides to keep John in his like. The best way to do that based on his empirical evidence is to begin a sexual relationship with him. If all John’s needs are met then Sherlock’s needs will be met too. Simple.
Watching these two navigate a sexual relationship that is tender and clinical at the same time is almost overwhelmingly emotional. At the same time, they spend so much time trying to interpret the other and missing the mark by so little every time, it’s practically slap-stick. Coupled with excellent writing, pacing, and laid over a deliciously convoluted murder suicide Sherlock is having a field day with, this is a monumental piece of fan fiction. Well worth your time.
Merripestin can me found here on AO3 and here on Tumblr. If you enjoy the fic please don’t forget to comment!
Please enjoy a few of my favorite moments to whet your appetite before you dive in:
“John felt something in him lurch and he kissed Sherlock the way he would have kissed him that day, the way he would have kissed him on top of Barts. Sure and firm and caressing so it was unmistakable: Sherlock was not alone, not alone, not alone. John tilted his head and slipped his tongue into Sherlock’s mouth, fearless and feverish because if he’d had the choice he’d have followed this man off that roof, followed him anywhere, everywhere — never let him be alone.”
“Sherlock was, of course, incapable of really having that kind of emotional response to anyone. All this was simply a practical approach given the facts: Sherlock was happiest when John was content, because if he was content, John wouldn’t leave and wouldn’t look for outside relationships, and John was necessary and John was his and Sherlock wanted John with him for the rest of Sherlock’s life. That was simply logical.”
“Before Sherlock could protest, John said, ‘I cannot be having with this couch, Sherlock. Can we please go to bed like grown men?’ John wasn’t complaining about Sherlock’s lack of skill at foreplay. John wanted them to go to bed like grown men. John wanted to put heads on spikes for him.”
“Maybe taking orders with dignity was something he’d developed in his military career, but Sherlock had never observed it like this in anyone but John. So this was almost certainly one of those socially unacceptable reactions he had to keep to himself. When normal people saw strength and dignity, they probably didn’t react by wanting to stick their cocks in. Did they?”
This rec is the best birthday present I got today. I’m so, so grateful!