Sitting on the sink-counter, she looked washed-out in the harsh fluorescent light of their bathroom, a little spatter of blood staining the shoulder of her light blue scrubs, her skin a wintery kind of pale and her freckles fading as though they’d been one of God’s afterthoughts. Her braid rested tattered and ripped down her spine, long red strands falling in front of the bruises on her cheek, and as he carded her hair back behind her ear, she flinched involuntarily, her shaky hands stilling on her lap, her breath hitching.
“It’s okay,” he whispered, the bag of ice in his hand hovering before her, his brain buzzing in the overtired way he used to feel accustomed to. If his circadian rhythms were reliable, then he and his body estimated that three in the morning, maybe half past, had come and gone. A long time ago, she’d told him that keeping lights on from the nighttime hours of ten-to-ten harmed the brain’s ability to produce melatonin, but he figured that light would be the least of their worries tonight.
Softly, she met his gaze, then looked back down at her lap.
“Sorry,” she said, wincing at the word. “I’m just…I’m still a little shaken up.”
He nodded, then gingerly brought the ice to her cheek, and though she recoiled at first, luckily she eased against his touch, let out a deep, exhausted breath.
“Is there any bleeding?” she asked, her voice muffled by the ice.
“None at all,” he said.
She swallowed, said, “The nurse there seemed like she was doing a great job of cleaning it.”
“And you’re absolutely sure you’re not concussed?” he asked as he leaned against the sink, the house around them so still and silent that it made the winter beyond them feel heavier and thicker than it already was.
Looking up at him, she delicately pressed her lips together, said, “Had the nurse check. No headache or dizziness. I’m fine, Mulder.”
“Okay,” he said, nodding to himself.
Though she avoided late shifts and preferred not to work on Saturdays, she’d been on a Saturday evening to Sunday morning emergency room shift, eight pm to eight pm, but a one am call let him know that a drunk patient, a punch to the face, and some police involvement meant that she would be coming home early. The last time he, in her words, went caveman left them both embarrassed and uncomfortable, but now, he wished he could’ve been there, could’ve watched over her and had her back so that some drunkard would’ve never decked her behind a modesty curtain, wouldn’t have had a chance to let her head thud against a sterile linoleum floor before punching her again. Though he wanted to think of this protectiveness as more than an ancient biological imperative, though he wished he didn’t find himself at fault for something so clearly irrelevant to his existence, he still brought Duane Barry and Phillip Padgett and all of the other men who had wronged her to mind, wondered once more if he could’ve done more. While at the Bureau, he could’ve argued that he was her partner, that it was of the utmost importance for them to watch each other’s backs, but now, he could hardly merit the wish.
And had he been there, he probably would’ve been decked too, only he would’ve cried about it instead of stoically driving home afterward like she did. Sometimes, he figured, the universe chose to punch the ones who could take it, not the ones who couldn’t.
“You’re never working a night shift again,” he said, hoping to elicit a laugh or at least a pained smile; thankfully, she reached toward him, wrapped her fingers in his open hand, kept her eyes down but let him know that she was present and receptive anyway.
“I sure hope not,” she said, “but if they ever want me to, I’m sure that citing this incident will make them change their minds.”
Softly, he laughed, and though he figured it would hurt her to smile, the purplish and red smears of bruises on her cheeks keeping her from moving her face too much, she still quirked her lip, the movement minute but visible.
“Did you have any Advil before you got home?” he asked.
“I had one before I left the hospital.”
“Do you think you’ll be able to sleep?”
She sucked her lips in again, met his gaze, so he nodded in understanding. He figured neither or them would be getting much sleep tonight.
“Well,” he said, his voice turning theatrical, “I can offer some warm milk-”
“No hot liquids,” she said quickly. “Have to keep the swelling down.”
“Okay,” he said, off-put. There went his ideas for chamomile tea and maybe a warm bath in order to calm her down. “Then, cold water.”
He squeezed her hand.
“What are you looking for, then?” he asked. “My mind goes numb after midnight.”
Taking a deep breath, she said, “A movie, something mindless. Just until we feel we could fall asleep.”
So she shed her blood-smeared scrubs and opted for pajamas and thick socks; while she migrated to the couch, held the ice against her more bluish cheek, he rifled through their bookshelf, found Sleepless in Seattle and liked the irony it provided, so he popped the tape in, the lights off in their living room, the fish tank fluorescent and bubbling in the background, the winter winds shifting the shutters on their fixer-upper farmhouse. He sat on her less-bruised side, and as she spread a shared blanket over their laps, he fast-forwarded coming attractions of many years ago, her two hands wrapping around his free one. While the movie began, he tuned Meg Ryan out and kept his eyes on her instead, tried to survey her body for telltale signs of stress.
She’d told him long ago that she felt anxiety not in her mind but in her limbs, in her joints; while her thoughts told her to push forward, her body cringed and faded, her demise coming not from her will but from her physical breakdown, so he’d tried to be a constant for her, had kept track of her hours and made sure that, even when she seemed so determined to finish just one more stack of paperwork, she would go home for a good night’s rest instead. From those many times, he knew what to look for: raised shoulders, shaky hands, huffed breaths, glasses pushed up far more often than one would expect. However, tonight shifted that response because her breakdown had come from a patient, not from herself, so while she took shallow breaths during the movie, he traced his thumb against the back of her hand, let her lean into him with her face angled so that his shoulder and her bruises never quite made contact. As four am ticked past, he realized that he’d never watched this movie in full, but because he’d distracted himself during the first half of the film, he hadn’t a clue where the plot went.
“Scully?” he whispered, almost wincing at how his voice interrupted the special, rural silence around them.
When she didn’t shift, he craned his neck, and though he should’ve been able to tell through her long, languid breaths against his chest, he only noticed that she’d fallen asleep when he looked down and saw her closed eyes. Reaching for the remote, he turned the television off, and with deft, gentle motions, he managed to lift her up without waking her - after all, she could sleep anywhere, from passenger’s seats of cheap rental cars to bleach-ridden motel beds to his old leather couch back before he’d been able to offer her a bed instead - and carried her upstairs though his aging joints protested with each step.
Thankful that he’d left the bed unmade after she’d called, he managed to slip her beneath the overturned sheets on his side of the bed, tucked her in before he climbed in on the other still-made side. Out here, the nights were dark save for the endless lines of unobstructed stars in the sky, so he kept their bedroom’s blinds up, soft light falling over her bruising face, the rise and fall of her chest shifting the duvet while she slept. Her pillow smelled like that lavender shampoo she liked, and though the stuffing was too thick for him, he found that he could still relax into it, their respective alarm clocks off for now, her bedside book-stack dwindling as his seemed only to grow larger, her reading glasses askew and the closet door left open in a way that would’ve scared him as a child.
And he presented himself with two lonely options: either he could work out hundreds of different scenarios that left her unscathed and him some kind of half-assed hero, or he could watch her soft breaths until their cadence lulled him to sleep. For once, he picked the second option and drifted off before morning began to creep through the windows.
Hi Brontë! Can you help me find some sources/posts about proving John's bisexuality? Thank you, have a nice day!
Oh I forgot to say that I mean John Watson in ACD’s canon, not the show or other adaptations :)
Hi! I’ve written a bit about Holmes and Watson’s canonical queerness here and here, and this post may be of particular interest to you!
Watson also sometimes describes both male and female beauty in very similar ways - for example:
About a woman: ‘Miss Brenda Tregennis had been a very beautiful girl, though now verging upon middle age. Her dark, clear-cut face was handsome, even in death’ (The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot)
About a man: ‘The other, dark, clear-cut, and elegant, hardly yet of middle age, and endowed with every beauty of body and of mind, was the Right Honourable Trelawney Hope’ (The Adventure of the Second Stain)
About a woman: ‘The first impression left by Mrs. Lyons was one of extreme beauty. Her eyes and hair were of the same rich hazel colour, and her cheeks, though considerably freckled, were flushed with the exquisite bloom of the brunette, the dainty pink which lurks at the heart of the sulphur rose. Admiration was, I repeat, the first impression. But the second was criticism. There was something subtly wrong with the face, some coarseness of expression, some hardness, perhaps, of eye, some looseness of lip which marred its perfect beauty. But these, of course, are after-thoughts. At the moment I was simply conscious that I was in the presence of a very handsome woman.’ (The Hound of the Baskervilles)
About a man: ‘He was certainly a remarkably handsome man. His European reputation for beauty was fully deserved. In figure he was not more than of middle size, but was built upon graceful and active lines. His face was swarthy, almost Oriental, with large, dark, languorous eyes which might easily hold an irresistible fascination for women. His hair and moustache were raven black, the latter short, pointed, and carefully waxed. His features were regular and pleasing, save only his straight, thin-lipped mouth.’ (The Adventure of the Illustrious Client)
@goldcaught wrote the tags on this post and it made me need to write a thing. Please excuse the extreme cheesiness.
been two weeks that somehow seem like a dream when he notices them.
been torn from her side by phone calls dealing with business (“Klaus, I’m not an idiot… I know what business means to you. Just make sure you don’t kill anyone
important.”), and she had retreated to the pool of the resort where he had
happily encountered her (i.e.: tracked her to).
never really been around her in the summertime. It’s a shocking realization,
that this woman who has possessed him, obsessed him, been the center of his
thoughts had only been physically in his life for a handful of months, and none
of them had been during the summer. But
it’s there, and the truth is written in distracting dusting along her
himself so… distracted by them, the
tiny speckles that dance along her shoulders.
She’s sitting on the edge of the bed, having just stepped out of the
shower, and is setting to brushing her hair with a single-minded
determination. Klaus, on the other hand,
takes a seat behind her and sets his own determination to tracing that constellation
of freckles with his tongue.
are you doing?” she asks, her brushing pausing as his attention sends a shiver
down his spine.
taste like salt,” Klaus murmurs, not answering her question, because he finds
the answer somewhat embarrassing.
I was distracted by your freckles – as though
he’s some boy that’s never seen a woman’s bare skin before. It’s the thought of a pubescent pup, and
Klaus just knows she would find no
end of amusement in that.
on the ocean,” Caroline points out. She
looks over her shoulder at him, and they’re there as well – freckles dusting
across her nose, made more obvious by the way she wrinkles her nose as she
states what she believes to be the obvious.
isn’t listening to her words, though.
Instead, he’s counting the tiny specks over the arch of her nose.
born in a time when such marks would have been a sign of poverty. Those with standing went to great lengths to
ensure no imperfections ever graced their skin, and perhaps that’s why Klaus
finds them so distracting now. Caroline
wears her freckles as though they’re old friends. He wonders if she even notices that they’re
up with you?” she demands, her voice cutting through his distraction, and Klaus
swallows, and leans in to press a kiss to the bridge of her nose, right where
the freckles are the heaviest. She
giggles, when his lips then graze along her cheek bones, following the path,
and when he pushes her back, she goes willingly, happily returning his kiss
when his lips finally find hers. “You’re
in an affectionate mood.”
missed you while you were gone,” Klaus replies simply, and though the words are
meant to hide the truth of his fascination, he finds that they’re not actually
false. He has missed her. Years
separated because he was so determined
to keep his promise to her has left him thirsty for her touch, for her presence.
For the freckles he didn’t realize existed.
more, though not as dark as the ones on her shoulders and nose. They dance down her chest, and he becomes
distracted for several minutes by a small group on right breast. It seems like such a silly thing to be so
distracted with, but perhaps, he acknowledges as they lay in the afterglow, his
fingers stroking along her sun kissed skin, it’s not truly the freckles
that he didn’t realize they existed.
piece of the intriguing puzzle that is Caroline Forbes, and every time he
uncovers a new piece, he hungers for the next… and the next.
it’s her freckles.
week, it will be the way she sings show tunes in the shower.
hundred years, it will be another mystery, and Klaus is determined to use his eternity
to uncover them all.
((Starter?)) Alice sat on a tree stump, reading the book that Vivi gave her. Who would've thought that sugar-coated air head could give her something helpful to work with? She was reading a chapter on ghost psychology. More specifically, what to say to ghosts in order to calm them down and/or move on.
A girl with a huge mess of curly red hair and uranium green eyes walked past. The way she carried herself gave off a sense of confidence, such confidence that you didn’t see in most people. She also gave off this… Aura. Something dark and twisted, something angry, though her freckle-covered face didn’t show it.
But what about a zoo AU where Kristoff is an artist who comes regularly to practice his sketching and Anna is a zoo keeper (I am picturing her hanging with Orangutans) and occasionally does docent work. When she is in front of the exhibit mingling with the zoo guests she notices him for the first time. He is quiet, unassuming for such a large person, and watches the animals with attentiveness unseen in the typical zoo patron.
Imagine her sneaking peeks at his sketchbook as he sits cross-legged on the ground, back hunched, inches away from the glass separating him from the primates who watch him back with equal interest. Imagine how fragile a pencil would look in his capable hands creating images on blank pages. Imagine her watching as kids flock around him and gawk at his ability while the adults look on with furtive appreciation. Imagine him flipping through the pages of his book at the request of a particularly precocious child and seeing each page filled with all kinds of animals of varying shapes and poses but there is no pride in it. Everything he does is laced with the transcendent calm of capability. He does not need validation. He is sure of his skills.
He does not speak often, only when spoken to, and she catches the faintest of accents - something foreign - and she wonders where he comes from. She wonders where he learned to draw, if he uses the skill outside of the zoo.
He is not always there when she has her docent shift, but she always likes when he is. Even if they never engage each other she senses a bond with him through the intensity they share for the creatures they observed.
One unusually slow Sunday afternoon he comes and surveys the Orangutan enclosure and frowns as he comes over to the glass. He wears a pack on his back. The thin knit fabric of his black T-shirt stretches across his shoulders, his chest, like a familiar friend. She stands at her place in the corner a few feet away from him, watching his expression. Then he turns to her.
He has never done this before and the intensity of his brown eyes makes her breath stick in her throat. He looks at her with the same singularity he looks at the animals - like he cannot help but take in every detail.
“Where is Georgia?” Where ever he is from makes the O sound pull long and softens his R’s as he asks about the oldest female Orangutan.
“She hurt herself on the equipment.” Anna tries to hide her surprise at the fact that he not only knows the Orangutans by name but can distinguish them. “Yesterday. It happened yesterday. We are keeping her out of the enclosure till she heals.”
He nods and looks like he is about to turn and go to his place to sketch but something in her chest clenches at the idea. Like the world is shifting beneath her feet at this very moment and if she does not set her own course then fate will do so for her.
“Do you want to see her?” she blurts out and he tilts his head to the side.
“You said she is not coming out today.” He is abrupt in the way he speaks and his directness is disarming.
“No - ah - no.” She stammers. “But we can go to her. I can do that. I can take people places.”
He looks at her then with all the energy she had seen him use go capture his subject and she feels her face heat under the attention. It feels as if he can see inside her, right through her jumbled thoughts to her pounding heart.
He agrees and she lets out a breath she had not known she was holding. It is a bit of a round-about way to the service gate of the Orangutan house. It is nested back behind a wall of carefully placed bamboo posts. Her hands shake as they key in the code.
This is against the rules. It is unsafe to bring zoo patrons into the back rooms of the zoo enclosures. The liability issues were sky high, but she is not worried. It is in this moment that she realizes that she trusts this stranger implicitly.
They push inside. The area is sterile and quiet. She is the only primate zoologist on the staff for the day. The other technicians were off in the other more popular Chimpanzee and Gorilla habitats at the moment so all is quiet here.
“Georgia’s this way.” She feels the need to feel the empty air. “Follow me.”
She leads him to a heavy locked door that she opens with a slide of her key card. It opens to a large room that is segmented off into separate areas by double deep, thick metal caging from floor to ceiling. Down the center there is a wide hallway that she leads him down to where they keep Georgia.
She knows he sees everything with those eyes so keen with proportion and dimension.
“These facilities are some of the most up-to-date in the world.” She continues to fill the silence. “We have one of the most advanced primate rehabilitation and socialization programs in existence.”
She keeps up listing stats and figures of their program as they come up to Georgia’s cage. One of the primate’s wrists is bandaged securely and she had been sedated enough to not pick at the wrapping or the stitches underneath but not sedated enough to keep her from coming over to the metal bars at their approach. The large, orange furred creature flops on the floor and seems to strike a pose of sorts.
Anna’s human companion reaches for his pack immediately.
“She recognizes you.” Anna realizes in the way Georgia’s eyes track his movement’s, watches the thick sketchbook as he assumes his seated position in front of her and spreads it on his lap. Georgia follows his every move.
“I have heard you say yourself that Orangutans are one of the only animals besides humans to have the ability to recognize themselves. Is it so strange that they would recognize another species as well?”
It is not, she knows. The apes all knew her and her coworkers but she had not considered that perhaps one of her animals could have formed an unspoken attachment to the blonde artist the same as she unwittingly had. That is not what she focused on in his words, however. Instead her mind zeroes in on the fact that he admitted to listening to her. Until this moment she had thought her awareness of him had been completely one sided. Perhaps this is not so.
She sits beside him as he flips open his sketchbook to a blank page and begins his work. She reaches into the pouch at her hip and pulls out a pellet the size and shape of a shotgun bullet casing and pushes it through the smaller metal squares that kept the Orangutan’s thick fingers from poking through and grabbing whatever passed their way. Georgia grabs at the treat and with her foot and works it up to her dextrous lips.
Anna thinks to say something, but she does not know what to say so she stays quiet and plays with Georgia. The old primate is so high however that all she is interested in is getting more of the treats that Anna carries on her at all times.
Several minutes pass this way before she can bring herself to look over at what he is drawing. The sight of it shocks her. There on the page is a sketch of her sitting beside him feeding Georgia treats. She is smiling, relaxed. He even captured in rough relief the unflattering khaki uniform she wears when she is on duty but yet she still looks beautiful. He even drew her freckles though she does not remember him even so much as looking at her.
“That’s me.” She cannot stop the words from coming out and he startles at the sound of her voice and looks at her.
“Yes.” He says, not quite meeting her eyes and ears turning pink. “This is you.” He makes a gesture at her name tag. “Anna.”
The sound of her name off of his shy lips heats her blood and she stares at his mouth. “What is your name?”
“No. Just - Kristoff.”
His name alone brings forward a million questions she wants to ask someday but not yet, not today. The earth is still moving beneath her but she knows now it is shifting towards him instead of away, or perhaps it is her own body leaning in towards his, his towards hers, because they meet in the middle and she is drowning in the sensation of heat and chapped lips.
They must have done this before a thousand times because she knows his taste. She knows the shape of his mouth slipping against hers although her mind knows that is impossible. Her mind does not know him but her heart does. Her heart has known him since the beginning of time.
The earth shifts again and they pull apart, bashful.
“Well Kristoff.” Her tongue chases the taste of him along her lips. “It is nice to meet you.”
“This is A…like in Papa. This is – E? And this…” His daughter scrunches her nose up and jabs at the paper he’s writing on. “This is a squiggle,” she finally declares, and sits back.
“It is a ‘v’.”
“Can’t be V. It’s a squiggle.”
Fenris frowns and touches his fingers under her chin to turn her head back to their task. “It is a ‘v’. Try again.”
She mirrors his frown, and he has to tuck a lock of her hair back behind
her ear to see. It’s slipped from the red ribbon that ties the end of
her plait – though slipped would be an understatement; half of it seems
to have fallen over her eyes and the other half is caught up in a bird’s
nest at the back and the overall effect makes her look vaguely like
she’s been pulled through a hedge backwards.
Her eyes are green
and scowling, and they dart back to meet his to make sure he’s noticed
her disapproval. Green like his but not as green – more hazel. His
but not his. There are hazel eyes in his head now, angry and hurt and
hidden by red hair –
His daughter is whacking the paper with her
fist. “V,” he gently says again, and shakes from his shoulders the
thoughts of an aunt that will never meet her niece.
“Must you be so insufferable?”
“I’m not in-suff-rable. I’m very sufferable. Mama says so.”
“Does she now?”
“Does she what? Maker, what have you done to your hair?”
look up as Hawke leans against the doorway of the little room. There is
dirt on her clothes, under her fingernails; some of it is sprinkled
across her nose like paint. She raises an eyebrow at the two of them. “I
dig up one row of potatoes and you end up looking like that?”