Excerpt from one of the several Check, Please! fics I am working on.
This one’s an AU, one of the “Jack went into the NHL at 18 and Bitty has some unrelated career” variety, of which there are many.
Shitty Knight (that was going to take some getting used to) was waiting outside the locker room when Jack emerged. With him was a shorter man, slender and blond, wearing a blue t-shirt and the shortest red shorts Jack had ever seen on an adult. He had sunglasses perched on his head and was deep in conversation with Knight. Must be an intern.
As Jack drew nearer, they both turned toward him. Jack almost stopped walking. The blond man was armed; he had a hip holster clipped to the waistband of his miniscule red shorts.
“Um – hello,” Jack said. He was trying not to stare at this tiny, armed – okay, the word his brain kept suggesting was ‘twink,’ but that seemed uncharitable so he resisted it. This tiny armed person. He focused on Knight, who would surely explain.
“Jack. Good skate?”
“Yeah, I coulda predicted that. Jack, this is Eric Bittle. He’ll be heading up your security detail.”
Jack could not keep the look of incredulity off his face. Bittle seemed totally unsurprised by his gobsmacked expression. “Go ahead, get it out of your system,” he said, his voice a smooth, Southern-accented tenor.
“I’m sorry, but – really?”
Knight also looked like he’d had this conversation more than once before. “To paraphrase Shakespeare, though he be but little, he is fierce.”
“Midsummer Nights’ Dream,” Jack said.
“Mr. Bittle is my best agent, Jack. He may not look like a bodyguard, but he is quick and he’s a crack shot.”
“If you say so, Knight, but…” He scrubbed a hand through his hair. “Okay, I’m not usually this much of an asshole, but this is my life we’re talking about, and you – I’m sure you’re good at your job, but you look like I could tip you over with two fingers.”
Bittle calmly took the sunglasses off his head and handed them to Knight. “Try it.”
Jack spluttered a little. “Look, I’m not going to…”
“Bless your heart, this isn’t my first time at the bake-off, Mr. Zimmermann. I know how this goes. Nobody buys it until I show them, so go ahead. Try it. And don’t hold back.”
“I’m sorry, John,” he rasped. He looked - God, he looked wrecked. To anyone else he might have looked no more than slightly perturbed, but to John, who knew him so well, he might as well have been sobbing.
For your holiday (or any other kind of day you’re having) enjoyment
Irene looked from John to Sherlock and back again. They were sitting at the kitchen table, Sherlock’s laptop between them, hands clasped tightly on the tabletop. “Are you ready?”
John met Sherlock’s eyes. “We’re ready.”
Irene nodded. She turned to her own computer and tapped a few keys, then smiled at them over the top of the screen. “Okay. It’s done. You are now publicly engaged.”
Sherlock had the Twitter home feed up in one window. “How long will this take?”
“Not long. The release went out to all the major digital outlets as well as the print media. It won’t be…oh, here we go.”
John leaned over and saw a tweet pop up, from EW Online. “Breaking: John & Sherlock to marry. #sherlockholmes #johnwatson #johnandsherlock.”
“And they’re off,” Sherlock murmured. Before John’s wondering eyes, he saw the post’s retweet count go up, and additional tweets pop up from other outlets. Sherlock opened a new window following their hashtag. Congratulations and excited cheers from fans were soon appearing, peppered with the occasional hellfire damnation tweet and expressions of disgust and outrage. Thankfully, these were all but buried in what soon became a flood of congratulations.
John sat back with a sigh. “All right. That’s done, then. And now we have to put on our party clothes and go to the theater because – why, exactly?”
“Because you can’t hide out after making this announcement,” Irene said, back on her phone and her laptop at the same time. “You have to be seen, you have to give the press a chance at you, even if it’s just for a quick moment. And you have to look pretty.”
“That is a given,” Sherlock said, one eyebrow twitching in amusement. “Come, John. Let’s get ourselves sorted.”
John glanced at his watch. “Already? But it’s…we’ve got hours until…”
Sherlock stood up and held out his hand. “I’m aware of the time. I’m sure we’ll find a way to fill it.”
I’ve been getting at least one Ask per day about this, so let me explain to you a thing.
Yes, I am writing a sequel to “Performance in a Leading Role.” Its working title is “Lifetime Achievement,” in keeping with the Oscars theme.
This sequel was once referred to by me as the “Performance wedding story,” because it was just going to cover their wedding, in a one-shot sort of way. Well, surprise surprise, it bloated beyond all recognition, and is closing in on 100 pages in length and is not complete yet. So it’s pretty much a sequel…although technically it’s not because it is entirely contained within the events of “Performance,” between the Oscars and the epilogue. It’s a…midquel? Whatever. Sequel works for me.
The story starts the day after the Oscars and takes J and S through John’s subsequent career issues, the planning for their wedding, issues with John’s family, and various other shenanigans. It will likely end with Sherlock returning home after his three-month location shoot in Prague, for which he leaves only a few days after the wedding.
I will not begin posting it until it’s complete. I don’t have an ETA; one good strong push could get me to the end. My ultimate goal is to have it complete, betaed and posted before series 3 airs.
Well, so far 2016′s doing a bang-up job of sucking really hard, he thought. He stood by his chair for a moment, reeling.
Sherlock was downstairs in the kitchen, or at least he had been when John had ventured out for coffee an hour ago. He’d been sitting at the kitchen table, typing madly on his laptop, two nicotine patches on his forearm. He was hip-deep in pre-production on his directorial debut, an intense three-character film about the dissolution of a marriage during the aftermath of a dinner party. Molly had written the script. John loved it, and so did Sherlock, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t rewriting to be done.
This news was going to throw him right off his game.
Maybe I shouldn’t tell him. He won’t hear for hours on his own. Let him get some work done while he’s on a roll.
No, he’ll find out that I knew and didn’t say anything and he’ll be furious and that’ll throw him off even more.
He sighed and went downstairs. He could hear the machine-gun clacking of Sherlock’s keyboard as he approached.
He stood in the doorway for a moment, just looking at him. The sunlight was angling in and highlighting the streaks of gray that were just starting to come in at his temples. His own hair was lightening by the day, it seemed, as his dishwater blonde was overtaken with silver. They were both getting older. He was now on the wrong side of forty, and Sherlock wasn’t far behind him.
“Hmm?” He didn’t look up, still typing. John didn’t say anything. After a moment, Sherlock glanced at him, then did a double-take. He stopped typing and sat back. “What is it, John? What’s happened?”
He walked forward and stood at Sherlock’s side, then put a hand on his shoulder. “Sweetheart, Alan died.”
Sherlock blinked. “Alan, who’s…” His eyes widened as he realized who John meant. “No.”
“I’m afraid so.”
He flapped a hand. “No, it’s one of those Internet hoaxes. Where’d you see that, on Facebook?”
“I wish it were. His family has released a statement.”
Sherlock went very still. He stared blankly at his laptop screen. “No,” he murmured.
John rubbed his shoulder. “I’m so sorry. I know you were friends.”
“Today. He had cancer. Did you know he was sick?”
“I knew he’d been in hospital some time ago. I didn’t know he had cancer.” Sherlock leaned forward, his elbows on the table, and rubbed his hands over his face. “My God, Alan. I can’t believe it. He was…how old was he? He couldn’t have been 70 yet.”
“He was sixty-nine.”
Sherlock stood up and went to the window. John followed, keeping a bit of a distance. He’d been married to this man for four years, he knew that he’d reach out if he wanted comfort. “I should…send something. Call Rima. Maybe Emma will put something together for him, that’s her wheelhouse.” He raked a hand through his hair. “You know, we never worked together. It was always next year, next season, after this next project, we should talk about it, yes, let’s do that.” He took a deep breath. “Eventually, we all run out of ‘next season’s.” He turned and looked at John. “This must be upsetting for you, too. I know you were a fan.”
“It’s hard to imagine anyone not being. I never met him, but yeah. A big fan.” He went to Sherlock’s side and put his arm around his back. Sherlock pulled him close at once. John felt him tremble on his exhale and held him tighter.
Sherlock bowed his face down to John’s hair. “Promise me you’ll never die,” he murmured.
John smiled. “I promise. If you’ll promise the same.” He felt Sherlock nod.
After a few moments, he drew away and went to the wine fridge. He pulled out a bottle of something and two glasses. “We’ll drink to a man whose talents we were privileged to witness,” he said, uncorking the wine.
John nodded. “First David Bowie, now this. I can’t believe it.”
“It’s strange,” Sherlock said. “We know that we are mortal, and yet we are always surprised when that fact is brought home to us by a death.”
“The people we admire are supposed to be immortal,” John said.
Sherlock handed him a full wineglass. His eyes were wet, but he was smiling a little. “If we continue to admire them, then they are.”
tiny snippet from bagginshield of indeterminate title, in progress.
Bilbo’s mind seized, like a wheelbarrow that’s struck a stubborn stone in the earth. For years he had struggled to recall Thorin’s face. He’d never had an image of him to cherish, not a drawing or an oil or even a carving. Only his memories, and they had smoothed over and lost distinction with the passing of years. He had fought mightily to keep them sharp, often going back in his mind to a place, a moment, a word, desperate to keep the face of his beloved clear in his mind, but there came a time when he could remember only the idea of Thorin, his physical form lost to the mists of memory. One night, not so very long ago, he had wept alone in his room because he could no longer recall the exact shade of his eyes or the precise curve of his nose. He’d sat with his head in his hands, trying to remember the weave of his braids.
The sight of him washed it all away. Oh. Of course. There he is. How could I ever have forgotten? I remember every detail like I saw him yesterday. His features fit into the groove worn into Bilbo’s brain by his reminiscences and snapped snugly into place. He looked just as he had the first time Bilbo had beheld him, so many years ago.
After the Tone - a "Performance in a Leading Role" ficlet
I thought y'all might enjoy a little PiaLR ficlet today while we simultaneously come down and ramp up.
Author’s Note: This ficlet consists of a series of voicemails. They are not meant to tell a story or occur in any particular order.
You’ve reached Sherlock Holmes. If you don’t know what to do next, I weep for the gene pool and your presence in it. Try not to ramble, include any and all relevant information, and for God’s sake don’t be tiresome about it.
Hi, you’re through to John. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. If it’s urgent, try texting me, and if that doesn’t work, try Harry.
Okay, wow, you guys are really into the bodyguard!Bitty AU. I posted the snippet, went downstairs to sew for a few hours, came back and I had like 30 new followers. Helloooooo!
To answer a couple of questions I’ve gotten - I’m still writing this. I won’t start posting until I’m done writing it (I’ve been burned too many times). I CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT WILL HAPPEN. I would loooooove for it to happen but I have been having a hard time making CP fic happen and this one’s the first one that’s really taken off for me so I’m optimistic.
So there isn’t any more of it available online. I may post additional snippets. A few more tidbits from the story:
Bitty never went to college because his checking phobia prevented him from getting a scholarship, so he joined the Army instead (partially influenced by a female cousin of his). He actually became a Green Beret. He applied to the Secret Service when he finished his Army career but wasn’t accepted, but one of the agents who evaluated him referred him to Shitty (who runs a private security & investigations firm called Knight & Associates) who was delighted to hire him.
Pretty much the entire SMH crew except Jack work for Shitty’s firm. Lardo does not, but she is Shitty’s hetero-life-partner and is still an artist.
The Falconers are making Jack accept bodyguards because he’s been getting death threats. He came out about three months before the story but that may or may not be connected.
My title for the story is “Quicker for a Fray” which is also from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I ARE SO CLEVAH.
Bitty still has a significant emotional hang-up, but it isn’t about checking.
He came into the den to look in the drawers he’d already looked in, just for good measure. Sherlock was in his usual spot with his laptop open on his legs, feet up on the ottoman. “You’ve already looked there,” he commented.
“I bloody know I’ve looked there, I’ve looked everywhere else, I’m down to re-looking.”
“If you told me what you were looking for, I might be able to assist you.”
“Don’t you know?”
“Of course I know. You’re looking for the treatment that Joe sent you last weekend.”
John straightened up. “Okay, I didn’t think you’d actually know. How do you know that?”
“Because when you received it, we were on our way out the door, so it was set aside and you forgot about it. You began your grand search of the entire house approximately two hours ago, after you watched that ski-jumping programme.”
“How did you get from there to…”
“Ski-jumping reminded you of skiing, which reminded you of ‘Inception,’ which reminded you of Joe, which reminded you of the script treatment.”
John shook his head. “You are really spooky sometimes.”
from “The Untitled Bagginshield Fic of Doom”
In the morning, Bilbo hesitated before opening the door. “Should I…check first? Maybe you should wait to come down.”
“Well…do you want the company to know…er, about us?”
“Why wouldn’t they know? We were quite noisy enough last night. Dwarf hearing is far too sharp to allow for many secrets of that nature, even over the sound of celebrations.” He could have been mistaken, but he thought Thorin dropped a quick wink after his words.
Bilbo flushed hard, remembering some of his more enthusiastic cries during their night together. “Oh. You don’t mind if they all know?”
“Certainly not. I have chosen you. Why would I dishonor you, or my own decision, by treating you as a shameful secret?”
That made Bilbo’s heart swell a bit. “That is…thank you. That’s lovely.”
Thorin leaned in and brushed his nose across Bilbo’s. “As are you, my hobbit.” Bilbo grinned, giving one of his braids a tug, and they went downstairs.
[transcript of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” aired Thursday, February 14th, 2013]
Jimmy: My first guest is one of our favorite people but we haven’t been able to get him on the show for a few years, and uh…gee, I wonder why. He’s an Oscar winning actor and star of the upcoming film “An Ordinary Disappearance,” please welcome our friend, John Watson!