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  • 1

Tennis AU - Continuation

(Anonymous)
Continuation of A Study in Winning for this prompt in part XVI page 33. A Study in Winning – parts 1 - 38 (http://sherlockbbc-fic.livejournal.com/9640.html?thread=47296424#t47296424/)

*

Original Prompt

Because it seems to be the season for it right now...

Tennis AU with John and Sherlock as rival tennis players.

It's Wimbledon. John is Britain's best hope of a win (and given that he's over thirty and recently had problems with both his shoulder and his leg those hopes really aren't that high)

Sherlock is a great player but unpopular with the crowds, partly because of his apparently arrogant attitude, and partly because he's mostly English but because he trained in France thanks to his grandmother taking a keen interest in him, that's the nationality he plays under (the traitor!)

John is doing far better in the championships than anyone thought and being so utterly modest about it that Sherlock finds himself taking an interest in this suddenly interesting man.

Everyone (especially Sally Donovan, who's mainly just bitter because she and her mixed doubles partner, Anderson, got knocked out in the first round) tries to tell John that Sherlock is trying to sabotage his game by seducing him.

They eventually have to go up against each other in the big final...


*

Fill: A Study in Winning 39a/?

(Anonymous)
And on with the story. :)

*

Centre Court was bigger than he remembered, louder and definitely more intimidating.

The cheer went up the moment they exited the tunnel and stepped out into the hot afternoon sunlight. He could see lots of British flags and a mixture of red and white, and white and blue. He had no way of knowing, but he had a feeling that more of the crowd were there to support Murray than him, but that was hardly surprising. Before this tournament had begun he had been surprised to have any fans at all.

He took his seat and tried to block everything out. Right, he had a game plan. It wasn’t a particularly comprehensive one, but a plan none the less. Beat Murray, shag Sherlock, punch Moriarty. He knocked his racket head against the palm of his hand. Simple, but then again, the best plans always were. They only became more complicated in the execution of them.

He got up to practice hitting the ball, checking he was loose and that he hadn’t somehow forgotten how to play the game. Good, his serve was still working. Excellent.

“Time.”

Oh god, this was it.

*

“Game, Murray”

“Lovely forehand down the line there from Murray.”

”Murray leads, four games to two. First set. Murray to serve.”

“Really that shot just summed up what we’ve been watching. Ever since the first game Watson has basically been outplayed. He only just held his second service game, but this break by Murray was predictable. He’s been chipping away at Watson, taking more and more points, and now he’s taken the opportunity and you can see from Watson’s face when that ball bounced in that he had been expecting it.”

“Good serve from Murray, Watson backhand, Murray down the line, Watson stretching and an easy ball to put away for Murray.”

“Fifteen-love”

“Murray is very much is command here now. Watson’s barely had a look in.”

“Murray’s next serve is long. Second serve… Watson returns, Murray backhand, Watson driving him back, but he’s left far too much room and Murray easily knocks it into the empty court.”

“Thirty-love”

“Watson’s trying but he just isn’t finding it. Murray’s a much better player than Watson has faced here and the difference is really showing.”

“Murray serves. Watson returns… but it’s long.”

“Forty-love.”

“Watson looks a bit annoyed at that last one. The idea was there but it’s like he’s trying too hard.”

“Good serve Murray. Forehand Watson, forehand down the line, returned by Watson, forehand crosscourt Murray, Watson makes it and a cheeky little drop shot from Murray to close down the game. Watson can do nothing but watch as it bounces past him, an almost resigned expression on his face. He knows he’s being beaten by a better player and the crowd knows it too.”

“Game, Murray. Murray leads five games to two, first set. Watson to serve.”

*

Murray wasn’t just better than him, he was much better than him, in everything and there was no one who was watching this match who would not now be aware of that fact.

Somehow he had managed to hang in on his first two service games, the second having been particularly close, but being broken in his third one had been horribly inevitable. Damn this, it didn’t matter how much you planned or prepared, sometimes there was simply nothing you could do when faced with a better player.

He slowly screwed the lid back on his second drinks bottle.

“Time. Second set. Murray leads one set to love.”

Of course there was always the difference between going down and going down fighting. If this is going to be it, then he was going to make Murray work for it.

*

“And what’s happening next door on Court Number One? Richard.”

“We’ve finally had a break in this first set and it’s unsurprisingly gone to Holmes. Both players have been playing well, challenging for every point, but it is Holmes who has finally made the break through, taking that game on deuce, pulling out a tremendous crosscourt sliced forehand to take the lead, five games to four, Holmes to serve in what could be the last game of the set unless Federer can somehow find the weakness and break him back.”

Re: Fill: A Study in Winning 39b/?

(Anonymous)
“Thanks, Richard. We will of course be back there soon, but meanwhile here on Centre Court, Watson is attempting his own fight back after losing the first set, but it’s only been marginally successful. Tim.”

“That’s right, Anne. He’s trying to challenge Murray, but although he’s holding his own serve better he isn’t really challenging Murray’s. Best he can hope for is… oh my, no, Murray’s down, and….”

“He’s clutching his ankle. The crowd are on their feet and Andy Murray, the British Number One, is on his back clutching at his ankle after what looked like a very awkward fall while stretching for a return. The replay clearly shows him rolling onto it and, yes, they’re calling for a doctor.”

“I can’t believe this. Murray is on the floor clearly in pain and look at the pure shock on Watson’s face. Like the rest of us he can only look on and wait to find out what will happen. The doctor has reached the court.”

“Drama all round here on Centre Court. Murray is gritting his teeth while the doctor investigates. This could be bad.”

“This could be very bad. Murray’s not someone who calls a doctor for a minor complaint. It did look as if a lot of his weight went onto that ankle. The doctor’s taking his time examining it. This could be the end of the match.”

“No, wait, the injury is being sprayed with something. Probably a painkiller.”

“Almost certainly, Anne, which means that Murray means to continue.”

“And he’s up, on his feet, clearly in some pain, but he’s walking on it, so it can’t be too bad.”

“Wonder what’s going through his head. Murray’s been injured before. He knows how to play through the pain. The question is, can Watson take advantage? He hasn’t showed that killer instinct in years. Could he do it now and book his way into the semis?”

“It’s four games to three here to Watson in the second set, but we’re on Murray’s serve and he’s leading the game thirty-fifteen. Murray serves but it’s slower than usual. Watson returns tight by the far line and there was no way Murray was going to reach that.”

“Thirty all.”

“Guess that’s our answer. If I were Watson I would keep doing just that, keep the ball away from Murray, make him move, and then collect the points.”

“Murray serves, again slower. Watson returns into the body, Murray, and the drop shot from Watson, short and soft, in at the net. Murray just stares at it.”

“Thirty-forty.”

“Without getting the push from that ankle, Murray’s first serves are now the speed of his second serves. That’s far from good from his point of view.”

“Murray’s serve is long. This has completely changed the match.”

“That is has. If I were Murray I would be praying for the end of the set, for a chance to sit down and really see what the damage is. Maybe even get an injection if he means to continue.”

“Murray serves, Watson backhand down the line, Murray read it, returns, Watson’s there, Murray forehand, Watson, Murray backhand and a change in speed and direction gives Watson the point and the game, and possibly the set as well.”

“Game, Watson. Watson leads five games to three.”

*

That was… that was… well, that was a busted ankle.

Returning to his seat he grabbed his towel, throwing it over his head so his face was covered. Bloody hell. Of all the things to happen. It wasn’t nice to get injured during a match, he knew because he had had that happen to him before, but this was Murray. Murray! British Number One, and now he was taking advantage of an injured man.

One set all.

Pulling off the towel, he glanced across to find that Murray was in deep talks with his doctor. They appeared to be giving him an injection. Painkiller probably, so he planned on continuing then. They would strap the leg up and hope for the best. He had to take advantage now, not let Murray get back into the match. That was one of Murray’s weaknesses, collapsing when put under pressure. Well, he would just have to exert a lot of pressure.

Re: Fill: A Study in Winning 39c/?

(Anonymous)
He chewed on his banana and thought back to Sherlock’s notebook. It had all been in there, now he just had to put it into practice.

*

“What a fight we have on our hands here. When the set started I don’t think we knew what to expect, but of all things, this is a battle and a bloody one at that.”

“Advantage Murray.”

“Neither of them want to give in.”

Murray serves, Watson with the long forehand that bounces just in, Murray returns, Watson powers back, Murray down the line, Watson backhand, Murray backhand, sliced forehand Watson, clips the net and it’s gone over. Murray can only watch as somehow that ball rolls over the top of the net and falls down on his side of the court.”

“Deuce.”

“Luck. That was pure luck. No player plans for such a thing, but you certainly take then when you can.”

“Tim’s right, the number of times that’s happened to me, both ways. You win some, you lose some.”

“Murray serves, Watson returns, Murray forehand, backhand Watson crosscourt, Murray read it, gets there but the ball goes into the net.”

“Advantage Watson.”

“Murray knows that the match could well hinge on what happens here, and so do the crowd. You can feel the anticipation. Everyone is holding their breath.”

“Murray serves, Watson just gets there, Murray forehand, Watson down the line, Murray returns, Watson plays it short, Murray runs in, Watson, oh and a beautiful mid-court crosscourt forehand from Watson gives him the point, the game and quite possibly the set.”

“Game, Watson. Watson leads six games to five, third set.”

*

He had done it. He had attacked everything Murray had thrown at him and he had stood his ground.

“Watson leads two sets to one.”

It was obvious that the injection had done its job, but that didn’t make the ankle better, just not hurt quite as much. Murray was still slower, wasn’t getting the power in the shots and was clearly getting more and more frustrated. If he could keep this level of play up then it was possible that he could do it, that he could win.

He could win. Bloody hell, he actually really could win.

*

“There’s been a bit of a turn around here as well, Anne. After winning the first set and dominating the second, Holmes has just lost the third. That’s the first set he has lost all tournament and he doesn’t look happy. In fact he looks down right angry. At himself, at the court, at his racket. He all but threw that racket down when that ball was called out. We haven’t seen much of that Holmes temper this tournament, but it certainly came out then. I don’t speak much French, but I’m sure the words he was muttering when he returned to his seat were not particularly polite.”

“And what about Federer?”

“Buoyed by that last set win of course. He took a bit of a battering in the second set but now he must be thinking that Holmes can be beaten. We could be facing a bit of an upset here.”

“And Holmes, how do you think he’s going to take it?”

“Uncertain at the moment. He’s still leading of course, but we’ve seen him collapse for no reason before, although he doesn’t look as shaken as he did in France. How he comes out to play in a moment will set the tone for the remainder of the match.”

“Thanks, Richard. We’ll be returning to Court Number One in a short while, but at the moment all other eyes are firmly fixed on the dramatic storyline unfolding here on Centre Court. If you’re only just joining us, maybe you’re just in from work, then we’re about to enter the fourth set of a whirlwind match. Against all pre-match predictions, John Watson, who started this competition as a wild card, is leading two sets to one against British Number One, Andy Murray, who having won the first set in great style, went over on his ankle during the second set, which Watson promptly took advantage of, closing out that set to make it one all. After injections on that ankle, Murray came back in the third set with what can only be described as the fight of a wounded lion, but Watson held his ground, took advantage of Murray’s reduced speed and strength to win the set.

Re: Fill: A Study in Winning 39d/?

(Anonymous)
“Now we are having a short break before the fourth set. Murray is receiving more treatment and Watson has disappeared for a bathroom break. Tim, John, well, what can we say? Where will this match go from here?”

“It’s hard to say. It really depends on that ankle. If Murray can get it numbed and strapped up he could come back. He is clearly the better player, but Watson has the advantage and not just in terms of score. He has the mental edge as well. He’s on top. He’s won the last two sets, but the longer this match goes on for, the worse Murray’s ankle is going to get.”

“Yeah, Murray’s in a real bind here. He knows he has to close the game down quickly. To win he has to take this next set as fast as he can. The longer Watson can drag this out for, the more likely Murray is to succumb to the pain and pressure. Murray’s going to come out in this set and he’s going to hammer Watson with everything he’s got. He’s going to tear around that court and Watson is going to have to plant his flag in deep if he’s going to survive.”

“So you think Murray has a chance then?”

“Murray’s always had a chance, but he has a bad habit of choking, especially in situations like these. The next few games are going to be crucial. If Watson can survive them then the match is basically his.”

*

He had known Murray wouldn’t go down without a fight. He had no idea how bad the ankle injury was, but it was clear that Murray had called for a doctor while he had been having a bathroom break. The ankle had been re-strapped and he’d probably had had a new injection in it. He would have if it had been him. It was only sensible.

He had known that being two sets to one down that Murray had very little to lose but had to win sooner rather than later that he would come out roaring. He just hadn’t expected it to be quite like this.

“Game Murray. Murray leads three games to one, fourth set. Watson to serve. New balls please.”

He was a break down. Somehow Murray had already broken him. How had he allowed that to happen? Okay, okay, so it hadn’t really been a case of ‘allow’, and he had been there so he was fully aware of how Murray had broken him, but even so.

Concentrate, Watson. It’s not the end of the world. There is still another set even if Murray wins this one, and there’s nothing to say that Murray is going to win this one. All you need to do is break him back. Yes, you’re tired, your shoulder hurts, your back isn’t great and even your goddamn leg is starting to complain, but he has got to be more tired and in more pain. Remember that, and remember that if you win you might even be able to get Sherlock to kiss all your aches and pains better. That was a nice thought, if only a little unbelievable. Hey, maybe they could kiss each other’s aches and pains, or at least just kiss. That would be nice. Kissing was nice. Kissing Sherlock was always very nice and there wouldn’t be much more of that to come. Better take advantage while you can. Win and do lots of kissing.

He collected the balls he needed to serve with. New ball. New beginnings. New changes.

He walked to the baseline and prepared himself.

Kiss away the pain.

He bounced the ball.

He liked the sound of that.

He tossed the ball into the air and hammered it across the net.

*

“He’s stepped up a gear. Watson has found something extra and now he’s taking the match right back to Murray.”

“Did you see that smile he had when he held his serve?”

“Complete satisfaction.”

“Absolutely.”

“Would love to know what went through his head before that game because he came out a new player.”

“Murray serves, Watson returns, Murray hits deep, Watson crosscourt, Murray slice down the line, Watson reaches, Murray backhand, Watson… and a brilliant stroke from Watson to take the point.”

“Thirty-forty.”

“Murray’s shaken. He knew he had Watson just a few games ago, but Watson’s back and stronger than ever. Such determination.”

“Murray serves… and it’s long.”

“This is going to be an important point.”


Re: Fill: A Study in Winning 39e/?

(Anonymous)
“Murray serves, Watson’s right on it, backhand Murray, Watson’s come in. Murray forehand, half volley Watson, Murray gets there, but the smash from Watson into the empty court and that could be the key point of this match.”

“Game, Watson.”

“That’s the break back Murray was fearing.”

“Three games all.”

“Sorry to interrupt, but we really do need to go to Court Number One. Richard, what’s going on over there?”

“Well, it’s all over, Anne. After losing the third set and his temper, Holmes came out here and simply powered his way through to take the fourth set. Federer barely knew what hit him. At times Holme’s game was brutal, so different from his usual display of technique and precision game strategy. He was like a bull, his shots hard, fast and deadly. He’s through to the semi finals. 6-4, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2. He’ll be facing Moriarty in a replay of the French Open Final.”

“Thanks, Richard. That’s three of the four semi-finalists now confirmed, but of course we’re still waiting on the outcome of the match that is simply gripping the nation. England verses Scotland. Veteran verses Youth. Watson verses Murray. And we’re going right back into the action.

*

Come on, Watson, you’ve broken him once, you can do it again. Close this game out, win, get off the court, grab a shower and later you can celebrate. Just win now. Dig deep, fight, like you used to, like you need to, like you want to. Fight and win.

*

“Fifteen-forty.”

“Watson has two match points here. He’s all over Murray, countering everything that has been thrown at him and returning it.”

“Murray serves, Watson backhand to Murray’s forehand, Watson’s stretching but the shot goes wide.”

“Thirty-forty.”

“One match point saved by Murray but look at that expression on Watson’s face. He wants this.”

“Determination. Sheer determination.”

“Murray serves, Watson returns, Murray down the line, Watson counters, Murray with the slice, Watson makes it and a beautiful shot there from John Watson, a neat little forehand that bounces just in and you can hear the crowd. They can’t believe it. They have witnessed a monumental match today, with brilliant play from both players, but in the end that ankle injury made all the difference. Today, given the chance, John Watson, on the cusp of retirement, stepped in and stepped up, and he has won; 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

“John Watson is through to the semi finals!”

*

Well, I hope the longer than usual part at least makes up for the much longer than usual wait. Next part will be Monday. I've been taking the unexpected extra time this week to try and map out in more detail the remainder of the story but unfortunately that still means no part over the weekend. But like I said, Monday. I'll see you then. :)

(Deleted comment)

Fill: A Study in Winning 40a/?

(Anonymous)
*

It was all he could do not to drop his racket and fall down. He had beaten Murray. He had beaten Murray. He had beaten Murray. Oh god, he was through to the semi-finals. The Semi-Finals. Wimbledon. Him. Oh god.

The next however long was a bit of a blur. He shook hands with Murray. He grinned inanely at the BBC camera courtside and he told the accompanying interviewer some things about how delighted he was. He waved to the crowd. He grabbed a drink. He signed some autographs on his way out.

He was sure the grin didn’t leave his face for a moment.

It was a miracle that he made it though his shower without choking since his mouth was still open in that grin for most of it. He had a brief moment of fantasy that included a proud and naked Sherlock coming up behind him and taking the shower gel from his hands to carefully and thoroughly smooth all over him, while whispering something about the need for him to be thoroughly clean for what they were going to be doing later and then sinking onto his knees, water running through his dark curls, dripping down his forehead onto his eyelashes as he lent in, his mouth opening, warm and wide and… ah, oh, not good, not yet. Sherlock wasn’t here. He had been there, he recognised the smell of shampoo that still lingered, but he wasn’t here now, on his knees or otherwise.

He turned the shower to a much cooler setting. That was better.

He got a brief massage, loosening those muscles, stretching out his shoulder in particular, and then he dressed to go meet his awaiting crowd. The press room was packed. He answered the questions in a light, cheery way, expressing regret over Murray’s ankle before wishing him a speedy recovery.

Escape though couldn’t come soon enough, but eventually he found himself in the car on his way back to the Dorchester. As usual, Sherlock wasn’t answering his phone, but he had various other messages to listen to, all ecstatic, all congratulatory, all put aside for when he actually wanted to deal with them properly.

“Congratulations, Mr Watson.”

He smiled at the young lady on the main desk and then made his way up to his room. Provided Sherlock could be found, and he did have a talent at turning up when he was least expected, then the evening would be spent in a most pleasant way, probably involving a bed, and a distinct lack of clothing. Definitely a distinct lack of clothing.

Of course that was when reality very rudely overtook his fantasies.

“John. Congratulations.”

He sighed as Clara seemed to miraculously appear from nowhere, well dressed, mobile in hand.

“Clara, hello.” Damn, he had been hoping not to have to deal with all the additional things until the next day at the earliest.

“Hello, indeed. Now, we need to talk. This Morning have been on the phone, they want an interview. A Question of Sport is a go. Celebrity Total Wipeout are interested. How’s your general knowledge because there’s always Celebrity Weakest Link. No money in that of course, well, not much, but if you win you get to name the charity of your choice. Oooh, Top Gear have been on the phone. You’ll get to drive around their track, but we may need to limit Clarkson’s comments regarding your accident. And there’s a new sports centre opening in Harrow. They need someone to cut the ribbon and that someone could be you….”

“Clara!” Reaching his room, he finally halted and tried to stop her too. “I’m really not in the mood to deal with this now, and I’m not agreeing to anything until I’ve had the chance to think about it.”

“Yes, but….”

“No, buts.” He opened the door. “Goodbye, Clara. Tomorrow.”


(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)

Re: Fill: A Study in Winning 39a/?

Oh dear! I finally found you. Again:)

Fill: A Study in Winning 50a/?

(Anonymous)
And then there's the aftermath

*

His palms were sweating as he reached up to press the buzzer for 221A before stepping back, his hand automatically going to flatten his hair.

Sherlock had disappeared quickly after the match, racket bags slung over his shoulder, his expression completely closed off as he ignored all requests for autographs and left the court. Moriarty was still being interviewed by the BBC courtside, but John didn’t bother waiting around, just slipped from his seat and tried to follow only to find that Sherlock didn’t even stop for a shower, just bundled into a black car and left.

Shit. This was not how he had hoped the day would go. The euphoria of his victory had crashed into the pain of Sherlock’s defeat leaving him with an uneasy churning feeling in his stomach; disappointment merging with the growing fear that this might be it.

There was no answer when he rang Sherlock’s mobile, but then he had hardly expected there to be.

Floundering slightly, he found himself pushed into an official car by Clara and informed that they were to go back to the Dorchester with his equipment. Caught up in the traffic around the Club the journey seemed to take an age, his thigh jiggling as they went. At the hotel he dropped off his stuff and then ran. It didn’t matter that he had already played a four hour game of tennis that day, he had to get to Baker Street.

It was only when there was no answer to the door that he realised the flaw in his thinking. Mrs Hudson had been at the matches, which meant she was probably still at Wimbledon, which meant there was no one to let him in, because Sherlock wasn’t exactly going to.

Fuck.

He pressed the bell for 221B. He knew Sherlock was there, he could hear movement and the faint muffle of voices.

“Come on, come on, answer the bloody door.”

In desperation he pressed the buttons for all three flats in the hope that maybe someone would take pity on him. They did. A moment later the door opened and an attractive young lady who looked vaguely familiar opened it, her eyes glued on the BlackBerry in her hand. She didn’t say a word, just stood aside and let him in. He took the stairs two steps at a time.

“Ah, John, come to gloat?”

Sherlock’s words were harsh as he turned from the window and dropped a small stack of notebooks into a box. He was wearing jeans and a shirt and his hair was still wet from the shower he must have recently had.

“No, of course not,” he said frowning, noting that once again Lestrade was slipping from the room leaving them alone.

“Then you must be here for our post match shag them. Sorry to disappoint you but not interested. With your new found fame I’m sure you won’t have any problems finding someone more than willing for you to work off your post match adrenaline on.”

The brief upward twist of his lips could not really be considered a smile and John could only stare as Sherlock then turned away to grab more books to dump into the box. He couldn’t really believe what he was hearing. Surely Sherlock didn’t really think that that was why he was here.

“Is that…” he started then shook his head. “Look, Sherlock, I’m not here for a shag. Of course I’m not. Why would you… never mind. Look, are you alright?”

“Ah, so you’re here for my benefit,” Sherlock said looking back at him. “You’ve…” his lip curled up, “run all this way just to allay your fears and put your mind at rest. Well, as you can see, I’m fine. Yes, I lost the match, it happens. Now you can go back to your life and spare me your meaningless platitudes. You’re got what you wanted.”

John stared at him. He had never heard Sherlock like this, so cold and detached, speaking words that should have made sense but somehow didn’t.

“Hold on,” he said holding up his hands, “what’s this about? What do you mean I’ve got what I wanted?”

Sherlock looked at him in a way that someone would look at an idiot. “The final. It can’t have escaped your notice but you’re through to the final of Wimbledon. Congratulations. And you’ve had advice, shagging and someone to watch those ridiculous movies with along the way. So what more could you possibly want?”

Re: Fill: A Study in Winning 50b/?

(Anonymous)
You, he thought, but managed to stop himself from blurting that out.

“Wait a moment,” he said instead, “is that that what you’ve thought? That I’m only here because of what I can get out of it?”

From Sherlock’s expression it was clear that that was exactly what he had thought.

“Did it ever cross you mind that maybe I wanted to spend time with you, that I liked spending time with you, that it had nothing to do with the sex?”

“Oddly enough, no.”

“Then… then what was last night about then, because that wasn’t about sex.”

Sherlock shrugged. “Boredom. Agitation. Pre-match nerves. You were as bad as I was.”

“I was concerned about you. You’d checked out of the hotel. You weren’t answering my phone calls. I thought something might have happened to you.”

He let the name Moriarty hang there between them unsaid.

“Your concern was noted,” Sherlock said, “but you were only concerned after you knew I wasn’t at the hotel. What prompted you to look for me in the first place? Boredom. Restlessness. Don’t put this all on me, you’re the one who came looking for me. You wanted something.”

Yes, I wanted to see you, he wanted to shout. I wanted to see you because I missed you, because somewhere in this rollercoaster of a fairytale fortnight I have developed feelings for you.

“Then when you got it, you left,” Sherlock said. “You didn’t even bother to say goodbye.”

He frowned in amazement. “You were asleep,” he said. “You needed your sleep and I had the earlier match.”

“You had time to speak to my brother.”

“He was there,” and hadn’t exactly given him a choice. He rubbed at his forehead with his thumb. “Wait, this is going off the point. I didn’t come here to argue. I came to see if you’re alright.”

“And I’m fine. I’ve told you that, so you can leave now and get on with your life.”

“And, what, we never see each other again. Is that it?”

“I believe those were the terms I laid out at the beginning.”

Yes, he remembered, during their walk in the park in what felt like half a life time ago but was only just over a week. A brief fling, a bit of company and some rather memorable sex, and then they would go their own ways, but it had become so much more than that. Surely even Sherlock could see that. Even by the broadest of definitions what they had had, what they had done, could not be thought of as just a brief fling.

“But,” he tried, “what if I want to see you again.”

“Why would you want to do that?” Sherlock actually looked a little confused as to why he was asking such a question.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “Possibly because I like you, because you make me laugh, because somewhere, somehow I’ve started to care about you and I thought with everything that’s happened between us, everything we’ve shared that maybe you might have developed some feelings for me too.”

There, he had said it.

Sherlock frowned, his eyes scanning over him and then his face changed, his eyes widening briefly before his expression closed off entirely.

“You’re talking about love,” he said blandly as if making a statement about the weather or something equally mundane. “You actually think that this is about more than sex.”

Yes. God, yes. Of course this wasn’t just about sex. This whole thing hadn’t been about sex since the night his fist had collided with Moriarty’s jaw. This had stopped being about sex after they had spent the weekend together, since they had slotted so easily into each other’s lives, since they had lain in the dark and told each other things no one else knew. This was so far past sex that he couldn’t believe how either of them could have missed it for so long.

“People have fallen in love before,” he said quietly, now realising that he couldn’t deny the truth of what he was feeling.

“I don’t.”

Sherlock’s two words were like a dose of cold water, firm, definite and a very harsh wake-up call.


Re: Fill: A Study in Winning 50c/?

(Anonymous)
He tried not to gape, suddenly angry that Sherlock was obviously denying it. How could he possibly deny it? “What,” he said a little harshly, “like the way you shag, you don’t date.” He could feel his temper rising. “Well let me tell you something, I don’t know what you think has been going on, but that wasn’t shagging. I know shagging. I’ve done shagging. That was so much more than shagging.”

Sherlock’s eyes flashed but remained as cold as his tone. “Don’t mistake me wanting your cock up my arse for anything else. I. Don’t. Date.”

“Then I have no idea what your definition of dating is,” he snapped, “because a meal, a film, conversation, laughter, company and you know, maybe even sex, that sounds like a bloody good date to me. By you know what, fuck you, Sherlock. Just, fuck you. They warned me. They all fucking warned me not to get involved with you. Lestrade, Donovan, Sarah, your brother, even Victor bloody Trevor. Oh god, I should have listened to him, shouldn’t I? Because he knew didn’t he? He knew exactly what you’re like. No wonder you have a reputation for being cold. I thought they were just wrong, or mistaken, that they didn’t know the real you, the you that I was getting to know, the you that I thought might actually….” His voice broke before he could complete that sentence, and it was a good thing too, because he wasn’t sure he would have like what he would have said. “I thought you might actually have a heart,” he said instead.

Sherlock continued to face him, with that cold, blank stare. “I have been reliably informed that I don’t have one.”

“Yes, yes,” he said harshly, “I’m starting to see that. It really is only about the tennis with you, isn’t it? Lestrade told me that. That if there was a choice between anything and tennis you would always pick the tennis. You lost the match and now that’s it. Nothing else matters.”

“Tennis is my life. This was supposed to be my year. Three Grand Slams gone, two semis, one final, no championship. Now, sorry if I ignore the sentiments of a man who has spent the last five years merely going through the motions, but would falling in love make me a better tennis player?”

John didn’t respond.

“Then I’ll continue to not make that mistake.”

John stared at him, stunned by the casual dismissal of everything that there was between them. “And you find that easy, do you?” he asked. “Switching off your heart, your emotions. Not feeling anything.”

“Yes. Very.” Sherlock’s eyebrows pulled together. “Is that news to you?”

“No. No,” he said remembering everything that people had said. Donovan saying that Sherlock only cared for tennis and himself. Lestrade saying he wasn’t that great as a person. Mycroft offering him money to stay away. Trevor telling him to be careful.

“I’ve disappointed you.”

No, you’ve sort of ripped out feelings I haven’t even realised I had and then stomped all over them. But at the same time I’m at least partly to blame because I should have known better, I should have listened, and now it hurts.

“Love and tennis don’t mix, John. In tennis love means you lose.”

Yes, he had heard that. Of course he had heard that, it was an old joke, but for someone who knew what it was like to be humiliated on a court, he had never felt as much like a loser as he did now. Not even when Mary had gone public about their break up. Not even when his friends had paired off and he was left alone.

“Fine,” he said. “Fine. I obviously made a mistake. I’m sorry you lost your match and good luck with the rest of your career. I’m sure you’ll find someone to screw during the US Open. I won’t inflict my presence and obviously unwanted feelings on you any further.”

Turning, he walked out and made his way down the stairs.

“Oh, John, dear,” he heard coming face to face with Mrs Hudson who was just coming in.

Well at least she hadn’t been around to hear that utter humiliation.

Re: Fill: A Study in Winning 50d/?

(Anonymous)
“Sorry about the result of Sherlock’s match,” she continued. “I hope he isn’t too upset. But your match was so good. Very exciting.”

“Thank you, Mrs Hudson,” he said forcing himself to grit his teeth and remain stoic.

“Oh, are you alright, dear? Has Sherlock said or done something? You shouldn’t take any notice of him. He doesn’t mean it. He has difficulty dealing with disappointment that one. He’ll get over it.”

He forced a weak smile. “Thank you, Mrs Hudson, but if you’d excuse me.”

Slipping past her, he stepped out into the growing night. The warmth of the day was still there, but he couldn’t help but feel somewhat chilly. Lifting his chin, he pulled his collar further up and swallowed deeply. Right, home, or the Dorchester, or whatever. Just anywhere but here.

*

And the next part should hopefully be posted tomorrow. Thanks for all the comments, and I had a brilliant weekend with the meetup. :)

Fill: A Study in Winning 51a/?

(Anonymous)
*

“Oh, shit!”

Clara’s words pretty much summed up how he was feeling.

Stepping back, he wordlessly let her into his hotel room, a process markedly different than that last time she had been there. Pushing that thought aside, he closed the door and retreated back to where he had been sat on the bed, feet on the floor, chin up as he stared at the doors of the wardrobe. The doors were in no way extraordinary or even interesting, but were more than adequate for staring mindlessly at while your life fell spectacularly down around you.

He had been back in the hotel for about fifteen minutes and on arriving had avoided the press as best he could and taken refuge in his room, ignoring both his room phone and his mobile. He wasn’t particularly surprised to see Clara, he had thought he had glimpsed her talking on the phone in one of the lounge areas, and in all truth, for all her faults she was far from the last person he wanted to see.

“So what’s the crazy frog done?” she asked taking a seat on the chair nearby.

“Don’t call him that,” he said quietly but even to his own ears it sounded tired and lacked conviction.

“Oh god,” she said after a heavy pause. “You really are in love with him, aren’t you? John, look at me.” Slipping from the chair she moved to sit next to him, placing her fingers under his chin to turn his face towards her. “Oh god. You poor, poor, stupid fool.”

He pressed his lips together at her words, not quite meeting her gaze. This was supposed to be one of the best days of his life, a day he had spent dreaming about as a kid and working towards as an adult, and here he was sat in a hotel room being called a fool and fighting the urge to shake.

“He… I...” he said turning his head away and then he smiled because it was all so ludicrous and she was so right, he was a fool, but apparently a fool in love, which might have been better than just a normal fool but he couldn’t be certain, which only made him smile more and then laugh and then laugh more, covering his hands with his hands and going with the utter ridiculousness of the situation. It was far from a laugh of joy, more like desperation, pain and relief.

“I fucked up,” he finally managed, scrubbing his hands against his face. “I actually thought… we spent the weekend together, he took me back to his flat, we even told each other things, and now….” He bit down on his clenched fist and then sucked in a deep breath. “Oh god, I am a fool. Sex and tennis, that was all it was supposed to be. Hell, I even told you that. But no, I had to go and start developing feelings for his gorgeous little arse. Me? Feelings? Christ, I need a drink.”

“No. No, John, no drinking,” Clara said firmly. “I have enough experience of Watsons drinking to know that’s not a good idea. I take it he doesn't return those feelings."

He snorted. "He's Sherlock bloody Holmes, the guy known for be untouchable. So what do you think?"

"Right. Of course. Shit. Okay then, have you at least eaten this evening. You know, since your match?"

He shook his head.

“Well then, in that case, I’m going to order some room service and check your messages because that blinking is getting on my nerves. You’re going to go and try not to drown yourself in the shower before all your muscles stiffen up completely, and then we’re going to watch something stupid and hopefully funny on the telly. It’s Friday night after all, there’s got to be something on. And if I don’t see you at least cracking a small smile at some of it then I’m going to switch it off and make you listen to my current publicity plans for your cute little arse, something I know you will no doubt hate. Then after we can bitch about men if you want and I’ll threaten to paint your nails or something equally girly, and then eventually your body will remember it is exhausted and succumb to sleep without the need for a psychoactive hang-over inducing depressant. Okay?”

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Thank you! (Anonymous) Expand
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Fill: ASiW Additional Scene - 1a

The first of the additional, cut or extra scenes. This one set after the final and before the last part/epilogue

*

It felt like a lifetime before they allowed him to go. It seemed like everyone wanted to talk to him, wanted his picture or a quote or sound bite. Everyone wanted to know what it felt like to be the Wimbledon Champion, and to talk about what he was going to do next and was he really going to retire and all that. He smiled, he laughed and he joked his way through it as well as he could, bolstered by the message he had got on his phone from Sherlock.

Enjoy it, the message said. You deserve it. I’ll be here when you’ve finished.

Finally it was all over. He had showered and changed. His muscles had been soaked in heat rub to make sure they didn’t seize up and he’d gone through so many interviews and press conferences that he was actually getting fed up of the sound of his own voice.

He waved once more to those still waiting around. He almost missed seeing Sherlock, his eyes glazing over the figure at the back away from the crowd, casually dressed and leaning against a wall, a white Wimbledon cap covering his hair, the brim pulled down low obscuring his face. It was only as the figure shifted, his eyes glinting that he realised who it was.

He followed as the figure slipped away until he finally found himself in the same room he had first met Mycroft, of all places.

The door had barely shut before he was being crowded into a wall, his face carefully cupped by warm fingers as familiar lips bent to meet his and the cap fell forgotten to the floor.

It was a kiss of praise, of congratulations, of relief and of sheer, stark affection. It was also over far too quickly. But for someone who would have been happy to continue it all night, that was hardly surprising.

“Hello to you too,” he joked as Sherlock finally pulled away. “I should win Wimbledon more often if that’s the greeting I get.”

Sherlock smiled, his eyes flickering over him, taking in every scrape, every bruise, every aching muscle.

“Tired?” Sherlock asked.

“Exhausted.”

Sherlock nodded curtly. “Understandable,” he said and then averted his eyes. “John, I am conscious that this is very much your day and I would not like to intrude unwelcome on whatever plans you have for celebrating it….”

“Sherlock.”

“…so whatever you wish to do I am more than happy to following along with.”

Whatever he wished to do?

He blew out between his lips.

“Thank you,” he said, lifting a hand to press it against Sherlock’s cheek. “That’s very generous of you. But to be completely honest with you,” he continued slowly, “what I really want to do now is to go somewhere nice and quiet where we won’t be disturbed and eat absurd amounts of food while you tell me how brilliant I am for having won and how utterly sexy and irresistible you find me.

“Then I want you to take me somewhere with a large bed where we can make as much noise as we want and then I want you to fuck me long, deep and slow while you whisper ridiculously hot things in my ear in that liquid sex voice you have until I’m begging you to go ‘harder’, ‘faster’, ‘deeper’ and ‘god if you don’t touch me now I’ll never forgive you’. I want to feel you come in me, no condom, just you, deep, marking me, reminding us both that there is no one I would rather be with.

“Then I want to fall asleep and not worry that I might end up draped over you or you over me, wake up and want to go again, this time with you riding me as I lie back and watch those gorgeous legs of yours move up and down, your cock knocking against your stomach until I finally flip you over and press you into the mattress, like we did that first time, fucking you just the way we both like it, until we come, you first, clenching around me, our lips close enough that we’re breathing the same air.

“Then more sleep, because you know, I’m really kinda knackered. Some tea, maybe some shower sex, and then… well, then we’ll see.”


Re: Fill: ASiW Additional Scene - 1b

He watched as Sherlock’s throat bobbed as he spoke, those pale blue eyes darkening with every word he said.

There was a pause as he let his hand slip from Sherlock’s cheek. He half expected it to be caught by the other man but Sherlock didn’t move until finally, after some rather long seconds, he spoke, his voice a little lower, a little huskier than usual, wrapping around the simple word, “Dinner?”

“Hmm, starved,” John said and that, as they say, was that.

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