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Name: A Great Man
Author: [livejournal.com profile] machshefa
Pairing: none
Rating: PG
'Verse: BBC
Warnings: none

Written for [livejournal.com profile] thegameison_sh Round 2.

***

“Sherlock Holmes is a great man.”

Astonishing, she thinks, the way he makes it sound like a verdict. As if the fact of Sherlock’s greatness (and, fine, she won’t argue that particular point) matters.

Greg tilts his head and gives her that half smile, the one that deepens his eyes to the sort of blue that puts her in mind of the ocean. She watches him watch the consulting detective and the doctor leave; he turns to her only after the swish of Sherlock’s coat tangled in John’s shadow have passed out of sight.

A Great Man. As if it were a Medal of Honour. And John, then? Does this make John Great by Association? The junior member of the winning team?

Her jaw is sore from clenching; the pain radiates up up up and around until it feels as if she has a steel band squeezing her skull. She wonders if the migraine Sherlock typically leaves in his wake will wait to strike until she’s made it home.

Unlikely.

Greg’s sitting on the kerb, heels of his hands rubbing at his eyes. The wrinkles in his suit and the creases in his skin can’t hide the energy that still crackles off him. She can’t imagine how worn out he must be; they’d got the call just before dawn and here it was, come ‘round again, pushing ochre streaks past the horizon into an indigo sky.

Another day. Maybe this one wouldn’t be awash in blood, or would be absent the sound of screams or the scrape of metal against flesh.

She sighs and looks at the man crumpled against the pavement. There’s that urge again, to scoop him up and hold him until the glint comes back to his eye. It rarely fades, but when it does, it makes her stomach lurch.

It’s like the North Star, she thinks, that glint in his eye.

She collapses next to him on the kerb and watches the forensics team pack up.

“Extraordinary is hardly the same as great, Greg.” Her voice echoes in the silence. The ambulance has long gone, off with its heavy cargo. The light spilling across the sky is suspended in that uncertain hue between night and morning as if it might stay that way forever. She can’t take her eyes from the sticky patch of blood staining the concrete—all that’s left from the blur of steel and skin that left a young man dead and an older one wounded.

“God help me, but I need him.”

Sally shivers at the crack in his voice, and she nods even though she knows she can’t keep the sadness from spilling out of her eyes.

“I know you do,” she says softly. “We all do.”

Greg looks relieved, too relieved, and Sally turns her face away from the warmth she feels, rolling off of him; rising inside her.

“And one day—” he says, but she cuts him off.

“We already have one,” she says, impatient.

He glances at her and then away, confused. Exhausted. Wrung out like the rags the paramedics tossed to the side when they failed to revive the man whose body they carted back to the morgue.

She watches him struggle with it and waits.

“One what?” He’s looking at her again and the warmth is back. It nearly chases off the chill of early morning and blood-stained pavement.

“A good man, Greg.”

He is silent, his eyes silver and bottomless in the muted light of today’s sunrise.

She hesitates, but it’s late and she’s too tired to prevaricate. Her hand finds his and she’s surprised that it’s still hot with the remnants of the night. Running, waiting, shouting, hoping. Failing.

No, not failing. Trying. Always, trying.

“I already see a good man, Greg,” she says again just in case he doesn’t understand her meaning. She squeezes his hand tight and can’t help her eyelids from fluttering shut when he squeezes back.

“Here,” she whispers. “Right here.”

~fin



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January 2012

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