chocolamousse: (Default)
[personal profile] chocolamousse
Title: Ex Libris Veritas
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Category: Romance
Rating: PG-13
Beta: The wonderful [livejournal.com profile] verityburns
Word count: 1472
Translations: Into Chinese by Lowtension available here.
Summary: In which John unintentionally reads great literature, has an epiphany and gets some unexpected, but very pleasant, results from it.



Everything in the flat is still. There isn't any sound from the street. I can hear only the patter of the rain against the window panes. A subdued light comes from the lamp near John's armchair and from the flames in the fireplace. All is quiet, calm, peaceful. It should be hateful. It is not, for John is here, in his armchair in front of me. He's drowsy and does nothing particular, he just gazes at the fire, yet his presence changes everything. I am settled in my own armchair in what John calls, with what seems to me a hint of tender mockery at which I should probably take umbrage, my thinking pose. Supposedly engrossed in deep reflections, I observe him surreptitiously, an occupation which is a source of endless delight.

He's completely relaxed, his eyes are half-closed. He's had a long and hard day at the surgery. Soon I'll take him off to bed; he'll protest he's not that tired but he'll let me. It's still early but it doesn't matter. He needs to sleep. He'll sleep and I'll hold him close; I'll listen to his breath; I'll feel the weight of his body on mine and his warmth on my skin. We've been sleeping together for only a few weeks but I've found that I need that, feeling him against me, more than I need sleep. In the meantime I look at him curled up in his seat, his eyelids heavy with fatigue, and I find the sight adorable. Since when do I find anything adorable? Since when do I even use the word 'adorable'? I suppose I should worry about that. I couldn't care less. The things he makes me do!

All at once he looks up and his eyes meet mine. Hell. Caught in the act. I attempt to pretend I'm gazing into space but he smiles at me and I can't help smiling back. Every time he smiles at me I can't help smiling back. It is a little annoying. I wonder if, one day, I'll cease feeling this surge of tenderness on seeing the tiny wrinkles that appear at the corner of his eyes when he smiles. 'Tenderness'. Another word he brought with him.

John stretches, yawns, lazily picks up a book from the pile on the floor beside his armchair. These are not our books, they are exhibits that I borrowed (although Lestrade, the quibbler, would probably use another word) from Scotland Yard for the case I closed yesterday. The cover says The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ah, I know it. Contrary to what John thinks, my knowledge of literature is not nil and the fact that I've never read it, and only heard of it because the author was at the heart of a renowned criminal trial, is absolutely irrelevant. John browses through the book, reads a random passage here and there. A few minutes pass. The rustling of the pages is strangely soothing. I feel ridiculously content.

Suddenly John frowns a little. His eyes sharpen. Something he has read has caught his attention. I wonder what it is. He smiles, his expression softens. Then he opens his mouth and what he says and the way he says it, with so much simplicity and fondness, is so unforeseen that I am taken aback.

“Sorry?”

He jerks his head up, looking as surprised as I am and slightly self-conscious. I can't blame him. That was... unexpected. Did he really say what I think he said?


~~~~~~~~~~


What a nice evening. Quiet. Comfy. I know Sherlock doesn't really like this kind of evening, but I enjoy them because they're rather unusual. I'd enjoy this one more if I weren't so tired. Mesmerised by the flames, I fight off sleep. I should go to bed but I’m too snug to move. I suddenly feel Sherlock's gaze on me and I look up. He immediately tries to put on a supremely detached expression and fails completely when I give him a smile. My sweet fool.

Hoping to wake up a bit, I take a book. I think I read it a long time ago. I idly skim through it, running my eyes over the words without really seeing them, until the moment something starts to bother me at the edge of my consciousness. I have the vague feeling that I overlooked something, something important. I go some paragraphs back and I reread the text more carefully. There. That’s the sentence I noticed subconsciously. I read it again with the confused impression that it's intended for me. Its real significance sinks in through my weariness and all at once I understand, with an absolute clarity, how much the words apply to my life and all that they mean to me. I read them over, and it's only when I hear Sherlock's voice that I really come around and realise that I read aloud. Bugger.

Sherlock seems a bit stunned. So am I. I can't believe I said that out loud. It's not the kind of thing I'm used to saying. It's so... sentimental. Sherlock scorns sentimentality. He loves me, I know that. He tells me so and he loves it when I tell him but this... This is a little over the top. And I don't dare imagine what I looked like when I said it. I can already hear Sherlock's sarcastic comments and I feel I'm blushing a bit, which adds to my embarrassment. For God's sake, I'm not a bloody teenager any more.

Sherlock is still staring at me. “John, what did you say?”

I squirm a little in my armchair. Well done, John, another very grown-up reaction. “Nothing, never mind, just something silly from this book, never mind.” I put the book back on top of its pile and get ready to stand up. Sometimes fleeing is the best strategy. “I think I'm going to go to bed, I don't know what I'm saying any more.”

Before I've even stopped talking Sherlock gets up. He comes to my armchair and kneels down between my legs. He lays his hands on my thighs and his blue-green-gray gaze takes hold of mine. Just try to resist that.

“John, please.”

Oh well. I can't fight. Best accept defeat with a good grace. It's only a bad patch to get through. Sherlock will poke fun at me and call me an idiot but it's not as if I weren't used to it.

The curves of your lips rewrite history. That's what I said. Now you can laugh.” There's a silence. Sherlock doesn't laugh. On the contrary, he looks very grave and doesn't take his eyes off me. I gulp. Damn it. I take the bull by the horns. “It's a silly way to say it, but it's true.” Sherlock lifts his hand to his lips absent-mindedly and brushes them with his fingertips. I giggle. “It's not only about your lips of course, although they are gorgeous and outstanding and, er... Well. It's...” I vaguely wave my hand in a gesture that embraces the whole of him. “It's you, who you are... You rewrote my history. I was so... Then you came, you entered my life and now it's so... You make me so... What I’m trying to say is...”

I've been far more eloquent and articulate in the past but it doesn't matter because at that very moment Sherlock reaches out, puts his hand on my nape, pulls me towards him while leaning forward and kisses me fervently.

Oh. Right, then. It’s an unexpected result but it's no less enjoyable for that and I try to make the way I kiss him back more meaningful than my words. Judging by the little pleased sound Sherlock makes, I think I succeed.

When Sherlock breaks the kiss I'm smiling like a fool but he seems a bit troubled. “John, you know... What you’ve just said... I... I too... Even if I don't say it, I...”

He too has been far more eloquent and articulate in the past. I rest my thumb on his parted lips, which reduces him to silence straight away, and I gently caress his lovely Cupid's bow. “I know. Don't worry. I know.”

His eyes brighten and he smiles. For a few minutes we stay there, motionless, our heads close, Sherlock's hands cupping my face, my thumb still stroking his lips softly, looking each other in the eyes. I feel head over heels in love with him and perfectly happy about it. Then Sherlock gives a slight kiss to the pad of my thumb, gets back on his feet in one smooth movement and holds out both his hands to me.

“Let's go to bed.”

I let him pull me out of my armchair and towards the bedroom. Funnily enough, sleep is now the last thing on my mind.




Author's note: I wrote this story for [livejournal.com profile] arianedevere's birthday; she's lovely and doesn't fuss when her friends muddle anniversaries. Ahem.




(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 18:25 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atlinmerrick.livejournal.com
"Another word he brought with him."


That makes me happy, I really like the beauty of that simple sentiment, of John bringing these lovely words, words Sherlock now can't help but understand, feel and, to his great surprise use.


"My sweet fool."


So very John. Tenderness and fond mockery, two of the pillars of their perfect union.


"his blue-green-gray gaze takes hold of mine. Just try to resist that"


Yes, well no John, no, no one would try resisting that, it would be madness and foolish and ill-advised.


"Funnily enough, sleep is now the last thing on my mind."


And because this is a gentle, tender Chocolamousse fic we shall fade demurely to black, but I am holding out for the day when suddenly one of your sweet stories steps into the bedroom and glorious naked hell breaks loose.


*cough* Did I say that out loud?
Edited Date: 13 May 2013 18:26 (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 18:45 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verityburns.livejournal.com
You say everything out loud, darling - that's one of the (many) reasons why we love you :D

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 18:50 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atlinmerrick.livejournal.com
*Pets you*

I've learned that saying many things out loud leads to a lot more laughing, so it's good. It's all good!

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 21:38 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Yes, you're right, I'm a very chaste writer. I tried to introduce something phallic in a fic once. I ended up with a celeriac. Such a tragic failure... I'll leave the hot stuff to the experts! *looks at you meaningfully*

Aaanyway, thank you very much for this very, very lovely comment. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 18:51 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] verityburns.livejournal.com
Beautiful, beautiful story. Didn't I tell you? And didn't I repeatedly flail over the very line that the lovely Atlin has first quoted? Taste... I have it :D

I always enjoy your POV switches and you really keep us on tenterhooks with this one - so cleverly done, yet never losing focus, or the 'gentle' voice which really characterises your work.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to have 'first dibs' at this story - it was an honour.

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 22:29 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Well, if both Atlin and you say a line is good, then the line is good. Who am I to contradict such seasoned writers? Modesty... I have it. :D

I'm very happy you like the alternating POV because it seems I can only write this way I like that too.

And thank you for your priceless help, and for the (long) time you devoted to the beta stuff, and for your endless patience. Be sure the honour is shared! :D Also, I only chose this title because it's a nod to your nom de plume. *lies* Speaking of which, the title you found, The Words in the Picture, was brilliant. You definitely have to write a new fic in order to use it. ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 22:41 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atlinmerrick.livejournal.com
I forgot to add what Verity just did: I not only really liked the change in point of view, I was very curious about that line you kept teasing us with. What did John say, I mentally flailed, what did he say?

And then you told us and it was lovely because yes, they're quite legendary, the curves of Sherlock's (Ben's) lips, and worthy of such whispered honour.

(no subject)

Date: 14 May 2013 00:34 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Thanks for coming back, and for this mental flail! Yep, teasing was my aim.

As for the quotation, I don't know how my memory works. I read the book when I was a teenager, quite some time ago *coughs*, and I never thought about this specific sentence since that time. Then, one day that I was drooling on studying some photos of Benedict for educational purposes, the quotation popped up in my mind and I said to myself that it was something John could think about Sherlock. I wasn't thinking about writing fanfic then, but the idea stayed in a corner of my brain until today. And I'm utterly incapable of remembering my NI number. End of a sad story. :D

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 19:48 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rifleman-s.livejournal.com
"...I observe him surreptitiously, an occupation which is a source of endless delight."

What a beautiful, peaceful piece of writing. Two friends (lovers) sharing a moment of calm, gently teasing, fiercely in love.

"He lays his hands on my thighs and his blue-green-gray gaze takes hold of mine. Just try to resist that."

And it's nice that they know each other inside-out; nothing surprises, yet everything does.

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 22:38 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atlinmerrick.livejournal.com
"nothing surprises, yet everything does"

How prettily put, how lovely!

(no subject)

Date: 13 May 2013 23:55 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Fiercely in love... I love that. :-) I love the rest of your comment too, you're very kind. And your icon goes perfectly well with the sentence you quote! I know I wouldn't resist that... :D

(no subject)

Date: 14 May 2013 06:05 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mildred-bobbin.livejournal.com
so lovely! the line from Dorian Gray was absolutely perfect.

(no subject)

Date: 14 May 2013 09:07 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Thank you! Yes, this line could have been written for Sherlock. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 14 May 2013 09:20 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arianedevere.livejournal.com
she's lovely and doesn't fuss when her friends muddle anniversaries

Damn
, I’m a good liar! Yes, I was all “Oh, darling, it’s no big deal at all; I’m not bothered that you forgot when my birthday was; it’s so sweet of you to even think about writing me a story”. You didn’t see the grimacing, the growling, the muttered threats, the foul language. Oh, honey, you should see me in a tantrum.

But it was worth the wait. As I knew it would be. I was grinning happily at the title alone, as my rusty Latin that I learned at school a zillion years ago rattled its way around my brain and managed the translation. And then your beautiful soft narrative voice started up inside my head as I began to read, and oh, it was Christmas. And my birthday.

Since when do I find anything adorable? Since when do I even use the word 'adorable'?
'Tenderness'. Another word he brought with him.


Ah, John’s tender-hearted sociopath.

Ah, I know it. Contrary to what John thinks, my knowledge of literature is not nil and the fact that I've never read it, and only heard of it because the author was at the heart of a renowned criminal trial, is absolutely irrelevant.

This cracks me up. It’s so Sherlock to believe that he knows a book even though he hasn’t read it! Then again, he can probably deduce the entire story just from the picture on the cover.

I love the way you end the first section, leaving us all wondering what John said.

He immediately tries to put on a supremely detached expression and fails completely when I give him a smile. My sweet fool.

D’aww, John. You know your man so well already.

Its real significance sinks in through my weariness and all at once I understand, with an absolute clarity, how much the words apply to my life and all that they mean to me.

And my chin starts to wibble even though I have no idea yet what the words are.

He lays his hands on my thighs and his blue-green-gray gaze takes hold of mine. Just try to resist that.

Don’t even think about trying, John. You’re lost. You lucky bastard.

you, who you are... You rewrote my history. I was so...

And there go my tears cascading down my face again. It wouldn’t be a Chocolamousse fic without me crying somewhere in it. Thank God.

and now it's so... You make me so... What I’m trying to say is...”

I love the way you make John stumble over his explanation. It’s exactly how I can see him talking as he tries not to be too soppy. And Sherlock’s response is just gorgeous.

And such a lovely ending ... well, as far as it goes. Obviously this is only chapter 1 and I’m looking forward to the long, very detailed chapter 2 telling us What Happens Next. After making me wait so long for chapter 1, I’m expecting to see the next chapter posted very soon, please.

I must be a very important person. Only I and the Queen have two birthdays every year. This second one is just as good as the first one was, or maybe even better. Thank you for such a gorgeous present.

(no subject)

Date: 14 May 2013 10:39 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
You were allowed to make me wait for your comment for one or two months, you know! :D And I can imagine the muttered threats; I can hear the words "next fic I'll write" and "het". Fear is on me.

'Tenderness'. Another word he brought with him.
Verity said, and I quote her, that you'd "flail [your] little heart out" about this line! :D

Ah, John’s tender-hearted sociopath.
Oh, that's lovely. What a brilliant sentence. Beautiful and all. Ahem. (How can you remember this line? It was six months ago! *puffs up a bit in a very immodest way*)

It wouldn’t be a Chocolamousse fic without me crying somewhere in it. Thank God.
You didn't cry on Going Home. I was so upset. The celeriac was so moving yet...

What happens next? I'm sorry, I thought it was obvious since John says that sleep is now the last thing on [his] mind. Well, they go to bed and John reads The Picture of Dorian Gray to Sherlock. Then they kiss good night (on the cheek) and they sleep. The end. What did you expect? *coughs*

Thank you for this very nice and long comment. I'm so happy you like the story and you forgive my "What do you mean, 'April the 5th'?"-ness.

CHOCOLAMOUSSE: How would you describe me, Ariane? Resourceful? Dynamic? Enigmatic?

ARIANE (tetchily) Late.
Edited Date: 17 May 2013 10:27 (UTC)

Ex Fabula Gaudium

Date: 14 May 2013 12:43 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sorrel-forbes.livejournal.com
People watching this corner of the internet might be inclined to think that Ariane should be encouraged to have as many birthdays as she likes. Your tributes are so warm and cheering. (This was a much appreciated antidote to the encroaching antipodal winter!)

Er, ex commentario delectatio?

Date: 14 May 2013 23:17 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
I knew this title was a mistake. Now everybody is going to speak to me in Latin and I'm going to spend my time pretending I speak it fluently and consulting my dictionary frenetically. Damn. :D Anyway, thank you very much for your comment, I'm glad to be able to help you fight winter. :-)

Re: Ex Fabula Gaudium

Date: 16 May 2013 14:52 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arianedevere.livejournal.com
I will nobly take on this task if it will make Chocolamousse write more frequently. Why she only writes for birthdays, I do not know. So, my next birthday is on June 17th. (Actually, it's my sister's, but I'm pinching it because of reasons.)

And because England also seems to have an encroaching winter despite us supposed to be heading into summer, I think you should get writing straightaway, Choco. *nods*

Re: Ex Fabula Gaudium

Date: 17 May 2013 10:27 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Do you really think it's clever to throw a third date at me, as if it weren't enough that I already mixed up your birthday and Atlin's? Now, don't come and look for sympathy next year if your fic is more than two months late! :D

(no subject)

Date: 14 May 2013 20:02 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starshine24mc.livejournal.com
I know it wasn't a gift for me, but thank you anyway--you write things that make my heart ache in the best way. Cheers!

(no subject)

Date: 15 May 2013 00:55 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
No, thank you for this lovely comment! I love make people's hearts ache, as long as it's in a good way. :D

(no subject)

Date: 16 September 2013 08:16 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mithen.livejournal.com
I find the sight adorable. Since when do I find anything adorable? Since when do I even use the word 'adorable'?

Oh, what a lovely Sherlock-voice, he's hard to do well but yours is adorable. *grin*

I love their relationship here, how solid and sure and yet how tentative they are.

Sherlock doesn't laugh. On the contrary, he looks very grave and doesn't take his eyes off me.</i>

And I can so see his face here, that tendency to mock when he should be serious and be serious when one expects mockery. Perfect.

(no subject)

Date: 16 September 2013 17:30 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
You're very kind, thank you! I love when a reader quotes their favourite lines. I'm very glad you like the fic. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 10 April 2014 11:06 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gratiela.livejournal.com
OMG, you!!!
“It's you, who you are... You rewrote my history. I was so... Then you came, you entered my life and now it's so... You make me so... What I’m trying to say is...”
I'm trying to express my gratitude by quoting your own words back at you, that's awfully lame.. but.. but so very true!♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
I really should stop apologizing and simply thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 10 April 2014 21:37 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
Aww. No no no, it's not lame at all, you can quote me to your heart's content if you do it to praise my fic. :D Thank you.
Edited Date: 10 April 2014 21:38 (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 11 April 2014 05:51 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gratiela.livejournal.com
fdgfsdjjdaSDASGaseea!! This silly dance makes me dizzy! :)))) Though, in all honesty, dancing is high on my list of favourite things! Dancing until dizzy, too :D So it's all very, very good!<3

Yes, your fic here, let me try and get to it, eventually:
The whole moment you surprise is so calm. Tender. Comfortable. Like slipping into your most cosy shirt- the one that you pushed behind everything on the shelf; and then you find it again and you wonder how could you not notice it was missing for so long!!
Sherlock's voice struck me, because.. .well... I want him to be that comfortable! And I'm not even sure if it's just a natural wishful thinking of my sickly fluffy mind- wanting people to be happy, eventually, even briefly- or, you know, what Sherlock is craving himself!
(what coherency? It's early in the morning and brain hates it- but I'm giddy, so brain should cope!!)

Well, that's not actually working *headdesk* I have no idea where I was going with this, but I'll go with "Happy Flailing Saves The Day!"

(no subject)

Date: 11 April 2014 18:08 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolamousse.livejournal.com
A second comment, you're lovely! Don't worry, even if happy flailing would be an excellent comment in itself, I understand what you mean, having a "sickly fluffy mind" myself. Tenderness and cosiness, yes, that's what I wanted to express, I'm glad you feel that! Also, awww, your icon. :-)