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the island of conclusions

Something for the Weekend (Sherlock RPF fic; very light R)

the island of conclusions

bright star

Something for the Weekend (Sherlock RPF fic; very light R)

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bright star
Title: Something for the Weekend
WC: ~2.4K
Rating: R, for mature themes; gen + UST.
Disclaimer: MF did injure his wrist during the first week of filming Sherlock. That is the only factual element of this fic. The rest is FICTION. Also: Do not mix pills and alcohol—I am sure MF never does in RL.
a/n: Curious about the title ?
a/n: Many thanks to calamitycrow, electricshocks and lovelokest for the beta-ing and Brit-picking. All remaining idiom!fail and infelicities entirely my fault.

Summary: It’s hard to shave when you’ve bunged up your wrist.


Something for the Weekend

Benedict leaned over him, a small cloud of shaving cream pillowed on his palm. Perched on the closed toilet seat, Martin shifted awkwardly and cradled his injured wrist closer to his chest. This was a bad idea, he decided, quite a bad idea after all.

“No, no that won’t do.” Benedict straightened up abruptly, shaking his head. “I’ll do my back in bending down like that—Here—“ He patted a spot next to the sink.

Martin re-located, feeling ridiculous. His feet dangled a good foot off the floor, and even from this position he had to look up slightly to meet Benedict’s eyes.

Which glinted with an alarming degree of mischief as he nudged Martin’s knees apart with his hip, edging between his legs. He spread the cold foam across Martin’s face with firm, precise strokes, so close Martin could smell a trace of some astringent, old-fashioned soap on his skin beneath the pall of tobacco.

“Usually I make a bloke buy me dinner before I let him get this personal,” Martin said, fidgeting self-consciously.

“Don’t be cheeky,” Benedict put long fingers on his cheek, nudging it to the right, “I brought you a bacon sarnie, didn’t I?” He smoothed his voice into a Lothario’s drawl, “Just lie back, darling, and think of England.”

Martin reminded himself sternly that he’d given his co-star express permission to have at him with a safety razor. He offered his face to the blade.


One Hour Earlier

“I’m in your lobby,” Benedict said, the gravel in his baritone suggested he’d slept even later than Martin, “I’m coming up.”

Martin sighed and glanced at his watch. Noon already, and all he’d managed so far was a half-arsed shower and a cup of tea.

++++++

Benedict arrived with a gust of cold air and cigarette smoke he’d somehow managed to transport all the way up to the fifth floor of the hotel.

The BBC’s new Sherlock wore Chucks and a very un-Holmesian puffy parka, but Martin found himself staring for a moment nonetheless. He still hadn’t gotten used to the darker hair Benedict had adopted for the role: it made his ginger coloring stand out weirdly—pale skin even paler, light eyes almost spectral.

“Oh dear,” Benedict frowned, obviously adding mental deterioration to his assessment of Martin’s unshaven, barefoot, condition , “you’re not very well, are you?”

“I’m fine,” Martin lied, shuffling back to the sofa, wondering again how hurting one small joint could have left the rest of him feeling so wretched.

The only good thing he could say about the day was that it was Saturday, with no shooting scheduled. After a miserable morning in A&E determining that he hadn’t catastrophically broken his wrist—merely sprained it badly—he’d spent a possibly even more miserable day back on set, doggedly stinting on pain medication until he’d gotten through his scenes semi-coherently. He’d crashed hard afterward, waking up ten hours later groggy and dry-mouthed, good for nothing except camping out grumpily in front of the telly.

“Mark sent you, didn’t he?” he said, replacing his aching wrist on the little throne of pillows it had occupied all morning

Benedict didn’t bother to deny it, just shrugged cheerfully. “Told me to bring you flowers. But I thought you were more a coffee and sandwiches kind of guy.” He held out a cardboard cup carrier from Café Nero and a plastic Tesco’s bag.

“Classy,” Martin said.

“Oi,” Benedict mimed offense, “it’s a latte. And there’s more.” He perched on the armchair at one end of the sofa, laying out his spoils on the coffee table. “Chocolate,” he pulled a handful of Aero bars from the parka’s inner recesses, “and this,” a small bottle of brandy emerged from an off-license bag. “Purely medicinal, of course.”

“Hmff,” Martin grunted, mollified. He reached for a candy bar.

Benedict batted his hand away. “Sandwich first. You need something in your stomach if you’re going to take those.” He gestured at the little collection of pill bottles on the end table.
Martin scowled, but conceded the point. He rummaged through the Tesco’s bag one-handed, managed to pull out a bacon-egg roll, only to be defeated by the lid on the neat triangular container.

Benedict unceremoniously pulled it out of his hand, liberated the sandwich and gave it back.

It tasted good. Martin had been hungrier than he’d thought.

Benedict, meanwhile, had taken the lids off the coffees, and was gesturing over them questioningly with the brandy bottle.

Martin shook his head—but Benedict made a just-a-dab gesture, and that was all it took.

“Yeah, alright—maybe a splash. But please never, ever, tell Amanda that I mixed pills and booze.”

“My lips are sealed. And we’ll cancel those plans you had for operating heavy machinery.” Benedict opened his mouth to say something else, then shut it again.

Martin answered the unspoken question anyway, scratching his jaw distractedly. “Too complicated for her to come down--since it turned out not to be that serious after all.” He remembered Amanda’s burst of panic when he’d called her from the hospital—how he could hear her moving around the house, throwing things into a bag. But when the scan results had come in, determining that neither surgery nor hospitalisation was required, they’d started talking about the actual logistics of rearranging the kids’ schedules, and that had settled the matter. “And I’m far too knackered to make it home and back,” he finished. “How about you? I’d’ve thought you’d be long gone by now.”

“Olivia’s out of town,” Benedict said, as if that were explanation enough. “Did you hurt your face, too, when you fell?”

“No. Why?”

“Because you keep doing this.” Benedict rubbed at his own chin.

“Oh,” Martin said, “No—it just itches. Too uncoordinated to shave with my right hand,” he waggled it in demonstration of its uselessness. “Going on three days now, too—it’s starting to drive me a little nuts.”

Benedict grimaced sympathetically, took another sip of doctored coffee. “Ouch. Well, if you can wait ‘til Monday, the girls in wardrobe will do it for you. In fact, I bet that blond one—Tracy—the one that keeps calling you Tim—she’d come over right now if we asked--.”

“Yeah--I mean no.” he corrected himself as Benedict playfully reached for his mobile, “Don’t ring Tracy—I can wait ‘til Monday.” He dug his fingers into a particularly bothersome patch under his left cheekbone.

They both worked on their sandwiches for a bit. Martin could feel the caffeine and alcohol mixing uneasily with the pain meds he’d taken earlier. Then—

“I could do it for you if you like,” Benedict offered.

“What? Shave me?” Martin asked skeptically, sure Benedict was taking the piss.

“Why not? Fix you up proper, I would.” Benedict said, slipping into a beautiful imitation of a clichéd London barber. He leaned back in his chair, all blithe confidence, as if there were nothing in the world he couldn’t do brilliantly given half a chance.

Martin’s immediate impulse was to refuse. Things were going well enough between Holmes and Watson, though they’d only been working together a few days. But this was a dare—a joke—it had to be. Because that kind of help with personal hygiene seemed like—well, like something you should know someone a bit better before attempting.

Then he thought about suffering the irritating prickle of half-grown beard all weekend—on top of the throbbing ache in his wrist, and the fuzziness of painkillers—and maybe it was the brandy, but he found himself calling his co-star’s bluff—

“Alright then—“

“Really?” Benedict’s eyebrows flew up.

“Yeah. It’s the kind of thing mates do on dull Saturday afternoons, isn’t it—like girls painting each others’ nails.”

“It is?” Benedict seemed to be considering whether Martin’s friends might be a bit more experimental than his own.

“No, Ben. No, it really isn’t. But I’m desperate enough to let you do it anyway. “

Benedict grinned, clearly pleased that Martin had picked up the gauntlet.

Martin scowled.

++++++

There was a moment, right before the razor hit his skin, when Martin felt something flutter through his belly. Something, he noted with alarm, more akin to anticipation than anxiety.

Then the blade landed, and all he felt was a strange familiarity. The scrape of the edge along his skin, long strokes from cheekbone to jaw, was hardly different than what happened all the time on film sets—when a shoot had gone on too long, or continuity needed to be preserved, someone from make-up would run out for a touch up.

Amanda had even shaved him once—when a nasty flu had left him too weak to hold the razor steady. She’d been lovely about it too—efficient and calm, murmuring sympathy as she went along.

But it was different, somehow. For one thing, Benedict, Martin discovered when he risked a sidelong glance, looked far from sympathetic. On the contrary, he looked, in a distinctly Cumberbatch-ian way, as if he were having a grand old time.

His confidence clearly hadn’t all been bluster, and he moved the blade in short, confident strokes over Martin’s lower lip, his tongue caught in the corner of his mouth, regarding Martin’s face with the kind of intensity Martin had thought he only conjured up for Sherlock’s loonier moments of deduction.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Martin grumbled, once his lip was his own again.

“Hmm?” Benedict paused, his concentration broken. “Look at you like what?”

“Like you’ve come over all Demon Barber of Fleet Street, that’s what.”

Benedict unfurled an impressively evil grin and dropped his voice an octave. “Don’t worry—no one will notice if the meat pies are extra tasty next week. Save us a bundle in production costs as well—the crew will thank you for the sacrifice. Seriously, Martin,” he continued in his own voice, “just shut up and let me do this.”

And so Martin reminded himself that Benedict was doing him a favor, after all, and tried to be cooperative.

++++++

Benedict had left the hot water running in the sink, and the cramped room was gradually filling with steam. Martin could see drops of condensation forming on the shower bar, stray tendrils of Benedict’s hair starting to curl. The warmth, the soothing sound, began to loosen muscles he hadn’t realized were coiled tight. When Benedict’s cool hands tilted his face up, dipped the razor into the sensitive hollows under his jaw, Martin found himself moving with them willingly, almost welcoming the touch.

There was, Martin noticed, another sound in room, barely audible over the burbling water, a mere disturbance in the humid air. Benedict was humming, so low in his throat it was more vibration than anything else. Probably “The Worst Pies in London,” Martin thought with amusement. But the thrum of it was lulling nevertheless, combined with the rhythmic slide of the razor down his throat, the relief of skin coming clean under the blade. The sensations mingled with the blurring effects of the brandy, the pills, until the outlines of the room around him started to run together, go soft. He could feel his eyelids drooping—his head canting back, suddenly too heavy--

“Easy there, soldier.” A hand cupped the nape of his neck, “stay with us now—“

Martin re-focused on Benedict’s face. The steamy room had raised a faint flush across his cheekbones and his lips were parted, as if he were about to express more concern. He looked as far from the icy hauteur of Sherlock Holmes as Martin had yet seen him.

They hung there frozen for a moment—Martin uncomfortably aware of how much he was leaning into Benedict’s support. It was their only point of contact—Benedict’s hand on the back of his head—but Martin felt suddenly overwhelmed by his co-star’s presence—the long, lithe lines of his body, the weight of his pale gaze.

He had a weird moment of gratitude for being so physically wrecked, a suspicion that without the pain in his wrist to anchor him, the drag of exhaustion in his limbs, Benedict’s sheer proximity—the gusts of coffee-scented breath he could feel ghosting over the newly exposed skin of his face—would have sparked something. Something that Martin had no intention of ever allowing to see the light of day.

He sat up straighter, away from those unsettling fingers. “I’m fine,” he said, “Just a bit over-medicated. Thanks to you.” He added an extra dollop of annoyance to prove his point.

Benedict snorted and withdrew his hand. “Is it my fault if you can’t hold your liquor?” He stepped back to admire his handiwork and smirked in satisfaction. “There we go: smooth as the proverbial baby’s bottom.”

Sliding to his feet, Martin grabbed a flannel off the towel rack. He steadied himself against the counter, a little light-headed, as he wiped a space clean on the mirror so he could see for himself. He did look better, he admitted--less unkempt, if still haggard.

“Thanks,” he muttered, dabbing at the remains of shaving cream.

“Don’t mention it.” Benedict peered over his shoulder, frankly watching his reflection. “Here—“ He leaned forward, “you missed a bit.” He licked his thumb, swabbed it over a minute trace of white at the corner of Martin’s jaw.

Martin shivered hard under the touch, and then shivered again as Benedict ducked his head, dark hair brushing against Martin’s ear. “Something for the weekend, guv?” he whispered, his perfect Cockney somehow making the question more intimate.

Suddenly, Martin was done with the joke—done with this parody of seduction, or whatever it was. He just does it because he can, he thought, because he knows what that voice does to people—likes to watch them squirm. Dimly aware that his anger was directed less at Benedict for trying one on than at himself for being so susceptible, he reached up with his right hand, grabbed his co-star’s wrist sharply, pulled him away.

For an instant, their eyes met in the mirror. Martin expected to see triumph in Benedict’s, a wicked joy at finally getting under Martin’s skin. What he saw instead was a flash of panic—as if what had started as a lark, a chance for Benedict to flaunt his competence and verve, had changed unexpectedly into something else entirely.

And then it was gone. Martin dropped his wrist, and Benedict backed away.

A moment later, the door swung open, and cooler air from the outer room blew in like the breath of reason.

“I’ll leave you to finish up,” Benedict said haltingly, “I’m desperate for a smoke.”

Left alone, Martin drew a shaky breath, then managed to one-handedly slap on some aftershave, glad of the mild sting. One week into shooting and he had already bunged his wrist up royally and had a semi-pornographic encounter with his co-star.

He hoped this Sherlock Holmes reboot thing would be worth it.

fin

  • Wooo, awesome! I love the h/c, and the description of Martin's POV on the steamy bathroom was particularly great.
  • Veeery nice, esp the bit where Martin almost falls asleep and Benedict cradles his neck ;)
  • (no subject) - bedamn
  • Ohhhhh sweet. Not a reader of rpf in general, but there's something rather irresistible about BC/MF, and but this is nicely done. *g*
    • There is something irresistible about them....I hardly ever write RPF, but I've been writing a bunch of MF/BC...Maybe it's that I know I'm never going to take them farther than UST--it makes it safer, somehow...

      Anyway, I'm very glad you enjoyed this--thanks for reading and commenting!
  • kajflgjadlkfgj Amazing. Still amazing. Just as amazing when I read it that other time.

    <3
  • Love it! Really enjoyed the description of the steamy bathroom and the fabulous UST.

    I just can't not read about these people, dammit!
    • IKR? and I just can't seem to not write about them, though I hardly ever write RPF. I might be because I know I'm never going to take them farther than UST--it makes keeping them on the edge more fun...

      Anyway, I'm very glad you enjoyed it--thanks so much for reading and commenting!
  • God that was good. Wonderful descriptons of both actors and a lovely situation, linked masterfully to a real event.

    Steamy bathroom, shaving (which is such an intimate activity to imagine happening between them *g*) amd a slighly medicated Martin.

    Thank you!
    • You are very welcome! I've always kind of wanted to write shaving!fic, for just the same reason, it's such an intimate thing...

      I'm really glad you enjoyed it--thanks for reading and commenting!
  • Oh, this was fuuuuun.
  • Aaah, fabulous. Wonderful tension, great dialogue, lovely Martin voice. Hats off all round!
  • Ok, very late to this. But I like it a lot. The dialogue is fun and the whole thing is so vivid - I could see it all so clearly! I don't usually read RPF, but I couldn't help myself. The UST is just perfect. :)
    • No worries--I don't think there's been much readership for Sherlock RPF--'til maybe Yuletide got some people interested. I'm very glad you enjoyed this, though. I don't write much RPF, either, but somehow this pairing grabs me--I think because it's all UST--I have no intention of ever taking them further.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
  • (no subject) - pjordha
  • I can hardly breathe...
  • Sexy as hell. Damn. It's UST of the best kind. Poor dears, knowing that they really adore each other but not wanting to go there in that way. I can totally see it.

    Also, I can see BC doing things just because he can.
    • *G* Part of the fun of writing these was to put them in situations filled with UST and have them never cross the line ('cause I just can't do that to real people in committed relationships, fictional as all this is)--but now that BC is single...the line appears to be being crossed ;)

      BC does seem to delight in showing off his various skills--in a charming way, of course!

      So glad you enjoyed it--thanks for reading!

  • Mmm, tense and sexy as hell!
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