Reviews for After Love
bbybyrd chapter 11 . 6/28/2012
Still just wow. Cant believe the story is almost done. Great chapter!
Jodi2011 chapter 11 . 6/27/2012
"I know," he says, placing his free hand on top of their joined ones, the added weight and warmth anchoring Sherlock. John's voice, soft and rumpled, wraps around him. "I know."

Your writing, as always, is luminous. Sometimes it hurts, but also it heals.

I shall be sad to see the end of this magical story.
puremagic1084 chapter 10 . 6/18/2012
Your writing is lovely. Some of your metaphors are hauntingly beautiful, and every one of them feels as if you found it somewhere waiting for just that phrase. Thank you (:
Skyfullofstars chapter 10 . 5/28/2012
“..Slowly, they pull on their former lives like old, worn shirts, the fabric of their life misshapen by grief and loss and time so that it doesn't fit precisely, too tight in the shoulders here, stretched in the arms there..”

OF COURSE, OF COURSE it is like this, pulling on their old lives, tugging here and there to make the pieces fit, because of course both of them were necessarily stripped bare – to the bone. Sherlock out of the self-imposed necessity of discarding every bit of his life with John, deliberately letting loose of every piece that said “John” and “John and Sherlock,” telling himself all the while that he was doing it to keep John safe, dropping the lovely worn garments of their lives because he HAD to do this to do the job. And John, losing his old life, like tattered garments, not out of necessity but having these actions thrust upon him by Sherlock’s death and exile, because otherwise, if he kept his old life intact, if he continued to put it on each day as he always had, he would lose what shred of sanity he had left.

LOVELY, UTTERLY LOVELY in its simplicity and each word chosen with care, each worth its weight in francium (to date, the most rare and precious of the elements.)

AND THE KNOWLEDGE that Sherlock “lets” himself be tamed and tethered, asks for this, wants this, but only with John – ever John – and the image of his heart, walking around outside his chest, wrapped in cardigans and jumpers:

“..For John, he lets himself be tethered and tamed, the red, pulsing string between him and John stretching and never breaking, wrapped around his throat like a sweet, soft collar. The connection winds through his nerves and blood vessels, the sensation of his heart walking outside of his body, wrapped in plain cardigans and wool jumpers, leaving Sherlock raw and naked. The thick, red, woven rope is knotted between their bodies like those of climbers, and Sherlock knows, now more than ever, that if he falls, John falls too, tumbling from this mountain of danger together, and so he takes the slightly safer routes, waiting for John to catch up, finding better footholds instead of jumping over chasms.”

AND YOU, YOU LOVELY WOMAN, you wrote that finally, AT LAST, Sherlock is taking a bit more care, perhaps finding his way around the chasms rather than trying to jump them, because if he falls, John falls. That image broke my heart all over again. And I thought you’d already shattered it with previous imagery. Apparently not. Apparently there is still some left to ache after I read your words, over and over.

AND THIS: “..It is speaking their language again, stumbling through phrasebooks to find the old words of brilliant / amazing / fantastic, pulling out the Rosetta Stone to translate the call of danger / come / need..”

ANYONE, any writer, anywhere who references the Rosetta Stone has me….

AFROGEEKGODESS, you had me at: “the Rosetta Stone….”

WONDERFUL.
Jodi2011 chapter 10 . 5/27/2012
It is the unfurling of fingers one by one, clenched around nuggets of grief for so long their hands are numb, letting their fingers splay open in the sun, the wind between them, ready for each other's hand to slip into the empty spaces.

lovely and simple (in it's complexity) and perfect :)
Heidinanookie chapter 9 . 5/15/2012
I wonder how Sherlock would react if he knew John had been carrying around items he believed to be Sherlock's bones… that would shock him into a near-catatonic state, I bet.

Anyway, nice writing, as always. I like how you build the romance slowly from emotion-heated comfort kisses.

heidi
Mirith Griffin chapter 9 . 5/15/2012
LOVE the ending. My first impulse was to punch the air, but Verity Burns's dog is sleeping with me in the armchair, and I thought it would be unfair to her.

My favorite passages are these:

* The second paragraph, with its dazzling water imagery.

* The entire section, from line break to line break, about Sherlock as scientist. Sherlock as his own scientific instruments. Sherlock with his "small, cratered moon" heart. Brilliant.

* "I want your life."

* The breath demonstration.

* The question of where to start.

* The way you favor us with one of your botanical metaphors. The trunk and branch imagery harken back to the image of the trees outside the window in an earlier chapter. I love the way you have them growing towards each other.

* The "grey garden of ashes."

Gorgeous, as always. Your work is strong and vital and lovely.
bbybyrd chapter 9 . 5/14/2012
Love all the stories. Brilliantly and wonderfully written. Hope to read more!
Skyfullofstars chapter 9 . 5/14/2012
This chapter was just so very difficult to read.

And so very necessary.

John burning the rust out of his body; burning the dross until only ashes remain, slowly, painfully.

John’s anger at what Sherlock did – rightful anger I feel. Sherlock had to choice to jump in order to save John’s (and others) life; but he could have brought him into it later and he chose not to.

He chose to take that decision away from his best friend and to put him through absolute hell.

And now Sherlock is paying the price in the pain he sees in John’s eyes and hears in his voice and what his doctor says – but mostly what he doesn’t say.

And I find it so interesting, and so very painful to read, that Sherlock feels if John will give in to that anger, totally, and actually pummel the younger man, work out his anger, give Sherlock the release of pain that he so desperately seeks, then things will get better.

But John is, first and foremost, a healer. John Watson is a doctor. And he refuses to put Sherlock through the hell that he, John, has lived in and with for three long painful years.

But the best part – and I refuse to quote any of your beautiful words back to you – the best part is where John breathes Life into Sherlock’s lungs once again. That entire passage was just achingly beautiful.

And what John does at the end…I have no words.

As always, Thank You.
Stella Sebarron chapter 8 . 4/25/2012
Do you plan on showing us Lestrade, Donovan, and Anderson's reactions to Sherlock being alive, or is your story completely about Sherlock and John. I'm only asking because I think you did such an amazing job with this that I's like to see what you could do with that.
Jodi2011 chapter 8 . 4/24/2012
"I will..." Sherlock whispers, "I will destroy you."

"You already have. I don't think it can get much worse than this."

"You don't know me. Not anymore. You don't know what I've become. I don't...I don't know who I am anymore."

John pulls Sherlock's arm tighter across his chest, intertwining their fingers. "We'll just have to find out together."

so many brilliant passages, all of them heartbreaking. Oh my, please continue.
Mirith Griffin chapter 8 . 4/24/2012
I've read this maybe five times, in various formats, but there are certain things that I keep coming back to.

"'You could have used me,' John says quietly. 'You could have had all of me. Anytime. Always. I thought you trusted me.'" I have a friend who, in the past, when I've expressed confusion or doubts or emotional trouble, has literally said, "Use me." This is an absolutely brilliant thing for one person to say to another. "Let me be of use."

John's willingness to "offer up his lustrous hands to be polished to a lustrous silver."

John's paradoxically brave (because it's always brave to admit weakness), "I don't ... feel safe with you yet."

Sherlock's Gershwinesque fondness for the way John takes his eggs.

The way the chapter keeps returning to the theme of the two of them "being here." They don't have much, but they have that. It's a starting point. There's a place, and they're in it together, and they're both alive, which is so much better than the alternative.

"John?" "It's fine." If you had to boil down the essence of what Holmes and Watson say to each other, it's this. Holmes, with his relentless questioning, and Watson, with his reassurance. This is how they are in the books; this is how they are in the series; this is how they are, period.

The Cubist metaphor, and the fact that it's *their* skull. Somehow sharing a skull is almost more intimate than sharing a bedroom, because it's a little bit of lunacy for the two of them to participate in.

Sherlock, "the one who died," and John, "the one who loved" him.

"The gnarled knot of John's pain unfurls, small, tender shoots snaking down his body and rooting into the floorboards." Yow. That's poetry.

John's ability to see, as dramatized by the scene with the photograph, the man Sherlock was, the man he is, and the man he has the potential to be.

"The flickering trees, their green leaves turning light and shadow and oxygen into life." Yes. Life finds a way. There's the promise of redemption here.

John "knitting the old wounds closed with his lips." The way they touch each other isn't lewd, it's sacred.

John's soliloquy on love, and that last gorgeous, shimmering paragraph.
Skyfullofstars chapter 8 . 4/24/2012
"...The silver slips of his eyes skitter over John's skin, stripping his flesh..."

SERIOUSLY, AFroGeekGoddes...seriously? I mean how much brilliance can one fandom take for Gods sake?

"..."So why did you leave me behind?"

"Because a dead John Watson is of no use to me."

I HAVE TO TELL YOU RIGHT NOW, somehow, someway, I am going to have to STEAL this line from you...I'll ask you first of course, and give you full credit and it might be a year from now, but DAMN...Okay, I won't...have a perfect horror of plagiarism, even inadvertent and this would definitely be VERTENT...

still ...

".., offer up his rusted hands to be polished to a lustrous silver.."

OKAY, I CAN'T ANYMORE. I just can not. Maybe I can...just one...

"...knitting the old wounds closed with his lips..." Please, woman!

and one more "...Sherlock's eyes are bright, burnished moons, locked in John's orbit..."

Thank you for this lovely chapter. Thank you.
Mirith Griffin chapter 7 . 3/26/2012
I forgot to fangirl the part of the last chapter where Sherlock's vow "wraps like a band of iron around his wrist," instead of like a band of gold around his finger. And yet I still see the wedding ring. And MF winning a BAFTA for acting out everything you say. Fantastic.

Congratulations to getting John and Sherlock to the end of their first day.

Is it too late to change "strange and painful imagery" to "imagery that will kick the reader's ass with its lyric power"? Here's some of it: John cradling Sherlock "in the bed of his body." Sherlock's "grin stroking through the thin fabric of John's trousers." "Words sprouting up from [John's] heart like long-forgotten seeds." And that's just the first three paragraphs.

No, Sherlock, you're *not* allowed to die. Salute when you're addressing a superior officer, soldier.

As I've said before, you've done the impossible. You've redeemed Tibet, which even in the hands of ACD was irredeemable.

The paragraphs where they guide each other through the past three years of their lives are ... I don't know what they are. Words fail me. Jesus, woman, how brilliant are you?

John saying goodnight to the ashes, and Sherlock having to watch. Argh! The greatness! It's swallowing me whole! And then Sherlock replacing the ashes with himself. Yes.

Oh, the last paragraph. I'm going to build a shrine to the last paragraph out of driftwood and sea glass. You delineate the connection between these two men with so much subtlety and lyricism.

Have a nice break from this project. You've earned it, and John and Sherlock will be cozy, comfortable and, most importantly, together until you get back.
Mirith Griffin chapter 6 . 3/26/2012
I love your dialogue. Everything you have John and Sherlock say becomes my new post-Reichenbach head canon. This bit makes my hair stand on end, which it usually only does for music. So yeah, that's a compliment:

John: "Mister Steal-My-Laptop and Use-My-Phone and Drug-My-Coffee and Not-Tell-Me-When-You're-Running-Off-After-A-Bloody-Psychopath! Did you not learn anything from the pool?"

Sherlock: "Yes, I learned everything from the pool!"

Also the bit where John explains he's given himself willingly to Sherlock, and Sherlock says, ""I don't want it." Insert keysmashings of awe.

And later, this: "I don't think the former...was worth the latter." Holy hell.

I could have picked any part of their dialogue and held it up to the light though. It's gorgeous, it's passionate, it's heart-felt, and it's very real. This is shaping up to be my favorite of your three sections of the trilogy, and that's saying something. Wonderful, wonderful work.
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