221b ficlet written for the Let's Write Sherlock's Songfic Challenge on tumblr. Song used to set the mood here is "Spanish Sahara" by Foals (warning: the music video contains potentially triggering use of animal carcasses; while the setting is as relevant to the fic as the music, this is not, but please exercise reasonable precautions).


Their chase ends here: pale bluffs blown down to the shore, some frozen vagrants crouched against the windswept world.

Cheekbones like cliffsides, John had murmured, Everest-lipped. Careful, these winds are the biting kind.

They are, they do - they've nipped him pink, but it's nothing to the snow-stain of guilty blood.

"Bashed on the rocks," he surmises, "like a shipwreck."

Here the sea chokes up around shards of ice, sprays of salt coughed weakly through glass-deep indigo, soughing with secrets, soft.

John looks at the dead man, looks to Sherlock. "This is what it felt like. Do you understand?"

He doesn't.

"Cold, Sherlock. Cold." John looking away sinking deeper deeper still an indigo secret sighed back to its oceans: "I can't forgive that."

The water floods Sherlock's boots, trousers, skin. This, blood breaking from blue veins overstretched - a hydropic swell beneath his lungs and John's cries breaking from his throat on an inward risen tide.

There was a lighthouse here, once. Sherlock drags John up by the ruins, holding him as the shivers pass through bone, as water droplets slide from his skin. They breathe. And, nose at the hollow of John's jaw, he understands:

Tear-salt, the sweat-salt that lingers on their bedsheets like a bitter brine - together a sea-salt, more biting than these indifferent arctic winds. Something ancient in the breaks.