nox_candida (nox_candida) wrote in sherlock_remix,

for neurotoxia: Happiness is impossible (to measure)

Original Author: neurotoxia
Original Story Title: Nothing is more serious than pleasure
Original Story Link:
Original Story Pairings: Sherlock/Mycroft, Sherlock/Victor Trevor
Original Story Rating: T
Original Story Warnings/Content Notes: Sibling Incest, Tattoo!lock AU
Remix Author: penombrelilas
Remix Story Title: Happiness is impossible (to measure)
Remix Story Pairings: Sherlock/Victor
Remix Story Rating: T
Remix Story Warnings/Content Notes: Tattoo!lock AU, OCs
Remix Story Beta: L & yalublyutebya
Remix Story Britpicker: yalublyutebya
Summary: His brother's visit leaves Sherlock rattled. Victor wants to help, but only seems to be making it worse.

I mean that touching you is strange
and adored by me throughout
Oh no, it's you again,
blessing you with every kiss

—Orgy, "Stitches"

Paris, 2001

Well, that was chilling, Victor thinks as he puts on a fresh pair of latex gloves.

Most people who've made his acquaintance knew Victor for a friendly bloke (some said disgustingly so) – the word charming has been used on more than one occasion – yet even he struggled to find an icebreaker for Sherlock's brother.

Now, charming the pants off of that one was the furthest from Victor's mind (not his type, even if he weren't heading toward a sorta-relationship with Sherlock), but a little more acknowledgement than a brief once-over would have been nice – not to mention the handshake that froze Victor over despite the sweltering late-summer heat outside.

And the guy was dressed up to boot – complete with a blimin coat! The sweat was rolling off Victor's chest just looking at him. Okay, so maybe the broken AC and the dinosaur of a computer leading a double life as a radiator don't exactly promote a cool working environment; but even if the outdoor temperature was less than half of what they had indoors, Victor would think twice about taking a coat. Especially if he were already wearing a jacket and trousers. Should be warm enough beneath those. The guy probably had arctic water flowing through his veins to stand it; would explain his frigid air.

If he has been like this while growing up, it's no wonder Sherlock never mentioned him. Victor wouldn't want to think of his sisters if they treated him like a misbehaving child. But then again, Victor's going by first impression. And while his intuition is usually spot-on, he got enough of hostility for his own appearance to know better than to judge by that alone.

Sherlock himself is a prime example: bloody gorgeous, but a sullen, superior kid with an attitude problem – bossy from the first, confrontational too, ready to show off his powers of observation at the slightest opportunity. Once that no longer puts you off, you could see his weird way of analysing everything and everyone as his means of communication, inept though it is.

It makes sense, somewhat, now that he's seen his brother, who barely reacted to any of Sherlock's obvious taunts. The kiss in front of the man must have been one of those: Sherlock doesn't do public displays of affection (he'd probably spear Victor if he but mentioned the word – he's still under the impression that he doesn't care for Victor, the bloody git), so it confused him a bit at first. But Sherlock loves to get under people's skin, to annoy them until they sod off. Why else would he want to introduce his boyfriend (if that's what Victor was) to a family member he'd be happier to do without? And when he says 'introduce,' Victor means presenting him as a fait accompli and expecting said family member to deal with it. His brother looked rather stiff and conservative, neither quite the kind to condemn fags to hell nor to approve of their existence, but he didn't so much give a sniff at Sherlock fondling another bloke in front of him. (If Victor had to guess, he'd say the guy wasn't the most straight-laced either.) Rather, he seemed to disapprove of the whole package: Victor, his looks, probably his infernal influence on Sherlock, seducing him to the dark side, i.e. body mods.

Apart from frowning upon Sherlock, Victor couldn't even begin to imagine what he came here for – certainly not an appointment.

"Bon Dieu de merde!," the maréchal curses in the other room, just loud enough for him to hear it in between the whirring of his tattoo gun. Victor, like the good soldier he's trained to be, interprets it for what it is – a call to attention, not a slip of the needle – and excuses himself again (his client already eyes him dubiously, but says nothing. Probably glad for the break).

As he enters the maréchal's work room, a pleasant shiver runs down Victor's back: it's a lot cooler in here. Victor's glad he's been called: he's run out of excuses to sneak in here, the only room with an electric fan.

"Your wish?" Victor asks in heavily accented French.

Even after four years in France, he couldn't get his tongue around the consonants. Especially that 'r' that sounds like he had laryngitis (Sherlock calls it a uvular fricative or something equally exotic). Sherlock, on the other hand, seems to be a natural; talking fluent since the day he arrived. Probably a testimony to his posh education. (Or to the workout his marvellous tongue receives.)

His boss lifts her eyes from her work, turns her impassive doll's face toward him. Victor suppresses another shudder – that mechanical movement of hers never fails to creep him out: it's like a scene from a horror movie. Victor expects to be gutted every time she does that. She could be Chucky's bride or something. (It's a pity jokes like this are lost on Sherlock. The tosser can name every major painter, composer and scientist from the Renaissance until now in chronological order by birthdate, date of death or relevance of their contribution to the arts or humanity in general, and Victor still needs to educate him on the finer points of pop culture.)

"Where's that rotten apprentice of ours?" she asks, in a level tone. He's never once heard her raise her voice, although she likes to spit out invectives like FAMAS rounds.

Still, she's hot stuff (if a bit heavy on the makeup), despite her foul mouth: candy floss hair done up in a twist, revealing a crocus flowering up one side of her swan neck; a septum and angel bites above her plum-coloured pouty lips; not to mention the wide shirts she cut into to allow a nearly unobstructed view down her cleavage. Which, he has to admit, was the first thing he noticed when he met her.

I'm sorry if it looks like I'm ogling your breasts, he said, unable to stop staring, but that's some amazing chest piece you got there.

And it was: the all-seeing eye mounted in an ornamental setting, with swan's wings extending on either side, pinions in soft shades of grey, no outlines. From them dangled a choker, its jewels indicated by red dots and teardrop shapes. The same red was used on the stylised rays above the eye. Even then there was something familiar about it.

She was cool about it, saying Ogle away. My husband's gonna like hearing about it.

Victor looked up then. And around, expecting the husband in question to round the corner any second.

He's the artist, she continued, with a smile in her voice but none on her lips. And very proud of it.

There was something familiar about her face too, not only her tattoos, but it took one Sherlock Holmes to solve the riddle for him. Victor's still not quite come to terms with the fact that his boss used to the cover girl for Tattoo life and other magazines. (If it counts, her hair was auburn in them, but she had already turned platinum by the time they met face to face. Rather awkward to think he might have had a wank over her pictures.)

Right. Not what he should be thinking about during work hours. Especially not since he has Sherlock to have a wank with now. The transition from shagging each other regularly, no strings attached, to shagging each other exclusively happened rather fast and he might not entirely have caught up with the development. Good thing then that Sherlock can't read his mind – although he sometimes comes eerily close to it. The boy gets jealous quicker than he has a right to be. (It's not Victor's fault that whatever comes out of his mouth can be considered flirtation; he's not actually conscious of it when it means nothing.) But he's as new to this relationship business as Victor is and it's rather cute Sherlock wants him to himself, so Victor's not too put out by it.

But okay, yes. Still not what he should be thinking about now. The honeymoon phase should be over by now. (Victor was completely out of it after the first time he hooked up with Sherlock, mooning over the git like a besotted 15-year-old.. Took him two days to return to normal. But Sherlock can be a randy little bastard, more enthusiastic than you would give him credit for. He swallowed him like it was nothing. Victor nearly blew his load down his throat before they even got started. What guy wouldn't fall for that?)

Victor wills himself focus to the hannya mask on the client's back, its brows already glistening with colour. Nice needlework indeed.

"Grab a chair, why don't you?" the maréchal says, reprimanding him for zoning out. She waves a paper cup at him. "I need new water. And if you see that little friend of yours, tell him he ought to move his skinny arse in here if he wants to keep the job."

"Sure, right away," Victor says and immediately bites his tongue. It irks him sometimes how subservient he sounds in her presence, bowing and scraping as if his life depended on it. Victor calls it being polite, but Sherlock takes the piss out of him for that (she does, too) – the first time he actually displayed some sense of humour.

In the end, he does it all for the job. Since he started piercing for her, they've grown quite comfortable around each other, enough so that teasing won't be filed as sexual harassment. But, there's a time and place for everything. Talking back at his boss in front of a client? Not such a good idea. Tattooing means the world to him and he won't be caught screwing it up, at least not before he has his own licence. (Well, and he won't mention that her no-nonsense attitude would turn him on faster than he can spit if he weren't so used to it – after all, Victor's a professional in his work environment and not one to take chances where his job is concerned. So wrapping up fast it is.)

Sherlock's not in the front. His brother must have gone then. Victor thought he heard the chimes a minute or two ago.

He checks in the recreation area, where a salad on the counter reminds him to buy food for Mikey. He's been mixing fish food with fruit and veggies for the past two weeks, because he's perpetually skint (he should probably consider modelling on the side, like the maréchal, to pay his bills), but he wants to give her something proper every once in a while. The poor girl shouldn't have to suffer just because his pay is crap.

Not here either. So unless he's hogging the bog or gone out – which would be a daring, if not spectacularly stupid thing to do without letting the maréchal know – he should be in the cabinet. Whatever for. Victor doubts Sherlock's brother could have bodily dragged him outside; he didn't look the type to overwhelm anyone (although Victor doesn't know what the guy's umbrella can do – might be weaponised; must be some reason to carrying it around in this weather. Unless Brits expect it to piss wherever they go). And Sherlock, as Victor once painfully found out during a friendly sparring session, has a black belt in Judo. Dragging him somewhere without first tranquillising him would prove difficult.

Victor's hand closes around the handle just as the door is ripped open. Sherlock stiffens to see him.

"Whoa, easy," Victor says out of reflex.

Sherlock looks flushed and bewildered, ready to slam the door in his face again. Apparently he didn't expect to run into anyone on his way out. Victor leans his weight against the handle, just in case.

"Something the matter?" he asks, stupidly. Of course there's something the matter. Plain as day. He half-supposes Sherlock to call him out on that.

And well, his frown carries enough of that sentiment. Abandoning the plan of breaking Victor's nose with the door, he tries to brush past Victor with a simple "No." But Victor catches him by the shoulder and spins him around.

"Does this have anything to do with your brother?" he asks, then stops. This is turning out to be their first serious conversation, he realises. (Talking about ambitions doesn't count.) Sherlock is not looking at him. Are they ready to take it to the next level yet? Well, Victor guesses they'll just have to find out. He tilts Sherlock's chin toward him and says, "Listen, I'm not trying to pry or anything, but I hope you know you can talk to me about whatever's bugging you."

Okay, so he said it. He offered Sherlock commitment. This should actually be a given, but for some reason saying it out loud, no matter how innocent it sounds, makes it alarmingly real. Now would be a bad time to panic, right?

But Sherlock isn't listening. Going by his line of sight, he's been watching Victor's lips move, waiting for his opportunity. Victor hates it when the kid's singularly focussed; gets his blood into a boil. So when Sherlock's lips close in on his own, who is Victor to push him away? Victor loves making out with Sherlock, after all; his piercings offer so many more creative uses of his mouth. (He's not gonna think about how they spice up the sex now, he's just not.)

Victor knows this is a bad idea, but before he can form a coherent objection, Sherlock shoves his back against the wall. His dreads cushion the impact, but it still knocks the air from his lungs. Sherlock gives him no chance to breathe. He's ravenous, digging into Victor with his mouth as well as his hands, clawing up his naked back and Victor wants to do the same, wants to feel the skin on Sherlock's arm, on the back of his neck, but can't, because he's still wearing gloves.

Which, in this case, is actually a good thing: it reminds him of what's important here. But Sherlock is distracting, pressing his thigh up against Victor's crotch and he gives in another moment to the rush of getting away with snogging during work hours.

They end up with Sherlock's back against the doorpost of the rec room and his hands on Victor's arse. Victor has to use both hands to tear him off. Worse than a suction cup sometimes. The wanker actually clamped down on his tongue.

"Ow, fuck, hang on," Victor says once he's free to work out the sting in his tongue, all the while glowering at the prick, but not meaning it. "If you don't wanna talk, fine, I get it. Just don't go shutting me up like that, yah?"

"I'm not," Sherlock says, all fake innocence. "Diversion tactics are so plebeian."

"Oh yeah? And what would you call this then?"

"Kissing?" Sherlock grins, leaning in. "See if I do it again."

"Sherlock," Victor warns. "I don't care about your fancy semantics – we're at work!"

"So? We haven't done anything inappropriate yet."

"I fear we're getting there."

"Fine," Sherlock says, suddenly in a strop. He shoves at Victor's shoulders. "You can let me go then if you don't want me anymore."

"Hey, what's up with you? I never said that."

"Once you're done squabbling, would you mind if I join in?"

They both turn their heads to find the maréchal leaning against the wall with arms crossed. Great, Victor thinks, give a man ideas. Sherlock, by the looks of it, is thinking the same. Only, he's not as enthusiastic about it. His face has 'ew, gross' painted all over it, and his fists bunch Victor's t-shirt possessively. Until he catches Victor entertaining the notion. Oh God, he actually thinks she's serious, doesn't he?

The maréchal pads closer, swaying hips and all. "Now," she coos, stopping so close her breasts nearly brush their arms. Victor, of course, can't help a quick peek at her chestpiece. "If you would either fetch me some water, or let me through so I can get it myself..."

When Victor looks up again, Sherlock's expression has changed to one of indignation. He wants to tell him it's a joke, come on, laugh about it, but the git jabs the heel of his palm into Victor's solar plexus and extricates himself. There was some real force behind it, too.

"Jesus," Victor curses, nearly doubling over. He calls after Sherlock, but he's already stormed out of the back door. "Fuck."

His boss is still standing there, a foot to the side to avoid being knocked over by Sherlock, but Victor thinks he can feel the displeasure rolling off of her despite her rigid face.

"That, was embarrassing."

"I'm disappointed in you, Victor." She sighs, a tad too dramatically. "I thought you had more integrity than to drop your pants in my shop."

"Sorry you had to witness that." He strips off his gloves, glad to be rid of them.

"Keep your sorries. They can't buy me anything," she says and moves past him to the tap. "I don't care about your relationship troubles. You surprised me, that is all." She turns around, drying off her hands. "I'll forgive you if I receive no complaints from Gérard."

"Oh, shit." Victor drops his gloves into the bin and hurries back to his client. He nearly forgot all about him, since Sherlock made a move on him. Jesus, what is wrong with him? He doesn't lose focus like this, normally.

Back in his room, he apologises and pretends that he had some urgent business matters to attend to.

Shit, that was really unprofessional. He berates himself for some time, while making taking extra care with the lion's shading. Meanwhile, he also formulates a plan to make it up to Sherlock. This little misunderstanding isn't worth to get his bollocks in a knot over. At all. Jesus. Should he apologise? Though, what for? He didn't do anything. Whatever. Victor's just gonna have to make him see reason. Sherlock likes his logic. He should be able to figure this out without Victor having to point it out for him.

But he really wants to make it right with Sherlock. He's gonna ask him to meet up later, to talk or just do whatever the git needs to wind down. They could do that, Sherlock granting.

Once he's wrapped up with his client, Justine comes in looking for the watercolour reference book he pinched from her shelf for this appointment.

"Listen, about earlier..." he starts, not knowing how to address this.

"It's okay, Victor. I know you're serious about this job. I'm not going to fire you yet."


"I'm not giving you a free pass to keep doing that."

Victor huffs in amusement. "Too bad, I was hoping you would."

"You remember the girl who used to come here with her own tattoo ideas sketched out, who insisted to have you do them?"

"Aw, you don't mean the one who seemed to have some sort of crush on me?" The girl had some serious talent, but that was some creepy shit.

"The one."

"What about her?"

"She asked to be apprenticed here before Sherlock showed up."

Victor suppresses a shudder. Now, that would have been awkward. He tries to sound neutral though. "And? You obviously didn't hire her."

"I supposed she wanted to work here to get closer to you. And while I obviously couldn't care less about your discomfort around her, I didn't accept her because I can't use the drama. With Sherlock, I thought we'd be on the safe side, despite the way he got on my case."

"Yeah, who would have expected him to have a temper like that."

"A bit of advice from a friend: you might want to think twice about getting serious with that one."

With that, she leaves a dumbfounded Victor Trevor behind her. Shit, he thinks. What a can she opened there. Could have used that counsel a few weeks earlier. Where was she then? Now, it might be too late to back out. Not like he'd want to. It's not gonna be easy, and will certainly give him a major case of headaches every once in a while, but he really wants to make it work with Sherlock.

Oh shit, all right. He's just gonna come out and admit it: there's real feeling involved.

Remember to leave feedback for both authors!
Tags: challenge: round four, fanwork: fic, neurotoxia, penombrelilas, rated: teen, verse: bbc, warnings apply

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