No rights infringement intended.

No infringement of the following characters and situations is intended.
Warning: Rated [MA] Mature Adults only. Contains strong m/m sexual scenes, violence, coarse language and adult themes.

Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003
Subject: FIC: Harper's Hands - 1/1 (Sharpe - Slash, Sharpe/Harper, PG-13)

Forwarded with permission from the author --

Title: "Harper's Hands"
Author: Barbara (
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Sharpe/Harper
Archive: The Sharpetorium
Disclaimer: People and places belong to Bernard Cornwell, not me. I just borrow them now and again for my own amusement.
Feedback: Always appreciated.
Comments: An improv fic with the following guidelines: The second of a series of sensory challenges focusing on the sense of touch. No PWP's allowed. The time limit is 60 minutes.

Harper's Hands

As he made his way through camp, Sharpe kept his eyes fixed on his tent, concentrating on the coarse material that flapped in the midday breeze. It didn't distract him from the pain that flared with each step, with each shift of his wounded shoulder, but it did give him something to work toward. A man needed to have goals.

His gaze faltered only once, when two men rose as he headed toward him. Normally, he made time for congratulations after a battle well fought. But not today. A scowl stopped the soldiers in their tracks. He forced a quick smile and polite nod. They relaxed, grinned back, and raised mugs to him.

Only one of his Chosen Men lingered near Sharpe's tent. "Perkins!"


"Where is Sergeant Harper?"

"Don't know, sir."

"Find him and send him to me."

"Yes, sir." Perkins nodded and scurried off.

Sharpe drew a deep breath. The ground felt unsteady, rolling like the deck of ship tossed on unquiet seas. He couldn't falter. Sure as hell couldn't give into the urge to simply collapse where he stood. Especially now that his tent was so near. His jacket hid the signs of damage, but the shirt underneath was stiff with blood. In some spots, it clung wetly to him. In others, it crackled and chafed against his skin. He hoped Harper wasn't far.

Sharpe sat heavily on his cot, biting off a cry as the impact jarred his shoulder. A ribbon of heat slithered down his back as fresh bleeding started. The room spun, and his stomach heaved. Then he was falling.


"Hold him."

The voice was thin, hollow. Not at all like Harper's usual robust drawl. So far away. Something was wrong. Something...

Sharpe cried out, as pain pulsed through him in alternating waves of heat and cold. Harper...was hurting him. Wouldn't hurt him. Harper had hurt him...

Harper's fist connected with his jaw, and pain spiderwebbed through the bones of Sharpe's face. Blood ran over his lips and down the back of his throat after a jab to the nose. Neither of them fought for show or an uneasy truce: they fought for command. Sharpe slipped his fingers into Harper's unexpectedly soft curls as he drove the Irishman's head into a wall. Harper's fingers, efficient and brutal, grabbed his balls and squeezed.

Sharpe struggled, swung blindly, and heard a grunt of surprise. He tried to sit up, but a weight against his chest pushed him back, held him down. Wool rasped against his skin; cool metal buttons dug into his chest.

"Damn it, Harris. I said to hold him."

"Sorry, Sarge."

Hands closed around his upper arm and held him down. He pain grew stronger, a gnawing ache that burrowed deeper and deeper into flesh.

"There's so much blood."

"Shut up, Perkins."

"You might have to take the arm, sir."

His...arm? Cut off his arm? Like hell, they would. He struggled in earnest, turned his head to the side, and sank his teeth into flesh.

"Whoreson bastard! He bit me."

"Shut up, all of you! He's not so far gone he don't know what's going on around him."

Several voices mumbled, "Sorry Captain. Sorry, sir."

Lips close to Sharpe's ear whispered, "Don't worry, sir. You're in good hands."

Harper. Harper wouldn't maim him.

"Just a bit more, sir."

Fingers ghosted over Sharpe's forehead. The pain crested, the muscles in Sharpe's neck straining with it.

"Got it! Now hold him steady, boys."

Sharpe screamed once as the tearing began, and the pain went from bright to blinding. When the darkness took him, it swallowed light and pain together.


Sharpe's arm and shoulder were numb with pain. His eyes, sticky with grit and gum, hurt to open. His head tossed, tongue dry and awkward as he tried to speak.

"Hush, sir."

Water splashed on his lips. He licked it off, swallowed a few sips from a cup held to his mouth. A warm, calloused hand closed around his good shoulder and squeezed. Harper. As a damp cloth wiped Sharpe's face and neck, his sergeant's fingers stroked along his collarbone. Sharpe sighed when the hands lifted from his skin.

"Just getting some of the filth off you, sir."

Sharpe closed his eyes and sank into the simple pleasure of being washed. The regular strokes of the cloth down his arms, across his hands, over his chest. The sound of water splashing as the rag was dipped into a basin and then rung out. The anticipation of where the next touch would fall. Sharpe moaned.


Lips brushed his forehead. Soft. Then he felt breath warm against his lips. He wanted to open his eyes, to see the dark head bowed over his own, but he was so tired. He licked his lips, and Harper's mouth was so close that he touched it with his tongue. Harper twitched then brought his mouth down on Sharpe's. Slow and light and lazy.

Harper pulled away, swore against Sharpe's throat. Trembled against him.

"Harper..." His voice was little more than a whisper.

"You need to rest, sir."


Harper chuckled. "Me too, sir. But not today. Not today."

Not today. Sharpe drifted into sleep with the taste of Harper on his lips, the memory of Harper's hands on his skin. Tomorrow then. After all, a man needed to have goals.


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