“Red wine, of course,” said John, and Sherlock sighed with impatience, pulling back just a bit. John tugged him closer. “Oranges and lemons, bells of Saint Clemmons.”
“The fruit, yes. The church, no. Juice or peel?”
John kissed him again. “Peel. It’s a bit sharp, but not acidic. Mmm…candied?”
“Let me taste again.”
This time the kiss was slower, a soft suckling more than actual exploration, and Sherlock had nearly forgotten the game when John pulled away, so that he followed John’s retreating mouth before John spoke.
“Not candied, just sugar. I think maybe too much.”
“Agreed,” said Sherlock, and he leaned in for another kiss, this time a small press of the lips. “That’s three.”
“Red wine does not count in a guessing game about ingredients in mulled wine, John.”
“Fine.” John kissed him again, quick brushes of tongue against Sherlock’s lips that nearly tickled. “Cinnamon. Cloves. Brandy.”
“Obvious,” said Sherlock, and pushed John back against the cushions. John grinned up at him, pleased as whiskey-spiked punch. “You’re missing one.”
Sherlock started in on the skin below John’s ear, and worked his way down his neck. Shaving lotion, mint, the faint strains of the surgery, crisp winter air in London, and some sort of spice that Sherlock didn’t think he’d ever be able to properly identify.
“No, I’m not, that’s seven. You said there were seven.”
“You’re counting the red wine again.”
“Oranges…” said John, and Sherlock closed his mouth over his clavicle, pulled the skin gently in between his teeth. He ran his tongue in circles along the skin, and felt, rather than heard, John’s voice catch in his throat.
“Lemons,” said John, a whisper as his hands ran up Sherlock’s back, fingers catching on the fabric, already wrinkled and folded over itself. He rested a hand on Sherlock’s shoulder, another in Sherlock’s hair, and Sherlock left a damp trail from John’s clavicle to his neck, as John pushed his head back into the pillows to allow him access.
“Cinnamon…” John moved under him, a slow undulation of his spine, and Sherlock felt him shift, slid to the side between John and the back of the sofa. His lips released John’s skin, and he reattached himself to John’s mouth, tasting all the deeper and richer now, as though by simply saying the names of the flavorings, he was releasing their flavors into himself.
“Go on,” murmured Sherlock, tiny kisses along John’s lips.
“Cloves.” The left of John’s mouth.
“Brandy.” The right of John’s mouth.
John’s hands came to up Sherlock’s face and held him still, so that he could take one last, lingering, testing kiss. Sherlock let him, held still, felt the sweep of John’s tongue, the warmth of the spices and wine mingling with the bright citrus, the sweet sugars, the low-level heat of the alcohol, until every nerve in his body was singing, straining up to his mouth to meet John’s. John John John, sang Sherlock’s blood.
John pulled away, and smiled at him. Sherlock breathed, wanting only another kiss, but there were protocols which needed to be observed.
“Well?” Sherlock asked, breathless.
“No idea,” said John, and kissed him again.