John is warm.
Touching John makes Sherlock feel warm all over, like stepping out of a hot shower. He hums with pleasure against John's mouth, hands pressed flat against John's back, holding their bodies together. He has no idea why he waited so long to let this happen; he should have kissed John ages ago.
He has another twenty minutes before their position on the sofa will cause his neck to protest. He's fully willing to spend every second of those twenty minutes here, just like this, John's body heavy and reassuring on his chest and their mouths pressed intimately together, tasting each other. It's soothing. Peaceful. Calming.
But it's not calming for John, because John is breathing so hard he's nearly panting. He's aroused, thrusting thoughtlessly against Sherlock's thigh. It tickles. Sherlock's not used to touches on his thigh, high up near his hip, and he squirms, huffing a soft laugh. He scrapes his fingers against John's sides in retaliation.
John's not ticklish (not now? Or not in general? Sherlock makes a note to find out later), but apparently it's occurred to him that Sherlock might be, because suddenly John's fingers are dancing over his ribs and sides. Sherlock only manages to dislodge him by flinging them both off the sofa and onto the floor.
"Bedroom, I think," Sherlock suggests, rubbing his cheek against John's, then licking the line of his jaw. John tastes of salt and sweat and, very faintly, of aftershave. His jaw is rough with stubble, pleasantly so.
"Yes," John agrees, voice gone low and hoarse with desire, and it sparks a thrill of pleasure in Sherlock's chest, knowing that John wants him, that he's the center of John's attention as they make their way to Sherlock's bed, which is closest.
John's fumbling at the buttons of Sherlock's shirt, clumsy and uncoordinated. Sherlock bats his hands away to do it himself, taking his shirt off in easy, efficient movements. He slides his hands under John's jumper and John helps, pulling it over his head and dropping it to the floor, revealing his body. It is compact and muscular, fit from all the running about London that they do.
Sherlock's heart is pounding, and his palms are sweating. He's some baffling mix of nervous and excited. Excited, because yes, because John, because he feels something for John that might, possibly, be love. John is here, John wants him, wants to have him, and Sherlock wants to be his.
Or maybe that's why he's nervous. It's hard to tell, sometimes.
They tumble onto the bed together and it's interesting, fascinating, the way John's pupils are dilated, the way his cheeks are flushed, the way his hips stutter against Sherlock's thigh and he moans at the contact. The sound is low and desperate, like he needs it, like it's more than just biology and nerve endings and endorphins. He wonders what John's heart rate is right now (impolite to ask, he knows, but that doesn't make him less curious).
He palms John's erection through his trousers, flattening his hand against its length. John hisses through his teeth. "Yes, yes, please, Sherlock," he moans and Sherlock kisses him again, swallowing the words with his mouth.
John's hands are greedy on his body, wanting, pressed hungrily against his bare skin and cupping his arse and trying to pull their groins against each other, and it's... problematic. "No, let me," he says into John's mouth, knocking John's hands away when they reach for his trousers. Sherlock's not hard and he's not expecting to get hard, and that's -- inconvenient, mostly, because he doesn't want to talk about it. He doesn't want to explain.
John doesn't notice. He can't deduce the obvious at the best of times, let alone now, and he is easily distracted to incoherence when Sherlock finally gets his hand inside John's pants, shoving them and his trousers down and off.
Sherlock wraps his fingers around John's cock and pushes him onto his back. He's done this before and it's really not that different from masturbation, except for the change in angle and the way his partners prefer it if he goes slower, or drags his thumb across the glans to smear precome over it. He does so now, and John swears raggedly, thrusting clumsily into his fist.
John's muttering, voice low and words quick. He's not thinking about what he's saying, just putting sound to whatever comes to mind, a steady stream of, "yes, Sherlock, fuck, I want you to -- I've wanted you for so long, yes, come on, yes, yes." Sherlock wonders how long he can keep it up, whether John's mind can just turn off indefinitely or if he'd get bored of it the way Sherlock does. Unlikely, but Sherlock likes having empirical evidence to back up his theories.
John's kisses become sloppier as he approaches his climax, then stop altogether to be replaced with harsh pants and a rising tension in his muscles, and Sherlock can't pull away because John's got a warm, steady hand on the back of his neck, anchoring him in place.
When John comes, he closes his eyes and exhales sharply. His fingernails dig painfully in the nape of Sherlock's neck. There will be scratch marks there in the morning, Sherlock thinks, but they won't hurt enough to distract him. Probably won't hurt at all. Semen spills over his hand and John's belly. Sherlock gets up to grab a tissue from his desk and when he turns back, wiping his hand clean, John's propped himself up on one arm, and is watching him.
Sherlock swipes at the semen on John's belly with another tissue. John's breathing is still quicker than normal, but it's slowing down, and there's a wide grin on his face -- pleased, satisfied. When most of the mess is gone, John sits up and reaches for Sherlock's trousers again. "Here, let me," he says.
Sherlock knocks his hands away. "No, it's fine," he replies, and presses his open mouth against John's, tasting and exploring him with his tongue.
Except that John tries again, insisting, "Yes, but I want to." He presses his palm against Sherlock's soft cock while Sherlock's distracted by the differing textures of John's mouth and the rough spots on the inside of his lip where he chews when he's thinking.
Sherlock grabs John's wrist just as John goes still. "I said," Sherlock says, leaning back, annoyed at having to repeat himself, "it's fine."
"You're not even hard," John says. This is the beginning of a familiar, unpleasant argument that Sherlock doesn't want to have.
"You're stating the obvious again, I see," Sherlock replies, and lets go of John's wrist, throwing it away from him.
"But -- If you're not -- Did you even want to? Did you even enjoy it?" John's face begins to fall.
Yes, Sherlock did -- to both questions. Sherlock doesn't want to have this conversation, he hates this conversation. He hates feeling awkward and wrong around someone he actually cares about. What he wants is to curl up next to John with John in his arms, or him in John's (either would work; he's not picky about those things), and listen to John's breathing until he falls asleep.
"Obviously I did, or I wouldn't have done it. I don't want to talk about it right now," Sherlock says curtly, and shoves at John's shoulder lightly at first, then rougher when John doesn't react. It takes a few seconds because John's thought processes are slowed by the endorphins still rushing through his blood, but he eventually takes the hint and lies down.
Sherlock curls up next to him, positioned such that he can rest his head on John's shoulder -- the one that was shot, because he's always wanted to feel the texture of the scar tissue against his cheek (rough at the edges, enough to scratch lightly, but smooth, too, when he presses his tongue curiously against it).
John makes a soft noise.
"I love you," Sherlock says steadily, like the idea doesn't make him feel panicky and shaky and vaguely nauseous. Like he hasn't thought about John at night, and how John makes him feel, and how he can't breathe sometimes but for wanting him. Like it doesn't terrify him if he thinks too hard about it, because he'd never meant to give one person so much power over his own happiness, and now that he has, he doesn't know what to do next.
John touches Sherlock's hand, the one flung over his waist. "Really?" His voice is soft, reverent, and Sherlock's sure John can notice the way his heart's pounding in his chest, quick and loud.
"Yes. Go to sleep."
John obeys, falling asleep after a few minutes, and Sherlock lingers in bed with him, dozing in and out of a light slumber for the few hours until an experiment in the oven needs tending to.
Sherlock doesn't give much serious thought to navigating romantic relationships. It's an insulting waste of his intellect, at the very least, and also oftentimes depressing. But when John walks out of Sherlock's bedroom in the morning, his steps are hesitant and he is slightly favoring his leg. Nervous, having second thoughts about what happened last night -- but he doesn't regret it, because he's looking at Sherlock out of the corner of his eyes, trying to read Sherlock's reaction to him, rather than trying to avoid him.
Afraid of rejection.
The right response comes easily to him. He gives John a warm smile, followed by, "Good morning."
It's that simple.
John relaxes, and he smiles back. "Morning. Fancy anything for brekkie?"
Sherlock shrugs. He lets his attention drop back to his email when John leaves his line of sight for the kitchen. "Tea is fine. I'm not hungry."
When John sets the cup of tea on the desk next to Sherlock's hand, Sherlock catches John's wrist before it can move away and uses it to pull John closer.
"Sherlock, what are you -- " Whatever John was planning to say gets lost when Sherlock kisses him -- brief, mouth-closed, but distinctly non-chaste.
"I'm still interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with you," Sherlock says, and nuzzles John's throat. John's changed into fresh clothes but hasn't showered yet, and he smells faintly like Sherlock and sleep. "I don't regret what happened last night. There's no need to worry about it."
John's cheeks turn red, just slightly, and Sherlock presses the back of his fingers against John's face to feel the increased temperature. This is what he likes most about relationships -- the implicit agreement that he's allowed to touch whenever he wants, wherever he wants, and for whatever reason, even if it's just curiosity. It's this change right here, where "my personal space" becomes "our personal space".
"Alright," John says, and kisses him again -- more thoroughly, and it is warm and wet and pleasant.
"You need to eat and go to work," Sherlock says reluctantly, fifteen minutes later. They have found themselves on the sofa again. John's fingers are curled in Sherlock's hair and Sherlock's lips tingle faintly, an aftereffect of the firm pressure of John's mouth against his. He feels almost drunk.
Drunk on kisses, that's a phrase people use, isn't it, because that's what it feels like, this inexorable draw to John's mouth and his scent and his solidity, as if throwing himself into the sheer sensory experience of John is the greatest, most enjoyable thing he can do.
John stares at Sherlock's mouth. His eyes glaze slightly when Sherlock licks his lips. John had tasted like Sherlock's tea and a little bit of toothpaste at first, but Sherlock's lips don't taste like much of anything anymore, because he'd already chased that taste until it'd faded into nothingness.
"You have to leave for work soon," Sherlock reminds him, amused, and feels it again -- the happy curl of pleasure in his chest when John has to rub a hand over his face and take a breath before he's capable of giving a response.
"Right," he says, and gets off the sofa, brushing off his clothes. His trousers are tented but he doesn't mention it, only adjusts himself absently as he checks his watch, face twisting in dismay. "Shit. I --"
"Don't have time to shower, yes, but you showered yesterday morning and you smell fine today," Sherlock says. "You shouldn't take more than a few seconds to finish your orange juice, and if you grab your toast on your way out, you can eat it while going to work. You already brushed your teeth but you haven't shaved yet, but that's fine because most people won't notice an extra day's worth of facial hair. Also, your mouth no longer tastes like toothpaste, so the orange juice won't be unpleasant when you drink it."
John's face splits into a grin. "You're amazing."
He kisses Sherlock again in the hallway on his way out, tasting like orange juice. He pushes Sherlock away with a laugh when Sherlock tries to deepen the kiss.
The door is already open and Sherlock has half-turned around to check the news on his computer when he's stopped by John's hand grabbing his arm. Sherlock turns around and John curls a hand around the back of Sherlock's neck over his scratch marks, which sting just faintly enough to notice (the best kind of mark). He presses their foreheads together.
"I love you too," John says, and kisses Sherlock again (close-mouthed, chaste, affectionate, just the firm press of lips against lips), before darting out the door.
Logically, Sherlock already knew this, or at least heavily suspected.
All the evidence had pointed this way, had said, John cares deeply for you, had indicated that his feelings for Sherlock were more than platonic. Because John doesn't date anymore, because he looks at Sherlock when he thinks Sherlock's not watching him, because even when he complains about something Sherlock's done, his voice is usually fond.
Because when Sherlock had gotten himself stabbed by accident and spent two weeks in hospital, John had been at his bedside every time he'd opened his eyes, looking ragged and stressed but as if he belonged there, as if it hadn't even occurred to him to go home or do something else.
Logically, Sherlock wouldn't even have tried kissing John if it hadn't been perfectly obvious that John was romantically interested in him. Logically, Sherlock wouldn't have bothered getting John off at all, if he hadn't given it at least even odds that John loved him as well.
There is a light, gleeful, almost-giddy joy in Sherlock's chest, and he finds himself replaying the scene in his mind over and over -- John's forehead against his, John's hand on the back of his neck, a sweet smile Sherlock's never seen before but offered to him now, and the words, I love you too, filling his heart to bursting.
Naturally, everything goes wrong before the day is out.
They go out for dinner ("As a date, a proper one," John clarifies when he suggests the location), and Sherlock makes an effort to focus on it, on being with John and being on a date rather than trying to deduce the life stories of the other patrons. It's not as hard as he expects.
He slips at one point and ends up explaining to John that their waitress is clearly reconsidering her decision to stop being a stripper because the pay's better and it'd give her more time to focus on her studies compared to waiting tables, which is especially relevant because she's about ready to break up with the boyfriend who hadn't like her taking her clothes off for money. But Sherlock's gone to restaurants with John before, and done this often enough that John's reaction is amusement rather than irritation or embarrassment.
That's not the problem. The problem is afterwards, when they've returned to the flat and decided to watch a film together. Sherlock doesn't especially want to watch a film, but John's face lights up when he says he's sure Sherlock will like this one. Sherlock's thinking less about the movie and more about an hour and a half of John nestled against his side when he agrees.
The problem is that they're watching it on John's laptop in John's bed, and the film's a bit rubbish so Sherlock turns his head and sucks John's earlobe into his mouth and says, "Your film's boring. I'm bored."
The problem is that John laughs and leans over Sherlock to set his laptop on the nightstand, then pushes Sherlock down on the bed and brings his hands to the buttons on Sherlock's shirt and teases, "Bored, hmm? Got any better ideas for what we can do?"
Because Sherlock laughs too, and tilts his head, and gives John a coy smile, the one with just a hint of a flirtation. He says, "I can think of a few things, yes," and drops his eyes to John's mouth deliberately.
But really, the problem is that instead of pressing his mouth to Sherlock's, John takes it as his cue to start unbuttoning Sherlock's shirt, kissing every newly-exposed bit of skin, working his way down Sherlock's chest with intent, and Sherlock's really not sure what to do now.
"Wait, stop," he says, when the nervousness in his spine becomes too much to bear. John looks up.
He rubs his cheek against Sherlock's belly. Sherlock buries his fingers in John's hair. John makes a pleased noise. "Hmm?"
I should probably let you know that I don't want this.
You're going to be disappointed if you keep going.
I don't want you to try to get me off, because it wont work.
"Come here." He tugs on John's hair and John crawls up his body obligingly, giving him a kiss when their mouths are aligned. "Let me," Sherlock says, and hooks his fingers in John's waistband.
In the past, this has worked, for at least a while. But not this time, because John's a rather more considerate lover than Sherlock's had in the past, and instead of agreeing and letting Sherlock undo his trousers, John catches one of Sherlock's hands in his, says "No, it's fine, I want to," and kisses Sherlock's throat.
Sherlock likes having his throat kissed, and is momentarily distracted by his ongoing project of cataloging all the different ways in which John kisses. He catches John's chin when it gets too near his groin. "I said, don't," he repeats.
"Because I don't want you to."
"Yes," John agrees pleasantly, "but why don't you want me to?"
Because I'm not attracted to you is the wrong answer, Sherlock knows from experience. Also wrong are I don't enjoy having sex with you (which is also factually wrong, depending on how one defines "enjoy"), I'll just get bored, and, to a lesser extent, Because I said so.
"I'd be more comfortable if you didn't," Sherlock finally says, and pulls John back up to his side.
"Oh. Um," and John starts to turn red -- embarrassment, not arousal, because he's looking away from Sherlock instead of at him. His hand on Sherlock's waist is tentative and unsure. "Is there something --"
"There's nothing wrong with it," Sherlock interrupts before John can embarrass himself any further. "My penis is neither diseased nor deformed, thanks."
"Right, sorry," John says. They lie together on the bed for a few moments, just long enough for Sherlock to get properly comfortable, before John starts, "So you don't want me to --"
John starts to get up. "Do you want to watch the rest of the film?"
Sherlock tightens his arm around John's waist and tangles their legs together. "Your films are rubbish, so no."
"Then, is there anything you want to do instead?"
"Anything you want is fine."
"Except for --"
John plays with Sherlock's hair while Sherlock measures John's rate of breathing and tries to guess his heart rate. John's hand on his scalp pauses just for a moment before he says, "Did something ha --"
"Nothing happened when I was a child." Sherlock sighs. "I just don't like it, if you must know."
There's a long pause. John's hand stills, and Sherlock can almost hear the thoughts ticking in his head. "You don't like..."
"I don't like sex, and I don't like other people trying to get me off." And here, here is the conversation he hates.
"But last night, you --"
Yes, I remember. I was there too, Sherlock thinks, but doesn't say out loud. "You seemed to want it."
"But you didn't."
"It was just a hand job."
"That you didn't like."
"It was alright."
John snorts. "Yeah, that's my ambition right there, to be told I'm alright."
Now it's Sherlock's turn to start to get up, and John's turn to pull him back down. "I have an experiment to see to," Sherlock says.
"You didn't have one when I asked if you wanted to come to my room and watch something with me," John points out, which is true. The experiment hadn't seemed important enough to warrant being checked on, at the time.
But Sherlock doesn't want to talk about this. He hates talking about this. It's awkward and embarrassing and it feels like turning himself inside out and he just... He'd rather not talk about this, except that John would have noticed it eventually. It's near impossible to get naked with someone without them noticing, and he likes the idea of being naked with John, of pressing their bodies together with nothing in the way.
Unfortunately, this is an inevitable conversation, so he sighs. "Fine. I will answer three questions, and then I'm going to go to my room and read a book."
"Okay, um... You don't want to have sex with me?"
"But you still want to go out with me?"
"Hmm. Do you masturbate?"
"Yes. Your three questions are up."
John tries to keep him in bed when Sherlock gets up, but lets go with a wounded look when Sherlock pushes him away with a bit more force than necessary. "Look, you don't have to get angry with me, Sherlock," he says, sounding irritated himself. "I just want to understand."
But Sherlock feels raw all over, like every inch of his body has been rubbed with sandpaper. He doesn't want to talk about it. He doesn't want to answer the questions, because they're always the same questions, and they're always unbearably stupid and as soon as he finishes answering them, it feels like there a countdown, starting up in the back of his mind. Because as soon as someone does understand, he stops being enough for them, and it's only a matter of time before they break up with him.
Assuming they don't break up with him over his personality or personal habits instead.
"I'm going to my room," he says firmly. "I don't want to be bothered."
Sherlock manages to avoid John for the rest of the night and the first half of the next day as well, mostly by going to bed around the time John's scheduled to wake up in the morning. But it's not actually feasible to avoid one's flatmate, so by the time John's come home from work carrying two bags from Tesco's, Sherlock has drifted out of his room to examine the tissue samples from the freezer.
He listens to John hang his jacket up and put away the shopping and walk towards him, but is still somehow surprised when he feels a tentative touch on his elbow and hears John say, "Are you still mad at me?"
John offers him a patient smile. "I brought you some biscuits, the chocolate ones that you like, and I was thinking about making pasta for dinner tonight, if you want any. Are you still mad at me?"
This isn't how people normally react. "This isn't how people normally react," Sherlock says cautiously.
"I thought we've already established I'm not normal people. Yes to dinner, then? I was thinking we could talk."
Feeling vaguely as if John's trying to bludgeon him to death with kindness, Sherlock replies, "I'll need half an hour to finish my observations for my experiment. But, afterwards, I suppose I could eat."
John's smile widens with pleasure. "Great. It should be ready around then," he says.
Over dinner, while Sherlock is nibbling a biscuit and wondering if John would be offended if he didn't eat anything, John says, "So, you're asexual."
Sherlock puts down the other half of his biscuit. He flips through all the possible things he could say to that -- obviously, or maybe, or it seems that way, and settles for, "That's the word for it, yes."
"And you're romantically attracted to me, but not sexually." John takes a bite of pasta, perfectly casual.
"Yes," Sherlock says cautiously, dragging the word out until it's two syllables long.
"Okay. And you're aware I'm not, you know, like you."
"So far, so obvious," Sherlock says derisively before belatedly realizing that he probably ought to be more polite, but John just gives him the smile -- the fond one, the indulgent one that Sherlock gets when he's in a bad mood and John thinks it's for a childish reason (Mycroft wishing him a happy birthday is not a childish reason, for the record).
"But you still want to, um, be in a relationship." John's turning faintly pink, and he stares at his plate. "With me. As boyfriends."
"I always thought 'boyfriend' sounded juvenile," Sherlock comments, and nudges John's foot with his under the table. "But yes. If you'll still have me. It can be just like your previous relationships. We can even have sex whenever you'd like."
"Of course I'll still have you. I told you I love you and I meant it. Still mean it. And I'm not going to have sex with you if you don't want to," John promises. "Is there anything else you don't like?"
"Nothing I can think of immediately," Sherlock replies, flushing at the way John says love, open and upfront and unafraid of what it means, to have such a huge, obvious vulnerability that can be taken advantage of.
"You could have just told me up front," John murmurs against Sherlock's hair after dinner, when they've made their way back to John's bed, fully dressed. "Instead of just assuming I'd be too stupid to notice that you didn't want me to touch your prick."
"I don't actually care if you touch it or not," Sherlock says lazily, feeling warm and comfortable with his head tucked under John's chin. They're in John's bed under the blankets, and in the morning, his clothes will smell like John. He rather likes that thought. "I just didn't want you to try to get me off and become frustrated when it didn't happen."
"Oh. So, it's okay if I...?" John trails off, but the hand on Sherlock's waist drifts lower, until John's fingers are wrapped around his hip.
"If you want." Sherlock shifts obligingly, turning so John can cautiously press his hand against Sherlock's groin. Light pressure over a relatively small area, stroking downwards before it disappears entirely -- the backs of John's fingers, not his palm or fingertips. Interesting.
He mirrors the action, brushing the back of his own fingers against the front of John's trousers, and that's interesting too, the texture of the fabric paired with the bulge of John's erection and how the flesh yields but slightly. He repeats the action more firmly, using his minor knuckles this time, running them down the length of John's cock with a steady pressure.
John makes a noise, somewhat strangled, somewhat involuntary. Tension blooms in his body like dye dropped into a bowl of water. He tightens his arm around Sherlock's back. "Sherlock," he says, "What are you doing?"
"Nothing in particular," Sherlock says. "Just observing."
"Could you observe somewhere else?"
"Of course," he replies, and slides his hand upwards, under John's jumper, to trace the shape of his ribs.
"Do you not like kissing?" John asks, when Sherlock presses his mouth to John's throat, curious to see if he can accurately calculate John's heart rate by pressing his tongue against John's carotid artery. He can, but the movement when John speaks interferes with his count.
Sherlock moves his lips to John's larynx instead, to feel the vibrations formed by his words. "I'd think it'd be obvious that I do," he remarks.
"A lot of asexuals don't."
"Don't they? How many have you dated?" But that's the wrong question, because that's the wrong phrasing. If John had dated someone who didn't like kissing, he'd have said so already. And John's confusion the other night had been genuine, so he hadn't had any knowledge of the matter before. Obvious. "Nevermind, the answer's none that you know of. So research papers or -- did you ask someone about me?" A horrifying thought hits him. "Tell me you didn't talk to Mycroft."
It takes a minute for John to stop laughing so hard he can't speak, though a few giggles escape as he answers, "Mycroft, oh god, Mycroft, no. No, I didn't talk to Mycroft, do you think I'm mad?"
"So what, then? Research papers?"
"Wikipedia, actually. And then a little bit of Google."
Ah, right. Everything's on the internet these days; he should have guessed. "Well, I enjoy kissing just fine," he says, and proceeds to demonstrate.
Kissing's nice. It's intimate, and warm, and lets him explore John with his mouth, learning the nuances of his body that no one else knows (well, aside from his previous lovers, Sherlock supposes, but he's undoubtedly more observant than them so it doesn't really count). He could stay like this indefinitely, trading kisses with John all night, memorizing each one because they're all slightly different and worthy of attention.
John's kisses get rougher and more sloppy as he becomes aroused -- but they also turn more intense. It's not that his interest in kissing lessens, Sherlock observes thoughtfully, so much as he becomes interested in everything else and his mind can't seem to properly focus on it all at once. "Have you noticed you're mauling me a bit?" he asks curiously, when John's fingers start to dig into his sides.
John's hands withdraw at once. No, he hadn't, then. "Sorry."
"No, feel free to continue. I didn't mind," Sherlock says, but John has already shifted away on the bed.
"Hang on," he says, and pushes Sherlock away gently when he reaches for him. "Give me a few minutes."
"You don't have to," Sherlock offers, after thirty seconds have passed and he gets tired of waiting. "I knew you were going to become aroused when we were kissing. It'd be only fair for me to --"
"You don't have to do anything you don't want," John says firmly. "I'm not going to make you give me a hand job just because I got turned on."
"It really isn't a big deal --"
"Sherlock. Don't worry about it. I can take care of it later."
There is a thread of irritation twining its way around John's words, and Sherlock doesn't want to push the matter and spark another argument. So when John opens his arms for Sherlock again, Sherlock goes gladly, and lets the matter drop.
Things are so good when Sherlock lets the matter drop that he doesn't bother bringing it up again. John will just get irritated and defensive about it, and if John doesn't want to have sex with him, then Sherlock's more than happy to oblige him.
They curl up together when John gets home from work, and John runs his hands through Sherlock's hair because he's noticed how much Sherlock likes it. Sherlock shows John some of the more interesting things he can play on the violin, and John calls them all 'beautiful'.
John's just as fun on cases as he always is. But now, when Sherlock's frustrated because they lost their suspect or bored because he hasn't got any good cases on, he'll lay Sherlock flat on the bed and rub his back and shoulders until he can't think of anything but the feel of John's hands on his body.
Right after a dangerous case, when they're still giddy at a near miss and high on adrenaline, they'll fool around -- wrestling and play-fighting until they find themselves making out against the nearest surface, hands fisted in each others clothes.
Except that it's not good, because it's not enough.
John dated Sarah for a month and a half before they first had sex, where sex is defined as her giving him an orgasm. There had been twelve dates (counting the times he just went to her place, and counting the five times Sherlock had interrupted a date to collect John for a case), spread over six weeks.
Over the last three weeks, Sherlock's spent the night in John's bed more often than not (somehow, John manages to make sleeping less boring simply by being there). The nights he hadn't been in John's bed had been the nights he hadn't slept, of course.
They spend a lot of time kissing.
He gets John deliberately "worked up" sometimes, mostly because it's really strange. There is a spot on John's throat that Sherlock can suck on in order to apparently banish coherent through from John's mind, and it is, so far, impervious to Sherlock's desensitization experiments.
But whenever John notices he's started to grind himself against Sherlock's thigh, or realizes his soft murmurs have turned distinctly sexual ("fuck, fuck, Sherlock, your mouth, you're so fucking gorgeous, I want"), he excuses himself to the bathroom and comes back a few minutes later, more relaxed but not quite satisfied. Not sated, even though Sherlock's sure John's telling himself that he is.
"At this rate, you'll break up with me within the next three, maybe four months," Sherlock announces finally during a quiet night while they're on the sofa, Sherlock on his laptop and John on his, their shoulders and thighs pressed firmly against each other.
"That's not true," John says immediately. He sounds hurt -- he is hurt, because Sherlock's predicting the end of their relationship and he doesn't want to admit Sherlock's right. He doesn't know yet that Sherlock's right.
"You've been growing gradually more irritable -- you yelled at me when you took the eyeballs out of the fridge instead of the jam yesterday, even though I put a label on the jar. You're feeling more insecure about my feelings for you, which is caused by my lack of desire for you, which was evidenced when I called you an idiot the other night (because you are an idiot, compared to me). It hurt your feelings even though I've made it clear I don't care if you're an idiot or not. You become sexually aroused more easily and more often, despite the fact that you've taken to masturbating multiple times per day.
In fact, you've been half-hard for the last few minutes we've been sitting together -- probably when you finished writing your email and noticed my presence again, and now that I'm speaking you're fully hard and also staring at my mouth."
"I'm working on it," John says, cheeks pink -- an even mix of embarrassment and arousal, but he's put more space between them on the sofa, and embarrassment will soon win out. "I'll admit it's not easy, but I love you and I want this to work out and I'm trying, okay?"
"Trying won't be enough. You're obviously unsatisfied with the way things are, and if they continue as is, you'll just make yourself miserable and" and you won't love me anymore "grow to resent me. It's obvious you find me very attractive, and I already said it was fine, so in conclusion, we should just have sex already."
John sighs. "I'm not going to make you have sex with me just because you think I'll break up with you if you don't. What if, maybe if I found someone else --"
"Unacceptable," Sherlock declares immediately, because no. Because orgasms stimulate pair-bonding in humans, because sex makes people more emotionally connected to each other, because John is his and Sherlock's completely, unequivocally, unwilling to let John give himself to someone who isn't him. "I'd much rather have sex with you than let someone else do it."
"But you don't want to."
"Yes I do."
"No, you don't. Would you do it if you didn't have to?"
In all the conversations Sherlock's had about his preferences, this had never actually come up. Everyone else had taken it at face value when he'd said he didn't mind having sex. He frowns. "I'd do it if not doing it makes you unhappy, which it does. Besides, I label the experiments I put in the fridge, for the same reason. How is this different?"
"I have a right to take things out of the fridge without being confronted by human body parts. I don't have a right to make you have sex with me."
"It's also perfectly reasonable to break up with someone if they're not sexually compatible, and if I don't have sex with you, we're not sexually compatible. I'd rather have sex with you than break up with you."
"Or we could not have sex and I could not break up with you, like we've been doing."
"Won't work. Thought about it. I wouldn't have offered if I genuinely didn't want to do it. I want to have sex with you."
John looks doubtful. "Are you sure?"
Sherlock's not sure if John means are you sure you want to? or are you sure you wouldn't have?, because both might be true. The thought of losing John hurts, a near-physical pain in his chest, because John's important.
John puts up with him even though Sherlock knows he's hard to get along with. John enjoys the cases just as much as he does, and loves him back, and is kind and wondrous and good, and now that Sherlock has him, the thought of losing him is just. Unbearable.
But that's not the right answer. He can't say, I'd do anything to keep you -- any sacrifice, anything at all. He can't say, even if it made me miserable, I'd do it for you. What he does is force a smile and say, "I can always change my mind if I'm not happy. Anyways, I liked it well enough the first time."
Sherlock shrugs. "It was interesting enough. Not boring." Not yet, but Sherlock's still not bored of watching John read or cook or sleep, and none of those involve private facial expressions or kissing or John telling Sherlock he's amazing, so he doubts he'll get bored of sex with John in its entirety. And even if he does, well, "It made you happy. I don't mind doing something boring in order to make you happy."
"And you're sure." But John's already reaching for him, because John wants him, because he's already got an excuse and John wants desperately to be convinced it's alright.
Sherlock rolls his eyes and takes John's hand. "Don't repeat your questions. It was bad enough the first time around."
As soon as they're in John's bedroom, Sherlock starts stripping off his clothes. He's got his shirt off and his trousers halfway down when John says, "What are you doing?"
Sherlock looks at him, then steps out of his trousers. "I thought we were having sex."
John stares. "Oh. I thought you meant," and he flushes, "a blowjob, or something. Not --" He makes a motion with his hand that encompasses it all -- Sherlock, the bed, him.
"You can fuck me if you want," Sherlock offers, except he's always better at offering that in the heat of the moment, and not so much when he's standing almost-naked in front of someone else while they're fully dressed and all they've done, as far as sex is concerned, is a hand job when John hadn't known what it meant. "I thought --" He stops. I thought that's what you wanted is the wrong thing to say.
John scratches the back of his neck and looks at the ground. He's picked up on Sherlock's hesitation and now he's nervous and feeling guilty, so Sherlock crowds him against the closed door, close enough that their bodies brush. Sherlock rests his forearms on the door on either side of John's head, stealing his attention before he ca have any second thoughts.
"But if it's all the same to you," Sherlock begins, head tilted down to look John in the eye. He already knows John likes hearing him speak, but it's still gratifying to see the way John's lips part unconsciously when he does so. "I'd rather get you off with my mouth." Less mess, less physical discomfort.
John swallows heavily. "Yeah, okay," and then John's mouth is on his again.
"The bed's more comfortable," Sherlock says when they break apart. John's lips are swollen and bright and Sherlock wants to suck the lower one into his mouth and worry at it with his teeth, just to see how bruised he can make it.
"Right," John agrees, and strips as they make their way to John's bed; his hands hesitate at his trousers, and this sense of misplaced chivalry might be appreciated by the women John dates, but frankly Sherlock's thoroughly sick of it.
"Come on, then. Nothing I haven't seen before."
John laughs a little and finishes stripping; he's fully hard, Sherlock notices with no surprise, and John's cock twitches when he notices Sherlock looking at it. "You're still wearing your pants. Do you -- do you mind taking them off? Just so I can see you. I won't touch."
"I already said you can touch me if you want," Sherlock replies and strips fully naked. "If you're curious." He's never found his own body to be especially interesting, though he's aware he's generally considered attractive and John seems to like staring at him well enough.
John bites down on his own hand when Sherlock wraps his fingers around John's prick and gives the tip a brief lick (the brief taste of pre-ejaculate fluid is strange but not unpleasant, and honestly, he's tasted worse during his experiments). He traces the vein on its underside with his thumb. "What do you wa --"
"Anything. You, your mouth. I want to see your lips wrapped around me," John breathes, voice low and hungry, so Sherlock obliges him.
Sherlock's given blowjobs before; he's not inexperienced. He knows what to do, and he knows what things are generally considered pleasurable, and it doesn't much matter that his knowledge is from someone else's reactions rather than his own.
It's not especially complicated -- his mouth bobbing up and down over the head and his fingers wrapped around the base of the shaft, stopping it from choking him. He glances up, but John's got his head tossed back in a way that makes it impossible for Sherlock to read his face; from the angle and the way John's moving his hips (enthusiastic but not always in time with Sherlock's mouth), his eyes are probably closed.
He makes noises -- beautiful, soft gasps and moans that follow Sherlock's pressure and rhythm, and Sherlock wonders if John even knows he's doing it. If he's chosen not to speak deliberately or if words simply aren't coming to him. If he's thinking about Sherlock or too busy focusing on the tactile sensation of Sherlock's mouth on his prick.
It's not long before John's coming with a groan that sounds almost like he's in pain, spilling warm fluid into Sherlock's mouth. He, in turn, spits it out in the bin. The taste (moderately unpleasant) lingers on his tongue and the roof of his mouth.
He gives John a deep kiss when he returns to the bed, and John returns it heatedly. "I can taste myself on you," he murmurs, when Sherlock pulls away to arrange himself more comfortably on the bed. John's fingers play over the small of Sherlock's back.
"That was the point," Sherlock agrees. "It's too far for me to properly rinse my mouth out."
John makes a face at him. "So you kissed me instead?"
"It worked, didn't it?" John's mouth hadn't tasted of semen, and by the time they'd stopped, the taste in Sherlock's mouth had dissipated as well.
John's only response is to laugh and pull Sherlock closer until he can rest his head on Sherlock's shoulder sleepily.
Now, John's sated -- loose-limbed, affectionate and just a tiny bit disoriented. It's adorable; he likes John in his arms like this, soft and contented and peaceful. John's more than a little asleep already, and Sherlock can't help but smooth his fingers through John's hair, enjoying the rough texture of the strands.
He traces his fingertips over the scars he can see on John's body; there's a fair number of them -- not only from John's life as a soldier, but scars from before as well: old, barely-visible marks from childhood antics and other, less-faded ones from fights and accidents that had occurred when he was an adult.
Sherlock wants to taste all of them and hear John tell him the stories behind each one, until John's body is as familiar to him as his own.
"Love you," John mumbles into Sherlock's shoulder, before his breath evens out in sleep.
John's body is his again -- his to experiment with (he doesn't call them experiments out loud, but he thinks John wouldn't mind) and it's brilliant, because John doesn't stop Sherlock when he reaches for him. Because when John wants it, he'll beg ("please, Sherlock, I want you to touch me, I want to touch you, come on, please, please").
He hadn't anticipated how much he likes it when John begs.
Every time he hears John's voice, low and needy, it's a heady rush of power and excitement, of knowing he's the one John's begging for. He's the one John fantasizes about when he touches himself. He can't help but encourage it ("What do you want, John? Tell me, tell me, yes"), and John quickly learns to tell the difference between no, I'm busy right now and I can be persuaded in Sherlock's body language.
Unless he's working, Sherlock can often be persuaded, which is strange, which is surprising, because he still doesn't want to fuck or be fucked by John. He still doesn't get off on bringing John to orgasm, and yet.
And yet, every time Sherlock's hands or mouth find themselves on John's prick, John makes the most intriguing noises (Sherlock catalogs them all, adding them to the ever-increasing body of knowledge he has about one John Watson). Then afterwards, John looks at him like he's something precious, like Sherlock's just done something amazing. And for a few minutes, John's whole countenance is soft around the edges with pleasure and --
And Sherlock likes that rather a lot, actually.
John wears his emotions on his sleeve -- the regular sex brings his mood well above his baseline level, and he spends a lot of time looking stupidly happy, which only serves to make Sherlock feel more self-satisfied with himself. Eventually Sherlock gets a text from Mycroft that reads, Congratulations on working things out with John.
When John sees it, he bursts out laughing.
Lestrade watches them like a hawk for an entire week, which confuses Sherlock to no end, because he already knows Lestrade isn't homophobic and is straight. He loses interest immediately when John finally takes Sherlock's hand whilst they're at a crime scene (annoying, John should already know Sherlock needs both his hands free to investigate).
"Dinner's on me tonight," John says later that night, giving Sherlock a brief peck on the lips when their murderer is caught and they're both ravenous. "Lestrade's just given me my cut of the pool."
"The -- Ah. I was wondering about that. How much?"
"Fifty percent. The total pool was nearly three hundred quid, because a couple of the other departments joined in on it too," John says smugly, and laces their fingers together.
"So, and give me an honest answer here, please. You know I hate it when you get into one of your sulks," John begins while Sherlock is lying in his lap, having his scalp massaged.
Sherlock makes a querying noise against John's thigh.
"How do you feel at the idea of having sex with me? If I were to fuck you, that is. What comes to mind?" John has gotten better at asking the right questions.
Sherlock, in return, has gotten better at answering questions. "All the positions look stupid and embarrassing, not to mention uncomfortable. I don't mind the pain if you're not too rough -- and I already know you wouldn't be, obviously. I find prostate stimulation unpleasant so you'll have to try not to do that. I haven't yet, with you, so we can try it if you want to and don't take too long to finish."
"Would you mind if I wanted to?"
"After a case would be the best time for it."
"Do you think it'd be too much? I'm happy with what we have now, really. I love what we have now." And John is happy -- he's perfectly content with things the way they are. He won't push if Sherlock says no.
But Sherlock's not a virgin, and there's no piece of himself that he wants someone else to have touched that John hasn't. Everything someone else has had, he wants John to have as well. "No, it's fine. I want -- I've done it before, and I want you to do it to me. At least once, and maybe again if it's not too tedious." He thinks for a moment, and it seems like a good time for him to add, "And if you really love me, you won't be cross at me about the sink."
"...What happened to the sink?"
Oh, John hadn't noticed yet? "Nothing," Sherlock says immediately. When John's hands grab for his sides, fingers dancing lightly over his ticklish spots, Sherlock forces out, between involuntary giggles, "Nothing! Nothing! It was an accident, I'm sorry!", before managing to dart away.
John gives chase, laughing merrily.