John was on edge for the remainder of his walk to the tube station. As he merged back into more populated streets he found himself constantly checking over his shoulder for silver eyes, breaking stride for a closer look at dark hair or clothing, or really just doing double-takes at any even vaguely man-shaped pedestrian who entered his field of vision. On the platform, he started at the fingertip-light brush of a jacket sleeve against his own when someone passed a little too close. On the train, he whirled toward the sinister nudge of an accidental shoulder against his back. His palms stayed damp, his pulse elevated. Every time it was not Sherlock beside him John felt a wave of disappointment, blew out the breath he'd been holding, and caught the next one just as quickly as another figure caught his eye. But he met no vampires on his journey.
By the time he reached Baker Street, John was clenching his jaw so hard in anticipation that his teeth were chattering, because surely that hadn't been the end of it. His skin felt too tight. His eyes felt too wide from being aware for so long.
Even so, John almost missed him.
He was close enough to read the brass-plated 221B when something—he couldn't say what it was…a change in the light in his peripheral vision, perhaps, or a sigh of sound where there should be only silence—made him stop in his tracks on the pavement. He turned slowly, his eyes drawn to a soft-edged pool of darkness on the opposite side of the street. He couldn't make out any hint of Sherlock's potential presence, and so was immediately certain Sherlock was there.
Baker Street was quiet this late at night, under the sway of the same hush in the air John had felt earlier, but by no means deserted. A pair of young women, chatting between themselves, passed behind John on the pavement. Their voices faded as they moved away. As John stood immobile staring into the shadows, a red sports car glided past on the street. The headlamps sent their light reaching across the pavement, briefly illuminating a slim figure leaning against the wrought-iron rail. His pale hands were curled between the jutting, spiked finials and his long legs crossed at the ankles, his body stretched out in indolent display. His head was hung low, but there was no mistaking that his eyes were fixed on John. The car's lights slid away, returning the figure to its shadows.
John's heart thumped with excitement. As eager as he was to be back within touching distance of this fey and fanged Sherlock, he took a moment to calm his mind and body. Part of him wanted to simply give himself over to this private theatre Sherlock had created, to let this intimately familiar and beloved stranger-in-the-game take him apart; another part of him refused to surrender any control he did not have to in order to play the game. It had been his game to begin with, after all. He sniffed, smirked, put his shoulders down, and crossed the street.
"You're following me," John called out as he stepped onto the opposite pavement. He walked toward the patch of shadow and stepped into it, but where he had just seen Sherlock seconds ago, there was nothing but the iron railing.
A sigh of breath at the back of his neck. "No."
Tendrils of electricity shivered down John's spine, but he forced himself to turn slowly. He made sure his voice portrayed nothing but confidence. He raised his eyebrows, challenging. Playing. "Then what are you doing here?"
Sherlock's long lashes drifted gently down as he lowered his gaze to John's throat and let it linger there. "Waiting."
"What do you want?"
Sherlock raised a finger and traced the tip of one fingernail across the side of John's throat, lightly scraping the spot where his eyes had lingered moments before.
"You know what I want."
His accent remained strangely unidentifiable, like all the world's dialects had combined into one beautiful, perfect voice, delivered with the resonance of ages. Deep, open vowels and sensually savoured consonants, so unlike Sherlock's usual fireworks display of speech.
John did his best not to react visibly, trying to hang on to his bravado. "What makes you think I'm interested?" His eyes were quickly attuning to the shadows, and he could make out the slow, secretive smile that curved Sherlock's mouth at his question.
"John Watson." Sherlock took a quick, gliding step into John's space. His whispered voice was the sound of paws padding across the forest floor at midnight. "What makes you think it matters what you want?"
This time John couldn't control the hiss of his indrawn breath. For a moment his body was torn between the urge to bolt back from the implied threat and the urge to fling himself into the promise in Sherlock's eyes.
Sherlock's answering smirk said that he had seen both impulses as clearly as he saw everything in John's face…and body. "But you do want me." His voice turned soothing. Seductive. The fingers lingering at John's throat slid into the hair at the nape of his neck, but the thumb of his hand remained resting lightly against John's pulse point. "Your blood is purring for me. I can hear it. I can smell it."
John licked his lips. The theatre was getting easier and easier to give himself over to, at that. Hardly any surrender at all. Cooperation, that's more what it was. He could cooperate. He was a cooperative sort of man. Sherlock's lips were parted, like he was breathing in John's scent, and John's gaze was caught by the white fang tips only barely revealed. "Yeah. I do. Want you," he confessed, as it wasn't really much of a confession anyway.
"I can feel it," Sherlock's hand slid between John's thighs and up, palm pressed against his trousers. "Purring," he murmured triumphantly as he squeezed John's cock.
John pressed into Sherlock's hand with a grateful, needy groan. Oh, that was good. He had been in such a state since Sherlock stopped him in the street earlier that the touch flooded him with such a wave of relief his legs felt weak. It seemed like he had been waiting all night for Sherlock's touch. He ground his hips forward. He wasn't sure he could purr, but he managed an enthusiastic grunt.
Sherlock's breath of laughter against John's ear was cold. It puffed down inside the collar of his jacket and raised gooseflesh on his neck. He turned John away from him so he was facing the open pavement and then pulled him back against his chest and hips, holding him there with one arm wrapped around the front of his shoulders. His other hand slid back to the front of John's trousers. He tightened both arms, both hands and squeezed, almost lifting John off his feet. "And everyone can see it," he breathed into John's hair, now openly rubbing the length of John's erection, "how you want me."
John shut his eyes and groaned again at the pressure against his groin. He matched his own arms and hands to Sherlock's, both hugging himself further into Sherlock's embrace and trying to protect himself from open view. At the far end of Baker Street, a man was walking in their direction. A couple, man and woman, stood chatting diagonally across the street. Another man was walking away, talking on his mobile. Had the shadows changed at all? How much of their intimacy was still concealed in darkness? How starkly would Sherlock's big, pale hand stand out against the indigo denim at John's groin? John glanced once again at the man walking toward them.
"You don't want them to see," Sherlock whispered, his voice tinged with a sort of harsh amusement. His cool lips brushed the edge of John's ear, his tongue darted a quick taste of John's neck. "You don't want anyone to see what I do to you."
John squirmed against Sherlock's palm, urging for more friction as his hips pressed forward and then back against Sherlock's thighs, the beginnings of a thrusting rhythm. "Do you? Oh, god," he gasped as Sherlock deftly flicked open the button fastening of his trousers with two fingers and slid his hand inside, over the thin cotton of his pants.
"Yet you want more." Sherlock dragged a long, continuous open-mouthed kiss down the length of his exposed neck. The needle-sharp rasp of one fang against his skin froze John in the thrill of danger. The kiss ended with Sherlock's nose pressed inside John's jacket collar, where he hummed a satisfied little moan at John's helpless excitement.
"Yes," John gasped, arching his back against Sherlock's body as Sherlock's fingers slid and squeezed over the damp patch of fabric at the tip of his cock. The man at the end of the street was closer now. John could see the buttons on his overcoat. The laces on his brown shoes. "I do. But…"
The hand Sherlock held around John's chest moved to his throat, a caress, not a grip. The hand over John's pants moved faster, harder, jerking him in rough, short strokes inside the tight space of his trousers. "Not here?" Sherlock murmured. "You would feel safer inside? Your safe home? It's just steps away."
John gasped, nodding, because he was fairly certain what he didn't want was to come in his trousers in the middle of Baker Street. And that was a rapidly approaching possibility.
A car turned onto the street. The yellow headlamp beams began to swing toward them.
John tensed. "Sherlock!"
Sherlock squeezed John's cock again, kissed his neck. "You wish to take me to your bed inside. Don't you? Don't you want me inside?"
The brown shoes tap tap tapped closer. The yellow beam touched the end of the wrought iron railing.
"Yes, bed." John turned quickly toward Sherlock, tugging his jacket down over the gaping top of his trousers, wincing as he tried to zip his flies back up. "Yes, inside. Yes. I want that."
The car passed.
John took Sherlock's hand, warm now from contact with his body, and pulled him across the street toward the door to 221 with a furtive glance over his shoulder. The brown-buttoned, brown-shoed man glanced back at him, mildly curious, and then continued on. The chatting couple laughed together at a shared joke. The mobile-talker had disappeared around the corner at the far end of the street. John fumbled for his keys urgently and almost stumbled through the entryway in his eagerness. Inside. Bed.
He turned once he had passed through the interior door, expecting Sherlock hard on his heels, but Sherlock was still on the front step. His arms were raised, braced against the outside of the door frame, tension evident in the line of his body. The tails of his black shirt were drawn up high enough, softly lit by the dim foyer light, to reveal the swell of his own erection inside his jeans. John's cock ached at the sight of him. Gorgeous. God, what was he waiting for?
At John's puzzled expression, Sherlock widened his eyes in a look that John could only think of as longing. He opened his mouth in a silent plea and swayed in the frame of the doorway as though he were straining against the threshold, straining to be in John's arms.
John stared into the heat in those ice-coloured eyes, stared at the tips of bared fangs. Vampire. Right. He had almost forgotten.
"Come in," he invited, an smugly anticipatory grin spreading slowly across his face.
In an instant, Sherlock's expression switched from wide-eyed pleading to a cold, ravenous intent that wiped the smirk off John's face. He was through the doorway faster than John expected, faster than John even thought he could move. The dark blur of his body hit John's, sending him sliding backward into the hard corner of the banister. A low snarl scratched at his skin, silver eyes and sharp teeth slashed across his field of vision as, off-guard and off-balance, he was spun and his back slammed against the wall. The impact knocked a breathy curse from him. His fingers splayed out against the textured furrows of the wallpaper fibres as though he might find a handhold there.
Sherlock stepped into him, one long leg between John's open thighs, his arms forming a cage around John's body. Leaned close and smiled. "John Watson." It was a dangerous smile. "You've made a mistake."
John trusted Sherlock implicitly, but his body was responding to the threat in Sherlock's voice, to the power in his aggressive stance as surely as if he'd been cornered by a wild animal. He had never before felt so aware of the size difference between them. Sherlock was a much taller man. A much stronger man. He never used those qualities as an advantage over John…but the vampire clearly wanted him to feel it. And John felt it. He felt pinned by the cold stare of a predator. Mesmerising.
Sherlock pressed his teeth together and spoke through them, a low, terse command. "You will take down your trousers."
John hadn't expected this. Oh, once he had seen Sherlock's costume he had expected the game, but always with a sly wink between them—it was a game. In bed, Sherlock might be demanding or manipulative, just as he was out of bed, but it was ultimately John who set the tone, who managed things. Sherlock's dominant tone left no question as to who was managing this encounter, and John found himself speechless at the change. He'd been playing along, but this didn't feel like playing anymore. He should defend his role. He should push back, he should…
Wide eyed, he opened his trousers as instructed, pushed them and his pants down to his lower thighs. Impossible to resist. Right.
It was an undignified position, almost shameful, bare-arsed and now half-hard cock hanging heavily between his legs in the chilly foyer. His eyes twitched toward the door to Mrs Hudson's flat.
Sherlock noted his concern with a smirk. "I advise you to keep quiet," he warned softly. He knelt in front of John and looked up, drawing back his upper lip to expose his fangs. His voice dropped even lower. "And still."
John clenched his thighs in his effort not to move as Sherlock's tongue slid under the head of his prick, guiding it into his mouth. His lips were soft around John, but John still felt the threat of danger to his most sensitive skin. He pushed his head back against the wall, first barely allowing himself to breathe, and then breathing in great gasps as Sherlock's tongue circled him, licked a sloppy, greedy trail down his shaft. His hands hovered just above Sherlock's beguilingly soft curls, afraid to clutch and pull for fear of sharp. Sherlock was all warm lips and slippery tongue, tasting and lapping at him. Teasing him. It was wet and wonderful and frustrating because John wanted his mouth around him tighter.
The needy groan that escaped him brought a breath of laughter against John's cock, which was now straining eagerly toward Sherlock's mouth for more, fangs or no.
"I've just begun to taste you, John Watson." Sherlock rose to his feet, looming over John and wrapping his fingers around John's slicked shaft as he did. As Sherlock's hand squeezed, John's eyes squeezed shut and he moaned. Sherlock's voice, lower and more ominous than the rumble of summer thunder, rolled over John. "But you must taste me, too, to complete our…transaction."
John opened his eyes just in time to see Sherlock, his gaze locked on John's face, press the tip of his tongue to the point of one incisor. A drop of blood welled up.
Sherlock licked into John's startled gasp, smearing the blood onto John's own tongue, then drew back and stared at John's mouth.
And this time it was Sherlock who shivered.
The coppery tang from the tiny droplet seemed to fill John's whole mouth. Sherlock's eyes were fierce and his grip on John's cock was almost angry, his fist pumping a fast, furious pulse, harder and harder. And all John could do—at all of it—was throw his head back and stare at Sherlock, whose lower lip bore a bright smear of blood, in astonishment.
For the second time that night, John was about to come. John was going to come, pants around his knees and blood in his mouth. He was going—
Sherlock released him abruptly, and it was all John could do not to wail at the loss as Sherlock's hand moved away from his cock and slowly up his body, sliding over the rough cotton of his jacket, pressing him back into the wall. When the big hand closed around John's throat, John stilled, breathing hard.
"I told you that you'd made a mistake." Sherlock looked half-beast, half-wild, mouth open and red. "Safe," he sneered. "You're mine now. You will never be safe again."
Something was thundering inside his chest, inside his head. Something that wasn't fear, or arousal, although he was absolutely awash in those sensations. He clenched his teeth and pulled back his lips. It wasn't a smile. "Good."
Sherlock's fingers tightened for a split second on John's neck, and John held his gaze and raised his chin.
"Clothes," Sherlock grated out through bared teeth.
There was no more talking.
Sherlock opened his jeans and pulled out his hard, wet-tipped cock, stroking himself in long, tight pulls whilst John shed his jacket, shoes, trousers, his everything as fast as he could, until he was completely naked in front of Sherlock. As soon as the last item of his clothing hit the floor, Sherlock spun him toward the stairs, forcing him down face-first against the wooden steps. John flung out an arm against a hard landing, shoved his other hand in front of his groin to protect himself.
Then Sherlock was on top of him and John felt a slick of cold—slick, how? Fuck, he didn't care—against him and spread his legs. Sherlock pushed a finger inside him.
Sherlock—his Sherlock—was almost heartbreakingly solicitous of John's comfort on the rare occasions they made love with Sherlock inside him. This Sherlock had no such compunctions. He prepared John quickly, with merciless efficiency, pushing his tolerance but never actually exceeding it. Sherlock knew John's limits perfectly. When he finally pressed into John, shirt silky against John's back, jeans rough against the backs of his thighs, it was in one long slide, tip to hips. The union tore a groaning chord from both their throats.
Sherlock set a brutal pace. John fisted his own cock, letting Sherlock's thrusts do all the work of providing friction. The stair treads were dirty, gritty with street debris, dusty, chalky under John's supporting arm, under his face. His knees slid in the dust and struck the risers over and over.
"Never safe." Sherlock drove into him again and again, panting and growling against the back of John's neck. "Mine now." His arms around John's body were so tight that he was practically lifting him off the stairs when he pulled back, slamming him down again as he pushed into him. Words were leaking out of him now. "My blood. In you." Sherlock moaned. His voice was ragged. His accent had slipped. "Always. Inside you." He clutched at John like he would tear him apart. "Now for eternity," he whispered against the sweat-warm skin of John's neck. "Say it."
Sherlock was holding nothing back, and John was on his way to a mind-altering, possibly atom-rearranging orgasm.
Holding nothing back.
Through the red haze of his arousal, through the teeth-jarring snaps of Sherlock's hips, the thing hammering inside John's head shattered.
Sherlock was holding nothing back.
John pulled up one leg for leverage and pitched both of them to one side. Sherlock rolled off him, leaving him horribly empty. His cheeks were flushed pink, his pale eyes fever-bright and dazed. Two very clear emotions passed over Sherlock's face in rapid succession: Are you all right? Have I done something wrong? Tendrils of damp hair were clinging to his temples.His lower lip was bleeding where he had apparently caught it on one of his teeth. John reached out, wonderingly, and touched one crushed curl.
"Sherlock," John breathed, turning awkwardly onto his back. He found a spot where the edge of the step wasn't pressing into his spine and grabbed two handfuls of Sherlock's soft black shirt, pulling him in close between his open legs.
Sherlock never held anything back. Sherlock gave him everything: his adoration, his lust, his insecurity, his playfulness, his possessiveness, his fear. He gave John everything.
"God," John groaned, moving his hands to Sherlock's hips, hooking his fingers into the denim belt loops to urge him closer. He didn't know what to do with this…revelation right now. Or the shock of guilt that chased it. How could John ever have been such an idiot as to think Sherlock was the one holding back? Sherlock had flung himself into the cataract without hesitation, without a safety line. It was John. It had always been John holding back, protecting himself behind humour, hiding behind pride. John who didn't want to relinquish control in this area of their relationship he felt was his ground. John who didn't want to reveal too much. "Sorry," he whispered.
Sherlock just stared at him, eyes wide and confused.
"Sorry…I wanted to see you. You, Sherlock. Be my Sherlock again now. Don't stop. Just…god…hurry. I want you. I want you." He wriggled until he felt the tip of Sherlock's cock against him again, reached up and grabbed two tight handfuls of hair. "Sherlock, please."
It took Sherlock three sharp breaths to move again, and when he did he plunged into John with a snarl. The snap of his hips was ferocious. John wrapped his legs around him, wrapped his arms around him, chanting his name, feeling the trapped friction of his own cock between their moving bodies.
"I will never let you go," Sherlock growled.
"Eternity. I heard you," John panted. "I heard you."
Sherlock's eyes darkened. His nostrils flared. He flung his head forward, sank his teeth into John's neck, and came.
Somewhere in the back of John's mind, with Sherlock sucking his neck as he ground out his orgasm, the doctor observed that the wounds he made must be minor, barely more than pinpricks. Wondered what the teeth were made of to make such shallow, precise marks. Farther back in John's mind, the man who was being devoured told the doctor to shut the fuck up and groaned, loud and ecstatic. Caught between teeth and Sherlock's pulsing thrusts, John shoved his hand in between their bodies, around his own cock, and he was coming, too. He squeezed his eyes shut until he saw red, felt the red inside his heart and his veins and inside Sherlock's mouth.
When the haze cleared, John murmured the only thought he could form. "Wow."
They lay intertwined, admiring one another with hands and lips, for a long time before John began to remember that stairs were uncomfortable, his knees hurt, his elbows were dusty, and he—being the only one currently naked and with semen cooling in his arse crack—was growing both sticky and cold.
Flooring and clothing and skin were cleaned and patched up as needed, and eventually John emerged from the shower and wrapped himself self-indulgently in Sherlock's burgundy silk dressing gown. On the sink-top he found Sherlock had left a pair of ice-white contact lenses and a pair of tiny, still-gleaming vampire fang tips in two small glass-lidded cases. John ran a fond finger over the case holding the fangs and, curious, picked it up to examine it. On the back was a printed label with the name of a London-based makeup designer. John snorted. Of course Sherlock had enlisted a professional.
Sherlock was burrowed under the duvet, looking pink-cheeked and young with his costume stripped away and humanity restored. He held the covers up for John. "Hurry up! I'm cold!"
"You could have worn a coat earlier, you know."
"Vampires are meant to be cold. I am no longer a vampire. Warm me."
John climbed into bed and snuggled in beside him, fitting himself under Sherlock's arm and along the side of his body. Sore and smug and sated, he smiled to himself, tentatively fingering the twin wounds at the side of his neck.
Sherlock noted the movement. "You probably won't have a scar," he said. He sounded just a bit embarrassed that he had actually bitten John, and just a bit glum not to be leaving a permanent mark.
"I'm going to make sure I do," John said quietly.
Sherlock's head swivelled toward him.
"Sherlock," John licked his lips carefully, tongue grazing the already-healing cut his own lip had acquired at some point, a twin to Sherlock's. "Those things you said…"
Sherlock looked away, drew one hand out from under the duvet and ran his fingers along the crease at the edge of the top sheet. "Vampire," he said and shrugged. "I was still playing the part."
"No. You weren't."
"You meant everything you said."
Watching the steady motion of his hand as it moved across the sheet, smoothing away lines that were not there, Sherlock lifted his eyebrows and asked quietly, "Too much?"
John's belly shook with unexpected nerves. Anything he said now didn't have the excuse of the mindless heat of passion. This was a quiet moment, a moment of vulnerability, when it would be so easy for John to resume his most cherished role: Protector of Sherlock's Heart. And in doing so, continue protecting his own. Sherlock's past experiences having never included an essentially equal, loving relationship, he had judged John the resident expert in terms of practical experience, and they had behaved accordingly. But in this concept of surrender, John was the novice. It had taken a vampire to draw it out of him. He snorted a soft laugh and turned to face Sherlock. "Do you know why, Sherlock? Why it had to be you at the end?"
Sherlock glanced at him, the corners of his mouth twitching down. He shook his head. "Why?"
John took a deep breath. "Because it always has to be you." He held Sherlock's eyes intently, willing him to understand that even though the only words he could find may be mild, his heart was not. His voice was tight now. Love was easy. Tenderness, sex, teasing, protecting…those things were easy for him. What was hard, what was truly frightening, was need. And, oh, how he needed this man. "Because I meant it, too. For me, always you. Always, only you."
Sherlock stared at him, then reached forward suddenly and grasped John's hand in his own, squeezing his fingers together until they were white. "John, I…I…" His eyes were wide and earnest, leaving John without any doubt of the words he was struggling over. "Your fantasies are not entirely ludicrous," he blurted at last.
John smiled and kissed him. Not for just one night of passion, but for morning tea and cases and boredom and fights and eventual old age and death and every raw, vulnerable, absurd, awe-inspiring moment in between. I love you, too. I'm going to love you for the rest of my life. If there is such a thing as eternity, I am going to love you through all of it. John felt joyous. He felt free. He felt terrified. "I'm glad you've taken the teeth out," he murmured against Sherlock's mouth.
Sherlock grunted his agreement, tonguing at the puncture wound on his own lip.
"Although…maybe you might have another go with them," John suggested, pursing his lips innocently. "Sometime."
Sherlock gave him a sceptical look and a noncommittal hum.
"Whilst your fantasy may not have been entirely ludicrous, vampires are still ludicrous creatures."
"Oh." John couldn't help feeling disappointed and a bit confused, especially after the unmistakable enthusiasm of Sherlock's participation in said fantasy. "Well, I'll certainly never think so again," he added gamely.
"Right. Wait, what?"
Sherlock scooted down a little further under the covers and gave John a worried frown. "There have been sightings, John."
"Yes. Recent sightings in London."
"Of werewolves. Which are not ludicrous."
"John," Sherlock said sternly, "werewolves are dangerous, savage creatures. You should be careful."
"Should I? All right." John shook his head, puzzled. "I'll be...very careful."
"Good." Sherlock nodded and leaned over to press a sweet, serious kiss to the little cut at the corner of John's lip. "I hate to think what might happen if you were attacked. And came home…wild."
"Oh." John blinked as he finally realised what Sherlock was saying: My turn, me next! He swallowed down an incipient giggle and nodded back, equally serious. "I see. Yes, you're right. That does sound…horrible."
"Mmhmm." Sherlock gave a contented, almost dreamy sigh as he lay back against his pillow and closed his eyes, wriggling to mould his long frame against John's side, draping a possessive hand over John's thigh. "Horrible."
John switched off the bedside lamp, but lay awake for a long time with a little smile playing on his lips until Sherlock's breathing slowed and steadied. Careful not to wake him, John reached over to the bedside table to retrieve his phone. He called up a weather site and grinned. Five nights.
He had five nights until the next full moon. He had the business card of a gifted make-up artist. And he had a newfound resolve: he would not hold anything back. He would show Sherlock that his love, too, had teeth.
Or, he thought, scratching his chin...far more likely, he would make an idiotic, utter, irrecoverable arse of himself. He would make himself completely ridiculous in front of the man he loved.
And that was fine. John smiled. For love. In love. He would make himself completely ridiculous. After all, it was his turn.