It had been one month and three days since Sherlock Holmes had wrapped his arms around his waist and kissed him solidly against a crumbling stone wall before running off on his exceedingly long legs, leaving Watson surprised, pleased, and soon struggling to keep up.
Holmes had accepted Watson's later experimental kiss on his cheek with unresponsive dignity, and for a while, Watson put it out of his mind.
For the most part. It had only been a month. Today it was quiet, the atmosphere empty and tense between them without Mrs. Hudson's mediating presence, and Watson glanced up in surprise when Holmes's palm rested tentatively on his shoulder, the memory of the same hand pulling him close by the waist still somewhat fresh and confusing. "What is it?"
"I wondered if you might be amenable," Holmes began, and then paused.
Watson turned fully in his chair to examine his friend, beginning to grow concerned at Holmes's uncharacteristic reticence. "Holmes?"
"No, please do not worry yourself. I simply wondered if you might join me on the settee," Holmes finished a touch imperiously. Watson glanced from Holmes to his papers.
"Yes, yes of course."
They sat down. Holmes looked unusually stiff beside him and Watson wondered if he was in pain after all, but he waited, not wanting to irritate Holmes by interrupting him before he could begin.
Without much meaning to Watson was considering the novel he'd last left on the mantelpiece when Holmes's hand dropped to rest on top of his own. He turned his hand over automatically, thinking Holmes must have observed something in the ink stains on his fingers or a new scar, but Holmes only laced their fingers together, his long graceful fingers side by side with Watson's less aesthetic doctor's ones.
Watson swallowed and stared down at their hands.
"Watson, you truly are the most --"
"Stop," Watson cut him off, and to his surprise, Holmes was silent, but only because he was covering Watson's lips with his own. Watson smiled and Holmes pulled back to examine his face.
"A month, Holmes. You couldn't have said anything?"
Holmes frowned. "I apologize."
"No. Nevermind." Watson squeezed his hand.
But it was more than another month later, before Watson dared do more than accept Holmes's exceedingly polite, sometimes celebratory - more often good morning or thank you kisses, and give them in return, always to Holmes's unreadable allowance.
Holmes, he was learning in the meantime, smelled unaccountably wonderful beneath the pipe smoke that always saturated his clothes, and was temptingly warm and solid underneath them as well. He longed for the feeling of Holmes's long, nervous fingers squeezing his waist or settling on his chest, the smell of his hair, even, more than the perfunctory touch of his lips, but daren't expect more from his reticent independent friend.
Being able to, say, straddle Holmes's thighs on the settee was more than Watson had ever dared hope for and for a moment he reveled in the sensation of Holmes's body beneath his own. Before Holmes flicked down his newspaper and raised an eyebrow at Watson ingratiating himself into his lap. "Yes?" he said.
Being Holmes's companion over the years had boundlessly improved Watson's ability to keep a straight face. He cleared his throat pointedly and Holmes set aside his reading material with a sigh.
Watson leaned forward and hummed against Holmes's lips, pleased, when Holmes's hands came to rest on his thighs.
Holmes had pulled away immediately the first and only time Watson had approached as if to enter his mouth with his tongue, and he didn't try that this time. He lowered his head to drop a light kiss on Holmes's jaw.
"Yes, if you like."
So Watson dragged his dry lips and nose along Holmes throat, smelling his skin and encouraging him to life his chin. He sighed happily when Holmes's fingers trailed up to grip his hips.
He sat back after a minute of this with hopes of removing Holmes's collar and was surprised to see Holmes had his eyes closed, head limp against the back of the settee and breathing rather shallowly. He reached for Holmes's collar, relieved when Holmes's only response was to stroke his waist with his thumbs.
Holmes gasped when Watson's lips at last wandered into the hollow above his collarbone. A tiny sound escaped his throat as Watson licked there, and Watson continued licking and sucking when no complaint followed, still expecting the command to stop at any moment.
He stroked the sides of Holmes's pale neck with his fingertips, high on the smell and taste of his skin, and moaned when Holmes did.
"Do you like this?"
Watson groaned into his throat, not a the slight insult, but at the way Holmes was kneading his waist, his breath growing progressively more labored as Watson kissed and licked his way up Holmes's collarbone.
He squirmed when Watson finally reached his ear only to start over again on the other side, and for a moment Holmes's breath grew so short that Watson that worried that he might hyperventilate. Holmes didn't give any sign he wanted Watson to stop, however, and Watson was more than pleased to continue.
Holmes let go all at once when Watson was just part way again up his neck, moaning and gripping Watson's hips so hard that Watson knew he would be bruised in the morning. He then dared to drag his teeth over a sensitive spot, ever so gentle despite the tension thrumming through Holmes's iron grip and into his bones. The broken cry escaped Holmes's lips took his breath away.
"Stop, Watson! You have to stop!"
Watson sat back at once, dizzy and aroused and worried that he'd gone too far again, so very far this time. Holmes was blotchy and pink down to where his shirt gaped at his chest. He was catching his breath. He looked almost angry and Watson held his breath, wondering if this was going to be the end of all this experimental intimacy.
"I apologize," Holmes said sharply. Watson worry and confusion only coalesced as he realized that Holmes's anger was directed at himself. "I seem to have trouble controlling myself when it concerns you."
Watson shook his head. "I thought I... You were having trouble controlling yourself?" he said slowly, perfectly aware how stupid he must be sounding to Holmes, who was intolerant at the best of times.
Holmes just stared at him, though, looking like nothing so much as an irritated raven caught in a storm. His hair was wild where Watson had been running his fingers through it. After a long second of silence, Watson glanced down at Holmes's erection, which he had been only distantly aware of for quite some time, and only then noticed the dark spot. The surprised delight and arousal that filled him as he connected Holmes's words to the sight of his trousers made him feel as if it were brandy that he had been sucking off of Holmes's skin for the past half hour, as if he could float away.
Holmes sighed resignedly at his grin, which Watson knew was starting to become obnoxious, but he couldn't seem to stop it.
"Honestly, Watson, Mrs. Hudson does my laundry."