If bookies asked John about the odds on the first row he and Sherlock would have as lovers, John would have told them to have their pick but leave sex with the lowest odds. Because while Sherlock and John have continued to bristle, bicker, and bite, sex is finally the Promised Land. The place of perfect harmony, and one of such pleasure that John privately worries he’s found his most intimate Achilles’ heel to-date. It is unsettling to want someone so much and to experience such fulfilment through such a basic act.
Naturally, John knows too well it is way more than that. Just like he knows that the acts he and Sherlock engage in can’t be called simple neither in their actual performance nor in the tumultuousness of feeling they provoke in John. But the point remains — as much as John hoped that a lot of the tension between him and Sherlock would dissolve when they started producing endorphins and Oxytocin in the higher counts, it turns out that nothing much has changed. In fact, the only time they seem to be far from any danger of arguments is when they are in bed.
Yet John’s advice to the bookies would have been treated as deceit because his and Sherlock’s first proper row occurs exactly on account of sex. John is justified to call it proper. There are painful personal comments, followed by a prolonged upset silence with a complete lack of eye contact by both parties. The silence proceeds to fly past all previous records of duration, stretching into four days.
But aside from all the “evidence” that they’ve finally gone and done it, John knows this is serious because of how he feels.
He feels awful. Really bad. He still feels hurt. He also feels guilty for his retaliation. It doesn’t matter how many times John reminds himself his wasn’t an aimed and measured spear, thrown at Sherlock. The fact remains that John has hurt him back in return. On top of it John just feels miserable to have this…poisonous atmosphere between them. They are a couple, living in the same flat but barely talking to each other, for Christ’s sake. They are back to sleeping in their own beds, alone; with only four weeks into the relationship decisions still hadn’t been made about which bedroom would become the bedroom when the Row occurred. Before that they had just slept together in both beds, whichever was closer.
Worst of all, it is the stupidity of the argument that makes John’s insides rot. Stupid, stupid row, but it’s never about the match that flares the flame, is it? They have issues. They were bound to have issues as a couple, considering that each of them separately can provide a budding psychologist with a promising career start. It was only a matter of time for the issues to manifest in sex.
All John wanted was some dirty talk. He wasn’t even asking Sherlock to do it or respond. He just covered Sherlock’s naked back with his equally naked front and said a few particularly filthy phrases into his already crimson ear. But instead of moaning or shivering, Sherlock’s eyes flew open and he turned his head, eyeing John suspiciously. John recoiled the way only a man with far more questionable fantasies would. Sherlock frowned and asked what that was. John stammered that he was only trying something different.
And then Sherlock did the absolutely hateful lip curl of disdain and said some things, but reception had already begun happening through some red mist for John. He doesn’t quite remember what he retorted, but in less than a minute they were shouting at each other from both sides of the bed. On Sherlock's part, there were further eloquent deductions on John's past as an inadequate lover and a hint of disappointment that was like a paper cut — the finest one, the one you could almost miss amongst all the gashes, yet the worst one. Painful and still smarting days later.
For its own convenience, John’s conscious hasn’t allowed him to forget just the one of his phrases, exactly the way he said it. It effectively ended the argument. Sherlock’s mouth clasped shut after hearing it. He drew to his full height and left his own bedroom — the retreat no less ominous or less dignified for the fact that it was done in the nude.
“Right, right, because you are quite the expert in knowing what’s normal in sex, or scratch that—what’s sex, full stop!” That was what John said.
It is pointless to do the back and forth between Prosecution — this was utterly shit and a wrong thing to say — and Defence — it was said in a moment of emotional blindness and in response to considerable offence. It's led to four miserable days and counting.
On the fifth day Sherlock begins getting on John’s nerves. John wonders whether there’s a shift in his own perception that has suddenly turned up the volume of bitterness and upped the level of aggravation. Or whether Sherlock is acting out on his own jumbled up feelings and as a result is being objectively incensing. Perhaps it is a bit of both, because while John cannot honestly point anything actually wrong in the way Sherlock sprawls on the sofa, he can very well claim that that incident with the scribbling on the violin just wasn’t right. Not when the scribbling was timed with utmost precision to start with each new paragraph John attempted to read. How the bastard knew what John’s eyes were doing after John went upstairs was a mystery, but he did. It served as a sort of bonus nuisance. Thus the fifth paragraph of the article on puncture wounds had to be started seven bloody times — each accompanied with seven bloody renewals of the scribbling. It also stopped each time John lifted his eyes from the page. He felt like a wretched cartoon character.
By the end of the sixth day Sherlock’s jaw expresses that the overcast atmosphere in the flat is felt quite mutually, much to John’s grim satisfaction. John doesn’t know what he is doing to annoy Sherlock, but he is content to know that he does. Sherlock is getting more and more maddening; for a start, it seems like he is everywhere John turns. He has also started raising his eyebrows and tilting his chin in a way that somehow conveys to John he is an idiot for expecting an apology.
In addition, it feels as if Sherlock is flaunting his assets, showing John what John is missing out. Never have Sherlock’s cheekbones appeared more fetching with their bold curvature, their coral tint, and that faint glow of the skin, luring John’s fingers with the sense-memory of softness. Never has Sherlock’s nape seemed so sweetly, perversely fragile in its bare offering under the dark rim of his curls. The curls themselves have acquired a shine that mesmerises and directly hits the artistic centres in John’s brain; their bounce evokes another, more rhythmic kind of bounce that makes John grip invisible hips each time, only to find that he's gripping the armrests of his chair.
As to Sherlock’s lean legs, the flatness of his stomach, the innocence of the insides of his wrists…John has rarely ticked the box for healthy daily consumption of water so diligently in his entire life.
He terribly misses the honesty of both the calm and the storm in Sherlock’s eyes.
It doesn’t stop him from growing infuriated with Sherlock for taking all of himself away from John.
On the seventh day Sherlock and John collide. Literally. With a flourish Sherlock comes out of the bathroom in the exact same second in which John is about to go in. Sherlock was uncharacteristically noiseless in there, so John wrongly concluded the bathroom was free. In all fairness John should also factor in his thorough distraction by the expectation of the hot spray on his neck and his left hand between his legs.
If John’s nose wasn’t taunted by the languid scent of Sherlock’s neck things could have been left alone. If Sherlock didn’t grab at John’s waist, his finger managing to brand John’s skin through the t-shirt, they could have even parted with a mumbled apology. Both of these events would have still managed to preserve their precarious balance. But when John gapes at Sherlock after the impact and Sherlock sighs and rolls his eyes, the very epitome of a man, tired from being pestered by a pervert…
Next thing John knows, Sherlock is facing the wall and John is pressed against his back breathing heavily and having Sherlock's arms locked in a grip.
Sherlock tries to wriggle, but John tightens his hold. “Stop it,” he orders, closing his eyes, trying to steady his spinning head. Anger and arousal and confusion all throb in his eyeballs and make his ears ring. He needs to think. He takes a deep breath—
Big mistake. His lungs fill to the brim with the scents of Sherlock’s hair, t-shirt, gown, skin. John groans and Sherlock tries to turn again. John releases him only to slam his hands on the wall, making Sherlock hiss. “Stop that at once,” John hisses back; Sherlock stills completely. John breathes in more carefully. He must clear his mind, get a different kind of grip, remember—
Oh, fuck it all.
His hands are at Sherlock’s hips in a second, yanking his bottoms down to his knees. Somewhere at the back of his mind John registers Sherlock’s sharp intake of breath, but there is no movement in his body — just heat beckoning John to abandon all sense and jump dive into the boiling pit of his darkest fantasies. He presses his forehead against Sherlock’s back and steadies his breathing, flexes his fingers before bringing them forward again. He spreads Sherlock’s gown open and reaches, reaches blindly until his fingers brush the taut line of Sherlock’s abdomen muscles. John drags his touch down along these twin mini-canyons, all the way to Sherlock’s pelvis until he finally brushes Sherlock’s pubic hair. John closes his eyes and rubs his fingers in, tightens them, pulls lightly…
Sherlock gasps and a ripple runs along his spine, shocking John and making him lift his head, gaze at the blue stretch of silk in front of his eyes. Nothing but blue. Nothing but their breathing. Nothing but this intoxicating feeling of order and power, all good, all right under the high commander—love of such unprecedented proportion and nature, so savage and all-consuming that it is answerable to nothing but itself.
“John.” Sherlock’s voice, barely a whisper, floats through the blue and stirs John into action. Up and down his hands travel over the same paths, sometimes widening their perimeter to stroke the skin at the navel, sometimes running all day down to Sherlock’s balls, to the insides of his thighs. But never, not once do they seek confirmation of their power, nor offer gratification for their tender torment.
When there is resistance at the drag of John’s sweaty fingers over Sherlock’s sweaty skin John lifts on his toes to press himself closer to Sherlock. John’s cock is so rock-hard that John has a dizzying vision of it leaving a bruise on the curve of Sherlock’s buttock. But he doesn’t want to be touched, not yet. He takes a breath and starts speaking, voice quiet and even and filled with authority.
“Listen to me very carefully. I want you to suck me off in a minute, nice and long. I want you to drop on your knees, undo my flies and put my cock in your mouth, licking and eating it, and being grateful about it. I want to fuck your mouth and you will keep it open and take my cock down your throat until you have tears in your eyes, do you understand me? And after I come, I want you to make me hard again, and then I’ll fuck you until you can’t walk for days. I’ll spread you open and take my time, take my pleasure with you. I’ll tease just the head of my cock in and out of you, because that feels so good…”
No. It isn’t enough, not anymore. It isn’t enough. John brings his lips right to Sherlock’s ear.
“What is it that feels good for me, Sherlock?”
Sherlock whose trembling curls have tickled John’s nose throughout John’s speech makes a sound close to a whimper and tries to thrust his pelvis forward, the cock that John still hasn’t seen or touched seeking John’s hands. John immediately retreats from the front and places his hands over Sherlock’s backside, grabbing the flesh and giving it a squeeze, while repeating sternly: “Sherlock. Tell me what feels good for me.”
In a second Sherlock’s low, fucking low, fucking gorgeous voice utters, broken by pants. “Teasing just…the head of your cock…in and out of me.”
“Hmm.” John brings his fingers to his mouth to lubricate them, then returns to Sherlock’s bottom and aims for the cleft. Sherlock arches into the touch and John gives it to him this time, fingers running up and down and doing their teasing of Sherlock’s opening. John’s teeth throb from the strength with which he’s had them against each other. He tries not to wheeze when he speaks again.
“You like that, don’t you? Do you want me to spread you open here? Tell me…”
John’s index finger has already begun its little probing, a quicksilver insertion before the tip withdraws. Sherlock tries to speak and fails, then tries again. “Yes, John.”
“ ‘Yes, John’ what?” John asks. He is astonished to hear his voice in his own head. Calm, sure, indisputable.
“Yes, John…I would like that,” Sherlock manages.
“You would like what, Sherlock?” Say it, say it, say it. John pushes his finger in and curls it slightly. Sherlock’s head drops forward, limp, and he moans, then stutters, “Yes, John, I would like…you to spread me open here.”
John starts gently moving his finger in and out of Sherlock, who bends further forward, offering his backside more eagerly. John’s jaw is starting to hurt quite a bit. He unclenches it. “And?” he says, then spits on his fingers and pushes in with two.
“Oh,” Sherlock exhales, a quivering sound that punches John squarely in the chest to break it open and fill it with gratitude that he, he is able to do that for Sherlock. “And?” John repeats, his own voice finally cracking.
“And…I would like you…to fuck me with your fingers…until I am…loose and ready, and then…take your pleasure with me…just your cock’s head, in and out, because that's...what feels good for you…John.”
John’s name is a sing-song gasp, and John isn’t supposed to waver, not yet, but he would bleed himself all out for Sherlock anyway, so having his hand surge to the front to finally discover Sherlock’s cock fully erect and burning isn’t really giving in. It’s just giving.
Sherlock’s hands fold into fists onto the wall and fall as he straightens and drops back against John’s chest. John's feet slide under the force of the impact but he instantly steadies himself, spreads his own legs for sturdy balance, not letting go of Sherlock’s cock. John has never thought that giving a hand job to someone else could feel better than having one yourself, but it absolutely does. John keeps at it, awed by the care of his fist knowing how tightly Sherlock likes to be held, how often he likes his skin pulled forward, how fast he needs his cock to be pumped for him to…
Sherlock throws his head back and his mouth opens, but the sound comes out directly from his throat as his cock stills in John’s hold. John's fingers envelop the head and catch the first shoot, then he works Sherlock through his orgasm, stupidly revelling in the mess they’re making together. The air is heavy with the smell of sperm and perspiration and Sherlock; John opens his mouth to breathe in deeper.
Sherlock’s knees fold abruptly and John barely manages to manoeuvre them both to the floor with their backs to the wall. Sherlock slumps against him and John shuffles further away to be able to cradle him. They stay like that for a long while; John doesn’t know if Sherlock’s eyes are open, but his are, and mindlessly following the line of the bathroom door's frame.
A small sniff is heard from next to his chin.
“Shower?” Sherlock rumbles.
“I’ll suck you off in there,” Sherlock says. “Nice and long.”
John pulls his head away at the exact same time as Sherlock does. They look at each other’s faces. Sherlock’s is very flushed and completely void of mockery. John’s heart flutters like a fledgling when his eyes meet Sherlock’s unguarded ones.
“You’re serious,” John says. Sherlock lifts his eyebrows in earnest confirmation. John leans in and kisses him on the lips, his gesture reciprocated with a warm, wet press against his mouth.
“So you don’t think that, I don’t know…dirty talk is pathetic anymore?” John might still have a raging hard-on, but he’ll be putting his cock in Sherlock only after some proper apologies have taken place.
Sherlock’s eyes jump to the wall behind John. He doesn’t hurry with his reply. John frowns.
“Sherlock?” Oh, who cares who the first to apologize is?! “Listen, I wanted to say sorry for what I—”
“I didn’t think it was.”
John frowns again. “What?”
Sherlock avoids his eyes. “I didn’t think talking dirty during sex was pathetic.”
“Then why did you—”
“Because I read on the internet about the signs that someone wasn’t attra—Because talking dirty to your partner is frequently mentioned as a way to “spice things up” in bed.”
Oh, the issues.
“You thought I was already bored with you,” John says.
Sherlock doesn’t reply but looks him back in the eyes. John suppresses his sigh; his thumb starts running circles over Sherlock’s shoulder.
“Please don’t read about our sex life on the internet.” John pauses and has an important afterthought. “Or ever write about it.”
He barely shakes his head at Sherlock. “I am infatuated with you as much as it is humanly possible,” he says, face tensing emphatically. “And that’s all the rest aside. You know, like…Sherlock.” John pulls away again to look at Sherlock properly. “I’m all in, you know. All.”