“Sorry, this is all they had.” John drops his coat over the back of a chair as Sherlock crosses the room to flop unceremoniously on the tiny bed near the window, his legs so long his feet hang over the end. “Aren’t you going to change?” he asks, fingers stilled on his own buttons. “There’s an en suite through there.” John points at the narrow wooden door opposite.
“No. Tired,” Sherlock mumbles around the pillow.
John smiles. He’s so like a child sometimes, running on an adrenaline high, refusing to stop until he crashes, utterly and completely spent.
This case had really wrung them both out, really. Between breaking into a top-secret military facility and the adrenaline of chasing and being chased, he was ready to sleep himself.
He climbs into bed in his tshirt and boxers, not even bothering to dig his pyjamas out of his bag. In minutes, he’s so far gone it takes a moment or two to process what it is that’s woken him in the deep, pre-dawn dark.
Sobs, he thinks. The gasping, quiet weeping of someone that doesn’t want to be heard but can’t help themselves. He turns over in the blackness. There’s enough light seeping through the curtains that he can pick out the edge of Sherlock’s shoulder, his hair and jaw, and one arm folded over his drawn-up knees.
“You ok?” he asks quietly, because, Jesus, what else can he say? He can feel the prickle of that same fear at the back of his own mind, the cold certainty that if it wasn’t Sherlock now, it’ll be him later.
“Fine,” is Sherlock’s short reply, but John can see him swipe a hand across his eyes. John feels a pang in his gut. He remembers all too well the panic that threatened to overwhelm him and the simple fact is John can deal with it. Deal with fear, with terror, simply because he’s had to experience it before and come to terms with it. He can cope, can overcome, and still function. He’s not so sure Sherlock can.
John slips from his bed, pads silently over to Sherlock’s and sits gingerly on the edge. Sherlock looks up quickly, his eyes a silver flash in the darkness.
“Look, I know it still feels real,” John says. “I still feel it some. Give it a few days and you’ll be right as rain.” He puts a tentative hand on Sherlock’s raised knee, and wonders if anyone has ever offered him the comfort of human touch since he was small. Sherlock sits still as a stone, and John is about to withdraw his hand when he feels cool, hesitant fingers on his.
John waits, hears Sherlock’s breathing speed up and when Sherlock pulls lightly, John takes the hint and slides across that mattress to rest his back against the wall. As soon as he settles, Sherlock begins to lean against him, so heavily and so completely that he scoots down to rest his head on John’s shoulder. John wraps an arm around Sherlock’s thin frame, feels the slight quiver of his muscles. Still a bit off, John thinks, and sighs quietly. Despite his assurances, John’s not entirely certain this is the drug talking any more. Sherlock may want, may need this, perhaps for the first time ever, and John’s honored he trusts John to give it to him. John relaxes, rests his head against Sherlock’s curls and dozes, drifting in and out of consciousness until he snaps awake at the feeling of Sherlock’s lips in the hollow of his jaw.
John stills. This is quite a bit further on than simple comfort, and the tingle low in his belly is just the start. It isn’t even hesitation over residual fear and doubt as much as it is the shock of revelation—about Sherlock, about himself, about the entity of SherlockandJohn, united—that means he should tread very, very lightly, even as he knows he wants to continue. There’s a lurking something that’s threatening the entity that they are, and he wants to fight the tiny crack that’s run jagged between them, remake the safety net they’ve created of and for each other.
Sherlock’s fingers tighten reflexively against his and the tingle becomes a burn, spreading low and warm and liquid through his veins, and he tilts to kiss Sherlock’s hair, his head, and finally, as Sherlock pulls away, kiss his lips softly.
“We’re still here, Sherlock,” he says, because reassurance is the only thing he has to hold onto right now, to keep himself from drowning. Sherlock turns, crawls across John’s legs until he’s lying back on the pillow, his body taking up more room than it ought. His hand is still tangled with John’s, and he tugs once again, pulling John down to lie facing him, so close on the narrow little bed John’s knee immediately lifts over Sherlock’s long thigh.
John lifts a hand to trace Sherlock’s cheekbones, his lovely sharp cheekbones that John teases him about but secretly envies, then his hair, the crest of his ear until Sherlock closes his eyes and shivers. Sherlock’s hand at his waist moves slightly, and John feels it slip under the hem of his tshirt to rest, heavy and warm, on his bare skin.
Its very easy, then, to cup a hand around the back of Sherlock’s neck and pull him in for a kiss, sweet and warm and languid until the moment John nips Sherlock’s lower lip and he gasps. The sound cuts straight to John’s heart, makes the blood rush in his ears. It only takes an instant for John’s hand to find its way to Sherlock’s hip, pulling them more tightly together while John’s mouth is busy kissing Sherlock’s neck, his chin, his jaw, reveling in every little intake of breath that lets him know he’s on the right track, that his attention is welcome.
The heat of Sherlock’s erection is hot against his even through their clothes and John arches into it, seeking more pressure to ease the ache. He wants to get them undressed, get them naked, feel that long body hot and hard against his. John unbuttons Sherlock’s shirt, presses his fingers against smooth skin and bone of Sherlock’s sternum, feels his heart beating for a moment before he pulls back enough to strip his own clothes off. Sherlock follows him, shrugs the shirt from his lean shoulders, wriggles out of his trousers and pants, and immediately come together again as they were, tangled, pressed together from chest to intertwined knees.
Yes, this is what he needs, what Sherlock needs, and John fumbles between them to get a hand on their cocks, making him groan aloud and Sherlock gasp. It’s too warm, too dry, and John would give anything for a bit of slick, anything to make this easier. His half-formed suspicions are being rapidly confirmed by the way Sherlock’s trembling against him, and he’s sure if he tried a blowjob instead it would all be over in a heartbeat.
“Shhh, Sherlock,” he whispers. “Have you—“
“No,” Sherlock replies. “Doesn’t matter. Please, John.”
That’s all John needs, a simple plea in that dark voice, and he’s ready to go off himself. He licks his palm, wraps it around as much of their cocks as he can manage and strokes softly, the sensation making his eyes roll back and his fingers falter.
Sherlock leans in to kiss him and folds his hand around John’s, increasing the heat and pressure, the smooth friction of their skin building until John feels Sherlock arch and shudder, his orgasm hitting him hard and leaving him panting, staring into John’s eyes in wonder. John fights to hold his gaze as he feels his own orgasm overtake him, brought to the peak by Sherlock’s clever fingers on his frenulum.
John curls one arm under his head, studies Sherlock as Sherlock is studying him. Those startling eyes are cataloging already, acquiring new information and organizing it where he can find it again, if he wishes. He looks refreshingly normal, in control, more like himself than he’s been in 24 hours, and John’s grateful for it. The striations of stress have faded, and John himself feels calmer, quieter, more at peace than he has since they got to Dartmoor. It’s quiet and dark, and he’s ready to sleep.
“For the love of God don’t start sending me those emails,” Sherlock says, the words reaching John as he dozes.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” John says, and chuckles. “Are you going to sleep at all?”
Sherlock shifts, turns on his back and elbows John in the chest in the process. “There’s a train at half-nine. We can get a bit of breakfast first, if you like.”
“Fine, good. As long as you don’t get me another cup of coffee.” John wraps an arm around Sherlock’s waist, closes his eyes.
Sherlock settles in with a wriggle and a huff of amusement. “Wouldn’t dream of it,” he says.
Title from: The Rolling Stones, Beast of Burden