Chinese beer has an odd aftertaste. He's not sure he really likes it, but he keeps on swigging because after the day he's had, something non-alcoholic just won't do. Sherlock apparently shares his sentiment; he keeps frowning at the bottle but, like John, resolutely takes sip after sip. Braving the strange flavor. Honestly, John didn't have Sherlock pinned as much of a drinker in the first place, and certainly not a beerdrinker. There's something about his Soul Mate that just screams posh and upper class, neither of which are typically associated with beer-drinker.
It's still odd, having a face to put to the title of Soul Mate. For so long, the person he views in his mind's eye has been faceless, and ever-changing in their height, hair color, ethnicity. When he was a little boy, he of course imagined someone like this father. Tall, sturdy, gruff-voiced but gentle-natured. Sometimes his mother's traits would leak over as well; quick to temper but equally as quick to forgive, bubbly disposition. He used to stare at the looks his parents gave each other and wonder if that's how all bonded Soul Mates looked at each other. Wanted to have someone look at him like that someday, too.
When he was a teenager, hormones took over and the image in his mind's eye became someone more like the celebrities he idolized. It changed daily, so he can't really give a precise account of what his thoughts were back then. Remembers, like all teenagers, being obsessed with the concept of sex, and God if only he could meet his Soul Mate sooner. He knew what the odds of that were, though; very few Soul Mates meet during adolescence.
In the army, sometimes the only thing that kept him going was the thought that somewhere, back in England, there was a man named Sherlock, with his name on his finger. Spent hours upon hours in his sandy bunk, staring at that name on his finger and wondering what this Sherlock would be like. Tall/short? Blonde/brunette/redhead? Long and lean, graceful—the body of a dancer? Or more like John: compact, stocky?
Oddly enough, he's never gotten quite the combination of Sherlock Holmes. Tall and graceful, yes, but sometimes manages to look just about as coordinated as a newborn fawn. In those moments John doesn't know whether to laugh or coo. Wants to do both, does neither. Knowing Sherlock, it wouldn't be appreciated.
Every time he looks at him, he can't help but smile a bit. But at the back of his mind is the feeling that one gets after they've bitten off more than they can chew. That fumbling panic of Oh dear, now I've done it; I'm going to have toffee sticking my teeth together for the rest of my life. Absurd, but at the same time he can't help it because, honestly, even after thirty-five years he never expected to find someone like Sherlock Holmes at the end of his Search.
Sherlock Holmes, who can tell things about you that you, yourself, did not know. Can detail the existence of a pink suitcase despite it not being in the same building he is. Chases a lead to the very ends of the earth and almost kills himself for the amusement of it all.
Maybe that's what really has John's knickers all twisted up, as his sister would say. Really, who lets a psychotic cabbie convince them to take a poison pill a day and a half after they've met their Soul Mate for the first time? They should be sitting in a very nice restaurant right now. Playing the game of getting to know you that the first date always is. They should be kissing on one or the other's doorstep; something small and chaste. Smile shyly, go their separate ways. Meet a few more times, go on a few more dates. Fall into bed together, make copious amounts of love. Whisper sweet nothings. Continue the pattern for several months and then—and only then move in together.
Instead, they're in a shabby Chinese restaurant which, despite John's original reservations upon setting eyes on the place, actually does have fantastic food. They're also flatmates now, it would seem. It feels like they're doing things in the wrong order. More and more, though, John's beginning to realize that he could never imagine Sherlock doing anything the conventional way.
"Did you know that you think very loudly?"
He looks up from his plate, which he's been staring a hole through for the past twenty minutes, and realizes Sherlock has switched positions. They're in a corner booth, and it's just as small as everything else in this restaurant (Aside from the portions, which are enormous) but is secluded from the nosy waitresses taking a break gathered round the cash register. Sherlock is leaning against John's part of the booth, arms folded and legs on the bench. John wonders if that's allowed. For Sherlock Holmes, it probably is.
"Do I?" mumbles John. Sets down his beer. "Uh…sorry."
"No, it's quite alright…" Sherlock smiles down at his lap, where he's peeling the label off his beer bottle. "It's reassuring. Sometimes I wonder if other people even think at all, so it's nice to have proof of it."
"…Was that a compliment?"
"It was intended as one." Sherlock glances up from under his lashes. They giggle at each other before looking back down. There's something awkward yet familiar about this whole situation. It's not a bad feeling. "What were you thinking about?"
John shrugs. "Lots of things. It's been a busy day." Glances back up at Sherlock and mutters, "You scared me, you know. Thought I wasn't going to make it in time."
The click scrape click click of Sherlock's fingers against the bottle stops. John can see him furrow his eyebrows. "I never intended for you to follow me. I knew it would be dangerous."
Snort. "Danger. That's what I'm here for, remember?"
"There are different kinds of danger." Sherlock rolls his head against the back of the booth, rests his cheek against the peeling polyester. Raises his eyebrows at John, as if in a shrug, and sighs, "You're okay? All jokes aside, you did just kill a man, and you've been quiet since we left the crime scene. Or was it something my brother said?" He chuckles at his own joke. John chuckles with him, but they sober up soon enough. Sherlock goes back to picking at the label and John watches. Nimble fingers that are almost hypnotic in their repetitive motions.
"I was in a war," John says eventually. "Killing people was an everyday occurrence. Watching people die was an everyday occurrence." Reaches out and squeezes Sherlock's wrist. "But I wasn't about to watch my Soul Mate die after I'd only just found him. Nor was I going to let him run off into Lord only knew what kind of danger by himself. I mean, couldn't you have told me?"
"No," Sherlock sighs. The tone of voice he's using is already too familiar: You don't understand! interspersed with exasperation. John can already tell this particular quirk of Sherlock's will be an endless source of aggravation. "Because then you would have tried to stop me, and probably would have succeeded and then I never would have known. If you had stopped me, or even come along, he never would have told me how he got them to take the pills. And I needed to know, John. It's almost a compulsion. I don't expect you to understand, because even I don't understand why I do it, I just do."
"Oi," John says, gentle but firm. "Who ever said I would stop you?"
Sherlock sighs, rolls his eyes. "Human nature. Protecting what's yours. True we've only just met, but the writing on our hands means quite a lot…don't you think?" As he speaks, he lifts up his ring and stares at his SBI. John stares, too. It's so weird to see the corresponding SBI to his own. He's seen plenty of them, of course; one of the consequences of being a doctor. Some had even been John. Never, though, in that color. Never on the person he knew was his.
"If I promise not to try and stop you," John starts, reaching out and running the very tip of his finger over Sherlock's SBI. The letters stand in subtle relief against his smooth, alabaster skin. "Will you please tell me what you plan to do next time?"
"What's the point if you're not going to try and stop me?"
It's John's turn to roll his eyes. Has to wonder if Sherlock is being purposefully obtuse. "Because at least then I'll know what you're doing, and what you think is going to happen. And if you can't take me with you, at least you'll have someone who knows where you are if things get ugly. I had to rely on a GPS in a phone to find you, and I was almost too late." Crossing his arms, he adds, "And that was a stupid risk, Sherlock. What if you had the wrong pill? What if they were both poisoned?"
Sherlock's pupils swerve away, though his head is still lolled to the side; face-to-face with John. He's feigning interest in a wall scroll. John wonders if he can actually read it. It's not past the realm of possibility.
"I realize that I may have…miscalculated."
"You make it sound as though you fumbled a maths equation. You could have died." When Sherlock says nothing, John deflates and decides maybe it's a subject they should address at a later time. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor can Sherlock Holmes change in one. At least he seems sorry.
"I'll try to inform you of my intentions from now on," Sherlock says, after many moments of heavy silence. "But I can't make any promises."
John nods. Promises would be nice, but he can only make Sherlock agree to so much. To make Sherlock promise to think every time before putting himself in danger would be going too far. Would be awfully hypocritical of himself besides. He knows all too well that sometimes, there just isn't time to think. Sometimes, it's instinctual to act first and ask questions later. As an ex-soldier, John feels he may understand that better than most.
Abruptly, he realizes his hand is still on Sherlock's, but doesn't feel inclined to pull it away. Nor does Sherlock seem to mind; only moves it a bit to lay on his own thigh when he tires of holding it up. Hasn't put his ring back on, either. His SBI is enticing, and John cannot hold himself back from touching it. Both watch as John's finger caresses the letters, over and over. Only stops when Sherlock slots his hand against John's. He squeezes, pats the back of Sherlock's long, elegant hand, and takes another sip of beer.
"Can I see yours?" Sherlock inquires after John's swallowed. It takes John a second to figure out what he's talking about.
"My SBI? Yes, of course." SBI's are vital intimate links between Soul Mates. It's not unusual for Soul Mates to go ringless in private, at least for the first few weeks while they become acquainted. It's good for them. Encourages the inclination to just reach out and touch, which sometimes does not come as naturally as one would expect. It's something akin to a mother holding her newborn child against her bare breast. A bonding exercise. Besides, Sherlock hadn't had much of a chance to look at John's SBI yesterday afternoon, apparently due to a client. Something about a green ladder; John's still not sure. He never will get around to asking.
Taking off his ring, he pivots his body on the bench. Brings his formerly-bad leg onto the bench and curls the foot under his other thigh. Mostly to hide his SBI under the table. It's not exactly decent, to be doing this in a restaurant. But it's early and there's no one about, except the waitresses. He doesn't see the harm.
Turned this way, his knee presses against Sherlock's hip. The warmth from that spot radiates all up and down his spine.
Sherlock disentangles their hands to settle his low on John's knee. Allows John's hand to rest on his thigh, upturned as his own had been. Sherlock's cool finger touches the upraised skin of his SBI, tickling his nerves. This, too, seems to travel to every nerve-ending.
"I'm going to disappoint you," Sherlock says as he carefully traces the letters of his name. Quickly continues, before John can respond, "I'm not saying this to be self-deprecating. It's true of us all. We spend our entire lives looking for one person, so our expectations will surely be blown out of proportion. I, especially, am by no means…an affectionate person. It doesn't come naturally to me. It will be hard for me to adjust to having another person entwined so thoroughly within my life. I…may never fully come to terms with it." Stares determinedly at John's SBI. Does not meet his eyes.
"I think everyone has those fears, to a certain extent," John says, although he can't say Sherlock's cautions are without ample foundation. If the elder Holmes thinks hiring his Sherlock's Soul Mate to keep tabs on him is a way of brotherly concern, he doesn't want to know how socially stunted rest of the family is.
"They're not fears," Sherlock says, tilting his head back to stare at the ceiling, "they're inferences."
"Mmm. Well, I infer that we'll just have to take this one day at a time. That's how these things go. Remember; we're in this together now. If you try to communicate with me, I'll be more than happy to return the favor." Sherlock clutches his hand again, and John squeezes back. Leans forward, sweeps Sherlock's brown-auburn-black locks to the side, places a kiss at Sherlock's temple. Is rewarded with a hum that he's pretty sure he can classify as happy.
Ever so slowly, Sherlock turns his head to the side. Furrows his brows as if trying to solve a particularly difficult question. John continues to stroke his hair; only stops when Sherlock leans forward and closes his eyes.
His Soul Mate's lips are full and unexpectedly soft. Sherlock's lower lip slots perfectly between John's; two pieces of a puzzle sliding crisply into place for the first time. John moves his hand to the back of Sherlock's head, cradling. Keeps it there even as they pull away. Slides his nose against Sherlock's, their foreheads resting together, and drops another short, chaste kiss upon Sherlock's lips.
"Not affectionate, hmm?" John mutters, and Sherlock laughs. John really likes that sound, he does.
"I'm a completely different person when I'm working a case, John. I think you've seen enough to realize that by now. There's nothing I can do to stop it. Believe me; I've tried."
John doesn't exactly know what Sherlock means by that, but figures it's not a story for tonight. Perhaps not even the foreseeable future. There are certain things that just aren't talked about while Soul Mates are still getting acquainted, grisly details of their Search being one of them. John's done things he's not proud of, of course. He's sure Sherlock has too.
"Well, I'll take your word for it."
They finish eating, and vacate the premises when Sherlock starts looking a lot like he's about to fall asleep on John's shoulder. Also because the three waitresses go off break and begin finding every reason they can to pass by their table, giggling incessantly. All three are unbonded young women in their very early twenties, so of course they'd be giggly at the sight of a newly-bonded pair of men.
221B is silent when they get home. It's unfamiliar to call this place home, but that's apparently what it is to him now. Mrs. Hudson had obviously gone to bed hours ago. John is almost horrified when he glances a the clock on the mantle and realizes it's past three AM. He had no idea it was that late.
At least he doesn't have to do anything tomorrow.
He makes sure Sherlock gets properly in bed, not just sprawled across the covers. Also somehow convinces Sherlock to change; herds him into the en-suite with an armful of soft cotton jim-jams and stands by the door to make sure he doesn't fall asleep with his shirt half-on or something of the like.
Case-mode Sherlock, John is finding, is very different from regular Sherlock (Or is case-mode Sherlock regular Sherlock and John's just seeing the odd way the man behaves in interim?) in that he actually seems willing to eat and sleep. Not all that surprising, though. When one abstains from necessities due to certain circumstances, one will stock up on said necessities once the situation has passed. It's a commonly-used tactic in the military.
John's just glad there are times when Sherlock sleeps and eats.
"Well, goodnight," John says as he hovers awkwardly at Sherlock's bedroom door. It's an odd perversion of the classic standing-in-the-doorway, jingling-the-keys, expecting-a-kiss behavior of post-date men and women from romantic comedies spanning decades. Sherlock examines him through half-lidded eyes, those of exhaustion rather than coyness or coltishness, and nods.
"Mrs. Hudson will have fixed your bed," he says, at the pace of a normal person, which is slow for Sherlock. John wonders if he'd actually slept the night between their first and second meetings. It's almost too early for that to count as 'last night'. The fact that it's most likely been about forty-eight hours since Sherlock slept bothers him.
"Thought she wasn't a housekeeper."
Sherlock snorts rather ungracefully. Nothing at all like the subtle, dainty sound of earlier this evening. John has the distinct feeling of seeing something very dignified in its unrefined state and, therefore, forbidden. A servant boy seeing the monarch in his undergarments; the star of the play with no makeup, no costume. Sherlock like this is something very few people have ever seen. John doesn't know whether to feel smug, privileged, or embarrassed.
"She'll deny it 'till the end of time but, in truth, the lady doth protest too much. She can't stand a filthy house, and if things sit for too long she gets twitchy. It's compulsive for her."
"Please don't tell me you take advantage of that."
"I've been known to. I'm nothing if not an opportunist."
John rolls his eyes, but doesn't bother to reprimand Sherlock. Things like that go right over Sherlock's head normally; it would be completely pointless at a time like this, when he's not even coherent. Instead, John mentally notes to coax Sherlock into housework at a later date before gesturing towards the bed. "Come on. In you go. Underneath, not on top."
Sherlock sighs and pulls back the covers of his bed, crawling in and curling on his side. John hovers in the door, making sure he gets settled, then turns out the light. "Goodnight."
All he gets in reply is a vague hum. Probably already half-asleep, bless him (As John's mum would say). John closes the door quietly and wishes his Soul Mate sweet dreams before retreating up the stairs, into his own room.
He soon finds out that Sherlock's personality has many subparts to 'During-Case' and 'Between-Cases'. During-Case Sherlock can be very detached, uncommunicative, and disrespectful. While he's less likely to hurtle random insults, he also tends towards blatant superiority. Runs off without giving anyone any warning and, although he's getting better at it, John still finds himself left behind much too often for his taste. Sometimes Sherlock will send him off on tasks with almost no information then proceed to disappear, leaving John to process the Sherlockian order. Sometimes he never manages it, and is left wandering about trying to get some idea of what he's supposed to be doing. This never leaves him in Sherlock's good graces, and more often than not makes him the subject of insults.
Between-Cases Sherlock is in some ways better and worse. Typically, he crashes after cases. Spends fifteen or sixteen hours sleeping, and sometimes John won't see him for an entire day, because Sherlock only wakes up after John's gone back to bed. For about two days, Sherlock is almost like a normal person. They sit in their chairs and watch telly. Sherlock has one-sided arguments with the people on the crap reality shows. They argue about the washing-up (John always loses). Compared to his usual behavior, this is surreally normal.
But then the period between cases stretches too long and Sherlock gets irritable. Starts snapping and insulting everything that moves, even some things that don't. At the worst of times, when there has been two weeks or more between cases, he takes to making as much noise as he can. Throwing things; breaking things. These are the times when John will excuse himself. Walk around the block for a few hours, leave Sherlock to his own devices. Give himself some time to think and cool down. Sometimes he goes to have a pint, but he tries not to give into the impulse too often. He knows only too well the Watson tendency towards alcoholism. It took both his granddad and his uncle before it took his sister.
Sometimes, when the period between cases drags on too long, it seems as though Sherlock has permanently changed into a wild, unapproachable creature. Feels like it will always be like that, and John has momentary lapses of faith in which he thinks I can't handle this, how am I supposed to handle this.
Always, always, he feels guilty immediately. Hates himself, in fact. It doesn't change the fact that Sherlock is irritable and intolerable.
That is, until he gets home from these walks. He always tells himself he'll go straight up to his room, not even glance into the living room, because he knows Sherlock will be sitting there, looking absolutely miserable, and it'll make him feel like even more of a bastard.
"I'm sorry," Sherlock always whispers. Contrary to popular belief, Sherlock has no reservations about apologizing. It's admitting that he was wrong that he has the problem with. To most people, they are synonymous. To Sherlock Holmes, they are mutually exclusive in a way that John has not yet managed to figure out.
"Your tantrum over then?" John asks when he's feeling particularly vexed. He's not above being cruel when he's well and truly pissed off.
Other times he just accepts the apology and goes to bed anyway, or sits in his chair and drowns in awkward silence. But sometimes, like the night Sherlock managed to break one of John's mother's antique teacups, it takes more than puppy eyes and a two-word apology to placate him.
"John," Sherlock says, and it sounds equal parts reprimand and plea, "you know I can't help it when I get like this. I don't mean to. It's not my fault."
"Then who the fuck's fault is it, Sherlock?" demands John. Tosses his arms out irritably. "My great-grandmother gave those cups to my mum, Sherlock. She gave half to me, and half to Harry. Harry's broken all of hers. There are only four left, and the set started off with twelve. Do my things really have such little value to you?"
"Of course not!" Sherlock barked, and he didn't even have to add 'What a dumb question!' because it was as good as implied. "I just…It's hard! You have no idea what it's like, John. To have your brain running a mile a minute constantly and having nothing to focus on. Sometimes it feels as though I may explode, or at least go insane. Sometimes it gets almost painful and I simply cannot just sit still. When it hurts, I get angry, and when I'm angry I'm not rational!" He stops, rubs his eyes, and says, "When I was a child I was diagnosed with Asperger's."
"Oh," is all John can manage to expel. Sits down on the coffee table so he's facing Sherlock. Places his knees outside Sherlock's. "Autism. I should have known."
Sherlock exhales angrily and glances up at John from under his lashes, fury in his eyes. "Asperger's is what they called it. I remain unconvinced that it's actually what I have. However, I do have several symptoms that fit. One such symptom is…a chronic inability to judge how others will react to my actions. It makes socialization hard, and I've never managed it much."
"Have you ever tried?" asks John. Sherlock looks down and shakes his head minutely. John tries hard not to become exasperated because, well, maybe it's not as much of Sherlock's fault as he thought. Instead, he reaches out and cups Sherlock's cheeks, bringing his head up so their eyes can meet. "You're right; I can't imagine what that's like. All I know is it must be very painful for you."
"I don't mean the things I say," Sherlock murmurs. "I've just…it's how I've learned to defend myself."
John has a sudden vision of Sally Donovan, telling him he was better off without his Soul Mate if it turned out to be Sherlock Holmes; that the man was a psychopath. A freak. Freak is the word she used.
"Sherlock…," he breathes, not exactly sure how to react. Wonders how many Sally Donovans there have been in Sherlock's life. How many have been even worse than Sally Donovan.
"It takes the edge off the insult if I can throw one back. They call me a freak, a psychopath, a machine. I call them adulterer, liar, whore. And they know it's true. It makes them hate me, but at least I always have ammunition when they decide to take another go at me."
The whole thing almost makes John want to cry. The idea that someone can grow up being so unloved that they have to learn to defend themselves by being a bully to their bullies is atrocious. He brushes Sherlock's hair out of his eyes, away from his forehead, and almost wishes he could come eye-to-eyes with Sherlock's magnificent, merciless brain. Tell it to shut up for a second so Sherlock have an instance of what he's never had before. What so many people take utterly for granted.
Sherlock's hands come up and envelope John's, lowering them into his lap. Slowly, he removes both of their rings, moves them to the coffee table, and moves his hands back to slide their fingers together and squeeze. Affection is still rare between them. A pat on the back, a squeeze of the shoulders is all that's ever really done. The air is intimate. John wants to lean forward, capture those pink, heart-shaped lips. Knows he can, that Sherlock most likely won't react negatively, but there's still something holding him back.
"I don't mean to upset you. I'm just…very volatile when it gets like this." He turns over John's hand, staring at his SBI. Holds one of his slim fingers against the length of John's. "You're the first person who's ever tried to understand, aside from my brother and Lestrade. I understand that it's out of obligation, but it's still something. No matter what I say, I don't want you to leave. So please don't."
"It's not out of obligation—"
"Yes. Yes it is. Can you honestly say that, had I not ended up being your Soul Mate, you would try so hard to tolerate me?" Sherlock's eyes are open wide, demanding a counterargument and expecting affirmation at the same time.
Without even thinking, John ejects a vehement yes and tightens his grip on Sherlock's hands. "We are in the same boat, Sherlock. The same exact boat. And I know how it feels to be alone in the world. I haven't always known, and I can't imagine how lonely you must have been all these years because I was only alone for a few months and I was ready to…" His jaw clicks audibly with the speed at which he closes it, and he stares, wide-eyed, at Sherlock for a moment before muttering, "Sorry, I've said too much."
"The point is," John quickly interjects, "I need you as much as you need me. So I'm not going anywhere."
It feels as though a great weight has been lifted from the room after that admission. Sherlock's eyes, which seem to have decided to be silver right now, dart back and forth, trying to read John's eyes like a book. Then he stops, stares for ten whole seconds straight at John. Pupils meeting pupils. Finally, when John thinks he's going to die of anticipation, he jerks forwards and crushes his face into John's.
Not just lips, no. His nose grinds into John's cheek, their eyes mash together, and Sherlock's hands tangle so thoroughly in his hair that it hurts. John, however, could not care less. He can't imagine either of them is very good at this; no one is when they've just met their Soul Mate. Nothing has ever mattered so little to him in his life.
Over and over they kiss, with more teeth than John thinks is usually acceptable. It feels like Sherlock is trying to eat his face, but he still wants more. Wants to be closer. Wants to feel all of Sherlock pressed against all of him. Is just considering moving onto Sherlock's lap when Sherlock does just that to him. Somehow, Sherlock's long legs fold themselves so he can sit on one of John's thighs. Drapes his arms over John's shoulders. One of John's own arms goes around the detective's waist, presses their bodies together. God he's so warm. The soft cotton of his pajamas is not thick enough to mask his body heat. John's glad he's wearing one of this thinner jumpers, or else he might not be able to feel Sherlock; his lithe form, the muscles in his back moving.
Some part of John is desperately aroused. A bigger part, the majority, is just happy to have Sherlock pressed against him, warm and moving and there. Honestly, he just wants to cling onto Sherlock and neverlet go. He never realized how much he needed this until Sherlock walked into his life a month ago and now every time he looks at him, he's overcome with the urge to bring him into his arms, hold him there.
Now Sherlock's tongue is in his mouth, and that should be unpleasant but, no. Not really, it's very much not unpleasant. Everything about Sherlock is warm and soft, it seems, and he tastes of tea and lemon, chocolate and vanilla. Mrs. Hudson must have brought up afternoon tea while he was on his walkabout. Sherlock is a tart for her homemade biscuits, John should know. Mrs. Hudson's baked goods are one of the few things Sherlock will willingly eat while on a case, and John has been known to ask her to bake a batch of cookies when a case is dragging on too long and Sherlock is getting dangerously malnourished.
The kiss begins to calm. Sherlock languidly moves his tongue in circles around John's. It's sexy in a weird way. At least he finally understands why everyone when he was in high school practiced kissing with best friends. (He never did; his mother would have skinned him alive if she found out.) Although he really can't imagine doing this with anyone but Sherlock.
Sherlock breaks away and leans his forehead against John's. Smiles and murmurs, "You're thinking loudly again." Presses his lips against John's again, clumsily because it's hard to kiss when you're smiling. Remains there, nose pressed to John's cheek, for an indeterminate amount of time.
"My leg," John murmurs eventually. Sherlock is light, lighter than he should be, but he's on the bad leg, the one that still sometimes hurts on days when the weather is particularly bad or he's not moved enough that day. His leg reacts in much the same way as Sherlock's brain when it has too little stimulation. Fires off, malfunctions, triggers pain and irritability.
"Mmm." Sherlock breaks away slowly, pressing several slow kisses against John's mouth before he finally separates from him. He leaves his taste on John's tongue. "Shall I…" Clonks his forehead against John's, presses his nose into John's cheek. "Move, or…?"
"Here." John moves to the couch, gets himself comfortable with his back nestled into the vertex of arm and back cushion, and eases Sherlock down onto the good leg. The bad leg fell asleep, thanks to Sherlock and lack of circulation, and is stretched out in front of him on the sofa. Sherlock's weight rests on the cushion, with the small of his back resting on John's thigh.
They get comfortable. Sherlock's head is on his shoulder, and his nose ends up buried in his Soul Mate's dark tresses.
"You're…welcome?" John is not sure what he's being thanked for. The kiss, or what was said before?
"I think I needed to hear that," Sherlock mutters. "I've always had this suspicion that when I did meet my Soul Mate, he would reject me. I'm very grateful that you haven't."
"Sherlock." Presses his lips hard against Sherlock's temple. "I am going to say this only once. So listen very closely. You're my Soul Mate. You're the only one I'm ever going to have. I'm perfectly happy with who I found at the end my Search. To reject you would be a blatant display of your least favorite thing: Stupidity." A kiss. "Personally, I think I'm a very lucky man."
"I am, too." Sherlock closes his eyes, presses his forehead against John's neck. John relaxes, slumps really, against the sofa, and closes his eyes. A kip sounds very good right now, even though it's barely three o'clock. He'll have to get up in a few minutes, start thinking about supper. But for right now, Sherlock is warm and sleepy against him, and John wouldn't disturb him for anything.
"John," Sherlock whispers, almost urgently when John is almost asleep. He jerks, trying to bring himself back to full awareness.
"You've made it go quiet," Sherlock says.
"Oh. Sorry." Then he thunks his head back against the couch, falls asleep.
Only to wake up twenty minutes later and process what Sherlock said. His Soul Mate is asleep, mouth slack and eyes moving rapidly behind their lids. There's nothing to do but rearrange, because now his other leg is asleep. Slowly, he stretches out along the length of the sofa, nestled against Sherlock's back, pulls the blanket on the back of the sofa over them, and falls back to sleep with his nose pressed against Sherlock's neck and his left hand overlapping Sherlock's, the pad of his SBI finger pressing against Sherlock's inscription.